Hour 3: 9 PM
The Third Hour: 9 Pm to 10 PM
Daphne Greengrass and Tracey Davis were not usually found in the library on a Friday night, but they did make a habit of studying in the library so Madam Pince did not find it too odd to see the two friends enter late in the day. The two Slytherins had not brought any books with them, but the head librarian just assumed they were coming to look for a book they may need to check out and use for an assignment.
The pair of sixth year students made their way around the shelves of books, heading over towards the Restricted Section, taking a circuitous route so as not to arouse suspicion from anyone who might be watching them. They were from the house of cunning after all. Once they had finally reached their destination, they cast a silencing charm on the area to stop any alarms from going off. While it was an overly simplistic way of dealing with the restricted section, it was a method that their head of house had shared with a few of his more 'trusted' students who he was surreptitiously allowing to access the restricted section of the library, and this simple but effective technique for bypassing the wards there was quickly spread among the upper year students in the house.
Hermione was searching for a book that might give her more information about horcruxes. Harry had told her what he had learned from his meeting with the headmaster, but she knew how dangerous this all was and she was determined to educate herself as fully as possible. She was so engrossed in trying to find a book that would reveal the secrets of those dark objects that she failed to notice that she was soon surrounded by a pair of students from the rival house of Slytherin.
"Odd a lion sneaking into the restricted section," commented Daphne with a tone of superiority.
Tracey chimed in, "And the illustrious Miss Granger, always going by the rules. Now why would she be here, trespassing in the restricted section on a Friday night?"
The taunting in their voices was irritating to Hermione who nearly dropped the book she had just pulled off of a shelf.
"You two better be quiet or Madam Pince will find us and we'll all get detention for being here," whispered Hermione, the anger in her voice not being lost despite her quiet tone.
"Relax, Granger," snapped Daphne, "we already cast a silencing charm on the area. No one is going to hear us talking back here."
"Besides," added Tracey, "we're Slytherins, no one would think twice about us sneaking in here, but what would the school think about miss goody two shoes sneaking into the restricted section. It has scandal written all over it!"
"I have a pass from a professor that allows me access to the restricted section," responded Hermione with her own air of superiority.
"Calm down, Granger," said Daphne, as her tone softened and was actually friendly. "We're just teasing you, but we do want to know what brings you here to the restricted section, on a Friday night no less."
Hermione's defensiveness relaxed. "Research," was all she said.
"What kind of research needs to be done on a Friday night?" asked Tracey, whose tone also was much more conspiratorial now and no longer accusing.
Hermione sighed as she debated what she could tell these two. Daphne noted that Hermione had some inner mental battle going on and she assumed that Hermione was debating with herself about what to say to her and Tracey. Moving quickly, Daphne reached out and grabbed the book from Hermione's hands.
Hermione squeaked in surprise.
Daphne picked up the book and looked at the cover. "Magics Most Dark," she read the title. "Written by a member of the Ancient and Noble House of Black, no less," she added.
Daphne looked at Hermione and she seemed to pout. "Now what would my little lion friend be doing with such a nasty book?" she asked.
"Trying to help Harry, of course," she said dejectedly as she wasn't sure how she would get the book back from Daphne.
"Oh relax, Hermione," said Tracey as she walked up next to Hermione and gave her a friendly hug. "We've told you time and again after runes and arithmancy classes, we actually are on Harry's side in all of this. Just because we're in the house of snakes doesn't mean we blindly follow Draco or any of those idiot Death Eater wannabes."
"I know what you have said," replied Hermione with a slight whine in her voice, "but this is really important and I need to be really careful about all of this."
"Don't you trust us, Hermione?" asked Daphne with a slight pout.
Tom Marvolo Riddle, more commonly known to the magical world as Lord Voldemort, sat in his throne like chair in what used to be the ball room in Malfoy Manor. There was no need to entertain and impress anyone with fancy balls and parties in his mind, but he did want a place where his loyal followers could gather as a large group when he gave them their marching orders and when he gave them his inspirational speeches to inspire his Death Eaters when they would go and do his bidding. He looked around the room. It was adequate for his needs right now, but once he completely took over magical Britain he could arrange a much more impressive throne room in what was now the Ministry of Magic. Voldemort was surveying the room as he had a sudden feeling of worry and anxiety.
He stood up and looked around the room. He was alone, as well he knew he should be. At least non of his minions were present to witness his face of worry and anxiety. That would have been dangerous to allow any of his followers to even think that he might have even the slightest weakness. As he started to walk around the dais on which his throne was placed he once again had a feeling of worry. This caught him by surprise and he felt weak in his legs and sat down quickly and closed his eyes. Then he saw the vision. Potter with a friend or two, worrying about that little mud-blood whom everyone thought was so smart. Voldemort had thought that he had been able to block such images from his mind. He concentrated anew on his occlumency shields and the vision and emotions that must have been coming from that brat Potter finally stopped.
Voldemort rubbed his forehead as he tried to expel those images from his mind. Potter really cares for that mud-blood he thought. Then the Dark Lord had a thought, and a smile crossed his face. He would take that concern that Potter had for that mud-blood and he would turn it back against him. As the plan became clearer in his mind he started to laugh out loud with how wonderfully wicked it would be for such a plan to come to fruition. Malfoy Manor shook with the uncontrolled hissing noise that Voldemort considered laughter. All of the other people in the large house felt a chill of fear at that noise.
