Authors Note: Me again, here's another story for you. Stupid plot ideas, they just won't go away! They torment me and make me do nasty things like leave stories unfinished. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this one :) - Bee
The Death Eater writhed on the floor in pain. Voldemort did not even know his name, nor did he care. All that mattered was that he had failed in the mission assigned to him, and he was to be punished for it. His body jerked spasmodically and he opened his mouth, letting out an ear-piercing shriek. Voldemort lifted the curse and glared at the creature who dared to call himself a pure blooded wizard in disgust. So much for a loyal follower.
"You have failed me for the last time!" Voldemort spat before waving his wand in a sharp snapping motion and rasping out Avada Kedavra. The familiar flash of green light and then the pathetic excuse of a man moved no more.
"Nagini, dinner" Voldemort hissed, watching with hardly any enthusiasm as his beloved snake slithered past his chair and began to consume the sorry corpse. He twirled his wand between his fingers almost idly, all the while watching the circle of hooded, robed and masked Death Eaters. None of them were comfortable with the sight of Nagini feasting, and yet they were watching. No dissent among them yet. Either they were loyal to him, or they feared him. At this stage of the game, either would work to his advantage. It did not matter much if his bidding was carried out due to fear or loyalty, so long as the job was done. When they won the war… that was when he would address the issue.
"My loyal Death Eaters, here we stand once more" Voldemort started off, his voice a soft and quiet hiss. He knew he had their attention, even though none of them dared look to him. They did have some intelligence after all.
"We are close to achieving our final goal. Close, but not there yet" Voldemort said, placing particular emphasis on the 't' in yet.
"Ssssssseverusssss" Voldemort called out, deliberately drawing out the 's's in Severus' name. It made him sound even more snake like than normal, and it was intended to do that. One Death Eater stepped out of the circle, drawing himself closer to His Lord. He bowed his head as he went down on his knees. Submission lined his frame and it pleased Voldemort.
"Rise. I have a task for you" Voldemort watched as Severus stood, tall but not proud. His duties as a spy on Dumbledore and the Order of the Phoenix had been wearing on him. Voldemort appreciated his usefulness but he would never let it be known, and he would still kill Severus if he ever stopped performing his duty. Nobody was indispensable here.
"My Lord?" Severus questioned. Voldemort raised a hand to indicate that the Potions Master should remain silent.
"Harry Potter has two constant companions, the blood traitor Weasley and the Mudblood Granger. Do with the Weasley boy what you wish, but your task Severus is to bring the mudblood to me" Voldemort said. He could sense the Potion's Master's surprise at his task. Surprise at Voldemort's command spread throughout the circular rank. He did not need to explain his actions to anyone, least of all them.
"I want her brought to me within the month Severus. Do not allow any grievous harm to come to her" Voldemort added on, fixing Severus with a glare that promised punishment and death if he disobeyed. Severus bowed low again with another murmured 'My Lord' before going to move back to his place in the circle.
"Oh Severus. Slip her this." Voldemort said, dipping his hand into his robes and withdrawing a small vial of a clear potion. He twirled it between his fingertips before offering it to Severus.
"I will know if you have not done so, and you shall be punished greatly indeed." He said in barely more than a whisper. Severus bowed his head and took hold of the vial, dropping it into his robe pocket.
"You are dismissed" He said to the Death Eater's at large before directing his attention back to Nagini. She had nearly had her fill of what was left behind. He crooked an almost skeletal finger at her in a come hither motion. She hissed and slid her way along the floor over to coil herself around Voldemort's feet. He looked down at her, his lipless mouth spreading into a bone-chilling smile. Nagini's tongue flickered out to taste the air and she blinked as the last Death Eater left the room, shutting the door behind him.
The Granger girl is of importance to us Master? Nagini hissed to her Master and the man whose soul she cherished within her.
Yes Nagini, she will be the key to Potter's undoing. Voldemort replied. Nagini reared her head and body up till she was eye to eye with her Master. Voldemort watched her simply, waiting for her reply before considering striking her down for her impertinence. She too had her place.
Then we must have her. What will you to do with her Master? Voldemort mentally applauded Nagini. She was a smooth creature, very clever. She ducked her head down and began her descent to the floor again. Voldemort stopped her when she reached his knees with his hand on the crown of her head.
Everything and anything I see fit. Nagini and Voldemort were both still for a few moments before he starting brushing his fingers along her scaly skin. The tip of Nagini's tail flicked out.
