The dirt beneath her felt cold and gritty. She slowly began to sink lower and lower to the ground, her breathing sharp and ragged. She clutched the grass tightly, her fingernails digging into the dirt. The trees rustled behind her, and her heartbeat increased rapidly. She stood up slowly, whipping her wand out in front of her.
“Who’s there?” she yelled, her voice cracking with fear. The hairs on the back of her neck began to stand on end as a black, hooded figure emerged from the gap between the trees. Coldness came about the area, sweeping through the trees, threatening to steal all happiness from her life forever. It became even harder for her to breath; she struggled to gulp some air before the cold successfully strangled her.
The figure continued to slowly drift towards her. She took a few steps back, tripped, and fell into a freezing puddle. She quickly scrambled around, looking for her wand. The figure was even closer. It began to reach its long scaly fingers toward her, scratching for her throat. She desperately threw her hand into the mud, finally finding her wand, pulling it free just as the creature was descending upon her, preparing to pull its hood back.
Hermione racked her brains for a happy thought. Ron. Ron made her happier than anything. If she managed to live through this, she would tell him what she really felt for him…. No, she mustn’t think that. She was going to make it. She thought of an imaginary wedding; one she knew was to come. Ron was leaning in towards her, pulling back her veil… This was certainly the happiest thought she could possibly muster.
“EXPECTO PATRONUM!!” she bellowed, using every ounce of her strength. Immediately, a silver otter shot from the end of her wand, galloping around the figure, chasing it away.
Hermione watched until the last silver vapor disappeared, and the edge of the black cloak was long gone. She breathed a sigh of relief. She swiped her hand across her forehead, clearing it of the beads of sweat that had collected, threatening to fall into her long, black lashes.
She squatted, burying her head in her hands. Her body shook as long, deep sobs erupted from the pit of her stomach. Tears welled in her eyes, pouring down her face. She sat like this for a good five minutes before looking up. She took a deep breath and wiped her face free of tears. She got up, walking back to the clearing of trees. She stopped just as she reached the edge, listening for any hint of noise. Nothing. She cautiously moved through the trees, constantly checking around her for any other sign of life.
Suddenly, she saw a flash of white-blonde up ahead. She held her breath, slowly raising her wand. She stealthily made her way towards the figure. She saw the outline of what was seemingly a male; tall, platinum blonde, and clothed in black. Her breath caught in her throat as she realized who it was. She took another step forward and a twig cracked underneath her foot. None other than Draco Malfoy twirled around raising his wand. Hermione opened her mouth to speak.
“Stupefy!” Malfoy was quicker than her. A jet of red light hit her squarely in the chest, stunning her. She stood stock-still, nothing but her eyes moved as they followed the masculine, pale boy that stood before her.
“What are you doing here?” he said mockingly. “Trying to help your good friend Potty find his precious Horcrux that he must be so desperately trying to locate?” A sneer tugged at the edges of his lips. “I’m afraid you won’t be doing that tonight.” He frowned. “The Dark Lord knows exactly what Potter is trying to do. Do you really think he would let him find a part of his soul while standing back and simply watching? Please. This forest is crawling with his servants, ensuring that your little trio doesn’t succeed. Potter has surely been caught by now, undoubtedly being tortured.” Hermione snorted in indignation, merely causing Draco to smile. “Now, the Dark Lord has ordered us to catch you all and kill you, save Potter, who he wants to kill himself. He didn’t say we couldn’t have a little fun before we killed you.”
Draco traced a long, pale finger across her neck and down the bridge of her nose. He brushed his lips across hers, pulling back to smile at her. He took a piece of her hair that had fallen into her face and began twirling it around his finger before tucking it behind her ear. He leaned in to kiss her again, this time more passionately.
Just then, a tall, gangly teen burst through a clump of trees. His eyes were burning with rage, settling on Draco’s pale, pointed face. Draco looked shocked for a fraction of a second before clearing his throat, another spell escaping his lips.
“Crucio!” Draco said this with ultimate feeling; the pain he wanted to inflict was clearly evident in his voice. Ron rose above the ground, writhing in agony. Tears streamed down Hermione’s face as she watched this take place, her heart being ripped to shreds as she realized there was nothing she could do to stop this from happening.
Another figure burst through the trees. “Stop Draco!” boomed Lucious Malfoy. “Stop!” he repeated. Draco gave a look of sincere disappointment, and lifted the curse.
Ron fell to the ground, clutching himself. Panting, he tried to raise himself up again. “Her-Hermione I-“ Lucious cut him off.
“Just kill him.” He turned on his heel and left. Draco’s face registered pure happiness. “Gladly,” he said, his voice full joy.
“Avada Kadavra!” Draco shrieked.
Ron looked at Hermione, his face twisted in agony, fear, and sorrow. He reached his hand out to her as he fell to the ground. He fell with a resounding thud, and lay there motionless.
Draco lifted the curse off of Hermione. He gave her a lustful look, winked, and disapparated.
Hermione dropped down next to Ron. “Ron… I-I never got the chance to tell you…. I never got the chance to tell you…” She grabbed fistfuls of his scarlet hair and drew him closer to her. She kissed his soft, pallid lips lovingly. She lay with him in her arms, her loud, heart-wrenching sobs shaking her body uncontrollably as she wished for nothing more than to die herself.
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