All characters, names and places that you recognise in this story belong to JKR and most definitely not me. The story line, however, is completely my own (though the clichés' origins are debatable), and I want no part of this story posted anywhere else without my prior knowledge and written permission.

Any resemblance of any of the characters portrayed in this story to any real-life people (Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen for example) is completely coincidental. Really.

xxx

Warning: This chapter contains torture, violence and rape. I tried not to be too descriptive, but I needed to get across the true horror of the situation for the reactions in subsequent chapters to be believable.

xxx

Hunting you, I can smell you - alive
Your heart pounding in my head

Watching me, wanting me
I can feel you pull me down
Saving me, raping me, watching me

Watching me, wanting me
I can feel you pull me down
Fearing you... loving you
I won't let you pull me down

-Haunted by Evanescence

xxx

Diary of Severus Snape

Tuesday, 2nd of December, 1997

When Narcissa and Lucius had first started seeing each other, I remember watching them with almost overwhelming envy. Lucius had seemed to be everything I wasn't and had always pretended I didn't long to be. He was good looking, where even my own mother hadn't been entirely of the opinion that I, myself, was; Lucius was filled out and broad-shouldered where I was gangly and naturally thin; he was smooth and refined where I was unused to pomp and circumstance and preferred to skulk in the darker corners of his parties, feeling awkward and unsure of myself.

Narcissa was breathtakingly beautiful and oozed sophistication, confidence and sexuality. In my short time on Earth I had never seen anyone with such cold beauty; she was untouchable. Lucius didn't just have the looks and the poise; he had a woman on his arm and in his bed whose beauty rivalled that of Aphrodite herself. Even Lily Evans/Potter couldn't hold a candle to that woman as far as physical beauty went.

Lucius would treat Narcissa as if she were made of the most delicate spun glass and listen to her as if she held the answer to all the world's problems in that exquisite head of hers; she would speak and Lucius would insist that everyone else in the room was silent. They looked at each other with a calm regard that, despite its apparent coolness, spoke of a great love and affection.

I was so jealous I could barely breathe.

On the night of their wedding, they had a celebratory ball, which up until then, was the most impressive event I had witnessed in Pure Blood society. It was beyond grand, and I felt utterly out of place even being present there, let alone having a place of honour at Lucius' table. When I could stand no more of the couple's presence, I attempted to sneak out of one of the back entrances unobserved, and it was only by accident that I came upon the newly married Narcissa Malfoy. She was crying; the sound choked and stifled as she hid her face in her hands, but no less hysterical for its muffling.

All that Lucius had – all that money, the right breeding, the perfect face and charm – and he couldn't make this woman happy. At the time, I had a fleeting idea that Narcissa was just impossible to please, or perhaps had lost love that she was shedding tears over on her wedding night. Somehow I had never suspected that Lucius' new wife had been exposed to the less refined, crueller side of the man she had chosen to marry. His treatment of her in public was almost reverent, how could his treatment of her in private be anything less?

It took less than six weeks after their marriage for Lucius to show the nature of his and Narcissa's relationship in my presence. He had never cared about my opinion of his actions, and when we had been drinking late one night and Narcissa had almost timidly come to bid us goodnight, he had ordered her to her knees and told her to pleasure him. She had protested, I had protested and got up to leave, but Lucius had deftly locked and warded the door before my fingers could close around the handle.

When Lucius had attempted to rape his wife in front of me that night, it was the first time since joining the Death Eaters that I had raised a wand to the blonde-haired Wizard who had taught me so much. I rescued Narcissa from his clutches and had broken through his wards, only to cast a set of my own to keep him firmly locked in the room until the morning, when he would have undoubtedly sobered up and would be feeling intensely sorry and contrite.

I hadn't expected Narcissa to attack me the moment we were alone in the hallway. I hadn't expected her fury to be turned at me, or for her to plead with me to set her furiously angry husband free. She had finally broken down and sobbed. Blotches appearing on her perfect face and her eyes red-rimmed, she had asked me if I could live with myself when he tortured her in the morning for her disobedience, for making such a fuss.

The next time I saw her, the marks on her face and body were expertly hidden and her serene smile betrayed none of the fear I had seen in her eyes days earlier. Her injuries hadn't been healed, because that would not have taught Narcissa a lesson, so instead she suffered in silence, in public, with a smile on her face.

When I talked to her after, she had denied she had shed a tear that night and refused to even listen when I told her I could help her get away. She showed me politely out of her house and told me to come back and visit Lucius soon. But where I had lost my complete admiration for Lucius at seventeen when he had raped and tortured me, at twenty I lost any envy I had ever had for him; the abject misery in Narcissa's eyes whenever I truly looked at her took care of that.

Lucius, of course, was furious that I had intervened. He had explained that a man's wife is his property, and if I interfered again, he would kill me, despite the small amount of use I had to the Dark Lord. When I laughed at him and easily knocked the wand from his hand, he had been stunned and our rivalry had started in earnest, along with mine and Narcissa's covert and complex friendship.

I had thought that Lucius and Narcissa's wedding party was the most sophisticated event I had ever been present at. The champagne was painfully expensive, and the food was served on plates that could have paid for Albus' entire supply of Muggle sweets for the next century or six. The house had been decorated by a famous and painfully expensive Muggle designer, the musicians were world renowned, and the guests were draped in gold and jewels.

In the back rooms, Lucius had hired carefully concealed prostitutes to serve both the male and female guests; they really had every need taken care of. My shock and apparent naivety amused Lucius and frustrated me. Murder I could handle, but until this time I had never fully realised the sexual deviancy that seemed to be a Death Eater trait. This party was just the first in a long line of Malfoy parties, and it was the least shocking of them all.

When Draco was born it meant that Narcissa had given Lucius a new possession to show off to the pure-blooded and influential. The parties he threw somehow became even grander affairs, and by Draco's eighth birthday, at least two hundred witches and wizards were invited to a grand ball, where Draco, in his expensive silk robes, was shown off for half an hour, before House Elves were summoned to collect the boy and put him to bed.

The decoration that year was done by a young and much sought after interior designer, who went by the name Clarence Llewellyn-Bowen, a suitably poncy name for an incredibly poncy man. After Lucius had hexed him bald and had ranted at the poor Wizard for an hour for not decorating the house to his liking, he had locked the man in his dungeons for a week. The man, I believe, has changed his name, lives his life as entirely as a Muggle and has some ridiculous television show which has made him far richer than even Lucius, though for all his riches, his wigs are barely convincing.

On that eighth birthday, I recall the moment when I realised that Lucius Malfoy really was a law unto himself. The moment the doors had closed behind Draco, Lucius had proceeded to put two of the youngest witches attending the event under the Imperius Curse, and took them into one of the back rooms. The witches were raped violently by a long line of men and forced to perform more depraved acts than I knew existed, until they eventually, and thankfully, passed out. This was the first time Lucius had openly turned one of these parties into what is referred to as a Dark Revel, and this became one of the tamest of these parties.

