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Chapter 1: Amid Strangers
The chill of the air brought small tears to the corner of her eyes as the cold wind went swiftly passed her. After quickly brushing them away, she immediately dug her hands back into the pockets of her thin jacket. It barely seemed to keep the cold out though; the winds blew through the material as if it were invisible. Trembling, she forced her legs to keep trudging through the deep snow. At some point, she kept telling herself, she was bound to run into something.
Her perceptive brown eyes looked up from the glaring snow, in front of her to the almost barren terrain ahead. There didn’t seem to be much optimism in her surroundings. A sigh escaped her thin, chapped lips; it felt like she had been walking for days. Pulling her cloak more tightly around her, she lost her footing and fell hard to the ground and for a moment she didn’t move. She didn’t want to. She didn’t even know why she was out in this splintering cold weather except that a small voice inside her kept saying that she had to keep moving. It felt, to her, that if she didn’t, something bad would happened.
Finally deciding to get up, she slowly pushed herself off the snowy ground. Her breath came out as short gasps as she brushed the remaining snow off her face and hands. Shivering more profusely now, she tried hurrying her steps to warm up.
Time seemed to drag on as her lonely figure travelled the land. Looking around her she noticed that the light of the day was slowly leaving. She knew that she would have to find a place to stay for the night, the only problem, she noted, was that the only place was the unsatisfactory packed snow around her. Again she sighed; by this time she could barely feel her feet except for the dull numbness that captured them. She pictured that somehow, she would find a suitable spot to rest, so her feet could warm up, if even for a little while. Pushing her hopeful thoughts away, she forced her eyes from the depressing sight in front of her and focussed on watching her feet slowly move through the snow. Her steps were getting slower though. She figured that if she didn’t find a place to sleep this would be it. She was already half frozen, and it was bound to get colder.
Just before the sun drifted beyond the horizon, she hopelessly took another half-hearted glance around her. Stopping in surprise, she stared at something in front of her. A grove of trees lay about a mile off. She blinked a few times thinking it was just her mind playing tricks on her, but when she reopened them the grove was still standing their firmly. In desperation, she quickened her pace.
When she finally reached the grove, darkness had settled around her. She stopped before entering, hesitant to go in. The grove of trees hadn’t always been there. She would have seen it before. But before she could ponder the sudden appearance, her exhaustion and numbness kicked in and without another thought she pushed her way into the thicket. A few minutes in, she stopped hearing the customary crunch of the snow beneath her feet. In confusion, she looked down only to notice that the snow as slowly giving away to green grass. She finally started to look around; the trees as well started to go from dead ones to trees covered in leaves. For once she found that her skin wasn’t stinging from the frigid air but was slowly warming up. The trees suddenly opened up to a meadow, cautiously she stepping in. The meadow was dark but she could tell that it was surrounded by more trees in a neat circle.
Barely being able to keep her eyes open for a moment longer, she gave into her exhaustion and curled up on the edge of the meadow and fell into a deep sleep.
Hours later the sun was shining brightly catching the last of the dew on the grass making it sparkle in brilliance. She was sitting upright against a tree trunk, munching on some berries she found a few meters away from where she had fallen asleep the night before. As she lifted her hand to her mouth, she noticed a mark on the inside of her wrist. Looking at it more closely she saw that it was shaped kind of like a skull and she could tell that something was coming out of the mouth of it. But the mark was faded and blurred and she couldn’t figure it out. She scrunched up her eyebrows trying to remember how she had gotten the mark. But memory of it had, as the mark seemed to be, faded and blurred.
Feeling not quite so hungry anymore, she figured that she should leave, something about how the winter turned to summer here gave her to cobwobbles. It only seemed like minutes and she was back out in the blistering cold. Stepping out from the grove, she wrapped her jacket around her, shivering. After a few steps she took a look back at her safe haven only to notice that it had disappeared from sight. Turning completely back around, she stared at where it used to be, but there wasn’t even the faintest sign of evidence that anything had been there at all. Frowning, she felt a shiver run up her spine, something couldn’t be right, things like that just don’t up and disappear.
