A/N: Welcome to my second Tom/Hermione fic. I would like to start off by saying thank you to all who voted on the poll on my website. Here is your winner, of course. I hope that you enjoy this one just as much as you did the last, Riddle's Phantom. So, without further ado... the story.
A Love Through Time
Chapter 1 – Riddle's Diary
"My Lord, you called for me?" Lucius Malfoy addressed urgently as he swept into the dimly lit room where a snake lay on a tattered oval rug near the hearth, and the most evil wizard since Grindlewald sat in a dusty, old, high-backed arm chair.
"Yes, Lucius, I did send for you," drawled Lord Voldemort, his bright red eyes staring into the crackling fire. "Wormtail, take Nagini and milk her for me while I inform Lucius of our plans."
"Y-Yes, m-m-my Lord," Wormtail stuttered.
Wormtail was a stout, balding, little man with a constant sweat on his dirty forehead. He was always twisting and writhing his hands as he clicked his tongue against his big buck teeth, much like a rat would as it made faint attempts to taste the air. He feared his master whom ruled him with merciless means as he did all his Death Eaters.
Wormtail shivered as the snake uncurled itself from the rug and began to slither its way toward him, cutting a deep path across the dusty wooden floors. He followed the snake from the room, jumping as it stopped and hissed at him, bringing a smile to Voldemort's face. The short man hated this duty and detested what might happen if he didn't do as he was told.
"Now, Lucius... please take a seat," Voldemort said as he gestured to a wooden dining chair sitting against the wall near the fireplace.
Malfoy wrinkled his nose, but shook it off as he pulled his wand from his cane and summoned the chair to him. Normally, the pristine pureblood would be sitting in a regal forest green armchair or on a black leather couch, not on some rickety old chair such as the one he had just seated himself on.
"Since you are now seated, I will enlighten you on how you... and your son are going to help me," the Dark Lord stated with a widening of his vivid red eyes.
"We are at your service. How may we help?"
"The diary that was supposedly ruined in your son's second year at Hogwarts-"
"It can be restored and reused," Voldemort said lightly.
"But, my Lord, the last time we used this it failed, and I was found to be the one that was guilty of endangering those students at Hogwarts," Lucius objected.
"Do you mean to tell me that you doubt my plans?" Voldemort's voice was high and fierce and sent a shiver up the Malfoy's spine, but he wasn't about to let his master see it. That would suggest weakness, and he had already expressed doubts in the Dark Lord's scheme, so he couldn't show more reason to distrust him.
"No, no, my Lord. I trust you immensely, and I don't mean to under mind you," Lucius apologized. "Please continue."
"Your son is in his seventh year at the school, is he not?"
"Yes," the blond answered shortly.
"He is Head Boy, is he not?"
"Yes, that he is," Malfoy replied with growing pride. His son was upholding the family honor well.
"And does he not have access to Dumbledore's office?"
"He certainly does," Lucius said with growing curiosity. "But what does all this have to do with your journal?"
"Lots, Lucius. Lots." Voldemort paused for a moment, a sickening smile slinking onto his face and causing his thin, pale lips to curl at the corners. "As you may or may not know, the diary is kept within the safety of that old fool, Dumbledore's office... and I plan to retrieve it. Or rather that I'm going to have someone retrieve it for me."
"How do you plan to get it without Dumbledore knowing that it's been stolen? He's got eyes all around that office of his. That annoying phoenix and those awful pictures that talk to him. How anyone can be loyal to such an old hindrance," Lucius hissed with hate laced in his voice. For every time Malfoy had come near Dumbledore, he would make a fool of Lucius and ruin whatever it was he was working on.
"You see," Voldemort droned. "This is where your son, Draco, comes in. He is going to be the one to retrieve the diary for me, then pass it off to you. Once it is within your hands, you will bring it to me so I may correct what's been done to it."
"How do you plan to get him in without being seen or told on, my Lord? It would be quite impossible for him to just walk in and take the book."
"Wormtail!" the Dark Lord's voice rang throughout the house, echoing in every bare corner of the place. Peter soon came running into the room, Nagini slithering leisurely behind him.