As the years went on, the guest list got shorter and more selective, and the debauchery enjoyed at these parties got darker and more violent. While Lucius and Narcissa's anniversary party was, and still is, an excuse for grandeur, Draco's birthday has become an excuse for debauchery.

Every year Lucius gathers together his most depraved friends, and he gives them the tools to play out their most disturbed fantasies. Rape, torture, paedophilia, murder – these have become what is almost commonplace at a Malfoy party. The Dark Lord, now he has fully returned, thinks that these revels are marvellous, and encourages Lucius to delve deeper and deeper into his sick mind for even more twisted 'games' to play.

This year, the party will be different; Draco will finally be of age, and for once won't be sent away to the relative safety of his bedroom for the duration of the party. No amount of coaching and support is going to get him through the hell he will live through tonight, but I have assured him I will be there for him afterwards, and only then can he let his cover fall and break down, and break down he will. Tonight will be Draco's first true challenge in his father's world, and I am not entirely convinced it will not be his downfall.

Draco's seventeenth birthday party is going to surpass all others, and the torture of Hermione Granger will undoubtedly be the main entertainment for the evening. She will escape the night with her life and sanity barely intact, only for the Dark Lord to sever the remaining chords.

These days I habitually avoid any of Lucius' get-togethers like the plague, a perfect array of excuses already formulated months in advance. I am no longer the young man who is desperate to win his approval, and I have turned evading Lucius into an art form. This time, Lucius will know that I have only deigned to come to his house because of Miss Granger, and Lucius knowing that I have any sort of weakness is a terrible thing – she will be used against me.

Almost the entire Order knows where I will be tonight, but the thought gives me very little comfort. I have to keep the girl as safe and undamaged as possible, all the while surrounded by a group of people who know me to be wholly uncaring and indifferent to everything around me. It is impossible to skulk in corners, spying, when my principal job of rescuing Miss Granger this evening is going to make me stand out, even without Lucius' plans for the evening, and he will have plans.

If both the girl and I survive this evening, I will consider believing in the existence of God, or a God, at least, for it will take a miracle for us to live through this night. Whatever happens, I will not let her go to the Dark Lord – I cannot, for all our sakes. If I can't get her out of the Manor, I am very aware that I will have to end her life instead. At least I can make it quick and painless for her.

Sometimes I wish I had less responsibility, less on my shoulders, less riding on the actions I choose take. Nights like this, though, make me glad I can at least do something.

xxx

Diary of Severus Snape

Wednesday, 3rd of December, 1997

Survival is sometimes overrated. Death could be the perfect life we spend all our days searching for, which would mean that if I had given Lucius a knife last night and told him to stab it straight through my heart, right now I could be surrounded by nubile, young, intelligent, naked women. They would be taking turns at pleasuring me until I could take no more, and then they would read potions journals to me while I relaxed and recovered in a hot, soapy bath. I would even consider letting one (or all) of them wash my back for me.

Instead, I am sitting on my bed, in my quarters at Hogwarts, my thoughts completely in disarray. I am alive, the girl is alive, and the only thought I can pick out of the jumble in my head is, 'How the fuck could I be so stupid?' There are other thoughts, but they are incredibly well buried under a thick layer of self-recrimination and guilt. I am doubtful the rest of the thoughts will ever surface under the weight.

Malfoy Manor, 8:28pm

The invitation says to arrive promptly at eight, so I arrive just late enough to thoroughly irk Lucius. This has the added benefit that it is twenty eight minutes that I haven't had to spend pretending I am not disgusted by whatever Lucius' latest fetish is and that I don't want to plant the bastard. I would have arrived far later, but I am not naive enough to think that Lucius would wait for long to start on Miss Granger, even without me to torture along with her. If you can't kill two birds with one stone, why not kill the first one and then flaunt her bloodied body to the second bird? It would serve as a warning, if nothing else, and Lucius loves attempting to threaten me.

I am kept waiting at the door for no more than a second, which gives me no time to prepare myself and gather my scattered thoughts. A young girl answers the door, obviously employed to do so. She curtsies politely in greeting and immediately recognises me, as is evident by the sudden emergence of fear in her eyes. I recognise her just as quickly, although she barely stands out from the rest in my mind – an unremarkable Slytherin who graduated two years ago. I am bemused to note that I still provoke quite recognisable terror in the girl, though I don't remember being unusually harsh with her.

"Professor Snape," she says nervously, while looking around warily, as if expecting another of her ex-professors to pop up behind me. It continuously baffles me that students and ex-students alike seem amazed that you can survive outside the classroom. Do they think I sleep standing up in my own supply cupboard? Do they think all teachers cease to exist if they step out of the boundaries of the school?

I sigh and contemplate looking into her mind to see what is making her so jumpy. Surely this can't all be my presence at her place of work? If she is working for Lucius, there must be something about the girl – Lucius would not stand her if she were constantly like this. Then I remind myself that the reason I am here tonight is not to spy, and I move to brush past my ex-pupil.

"Hermione Granger," she hisses in my ear, giving name to my reason for being here and making my heart speed up in shock. "She's here."

"What?" Eloquence has gone out of the window, as has my once impressive power to think on my feet.

"I know you're not one of them, sir," she says in hushed tones, still looking frantically around her, although now I realise that she is looking for any sign of Lucius Malfoy. "And that girl, Granger, she is still one of your students, isn't she? They've got her under some curse."

Fuck.

"And what do you expect me to do about it?" I ask, my eyes narrowing.

She looks taken aback, but still far too confident that I am not one of them.

"You could get help?" she offers desperately. "I know she's… not one of us, but sir, she's in a really bad way."

"Miss Muir," I sigh impatiently. "I can scarcely believe you were ever sorted into my House, and I doubt very much that Lucius Malfoy pays you to stand about gossiping."

She recoils as if I have just bitten her and I resist the urge to roll my eyes at her stupidity. The Sorting Hat should have put the ridiculous girl into Hufflepuff, or possibly even Gryffindor, but certainly not Slytherin, where for seven years the students have it drilled into them to think before they speak.

"I won't be telling anyone this time," I snap at her. "But your time would be better spent finding yourself a new job. I seem to recall you had a talent in Charms – put it to good use! You will never survive here."

She looks both terrified and confused, and she doesn't try to stop me as I stride past her to the door that is open just enough for me to hear the softly played classical music that Lucius favours. Taking a deep breath and schooling my features, I push the door open and attempt to prepare myself for what I will see inside.

Along with all the usual entertainment, I fully expect to walk into the room to find Miss Granger being gang raped on the thick, expensive carpet of Lucius and Narcissa's drawing room, and while plenty of other unwilling victims have been provided for such a diversion, a quick scan of their terrified faces tells me that she is not among them.

