February 28, 1981
It was a cold February evening, the houses occupying Stratford Meadows on the outskirts of London all covered in a light blanket of snow with their lights still glowing through the kitchen and dining room windows. Stratford was a higher upper-class community, the residents being successful businessmen, doctors, and dentists, the houses reflecting their wealth quite fervently. But of all of the beautiful houses aligned along the black pavement, there was one that always succeeded in catching the attention of passers-by. It was a three-story Victorian brick house with beautiful maroon shutters and a forest green door with frosted glass. Everyone in Stratford envied the family who had recently purchased the house close to seven months ago, for it has just been finished and was clearly the most extravagant house in the neighborhood.
Although they lived in a community that most people would associate with snotty millionaires, the Grangers were anything but. Their kindness and compassion for others is what drew them apart from others of their ward. Dr. Edward Granger and his wife, Emily were the picture of a perfect couple, and now a perfect family, as Emily had just given birth to a beautiful baby girl a few months previous. Friends and family of the couple would always gush about the family, telling of how ecstatic they were about opening their own practice in downtown London a week ago and finally having the child they had always wanted. They were truly blessed.
Emily Granger had just finished putting her five month old daughter into her highchair, trying not to get any off the excess sugar still left on her fingers onto her. Baby Hermione giggled as she watched her mom fiddle with her white apron and straighten her hair into a bun at the base of her neck. Emily smiled down at her daughter and pinched her check playfully before going into the kitchen briefly to set the turkey she had just finished baking onto the table. Walking a few feet down the hallways, she knocked on the oak door that lead into the study and called out to her husband, who was typing away at his computer.
He looked up briefly at his wife and sent her a charming smile. She smiled back and watched him approach and give her a chaste kiss on the lips. "And what has my little pumpkin cooked for us tonight?" he asked as they began the short walk back into the dining room.
"Turkey, backed potatoes, and peas." She replied as they arrived.
He inhaled the intoxicating scent of fresh-out-of-the-oven Turkey and felt his mouth water with anticipation. "Smells delicious, sweetheart." He called out to his wife, as she walked into the kitchen.
"And for our little Hermione…" Emily reached into a cupboard and pulled out a can of baby food that she knew Hermione adored, "some strained carrots"
Hermione clapped her hands together and began to eat her food with her fingers, both of her parents looking at her adoringly. They tore their eyes away from their daughter reluctantly and began their own meals, cutting each piece of the turkey accordingly.
"She's growing up so fast, already eating her own food." Emily said with a sniff. "It seems like only yesterday I was holding a newborn baby in my arms and wondering what her name was going to be."
Edward looked adoringly at her, "We picked a good one though, didn't we?"
She smiled, "Yes, we did. Who ever knew your obsession with Shakespeare would come in handy?"
"Certainly not you! I do recall you threatening to burn my copy of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' after I accidently call your mum Hermia." He said with a chuckle at the memory.
"It was a well deserved threat. You know how I don't care for reading and the constant references you make. The only good thing that came from your love of books was Hermione's name." She said teasingly, pointing her fork at him.
He feigned shock with an overly large intake of breath, "Well I didn't hear you complaining when I used that new technique the other night from… oh what was it… A Woman's Erotica?" Emily blushed crimson as she bent her head down, muttering something he couldn't quite make out. "I just hope Hermione inherits my love of books and not your habit of biting your bottom lip."
Although she knew he was kidding, she still had a smart retort at the tip of her sharp tongue. That response was never heard, for there was a loud noise that seemed to come from the front of the house. Neither could make out what the noise was, but they could hear the voices of what seemed like a few men yelling commands at each other.
Edward looked worriedly at his wife and whispered to his wife, "Take Hermione and hide in the linen closet."
