This is an alternate telling of Canimal's Mage's Captive fics (The Silver Mage's Captive, & it's companion piece The Dark Mage's Captive [an alternate telling of TSMC]). The Golden Mage's Captive is written & posted with permission of Canimal.
(Similarities between this story and Canimal's original works are intentional—the alternate tellings contain the same major world events, but differ in pivotal moments at the very beginning of the story, affecting both Hermione's fate & how she interacts with the new, darker Wizarding world)
Anyone who'd like to verify with Canimal that this story is approved by her, I invite you to PM her. I take no offense to anyone needing verification for their own peace of mind.
*This can be read as a standalone, but I encourage you to read Canimal's completed originals. Links on my FFN profile.
CONTENT WARNING: This is a bit darker than I usually write. It will contain mentions of, & reference to, non-con, torture, violence, and character death.
THORFINN ROWLE FANCAST: Chris Hemsworth (it's not intentional Thor is my Thorfinn fancast, just an amusing coincidence)
DISCLAIMER: Harry Potter and all affiliated characters © JK Rowling
2nd of May, 1998
Alecto fucking Carrow. Thorfinn didn't trust the bitch as far as he could throw a dragon—it was no secret she was barking. But, on rare occasion, even bitches who were barking mad served a purpose.
Harry Potter had fallen and the scene erupted in the most disjointed cacophony—howls of triumph and screams of agony and sorrow mingling. Yet, it seemed a moment of utter shock passed before either side moved.
In the fleeting, confused silence, he followed Antonin's line of sight. Of course it was fixed on that infuriating pain in his arse, Hermione Granger. Antonin was obsessed with her—he tried to hide it, sure, but no man talked about a witch that much unless he had a hard on for her.
Whether that was in the fun way or the gruesome way was anyone's guess.
And it was in that moment that the most bizarre thing happened. A giant came tearing through the battlefield and snatched up the Mudblood. As the thing bolted into the Forbidden Forest with her, the battle resumed, though, without their leader and his girlfriend, or whatever the fuck she was to Potter, the survivors didn't stand a chance.
But, as everyone else had watched the massive creature stomp away with what likely would have been one damn fine war prize, Alecto Carrow watched Antonin.
And she did not like the expression dawning on his handsome features as his gaze followed the young witch.
As the Dark Lord called for all usable survivors to be rounded up, Alecto caught Thorfinn by the elbow.
Wincing at the unwanted touch, he tried to shake her off. Until he saw the insistent and quite clear look in her typically mad eyes.
She seemed to be hiding in his shadow—not difficult with the way he towered over most of the other Death Eaters—and it took him a moment to understand. Mad bitch was trying to keep Antonin from seeing her there.
Which could only mean she was up to something.
"Tell him to go after the giant," she said, her voice nearly buried beneath the chaos around them.
"Oh, you are mad, aren't you?"
Alecto held in a growl, continuing in a hissing whisper, "The Dark Lord means to reward his faithful. If Antonin gets to him first, what do you think he might ask for?"
There was an unpleasant jolt to realizing that even lunatics could be sharp. He looked toward Antonin. Sure enough, the older wizard was surveying the tree line, trying to determine where the giant had gone, exactly.
"If it occurs to him to ask for her, you'll lose your chance at revenge, won't you?"
Frowning, he cast a quick look at her over his shoulder. "Fuck, I hate it when you make sense."
Alecto smiled—a syrupy expression that made Thorfinn wince all over again—and stepped back. Just in time to hear the Dark Lord shout for Molly Weasley to be brought before him.
Antonin turned away from the break in the wall and started for the Great Hall. Their master had retreated into the cavernous room—possibly thinking it quite amusing to sit on the gilded chair once used by Albus Dumbledore—the moment Potter's body collapsed at his feet.
"What are you doing?" Thorfinn asked, stepping in front of him. "Go after the giant!"
Dark eyes blinking rapidly, Antonin tried to process the suggestion. "What?"
Broad shoulders slumping, Thorfinn rolled his eyes and tried again. "Go after the giant. Otherwise, you might lose track of the Mudblood."