Upon further inspection, I come to the conclusion that she isn't in the room at all, and whether this is a blessing or a curse remains to be seen. Most of the Dark Lord's servants are here tonight, and every one of the men and women present are at least half as twisted as Lucius himself. Miss Granger could be in another room with any number of them, or she could be dead already.

Nothing in the room is anything I haven't seen before. Most noticeably there are five females and two males, all young, but probably of age, all held immobile by various spells and devices around the room. Some are chained to the walls in crude, Muggle ways, others are held still in the air by spells while they are raped and violated. All of them are screaming silently into the air that is otherwise filled with audible laughter, music and merriment. Beds have been provided and there isn't one of the victims that isn't in the process of being violated in some way. This is a sex-fest, and rape is one of Lucius' favourite pastimes, as I have been made forcibly aware of in the past.

Contrary to popular belief, not all Death Eaters are interested in rape, murder and general debauchery. Many have joined the Dark Lord under duress; others are there purely for the power and influence it offers, not the depraved acts that are sometimes involved in acquiring that power. But it is an undeniable fact that some people, men and women, joined the Dark Lord, at least in part, because it allowed them to bring to bear their warped fantasies and wants.

Tonight is undeniable and sickening proof of this – one captive girl is already bleeding from her mouth and nose, and blood stains her inner thighs. As I let my eyes wander around the room casually, I realise with some certainty that at least one of the others is already dead. The room is filled with the stench of blood, fear and sex, and if I wasn't able to detach myself from situations so completely, I wouldn't be able to keep my nausea from coming apparent.

I silently account for all the usual suspects that would be present at a get-together like this, and I am only half way through when I am interrupted by a voice I have grown to despise.

"Severus," Lucius greets warmly, as if I am really the old and valued friend he likes to pretend I am. His voice is coming from across the room, and I turn my head towards it, only to avert my eyes as he pulls his silken robes around him to cover the erection he had just been forcing into a young boy's mouth. The boy looks humiliated and mindlessly terrified, and even if he survives the next fifty-five minutes until help is scheduled to arrive, he will probably never completely get over the degradation he has experienced this night.

A large part of me is sure that this boy will be better off dead. He looks barely of age, and I am guessing that he is entirely Muggle. If he is saved before someone kills him, the Obliviates it will take to rid him of the horror he has undergone this evening alone will turn him into another Neville Longbottom. Letting Longbottom live with the images of his parents torture might have left him with nightmares, but he would have had a far sharper mind with which to deal with them.

I also realise that if I am thinking that this tortured boy would be better off dead than rescued, then I should not be so intent on getting Miss Granger out of this nightmare alive. The horrors she has undoubtedly witnessed over the past five days will have been unthinkable to anyone who has never been subjected to Lucius' twisted mind and non-existent mercy. She will have suffered far more than this boy, who is, for the most part, unimportant to Lucius and has therefore been saved from the mind games and effort that Lucius will have saved for Miss Granger.

Not daring to let my mind linger on the matter while I am surrounded by the Dark Lord's 'finest', I follow Lucius as he gestures me over to where Narcissa is sitting in a group made up of the more refined of the Death Eater women. She is sipping champagne from a long stemmed glass, smiling benignly at something one of them is saying to her.

"Severus, darling!" she interrupts the woman with uncharacteristic rudeness.

She rises gracefully to her feet and looks like she is about to throw herself into my arms, before she visibly restrains herself and smiles a tight-lipped smile at Lucius instead. This is hell for her, however many times she has had to witness it; she doesn't have the stomach for torture.

It is only a short amount of time since Lucius was in Azkaban, and Narcissa was completely at a loss. Before his incarceration, Lucius had made every decision, not just about the house and its upkeep, but about things as mundane as what Narcissa was to wear that day. In the years they had been together, Lucius had made his wife so insecure and unsure of her own mind that she was incapable of making even the most basic decisions. She claimed, during a drunken conversation one night shortly after his trial, that she had never cared for running a household, but the truth was that she is incapable of doing much more than looking beautiful and being charming.

It would have taken lot of patience and time to turn Narcissa into someone capable of looking after herself, and I wasn't interested in being given the job – my ridiculous and fleeting crush on Narcissa ended a long time ago. In actual fact, there was little time for her to attempt to re-grow the backbone her husband had removed from her, as Lucius was in Azkaban for barely two months. When he finally succeeded in buying his way out of Azkaban, Narcissa once more acquired her previous façade of outward confidence, and the nights she had sobbed over his absence were at once forgotten.

It took less than a week for things to get back to normal for them. Lucius sought to reward the people who had been pivotal in his release from Azkaban, and despite Narcissa's desperate protests, she became their prize for an entire weekend. All those nights she had cried on my shoulder, she had somehow managed to forget that Lucius was unconcerned with anyone's welfare but his own. While other men mauled her too-perfect body, she held back the tears and held Lucius' eyes with her own while he watched them take her.

The woman standing in front of me now is a classic abused wife; hating the situation she has managed to get herself into, she seeks solace in the fact that staying where she is, as Lucius' wife, is her choice and she has a small amount of power in that position. The power she has is superficial, but it shows only in her shaking hands.

If it were my place to rescue her, I would. If I were in love with her, I would pull her into my arms and take her away from this hell and help her rebuild herself again. Unfortunately, Narcissa is the only one who can save herself from this life.

"Narcissa," I greet, with as warm a smile as I can muster, while I force myself not to scan the room further for signs of Miss Granger. I let my eyes take in Narcissa's beautiful clothing and flawlessly made-up features. "You look enchanting."

A distracted smile barely makes it to her lips, and as I let my eyes follow her worried gaze, I realise why she is dosed up on large amounts of opiate this evening.

"Hello, Uncle Severus," the object of Narcissa's worry greets me with an exasperatingly cheeky grin. Courage, Draco sometimes lacks, but years of being permanently on show have taught this boy how to play his role to perfection. I watch him for a moment and I am confident that he will survive this hell with no outward scars. His father will never know his son is as different to him as it is possible to be.

"If you wish to live to see your next birthday, please refrain from calling me that," I say, looking purposely irritated. I hold his eyes with mine, widening them slightly and asking permission to delve into his mind. He laughs and keeps eye contact with me, understanding.

I am about to skim his mind when a biting grip on my shoulder stops me. Lucius smirks at me knowingly and his mouth brushes my ear as he leans forward to whisper to me.

"Don't fret, my friend – you'll get a turn at her before she is made useless; I know necrophilia was never your penchant. You never know, the Dark Lord may let you be the one to do the deed, having spent so many years enduring her presence in your class. Wouldn't that be an honour, Severus, to be the one to extinguish the light from those eyes? Such fight in her, too; it was truly a joy to break her."

