Several dark, masked figures rose from their seats and turned towards her. Fear shot through her like a bolt of lightning, as she recognised them immediately – they were deatheaters.
She tried to run back out of the room, but the door slammed shut behind her. As soon as she began to raise her wand in defence, it was magically snatched from her grasp - she was totally out numbered!
Now she knew why Severus had been so determined to keep her in the bedroom! She wished she was still there now!
One of the dark figures took away their mask and drew back their hood – revealing the smiling face of Lucius Malfoy.
"Well, well, well! What a lovely surprise!" he announced smugly, as he approached her, immediately causing her to back away. He grinned as she looked desperately around for an escape route – but the other figures had formed a semi-circle around her and there was nowhere left to go.
"Herm-io-ne Granger! How nice of you to join us!" He announced with over the top politeness, then looking towards Severus, "now I know, why you were so edgy tonight!"
She looked to her lover, but his face was seemingly unreadable at first - until she caught his gaze – then his eyes betrayed that of someone who was in turmoil.
"So.. you still seeing this little mud-blood whore then Severus?" Lucius asked dismissively.
Severus looked defiantly back at him, but said nothing.
Lucius looked at a now seething Hermione, a surprised smirk playing on his face.
"Well, it seems that my old friend has fallen for you! How impossibly sweet!" he goaded
"Tut, tut, Severus! Fancy not even telling me - your oldest friend!" He continued looking at the dark-haired man for a while then turned back to Hermione.
"There was a time when we used to share practically everything you know – even ..women." He smiled as if at a pleasant memory.
"Don't you remember Severus?" he asked his 'friend' again, sniggering at his obvious discomfort.
Severus continued to glare.
"Oh the things we got up to - I could tell you a few tales..!" Lucius began, turning back to Hermione. He was about to continue, but was stopped by a loud "No!"
"Oh Severus don't be such a spoilsport, I'm sure she'd love to hear of some of your exploits from the old days – wouldn't you my dear?" he continued, still sounding cordial and unthreatening.
Hermione looked to her lover again and his eyes betrayed fear this time. She tried to show him she didn't care what Lucius had to say by shaking her head, but he continued to look anxiously in her direction.
"Such a shame.." Lucius continued, stepping even closer and reaching out to lightly touch her hair, making her flinch disgustedly away. At this Severus jolted forward, but was held back firmly by two of the larger members of the group.
"It seems that our mutual friend doesn't want me to tell you what we used to get up together!" Lucius announced, with mock sadness, his smile fading.
He leant forward, bringing his face right up close to Hermione's ear and whispered sharply, "Well maybe.. I shall just have to show you instead!"
The tone of Lucius's voice was so cold, it sent a shiver down Hermione's spine and she guessed exactly what he meant. After being thwarted twice, she knew the chances of him letting this opportunity slip through his fingers were slim, but she was nevertheless determined to fight - with every last breath in her body.
She couldn't see, but could hear her lover struggling to break free. When she heard the sound of a wand being used and him becoming suddenly quiet she worried what they had done to him. He was her only hope and with him out of action what could she do? She had already been scared, and determined though she was, panic had started setting in.
Lucius suddenly grabbed her wrists and held them firmly against the bookshelves behind her. He began looking her up and down lasciviously and she felt very vulnerable in the flimsy silk dressing gown she was wearing. She wished she had worn something more practical, but then realised it probably wouldn't have that made much difference anyway.
She managed to struggle round her captor enough to see Severus lying on the floor with two men above him, only their grins visible under thir masks . He was still awake, but motionless and looking at her desperately. She knew that they must have used the 'petrificus totalus' charm on him. It would have to be strong to hold him, but they were strong – they were deatheaters and no doubt their malice would know no bounds, even for one of their own.
The rest of them began to crowd round eagerly; obviously thinking that some sport was about to begin.
Hermione's heart began to thump heavily in her chest, she couldn't believe this was really happening and sincerely wished that it wasn't. She closed her eyes; she had never been so scared.
