A/N – Okay, bear with me here.
A long time ago a lovely reader of mine wrote to me and asked me if I could re-write chapter 26 of Eden from Lucius' point of view for her. I agreed, saying I'd send it to her privately when I'd finished it but that I wouldn't post it online. That was a long time ago, and although I kept on intending to finish it, I never managed to because real life took over. Finally, tonight I forced myself to finish it, but I'm afraid I can't remember the name of the reader who wanted this chapter. And so I'm posting it online, hoping some of you may enjoy it. To the reader who asked for this – I'm so sorry you never got it, and I really hope this makes it up to you.
A little catch up for the old, loyal readers - I am actually writing some new stories, but life has been too hectic to write anything at all in the past year. I went back to university, moved to the other end of the country to do so, slept around, drank too much, broke a bunch of stuff, made new friends, and really didn't have time to do anything. But great things have happened. I fell in love, for the first time. We now live together, and I think I'm genuinely happy for the first time in years.
As a final note – Emma Watson's haircut is amazing, dontcha think? Also want her wardrobe so bad. Girl looks fierce.
And yes, this author's note was very long and self-involved. But that's surely what you expect from me at this point, isn't it? ;)
If the Mudblood dies, I'll tear Bellatrix's throat out with my bare hands.
I tighten my grip around her fingers, watching her chest rise and fall as she breathes. Her eyelids flutter, but she doesn't wake yet.
Perhaps she's dreaming.
I wonder what she dreams about?
She probably has nothing but nightmares, these days. Most of them are probably about me.
This is pathetic. I should leave. It should be nothing to me whether she lives or dies…
So why have I been waiting here for hours? Why haven't I gone to ensure Bellatrix's silence?
There's no point in leaving. There's no possibility of being able to get anything done until I know for sure that she's alright.
The tip of her tongue slides out of her mouth, moistening her lower lip.
It almost stops my heartbeat.
I lean forwards, brushing a lock of frizzy hair behind her ear.
'Mudblood? Are you awake?'
'Mmm.' It's a tiny murmur, so light I might have imagined it, but it makes me dizzy with relief.
Her eyes flicker open. Large. Dark. Unmistakably her.
She rolls her head up to look into my face. There's something languid about her expression. It's just exhaustion, I know. But she looks almost…
No. That's a dangerous thought, and one I won't pursue.
Ha. What a ridiculous lie. I've pursued that thought involuntarily more times than I dare to count.
She flexes her fingers in my grasp.
'How do you feel?' I ask, like an imbecile.
She licks her lips. 'Tired,' she whispers.
I nod. Practicality. It's the only way. 'I thought you might be. I managed to force some blood replenishing potion down you after you passed out. Your body was reluctant to take it, but I managed it in the end.'
She looks almost hurt at my words, for some reason. I want to ask her why. But I won't.
I unwind my fingers from hers. She's alive. That's all I need know.
'I must go,' I say quietly. 'I have things to deal with. But first…'
I hand her the goblet of blood replenishing potion from her bedside table. She takes it from me, and I watch the tender skin of her neck rise and fall as she drinks the potion down in one.
She hands the goblet back to me, looking at me with that expression of confusion she so often wears around me.
She's so pale she looks like a ghost.
I have to make a decision. One way or another, it has to end… soon.
I know what I should do. I should kill her before I give in to it, I know. But what I want to do is another matter entirely.
'You'll need to take a few more glasses to make a full recovery,' I mutter. 'I want you to have finished the bottle by the time I return.'
She frowns at me, and I stand quickly, turning to the door.
'Lucius,' she whispers.
Oh, damn her. Why does she still insist on using my name?
The worst of it is that I couldn't bear to hear her call me anything else.
I turn back to face her. She's looking at me from under tired, exhausted eyelids.
No, not Hermione. Mudblood. Always, always Mudblood.
'Thank you,' she says, in a voice that betrays her as the child that she was, only a few short months ago.
Her legs are slightly spread, the outline of them visible through the long skirt of her robe.
