Gone

Chapter 9

J K Rowling owns all the rights to the books and the amazing characters she created. I write only to satisfy my imagination and use my creativity and make no money from my writings.

NOTE: Sorry I haven't updated but I lost an entire folder containing several stories - even the backups and no amount of retrieval could get it back. Also I have been sick, a friend died and thus I have writer's block. This chapter had been half completed so I finished it and hope you like it.

Chapter 9 – Pandemonium Reigns

The day after Dumbledore's arrest, both Sal and Voldie were handed a copy of the Prophet during breakfast. Both almost choked on their food when they read the headline, but after reading the entire article, two very impressive temper tantrums were seen. Thankfully for the tender ears of most of the students and some of the younger Death Eaters, Sal and Voldie did their cursing in parseltongue. Since Sal was the only one to receive a copy of the Prophet, all students were left in the dark as Sal immediately demanded that the teachers follow him for an emergency meeting.

Voldie was doing the same thing and summoned all Death Eaters to an emergency meeting and only death (your own) allowed you to miss the gathering. Poor Severus Snape had just set down in the teachers' staff room when he collapsed in pain. Flitwick quickly explained to Sal what apparently was happening and said "It will soon pass" only for Severus to state "Not this time. From the strength of the calling, the Dark Lord is summoning every one of his followers and unless I answer his call – in other words I might not survive the summons." But Sal was at heart a merciful man and waved his wand at Snape while uttering a spell in parsel which stunned Snape into unconsciousness and stopped the pain knowing that once all of Tom Riddle's minions arrived he would stop the summoning and Snape could be revived.

The newspaper informed the public that according to the Goblins, with the exception of three students, ALL trust vaults were still active. Thus the rest of the Hogwarts students and the vaults of all the Hogwarts staff, except for Dumbledore, meant that THEY WERE ALIVE! Dumbledore had been shocked as he truly thought all were dead, and after being thoroughly examined by some Unspeakables and a few Goblins, it was confirmed that he was not lying and knew nothing about the now missing students and staff.

Hogwarts was founded in the late 10th century whereas Gringotts was established in 1474. Therefore, Sal and the other Founders never had a vault at the bank and it had been fifty years later when the Hogwarts vault was created to collect student fees, donations, pay bills and the staff and any other expenses. Arwen had told Sal about the currency invented by the Goblins – which he thought was a terrible idea knowing what he knew about Goblins and then the ensuing rebellions (in Britain mostly).

"What fool thought it was a good idea to establish a monetary system controlled by the little…creatures? Who would place their money, heirlooms, jewelry, books and other personal and precious things in their hands?" Sal had ranted.

"Where did you keep your money?" Filius Flitwick asked.

"After we founded Hogwarts, none of us had any money left as most students, especially the children of the Unblessed (what he called Muggleborns) couldn't afford the fees and the Muggleborns as you refer to them, had to be rescued and became our wards while they attended school and until they could fend for themselves. They had to be fed, clothed, get a wand and anything else they needed as they couldn't return to their former homes without risking being burned, stoned, bludgeon, imprisoned or whatever else the Unblessed did to the 'evil ones'" Sal stated.

Arwen sincerely apologize for not remembering about the vaults, but it was too late to do anything – except to think up a plan and further strengthen the already formidable wards. The students were not to know about this glitch.

"Now that they know we're alive" Aurora Sinistra said "Can they find us by scrying or spells from a family Grimoire?"

"Hopefully the wards will hold and prevent scrying but who knows what is contained in family Grimoires" Sal stated. "We might have to wait and see and set up a kind of warning - what do you call it Arwen?"

"Radar. I think there is such a spell or charm but I don't know it."

"I think I know where to find it" the Professor said "But Ath (the other sister) and I will have to leave, probably break into a very secure governmental area, and copy it as I don't think we would get away with 'borrowing' it." After arranging for their classes to be covered, they left.

The morning classes had been cancelled (without telling the students why) but while some were grateful, others (a few guesses who) were bursting with curiosity but as usual there were no answers forthcoming. That wouldn't stop the very determined and if she had to, Hermione Granger would deal with the devil – or rather Draco Malfoy – to help with her plan.

It was rumored that Snape was in the Infirmary, so on the way to Charms class which Gryffindors shared with Slytherins, Hermione called Draco aside and briefed him on her plan. Surprisingly, he agreed with her. Draco had access to Snape's quarters and private lab and after the afternoon classes were finished, Hermione and Draco snuck into Snape's private lab and looked for the Potions Master's stash of Veritaserum.

Naturally he had hidden it but eventually they found it. Now all they had to do was find a teacher, stun and sneak him/her into a vacant classroom, disillusion themselves, disguise their voices, administer the potion and ask any and all questions starting with what was in the Prophet that caused Sal to throw a fit and all teachers to leave for a meeting.

It was very risky but both students' curiosity was such that they were willing to risk it. What was the worst that could happen? Okay, getting expelled but as Hermione stated at least they would be free to leave.

"Granger, I think getting expelled from this place means something entirely different from how we view expelled at Hogwarts" Draco stated. "They just might open the door, throw us out and tell us goodbye and there we are, freezing to death."

"I seriously doubt they would actually kill us" she replied smugly. "I think that the teachers wouldn't allow it – killing us, that is."

