Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of it's content - J.K. Rowling does. I just decided to play in her sandbox for a bit.

Thank you to my wonderful beta, VIVAvivacious, for looking this over for me. You're awesome as always!

A warning before you read any further, in case it wasn't made clear by the rating and summary. There is character death and a bit of graphic description of the violence involved. For now, this is a one-shot, but it may expand at a later date, if the muse decides to get back on board. Enjoy!


"Lucius..." Hermione Weasley's voice was quiet and raspy, as if she hadn't spoken aloud in several days. Judging by her appearance and that of her entire flat, such was probably the case. When he had entered the apartment through the fireplace in her living room, Lucius Malfoy found himself assaulted by the sour scent of expiring food from the kitchen. The pile of dishes in the sink had crusted over from being left to sit for far too long, and the milk in two abandoned cups of tea on the table had curdled. After long years of service to the Dark Lord, he was able to pick up a more disturbing undertone to the stench of the apartment as well.

Mrs. Weasley was sitting on the floor of her bathroom, unmoving now except for the slow rise and fall of her chest and the occasional blink of her eyes as she looked up at him. Her hair was a mass of knotted tangles at the ends, with several thick locks of it littered about the ceramic tiles beneath her. One hand rested limply at her side, curled into a loose fist with a few stray curls still clutched between her motionless fingers. The other was pressed against her knee, supporting her head with a palm against her forehead. She was much more pale than she had been three days before, providing a stark contrast for the dark bruise along one cheek and the dark bags beneath her sunken eyes. Most disturbing, perhaps, was the lack of blood around her, despite the strong smell of it that permeated the tiny, four-room space. To his left, he noticed the door to her bedroom was closed, and he turned towards it without a word to her.

Behind him, he heard the soft pad of her feet as she stood to follow him. "I wouldn't open that if I were you, love." Her voice was steady as she spoke, though the rasp was still present. Ignoring the warning, Lucius pushed open the door, the quiet creak it made in protest sounding unnaturally loud in the silence of the space. The smell that had escaped into the apartment was nothing compared to that in this room, and he staggered back into the hall in disgust. "I did warn you," Weasley muttered softly, slipping past him into the room as though it smelled of roses and lavender rather than stale blood and the first stages of decomposition. Holding the sleeve of his emerald silk robes over his nose, Lucius entered the space after her, a chill settling along his spine as he took in the scene before him.

Ronald Weasley was sprawled across the bed, his clouded eyes staring unblinkingly at the far wall; the tattered remains of his clothes and the sheets beneath him were coated in his own dried blood. The fabric of his shirt had been torn with a series of slashes that revealed deep wounds across his chest and arms. His stomach, however, had been completely flayed open, no doubt adding to the disgusting smell in the air. Like his shirt, Mr. Weasley's trouser legs were all but ribbons over the deep slices in his flesh. It was the area between his torso and legs, however, which drew Lucius's attention the most. The younger man's groin was surrounded by a tell-tale stain, turned black after having the time to dry and set, and there seemed to be more than a few simple slashes on that area of his anatomy.

Swallowing the bile that rose in his throat, Lucius turned his eyes to Hermione Weasley. She stood beside the bed, looking down at the body of her childhood friend with a smile on her lips, an expression that reminded him all-too-much of his sister-in-law. As if feeling his eyes on her, the woman raised her gaze to meet his, and he noticed the lack of sadness or regret in the cold, brown orbs. "I haven't gone insane, you know." She turned away from him again, reaching her hand out and brushing her fingers across the forehead of her dead husband in what could almost have been considered an affectionate gesture. "I believe I've finally found my sanity again, in fact."

Lucius moved closer to her, keeping his eyes fixedly away from the bed as he gently placed his arm around the younger woman's shoulders to lead her from the room. She was silent until they crossed into the living room, when she turned her face to look up at him. "Lucius... I killed my husband." Had her tone been different, he would have thought she had only now realized what she had done. But the expression in her eyes and the way she seemed to lovingly caress the statement as she spoke it left no question as to her awareness of the act.

"Yes, Mrs. Weasley. You did." He took the small pot of Floo Powder from its stand beside her fireplace and held it out to her in offering. For a moment, she looked from his face, to the pot, and back again, before her lips curved upward in another smile. It was a frightening expression, given her appearance and the scene he had just discovered, and it reminded him of what this creature in front of him was capable of.

"It's 'Miss Granger,' now, love." Letting out a short laugh that reminded him once again of Bellatrix Lestrange, she took a pinch of the Floo Powder from the pot and flicked it into the fireplace. She stepped into the bright green flames after it, and he watched as her pallid skin took on a haunting tone for a moment before they wrapped around her in a swirl and she was gone.