Antonin hid the way he forced a gulp down his throat as he once more looked toward the Forest. True, the giant had saved her from the battle, but who knew what would become of her in there?
Nodding, he darted toward the trees, wand at the ready.
Thorfinn watched him for only a few heartbeats before he turned on a heel and headed for the Great Hall.
Yet, as soon as he set foot in there, he wished he could be anywhere else. More of his fellow dark wizards than he cared to count were indulging in some of the more violent and deplorable displays of victory.
Against the walls, on the floor . . . . The screams of the witches at their mercy echoed dully off the massive chamber, only seeming to fuel their assailants.
He kept his eyes carefully averted as he crossed the floor, though his skin absolutely crawled with the sounds of it. Murder? He didn't bat an eye. Torture? Sure, it certainly had its uses. But rape he could never quite wrap his head around.
Of course, Rabastan liked to say that if Thorfinn had ever needed more than a wink and a charming grin to get a witch, he might understand.
The Weasley matriarch was dead and gone by the time he reached the foot of the dais. And mixing with the witches' cries was a rather distinct voice, in particular.
Though, he didn't want to lift his gaze to confirm the sight, he couldn't help himself.
Narcissa Malfoy stood, a shriek grating out from between stubbornly clenched teeth as a painfully familiar red energy wracked her. How the woman was still on her feet was beyond him, but worse, yet, was that her torment was being inflicted by her own husband and son.
They all knew she'd deceived the Dark Lord, and he did not tolerate betrayal. Yet, this was more than Thorfinn had expected. Their master clearly wanted her agony sharpened with the knowledge that her loved ones were forced to take her life; to drive her mad before she fell.
She would spend her last moments of sanity burdened with the awareness of what murdering her would do to them.
Thorfinn turned his gaze away before he could register the expressions on Draco's and Lucius' face as they alternated delivering her punishment. He wasn't certain he wanted to know what a man looked like during a moment such as that.
The voice of the Dark Lord—dripping with amusement at his own twisted cleverness—sent a chill up Thorfinn's spine. He'd not slipped up once during the Battle, which he knew was a feat, considering how heavy-handed he could be with spellcasting in the heat of combat.
He knew he'd done admirably today, yet he was stricken with a sudden fear that he might've committed some act of which he was unaware, but that the serpentine wizard would consider a grievous misstep.
Nodding, Thorfinn stepped upon the dais. He dropped to his knees before the Dark Lord, kissing the hem of his robes.
Thorfinn stood, but didn't lift his gaze to the wizard before him.
"You . . . performed surprisingly well this day, Thorfinn. I wish to bestow a token upon you for your continued loyalty."
The blond man was speechless, and visibly surprised by the announcement. Yes, Alecto had mentioned exactly this, but he'd still not actually believed it until this moment.
The Dark Lord seemed to find the younger wizard's stunned silence wildly amusing, and he choked out a rasping laugh. "What would you deem an appropriate expression of my gratitude?"
Giving himself a shake, Thorfinn found his voice—it was admittedly difficult to focus on the hissed words as the organized chaos continued throughout the Great Hall. But, this waswhat he'd wanted.
"I want Potter's Mudblood."
Again, the much-feared dark wizard erupted in laughter. Rasping and ragged, he struggled to catch his breath. "An odd request. Whatever for?"
Thorfinn forced a shrug, trying to seem unfazed. "My Lord, I have suffered quite a bit of humiliation because of that little bitch. I plan on returning the favor."
Seeming satisfied with this answer, the Dark Lord's thin lips twisted in a grin. "Granted. When she is found, she is yours to claim."
Bowing, Thorfinn said, "Thank you, My Lord."
"You may go. Antonin, come forward."
Thorfinn turned, his gaze meeting Antonin's. The other wizard had clearly arrived in time to hear Thorfinn's request, if the mingled gleams of anger and disbelief in his eyes—which he was barely containing—were any indication.
Schooling his features, he started toward the entryway as Antonin made his way to the dais. The dark-haired wizard avoided looking at the depravity occurring around them, just as Thorfinn had.
As they neared one another, Antonin spoke under his breath—just loud enough for the younger wizard to hear him. "You would be wise not to make an enemy of me."