"How may I h-help you, m-my L-Lord?"
"Go and fetch our gift to Draco," Voldemort instructed as Pettigrew nodded and then ran from the room.
"Hey, Malfoy, isn't that your owl?"
Draco looked up from his breakfast to see his dark gray eagle owl come flying in with the other owls for the morning post, though his pet stood out from the rest as it carried a rather bulky package. It landed on Draco's outstretched arm and dropped the package on the table with a dull thump and then stole a piece of toast before taking flight again. Staring at the neatly wrapped box in front of him, Malfoy picked it up and flipped it over to find a dark green envelope tied in the string that bound the brown paper to the box. In neat, curling letters that were written in shining silver ink was his name with a short note: 'Don't open this package unless you are in the privacy of your own dormitory!'
Draco looked around, no one was watching, even Crabbe and Goyle had gone back to stuffing their faces with pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, and oatmeal. He shook his head in a disgusted way as he watched food dribble down the front of Crabbe's clothes. Standing, he gathered the package and left his seat.
"'ey Malboy... where arb you goib?"
Draco turned around and looked at Crabbe in a distaste as he spit food on Goyle in his rush to ask Malfoy where he was headed to.
"None of your business. Just go back to pigging out," Draco hissed as he turned and continued on his way out of the Great Hall, stopping only a second at the door to glare at Harry, Ron, and Hermione as they came in. "Mudblood," he mumbled as Hermione passed.
"Ferret," she murmured back in an angered way as she threw her nose in the air and continued to follow Harry and Ron over to Gryffindor table.
Malfoy continued down into the dungeons with their damp air and the moist walls, where the only company you had while walking alone was the echoing of your footsteps. He rounded the corner after walking down a long stone corridor lit by torches in iron brackets on the walls and came to the portrait of a snake charmer.
"Password," said the charmer in a hissing manner, his speech snake-like.
"Magie Noire," Draco answered with a bit of a French accent.
He was the one who had came up with that password. He had gotten it when he went to Toulouse, France over the summer with his parents. It meant 'Black Magic', which is what Draco loved to do best in his free time. He enjoyed challenging his friends to shows of dark arts and bits of evil magic. He had grown to be quite the show-off.
The snake in the basket of the portrait hissed as it lunged forward, trying to attack the Head Boy, but was unable to get past its barrier of paint in the frame while portrait itself swung forward and let him into the Slytherin common room. It was empty and silent, all but the crackling fire which cast an orange glow over the dark room. Everything in the dungeons was dark. Even at noon on the brightest day of the year.
Malfoy made his way past the expensive-looking leather furniture and highly-polished wooden tables to the staircase and up to the dorm that he shared with the other seventh year boys. He sat down on his bed and stared at the package a moment before looking around the room.
He was alone, but there was still a need to ensure privacy. He got up and went to the door, locking it from all visitors and before he pulled the emerald hangings and crawled to the center of the bed.
"Now, what could be in this package?" he pondered aloud to the thin, cool air around him.
Looking down at the brown paper, he studied it for a moment before he turned to the letter. Picking it up, he opened it and leisurely pulled it out of the envelope while still surveying the package. Draco unfolded the letter and began to read.
In this package you will find a very valuable item which you are to use to do an important job. Your job is to enter Dumbledore's office and retrieve the diary of Tom Marvolo Riddle. Send it to me, so I may return it to the rightful owner.
Malfoy tossed the letter aside. There was no mistaking who it was from once he read it. His father could be the only one who would send it to him. And the rightful owner of that diary was the Dark Lord, Draco knew that. He smirked and grabbed the package quickly, but then slowed his actions. He had to be careful even if he was excited.
He had been so tired of being like the other Death Eaters' children, useless and only bragging about their parents' importance. Now he had his chance to prove himself. He had a job for Voldemort. He would become more important than even those other children's parents after accomplishing this. And Draco knew that that was what he had to do. He couldn't disappoint his father, and his family could bring no more anger to the Dark Lord who had already spared Lucius after the break on Azkaban.
