Hermione struggled against her attacker.
"Let me go!" A squeal followed the solemn petition, as she was promptly kicked below the back of her knee. She slid to the filthy stone floor, crumpling in a heap.
"Get up mudblood," the harsh warlock thundered. In one hand he grasped his wand, a blacked and twisted shard of wood that had been manipulated with pure malice.
"Deaf are we? I SAID GET UP! CRUCIO!"
White, hot pain speared through Hermiones fragile body. She shrieked in agony. The wizard laughed. With his free hand he pushed his dirty blonde hair away from his sweat streaked face.
"Hurt deary?" He crooned.
A twitching ball, Hermione huddled. Tears spilled from her big brown eyes. A swift kick silenced her movements. The man reached down and grabbed at her arm. His nails dug into her porcelain skin so pale from too many hours locked away, pouring over books. He pulled her up, once again attempting the stoned staircase she had fought so hard against.
"N-n-no!" She stuttered, "please, n-no, Lucius."
Hermiones cries went ignored. Lucius Malfoy was a determined being. Once his mind was set, not a thing could it alter its path of thought. He dragged Hermione to the top of the spiral staircase, to a heavy wooden door with a brass handle. It was with numb acceptance that she noted the thick brass handle and lock. Lucius pointed his wand at the door. The lock unclenched from its rusted state and swung free. His right leg came up, kicking the door open.
"In," he grunted.
A movement, radiating ominous finales, flung Hermione into the tower room. She thumped to the floor. Lucius wiped his perspiring forehead on his robes sleeve.
"Your new chambers, m'lady," he sneered. Hermione struggled to get up, to run for the open doorway, to escape but the pain culled her feeble attempts. The door closed. The malicious laughter that echoed from beyond provided the perfect rhythm to cradle Hermiones sobbing. Sheer exhaustion overwhelmed her. So it was that she fell into a slumber deeper than the oceans, locked away from the world, in a lonely castle tower, awaiting her knight in shining amour.
Hermione awoke in a cold sweat. She lifted her stiff, small frame from the floor and attempted to stand on shaky legs. The room was dark. Hermiones swollen eyes endeavored to make out her surroundings. She reached for the wall- a prop to support her.
"Lumos," she muttered.
The room remained shrouded in blackness. Hermiones sweaty hands struggled to keep a hold on the wall.
"Lumos." Again, nothing happened.
"LUMOS!" Hermione bellowed. Her palms slid against the stones grime. Dull realization set in: the spell had not worked because she did not have her wand in her hand. Her wand wasn't in her hand because…
"I don't have my wand," she cried, "I don't have my wand." Hermione shook violently with hysterical laughter.
"I don't HAVE my WAND!"
Hermione laughed and laughed. She laughed until it hurt. She lost her grip on the wall completely and toppled to the floor.
"I don't have my wand," she squeaked.
Hermione bent double. She threw up.
Thoughts chased each other around the crooks of her mind.
I was asleep…at…where? The Burrow. I was staying in Ginnys room. Bill and Fleurs wedding tomorrow…no, it would have been…today? I missed it…I wonder if…they missed me? I wonder if Ron…And then what? I woke…Someone was calling for me downstairs…outside…and I went…And then…I was here…
Hermione forced herself to stand again.
"I need light," she murmured. Instantly, the room flooded with light.
Hermione gaped in shock. Not only had the room lit at her command, it had revealed to her a wealth of lavish beauty. She stood at the end of a short hall- the room's entryway. The chapel high ceilings created the air of a spacious dominion. A golden chandelier decorated above. Against the right wall rested a large four-poster bed. Carved mahogany pillars stretched up to the roof. Dark red velvet curtains were held back with thick embroider ribbon, gold in its colorings. The linen was a suiting red and gold.
Hermione canvassed the remainder of the room. Upon the stone floor lay a rug, fat with soft red wool. To her left a cozy fireplace burned merrily. Next to it stood a large bookshelf, filled with book upon beautiful. Hermione took a tentative step towards it. If this room was to be her prison, as she had much expected, then why had it been so beautifully presented? A large arch window seat faced her. Hermione quickened her pace. She met the bookshelf with enthusiasm. Her hands caressed its carvings. The books seemed to be chorusing to be heard. Read me, read me, they seemed to be saying. Hermione selected a thick blue title, and padded the short distance to the window seat. She nestled in, tucking her legs up onto the couch. The window was wooded, in similar style to the door. Hermione was positive that if she tried the lock, it would not budge. The window would remain purposefully closed. The book felt slightly heavy in her hands. It was a comforting weight reminding her that this was not just a very bad nightmare in which she had been kidnapped by the foulest of all wizarding families (for purposes unknown), but a bone chilling reality. Hermione shivered. Her nightdress was soaked with sweat. Once it had been a long, white lacy piece that ran down to her ankles. Now it was a dirty rag, ripped and torn. It barely covered her knees. Somewhere between The Burrow and here it had been badly injured, much like Hermione's presently weakened spirit.
Hermione bowed her head. She leaned into the book, longing for it to console her pain.
"…Once upon a time…"
It was a children's tale, somewhat similar to a muggle one Hermione had read when she was young. The tale centered on a witch princess who was stolen away from her kingdom. She was locked in the tallest tower of the evilest castle where no one could hear her cries for savior (this was, as the book described, because of severe silencing spells cast upon the towers walls). Hermione thought it was slightly ironic that she would select this of all novels to savor. The situation was not entirely unfamiliar.
