Author Note: This story contains graphic imagery of physical and emotional abuse. If you are sensitive this material please do not read. I have been getting some bad reviews from readers about Hermione not lying down and taking it, however, you have to be familiar with my plot bunny organization. They don't do things the normal, straight way. So, with that said, please bear with me and all will be made right. And this isn't a Severus on a white horse to come save her fic either... trust me... if you liked breaking down walls, you will die for this. And now to the story.
The dead flowers lined the now broken concrete of the path to the door. The door itself was large and in desperate need of repair, the paint chipped and peeling. The outside of the windows were musty and as clouded as the sky above. A faint glow illuminated a large bay window, its light the only brightness between the strokes of lightning that struck from the heavens. It was the light of the dining room chandelier in this, the Malfoy Manor.
The thunder boomed as his fist connected with her face. She burned his dinner…again.
"Narcissa would never allow for such filth on her china!" he roared. The back of his hand collided with the bruise that she received two nights ago when she gagged on him in his bed. "Blowjobs and breeding, the only two things mudbloods are good for," he told her that night, "And even then, blowjobs could be done better in Knockturn Alley."
Hermione Malfoy, nay Granger, tentatively touched her welted cheek. She didn't tarry long fussing over herself. She quickly cast a numbing spell on the throbbing flesh and resumed preparing dinner. Once she had things fairly edible, she was given permission to attend to the cut below her right eye. She excused herself to the bathroom. The water slowly drizzled from the faucet as she reached for the tattered and stained remnants of cloth hidden beneath the sink and mandated for her use only. She was never to touch the linens hanging from the ornate silver rods beside the sink.
There were several things she wasn't allowed to use or touch unless she was cleaning them. And even then she had to wear gloves. Her wand was never to be brandished for such chores. Her magic was mudblood magic, and, therefore, not permitted unless it was for her personal possessions which were few. The tea service was one of the things she could touch, for how would it look to company if the hostess of the house didn't serve them with her own hand? The china she could touch so that she could provide her new husband his meals.
The collectables, all in their proper places, high on the shelves and proudly displayed, she was never to hold. The pictures were off limits; they would only scream of her less than pure presence. The linens, towels, washcloths, and things of that nature, she was to never use.
The bed sheets, pillow cases, and blankets she could use, but only during conjugal visits to his room, after which she was to strip the bedclothes, cast cleansing and purifying charms on the mattress with his wand, and redress the bed all while he scrubbed himself under scalding hot water in the shower. The used sheets she could use on her bed as reminders of what she was good for since they were already tainted, or she could burn them. He didn't really care.
The one thing she would have loved to get her hands around, other than Malfoy's neck, was his massive collection in the library. She was permitted to dust the volumes of text, but never open and read them. She saw titles that titillated her intellect and others that could make her cry if she allowed her imagination to run wild about what horrors the pages held.
She thought about the library as she wiped the drop of blood that trailed down her cheek. She fantasized about the day her husband, Lucius Malfoy, would fall down dead and she would be free at last to read the passages that seemingly begged for her attentions every time she walked into the room. Her fantasy was interrupted by another voice in the other room. She leaned closer to the door and held her breath so she could hear.
It was him! He was here! She was so grateful for his visits. They were the only moments Hermione's life that Lucius was somewhat congenially towards her.
She expeditiously cast a few healing charms, exited the loo, and promptly made her presence known to the men in the parlour.
"Good evening, Mrs. Malfoy."
"Good evening, Mr. Snape." Hermione curtly nodded to Severus Snape and began to set the tray for tea.
"Mrs. Malfoy, I believe our guest would like two sugars and a teaspoon of milk. Am I correct, Severus?" Lucius asked with such pleasant consideration.
"Yes, thank you," Snape replied taking the proffered cup from Hermione with a glance.
Lucius turned to his bride. "You know how I take mine."
"Yes, sir," she replied and poured his tea, adding one half of a cube of sugar and a teaspoon of milk.
He patted her arm and, with a murmur of 'good girl', took his tea from her.