Quickly she turned around again, the quicker she could get away form this place, she told herself, the better off she would be. But instead of moving forward, she bumped head into a monstrous man. Slowly, her eyes travelled up his brown coat, she could tell that underneath it would promise huge muscles. Her eyes caught a look at his hands; they were as big as saucepans! Slowly, she looked at his face, half afraid of what she would see. His face was mostly covered in a long, thick, mated brown beard but she spied out two beady brown eyes sticking out.
Her mouth opened and closed a few times, afraid to even let out a peep.
“Who- who are you?” She stuttered, her voice hoarse as if she hadn’t used it in a while.
“Name's Rubeus Hagrid but most folks call me Hagrid.“ The giant boomed with a twinkle in his eyes.
“Now I know yeh don’t rightly know me, but I got sent out ‘ere ter help yeh out. Jus’ grab onto this an’ we’ll be on our way.” He held out an old shoe that he pulled out of one of his many pockets.
She gave him an untrusting glare before taking a cautious step back.
“I ain’t goin ter hurt yeh, come on, less you wanna freeze.”
Giving a moment's thought, she looked behind her quickly. It was stay here, trying to get away from whatever happened here last night or come with this man, who did seem friendly enough.
Uncertainly, she grasped the old, smelly shoe and before she could rethink her decision she was sent spinning. It felt as if her insides were turning to mush and she had an urge to gag. After what seem liked forever, she fell to the ground abruptly. She looked at her surroundings, she was inside a dark building and the lights overhead were flickering, casting eerie shadows across the walls. Hagrid as he called himself was a few feet away.
“Well come on,” She looked at him still uncertain. Maybe it was the kindness in which he spoke to her with or the sparkle in his eyes, but she followed him through the door. In the room there was a table in the middle of it and there were a couple men and a woman sitting around it all had rather stern features.
“Thank you Hagrid we’ll take her from here,” the woman said. Her voice held a note of authority to it. Hagrid nodded and exited the room. With him gone, she started feeling trapped and a part of her said it would have been better dying in the cold then being here.
“That was a great piece of magic you did out their,” one of the men said. He had greying sandy coloured hair and a warm smile. She looked at this man in puzzlement.
“Magic,” she questioned quietly. “What magic?”
“Now’s not the time to be modest m’dear. Even the most advanced wizards have trouble conjuring that.” The other man said. Even though he said it kindly, she noticed a slight slip to his tone.
“I didn’t do any magic; I don’t even know what it is.” She replied still confused about the magic and wizard deal. The three people at the table were silent got a moment before it seemed like they came to a silent agreement.
“Well no need beating around the bush, can you tell us why you were out today, miss?” She looked around at the faces; even the man with the sandy hair no longer carried his warm smile. She frowned; she couldn’t fathom why it would matter to a stranger. She looked at the man who asked her the question. His dark eyes seared into her own look for an answer. She didn’t answer, he made her uncomfortable and she didn’t trust him. After a few minutes they stared looking impatient.
“Let’s try this again, why were you outside, in this weather, especially with what you are wearing.” He asked again, the clip in his tone more pronounced now. She looked at him with something close to annoyance, she didn’t like at how demanding he was.
“I got lost,” she said simply. Her nose twitched, it always did when she lied.
“You're lying.” he said angrily.
“Why am I here?” She said forcefully. “As far as I know I haven’t done anything wrong. Answer me that and I may be more willing to answer yours.”
“You conjured some very advanced magic in one of the most deserted areas in Britain.” The stern lady answered.
“I don’t understand I never did any – magic as you call it.”
“Does creating something that is not there ring a bell to you?”
“Terry do calm yourself,” she looked between the three people.
“I didn’t do anything,“ she said more heatedly. “I got lost and then that large man found me.” Again her nose twitched. Even though she was unsure herself why she was out there, she knew that she hadn’t been lost.
“Let me explain this better, we got word that some highly advanced magic, and lot of it, was being done where you were found. Naturally, it made us suspicious to why; it’s our job to check it out.” She looked at the woman suspiciously, it felt like there was something she wasn’t being told. “We just need to know why you conjured what you did, and where is you wand?” she looked at the woman dumbly.
