This is my first Volmione.
The inspiration, and a line, came from Seinfeld.
She still wasn't entirely sure how it happened.
One moment Hermione had been slowly retreating down the hallway at the Department of Mysteries, her wand a blur as she rapidly fired off volley after volley of curses and jinxes that illuminated the polished corridor in vibrant, sparking fury.
So far, she'd successfully diverted the rampaging Death Eaters from gaining access to the latest precious artifact desired by the Dark Lord in his pursuit of immortality. Her concentration stuttered briefly as she abruptly bumped up against something firm and unyielding, then faltered altogether as she glanced behind her to view said obstacle.
It was Voldemort.
Hermione whirled, but he was far faster, his pale wand twisting and slicing through the air with effortless, efficient grace. The hairs on her neck prickled as the air became electrified, and even as she whipped her wand, conjuring a shield, she stood as if immobilized, watching with an almost detached fascination as he began to incant a curse that would undoubtedly be the end of her. She barely registered hearing shouts at the end of the hallway.
And then, the world exploded.
There was a tremendous whoosh, then a deadly wave of heat and light cascaded down the corridor toward them. She felt herself hurtling through the air, slamming into him as he thrust his wand forward to raise a shield. Her momentum knocked him off balance, and they tumbled together backwards through a darkened doorway. As soon as they crossed the threshold, a heavy door banged shut.
Except for her ragged breathing, the room was silent, and two things occurred to Hermione simultaneously: she was in one of the Department's large, unisex lavatories.
And she was, quite literally, laying on top of the Dark Lord.
"Do you mind?" His tone was impatient.
Springing to her feet like a scalded cat Hermione swiftly backed toward the door. She fumbled behind her until she located the handle, her eyes never once wavering from him. He raised himself up on one elbow, but otherwise remained on the tiled floor, watching her impassively. What was he waiting for? Why hadn't he cursed her?
Don't look a gift horse in the mouth, Hermione. Just get out get out GET OUT!
Hermione pushed down on the handle. Nothing. Her brow furrowed in alarm, and she jiggled it harder.
The door did not budge.
Her eyes locked with the Dark Lord's. Taking a chance on exposing her back to the enemy, she spun and shot a frantic, focused alohamora. The door held fast.
She was trapped.
A brief knot of hysteria surged through her, followed by the sinking, depressive certainty that she would forever be known as Hermione Granger: The Girl Who Died in the Loo.
With as much dignity as she could muster, considering the circumstances, she straightened, cleared her throat, and braced for the inevitable. "The door is stuck."
"Is it, now?" He rose smoothly to his feet and stepped toward her. He surveyed the door for a full minute, tapping the side of his index finger contemplatively against his chin as he appeared to consider the matter. It was an oddly humanizing, personal gesture, and while her tension and fear had yet to fully dissipate, the fact that his attention was currently focused on the door and not on obliterating her allowed her several precious seconds to gather up the tatters of her composure.
He raised his arm, wand poised in his grasp like a maestro conducting an orchestra. With a series of expert, minute flicks he sent a swirling jet of energy at the door, then stood back, his expression confident, expectant.
The door did not open.
Hermione risked a peek in his direction. Voldemort's gaze was fixed on the door, his brow drawn down speculatively. He cast again. The door creaked loudly and flexed, its frame shifting under the magical onslaught, but it held. His face drew into a scowl as he cast again.
The air crackled with magic, and the tiles around the door began to scorch and distort as each spell grew progressively more complex. The power flowed out of him, out of his wand, like an extension of his will- dark, undiluted and astounding. What was more discomfiting though, was the sheer potency of his presence as he stood next to her.
Abruptly, he stopped and unleashed a protracted series of hisses and growls that sounded suspiciously to Hermione like profanities. He drew himself to his full height and glowered down at her.
"This is...unacceptable." There was a barely detectable undertone of petulance in his voice.
For a moment they stared at each other in silence.
Perhaps it was the adrenaline, or just the ridiculous improbability of her situation, because it was then she burst into loud, uncontrolled gasps of laughter. She was bent over slightly, tears rolling down her cheeks when she heard it: a low, silky chuckle that gradually grew into a rich, genuine laugh that sent a sudden, unexpected flush of warmth through her. His magic still tingled faintly across her skin, and her face went red as she realized not only how thoroughly flustered she was, but why.
She managed to calm herself long enough to squeak, "Excuse me," before darting in the direction of the nearest cubicle. To her complete vexation he followed alongside her, and at her horrified expression he smirked and said, "When in Rome."
He strolled into the adjacent cubicle.
For the next several minutes the only words Hermione could grasp with any coherence were terms like awkward and mortification and painful, drawn out demise.
When she emerged, feeling only slightly more collected, he was already washing up at the row of sinks. He lifted a plush white towel from its neat stack and dried his hands as she approached to wash up. The towel vanished when he tossed it into the air, only to reappear, neatly folded, at the top of the stack. He glanced around, then said offhandedly, "At least they have redecorated since I was here last."
"Oh?" She busied herself at the sink.
"Yes. It was once one of the most abysmally awful lavatories I've ever had the misfortune of laying eyes on." He gestured dismissively at the walls. "The tile work alone was an absolute sin against good taste."
She stared at him, face scrunched in unabashed confusion.
For years, Hermione had prided herself on being exhaustively prepared for a multitude of eventualities. Usually through researching books.
Somehow, Dark Lords and The Art of Casual Conversation had never made it onto her list of titles. Not to mention how wholly unprepared she was for this unsolicited glimpse into his personality.
Nevertheless, Hermione figured that at this point she had little to lose by winging it. Carefully drying her hands on a soft towel, she eyed him and remarked, "Never figured you for an aesthete. Especially with regards to lavatories."
