This story is a companion piece to my story Resonance. I suggest you read to Chapter 10 of that story before beginning this one.

She hopes they kill her. Because how can she live after this? How will she ever clear her mind of this torture?

I'm living in an age,
whose name I don't know.
Though the fear keeps me moving,
still my heart beats so slow.

My body is a cage,
that keeps me from dancing with the one I love.
But my mind holds the key.

Set my spirit free,
set my body free.

-My Body Is A Cage, by Arcade Fire

The Cruciatus Curse.

The Torture Curse. An Unforgivable.

The textbooks all say it's unbearable. Like a thousand knives piercing your body at once, like your skin is being peeled from your body, like you've been set on fire.

Lying on the cold stone floor of Malfoy Manor, nearly giddy with the momentarily relief from the curse, Hermione feels momentarily, insanely, robbed by those textbooks. Because for once in her life, they have failed her. Because no book in history could have prepared her for this pain. A broken sob escapes her as Bellatrix raises her wand again, and Hermione hopes for a wild second that she'll be set one fire, because surely it would hurt less.

The pain is blinding in a way she never thought possible. White hot and endless and stretching to every inch of her body. When it finally stops, she isn't even sure who she is anymore. Is hardly aware that the screams echoing off the stonewalls are coming from her.


Hermione. That's her name isn't it? Someone is screaming her name.

"How did you get into my vault? Did that dirty little goblin in the cellar help you?"

Bellatrix is kneeling over her now, screaming in her face, her expression deranged. Her knife is digging into Hermione's arm, carving and slicing the skin. The pain is nothing- it's pure relief compared to the agony of the curse, and Hermione begins to sob. Her mind is reeling. She's never felt so confused, so tired and alone. She sobs an answer to the deranged woman pinned on top of her, but the words barely make sense to her own ears. She needs to lie, but she isn't sure why. Can't quite remember. But she needs a lie, a cover, to save them all-

"It's a copy," she chokes, finally. "Just a copy."

She aches all over, worse than imaginable, and wishes for somebody, anybody to save her. She loses all awareness then; she knows nothing of what's going on around her. Knows only herself, and the pain still gripping her despite the curse's removal. She hopes they kill her. Because how can she live after this? How will she ever clear her mind of this torture?

In the chaos and anguish that is her mind, she can only think of two people. The two people she would do anything for, her best friends. Harry. Ron.


His name is on the tip of her tongue, and she wants to scream it until she doesn't feel anymore. But suddenly, she is pulled from the floor. Too weak to support herself she is held up and a sharp blade is pressed to her neck. She opens her eyes as she feels the skin of her throat break and bleed. Her eyes meet terrified blue across the room.


This is the end for her, and for the briefest of moments, she feels a cruel satisfaction, because now he'll know how it feels to be the one left behind.

That thought leaves her in another instant as he screams for her and lunges forward. The agony in his eyes is nothing but love to her, and all fear leaves Hermione. Relief like she has never felt fills her, as her eyes drift close once more. Death is upon her now, she is certain, and she accepts it freely, knowing that if she dies now, she won't have to watch them kill him. She'll never again see him in pain.

She's falling backwards. There is a resounding crash, like breaking glass, a shimmer of crystal through her barely open eyes, and then his hands are on her, around her and she can let go-

The darkness takes her, and she feels nothing.

A/N: And there's the intro! This will be a multi chapter fic, including some Deathly Hallows missing moments, as well as some time after the war. It will follow Hermione's recovery after the torture, and her struggles with a PTSD-type illness.

This is a companion piece to my WIP "Resonance", and I encourage you to read up to Chapter 10 of that before you continue this one.