I could do it now. She'd never be able to fight back in her current state…
But would I want her to fight back?
Good god, I want…
I turn swiftly and leave the room, locking the door behind me.
I lean back against the door, putting my head in my hands.
I have things to do.
Yes. First things first.
I turn to walk down the corridor, determined to find first my damned sister-in-law, and then my son.
I push open her bedroom door quietly, shutting it behind me and locking it.
I don't know why I'm here. I don't know what I'm here for. But the door must be locked. Whatever happens here must never be discovered.
She's sitting at her dressing table with her back to me, looking at her reflection in the mirror. She looks desolate – she doesn't recognize what she's become.
I know, because that's what I see when I look in the mirror.
I walk slowly over to her. Still she doesn't turn to face me.
I brush my hand onto her shoulder, under the warm weight of her hair. I draw in a breath as my fingers graze over the soft skin where her neck meets her shoulders.
She gives no reaction at all. Perhaps she's immune to my touch.
If only I were immune to hers. Just touching her now is almost too much to bear.
What should I do? How can I rid myself of this agony?
The answer is all too obvious.
'How do you feel?' I ask quietly.
'Better,' she whispers back.
My grip on her shoulder tightens convulsively, before I force myself to let go.
She looks up at me, but I turn quickly, not daring to look into her face.
I walk over to her bed, staring down at it.
Here? Or my room? Where should we go-
No. We shouldn't go anywhere. It's not an option.
I've got to get a hold of myself. I'm a master of self-control. No-one, not even my family, knows the real me, that's how adept I am at self-control…
How difficult can it be? I've managed this long.
'What's happened to Bellatrix?' she asks quietly.
I look up at her. She's finally stood to turn and face me.
'She's… safe,' I murmur.
'Safe?' she whispers.
I nod. 'I have dealt with her. She will not remember anything of the last twenty four hours. She will have no recollection of what she tried to do to you.'
She frowns. 'What about Draco?'
'I have left him be,' I mutter. 'He's just a boy, after all. And I know my own son well enough to grasp that he would never act against anyone without the help of others. But just in case, I have informed him that should he ever trouble you again, or should he choose to remind his Aunt of her behaviour, then he shall forfeit his position as my son.'
She frowns, her mouth falling open, for some reason.
'But he's your son,' she whispers.
'And so he shall remain,' I say coldly, 'as long as he chooses not to defy me.'
She bites her lip, her eyes shining, and suddenly her interest makes sense.
'I suppose your infuriating disposition leads you to feel sorry for him,' I mutter.
She doesn't answer. She just opens her mouth, but says nothing.
I breathe a laugh. Of course she feels sorry for him. How insipid she is. How predictable that she should pity someone who just twelve hours ago tried to murder her.
I can see the pink glisten of her tongue.
I take a few steps forwards. 'Don't pity him. He should not have done what he did.'
I pause as she flinches, pressing her lips together.
What is it that she's afraid of?
That's a ridiculous question.
'But then, it is you that has caused all of this,' I murmur, walking towards her. 'Draco never disobeyed me before you came into the equation. I never…'
Her breathing stops as I reach her, but whether from fear or otherwise, I don't know.
I brush a stray lock of brown hair behind her ear. Her eyes widen; her wide, dark, beautiful eyes…
She's not beautiful, though. Oh, her eyes are startling, there's no doubt about it – but apart from that, she's perfectly ordinary. Not ugly, but certainly not a beauty. Not like Narcissa, or Bellatrix…
So why do I lie awake at night, yearning to touch her?
'You have such a strange effect on people, Mudblood,' I whisper. 'What is it about you, I wonder?'
I brush my hand onto her cheek, feeling the smooth warmth under my fingers as her head tilts back languidly, her eyes almost closing at the contact.
She wants this. I know it. I've known for weeks that she wants me too, even if the thought terrifies her.
If I moved forwards an inch I cold kiss her. Could feel her.
No. This has to stop. How could I live with myself if I gave in?