"What about Umbridge?"

Hermione sighed as if she had the weight of the world on her shoulders before replying "Everybody wanted the Toad dead. She was an adult, a very evil one, whereas we are children so there is a difference."

"In case you haven't noticed, the teachers are just as much prisoners as we are" Draco added.

"Well you can always use your 'wait until my father hears about this' threat because after all, you are a Malfoy."

"Yes, a Malfoy whose parents and probably the world think that I am dead. Besides, I've already tried that on different people and…it didn't work."

"Well then, we just won't get caught" Hermione said. "Now where shall we hide to lay in wait?"

Draco suggested that they hide near the infirmary as someone would probably visit Snape.

"He doesn't have any friends so why would he be visited by anybody" Hermione opined.

This ruffled Draco's feathers so he defended his Head of House by saying "Actually he is rather chummy with Sinistra, Vector, Babbling and Burbage – he is the only single male at the school under the age of forty and can actually hold an intelligent conversation."

Hermione's response was to "huff and then snort" but she did agree that someone would probably check up on him if only to report back to that Sal person (she still refused to believe he was the real Salazar Slytherin). It truly annoyed her when Charity Burbage approached the infirmary holding a bouquet of white carnations which, according to Draco, Snape was quite fond of.

Without commenting, Hermione sent a stunner towards Burbage who fell with a thud but still holding the bouquet. She made Draco disillusion himself and drag the teacher into the empty classroom they had decided to use for the interrogation. They tied the witch onto a chair, Hermione forced open the witch's mouth and put four drops of Veritaserum on the woman's tongue before reviving her.

Both students were disillusioned and had disguised their voices but Draco whispered "You were only supposed to use three drops."

Hermione sighed and said "She is probably heavily spelled so an extra drop should get past the hexes."

Draco just shook his head in disbelief. Even he knew it was no use to disagree with Granger once she made up her mind, especially when she was really doing things wrong – such as starting S.P.E.W without actually talking to house elves or listening to people, such as Longbottom it was said, who tried to tell her the truth.

Burbage slowly regained consciousness but seemed to be almost asleep which Draco thought was due to the extra drop of the potion.

"What was in the Daily Prophet that caused the fake Headmaster to react in such an undignified manner" Hermione demanded.

"I…we…were not told, just summoned to the staff lounge and told that classes were dismissed until further notice and to keep a watch on the students."

"There has to be more than that" Hermione snapped. "What happened to Snape?"

"His left arm caused him excruciating pain and he mentioned he had been summoned and might not survive unless he answered the call, so the Headmaster spelled him unconscious until it stopped."

"So you know absolutely nothing else about the article that made the Headmaster so angry" Draco asked much to Hermione's annoyance.

"None of us do, or at least we who were already working at Hogwarts until we were captured and brought here. One of the new ones might know but I can't be certain."

Since there was time still left, Hermione decided to ask a few other questions if only to satisfy her own curiosity.

"Where is Professor McGonagall? Is she safe or…dead?"

"As far as I know, she is safe but kept a prisoner in her quarters. There was no reason given but 'The Professor' as she calls herself insisted to the Headmaster that Minerva is not to be trusted, is too spelled and under the thumb of Dumbledore, and more hard-headed, irrational, opinionated and stubborn than the Granger bint."

Draco couldn't help himself and laughed while Hermione gave him a dirty look.

"What else do you know about Professor McGonagall?" Hermione asked. "I want to know everything that is being said about or done to her."

Burbage was silent for a bit, trying to remember the bit of gossip she had heard but Hermione thought she was stalling and demanded that Draco administer another drop or two of the truth potion."

"There is still about ten minutes left and I, at least, dare not administer more as it would cause her harm." Before Hermione replied she tried to grab the vial which Draco held onto tightly. He didn't like Burbage but he also didn't want to let Granger harm her and giving the woman more of the potion probably would and even he drew the line on killing a teacher – unless it was Dumbledore.

"I know what I am doing and she is fighting the potion" Hermione said.

"No, you don't know what you are doing and any book concerning Veritaserum and its effects would be in the restricted section because it is under strong rules of law by the Ministry."

"Then why does Snape have it on hand?" Hermione demanded.

"Because Dumbledore uses it – illegally I might add – for his own purposes. Sev could get in a lot of trouble if the Ministry raids his lab and finds it and Dumbles would, of course, deny knowing about its existence and who do you think they would believe? The Leader of the Light or a former Death Eater?" "And now that I think about it" Draco questioned "How do you know that Snape keeps a supply on hand."

Hermione was saved from answering because Burbage remembered something and said "I think there is a familial relationship with either Minerva being related to 'The Professor' or to Granger. I only heard the tail end of a bit of gossip so don't know exactly."

Now that statement got the complete attention of Hermione and Draco. However, before the shocked girl could ask some new questions, both she and Draco were hit with a spell and stunned unconscious. Perhaps due to the loudness of the voices, the spats and the fact that somebody forgot to close the door so although a silencing charm was put on the room the door was open and thus negated the protection.

Oh well, one couldn't think of everything especially when time was critical and a fool was involved – this was thought by both Hermione and Draco. It didn't matter now who was a fool or had been careless as the duo had been caught breaking numerous rules and they would have to think up some good excuses as they were levitated to the Headmaster's office.