Slytherin Common Room
Draco was sitting by himself in the middle of the Slytherin common room, and he was sulking. He knew he had a deadline to meet, he needed to finish fixing the vanishing cabinet and it needed to be done before tomorrow afternoon. But for some reason he still could not make it work. He looked around the room at the few people who were still there. A couple of second years were studying at a table on one side. When they noticed that Malfoy was glaring at them they quickly grabbed their books and headed into their dorms.
Draco laughed quietly at the fear and intimidation he could create with just a look. He thought about what Crabbe and Goyle might be doing, wasting time hiding somewhere until they changed back into their normal hulking selves. Even his sometimes girl friend, Pansy Parkinson wasn't around. He realized she was probably out on her little mission. She thought herself so special when she was asked to take on her own mission. Draco let out a derisive laugh at the thought that Pansy actually thought her mission was truly important. He knew there was no way the faction of Potter haters within the ministry would achieve their goal tonight, for Potter was just too damned lucky. The team that was coming to try and apprehend him wouldn't stand a chance, but Pansy was picked to help them. Maybe her father knew of the plan and put in a good word for her. It didn't really matter right now, because she was off doing her role and he was stuck in the Slytherin dungeon with nothing to do, unless he decided to head back up and try and work on the vanishing cabinet again.
But then again, he thought, maybe he'd just wait here and see what information any of his house mates might turn up with, because after all he did give orders to everyone to trail Potter and his blood traitor friends.
Hogwarts, main entry way near the Great Hall
Ron and Harry were making their way down the stairs as they were on their way to find Hermione. They heard some voices up ahead and they decided to quietly stop behind a corner and look down at the open area in front of the Great Hall to see who was there. Harry had experienced too many times of running into trouble at night in the halls of Hogwarts, so he had learned to be very cautious. The two friends peered around the corner and noticed Pansy Parkinson leading a small group of Slytherin students towards the main door.
Ron was about to ask why Malfoy wasn't there with them, but Harry silenced him quickly. Listening closely they were able to hear Pansy speaking to the others in her group.
"Remember, once we get outside we head straight towards the edge of the Forbidden Forest. Our contact will meet us there. Don't make a sound, don't even breathe hard. And no light or anything that might draw attention to us." The group of four students with her all nodded in reply. "And it won't be just me you will have to answer to if you mess this up in any way!" she threatened.
Harry and Ron watched the five Slytherins make their way out of the main door and into the dark night.
"I wonder what they're up to," said Ron out loud once Harry released the silencing charm. "And where the hell is Malfoy?"
"Don't worry about that Ron," chastised Harry. "Lets just go find Hermione."
At the edge of the Forbidden Forest, near a clearing on the far side of the Black Lake, the five students waited somewhat impatiently. One of the group was starting to fidget.
"Calm down, Beardsley," hissed Pansy. "You're not actually afraid, are you? What do you think an acromantula is going to come out and eat you?"
The fidgeting student stopped suddenly at being chastised. "Just a little nervous with waiting here, that's all," he said in his defence.
"Well, I told you all we needed to stay quiet. If you make too much noise you might draw the attention of that lumbering half-witted half giant, and we don't need any attention drawn to us, now do we?" she snapped back, her voice a little louder.
In her speaking she did not hear the sound of footsteps coming through the woods behind her.
"Hem, hem," came the shrill voice of the leader of the small group of people that had just entered the clearing from the forest. "What are you all just standing around for? I'm sure that lying and no good trouble maker must be up and about in the castle. We will find him and we will deal with him." She looked at the group of students who had come to meet her. She sized them all up and down with her eyes. Then she turned to face Pansy. "So Miss Parkinson, all of these are proper witches and wizards, no magic stealing muggle borns in this group?"
"Of course not, Professor Umbridge!" replied Pansy with pride.
"Now dear, I am not currently your professor," purred the former Undersecretary to the Minister. "But if all goes well we shall be rid of both that reckless youth, Potter, and the meddling old fool Dumbledore and we can restore this once proud school to the glory of teaching only true wizards and witches."
Her voice seemed to drip with honey as she spoke to the group gathered around her. "Let us make our way up to the school now, my dears," she added. The students started to follow her, but the two men who had accompanied her stayed behind in the clearing.
"But aren't those two coming with us?" asked Pansy, feeling a little confused.
"Oh no, my dear," answered Umbridge, "they just came along to make sure I reached here safely. After all, they were not professors here. I was the acting headmistress at the time I was abducted by those foul centaurs. My friends who brought me here do have permission to use what ever force is necessary if any of those horrid beasts try to show up once again. They will also help us once we have apprehended young Mr. Potter and brought him out here to return him to the ministry where he can finally be tried for all of the crimes he has committed against good and decent wizards and witches."
The group then followed their newly returned leader towards the school in silence. Once they neared the main entry way, Dolores spoke to them in hushed tones. "Just remember, once I return to my rightful place as the headmistress of this school, the Inquisitorial Squad will be reinstated and I already know who will be appointed the student leaders." Then she turned and walked up to the main door and slowly pulled it open.
Restricted Section - Hogwarts Library
Daphne and Tracey stood on either side of Hermione as she started to look through the index of the book. "Here we are," stated Hermione, "horcruxes, their creation and their usefulness, page 318."
"What the bloody hell is a horcrux?" asked Tracey.