"Come on, Hermione!" cried Harry, pulling her behind him, wand drawn. Ron was there beside her, his wand also drawn. Hermione followed Harry, sprinting after him with Ron bringing up the rear. She grabbed for her wand but only found a sword.
"What do you expect to do with that?" Ron sneered. Hermione felt hurt jolt through her. "You're a witch, aren't you? Where's your wand?" Hermione tried to respond but found that she couldn't. Her mouth was gagged. Suddenly, she was lying on a table, chained down. Harry and Ron were looking down at her, holding an array of sharp objects.
"Since you are so fond of sharp things, we figured you wouldn't mind if we used these on you," said Harry, bringing down one of his knives and scraping her face. Hermione screamed through the gag.
"No one will hear you, Hermione," said Ron, slashing her abdomen with a scythe. Tears streamed down her face.
Without warning, a bright, white light blinded Harry and Ron. A tall figure swooped in and incapacitated them. It approached and a beautiful face emerged from the light. Concern was written on Legolas' face as he assessed her injuries.
"You will be all right, my love," he said quietly, unlocking her shackles. Legolas carefully swept her up in his arms and carried her from the room.
A bucket of water was thrown on Hermione's face and she woke with a jolt. Coughing out water, she looked around her and noticed the room she was currently in was the exact one from her dream. She tried to roll over but was halted by shackles. Panic set in and she struggled against the shackles, but instantly stopped from the excruciating pain that was emanating from her body. Groaning, Hermione looked down at herself and what she saw nearly made her faint.
The entirety of her body was covered in mud and blood; her clothing was tattered and her skin was torn to shreds beneath them. Blood oozed from the various wounds that littered her body and not one spot was clear from bruises. Her leg was bent at an odd angle, very swollen and broken.
Breathing heavily, Hermione looked around the room and saw her wand lying on the table a couple feet from her.
"Accio," she gasped out. The wand didn't budge. Sudden movement behind her made her freeze. An older man dressed in white, much like Gandalf, emerged from behind her.
"Now, much unlike your dream," he said, standing above her, "your Elven prince will not be here to rescue you, Hermione Granger." She glared at him.
"I'm not frightened by your scare-tactics, Saruman," Hermione spat out. He chuckled and moved about the room.
"So you know who I am?" He chuckled again, his deep voice echoing around the dungeon. "That will make this all the more fun," he said, going to the door. "Gríma, get in here!" he called. Wormtongue limped in the room, looking deranged and gleeful. "Show Hermione a proper Isengard Welcome."
Wormtongue moved forward, clutching a strange knife. He made an incision on her right arm, in an attempt to mirror the scar on her left. Hermione clenched her jaw so that no sound would escape. Wormtongue then moved to her neck and made shallow cuts there, minding not to cut any major arteries.
Loud banging sounded from above them and Wormtongue looked to Saruman in confusion, but continued to torture Hermione after the latter made an impatient gesture to do so. Saruman picked up Hermione's wand and twirled it in his fingers.
"A rather curious artifact," he said. He pointed it at an unlit candle and when nothing happened, he set it back down. "It is merely a piece of wood, Hermione. How does it work?" Hermione kept her jaw locked and continued to look at the ceiling. Saruman gestured to Wormtongue again. This time, he grabbed a small phial of murky liquid and popped the cork. The room began to smell of something rotting and Hermione gagged. Wormtongue forced her mouth open and poured the contents of the phial in her mouth. Hermione spit out the liquid as fast as possible and managed to splash the hem of Saruman's robes. Grinning, Hermione felt victory pump through her veins.
Soon her mouth began to grow hot, so unpleasantly hot, until it was burning, like she had just eaten something too spicy. Then the burning turned to excruciating pain, bubbling in her mouth as if someone had poured acid inside. She began to scream and thrash around, regardless of the pain she felt in her body. Nothing could be heard in the dungeons besides Hermione's screams, which blocked out the loud banging from outside.
A jet of water burst through the ceiling to the left of Hermione, causing Saruman to yell at Wormtongue.
"Come!" he yelled, striding across the room.
"What about the girl?" Wormtongue asked.
"Leave her, the effects of the potion will wear off momentarily." Saruman exited the room with Wormtongue in tow. A second jet of water exploded from the ceiling, pouring on Hermione. She stopped screaming and slowly felt the pain dissipate from her mouth. The room began to flood with water and more jets were being created as she frantically looked around her.