I close my eyes, drop my hand and turn from her, taking swift steps forwards.
How I wish I had killed her when the Dark Lord first gave me permission to do so. It would have been so easy, then. It was easy enough for me to consider it, at least.
But even then, bruised and bloody as she was, the sight of her stayed my hand. I couldn't see the hideous, bloody mess her face and body had become. I could only see her wide, terrified eyes, and the way her robe had ridden up, showing me a pale pair of legs.
Still, it would have been so much easier, then. I didn't even realise how much I wanted her, then. Perhaps if I'd have killed her, I might have forgotten her by now.
She's walking towards me. I can hear her light footsteps.
Go. For god's sake, go. Don't push me for something I can't afford to give, GO.
Her hand brushes onto my cheek.
I close my eyes at the sensation of it – her tiny, warm fingers lacing over my skin, oh god-
I snap my hand up to catch at her wrist, inadvertently wrenching her closer to me.
'How many times have I told you not to touch me?' I say furiously.
She looks up at me, literally shaking with fear. 'What are you afraid of, Lucius?'
Damn her. Damn her. Why does she have to push me like this?
I never feared anything, until she came along.
'You will not bring me to this,' I whisper. 'I will not allow it to be so.' I raise my wand. 'Crucio!'
She screams, her mouth a wide, gaping hole, and her body thrashes, so I grab her arms, trying to hold her still as if that might lessen the pain, and I don't want to do it, I don't, but the screaming goes on, and on, every single one of them a knife to my chest-
But I have to do it. How else can I keep her away?
Why does she still want me, when I put her through such agony?
I let her go as I lift the curse, and she collapses on the floor like a stringless puppet, shivering so violently it distorts her moans of pain.
I grip onto her shoulder, turn her over onto her back and grab her by the throat. Her face is still creased up with agony, but she presses her lips together, breathing harshly through her nose against the pain.
I lace my hand over her cheek. 'Good god, how did it come to this?' I whisper.
She stares at me desperately, shaking her head.
'I don't want it to be like this!' she whispers. 'Do you think I wanted things to be this way?'
How I long to kill her! If she wasn't so important… if she weren't so persistent… if she wasn't always so prominent in my thoughts…
She cannot imagine how I would make her suffer.
I stand up quickly. 'Get up!'
She stumbles to her feet, shaking in front of me. Stupid little girl, idiot, worthless fool – she has no idea of the trouble she's causing.
'You are pathetic,' I murmur. 'Weak, ignorant, useless. You are an abomination in every sense of the word.'
Her eyes brighten. She's going to cry again. My god, does she ever do anything else?
Or is it only when she's around me?
Why does that thought bother me so much?
She sinks her teeth into her lip before she turns away from me.
'Bellatrix was right,' I murmur viciously, 'you have nothing to offer me.'
Her shoulders start to shake, silently.
How can I endure that? How can I watch her weep at a comment that should mean nothing to her, coming as it does – from her enemy…
Yes, her enemy. And she should be so low in my esteem that she doesn't even warrant the title of 'enemy', and yet I want her more than anything I've ever wanted in my life.
And I have given up so much for her. Surely… surely I have to find out whether she's worth it?
'But then,' I murmur, 'if you have nothing to offer me then why have I done so much for you? I have killed, endured torture, and lost friends - all for you.'
I snake my hand under her hair, sliding it slowly down her neck, and over her shoulder. I can feel her blood pulsing under her skin.
'I wish that I had never met you,' I whisper in her ear, as I slide my hands down to her waist. 'I remember a time, not so long ago, when if I heard your name I had to struggle for a moment or two to remember who you were. To me, you were Potter's little Mudblood sidekick. Nothing more, nothing less.'
Her whole body tenses as my fingers skate down over her hips, the bones of which, to my alarm, poke out sharply. Perhaps I should provide her with more food-
Why do I give a solitary damn about how much she has to eat, for the love of god? She's only a Mudblood.
I breathe a tiny, mirthless chuckle. Only a Mudblood. How I wish that were true.
