Chapter 2: The One Where They Arrive in the Otherworld.
It was unlike they had ever seen before. In front of them, there was nothing but sand ahead. Not a single building, not a single tree. It was clearly some kind of desert, only that on which they were standing, was no ordinary sand. Behind them, appeared to be a pool of water surrounded by strange tall trees. The soil was damp and had a red glow.
"Where the bloody hell are we?"
George looked around, the confusion apparent in his eyes.
"More importantly," Hermione said as she slowly let go of George's neck, "How did we get here?"
There came no answer to either questions. Instead, the duo was startled by a horrifying sound.
"What the – George!" Before Hermione could look for the source of the sound, she was pushed on the ground by George. He put his arm over her protectively, but Hermione squirmed underneath him. "I.. want.. to.. see!"
"Shh. Before it sees us," George shushed as he looked down on her warningly. He then looked up again and gasped. Hermione caught a glimpse of what George was talking about and stared in disbelief.
Above them flew something that closely resembled a dragon. It was a huge winged and scaly monster, with a crested head and enormous claws.
"A dragon?" she whispered with a hint of uncertainty in her voice.
Hermione had seen dragons before. However, the creature she was now was not an ordinary dragon. It had several necks, and attached to each of those necks a different head. As the creature flew higher and partially disappeared into the clouds, George's grip on her loosened. Suddenly aware that she was practically lying in his arms, Hermione's cheeks turned bright red and she rolled away.
George didn't seem to notice. He crawled up, his eyes never leaving the dragon. "That was no ordinary dragon," he said as he offered Hermione a hand, who took it and pulled herself up.
Her mind was working overtime in an attempt to determine where they were. Dragons could be found in almost any corner of the world. But which part of the world looked like this? Which part of the world had multi-headed dragons?
"Did you see that thing?" George exclaimed in shock, "It..it had nine heads. Nine, Hermione! As if one isn't enough!"
"I saw it, George! But what I'm more worried about is.."
"There is something worse than a nine headed dragon!"
Hermione glared at him. "There is! For instance, where in Merlin's name are we? We're not in London anymore, are we George? Actually, I'm pretty sure we're not in Britain anymore, either!" she fumed and shook her head in frustration.
"Blimey, you're right." George said, "It's just, that thing really – what is it, Hermione?"
He looked at the young witch who had suddenly frozen and was staring at something behind him.
"Another dragon? Please don't tell me it's another dragon?" George said softly, unable to move.
Hermione slowly shook her head. "We're.. I.. look?" unable to find the words, Hermione pointed weakly to the sky.
George turned around and blinked. Even though it was day, nowhere in the sky could he discover the familar sun. Instead, he saw not one, but four suns shining down on them.
"Well this is different."
George jumped in mid air and whirled around. "Sodding hell! You scared me!"
Hermione blinked at him and raised an eybrow. "I scared you? You see four suns in the sky and I scare you?"
"You didn't scream, then?"
She just stared at him. "I never scream. I prefer to stay calm and analyze the situation. Why panic? That's Ron's job."
George grinned. "Well I'm glad I'm stuck here with you, in that case." He looked around again. "Though, where is here?"
"We can't be on another planet." Hermione reasoned, and decided to sit down under one of the strange trees. "But .. how do we explain those suns."
George said down next to her and put on a thoughtful face. "Maybe you were right before. The question is not, where are we? Maybe we should be focusing on how we got here. I mean, what were we doing before we got here, Hermione?"
Hermione rolled her eyes. Did he seriously not remember what they had been doing only minutes ago? Could he not remember what had happened before that dragon showed up, when they were still in ..
She sat up straight and looked at George. "George, I told you it was a bad idea to go to Knockturn Alley!"
George's jaw dropped. "The book!"
"The book!" Hermione repeated and nodded furiously. "Dark Magic, it must have been something like that Oh, we should have never gone into that store!"
"But I never heard of a book that can teleport people to.. wherever this place is."
"All your other questions are forgotten. The only thing you can wonder now is, "Am I still on Earth?"
"Another world!" Hermioen screamed and jumped up. "Another planet! Anything! The Dark Arts are dangerous, George.. Who knows what we'll find here! Even worse – " She paused as her mind conjured up more terrible scenarios.
"What if we are stuck in the book? Yes! What if we are stuck in the book, and this is a story, and we have no choice but to be part of the story. And there's no way of getting out, because someone else has to read the book to get us out, and – hmmpfl, hmmmpf hhmrph!"
George shook his head in disbelief as he clasped his hand on Hermione's mouth. "You are freaking me out. And it takes a lot to freak a Weasley twin out, but you have managed to do so."
Hermione glared at him.
"And I thought you said Ron was the one that panicks! Sheesh."
If looks could kill, George would've been dead by now. "Okay, I am going to pull my hand back, but I don't want you to scream anymore. You can talk, but softly. Slowly. Understood?"
Hermione nodded. George let go of her and stepped back. The girl sighed.
