Happy Yule everybody! New story from yours truly! This will be a rather long fic, about 30 chapters or so. I always complete my stories, and this is already almost done. It will however take some time to beta it since it's so long and both my beta and I have a lot to do! However, I owe Ankoku Dezaia a lot for taking the time betaing this! Love you, girl!
Disclaimer; I do not own Harry Potter. I do not make any money of this. This disclaimer will be true through the whole story.
Warnings; This story is M-rated for a reason. If you can't handle so called adult situations, you shouldn't read this. The story will also contain torture, death, remorse and some other nasty little things. But since FF seem to think that sex is much worse than torture and death (because when have you seen a story be deleted because of too much torture?) I'm not writing this because I have to but because I know some readers don't like it. For you, I'll warn when something sad and violent comes up!
This story begins after HBP, but does contain some facts from DH.
If you have any questions about the historical facts in this story, you are welcome to send me a message through PM or a review. Some historical things are true, but I've manipulated a lot to suite the narrative of this story.
Hermione Granger tried to scream, but the curse they had put on her was keeping her silent as well as immobilised. She should have known better than to walk from Hogsmeade to Hogwarts in the evening, especially with all the disappearances that had happened ever since Albus Dumbledore was murdered just three months ago. It didn't matter that everyone knew the Death Eaters were behind it, they still managed to pop up when you were feeling safe.
Not that Hermione had felt safe in a long time. She was one of the three who was working most effectively to bring down the Death Eaters' leader Lord Voldemort. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley were already out in the world, searching for the things that kept Voldemort alive; horcruxes. Hermione had stayed at their old school, Hogwarts to find clues on where they could be hidden as well as how they could be destroyed. That was why she had been down in Hogsmeade this mild October night; to get a book she had ordered.
Now it seemed she had been captured as well. She was lying on something hard, maybe the floor of a carriage, with at least three people around her. They had grabbed her just outside Hogsmeade and were obviously taking her somewhere because they hadn't harmed her other than the rough treatment. Although that wasn't necessarily something good. Maybe they would take her to one of those revels she had heard rumours about? Where they tortured their victims for hours before finally killing them off? Or maybe it would just be a selected few, torturing her for the whereabouts of Harry Potter. After all, Remus Lupin, another friend of Harry, disappeared just days before. They must be looking for Harry; why else would they go after two of his known friends?
The whole carriage bumped onto the ground (had they been flying?) and Hermione groaned silently. A moment later, the carriage stopped and she felt someone lift her up. She was carried for a couple of minutes before she was finally put down and the curse was removed from her.
She blinked at the sudden light and tested to move her limbs. She was reviled to find that they all seemed to be working and she got the courage to look around. They had placed her inside something that looked like a study. There where bookshelves at the walls and a desk about a yard in front of her. She was sitting in a brown armchair that would have been very comfortable if she hadn't been so scared. The smell of coffee reached her nostrils and she turned her head to the left and saw another armchair just like hers. In it sat none other than Remus Lupin, sipping something from a cup.
"Remus!" She tried to stand up but was pressed back in the armchair. Looking up, she saw a man with a mask over his face, obviously a Death Eater. He made his point clear and Hermione didn't try to stand again.
"Hello, Hermione," Remus said softly. "I was wondering whom we were waiting for."
"We?" she asked confused and looked around.
In that moment she could hear a door open behind her. She could barely hear footsteps, but it didn't matter because the man was soon in view. If you could call him a man. He was wearing a long black robe that seemed to float around his thin body. His fingers were bony and white, just as his naked skull. Hermione stared in horror as the man sat down behind the desk and turned his blood red eyes toward her.
"Miss Granger," Lord Voldemort said with a voice that reminded her of skates on ice or hissing snakes. "I do hope your journey was pleasant?"
She didn't know what to say so she was quiet.
Voldemort smiled. "I have brought you here because I need your… ah, assistance shall we call it? Before I tell you what that is, I'll let your friend tell you what will happen if you don't do as I wish. He has already agreed."
