I don't own HP. Wish I did, but I don't.
AN: Another huge thank you to Julist and trinka belle for betaing this!
Extra: To the guest reviewer that asked, yes, you get an update every Saturday morning, EST. I have more chapters written (as those that review know) but I prefer to keep to a schedule rather than posting a lot and then maybe having a long gap. I've done that before, but it's stressful in the long term and I really don't think writing fanfiction should be stressful.
Draco had just finished bottling the potion with Neville when the door opened to reveal absolutely nothing.
It closed a second later and then Harry and Ginger appeared. Ginger folding up the invisibility cloak as Harry rushed over to Hermione's side.
"What happened?" he demanded.
"She underestimated Umbridge," Neville said simply, cleaning his knife before tidying up the rest of the potion ingredients.
"How?" Harry ground out, looking utterly furious.
Draco didn't blame him, now that he had Hermione safe and a potion to help with the effects of the vititus he had has own little bubble of anger growing
"Umbridge served tea and Hermione drank it. That bitch had a small piece of vititus mixed in with the tea leaves," Neville said. He pulled out his handkerchief and showed the small sliver of golden fruit
"Where did she get vitius? Could it have been-" Ginger started.
Draco interjected, "It couldn't have been Barrow or Montague. They both got seven years in Azkaban. Don't know about Mclaggen."
Neville shook his head, "I've been keeping a close eye on Mclaggen. He hates us, but he hates the Ministry more, believe it or not. He wouldn't have helped Umbridge."
"Nev, you're in NEWT level Herbology, does Sprout have a vititus tree?" Harry asked, his green eyes practically glowing with controlled anger.
"She used to, but it disappeared after the incident two years ago. Maybe she has some fruit still? Locked away? But she wouldn't have given it to Umbridge. Do we know if Umbridge visited Professor Sprout at all? She could have stolen it."
A memory pulled itself up and Draco remembered now, Hermione telling him about Mcgonagall sending Umbridge to Sprout for clothes after she was thrown out of the Headmistress' Tower. They'd both found it amusing to picture the bow-bedecked Umbridge wearing Professor Sprout's plain, serviceable robes. He could just guess where Umbridge got the vititus, but that wasn't important. It wasn't like they could prove it.
He grabbed one of the three potion bottles and approached Hermione's bedside. "It doesn't matter how she got it. We need to get her back."
"And make sure she does this to no one else," Harry added.
"Point," Ginger and Neville said.
Draco sat down on the bed and lifted Hermione into a sitting position, Harry moved to help while asking, "What will the potion do?"
"Make her dreams fade somewhat," Neville answered. "One of the greatest dangers of vititus is becoming addicted to the dreams. They're supposed to be magnificent, showing the dreamer's greatest desires. We give this to her now, another when she wakes up, and a third dose an hour later."
No one said what Hermione would dream that would be so addicting. Draco guessed it would involve her parents being alive and no scars on her body. The others likely assumed this as well.
He wondered what he would dream about. Perhaps…
No. That was dangerous. You couldn't bring back the dead.
And the only way to defeat Voldemort lay in the future, not the past.
Something poked his shoulder and he looked up to see Ginger staring down at him.
"You going to give her the potion or not?"
"Huh? Oh! Yes."
With Harry's help Draco administered the potion, watching her sleepily swallow it, smacking her lips and then smiling.
He couldn't help but smile back down at her, his anger getting pushed back a bit, just grateful that they had rescued her.
"Now, we need to sneak back to our Houses and start planning revenge. We'll deal with the leaked information when Hermione wakes up and tells us." Neville decisively, having finished cleaning up the potion ingredients.
"Right," Harry said, helping lay Hermione back down and opening his bag to pull out a battered piece of parchment.
He tapped his wand to it and said, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."
And, before Draco's eyes, ink appeared and spread over the parchment, forming, ultimately, a map of Hogwarts complete with countless little circles. All with names attached to them.
"Brilliant," he couldn't help but say.
Harry gave him an almost dangerous smile, "Indeed, and now the original Marauders are going to assist us in our quest for revenge."
"And justice," Ginger said, glowering at a little dot marked Dolores Umbridge on the Map.
"What happens if someone didn't know the words? And tried to use the map?" Draco found himself asking, already thinking of ways to magically password protect the journals.
"It insults them," Harry said, tracing a route between where they likely were on the map and the Gryffindor common room.
"Well, Harry, is it clear to sneak Hermione back? We can put her in your bed. If anyone notices they'll just assume she had a nightmare," Neville asked.
Harry shook his head. "Filch is patrolling between us and the Tower. Also, the common room has about two dozen people in it. Many of them younger students we don't know well. We don't want to start any rumors."
"What about the path to Slytherin?" Draco asked.
"Even worse." Harry handed the map to Draco, who winced when he saw it.
Umbridge, McGonagall, Snape and Peeves were just between him and the dungeons. Even if he took some of the secret passages he wouldn't have an easy time getting back. And - he looked up to see a clock appear - it was twenty minutes past curfew.
"I may have to stay the night here," he said. "We can plan some revenge while we wait for Filch to move. Any of you have some Weasley items?"
