Allo, cordyangel here starting another story. I'm not used to working on less than three stories at a time, so this fills my quota. This has gotta be the longest chapter I've ever written. Hope you read, review and enjoy!

Chapter 1: Glimpses

"All I want is freedom
A world with no more night"

-All I Ask Of You, The Phantom of the Opera

Severus was pleading for the millionth time with the Dark Lord.

"Please, my lord. You don't understand, she's such a valuable resource! We could win this war in a month if we let her out." Though Severus was usually a patient man, time was running out. He was determined that this would be the time, he would convince the Dark Lord to release her or die trying.

"Oh, but she's so much fun when she's locked in a cage," Voldemort's hidden meaning didn't slip past Malfoy or Snape, and the latter had to try and hold down his dinner.

"With all due respect my lord, we strategized for months to try and capture Granger. It would be lunacy not to use her now!"

A flash of anger rose in Voldemort's eyes. "Are you calling me a lunatic? Perhaps you've become confused with your former double agent role. Remember, it is I whom you answer to."

Snape stiffened at the Dark Lord's thinly veiled accusation. It struck him that he was treading on dangerous ground. "Forgive me my lord," he murmured darkly. "I forgot myself."

"If Imay interject," Lucius at last decided to put in his two cents. "Perhaps Severus is right. Goodness knows the mudblood would have pertinent information. The girl would probably be very easily swayed to our side, with a bit of persuasion." Lucius paused a moment to study his nail before looking up into the Dark Lord and Snape'ssuprised faces.

Severus was shocked. Why would Lucius of all people want Hermione Granger out of prison? But with someone who had the reputation of hating mudbloods that Lucius did, it wouldn't be bad to have him supporting her release. And as much as it burned him to admit it, he needed all the help he could get.

"And how do you propose we persuade her?" Voldemort seemed to be taking the idea more seriously now that two of his advisors were behind it.

"Well, her spirit is most likely already broken. How long has she been in the dungeon?"

"Six months," Severus readily supplied, hoping his answer hadn't come soon enough to rouse suspicion.

Both of the men cast a sideways lok at Severus, but Lucius carried on. "Yes, six months. So it shouldn't be that hard to convince her that helping us won't be as bad as staying in the dungeons."

"But after that? She seemed to be most loyal, if not to the light side, than to her friends. How could we convince her to turn her back on them?"

"Ms. Granger is clever enough to know that knowledge itself isn't inherently evil. She is among the few who knows it's what you do with the knowledge that makes it good or evil. We can use that to our advantage."

Severus bit back the urge to defend Ms. Granger's loyalty. If she'd been any other witch than the plan to turn her to the dark side might've worked. But not with Granger. There was no way in hell she'd turn her back on the boy she'd spent the better part of six years looking after. Despite his doubts, he forced himself to agree with Lucius. It was the only way to get her out.

"Very well, she'll be let out at the end of the week."

Voldemort's announcement earned a look from Snape. Before he could protest however, Lucius broke in again.

"Relax old friend," he said in his slippery voice. "She's been there for six months. She can wait a few more days.

"And boys, remember what a precious commodity Ms. Granger is to me and everything we hope to achieve. If so much as a hair on her head is harmed, I will know who to blame."

The two men gave a low bow and backed out of the room.

LHSLHSLHS

She was staring at the wall. Counting, underneath her breath.

"140...141...142...143..."

A scratch for every day she'd been there. The Dark Lord had laughed when he'd seen her 'calendar'.Apainful wince graced her pale, drawn features.It was really getting to her if she'd started calling Voldemort the Dark Lord.

148 days. That was how long. And how much longer until her body gave out? She had to remind herself that there was no way that Voldemort would kill her. For some unknown reason, he needed her alive. It was that fact that calmed her and frightened her at the same time.

With a bang of metal on hard stone, her dish came through the bars. That was right. It was the third day, feeding day. Hermione quickly lapped up the porridge she'd been given. For awhile, she'd tried to starve herself, but then Voldemort had her force fed, an experiance Hermione hoped to never repeat.

Shifty blue eyes watched Hermione as she ate. At last, the guard, left her alone to see to the other prisoners, who undoubtably weren't getting the same special treatment as her.

A scream tore through the stale air, shocking Hermione out of her reverie. Another prisoner was dead, she could feel it. It was as if the fast cooling body was next to her, she could smell the overpowering stench of death permeating the dungeon.

"Ms. Granger!" A man's voice hissed at her through the bars.

She gave a start. "Oh, it's you professor." Hermione immediately relaxed. It had been awhile since Snape had been able to steal a moment to come and see her. Any more visits and the-and Voldemort would start to get suspicious. "Any good news?"

Snape tried to suppress a smile. "Yes, I do. You're being released at the end of the week."

Hermione sat up. "Really? Are you serious!" She had to fight the urge to try and hug Severus through the bars. "Oh, thank you professor," Hermione had to stop, for fear she would break down crying.

Severus was clearly uncomfortable with Hermione's displays of emotion. "How many times have I told you to not call me Professor? I haven't been your professor for a long time."

"Yes, I know that." Hermione smiled.

"I have to go," Snape gathered up his cloak and turned away. "I'll see that the Order hears of this."

Hermione thanked him again as he billowed away.

LHSLHSLHS

Severus had to remove himself from the dungeon as fast as possible. Every time he went there, he felt worse and worse. It sickened him that Hermione Granger was sitting in his place in that filthy prison. He was indebted to her forever for all she'd done for him and she didn't deserve the fatal destiny that lay before her. When she'd first been brought to Voldemort, she could've revealed his involvement with the Order. The gods knew she had enough proof. But she hadn't, even when she believed him to be the murderer of Dumbledore. Even then she'd kept silent.

Snape sighed. He knew that he should've done his duty to the Order and to Dumbledore long ago, when she'd first arrived. He could've done it easily enough. He'd killed enough innocents to know how to make it look like an accident. She could've been found in the morning dead of an apparant heart attack, or stroke or some other petty muggle occurance. It baffled him that while he had the strength to kill his mentor, he could never lay a hand against Hermione Granger. Even while he knew countless people would die because of her existence.

Hermione didn't know why she received such good care in the dungeons, considering her position. But Snape did. Why would the Dark Lord endanger his second to last Horcrux?

LHSLHSLHS