“Welcome back, my faithful servants. I know that this meeting time is inconvenient for some of you,” he looked at three of the robed figures standing silently in front of him. “I have a treat for my newest servant. It will prove his loyalty to me. If he fails, then he will be killed. The task is not impossible, nor is it hard, unless my servant is a traitor.” Voldemort paused for effect, staring into the black eyes of all of the masks in front of him. “Weasley! Snape! Step forward.”
With hesitation, Ron did. It made him nervous that the dark lord might consider him a traitor already, when he had only attended two meetings. It must be the fact that I’m in Gryffindor with Harry Potter, he thought. But Wormtail was in Gryffindor, too, and as far as I know, he’s loyal.
He didn’t look to the side, but he could feel Snape’s overpowering presence next to him. It was every bit as intimidating as it was in the Potions classroom, and it was almost as strong as his Master’s was. Together, they knelt in front of the Dark Lord, kissed his robes, and retreated a few steps in silence. Ron stared straight ahead, keeping his face as blank as possible, even though it was covered by his mask, and shaded by his hood.
The dark lord made a motion with his hands, and Wormtail stepped out from behind the throne, dragging three people behind him. One was a middle-aged, large and beefy man. Ron struggled to keep his face blank as he recognized who it was, and who the other two must be. It was Harry’s muggle relatives, the ones that he had to live with over the summer, who hated him.
“Weasley, we are going to play a little game. Snape has played many times, as have all of my other servants.” Voldemort smiled sadistically. “I am giving you the gift of three muggles. You may do with them as you like, but keep them alive. When you are done, they will be returned to their home, with their memory intact. It will serve my purpose of destroying Potter.”
Those that didn’t know exactly who the three muggles were were puzzled by the Dark Lord’s statement. How could torturing three stupid muggles bring down Harry Potter? Ron knew the answer to that one. Over the summer, he was safe from Voldemort while he was at his relative’s house, but he wasn’t safe from his relatives. It was ingenious.
Remembering a story Harry had once told him about the boa constrictor at the Zoo, Ron slowly drew his wand and hissed, “serpensortia!” Slowly, a large black snake fell out of his wand. It spied its new targets, and moved menacingly forward, circling them slowly.
Ron felt instinctively that he had control over the snake, as though he had cast the Imperious Curse on it. He thought about what he wanted it to do, and watched with some amusement as it followed his orders.
It continued to circle, getting closer to the muggles every time. Finally, it was brushing their feet every time it passed, and Ron felt a small bit of satisfaction as he watched the muggles trembling with fear. It circled a few more times, before curling up in front of Harry’s annoying cousin. It raised itself until it was looking straight into the frightened boy’s eyes and bared its fangs, as though it was about to strike. Ron noticed the small, rank smelling pool that had formed at the boy’s feet. Typical, cowardly muggle. He thought. It brought a smile to his face.
My father’s a fool to like them so much, he thought. He called his mind back to the present, and watched as the boy passed out in fright, almost landing on his mother, who had done the same thing a few minutes before. He hit the ground with a resounding thud. Harry’s uncle looked down at his wife and child and screamed. Ron laughed and sent a minor pain spell his way. Not as strong as an unforgivable, but enough. The muggle didn’t know the difference, and continued to scream until his throat was completely dry. Finally, Ron released him, banished the snake, bowed to Voldemort, and backed up so that he was once again standing in the circle of silent, black figures.
He smiled, glad that his mask prevented anyone from seeing his emotions. He knew that Harry would be happy about the little episode, until he went home for the summer. Then he would regret ever having defeated the Dark Lord in the first place.
Wormtail levitated the bodies out of the chamber, and Voldemort let out a high, cruel laugh. Harry had described it to him before, but it was nothing like he had ever imagined. It rang with cruelty, power, and malice. Once again, Ron felt himself smiling. He liked the sound.
Finally, Voldemort spoke again. “Weasley, you are indeed a faithful servant, a very impressive show. Thank you,” Voldemort clapped his hands for a few seconds, and abruptly stopped. The sound echoed for a few seconds, before the room fell into a strangled silence. “Weasley, I want you to continue to find ways to bring down Potter, you are closest to him, and he trusts you. Make sure you don’t betray that trust,” He let out a short, harsh laugh, and the sound died the instant he stopped. The room was once again silent for a while before Voldemort barked “Dismissed!”