"Accio," she said weakly, looking at her wand, tears rolling down her cheeks. The wand didn't budge. "Accio!" she tried again, louder. Her wand still didn't move. "ACCIO!" she screamed. The wand flew from the table and into her hand. Relief spread through her as she unlocked her shackles and tried to stand up.
Hermione fell to the floor and into the water that was flooding the room. Pain seared in her leg, but she stood up, leaning against the wall and gasping for breath.
"Episkey," she whispered, pointing at her leg. Hermione felt a sharp snap and saw her leg straighten out. Trying to remain conscious through the pain, she cast 'ferula' and watched as bandages wound their way around her leg. Once she felt partly stable, Hermione left the room. The corridors were flooding quickly.
Panicking, Hermione searched the maze of corridors for stairs and finally found some as the water started to reach her waist. She limped up the stairs, minding the water pouring over the steps, and reached a higher level of wherever she was being held.
Hermione rounded the corner and saw some Uruk-hai scrambling for weapons to cover the front door. A nasty looking Orc was using her bow and arrows and the sword of Gryffindor was lying on a table. Quietly, Hermione crept forward and grabbed it off the table. She then cut the head off the Orc using her bow and killed the other two Uruks. After grabbing her bow and quiver, Hermione stumbled outside.
The sky was bright, and the sun showed it was early morning, maybe nine or ten. Hermione walked through the knee-deep water, making sure to keep her things dry. She tripped over a dead Orc and fell into the water. Although shallow, the water was high enough that it covered her completely.
Hermione faintly heard her name being called out by several voices, each growing progressively louder. She didn't possess the strength to sit up, and felt the breath leave her body.
Suddenly, she was dragged to the surface and the shock made her gasp. Coughing up water, Hermione saw several figures standing over her. She started to move away from them, as her vision was still clouded and she couldn't see straight.
"Hermione?" a worried voice asked. She blinked a few times and her vision cleared slightly. Legolas was holding her in his strong arms. He was more pale than usual and had black blood spattered over his face. Hermione lifted her hand and tried to clean off his cheek. Legolas held the hand that cupped his cheek and kissed her palm. "I thought you were dead," he said quietly.
"Not quite," she said, grinning. Legolas shook his head and kissed her forehead. He picked her up and placed her on his horse.
Hermione learned that Saruman had fallen to his death just before she was found. She took great pleasure in the fact that he was no longer breathing, but did not voice her opinions, for she feared that Legolas would think less of her for it.
The troupe rode up through the mountains and paused for lunch later in the day. Hermione was much too tired to talk, so she sat in Legolas' lap and listened to the others chat with each other. Legolas would alternate between rubbing her shoulders and creating small circles on her hips with his thumbs. Either one would send shivers down Hermione's spine.
They made camp for the night on the other side of the mountains. Dark clouds swirled in the sky and it looked like it was going to rain. Aragorn scouted out a roomy overhang amongst the rocks and began to build a small fire there, with Merry and Pippin prepping the meal.
Gandalf was sitting on the edge of the overhang, smoking his pipe and created a slew of intricate shapes with the smoke. He was quiet during dinner and said nothing when he went to sleep. Legolas volunteered to take watch and took Gandalf's place on the edge.
Hermione slept for a few hours, but jolted awake from a nightmare. The cave was dark, but protected from the rain that was coming down in sheets. She got up and shuffled over to Legolas, sitting down next to him and leaning her head on his shoulder.
"I'm sorry I scared you," she said quietly. Legolas intertwined their fingers.
"I was fighting and then the next thing I knew, you disappeared from the ledge. I tore Helm's Deep apart looking for you. The only places you could be were Isengard or…" he trailed off, not wanting to say it.
"I'm fine. I did my part in the fighting and I would not change a thing, if given the opportunity. I know enough about time that what happens is usually meant to happen," she said.
"I understand, however, when you care enough for someone the way I care for you…things grow complicated. I have never felt this way before about anyone and am trying to keep up with the flurry of emotions that you stir within me, Hermione." She looked up at him and his eyes glowed in the dim lighting.
