She stands with her signature posture, one that Hermione dare not forget over the years. Her chin raised, hands floating out to her sides by a few inches, gaze lowered scornfully upon the girl, nothing more than a crumpled heap on the cold marble floor. A strip of rigidly curly hair falls limply over her right eye, the rest falling manically about her shoulders. Wand clenched tightly in her right hand, a single claw running up and down the wooden rod with a repetitively eerie screeching noise, she approaches Hermione. The back of her dress runs lax along the ground, the heels of her boots clicking hollowly in the otherwise empty drawing room.

Hermione cowers, her body curled into an infantile position of defense. She doesn't face Bellatrix, shame searing her cheeks in a bold shade of scarlet, nearly the same colour as that of the dark witch's rounded lips. She shakes compulsively, grinding her teeth together in an attempt to form a barricade against the wail building up in the back of her throat. She won't cry. Can't give Bellatrix that pleasure.

The older witch stops, standing over Hermione's rigid body, a ghost of a smile tugging at the corner of her lips. "Get up, filth."

The girl shakes her head violently. "No." A hot tear slips out of her eye and she wipes it away, trying to destroy the moist trail of evidence it leaves behind with the sleeve of her sweater. "Please. I'm telling the truth. We found it in the-"

"Shut up." Bellatrix glares down, lips pressed together tightly, in a manner such that in a different light it might possibly bear resemblance to a pout of sorts. "Just how stupid d'you think I am, Mudblood?" She flips a tuft of hair over her shoulder and crouches down beside Hermione. Her eyebrows float up a bit higher on her forehead as she scans over the younger witch.

Hermione squeezes her eyes shut and tries to compact her body as small as possible. She doesn't answer, her throat clamped up but for a few near-silent sobs that slip out. It burns, feeling so helpless, so childish.

The woman tightens her lips briefly, then opens her mouth as though to say something but refrains. Instead, she reaches out to brush a tuft of chestnut curls out of the girl's face, running the back of her hand across her cheek. Hermione shudders in response and strains against the ropes that bind her wrists together, which only burns her skin further. Bellatrix scowls and turns away, resting her chin on her fist and in turn resting her elbow on her thigh, all the while squatting beside Hermione. Hermione imagines it must be a rather uncomfortable position.

The dark witch stares at the doorway for a moment as though trying to imagine Ron's face as he cries out his love's name. She pauses, then in an almost empty, lifeless tone, asks, "Miss me, love?"

Hermione sneers and strains again against her bindings and in her struggles manages to roll over and face her captor. She spits and it lands on the floor an inch or so from Bellatrix's feet.

Bellatrix peers down at the small puddle of liquid before standing up and wiping it away with the heel of her boot. "Take that as a no," she mutters, perhaps too calmly, all signs of a smile long since faded. "Just thought you might rather have a civilized conversation, girl to girl, 'stead of this." She gestures blankly to the ropes around the girl's wrists and ankles. They disappear with a hollow Pop! and Hermione leaps to her feet, standing in a defensive position with her arms out in front of her.

She takes in her surroundings more fully, seeing the door at the opposite end of the room, and is tempted to make a break for it but refrains, knowing that there's no way it's unlocked. And even if it is….she shudders. An unarmed witch lost in Malfoy Manor is as good as gone.

Bellatrix paces slowly, her dress dragging lifelessly out behind her. "I know about the bloody sword," she states, fingers locked behind her back and gaze fixed on the ground, "but it was a damn good excuse to get you alone."

Hermione's stomach churns at the dark witch's use of the word 'alone'. "Let me go," she says, voice nearly faltering.

Bellatrix turns and faces her, a giddy grin plastered to her jaw. "Now why would I do that?" she asks, making her way over to Hermione. Hermione's heart thuds vigorously in the confines of her ribcage and she backs up, eyes fluttering shut in despair as she feels the wall press up against her. The older witch is but inches away, every breath a highly audible sound, a tangible event.

Hermione opens her eyes and tries to wiggle to her left but a hand blocks her path. "Surely you're not leaving so soon?" hisses Bellatrix, breathing down her neck. The girl shudders, whimpering.

"Please," Hermione pleads.

"Please what?" plies Bellatrix, running the back of her hand over Hermione's abdomen, bare now that she's lifted up her shirt ever so slightly. Her cheek brushes the girl's jaw line faintly, a hint of a touch that causes the fine hairs on the back of her neck to stand on end, as Bellatrix whispers into her hair, "I've missed you, you know."

Hermione forces herself out of the trance, shouting, "No!" She shoves forward violently and literally knocks Bellatrix out of her path as she sprints for the door, nearly tripping over her own feet.

