Disclaimer: It goes without saying that none of the Harry Potter world or its' characters belong to me, unfortunately. Neither do the lyrics.
Warnings: Mental and physical abuse/torture.
Summary: Bellatrix abducts Hermione and keeps her prisoner, but an ancient magic threatens to change both their lives in ways they never thought were possible.
A/N: This fic is set during the summer months at the start of Deathly Hallows and complies with the events in the book. The timeline has been slightly adjusted at the start but it is barely noticeable. It takes into account events from the books and the films, but mainly the books as they are my favourite and provide greater detail. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (film) wasn't considered as I wrote this beforehand and I feel like the scenes I have written and slotted into the book version work better. I hope that makes sense, if not, please ask. Also, I have tried to keep the characters in-character despite the unlikely pairing. Feedback is welcome. :)
Chin don't start to quiver
Hands now don't you shiver
Gotta keep myself from breaking down
Someone get me out
Someone let me out
Sinead Quinn, Breakdown
In hindsight, Hermione would have been far better off had it been Lord Voldemort himself who had captured her. Most likely, he would have mocked, humiliated and tortured her for only a few days at most before he realised that Harry wasn't going to take the bait and save her. Distracted by more important matters, there would be a simple Avada Kedavra, and her life would end with a flash of electric green. The thought of this, no matter how horrific a death to suffer, didn't even come close to affecting Hermione in the same way as her current predicament.
Although she remained silent, Hermione was screaming her lungs raw inside of her chest, a constant noise vibrating through her ears that made it extremely difficult to think clearly. Over the years she had found herself in a great deal of tricky situations, and with luck, skill and talent, she had always managed to get herself out of them (with a little help from Harry and Ron, of course) even when it appeared to be a case of achieving the unachievable. Nevertheless, the fact remained that she had not been facing the impossible back then; just immensely difficult circumstances. It had dawned on her that this, here and now was the absolute definition of impossible.
She had no wand.
She had no weapon.
She had no friends to protect her.
No Harry. No Ron.
Screw the legendary Gryffindor bravery; death suddenly seemed like the most appealing option in the world.
Hermione didn't remember much of how her capture actually happened; she only remembered what she had been doing immediately before it occurred. Walking through the fields surrounding The Burrow had seemed like a good idea at the time, because as much as she loved Harry, Ron and his family, sometimes she just wanted to be on her own. As an only child she had always been used to entertaining herself, and even upon going to Hogwarts she had escaped to the deserted areas of the library or underneath the shade of a tree whenever she wanted time away from others; even if those individuals were people she loved. At present, she had been sharing a lovely, cosy home, but one that afforded little time to just muse and consider her own thoughts.
It had been stupid of her, she knew that now. She was already a target considering her friendship with Harry and the fact that she was a Muggle-born; so putting herself out in the open, beyond the boundaries of the protection that had been placed around The Burrow, where she would be easier to get to had been one of the worst ideas she had ever had. Her nonchalant it won't happen to me stance had earned her a one way ticket into the claws of Bellatrix Lestrange, said to be Voldemort's most faithful servant. As Ron would say, "Bloody brilliant!"
Of all the Death Eaters that could have caught her, Bellatrix was probably the most dangerous. She was a talented witch, capable of inflicting her powers on anyone and anything, not allowing morals to even enter the equation. It was like she didn't care about anything but Voldemort, and that made her far more dangerous than someone such as Wormtail who acted purely out of fear and self-interest. Bellatrix believed in what she was fighting for through and through, and Hermione wasn't sure there was anything in the world that would change that about her.
Stupidly, after the first crack of someone Apparating next to her, Hermione had failed to pull out her wand. Although she had jumped upon hearing the sound, she had assumed that it was Ron, Harry, or one of the other Weasley's who had decided to join her on her walk. Irritated, Hermione had spun around to insist that she be left alone; that this was her only "me time" and she wanted to enjoy it without the presence of another hindering it. Silly, silly me.
By the time she realised that it was not Harry or Ron who had joined her, but was in fact Bellatrix Lestrange; it was too late. She gripped her wand, but barely had time to decide whether to attack or defend when she was disarmed, her wand removed from her possession silently with Bellatrix's apt use of a non-verbal spell. It was right about this moment that she started to panic; what would she do without a wand to defend herself? Desperate, she dropped to the ground, rolling sideward, and screaming at the top of her voice so as to draw attention to her predicament. If only she could make enough noise for one of her friends to come running, then it would all be ok. Wouldn't it?