"Tell me what you want with her, and maybe I'll see you get some playtime."
An angry scowl marring his features, Antonin continued onto the Dark Lord. Thorfinn sidestepped, narrowly missing the dark-haired man's deliberate attempt to shoulder past him.
28th of January, 1999
Hermione was tired. God, was she tired. Tired and cold, and sick to her eyeballs of this wretched tent that smelled of cat urine.
Some days, she thought the scent would seep into her weary bones and stay there until the moment she died.
Two-hundred-seventy-one days had floated by since her world had fallen apart. Two-hundred-seventy-one days she'd been alone, never staying in one place for more than a few days for fear she'd be caught.
She used her magic sparingly, erecting protective wards before settling down each evening. There were even nights that had been not quite so awful. But now . . . .
Now she was freezing, the bitter cold of the Scottish winter night outside the tent cutting through the blankets she'd piled on herself. Even creating an enchanted fire was more magic than she dared use—she might as well send up a flare, inviting any roaming Death Eaters to come find her.
This was one of those nights when she simply didn't understand why she kept struggling. Why did she keep pushing to survive if this was all that was left to her?
Her lower lip trembled, but not from the chill in her bones. There was a terrible twisting sensation in the center of her chest, stealing her breath, as always happened when she thought . . . .
Perhaps she'd have been better off, had she died beside Harry.
Forcing a sniffle, she shook her head and stood. "No, no, no. You've been stuck here too long, already; you have to move, that's the problem!"
Yes, yes. Moving was good. She was cold, and tired, and was lucky if she ate a single square meal in the course of three days.
She needed to get somewhere warm, and she still had some money left. Probably more than enough to pay for a meal, but not by very much.
God, if she didn't figure something out soon, she wasn't sure how much longer she'd be surviving. She couldn't find it in her to consider the past almost-year as living, because itwasn't living—she simply hadn't died, yet.
Taking a deep breath, she braced for the chill of the night air and left the tent.
She withdrew that hated wand—Bellatrix Lestrange's wand, as vile and twisted as the witch, herself, but even a twisted wand was better than none at all—from her beaded bag and set to carefully dispelling her wards and enchantments. Hermione was diligent in scrubbing all traces of her magic use from an area before she moved on.
Fishing out some money to stuff in the pocket of her jeans, she then tucked the little bag safely away inside her boot.
Head down, hood up, and her wild, easily-identified hair secured in a tight braid, she made her way into town.
She didn't like traveling about—the openness made her paranoid. It didn't help, she supposed, that she'd had no news, whatsoever, from the Wizarding world since Grawp had taken her from the battle.
So bad she'd wanted to go back, but with Harry gone, she knew in her heart the Battle of Hogwarts was lost, and with it, The Second Wizarding War. Sometimes she wondered, though. Had Ron survived? Had Ginny? What about sweet, unexpectedly brave Neville?
Were they hiding out somewhere, as she'd been?
The lack of information was maddening, but any attempt to enter a wizarding community, even just to find a discarded issue of the Daily Prophet, might be the thing to get her caught.
And as a hated Mudblood, and the girl who'd help Harry Potter nearly succeed in ending Voldemort, Hermione couldn't imagine the Dark Lord had very pleasant plans for her.
She shook her head, trying to still her troubled thoughts. This was getting her nowhere. One thing at a time, Hermione.
With a deep breath, the witch decided to focus on simply getting indoors. Certainly, Inverness was lovely and picturesque in the winter, but the cold biting into her skin—and making her diminished form shiver so hard, she was surprised she could walk straight—made letting that loveliness distract her from her woes an impossibility.
A lively little pub caught her eye, and she hurried to the door, as fast as her frozen feet would carry her. She nearly collided with a group of young men entering just ahead of her.
The last of the group was kind enough to hold the door for her. Hermione thought distantly he might be trying to speak to her, but she only had eyes for the roaring flames in the cozy establishment's fireplace.
She hurried to an open spot at the bar nearest the fireplace, scrambling to pull back her hood and feel the warmth of the fire directly on her face as she sat. When her body had thawed enough that she could manage to speak without her teeth chattering, she ordered a pint and a bowl of soup.