"Shit," mutters Bellatrix, grabbing at the wall so as not to fall over ungracefully. She stands up and puffs a clump of hair out of her eyes.

Hermione, in her disparity, tells herself that there's a chance that perhaps the door will be unlocked, and, finding otherwise, shrieks loudly, and pounds her fists against the heavy oak door. For a moment, logic doesn't apply, and reasoning is useless. She releases her childish cries of anguish until she can't bring herself to engage in fist-to-door contact anymore. Scorching tears stream down her cheeks and she crumples, pressing herself together, wrapping her arms protectively around her knees and pressing her back to the door. Her hollow sobs echo throughout the drawing room, reaching even the dungeon where Harry, Ron, and Luna reside, but not the heart of Bellatrix.

Bellatrix, enraged, storms over and grabs Hermione by the hair, yanking her up and pinning her to the door. "Little bitch," she spits, a heavy stone dropping to the pit of her stomach as soon as she's uttered the sharp, jagged-edged words.

She scans Hermione's face, her own features softening in remorse. The girl sobs weakly, head pressed against the wooden door, gasping for air. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she chants meekly, choking on both sobs and words, cowering in fear.

Bellatrix turns away, letting go and taking a step back. Hermione slumps to the ground, sniffling and frantically trying to wipe away searing, submissive tears. Bellatrix observes for a second, biting her lip, then turning to stare out the window.

Hermione realizes with a sinking feeling that she's only going to get through to the woman one way.

"Bella," pleads a broken, wavering voice, "please."

Bella. She pivots, her gaze piecing the girl's more desperate one. She hasn't been Bella since….oh. Whoa. Bellatrix swallows hard. Does she…want to remember? "What'd you say?" she demands, voice edgy.

"Please don't do this, Bella," murmurs Hermione, rising slowly and approaching the older witch. Her voice is stronger now, her motions more manageable.

The older witch raises a hand to her face to brush out a few stray, misfit curls, freezing awkwardly in thought. For a moment, juvenile self-consciousness wins out and she shifts her weight to her other foot.

Hermione stands before Bellatrix, coming to find she's a good head shorter than her captor. She reaches out an unsteady hand and runs her fingers along the other witch's firm jaw line. "It doesn't have to be like this." She pauses, her fingers halting. "You don't have to be like this." Her stomach turns as she notes the familiarity of the motion.

Bellatrix exhales slowly, snaking an arm around the younger girl's waist and jolting her forward. Hermione squeaks sharply as her body collides with that of Bellatrix, brushing one of her chestnut curls out of her face. The Death Eater smiles, cupping Hermione's chin and tilting it up.

Hermione fights nausea at the realization of just how painfully attractive her enemy really is, what with her leather corset stressing curves in all the right places. She gulps and scorns herself for not being utterly repulsed by the way Bellatrix is tracing faint patterns on the small of her back.

"I really did miss you," breathes the woman, pressing her lips to Hermione's. The girl's eyes flutter shut for a moment, a quiet moan escaping her lips, and she recalls with a growing dread those days that she tried so hard to let go. Dumbledore sending her back twenty years in time to investigate who was siding with who about what during the formation of the Dark Lord's army. She remembers a younger Bellatrix, one not driven to madness by years confined in a government facility. She wraps her arm around the woman, pulling her closer, tugging at her belt. A Bellatrix who didn't care what her family said, one who was going to break away and fight back. Her fingers dance across the hilt of her dagger, catching on her wand. A girl with hair as black as the abyss and rounded scarlet lips that tasted like-

"No," Hermione hisses, pulling away and grabbing desperately for the wand, shoved thoughtlessly into the strap she uses to store her dagger.

"Ah, ah, ah," scorns Bellatrix, snarling in disgust at the change of pace and catching the girl by the wrist. "I don't think so." She uses her free hand to retrieve the wand, holding it up for inspection. She looks it over before casting Hermione a sultry smile and sliding it down the front of her dress. "You want it, get it. It's all yours, love. Go ahead."

Hermione yanks her wrist free, stumbling back a step. Her cheeks are beet-red, whether in shame or rage she doesn't know. Perhaps lust, regrettably. She shakes her head, backing away slowly. "God, what happened to you?"

Bellatrix snaps her head around to face the girl. "What?"

"They…they got to you…even when you said…when you promised you wouldn't let them." Hermione furrows her brows, taking in the woman fully. The mass of curls wildly framing her face, the piercing gaze deriving from sunken, dark eyes, the gaunt face, cracking claws, all of it. "You're a monster."

Okay, so, hey. I'm kinda not sure where this is going, if anywhere at all. Advice would be awful nice. Reviews and help! :D