She winced and stiffened as she felt Lucius's push his body close to hers. He let go of one of her wrists and then gripped her neck firmly - not enough to cut off her air - but enough to hasten her breathing still further and she looked at him fearfully. He let go and then slowly and softly trailed a finger down her front, stopping when he got to the end of the split between the two halves of the gown.
He seemed to have no intention of getting this over with quickly and smiling, began to slide his hand gently under the thin material towards her breast. Before he could reach it, however, Hermione felt the urge to make a bolt for freedom.
He must have sensed it - or had maybe even expected it - as he pushed against her still further, forcing his legs between hers.
Tears began to form in her eyes, but she quickly blinked them away, she needed to think clearly to have any hope at all of escape. If only she could get her wand back, but – where was it?
"Accio wand!" she cried out suddenly, rather more feebly than she'd intended, but her throat had become rather dry. She held her arm out in expectation, only for it to be grabbed and lashed down firmly by lucius.
"I don't think so my dear" he said through clenched teeth. "I think you will find it is pointless trying to fight me, you see.. I've had a lot of practice with girls like you who won't do as they are told!" He continued arrogantly
These words, far from subduing her, only served to rekindle the anger and contempt she felt for the man holding her prisoner. While he was concentrating on holding her wrists, Hermione used the only defence left to her - somehow working her leg round, she managed to kick him in the shin as hard as she possibly could with her bare heel.
He winced a little but that was all and pushed even harder against her.
"So.. you think you can fight me do you?" He sniggered, "well.. do your best if you can - you see, I like pain and I take great pleasure in it – especially when it's happening to other people!"
He laughed heartily at his own joke and looked around as his cohorts joined in.
He turned back to her and incensed, she spat at his face catching him on the cheek.
As he wiped the spittle away, his eyes narrowed angrily and his mouth curled into a grimace, but Hermione remained defiant.
Then - SMACK! An unexpected blow to the side of her head, caught her completely off guard.
If Lucius hadn't of been leaning against her she would have been thrown to the floor by the sheer force of the blow, it was so hard.
She couldn't believe it had just happened, she had done a bit of slapping in her time, but never had anyone raised a hand to her! She looked at him in complete and utter shock, the side of her head burning and throbbing.
"I think I should let you know I have had much experience with people like you, who think they can match me!" He sneered gripping her arms above her head this time. "But as you can see – you are not only out-numbered, you no longer have your wand and Severus is ..well - out of action for the moment - so you are completely defenceless. You might just as well relax, as you're not getting away from me this time!"
Tears began to trickle silently down her cheeks from pain, shock and fear.
Suddenly his demeanor changed.
"Oh.. Don't worry! Once I show you my little trick I think you'll find things get a lot more pleasant! You'll feel so much more ..compliant!"
He said in a seemingly soothing tone
He pointed his wand at her head and she suddenly felt woozy, like she'd had too much to drink. What little strength she had left seemed to drain away and she collapsed weakly into Lucius's arms. He roughly threw her over to his accomplices and she was lifted effortlessly onto one of the tables, which had been cleared of its usual stack of books.
She guessed it was probably the spell that Draco had planned on using on her - now she knew where he'd got it from – his father had probably taught it to him personally!"
Figures stood over her and many hands pinned her down, it was like the attack on the beach at Hogwarts all over again!
After Mme Pomfrey's effective treatment, the memories were now only vague, but they still lingered on in the depths of her mind. She struggled valiantly but uselessly against her attackers, screaming as loud as she could manage.
Lucuis stood over her with an arrogant smile playing on his lips. She wished as many curses as she could think of on him!
"Now it's time for me to avenge my son for what you did to him, you dirty little mud-blood whore!" he snarled, all the pretence of friendliness now gone, then he leant over her and began to pull open her dressing gown.