"Good," George said happily. "Now please, you're a prefect and the best student of your year. So what on earth are you babbling about? Trapped in a book? Follow the story?"
"Haven't you ever heard of the Never Ending Story?" Hermione muttered.
"Nevermind. It's a muggle thing. So I don't know. What we do know is that we are not in the normal wizarding world anymore.." she sighed and then looked at George again. "What about magic? Does it still work?"
George and Hermione simultaniously reached for their wands. They looked at each other shortly before they both aimed their wands to their left . Red and green sparks left George's and Hermione's wand, respectively. They sighed in relief.
"Magic works. That's a relief.."
"Maybe even better than that!" George beamed at her. "If magic works, that means I can still apparate. I can apparate out of here!" He clapped his hands and his smile grew even larger.
Hermione shook her head. "Where to, George?"
"Home, of course!"
"And how far is that?"
"Er – I don't .."
She sighed. "How you ended up with a license to apparate, I'll never know. You don't know where this," she waved her arms around, "is, and how far home is. To try it, would be suicide. You'd be splinched! Not even the highest trained wizards would do something as stupid as that!"
"Oh." His smile fell. "Blimey, Hermione, it was just a thought."
Again Hermione let herself fall on the floor. She sighed. "I'm sorry, George."
"No worries, Hermione. Don't worry, we'll be fine. We have our wands, we have our health, we have Hogwarts know it all,"
"And the better half of the Weasley twins," he finished with a wink.
Hermione let out a soft chuckle. "That almost sounds like it could be fun."
George looked at the sky and then down on her. "By the looks of it, we don't have much time until the sun..s..set. It looks like we'll have to spend the night here."
"Spend the night!" Hermione repeated surprised.
"Unless you have a big old magic book in your pocket, I doubt we can get out of here before it gets dark. And although I am not a coward, I'm also not stupid enough towalk around in the dark when there's a nine headed dragon flying around."
"You're right," she said reluctantly. "Well, it's better than exploring the unknown. I don't feel like doing that, not just yet."
George smiled at her. "Sure, Hermione. So we'll stay here. We'll make a nice fire and conjure up some blankets and have a good night sleep."
"Oh no," Hermione shook her head, "One of us has to stay awake! What if that hydra thing comes back? Or other monsters!"
"O-okay.." George stammered. "So we take turns? And who goes first?"
"You need to ask? Be a gentleman!"
"Oh that's unfair, Hermione. Just because I'm the guy I have to stay awake first?"
"It's called chivalry, George. Look it up sometime. You can wake me up in a couple of hours."
She took off her big wintercoat and fashioned it into a pillow. Laying down on it, she watched how George started gathering branches for a campfire. He looked extremely calm, given the situation. Hermione didn't understand how that was possible. In any other situation, she would've been able to remain perfectly calm. During all the things she had gone through with Harry and Ron, she had been the one who kept a clear head. She always found a solution to their problems.
But that was in the Wizarding World.
They were somewhere else now. And none of the books she had read during her time at Hogwarts, had prepared her for this. She had never heard about some enchanted book, that could suck you into a different world.. Who knew what kind of dangers they would encounter here!
The dragon, Hermione knew, was a hydra. At least, it would have been called a hydraa back in Britain. A beast of legends and myth, as this dragon truly didn't exist anymore on earth, according to the Ministry. However, this hydra seemed quite alive to her.
Hermione's attention was brought back to George when he lit the fire. In the flames, he appeared to glow. It was funny how she was stuck with George Weasley, of all people. For some reason, she had expected this to happen to Harry and her. Or even more likely, Ron. But George, she hadn't seen him or Fred in months! To be stuck with one of the Weasley twins in another world? It sounded like a nightmare.
But then again.. Hermione had had gotten the impression that George had grown up. He looked older, anyway. More mature. His long hair suited him, and his features resembled that of a man now, not a boy. He still had a playful smile, though. It looked very cute.
Ok, what? Hermione, you must be very tired. You just thought how cute George looked with that smile on his face.
Before Hermione could argue with herself, though, her eyes closed and she fell asleep.
George watched her through the flames. She was a know it all, but it was kind of adorable how she was panicking in this situation. For some reason, George was more curious than anything. He never really got scared. Life was one big adventure for him. The only thing he was concerned about was that dragon. Dragons always gave him the creeps. He never understood how Charlie could work with those beasts.
He didn't worry about it, though. As long as one of them stayed awake, they would see the dragon in time. And tomorrow they would explore the area. Find a way back home. How, he didn't know. But he had a few tricks up his sleeve and realized that Hermione wasn't the worst person to be stuck with. She knew how to use magic, and had memorized the entire Hogwarts library if he had to believe Ron. No, if anything, he was lucky to be with Hermione.
He leaned back against a tree and smiled. Plus, she was nice to look at."
DisclaimerI do not own Harry Potter or anything affiliated with Harry Potter, nor do I own D&D.