The Labyrinth

Summary: "Hermione... run!" Draco's breath caught in his throat as he watched her disappear behind the enchanted dungeon wall, closely followed by the snatcher. The war is not over. Despite the horcruxes being destroyed, Voldemort did not fall at the Battle of Hogwarts. Instead, The Labyrinth, a prison to rival Azkaban, holds all those who are caught in defiance of the Dark Lord's reign. What happens when two enemies are forced to work together to escape the maze? ...Life will never be the same again. Dramione

Author's Note: This is my first story! I've been a reader for years, but this idea refused to stay in my head. The Labyrinth is set after the Battle of Hogwarts, but ignores the ending of DH. There are some minor changes to the original plot along the way. I want to focus on keeping the relationship authentic, so there is going to be a slow build up. I've kept the rating at M for now because of my plans for later chapters, but that is still subject to change. Feedback and constructive critiques are welcome. As always- I wish I owned these characters... but I don't. All characters belong to the wonderful JK. Rowling. This version of the story, however, is mine . Hope you enjoy :D

Part I:
Chapter 1

There was no time to stop.

Hermione's breath burst from her chest in short gasps as she raced down the long, narrow labyrinth halls. There was no reason why her charmed cell door had suddenly sprung open. None at all. But she didn't have time to analyze that now. Every muscle in her body was focused on escape, and Hermione was going to do everything in her power to stay alive in the process. Nearing the end of the hall she took a sharp right, sprinting close to the damp stone walls, keeping hidden beneath the shadows.

Despite the adrenaline coursing through her veins, every fiber of her being was radiating in painful protest. Months of torture and malnourishment had turned her into a weak mess of broken bones and bleeding limbs. Her once bushy hair lay flat and greasy against her scalp, tangled with dry blood. Bruises marred her arms and legs. Her already slight form now carried little more than flesh and bone.

Even with the dim light emanating from the candles, Hermione could not see more than an arm's length in front of her. She groaned. Being wandless was not helping her situation. She continued sprinting towards the end of the hall, stopping short when she reached three intersecting paths. Glancing down each one as far as she could, she was met only with total darkness.

"Shit", she muttered to herself. There was no way of knowing which was the proper way out, or, if there was a proper way at all. Well, straight is as good a way as any, Hermione thought and once again she started sprinting forward, the pain in her ankles causing a slight limp in her stride.

What are you hoping to find...Her mind raced as she continued down the ever narrowing maze paths. An exit? Logically, there had to be others down here, more prisoners at the very least. She had heard their cries and whispers for months. But she still had yet to see anyone. In fact, since her capture the only other people she had seen were the Death Eaters during their occasional visits to her cell. She shuddered at the memories. They were always looking for answers, any information at all about the Order's plans. The visits always ended the same though; her, defiantly slumped over in the corner of her cell, and the Death Eaters no closer to any of the precious knowledge she held.

Still running as fast as her injured body would carry her, Hermione made a quick left turn, only to connect with a solid slab of concrete; a dead end.

"No... No no no, this cannot be happening," she croaked, desperation bubbling up from the pit in her stomach. She leaned her throbbing head against the cold stone wall, her knees threatening to buckle beneath the weight of her thin frame. Exhaustion consumed her.

She sighed. They had done everything right, followed Dumbledore's last requests to the letter, and still she was trapped in this prison. Focus Hermione, her mind screamed at her.But she couldn't. Her thoughts drifted back to the day of her capture during the Battle of Hogwarts, the last day she had seen the outside world.

When Harry stood for his final duel with Voldemort, Hermione had felt a tingling of hope in her heart. All the horcruxes were destroyed; Harry had made it out of the forbidden forest alive. The only piece left to ending this bloody war was to destroy Voldemort himself. They were supposed to be rid of the misfortunes of war.She was supposed to be free from persecution, free from the constant worry over her loved ones...but something had gone horribly wrong in their calculations.

Neither Harry's nor Voldemort's spell reached its intended target, allowing for Voldemort to take off in a billowing shadow of smoke. The surrounding scene erupted into utter chaos as Death Eaters swarmed the remaining witches and wizards. Thousands of students began to flee, frightened at the anarchy before them; curses flew only inches from Hermione's face, lighting up the castle as she tried to clear a path to Harry, who had been knocked unconscious. She remembered the sick feeling that overtook her; Hogwarts was quite literally collapsing around them, centuries of all that had been good in the world falling from the sky. Blood seeped into the ancient stones of Hogwarts, forever staining its history. She had tried to drown out the screams, and focus only on protecting Harry.

But she never made it that far. Just as she was about to reach him, a snatcher grasped her arm, dragging her body back against the rubble. Her last memory of the outside world was Ron's screaming face as the snatcher towed her struggling body towards the other Death Eaters.