'Sometimes I want nothing more than to go back to that time,' I murmur in her ear.
I pull her back onto me in one sharp movement, feeling her curves through my robes, and I press myself against her, unable to stop myself. My breathing quickens, and I lower my lips, and they're about to brush onto her shoulder when she grips onto my wrists, pushing my hands away from her as she steps forwards, away from me.
How can she deny this? How can she deny me? I have never been denied anything.
Still… if she's unwilling, then how can I force her?
What a stupid question. I can do what I like, and she'd never be able to stop me.
Besides, she's just a muggle, for god's sake. How does she deserve any compassion, or pity?
'Trying to ignore me, Mudblood?' I force a laugh. 'When have you ever been able to ignore me?'
She gasps a dry sob as I step around her, hooking my fingers into her chin and wrenching her face up to meet mine, and her eyes plead with me to leave her be…
I have no pity. No pity. She has brought me to this, and so I will not spare her.
But then, when have I ever spared her?
My god, she must truly loathe me.
'Do you hate me?' I murmur.
I don't know why I'm asking. I know her answer, of course I do. But I almost don't want her to confirm it to me.
'Yes,' she whispers back.
And yet to hear it almost makes it easier.
'I thought as much,' I murmur. 'How could you not, after everything I've done to you? I've made you bleed, and scream, and cry. How could you feel anything but hatred for me?'
I could carry on speaking, and cement her hatred of me, but those damned eyes of hers well up with tears again.
Her hatred I can withstand. But those tears…
I can't abide them. Not anymore.
I let go of her chin and I turn from her. She will not see the effect her tears have on me.
By god, I hate her. Why does she have to make everything so difficult?
'You had a choice, you know,' she whispers.
Oh, why does she persist? Why in god's name does she persist?
She must know she's asking for something I can't afford to give.
I turn back to face her. 'What?'
'You didn't have to do what you have done to me,' she says, her voice shaking. 'You could have refused Voldemort when he asked you to hurt me. And often you hurt me without even being ordered to do it. You tortured me for hours on end just because you wanted to teach me that I was beneath you. Is it any wonder I hate you?'
That's it. She stands there… she assumes that she can pass judgement on my actions, half of which I had absolutely no choice over?
'You little bitch,' I whisper, with feeling. 'Do you think that I didn't long for other choices than the ones I was presented with? Do you think I…?'
My own lack of words infuriates me. And yet still she stares at me, looking so damnably wretched and yet proud.
I will no longer tolerate her. It will all end tonight.
In two steps I've got her by the throat, and I push her into the wall behind her.
'What have you done?' I whisper. 'What have you done to me?'
I loosen my hand, and I feel her shiver.
That's it. It's beyond my control.
I slide my hands down, brushing one hand over her breast, and circling the other around her waist, pulling her closer, pushing a knee up between her thighs, which clench around me.
She hits at my arms, trying to push me away, damn her, as if she hasn't pushed me to this point in the first place.
'Let me go,' she whispers, but I don't care a jot. Not now that I have her in my arms.
I pull her closer to me, and her tiny fingers clench into fists on my chest, but I'm sure I can feel her body curving up to meet mine, just a little. Her eyes are wide, and fearful, but she can't deny it, she can't-
Even if she does, it does not matter. She's a Mudblood, isn't she? What does her opinion matter?
But… surely she must… or else, why has she pushed me into this, time after time?
'Last night I thought you would die,' I murmur, furious at the desperation in my voice. 'And I found myself hoping that you would not. Because if you were to die then I would never…'
No. She can't think that she's winning. This is on my terms, not hers. She needs to know that.
That gives me pause for a moment. Perhaps I should stop. She's just a child-
No. She deserves to suffer, if this is how low she's brought me.
'You have brought this on yourself, Hermione.'
Her eyes widen but I lower my head, down onto that strange little mouth of hers, and lips meet, finally-
I push her back into the wall as her mouth falls open against my own. I knew it. I knew it wasn't just me. She's losing this game, just as I have been doing for weeks.
