Chapter 19

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It had been 3 and a half weeks since Hermione had held the Death-Eater meeting at Riddle Manor. It had been 3 and a half weeks since Draco had last defied her. It had been 3 and a half weeks since Hermione had dished out her stores of Polyjuice to her followers. They only had half a week left.

Hermione was stood once again in the foyer of Riddle Manor, both nervous and giddy with the anticipation of the upcoming step and the progress in her plans. Her Death-Eaters had been carrying out their tasks brilliantly over the last couple of weeks, seeding uncertainty about the Order of The Pheonix into the minds of the Wizarding World. They'd been spreading fast, fast enough that the Daily Prophet had published articles doubting the goals and actions of the Order. Even Kingsley Shacklebolt - who knew exactly what the Order had done- was running around, a bit like a headless chicken, trying to quiet the rumours that spread truth. Oh yes, Hermione was very happy with their success.

Suppressing a smile behind a mask of indifference, Hermione took out her wand and called her Death-Eaters to her. The mask slipped for a small second as she noticed no one was tardy, wearing bathrobes with rubber ducks in pockets or missing. For once. Amycus Carrow walked forward to stand by her right, only to find that Draco was already standing there.

"Move." Amycus hissed in Draco's ear, trying to be discreet and not catch the attention of their leader.

"Why should I?" Draco flicked his eyes towards him, looking bored and unimpressed at the sight of the man.

"I'm our Lady's right hand man, I always stand there, and you know it." Amycus glared at the blonde haired boy, desperately wishing to maim the face that seems to make all girls swoon. Draco just smirked, increasing the temptation so very much for Amycus. Amycus took deep breaths, trying to keep a relatively cool facade and ignore the fact that Draco's face was right there, less than a punch away. Under Hermione's reign, the Death-Eater's abandoned their masks as Hermione preferred to know exactly what her followers were feeling - she particularly enjoyed the looks on their faces when she inflicted pain and torture through various means.

"Those aren't good enough reasons." Draco was enjoying watching Amycus get riled up.

"Didn't you hear what I said? I'm her right hand man. That means that I have a higher rank than you, and not just because I didn't flee in the Battle of Hogwarts."

Despite trying to be discreet, Hermione's attention had been turned towards the two bickering by her side the second Amycus had said 'move'. Before Draco could retaliate or defend himself, Hermione made a coy smile, shocking the others as they'd never seen their Dark Lady show any signs of playfulness. "Ladies, we haven't got all day. Wrap it up." She drawled.

Neither made a motion to move. Amycus continued glaring at Draco, and in his blindness of irritation unintentionally disobeyed his Lady, something he was sure to regret later. Draco, however flashed a charming smile at Hermione. "My Lady, I apologise, but I do not see what the matter is if I stand here." Draco said, with sickly false innocence dripping from his words, causing to roll her eyes.

"You see exactly what the matter is." Hermione replied, to which he smiled cheekily, but instead of making Draco move she focused more on Amycus. "Carrow, it makes no difference whether you stand on my left or right." A cue for him to move and not argue. Amycus's nostrils flared in anger as he positioned himself on Hermione's left, and the others raised their eyebrows, but Hermione's decision had been expected -whether it was meant to be in the far future or a few seconds ago. It was well known throughout the Wizarding World that Draco and Hermione had been getting closer, photos of them splayed across the front pages of the Daily Prophet, just above the articles about the Order. The Death-Eaters had expected Draco to move up in the ranks, and Amycus had been feeling particularly threatened by the idea. Looks like it wasn't just an idea anymore.

"I'm sorry, My Lady." Amycus muttered after a few seconds.

Hermione ignored him and decided to press forwards with the meeting. "As you all should know due to the reminders I've given you at the end of each meeting we've had for the past few weeks, your supply of Polyjuice potion will be running out in half a weeks time. This means that it is time to prepare for the next step. We've spread rumours, created doubt but we haven't exposed solid evidence to support the truth. We need to expose the brutality of the Order." She paused to let this sink in, their work wasn't done, despite the false hope that some had clung to - that they could get back to their old lives and leave this behind. "Each of you will be given a task you must complete on a certain date. The day after your last batch of Polyjuice has run out is the signal for the first task. Your tasks will be setting up various scenarios that would indicate my father's return, this would get the Order involved as well as the Auror office. However, due to the decrease in nosiness of Gryffindors you'll be able to set all this up without getting caught. The clues will lead to Hermione Granger. That. Is. On. Purpose." Hermione looked all her Death-Eaters in the eyes, several of them looking severely confused. "Is this understood?" They all nodded. "Tasks will appear next to the Dark Mark over the next couple of days. All are dismissed except Malfoy."


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