Author's Notes: First of all, this is an AU story told from the great Hermione's POV.
Second, this is just a "teaser", the introduction for a story that has been tugging on the strings of my heart and mind for a very long time.
Third, like I have said, this is just a teaser and I may or may not continue writing it. The fate of this story will be decided by the readers.
Finally, I hope all of you will read, like, fave, follow, review...etc.
If you want to, of course...
Disclaimer: I, unfortunately, do not own Harry Potter.
Quid Pro Quo
"Exactly twenty-three steps," a distinctively female voice evenly states as I finally arrive in front of my desired destination, my eyes immediately drawn to the source of the sound. Bellatrix Black imprisoned in a room of cold concrete filled with nothing but a simple toilet and a small steel bed bolted firmly to its floor and back wall. This daunting area is separated from the hallway by thick bars that allowed only two inches between them. Each one of them as thick as my wrist and engraved with ancient symbols and runes that glowed a faint gold, preventing her from harnessing her magic.
"Much farther away from the main entrance than my old room used to be," she lightly comments, sitting on her bed as gracefully as she could with her body encased in a tight straitjacket with her eyes deliberately closed.
"Yes." I answer slowly after taking a deep breath and sitting down on the plastic chair that one of the orderlies had left for me. My ankles cross themselves instinctively as I place my handbag on my lap and keep my gaze on her.
"You must be important."
Her keen observation rises from lips moving deliberately and minutely. Their color is so red that it seems she had bitten them and broken through skin. Bleeding. I mentally shake my head to derail my present train of thought as I lift my gaze. My eyes carefully following the noble angle of her nose to her unruly, yet still elegant curls. Each strand curving possessively around her porcelain face.
"My sister sent you." She deftly interrupts me before I can say anything else, her eyes slowly opening to reveal dark, obsidian orbs. Their liquid depths shining with indecipherable emotions as she focuses them on me. Her piercing gaze probing me from beneath her unnaturally long lashes. I attempt to calmly return her blatant scrutiny as I swallow deliberately, my mouth having suddenly run dry.
"Yes," I tell her, opting for honesty. "She sent me."
"Ah, Dromeda…" She sighs out the name softly, almost affectionately.
"She was always the hopeful one."
Her gaze never left mine as she spoke, as if she was deliberately choosing each word to poke– to prod at me. Like a shepherd with a staff. I try to keep any hint of emotion from my face.
Give her nothing to gauge.
"You are a quiet one, aren't you?" She suddenly asks.
"In some instances," I answer honestly.
"Tell me your first name."
"Such an old name: a bit long, a bit boring… though with an interesting history."
I mentally take note of what she said, wondering deeply about what she meant. Was there a Hermione in Magical History? Or is Miss Black familiar with Muggle Mythology?
"My mother chose it."
She stays silent for a moment, not acknowledging my answer as she purposely sits up straighter. Her slender back arching slightly as she stretches just a bit before settling into her newly chosen position.
"What is your last name?"
"Hmm," she breathes out, lips pursed faintly in thought and curiosity.
"That is a very unfamiliar name to me and to the Wizarding world… unless much has changed in the last thirteen years that I have been imprisoned."
Her dark eyes are suddenly covered by the delicate thinness of their lids.
"You may go now. I have much to think about."
I open my mouth to protest when a familiar voice suddenly tugs at the back of my mind. Take it slow– do not agitate her. She is dangerous. A frown vainly tries to take over my lips as I nod curtly, even though I know that she cannot see me.
"Thank you very much for your time, Miss Black," I say as I uncross my ankles and leisurely rise.
"I will be back again tomorrow," I tell her, though it felt like I was promising it to myself and no one else. She does not respond, remaining completely motionless and silent. Common courtesy dictates that I should speak out once more to say goodbye, but the thought of doing so strikes me as a hollow gesture. I slip my right arm through the handle of my bag and start walking to the elevator, silently counting each step that I make.
"Farewell, sweet mudblood…"
She suddenly whispers after me, each syllable echoing almost hauntingly throughout the hallway. I pause in mid-step at her words: not surprised that she had surmised the truth about me, but by the fact that she mentioned it only now. My right hand clenches slightly as I deliberately resume walking.
"I will be back again tomorrow," I silently repeat, mostly to myself as I finally reach the locked steel gates at the end of the hallway. A young attendant immediately appears, right hand brandishing his wand to unlock the barrier and let me out. He smiles shyly at me as the solid bars slowly start to dematerialize.
"You did well, Miss Granger."
I blink once before turning my gaze to him.
"Careful," I say. "You should've asked me for identification first. It might be unlikely, but she could have escaped, overpowered me, and taken my identity."
His eyes widen in response as I pause briefly.
"Be very careful." I firmly enunciate before removing my gaze from his and looking again down the hall. Feeling my reprimand, his eyes drop to the floor briefly before he starts his task of leading me to the elevator. I hear him start to move his wand around again as a final warning easily escapes my lips.
"Even imprisoned, she is still dangerous."
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