She read on, intrigued as to see what would become of this 'witch princess.'
"…For a long while she remained trapped alone in the tower with nought for company but forsaken rodents…"
The next line was slightly blurred. Hermione spoke the verse out loud in an effort to comprehend its meaning.
"…Until he, no- the, the day a young soonal the evil warlock greeted her chambers.."
Hermione puzzled over 'soonal.' It was a word she had never heard of before. Perhaps she had misread the inky blot…
A sudden scrapping from outside intercepted Hermiones thoughts. The door clicked open. Footsteps in the small entry hall, and then…
"Draco Malfoy!" Hermione shrieked, dropping her book.
The boy was about sixteen or so, with the generic pale blonde hair common of his family. He stood tall and menacing with a sneer plastered across his face- another Malfoy trait. He was the arch nemesis of Harry, Ron and Hermione. The sight of him angered Hermione even more so now, for he had recently assisted in their beloved Headmaster Dumbledores death. The very thought bought a fresh wave of hot stingy tears to her eyes.
"Murderer!" She burbled.
Draco waved his hand, as if to will away the suggestion.
"Mudblood," he spat.
He took a step forwards and went flying. Hermione noted that the results of her nervous state had reaped some reward. Draco had slipped in her vomit. He lay with his back to the ground, groaning.
"Eee, what's this?" He bristled.
Hermione smirked. A small triumph it may have been, but a triumph nonetheless. Draco pushed himself up. He sniffed at his sodden sleeve.
"Granger you filth!" He roared, "you've puked on me!"
"No, Malfoy, the only filth here is you. And no, I did not 'puke' as such on you, I vomited where you are currently lying. If you chose to roll around in it well, that's hardly my responsibility."
Draco whipped his wand out, whirled it around himself twice and the sickly substance vanished. Next, he aimed his wand at the remainder of the puddle on the floor. It too, disappeared. Draco turned towards her, his eyes glaring. Hermione suddenly felt quite afraid.
"You Mudblood, you make me ashamed to cast magic," Malfoy stalked over to her.
He bent, snatching up the book she had dropped at the sight of him.
"A little reading, Granger? Let's see now…"
Hermione made a grab for the book. Draco held it high out of reach.
"Uh uh uh, not for naughty little mudbloods," he chastened.
Hermione overstretched for it and fell off the window seat. Draco cackled.
"…Once upon a time…" He began.
Hermione blushed scarlet.
"Give it, Malfoy!" She demanded.
Draco sidestepped her grab.
"Ooo, little mudblood dreams off knights in shining robes, does she?" He cackled,
"Fairytales for whittle baby muggles about princes and princesses, and happy little families…" His voice trailed off.
Hermione seized her chance whilst he was temporarily distracted. She delivered a swift blow to his shin. Draco dropped the book. He grabbed at his leg, hopping in pain.
"Ow, ow, ow! You stupid bucktoothed bookworm!"
Hermione snatched at the book. She grasped it tightly to her chest.
"That's it!" Draco roared, "I've had it!"
He waved his wand at Hermione.
Hermione struggled to keep her hold, but the spell was too powerful. Draco won the tug of war. The book whizzed over to his outstretched left hand.
"Gotcha," he blared.
With measured force he slung the book into the fireplace. He grabbed Hermiones arm. He dragged her up.
Hermione fought as he pulled her to the fireplace. For a fleeting moment Hermione feared he would through her in as well.
"Look!" He snarled.
An antique mirror hung over the fireplace mantle. The reflection before her was sad.
Her bushy brown hair was matted with dirt and blood. Freckled face was littered with small cuts and her left eye was bruised.
Draco threw her to the floor.
"You've never been much of a girl Granger, but at least you always looked half decent."
Hermiones blood boiled.
"I've just been KIDNAPPED. You PIG!" She screeched.
Draco rolled his eyes.
"Yeah, whatever. Look, clean yourself up. Then we'll talk," he drawled.
He pointed his wand in the direction of the mantle once again.
"Fifth stone to the left is loose." With that cryptical statement Draco left. The door locked behind him. Hermione picked herself off the floor. Off all the people to kidnap her, she had to be kidnapped by him.
Hermione lingered in her state of furious confusion. Draco had refused to offer any sort of explanation for her capture until she was 'gussied up.' Wasn't that always the way? Hermione thought somewhat bitterly, boys only ever want to talk to 'pretty' girls.
"And I'm not pretty," Hermione whispered.
She shook her head. This wasn't the time for an analysis of her complexion. Besides, Harry and Ron had never fussed over how she looked. All those times before when she had been cut and bruised, the only thing she could recall them asking was, "you all right, Mione?" not "did you upset a particularly nasty troll?"
Hermione shook her head, clearing her cluttered thoughts.
"Fifth stone to the left…hmm, some sort of trap door clue?" She pondered.
The fifth stone to the left on the mantle looked slightly out of place indeed, compared with its surrounding counterparts. Soft fingertips brushed over the stone. Hermione took hold. She gave a mighty pull on the loose stone. A 'click' sounded from behind, an indication that the mechanicals behind the fireplace were whirring into action.