Harry shook his head, "Hermione might, but I didn't restock over the holidays."
"I don't prank, so no," said Neville.
"I just have a few fireworks," Ginger said, shrugging apologetically. "The twins don't give family discounts and I used up my allowance on Christmas gifts."
Draco took a seat in a comfortable chair and pulled out his journal and quill. He gave them all a dangerous smile, "Let's just see if they'll donate to a good cause."
He flipped open the journal to see the beginning of a conversation between Luna, Theo, and Weasley. He read it over quickly.
Apple: Ok, Moon, what did you do to Tracey?
Moon: just a lesson
King: i doubt that. your bloody scary
Apple: You're not your, you bloody pleb
Draco snorted at the next bit, involving Weasley drawing a stick figure of Theo with his nose so high in the air he couldn't see the stinky cowpie he was about to step in. He put his quill to the parchment, but hesitated for a moment as more words appeared.
Moon: I think you both need lessons
King: uh...thats alright sweetheart. I dont need a lesson. Just tell me whats wrong.
Moon: apostrophes are your friend
Apple: No wonder Snape hates your essays. Now, where is Dragon? What did that coin message mean? And, why is Tracey screaming bloody murder?
Neville came over and watched as Draco began to write.
Dragon: Umbridge tricked Phoenix and slipped a piece of forbidden fruit in her tea. Moon was teaching Tracey a lesson and I bullied Tracey into helping distract Umbridge by using her friendship with Apple. Grass and I got Phoneix to a secret room. Prongslet and Ginger are with us.
The others were writing before Draco even finished. He wasn't even surprised to see the twins responding. They'd likely opened a journal as soon as their coins had burned.
Moon: many many lessons to be given
Apple: that BLOODY BITCH!
Gred: we'll send an owl with plenty of supplies
Forge: is Hermione alright?
Gred: yes, shouldn't she see Madam Pomfrey?
Prongslet: Dragon and Grass got a potion from a tome. Nothing else to do but wait and see
Draco looked up to see Harry and Ginger sitting on a small loveseat pulled up close to Hermione's bedside. A narrow table lay before them with the map spread out beside Harry's journal.
Neville snagged the quill from Draco's fingers and scribbled in the journal.
Grass: the potion will weaken the dreams. two more to be given when she wakes.
King: so she'll be alright?
Moon: nice apostrophe
Draco took his quill back.
Dragon: We think so. But I want revenge. I'm sure she will, too. When she awakens.
Gred: we have a few new, experimental things. we'll disguise them and send you an owl straight away. Forge is gathering things right now.
Moon: do you have a niffler?
Apple: Hagrid does. I heard him saying Scamandor sent him a breeding pair last year.
Moon: imagine one in her office. breaking all her teapots, stealing all her bribes
King: I have some of that thing Phoenix slipped in our pumpkin juice before Christmas. if we can get it in her drink at breakfast…
Prongslet: I'm going to loan Dragon my cloak to get to the dungeons. If he can get the potion from King and bribe the house elves…
Dragon: I have a better idea. One minute.
Instantly a little house elf appeared in the room, his pillowcase looking cleaner and fresher than Draco had ever seen before. It made him wonder, seeing that, but he didn't have time to dwell on thoughts of his father. The living needed him.
"Yes, Master Draco? Do you be needing me?"
"I do indeed, Dobby. You see, my cousin, Hermione Black had been poisoned and," he said hurriedly when Dobby's eyes grew wide, "while we have mitigated the damage, we must get revenge. And I need your help for that."
Dobby's head nodded earnestly, making his ears flap. "Anything Master Draco! Mistress Hermione is a good witch, yes she is. Just like Mister Harry Potter. Bad people can't hurt them for free."
"Ron Weasley has a potion in his possession. One that must be inserted into the temporary Headmistress' morning drink tomorrow. And only hers. Can you do that with no one seeing you?"
Dobby's hands twisted in the hem of his pillowcase, putting wrinkles in the pressed material. "Dobby can, but Dobby is not supposed to be hurting witches…"
Harry stood up and came over, kneeling so he was on eye level with Dobby. "This won't hurt her. Hermione did it to me a few weeks ago. I found it funny, but Umbridge, she'll likely find it embarrassing. We're trying to show her not to mess with us. That we won't stand idly by and let her drug people."
Dobby's eyes were as wide as dinner plates as they stared at Harry. After a moment he nodded, making his ears flap again, and looked up at Draco. "Yes, Master Draco, I can be doing that."
Relief coursed through Draco and he instinctively smiled and said, "Thank you, Dobby."
Impossibly, the elf's eyes grew even bigger and then he flushed before popping away.
"Wait, couldn't Dobby have moved us to our common rooms?" Ginger asked.
Draco shook his head, "No, unlike Malfoy Manor Hogwarts is spelled to stop house elves from transporting anyone but themselves."
"How do you know that?" She asked.
He looked at her curiously, "Didn't you ever read Hogwarts: A History?"
She flushed, "No, Hermione did though. She always just tells us what we need to know from it."
He snorted when he saw that Harry and Neville also looked rather sheepish. "Honestly, are you lot helpless without her?"
