A/N: I don't own this, at all! A huge thanks to MrsBates93 and Redshadow43 for looking this over! This fic is rated M, so it WILL contain adult themes. It is also AU (obviously). If you don't like it, don't read it. But I seriously hope you all enjoy!
Hermione Granger sighed deeply. She was sick and tired of this little game they were playing. It had been four months now since she had been trapped here in this dirty old cellar. Four months, and nobody had spoken more than two words to her in all that time.
I mean, really, she thought irritably. What were they playing at, just leaving her in here? Why didn't they kill her, or do something with her?
The days were beginning to blur together into an endless repetition, with just one small meal if she was lucky - and it was never enough to satisfy her hunger. Someone had been kind enough to put newspapers on the floor when she first arrived, but they barely even changed those.
I suppose they think I am just a stupid mutt - a stupid Mudblood, to them. I just wish I knew what they were planning! This is all just so pointless, leaving me down here. But at least I am alive. That always counts for something.
But did it? She wasn't even sure anymore. She was losing hope and faith in everything. She had expected Harry and Ron to come charging through the door at any moment to save her, but as time went on that salvation never arrived.
I am beginning to lose myself, she thought, which is something I shouldn't do.
"Come on, now, Hermione, you can get through this! You're tougher than this," she mumbled to herself trying to boost her confidence.
"I see you have gone crazy at last, Mudblood," someone snarled behind her. "Talking to yourself? Tsk tsk."
Hermione's stomach lurched at the sound of that voice. She whipped around to glare at Lucius Malfoy and saw that he was smirking at her. How she wished she could slap that smug look off his face, especially since he seemed to know how much it bothered her. Looking at him it was easy to see where Draco had gotten his arrogance from.
"Well, there's certainly no one else here I'd want to talk to," she spat vehemently.
Lucius stopped smirking, and his face contorted into an angry mask instead. "Get up, you piece of filth!" he shouted menacingly.
Hermione stubbornly remained exactly where she was. Lucius seemed to get even madder as a result.
Hermione shrieked in absolute pain. It was everywhere, all over her entire body, and there was nothing she could do to stop it. It felt like a million knives plunging into every inch of her skin all at once.
I want to die! Please, just let me die so this will all end. I don't care if I ever see anyone again, just let this pain end!
Finally, it stopped, and Hermione wiped the saliva from her mouth as she glared up at her tormentor.
"Now that you can see that I'm not messing around here, perhaps you will do as I say," Lucius snarled. "Get up."
Hermione quickly got to her feet, gripping the wall for support. She couldn't remember how long it had been since the last time she'd tried to walk, but she did not wish to suffer at this man's hands again, nor did she wish to ask him for help in any way. Fighting through the pain in her limbs from disuse, she managed to follow Lucius out of the cellar.
She had expected to find herself in Malfoy Manor, but as she looked around her surroundings she could tell that was not where she was. The walls of this place were more modern, not made of stone as the Manor's had been, and the stairs that she forced her legs to navigate were of polished oak rather than cold, unyielding brick.
Hermione wished she had some shoes to make walking easier, but she wore nothing but the clothes she'd had on when she arrived, and they were now so dirty and tattered as to be unrecognizable. Her shoes had become soiled at some point, and removed from her feet. They had never been returned, and so she walked in nothing but her bare feet, and stubbed her toe more than once as she cursed her useless muscles that had forgotten how to work properly.
Lucius stopped at an ornately carved oak door with a highly polished brass knob, and opened it. He pushed her inside the room, and barked, "You are to shower until you've removed every ounce of filth that covers your detestable body, and then you will change into the dress on the bed."
"Why?" Hermione demanded before she could stop herself.
"Because, my dear little Mudblood, you must make yourself presentable for the Dark Lord," he hissed. "He would not wish to smell you as you are now."
Hermione's jaw dropped. Her head reeled at his words. How could she possibly endure the Dark Lord in her present state, so weakened from her months alone, so unused to even the simplest of interactions? Just the sound of Lucius's voice was giving her a pounding headache, and yet she was about to be presented to a man - no, a beast - who would no doubt be a thousand times more cruel and vicious to her than he was.
Lucius slammed the door as he left, most likely to do yet another stupid, slavish thing for his Master. Hermione sneered as she stared at the place where he'd been standing the moment before, glad to see the back of him.
But as Hermione took in the situation, a smile crept up onto her face. Regardless of what would happen to her later, before her now was a shower, and she nearly leapt for joy. She could eradicate the filth that covered her, scrub away every bit of the last four months, and perhaps as she scrubbed, she might even manage to cleanse a bit of her soul. She was going to need all the strength she could muster to face whatever these fiends were going to do to her next.
The water struck her body, hotter than she would have wished, but blessedly welcome regardless. She would finally be rid of the smell. She shuddered as she breathed it in one more time, that awful stench. The smell of death and decay that had haunted her for so very long! She watched as it drained away in rivers of darkened water that looked more like mud than anything else. She did not move until it ran clear again.
Then she scrubbed her hair, enjoying every minute of it. She scrubbed and scrubbed every part of her body until her skin had turned red from her ministrations. She got out only when she had reached the point of being wrinkled all over her body, and used the toilet for the first time in forever. She didn't care that she found nothing to wipe with, simply using the cloth she'd practically destroyed during the shower one last time.
On the bed Hermione found an exquisitely beautiful dressing waiting for her. She could not deny how beautiful it was. It was black and green, with a plunging neckline that scooped dangerously low, and a full skirt that fell to the floor. Beside it was a pair of shining, silver heels to go with it. She had no idea how she was expected to walk in them, but she would try her best. Hermione Granger always tried her best.
"How very Slytherin," she commented as she picked the garment up. After pulling it over her head and slinking it into place over her body, she turned to the full-length mirror she spotted near a rather large closet.
She was not the same girl anymore. Everything about her appearance and the way she held herself made that perfectly clear. She was completely broken, and it showed.
That was when she came to terms with what was going on. She was going to die, and she knew it. They've dressed me up just to make torturing me to death more fun for them, I suppose. I just hope my death will be painless - after all the pain I have endured already, that at least would be something.
Lucius opened the door, and took in the transformation with little interest. "Come. It is time," he told her as he grabbed her hand to drag her down the hall.
They stopped outside two large, double doors, and he turned to speak to her again. "Listen, Mudblood, you do not speak unless you are spoken to, got it? If you do not heed my words, you shall pay dearly for it."
When he tightened his grip on her arm, Hermione cried out in pain. She was certain the rough treatment was going to leave a mark, but she was just as certain that such a trivial detail was the least of her worries as the doors swung open.