"You're a pretty complicated guy too, you know," Hermione said quietly. She noticed how close they were and glanced down at his lips, her breaths coming out in short pants. Legolas inched towards her slowly and gazed in her eyes, silently asking permission. Hermione replied by touching her lips against his.
The kiss was brief and it left them both wanting for more. Legolas tangled his hand in Hermione's curls and brought her lips back to his. Hermione's eyes fluttered closed as she grasped his strong shoulders.
Legolas' lips were soft and moved gently against Hermione's. His tongue flicked out at her lower lip, eliciting a quiet moan from Hermione. She climbed onto his lap and ran her hands up and down his chest. Legolas' other arm wrapped around Hermione's waist, pressing her closer to him and reveling in the feeling of her body against his.
Hermione broke away first, as her lungs were smaller than his and she needed air. Legolas brushed his lips against hers one more time and then rested his forehead against hers. The two of them sat there for a moment, catching their breath.
Hermione shifted in his lap so that her back was to his chest and Legolas wrapped his arms around her, enveloping her in his warmth. She fell asleep, for the first time in over a year, feeling truly safe.
The next day was spent riding furiously through Rohan back to Edoras. They had over a hundred miles to go in only a few hours.
Hermione sat behind Legolas on the saddle this time, as he was the faster rider. The seven of them raced through the plains of Rohan as if chased by Uruk-hai. They did not break for lunch, but instead snacked on Lembas bread whilst being jostled on the saddle.
As the sun began to set, Edoras emerged in their sights. Loud shouts and cries could be heard and at first Hermione thought they were being attacked, but as they drew closer, she realized that they were cries of celebration.
In the Golden Hall, men and women were strewn about, drinking and singing as if there was no tomorrow. It was well deserved, though. Every one of them thought they would not live to see the next day, so it was understandable, Hermione thought, as tankards of mead were passed around. She took one and tried a sip.
The mead tasted like Butterbeer, surprisingly, but still could not hold a candle to the delicious golden liquid. Silence fell over the hall as Théoden stood up from his seat.
"Tonight, we remember those who gave their blood to defend this country," he said, raising his goblet. "Hail the victorious dead!" Everyone in the hall cheered. Théoden sat back down, observing his people.
Hermione turned her attention towards a table, where Merry and Pippin were dancing and singing joyously.
"Oh, you can search up and down, as many lands as can be found, but you'll never find a beer so brown, as the one we drink in our home town, you can keep your fancy ales, you can drink them by the flagon, but the only brew for the brave and true, comes from the Green Dragon!" they finished, clanging their tankards together and chugging the contents. Everyone clapped and went back to talking animatedly amongst themselves.
Eomer approached Legolas with a tankard and then gave Gimli one. "No pauses, no spills," he warned. It suddenly dawned on Hermione what was about to take place. She took another sip of her drink and grinned into her tankard.
"And no regurgitation!" growled Gimli.
"So, it's a drinking game?" asked Legolas, eyeing his tankard doubtfully. The other men in the room shouted loudly, raising their tankards.
"Last one standing wins!" roared Gimli, laughing into his tankard. He began to chug the liquid, finishing his first tankard before Legolas even started.
"Let's drink to Victory," cried one of the men. The others shouted, "To Victory!" Legolas brought his tankard to his lips and glanced at Hermione briefly. She winked at him and that seemed to spur him on. He sat down at the table across from Gimli and finished his tankard. They were both handed more drinks and they greedily drank them. Gimli farted during his fourth drink and started to chortle hysterically.
"Here, here," he said, taking another tankard. "It's the dwarves that go swimming with little, hairy women." He began to laugh some more and burped, stopped, and then drank the rest of his tankard.
"I feel something," said Legolas, quietly. Hermione stepped forward as he inspected his fingers. "A slight tingle in my fingers. I think it's affecting me," he said, looking extremely concerned. Gimli laughed.
"What did I say?" His words were slurred. "He can't hold his liquor!" Gimli's eyes crossed and he swayed for a moment then keeled over backwards off his stool. Legolas raised an eyebrow and looked around.
"Game over!" he said, smiling. Hermione giggled and held out her hand for Legolas to take so he could stand up, but she was instead pulled down on his lap.
"You are quite funny when you're drunk," she said. Legolas laughed merrily and her heart soared. Hermione had never heard such a pure sound and she wanted desperately to hear it again.