"Where do you think you're going Mudblood? We've barely had a chance to get to know each other!" Bella shrieked, laughing madly.
Unable to even form a response in her mind, Hermione scrambled, concentrating on her attempt to get the hell out of the perilous situation and back to the relative safety of the Weasley home. She screamed continuously, hoping that someone would look out of the window and see what was happening before alerting the others so that everyone rushed to her aid before the Death Eater had a chance to kill her. Except now Bellatrix was coming closer, and instead of throwing curses at her, she had thrown herself over Hermione's body on the ground, preventing her from moving.
"Shhh, little one. There's no need to panic," Bellatrix whispered crazily in Hermione's ear, sending chills down her spine.
"HARRY! RON!" Hermione yelled, so loudly that she thought her voice box would burst with the pressure. "GET OFF!" She yelled at the Death Eater, not wanting to show any signs of fear despite the terror that was pounding in her chest.
There was a blow to her chest, and suddenly, Hermione found she was no longer capable of shouting. Winded, she panted for breath, trying to keep her head and her wits about her, knowing that her intelligence was the only attribute she possessed that may possibly get her through this. She looked around desperately, praying that by now someone had realised what was going on, but from what she could see there was no one in the house who had seen the events unfolding, from the window or elsewhere.
"Now, now ickle one, there's no need to fight this so much," Bellatrix said in a horrible, mocking voice. "You and I both know who is in control here."
Hermione knew, but that didn't mean that things couldn't change if she played her cards right. Allowing her body to go limp, she watched Bellatrix' eyes, observing when they widened in surprise at Hermione's sudden reluctance to defend herself. The very second that the expression on Bellatrix' face changed, Hermione pushed upwards with all her weight, throwing Bellatrix off her to the side. She twisted herself around and launched herself into the air, speeding as fast as she could through the fields, back towards safety.
"Mudblood bitch!" Bellatrix screeched. "You're not going anywhere!"
A nanosecond later, and Hermione felt as though she had just slammed into a brick wall, although there was only air surrounding her. Flying backwards, she landed on the floor, crying out as she smashed her head on the ground beneath her. As if that didn't cause enough pain, Hermione was then faced with Bellatrix slamming a knee down onto her torso, pinning her to the ground. "Don't ever try to defy me again, pathetic creature!" Bellatrix hissed, and Hermione felt a sharp pain in her right cheekbone as Bellatrix punched her in the face, her ring connecting with Hermione's skin and tearing it open.
She moaned, and immediately she felt the blood begin to trickle out, dripping down her cheek. If she wasn't so terrified she would have laughed; who would have known Bellatrix would be so good at Muggle moves such as punches and winding her with her knee? Hermione was just wondering if she could injure Bellatrix in a similar fashion, when she felt a jerk behind her navel, and panic enveloped her entirely. Horrified, Hermione realised she was Apparating, forced by Bellatrix and the nails on her hand that gripped her wrist.
Fear overwhelmed her as a dangerous situation was brought to a whole new level, one which Hermione had never before had the misfortune of experiencing. The cackle that Bellatrix gave echoed in and out as she span around, reminding Hermione of the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. But this wasn't fiction, this wasn't a dream; it was her life. For how much longer she would be allowed to live Hermione had no idea, but for the moment, this was the situation she had been thrust into and there wasn't even a Time-Turner on hand to influence the events that unfolded.
Coming to a stop, Hermione felt all of the breath leave her chest as she thudded to the floor of an unknown venue. For a moment she debated attempting to grab her wand back from Bellatrix, but upon catching sight of the murderous expression on the Death Eater's face, she thought differently. It was clear that she didn't stand a chance, and were she to do anything too hastily without thinking the consequences through, Bellatrix would most likely catch on and only make this encounter twice as painful. She would just have to bide her time and decide what her best hope of escaping was at another time when a more realistic opportunity presented itself.
If a more realistic opportunity presented itself...
"Please," Hermione said, trying not to whimper. "Please."
"Please what?" Bellatrix taunted, dark eyes feral, pouting lips mocking her. "Help me? Take me back? Let me go?" She stood over Hermione, her long black dress flowing around her body and clinging to her curves in all the right places. It gave her an air of femininity when coupled with the laced black gloves that travelled up each of her arms. In contrast, her neck bore the number ninety-three Azkaban prisoner tattoo, drawing attention away from the fact she was a Pure-blood and highlighting the fact that she was a convicted Death Eater. Hermione was temporarily fixated on the tattoo, confronted with an awful visible reminder of the danger she was facing. As she lowered her eyes to Bellatrix's forearm and spotted the Dark Mark, the terror became fully fledged, and she bit back a scream in an attempt to remain calm.
