FULL SUMMARY: When Hermione Granger is caught by Snape she must fake her death with Snape's help, and assume a new identity and appearance as the illegitimate and previously unbeknownst daughter of Severus Snape. Going by the name Mina Graziana-Snape, Hermione must navigate this new world where she's rubbing shoulders with Death Eaters, forced to participate in revels, marked as a Death Eater herself and doing her best to balance the dark and light warring for dominance inside her soul.
Isolated from the Order and her friends, Hermione must play the wickedly sinful and alluringly promiscuous daughter of a Death Eater just to survive. With Snape as her mentor and the only one who knows every dark truth about her and the girl she's becoming, Hermione must protect her heart on all sides. A scheming Rabastan Lestrange wants her for a wife. A werewolf Draco Malfoy is a tentative ally and possessive bedfellow. A murderous Bellatrix Lestrange seeks to end the lives of both Hermione and Severus. Fenrir Greyback is trying to overthrow the wizarding world under the Dark Lord's nose. Furious friends are baffled by how well she can play the bad girl and Hermione's stuck in the middle, trying to keep her head above water.
WARNINGS: Dearest Reader,
Please note that this story is the darkest, most twisted and most perverted that I have ever written. It contains TRIGGERS. I couldn't even think of them all to include them in the tags, but please be aware that if you've heard of it, it's most likely in the story. Even if you haven't heard of it, you might encounter it in this story. Basically what I'm saying is that this story is entirely fucked up and probably should never have been written but it had to be birthed from my subconscious. As such I insist upon proceeding with caution. If I upset you, I apologize in advance but you have been sufficiently warned.
Winner of Wandlore's "Best Dark Fic" and "Best Death Eater Centric Story".
Chapter 1: Desperation
..."Come away little lamb, come away to the water,
Give yourself so that we might live anew.
Come away little lamb, come away to the slaughter,
To the ones appointed to see this through,
We are coming for you"...
- Come Away To the Water (Maroon 5)
Hermione Granger could only surmise that she was beyond deliverance. Her cover had been blown. Her secrets exposed. Her life uprooted and irrevocably damaged. The game was up. Severus Snape had just fired a curse in her direction and Hermione's last thoughts as she lost consciousness were that it seemed entirely unfair that after so long defending the greasy git of a Professor, she would succumb to an untimely demise at his unforgiving hand.
The arms of unconsciousness embraced her lovingly; greedily; her eyelids descended sluggishly over eyes glittering with betrayal. Her laboured breathing gave way to the slow and almost peaceful aspirations of an induced slumber and she slipped into darkness.
When she awoke sometime later, Hermione deemed herself confused. She blinked slowly, her mind was slothful, and an ache permeated her abused and half-starved form. Dimly she was aware that she appeared to have been transported to some dilapidated structure and that she was lying on the cold hard floor. Wherever it was, it was dark and damp and there was an insidious chill that seeped into her bones, robbing her of her strength.
"Where am I?" she asked herself, unable to focus long enough to note the heavily cloaked figure standing in the corner of the room, silently scrutinizing her. She gasped in pain, air hissing between her teeth at the sudden agony she found when she tried to raise her prone form into a sitting position. Every fibre of her being ached.
"Harry?" she asked, for her friends and travelling companions, suddenly recalling the attack of the Death Eaters, "Ron? Oh Merlin, where are they? What's happened to them?"
The silent figure looked on disaffectedly as the young witch tried to regain her bearings and her undeniable wits. He was impressed with her ability to have roused so quickly from the curses he had inflicted upon her and begrudgingly he found himself curling his lip at the persistent and concerned muttering regarding her former companions that passed her cracked and bleeding lips. Her distress over their possible fates was obvious and it sought to enrage him that even when her own life was in mortal peril she clung to her disgustingly Gryffindor scruples. Her gasp of pain did nothing to cease her movements and he watched stoically as she dragged herself into a sitting position, releasing several little whimpers of pain and grunts of effort that seemed to escape her notice. She shook her head several times, as though attempting to clear it of the fogginess his curse had inspired and he allowed himself a momentary cruel smile.
"Miss Granger, so kind of you to once again grace us with your presence," he sneered when he grew tired of watching her struggle, her failure to notice his imposing form seeking only to vex him further. She reacted with immediate violence at the sound of his voice so close to her prone form, her hand diving for the wand he'd removed from her person some minutes earlier.