Hermione's eyes were wide as plates when she turned to look at Remus again. What could Voldemort possibly have said to make one of the nicest men she knew assist him?
"Well, Hermione, you remember Snape?" Remus began carefully.
Hermione nodded. How could she forget the man who had been her teacher for six years only to betray them all by killing Albus Dumbledore? Harry and Ron never trusted Snape, but Hermione had always tried to speak well of him. He had been brilliant even if he was a very unfair teacher. When he made his alliance known, Hermione had felt personally hurt.
"It seems like he hasn't been on his lazy side this summer. He has developed a potion that makes someone like me into a werewolf all the time, not just those three nights every month," Remus sounded bitter now. "If I don't… assist these people, they will remove everything that makes me human and just leave the beast. They have also informed me that once the transformation is complete, they will set me loose at Hogwarts."
Hermione gasped. Was it possible? Could Snape really have developed such a potion? Yes, he could. After all, he was brilliant with potions.
She turned to Voldemort again, angry. "You horrible excuse for a wizard! How can you…" She hadn't known she had started to stand before she was pushed down again.
"Your anger is amusing, Miss Granger," Voldemort said, smirking. "However, I hope you see the seriousness in this threat. If you don't agree to assist me, your destiny will be even worse." He rose from the desk and went around it. "Some of my Death Eaters are… really perverse. Not even I want to think about all the things they can do with a girl like you." He shuddered and she wasn't sure if he was faking it or not. "If you were to survive this, I'll once again ask for you assistance and if you deny me again, I'll have you bitten by a werewolf and let you suffer a fate much similar to your friend's."
Hermione realised that Voldemort really wanted her assistance. She also realised that she didn't want to know how pervert some of his Death Eaters was. Alas, there was only one thing left to do; bargain.
"If I assist you," she said slowly. "I want you to leave Harry and Ron alone."
Voldemort let out a cold unpleasant laugh and turned to Remus. "You and Severus were right, she is awfully clever." Then he turned back to Hermione. "You are in luck, girl. If you assist me, I won't need to bother about Potter and his friend. They can live happily ever after where I'm concerned."
That didn't sound so reassuring, but it was the best she could take. She went over her other options again. Voldemort was standing in front of her and there was another man directly behind her and who knew how many others there was in the back of the room. They had already taken her wand so there was no way she could escape. If she didn't agree, they would probably transport her to these perverse Death Eaters sooner rather than later and since she didn't know how they were going to transport her, it was unlikely she would be able to escape during the transportation. Alas, the only reasonable thing she could do, even if it pained her, was to agree and then consider her options again. It all depended on what her "assistance" involved.
"Very well, I agree to assist you," Hermione said with as much courage she could muster.
"Excellent choice," Voldemort praised her and beckoned for someone behind her. "Of course I have to take precautions so you don't escape or anything like that."
The man behind her took a hold of her shoulders and Voldemort tied her legs against the chair with his wand. Another Death Eaters, clad in a mask and robe, came up to her with a black iron in his hands. Voldemort took it and nodded at the Death Eaters who sat down on his knees next to Hermione's chair, grabbed her left arm and pulled up the arm of her robe.
Too late did Hermione realise what Voldemort was about to do. He pressed the iron against her arm and she didn't even bother to hide her pain. It felt like the iron was burning a hole through her arm. She cried when they let go of her and pressed her left arm against her chest.
"Leave us," she heard Voldemort call out.
Someone took her arm and forced her to show the burn mark. She looked and saw a very familiar unmasked man. His hand was full of some green sticky cream which he applied on her wound. It soothed her pain immediately and she let out a sigh in relief.
"Better?" Severus Snape asked as he rose again.
Hermione just nodded, not wanting to thank the man who had betrayed them all.
