Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or Twilight, and am not making money from this.
The tour is a sham from beginning to end, although the antiques are amazing. Hermione begins to notice, half-way through (her suspicion dawning with what is, later, embarrassing slowness) how the guide, Heidi, only mentions a couple of pieces in each room, and that often the dates are wrong.
Does she not know? Or does she not care?
It's not surprising to Hermione is that the tour group doesn't seem to mind. After all, most people are fairly unobservant creatures. Still, it is a little odd, how entranced they are by the woman, how they obey her every whim without question.
Maybe it's the power of sex appeal, that thing that Ron had claimed she could have in spades, if only she'd ever bothered to ascribe it the same value as reading.
Now, though, looking at how the group is staring at Heidi, Hermione wonders if she should have employed a less violent response to Ronald's observation.
But no. That's not quite right. Despite what certain gingers believed, Hermione recognizes physical attraction—has spent time with Fleur in public, seen the way grown, married men react to the part-veela woman.
This is something else. Something … more. Hermione's gaze sharpens on the guide as she ponders what it could be.
There's indifference in the set of Heidi's shoulders, Hermione notices: a swagger. An arrogance in the tilt of the guide's chin as she regards at the tourists trailing her like ducklings.
It's almost predatory.
She tries to put it out of her mind. The war left her with some lingering paranoia. Now, she's on holiday and, as such, she should just enjoy herself. Despite the terrible tour.
And the fortress is astounding. The paintings are all museum quality, masterpieces she doesn't recognize, although she does know the styles, and thinks she may know the artists. She longs to ask someone about them. Not Heidi.
The tour will be over soon, which is both a blessing and a tragedy, for then Hermione will have to leave this place, even as exiting will calm her nerves. She's already craving the fresh air of the Piazza dei Priori; Can picture herself breathing it in and being relieved.
For as each step progresses, as each random object is indifferently pointed to, Hermione can no longer ignore her sense that there is something strange about this tour into the bowels of a fortress. Something wrong.
She thinks of fading into the background, of popping into an alcove and disapparating. But she stops herself. Giving into the paranoia only feeds more of it later. This is the muggle world, and in that world, she is in the middle of a large group of tourists. What could be safer?
And yet. Yet …
They've entered the final part of the tour, according to Heidi—the throne room. Behind them, two huge, carved wooden doors thud heavily into place, echoing in the cavernous, stone-and-marble chamber.
Looking around, Hermione remembers, finally, why she should always listen to her instincts.
Because there can be no further doubt, no more issue of PTSD or war-trauma paranoia. Their small, human group is surrounded by vampires.
They are beautiful. They are pale. And they're all utterly still, with black cavernous eyes.
Hermione feels her wand fall into a sweat-slick, shaking hand, and presses herself up against the wall of the chamber. As her back hits the smooth stone, she casts a disillusionment spell, then a shield. Silences herself so they will not hear her ragged breathing, her whimpers. Her traitorous, living heartbeat.
She pushes against the marble—cold, so cold—with her body and shivers.
Around her, screams echo. Pandemonium reigns.
A/N: Should I continue? No idea where I'm going (not that that's ever stopped me), but this is an idea I've had for a while, Hermione in Volterra. I have a bit of a mini-obsession with the Volturi, particularly Aro, so it's more or less a given that if I continue they'll, and he'll, feature prominently.