Hermione woke, and slowly opened her eyes. She could feel the hard floor beneath her, and a raging pain in her head. As she reached her hand up to the back of her head, she felt the warm stickiness of blood.
“What the hell?” she whispered as she pulled her red soaked hand away. She must have fallen and cut open her head when she was stunned. She slowly began to sit up, and look around the room. Her eyes immediately fell to the cloaked figure sitting in the corner.
“Who are you? And what am I doing here?”
The man leaned forward, letting the light wash over his face.
“Lucius” said Hermione, not one bit surprised. “Well, I have to admit,'' she started as she pushed herself into a seated position, “I’m a bit surprised it took you this long.”
He shook his head in disbelief. “You sit there, speaking so casually like we are old friends.”
“Oh but we are,” said Hermione, “we go back quite a few years. Your slight against my parents before the start of our 2nd term, your pathetic attempt to insult us at the Quidditch World Cup. Oh and how can we forget the Department of Mysteries. How did it feel? Attacking innocent 15 year olds? Must have been a bit humiliating, seeing how we were able to put up quite the fight at that age. And then that lovely day in Malfoy Manor, when Bellatrix nearly killed me, too bad the tables turned on her, huh?”
She was mocking him. Hermione didn’t know why, but she felt no fear, only pure and unwavering anger.
“You should learn some manners, Miss Granger, when speaking to your betters.” Lucius said the last work with a hiss.
Hermione chuckled at his sad attempt to intimidate her. “When I come across them, I’ll be sure to keep that in mind.”
Lucius stood, looked down at her for a moment with a loathing expression, and turned to walk towards the door. As he reached for the handle, Hermione called out to him, “So what, you’re going to keep me in here and threaten Draco that if he doesn’t join you again you’ll kill me?”
This time, it was Lucius’ turn to chuckle. “Oh my dear, you are sadly mistaken. I wouldn’t want that ungrateful traitor back into my life for one second. You’re not here as collateral against Draco, you’re here to punish him.”
With that, Lucius turned, and exited the cell. Hermione felt a cold shiver run down her spine. If she wasn’t going to be used to threaten Draco into compliance, then there was no reason to keep her unharmed, nor alive. No, to be used as punishment would be much worse, that would mean hurting Hermione would surely be part of their plan.
“Now Miss Granger, what did we discuss? My howler cannot do its job if you don’t scream, now can it?”
Lucius leaned in close to Hermione, his voice dripping with sarcasm. She sat in a chair, hunched over and panting hard. Her arms and legs were magically charmed to cling to the chair, leaving her unable to move. It had felt like hours since Lucius began torturing her with the Cruciatus curse. She knew he wanted to use a howler to capture her cries of pain, hence her strong determination to disappoint him. But she was losing stamina, and strength. If he kept up much more of this, she knew she’d crack.
And that’s exactly what happened next. Lucius hit her hard with the curse, and Hermione couldn’t hold it in anymore. She let out an ear piercing shriek of pain. She begged him between the cries of pain, “Please! No!”
With a flick of his wrist, Lucius lifted the curse, and sent the letter off to find his son.
“That’ll show him what happens when I’m defied.” Lucius turned, and stormed out, leaving Hermione slumped in the chair, tears streaming down her face.
Draco paced in Headmistress McGonagall’s office. Half the Order was there as well, discussing what the best plan of action would be. They all agreed Hermione was most likely being held in the Parkinson’s Estate, but if they just showed up and attacked she’d just be appaprated away, or killed.
"And we're sure there's no way into the house without being noticed?" asked Arthur as he leaned against the chair Molly sat in, hand comfortingly on her shoulder.
"Not that we know of," answered Kingsley, "it's a private home and we have no access to the floor plan. We tried a few spells to conjure up a sort of map, but they've got too many enchantments protecting the property."
"Draco," said Arthur, "you've been there haven't you? Do you remember anything about the place that could help."
But all Draco could do was shake his head in defeat, "No, I've wracked my brain a hundred times. I only ever entered through the main house. I'm sure there's a servants entrance, most old homes like that do, but it will for sure be guarded."
"That's why I say we attack! Surely we can outnumber them with the rest of the Aurors employed by the Ministry."
"We've been through this Ron," said Harry, "we attack and what do you think they'll do to Hermione? Probably kill her on the spot. I still stand by my original plan, my invisibility cloak is our best bet."
"You fit two people under that cloak at best," responded Kingsley. "Two is not enough to face a house filled with Death Eaters."
As they continued to bicker over what to do next, they were all silenced by a peck at the window.
A large black owl flew in and dropped a red envelope into Draco’s hands. The front read only “Draco”, in what he recognized as his father’s hand.
“It’s from Lucius,” said Draco, shakily.
“You have to open it son,” began Kingsley, “that’s a howler.”
With an unsteady hand, Draco opened the envelope and let it float before him. The letter opened and stayed silent for a moment, but suddenly it rang out Hermione’s shrieks of pain and cries for help. It went on, and on, before catching flame and disappearing before them.
The room was silent in shock, all that could be heard were the quiet sobs coming from Ginny.
Draco stood, unmoving, staring at the spot where the howler just was. After a moment, Blaise, who was there at Draco’s request, walked out to his friend. But by the time he reached Draco, he was falling to his knees in despair. Blaise knelt next to his friend, arm around his chest, as Draco let our a heartbreaking scream of anger.
Pansy sat in her bedroom, staring at the wall before her. After Draco’s attack in the Great Hall, she knew it would be best to apparate home immediately and warn her father. She had pretty much outed Lysaner as a Death Eater, and Pansy knew it was only a matter of time before the Aurors showed up. Lysander and the other Death Eaters were preparing to depart, needing a new, better protected, headquarters for their uprising.
As she returned to packing her trunk, she heard the cries of pain, knowing Lucius must be torturing Granger, again. Each time Pansy heard it, it brought her less and less satisfaction. By now, the cries made her cringe. She had grown angry, when she learned of Lucius’ plan. How he had no intention of bringing Draco back to their side, back to Pansy. All he wanted to do was send his son howler after howler, tormenting him with the sounds of Hermione’s pain.
Pansy felt used, and betrayed. They never would have captured Hermione if it wasn’t for her, and what was she getting in return? Nothing. Hearing another cry from Hermione, Pansy slammed her trunk shut and grabbed her wand. She wasn’t going to let Lucius get away with this.
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