I don't own Harry Potter. I imagine I'll get over it someday. Maybe.
Summary: The Dark Side has won, and the remaining survivors are held captive at the Death Eater's mercy. Hermione is given as a reward to Lucius Malfoy. Angst, drama, torture probably, definite abuse.
Hermione wasn't sure how long she'd been walking, but it sure felt like hours to her. She felt tired and hurt. The initial shock and thrilling fear she'd felt earlier had long since faded to a perpetual state of nauseating anxiety. She hissed in pain as she stumbled over another rock. Her trainers had suffered much over the past day, and a hole had worried its way through the rubber sole of her left shoe. She was fairly certain that her foot was oozing blood, but so much of her stung and ached at that point that she couldn't differentiate between the actual and radiated pain.
A particularly large tree root caused her to tumble forward in the dark. She tried to brace her fall against a tree, but hands tied as they were, she missed the trunk and ended her fall on her stomach, hands trapped under her body. Her groans were echoed by those tethered single file behind her, the domino effect causing more than a few to jerk and stumble, the rest to shuffle to a halt as she struggled to stand. A sharp tug on her rope dragged her hands up above her and brought her face-to-mask with a seething Death Eater.
"Move, you lazy Mudblood!" he hissed venomously, wand pointed at her. Hermione couldn't identify the voice; she was half-convinced that all Death Eaters used a voice-changing charm, or perhaps potion, when on the job. They certainly all sounded the same to her, at least.
She didn't bother to suppress a moan as she regained her own balance. The Death Eater released his hold on the smoky black bonds and stepped away, keeping his wand out and in front of him. He turned, and Hermione felt the pull of the magical force that had kept them walking these past long hours. She glanced behind her.
"Watch out for that root," she muttered quietly to Lavender, shrugging her aching arms.
The girl did not respond verbally, but Hermione could make out the silhouetted nod of acknowledgement in the dark. Hermione returned her attention to the ground in front of her and the Death Eater leading his string of seven captives.
Fallen branch there, rock here, pit there, vine above you, she thought as she navigated her way; a detached part of her mind wondered how the Death Eater could see well enough to not trip. Her mind, brilliant as it was, was too frazzled to postulate potential night-vision spells. She did manage, over a time, to conclude the fact that the bonds, or else some separate spell she had not been conscious to witness, were making her—making all of them—slow to think, slow to respond. She registered her frustration that she could not think nearly as quickly or clearly as she knew she could.
When the Death Eater came to a sudden halt, Hermione was so fixated on the ground that she almost ran right into him. Had it not been for Lavender tugging her backwards, she was sure she would've crashed headlong into the missionary of death. She shot a grateful look in Lavender's direction she was sure the girl wouldn't be able to see.
She glanced to her left; another Death Eater shadow had halted his line of seven as well. Hermione tried to see around her Death Eater and glimpsed a clearing beyond the next few trees of the Forbidden Forest. The moon grinned down at her like a Cheshire cat, thin and curved and promising no good. Her Death Eater called to the other, and, barking threats at the captives to not move lest they wanted to be killed slowly and horribly, left them to speak with his comrade.
"Lavender," Hermione whispered lowly, "are you okay? Well, not…okay…but...?" she trailed off. The other girl whimpered a general negative.
"Who's behind you?" asked Hermione.
"D-Dean," came the shaky whisper, "He's—he's hurt, I don't know how much longer…" and she trailed off, knowing Dean could hear her.
"H'mione, that you?" came a hoarse male voice.
"Shhh," Hermione whispered fervently; the Death Eater had issued a no-talking order at the start of their trek, and had been overenthusiastic at painfully reinforcing the rule. "Yes," she answers when all was quiet, "who's behind you?" A pause.
"Seamus, two Ravenclaw girls, and...and a Hufflepuff boy I don't know. First years, the girls. I dunno about the boy...small'r 'n us." Hermione heard pants in between every few words.
Hermione drew a breath, trying to force her mind to process the information and figure out how to use it. Lavender, as far as she was concerned, was about as useful as Trevor the Toad. Dean sounded more fit for a hospital bed than anything else, Seamus was…well, a good hand at lighting things on fire, but then none of them had wands.
Hermione tried not to flinch as she remembered her own wand, lost in the heat of the…Stop that. Hermione chastised herself, agitated. Wallowing in what was lost is useless right now. Think of something you can use, girl!
But her brain simply would not compute. She spent the next thirty breathless seconds flashing through memories; red and green lights, billowing robes, laughter, screams, Ron, corpses, Moody's magical eye whirling about in its socket even as its owner lay dead, Harry yelling, a swarm of black cloaks and silver masks—
-Hermione was yanked from her daze by the familiar force, now pulling the line of them into the clearing. She felt sick to her stomach. They approached the two Death Eaters, and Hermione saw the other group of captives following suit. When she was again standing in front of her captor, Hermione dredged up a bit of courage that had all but drowned in the sea of overrun emotions. She licked her lips.