Harry shrugged, "Books and the knowledge contained within them are her things. She likes telling us what she read. Why should we deny her that?"
Draco had no answer to that, so he opened his journal again and saw a few new lines of writing; with the last one from Weasley.
King: Dragon warn me when you send an elf next time. I swear Dobby just scared a dozen years off my life.
Dragon: Surprises build character.
Gred: Forge is sending an owl now. Should be there by breakfast. We sent instructions with the experimental stuff. Tell us if you need more.
Prongslet: Thanks. It looks like Filch has moved and most of the young students have gone to bed. King, can you meet us in the common room?
Moon: Apple, tell Davis thank you for helping with Phoenix. Oh, and Dragon, what secret room?
Apple: Will do.
Dragon: Not sure it has a name. Found it last May. It changes and morphs to fit what we need.
Moon: interesting... a shifting room. I must see this.
Ginger: I can show you tomorrow Moon, after quidditch practice.
Draco shut his journal and stood up, watching Harry do the same.
"I can levitate her while you watch the map, Harry," Neville said, moving over and drawing his wand.
Harry nodded, "Sounds like a plan. Draco, take the cloak, we have too many to use it anyways. Give it back to me tomorrow."
"Right," Draco said as he took the shimmery bundle of fabric that Ginger held out.
They did a quick check of the room, making sure they forgot nothing and then moved out, Draco heading one way under the cloak with the others going another.
Later, safely in his own bed, he closed his eyes and followed the chain. It was just as hard as before, her mind still coated in sticky fog, but, he thought hopefully, it didn't seem nearly as dense.
Moving through it carefully he found the fortress made of chains. Hermione was still inside, but she was no longer awake.
She was lying in a lightly glowing metal hammock, secure between the chain walls. He cautiously approached the fortress and raised his hand, the chains shifted, forming a narrow arrow slit through which his arm fit. He found her hand, running his thumb over the soft skin he whispered, "It will be alright, Hermione. I'll get you past this and then we can destroy that bitch. Deal? Just, Hermione, please, wake up. Please."
He wasn't sure if he imagined it or not, but he thought her hand gave his a quick squeeze in agreement.
He leaned against the wall, the chains forming a small ledge for him to perch on as he settled in for a long night.
Hermione smiled up at Draco when he took her hand halfway into Hogsmeade. He smiled back and gave her fingers a light squeeze, which she returned.
They walked on in silence, just the sounds of the woods and other students chatting around them in their ears.
When they reached the village they meandered through the streets, looking at all the window displays and laughing when they saw Theo gesturing wildly and trying to convince the owner of a small flower shop to send his mother a bouquet by owl for no extra charge - claiming that Luna had sent her own mother flowers on the last visit.
When they found Harry and Ginny snogging down an alleyway Draco teased them mercilessly until Hermione shut him up with a quick peck on the cheek. Harry and Ginny laughed at the dazed look on Draco's face and hurried off holding hands.
When they reached the Shrieking Shack Draco stopped her and gazed down into her eyes. She felt her mouth go dry as she looked up into his silver orbs.
He put a finger under her chin and then leaned down slowly, she closed her eyes and waited, but his lips never touched hers.
Instead they brushed her ear and he whispered, "Hermione, please, wake up. Please."
She gasped and opened her eyes. For a moment she was lost, no longer was she outdoors by the Shrieking Shack. There was a silver and bronze chain surrounding her, supporting her, keeping her safe inside a glowing fortress. She gasped and sat up, trying to reach out and touch the chain walls. It was then she realized one of her hands was holding onto something. She looked down and saw a pale hand holding her own.
Her gaze moved past the hand and followed the dark green velvet sleeve up until she found the man the hand belonged to.
She smiled, feeling a sudden release of all uncertainty.
He grinned back at her and opened his mouth to speak, but she felt a tug from a slender crimson chain she hadn't seen wrapped around her wrist.
She stared at it in wonder and then, with a single blink the cage was gone, leaving her lying in a bed, red curtains - the same color as the thin chain - surrounding her and a worried face under a messy head of dark hair looking down.
"Hermione! Thank Merlin! Here, you have to drink this!"
She frowned, but she trusted Harry. She didn't know why she was in a bed with him or where Draco had gone, but Harry had been her best friend since she was eleven. Or...no...had she known him longer?
He helped her sit up and pressed a potion vial to her lips, she frowned but drank it.
The world tilted and swam before her eyes, she gasped and pressed her hands to her head, memories burning and changing inside of her. Tears of pain and perhaps even sorrow burned at her eyes as Harry held her and a warm presence sat on a strong silver and bronze chain, taking on some of the pain, saving her from it, offering her support.
She cried out when it ended, her mind completely blank for half a second before anger flared with the realization of what had occurred, quickly followed by a sense of loathing. An enmity so strong it almost rivaled her hatred of Bellatrix Lestrange.
"That bitch is going to die."
Author's Note: Hermione has woken up...now, how many of you are excited to see Umbridge get her due?
And, yes, to those of you that reviewed and got cookies, that was a very, very evil cookie, wasn't it?
Also, if you want to review, but don't want a cookie, just say 'no cookie' or 'NC'. I'll know what you mean :)