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The Black Prophecy

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“Madame Black, may I ask what in the world you were thinking when you volunteered us for this?”

“Well, Professor Snape, I suppose I was thinking that I for one don’t like losing,” Hermione retorted. “And that as one of the most skilled wizards alive that you could handle it. If I was wrong I would be happy to ask my wife instead."

"No you little chit," he continued, trying not to break out of his very serious voice. "I am more than capable, I just was impressed that you were so enthusiastic after your last plan."

"It worked almost how I planned it."

"And garnered Narcissa's ire for most of the summer. Are you hoping for a repeat?"

"I dare say she is not," Lucius said striding into the room. "I've procured a few metal wands and a manual as requested."

"Hermione, you suggested this without knowing how to use the blasted things?"

The young witch grinned mischievously. "Afraid of learning something new? Anyways, they are fairly simple mechanically. And I'm not opposed to having a bit of fun."

"This is why I love my sister-in-law," Lucius beamed. "So, Hermione where should we begin?"

"Bearing in mind that I do not wish to upset the lady of the house again, shall we adjourn to the garden?"

With overly dramatic flair and a slight bow, Snape ushered her out the door. Once in the garden and conveniently out of the sightlines of any spouses, the three huddled closely together to look at the manual. Hermione openly chuckled at the confusion of her companions. It was so easy for her to forget how very little most wizards knew about the muggle world. She left them pouring over the book and picked up the piece of hardware. It was not something that she’d ever thought she would hold in her hand, but it had been the right move. She cautiously followed the steps she had read, preparing the weapon.

“Do you think you have sorted it,” Snape asked.

“I believe so. If you wouldn’t mind conjuring something for me to shoot at. It will be a very small projectile that moves very quickly. At the root of what we need to do is find a spell that stops or diverts it and teach the Death Eaters to read the signs of someone firing it, much like they do when deflecting spells while dueling.”

“So practically everything.”

“Sounds splendid. Can I fire it?” Lucius interjected with childlike glee.


 

The three experimented throughout the afternoon with varying levels of success. By dinnertime, they were dirty, sweaty and had various cuts and bruises. However, they walked triumphantly back into the Manor having achieved their goals. Now Lucius and Severus would only have to train the others. They were in the process of sneaking up the stairs to get ready for dinner when Narcissa intercepted them.

“What the bloody hell have you three been up to?” She said looking from one to the other.

“Well,” Hermione started guiltily.

“There you are my darling wife,” Lucius interrupted, sweeping the witch into his arms. He spun her, dancing to music only he could hear. “We were just doing as the Dark Lord requested. Nothing overly dangerous.”

She suppressed a smile. “Well you all look quite a state. Straight upstairs with you all. None of you will be dining at my table looking like that.”

Severus slipped quickly out of the room before more could be said. Hermione attempted to do the same, but a slender hand caught the crook of her elbow, stopping her in her tracks. Lucius walked past her and shrugged, as if to say “I gave it my best try.”

Narcissa slipped her arm around the girl’s trim waist, pulling her close before walking towards the staircase. “Hermione, you must be more cautious. You don’t need to put yourself intentionally in danger by volunteering for such things. There will be enough without such foolishness.”

“I don’t mean to be foolish,” she said with a shade of irritation in her voice. “I simply am trying to make sure we win and keep my family safe. You know I cannot stand idly if I can prevent Lucius or Draco or Bella from getting hurt. I have already lost enough,” she finished heatedly. She attempted to pull away, but was spun into a close embrace.

“I did not mean to offend you, little witch. I only want you safe and happy. I can’t tell you how much you worry me.”

“I won’t take unnecessary risks, Cissy. I don’t want to die. I don’t want to hurt you that way.” Hoping to fully convey her sincerity she kissed each cheek before pressing a chaste kiss to her lips.

“Well well, don’t I just have the most splendid timing. I dare say most don’t open their bedroom door to such a lovely view.”

“Hush, Bella. Your wife is filthy and banged up again. See to it that she is presentable for dinner.” Narcissa placed a final lingering kiss on Hermione’s dirty cheek and returned downstairs.


 

After dinner the inner circle retired to the library at the request of their Lord. After they’d all settled in he began their meeting.

“Hermione, Severus has told me of the success of your project. I am greatly pleased. Diversifying the skills of my fighters is always a good thing. But we now must discuss some of the other priorities for the coming school year. Naturally Severus will be our primary form of communication. He has been promoted to Defense Against the Dark Arts professor.”

The group clapped politely at the news and Hermione attempted to hide a smirk at the irony.