After so much silence in her empty, sad tent, she actually found herself enjoying the busy atmosphere. Not that she cared join in, but she actually managed to relax some by the time she was spooning warm, delicious broth and veggies into her mouth and sipping the most delightful dark beer.
She'd nearly finished half the bowl—more food than she'd eaten in one sitting in longer than she cared to recall—when she heard a voice over her shoulder.
"Let me buy you another?"
Glancing toward the speaker, she saw the same young man who'd held the door for her. He was cute, and grinning ear-to-ear, but Hermione wasn't certain what it was about herpiss off demeanor that had made him decide she was the girl to chat up, out of all the females in the pub at that moment.
"No, thank you."
"Please?" he asked, sidling up next to her as the patron who'd been seated there left.
She stood to dig her pocket for her money. "I'm sorry, I was just leaving."
His brow furrowed. "You didn't even finish your soup."
Hermione, afraid to waste the food, but uncertain she could finish it with the way her stomach was suddenly twisting up in knots at the unwanted attention, sat back down. She took quick spoonfuls of as much of the broth as she could manage, hoping he'd take the hint that she was in no mood for conversation.
"My name's Ryan."
She offered him an unkind look.
"Oh, don't be that way," he said with a grin . . . and what was very probably a drunk gleam in his eye. "I only want to know your name."
Setting down the spoon, Hermione stared at him a moment before offering the most depressingly Muggle name she could rightly call to mind. "Petunia."
His brows shot up, and she almost wished he'd crack a joke so she could leave without making a rude spectacle of herself.
"Not a name you hear much these days," he continued with the blatant insistence only inebriated people could muster. "I don't think I've seen you here before, do you go to university?"
"Just passing through. Now, if you don't mind . . . ." She polished off the last sips of her drink and was quite unhappy to find his hand on her wrist.
"C'mon, just one drink. Please? It'll break my heart if you don't."
More fearful of undue attention she'd receive if the drunk young man made a scene than she was of the young man, himself, she reluctantly agreed.
That didn't stop her from slamming back the drink as fast as she could without making herself sick. It had been too long since she'd consumed any sort of alcohol, let alone with only three quarters of a bowl of soup in her stomach.
Ryan blinked, letting out a low, shocked breath as he watched her finish the drink in a matter of seconds.
Finally putting her money down on the counter for her first drink and the soup, she nodded to him. "Thank you for the drink, Ryan."
Yet, as she turned away, he looped an arm around her and turned her back toward the bar. "I don't even get a conversation? Two minutes is all I'm asking, Petunia. I swear I don't bite."
"You don't bite, but you certainly have no problem putting your hands all over someone without their permission." The snapped words were out of her mouth before Hermione could stop herself.
Ryan's brows shot up and he pouted. "I'm sorry," he said as he held up his hands. "I get a bit handsy when I'm pissed. Look, two minutes, you'll see I'm a nice guy. Promise."
The door opened and Hermione's paranoia caused her to glance back, curious to see who'd entered.
She'd not expected to see Thorfinn Rowle standing there. With Albert Runcorn beside him, she knew she was in trouble. One Death Eater she might slip past, but two?
"Bollocks," she said in a frantic whisper as she turned back. Luckily it seemed the crowded setting—and Ryan's invasive closeness at her side—had kept either of the two imposing men from spotting her.
"Wha's wrong?" her new friend asked, his speech a bit slurred.
Ducking her head toward his, she said as low as she could, while still being loud enough for him to hear her over the din, "My husband just walked in! If he sees me here, he'll kill me—and probably you, too, just for talking to me!"
Ryan turned his head, blinking bleary eyes around the pub. Hermione counted her blessings that he was somehow sharp enough to make it seem he was idly glancing about. "Which one?"
Taller and more evidently broad-shouldered, Thorfinn was the more intimidating of the two. He was also the more attractive option, by leagues, despite that Runcorn wasn't a bad-looking fellow, either. She'd Avada herself before admitting to either observation, but Hermione always was a sucker for a plausible story, and being lured in by good looks only to end up in a soured marriage was a thing that happened all the time wasn't it?
"The blond one."
