A Nightmare Before Christmas
A Nightmare Before Christmas7 mins 406 7 mins 406
Annotation: Miracles are not always kind. Even at Christmas ...
Hermione looked thoughtfully out of the window, where the dim winter sun was shining and small snowflakes were falling, sparkling in the light. Vacation will begin tomorrow, she will board the Hogwarts Express and return home, she will be met by her parents, she will have Christmas presents. Tomorrow ... And today there is still so much to do! She frowned and returned to the parchment with a 25-point to-do list. Suddenly she looked up and noticed Neville, who had been standing next to her for several minutes.
“Hermione,” Neville said shyly. “I want to show you something interesting. One amazing thing, Christmas fireworks from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. An unusual thing, you’ll agree with me when you see it with your own eyes.”
“Weasley’s' Wizard Wheezes again!" Hermione frowned. "Some kind of nonsense, as usual."
But Neville smiled.
“No, no, this thing is very funny. Only it needs to be launched somewhere in the open space. Well, not here, you understand, better on the street.”
Hermione sighed, looked down at her pile of books, a long list of unfulfilled items, and looked out the window. The snowflakes continued their magic dance.
“It won't be long,” Neville said in a pleading tone.
“Okay, let's go,” Hermione stood up resolutely. “Only for a really short time, I still have plenty to do.”
They went out into the courtyard, then through the gate.
“Where are we going now?” Hermione asked impatiently.
Neville looked around.
“We can do it here too.”
He carefully took out a package from his bosom, unfolded it... A fiery bird burst out of the package, deployed its sparkling plumage across the sky and exploded. And the whole world exploded around, coloured spots danced before Hermione's eyes and everything went black at once...
... She woke up on a cold floor. Her head ached and felt dizzy. Hermione opened her eyes. It was dark around, smelled of mold and dampness. A lamp or torch was burning somewhere on the side, and a rough iron mug loomed in the semi-darkness next to her head. Hermione tried to get up, but the attempt only caused another dizzy spell. She closed her eyes again, but her head was spinning even with her eyes closed. It was damp and cold, and she was very thirsty.
When the dizziness subsided a little, Hermione risked opening her eyes again and lifting herself up. Her elbow touched something that looked like an iron mug and something splashed there. Water? She was so thirsty, but what if there was poison? Although, if they wanted to poison her, they would have done so long ago. Hermione hesitated for a long time, but then she pushed the mug closer and drank a little. Water, just pure water. Her head cleared, even the nausea was gone.
Hermione sat up and looked around. Rough brick walls without windows, iron rings in the wall, chains were visible around in the dim light of a torch. Silhouettes of very strange and unpleasant objects loomed very close by. Hermione peered and went cold: the objects looked suspiciously like torture instruments. This is exactly what she saw in the book on the Inquisition. Here, it seemed to her, was a “Spanish boot”, there was a rack, saws, pliers...
She pulled up her legs and sat against the wall, thinking feverishly. The Wrecker was most likely a portal, and it was clearly not Neville who brought it to Hogwarts. Someone took Polyjuice Potion, pretended to be Neville and lured her out...
Perhaps, they also stunned with some kind of spell, it was not for nothing that the head was spinning and a nasty weakness was felt in the whole body. Hermione had no doubts about the bad intentions of the kidnappers. She had to run! But how? She didn't even have a wand.
A screeching noise interrupted her thoughts. A huge iron door, which she had not noticed at first, opened. Several people in black cloaks and masks entered. Death Eaters! Hermione involuntarily pressed herself against the wall.
“Already come to your senses? Okay,” said the leader. “Lumos!”
Several more torches lit up on the walls.
Hermione guessed from his voice that it was Lucius Malfoy. Another Death Eater stepped out from behind him. In his hands, to Hermione’s surprise, he held a camera. The Death Eater examined the captive critically:
“Not good. She's not enough scared. And there is no blood on her.”
“Not enough scared?” Lucius snorted. “Never mind. We will fix the situation now. But don't maim her! I still need her alive.”
The two Death Eaters rushed to Hermione and started beating her. She tried to defend herself but in vain.
Lucius, arms folded across his chest, silently watched the beating.
“That's enough,” he said finally.
The Death Eaters meekly moved away from their victim. Hermione sat silently, wiping the blood from the wound on her forehead with her robes. Her lip was swollen.
Lucius tilted his head to the side and said:
“There’s no blood on her robe.”
He waved his wand and the collar of Hermione's robes ripped open. Hermione cried out involuntarily and grabbed her robes. In the next second, a Slashing Spell cut her left hand.
“Fine, what we need!” Lucius exclaimed.
The Death Eater took up his camera.
“Make sure that the rack gets into the frame of the photo, and don't forget about the chains.”
He walked over and unceremoniously kicked Hermione so that she fell on her side.
“And one more picture.”
The Death Eater obediently clicked his camera.
“That's enough,” Lucius said. “And now, my dear guest,” his voice became mocking, “We will present these pictures to your wonderful Potter. You see that he will rush here ahead of his own broom!”
Lucius burst out laughing, the Death Eaters echoing his laughter. With laughter and jokes, they left the dungeon, the door banged with a noise.
Hermione was left alone, shaking with pain and fear. This is all a trap for Harry! How could she help him, how to warn him if she could not escape?
The door opened again and a woman entered, also wearing a mask and a hood. Hermione shrank involuntarily. The sorceress came closer, unceremoniously examined the victim:
"They did a good job, well, but they overdid it. So you will bleed out with us, and we don't need that now."
The spell slightly burned her left hand, Hermione twitched and looked at her wrist: there was no more blood, only a thin white scar remained.
“Now, meet your friend,” the Death Eater hissed.
The door banged again and a crowd of Death Eaters entered. The first two were dragging the pale Harry. Hermione screamed and lost consciousness...
... She was lying with her head on the table, a textbook stuck in her cheek. Hermione opened her eyes with difficulty. In the Common room, a grey smoke rose, evaporating, and a sickly smell of unfamiliar herbs. Harry and Ron sat next to each other in the chair.
“Harry, are you okay?” Lifting her heavy head with difficulty asked Hermione.
“Almost,” Harry replied in a dull voice.
Hermione glanced around the Common Room. Everything was in order, everything was in its place.
“So it was an obsession?” Hermione asked uncertainly. Her head was slightly dizzy.
“Yes, damn it!” Ron snapped. He looked determined and angry.
“We were going to try Miraculous Dreams, don't you remember? Another invention of my brothers. I'll talk to them again! A few memorable minutes,” he mimicked. “I'll show them a wonderful Christmas adventure.”
His gaze fell on the empty package on the table, he waved his wand viciously, and the package landed in the fireplace, where it burst into green flame.
“What were you dreaming about, buddy?” Ron turned to Harry.
“That I was at the Dursleys again. But a thousand times worse. And everything was as in reality. And you?”
Ron's face was stained.
“Wonderful Adventure! I was sold into slavery and, to begin with, I was punished with whips, everything as in reality. And when I was about to escape, they caught me and wanted to hang. The gallows had already been prepared. It's good that this rubbish is over. What did you dream about, Hermione?”
She waved it off listlessly and smoothed her loose hair. Harry looked closely at the scar on Hermione's left hand. It seemed to him that this scar wasn’t there before...