“We have a very important task to be carried out and it is extremely delicate. I’ve spent the past few weeks debating who would be given the responsibility. As you all know, Dumbledore is becoming an increasingly large problem. He has recently discovered a secret that could undo all of my hard work. I am not yet ready to have such information known widely. It is imperative that we silence him permanently. Severus’ place as a double agent is too valuable to sacrifice at this time. Hermione, you will already have a target on your back. The announcement of your marriage will run in the Prophet the day before you board the train for Hogwarts. It will be enough to make the Order very nervous. I want them on edge but I do not desire for them to take any direct action against you.”

The young witch nodded. She knew that her marital and house status were likely to up the amount of harassment she had to deal with. She was somewhat relieved that the focus wouldn’t be quite so strongly on her.

“So Draco, my dear boy, you will have the honor of this task. And it is two fold. We need to stop the old wizard and I want a way to get the Death Eaters into Hogwarts at will. On the second task, I expect you will need Hermione’s help. Getting into the grounds in times like these will be very difficult. There are a number of options, but I will leave you all to discuss it.”

He smiled somewhat menacingly and rose and left the room without another word.

Hermione looked around the room. Lucius was beaming with pride. This particular situation was one he had always dreamt of. He wanted wealth and fame, especially for his only son. Beneath Narcissa’s cold expression, Hermione sensed she was fuming. The assignment was the opposite of what she was hoping for. It put Draco and Hermione directly in the line of fire. Draco looked severe. He was still struggling to deal with his internal change. Taking another life had stripped away his innocence in a way that he couldn’t have imagined. And the mark was a constant reminder of what he had done. His mother worked tirelessly to help him accept his actions and the possible ones he might have to take in the future. Hermione deeply sighed, prompting Bella to place an arm over her shoulder, pulling her close.

“Well,” Lucius said breaking the heavy silence. “I think we ought to continue this conversation over drinks.” He snapped his fingers, beckoning an elf. He requested wine and firewhiskey. With a mischievous glint in his eye, he attempted to talk everyone into the stronger drink with great success. Only Narcissa drank the wine. They drank and talked, bouncing possible ideas. Of course during their time at Hogwarts Narcissa and Bellatrix had spent a fair amount of time attempting to find ways to leave the castle when they wished. And during the first war there was a great deal of effort to find convert ways to transport people and objects without ministry interference.

“I still think that it is a valuable asset,” the dark witch began. “We know that there is a vanishing cabinet in the Room of Requirement. Can you imagine what use we could make of it?” The last sentence was leveled at her wife, who drew in a sharp breath in response.

“I agree,” Snape echoed. “There may be times when I am unable to be the messenger and this seems to give us an additional avenue. Between young Mister Malfoy and young Madame Black, I would imaged that even one in disrepair can be mended.”

Lucius clapped his hands together in enthusiasm. “Wonderful. It is settled. This is a wonderful first step.”

“I still want insurance,” Narcissa said, interrupting the flow of happy conversation.

“What exactly do you want,” Bella said quickly.

“I want you,” she said looking at Severus, “to swear that you will help if Draco cannot complete the task and that you will keep both Draco and Hermione safe.”

“I would never let any harm come to them,” he responded. And it was the truth. He never had much family. The addition of Hermione to the Black-Malfoy clan and his place in the wedding gave him something that he always wanted. He would die before losing something so precious.

“Then take the unbreakable vow,” the blonde witch pressed on.

“Very well. Pull out your wand. No, Bella not you. You’ve had too much firewhiskey. Hermione would you do the honors?”

She smiled and nodded, pulling out her wand. After Narcissa and Severus joined their right hands she touched the tip of her wand. A slender tendril of fire wrapped around their wrists as the blonde began to speak.

"Will you, Severus, watch over my son, Draco, as he attempts to fulfill the Dark Lord's wishes?"

"I will."

"And will you, to the best of your ability, protect him from harm?"

"I will."

"And should it prove necessary... if it seems Draco will fail... will you carry out the deed that the Dark Lord has ordered Draco to perform?"

"I will."

As the thin strips of fire disappeared, Narcissa leaned back looking much more at ease as the others continued to drink around her. She watched as the Malfoy men engaged in some mysterious male ritual that seemed to include firewhiskey and dark arts trivia. She smiled at the men laughing together, their bond had grown so much over the last few years. It was beautiful to witness. She felt the couch beside her depress, and felt the warmth of a body press against her. Without turning her head, the wafting lavender scent could only belong to the young witch. In her tipsy state Hermione snuggled against, her offering comfort. She intertwined their fingers, playing with the rings on her fingers. She kissed the brown curls affectionately while watching the other four play rowdily. She whispered quietly,

“I am so glad you found us, Hermione.”

“I’m glad to have finally come home.”