'It's very quiet. I prefer
the screaming. At least I'd know what was happening then. This quiet is
Luna is here with me, and Ginny was too, but today when we woke, Ginny was missing.
Luna didn't cry, but I did. She is holding together better than I first thought she would.'
three girls had slept like puppies, all in one huge bed. Yaxley didn't share it
with them, so Hermione didn't have the immediate fear of the rape that she had
expected when they had first been handed into their slavery.
They had the room and its attached bathroom all to themselves. Even if they couldn't leave, it was a strangely non-confrontational captivity, not at all what she expected from Death Eaters, especially after Voldemort's victory celebration. Hermione trembled, remembering how the Hogwarts students had been parceled out to the Death Eaters like after dinner mints.
Really, of all the Death Eaters she could have been given to, Yaxley wasn't that bad. He had been polite, he never hit or cursed them and he didn't make them eat with their fingers. He had let them keep their clothes, and had even provided more.
Today, Hermione was worried because today Ginny was missing. She had heard nothing in the night, and she wasn't a heavy sleeper. She should have heard Ginny get up or heard if someone came in and took Ginny away. Ginny was a fighter, she wouldn't have gone peacefully.
Thinking back over the food they had eaten for dinner the night before, she hadn't detected anything untoward; no strange after-taste to indicate they'd been dosed with a potion.
Worrying her bottom lip, she looked over at Luna, who was looking right back at her.
"Luna," she said, "Did you hear -?"
"Slithy were the borogroves, you know," Luna assured her, in her soft-spoken, otherworldly voice.
Hermione shivered. Was that a foreign language? No, she knew this. It was familiar. She frowned and searched her mind for the phrase.
"No, mimsey were the borogroves, Luna," Hermione said, finally remembering the poem.
Luna shook her head, her radish earrings swinging.
What odd accessories to have survived the final battle, Hermione thought.
"They were slithy. How else do you think they got Ginny out of here without us waking or noticing?" Luna said. She looked confused. "Don't you remember?"
"Remember what?" As usual, Luna's words were completely undecipherable. Hermione put her head in her hands, holding in her worry and exasperation that Ginny had been the first of them to go missing. She had understood Ginny.
Luna had been getting worse, it seemed. She had always had a habit of making observations which made little sense, but captivity had changed her - as if she was lost inside her own head, any grip on reality severed by their predicament. Hermione sighed. At least she wasn't in this alone. That would have been unbearable.
Breakfast popped into being, so they sat down to eat. They had earlier agreed not to speak unless it was vital, when Ginny had pointed out that it was not only spells keeping them trapped in the room - there were also enchanted items spying on their every move, and no doubt listening to their conversations.
Yaxley wasn't a great hulking brute, but he wasn't Bellatrix either, for which Hermione was very grateful. They could have been writhing in torment all day, instead of cowering in fear. Hermione preferred the fear to outright torture. She knew she could hold up against fear; she wasn't so sure she could against torture.
The day wore on relentlessly. Not that they could tell the time, with no wands to cast Tempus or windows to view the sun in the heavens. Both of them were bored, but both of them were frightened enough to ignore it, waiting on edge for the next bad thing to happen. When it wasn't forthcoming, they relaxed their guard, but they were still worried about their futures and Ginny's fate.
Lunch and dinner passed, equally uneventful. Both girls searched the room again, trying to do so in a manner which didn't make it look as if they were desperately hunting for some way to escape. Hermione missed Ginny's experience with her brothers' sneaky tactics. Luna was not terribly helpful in her current state of mind and she was certain that Ginny could have helped them find a way to escape.
They ate listlessly and later went to bed in quiet despair. It took forever to get to sleep because they kept taking each other's hands, each checking that the other was still there.
Hermione awoke the next day and didn't want to open her eyes. Fear gripped her and she tensed in her blankets.
"Luna? Are you awake?"
When there was no answer, she asked again, with growing hysteria in her voice.
"Luna? Are you awake? Answer me!"
Hermione opened her eyes and jumped up, to stare down at the empty bed, horrified that it looked like she had been the only person in it, talking to herself in her distress.
"The bathroom - she's got to be in the bathroom! That's it. She just didn't hear me."
Hermione ran to the bathroom and threw open the door. No one was there. She slid down to the floor, her fist stuffed into her mouth to quiet her sobs, her eyes wide and frightened.
"What happened? Where is Luna? WHY is this happening to me?!"
By the time breakfast arrived, Hermione had convinced herself that she had always been alone in the room, and that the Death Eaters were playing mind games with her. She sat down at the breakfast nook in the corner and ate with shaking hands.
All day, every imagined noise had her jumping or cringing in fear. She didn't even look for ways to escape. She stood, poised for flight, her eyes stinging with unshed tears as she waited for the door to open. Waited for her chance of escape.
That night, Yaxley finally came to her room. He pointed his wand at her, to ensure her obedience.
"Come on now, you've had plenty of time to sulk," he said, chivvying her out into the hallway and down the corridor.
She looked anxiously down the darkened hallway and asked, "Where are you taking me?"
Yaxley smirked, "To get your potion. We can't have you in proper company all mimsey-like."
Despite her urge to run she went cautiously, with Yaxley's wand insistently prodding her in the back of the neck. At the end of the corridor was a large room, and he pushed her into the awaiting ritual circle before Petrifying her.
She wanted to scream, but couldn't. Some of the runes on the floor, she knew to be for containment. Was this what had happened to Ginny and Luna? Had they been sacrificed in some dark ritual?
"Twas darkest when the mimsey toves did fly and gambol in the wabe; all slithy were the borogroves, and none the mome raths outgrabe," he chanted, dousing her with a potion.
Hermione thought he sounded just like Luna at the height of what Hermione had perceived to be Luna's madness. Now she wished she had paid better attention to Luna's words when she had the chance.
The power increased around her and Hermione felt her body changing. It was worse than polyjuice. She stretched and grew, her clothing tearing and falling off completely. She wanted to cry or scream, but all that came out was a screeching sound.
"Tut, tut, Mudblood," Yaxley said. "Now you are in daylight what you've been for weeks only in darkness."
Hermione's last human thought was anguished regret that she had obviously eaten her roommates.
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