Chapter 3 : Hermione's Head
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It was officially hot, she was sweating far more than she usually did at Quidditch, and her feet ached from the stupid shoes on her feet clicking over mile after mile of golden road. A load of muchnkins came out of houses and bowed stupidly at her every time she passed a house. They never said anything, they just bowed like imbeciles. Glaring at them and their queer little round houses, Ginny had just walked on in silence, hearing nothing but the panting of Dodo and the clicking of her shoes. She checked her watch a few times, alarmed to see it the same time every glance she cast. After the third time, she stopped short.
“Am I going nuts? ” Ginny cried out, causing some crows in a corn field to burst into flight. Staring at her watch for a long time, counting in her head, she realized, foolishly, that it was broken, and immediately felt very stupid. “Fine then!”
She tore the watch off, and flung it on the ground. She was satisfied to hear the glass face break, and stomped on it viciously as she walked by.
However, as the dog ran up behind her, she froze, remembering that the watch had been an expensive gift from Harry. Whirling around guiltily, Ginny dove onto the broken watch, picking it up gently. “Shit, shit, shit!”
Dodo sat on the golden sidewalk and watched her, head cocked to the side, as she sighed over the severely broken state of her watch, and tucked it away gently in her pocket. Looking up at him, Ginny said,
“Well, don’t give me that look, you. Come on.”
She turned, headed down the road again. Suddenly, from behind her, there was a huge pop that made her whirl back around, and when she did she almost fainted. Sitting where Dodo the dog had, still panting and looking up at her with that accusing look, was Snuffles.
“S- Snuffles?!” Ginny choked.
He sneezed, and as he did he popped into his natural form. Robes shabby, hair askew, face gaunt but smiling, Sirius Black was sitting on his arse on the road before her. “I’ll give you whatever look I want!”
Ginny staggered a little, beyond shocked. “Sirius...? You’re.... you’re dead though!”
He stretched, standing and running a hand through his hair “Nice to see you too!” He laughed, a barking sound.
Ginny lunged and hugged him. Granted, she’d never had that good of a relationship with Sirius before he died, but being as he was Harry’s godfather and also someone from home.... Well, it was good to see him. He awkwardly patted her back, muttering about what would Harry think, before she pulled away and asked,
“But, how did you get here?”
“I popped in,” he smiled.
She sighed. Same old Sirius. “But, you... Where are we?”
Sirius held up his finger, smiling broadly like a Muggle show magician. He hopped and tapped his heels together, did a show shimmy, tap-danced a few times, singing a circus theme tune, and then reached into her bag, pulling out the old copy of Wizard of Oz. “Ta-da!”
Ginny stared. “You..... are a moron.”
“You’re welcome!” he beamed, rolling his eyes. “Look, the way I figure, and I do because Lily made me read this book to Harry loads before they.... well.. Any case, we’re in Oz.”
“Wait, what?” Ginny said, looking at the book. “How can we be in Oz?”
“Are we or aren’t we magical?”
“Then we are in Oz,” he said decisively. “Look, let’s just flip through the book and see how to get out is all.”
Ginny smacked her forehead, wondering why she hadn’t thought of that, and then wrenched the book from him, nearly ripping it. He shot her a glare that was lost as she quickly thumbed through the first and second chapter. However, when she passed the part where Dorothy passed Munchkins on the sides of the road, waving and bowing to her, the words just stopped. Right in the middle of the page. The whole next page, and after that and so on, was blank. The whole rest of the book was blank, like a diary.
“Are you kidding me? ” Ginny shrieked.
“Oh... Wow this is a good prank, I must say,” Sirius said admiringly. “Why didn’t I ever think of this?”
“This is not funny!” Ginny yelled at him. “I want to go home! I want to be in my own damn bed!”
“Calm- calm down!” Sirius said, frightened. “Look, here, we can just, uhh, make a little house and so on, you’ve got your wand, right?”
Ginny nodded, bringing it out. Sirius took it and waved it. Nothing happened. He glanced at her and tried again. Nothing. Sighing, he brought out his own wand, waving it at the grass off to the side of the road. A large, blue, round house thing appeared, and Ginny went inside. It had a large table with plenty of food, and then a room on either end for them to sleep in. She went into one, putting her bag on the blue bed, and went back out, eating dinner with Sirius. They tersely talked, before she loosened up a bit, joking and enjoying herself. By the time the sun had gone down, they were both laughing, slightly drunk, and dancing around to magical music they’d conjured. Ginny yawned, waved to him, and stumbled into her room, falling onto the soft, blue bed, and slept until morning.
When she did awake, her face was pressed flat against grass, and it smelled sweet in the morning sunshine. Looking up, she saw that the house had disappeared, but the table was still there. Sirius was sitting at it, eating breakfast. She stood, grateful that she’d just fallen asleep in her clothes, and walked up to the table.
