Disclaimer - I don't own HP or anything related.
Ahoy hoy! This is my new fanfic – The Master's Queen.
Charlotte's Trip will be ending soon, so the time seemed ripe to post a new SSHG…
When it is discovered that Hermione is related Voldemort, she is sent to the Dark Side to spy. Severus has to look after her, but what happens when she develops feelings for him? The Dark Lord won't be happy about his spy stealing the heart of his only living relative… Throw in an ambitious Ginny, a lecherous Greyback and an angry Draco and step back…
Severus/Hermione (main pairing), some Ginny/Hermione.
The Master's Queen
The showdown at the Department of Mysteries had been a disaster, to say in the least.
The Dark Lord had lost the prophesy and many of his most skillful followers. The only thing he was able to salvage, he'd thrown to four or five other Death Eaters to be punished for the failure of not only herself, but for those of her colleagues as well. His identity had been given away – the world knew that he was back. This blow was one that he doubted he could recover from. It was all-out war now.
And yet, this wasn't what was dominant on Tom's mind.
What he could not get out of his mind was the one person, who he'd noticed utterly by chance, who'd been in his line of vision for about two seconds before she was pulled away from a curse with a streak of red and his attention was diverted. The one person who was a younger version of a woman he'd seen blinded by a flash of emerald light before gracefully falling to the ground.
After he had killed her, he'd looked at her for half a second without emotion, but he'd memorized her features. Her pale skin, small frame and, her most distinguishing feature, her long mane of unruly brown curls. She was special – his third kill. His grandmother.
During his stakeout, he had noticed that she'd been the quietest of the bunch, only nodding and giving one word answers to her husband during dinner, and spending most of her time looking sorrowfully at her obviously unhealthy son. Her silence hadn't helped her much when he'd burst in through the door.
And now she was back. With a wand in hand.
Who in the seven layers of hell was that girl at the ministry?
Tom made his way through Malfoy Manor, trying to find the library, lost in a blindness of rage and confusion. Was she a Riddle? How was there a Riddle witch? His father's side had been composed of muggles, hadn't it? And he'd killed them all – who was that girl?!
It was as this thought settled that he almost ran into Narcissa Malfoy. The mistress of the manor was trembling, tears streaking down her cheeks and her eyes unclear due to more unshed tears. Whether her stress was caused by her husband's recent incarceration or her sister's tortured screams rising from the dungeons, Tom wasn't sure. And Tom didn't care. As she started and fell to her knees in a bow, the only thing Tom thought of was that Narcissa was probably the only woman on the dark side who knew everything about everyone. He fixed her with a menacing gaze. "Get up," he hissed.
Narcissa scrambled up, struggling to maintain her composure.
"Get me a penseive and come to the library. You have two minutes," he instructed before billowing past her. He heard her robes rustle as she rushed away to do as he bid and hoped for his own sake (not for hers, though it would be favourable to her, as well) that she knew about the mystery girl at the Department.
In the library, he'd wiped a table clean, sending all of its books flying to the other side of the room with wandless magic and settled down behind it. Narcissa scrambled through the door only seconds later, followed quickly by the penseive, which appeared on the table with a pop. The house elves had delivered it.
Tom motioned for Narcissa to stand at the other side of the table before wordlessly bringing his wand to his temple. He withdrew his memory of her, and stoically flicked it into the penseive. The memory glowed with a white light before dimming. Tom looked into in, relaxing a little as his memory of her became clearer.
The girl ran into the Atrium, her skin flushed and sweaty, her amber eyes wide and his grandmother's curls bouncing behind her. For half a second, she stood still and surveyed the scene before raising her wand toward someone or something – Tom didn't see who or what – but before she was able to do anything, a beam of blue light shot toward her from the other side. She hadn't noticed, but the two girls – a redhead and a blonde – who'd come in after her clearly did. The blonde seemed to let out a yell and the redhead lurched forward and grabbed his grandmother's look-alike out of harm's way. And that was it because his attention shifted to dear old Dumbledore.
Tom looked up at Narcissa and tapped the penseive with his wand. "Who is this girl?" he asked, simply.
Trembling, Narcissa fearfully stepped closer to the penseive and peered inside. She watched the scene with a slight frown, a flicker of disgust clear on her face. "The redhead? Ginevra Weasley."
