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Chapter 1: Taken
Hermione crawled onto land, clutching onto the rough soil for dear life as if she would somehow roll back into the lake. She laid there on the ground, panting, and then sat up in a pile of dirt and stared at the water. Flinching in disgust, she saw Conrad’s arm float atop the water while the rest of it lay submerged underneath the surface. Her wrist began to burn and Hermione winced as she looked at it. Conrad’s face was illuminated and a second later a red X was placed over it. Hermione huffed, wondering whose face would become that way for the last and final time.
Taking that little frustrated breath made her realize how much damage her body had taken within those few minutes. She looked across the lake, and then brought her eyes up and around her, trying to figure out where she and Conrad had fallen from. When she had, Hermione noted that it was truly from a magnificent height and that the hill must’ve been quite the steep one. She looked down at herself to see where she was bleeding from, if she was bleeding at all. She saw with satisfaction that she wasn’t actively doing so, the only bit of red having been smeared and dried.
As Hermione turned to stand and plow her way through the forest behind her, the rustling of grass could be heard. She subconciously dug her fingers in the dirt until they became camouflaged. She had to think and she had to think fast. The other three killings, though justified, weren’t intended. Hermione had wanted to talk and of course that was the last thing on their minds. Actually that “talking” thing had gone through the door after Angela was killed. But now that this was the end, now that they were the only ones left, and especially because she was one of the most stubborn people around, she’d might as well try it again. This was her last shot and quite the long one. His face hadn’t appeared on her wristband, so things would play out either one of two ways: Hermione turning around, suffering the spells that he would be firing off one after another, or she tried to talk to him. The opportunity for the second came at her feet as he laughed and began speaking.
“I didn’t know that it was my birthday, and yet here you are, a nice little present for me.”
“I didn’t know it was your birthday either.” Hermione replied as she turned around and stood. “I kind of pegged you as a spring baby. April, or late march,”
Draco smiled and Hermione returned one. This was the fourth time that she was seeing him up close; the first when she had been released from her cell, the second when he had killed Angela and the third when she had been mercilessly hanging upside down. He was in no better shape than she was. While her tank was ripped in several places, some bits of cloth hanging loosely, his was practically nonexistent. Her hair was, as was the rest of her, wet and covered in dirt. Draco was the same; his hair messily thrown about his face, the only visible things on it was his smile, showing off perfect white teeth, and his eyes, cold, steely, and hard, moving over every inch of her.
“So my little wristband’s told me, you’re the only one left.” Draco said as he fingered his wand. He chuckled, taking few and slow steps towards her. “Can’t say that I’m not surprised… There were eight of us in the beginning; four Aurors, four convicts. I killed off three, all Aurors, one before your very eyes, not daring to touch my fellow inmates since the point of this is for us to win, not you. But imagine my surprise as I saw their faces getting crossed off. You’re quite the dangerous one, aren’t you, Granger?”
“It was either them or me.”
“Ah yes, the need to fight for survival and a stupid reason to use… It’s alright to say that you wanted to kill them, the scum of the earth that they were. Especially Conrad who I heard and saw firsthand” Here he laughed, being fully amused. “…had a bit of a thing for you. How’d you kill him by the way?”
Hermione nodded towards the lake. “Drowned,”
“I see. Well,” Draco took his dueler’s stance. “I’m interested to see how this will play out, now knowing that you’re far from merciful.”
Hermione didn’t move and kept hands by her sides. Draco was ready and waiting, but he was waiting for no reason. When he saw that she wasn’t moving, he began to scowl.
“What are you waiting for?”
“I’m not fighting you.”
“The hell you’re not.”
“The hell I am.” Hermione challenged. “Instead of fighting each other we should be heading to that stupid Watch Tower.”
“Because they have the keys to our release… No matter how much flinging you into the nearest tree or even drowning you in that lake with Conrad might make my day, what’s the point? Aurors don’t leave here. They’ll keep me here for the next round of bloodbaths.”
“Of course they will.” Draco rolled his eyes. He lowered his wand by a few inches, but still kept a firm grip on it. “This is meant for a convict to win, not an Auror. Why should I go to the Watch Tower and fight against the very people who’ll set me free? I can simply kill you and be on my way. So, with that said, get into position, Granger.”
“No, I won’t.” Hermione shook her head and began heading towards and pass him. She was heading into the forest behind him and Draco was growing angrier than ever.
“Granger,” He called. “Granger, get back here! Get back here and fight me, damn it! Granger!”
“What, Malfoy?” She turned around and crossed her arms over her chest. “What do you want?”
“You know what I want.”
“And you won’t get it. You want to kill me so badly? Do it. But you’ll have to do with my back turned because I’m heading to that Watch Tower and putting an end to all of this.”
Hermione dropped her arms to her sides and continued on her way through the forest. At each step she took she was waiting to feel a spell hit her. She took a sigh of relief the further she got, and then she began to smile when she heard leaves rustling and footsteps grow closer to her until Draco was walking beside her.
“You tell anyone I showed you any ounce of mercy and then I’ll really kill you.” Draco snarled at her, and then reluctantly gave his hand for her to shake. Hermione took it and gave off a grin.
“Don’t worry. I’ll tell them I tortured you. Sound better?”
Two days ago…
Hermione and her fellow coworkers were sitting around a large conference table watching a show on a large screen. It wasn’t for pleasure, though everyone in that room had certainly wished that it was. A new thing had begun coming out on the streets a few weeks ago called Aurors vs. the Condemned. It was exactly as it sounded; a horribly wicked show that magically streamed through the air to play on televisions of wizards who owned them, which in this day and age was almost everyone. It portrayed prisoners who mysteriously made it out of Azkaban and Aurors who kept getting abducted, taken to some unknown location that the Ministry was desperately trying to find.
