Mosaics 9The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears-John Vance Cheney
Another dream awoke me tonight: one of my friends getting ready for the Christmas break, their laughter as they prepare presents, play in the new fallen snow, and I realized I don't belong amidst their childish gaiety and experienced an overwhelming sense of loss.
How can I? What would they think if they knew about the lessons I am learning at the hands of the Potion Master of Hogwarts? The visions he shows me, the actions, reactions, that I must commit to memory should I fall victim to Lucius again or, Merlin forbid, brought before Voldemort. What would they think of me if they knew that, although these lessons frighten and disgust me, they also make me long for the real thing, not just images in a Pensieve of another woman that looks like me crying out to have Snape take her, possess her, fuck her into oblivion. I dream nightly that I am that woman and he is there; yet, often, the dark eyes turn into mocking gray ones and long lank black hair transforms into silvery blonde. Lucius haunts these visions as often as Severus, and to my shame I awake with my hands on my body, urgently bringing release if not pleasure. At times I can't distinguish between Lucius' hands on my body and his I wake up longing, angry, wanting to hurt myself, wanting to run into the dungeons and beg him to take me, as he did the woman in my head.
I want to flee at times. There is no one who could stop me. Technically I am of age and could lose myself in the Muggle world. Yet I can't leave them, any of them. They are my family, my friends, my life, and still I feel so alone.
Pushing his fingers through his hair, Percy stared at the list before him like he had for the past hour. Eight names were written on the rumpled piece of parchment that he carried with him. Picking up the quill, he crossed one more out and three remained; Arthur, Bill and Charlie. He carefully studied his reasons behind each marked off name, well aware that the Dark Lord would look into his mind for the reasoning. Ginny, Ron and now Molly, he could not think of her as Mum, were safely hidden away at Hogwarts. Fred and George were easy targets, but of what value to the cause? Ridding the world of those two miscreants, and he knew he would have to kill both, would be almost merciful. The last three were supporters of Dumbledore and a thorn in his Master's side.
Charlie was in Romania and on unfamiliar ground. Percy knew little of his older brother. It would be a lot of vested time, which he didn't have, to learn the coming and goings of the man.
His lips curled into a sneer. Not looking up, not wanting to see her, Percy flipped the parchment over before reaching for the half empty bottle of Firewhiskey. Raising it this lips, he took a long swig. "What do you want?"
Penny's lip began to quiver and she bit on it. "It's late…I just wondered if you were coming to bed soon."
Raising his head, his cold blue eyes surveyed his wife. The word tasted like bile to him. She clutched her dressing gown tightly against her body, the gentle swell of her belly glaringly evident to him.
"Never mind," she said coolly, though he could hear the hurt in her voice. "I just thought…"
"What did you think?" he sneered. "That I would come to bed and fuck you?"
Bright red spots appeared on her cheeks but she lifted her chin. "Must you be so crass, Percy? What is so wrong for a husband and wife to share pleasure?"
And how am I to find pleasure in you when you carry another's bastard?
He pushed away from the table and rose quickly, the chair falling to the floor with a crash. "Pleasure? Are you so willing to give me the pleasure I seek, wife?" Crossing the distance between them in a few strides, he grabbed her arms tightly and yanked her against him. Percy bent his head and bit on her neck hard, hearing her cry out in pain. "What's the matter, Penny? I am only giving you what you asked for," he panted, licking the blood from her neck.
Penny squirmed in his grasp. "Stop it, Percy. What is wrong with you?"
"Nothing wrong at all, my dear," he hissed, pulling her towards the table. "Bend over and spread your legs for your husband, bitch." He fisted his hand in her long curly black hair and tried to force her head down.
Letting out a scream, Penny twisted around and slapped him across the face with all her strength. "You're sick! I don't know who you are anymore, Percy!"
Wiping the blood from his lip, Percy laughed coldly. "I am your husband," he snarled, grabbing her around the waist and lifting her onto the table. "And am taking what is rightfully mine."
She beat against his arms and chest, kicking at him as he tore open her dressing gown. "Stop it!" she cried, putting a protective hand over her belly when his fist hit her hard on the breasts. Sobbing, Penny choked out, "What are you going to do, Percy? Rape me just like…." Her dark eyes went wide. "Rape me…oh gods."