"Wh…What are we doing?" she directed this query in the direction of the mask. She couldn't see his face, but she imagined the loathing and disgust marring the man's features as he replied,
"You will not speak again, you insolent piece of filth, do you understand me? Or I'll cut your tongue out." He ended this with a slap to her face, adding a split lip and bruised cheek to her list of injuries. Hermione's head snapped to the side and she fumed with hatred, fighting down the surge of rebellious anger.
You're pathetic, she thought, beating on tied up and defenseless captives to make yourself feel important. She reigned in her tirade though, fairly certain that her body would not withstand punishment at the moment. Her head throbbed.
"Jugson, you will go first," the harsh voice brooked no quarrel. There was a pause, and then a crack louder than thunder resounded in the clearing, and then the other group of captives was gone. Mostly.
Hermione clamped a hand over her mouth to keep from screaming. Fingers, toes, feet, and hands littered the ground, and one dangerously spherical appendage rolled. Spurts of liquid gushed from severed arteries and oozed from torn veins, illuminated faintly in the slight moonlight. Hermione dry-heaved, gagging herself and earning a sharp tug on the rope. She winced, the bonds tightening unbearably.
Apparition, she thought frantically, hearing the cries of her classmates and the barking growl of the Death Eater. You can't DO side-along apparition with more than two people, let alone eight! She looked, horrified, up at her captor. The mask betrayed no emotion of course, but the man did not show body language of being disturbed or even slightly upset at the outcome in front of him. She opened her mouth to protest, to knock some sense into the man, to do something, when all of a sudden she felt the familiar, horrible squeeze and pull of apparition, and the fading sound of thunder in the distance.
She landed solidly on her abused knees. It was a harsh welcome back to reality, but at least she was alive. She was momentarily stunned from impacting the ground, but once the spots faded from her eyes and her mind cleared somewhat, Hermione realized with dizzying, real fright that her right hand was gone. Gone. The smoky black ring that had once encircled her wrist tightened now around her arm, restricting circulation in its effort to maintain its grip. Despite the intense pain, the inadvertent tourniquet stemmed the heavy flow of blood from her wrist.
She moaned, plagued by blinding pain. Seeing her arm-or what was left of it-made her vomit violently, and she tore her eyes away from the mess, concentrating intently on the ground before her for what felt like an eternity. The Death Eater was gone by the time she could dare look up from the ground, by the time the tearing pain had dulled to a deep and foreign thud that pounded her whole body.
She tried to push through the hazy film of shock as she peered apprehensively at her fellow captives. The lighting was much better here—wherever they were—but Hermione found herself wishing them back in the dark forest clearing.
She tried not to look at Seamus, whose body didn't have a head and had bled out. The corpse had fallen lifelessly to the side, covered in the vomit of at least one of the two Ravenclaw girls. They both sported missing fingers, and Hermione could guess missing toes. One of them had passed out, and the other was keeping her wits about her well enough to staunch the flow of blood with strips of cloth. She was shaking involuntarily and Hermione watched as she forced herself to stay conscious. Experimentally, she wiggled her own toes, relieved at feeling them all present. Dean seemed relatively intact, though he looked a mess otherwise, and Lavender….Lavender's lower torso was all that survived the splinching. Hermione shuddered, unwillingly picturing Lavender's upper half still in the clearing, still alive…
She supposed she was lucky the bonds had stopped her from bleeding out. Lucky. Ha. Lucky to be bound against her will, dragged unceremoniously through a dark forest, beaten and hit, and then lose a limb. Sure, she was lucky.
Her left hand massaged her stump. She watched as her Death Eater—her perfectly whole Death Eater, she noted angrily— returned and evaluated the survivors of the journey. He adjusted the restraints to release Lavender and Seamus. Hermione realized that their seventh captive, the Hufflepuff boy, had not made it at all.
Good, thought Hermione, maybe he's on the other side and can escape now.
Thoughts started to form even more slowly for Hermione after that, and she accepted the protective blanket of shock that enveloped her. She didn't pay attention to her surroundings, as she would have normally, and didn't resist as she was pulled along; her companions were equally as deathly quiet.
She didn't notice being filed in a room, and barely registered the high-pitched, cold voice that wrought so much fear and destruction upon her life. Sounds were muffled, like her ears had been popped on an airplane. She didn't register the hours of time the captives were left kneeling on the floor, the buzz of talk distant in her ears. She wondered dully if she was going to die now.
And then she was being moved, or black robes were moving toward her; she couldn't distinguish which. She was stopped, and the robes stopped. The last thing Hermione remembered as her vision tunneled was a pale face, gloved hands gripping her hair, glinting mercurial eyes, and long blonde hair…
"I choose the Mudblood girl."
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