Author's note: I warn you all from the get go the first chapter of this story is going to be… brutal. That is probably underselling it a bit. I intend to be quite clear in what happens to provide a base of why things will happen the way they will later in the story. So if you are squeamish, turn back now. This will be the harshest of the all the chapters, a trial by fire if you will, but this story will not be terribly light hearted.
Songs for this chapter: Violate by Bones Domingo and Ebla by E.S. Posthumus
I was already late for the meeting of the inner circle at Malfoy manor, having been detained by a meeting of the Order. I was fully aware that I would be punished, but when I overheard the conversation taking place within the study I knew I would be forced into increasing my own punishment. Morality would eventually be the death of me, that much was certain.
"Why not kill her my lord?" I heard the hesitant question fall from the lips of Lucius Malfoy.
"It is simple Lucius," the cold voice of the Dark Lord drawled. "Dead, she is certain a detriment to Potter. But alive, and irreparably broken? The one hope he has at standing against me for more than a minute or two will be dashed."
I began to back away from the door, aware that I had not alerted any of them to my presence. I would need to notify the Order straight away.
"When my lord?" the question was earnest and excited, and clearly came from Bellatrix.
"Tonight," he said with a ringing sense of finality.
I swept back down the hall moving as silently as possible. I passed the wizened old house elf Lucius had procured to replace the one Potter had lost him, and shot a memory charm at him over my shoulder as I fled out the front door. It wouldn't do to have a witness to my previous presence in the manor when I returned shortly.
The very second my boots touched the pebbled walk outside the front door I apparated to the gates of Hogwarts. I hurried to the castle in the quickly failing sunlight knowing that Albus would have returned to his office already. I entered the castle, ignoring the deafening silence that frequently permeated the building when all the students had left, and took every shortcut at my disposal to make it to the head master's office in record time.
I took the stairs two at a time as I made the sharp circles before throwing myself haphazardly through the open office door. Albus had clearly been unprepared for company as he was in the process of setting up his pensive and sorting through bottle memories for the ones he seemed to want.
"There will be an attack on the Granger home tonight," I said in a rush, drawing his attention away from that blasted basin and too my face.
"You are giving me awfully short notice Severus," he scolded. "Could you not have brought this to my attention while I still had the members of the Order at my disposal?"
"I am very sorry to have inconvenienced you," I sneered at him. "I have only just discovered it myself."
"Surely there would have been more planning involved in such an undertaking," Albus said airily, staring at the wall behind me, clearly thinking about something. "I believe this is a test of whether or not you are spying for me."
"Is that a bet you are willing to make," I asked, somehow still surprised by how casually he spoke about the possibility of what could be happening to a member of light. "Hermione Granger is surely Harry Potter's best bet at surviving whatever task it is that you have for him, is she not?"
"That is yet to be determined," he answered cryptically. "However, it is in fact a gamble I will take."
I swept out of his office without further reply. This was not the first time this summer that I had cause to wonder if the dark spell slowly devouring his hand was also affecting his brain. If he was right, I was about to take a very stupid risk. If he was wrong, the girl and her family may still be sent to slaughter no matter my efforts.
As a point of security I was well aware of the addresses of all high risk targets fighting on the side of the Order, so I had no need to search out the Grangers' address before leaving the castle. I made my way swiftly back out of the castle, staunchly ignoring Peeves as he tried to pick a fight with me in the entrance hall. I conjured a bit of parchment as I hurried over the sloping lawn, and I used my wand to burn a hastily scrawled message into it. The words were sloppy and somewhat hard to read but the message was clear.
Once I passed through the wards of the gate I turned to my left and apparated to the street the Granger family lived on. I hastily folded the note into fourths, and charmed it to fly down the block and slide under the door of the Granger home. It would not cease in its motion until it found her, so I felt confident she would get my message. With what little I could do done, I turned once more and delivered myself to the gates of the Malfoy manor for the second time this evening.
I was sitting at the kitchen table enjoying a spot of tea with my mother when a bit of folded parchment flew in from the hallway and landed on the table in front of me. I quirked my brow in confusion, who was using magic at my house at this moment? I reached out to take the parchment into my hands tentatively. When I unfolded it I saw a message scorched into the paper, but I did not recognize the handwriting.