He stood still, not daring to breathe, then he saw her face constrict in pain and he knew that she was remembering.
"No, it wasn't you…it was…" Penny's face drained of color. "Gods no, no…No!"
"Penny, love, it's just a bad dream," Percy said soothingly, gathering her in his arms.
She pushed away from him. "It was Professor Snape…and others…and you, you were there. You were there and didn't stop it…You were there!" Her face horror-stricken, Penny turned and raced towards the fireplace.
Percy watched in grim satisfaction as she fell to the floor. He walked over, staring down at her in contempt. With a wave of his wand, he levitated her over to the small couch and took a seat beside her. Quietly, he cast the Ennervate charm, watching her closely stir. When she was fully alert, the horror crossing her face once more, he pointed his wand at her."Obliviate!"
He slipped his wand into his pocket before putting his arm around her. "Penny, sweetheart, are you feeling better? I was very worried," he said softly stroking her cheek. "I thought you were going to faint."
"I don't feel so well, Percy," she mumbled leaning against him. "Hold me?"
"Of course, my dear," he soothed, gathering her close. A grimace crossed his face as he rocked his wife in his arms.
"Oh look, Hermione," Tamara exclaimed, tugging on Hermione's hand. Hermione smiled at the younger, who was excitedly pointing to the display in Honeyduke's window. A replica of Hogsmeade done in an array of confectionary delights sprawled in the large window. "The tiny people are moving about and see? That one looks like Hagrid. Could you imagine trying to eat the whole village of Hogsmeade? It would take months."
"I bet Ron could polish it off in two days," Ginny snorted, peering closely at the little spun sugar people in the diorama. "Speaking of the stomach on legs, where is he?"
"He told Harry he had something to do and would try to catch up with us later," Hermione explained as they headed down the sidewalk towards the Three Broomsticks.
A frown marred Ginny's face. "He's been rather elusive recently. Always disappearing, coming in just in time for curfew. I wonder what he's up to."
Hermione shrugged. She noticed Ron's seemingly new schedule but what with her own studying, in and outside of school subjects, she accepted his excuses without much fault because he seemed really happy. Harry told her the nightmares seemed to have eased for Ron and whatever he was doing must be helping. "Perhaps he is meeting a secret love," she teased lightly.
Tamara giggled and hid her mouth behind a mittened hand. When they entered the crowded pub, noise and haze greeted them and it took a moment to spot Harry and Dean sitting at a table near a large heavily decorated Christmas tree. Ginny went to sit in Dean's lap, the tall black boy's arms going around her and pulling her into a kiss. Tamara blushed, averting her eyes, and laughed nervously when Harry stood to pull a chair out first for her, then Hermione. Rosmerta brought them a round of butterbeers, her blonde hair coifed today, the short red dress she wore swishing around as she hurried back to the bar.
Hermione picked up the bottle of butterbeer and stared at the amber liquid, not really hearing the joking and laughing around her, her thoughts suddenly heavy and distressing.
They don't understand. How could they? she thought bitterly, her hand clenching around the bottle. The dreams had returned tenfold since the day Severus' memories were put into her mind. The instruction she'd received since that day only intensified the dreams until she found herself once again relying on the Dreamless Sleep potion to obtain any rest. Hermione started when she felt a gentle hand on hers. "All right?" Harry asked quietly.
"All right," she said with a small smile. How could she tell him about her thoughts? That she longed for a man twenty years her senior, a man that for the last three weeks had taught her through word and description how to act as his captive protégé. Hermione forced the smile wider and she shook away those images and concentrated on a story Ginny was telling about the twins' innovative new ideas for mistletoe.
Removing the blindfold from her, Ron stepped back and grinned. Kate looked around, her eyes wide, before she gave a low whistle. "I didn't believe you, Red, but here we are." She walked over to the dusty, cracked window. "Amazing." The village of Hogsmeade lay at the bottom of the snow-covered hill, its snowy thatched roofs picturesque. "Who would have thought you actually knew a way into the Shrieking Shack."