Malfoy's excitement finally got the better of him as he sat untying the knot in the string, and he began to rip open the package, tossing aside the lid to the box and pulling out a black cloak of satin. How in the world would this help him?
"What kind of trickery is this?" Draco threw the cloak down, pushed roughly past the bed hanging, and walked across the room to his wardrobe. "I've got at least eighty of these wretched things."
Turning and looking at the cloak that was laying on the bed, he noticed something. The cloak wasn't there and neither was the box. But where had they gone?
He crossed the room and ran his hands over the bed, hitting something. He grabbed what he thought was his bed covers and pulled, only to find that he now had the cloak in his hand, and the box was once again lying on the bed.
"So that's what it is... An Invisibility cloak." He grinned deviously. "Looks like Potter isn't the only student at Hogwarts with one now."
Draco's lips were still curled at one corner in an arrogant, evil smirk as he heard a bell ring in the distance, signaling the start of classes. He stuffed the cloak into his bag and ran for his first class, NEWT level Potions.
"Albus! Albus!" Minerva McGonagall was running down the marble staircase toward the Great Hall with a letter in her hands as Dumbledore stood talking to Snape. The Potions master was complaining about how he needed four new cauldrons for the accident that Neville had had in NEWT level Potions earlier that day.
"Ah, Minerva, what seems to be troubling you?" the Headmaster inquired politely as she came bustling across the entrance hall.
"I've... I've got a letter here... from the school board of governors. They said they got a complaint from one of the student's parents about an injury sustained in Hagrid's class. They want to come and check things out," McGonagall explained.
"When does it say we can expect them?" Albus questioned calmly.
"Tonight at seven," Minerva replied. "There will be four governors attending an-"
"I see. Severus, Minerva, if the two of you will excuse me, I've got to go see Hagrid about his visitors for tonight. May I have that letter please?"
"Certainly, sir," McGonagall said a little more tranquilly as she handed over the letter to the Headmaster and watched along with Snape as he strode sedatedly out the front door and down the sloping lawns to Hagrid's hut.
Draco Malfoy had been standing around the corner listening to the three professors talking. He had been enjoying the insults that Snape had been throwing out about Neville when he became even more elated about the news of the engagement with the governors. This meant that the office would be empty. The plan to steal back the journal of Tom Riddle was firmly in place. All Draco had to do was wait until seven o'clock that night to sneak into Dumbledore's office while everyone else was at dinner or at Hagrid's hut.
"Draco, aren't you coming to dinner with us?"
"No, Parkinson... I've got work to do," Draco replied stiffly as he shrugged Pansy off his arm and went to his dorm, leaving her looking scandalized. He waited until everyone left the common room before coming out of the seventh year boys' dorm.
It was now 7:13, and he was moving swiftly up the hall, but no one would know this as he went undetected under his cloak. He made his way to the second floor to the stone statue of an ugly gargoyle.
"Ice Mice," Draco said in a little more than a whisper.
The gargoyle jumped aside as a spiraling staircase began to move upward from the floor. He stepped quickly onto them, allowing them to carry him to the door of Dumbledore's office. At first he wondered if he would be able to get in, but then he remembered to change the purposes he had in mind. The office had never let Umbridge in because she had had disrespectful intentions.
"I need to speak to Dumbledore or leave a letter on his desk," Malfoy said to himself.
The door opened, much to Draco's relief, and he sneaked in. He paused a moment and looked around the room to the many whirling, spinning, and whistling silver objects, but he quit examining them as they made him dizzy. His eyes then traveled to the Sorting Hat which seemed to be napping. He continued to look around the room, many of the previous Headmasters and Headmistresses were either gone from their frames or napping against them. And then he saw Fawkes who was sitting contentedly on his perch next to Dumbledore's desk.
"Ruddy bird," Draco whispered to himself as he continued to scan the Headmaster's office.
Then he spied it. The diary of Tom Riddle. Malfoy moved stealthily towards it, lifting it carefully off the shelf, he was about to leave when he heard an almost sing-song sort of squawk.
