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“Any news yet?” Hermione asked Harry the afternoon she was allowed to go back to her dorm. Harry shook his head mutely. “If only I hadn’t let go of his hand, Harry. If only we had gone inside sooner—“ “It’s not your fault, Herm,” he said, interrupting him. “It is!” she protested. “There’s no point blaming yourself,” he said. “If you could just remember what happened…Try to remember, Herm. It would help a lot.” Hermione squinted, trying to remember what happened. When she closed her eyes, gloom surrounded her, until someone called her name. She opened her heavy eyes, to look up into Ron’s. “Thank God you’re here, Ron,” Hermione whispered. “I thought I’d lost you.” “Hermione, listen, Malfoy’s here,” Ron said, sounding a little worried. “What’s Draco doing outside at this time?” she asked, more to herself. “Not Draco, Lucius! I think Bellatrix Lestrange is with him. Hermione, we have to get inside, now.” “Is Voldemort with them?” she asked. He didn’t answer, and Hermione took it as a yes. Somehow she was lying down on the ground, covered in mud. He was holding her head up, and was helping her up. She staggered up, and leant on his shoulder, rubbing the back of her head, where she had hit something. Then she heard a cold voice, yell “Crucio”. She expected pain to go through her whole body, but instead Ron fell to the ground and started twitching uncontrollably, yelling occasionally. She bent down beside him, and touched him. She scanned around where she heard the voice, but she still couldn’t see anything. When Ron had stopped, he leapt to his feet, and Hermione slowly stood up. “Crucio” was yelled again, this time by a female. Hermione withered, her body was on fire from the inside, and it hurt so much. She was burning from the interior, it was too hot, she screamed out in pain. Ron was saying her name over and over again, and she got up, with his help. His wand was out, so Hermione took hers out too. But they couldn’t see where it was coming from, so they were stuck. Hermione gripped the hem of Ron’s robes tightly, and he stroked her hand with his free hand. A third voice yelled “crucio” again, and Ron fell to the ground, twitching. Then a cold pair of hands pulled Hermione by the waist. Even though she knew she was close to her attacker, she couldn’t see who it was. A bony hand clasped her mouth, and she couldn’t say a word. The other hand pinned both of her wrists to her back, and twisted them slightly. Her eyes bulged from the pain, and her eyes darted to see who it was. A lock of blond hair covered her eyes, hair she knew wasn’t her own. “Lucius,” she thought. Ron was yelling her name over and over again, not being able to see her. Lucius then stepped out of the shadow. “Looking for this?” he held up Hermione easily like she was the wand Draco had earlier. “Hermione!” he called. “Let her go!” “As you wish,” he said. He lifted her with a simple ‘Wingardium Leviosa’ spell about ten meters from the ground. She realized her wrists were tied with snakelike cords, not with Lucius’s hands. You only realize the beautifulness of the scenery when you’re standing on the edge of a cliff, she realized. She noticed how beautiful Ron was, how magnificent the castle looked. Then she let out an ear-piercing scream, and started falling to the ground. Despite all the mud, the ground was pretty hard, and Hermione fell to the ground in a sickening crunch, heaped over. Her wrists were tied, and so were her ankles. Ron immediately run to her and called her name repeatedly. But it was no use. With a small sigh and a tiny “I love you, Ron,” she let her eyes close, and put her throbbing body at rest. Hermione let a tear roll down her cheek. “I remember,” she said, rubbing her still sore, bruised wrists. “It was Voldemort. With Bellatrix Lestrange and Malfoy,” she said. “What happened?” Hermione told Harry everything, while resisting the urge to cry again. “It’s all my fault,” she told him. “No it isn’t,” he said, moving closer to her, and hugging her. She felt more tears running down her cheek, and she started sobbing, shaking uncontrollably. “Does Mr. Weasley know?” she asked silently. He let go of her. “Yes, I remember now. Mr. Weasley sent this letter for you, Hermione.” Harry gave her a parchment, and she opened it. My dearest Hermione, How are you feeling? I hope you’re much better. Molly isn’t taking Ron’s disappearance to well, and she’s mentally invaded right now. That’s why I’m writing this letter to you, and not her. I would like to tell you, it’s not your fault that our son’s gone. Molly agrees wholeheartedly with me, although she can’t say anything. If you’re feeling better, I would like to ask Professor Dumbledore’s permission to send you home for the Christmas holidays. They’re not too far away, but only come if you’re willing to share your story. I’m sure it would make Molly better. Bill, Charlie, Fred and George are all here, and I wouldn’t mind if you brought Ginny and Harry with you. Ron’s disappearance is hard on all of us, but you mustn’t blame yourself. You did what you did. Remember that. Yours truly, Arthur Weasley “How can he be so nice to me when his son’s missing, and it’s all my fault?” “It’s not your fault!” Hermione was surprised at Harry’s sudden up burst, but she then realized she wasn’t the one mourning. Harry lost almost as much as she did, but he wasn’t taking it as hard on himself as she was. But then again, he wasn’t there.

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