2 November, 1976.
The Shrieking Shack, Hogwarts.
Hermione woke up on the floor, disoriented. She had no idea of where she was. Her eyes stung, and she blinked against the brighter beam of light that had pooled around her head and shoulders. She sat up, looking at her hands in astonishment, one brown and flaking with dried blood, the other clutching a small bronze charm with a little hourglass inside. After a few long moments, she achingly pushed herself up to a standing position and stretched her arms. Tucking the charm into a pocket absentmindedly, she touched her cheek where the wood had left an indentation in her skin. She was hungry, thirsty, and needed to take a piss. Not necessarily in that order.
She patted her robes, looking for clues. Well, a stick wasn’t going to help her. She found a purse, which was disparately fancy compared to the rest of her stained things. Patting the side of it, she found there couldn’t be much in there, it was too small to hold, say... a sandwich, so that was tucked away too. After a brief internal struggle over her limited options of stay or go, she staggered out into the tunnel that seemed to be the only entrance or exit with the grace of a newly born fawn, legs shaking and uncertain.
She made it out into the blinding light of the courtyard, and only a moment before she spun at the wisp of warning air movement behind her, she was hit by thick branch of the Whomping Willow square onto her chest. It threw her across the courtyard, and if she had one, her guardian angel would have screamed in utter frustration as Hermione flew bonelessly through the air, and then abruptly knew no more as her head impacted against the stone wall.
Severus had spent yet another restless night in the castle Infirmary. He had been beset by Potter and his cronies and wound up here again, under the tender ministrations of Poppy Pomfrey. This time they had immobilised him and used a wandless depilatory spell before capping it off with aLanglack instead of a Langlock . Sirius thought it was hilarious to set Severus bound, hairless, and tongueless, hanging from a rafter out in front of the Great Hall to be found in time for breakfast, charmed with a stuffed dog that sang “Hooked on a Feeling ” whenever anyone approached within 5 feet. It was fortunate that Peeves hadn’t found him first. Filch discovered him, and lacking magic, had to go fetch Madam Pomfrey from her quarters to help get him down.
The Mediwitch was tired, her own language less guarded than it should have been, given Severus was not unconscious, but the perversity of having that catchy song drone on whilst she helped Filch fish Severus down from the “hook” was just too much. “… that you’re in love with me… Iiiiii am hooked on a feeling…”
Severus had looked Filch directly in the eye with impotent rage, but without a tongue he could not express any responses to the idiotic obvious questions that adults always asked in these situations.
“Who did this to you?” Well, who else?
“How long have you been hanging there?” Also obviously less than 12 hours and more than four, given it was well past curfew, and it was only by chance that Filch had found him while he was getting started for the next day.
“Why didn’t you shout for help?” Will you just get on with it?
Reluctantly, Severus opened his mouth to display the absence of tongue, uttering a gormless “Ah” as though the caretaker might be interested in his tonsils and his “I’ve been hanging here for hours, hexed” morning breath. Judging by the disgusted expression on the caretaker’s face, he at least managed to get to the man on some level. Misery managed. Breaking eye contact, Severus hunched his shoulders defensively as Madam Pomfrey released his bonds. The pain of returning circulation blocked out the details of his transfer to the infirmary, and blessedly the Mediwitch wasted no time putting the young wizard to bed with a pain dulling draft.