Tom scowled. Not only because Narcissa had misunderstood his question, but also because the name Ginevra was also vaguely familiar. He shook his head, his attention quickly coming back to the brunette. "The other one!" he snapped.
Narcissa jumped and shrank back. Her frown deepened a little, though, and a flash of irritation joined the disgust in her expression. "I don't know who the blonde is. The brunette is Hermione Granger."
Tom looked evenly at the blonde before him. "Hermione Granger," he repeated.
Narcissa nodded, looking torn between showing her fear for the Dark Lord or her disgust for the girl in the penseive. "Yes, my Lord."
"Who the bloody hell is she?!" Tom snapped, suddenly very irritated.
Narcissa cringed, rather like Peter Pettigrew. "Mudblood. One of Potter's lackeys," she reported in a quiet voice.
One of Potter's lackeys… Tom scowled, blackly. Muggleborn, as well? Could some branch of the Riddle family have produced a witch? Didn't that mean there had to be some magic there to begin with? A thought hit him and he couldn't help but smirk slightly. If the family had indeed produced a witch because of latent magical abilities, that would make him more than a half-blood, wouldn't it? His expression grew serious again and he regarded the brunette in the penseive. "What else do you know about her?"
Narcissa rolled her eyes as she thought, a frown still playing at her lips. "Gryffindor. Apparently, the smartest witch to ever enter that school." She looked disgusted and fuming at this point. "Of course, that's only Dumbledore talking. How can a mudblood possibly - ?"
"What else, Narcissa?" Tom cut in, irritated.
Narcissa blinked, surprised before cowering. "I do know that she is Potter's brain." She paused. "Severus had said that if she hadn't been around, Potter would never have gotten past his potions riddle in his first year and would have just died in that chamber."
The Dark Lord looked away from Narcissa and turned to the penseive. There was a possibility that she was related to him, yet she'd spent the last few years helping his nemesis? If it hadn't been for her - Tom stopped, short. A slow, conniving smile curled at the corner of his mouth. "How powerless would he be without her?" he wondered out loud. "Without someone to think for him?"
Narcissa, not knowing whether the Lord was being rhetorical or not, answered tentatively. "You will do away with her, sire?" She couldn't keep the excitement out of voice – Granger was part of the reason for her family's suffering today.
Tom's crimson eyes snapped back to Narcissa and he scowled. "No one will do anything until I say so," he hissed, his high-pitched voice dangerously calm. He stood up so suddenly that Narcissa stumbled back a few steps, even though he'd not done anything but rise. "I do not want to obliviate you because I may need more information from you." He paused, frowning. "Breathe a word of this to anyone, and I will send you down to the dungeons to join your sister. Is that understood?"
Narcissa was too scared to respond, but her cowering form and quiet whimpering was enough of an answer to the Dark Lord, who promptly apparated out.
"It was a stupid idea."
"It was," Hermione insisted. She was lying down in a hospital wing bed and had her back to Ginny, but she could imagine her friend's displeased frown. "We could have gotten ourselves killed." She paused, and gulped, but couldn't swallow down the lump in her throat. "We got Sirius killed," she added in a whisper, not trusting her voice to speak a decibel above that.
"No, we didn't." Ginny's tone was firm. "We did what we had to. Granted, things could have gone better, but it's not our fault. It was a good plan."
"What plan?!" Hermione turned to face her, her voice now raised to a loud hiss. "We had no plan."
Ginny only looked stoically at her. "What will you do? Sit there and blame yourself?" She looked away and fixed her dark chocolate brown eyes on the ceiling. "That should bring him back," she added, quietly.
Hermione was shocked at Ginny's inertia. She knew that Ginny had hardly known Sirius, but to be so uncaring was almost evil. She was about to reprimand her when a groan rose from Umbridge's bed on the other side of the room. The girls forgot their little argument and simultaneously turned to glare at their current headmistress as she groaned again and her eyes slowly opened.
As Umbridge blinked against the dim light of the hospital wing, she twisted a bit and murmured something that sounded like "centaurs…"
Hermione turned to look at Ginny, who felt her gaze and turned to her, raising her eyebrows. Hermione gave her friend a rather cruel smile before placing her index finger to her lips. Quietly, she made a fist with her hand as brought it down to the side table. Giving Ginny a wry smile, she started loudly tapping her knuckles against the wood, in the rhythm that horses make as they trot.