Two other armchairs had appeared while she was crying and they were now forming a half circle around the desk. Voldemort walked back behind the desk and Snape took the only vacant armchair. In the fourth sat another man Hermione recognised and had learned to hate; Lucius Malfoy. The wealthy blond was of course dressed in the most elegant clothes Hermione had ever seen and was watching her with a bored look on his pale face.
Remus held out a handkerchief for her. She took it, wiped her tears away and blew her nose. Her arm felt sore and when she looked down at it she could she a blacking mark. She frowned. It wasn't the Dark Mark which all Death Eaters wore and she had been certain it would be. That one was a serpent within a skull, this was a serpent around something that looked like scroll.
"I had it designed for you and Mr Lupin," Voldemort answered her thought. "I couldn't let a Mudblood and a werewolf wear the mark of a Death Eater. It would be dishonouring for the rest of them. But this mark works in the same way."
Hermione looked up at him, frowning. "Why a scroll?"
"Always the curious Know-It-All," Snape remarked and made Malfoy and Voldemort snicker.
"Now, now, Severus, that is why she is here," Voldemort said, still snickering. "And to answer your question, Miss Granger, I chose a scroll because of what I wanted you to do; research."
Hermione arched her eyebrows. Whatever she had expected, it wasn't this.
"As I'm sure Potter told you, I have made six horcruxes." This confession made Hermione even more surprised. "I'm aware that two of them have been destroyed and that Potter and Weasley are one a mission to find and destroy the rest of them. I was very angry when I heard about this, but now I'm positive I've found a way to restore my soul into one piece and become immortal." Voldemort waved his wand and a very old book appeared in Hermione's hands. "I trust you are all familiar with the legend of Atlantis?"
Hermione found herself nodding. Her father used to tell her about the Greek philosopher Platon who claimed that the Athens had defeated the great civilisation of Atlantis and then how Zeus had made it sink to the bottom of the ocean. Although, not even during Platon's time had people believed the place actually existed.
"My Lord," Snape said. "I don't believe Miss Granger has heard the true legend of Atlantis, only the Muggle version."
She frowned. No, she hadn't, although, did Snape really have to sound so patronising?
"Of course, pardon me, Miss Granger," Voldemort said with a small smile. "Lucius, I believe you know the legend best?"
Malfoy looked very superior. "Thousands of years ago, some say ten thousand; the wizards of Atlantis ruled the whole world from their island. Their own land was a paradise of wealth and fortune. Everyone was happy, powerful and immortal in contrast to the Muggles who they were trying to civilise. They were worshiped as Gods, Miss Granger."
Hermione couldn't resist rolling her eyes over Malfoy's wizard-are-superior-to-Muggles-speech. Malfoy pretended he didn't see it.
"However, there came a time when the old king should die…"
"How could he die if he was immortal?" she interrupted him.
"Because he was tired of living, of course," Lucius answered, annoyed by her interruption. "The story says he was a bit over a thousand years old. These people could die, just not by old age or diseases. Apparently his queen had been murdered and he didn't want to live without her. Alas, he had to decide between his two twins, one boy and one girl. They were both very loved, but when it was time for the election of the new leader, they both got the same number of votes. This split the people of Atlantis into two groups and war came upon them. Half the population, including the twins, were killed before the old king decided to put a curse on the island and everyone in it. They were to live under the water until a fair and righteous ruler claimed the throne and brought the people to peace again. Then he died, leaving his people at the bottom of the Ocean."
Hermione processed this information. "That sounds very much like a Muggle moral fairytale saying 'war is bad'."
"Yes, but wizards have always known that Atlantis really existed," Remus told her. "Some even claim that Atlantis was the birthplace for magic and all civilisations, really. However, few actually believe it still is a place you can go too and I haven't heard anyone thinking the people still lives there. Although, no one has ever managed to find it. Those who have tried have all gone missing and these days, no one is willing to sponsor such a mission."
Voldemort cleared his throat. "If you will take a look at that book, Miss Granger?"
