A/N: This was written after a couple of requests for a sequel, which I had been considering but in a way that was like 'yeah, that'd be nice, but it won't happen'. I'd like to thank Ankoku Dezaia for exchanging PMs and getting me motivated for this and Arsenic Allure who wrote one of the longest and most in depth reviews I have ever received. Although (s)he did advise against a sequel, haha. I'm still not overly sure about it. I think I must have re-written it at least eight times, which I rarely do. I couldn't seem to settle into something I liked, and then I thought I had, wrote eight pages of the bloody thing then woke up this morning and decided I hated it. This is kind of like a micro-novel. It's basically a short prologue, then a longer middle section followed by a short epilogue. It seemed to work best like that. Anyway, read, review, and hopefully, enjoy.
The first time she sees him, she's being held back by Amycus Carrow while Voldemort shoots spell after spell at Harry, who's ducking and diving to avoid the curses.
His red eyes catch her brown ones and he holds her gaze for a moment too long. She looks down, not wanting to make a connection between the monster in front of her who's trying to kill her best friend and Tom Riddle, who she used to talk to for hours on end in the library, who used to make her laugh with his sarcastic remarks and, on some rare occasions, used to stick up for her as well.
After Voldemort sends out a particularly destructive spell, Amycus is shaken and slightly off balance. Hermione takes the opportunity to elbow him in the stomach, making him grunt and double over in pain. She wriggles free and yanks her wand from his grasp, stunning him before he's even had a chance to work out what's happened.
Ron's struggling to free himself from Crabbe or Goyle (she's not sure which one's which) so she casts a stinging hex at Crabbe or Goyle, which is enough to make him let go of Ron, who swiftly turns around and punches his captor in the face. Crabbe or Goyle falls backwards onto the stone wall, cracking his head on it, sending him into unconsciousness. Ron grabs his wand from the fat sweaty fist and wipes it on his robes.
Both Voldemort and Harry have turned around at this point, distracted by the commotion. Harry sprints over to the door, Ron and Hermione following suit. Spells start to rain down on them and Hermione fires off a blasting spell, causing large chunks of stone from the ceiling to shower down onto the floor.
She looks back for just a second when they reach the end of the corridor and she sees him.
He holds her gaze for a moment too long again, just like he used to at dinner times.
Hermione doesn't know why Bellatrix doesn't just kill her.
She's had enough, and she would really like nothing more than to see a flash of green light and for it all to be over. The pain is excruciating. Bellatrix has clearly perfected the Cruciatus curse and loves to use it at any given moment.
Hermione's wish is granted. Through her eyelids, she sees a brief moment of green illumination, and then the pain is gone. There is a thud, and silence.
Hermione rolls over onto her side and opens her eyes.
Bellatrix is lying on the floor like a rag doll a few feet away from her. Her eyes are open and have an empty glassy look to them, her wand has rolled away, and the fingers of her pale bony hand are slightly curved.
Hermione sits up and sees him, standing by the door.
He sets her wand down on a cabinet by the door of the small room that she's in and she notices a jug of water and an empty glass sitting on the cabinet too.
Hermione doesn't know what to say or do. So she just sits there, while Voldemort stands in the doorway, a mess of a man, but still the man who subtly threatened three bitchy Hufflepuffs all those years ago.
"Look at me." It's almost a hiss, and she shivers. With these words she realises that she's been looking slightly to the left of him, not wanting to look at how much he's changed.
Her eyes move to meet his and she sees a flash of Tom in him. Not much, but slightly. That patient silence, the way he stands, it reminds her of Tom so much.
"You can't bear it, can you." It's not a question, it's a statement.
"Can you change back?"