"Just... just don't do whatever it is you're planning to do," Hermione said, trying to keep her voice steady. Please don't torture me. She was knelt down on the floor of a grand green and silver themed room, surrounded by expensive looking ornaments, portraits and a marble fireplace. It was these she focused on in an attempt to remain calm. Where exactly she was she had no idea; she only remembered that they had Apparated there, or rather, Bellatrix had Apparated and dragged Hermione with her.
"Well, I did give serious consideration to throwing Avada Kedavra at you," Bellatrix sighed. "But you know dearie... I think I'm going to keep you around. For a while at least."
Hermione felt bile rise up in her throat. A while? What did that even mean? Bellatrix had spent over fourteen years locked away in Azkaban; was that what she considered to be a while? If so, Hermione didn't think she could remain sane for all that time. In fact, should Bellatrix choose to use her as some sort of torture toy, there was definitely no way that she would have her sanity intact by the time the Death Eater was finished with her; not judging by what had happened to Frank and Alice Longbottom. Losing her mind was the worst thing that could happen to her, Hermione decided. A fate worse than death to be trapped in a useless body, reliant on others, unable to think the simplest of thoughts. Oh Merlin.
Not able to bear asking Bellatrix why she was going to keep her prisoner, Hermione instead asked another question that she wasn't sure she really wanted to hear the answer to. "Why?"
Bellatrix shrugged. "Why not?"
Hermione opened her mouth to speak again, but was stopped by the stinging slap of a hand across her cheekbone; the same one that Bellatrix has already injured in the fields of The Burrow. She hissed in pain, her eyes screwed shut, but managed to stop herself from crying out. At this stage she was probably fairly calm purely due to the adrenaline running through her veins, but as soon as that wore out, hysteria was bound to kick in. The thought of never seeing her friends again was bad enough, though the idea of what she would have to go through whilst they no doubt looked for her without walking into a trap made her want to vomit on the spot. In fact, maybe she was starting to panic now because she felt her stomach churn and she couldn't stop herself from gagging at the mental images that flashed through her mind.
Unable to stop herself, she threw up the contents of her stomach, missing Bellatrix by a few mere inches.
"You disgusting little Mudblood," Bellatrix hissed at her, jumping backwards away from the vomit. "You're worse than an animal! Did your Muggle parents not bother to teach you manners?"
"I couldn't... couldn't help it," Hermione managed to force out, and she shakily wiped her eyes, forcing back any tears that even thought about appearing. The mere mention of her parents had brought to the surface emotions that she had desperately tried not to think, and their faces swarmed her mind once more. The images that flickered like a broken light bulb inside her head were memories, some good, some bad. She thought of the times she had fallen and cut herself in the school playground as a child, and all the birthday parties she had been granted each time she grew a year older. She thought about her parent's expressions as she opened the letter from Hogwarts, their disbelief directed at Professor McGonagall who had personally hand delivered the letter, (such was the rule for all Muggle-born students not to simply receive their invitation to Hogwarts by Owl post) and their eventually coming to terms with the fact that Hermione was as special as they had always imagined her to be.
Hermione sniffed. Quite frankly, all she wanted to do right now was sob and run into her mother's arms in the way that she had whenever she was upset as a little girl. So much for being brave, Hermione, she told herself. Really, she should be grateful that Bella had yet to restrain her with magic or by any other means that she so chose. Eventually the time would come, she knew that much, but for the moment at least her hands were free. Not that there was anything to celebrate; with no wand and stuck in the home of a Death Eater, there was no way that she would ever overpower a talented witch such as Bellatrix.
It was terrible, but true. For all Bellatrix's faults, wrongs and craziness; she was an excellent witch. Her skills at defending herself were far better than Hermione's had ever been, and her duelling tactics were just as fantastic. Had she been fighting with the Order instead of for Voldemort, no doubt their chances of success against evil would greaten immensely.
Unfortunately, Hermione knew that even so much as suggesting this was likely to earn her a hearty dose of pain and suffering. Really, she was surprised that Bellatrix had managed to last this long already since they'd arrived in this new location; a measly slap was hardly enough to justify being named as pain. If Hermione ever wanted to get though this alive, she would have to stay strong and toughen up. No longer was she living during the days when the worst thing that happened to her was a scraped knee; now she was in way over her head.