My hand clenches around the glass of champagne Narcissa has forced into my hand, and I place it on the table next to me, for fear it will shatter in my grip.

"Do you want to see her, Severus?" he asks softly. "Want to prove to me that you haven't gone soft on us? It would be a tragedy for the Dark Lord to find out you've become a liability…"

"I have explained this before, Lucius," I say remarkably calmly. "My tastes are neither for the young, or the unwilling."

"Oh, Severus, she is very willing."

I should have killed him then. I should have guessed what he had done, and I should have known not to follow him as he led me through the mass orgy that Lucius' parties inevitably turn into. I should have followed him five nights ago as he left The Three Broomsticks. I should have never let him into my head to make me turn to the Dark Lord in the first place, all those years ago.

The door I follow Lucius through leads to a room that, though infused with the Malfoy heavy-handed splendour, is still entirely unexpected. I had anticipated a dungeon room, empty but for some well-placed torture devices, the girl strapped to a rack in the centre, or something equally obvious and fitting Lucius' tastes. The comfort and finery of the room shocks me so completely that it takes me a full minute to notice the girl.

At first glance, Miss Granger looks unharmed. She is unclothed and her arms are restrained behind her back with some leather straps, but, as is apparent by the rapid rise and fall of her chest, she is still alive. In her foetal position on the floor in the corner or the room, it takes a longer and closer look for me to notice the bruises that cover her slender body. A thin, but even layer of dirt and grime hides these bruises, which speaks of the days she has spent in the filth of the Malfoy dungeons.

She is shivering despite the warmth of the room; her hair is matted and almost black with dirt and what I can only guess is blood, though it appears to have dried and is old now. I have an almost uncontrollable urge to wrap her in my arms, to soothe her and take her to safety. But my cover must not be tarnished any further than it already has been.

"We had the servants try to clean her up a little, but she proved most uncooperative. Perhaps a good Scourgify, before you sully yourself with her?"

"I do not…" I start.

"…force yourself on unwilling victims?" Lucius interrupts, finishing my sentence with a smirk. "Yes, so you keep saying. And as I said, she is not unwilling."

I take an involuntary step closer to the girl, and as she finally acknowledges my presence in the room, she looks up at me with something more than just fear in her eyes.

"What the fuck have you given her, Lucius?" I snap, not able to take my eyes off the shivering girl.

She moans low in her throat and buries her head in her arms. I watch as she pushes herself against the wall, as if desperately hoping that it will somehow envelop and protect her. She is frightened of me.

My students, in general, dislike me. Most fear me, and as a more than slightly harsh teacher, apparently loyal Death Eater and altogether miserable bastard, this is only to be expected. But Miss Granger has been more than just a student in my classes; she has spent weeks alone in my company. I discussed her work and theories with her, albeit with my usual biting comments and sarcasm. Never once in the past year or so has she regarded me with fear in her eyes, or even the required amount of respect I expect from her. Now she is whimpering in absolute terror at my mere presence.

"Now Severus, don't be angry – I am merely trying to ensure your enjoyment this evening. Are you sure you wouldn't like a vial of something yourself? You are always so dispassionate and rigid; surely you want the girl to have a memorable evening?"

"What. Have. You. Given. Her?" I ask slowly, emphasising each word as I force them through my gritted teeth.

"It's more what I've given you," he intones. "A girl who will willingly touch you and you don't even have to pay her, Severus. Do appear more grateful, or I shall have to give your gift to someone else. You wouldn't want someone else unwrapping her, would you, now?"

In her corner, the girl curls further in on herself as she hears Lucius' words. She whimpers and he laughs cruelly.

"Enjoy," he advises me with a smirk that plainly says he thinks he has won. And at this moment, it does seem that he has. If I leave the room, she will be tortured by more men and women than she can count. If I stay with her, I will undoubtedly be checked up on and will have to at least make a show of doing something with her. I'm tempted to give her an impromptu lesson in advanced potions making, which would probably be more in character of me than my touching the girl.

"Fuck off, Lucius," I snap as he leaves the room, chuckling.

Whether Lucius thinks it is degrading for me to fuck her because of her heritage or because she is my student is uncertain, but he is counting on my humiliation this evening. I wonder how I can possibly have given Lucius such power over me – he should never have known that he could use this girl against me. When did she become a weakness?

At another whimper from the corner of the room, I bring myself back to the problem at hand. Lucius has drugged Miss Granger with one or more potions; one definitely being a fairly strong lust potion. I need to assess her current state, make her more comfortable, and then all we need to do is wait it out until help will arrive in the form of a rather large, Auror-induced distraction. If we are left alone for the next forty-five, minutes then our escape will be unfeasibly easy.

I wave my hand quickly to scan the room for any spells that may have been put up to observe or record my interactions with Lucius' prize prisoner. Surprisingly, I find none. When I am fully confident that we are not being watched, I circle the bed and step towards the terrified girl.

"Don't come near me," she hisses at me from between her bare and filthy knees, not bothering to lift her head up to look at me. Her voice is hoarse and her throat obviously dry. I debate the merits of getting her a drink, and decide not to risk speeding the effects of the potion any further.

"I need to ascertain what concoction Lucius has given you, Miss Granger," I tell her calmly, taking another step towards her. Her ribs are standing out, pushing against her skin, and I realise that she has been starving for far longer than she has been under Lucius' guard.

"Do you remember anything about it? Smell, consistency, taste?" I ask.

I take another cautious step towards her, trying not to startle her.

"Don't touch me," she hisses, like a cornered feral cat being stalked by a vicious and hungry dog. Only this dog has been practically neutered by Albus – I cannot even think inappropriate thoughts about her without his disappointed, disapproving face seeming to appear in front of me.

"I am not going to force myself on you, girl. Have some sense!" I snap impatiently.

"I know that!" she snaps back at me more forcefully than I had expected, sounding equally as impatient and pissed off as I. I thank whatever deity listening that she at least doesn't seem to have lost her spirit.

"Then let me examine you."

When she finally looks up at me, squinting in the relatively dim candlelight of the room, the one recognisable emotion in her eyes is undeniably one of lust. Her eyes hold mine and she moans low in her throat. It is either a moan of wanting, or one of absolute despair. I finally realise that it is not me she is afraid of, it is herself. This should be far less of a relief than it is – I shouldn't be bothered by what the ridiculous child thinks of me. I am here as a member of the Order, to rescue her before important information can reach the Dark Lord's hands. Whether she loathes me or has dirty dreams involving me and a large pot of whipped cream is of no importance to me and has no relevance to the situation we are in.

"I am so sorry," she whispers brokenly. She closes her eyes against both the light and myself and presses her cheek against the wall. Her breathing is panicked and far too rapid.