"You bastard, give me back my wand, Snape!" she snarled when she failed to locate it, though her eyes had yet to focus on him and Severus Snape found himself momentarily intrigued to discover she knew him by voice alone.
That was most interesting indeed.
"You'll pay for all you've done, Snape. If it's the last thing I do, I'll see you pay!" she threatened darkly, scrabbling to her feet. Severus watched the way she swayed precariously yet refused to clutch at her undoubtedly spinning head. Foolish child. "What have you done with Harry and Ron?"
"Your little friends are beyond your ability to save, Miss Granger. Desist your incessant prattle and pay very close attention."
Hermione flinched back when Snape lunged at her, his unforgiving hands closing tightly around her emaciated wrists and searing her with their icy burn. She chose to ignore the fact that his hold had prevented her from falling to her knees as her head swam with a heavy fog she seemed unable to shake.
"Harry Potter and Ron Weasley have been taken captive by the Dark Lord's followers, Miss Granger," Snape warned her, "By now, I do not doubt that Potter will be being tortured to near insanity. Weasley has undoubtedly been disposed of."
"You liar!" Hermione snarled, her heart clenching inside her aching chest at the very thought of the news he was delivering. She twisted her wrists violently in his hold, trying desperately to free them so she could strike out at the man who had murdered Albus Dumbledore. She wanted to claw his judgemental black eyes out of his greasy, sunken face.
"Enough!" Snape hissed furiously, bringing his face so close to hers that his hooked nose stabbed unyieldingly against her own pert one, "They are gone Miss Granger! The Dark Lord will undoubtedly make a big show of murdering Potter, but Weasley is little more than a pawn to him and as easily sacrificed. They are dead."
"Why have you brought me here?" Hermione demanded, her eyes wide and horrified now, sparkling with an anger that simmered deep in her gut and made her whole body tremble with its ferocity. She didn't want to believe he was telling the truth. She couldn't bear the thought of Harry and Ron being tortured.
Of them being dead.
"Because despite everything you have been led to believe, I am not the enemy. I have remained faithful to the Order and everything I have done up until now has been on the instruction of Albus Dumbledore. However, not even his brilliant mind was able to foresee this turn of events. Your friends are as good as dead, Miss Granger, unless there is something I can do to rescue Potter without exposing everything I have worked so hard to achieve. And you are a problem."
"Excuse me?" Hermione demanded, her temper flaring brightly inside her slowly cracking soul, "After you murdered Dumbledore, you expect me to just believe a word you say?"
"I expect you to use your not-entirely-dis-countable intellect to realize that you are in mortal danger. Besides Potter, you are the Dark Lord's biggest threat. You are the brains behind everything Potter and Weasley have achieved to date. You are going to be his biggest target. I am here to tell you that I have a solution to that problem," Snape informed her coldly and Hermione felt goose-pimples spread across her skin at the utter conviction in his constantly-sneering tone. How dare he sound so self-possessed when she felt her entire reality beginning to splinter? Chips of her sanity began flaking away, crumbling at the edges and making her tremble.
She had to place a hand to her clammy cheek just to talk herself out of the belief that the walls had already begun to close in around her, locking her in this terrible darkness.
"You think I'm going to trust you? After everything you've done? You just expect me to believe Dumbledore wanted you to kill him? Why should I believe a word you say?" Hermione challenged. Her heart and mind were racing with fear for her friends and she had yet to even truly think about the implications for herself should she lose Harry and Ron. The walls slid closer at the brief moment of acknowledgement of that possibility.
"You do not have a choice," Snape informed her, "Until such time as you become useful to my continued cause, or until this war is over, you are dead, Miss Granger. Do you understand me? Your mangled body will be brought before the Dark Lord as proof of your death and you will cease to exist to the friends and loved ones you will leave behind."
"You're going to kill me?" Hermione asked, her voice betraying the fear that was leaking through her blood, poisoning her limbs and stilling her thoughts.
"In every sense but the most literal one, Miss Granger," Snape promised, a dark gleam in his fathomless eyes. Hermione felt a chill of fear claw it's icy, ragged way up her spine as she realised she was currently being asked to place her trust in an entirely ruthless and unscrupulous man with a dark past and blood on his hands.
Hermione's heart began to race painfully fast with indecision.