"You know how to pick 'em, Petunia; he's terrifying."
"He can't find me here," she pleaded, though she wasn't quite sure what she expected the drunk to do.
Without a word, Ryan slipped his arm around her once more and moved behind the bar, tugging her with him. Before Hermione realized what was happening, she found herself sitting on the floor beneath the taps beside Ryan.
The bartender flashed her a quick look of sympathy. She could only guess this wasn't his first time dealing with this scenario.
Pushing through the crowded pub, the pair of Death Eaters made their way to the bar.
"I'd appreciate you not jostling my customers," the bartender said, a jovial grin on his face, but his voice serious. "Anything I can help you gentleman with?"
Runcorn nodded, pulling a photograph from his pocket. "Have you seen this young woman?"
The bartender's gaze swept over her as he casually dropped his attention to the glass he was cleaning. "Can't be sure. We get lots of pretty girls in here from the university."
Hermione closed her eyes against a sudden, surprising upwelling of frightened tears. God, she hated crying—probably the alcohol.
That was Thorfinn Rowle's voice. Hermione still recognized it from his insistence on calling her Princess every time they'd run into one another during the single year they'd shared at Hogwarts.
Shoulders slumping, the bartender took a second look. "You know what? I did see her."
Hermione's gasp was cut short by Ryan's hand clamping over her mouth.
"But I'm sorry, you missed her. She walked out of here maybe five minutes before you walked in."
With a dissatisfied sigh, Runcorn pocketed the photograph and pulled out a white business card. "She's in danger, it's important we find her. Please, if you see her again, let us know right away."
The bartender nodded as he took the card, pretending to carefully look it over. "Certainly."
Hermione imagined she could feel the floor beneath her quaking as the Death Eaters stomped away. The bartender watched the door, signaling to the seated pair after a moment.
She had no idea what to say or do to thank the man as he tore up the business card while Ryan pulled her to her feet.
He nodded to Ryan. "Take her out the back. And Miss, do yourself a favor, divorce that man while you're still young."
Resisting an overwhelming urge to throw her arms around the old man's neck and hug him, she simply clasped her hands around his. "Thank you for helping me!"
The bartender smiled and nodded before he dropped the pleasant demeanor and made a shooing gesture. "Go."
Grabbing Hermione's hand, Ryan hurried them through the pub's kitchen and out the backdoor. They exited into an alleyway that, unfortunately for her, was a straight-shot to the front of the establishment on one end, but the other led away, and that was all that mattered, just now.
He gestured for her to stay quiet, hidden in the shadow of the door as she was as he crept out a bit, looking about.
"They are stubborn," he said, the slur gone and the dreamy-drunkard quality to his expression vanished, entirely. "Okay, listen, I'm going to go out front and distract them. You count to sixty, then make a run for it."
"You're sure? You could get—"
"I'll be fine. You're the one needs to be careful. Runcorn's got an anti-Apparition ward around him, and you're not going to be able to put enough distance between you and him to get clear that way, otherwise."
Her chestnut eyes shot wide. "What? How did you—?"
"Graduated Hogwarts just before you started. What? Don't know a helpful Hufflepuff when you see one, Hermione Granger?"
Unable to help herself from giving into a hug this time, Hermione threw her arms around the man.
He hugged her back for a quick second before pulling away, again. "We've got some mutual friends who want you safe. Remember sixty and run. Go left as far as you can and just keep going. Don't stop, don't look back, just go. His ward's got a perimeter of about a mile, so when you think you're far enough, Disapparate. Anywhere far from here."
Hermione nodded. "Thank you, Ryan."
Nodding, he granted her a quick, charming grin before he darted back into the pub.
She tried to breathe, slow and deep between numbers as she counted. Tried to calm herself and center, focus on nothing else but running. And going left. With trembling fingers, she withdrew Bellatrix's awful wand from its hiding place.
" . . . Sixty."
Before she knew it, her legs were moving, carrying her down the other side of the alley. Despite the rush of the wind and her own pulse pounding in her ears, she could hear some type of commotion from the front of the pub.
For a brief, glimmering moment, she thought her escape went unnoticed.
"Someone's in the alley!"