Pleased that she seemed so impressed, a flush crossed his cheeks. After their first encounter at the Astronomy Tower, Ron had returned every Tuesday and Thursday night to take notes for her as she studied the movements of a cluster of stars. They talked little, except when she was done for the night. He found that she was very interested in Quidditch, and the ensuing conversations often lasted till the wee hours of the morning. Chilled, yet strangely happy, he had slept better in the past month since that night in the Department of Mysteries. Since then it seemed he was drawn to her, finding excuses to make his way down towards the dungeons in hopes to catch her out and about. It did appear to work, for often she was waiting for him at the foot of stairs to take his hand and lead him back up, into empty classrooms, into out-of-the-way alcoves, where they would sit and talk.
Ron finally got up the nerve to ask her to accompany him to Hogsmeade that day, nervous and worried what the others might say. She was, after all, a Slytherin and he hadn't told anyone about her, even Harry. Kate expressed her own concerns, stating that they would receive nothing but grief from both houses and it would be best if they just kept things the way they were.
"It's not haunted, is it?" she said, turning away from the window and walking over to the broken down bed. Kate sat down on it and looked up at him.
"Doesn't seem to be," he said, running a hand through his hair nervously. Lupin's secret about why the Shrieking Shack had been built was not his to share. It was daring enough to bring her here but he wanted to do something to impress her though he didn't understand why. For once, he wished he could tell Hermione about this. She would gladly tell him how thick he was when dealing with a girl.
Kate grinned and stood up, closing the distance between them. "Thanks, Red. I'm sure your friends would have kittens if they knew you shared this secret with a Slytherin." Her arms went around his neck and she pressed her lips to his.
Ron froze. He imagined kissing her often before drifting off to sleep but now she was here, kissing him and all he could think of was where to put his hands, afraid his lips were dry, his breath bad. When her tongue slipped between his lips he thought no more and his hands moved instinctively, one encircling her waist the other cradling the back of her head.
Breaking away, Kate walked towards the bed, pulling her jumper over her head as she went. The bra she wore followed suit and his mouth fell open when she turned to him. He tried to look away from her bare breasts but found he couldn't. A sly smile appeared on the witch's face as her skirt and knickers fell to the floor.
"What are you doing?" Ron asked, his voice cracking.
"Disrobing," she said simply, her smile growing more catty, her index finger beckoning him forward.
"Don't be nervous, I have," she said, taking his hands and guiding him towards the bed. "And I will show you everything you need to know."
The Common room was buzzing with the chatter of excited students returning from Hogsmeade. Gold and silver tinsel hung off the portraits in the room, boughs of fresh pine rested on the large mantel on the hearth, their fragrance competing with the smell of the crackling fire. Hermione and Ginny had just returned from the dorms where they'd stowed their wet cloaks and packages when Ron entered, his cheeks red and hair tousled. He was grinning and looking very pleased. "There's my wayward brother," Ginny said eyeing him suspiciously. "Where were you today?"
The splotches of red on his cheeks burned brighter, flooding over to his ears. "Got caught up practicing some moves on the pitch," he mumbled. Why can't a bloke have a few hours to himself?" he said, rolling his eyes. "Besides, I figured my 'sisters' didn't need me around while they snogged their boyfriends."
Hermione made a small derisive sound, her gaze drifting over to Neville, who was sitting before the large mullioned window, while Ginny and Ron began to lightheartedly bicker. He'd not been in the village today and his posture suggested that he was deep in thought. Leaving the two siblings to their argument, Hermione went over to Neville, noticing the redness around his eyes as she neared. He made no move to acknowledge her approach. "Hey there. We missed you in Hogsmeade today. Is everything all right?"
"Fine." His voice sounded defeated. She studied him a moment.
"If you want to talk"
Neville turned to look at her and she saw his eyes were bright with unshed tears. "There's nothing to talk about." He sighed, handing her a crumpled piece of parchment. "McGonagall sent my Gran a letter."
Hermione looked confused. "I don't understand. You've been doing really good in classes this year," she said, smoothing out the letter. Her eyes grew wide. "Oh my."
Neville's grandmother's letter was full of criticism, telling her grandson how disappointed she was with his choice of careers, how his parents would be hurt if they knew. "Neville, surely she didn't mean this."
Sighing heavily once more, Neville turned back to the window. "She does. I was supposed to become an Auror like my father not a two-bit healer. I am just grateful she didn't send a howler. May as well though." Neville shook his head. "Gran said I would have to tell them over the hols."