"Couldn't help it," Bella mocked, revealing her decayed teeth. "Are you scared, Mudblood? Are you frightened that the big bad nasty Death Eater is going to get you?"
Hermione kept her mouth shut tightly, worried that she was going to vomit once more. Answering the question in her own head, yes. She was bloody terrified, in all honesty. The chance of being found was close to zero; Harry and Ron wouldn't even know where to begin looking, and the Order would have things to deal with far higher than this on their list of priorities. She understood, of course she did, but that didn't mean she was happy about the fact that she was most likely going to die in immense pain.
"What exactly are you going to do to me?" she asked bluntly, when she trusted herself not to expel the remaining contents of her stomach.
Bellatrix laughed, and Hermione felt a shiver run deep within her bones. This is not happening.
"Whatever I feel like," Bellatrix announced, twisting her wand around in her hands. "Play with you in every possible way I can think of. I won't inform you of the exact details... wouldn't want to spoil the surprise for your filthy blood."
"What do I have to do," Hermione began, taking deep breaths whilst staring at the floor and trying to remain calm. She could hardly believe what she was about to propose, but she knew it was the best she could hope for in this situation. "To get you to kill me right here, right now?"
She half expected Bellatrix to laugh again, but instead she was met by silence. When there was still silence a moment later, she forced herself to look up at the Death Eater. Bellatrix was staring down thoughtfully at her, her eyes no longer wild, but seeming to consider Hermione's words. A sear of hope rushed through Hermione. Maybe, just maybe, her wish would be granted. There would be a heavy price to pay, but she could do whatever was required. She just had to stay strong.
Finally, Bellatrix spoke. "You would rather die than wait for an opportunity, no matter how small the chance, to try and escape?"
"I'm nothing if not realistic," Hermione replied with trembling honestly. "There's no chance of escape; you'll have placed enchantments around this entire area to prevent apparition and I have no wand with which to defend myself or to break free. I know that at some point you're going to kill me, when you get bored or... or whatever. I would just rather not have to go through that. Besides, like you said... I'm a Mudblood. Why should I live?"
Bellatrix raised her eyebrows. "You're as smart as they say, aren't you?" She knelt down in front of Hermione, moving in towards her, dark eyes fixated on her own. "But I'm cleverer, and I know what you're trying to make me do. I won't. You are going to live here in Black Manor, experiencing every inconceivable idea that I invent and decide to inflict upon you. Starting now!"
There was no real warning for Hermione other than Bellatrix raising her wand. "Crucio!"
The last thing Hermione saw before she was unable to think any longer was a flash of red light, and then there was only agony. Every other feeling of pain that Hermione had felt in the past paled in comparison, from the time she had sliced her finger open with a bread knife to the time she stubbornly tried to prove she could fly just as well as the next Seeker to Harry and Ron and ended up crashing into a tree. This was a hellish, fiery torment that made her scream out loud and not even slightly concerned with trying not to show weakness in front of Bellatrix.
She didn't know how long it lasted, but no doubt it was far shorter than the hours it had felt like. Time didn't seem to exist when under the spell of the Cruciatus curse, for the sufferer could barely find themselves able to breath, let alone able to take note of how long they had had to endure it for. That was probably going to be something she would struggle to get used to; Hermione would not only have no control over what was happening to her but no way of monitoring the length of time it had been happening.
In short, this was the closest to hell on earth Hermione had ever felt.
Just when Hermione was thinking that it wasn't actually possible to feel any worse, Bellatrix leant towards her once more. "Don't think that's the only spell I have in store for you. There's plenty more where that came from and more." Grinning, she watched as the look of horror on Hermione's face intensified further.
"Why do you hate me so much?" Hermione asked, her voice quivering. "Is the fact that I'm Muggle-born really that awful?"
Bellatrix looked astounded that Hermione had dared to even ask such a question. "Do you really need me to answer that? Of course it is. You're filth; lower than any other kind vermin or beast. You're unworthy of your magical status as a witch and if you had any decency you'd have renounced your place in the wizarding world the moment you discovered how pathetic your kind are."