"You're going to fake my death? To kill some other poor girl who looks like me and then what? What do you mean to do with the real me?" Hermione wanted to know. She hated herself just a little bit over the idea of be willing to even voice such an idea when it meant the innocent life of some unsuspecting girl would be sacrificed for her.
"The real you will be hidden away beyond the sight and thought of the Dark Lord. All will believe you to be dead Miss Granger, but for the person I mean to leave in charge of your continued secret existence."
"Who?" Hermione wanted to know, "Wouldn't it be easier to just let me go?"
"No. If I release you the Dark Lord will eventually learn of your survival. He will hunt down every member of the Order he can find, fizzling out every last breath of resistance to his cause. And he will not truly believe you are dead unless the rest of the Order rises up in their fury over the deaths of yourself and Mr Weasley, and the public execution of Harry Potter."
"Please tell me you've put a similar plan in place to save Ron?" Hermione begged him, realising the true gravity of the situation.
"Unfortunately Mr Weasley was pursued by other members of the Death Eater brethren, as was Mr Potter. They are not forgiving men, Miss Granger. I believe Fenrir Greyback went after him personally. If Mr Weasley is not already dead, I expect he will be praying that he were. Now, gather yourself together and remove those clothes."
Hermione's eyes bulged in horror before she realised what he meant to do. He turned his back to give her the privacy to strip out of the torn and dirty muggle clothing she'd been wearing for what felt like months. She bit her lip with indecision over the notion of trusting him before she realised she had no other choice. He could very well drag her before Voldemort and the other Death Eaters and leave her to her fate. Or she could give him the benefit of the doubt in the vain hope that if she played along for long enough she might be able to trick him into slipping up and so escape his captivity.
"What do you expect me to put on in place of these?" Hermione asked, pulling her jumper off over her head. She startled when Snape handed her a tasteful set of robes. They were heavy winter robes and looked as though they'd been tailor made to fir her. The most striking part of the outfit was the long velvet cloak with a deep hood in a brilliant shade of emerald green that reminded her of Harry's eyes.
She dressed hurriedly, shivering when the cold winter breeze ghosted over her bared flesh, prickling the hairs and making her yearn for the warmth of the Gryffindor common room at Hogwarts. It was an unpleasant feeling, one that didn't entirely leave her even when she was ensconced away in the robes he'd provided her.
"What would you like me to do with my discarded clothing?" she asked of Snape when she was fully garbed.
"I will require them and a few strands of your hair Miss Granger," he told her, turning towards her when Hermione was appropriately robed once more.
"You mean to use Polyjuice potion on the girl you intend to murder?" she asked scathingly, a bitter taste waltzing its way across her tongue at the very mention of murder.
"You would do well to remove that judgemental tone from your voice Miss Granger," Snape warned her, curling his lip forebodingly, "In the coming weeks you will be exposed to far fouler things than myself."
"Excuse me?" Hermione demanded, placing her hand on her hips.
"Drink this," Snape told her, holding out a phial of syrupy liquid. She suspected from the way he curled his lip in annoyance that he believed she doubted there was anything fouler than him. If it weren't for the crushing gravity of the situation Hermione might've giggled at his indignation.
"What is it?" Hermione asked seriously, eyeing it in horror as she accepted the phial.
"This is a potion that will temporarily alter your defining features to make you appear like someone else. It is a deviation of the Polyjuice potion with longer lasting effects. Things that define you, such as your terribly frizzy hair, will be transformed into sleek, smooth curls. It does not entirely remove your features and replace them with another's. Instead it morphs what you already have into something unrecognizable unless one looks very closely indeed. The effects of this one will last for three months. After that I will supply you another if the need arises."
"You mean to hide me in plain sight," Hermione realized suddenly, "Do you really think that the Death Eaters won't recognize me. Even if we alter my appearance, I'll still look like myself."
"Not for long. Drink that and I'll show you," Snape ordered, pointing indicatively at the phial he'd given her.
Hermione hesitated for only a moment, indecision warring inside her soul and gnawing at the edges of her sanity. She had trusted Snape during the past years even when the boys had not. And she had been burned for that trust.
"Will you return my wand to me?" Hermione wanted to know before even considering the idea of unstoppering the phial.
"In good time. Once you consume that potion I will escort you to the temporary sanctuary where you will hide until I require your assistance," Snape informed her, beginning to look impatient with her continued delays.