"Your parents will be proud of your choice," Hermione said firmly. "I'm sure of it."
A wry smile graced his face. "I'll never know that, will I?"
She wanted to argue with him, to tell him he was wrong, but couldn't. Instead, she placed her hand on his shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze in silent understanding.
His calloused fingers trailed softly down the ivory skin, and he smiled when she giggled as he touched a ticklish spot on her stomach. Finally, his hand rested on the gentle swell of her abdomen.
"Eet ees too early," Fleur said in her thick accent. "Zere is nozzing zere yet."
Not dissuaded, he pressed lightly on the silky skin. "You're wrong, sweetheart. I can feel our child already starting to grow."
She laughed at his fierce proclamation. Her right hand slid into the thick red hair that was as long her own silvery blonde tresses. Lifting his head from her breast, Bill gazed up into her blue eyes.
"Your mere will be very angry at you zat we 'ave kept zis a secret," she said softly.
Picking up Fleur's left hand, he kissed the plain gold band on her ring finger. She only wore it when she was in the flat. They had wed in secret less than a week after Bill's return from his duty at Hogwarts, for he wanted to keep their marriage and her pregnancy a secret just in case just in case he was captured while working for the Order. The last thing he wanted was to put her or his child in danger.
"She will understand although not before hitting me over the head with her rolling pin," he teased, moving up her body. His face sobered, a dark fire burning in his blue eyes. It would be worth facing Molly's wrath to keep her safe. They had talked of marriage, after the war ended. A night of passion, too much wine and forgetting a certain charm had just pushed up the date. There was nothing to regret except for the uncertainty of the outcome of the conflict.
"Molly does not care for me," Fleur said, a hint of concern in her voice. "I will be ze loose Frenchie who trapped her son eento marriage. Ze same way with your brozzer and 'is wife 'ad to wed, oui?"
"After what that prat Percy did, Mum will welcome you and her grandchild with open arms. Remember that love." Bill caressed her cheek, covering her body with his own. His eyes held hers as they joined and he mouthed 'I love you'.
Setting the teacup down, Bellatrix fingered the sleeve of her robes, frowning. "Rabastan has made no improvement nor is expected to," she said dryly in answer to her sister's inquiry. "Lucius could tell you this if he were not so preoccupied with whatever is going on with him." She eyed Narcissa accusingly.
"Lucius is busy with other matters," Narcissa said smoothly, picking up the fine porcelain teapot and refreshing her own tea.
"Don't play coy with me, sister," Bellatrix remarked. "Even his work for the Master has been slipping. He's preoccupied with something."
Narcissa's lips grew thin but she didn't reply, choosing instead to sip her tea. She knew all too well what was preoccupying her husband - or rather, who.
"Why is it, sister dear, that the mention of my Master makes you uncomfortable? Have your loyalties changed?" Bellatrix asked in a sweet voice.
"And why are you here prying, Bellatrix?" Narcissa said, her voice cold. "If you're so interested in what Lucius is doing, I suggest you ask him."
"Narcissa, why didn't you inform me we had a guest? It is unseemly for the mistress of the house to be remiss in her duties." Morana crossed the room regally, sweeping in front of the two women. "What is this?" She picked up one of the teacups, turning it over in her hand. "This is not the good china. This is not acceptable to serve tea to anyone except the help."
Bellatrix turned questioning eyes on Narcissa. "This is Morana Malfoy," Narcissa explained, hoping that Morana's coherency would hold.
"Morana Malfoy? The name is familiar. A cousin?"
Morana sniffed and drew herself up. "I am Marius Malfoy's wife and demand you introduce yourself."
Narcissa gave a discreet shake of her head. "Morana, this is Bellatrix Lestrange, my sister. You are looking tired dear. Let me call Lizzie to take you back to your room…"
The porcelain cup shattered against the wall. "I will not be tossed into my room like an insolent child! I am mistress of this house and you are just a whore." Morana's face crumpled. "Marius how could you? This tart in our house."
"Explain, sister," Bellatrix warned dangerously, her wand in her hand. "It is common knowledge that Lucius' mother is dead."