Emily made no complaints as she picked up her daughter from her chair and carried her to the closet. She quickly locked the door behind them and crouched down on the floor, setting Hermione down on the floor in front of her. "It's going to be alright, baby…" she whispered, stroking Hermione's cheek lovingly. The baby smiled at her and Emily felt a pang in her chest. She had a bad feeling about this, but whatever would become of her, she knew she had to protect Hermione with her life.
Edward grabbed the gun he had hidden in one of the tables and made his way to where the voices were coming from. His wife had no idea that he possessed the weapon, but after having Hermione he wanted this house to be well protected, and if that meant a hidden gun, then he would buy one. It was only a medium-sized pistol, but it was fully loaded and had nice control. He wondered briefly if the men who had broken in had guns with them as well. Taking a large intake of breath, he hid behind the entryway and looked around the corner to where roughly five figures dressed in black robes were standing and holding a whispered conversation. His eyes glanced briefly at their hands and saw that they didn't hold guns, but what looked to be thin sticks. He furrowed his brows in confusion, why would they be carrying around sticks?
The whispered tones quickly turned to raising voices as the men seemed to get agitated with each other. Edward strained to listen as they began to argue.
"The Dark Lord said to pick a house and kill anyone in it, Wormtail, not chicken out and go home! He wants the Ministry to take him seriously, and what better way than killing those innocent little Muggles that they are so keen to protect?" The tallest of the men said to one that seemed to be shaking. Edward was beyond confused at the foreign words they seemed to be using. A Dark Lord? He had never heard of such thing. And what on earth were a Wormtail and a Muggle?
The shaking man spoke up with a cowering voice, "I-I know, Lucius… but why this house? We don't know them, why should they die for no reason? They could be perfectly good people and—"
The tiny man was cut off by a voice that sounded like it belonged to someone with a nasal infection, "Muggles are not good people, Wormtail! They forced us to hide away in our own little community while they go on with their lives like everything is fine. We are forced to be in hiding and they are out enjoying the world, do you really think that is fair?"
"I see you still have Potter's Muggle-loving thoughts implanted in that feeble brain of yours." He snarled.
The taller man spoke up again, pulling down his hood to reveal a mane of long, platinum hair. "Right then, we must search the house for any occupants. Kill anyone you find, remember the Dark Lord's order, no mercy. And Snape, it's your responsibility to burn this house to the ground when we are finished while I cast the Dark Mark. Apperate straight to headquarters and we will tell him that the mission is done. Agreed?"
"Agreed" the men chorused.
As they began to separate, Edward knew this was his chance to strike. He saw one pass right by him and shot his gun, hitting their shoulder blade and causing a low groan to escape from their throat. Emily heard the gunshot from the closet and flinched at the loud noise, but kept her focus on keeping Hermione quiet. The wounded man that Edward shot turned around quickly to see him pointing the gun at him again.
"Get out of my house!" He snarled.
The man just smirked and waved his stick so that the gun flew out of Edward's hand and onto the floor a good ten feet away from him. Edward stared shocked at the man as he chuckled. "Stupid Muggle" he muttered as he waved his wand a second time, knocking Edward against the china cabinet next to him and breaking the glass that contained the expensive china he and Emily had gotten as a wedding present. His vision blurred and he lifted his hand to rub the back of his head. He heard footsteps approach him and barely had time to register what was happening when a low voice shouted "Avada Kedavara!" A green light shot out of the man's stick and Edward saw no more.
Back in the closet, Emily was doing her best to remain calm. She heard the sound of glass shattering shortly after the gun shot had been fired and had no idea if her husband was alive or not. Hermione seemed to nodding off and Emily grabbed a towel from above her to place behind Hermione's head and rubbed her short mane of cinnamon hair that so closely resembled her own. It was at that tender moment when the door handle began to shake and her heart beat immediately quickened. She stared at the jiggling door handle and held her breath. The pursuer seemed to have stopped trying and she let out a relieved sigh. But as soon as she slumped against a shelf and closed her eyes, the clicking sound of a door being unlocked caused her eyes to shoot open and watch in horror as the door opened to reveal a man in black robes looking down at her with a smirk.
