Title: Brave New World
Fandom: Harry Potter
Word count: ~1,500 (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 Six: Viva la Revolution
It was so nice to feel Neville wrap his arms around her in a genuine show of affection. She hugged back, as tight as she dared, not really wanting to ever let go. But, let go they both did, and Neville was still grinning at her when they parted.
"Really, really am glad you've made it here, Hermione. This wouldn't be the same without you," he said, gesturing toward the circle of people at the table.
Coming closer, Hermione could make out a slew of familiar faces, including—most wonderfully and surprisingly—Ginny and Ron. All smiles, real, true smiles greeted her. She turned back to Neville, feeling lighter than she had in weeks.
"Where is 'here' exactly?" she asked.
"Well, you've gotta know. You apparated here," he said as they both reached the table. There were no chairs, but everyone seemed content just to stand. Ron beamed at her, and she was so happy to see Ron with no Pansy in sight that she could hear her own rapid heartbeat in her ears.
"I mean, what. What is here?"
"We're the resistance," Ginny said, arms crossed proudly across her chest.
That was the final straw. Hermione rounded the table, throwing her arms around Ron and Ginny in turn. A resistance! A force to stop all of Voldemort's plans! It was exactly what she had dared hoped for. There were but a few people at the table, faces she recognized from the halls of Hogwarts, but none she could name specifically. She missed Luna, specifically. She would have to think on asking about her friend. But, for now, she was just glad to be with Ron and Ginny.
"I'm so happy the two of you are alive! That you're okay!" she gushed.
Hermione Granger was not a crier, per se. She had cried in the past, yes, but not enough, she thought, to be considered a "crier." But, at this moment, she wanted to weep.
"Alive, yes. But not okay," Ginny answered, giving a grim little smile.
Sadly, Hermione found herself echoing Snape's words.
"What good would you be to the world dead? I'll take alive. How are you both even here?"
Ron shrugged. "Ginny told me that she told you about Pansy and Percy. And about Malfoy."
They both nodded. Ginny scoffed.
"Yes, and arranged marriages are all the fun you'd ever thought they'd be," she said.
Her hand slid up her arm, and the red scratches—like fingernails of a hand that had grabbed you too roughly—did not go unnoticed. Hermione frowned.
"I'm sorry," she said.
"There were a lot of deals made to keep our family safe and alive. Because, like you said, Hermione, what good are we dead? Alive, at least we can form this resistance," Ron said.
That didn't do anything to quell the sick feeling forming in her stomach. Instead, she shook her head.
"How did you get away? To be here tonight?"
"Draco's been favoring the Firewhiskey ever since he's been old enough to have it… or since he's joined the Death Eaters. Either way, I start him drinking earlier, and he's out cold in plenty of time for me to leave for the meeting and get back," Ginny explained.
"Pansy likes to take a sleeping draught. Easy as can be to get away after that," Ron chimed in.
Hermione's eyes narrowed. "So… you're both living with them? Like me with Snape?"
They both nodded.
"Only way to ensure we stay loyal, according to everyone's new lord and master," Ginny snipped.
"We're barely allowed to see Mum and Dad," Ron lamented.
"So let's change that," Neville said, causing Hermione to start a little. She had half-forgotten there was anyone else present.
They all gathered around the table, all eyes on Neville, the assumed leader. He leaned forward, locking eyes with everyone for just a moment before he began to speak.
"We don't know how long we've got before someone misses one of us, so we'll be quick tonight. We've not got much to go on, as we've all spent the last two weeks adjusting to our new lives. But has anyone got anything we can use? Any information at all?"
"Death Eaters are claiming half-bloods and muggle-borns at an alarming rate, according to what I heard Lucius tell Draco," Ginny said.
"Wait," Hermione said, putting up her hands. "Is this it? We're just pooling information?"
"We're fledging, Hermione. Right now, that's all we can do," Neville answered.
Ron shrugged. "Then, we'll form a plan."
"But right now, we're not quite sure where everyone stands, as it were," Ginny added.
"Voldemort has something against everyone right now," Neville sighed. "We've got to be careful, or someone or something we really care about… well, you can guess."
Hermione nodded. It was just as Snape said. Be careful. Do nothing, for now. It sounded so sensible coming from her friends, and she knew in her heart of hearts that she was only raging against Snape because… well, "Against Snape" was a list unto itself, any item on which would be a viable reason. She was a patient person, one with a knack for planning and learning. If that's what she had to rely on for the moment, then so be it.
"Nothing, for now," she said.
Neville nodding, agreeing, "Nothing. For now. Now, any more info? Anything we can use at all? Any new laws, worse than the ones already in play?"
The room was silent. After a few more moments, Neville leaned off the table, sighing.
"I know we're just in the planning stages of this resistance, but that's no reason to lose hope. We're the start of something here… I know it."
"We don't have long to start it. Or, at least, I don't think we do," Hermione said.
All eyes fell to her. Ron arched a brow. "What do you mean?"
Hermione laid out for her friends all she had learned from Snape that evening. She stopped when all of her friends looked appropriately horrified. Except for Neville… who looked rather happy.
"Yes! This is it! This is what we needed!" he said, punching the air.
"What?" Hermione asked.
"You. Or rather, you being stuck with Snape. He's Voldemort's right-hand man. You can be the one to deliver what we need."
Hermione nodded. "Of course I will… but there's no… solid plans to Voldemort's world domination scheme. Just a want."
"But that's more than what we had before. Now, we need to figure out how to block his take over."
The meeting continued on, a few people sharing what little information they had gathered from their most reliable sources. Some were like Hermione, muggle-born and assigned to a Death Eater, so they had a few needful tidbits that allowed a bit of speculation on what Voldemort's next move would be. It wasn't a lot, but it was more than what Hermione had had earlier this evening. For now, it was enough.
"I think we should conclude," Neville said finally. "Before anyone's missed. Before you leave, here."
He tossed a handful of squares of parchment on the table. Everyone took one, and each square contained the information for the next meeting.
"Be safe, everyone," he said, before apparating away.
Several, nearly all, followed. Finally, it was only Ron, Hermione, and Ginny that remained.
"We, personally, have another priority, I feel," Hermione said.
The other two nodded sagely.
"Harry," they said in unison.
"We should try to find a way to free him. We know we need him to ultimately beat Voldemort, but much more importantly than that, he's our friend. And he needs us."
"We'll keep an ear out, since we're both with families that are close to Voldemort," Ron said.
"And I'll try to get what I can out of Snape," Hermione said.
"For Harry," Ginny said.
"For Harry," Hermione and Ron echoed.
With two pops, the Weasley siblings were gone. Hermione sighed. It took a decent bit of resolve not to run at that very moment. But Neville was right. She was living with Voldemort's right hand man. She had to go back.
In the next moment, she apparated back to the edge of Snape's house. Once again, keeping to the shadows and the edge of the property, she circled to the front door, opening it as slowly as she could to reduce noise. She was in her room in no time, dressed and ready for bed, without Snape being the slightest bit aware she had ever been gone.