"Take deep breaths, Miss Granger, you are hyperventilating," I instruct her, ignoring her idiotic apology. While she seemingly attempts to follow my orders, I take a few more steps towards her. I press my fingers firmly against one of her wrists, both of which are still tightly bound behind her back. Her pulse is racing, but not dangerously so, for now, at least.

"Stop touching me," she chokes out, wriggling forward and away from my hand. Whatever she has been dosed up with, at least she still has the strength to fight against it.

I ignore her protests, but as I unfasten the straps that bind her arms behind her back, I make sure my fingers do not brush against her skin. When her arms are free, she attempts to move them forward and bites back a gasp of pain. She is either injured, or hasn't been able to move her arms in a long time.

"Open your eyes for a moment, I need to check your pupils," I instruct.

"No."

"Don't be ridiculous," I sigh.

"You ran out of the room when I touched your hair, you're not going to react well if I…" her voice trails away and she buries her face against her stiff arms in humiliation. "Just leave. Please."

Seeing her half-dressed in that room in the East Tower seems like it was months or years ago, with everything I have been through since. It seems almost unreal, like I dreamt her throwing herself at me, her tear-filled eyes pleading with me to help her. To her, the days passing in blackness, pain and misery, it is one of her last memories of being in the outside world, and she is undoubtedly still humiliated by it.

"Open your eyes," I instruct again. "I am not small or helpless, and you are in no way capable of forcing yourself on me."

She whimpers again.

"Trust me."

After a moment, she slowly opens her eyes. Blinking, she stares straight ahead, refusing to look at me. I bend over her to look more closely at her eyes. Her pupils are so large that her irises have disappeared completely. I seem to remember her eyes were once a warm shade of hazel, but now they look worryingly like my own eyes, which are so dark they are almost black.

My eyes were a present from my father – another thing he gave me that I am entirely ungrateful for. Miss Granger's eyes, along with the wildness in them, are the direct result of the Libidinosis Potion, and I am guessing from the symptoms that she is only in the early stages of reacting to it. From this point, things are only going to get worse for her.

"Miss Granger?"

"Yes." One word and all her desolation and despondency are somehow spoken in it.

"Would you prefer me to Stupefy you until I can get you out of here and get you an antidote?"

She is in no position to defend herself, conscious or not. She will be in no more danger Stupefied than she is right now curled up on the floor.

"Yes." Her answer was quick, decisive and definite. She sounded painfully relieved.

Her entire body is trembling uncontrollably now as she fights the potion roaring in her veins. As I point my wand at her bare chest, I wonder briefly how I am going to stop Lucius taking her unconscious form out for the others to use. I comfort myself with the thought that if nothing else, at least she will be unconscious for the torture.

The silent stunning spell I cast has no effect. I then point my wand at the bed and cast a handful of more mundane charms at its sturdy frame, all to no avail.

"Fuck."

Miss Granger moans and I resist the urge I have to beat her over the head with something large, solid and heavy, which would serve my purpose, but possibly kill her too.

"I can't do it," I tell her. "I can't cast a spell in this room."

Fucking, fucking Lucius.

"I can't stay like this," she moans. "I can't keep fighting this."

I move my hand to her left wrist to again check her racing pulse and she uses her other hand to tear my fingers from her wrist, but instead of pushing my hand away from her, she closes her fingers around it. She presses my palm flat against her chest, between her breasts and against her rapidly beating heart. My hand spasms in her grip and I try to gently pull away.

"Do you feel that?" she whispers.

"Yes."

"My heart is beating so quickly," she tells me. "My body aches. I need to touch you; I need you to touch me."

"That is the potion talking, Miss Granger" I inform her formally, my voice not as steady as I would have liked. "Fight it."

"No."

I sigh in frustration.

"Then you don't have to fight it," I tell her, firmly. "I am strong enough to stop you."

No, I'm bloody not.

She slides my hand from its relatively safe position at centre of her chest, to cover one of her bare breasts. It, like her entire body, is filthy from the grime of the dungeon where she has been kept for the past five days. Finger-shaped bruises mar its otherwise perfect form, and anger burns in me, directed almost completely at Lucius; some, of course, I direct at myself.

Her nipple is hard, despite the warmth of the room, and it is pressing into the palm of my hand. My mind seems to be telling me to back away and get the hell out of there, but my treacherous body is not listening.

It takes nearly a minute of her moving against my hand for my body to comply with my mind, and I tear my hand from her grasp. I move quickly to the other side of the room, putting the large, solid, four-poster bed between us. I am harder than I ever remember having been, despite the self-disgust I feel. The door is tempting me, and I wonder if leaving would be a more sensible option than staying here to face more temptation than ever faced the Biblical Adam of Eden.

"No." My very own forbidden apple scrambles to her feet, clumsy in her panic and seeming to be reading my mind. "Don't leave. Please don't leave me alone here."

"I have an apothecary of potions in the pockets of my robes, Miss Granger," I tell her, despair evident in my voice as I watch her. "I daren't give you even one of them, for fear that it will react with the Libidinosis that is in your system. There is nothing I can do to make this easier on you – you have to fight this for as long as you can. When you are no longer able, I will have to restrain you."

She moves a few steps, wincing in pain. She moves to sit on the bed, supporting her left arm with her right hand and rubbing it gently.

"Is your arm broken?" I move no more than a step closer to get a better look at her arm and she watches me like I am her prey, and she is about to move in for the final pounce and kill.

"I don't think so," she murmurs distractedly. "Just twisted."

"What possessed you to follow me that night?" I ask. I am furious with myself and the situation I have put us in as much as I am with her. Distracting her with conversation is a long shot, but it's worth a try. It may buy time at the very least.

She laughs bitterly and doesn't answer for her moment, her strange eyes still watching me with an intensity that makes me uneasy. One of her hands unconsciously moves to stroke her own stomach and I swallow hard as my eyes follow the path of her fingers.

"I was going to ask you to sleep with me," she tells me. Her breathing is quickening again, and her trembling is getting no better.

"Don't be ridiculous."

"You could have taken a lust potion," she informs me lightly. Her fingers are now brushing the hair that is between her legs and still I cannot tear my eyes away.

"Mood altering drugs are never a good idea," I inform her. "As should be glaringly obvious to you at the moment."

Though I would give a small fortune for something strong that would make this night pass more quickly, and preferably in a blur.

"Desperate times…" she murmurs, self mockingly.

"You are not unattractive," I inform her, the words forcing their way out of my mouth despite the fact that my mind isn't altogether sure this conversation is one I should be having. "But I am in a position of responsibility and…"

I realise she is no longer listening to me. Her eyes have glazed over and I watch as her fingers dip between her legs. Her breath escapes her lungs in a gasp.

"Please touch me."

"No."

She closes her eyes and moans. There is sweat standing on her forehead and I remember that fever is one of the many side effects of this potion. I curse Malfoy again for taking away my ability to use magic in here. I need to ascertain what her temperature is, although admittedly there is no way to calm it sufficiently without using one of the potions I have with me.

