Title: Brave New World
Fandom: Harry Potter
Word count: ~1400 (chapter)
Chapter: Prev | Next
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any related characters. Making no money here, as they all still belong to their prospective owners.
Summary: Partially DH compliant, most AU. Voldemort arrived at Malfoy Manor quicker than expected, and like that, the war was over. Now, Hermione is Snape's "assigned companion," and as determined as ever to stop Voldemort and save her friends. But that's hard to do in Voldemort's new world…
Chapter Five: The Getaway
If Snape's goal had been to stun Hermione into silence, then he succeeded. The two of them moved into the lounge, with Snape taking a seat in the same chair he had been in two weeks ago when Hermione had regained consciousness. Hermione put her back to him, her mind rolling over the simple, yet profound, words.
Voldemort wanted the world. It made Hermione vaguely afraid, anxious as if waiting for the sky to fall. Finally, she turned. She remained on her feet, hoping that the fact that she loomed over him currently would lend some weight to her questions.
"What does that mean, exactly? Voldemort says he wants the world… What does he consider the world? Muggle and wizard alike? And how does he intend to take it?"
Snape ran a hand over his face, breathing deeply as he did so. When he exhaled, he dropped his hand, looking up to lock eyes with Hermione. He shrugged. She felt her rage returning.
"And what is that supposed to mean?" she snipped.
He sighed, leaning forward in his seat. "I know, for certain, he intends to conquer all known regions of magic dwelling folk, for starters. Great Britain is only the beginning. He's tasted victory, and he wants more. As for the muggle world? I get a sense that he has plans for that, too, but they are not a large priority at the moment. For the moment, save for perhaps an occasional demonstration of power, muggles remain the safest of us all."
Forsaking the small advantage of being the one standing, Hermione sank onto the sofa. Her eyes were downcast as her brain sped on ahead of this moment. A million thoughts, a million words, spilled through her mind, but there was only one solid sentence that repeated.
"We have to do something!"
He laughed, and Hermione felt the burning in her cheeks return. She glared up at him, and he only shook his head.
"And, pray tell, what would you do? Precisely? You have no wand. Laws are being made and enforced every moment preventing you and wizards and witches like you from remaining free. So, please, Granger, do tell. What's your plan?"
Hermione pursed her lips, crossing her arms.
"There are wandless magics. I've read about them. I could, perhaps, learn them."
"That's much too risky. Or do you forget our precarious position? I am, essentially, the right hand man to a Dark Lord to whom I have no allegiance. You, on the other hand, are merely my slave in the eyes of everyone outside of this home. For now, there is nothing."
Hermione rose to her feet without thinking. "So that's it? We do nothing? We live in this world of hate and fear and oppression, and twiddle our thumbs?"
This time, Snape rose to his feet as well. He was a bit taller than she, so now it seemed that he was the one towering over her. He did not raise in voice. In fact, he did the opposite. He leaned in close, nearly whispering his next words.
"For the time being, that is exactly what we're going to do. Nothing. Must I remind you again? We are not the popular opinion… at least, that's the way it seems. When Voldemort captured Potter, there was a veritable legion of new followers to crop up. I know you're used to action, you and your Golden Trio, and that this inaction must be killing you, but you are useless dead. Useless to them, useless to this world, to me, to yourself. Try to keep that in mind, you self-righteous know-it-all!"
Shaking, Hermione whirled. She stomped from the room, up the stairs, and into her room, throwing shut the door behind her. She flopped on to the bed, only now aware that she was still in her dress robes. She resisted the urge to scream into the mattress, instead rolling over and directing a heated glare at the ceiling.
What was truly bothering her, what was really making her the angriest, was the simple fact that Snape… was right. In his own, annoying, hateful way, Severus Snape was absolutely right. Hermione suppressed a small laugh at the thought of saying those words aloud to either Harry or Ron. And she knew that she was being little more than a petulant brat at the moment, but the way she figured it, just this once, she had a right to this behavior. In a blink of an eye, her life had turned upside down. Her friends, her family—her parents!—were all suffering from this… from her failure. It was all their fault, her and her friends. The so-called Golden Trio. She would have to carry this guilt for an untold amount of time, she knew that, and it made it all so terribly, terribly worse. Everyone who died, everyone tortured, all of it…was on her and her friends.
She shifted and heard the slight crinkling of paper coming from her within her dress. She reached inside her dress, remembering the folded piece of parchment Ginny had slipped her. She sat up, feeling slightly head rushed, and unfolded the paper. Written on it was two simple things, a place—Smorgum's Wares—and a time—midnight. Hermione glanced over her shoulder at the clock hanging on the wall between the two windows of her room. It showed she still had an hour and a half before midnight. All she had to do was get outside the house, to the edge of the property, then…
The thought was cut off by the sound of approaching footsteps. Hermione pressed the parchment close to her, ready to shove it away if necessary. Snape—as they sounded like his footfalls, and who else would be at Spinner's End at this time of night?—came to a stop outside of her bedroom door. She tensed, waiting for the knock on the door. A long moment passed, followed by yet another. Finally, all she heard was a sigh, and Snape moving away from her room. Seconds later, it was followed by the sound of another closing door, his bedroom if she had to guess.
Hermione had no time to lose. Presumably, Snape would be asleep in a few minutes, thirty minutes tops. Laying the note on her bed, she reached behind her back, struggling for a moment to undo the fasteners on her robes. Finally, the dress robes slipped to the floor, and she retrieved a pair of jeans and a shirt from the wardrobe—the outfit she had arrived here in. She was ready in moments, with nothing to do but wait. She watched the clock, agonizing over every second. Midnight seemed forever away, but soon enough, it was a quarter till. She crept to the door of her room, hoping against hope that she was right and Snape was now fast asleep. She had to creep past his door to reach the stairs, and she paused for just a second, pressing an ear to the wood. Beyond, if she wasn't mistaken, she could hear the faint sound of snoring. She smiled, tiptoeing down the stairs, and—finally—out the front door. She rounded the side of the house, keeping to the shadows, but staying just on the edge of the property in case of security charms. Once she was at the edge—which she had noted from when they had left for Madam Malkin's—she apparated away, hoping that the popping noise wasn't loud enough to wake Snape.
She was at her destination. It was dimly lit, only enough candlelight to make a small circle over a wooden table that was a few feet from where she stood. Several figures stood around the table, backs to Hermione. However, no doubt hearing the pop, the person directly across from her turned. Hermione was grateful to see that it was a friendly face smiling back at her.
"Glad to see that you could make it," Neville Longbottom smiled. "Come join us."