Hermione awoke with a blasting headache. She could feel the severe throbbing in her temples and behind her eyes. She didn’t want to open her eyes, but the unfamiliar stone floor prompted her to; she was curious as to where she was.
The bleak room had walls of stone and smelled strongly of mold, the scent obviously came from the green fungus growing in the corners of the room and the cracks in the stone walls. The only furnishing in the room was a mat on the floor. An uninviting straw mat.
The door in the room was of a heavy, splintered oak, and was open a crack. Hermione’s crouched position on the floor was uncomfortable and the discomfort only increased when she stood. She gingerly walked towards the door and peered out the crack. She glimpsed a swish of black cloak as it disappeared. Whoever the person was, they had black hair. Greasy black hair.
The previous events came back to Hermione in a flash. She recalled the comfort of Ron’s arms, the tears that she had finally seen him cry, and Snape. For the first time, Hermione noticed a plate of food in the room. As disgusted as she was by the place, she was starving and welcomed food.
"I wouldn’t do that if I was you," a voice said in warning. It sounded vaguely familiar, and strangely inviting.
Hermione whipped around to see Draco Malfoy standing in the doorway.
"And just why not, you horrible wretch?" asked Hermione defiantly.
"Because it’s poisoned," answered Draco.
Hermione scoffed and threw back her head. I must be a mess, Hermione thought. And I feel like one too; I’m in so shape for a match with Malfoy at the moment.
"Why should I believe you?" spat Hermione. "It’s not like you’ve ever been concerned for my well-being; it was probably your idea for Snape to take me in the first place."
"Do as you please," drawled Draco, "I was only trying to help."
Before Hermione could reply he was gone. Idiot, thought Hermione bitterly.
She turned eagerly to her food, ready to take a bite when she stopped. The food smelt rather odd. Lifting the plate to her nose, she pulled away. It definitely smelt funny. Hermione didn’t want to think of the possibility that Malfoy was telling the truth.
The clink of glass on stone caused Hermione to turn. She saw another plate of food sitting by the door. She walked across the dreary room and picked up the food; it smelt normal. Does that make it safe to eat? she wondered.
"That’s safe, I swear," promised Draco.
Hermione startled. "You scared me."
"Sorry," answered Draco sincerely.
Draco watched in surprise as Hermione greedily dug into the chicken and potatoes on her plate. But then again, he should have expected it. She had been out for two days. He silently left and returned with another plate of food. With the last bits of the first plate still in her mouth, she nearly yanked the second plate from Draco’s hands.
Draco’s surprise had turned to amusement at seeing the perfect, prim Hermione Granger eating her food like Ron Weasley, the ferret. Actually, he mused. She’s worse.
When Hermione was had finally finished her meal, she looked up to thank Draco but he was gone.
That’s odd. Why does he keep disappearing? wondered Hermione. Now that she was comfortably full, she didn’t know what to do. She certainly wasn’t tired, and there was nothing to do in this empty room.
My wand, thought Hermione excitedly. But when she reached into her pocket, she found it not there. Falling back into despair, Hermione tried Apparating. Nothing happened. Not that she had actually thought it was going to work. With nothing to do Hermione sat on the prickly straw mat and stared at the gray ceiling.
Back at the Potter’s mansion. Ginny was frantic. Hermione was one of her best friends, and she was missing. The only comfort was her two wonderful children Lily and Arthur. Arthur had raven colored hair just like his father, but Lily’s was just like her mother. Harry and Ginny had decided to name their daughter Lily for her namesake – Lily Potter I.
Flames burst in the fireplace and Ginny hurried over to greet Harry and Ron, who were returning from the Ministry. They had spent the overwhelming majority of the past two days there, looking for any leads on Snape.
All Ginny knew was that she would not feel a bit sorry for Snape when Ron caught up with him. He deserved all the pain Ron would cause him. Hopefully Hermione would be able to send a spell or two in Snape’s direction as well.
"Well, what did you find?" prodded Ginny.
"There have been various sighting of Snape around Britian, but no one’s seen him long enough to capture him. Another troubling fact is that he seems to have possession of an invisibility cloak; meaning he can be anywhere, even right next to us, and we won’t know."
Harry was right, that was a troubling fact. But something in the back of Ginny’s head told her that she wouldn’t need to worry.
He’s seeking revenge on Hermione for what happened that day at the Final Battle, concluded Ginny.
As Hermione slept away the days, food would continue to appear. She presumed it was the food that Snape put out so she didn’t touch it. Each time Malfoy would stop by and leave a her a safe plate of food, taking the tainted plate back with him.
Sometimes Draco would come and talk to her. Hermione asked him many questions. Some he answered, some he didn’t refused to.
Hermione enjoyed talking with Draco. She could tell that he had honestly changed since they were younger. Though she could never forgive him, for the pain that he had caused her and her friends during their school days, she went as far as to call him her friend. Draco was there, she learned, because of a life debt that he owned Snape. Snape had intervened when Draco should have killed Dumbledore, and saved the blonde boy from a painful fate at Voldemort’s hands.
Through Draco, Hermione was able to learn about her surroundingz. The place she was in was the remnants of Malfoy Manor. The old, rundown building had been destroyed during the second war in the same fire that Draco lost his parents in. Snape had set out to kill Hermione, though she already knew this, and the reason for it as well. Draco also explained about the magically locked safe that Hermione’s wand was being kept in.
Every time he thought he wouldn’t be missed, Draco would sneak his way to the safe and work on breaking all the spells holding it closed. Draco unveiled to Hermione that he was close. The handle was starting to move. Hermione squealed at the exciting news, quickly quieting at Draco’s hand over her mouth.
"Do you want him to hear you?" demanded Draco angrily.
Hermione shook her head in sadness. A glimpse of the old Malfoy had shown through.
"I’m so sorry, Hermione," apologized Draco once he saw the distress in her eyes. "But you must realize that if Snape comes here, we’ll both be dead."
Meanwhile, while Hermione was befriending Draco, Snape was growing increasingly furious. He couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t dying. His brilliant plan was falling apart; he was attempting to put Hermione through a slow and painful death, using a very mild poisin. Somehow, the poison wasn’t affecting her. He didn’t see how, though. Three times a day he would leave her food while she slept. Later he would come back to retrieve an empty plate. The woman was wandless, she couldn’t make it disappear; there was no where to hide it in the empty room.
So why isn’t she dead?
Many would have simply given up. Given up and moved onto the next victim. But Hermione Granger wasn’t chosen at random; he waited at the graveyard many days. Looking for the perfect time. Most would presume that Severus Snape would rather destroy Harry than one of his partners. But Severus Snape did not do what most thought.
He took Hermione Jane Granger for one single reason.
She was the reason that he no longer had any legs. Snape thought in anger.
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