"Your eyes," he said, dazed, "are the color of amber when the sun shines upon it. It has become my favorite color." Hermione's cheeks grew crimson and suddenly wished they were alone.
"Come, we should put you to bed," said Hermione, noticing the party winding down. Legolas slung an arm around her shoulders and Hermione helped him walk into one of the rooms that had been set up for them. She lowered him onto his sleeping pad and he fell asleep the instant his head hit the pillow.
Hermione observed his sleeping face in the flickering candlelight. Legolas looked like an angel, with his delicate features and fair hair. His eyes, when opened, glimmered like the waters in Dumbledore's Pensieve. They were so full of knowledge and wisdom and Hermione loved them.
Yes, she loved him. It was different than the love she felt for Harry or Ron. She loved them, but she was in love with Legolas. He was intelligent and kind and just wonderful. Legolas knew her strengths and weaknesses, her faults and her fears. Yet he continued to talk with her, laugh with her and be with her. Hermione never felt anything like this in her entire life and it made her all warm inside. Like one of those candles was lit in her heart.
Hermione bushed a stray hair off his face and undid her vest and arm bracers. She curled up next to him and felt his arm wrap around her waist. She smiled as she fell asleep.
Shouting woke Hermione up. Merry was standing up in the middle of the room, crying for help. Hermione shot up and saw Pippin holding a black glass ball, screaming in pain. Aragorn entered the room and took the ball from him and reeled backwards, dropping the ball. It rolled towards her and Legolas was there in a flash, dragging her away from it. Gandalf threw a blanket on it and turned to Pippin, furious.
"Fool of a Took!" he cried.
"Gandalf, forgive me," said Pippin. He slumped his head and Gandalf's expression softened slightly.
"Look at me, what did you see?" asked Gandalf.
"A tree…there was a white tree in a courtyard of stone," said Pippin, looking lost as he recalled the images in his mind. "It was dead! The city was burning."
"Minas Tirith?" asked Gandalf. "Is that what you saw?" he asked, shaking the Hobbit's shoulders.
"I saw…I saw him. I could hear his voice in my head." Pippin looked terrified.
"What did you tell him? Speak!"
"He asked my name, I didn't answer…he hurt me."
"What did you tell him about Frodo and the Ring?" asked Gandalf. The room seemed to hold its breath. Pippin looked at Gandalf, so scared.
"Nothing," he said quietly. Gandalf looked at him, searching for the truth and seemed satisfied. Gandalf marched out of the room after picking up the bundle in the blanket.
Hermione chose to walk just outside Edoras that day, wanting to take a break from all the seriousness. Everyone else was in the Golden Hall, talking with Théoden about the glass ball. The Palantir, Legolas had called it. It had forged a connection between Pippin and Sauron and the evil spirit had tried to see into Pippin's mind, much like Occlumency.
Hermione got the sense that the next several days would be spent fighting or riding and she wanted to enjoy what little time she had left. What little time she had left to feel the warmth of the sun on her skin, smell the breeze that carried the scent of pine across her path, and see the endless blue sky above her head. She knew that it would all come to an end; the Ring would either be destroyed or not and that could result in her death amongst others.
Regardless, Hermione rested her head on the grass, listening to the bubbling brook, and tuning out the rest of the world.
A/N: You guys, I am so sorry! It has been the busiest five years of my life and I have not felt the inspiration to write. I didn't want to force anything and make the story seem, well, forced and awful. So, I wrote other things and focused on school. Now, I have graduated and have a whole summer in front of me to write before I start college in the fall. I promise to try my hardest and get the rest of the story up before I go back and make edits, as there are some plot holes and I'm just not happy with the relationship arc between Hermione and Legolas.
My readers, you have seen my writing change and grow for five years. I started writing this when I was 13 and hope to finish it before I'm 19. Thank you to everyone who has stuck with this and thank you to all of you who have left me such nice reviews. Whenever I'm feeling down, I go through them and they make me so happy. I love you guys so much.
I will update again soon!
P.S. I have also changed the name of this story, as I was unhappy with the original one since I published it. But, as the impatient 13 year old who had just discovered FFNet, I put the story online anyways. Now, 5 years later, I have finally changed it to one that makes me more happy with the story itself.