The object of the game was simple: you want to leave the island? Kill everyone else and be the last one standing. There was always an equal number of Aurors and convicts, and almost always a convict won, and his prize was to be released back into the world; a wonderful bonus for the prisoner who was destined to die in Azkaban. If an Auror won, he or she was never that lucky. They were to stay on the island for another go and it would continue that way until he or she lost. It was the cruelest thing Hermione had ever had to watch, and she was thoroughly happy when the Head of the Auror Department shut the show off, and pulled up the screen.
“And another convict wins.” One of the Aurors morbidly commented. Harry huffed and then sighed.
“And they’ll always win. That’s how this show is made to be.”
“Exactly… And then they’re back out on the streets to wreak havoc again. This thing has been airing for the past six days.” Peter Atkins, the Head of the Auror Department said. “That’s three episodes and twenty-one deaths in six days. We need to figure where the hell this thing is coming from.”
“What we need to do is find out how these prisoners are getting out of Azkaban.” Hermione imputed, and everyone in the room nodded. “Azkaban has more Dementors than ever before as well as human guards on land so the prisoners can be arrested on sight when they come ashore. How they’re doing this should be impossible.”
“Yet it is.” Atkins sighed, and glanced outside of the window. The sun was beginning to set and they could no longer stay at the Ministry. All Aurors had been given curfews after the second episode of Aurors vs. the Condemned aired. They were to report home and to stay there until the next work day when a Ministry official would come to their home to side-along Floo with them back to the Ministry.
“Go home, everyone. We’ll talk more of this in the morning.”
Everyone in the conference room agreed and left the room in rather low spirits. They said goodbye to each other with the deepest of words, mostly because the third show had just finished. That meant that a fourth would be coming and, it was possible, that some of them would be missing the next day.
Hermione Flooed home with Harry and Ron at her side. They had been doing that even before the show had come about, but now they deemed it necessary, and checked her house from top to bottom for anything that looked strange and out of place. After that they stayed for a few more hours, keeping her company but also attending to any sounds that they heard. Normally Hermione would laugh at them for this, but in times like these she was just as suspicious.
“Are you sure that you don’t want to come and stay with Harry and me?” Ron asked as he and Harry stood in her fireplace to head home. “Those bastards are going to be looking for more competitors. You know that.”
“I know, but I’ll be fine.” Hermione reassured him. “You’ve checked the house a thousand times and I’ve put up all the necessary barriers. I’ll be alright. Now, go on so I can seal up the fireplace. I’ll see the both of you in the morning.”
Harry and Ron nodded and bid her a farewell as they Flooed out. Once the fireplace was empty Hermione magically made a brick barrier that filled up the entire fireplace. She sighed and took a look around. The past few nights had been a complete nightmare. She was so tense and nervous that she even had to give Crookshanks away to Ginny for a while. Hermione still loved him, of course, but he was quite the restless cat. Every time there was a small noise made within the house Hermione would flee from bed, wand drawn, only to find that Crookshanks had broken something and given her heart attack for no reason.
Sighing, Hermione turned off all the lights and went to bed. How well she would sleep tonight was something to be found out in a matter minutes. Sleep had been evading her as well, and she was too frightened to take anything for it in case there came a need for her to defend herself. Couldn’t very well do it while doped up on drugs… And so, Hermione suffered for the most part, sleeping in hour-intervals.
But tonight for some reason Hermione was having a great sleep. She had only gotten up once and that was just to readjust the pillow that she had under her head. Though she was sleeping well, Hermione had been woken up once more around three that morning. She lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling, trying to figure out if she was awake just because of herself or if it was because she had heard something while asleep. She judged that it was the first reason, and rolled over onto her side to try to go back to sleep when she heard a sound.
Hermione’s eyes shot bolt open, and she immediately took out her wand that she had begun keeping underneath her pillow. She carefully rolled out of bed, wand in hand, straining her ears to hear anything more. She did, and then to her horror saw that her bedroom doorknob was turning. Hermione quickly crept pass the door and stood behind it. It opened, covering her completely, and she saw a cloaked figure walk into her room, staring at the bed, obviously wondering where she had gone.
“Stupefy,” Hermione said inaudibly, and watched as the person was knocked off their feet and through the window that was behind them. She could hear other people in the living room and Hermione wasted no time. She came out from behind her door and started on a charge. There was no point in apparating for she had placed an anti-apparating charm over the house, which, unfortunately, meant that she couldn’t get out. So she’d fight. And just as Hermione was about to send as many curses as she could, she stopped.
Her entire house was clothed in a fog, and Hermione began coughing incessantly. Her wand dropped from her hand, and she fell onto her hands and knees. She couldn’t breathe, taking deep breaths in, but finding that no air was coming. She looked up, seeing that three more cloaked figures were in front of her, all of them with wands in hand.
“Congratulations, Auror Granger.” One of them said. “You’ve been selected.”
Hermione could say nothing, and as she attempted to breathe for the final time, she blacked out completely.
author's note: and here i am AGAIN, with a new fic, AGAIN lol. i might've told some of you that i was writing this, and i think i mentioned it on the last chapter of "Everything But You"
but here it, something that i must first give credit to, a move called "The Condemned" that you may or may not have heard of/seen. so, that's where the idea came from :)
it's completely different from anything i've written since, if you know me, i dont really do action/adventure lol. so, please leave a review!!