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Chapter Ten: Darkness


The group maneuvered it’s way through the servants’ entrance and began the intricate journey through the dungeons below Malfoy Manor. Hermione kept flashing back moments of her last encounter here and Draco kept having to pull her along to snap her out of her reverie. Remus had instructed the other members to travel tightly around Hermione and Draco, who were shoved towards the middle of the group in order to keep the most protection possible on Hermione.

The group had approached the third flight landing in the detailed maze of dungeons when they heard the murmur of voices coming from somewhere close by. Hearing the voices herself, Hermione froze in mid-stride, a sudden look of past fear playing on her usually bright features. She clamped her hand down around Draco’s and moved herself closer to him. She felt another hand on her shoulder which caused her to practically jump from her skin until she realized that it was just Ron coming closer and standing behind her.

The voices wound their way closer to the group that was standing at the ready in the middle of the landing, eyes scanning each possible direction and trying to keep Hermione as concealed as possible. Hermione was torn between the fear of being back in that gods forsaken dungeon and wanting to jump out through the guard and launch into battle which was her usual manner. Finally, the usual demeanor broke free from the suppressed fear and she pushed Ron back from her slightly, loosened her grip on Draco’s hand and gripped her wand tighter. She heard the voices approaching them and suddenly they came into view and one of the hooded figures spotted them and the other turned to run off and alert the others.

The remaining figure immediately began firing off multiple curses in the direction of the intruders however, he was easily overpowered by the Order members.

“You three! Take Hermione and head towards the lower chambers! Go NOW!!!” Remus screamed at Draco, Ron and Viktor who were closest in proximity to Hermione.

Draco grabbed a hold of Hermione’s hand and began tearing a course towards the lower chambers of the vast dungeon. Hermione on the other hand had an irking feeling that going down further was the wrong way to go and suddenly pried her hand from Draco’s and jetted in the opposite direction. The boys looked at each other before dashing off after her calling her name as she seemed to gain more speed than would have seemed possible.

“Hermione!” The screams of the boys sounded behind her as Hermione tore through the dungeon corridors. She had no clue where she was going but something seemed to be pulling her towards this direction.

The eerie glow of the few torches that seemed to illuminate the corridors were coming fewer and farther in between each other leaving large gaps of almost pitch black darkness. Hermione didn’t even think about casting a ‘Lumos’ spell however because she was keeping her wand free in case she needed to use it. The voices behind her were becoming quieter as they grew farther away from her. Suddenly something told her to stop. She obeyed her instincts and no sooner did she halt her footsteps did the remaining few torches flicker out and she was thrust into pitch black darkness.

The darkness surrounded her on all sides, with absolutely no light at all to be seen. The darkness was piercing through her senses and she could almost feel it overwhelming her. Her hearing seemed to heighten itself and she could hear her heart beat as if it were echoing throughout the cold dark dungeon. She listened intently and heard the sound of distant water, seemingly running from a tap. Just as she was about to move and head towards the sound, a pair of strong hands grabbed her from behind around her waist and her scream pierced through the darkness, echoing off the dungeon walls so loudly she was sure that everyone in the entire manor would have heard her. She felt the hands roughly spin her around and she could tell she was now facing her attacker because she could feel the heat of their breath radiating off her face.

She opened her mouth to scream again and was quickly silenced. Knowing that she couldn’t make a sound if she wanted to she instead reverted to trying to fight her attacker off. Hermione began pushing and kicking the strong person holding her and had almost fought her way out of their grasp when she was suddenly struck across the face, knocking her to the ground.

“Well, well, well. If it isn’t the Mudblood. Come back for another round have you? Or have you finally decided to simply give in and give the Dark Lord what he wants?” The attacker’s voice asked her from above.

“I would never give that bastard anything!” Hermione screamed back, suddenly finding her voice returned and tried hastily to scramble back to her feet her wand still clutched tightly in her hand.

The Death Eater that was speaking to her opened his mouth to comment but stopped when he heard the approaching sound of voices and footsteps rushing through the nearby corridors.

“So it appears that you have brought help this time, Mudblood. Well that will simply give the Dark Lord more to use to persuade you to do as he wishes.” The Death Eater said, a tone of amusement in his raspy voice.

Hermione looked around her cautiously and noticed a very faint glow coming from down one of the corridors. The glow was growing increasingly larger as the footsteps and voices closed in on her location. As the glow from the wand light began to grow brighter, the small intersection that she was in began to lighten a bit as well. Seeing this as an opportunity, she quickly moved her eyes around the area till they came to rest on a person wearing a long black cloak, their hood down and gasped at what she saw.

“There’s no way! No possible way…” Hermione stuttered, pointing her wand directly towards her now visible attacker. “YOU’RE DEAD!!!”

The Death Eater tipped his head back and laughed in a maniacal way.

“You foolish Mudblood. You should know that the Dark Lord will repay those who are loyal to him. But enough for now, I cannot allow myself to be seen just yet. Don’t worry, dear Mudblood, we will be seeing each other soon enough….Stupefy!”

The Death Eater vanished just as he spoke the curse and Hermione felt it strike her in the chest. The room began spinning quickly and then the darkness overwhelmed her.

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Draco led the boys down the corridor. Thanks to his connection to Hermione he was able to pinpoint her location rather easily but now he was worried because he could sense her distress. Viktor and Ron followed behind him quickly as they wound their way through the twisted maze of dungeon corridors till they finally neared the intersection where Draco had felt Hermione. As they stepped into the intersection, Draco scanned the area hastily and saw Hermione laying knocked out on the cold stone floor. The other two noticed her at the same time and all three ran instantly to her side. As Draco leaned down to her, he saw her beginning to stir and her eyelids began to flutter.