Ron followed Snape out of the room, and back to the fireplace. Within seconds, he slammed into the ground in the Potion master’s dungeon, and scrambled out of the way, so that Snape could return as well.
“Well done, Weasley.” He said as he came out of the floo. “I didn’t expect that from you.”
Without saying a word, Ron took off his mask, handed it to Snape, and left.
* * *
Back in the Gryffindor Common room, Ron sat in front of the fire thinking about what he had just done. He had never thought that he would be a person to torture muggles, especially given what his dad thought about them. He would be disappointed in me, Ron thought. But he probably won’t ever find out.
He sighed and continued to stare into the fire, getting lost in the swirling, dancing colors. Hours passed and he didn’t notice. He wasn’t asleep, but he had stopped thinking hours ago. His mind was locked in a fierce battle, but he wasn’t even aware of it anymore. It didn’t matter. He would serve his master no matter what. He had pledged his life, and he would give it.
Ron started, and looked around to see whom it was. It was Hermione, standing in her doorway. He cursed himself for forgetting that she was an early riser. She liked to have the peace and quiet before the daily grind of classes, as she always told him and Harry. It was the one thing that she did that she didn’t try to persuade them to join her.
“Hey, Hermione.” Ron looked guiltily at her. He didn’t want to talk to anyone, especially her, but he couldn’t get out of the conversation now, he had returned the greeting.
“What are you doing out here?” she asked. “I thought you would still be in bed. You’re never up early.”
“I couldn’t sleep after detention last night,” he said. It was true, he mused. He couldn’t sleep. Hadn’t slept. “so I just sat down and fell asleep in the chair.” That was a lie. He couldn’t remember any other time that he had lied to her, but she couldn’t know what he did, or he wouldn’t be able to follow his orders. If he didn’t, it would be disaster. “I’m sorry if I’m intruding on your personal time, Hermione.” He looked at her with the most sincere expression he could put on. He really was sorry. If it were his time, he would have blown up at the offender. As it was, Hermione searched his face, and sat down in the chair next to him.
“It’s ok, Ron. I want to talk to you anyway.”
Ron cringed, turning his face away from her so that she wouldn’t see the expression. She couldn’t have figured anything out this quickly. He had only been to three meetings, and one during his supposed detention time.
She continued, not noticing his silence. “I’m sorry Harry and I have been spending so much time together. We’re both concerned that you’ve been feeling left out.” She looked at him much more carefully this time. “If you do have a problem, just tell us, and we’ll behave. I promise.” She smiled, and gave his hand a small squeeze.
“It’s ok, Hermione. I promise. I’ve just been thinking a lot lately. I hardly noticed the change.” That’s a lie, he thought. I noticed as soon as I saw you on the train. You couldn’t wait to get away from me so that you could be alone together. If you think that’s the truth, then something happened to you. He looked at her with what he hoped was a sincere expression. Serving the Dark Lord really does have benefits. At least I learned how to control my facial expressions.
She smiled and nodded, obviously thinking about something that she wasn’t ready to put into words yet. They sat there for a while in dead silence before Hermione spoke again.
“You’ve changed, Ron. I don’t know what happened to you, but something did. Is it your family?” She asked.
Damn. Breath. Think. Lie. “No, I think it’s just that it’s the last year of school. It’s strange to think that the next time we leave the castle it will be for good. Unless, of course, you come back to teach. I don’t think either Harry or I are fit for the job. We wouldn’t assign homework, and we’d constantly have McGonagall on our backs for it.” Breathe Weasley. Don’t let her see that you are lying.
“I never thought that you would be sad at the thought of leaving school. Just think: after the next nine months, we won’t have to see Snape ever again.”
Oh yes I will. If I’m going to continue to be in the Dark Lord’s service after school, then I’m going to have to see him. He really isn’t that bad. “Thank god for that. I don’t know why he continues to teach. The students don’t like him, and no one ever understands what’s going on.”
