At Malfoy manor Hermione discovered pain like she had never felt before. It wasn't just the feeling of a thousand knives stabbing and cutting her, nor the feeling of being punched repeatedly not even the part where all her bones felt like they were ready to break under the strain. The crucialtis was even worse. On top of all that she also felt helpless, hated and utterly alone. The despair consumed her, she wondered if the feeling would go away with the curse or if she was going to be alone forever. After what felt like hours the curse was lifted, and she fell into peaceful oblivion.
When her mind returned to awareness she felt like she was falling. She was mildly concerned about falling but she was very glad the torture had stopped. As she continued to fall she felt her concern grow but her befuddled mind couldn't remember why this lovely weightless feelling was bad. About the time her mind cleared enough to remember that falling wasn't the problem, landing was, she felt herself land with a thud on something soft. Immediately she thought, "Must have been a cushioning charm, the landing should have been much worse… maybe I'm dead."
"Is she dead?" Hermione heard a voice that sounded vaguely familiar ask.
"How should I know." Another replied.
"No, you go check."
"I'm alive." Hermione said through gritted teeth, "But more than anything I want you two to stop talking."
"Oh, she's alive then." Said one.
"Obviously." Replied the other.
"Really stop talking," Hermione said, "you're annoying."
"We know." They replied together.
Hermione opened her eyes but the world was spinning so she closed them again. She tried several more times before the world righted and she could properly see. But that didn't help much. She was staring at a purple sky and she was surrounded by multi-colored flowers. The multi-colored flowers weren't a bunch of blue flowers mixed in with red ones. No each flower was multi-colored. The flower closest to her had one petal that was blue, one that was red and it had yellow, purple, green , orange and black too. And just past the flower sat Fred and George.
"What did you two do to me?" Hermione growled.
"We didn't do anything to you." Said the one she thought was Fred.
"Why are we always blamed brother?" asked George
"I don't know brother, it is all so unfair."
"It's because you are usually the ones who did something." Hermione said as she tried to sit up. It was difficult because the ground kept giving way under her weight, which was probably why her landing was so soft.
"But it wasn't us this time." Fred said.
"It's true," George said, "we were just sitting here talking…"
"And you fell out of the sky." Fred said.
"And interrupted our conversation." Said George
"And sat on our host, very rude actually." Fred said.
"Your host?" Hermione asked.
"Their host." Said a voice from behind her. It was a slow deep voice that pulled the words out longer than they should have lasted.
Hermione turned slowly and found herself looking at a very large, very blue, very grumpy looking caterpillar. Hermione jumped up and immediately started apologizing, "I'm so sorry. I didn't realize… Are you hurt?
"I'm fine." He said and with much sarcasm he added, "I'm used to people falling out of the sky and landing on me."
Hermione rolled her eyes, how can anyone talk so slowly, then she asked, "Um… can you tell me where I am?"
"Yes." Came the drawn out reply from the blue caterpillar.
Hermione waited a few moments, then rolled her eyes again, "Where am I?"
"Underland, I've never heard of a place by that name. Ok I know they are Fred and George so who are you?"
"Our names are not Fred and George." Fred said.
"Of course not," Hermione said, "That would just be silly, you must be Gred and Forge."
"That's right." Forge replied.
"And you Mr. Caterpillar?" Hermione asked.
"I…" he replied, "am Severus… who may I ask are you?"
"I'm Hermione." She replied staring at the caterpillar, "and I think I've lost my mind."
"Oh," said Gred, "Can I help you find it?"
"No, I'm going to help her." Forge said.
"You can't find your feet," Gred accused, "how do you expect to find her mind?"
"Yes I can. They're right here at the bottom… ahhh their gone." Forge yelled.
"You're on your knees." Hermione said, "Stand up and you'll see them."
"Oh," Forge said standing, "You are brilliant. How did you know?"
"Great!" Gred said, "Now let's go help her find her mind. Maybe the Hatter's seen it." The twins started walking away from her, she was very hesitant to follow the two of them.
"You must go with them." Severus said slowly, "They will help you find your way."
Hermione reluctantly followed the twins away from the caterpillar. She followed the pair through the crazy forest that was just past the flowers. She noticed the trees were talking amongst themselves and curious animals lined the path. "Underland." She thought to herself, "Why does all this feel so foreign and yet so familiar at the same time. This has got to be a prank by the twins somehow. The twins… the Hatter and a blue caterpillar, why on earth does this sound familiar, it is far too strange." Then she saw something that made her move closer to the twins. It was a smile. Just floating in the air, with nothing attached to it. Just teeth floating in the shape of a smile. As she watched it the smile slowly dissolved into nothing, "Did I just imagine that?"
The twins each gave the other shoves as they walked. They were continually calling each other names too, stupid and ugly were the most common. Hermione grinned and shook her head and thought, "Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum." At this thought Hermione stopped in her tracks and said out loud, "No way!"
Gred turned back and said, "Yes way. Don't stop now, we're almost there."
Hermione hurried to catch up to them thinking again, "Underland… Wonderland? Could this be just a dream?"