Keeping an eye on the madwoman, Narcissa quietly told Bellatrix how Morana had arrived at the manor and the chaos that she had caused since her arrival. "Now you know why Lucius is so distracted," she said bitterly. "I want her out of here but he won't hear of it and Draco is to arrive tomorrow…" Her eyes narrowed. "I do not want her around him."
"You've grown soft, sister," Bella hissed slyly. "There was a time you would taken matters into your own hands." Lifting her wand she murmured a spell, throwing the old woman across the room to slam heavily into the wall. "She is almost mad, no? It would be a simple task to push her into the void, then dear Lucius would be free of his concern. Or, at best, she would no longer be a burden to you." Bella walked over to the crumpled, sobbing woman.
"Bitch!" Morana spat, lifting her chin defiantly, and for a brief second Bella saw where Lucius got his arrogant eyes before Morana collapsed on the floor, whimpering.
"Shall I, dear sister?" Bella purred, her fingers stroking her wand lovingly. She raised her wand. A hand wrapped around her wrist and yanked it back hard, fingers crushing the delicate bones. Bellatrix turned to stare into Lucius' face, which was a mask of rage.
"I should kill you," he snarled, his hand snaking around her throat. Bellatrix's smirk never left her face, though her eyes grew wider as she fought for breath and her feet lifted from the floor.
"Lucius, enough," Narcissa said firmly. "Enough."
His eyes glittering coldly, Lucius released Bellatrix, shoving her away. She collapsed on the floor, rubbing her neck and coughing. "And you, wife," he said quietly, his voice becoming more and more waspish. "You would have had her kill my mother, would you not?"
"Don't be ridiculous," Narcissa snapped, her chin raising as he neared. "The witch was out of control, as usual. Bella was just putting her in her place."
Lucius strode over to Morana and gathered her in his arms. The older witch sobbed into his robes, her hands failing frailly. "Marius how could you?" she moaned. "It will mean his death."
"Shh, Mother, it is all right, I have you." He cradled her closer and his eyes met Narcissa's. "I want that bitch gone by the time I return," he said quietly over the older woman's head.
Bella rose from the floor regally, her eyes glittering in triumph. "This is what Lucius has forsaken everything for."
Narcissa met her sister's eyes coldly. "And you will keep his secret," she warned. "His master's ire is already too great…" She broke off, not wishing to voice any more concern.
"We have many secrets between us, Sister," Bella said slyly, straightening her robes. "Family loyalty keeps them intact."
A shiver ran down her spine but she held her head high as she stared at Bella, knowing all too well that family meant nothing if it interfered with Voldemort.
"It is time for you to join the fold," Bella remarked with an air of having just issued an invitation to tea.
"Leave," Narcissa hissed. "Before he returns, for this time I will not stop him."
Bella laughed softly. "I will inform milord to expect you next moon tide." She kissed Narcissa's cheek, her smile wicked as she Disapparated.
Sitting down slowly on the couch, Narcissa picked up the shards of the broken china set, trying not to think of the implications. She'd always support Voldemort, but more out of duty to Lucius. It was not required that she actively join the Death Eaters, yet Bella was not leaving her a choice. Those secrets, those damning secrets…She lifted her eyes as the door slammed. Lucius strode over to her, his eyes blazing. "Get up!"
Narcissa's own anger flared. If it wasn't for that damn bitch, Bella wouldn't have the final card. "Do not, Lucius," she warned, her eyes darkening.
His lip curled into a sneer, the look eerie on the golden mask, almost demonic. "When will you learn that you do not give me orders, wife," he said dangerously. "And I will not have Bellatrix in this house again. What were you thinking, allowing her to see Morana?"
"If you hadn't broken the elf's leg last time, she could have detained that madwoman and Bella would have never known!"
"DO NOT CALL HER THAT!" Lucius roared, his hand raising. Slowly he lowered it, his eyes icy.
"Look what she has done! You are obsessed with her, are even putting your standing with the Dark Lord at jeopardy! He is already upset with the debacle at the Ministry, the party…"
"Enough! I need no shrew harping at me about my failures!" Lucius hissed through clenched teeth.
Narcissa crossed her arms over her breast, her gaze defiant. "I will not have Draco subjected to that madwoman," she said calmly. "Either she goes from here for the holidays, or I will take him away."