Leave your house immediately. Take your parents.
It said nothing else which was questionable, but my gut told me to listen. I stood from the table looking up to tell my mother that we needed to leave. For a second I saw the question on her face as she looked back at me, but then I was blinded by the flash of light that accompanied the kitchen wall being blown apart by a well-placed redactor curse.
It would have been nice to be able to say things happened quickly after that, but unfortunately time seemed to slow to a crawl as my worst nightmare came to fruition. It hadn't been more than a month since the nightmare at the ministry of magic, and I still woke screaming each night as visions of something similar to this tormented to me. I crammed the note into my pocket, dragging myself around the table.
I drew my wand that I never allowed off my person anymore, and lurched forward grabbing my mother's arm in my hasty retreat from the kitchen. My ears were still ringing, and I could hardly see through the falling dust and rubble, but this was the only shot we were going to get at fleeing.
"Hermione?" she questioned me, her voice choked with fear.
"Run," I begged her, pushing her through the door roughly as I was hit with the first curse.
In the back of my mind I recognized that I was in a body bind, but as I toppled face first into the carpet unable to stop my fall all I could truly think of was the fact that my parents were now defenseless. There was a snap when I hit the floor, and my stomach rolled when I realized that my wand had snapped upon impact. Now it wasn't just my parents that were defenseless.
"Turn her so she can see it," a female voice instructed, and I realized I recognized it as the voice of Bellatrix Lestrange.
I was turned bodily to the side, and my eyes fell upon the disturbing seen before me. A man who was obscured by his black robes and silver robes had my mother pinned to the ground beside me. She was struggling helpless and fruitlessly to throw him off, but he would not be moved. He was slowly rushing her windpipe, not even bothering to use magic to kill her.
I struggled against my magical binding trying to get to her, but I could not move. I had to watch helplessly while he choked the life out of my mother. He killed her simply for being the mother of a very much hated witch. He spat on her and kicked her limp body as he climbed to his feet.
"Where's your father bitch?" he sneered at me.
I felt the magic release my face so that I might answer him, but all that fell from my mouth was an agonized cry at what I had just seen.
"Answer me," he shouted, landing a swift kick to my face, and clearly breaking my nose as my own blood began to pool on the floor beneath me.
"He isn't home," I lied, hoping desperately that my father had enough sense not to come up from his office in the basement.
"Liar," Bellatrix barked as she leaned over me.
I felt her hand on my throat, and I saw her point her wand at her own throat before she began.
"Daddy," she cried, and it was my voice that issued from her lips. "Daddy please, they're hurting me."
It took all of two seconds for his footsteps to begin to crashing up the stairs. I drew a breath to scream at him to run the other way, but the full body bind was reinstated and my voice died on my lips. I watched in horror as the door from the basement stairs flew open, and my father emerged with his shotgun in hand.
He got one shot off, which Bellatrix moved out of the air with a casual flick of her wand before the man who had choked the life out of my mother cast the killing curse without hesitation. My eyes burned as I watched my father's body slump to the floor, but I was physically unable to cry. I waited for death to find me as swiftly as it had taken my parents, but it appeared my captors had something else in mind.
The full body bind was released, and I attempted to struggle to my feet before I was struck down once more with a boot to the spine. I rolled onto my back, exposing myself to another attack, but needing to be able to see what I was facing. Half crouched over me, as I had already felt, was Bellatrix. Her eyes were as crazy as ever and only a few feet from my face they were rather disturbing.
Behind her stood a man, whose mask hid his face, but whose hair gave him away instantaneously. Lucius Malfoy should surely learn to at least cut his hair back or at least cut it off if he intended to keep his identity secret. I was yet unsure of the identity of the man towering over me with his boot ready to crash down upon me again.
"Well, let's get started shall we?" Bellatrix laughed, as if she were suggesting a game of exploding snap.
She drew a knife from within her robes, and I instantly tried to squirm further away from her. The boot came down on my chest with enough force to knock the wind out of me, and it did not move. The man held me pinned to the floor so I could not squirm away from her.