"At least look at me," she begs. Her eyes are open again and I know she is watching me. I turn my head and look her in the eye, but refuse to let my eyes stray to where she is blatantly touching herself now.

"I'm sorry," she moans. "I can't stop. If I do, I'll touch you."

I bite back a moan of my own. This is not helping.

"Look at me," she demands more forcefully this time.

"I am," I snap back, tersely.

"Do I disgust you that much?"

"No."

She scrambles across the bed and reaches to touch me as I stand there and I catch her uninjured arm before it can make contact with my skin.

"We have a little over half an hour to wait until help arrives," I tell her, hoping to God she doesn't notice the bulge in my trousers, which my dress robes don't completely hide. "And the only way you are going to survive this is if you carry on doing what you're doing and keep your hands off me. Lie down."

"What?"

"Lie on the bed and cover yourself with the blanket," I instruct sharply. I sit on the edge of the bed and bury my face in my hands, biting back the moan of desperation.

If I can't see her, then I can tell myself she's not doing what I know she's doing.

I have less than a minute of false relief, before the cover that was mercifully hiding her writhing body from my eyes, is thrown back.

"It's so hot," she pants.

Yes, you could say that.

I know that if I survive this night that the image of this girl, naked, panting and writhing on these silk sheets, is forevermore going to be burned into my mind. Her injured arm is lying by her side, but the fingers of it are rhythmically clutching at the covers underneath her. Her other hand is deftly circling her clitoris, faster and harder as she gets closer to the edge. I shouldn't be watching.

Her injured arm lifts slowly and painfully, and her hand grasps mine where it is lying on the bed. My hand imprisoned in hers, she drops her arm and pulls both our hands to the bed, holding mine tightly in her grip. Her other hand moves still more frantically between her legs.

"Miss Granger," I snap furiously. I daren't pull away from her forcibly for fear of further injuring her arm, which leaves me with few choices. I consider using the pressure point in her neck to knock her unconscious, but without any form of relief the potion will only raise her body temperature further.

"Please," she begs. I doubt very much she even knows what she is begging for now.

Her back arches, her head thrown back against the pillow and a low moan leaves her exquisite mouth.

"Fuck," she whimpers.

Ten points from Gryffindor for inappropriate language, Miss Granger.

I should tear my eyes away. I should let go of her hand, but when I find that my grip on her hand is just as tight as hers on mine, I am not surprised. I want her so much I can hardly breathe, and if we get back to Hogwarts I vow to myself that I will be handing in my resignation immediately.

In the aftermath of her orgasm, sanity temporarily returns. Her head twists away from me and she turns onto to her side, burying her face against the pillow. With the hand that isn't still clutching mine, she pulls the bedclothes over herself and despite her very obvious self-disgust, she is still holding my hand tightly in hers.

"Oh God," she whispers. "Oh God. I'm so sorry."

"The potion you have ingested is a class A drug, banned in every corner of the Wizarding world; to fight it is as futile as fighting the Cruciatus curse itself. Whatever is happening to you, whatever is going through your head, you are responsible for neither your thoughts, nor your actions."

I, however, am fully responsible for my thoughts and actions and should be in rotting in Azkaban right now.

I look at the Wizarding watch Albus gave me for Christmas two years ago. Fifteen minutes to go. She will never make it. I will never make it.

"God, I'm thirsty," she croaks into the pillow. "Draco couldn't get anything to me today with his father preparing him all day."

"Lucius has been starving you?" I ask. It's not really a question, as I know the answer. I remember the hot, heavenly smelling food in the darkness. The wine, the fruit juice, the icy water with clinking cubes of ice floating at the top. I also remember the hours of agony afterwards; the pain, the vomiting and the desperate hunger that followed soon after, which succeeded time and time again in making me eat the food again. One in every seven or eight meals I was given was free of poison, which made the will to leave it lessen still further. Lucius' excels in subtle torture.

"In a manner of speaking," she answers me bitterly.

"Wait here."

I have no doubt that outside of this little cell, my magic will work, so it is of no surprise when I open the door and point my wand towards a passing tray of excruciatingly expensive champagne, that my summoning spell works instantly. The glass of champagne is in my hand before the serving girl can blink, and I go straight back to my charge, stopping myself from taking in even one detail about the room I am leaving – at this stage, it won't help.

I walk wordlessly over to Miss Granger and hold out the flute of champagne. When the cold glass touches her fingers, she eyes it with trepidation, refusing to take it from my hand. Days of poisoned food and drink have made her wary, whatever the source of the nourishment is.

"Alcohol will not react with the potion in your system," I tell her. What it might do is dull her senses and lower her inhibitions a little, which can only make this night of hell more bearable for her.

"Alcohol doesn't do much for re-hydrating the body, you know," she points out, unsteadily.

"Drink," I instruct. I resist the temptation to roll my eyes.

She finally lets her fingers close around the stem of the champagne glass, but her hands are shaking too much to hold it steadily enough. She lifts her injured arm from where she was holding the bedcover to her chest, to try to steady her other hand. The cover falls and pools around her waist as the cold liquid spills from her glass and down her chest, leaving a trail of clean skin where the champagne has effectively washed her.

"My hands don't seem to want to obey me today," she tells me with a shaking voice. She laughs nervously and then bites her lip.

My eyes holding hers, I take the glass from her and hold it to her lips. One of her hands wraps around my own, directing me as the glass tips and the cold liquid fills her mouth. She swallows convulsively, her hand tightening around mine and tipping the glass until the last drop has been licked from the rim of the glass. On an empty stomach in a girl so slight, this glass of champagne being gulped down should be akin to myself drinking half a bottle of Firewhisky in one go.

She pauses, her head tipped back, her eyes closed, and my hand gripped in hers, holding the glass to her mouth. She takes a deep breath and then opens her eyes. Passion is burning in her eyes so powerfully that it almost takes my breath away. Apparently the brief respite she had following her orgasm is now coming to an end.

"Please?" A one-word plea that she doesn't have to expand on.

"No."

I remove my hand from hers and put the glass on the bedside. I can see from the corner of my eye that one of her hands is already sliding slowly and torturously down her body. Her injured hand moves up and over her breast, playing with her nipple until it is hard and aching.

"Please don't make me do this," she begs helplessly. "Touch me instead. Touch me."

"Is that somehow less humiliating?" I ask in disbelief. "Believe me, tomorrow you will be thanking the Gods that I refused you."

"Stop thinking about tomorrow," she moans throatily. "Think about now. Think about how it would feel to be inside me. God, just touch me!"

Fuck. I let out a low, involuntary moan of my own and hope that she is too distracted to notice.