His lips curled in a sneer then he laughed. Sweeping her into his arms, he kissed her heartily. "My wife, you will do no such thing." He ran one finger down her throat. "When will you learn who is the master of this house?"
She raked her nails down the side of his face, her eyes challenging, needing him to wipe away the fear that rose up at the thought of going to Voldemort. "Prove yourself master then," she challenged, a triumphant smile on her face as he pressed her down to the couch.
Number twelve Grimmauld place was decorated and cheery, at least the kitchen area was. Molly was determined to make the atmosphere cheerful for all of them, but especially for Harry and Hermione. She set everyone to cleaning once again, the house seemingly to have reverted to its previous state of grunge. Kreacher slunk in and out of the shadows mumbling about 'Mudbloods' and 'Blood traitors', his watery eyes watching every movement.
It was easy at Hogwarts to pretend, to forget that her parents weren't waiting for her return from the school term. She so often spent the holidays away, too, that Hermione thought she would be all right, that she could continue imaging that she could go home if so desired.
When her eyes would catch Harry's across the table, she could read the sadness there. He missed Sirius terribly. Yet a nasty bit of her rose up, wanting to rail at him. Sirius was only his godfather, not his parents, and her ire would grow until her more rational part of her reminded her that Harry had never even known his parents, and Hermione's heart felt like it would seize in her chest.
At school, Hermione had started pushing Harry away; the kisses and hugs triggering dark thoughts, luring her to the place where she only saw Lucius when she closed her eyes at night. Now she would turn to him in the hallway when no one was near and hasten into his arms for comfort. They stole kisses in the library under the guise of doing the holiday assignments for class. Harry didn't question, but returned the embraces and kisses with an urgency of his own, seeking warmth.
Buckbeak lifted his head, his large orange yellow eye turning to look at the couple on the dusty, run-down bed. He shifted on the straw, making a clucking noise before he looked away, nosing around in the hay for any leftover piece of rat.
They had met in here for the last two nights after everyone retired. Limbs tangled together, her flannel nightgown rumpled beneath his pajama-clad body, their kisses growing more intense with each passing minute. "Hermione," he said, his voice thick and husky, before his mouth covered hers once more. She felt his erecton pressing into her thigh and a well of panic rose up in her. It increased when his hand found her breast, his fingers hesitantly brushing over the roundness.
This is Harry, this is Harry….
"Harry, no, stop," she said shakily, pushing away his hand. Her heart was beating wildly and for a moment she thought she might pass out. Harry sat up quickly, looking chagrined.
"Hermione, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have…"
"Yes, you should have," she snapped, sitting up also. She closed her eyes and rubbed her forehead hard with her palm. "Don't you see? If you don't try things like this then it reminds me that I'm different, tainted." She sighed heavily. "Its normal for you to want to touch a woman, most males do, but it's also normal for the girl to say no or to slow down." Hermione blinked her eyes fast. "I want to be normal."
"You are-" he began, but she interrupted.
"I need to go. My Apparition test is tomorrow and I must study." Pulling away from him, she picked up her discarded dressing gown and quickly put it on. "I'll be all right," she said, not looking at him.
Harry found the glasses that he'd tossed on the scarred nightstand and ran a hand through his hair, making it stand on end. "You will be," he assured her, though his tone was hesitant.
"Night, Harry." Hermione slipped out the door and shutting it quietly behind her.
Flopping back on the bed with a groan, Harry stared up at the threadbare hangings. His cock throbbed painfully in his pajamas. He didn't want to press her, had promised not to, but her change from wanting only chaste kisses to what they were sharing since coming to Grimmauld was confusing.
Fleur woke from her nap and looked around the flat. It was early afternoon and Bill would be home soon if he didn't have to go to Grimmauld. Recognizing the noise that had disturbed her slumber, she got to her feet and walked through the small sitting room to the front door. Her eyes widened in surprise when she looked through the peephole. It was the last person she would have ever expected to see at Bill's door. Unlocking the door, she opened it. "Zis ees a surprise, Percy."
AN: This story was started before HBP came out. Therefore situations and characters are more AU than normal. As it advances some things from the newest book may pop in or not. Thanks for reading and reviewing. Big thanks to Wendynat for the beta job.