A/N: A huge thanks for all the love and support you've all been giving! I really appreciate it!
Disclaimer: JKR owns Harry Potter, not me. I'm making no money from the posting of this story.
Hermione smiled, pulling a few books off the shelves. She absolutely loved being in libraries, and the one here was the grandest one she had ever seen. There were literally thousands of books on the walls, each with a different story inside them.
A bubble of excitement ran through her. She grabbed a few books that looked promising, lugging them over to the desk.
Opening the first one, Falmuth's Guide to Healing, Hermione quickly began to read. She absorbed every little bit of information, becoming more and more interested as she read.
Hermione closed the book some time later, a feeling of satisfaction taking over. She had never really given much thought as to what she wanted to do in the future, but after reading the book, the idea of healing started to appeal to her.
She wanted to help people and make a difference in their lives, and what better way to do that than by medicine? Hermione was brilliant at potion making, so she'd be able to brew as well as perform the charm work necessary.
Excitement bubbled up within her. Maybe she could talk to Tom about it? Hermione knew there was an exam that she needed to take in order to become certified, but that was all! Severus could teach her the information she needed to know, and then Hermione could sit the exam.
Grabbing another book, Hermione began to go through it.
Kingsley sat on the couch opposite Voldemort, Malfoy, and Snape. He felt incredibly uncomfortable with the situation, but knew he had no one other choice.
When Voldemort told him he'd be willing to give away the locations to some of his Death Eaters, Kingsley knew he'd have to go. Yes, it was probably a trap, but the chance was too good to pass up. If there was an opportunity for that information, he had to take it.
The Order didn't know he was here. Merlin, Dumbledore would have his head if he knew.
Seeing Hermione had confused him as well. He was told the girl was captured, that she had turned evil, and all sorts of nonsense. He knew she had fought on the side of the Death Eaters during the skirmish at Diagon Alley… but Kingsley wasn't sure what he believed anymore. He just needed to know if she was all right.
No one in the Order had wanted to approach Hermione at the ball last night, and he couldn't help but wonder why? Why was it no one wanted to speak with her?
He knew he did.
"Is she being cared for?" He asked, narrowing his eyes. He knew the question was a bold one, but he had to know.
Tom smirked. "Of course she is."
Kingsley nodded. "I'm sure you're aware she's a rather popular topic of interest for the Order."
Tom narrowed his eyes at this. "What's being said?"
Kingsley leaned back, feeling more secure. He had gotten this far without being hexed, which was a good sign. "How about this, you give me some information, and I'll tell you what I know."
Tom nodded. "Seems fair enough. First, let me just explain something to you." Tom then went on and explained everything to Kingsley. He knew he was taking a chance, but Kingsley seemed one of the most understanding of the Order members. He told him how he wanted to withdraw his influence and become more "normal."
Kingsley couldn't believe what he was hearing. Voldemort was tired of the War? It seemed too good to be true. The question was did he really mean it? "Do you really feel remorseful?"
Tom opened his mouth to speak, but froze.
How could he have not realized it sooner? Now that he had found love, he was bound to feel remorseful. Meaning his Horcruxes...
"Tom," Lucius said softly, bringing him back to the present.
Tom turned to Lucius, storing the information for later. "Thank you," he said softly. Kingsley was watching him warily. "I do feel remorseful. Everything I had wanted in the beginning, I no longer want it. I just want to settle down and have a life with my wife and child. I just want peace."
Kingsley opened his mouth. "Wife? You're married?!"
Tom chuckled. "Not yet, but I plan on marrying Hermione soon enough."'
Kingsley sat back, feeling like he had been hit with a bus. "Do you love her?"
Tom nodded. "I do. So much that I would do whatever necessary. I want this war over."
Kingsley couldn't help but believe him. The raw emotion in his voice was so believable. "So what is it you need me to do?"
Tom smiled. "Well, firstly, I want to snuff out the newest Death Eater recruits. I have the addresses of all of them. I want you to lead the Auror's there, and take care of them." He handed Kingsley the list.
"How do I know this isn't a trap?" Kingsley asked, narrowing his eyes.
Tom shrugged. "You'll just have to trust me. If you can't get rid of them legally, I'll do it my own ways."
Kingsley remained silent.
"You may have noticed that the Death Eaters have been removed from the Ministry of Magic," Severus interjected.
Kingsley nodded. "I had noticed. None of us could figure out why though."
Tom nodded. "You must understand Kingsley, what we're speaking of mustn't be mentioned elsewhere. It is of the upmost importance that this remains quiet. Unless you'd rather have chaos on your hands."
Kingsley nodded, remaining quiet. "You know Dumbledore won't accept this?"
Tom sighed. "I know. The old man is a hypocrite. For ages, he had been preaching to me about love, but if I were to tell him I reformed, he wouldn't believe me. He had never trusted me, not even when I was a young boy."
"Harry might though." Kingsley replied. "I know he's struggling with Hermione's so called 'betrayal' but I know it's mostly because he cares for her deeply. Given time, I think you could convince him."
"Hermione tried to speak to her last night, and that didn't go over too well." Lucius stated.
Kingsley nodded. "Just give him time. I know if you could convince him of your genuine concern for her, then maybe he could be swayed. Harry doesn't want to kill you, hell, he wouldn't hurt a fly. Having him on your side would be a huge plus."
Tom nodded. "I'll think about it. I know it's a tricky subject, but it's worth looking into. No doubt it would please Hermione as well." He said the last part to himself softly.
"Many of the Order believe Hermione is 'evil.' Some believe she can be 'saved,' others don't." Kingsley said.
Tom growled. "She is no such thing."
Kingsley shrugged. "It doesn't look good. I mean, she mysteriously disappears and the next time she's seen, she's battling Order members."
"She's never hurt anyone."
"Regardless, she fought against her own."
Tom huffed. "She isn't evil."
"I know, I can see that. It just means her image isn't good with Dumbledore."
Tom growled. "That man with be a problem. But I digress, is Hermione in any danger?"
"From the Order? Only a select few think her that big of a problem. Besides that, I think she should be all right. Just keep an eye on her and things should be fine."
Tom nodded "Good." He was silent for a moment. Hermione's safety was of the most importance to him.
Kingsley eyed the Dark Lord. "Do your followers know about what's going on?"
"Only those in the inner circle." Severus said.
"Minus my estranged sister in law," Lucius added with disgust in his voice.
"Ah," Kingsley said. "That will pose a problem, won't it?"
Tom chuckled dryly. "Indeed it would." He glanced at the clock, standing. "I need to run. I'm meeting with the Headmaster from Durmstrang. Kingsley, if you would help us, it would be greatly appreciated. I'll have an elf summon Hermione so you may speak to her."
Kingsley stood, sticking his hand out to Voldemort.
Tom smiled at him, grasping the man's hand. They shook each other's hands.
"Thank you… Volde….Sir…." Kingsley stumbled, unsure of what to say to him.
Tom smiled. "Tom Riddle. You may call me Tom, Mr. Riddle, whatever it is that makes you feel most comfortable."
Kingsley nodded. "Thank you Tom." He waved the list. "As soon as I finish speaking to Hermione, I'll take care of these."
Tom nodded. "Severus, look after Hermione. Lucius, come with me."
The two exited the room. Severus offered Kingsley a small smile. "I'll just go grab Hermione, wait a moment," he said, excusing himself from the room as well.