"Hey, I found another one!" he shouted in amusement behind his shoulder.
To Emily's horror, another cloaked figure approached and stood beside the smirking one and looked down at her with a disgusted look on his features. "Look, she's got a kid, too."
Emily cast a fleeting glance to her daughter before she growled at the men, "Don't touch Hermione."
"Oh we won't be touching her… or you for that matter." The smirking man replied in a clipped tone.
Emily must have looked confused, for the other man spoke up, "Don't worry, you won't feel a thing."
She sat, looking at the two men for a second before making any effort to speak. "Where's my husband?" She asked with a quiver in her voice, scared to hear their answer.
They both laughed as the second one replied, "Dead of course."
The color washed out of her face as she felt tears spring up in her eyes. She saw no pity in their faces, no regret. How could someone speak of their killing someone with amusement in their voices? Was this some sort of game to them?
"I think we should put her out of her misery, don't you, Goyle?"
"Yes, yes I do."
Emily barely had time to cower or take a last breath of precious air before a bright green light hit her square in the chest. Both men laughed and directed their eyes to the baby who had just begun to cry at the limp form of her mother. There was no hesitation as the one called Goyle pointed his stick at her and shouted the same two words that had killed her parents. "Avada Kedavara!" But no sooner had the spell been cast, a blue opaque dome of some sort formed around the baby and reflected the curse straight back at Goyle and sent him flying into the wall.
The other man's eyes widened in shock as he turned to see groaning form of Goyle massaging his head against the stove. Seeing that he was still alive, he turned back to the baby, whose dome had gone down and was looking at him with wide eyes. He did the only thing he thought he could do, he shot another curse at her. The dome re-appeared instantly and repelled the curse yet again, but he dodged it quickly and it shattered against a jar of flour. His eyes were glued to the baby as a third figure appeared, the one with the long blonde hair.
"What is going on here?!" he screamed.
"The baby… s-she won't die." He explained feebly.
"What is this nonsense, MacNair?" the blonde yelled him.
MacNair turned to him and replied as calmly as he could through his still-present shock, "She' reflecting every curse we throw at her… with some sort of shield."
"A shield?" he asked. When MacNair nodded, he turned to the baby and shot a simple disarming curse at her. The red light bounced off of the re-appearing shield just like the others and both men ducked to avoid it. It instead hit the lamp and caused it to crash down beside Goyle's feet, who whimpered at the loud noise. "Dear Lord" Was his only reaction.
"What should we do, Lucius?" MacNair asked.
He looked to be in thought for a moment, until he spoke softly, "We'll bring the child to the Dark Lord, and he can decide what her fate will be."
MacNair nodded and went off to tell the others. Lucius grimaced as he picked up the squirming child in his arms, her cries wailing in his ears. He yelled at Goyle to get up before returning to the main foyer where the others were awaiting him. They all looked at the child with mixed expressions on their faces, from wonderment to disgust.
"Alright, back to headquarters. Snape, cast the Dark Mark while I take the child to the Dark Lord." Lucius demanded. Snape nodded in agreement and turned to exit out of the front door. Lucius turned over to Wormtail, who seemed to be staring off into space, "Wormtail!" he yelled, shocking the man out of his reverie, "dispose of the house." He nodded shortly and Lucius dissaparated.
The Riddle Mansion was settled on a piece of property a few miles away from the town of Little Hangleton, right next to a small graveyard. It was the perfect location to set up headquarters for the rising Dark Lord and his followers. It used to belong to him and his deceased relatives until they passed, or rather, were disposed of. The only worry they had was the old caretaker, who was so old in his age that he had no care to check on the house at regular intervals. But when he did, the nearest Deatheater would cast a simple charm to lure him away.