I reach for her, and she closes her eyes and whimpers. I gently push her shoulders so that she is once more lying on the bed. I reach for the hand that is sliding over her stomach and at the same time I pull the fallen cover from her body and throw the useless thing to the floor. When I slide her own hand between her legs, she whimpers again. I let go of her hand and pull back, but not before the curls that cover her brush against my fingers.

Her eyes open and she looks at me reproachfully, even as she moves her fingers. Her gaze is on me as she moans and I find myself unable to breathe.

"Touch me," she begs again.

"I can't."

If we do get out of this, I hope to every deity that is listening that she doesn't remember the need and desperation in my voice as I speak those words.

"It hurts," she whimpers.

"I know," I say soothingly. "It will get better."

But not before it gets worse.

She writhes on the bed again, holding my eyes with hers the entire time. This time I do not look away, I hold her eyes with mine and watch every movement she makes. When she finally brings herself to orgasm again, I lift an unsteady hand to brush the damp hair from her forehead.

"Not long now," I murmur as soothingly as I can manage.

Tears come to her eyes and she tries desperately to blink them back. The situation has finally become too much for her. In her few moments of sanity before the potion is once again roaring through her veins, she is utterly humiliated. She pushes my hand away and curls up on herself and starts sobbing hysterically. Large gulps of air are forced into her lungs between wracking sobs, and I am helpless to comfort her. If I touch her, it will just make the situation worse.

Through her tears she suddenly laughs, pulling me out of my desperation by confusing the hell out of me. I watch her warily. Insanity is not a known side effect of the Libidinosis Potion, but Miss Granger does always have to be different.

"What can you possibly find amusing about this situation?" I ask irritably.

"Ron and Harry have been trying to get me to walk out of potions classes with them all year," she answers, sobering slightly. "At least I will need no more incentive now, if you manage to get us out of here. You will get us out of here?"

"Free of all your faces in my class each day – that is cause for jubilant laughter," I remark dryly. Fantastic. I have finally managed to chase a student out of my class, and it is the only student I truly take pleasure in teaching.

"So as you're never going to see my face in your classroom again," she says breathlessly, the potion obviously kicking in again, and I bite back a groan of frustration. "You could at least make my leaving worth it."

Her hand almost delicately caresses her breasts, her fingers running lightly over her nipple, first on one breast and then the other. I watch, fascinated and unable to even contemplate looking away from her breathtaking body. She is seducing me, and she knows it.

When she slides her fingers between her legs I almost moan with her.

"Slide your fingers inside." The sound of my voice, thick with desire, shocks me.

She moans and immediately obeys. I swallow hard as I watch her fingers slide in and out, wet and shining in the candle lit room. I imagine my cock in their place, fucking her while she moans, whimpers and writhes as she is doing now. I vow yet again to hand in my resignation the moment I reach Hogwarts.

When she stops to reach for my hand, I don't stop her. She brings my hand to her breast and leaves it there, going back to touching herself. I close my eyes tightly as a wave of wanting flows through me so strongly it is agony. I let my thumb graze her nipple and she shivers convulsively.

When the door is thrown open, I expect to see Lucius and force myself not to stop what I am doing. I will not give him the pleasure of jumping back from her like I am a guilty schoolboy. Miss Granger herself has frozen completely, neither removing her hands from her body, nor continuing to pleasure herself.

"Is this important?" I ask, my voice sharper than intended.

"I wouldn't come to you if it wasn't," Draco's voice reaches my ears and I turn to look at him.

The boy lets his eyes wander over Miss Granger's body, neither appreciatively nor derisively. I contemplate covering her again, but the heat of her skin under my hand tells me she couldn't cope with that.

"It's a bloodbath out there," Draco says, a wobble in his voice that disputes the serenity of his face.

"It always is."

I remove my hand from the girl's breast and squeeze her shoulder reassuringly. I can feel her relaxing under my hand, but have no time to marvel at her level of trust in me. She knows I will keep her safe.

"You have a way to get out of here?" he asks, averting his eyes from the girl, who is once again letting her hand move between her legs, although now her eyes are tightly closed probably in an effort to pretend Draco and I are not in the room. I move down the bed enough to shield that part of her from Draco's view.

I nod. "It is almost time. What can you do about lowering these anti-apparition wards? They're keyed to family, and I can't tamper with them. It will be easier if we don't have to leave this room to escape."

"Give me a few minutes," he says, pulling his wand out of its holder. His wand, thankfully, works.

Miss Granger chokes back a strangled gasp, and when I see Draco's eyes widen as he watches her, I consider pushing him back out of the door and into his father's bloodbath.

"Turn around," I bark. "And work on these wards if you want to get out of here at all."

"I've seen Granger naked every day for the past five days, Uncle Severus," Draco replies. "It's hardly shocking."

But, at a warning look from me, he turns away anyway, and with some reasonably impressive wand work, I can feel layer upon layer of wards being lowered.

"Stay with Miss Granger," I instruct the boy, lifting my hand to the door to open it.

"No!" The desperate plea that falls simultaneously from both their lips is equally heartfelt by both parties.

"I will be back momentarily," I reassure her. "And for God's sake, keep your distance from her, Draco."

I unclasp my cloak from my shoulders and throw it over her trembling body. I doubt she will keep it on, but I have to at least try to protect what is left of her modesty.

The smell of blood hits me as the door swings open. Half of the 'toys' Lucius provided for the evening's entertainment are dead but are still being used. I should have arranged for the Order to arrive before now, but when planning this I had to be sure I had enough time to find the girl before the Aurors arrived.

"Severus," Lucius greets from an ornate washbasin in the corner of the room. He is washing blood from his hands, and the water is turning red as it cleans hands, which, like my own, will never truly be clean.

"Finished with the Mudblood already, are we?" he asks in a tone of voice that could be used for talking about the weather. "Shall I send someone else in to entertain her?"

"Your son is currently entertaining her, Lucius," I say with a smirk. "And I am merely looking for some refreshments."

As I speak, a terrified looking girl walks slowly by with a tray. I pluck another flute of champagne from her as she passes and shoot her a dark look that sends her scuttling off to the other side of the room.

"You will regret screwing with me, Lucius," I murmur almost cordially. I turn on my heel and march back to the room I have left Miss Granger and Draco alone in. I can only hope she hasn't managed to completely strip him of his clothes in the time I have been absent.

When I push the door open, the girl is still covered by the cloak, although her face is flushed and her eyes are glazed. I eye the boy and note that he, too, is looking more than a little flushed.

"I haven't touched her," he says defensively at my raised eyebrow.

"I didn't think you had," I reply. But you wanted to.

A piercing screeching sound fills my ears. I walk to the bed in two long strides and unceremoniously scoop the girl up in my arms, wrapping her in the soft material of my cloak. She moans, clinging to me and whimpering against my neck. I pull her tighter in case I drop her and the erection, which I had managed to lose the instant Lucius' dulcet tones assaulted my ears, immediately comes back with a vengeance

Fantastic. That's really helpful.