“I don’t have a wand-”
“She’s lying!” The man called Terry spat out loudly. The girl looked over at him again; she wasn’t very fond of him calling her a liar.
“Can you at least tell us your name?”
“I- I don’t see why you would need it,” she replied with some hesitation. The woman looked over and the man with sandy hair.
“I think we must Lupin, we are not going to get a direct answer from her if we don’t.” Lupin sighed.
“I hoped it wouldn’t come to this.” Lupin then pulled out a small flask from his robes.
“What are you going to do to me?” A slight quiver had entered her voice as Lupin stared toward her; she dodged his grasp as he reached for her arm. “Don’t touch me.” Her voice was trembling and her eyes were wild with fear.
“I’m afraid I must,” Lupin said gently sensing her fear. This time when he reached out for her he grabbed firmly onto her forearms. She struggled to get out of his tight clutch.
“Leave me be!” Lupin paid no head to her pleading and quickly forced the serum down her throat before letting her go. She staggered back, sputtering. Here eyes were glossy with unshed tears. For a few minutes the room was silent before the roman spoke out again.
“What is your name?”
“I-I don’t know,” She answered tearfully, she could feel the panic rise up inside her, why didn't she know her name?
“Where you were outside today?”
“I don’t know I just felt like I had to keep going.” She looked to the ground.
“Let’s talk about the magic you did out there."
“I really didn’t do whatever you think I did, - I don’t even know what magic is or if it even exists.” She brought her arms up and hugged herself, barely unable to take in the fact that these people where claiming that magic existed.
“So nothing unusual happened out there,” the woman asked sceptically. For a moment she didn’t answer.
“Well, I was thinking about how I needed somewhere to go for the night and there was this grove of three about a mile off that I swear wasn’t there before. It turned from winter to summer in those trees. I don’t know how they got their though.”
“Have you ever thought that maybe you created them?” Lupin asked. She shook her head.
“I couldn’t, I don’t know how to- how to do magic.” She said unsurely. Didn't they get it? She didn't know, she couldn't even remember her own life. When no one asked her another question immediately, she asked one herself. “How did you know well, that this different world thing was created?” Lupin looked at her closely, underneath her confusion he noticed that her eyes held intelligence.
“Under some circumstances in the past, we’ve heightened our security measures so that the past won’t repeat itself. So now, we are able to tell when large amounts of magic are being produced so we can check it out and put a stop to it if need be,” Lupin explained.
“What circumstances?” She asked, unable to curb her curiosity.
“That is enough questions for you today,” the woman cut in sharply.
“Can you tell us what the last thing you even remember is?” Terry asked quietly
“A few days ago, I’m not sure how long; it’s felt like I’ve been out there for ages. Anyway I remember-” she paused for a moment, thinking. “Walking, that’s all; just walking like it would never end.” Her voice cracked and she could feel thepanic raising inside her again.
“Walking in the cold you mean? You can’t remember anything else?” He pressed.
“I remember this strange feeling and then- then I was walking.”
“Walking from what?”
“I don’t know- something though, it felt like I had to keep moving or something would happen, something that I didn’t want to happen.” The three looked at each other gravely. She lifted her arm to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. Something in her movement caught Lupin’s attention.
“What’s that on your wrist?” He asked sharply. She looked at him startled, but held out her wrist for him to see.
“I’m not sure,” she said again feeling foolish with herself for not being able to remember anything. Lupin studied the mark quickly before looking over at the woman. All three held peculiar looks on their faces.
“I see-” Lupin said quietly, almost as if he was talking to himself. “Hagrid!” He called out. The big burly man stepped into the room again. “We’re done here; can you take her to the headquarters, please?” Hagrid nodded and led the girl out.
“Lupin what does this mean?”
“It means Minerva that we may have just found the link to finding out what really happened to Hermione.”
A/N:hope you enjoyed it. :) Hermystwin helped me come up with my title and lia is my beta:) she's my hero! :)
i just rewrote the first chapter hope it's better do tell:) cheers.
P.S- i keep forgetting to put this so i don't get sued~disclaimer: i do not own anything nor to i claim to either. it all belongs to the brilliant mind of JKR. (and her hand without her hand she would not be able to write...)