He grinned then, predatory and wicked. "This," he emphasized, "was a particularly egregious case." Leaning into her personal space, he purred, "I made it a personal mission to hunt down the decorator myself."
Her eyes wide, Hermione tried to frame her next question with the same meticulous care that one would employ when handling a volatile explosive device. She tilted her head, scratching her earlobe absently, and valiantly aimed for casual. "So...is lavatory decor...a particular interest of yours, then?"
He threw his head back and laughed, and it wasn't the high, cold sinister laugh that sent icy terror coursing through her during their encounter back in fifth year. It was loud, warm, and real; he was close enough that she felt it resonate through her, and again she was struck by a swift, uncomfortable fluttering warmth through her abdomen.
What the Hell was wrong with her?
"My dear, I consider myself a true aficionado. The aesthetics of personal comfort are never a matter to be trifled with." He regarded her appraisingly. His eyes, normally so intimidating, radiated amusement. "Go ahead, name any place in the world. I can attest to the quality-or lack-of their lavatories."
In a flash, it occurred to her that there was a teensy, remote chance she might actually survive this bizarre encounter, and her Inner Griffindor seized on that possibility and rose to the occasion.
"Alright." She quickly rifled through her vast mental inventory. "Cambridge University Library."
"Easy," He scoffed, then without hesitation replied, "Second floor, rear of the Rare Books section. Small, poorly lit. Dreary. Barely even adequate." He sniffed. "Next."
"The free toilets or the pay ones?"
She barely missed a beat. "Pay." She could play this game.
His pale, angular features softened with fondness. "Gallery, first level. Airy, good light. Judicious use of architectural elements. Porcelain to die for." He paused. "Magnificent facilities."
Hermione took a breath and in a moment of reckless inspiration blurted, "Hogwarts."
A slow, devious smile crept across his snake like features. He leaned an elbow against the countertop and regarded her with a strange, intent expression that made her want to squirm. "Ah...The Prefect's Bath, obviously. You were a Prefect, were you not, Miss Granger?"
Why had her mouth suddenly gone dry? "Yes...yes, I was." She managed to reply.
He approached her then, stood directly in front of her. She'd never really realized just how tall he was. She had to tilt her head back to look at him.
He fixed his gaze on her and continued, his voice low, resonant. "Then perhaps you would share your thoughts on the implications of a school providing a group of hormonal adolescents with a private bath capable of comfortably accommodating at least a half dozen people. Though on a few...memorable...occasions it held nearly twice that." His voice dropped to a conspiratorial near whisper. "It's almost as if they tacitly encouraged licentious, even...deviant behavior."
He smirked, knowingly. And then he winked.
And she plunged down the rabbit hole, never to be seen again.
She blushed from the roots of her hair all the way to her toes, her thoughts freewheeling as she strove to process that the Dark Lord had just engaged in some rather serious oversharing regarding his school time exploits. Why in Merlin's name was he behaving this way? With her, of all people?
"You're just trying to unsettle me." She retorted.
"No, that was merely a pleasant diversion." His hand shot out abruptly, and he seized by her hair, jerking her forward, all geniality vanishing from his face as his wand suddenly pressed against her temple. "This would be trying to unsettle you." He hissed.
"Now that's more like it." She croaked. Oops. The words slipped out of her mouth before she could contain them. His grip tightened and he lifted her easily, then slammed her against the wall. Searing pain radiated from her scalp to the back of her skull, causing her eyes to water and her breath to hitch raggedly. His fierce red eyes locked on hers and Hermione thought, with no small degree of chagrin, that her Inner Gryffindor really needed to shut it.
Though her field of vision was currently occupied by Voldemort's snarling, fearsome visage, her fuzzy brain somehow managed to unmoor itself from the wild, flailing terror of impending doom and instead sank straight down into the murky pool of disturbing personal insights.
Even in her precarious position she realized, with startling clarity, how incredibly compelling the Dark Lord was as an individual, and the fervent, all encompassing loyalty he inspired in his followers suddenly made sense. Sure, he was a scary, hair pulling bastard, but his magnetism was undeniable.
It was a dark, thrilling revelation that she couldn't entirely attribute to a near death experience.
Well, bugger me. Don't tell me I might actually have something in common with Bellatrix Lestrange. Brilliant. We could have a slumber party where we do each other's hair and nails. I could give her tips on improving her horrific dental hygiene, and she could instruct me in the art of seductive cackling.
She wasn't entirely sure when the pressure on her hair abated, only that she became aware of a faint cooling sensation sweeping over her head. The pain dissipated. The tip of his wand then slid down her face, across her cheek light as a feather, and she shivered involuntarily. Her eyes refocused on the Dark Lord's face as he eyed her with something akin to approval.
His hand was still twined through her hair, holding her in place. Hermione remained immobile, her equilibrium utterly shot. If he released her now, she would most likely slump to the floor in a graceless heap.
"You are very fortunate this mitigates my irritation at this ridiculous incident to some degree," he said. He withdrew his hand, scraping his nails lightly across her scalp as he continued in a malicious whisper, "otherwise I would see this place become a tomb."
Warnings blared in the back of her head, but Hermione was still paralyzed, her thoughts a turbulent mess, an icy curl of dread forming in her stomach at his words.
"However, I require something to balance such a magnanimous gesture." He bent down, so his mouth was close to her ear. "You are a clever girl. I am sure you can figure it out."
She knew where this was going, and at last found her voice. "You won't get what you came for."
At this, he simply smiled enigmatically. Reaching out, he grasped her upper arm with strong, thin fingers and pulled her against his body. He flicked his wand, and there was a great metallic squeal as the door suddenly froze, crystals of ice rapidly spreading over its surface. Another thrust of his wand, and it shattered, showering debris throughout the chamber.
A moment before she disapparated with him she heard him whisper, "We'll see about that."