The dark halls were full of floating dim candles and portraits of Salazar Slytherin and his many conquests. Each room was ornately decorated with dark, foreboding furnishings and long black drapery to secure privacy. No one really knew why the Dark Lord was being so discreet in his movements, however. It seemed that he was silently planning something without informing them, sending them out on missions when they had no idea what they were for. They didn't like this setup, but no one said that aloud, for fear of the consequences that would ensue if he found out that they weren't being trusting.
Lucius apparated into the main hall and was relieved to see that it was empty. Who knows what carrying a screaming baby would do to his reputation? He silently made his way through the wide hallways and at fast past, eager to get the squirming child out of his arms. He arrived at his destination quickly and knocked at the door, balancing the baby on his left hip. He heard a muffled "Enter" and pushed the door open. The Dark Lord was studying something at his desk and looked up, his expression changing to one of deep confusion when his eyes landed on the baby in Lucius's arms.
"What is this?" He asked, pointing his finger at the child.
"It's a baby, sir." Lucius replied at once.
"I know what it is!" He yelled agitatedly at him.
"Right… I mean, of course, my Lord." He fumbled. "What I meant to say is that this baby repelled three curses me, MacNair, and Goyle shot at it?"
The Dark Lord's scarlet eyes narrowed, "What do you mean, Malfoy?"
"I mean, sir, that I think this child is magical." Lucius stated, finding a spare chair from against the wall and placing the baby in it. She curled up into a ball against the soft cushion, relishing in the softness and shutting her eyes.
"I told you to go to a Muggle house, Lucius!" The Dark Lord scorned, pushing his chair back and standing up for the first time.
Lucius flinched at the movement, but recovered himself, "We did, my Lord… she's Muggleborn."
"But it is unheard of for a Muggleborn to acquire powers so early." He mused to himself. Lucius did not answer, but watched as he circled around his desk and stood in front of the baby, whispering things to her that Lucius didn't recognize. The shield that he witnessed before once again sprang up over the sleeping baby and seemed to be repelling soft particles of smoke. Lucius assumed the Dark Lord was using ancient Dark Magic to try and break through the shield, so he remained silent and observed.
For close to an hour, he stood over her, mumbles ancient curses into her blue dome with the same result. Finally, too frustrated to continue, he stood up and paced the room. Lucius followed his slow movements, the flowing of his cloak, the concentration of his features, until he looked back at the baby with a flash of decision in his eyes. Turning to Lucius he spoke, "She obviously demonstrates some sort of powerful magic that even I cannot break. So, the solution is simple… I will raise her as my own. She will make a powerful fighter for our side. Besides, we are going to need all of the help we can get."
"Sir?" Lucius asked.
He just smirked, "Take her to the bedchamber next to mine. I would like to monitor her every move and development." Lucius nodded and picked up the child in his arms once again, holding back a grimace. Before he was out the door, he was stopped, "Do you know the child's name?"
"Yes sir, Hermione." He replied.
"Find out any additional information on her and report straight back to me, understood?"
He received a nod and Lucius left with baby Hermione in his arms. The Dark Lord sat down in the chair she was sleeping in and closed his eyes. It was not an easy decision, to take her under his wing. She was a Mudblood, after all. But there was something about her, and it was obvious he could not dispose of her without dumping her off at the local orphanage. Shivering a bit at the repressed memories, he sat more straightened in his chair. No, he had big plans for her in the future, and if they planned out, she could be the single greatest Deatheater to walk beside him.
Welcome to the Deatheater Elite, Hermione.
A/N: This is a story I've had my mind on for awhile, so please don't hate me because I started a new one *cowers behind desk*. I'm still writing In Fair Hogwarts as well, to those who are currently reading it... I've just hit a bump in the road. And if this bump is what I think it is, IFH will be finished faster than anticipated. Now, I don't know if that's a good thing or not but I hope it all works out soon. But please, leave a review and tell me how you feel about the story! I already have up to chapter five finished, so depending on the response I get... *evil grin*