Disclaimer: I own nothing except Miss K Rochester and any other original characters not from the Harry Potter series. All characters and plot from the Harry Potter series belong to J K Rowling.

Spoiler warning: may contain HBP spoilers

Lord Voldemort sat staring into the fire, mulling over his plans to draw Harry Potter to the Hall of Prophecy. Wondering whether Potter would fall for his latest enticement and come running to rescue his dear Godfather. He was sitting on one of the two luxurious green armchairs in an otherwise bare, small and undecorated room in his current HQ. He enjoyed its darkness (it had no windows) and simplicity and found that it provided him with the perfect atmosphere for contemplation.

There was a soft knock on the door.

Voldemort started up from his seat in annoyance and wrenched the door open with a flick of his wand. It crashed open to reveal an apprehensive Lucius Malfoy and a young man who was slumped on the floor at his feet, sobbing and looking decidedly worse for the wear. The back of his robes were grasped firmly in Lucius' fist, his head was bowed and his face was hidden behind a curtain of long brown hair.

"My Lord, please forgive the intrusion…"

"Who is this?" hissed Voldemort; his tone demanded an immediate, and good, explanation for this disturbance.

"I came across him by pure chance, My Lord. He works in the Department of Mysteries. I have seen him before, in the Ministry, of course, but today he crossed my path alone outside Ministry premises and I took the opportunity to capture him and bring him here."

This gained the Dark Lord's interest.

"Have you questioned him?" he asked.

"I have started to, My Lord, but when I discovered that he works in the Hall of Love…"

At this Voldemort darted forward, snatched the man and threw him to the floor. He then invaded his mind using Legilimency to make certain that this was true.

"What is your name?" he demanded.

"N- Nathan…Nathan Brookes." Replied the terrified heap on the floor, his voice shaking uncontrollably.

"Get up on your knees, boy!" hissed Lord Voldemort, his eyes alight with curiosity.

Nathan scrambled to do so, but could not look up at the wizard standing over him. He'd never felt fear like this… it was overpowering. He was surprised he could move at all. He had always been determined to die like a hero, if he ever got himself into a situation like this. But now he was here, it was actually happening; he was kneeling before you-know-who and about to be questioned and tortured, all thoughts of refusing to speak until death had evaporated. All he wished for now was a swift end with as little pain as possible.

"Look into my eyes, you coward!"

"My Lord, shall I leave you..?" asked Lucius, who was hovering in the doorway.

Voldemort looked up briefly from where he was crouching on the floor in front of the shivering boy.

"No. Come in and close the door."

As Lucius did so Lord Voldemort focused his attention back on Nathan, who found himself unable to raise his eyes from the floor.

"Look into my eyes!"

Nathan stayed motionless, staring at the floor, mute…


After the blinding pain had subsided Nathan found himself on his hands and knees, head on the floor, and quickly resumed kneeling and looked up into those pitiless, penetrating eyes, in order to avoid any more pain.

"Much better… Now tell me all you know about the Hall of Love."

"Well, I, uh…" Nathan paused to take a deep breath, amazed that he could talk at all. "I don't understand much about it really. You see, I'm only a… an assistant."

"Then tell me the name of the person you assist." Urged Voldemort, impatiently.

This was it, thought Nathan, decision time. To die as a hero or a coward? To keep the secrets of the Department of Mysteries, as he had sworn to do, or to betray the Department and his only colleague and friend? He knew from those eyes that He Who Must Not Be Named would extract the information whichever way he chose, so he chose to get it all over with quickly.

"Rochester, Karma Rochester."

There was a sharp intake of breath from Lucius and Voldemort stood so suddenly that Nathan jumped backwards. Voldemort's look of surprise and triumph turned swiftly to one of deep thought.

"Do you know where she lives?" he asked, just in case.

"No. I don't think anyone does."

"Stupefy," Nathan collapsed backwards on the floor. "Lucius! Secure our guest Mr Brookes in one of the cells and return here immediately."

"Yes, My Lord."

As Lucius left with Nathan's limp form hovering in front of him Lord Voldemort resumed his seat and stared once more into the fire. This had been a most fortunate development in his quest to come to a greater understanding of the power he despises. The power that almost caused his downfall fourteen years ago. The power of love.

The Dark Lord is no fool. However much he would like to deny the strength of that power he is determined that it will not thwart him again. He is determined to leave nothing overlooked this time, in his second rise to power.

Lord Voldemort had thought the Rochester family to be extinct. He knew that they were an ancient, pureblood family, and remembered hearing something about the last of that line, a daughter, who had disappeared. Now he had found her out, he intended to find her and persuade (or force her) into his service. She would be invaluable.

Lucius came back through the door and closed it behind him. Voldemort gestured to the armchair opposite him and Lucius sat back and crossed his legs. He did not look Voldemort in the eye and looked quite uncomfortable.

"I can see you have something to tell me, Lucius," said Lord Voldemort, amused. "I could tell from your reaction that you knew of this… Miss Rochester."

"We…we were," Lucius sighed, impatient with himself, and then forced himself to look into Voldemort's inquiring eyes. "We were engaged, to be married. It was before Narcissa and I… She and Narcissa were friends you see, and, and then she disappeared."

"Did she give you any explanation?" questioned Voldemort, his eyes alight with interest, he had not known of any of this.

"No, well…" Lucius turned his head away and rubbed his forehead with his right hand, looking down at the wedding ring on the other as if the sight of it could strengthen his reserve. "She told me she'd got cold feet. She said she couldn't imagine spending the rest of her life with me. She said that she wanted to be free, and live life her own way and do something worthwhile."

Lucius' voice remained calm and indifferent throughout this explanation, but Voldemort could tell that he was deeply affected by the news of his former fiancée's whereabouts. And he was. Lucius had long buried his passion for Karma. He had been obsessed with her, and had longed for the day she would be his bride. But that day had never come.

Voldemort considered him thoughtfully.

"I now know what will surely bring Harry to the Department of Mysteries. I will project a dream into his mind of me holding his dear Godfather Sirius captive in the Hall of Prophecy. He, with his foolish love of heroics, will come scurrying to help."

Voldemort surveyed Lucius once more before deciding.

"And you, Lucius, will be there to meet him. In reward for your initiative tonight I am giving you full command of the operation. I want you to take the prophecy from Potter, kill him and bring it back to me."

"Thank you, My Lord, it will be my pleasure," answered Lucius with a smile. "When shall this… operation take place?"

"Tomorrow night."