One thing that is for sure Nagini love, Granger will be mine before she dies, and it will destroy Potter.
Harry was destroyed, and Hermione knew that. It hadn't taken her long to figure out where his last battleship was. There were several possibilities, but due to his utter lack of logical thinking, he had managed to avoid the majority of her fleet. This had given Hermione the time that she needed to eliminate the possibilities one by one. She had finally made a hit and then another and another.
"A6" She called out, a devilish grin on her face. Harry threw his hands up into the air in exasperation and slumped down in his seat.
"Hit and Sink. You've won Mione." He replied, glaring at the offending board that displayed his battleships. He prodded the now burning and sinking ship with his wand and it disappeared beneath the surface, joining the rest of the ships in the counter box at the side of the board.
"You'll get better at it Harry, you just need to change the way you are thinking." Hermione remarked kindly. Harry snorted and shook his head. She had tried that tack on more than one occasion and it was evident to anyone and everyone that Harry wasn't going to change his thinking at any point.
"We've been through this before Mione. How are you and Ron doing?" Harry asked, quickly moving the topic on just as Hermione opened her mouth, probably to lecture him some more on changing his way of thinking.
"Perfectly fine Harry." Hermione replied stiffly. She really didn't like talking about her relationship with Ron. Harry assumed that it was because she wanted to keep her personal affairs secret from everyone else. He couldn't help feeling a little hurt though, and it was clearly showing on his face judging by the sigh Hermione let free.
"Don't take it personally Harry. I'm not the sort of person to talk about their relationship with anyone other than their partner." Hermione stated kindly, clearly not wanting Harry to take it the wrong way.
"I know Hermione. I just want to know if he ever starts mistreating you. He might be my best friend, but you are like the sister I never had, and I want to do that whole 'big brother' thing." Harry replied, taking a deep breath in and puffing his chest out a little bit. Hermione laughed and her previously tensed muscles relaxed again, the smile that made her whole face light up taking hold. It was a beautiful smile to be fair, and if Harry's heart weren't elsewhere he would have been captivated by it.
"I appreciate the sentiment Harry but I am old enough to look after myself and," Hermione stood up and crossed over to stand behind Harry. She bent down and kissed him on the cheek in the friendly way that they had always done behind closed doors.
"I'm older than you are." She laughed again, straightening up and glancing at the Portrait Hole. Ron had yet to return from his detention with Professor Snape. She had to wonder exactly what he was being made to do, and hoped that it wouldn't tire him out too much. She had learnt he was very grumpy when he was tired, even grumpier than her, and that took some beating.
"This is true. I can still do that brother thing though right?" Harry questioned, swivelling round in his seat to face Hermione, making puppy eyes at her. She rolled her eyes and shook her head.
"I'm going to bed Harry." She said, heading towards the staircase leading to the Girl's Dormitories.
"I'll tell Ron you waited up for him." Harry called out across the empty Gryffindor Common Room. Hermione turned at the foot of the staircase, her fingers gripping onto the stone of the staircase walls. She nodded before making her way up past the younger years Dormitories.
After what seemed like an age, she finally reached the Dormitory she shared with Parvati and Lavender. They had never exactly gotten on well with each other over the years they had been living and working in such close quarters. Things had gotten better between them in recent years, even with Lavender's occasional attempts to sabotage her and win Ron over. Parvati was normally able to talk Lavender down most of the time and Hermione appreciated it.
Both of the girl's were lying in their beds sleeping. Hermione crept over to her own bed, the exhaustion washing over her as she collapsed face first onto the bed. She made a small muffled sound before heaving herself up and flipping over. She sat up and peeled her clothes off, throwing them carelessly on the floor. It was Friday night, which meant no classes tomorrow, so there was no real need to tidy them away neatly.
Hermione pulled on the pale ivory satin chemise that she had received as a present from Ron a few weeks before. She had to wonder if Ginny had somehow had a hand in it being bought, it was the sort of thing she had been trying to convince Hermione to buy for the past two years.
She looked around for Crookshanks and found that he was absent. Hermione shrugged and pulled the covers back on her bed, slipping in and curling up under the sheets. She yawned before settling her head comfortably on her pillow and slipping into that most secret of realms.
If she had stayed awake for another half an hour she would perhaps have noticed the tell tale shimmering of a person under a Disillusionment Charm approaching her bed. If she had woken at that moment instead of turning to lie on her back and opening her mouth she would have noticed the vial hovering above her. Even if she had woken up when she started coughing as the contents of the vial was poured down her throat, it would have been too late.