Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all related characters, settings, and terminology belong to JK Rowling. No money is being made and no infringement is intended.


She cried often, but he didn't often care. Even though he treated her so specially, as if she were delicate and precious, like something fragile and in need of protection, she would have given anything to be rid of him, to be somewhere else, to be a different person. Sometimes, she even wished she were dead.

She no longer spoke to her family, and she had long decided that this was exactly what he wanted. No one believed her anyway. They saw the facade, the charade that he played in public, carefully crafted in masks and lies, and no one could fathom why she wanted out. They thought she was ungrateful. They thought his attentions and wealth had turned her into a snob who thought she was too good for the husband who had made her.

She never thought that her family would take his side over hers, but he played his part so well.

She was sick, he said. She needed help. Tranquilizing potions for her nerves and prescribed hours of bed rest were her cure. She saw no one but him. She cried all the time.

"Hush, my pet," he murmured as he rocked her in his arms. With gentle fingers, he traced a path down her cheeks, outlining the rivers of her tears. "Things will be better when the baby arrives."

The volume of her sobbing increased. He rubbed circles in her back and she hated her body for calming under his touch, hated herself for a reaction she could not stop, hated the baby growing inside her because it chained her to him against her will.

When her wailing had nearly stopped and her crying was only marked by occasional sniffles, he lifted her chin—gently, as always—and traced a line of kisses around her face. She squeezed her eyes shut, whimpered, and waited for him to finish, prayed for him to leave her be. She hated the silence of her isolation, but she hated his presence most of all.

"There. All better," he said, smirking at her with that sardonic twist of his lips that made her body freeze. She shook her head as her body trembled, waiting...

But he stood to leave, carefully arranging her so that she was comfortable, tucking the sheets in around her so tightly that her arms were trapped. He leaned over to kiss her on the lips, but she turned her face away. It was the one thing she had never let him do to her. Her refusal always made his lips pucker and his brow crease, his eyes glittering dangerously in the dim light of the fireplace.

She knew, by the sounds of his shoes on the floor, that he was displeased. There was something urgent in his steps, as if he couldn't stand to be around her any longer. He thought she was being childish. Or maybe he knew exactly what he had done. Maybe he knew exactly why she hated him so much, why she was frightened for her life, and maybe he simply didn't care. That frightened her most of all. More than his careful consideration of her—a false act that he assumed would win her over one day; more than the potions and the isolation and the silence, which were all sanctioned by him, not a Healer; more than the mere thought of what her life might be like after the baby was born... She was frightened of his indifference to her situation. He acted as if he had every right to her, as if she existed only for him, as if she were his to do whatever he wanted with.

He feared no repercussions.

"Goodnight, darling, and remember," he said at the doorway, his eyes dull and blank with his apathy, "you chose this. You chose me."

After he'd turned out the lights and closed the door behind him, she cried screaming, gut-wrenching sobs into her pillow, wishing for someone to save her.