Over the last few months she had gone over this moment time and time again, replaying every detail. Voldemort must have known Dumbledore's plan all along, Hermione was sure of it. The confidence Voldemort had exuded that day went beyond his normal arrogance; his survival was guaranteed before the Battle had even occurred. And then there was the Labyrinth. His Labyrinth, a prison built to rival Azkaban. It was a cage for all who defied the Dark Lord. The intricacy of this place was admittedly remarkable, Hermione thought bitterly. It must have taken months- if not years- to complete.

Although Hermione had not seen much of the prison beyond her own cell, she had heard the whispers from other prisoners around her. The Labyrinth was rumored to be made up of seven layers, buried deep beneath the earth. Although there was no indication of how deep under the ground she was, the still air was always cold. There were thought to be levels upon levels of dungeons, each confined in its own wicked maze, each filled with unspeakable horrors. And now she was stuck right in the middle of one.

Hermione knew in her gut that there was no hope for survival. No one made it through the trials of the mazes. She had heard nothing from the outside world in months, even the passing whispers from newly captured prisoners had all but seized. There was no end in sight to her punishment. She thought back to the faces of her friends constantly, wishing them all the safety she had not been afforded. Her memory was her only ally in this dark fortress.

Hopeless, this is all hopeless. Tears began to pool in the corners of her eyes. There was a time in her life when she would not have dreamed of letting her emotions overtake her judgment. But now, that very feeling of hopelessness had seized her heart, draining her of her courage and willpower. The Gryffindor in her was slowly being strangled under the enormous strain of the prison.

Suddenly, a noise arose from the darkness of the shadows. Footsteps.

One set.

And then another.

Hermione's whole body tensed, panicked. She was no longer alone.

Goddamit. There was nowhere to go; She was trapped between the dungeon walls and the darkness.

I can't stay here. Hermione crept slowly towards the shadows, crouching against the wall as she went. She just barely peaked her head around the corner, the glow of the candles that had once lit this hallway was gone and she was again met by total darkness. Staying low to the ground, Hermione walked back towards the fork in the path. Every sense she possessed was on full alert; her ears intently listening for the slightest of movement, and her eyes squinting to see through the darkness.

Her head peaked around another corner, and then she saw them. Two tall, dark shadows had just begun to move stealthily down one of the adjacent hallways. Death Eaters if she ever saw any. She jumped back against the wall. Just my bloody luck.

"Oye, any news?" A hushed whisper came from under one of the black hoods.

"The attack has been stopped, but two of the prisoner's are still unaccounted for." An aristocratic voice sighed, seemingly bored with the man walking beside him. Hermione stayed completely silent, straining to hear any information. Attack? Was the Order here? Her heart jumped.

"Then what are we doing down here 'ay? They won't get very far without wands," the first man snickered darkly. "It's a long way up from here, why don't we just let the beasts have some fun and be on our way?"

The second man scoffed, clearly disdained with the conversation, and kept slowly gliding down the hallway.

"Need I remind you that the Dark Lord will not be happy if that filthy mudblood manages to escape?"

"And the boy, your-"

"Neither of them make it out of here alive," A hard, frigid edge crept into the man's tone, "Do I make myself clear?"

"But... the plans for the girl? I was rather looking forward to seeing the mudblood suffer. Shouldn't we at least keep her alive?"

"Our orders were clear. The Dark Lord no longer has use for her. His mission is almost complete...the Order will not survive much longer." Pride and malice saturated the aristocratic man's words. Hermione shuddered; she could hear his smile.

Just as they had begun to move further down the hall out of her sight, Hermione's ankle suddenly gave out, causing her to lose balance and crumble to the dungeon floor with a resounding echo. Her heart sank, silently cursing her bad fortune. Fuck.

"What was that?"

She heard the footsteps begin moving closer to her, their booming like war drums ringing through her ears. Attempting to scramble to her feet, she reached up, grabbing at the stone wall for support.

Keep moving. She pulled herself up, limping around the corner towards the only other available hallway. The sound of their footsteps quickened. Without turning around she knew they were gaining on her.

Her legs were weak. Her body was weak. She continued to sprint through the dark labyrinth passages, taking a sharp turn...only to be faced with another dead end. Hermione skidded to a stop before colliding with the wall.

This was it. Any remaining hope that she had been clinging on to quickly faded. Resignation fell upon her, causing her shoulders to droop. There was truly no way out this time. She turned around, waiting for the two dark hooded figures to come thundering down the hall. The faces of Harry and Ron crept into her mind. Please let them be okay. Please let this all be worth it. Hermione closed her eyes, accepting her fate.

That was... until a cold, bony hand wrapped around her mouth from behind. A tall lean body tugged her back in the direction of the dead end. Hermione managed to turn around just in time to see a flash of blonde hair as she was pulled back through the dungeon wall. And in one fell swoop, everything went dark.