"I say, what's going on here?" One of the portraits had awoken as Fawkes began to flap his wings wildly. "What in Merlin's beard! I say! That bird's gone barmy!"
Fawkes began to call louder as Draco began to run. He panicked when he heard the beating of wings, and as he looked over his shoulder, he saw that the fiery phoenix had risen from his perch in pursuit of him.
"Go away you great ugly pest," Draco grunted as Dumbledore's pet took hold of the bloody diary with its feet and began to pull. The Head Boy put up quite the fight, but finally let go. Fawkes was on his way back to the perch when Malfoy pulled out his wand. "No you don't! This is my moment of glory and some stupid bird isn't going to ruin it! Avada Kedavra!"
Green light burst into the air and whizzed towards the sizable bird, hitting it square in the back. There was a bursting noise and then a crackling of flame as ashes floated to the floor along with the diary.
"Quick! Someone get help! Treachery! Treason in the Headmaster's office! Thief! Someone come quick!" The man in the portrait ran from his frame, and Draco knew if he didn't get out of there soon, he would be in trouble.
He put his wand away and ran to the pile of ash on the floor where a tiny balding bird was looking around slowly with large, shining black eyes. Draco picked up the diary as the newborn Fawkes gave a tiny squeaking shout causing Malfoy to laugh.
"Let that be a lesson to you that I always win," he said evilly before rushing from the Dumbledore's office and back to his own dormitory to write his father and send the diary.
At that exact time though, Snape was running across the front lawns of Hogwarts to get Albus. He had been informed by the portrait of a previous Hogwarts Headmaster, Everard, that someone had committed 'treason and thievery' in Dumbledore's office. Severus hated to bust in while the governors were there, but this was serious. They had stolen Tom Riddle's diary.
"Yes, Severus?" Dumbledore rose as Snape stood panting in the doorway of Hagrid's hut after letting himself in.
"Someone has broken into your office!"
"What?" Minerva exlaimed, rising from her seat while the governors sat there looking shocked along with Hagrid.
"Come quickly," Severus ordered as the Headmaster turned to the governors.
"If you'll excuse me-"
"Certainly," answered two of the governors in unison as Albus, Snape, and McGonagall left the hut and ran for the second floor office.
When they got there, Everard was staring on with all the other Headmasters and Headmistresses, all of whom looked grave.
"What person would do such a thing, Albus?" Minerva questioned in distress.
Dumbledore sighed and turned from McGonagall to the pile of ash on the floor.
"I don't know, Minerva... I don't know."
He moved his bird to the perch and walked tiredly to the window to scan the night sky in thought. As he looked out, something caught his eye. A lone owl flying away from the school with a rather large package.
Peter Pettigrew came running as his master bellowed his name, fear stricken over his face. He bowed and awaited his orders dutifully.
"Send for Nott and Dolohov... I'm going to need those potions brewed immediately."
"Y-Yes, Master," Wormtail answered with a quiver as he turned tail and ran from the room for the kitchen of the Riddle manor where many of the Death Eaters were gathered.
"Lucius, you must commend your son on a job well done."
"Yes, sir," Lucius said with a curt nod of his head. He was proud of Draco. The boy had saved both his father and their family a great deal of misfortune by succeeding.
"But the job is only half done," Voldemort sighed contentedly while turning through the destroyed pages of the diary in his lap.
"Sir?" Malfoy questioned. He had thought that they were in the clear. What was this new addition to the agreement?
"As soon as the diary is restored, I need your son to do a bit of placing," informed the Dark Lord.
"In a certain Muggle-born's possession. She is the key to unleashing my wrath upon the wizarding world... She who holds books so dearly and depends on them so much. She who is so close to Potter!"
"The Mudblood Granger, sir?"
"Precisely, Lucius... precisely," Voldemort chuckled menacingly as an eerie smirk slithered onto his face. His plan was well under way and without so much as a hitch so far. All that was left to do was restore the diary, place it in Hermione's possession in place of her own, and wait.