Hermione, being the hostess, prepared hers last, taking it straight and strong.
"I must say, Lucius, you've outwitted the Ministry once again. I would have thought Potter or Weasley would have petitioned for her," Snape said as he made a dismissive gesture with his hand towards Hermione.
"They did. Well, not Potter. He was already engaged to that youngest red headed blood traitor. Both of the middle boys, the twins I believe, sent in proposals as well as the second oldest, Charles. The youngest boy didn't have his papers brought to the Ministry in time," Lucius explained in the most casual of manners.
"Ah, I see. And what unfortunate fates were in store for the other three?"
Lucius smirked. "You wouldn't have a Quick Notes Quill hidden in the vicinity, now would you, Severus?"
Snape chuckled heartily at the elder man's half jest. But Lucius continued.
"The older one has too much of a dangerous profession, you see. One dragon mishandled, and my dear witch here would have become a widow. I very well couldn't have let that happen to one so young and full of life. And the twins, well, what kind of mature, intelligent woman would want those two for a lifelong mate?" Lucius emphasized the word 'lifelong' as he glanced at Hermione.
She took a sip of her tea to disguise the flinch her body involuntarily initiated. Life long. This was it. Hermione would forever be a Malfoy. She knew he had done something at the ministry, but she could never figure out what exactly. The paper work was just too deep and greedy pockets were deeper.
She thought about her options often. Fred and George would have made fine choices for her, but she could not bring herself to even think of being intimate with either of them. Charlie, on the other hand, was handsome, pureblood, and in another country. They could have moved away from this retched place and try to become more than friends eventually. She could see herself coupling with him out of a sense of duty, and then maybe, further down the way, fall in love.
But to be honest, Lucius was telling the truth for once. Charlie's profession as a dragon handler was on the bottom of the Ministry's list of approved jobs for petitioners. The risk to one's life and that of any future magical children outweighing any sense in the matter. If he was to quit, well, unemployment was ranked even lower. Why it was any of the Ministry's business what kind of job he had as long as they produced offspring, Hermione never really knew. She assumed it had something to do with rank in the community and social graces more so than danger to one's self. Thus, why she was married to Malfoy.
She also assumed the Ministry didn't give one ruddy damn if she was pummelled for bleaching the wrong shirt, kicked in the stomach for dropping a glass on the floor, or backhanded across the face for burning dinner. As long as she was able to give birth to magical children, that's all they cared about. Hermione worried about what this kind of daily abuse could do to her chances of having healthy children.
If she couldn't conceive or carry to term, then what use was she? To Lucius Malfoy, none whatsoever. And that only meant one thing. She was expendable.
"Do you not hear the man, girl? Pour him some more tea!"
Hermione startled out of her daze and fumbled the ceramic teapot, the lid of which cascaded to the floor in a series of flips and flops until it crashed on the bricks of the fireplace hearth, chipping in four places on its journey.
"We'll discuss this after our guest had retired," he whispered.
Her eyes darted to his clenched fist and back to the chipped lid. She started to refill Snape's glass, but he stopped her by placing a hand over his cup.
"No, I really mustn't have any more now that I think about it. Caffeine won't make my evening any less tedious. Speaking of which, I must be heading back to my potions. I just wanted to congratulate you, Lucius."
"Oh, yes. Thank you, Severus. Please offer the same to my wife."
Severus walked to Hermione, took her hand in his, and placed a chaste kiss on the back of it. "Congratulations, Mrs. Malfoy," he said before turning and leaving by way of the front door.
Hermione was so stunned by his genteel fashion that she barely registered that she was shoved into the brick of the hearth until her head banged into it with a sickening thud. The second wave of pain came as the ceramic teapot came crashing down onto her scalp, shattering into pieces; the hot water inside scalding her skin.
"You will clean this up," Lucius said as he stomped to his room and slammed the door.
Slowly, Hermione curled herself into a ball and cried. After a few moments, the searing pain of her fresh wounds dissipated in the adrenaline ocean that courted ideas of...revenge.