Hermione had almost forgotten the book in her lap, but now she looked at it again. It was quite thin and bounded in leather. She carefully opened it and saw strange symbols on the first page, which seemed to be made of some kind of thin wood.
"I don't recognise the symbols," she admitted. "It looks a little like hieroglyphs, but they are rounder and I don't recognise most of the pictures."
"No one recognises the symbols, Miss Granger," Voldemort said. "But that is not the most interesting thing right now, what is the page made off?"
Hermione stroked her fingers with it. "It feels a little like papyrus, but that is so easily destroyed and this feels… secure."
"What would you say if I told you that book is ten thousand years old?" Voldemort wondered.
Hermione frowned. "I'd want to know how you knew that."
Voldemort chuckled. "Severus?"
She turned to look at her old professor. "I assume you have heard of the Muggle carbon dating technique? I've developed a similar technique to make it possible to see how old the magic in an object is. This book contains a protecting spell which was cast around 10,250 and 10,260 years ago."
Hermione's eyes widened and she could hear Remus gasp behind her. That was amazing! Carbon dating had been a small revolution in the archaeology world; this technique was even more revolutionary. Not only in the search for old magical things, but if he could make it more accurate, he could use it in crime fighting and things like that! Then she remembered where she was and became almost sad. Who said the world would ever hear about this technique? Voldemort and Snape would probably only use it for their own pleasures.
"You think this is from Atlantis, then?" she asked, very intrigued.
Voldemort nodded. "I'm quite certain it is. It's clearly magical and even if there were wizards in some Muggle cultures around this time, no one has ever seen that type of grass in the Muggle world before."
Hermione felt the page between the thumb and index finger. "It's soft. Almost like cotton."
"It's very similar to cotton," Voldemort explained. "But it's from another type of plant which has been extinct for maybe four thousand years. In common mouth it was called the unicorn plant because of its silvery glow and because unicorns ate it."
"Hagrid told me about it once. He said that there is a lot less unicorns around now than there were thousands of years ago because everyone couldn't adapt to the new type of food," Hermione said, more to herself than the men around her.
"Well, that and the Muggles started to hunt them down," Malfoy said and Hermione was snapped back to reality. She had been so intrigued by what she was told that she had forgotten where she was and why.
"What is it you want me to do?" she asked and looked up at Voldemort again.
"I want you to assist me in the search for Atlantis," he said simply.
"Why me?" she asked. "Or, why any of us? I thought you were book-smart as well?"
"That I am, but I want to find Atlantis as soon as possible," Voldemort explained. "I chose the four of you because of your intelligence and your other special talents. Lucius has the money I need, Severus is an expert in Potions as well as other things. Mr Lupin is one of the very few trained archaeologist in the magical world and you… well, at the tender age of twelve, you and your friends managed to find the philosophers stone, thirteen, the chamber of secrets, fourteen, Peter Pettigrew. Do I have to go on? I'm well aware that you are the brains behind the Golden Gryffindor trio and you have a talent of finding things others believe is lost."
After everything that had happened today, this was what surprised her the most. Lord Voldemort was actually impressed by her! Her! An eighteen year old Muggle-born with brushy brown hair and moderate looks. It didn't matter that he was the most evil man alive, she was flattered.
To hide her awkwardness, she turned to Remus. "I didn't know you were an archaeologist?"
"After the first war was over, I wanted to get away from the magical world. I went to a Muggle university and read archaeology for four years," Remus explained with a sad look on his face. Hermione wondered what had happened to make him quit that job.
"In about an hour, we will leave for Greece," Voldemort said to them. "Lucius, will you escort Miss Granger and Mr Lupin to the dining room? I assume you are both hungry. I'll pick you up when it's time to leave."
With that, he left the room. Hermione felt dazed as Malfoy led them to another room. In about an hour, she had been kidnapped, found out that Atlantis was real, got the mission to help the Dark Lord to find it and was now apparently to start said mission in Greece.
Why did she have the feeling she would wake up the next morning and realise that it had all been a dream?