As expected, Umbridge let out a loud wail and both girls fell back against their beds, struggling not to laugh. The hospital wing was flooded with light and Madam Pomfrey ran in from her office, followed closely by Severus Snape. The nurse rushed to Umbridge and the Potions Master stayed a few meters away, frowning in distaste.
Hermione glanced at Ginny and saw that her friend's eyes were shut. She looked like she was asleep. That was probably a good idea – pretending to be asleep. As soon as she thought this, she felt someone watching her and her eyes shifted. Her heart almost stopped when she met the cruel, obsidian eyes of the Potions Master, but she forced herself to calm down. He was watching her with a thoughtful frown, an eyebrow slightly propped up. Hermione inwardly gulped and turned away to stare at her pillow. Did he know it was her who'd caused Umbridge's fit? He seemed to know everything.
Fortunately, Umbridge calmed down. Pomfrey and Snape left the wing, the Potions Master not so much as uttering a single word. Hermione allowed herself to calm down only when the room plunged into darkness again.
Hermione shifted a bit in bed, wondering if she should call to her friend. But Ginny's instincts were better than Hermione's, and, as usual, Ginny beat her to it. "Hermione?" came the redhead's whispered voice from the next bed.
"Yes?" Hermione whispered back.
"What is it with you this year?" Ginny asked. Hermione thought she could hear the smile in her voice. "Leading a secret organization, scarring Marietta Edgecombe, inflicting that kind of mental torture on Umbridge…?" She paused. "Have you turned Slytherin on me?"
Hermione had to grin. "I thought I was getting it from you?" she asked, innocently.
Ginny only snorted softly. "You have to fight fire with fire, after all." She yawned. "Nobody's saying it's a bad thing."
"Mm," Hermione murmured, thoughtfully. "Sweet dreams."
The Dark Lord was not having a good night. He'd spent the entire evening after his discussion with Narcissa Malfoy in various muggle government buildings in London. He wanted to know if it was possible – could the Granger girl, who looked so much like his grandmother, be related to him? If so, how?
As he'd run through a plethora of documents and certificates, he had toyed with a few ideas of what to do with they were in fact related. He knew not to put the carriage before the thestrals, but his favourite scenario so far was to convince the girl to change sides. Firstly, it would weaken and devastate Potter. Secondly, it would come as an added bonus to him. More power for the Dark Side.
But first, he would have to confirm their relation. It wouldn't do to bring a muggleborn to the Dark Side without knowing for sure that they were related. It would never sit well with his followers nor him, to set a plan in motion based on a hypothesis. That had led him only to trouble in the past.
As the minutes turned to hours, Tom was losing his patience. He knew it would be a hard task – he only had a few names to go on, and most of them were almost a century old. Tom Riddle Sr., Thomas Riddle, Mary Jehane Riddle, and, of course, the one Narcissa had given him – Hermione Granger.
He had started out with a book that was held by the Parkinsons. He had apparated there to find Alyssa Parkinson trembling like Narcissa, her husband and brother also having been arrested at the ministry. She had been a little bit more composed and had handed the book over to him and answered his questions to the best of her abilities almost stoically.
The book, which had come in good use to the Dark Lord before, was basically a registry of all the wizards and witches who ever attended Hogwarts. No one knew how the Parkinsons had come into possession of it, but it had been in their family for a few generations, so they weren't questioned. He'd only needed it for one reason – to make sure that Narcissa had her facts right. And she did.
He'd left to scour the government offices and any place with useful records. Truth be told, Tom was unsure of how to start. Should he try to dig up century old records on his family and try to follow connections until he hit the name Granger? Or go the other way around?
He had decided on the latter when he figured it would be harder to find older records. The first building he visited gave him primary information. Finding the most recent Grangers was easy – Hermione Jane Granger, born to David Sebastian Granger and Jane Helen Granger. Jane Helen Granger born to Andrew and Ariadne Jasper. David Granger born to Mark and Allison Granger. But no one after that. The next building gave him the same information, and then some, including grand parents, great grandparents, etc, etc. The problem quickly became clear. There were too many branches to follow.
The day was catching up on Tom and he scowled in fatigue and irritation at the papers before him, hitting a document and sending it flying into the air. He watched it float back down to the table, taking deep breaths. There must be a better way to go about this… He watched the document settle on the table. Hermione Granger's grandmother's birth certificate. Ariadne Baptiste, born to Mathias Baptiste and Cecilia Jehane Baptiste.