Clamping down tightly on her misgivings in favour of seeing where this would take her, Hermione unstoppered the phial and down the contents in one gulp, shuddering at the bitter flavour of the potion inside. It wasn't as bad as Polyjuice potion but it still tasted like goblin piss. She shivered when a tingle washed over her, racing through her body, warming her limbs and making her fingers and toes prickle uncomfortably.
"Would you care to see your new appearance Miss Granger?" Snape asked her, eyeing her speculatively in a way Hermione had never seen anyone else study her. He made her feel like some kind of experiment he'd cooked up in a Potions lab and Hermione narrowed her eyes before reaching into the beaded bag swinging from her wrist. She withdrew a hand mirror slowly, holding it out to Snape and waiting for him to enlarge it so she could take in the full realm of the changes the potion and new robes had yielded within her.
She was entirely shocked by what she saw. She barely recognized herself. In the place of her usual self was a changed witch. There was an unintentional poise to her body now, a particular type of sinewy, regal grace she had lacked without the potion. Her hair was the most obvious change. Where before her dirt-brown hair had been lacklustre, frizzy and frayed, now it was entirely transformed. The curls tumbled down her back in coffee-coloured swirls, sleek and smooth in perfect ringlets. Hermione's face seemed different too. Her skin seemed clearer, a fresh peaches and cream shade that was most becoming. Her lips seemed to hold more of a sensual pout than they ever had before, her jaw line slightly more defined and her cheekbones appearing so sharp they could cut glass.
The only similarity Hermione could really see to her former appearance was the honey-cinnamon shade of her eyes, sparkling with intelligence and just a glimmer of fear.
"What exactly did that potion do?" Hermione wanted to know, eyeing the sensually inviting dip of her waist beneath the fitted robes Snape had given her.
"It's designed to smooth away imperfections and to bring out the very best qualities within a particular person based on their natural genetic make-up," Snape told her and Hermione caught the flash of impatience in his dark eyes over the notion of her asking such a question at such a time.
"And what exactly is my cover to be?" Hermione wanted to know, meeting the dark gaze of the current Hogwarts Headmaster.
"That is where I must ask you to sacrifice a portion of your dignity, Miss Granger," Snape answered honestly, looking at her shrewdly amid the dim lighting of the shack where she was currently being held prisoner.
"Oh Merlin," Hermione sighed, "What are you going to have me do?"
"The most feasible option that will offer you the largest portion of protection and an explanation as to your apparently recent addition to the ranks of wizarding Britain would be to have you pretend that you are my illegitimate daughter, recently orphaned of your mother and so shipped here to live with me."
Hermione stared at Snape in horror, her eyes wide with alarm.
"You... you want me to pretend you're my father?" Hermione repeated stupidly, feeling like she might be losing her grip on reality after all, "You want to tell people I'm your kid? Have you lost your mind? How would you explain me being eighteen and only just seeking you out? How would you explain not knowing about me until now?"
"Do you speak any languages other than English?" Snape asked seriously though Hermione noticed the way the man bristled at her obvious horror over the idea of him being anyone's father.
"French, Italian, some Gobbledegook and a little Mandarin," Hermione replied factually, offering up a full platter of her language skills.
"I think it would be wise to pretend you were raised in Italy with your mother. We can make up some lie about me meeting and subsequently impregnating your mother when she travelled over here at the end of her own schooling. That would explain why you are not on the listing for Hogwarts students. As for my lack of knowledge of your existence, I suspect my brethren and indeed everyone will have little trouble believing your mother didn't want anything to do with me after one night."
Hermione marvelled over his ability to sound utterly deadpan and yet also alarmingly bitter simultaneously.
"I'm not calling you 'Dad'," Hermione warned him, surmising that as far as explanations went it was a decent one. She chose not to mention the unlikeliness of any witch lowering herself so much as to sleep with someone so unpleasant in both personality and appearance.
"No, that wouldn't do. To effectively achieve this you will have to practice at calling me Severus or Father, slip-ups with either will lend a believability to your lack of knowledge of my existence until your mother's untimely death," he answered dryly.
"Don't you think they will find it suspicious if you return with a body that is supposedly mine, along with the actual me in tow?"
"Leave that to me, for now wait here while I retrieve a body we can pass off as being yours," he instructed.
"Can I have my wand back?" Hermione asked when he began walking out with it.
"No," he replied shooting her a dark look, "If I give it back you'll be gone before I get back."
Hermione hated the man all the more for seeing right through her ploy.