I'll Make It

The chains had been lowered on the third morning, so that she could sit on the cold floor rather than hanging on the wall. As the sunlight crept in, she thought about how odd it was that the dungeon had a window, however small. She snorted. It was terrifying how she knew their minds after only three days. To most people, the window would've given them hope—a chance of escape. She knew better. It was there to torture the dungeon's "guests" further. Freedom so close, but out of reach. She laughed aloud this time. Here she was, about to endure another day of torture, and she was focusing on the décor of the place. Bellatrix was right—she was cracking up.

There were footsteps on the stairs.

She prayed they were Bellatrix's. Lucius had made it his personal mission to break the girl, but he was above anything "vulgar"—meaning, he wouldn't do things the Muggle way. He only ever used his wand. That meant she'd had the pleasure of the Cruciatus Curse for far longer than any of the Death Eaters thought she'd last. She'd made it through, but was praying for Bellatrix's more…creative method of torture. "Merlin's swim trunks, I'm actually craving her mind games."

The footsteps got closer, and the heavy door swung open. "My, aren't we up early?" Bellatrix said. "Could the mudblood be waiting for us, Lucius?"

Both of them? Oh well. If she was going to die today, she was going out with a bang. She nodded vigorously at the witch, smiling as brightly as her injuries would allow. "Your presence gives meaning to my lowly existence." They could take her freedom, but they couldn't take her snark. In the back of her mind, she knew Ginny and Luna would be proud of her.

Bellatrix looked at her curiously. "Lucius, what did you do to her after I left last night?"

"Nothing," he spat. "I left her alone…as you instructed."

She glared at him. It was the type of look that would solidify in anyone's mind exactly why she was Voldemort's right hand man. Woman….

Lucius took a step back, scowling. "I'll leave you with your plaything," he said, exiting the room.

"Lucky for you, mudblood," Bellatrix said. "I was planning on watching him rape you."

Hermione actually laughed at this. A full on, body shaking laugh. "He can't be worse than Viktor Krum," she said, getting control of herself.

"Shut your mouth!" the older witch hissed. She took out Hermione's wand and waved it. Two new cuts appeared on the girl's face. "Now…why haven't your little friends come back for you?"

"Why would they?" she asked. "I told them not to. Harry has this insane mission to complete, and Ron's not going to let him go it alone."

"Insane?" Bellatrix asked with a triumphant smirk. "Then you admit that resisting the Dark Lord is a futile endeavor? That he will succeed in the end? That you and all of your filthy Muggle-loving friends will die at—"

"Please don't put words in my mouth," Hermione snapped. "I said it was insane, not hopeless." She crumpled as Bellatrix subjected her to a short round of the Cruciatus curse. "They're not coming back for me," she gasped. "So you can give up whatever plans you had to trap Harry."

Bellatrix glared at her.

"Use all the Occlumancy you want," Hermione said. "I'm telling you the truth."

"I'm sorry," Harry said. "This is all my—"

"Shut up and listen," Hermione hissed. "They're taking us to Malfoy Manor. Whoever's there will focus on me—I promise. Harry, the first chance you get, take it."

"What are you—"

"Run. Don't wait for me, and only wait for Ron if you know you can get out of there with him. You can't die there, Harry."

"She's right," Ron said, hollowly.

Harry glared at them both.

Hermione glared right back. "I mean it, Harry. I can take it. I can take whatever happens if I know you're out there fighting. The first chance you get…."

"Shell Cottage," Ron whispered, as Greyback came back to walk behind them.

"Faster," he growled. "And shut up."

The group was silent until they came to the gates of the mansion. Harry turned and muttered to Hermione, "How do you know they'll go for you?"

Hermione looked around at the white peacocks and snorted. "They're predictable."

Bellatrix pulled her to her feet and pushed her against the wall. Her hand lingered far too long on Hermione's chest, and she was too close for anything that followed to be wholesome. She moved her hand to the girl's neck, and pressed the wand into her stomach.

Hermione winced as a streak of pain crossed her torso. She looked down and saw a thin line of blood seeping through her shirt. She glared up at Bellatrix.

The witch continued feeling her up as she added various cuts to the girl's body. She smirked after a particularly long cut made the girl gasp. "Pathetic," Bellatrix giggled insanely.

Hermione was doing her best to think of anything—anything—to take her mind away from this. Normally, she thought of friends. But normally Bellatrix wasn't molesting her as she inflicted pain. She settled on the memory of Ginny attempting to teach her to fly. The feeling of intense panic as they lifted off…. Ginny's laughter as she steered them around the orchard…. The wind in their hair…. Nearly crashing into a tree….

"AH!" Hermione yelped. Her shoulder stung and her eyes were watering.

"You could have the decency to think of a pureblood, if you must picture other women."

"Ginny…is a pureblood," she gasped, looking down at the burn on her shoulder.

"A blood traitor." Bellatrix backed up a few paces and looked at her. "I don't know why I've wasted my time on you."

"I'll remember to tell Neville to say that just before he slices your head off." She crumpled to the floor again under the curse. It didn't last long. After a few minutes, she was able to breathe again.

Bellatrix knelt down and kissed her. "I'll be back tomorrow," she said, grinning evilly at Hermione and striding from the room.

Hermione lay there, panting and shivering. Her eyes fell once again on the window, and she watched the peacocks strut by.