Important Author's Note at the end, please read!


She glanced at the full length mirror and let out a long breath; it was time.

Spinning around, she grabbed her cloak and clasped it around her neck. With one swift turn, she spun out of the dorm and sped through the common room. Passing Harry as he was entering through the portrait hole, their eyes locked; their gazes held for what seemed like hours. No words passed, only silence, then, Hermione abruptly turned and brushed past him.

As soon as she cleared the door, she walked briskly towards the large double doors, her mind replaying what just occurred between her and Harry in a constant repeat.

'What had that been about?' She questioned herself as she slipped out to the grounds. Running towards the apparition point with the cold wind whipping her hair across her face, she drew out her want and disappeared with a soft 'pop'.

Appearing in front of the large, dark oak doors that she had become so familiar with by now, she threw them open and walked into the stone room. The doors eased open, revealing rows of her followers, all clothed in black. Straightening her shoulders, her heels clicked on the stone as she walked the path to the raised platform. She let out a final breath and turned to face the room.

"Thank you," she began, "all of you, for attending. I called all of you here today to begin phase one."

Silence engulfed the room as she continued, "The winter holidays are almost upon us and we must begin the training. Parents, we'll be spending the duration of the break here, at this Manor, possibly in this very room." She looked around, "I would never as your children, my schoolmates, to fight for me, for this cause," her voice rang out across the still silent room.

"It will be their choice, and if they refuse, I will not pressure them, I will not use any of the means your previous leader used to tie down loyalty. I'm going to do this right. I will gain loyalty the right way. Most of you here have already shown your trust, and for that I am grateful, but I ask of you, as parents, to ask them if they would like a part in this, if not, I will take no offense." She paused. "They deserve to have a say in their lives as well."

Winter break was only a few weeks away and she thought back to the look Harry had given her when she was exiting. It almost seemed as if he knew, but didn't say anything. It occurred to her just then that he never tried to stop her or question her whereabouts when she was out of the dorms all night, or even as he saw her leave after curfew.

'Could it be?' She wondered. 'No, it can't be, he's the Light side's very own savior…without him, they would…' Her thoughts trailed off as she suddenly jumped down from the platform, more excited than she had possibly ever been in her life. 'Of course! How could I have thought of this before?'

Silence rang out once again as Hermione exuded an excited air. She looked all around the room, confused expressions met hers as she finally spoke, eyes bright with barely contained enthusiasm, "I know exactly what we can do to ensure our win, and their lost."

At that moment, bright white broken streaks of lightning and rumbling thunder could be seen splitting the cold, silent night sky through the windows not covered with heavy drapes.

A shadow came over her face, she smiled, this one wasn't warm, it wasn't nice, it was the smile of a leader of the dark who now knew she was only one step away from holding all the cards.


Author's Note: Hello everyone! I know this update is probably a surprise since I haven't updated in such a long time, for which I am so so sorry for. I've been expreiencing the worst writer's block for such a long time that I didn't know what to write anymore, I also want to apologize for this being quite short, still trying to work through the block. Anyway, I'm trying to push through this and write for all of you! One last thing, I know that many of you that read my stories are ladies and a very good friend of mine just started up a beauty/makeup blog a few months ago with my help. It would mean the world to me if you went to take a look at her posts and left a comment! Here's the link: cuttingedgebeauty1 . blogspot .com (just take away all the spaces and it should work!)

As always, thank you all so much for your support and reading.

-Ari