“Where did the house go?”
He looked up, though he’d been watching her the whole time. “Awake?”
Sirius grinned. “I dunno. I suppose it disappeared. If you haven’t noticed, magic doesn’t seem to last long, here. Anyways, you’d better eat before the food pulls a Houdini, too.”
Ginny saw on the other chair and did so, and when she was finished they both sort of sat there a moment, at a loss of what to do. Then she said,
“Well, I guess we’d better go on, then. That stupid Emerald City won’t find itself.”
Sirius nodded, and they started along the road, his worn sneakers making no noise, her glittery red shoes making an annoying clicking. Afternoon had gone by the time they were hungry again, and stopped by a fence to eat lunch. Sitting there, Sirius started sneezing again.
“I didn’t know you have allergies,” Ginny commented.
“Achoo- I don’t! Achoo.”
“So... why are you sneezing?” Ginny asked, putting down her food.
“I- achoo-don’t know!” Sirius gasped.
Suddenly, though, there was a pop, and Snuffles the dog was sitting before her. He whimpered and tilted his head to the side, shaggy black hair stirring in the breeze. Ginny groaned.
“Now I know why!” Snuffles nudged her hand, and she petted him sadly. “I do hate being alone.”
“Well then, for heaven’s sake, come get me down!”
Ginny whirled, recognizing that voice, and saw only a scarecrow hanging on a pole, dressed in blue, in a field of corn behind her. “Hello?”
There was silence, even Snuffles had stopped whining.
“Hello?” Ginny tried again, standing.
“Hurry up, this stick up my back is killing me!”
Her mouth dropped open. It was the scarecrow, talking to her. She seriously needed a head examination. Jumping over the fence (Snuffles crawling under), they both made their way to the Scarecrow. Squinting up, Ginny saw a stuffed straw head under a blue hat, connected to a stuffed blue body with boots. However, the face wasn’t crude, it was quite fine, actually, and she gasped,
The scarecrow tsked and nodded. “Nice to see you, too, Hermione. Now come on, help me down. This is defiantly not good for my vertebrae.”
Snuffles was sniffing the base of the pole, and sat, looking up at Hermione with head cocked to one side. She peered down and saw him, and gasped.
“Yeah, tell me about it,” Ginny sighed.
“But... But I thought...”
“How, exactly, did you come to be a scarecrow?” Ginny asked, curiosity overriding her.
Hermione’s eyes became glazed over, and she smiled, face becoming less defined. Her voice was crisp and proper as she spoke, “If you will please take away the pole I shall be greatly obliged to you. I should love it if I had a brain. Seeing as I am made of straw, I cannot get tired, but I cannot think very well, you see.”
Ginny froze, and Snuffles whined. “Hermione?”
The Scarecrow-Hermione just smiled, and Ginny reached, trying to lift Hermione up. Despite having the appearance of being made of straw, she was still her normal weight, and Ginny struggled with it, red shoes sinking into the soil a bit, until finally the pole just snapped and they collapsed onto the dirt, straw flying about. Blinking, Ginny looked up. Hermione was back to normal- or, as normal as she could get when she thought she was a Scarecrow.
“Well, that certainly hurt a bit,” she said, rubbing her butt. They stood, dusting themselves off, and Hermione hugged her. “It’s really scary, here...” Suddenly, Snuffles sneezed, and in a pop, he was back to being Dodo the dog. Hermione’s eyebrows scrunched, and she looked at Ginny. “What’s going on?”
“Well, I was reading The Wizard of Oz, and I fell asleep, and woke up here, like Dorothy, and instead of Toto, it was Dodo, who is also Snuffles and Sirius. And instead of the munchkins they were House Elves and Dobby and Winky, only Winky was the Witch of the North, and she kissed me. And then we started walking on this stupid road in these stupid shoes, and at night Dodo turned into Snuffles and then Sirius, and we stayed in a house he conjured. Then this morning it was gone and we set off and he started sneezing at lunch, here, and then turned back into Snuffles, then I found you.” Ginny breathed. “And. Yeah.”
Hermione blinked. “Wow.”
Ginny nodded, walking over trampled corn back to the fence and over it. “Tell me about it.”
Hermione clambered after her. “So what are we going to do?”
“We are going to the Emerald City thing to find some guy named Oz who’ll send us back to Hogwarts.”
Hermione turned, jumping onto the brick road, and started at Ginny. “All of us?”
Ginny faltered then, and they both looked at Dodo, whose tail was wagging as he sat on the yellow brick, looking up at them stupidly. There was a pause as the breeze shifted, and a few birds twittered. Dodo stopped wagging his tail and cocked his head to the side. A lump had risen in Ginny’s throat, and she had to swallow a few times before she managed,
“I don’t know... if he’s alive, even here...”
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