Tom stopped short. Cecilia Jehane Baptist. Jehane was a variation of the name Jane. His grandmother and Potter's best friend shared the same middle name. It had been in his face the whole time. Tom didn't know whether to laugh or scowl or scoff –– who the hell was this Jane chit anyway?!
Cecilia Jehane Baptist. At least, he knew for certain that he was getting closer.
All at once, Tom stopped short.
Hadn't his father been seeing some girl named Cecilia?
He started shuffling through the documents and found Cecilia's birth certificate. Cecilia Baptist had been born Cecilia Riddle. Heart thudding loudly in his chest, Tom recalled the memory he'd taken from his uncle the day he'd attacked him. His father had ridden by the house with a girl named Cecilia. She'd been disgusted by the dead snake, he'd called her darling and told her not to mind it. Tom frowned. But that didn't necessarily mean that they were lovers? What if she'd just been a sisterly, younger relative? What if his mother and uncle had just mistaken a relative for a romantic friend and acted too soon?
Cursing under his breath, he started looking for more records. And soon found that he was right. Cecilia Jehane Riddle, only daughter to Stephen and Diana Riddle… Tom shuffled through a few more papers. Stephen Riddle was the younger brother of Thomas Riddle…
Tom slumped down into a chair. There it was. They were related. He was a little bit more than a halfblood and he did have someone related to him who was a healthy, intelligent magical being. A weight that he'd never known that was on his shoulders was suddenly lifted. He almost sighed a little before looking at the family tree.
What was she to him?
The tree before him suddenly swam before his eyes and he shook his head. He had never been one for familial terms. It seemed like a waste of time – who cared what you called one another as long as you have solid proof that you were related? It wasn't as important as correctly addressing… Say… A Lord. The tree solidified again. Unless Hermione Granger knew more about the topic than he did and wanted something more… appropriate… he would just call her his niece.
So how would he use this to his advantage? His favourite scenario popped back into his head. Turn her to his side. How?
Immediately, one name came to his mind.
A few weeks later, school had let out for the summer. One pleasant afternoon, Hermione was with Ginny and Ron at the Burrow. Both Ron and Ginny were a tad annoyed at her for not joining their crusade to getting their mother to let them visit Grimmauld Place, but had let her be once they realized that she was still mourning Sirius Black. Ron had become uncomfortable about the subject and simply avoided discussing it with her. The three of them had been in the backyard when, with her brother sitting uncomfortably on the grass beside her, Ginny had tried talking to her.
"Were you close to him?" the redhead had asked.
In response, Hermione had given her an utterly intelligent and clear shrug. She'd spoken to Sirius many times before; they had shared a few laughs. She had always had a hug when she greeted him and a kiss when she said goodbye.
Ginny had frowned. "It's fine if you don't want to talk about it." She paused, and tentatively added, "I think I know how you must feel."
Hermione had looked away and frowned a little. How would Ginny know what she was feeling? It was so strange – she'd never known anyone who'd died before. The first night after he'd died, she'd missed him. She simply missed him and felt sad – just sad – over the fact that she'd never see him again. Then, she'd started thinking about Sirius' life, and that was when she'd started to feel truly sorrowful for him. He grew up in the middle of a war, lost his three of his best friends in one night and was incarcerated for thirteen long years. He'd broken out of jail to be hunted, and then jailed in his own house, and then to just… Die. She couldn't help but think of how miserable his life must have been like. She felt so sorry for him and ached for him.
She'd been writing to Neville and Luna over the summer. Harry, she checked up on, but even through words on paper, she could tell that he was distant and uninterested in talking to anyone. Of course. If she was so upset over Sirius, how must Harry feel? She wished she knew how to make him feel better, but she just wasn't good at this stuff. She wryly thought that there were no books – or any that made sense to her – that helped with these issues. She finally found a bit of comfort concerning Harry when Luna told her that she'd talked to him. She then briefly wondered why Luna couldn't say anything to her, as well.
With this thought, Hermione turned back to Ginny. "If Luna lives around here, why doesn't she come around?"
Ginny shrugged, nonchalantly. "You just need something to preoccupy yourself with," she continued, not letting Hermione change the subject. "Trust me."
Hermione stared at her. "Oh?" she asked.
Ginny nodded before a mischievous grin broke out across her face. Before Hermione or Ron could react, she'd whipped her wand out of her sleeve and sent a Bat Bogey hex at both of them. Ron scrambled up with an indignant "hey!" and started running, trying to get out his own wand. Hermione shrieked, laughing a little, as she flew to her feet, also trying to bat away the bats from her face.
