Sarah is starting to get under the Dark Lord's skin. In hopes of keeping his inability to kill her a secret (and to keep her close by when he finally does figure out how to kill her), he brings her...
Disclaimer: Okay, I confess! I'm J. K. Rowling, and the reason I've taken forever to write the books is that I'm too busy writing Fanfictions! casts worried glance at angry mob On second thought, I'm just an adoring fan, and I don't own Harry Potter.
Voldemort sighed despite himself as he waited for Wormtail to find a spare blanket for Sarah. The girl had followed the two of them to his hideout, and threatened to steal his wand again if he tried to disappear. Though annoyed, the Dark Lord was intrigued by the girl's determination, as well as her general lack of fear. Despite her bizarre behavior, she was obviously intelligent, though she still followed him tirelessly.
"W-where shall I p-put these, M-Master?" Wormtail whimpered once he returned from his expedition, carrying an armful of blankets and sheets.
"Place them there," Voldemort said absently, gesturing to a sofa at the side of the room.
"Of c-course," Wormtail said, quickly obeying.
"This is great!" Sarah laughed, bouncing around the room. "Just like a slumber party! This-" she was froze at the soft hiss of a large, acid green snake as it wound its path across the ground toward her. The snake examined her coldly, flicking its tongue.
"Nagini," Voldemort said. The snake instantly turned and glided to his feet. It hissed at him, though somehow, the sound was less threatening now. Oddly enough, Voldemort spoke to the snake, though he didn't use words, but soft, whispering hisses. The snake glanced back at Sarah for a moment, then slipped away, casually gliding up a banister, where it watched the scenes with mild interest.
"Wow," Sarah breathed. "A...a green mamba, right?" Her mood seemed to have changed to one of respectful awe. Voldemort nodded, struck that she was so well informed. "Is Nagini its name?"
"/Her/ name," the wizard corrected.
"Oh...sorry. And what were those sounds you were making? You sounded kind of like a snake yourself."
"I should think so. That was /Parseltongue/. The language of the snakes."
"Cool...Could you teach me to speak it?" Voldemort was beginning to enjoy the moment of calm.
"It is a language known from birth. It cannot be learned, nor taught."
"Oh...that's too bad. You can understand snakes too, then?" she cast a respectful glance at the snake and began to set up her bed on the couch.
"I can," Voldemort said.
"That must come in handy." She was now fluffing a large pillow.
"Very often. It is a highly coveted talent," the wizard preened. Sarah laughed softly.
"I thought so. Say," her mood brightened to a bubbly eagerness. "Do you have anything to eat around here? I'm starved!"
"Go make something for us to eat, Wormtail," Voldemort commanded. "And don't destroy the kitchen this time." Sarah looked slightly disturbed by this comment.
"On second thought, how's pizza sound? I know Papa John's delivers, and-"
"No!" the wizard snapped. Sarah raised an eyebrow.
"What? Don't you like pizza? We could get Chinese, too."
"Our stay here is supposed to be a secret. No one has inhabited this house for years, and it would hinder my plans severely if people begin to suspect that I am here, which they will if you have /pizza delivered to the front door!/" Sarah was smiling and nodding, though she looked as though she was holding back a long string of giggles.
"All righty, Volders, she said, reaching into her backpack and producing a bag of beef jerky. "Do you want some?" she asked, popping a piece into her mouth and chewing it thoughtfully. Voldemort rolled his eyes and took a few pieces of dried meat from the bag. Wormtail tentatively followed suit before rushing off to cook dinner.
"You know, there is such thing as take out," Sarah said, bouncing onto the couch/bed. Voldemort raised an eyebrow at her. "You know, I walk in, order a pizza, and twenty minutes later, I pick it up. No hassle, no ruined secret identity, no discovered hiding place, no need for a tip. Just pizza."
"I take it that you are fond of pizza," Voldemort said, easing into an armchair.
"It's really good," she confirmed. "But I'm not going to say no to cooked food either. Hamburgers are great and all, but they get kind of boring after a while."
"Then you are going to be sorely disappointed," the wizard said dryly. "Wormtail can cook, but his...creations...are far from appetizing."
"Maybe he just needs some help, is all."
She got up and walked into the kitchen. Fifteen minutes later she walked out again, her face and most of her clothes covered in soot. She coughed and wiped her eyes.
"He says he's got it all taken care of," she said. Voldemort leaned over and tried to glance into the kitchen, but saw nothing but thick black smoke.
"It's coming along fine!" he heard Peter Petigrew shout from the room. He glanced back at Sarah, who was shaking her head and mouthing what appeared to be 'don't ask'.
"One second," she said aloud as he nodded. "Let me change." She turned to the side to leave, then stopped suddenly. "Er...where's the bathroom?" she asked.
"Down the hall, second door to your left," the wizard said quietly, still trying to peer through the smoke that was leaking into the room.
"Thanks," Sarah said, grabbing her backpack from next to the couch/bed and disappearing into the hall.
Several minutes passed before she returned, wearing a sweat suit, her pulled into a braid and her face thoroughly washed.
"Much better," she sighed, dropping back into the couch.
"You ran away from home, didn't you?" Voldemort asked suddenly. Sarah considered the question for a moment.
"I ran away from where I used to live, yes. But it wasn't home." Her tone was light and cheerful, but her face showed complete sobriety.
"Do you intend to return to school in the autumn?" he asked. Sarah shrugged sadly.
"I'd like to. I can't though." This interested Voldemort. Though he would rather swallow a toad than admit it, he had enjoyed school; it had been a welcomed refuge from the cold orphanage into which his childhood years had disappeared.
"Why wouldn't you?"
"I got expelled." Her tone was still light, a slight smile still remained on her face, but her eyes showed something deeper. Sorrow. Pain. Anger.
"Why?" The word seemed strange to the wizard. But he was intrigued now.
"Er...I think the official report says 'assault and attempted assault on other students'..." she trailed off.
"Indeed?" Voldemort asked, now completely interested. "And what exactly happened off this report?" Sarah shrugged.
"Somebody put my stepfather's gun and a forged hit list in my backpack. Well... First period, when I put my backpack down, the gun went off, and one of the students got hurt pretty bad. Long story short is that I got kicked out of school."
"Wh-" Voldemort was interrupted when Wormtail stumbled out of the kitchen, his face black with soot, followed by a procession of smoke.
"D-dinner," he coughed, "is ready..."
"Let us make haste, Lord Volders," Sarah laughed, instantly shifting from her earlier mood. "Another fine adventure awaits us at Master Wormtail's glorious feast!" she jumped to her feet and bounded to the kitchen to help Peter Pettigrew. Lord Voldemort slowly rose from his seat and followed after her, slightly annoyed at the interruption.
Lord Voldemort stared in amusement at Sarah, who was poking the deformed mass on her plate suspiciously.
"It looks good," she lied. "You know, Wormtail, you could start a new weight loss plan. You'd make millions." Voldemort smirked at no one. His servant stuttered a sheepish thanks, clearly missing the meaning behind the compliment. "But have you ever been to Don Pablo's? They have this great new menu. You have to try it! Maybe tomorrow..."
Perhaps my days of starvation are over, the Dark Lord thought in an unusual streak of optimism, smirking a little wider as he watched Sarah wrestle her food down her throat.