“Mia, honey,” Draco said gently as he slid his arms underneath her body and lifted her off the cold floor. “Are you alright?”

“Lucius…” Hermione said groggily as she began to regain her consciousness.

Her eyes suddenly snapped open and she jumped out of Draco’s arms and to her feet so quickly that it felt as if she had simply apparated to a standing position. Draco just looked at her curiously and confused.

“What did you say ‘Mione?” Ron asked, not sure he had heard her correctly.

Not answering, she turned on her heel and started to dart off down one of the corridors, stopping for a moment to signal for the boys to come along. The three of them looked at each other momentarily and then took off down the corridor with her, all of them trying to figure out what Hermione was up to. As Hermione rushed along, periodically she would stop and appear to be listening for something and then take off again leaving the others watching her curiously.

Stopping and turning into a small room, Hermione rushed to the middle and started turning around in circles slowly, scanning the room for the presence that she had followed.

“Where are you, you sick, dead bastard?! I know you are here!” Hermione shouted into the shadows.

“Mia, sweetheart. What are you doing? Who are you looking for?” Draco asked, stepping closer to Hermione and watching her concernedly.

Hermione ignored his question and kept scanning the room. After a few more moments she stopped abruptly, staring with intensity that could have started a fire into a shadow in the far corner of the small room.

“Come out you bastard. I know you’re there!” She screamed at the shadow. The three boys stared at her curiously when suddenly a voice emitted from the shadow causing them to turn towards it, their wands pointed towards it.

“Well, well Mudblood. It appears that my Lord was correct. You are a very powerful, filthy little thing aren’t you?” The voice cackled. “And I see you brought my blood-traitor of a son with you, how fitting.”

That caught Draco’s attention and horror swelled deep inside him.

It cant be! It’s impossible…He thought to himself watching the scene unfold.

Suddenly a dark figure emerged from the shadow and came to stand about ten feet in front of the group. It was clearly a Death Eater but his hood was raised, covering his face so it was not possible to see who the figure was. The figure stepped forward a couple feet and began to slowly lower his hood, keeping his head down and letting the familiar long platinum blonde locks flow from beneath the hood. Draco stared at the Death Eater with shock and confusion.

“Father?” Draco asked, stepping forward a bit. “Its not possible….I killed you!”

“Ah, yes. I remember that night well. You actually almost succeeded but luckily our Lord was merciful and kept me from death with a potion he had discovered previously. The same potion in fact that saved our Lord from certain death when that blasted curse backfired after trying to kill that blasted Potter boy. You see it worked quite well.” Lucius replied, lifting his head and staring intently at the exact replica of his own image staring back at him.

Before anyone had a chance to retort or comment, another voice sounded behind the group causing them to spin around. This voice was very familiar and it caused Viktor and Ron to shrink back a little in slight fear. It sounded like a hissing snake and was low and raspy.

The figure stepped out of the shadow and immediately the room erupted in torch light from every wall. The familiar figure tilted its head up and faced the group, a sickening, twisted smirk playing on his serpent like lips.

“Welcome young Mudblood. I have been expecting you to return.” Lord Voldemort hissed, motioning something to Lucius who was behind Hermione.

Lucius reached out and grabbed hold of Hermione, leaving her twisting and raging in attempt to free herself from his grasp. Draco launched himself forward to help her but was thrown back by an invisible barrier surrounding Hermione and Lucius.

"You effing bastard! I'll never help you!" Hermione shouted, her anger boiling inside.

Voldemort cackled. "I believe you may change your mind, Mudblood. Nott, Goyle. Take the others hostage. We shall use them as a persuasion for the young mudblood. Perhaps after killing them she will change her mind."

The two Death Eaters stepped out into view and quickly disarmed and bound Hermione's friends before any of them could defend themselves. They levitated the hostages to the closest wall and magically binded them to it, leaving them hanging barely an inch off the floor. Hermione never removed her gaze from Voldemort as her friends and her fiancé were binded to the wall.

"Now, torture them. Use whatever means you wish but do not kill them just yet." Voldemort ordered the two Death Eaters and immediately the two uttered curses of Crucio at Draco and Viktor causing them to scream out in agony.

"Stop it!" Hermione hollered but caused Voldemort to simply cackle madly as the torture continued.

He turned his wand to another corner facing the hostages and conjured a clear box, just big enough for one person to fit uncomfortably. He pointed towards Lucius and ordered him to place Hermione in the box. Lucius obeyed, carrying a screaming and kicking Hermione over to it and shoving her inside, magically locking the box around her. She still had her wand but the box was impenetrable so it was rather useless.

The box itself was designed so that the person confined within would be unable to see anything outside of the box except for light. However, she could hear every scream and cry from her friends. She banged her fists and kicked her legs against the barrier surrounding her but it did nothing of help.

The screams were becoming increasingly loud and it tore at her heart to hear her friends in pain...especially because of her. She knew she had to do something but she didn’t know what. She thought for a moment and finally decided that she knew what needed to be done.

"Alright! Alright, I'll do it!" Hermione suddenly hollered. "Just let them go!"

Voldemort cackled outside the barrier and suddenly the light and the screams were extinguished leaving Hermione to sink in the darkness that now seemed to envelope her very being.

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