"Come on, Mione, you can do better than that!" Ginny laughed.
Hermione finally managed to take her wand out and banished the remaining bats just as Ginny sent another batch toward her. The new wave, which was directed only at her, sent Hermione stumbling back a few steps and she tripped over the long white peasant skirt she'd been wearing. Her world spun as she started falling backward and she yelped in surprise and fear. But before she fell and hit the ground, she fell against someone's chest and she felt strong arms wrap around her waist and steady her.
Hermione gasped, her heart fluttering in her chest, and turned a bit to see who her saviour was – and looked up into the face of Severus Snape. Her cheeks flaming, she murmured a thank you, not even bothering to look indignant when he did the Professor Snapian thing to do and shoved her away. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Ginny clasp her hands over her mouth, obviously trying to hold back her laughter, and Ron scowl at Snape.
Before anyone could say anything, Hermione felt a hand fall on her shoulder and she turned around. This time, she broke out into a smile. "Remus," she greeted. Remus smiled in greeting and she realized something was wrong when she noted his smile was rather forced and sad. Her own smile ebbed away. "What is it?" she asked.
Remus opened his mouth to say something, but paused. He reached out and gently pulled something out of her hair – Hermione winced when she saw it was a bat wing – and flicked it away before drawing her closer to him in a bear hug. "Come inside," he said, softly and started leading her toward the house. Hermione glanced back curiously at a dubious Ron and Ginny, but she let Remus lead her inside. Snape was leading the way, and she couldn't see the expression on his face, but got the distinct impression that something was wrong.
"It'll be fine," Remus murmured, quietly to her, as if he'd read her mind. But the frown on his face betrayed him.
Remus had been as close to her as Sirius had, but after the animagus' death, they'd grown closer. They never talked much before the last few weeks, but Remus had taken to sitting with her, especially if he happened to suddenly feel the blow of Sirius' death. The only two other people who were in as deep as either one of them were Harry, who was resenting the world at the moment, and Tonks, who just didn't seem to be talking to Remus. They never spoke of Sirius, either, but misery loves company. Remus had convinced Hermione to call him by his first name a few weeks ago. "I'm not your professor anymore," he'd told her. And then added, "Besides, you're all grown up now."
They went into the Burrow's kitchen, and Hermione was surprised to find Dumbledore and McGonagall there along with Tonks and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.
Tonks' usually unusual hair was a normal blonde shade that hung limply to her shoulders and her eyes were lackluster and dull. She smiled faintly at the younger girl as she walked to her other side. "Wotcher, Mione," she murmured.
Dumbledore acknowledged her presence with a small nod, but she saw that he was troubled. His eyes were as dull as Tonks'. What really startled Hermione was that her favourite professor, who was always collected and composed, was almost sobbing.
Hermione's mouth fell open as she regarded McGonagall. "Oh, sweet Lord, I've failed something," she deduced.
Remus suddenly let out a snort of laughter. "Never," he said, and squeezed her shoulder. "You had better sit down."
Tonks conjured a comfortable chair for her and Hermione slumped down, hoping to get a clue as to what was happening from her friend, but Tonks only shook her head.
"How is your summer, Hermione?" Dumbledore suddenly asked.
Hermione only stared at him. As casual as he sounded, now she knew something was wrong. He'd never called her by first name before. "Fine," she answered, simply. Her breath hitched nervously, and she stammered, "Yours?"
Dumbledore gave her a small smile. "I can't say." He paused and turned to the table. "A matter has arisen." Hermione noted that he wasn't meeting her eyes just as Tonks squeezed her hand. The headmaster continued. "We've yet to determine if it is an opportunity or a problem. But one thing is for certain, we can't just pretend it hasn't happened." He looked up and met her eyes. "A few weeks ago, just before school let out, Professor Snape was given a new task by Voldemort." Hermione's eyes flickered to Snape, who was staring expressionlessly out of the window. "His job is to convince you... To… To… " He paused, as if he didn't know the correct way to put it. He finally looked at her soberly. "Join the dark side."
For half a second, Hermione honestly thought that he was joking, but just then, a choked sound came from McGonagall, who suddenly pressed a handkerchief to her mouth. "What?" she asked, turning back to the headmaster. "But they can't. I'm muggleborn. It would make no sense."
