Chapter 30 : Chaos
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“All war is deception” –Sun Tzu
Hermione sat up right in bed, coated in a light sweat. Her eyes had just opened seconds ago and she was already horribly awake. Something was rumbling beneath her - the floor was shaking due to it. She silently crawled out of bed, immediately stepping into her slippers and grabbing her housecoat on the way towards the door. The rumbling stopped somewhere between her grabbing the door handle and slipping out into the hallway. It worried Hermione to see that the occupants of all the portraits in the halls had vanished.
Once she was at the top of the staircase she could hear feverish voices coming from what sounded like the sitting room which she quickly made her way to.
Draco, Narcissa, Lucius and Jasper were all standing in the room talking in quiet, hurried tones. Draco went immediately to Hermione and embraced her quickly before stepping back and kissing her on the forehead.
“What’s going on?”
“They broke the force field.”
Hermione stared at him with her mouth hanging open. She moved her gaze to the other occupants of the room and saw Lucius rake his hand through his hair just as Draco had done countless times.
“There is no point trying to run away,” Draco said in a low voice that sent chills down Hermione's spine. “They’ll be here in minutes.”
Hermione could feel her eyes become wet, her palms sweaty against the silk of her robe. Draco leaned forward and kissed at her lips that hung lifelessly.
“It will be okay, it will, it will, it will-”
“They’re coming for you and Lucius.”
“They are but-”
Hermione pressed her lips against his, stopping him mid-sentence.
“Don’t shield me, Draco.”
“But we don’t know how many of them there are!” Draco began speaking rapidly, the words slipping off his tongue. “We can beat them, it’s happened before and-”
“Draco, don’t make a fool of yourself.” Lucius ordered coldly from where he was leaning against the chesterfield. “We are spoiling their plan. They will kill Ms Granger and your mother just as quickly as they would us.”
“Lucius stop it, just stop it!” Narcissa’s voice broke over her words. “This is your son! This damned war has ruined us three times and I just-”
Hermione wanted to rush to the woman as Narcissa clutched at her sides and held back sobs which shook her body. Draco stepped away from Hermione but Lucius already had his arms around Narcissa’s waist.
“Draco, the passage.” Jasper spoke up. “Now.”
Hermione could feel Draco slip his hand into hers, as his other arm wrapped around her waist. He led her out of the sitting room and through several doors Hermione hadn’t ever been through. The rooms that they passed through were adorned with furniture covered in white sheets and hollowed out shadows. The moonlight was almost yellow.
Finally they reached a narrow staircase which Draco hurried up. At the end of it was a small arch which led onto a hallway. The two ran to the end of it where a lone door stood, and Draco cast a spell on handle which blew off in a flash of white.
Through the door was some sort of tunnel. Draco’s hand was sweating against Hermione’s but neither of them let go. If anything, they held onto the other even tighter as they flew down the passageway. There was no definition of what was the floor and what was the ceiling, as it was all cement. Puddles made of some sort of black liquid laid at their feet.
They turned left and right several times, but eventually Draco stopped pulling her along and took a seat against the sloped side. “And now we wait.”
Hermione took a seat beside him. She leaned her head against his shoulder and sighed deeply. The tunnel smelt of mold.
“Will your parents be alright?”
“Yeah. They should be in the basement.”
“Getting a hold of your friends.”
“Oh.” Hermione knitted her eyebrows.
Draco moved in order to support her weight. “I’m sorry.”
Hermione turned to look at him. His profile was cast in shadow, and very light stubble ran along his jaw, like a haze.
“What do you mean for what? For this Hermione. For forcing you into this.”
“Draco Malfoy,” Hermione said slowly, lifting herself up. “Don’t compliment yourself. You couldn’t force me into anything if you tried.”
He laughed before swearing under his breath. “You know...” He trailed off.
“I am so thankful for you.”
“That’s nice to hear.” Hermione replied with a smile. “I’m thankful for you, too.”
“No but you don’t understand,” Draco placed his forehead against hers and breathed out softly. “You’re the-”
There was a small sound and they both turned their heads to the left. The sound continued and slowly grew louder. It was obviously footsteps.
Draco swore again and lifted himself to his feet, Hermione following suit.
He slipped his hand into hers and squeezed lightly before breaking into a run.
They flew down the passage, their feet hitting against the cement with dull thuds.
Wherever they were in the tunnel, it was a bit brighter, although the light was a sickly green. Voices were shouting not too far behind them.
Suddenly the tunnel narrowed into a hallway, which swung onto one of the oak paneled ones Hermione knew so well.
They began running past the portraits that were still empty and suddenly a red surge of light bounced between their heads.
“I see them!”