Inexplicably, it was Bellatrix's proclamation that wounded Hermione far more than any curse could. The disgust in her dark, fiery eyes as she detailed her feelings on Muggle-borns cut Hermione deep, for it was one thing knowing that some wizards and witches thought it, and entirely different hearing it directed with such venom towards herself. Feeling the tears prick at her eyes, she desperately blinked them back. Hermione didn't want the crazed witch to see her defeated so completely; that would be her final undoing. For the Death Eater to know that she had reduced her captive to such a state that she bawled her eyes out would be entirely too mortifying to bear.
Although she managed to get the tears under control, her upset had not gone unnoticed by Bellatrix. Unfortunately. "Aww, did I make the ickle bitty Mudbaby cry?" she said scornfully. "Did you want a hug?"
Hermione was no fool; she knew that something bad, possibly just as horrible as the Cruciatus Curse was about to happen to her. Refusing to play up to Bellatrix's fears, knowing it would only excite the older witch further, she spat words that she very rarely used together. "Fuck you," she said as fearlessly as possible.
Laughing, Bellatrix revealed her blackened teeth and waved her wand regardless. Invisible binds tightened themselves around Hermione, causing her to fall backwards rigid, unable to move her body. Her face and neck however were still able to move, eradicating the possibility that this was a straightforward Petrificus Totalus curse and instead was another variation. Nevertheless, despite still having the ability to speak, Hermione kept silent, not wanting to scream, not wanting to provide any sort of satisfaction. As hard as it was, she tried to focus on the fact that she had to be strong enough to get through this, and that her suffering was all worth it for the greater good.
"What are you thinking about?" Bellatrix asked, evidently observing Hermione lost in her own thoughts.
"Nothing," Hermione lied. She wouldn't tell the maniac anything; not willingly at least.
"Hmm," Bellatrix mused. "You know, I am an accomplished Legilimens."
Hermione panicked. Bellatrix could see what she was thinking about. It would allow her to see things that herself, Ron and Harry knew about, like the Horcruxes. No, don't think of them. No. No. She had to close her mind somehow, and she desperately tried to recall how she had practiced after the horrible events at the Ministry when Harry had allowed false images to lead them there after Voldemort invaded his mind. It was just a case of...
Nothing. She couldn't think straight, not now when her mind was feeling fuzzy. Instead, she tried not to allow the fear to show on her face, hoping Bellatrix couldn't sense the terror within. In no way shape or form was this easy considering the churning in her belly at this very moment in time, but she supposed that as the hours, days, weeks and months (she would not allow herself to consider it being years for she wasn't that courageous) went on it would become more straightforward and would turn into a routine.
"I'm going to go and prepare your room," Bellatrix said out of the blue, changing the topic. "You can wait here." She smirked, knowing full well that with the Body-Bind Curse placed upon her, Hermione was incapable of doing anything but squirming back and forth on the floor beneath her. Her head felt funny all of a sudden too, and she tried desperately to fight the strange sensation.
Bellatrix walked across the room, pausing when she got to the door. Turning around, she addressed Hermione once more. "And if I were you, Mudblood, years would be the least of your concerns. If I have my way, you'll be here for the rest of your lifetime."
Realising that Bellatrix had just performed highly skilled Legilimency on her without her even being fully aware of her breaking into her thoughts, Hermione began to shake violently. She faced the other direction, and the moment she heard Bellatrix's rapid footsteps fade away, she vomited once more. Never before had she felt quite so alone. Previously, whenever anything had gone wrong she had never been on her own for longer than a few seconds, and now she had no choice but to survive this without anyone on her side, let alone her friends and family. It wasn't that she wanted them to be captured too, of course not, but she couldn't help wishing she had someone with her for moral support, no matter how selfish that sounded.
Regardless, Hermione was certain that there was a more pressing matter at hand that she had to deal with. She had to practice Occlumency. If Bellatrix chose to invade her mind to discover what she had been doing with Harry and Ron to prepare for their fight against Voldemort... well it didn't bear thinking about. Bellatrix would discover secrets and truths that had been spoken against her Master, and she would immediately alert him as to what exactly she had found out. It was a shame that Hermione had never been taught exactly what was involved to employ Occlumency, but fortunately she knew enough from reading books and speaking to Harry about his experiences to get the gist of what was required.
Figuring there was no time like the present, Hermione began clearing her mind. It was easier said than done; her head was spinning, her thoughts swirling around as though they had actually been contained in a Pensieve within her skull, and her heart was slamming against her chest so violently that it felt like it was going to break through her ribcage and tear her apart. Time to focus, time to learn.
Making a poor attempt at calming herself, Hermione closed her eyes.
Calm. Stay calm.