Dumbledore looked a little uncomfortable. "Yes. You are. But, after he saw you at the ministry a few weeks ago, Voldemort – and everybody else who now knows, I assure you – was startled to discover that you are the spitting image of his grandmother." He paused, and added, "His muggle grandmother."
Hermione's eyebrows furrowed. "I don't understand."
Snape almost laughed out loud when she said that. A few weeks ago, he would have loved to have heard those words coming from her mouth. Now, it was just pathetic and irritating. Why couldn't the most brilliant witch of her age just figure it out?
Dumbledore hesitated. "While you are a Granger, a muggleborn witch… Technically, by blood… Technically," he repeated, stressing the word. "You are a Riddle."
Snape turned around to see Hermione respond with a blank deer-in-the-headlights look, which he suddenly thought didn't suit her at all.
Dumbledore nodded. "You being his flesh and blood, it's…" He shrugged. "Understandable, almost, that he would want you on his side." He paused. "He was orphaned at a young age, you see, he doesn't know what it's like to have a family. He is probably quite… Intrigued."
Hermione glanced at McGonagall, who still hadn't acknowledged her. "But I've fought beside Harry before. I've helped ruin his plans. Would he overlook everything…?"
Dumbledore inclined his head. "You forget that, to them, a good familial connection trumps everything that one does by himself."
Hermione shook her head. "That doesn't change the fact that I'm muggleborn. They would never…" She shook her head. "I haven't an ounce of pureblood in me. How can I be on the dark side?"
"Do what Voldemort did – he isn't pureblooded, either," the headmaster responded.
Hermione only looked confusedly at him.
Dumbledore readily responded, "Impress them with your powers and vast amount of intellect, and, most importantly, hang onto that one significant ancestral connection."
Snape finally spoke up, turning back to the window. "A feat that can only be managed by a Riddle."
Suddenly, Hermione realized why McGonagall was so upset. The seriousness of the situation finally settled on her and she looked at Dumbledore in shock before looking away to stare at her hands that were folded neatly in her lap. "What do you want me to do?" she asked, softly.
"We haven't been able to agree on anything," she heard Dumbledore say. "So we are letting you make the decision." He paused. "Spying is dangerous. If you are caught, the result could be disastrous. And fatal. I have two spies over there right now, and even they have trouble trusting one another at times. Everything, every place you go, every word you speak, is a carefully woven web that can never be undone unless you wish for death." He stopped, waiting for her to say something, but she just sat silently, so he continued. "Nobody wants to send you there. But nobody can also refute that, if you are careful and play your cards right, this is an opportunity that can further our cause like nothing has before."
"Fine." Everyone in the room, except for Snape, started and stared at Hermione. "It'll help, right?" She asked, glancing at the headmaster. Her hands were trembling in her lap, though she was trying hard to not let her fear show. "I'll do it."
Snape almost rolled his eyes. He hadn't expected anything less of her… Stupid, self-sacrificing Gryffindor that she was…
Dumbledore looked at the girl before him and tried to swallow down his guilt. He'd fought with McGonagall over this for the past few weeks, and he was the one who'd suggested bringing it to Hermione. McGonagall had thought that it was crazy – she refused to even letting her prodigy know what was going on. She had waved a white flag when she'd finally given up – there was always a chance that Hermione would find out herself and everyone had known Hermione would accept a spying position when she did. It was a dangerous task and Hermione was too smart, too logical, not to account it… But she just didn't realize it.
The headmaster wished he could just dismiss her. He had been sure that if any of the students could manage it, it would be her. But seeing her now… It figured that she would be wearing all white today – she looked like an angel stopping by earth. Her large warm brown eyes and chestnut curls only added to her look of purity and innocence. And the way she was sitting – eyes down, head bent, obedient as ever. She never broke the rules or did anything bad unless it served the greater good. Also, what she was doing was self-sacrificial and generous, all in the name of love and friendship. He was sending a lamb to the slaughter. Hermione may be a Riddle by blood, but she was no more a Riddle than… Than –
"How utterly Gryffindor of you," Snape said to the brunette.
Hermione looked up and met his gaze. "Yes."
"Welcome to the Dark Side."
Dumbledore closed his eyes and rubbed at his forehead.
Hermione was no more a Riddle than Snape.
There's the prologue. Like? Loathe? I promise more SSHG in the next chapter…