“Malfoy and the girl!”
Hermione’s heart was beating wildly in her chest. They were running so fast that it was becoming difficult to make the corners.
Draco grabbed his wand out of his pocket and began throwing spells back at their perusers.
Suddenly they reached the stairs and the couple practically fell down them. Once in the foyer their attackers were at the top of the stairs. Draco was running towards an archway when his hand suddenly fell from Hermione's.
His body slumped to the ground. His skin was pulsing with violet energy.
“No you can’t!” Hermione was kneeling beside him and was pushing on his shoulders. “Get up, please, you have to get up!”
His eyes were unseeing and his body was motionless as their attackers surrounded them.
Hermione grabbed her wand and began firing spells, hitting two of the men adorned in masks that stood around her.
“Ceciderit!” A man’s voice.
Hermione fell onto Draco, her head hitting against his chest. Immediately there were hands on her arms that lifted her up but she couldn’t see or hear anything. She was slipping away.
She could feel herself be dragged down a long staircase, her shins hitting against every step.
Already she was beginning to come to her senses, but her hands and legs were bound so tightly that the rope cut into her flesh.
Hermione was propped up against several large boxes. She could taste blood but she had no recollection of why.
“If it isn’t the famous Hermione Granger.” Came the same voice from before. She could make out a large man in front of her, surrounded by several others in the dim light of what she supposed was the basement. “So good to see you again.”
“Who are you?” Her voice cracked.
“Too good to know the names of the people who’s lives you destroyed, huh?”
He had taken off his mask but Hermione could barely make out his features.
“You’re weak. Aren’t you going to say something for yourself?” He jeered. “Before we take the life of your fiance?”
Hermione turned to her left and saw Draco still motionless beside her.
“Don’t you touch him-”
“Or what? You’ll send us to Azkaban?”
“Oh I’ll do a lot more than that.”
She could hear several people laugh. “Oh dear, that’s rather dark, isn’t it? I thought leaving the dirty work to the Aurors was more your style?”
Hermione flung forward but the ropes that held her ankles and wrists stopped her from going far. She heard the masked people around her laugh once more. Draco moaned.
Hermione whirled her head to face him and watched as his eyelids fluttered, adjusting to the dim light.
“Oh good, Malfoy's awake. Have a good nap there Draco? While your girlfriend-”
“Shut it.” Draco spat, wiping a spot of blood from the corner of his mouth.
“Alright.” The man without the mask said nonchalantly. “I see you’re not in the joking mood.”
Hermione had been watching Draco, her eyes flickering over his figure looking for a spot of physical damage, but he hadn’t looked to her once.
“Where are your parents?” Came a woman’s voice from the back of the room.
“They left again.”
“Really? Because I’m not so sure-”
“Thomson, shut it.” Growled the man in front to the woman who had seemingly spoken out of place. “Now Malfoy you better tell us where your parents are.”
“I told you,” Draco’s voice broke. “They left. Again.”
Hermione really had no idea if he was playing it up for their attackers, or if his parents had really fled. And if they had, how would he know?
The man slowly lifted his wand towards Hermione. “Don’t lie, Malfoy. Where is your father?”
“I don’t know.”
“Maybe if I play with your girlfriend a bit, you’ll remember, hm?”
Draco simply looked the man in the eyes and shook his head, a wry smile playing on his lips. Hermione silently begged him to look at her and give her some sort of sign that this was a ruse.
A bolt of red light hit Hermione in the chest and she began to scream, her back slamming against the concrete.
“Where’s your Father?” The man repeated, lowering his wand. Draco didn’t turn to look at Hermione as she writhed on the ground.
“I’ve no idea.”
Another flash of red light and Hermione was screaming again.
“I told you I don’t know.”
“Yes, but I don’t believe you. You know where he is.”
“If I did you really couldn’t expect me to tell you.”
The man lifted his wand to Hermione again. “You know I can cause her a lot more pain. This is nothing.”
The man walked to Draco and studied him for a moment. “I don’t think you do.”
Draco remained silent and still avoided Hermione's eye contact from where she lay.
The man turned to look at his companions from over his shoulder. “Take the girl to the next room.”
Draco didn't make a move to stop them as two men grabbed Hermione by the legs.
"Kill her, but draw it out." The man ordered. "Have some fun with her first."
The men began to drag her towards a doorway and Draco shrugged his shoulders. “You can torture her as much as you like, but my answer will not change.”
He smiled. “Really? I’m impressed-”
The man was interrupted by a loud crack, flashes of light suddenly hitting the men that held onto Hermione, flinging them against opposite walls. In the center of the room stood Jasper, Ginny, Ron and Harry.
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