Down a darkly lit corridor a snake slithered through the cracked door with a soft hiss. A small whimper could be heard from within the room, but was quickly cut of as a louder, more sinister laugh filled the air.
"Shut your filthy mouth mudblood, she only kills when my master tells her to and I don't think he wants either of you dead," there was a slight pause before the cloaked man drawled the last word, "yet."
"Come Malfoy, is that how you treat my new guests?" Said a soft voice accompanying the man who had silently appeared in the room behind the snake. If you could even call him a man, though Hermione with terror as his scarlet red eyes swept over her and Ron. Lucius Malfoy immediately dropped to his knee with a murmured "my Lord" as he swept past him. She couldn't suppress the violent shiver she felt crawl up her spine as the man known as Lord Voldemort drew near.
"Welcome to my home Miss Granger, Mr. Weasley. I hope you find everything satisfactory during your stay." He reached out a long, cold, pale white finger and sled it slowly down Hermione's cheek. "I've was quite excited when I learned the two of you had arrived." When she tried to turn away in revolution he quickly grasped her chin tightly and laughed, but it wasn't any laugh that could come from a human voice, only that which could come from pure evil itself.
"Let go of her," Ron shouted, taking a step forward and raising his hand. But before he had even come close to gripping Voldemort's wrist, he had been thrown bodily against the wall behind them, landing with a thud as he fell to the floor. Hermione watch in horror as he tried to regain his feet but with another silent flick of his wand Voldemort had shackles appear, pinning Ron tightly to the wall. Releasing her, he strode over to Ron who was glaring up at him
"Mr. Weasley, surely your father has taught you some manners especially while in the presence of your superior. I can make things very ruff on you indeed."
"Why don't you just kill me and be done with it," spat Ron.
Taking another step closer, Voldemort raised his wand and Ron visibly flinched. "Ah, I see some of Mr. Potter's foolish bravery, or stupidity depending on how you see it, has rubbed off on you. Are you truly that eager to meet death because if you are I can quickly accommodate you. In all honesty I only need one of you."
Hermione felt another whimper escape her mouth as she watched the evilest wizard in history toy with Ron who was clearly terrified but trying desperately to act brave. "Tell me boy, do you seek death?"
With a slight in take of breath, Ron adverted his eyes to the ground and shook his head feebly. "That will not be good enough Mr. Weasley; I want to hear you ask me to spare your life."
Ron quickly turned back at him, his face had paled to the point of almost looking ghostly and his red hair stood up brightly against the black colored walls. Biting his lip, his determined gazed turned to Hermione who was rooted with fear. "Please," she heard herself beg, barely above a whisper. "Just leave him alone."
The red eyes turned to her, the sinister light to them making her breath catch. "Oh I will spare his life if he will only voice what each of knows to be true. Both of your lives now rest in my hands and I want you both to be fully aware that it is only because I will allow it that either of you survive the night." He turned back to Ron. "I could kill you faster than you could blink if I choose, but you only have to ask and your life will be spared for now."
"And then what, will you just kill us tomorrow, or the next day after whatever plan you have for us has been completed?" Said Hermione a whole lot braver than she felt, but who was also trying desperately to deflect Voldemort's attention from Ron. He had that stubborn look in his eye again that he often got when he was mad with Harry and if Hermione knew anything, which she obviously did, then that exact attitude might quickly get him killed. She needed time to try and figure this whole mess out and Ron angering Voldemort surely would not give her the time she needed.
She was brought out of her thoughts as Voldemort chuckled. "I will each of you to live for now, but soon I will give that choice to another and we will see what he values greater, yours or his life."
"You using us as bait," exclaimed Ron.
"How astute," drawled Lucius Malfoy who had been standing silently behind Hermione since Voldemort had entered. Clearly Voldemort had more influence and power in the ministry than she had thought if Malfoy was already out of prison.
"Did you honestly think that the Dark Lord just wanted you traitorous company?" Ron blushed making his hair even stand out more, but did not back down.
"Well your out of luck since Dumbledore isn't allowing Harry to receive any mail or anything so there's no way to tell him we're here," he said and Hermione could see the triumph in his eyes as Lucius remained silent without a come back. But it was Voldemort who revealed how sadly mistaken they were.
"If Dumbledore thinks he can block me from the boy by simply blocking my letters then he has greatly underestimated my strength over Harry. Within the hour he will know what I have done and exactly what I want if he ever wants to see the two of you alive again."
"You know Harry won't give up his life just to save us when the whole wizarding world is looking to him to defeat you," said Hermione, knowing as she said it that that was exactly what Harry would do. The smile that twisted Voldemort's snakelike features told her that he knew exactly what he would do as well.
"I think that your friend will be here in just a few short hours Miss Granger," he said softly. "He may even be here sooner but I think this time he will actually check to make sure you have been taken instead of just rushing off like the end of last year which resulted in the death of his Godfather. And yes Miss Granger, you are correct in assuming I want his life, but I think you will be surprised in what way I wish to have it. But that is a surprise for later, come Lucius we will return here before the boy arrives but until then we had much to do."
Turning, Lord Voldemort left the room, Lucius Malfoy hot on his heels. As soon as both men had passed through the doorway the slammed with a sickening click as the bolt locked magically.
Turning quickly, Hermione rushed to Ron's side who was still shackled to the wall and starring at where the two dark wizards had just banished. "What does he mean when he says he want Harry's life in a different way?" Asked Ron quietly, still gazing at the locked door.
With a sign, Hermione sat down beside him and shook her head afraid she knew exactly what he had meant.