"This time there will be no escape, no friends or Severus to help you - no..this time I'm going to take what I want and no one can stop me! And when I've finished with you, I'm going to take you to the Dark lord!" he continued, causing her to whimper and her eyes to widen. "Oh yes..I think he will be very pleased with us for capturing one of his enemy's closest friends!" he laughed coldly
Once he had pulled open the tie and the two sides of the gown had fallen apart, he looked down at her body hungrily, then turned back to Severus
"I admire your taste Severus!" he said to the magically bound and gagged man "she is quite the beauty, I see why you kept her to yourself for so long!"
Hermione whimpered and struggled again, but she was getting weaker and weaker.
"Can you see old friend? I wouldn't want you to miss any of the action!" he laughed again, so did the rest of the group.
"Do we get to play too?" asked one of the still masked men
"Of course! Unlike my friend Severus over there, I always share with my friends!"
Hermione wished very hard just then for the ability to do wand-less magic, but nothing came to her - either it was beyond her ability, Lucius was blocking her with the spell, or she was just too scared. She didn't know, the room was spinning and her head was starting to ache, compounding with the pain she already felt in her jaw from the slap.
She felt his hands on her again, but although his demenour said otherwise he was still very gentle. This made it all the harder, it was like a lovers touch and she didn't want him to be like that – why couldn't he just get it over and done with! The sniggers of his cohorts faded into the background as she closed her eyes and tried desperately to descend into her own mind.
Then - just as any last vestige of hope she had of escape began to fade – a bright light suddenly flashed through her closed eyelids and she opened them again curiously. At first all she could see was blinding white light, but a voice she knew well spoke up.
"Un-hand her you beasts!" Came Alfredo the ghost's angry bellow - sounding much deeper than usual. "You will not treat a lady in such a vile and despicable manner!"
Everyone looked to see who was speaking - then laughed out loud with relief when they saw who it was.
"What can you do? You ridiculous spirit! You can't harm me!" Lucius mocked cynically
"Maybe not, but I can do this!" Alf smiled
Hermione saw him swoop down so quickly he was just a flash. Then Lucius's expression changed from one of mirth to anger - then fury.
"Get out!" He ordered, "get out of me!" He got off Hermione and began flailing around the room
"Help me you fools! Don't just stand there! Get him out!"
Alf was occupying the same space he was, not inside him exactly, just the same place at the same time – which must have been quite difficult for him. Hermione couldn't imagine just how horrible it would feel to have a ghost standing where you were – it would be so unbelievably cold! After all that Alf had said and how she'd treated him, she felt quite bad, as now in her greatest hour of need, he'd come through for her - he was a gentleman after all!
All the deatheaters were non-plussed – how could they hit Alf without hitting Lucius? They all gathered round him obviously trying to decide what to do and arguing amongst themselves. Hermione sat up and pulled the robe tightly back over her self, still feeling lightheaded and weak.
Everyone was now so preoccupied with what was happening to Lucius, they hadn't noticed Severus getting up slowly and carefully, then silently call for his wand.
Hermione had no idea how he had undone the spell himself, but she quickly called for her own wand, which had been in the possession of one of the other deatheaters.
Severus began to nod out a count to her and even with her mind in disarray she still knew immediately what he meant. With a great amount of effort, using all the strength she had left, she cried out the spell that he had taught her the night of the school ball, pointing her wand at the distracted crowd.
Then everything went black.
She woke up in Severus's arms to see him looking down worriedly at her. She creased her brow and reached up to gently touch his face. His eyes were red from crying.
They were sitting on the ground in the lane, outside the entrance to the house. Birds were singing their dawn chorus as the morning sun was just beginning to creep over the landscape.
He shook his head "I'm sorry.. I'm so sorry - I should never have brought you here. I should never of allowed this to continue.. I don't deserve..
"No! It wasn't your fault - it was mine! You told me not to leave the room, but I did!"
"How did you get past my locking charm?" he asked quietly
"The door was already open.. something was in bed with me touching my head", she remembered, putting her hand up to the same place.
Severus brought his head back as if in pain, then almost whispered
"Stinky! Old loyalties die, hard! I'm taking you to back Grimmauld place!"
She didn't argue; she didn't have the strength.