“Oh Ron, If you would pay attention in class instead of trying to plot ways to sabotage his class then you might get better marks.” She laughed at her own joke.
“Not that you can pay attention in any class we share with our savior, Mr. Potter.” He put an extraordinary amount of emphasis on savior, but she took it as nothing more than it used to be: a jab at everyone’s view of Harry.
But Ron had meant it in a different way. Sure, the wizarding world saw him as a hero for blocking the curse of the Dark Lord once, but to keep thinking that he was a hero when he had actually helped the Dark Lord to rise again was absurd. And there was also the issue of how fast he would fall now that his “best friend” had betrayed him. Had been for two months without anyone knowing any differently. He snickered quietly.
Finally, Hermione gave up trying to talk to him, seeing that he clearly wasn’t in the mood for it. She squeezed his hand again, and left, presumably to go back to her room to say good morning to Harry.
Ron wiped his hand on his pants as soon as she was gone. He really liked Hermione. She was smart, funny, kind, beautiful and several other adjectives that came to his mind, but hurt too much to think. But she was muggle-born, and could never live up to proper wizarding standards. As much as he liked her and respected her abilities, he still had to watch himself when he was around her. Her attention to details was as good as ever, and now that she suspected he was acting strangely, she would stop at nothing to find out what was wrong. Unless he managed to stay out of her way, so that she could occupy herself with Harry. If he couldn’t stay away from her, then there would be nothing he could do to keep his secret from her.
He knew that he would never be able to harm her. She had once been his best friend (besides Potter). He had talked to her about everything from potions homework to their first love interests (his had been her), and they had been on a few stumbling dates before they had realized that they truly were just friends. Even if she wasn’t a proper witch, she shouldn’t be killed. Her intellect was superior, and if she married a proper, pure-blooded wizard, their children could be legendary. He might even persuade them to follow in their “Uncle Ron’s” footsteps.
He knew that Draco Malfoy was bent on getting her killed. He just had to make sure that he never attempted anything. He could argue that she was too close to Potter, and would bring his attention to them before they were ready for a fight.
Harry, Potter, deserved to die. He had defeated the Dark Lord too many times, and he needed to be taken down a peg, even if the only way to do it was to kill him. He couldn’t be allowed to survive in the regime the Dark Lord wanted to build. No doubt he would be a foolish Gryffindor and lead a puny resistance, only to be crushed along with his small legions. It was too risky to keep him around. He would find some way to take them all down. The only way to prevent that was to take him down first. Simple, really, which is why Harry would never expect it. It saddened him that he was thinking about his former best friend in this manner, but it was all for the general good of the wizarding world. After all, their supposed savior was a half-blood anyway. He ignored the fact that he was currently serving a Master whose blood was less pure than Harry’s.
He had pledged his life to the Dark Lord, and he would give it if necessary. He was willing to make the sacrifice for a worthy cause, and it truly was. It would give all wizards something to be proud of. They wouldn’t have to hide from the muggles. They would eventually kill all of them, and populate the world with wizards. And they would all be pure-blooded. No more contamination of the population. Squibs wouldn’t be allowed to reproduce, since they were as worthless as muggles. The only difference was that they knew about the wizarding world.
Oh well, he thought, Time to get on with my day. Rule number 1 Weasley: Don’t show your arm, and Rule number 2: Pretend you aren’t a servant of the Dark Lord. You can’t afford to slip up so soon.
With a sigh, he got up to get changed (without showing his left forarm). It was time to face the day in the way he always did: As the Great Harry Potter’s sidekick. He knew that one day that it would change. That Potter would be following him around, preferably in chains. But it would be better if he was just plain dead.
As he was leaving the dorm, and idea struck him. Why not capture Sirius Black? They could hand him over to the ministry, and no one would know who did it. Black would immediately get the Kiss, and Potter would be ruined. Then they could work on Lupin, one by one, taking away all of the people that had been close to Lily and James Potter. It would kill Harry, and he would have less work to do. It was too easy. But then I have to find Black first. And if he even suspects that anyone is after him, he’ll run. But Dumbledore… A much easier target. Harry’s beloved mentor must be brought down.