She definitely heard the sound of heavy, rushed footfalls moving after her, then.
Hermione took the first left, and the next and the next. All the while, her pursuer kept pace. Her stomach lurched as she ran, but she couldn't stop.
At this rate, she was never going to shake them. And she didn't have the strength to run hard like this very long.
A few more lefts and she wasn't certain she was putting any distance between them, at all. Her mind whirled into action as she listened to the footsteps behind her. They took the turns after she did, they had clearly worked out the brilliant Go Left scheme.
Ryan had all but begged her to keep moving left, but they were going to catch her at this rate.
At the next opening, she shot right. In the alley she turned down, an open doorway beckoned. Dark and quiet as she neared it, she bolted inside. Before she even caught her breath, she eased the door closed.
She didn't hear any footfalls. Just barely managing to keep her meal in her stomach, her legs gave out from under her and she found herself sitting on the floor.
Hermione had no idea where she was—the back of a shop, some Muggle's basement, didn't matter—it was dark, and it was quiet, and she couldn't hear anyone coming for her. At the moment, that was all that mattered.
As the adrenaline drained from her system, her weariness combined quickly with the simple, wonderful fact that it was warmer here than in her miserable tent.
Before she could realize what was happening and snap herself awake, her head had dropped onto her knees and she drifted into a fitful slumber.
Thorfinn couldn't help a triumphant smirk as he carried the dozing witch from her hiding place. He couldn't help but find the situation wildly amusing after all those times she'd caught him in inappropriate situations during his last year at Hogwarts, and her first. Honestly, ever since she'd stumbled over him getting sucked off in the library, it seemed the little bitch had set out to catch him every bloody time he got up to anything with some pretty, willing witch at school.
She'd made his last year hell. But none of that came close to the incident in the Muggle café. He didn't think he or Dolohov would treat memory charms as flippant things, everagain, thanks to her. Not when the only way to break them was excruciating suffering.
Oh, but the look on her face when she woke to realize her predicament. . . . That was going to be good.
Hermione was warm. And oddly comfortable. The unfamiliar sensations almost made her want to snuggle up and drift into a deeper sleep.
Yet, just how unfamiliar those sensations were startled her awake.
The first thing she saw upon opening her eyes was strands of golden hair. With a confused frown, she followed the locks up to the face above her.
The blue eyes of Thorfinn Rowle glanced down to meet hers a moment. "Morning, Princess."
The shock of realizing that comfort had been the Death Eater carrying her against his chest set her off. She kicked and shifted, struggling in his embrace.
He tsked, moving her in his arms to toss her over his shoulder. Runcorn snickered as he walked beside him.
Angered by her new, vulnerable position, Hermione scowled. "You must be joking!" Her wand was gone, they'd obviously snatched it up when they grabbed her.
"Behave yourself, and I won't make this anymore embarrassing for you. A courtesy I don't recall you ever showing me."
"A courtesy—? I assure you, there is nothing more embarrassing than being carried over some hulking wizard's shoulder like a sack of potatoes!"
Again, Runcorn snickered. "She's certainly a chatty thing."
Brows lifting, Thorfinn nodded. "You wanna bet, Princess?"
Hermione uttered a small growl-like sound in the back of her throat. "And stop calling me—" Her words were cut short by one, large hand swatting her bum.
The surprised squeak that came out of the witch amused the Death Eaters a great deal.
"Oh, just hand me over to your Dark Lord, already, and let him kill me." She was hardly welcoming death, but she didn't understand the delay. And really, wasn't it better than being subject to the whims of these two?
"Hand you over?"
She was jostled carelessly as Thorfinn pulled her back over his shoulder. His hands under her arms, he held her up so they were eye-level. Hermione forced a gulp down her throat—she didn't have to look to know her toes dangled several inches above ground.
Thorfinn Rowle grinned, the expression a bit feral as he held her gaze. "You're not getting handed over."
Somehow, the idea of not dying at the hands of Voldemort had never seemed so dismal. "Then what—?"
"Suppose this news is going to be a bit of a shock for you, Princess, but . . . ." He let his gaze rove over her features for a quick moment before returning his attention to the feisty witch's eyes. "I own you."