"Hatter, we're here." Forge yelled, "Is it tea time?"
"It's always tea time." Said a voice that sounded an awful lot like Ron's.
Hermione stepped into a clearing and stopped. In fact she almost fell over. There at the other end of a long table set out in the clearing was Ron. But it wasn't him, was it? He was drinking tea while wearing the weirdest top hat she had ever seen. And his hair, well she had never seen his hair stand out like that before.
"Gred and Forge," Ron the Hatter said, "What a pleasant surprise did you come just to visit and have tea with me?"
"Yes, we came for tea." Forge said.
"Did not." Said Gred.
"Not." Gred said, "And don't say too, remember we lost her mind."
"Oh, yes quite right." Forge said, "Lost her mind and we promised to help her find it."
"Quite right," Gred said, "So Hatter have you seen it?"
"Seen what?" Ron asked in confusion.
"Her mind, she lost it." Forge said.
"Who lost their mind?" another voice asked.
"She did." The both said and pointed at Hermione.
Everyone turned to look at Hermione. She finally got a good look at the rest of the occupants of the table. Harry was there but he had rabbit ears, and Ginny was beside him holding a long cylinder that looked like a rats tail. Across from them where the twins were sitting was a woman dressed in red wearing a crown. Her head had stayed on the table and Hermione thought she heard snores from her direction.
Ron the Hatter had stood and was walking towards her, staring straight at her eyes. He reached for her hand and said," Your mind is too beautiful to be lost." Hermione could feel herself blushing as Ron pulled her toward his seat never looking away from her eyes. He pulled a chair out for her and indicated for her to sit and then he sat himself down and whispered, "I am Hatter. Who are you?"
"Hermione." Came the whispered reply.
"Oi, you going to introduce your friend?" the Harry look alike asked.
"This is Hermione." His voice held an emotion that Hermione couldn't identify.
Hermione wondered, "If this is a dream is this the way I want Ron to be?"
Her thoughts were interrupted by another voice, "I'm Harry the March Hare, and this is Ginny the Dormouse. You already know the twins."
"Don't forget me." Said an airy voice from above. Hermione looked up and saw the smiling teeth floating in the air, that had frightened her earlier. As she watched an image started forming around the smile. It was a blond girl with cat ears and tail, "I'm Luna."
"It's a pleasure to meet everyone." Hermione said, then looking at the woman they had skipped she asked, "Who's she?"
"Shhhh." Harry said, "Don't talk to her. She gets grumpy if you wake her up." He then started laughing hysterically and leaned on Ginny.
The others joined in the laughter. It was like he had said some fabulous joke that was terribly funny. Hermione watched in confusion, they were loud and even bumping the woman. She didn't wake and Hermione thought, "And they were worried I would wake her up." Out loud she said, "I don't get it. You said not to wake her but you're being very loud and even bumping her, but I can't talk about her?"
"No!" Ron the Hatter looked alarmed, "You'll wake her."
Hermione had enough, "Well then who is she?"
"I know," Luna said as she started to fade away, "She's the red queen."
"NO!" all the inhabitants of the table yelled. It was too late. Luna had disappeared from view and the woman sat up.
"Off with their heads!" she yelled.
Hermione was transfixed in horror. She recognized the woman. It was Bellatrix Lastrange. Bellatrix yawned and stretched, after a moment she stopped. Looking straight at Hermione she asked, "Who's the ugly troll?"
"My name is Hermione." She replied with no little amount of anger.
"You're too ugly to look at. Off with her head." Bellatrix said.
"No." Ron the Hatter said, "I will not let you." He picked her up off her chair and turned from the table, "You'll be ok Hermione, just hang on."
Hermione felt Ron running while cradling her in his arms. She realized that she felt safer than she had since she was a little girl sitting on her father's lap as he tended to an injury of some sort. "Hang on Hermione," Ron said again, "Bill open up its Ron, Harry and Hermione. Hurry she's injured, Fred and George turned by teddy bear into a spider, open up."
Hermione was confused, why was he telling them that. He should have just told them the red queen was after her head surely that would have gotten them to open up.
"What happened?" Bill asked.
"Snatchers, Malfoy mansion, tortured Hermione. Harry's coming." Ron spit out the facts as he carried Hermione in and put her on a soft sofa.
A door slammed and Hermione felt a cup at her mouth, Fleur said, "Drink this, it's pain relieving potion."
Hermione drank it and sighed as the pain receded. It didn't leave but it was much better. She opened her eyes to find Ron looking very concerned, but otherwise just normal Ron. The wild hat and hair were gone. She blinked trying to get her mind around it, "Was it a dream?"
Ron hugged her, "No, I'm so sorry. We were caught and escaped but not before Bellatrix hurt you.
"Bellatrix?" she asked, "Torture?"
"Yes, I'm sorry, so sorry." Ron apologized again.
"Harry?" she asked.
"Outside still." Ron answered, "I'll check on him as soon as I'm sure you're ok."
"I'm fine." Hermione mumbled, "At least I didn't lose my mind."
As Ron turned and left Hermione was sure she heard him say, "Your mind is too beautiful to be lost."