The Hound of Malfoy Manor

She couldn't tell what was real and what wasn't anymore.

What pain was real, what pleasure, and if she should push in towards the touch she felt or recoil to protect herself.

She knew that the Cruciatus curse hurt, she knew more than she could have ever feared to know, but she also understood how the madness left lasting damage.

The curse was lifted from the Longbottoms years ago, over a decade, but they were still insane. She feared she had gone the same way. Had it been days of the curse of just seconds? There was no time, no place, no comprehension of anything but the pain and the whispered words from the vile woman.

She would screech her demands for information about the sword at first and Hermione had done her best but soon she couldn't even think to lie, speak or scream. Hovering just before passing out, in too much pain to go under but too exhausted to do anything else, the woman had pulled her up by her hair and hissed into her face for only her to hear.

"Can you hear your iddle boyfwend? I'll have him next."

She couldn't think. Her head was like a hollow cave submerged in water. Sounds weren't getting through, just distant echoes.

"He offered didn't he? Take me, he said. Pwetty iddle boyfwend...I will have him. Pureblood pwetty boy chained to my bed."

Hermione suddenly saw Ron, remembered who he was, who he was to her and what he looked like and then his image was twisted by the Cruciatus madness and he was on his knees, chained and beaten.

"Ron," she whimpered.

"Mine!" Bellatrix whispered into her ear, her rotten teeth sending the stench of years of prison across Hermione's face and making her turn her face away.

She could hear him screaming her name, sounding more terrified than she'd ever heard anyone in her life, and she blinked through the tears. She saw him again.

"I'll buy doggie a collar," Bellatrix crowed, "drag him around by his throat. He'll wear chains for me and nothing else, crawl on his knees and swallow arousal potion so I can take him for a ride whenever I want to."

Hermione sobbed and shook her head.

"Tear away those shabby clothes and have him wear nothing but Bella."

"No," she whimpered.

"Shave all that lovely red hair off and make Pollyjuice, make dozens of them...a harem of sex slaves all mine."

"No," Hermione growled through gritted teeth.

"He gave himself to me, you heard him, take me he said. He's mine and he's nothing but a dog. I'll keep him in the street, in the rain, in the cold, and feed him scraps from my table. I'll make him bark for me...sit, stay and beg!"

"NO!" Hermione said as she punched Bellatrix across the jaw and felt the last of her energy drain away into black.

When light came back to her eyes, however long afterwards, she felt his arms around her. She could smell him. She cracked open an eyelid and squinted at his face. He was dirty and bloody and beaten. She closed her eyes again.

The flash of him in her maddened state appeared in her mind. On his knees, clothes torn away, hair shaved off, icy rain cutting into his frozen skin as he cowered in the street.

She crawled towards him and unhooked the chain from his collar. He looked at her and then they fell into each other's arms, kissing intensely.

It might just be the last of the madness dissipating, but she would cling to this for as long as she could.