She squirms a little in my arms and I realise that she is working her hand back between her legs. I clear my throat and turn to Draco.

"Keep firm hold of my arm, I am Apparating us all back to Hogwarts. I don't trust you not to get splinched tonight," I shout over the sound of the alarm and watch the door warily. It would not do for someone to come into the room and witness my rescue of Lucius' prisoner after we have managed to survive relatively unscathed so far.

Draco nods in assent, wincing from the shrill noise of the alarm, but complying immediately. I make a mental note to find some way to reward him for the way he handled himself tonight. Murdering his father for him is probably the best favour I could ever do the boy, come to think of it. Then I could pretend the act is completely unselfish when I Avada the bastard next time I see him.

The minute hand on my watch reaches the twelve and a shudder runs through the room we occupy, along with the rest of the house, shaking the foundation it stands in. The Order is in, and I must get these two out before they are caught in the crossfire or Draco is arrested. Pops of Apparition sound in the next room, which come from either Aurors entering the room or Lucius' charming guests leaving in a bit of a rush.

I concentrate and feel the squeezing pressure of Apparition. Miss Granger typically chooses that moment to squirm in my arms and very nearly results in all of us getting splinched, and when my eyes open to see the gates of Hogwarts, I nearly fall to my knees in relief.

"Follow me," I bark at Draco, who has recovered quickly from the journey and is frowning at the girl. I walk quickly through the grounds of the castle, feeling the girl shuddering violently in my arms as I do.

"What are you doing?" the boy asks from a few metres behind me, sounding out of breath.

"I am sending a message to the Headmaster," I reply, sending the Patronus without breaking my stride and entering the dungeons easily without being seen. For once it seems that the students are actually in their beds, although I have no doubt that Potter and the two remaining Weasleys are still taking turns sitting up, waiting for news of their friend to arrive.

Although I think that Potter and Weasley are so dim that it's a miracle that they manage to walk and talk at the same time, let alone gain pass marks in their O.W.L.s, they do at least have loyalty going for them. They have had to be physically restrained from attacking Draco in the days before he was summoned home for his birthday, and they, along with a handful of other Gryffindors, have started to take on the appearance of the living dead, such is their worry for the Granger girl.

Draco, still in one piece despite both intentional and unintentional efforts from all sides, follows me into my quarters, looking more than a little shell-shocked now that he is away from the Revel and in relative safety. I tip Miss Granger unceremoniously onto my sofa and turn my back on her.

"Floo directly to your common room," I tell him. "See to it that no one knows you were missing tonight. Claim you had an argument with your parents early on and came back – your story will be corroborated. Come and see me tomorrow and we will talk."

"Yes, sir," he murmurs almost distractedly, stepping into the fire once the Floo Powder has turned the flames to a brilliant green. He looks back and gives me an undeniably sympathetic look, which instantly makes me want to curse him, however proud I feel of him at this moment.

"You did well tonight, Draco," I tell him quietly.

He nods once, a small smile forming on his lips, and then he is gone, leaving me alone with a drugged Miss Granger to sort out. At least my wand works and I can blast the girl unconscious if she annoys me further.

I sigh and walk reluctantly to the sofa on which the girl is stretched out. Her eyes are closed and it would appear that she is momentarily sated. I check her pulse again and note that, despite her calm demeanour, it is still racing. The skin on her wrist almost burns my fingers and there is no doubt that Lucius, cack-handed as he is, has given her an overdose.

"Haven't you learned your lesson yet?" she asks tiredly, not bothering to either open her eyes or lift her head from the velvet cushioned arm of my sofa to address me. "Stop touching me."

"Make up your mind."

"If only I still had one," she replies wearily. A hint of self-deprecation and amusement is in her voice, despite her exhaustion, and I realise that Draco is possibly not the only student who has made me proud tonight.

She has coped extremely well, not that I shall ever tell her – she is already insufferable. Though the real test is to see how she behaves once the mood-altering potion has left her system, not to mention how well she will cope in the long term – I occasionally still have nightmares about my time spent in that dungeon, though they no longer bother me the way they used to.

I walk away from her to skim the titles of the books on my shelf. I extract the one I need and search the index for the antidote to the potion Miss Granger has been force-fed. I could probably make her an antidote without instructions, but I am exhausted and it is better to be safe than sorry and in Azkaban, not that I don't deserve to be there.

"Is this never going to end?" she moans huskily from the other side of the room. "This isn't enough. If you just… can't you…?"

"If you can't say the words, you shouldn't be asking for it," I mutter, my eyes skimming over the writing on the page. Yes, this should work.

"Not long now, Miss Granger," I murmur soothingly, not looking up. Not long now until she's out of my rooms and out of my life and I can collapse into bed and sleep for an eternity.

"For God's sake, stop calling me that," she snaps at me from the sofa. "You've seen me naked – you've watched me…" she trails off and sighs in irritation. "I'm leaving your classes; I'm not going to be your student anymore, you can drop the title."

"We'll see."

Apparently you should never humour or fail to take seriously a drugged and sexually charged Hermione Granger. One second she is sprawled naked on my sofa, her hands on her own bare breasts, and the next she is across the room and I am somehow pressed against the wall by her much smaller, weaker frame. The book lies forgotten and deserted on the floor by our feet.

"What is it that you think you are achieving, Miss Granger?"I ask, emphasising her title. Apparently, learning by my mistakes is not my forte. This is not fresh news to me.

"Petrificus Totalus!" she intones sweetly. "Mobilicorpus!"

How the fuck did she get my wand?

xxx

Author's Notes: I had it pointed out to me that by playing with Draco's birthday, I screwed up quite considerably. To have his birthday after term had started would mean he couldn't be in Harry's year, which would make this story even less book-compliant than it already is. My only explanation (rather than change a large part of my story) is that Lucius could well have pushed for his son to start school early… you never know. All right, it's incredibly lame, but don't make me go back and change it all :oS

The relationship between Lucius and Narcissa is only one (extreme) example of domestic abuse. I am aware that I generalise somewhere in this chapter, and I am also very aware that every situation of abuse is vastly different. Their entirely fictitious situation is excessive, but having been brought up in a house where there have been years of unpredictable violence and verbal abuse, I'm at least speaking from some experience when I say that it is only the victim in the situation that can save themselves. I don't, by any means, mean to get anyone's back up. Don't flame me… :oD

Thank you once again for all of the lovely, encouraging reviews and I'm sorry it took me a while to update.

Thank you to my gorgeous husband for letting me irritate him with Harry Potter related questions while he was desperately trying to concentrate on his game, and thank you also to my Goddess-like beta Sophi, who somehow managed to get this 12,000 word chapter back to me in a day.