She's tentative, though. Different from the other women I've seduced. Her movements are slow and faltering.
I almost want to cradle her, for a moment. To comfort her-
No, I will not. I have no comfort – no pity – for Mudbloods.
I curl my fingers around her wrist, pushing it up the wall above her as my knee pushes up between her thighs, and – god – she whimpers into my mouth, and it's almost too much to bear.
I need to see her.
I break the kiss, hooking my fingers into the neckline of her dress and easing it off her shoulders, pulling her arms out through the neck of it. I can't hear her breathing, and she wrenches her arms around to cover herself but I stop her, pinning her arms to the wall to allow my eyes to travel slowly over her body.
This is it. I have to have her, tonight. It's not what I intended when I kissed her, I don't think, but I've waited too long-
I move my eyes back up to her face. Her lips are red and swollen.
'You can't do this,' she whispers, as if she needs to remind me of the fact.
'Indeed,' I murmur as my hand circles her waist again, and I pull her up to kiss me, and I can't stop myself from pressing myself against her urgently. A primal force makes me force her against the wall, and I'm kissing her so furiously she'll bleed soon enough, I know it.
I pull back and she sways, sliding down the wall, and so I pick her up and carry her over to the bed, laying her down on it. I lean over her, running my eyes over her naked upper body, then run my hand over her waist, over the bumps of her ribs, then up to her breast, moving my thumb over her nipple.
'Please…' she whispers.
'What do you want?' I murmur.
Her head moves slowly from side to side as I slowly circle her nipple with my thumb, desperation building in me like a fever.
'I want you to answer that,' I whisper, willing myself to be patient.
'I want you to stop,' she says desperately.
To stop? To stop this? My god, she has no idea.
I lean in closer. 'If that was what you really wanted you would have told me so when this first began,' I whisper before I kiss her again, and I feel her tongue slide to meet mine, proving me to be right.
No. I should stop, because once it's done there's no going back-
But how could either of us go back to normal, after this?
Hesitantly, she tries to speak again. 'I've never, I mean…'
She flushes with embarrassment.
It takes a second to register with me.
I'll be her first. That's… what I expected, but…
This means she'll be mine forever, then. No-one else will be able to take this hold on her away from me.
I ease her dress completely off her, allowing myself to take in the small breasts, the smooth skin, glistening with nerves, and the darkness between her legs.
I slide out of my own robes, trying to take my time. I've waited too long for this.
As my robes fall to the floor she rolls to the side, but I catch her by the waist, pinning her in place.
'Please,' she whimpers, 'please, let me go!'
And yet again, another surge of pity. Damn her. Why does she always have this effect on me?
Well if she thinks I'm going to stop now, then she's a fool.
'I don't think so,' I murmur, sliding one hand up over her smooth stomach, until finally it finds her breast. 'I'm not going to let you go, not now that I have you.'
I kiss her again, tugging at a nipple between thumb and forefinger. She whimpers into my mouth, and that tiny vibration is almost too much for me. A groan eases from my lips, and I kiss her harder, brutally, my teeth sinking into her lower lip, tearing at the skin until I can taste her blood.
Her blood. That thought alone should stop me, I know it, but how could I stop this now?
She breaks away from me, but I hold her fast.
But if she's not willing…
No. She is. I know that she is.
But that's not enough. She has to know. I can't let her think she's won.
I slip my hand down, painfully slowly over her stomach, and as my fingers reach between her legs I break the kiss, looking down into her pleading eyes.
'You have always claimed that I do not own you,' I say slowly, cruelly. 'You have always claimed not to be mine. I have often wondered what it would take to make you believe it.'
She squirms as I apply pressure with my thumb and forefinger, her cheeks flushing with mortification or unwilling pleasure. Either way, she tries to turn her face from me…
No. She will look at me. I won't let her close her eyes and pretend it's anyone other than me. If I can live in self-hatred, then so can she.
I pull her chin down, so she has no option but to look at me as I touch her.
I move my fingers, slowly exploring her, and as I slowly circle my thumb her breathing quickens, her cheeks flushing red…
I hope it's exquisite torture for her. Then she can know how I feel every damn night as I lie awake thinking about her.
So I quicken my movements, and she sinks her teeth into her lip, and at a flick of my thumb I feel her whole body unwillingly tense, and her eyes are pleading with me, still, but I know her body's betraying her-
And then her eyes squeeze shut and her body twitches and pulses, her breathing heavy, and I know then that I've won. She's as trapped in this as I am.
I let go of her face. She lies back, her chest rising and falling with her rapid breaths.
I have to have her. Now. I've waited too long, and the sight of her like that is… not something I can just walk away from.
I lean over her, to drive home my triumph. 'You would never believe me, but now you know it is as I told you once before, Mudblood – you belong to me.'
And yet again, fresh tears roll down her cheeks.
For god's sake. Why do her tears affect me like they do? I can't bear them anymore.
It used to be the highlight of my day, when I'd finally make her weep.
I brush my thumb over her cheeks, wiping the offending droplets away.
What has happened to me? How has a Mudblood made me so weak?
She opens her eyes. She looks so… real in this moment. I can see her for what she is. Not the Mudblood, the hated aberration, no. A girl. Young, naïve, clever, fragile, vulnerable and strong.
Just a girl. With no calculation in her kiss. This is not a game to her – just honest feeling. And her tears are so indicative of that.
It's not something I've come across before.
I entwine my fingers in her hair.
'What have you done?' I murmur. 'How have you brought me to this?'
She just stares back up at me, her chest rising and falling rapidly. She has no idea, no comprehension of what I've been driven to by her, of how much danger she has put me in, and now she's brought me down to her level. She's put me on par with her own disgusting kind, and yet she says nothing-
Rage grips me and I reach up and close my hand around her throat, feeling the sinews and muscle contract and twitch beneath my fingers as she desperately tries to breathe.
'I should kill you,' I whisper furiously. 'You little Mudblood bitch, I should kill you rather than give in to this… this… sickness.'
She looks up at me with sheer desperation and terror, her mouth working around soundless words, so alive, so bright and real, and so beautiful in her terror.
I can't do it.
I loosen my hand, but before she draws breath properly I lower my lips on to hers again, and her fingers dig into my arms as I kiss her.
I trace my fingers over her thigh, hooking them under her knee to spread her legs apart, resting myself between them. I break the kiss and she looks up at me, plainly terrified, but this is it. There's no turning back, now.
'You are mine,' I whisper. 'You always will be. Nobody else's but mine.'
I push into her – god – groaning at the warmth of her, and I have to shift my weight to enter her completely, and as I push in further and further she cries out, but I kiss her again and her arms wrap around my back.
I rock my hips back and forth, feeling her stretch around me, and I can't stop. I can't ever stop this. I'm trapped with her, too addicted to ever stop…
I do up the final clasp of my robe, trying to ignore the fact that my hands are shaking. I walk over to the door, still not sated, although I've had what I've wanted for so long.
What have I done to myself?
What have I done to her?
I turn to look at her, curled up on the bed like a rag doll.
She pulls the bed-sheet tighter around her body – defensive even now, after what just happened.
There are tear tracks running down her cheeks.
Isn't this what I wanted?
I should obliviate her. I should make her forget that this ever happened. I can't let her know that she's conquered me.
But the fact that she won't remember won't take away the fact that it happened.
And it happened because I wanted it to.
I don't understand the look in her eyes. They look blank. Empty.
Why do they look empty?
No. I don't want to know.
I can't stay here. I can't abide her looking at me like… like that. Her hatred, her terror – even her contempt - would be preferable to that look of emptiness.
I press my lips into a line and I turn, leaving the room and locking the door behind me.
Perhaps I should…
I turn back to the door. She needs to know-
No. She can never know.
I press my forehead against the door, gritting my teeth together.