I was surprised when she didn't simply stab me. She moved quickly with the blade of her small silver dagger, but she never touched my skin. The surprise turned quickly to a freezing fear when I realized what she was in fact doing. She made quick work of cutting off my khaki capris pants, and eyelet lace white summer shirt.
"Ah, I didn't miss my mark after all," the man above me said when she tore my shirt open revealing the still healing scar on my chest.
"Dolohov," I breathed quietly, half an acknowledgement of who the third person was, half a blind fear response to being confronted with the man who had nearly killed me at the end of the year.
"Isn't that sweet, she remembers me," he barked out in a laugh before digging his boot heel into the skin of my now exposed chest.
Bellatrix made quick work of the rest of my clothing, but I was unable to react with the proper embarrassment as I was hit with what I imagined was the first of many attacks with the cruciatus curse. I bit straight through my lip in my attempt to keep from screaming. I tasted the blood in my mouth, but I barely felt the pain of my skin being torn through the fire that was raging through every nerve in my body.
"She thinks she's so strong," Bellatrix laughed, from a distance it seemed. "What do you think boys? Will she scream before the night is up?"
They roared with laughter, and I was once again drowning in the unimaginable pain of my body attacking itself at the urging of her curse. I lost track of the time passing, and of where I was as the pain seemed to go on forever, but eventually it did begin to fade. I kept my eyes closed, panting into the ringing silence that filled the air around me. If I had opened my eyes I might have seen it coming.
The boot was no longer pressing down on my chest; instead I felt fabric touching my thighs. I wonder vaguely if I had been redressed, but I was torn from my thoughts when a tongue trace along my throat before crooked teeth made a sharp bite. My eyes snapped open and I realized Dolohov was crouching over me, biting my throat.
I struggled to try and get away from him, my panic increasing tenfold when I realized that he pants were pooling at his knees, and that was why I felt fabric on my thighs. I attempted to squirm out from under him, but he grabbed hold of my hair with his right hand locking me in place, while he used his left hand to push my thighs apart.
"Don't," I breathed shakily. "I'll do whatever you want, just don't."
"This is what I want," he growled, and without further preamble he thrust his hips forward and I bit my already bloody lip to fight back the scream of pain. "I love it when they're virgins."
He was growling all sorts of gruesome things into the skin of my throat in between bites, but I tried not to hear him. I stared at the ceiling holding absolutely still just praying he would kill me and be done with it.
I read a story once in some trite muggle novel about a girl who was raped, and in the book she had gone away someplace in here head, hardly experiencing what was happening to her body. I envied her as I felt what happened to every bit of my body. As if it weren't bad enough that he was practically shredding my insides while he rutted upon me, he was placing bites on my throat and neck so severe that several of them had drawn blood. Was he part vampire or something?
He gave a nasty tug to my hair, and then his hips jerked against me as he groaned into my chest. I hadn't done something like this before, but I got the impression that meant he had finished. I realized I was right when he pulled out of me and rocked back on his heels. I had a moment to taken in the fact that this nether regions were slicked with my blood before he began to pull his trousers back on as he spat upon me.
I very seriously considered shouting something rather nasty at that point, but I was once again thrown forcefully into the blinding pain that accompanied the cruciatus curse. Many thoughts raced through my mind as I felt my body jerk uncontrollably, but I found myself circling around the question of if I could be tortured into insanity. I wondered if it was possible that the pain would simply never end, and I would stay here writhing on this floor until I finally died.
But then the pain receded once more and it felt as if I was laying directly beside a fire rather than inside of one. The heat was still somewhat present on my skin, but I did not feel the horrible burning pain anymore. This time I kept my eyes open.
I saw when Lucius began to walk silkily forward, and I fought my ailing body trying to move. Dolohov had handled me with such force I felt rather certain that one of my hips was not properly in the socket, and it made movement feel similar to the blinding fire of the cruciatus curse. I managed to struggle a foot further from the kitchen doorway before the blonde demon swept down upon me with a laugh tumbling from his lips.
His hands latched onto my upper arms, and the stabbing pain that accompanied it was striking and altogether confusing. He drug his hands down my arms as if he were caressing me, but I felt slicing pain tearing through both of my arms, and I didn't quite understand when I saw my blood begin to seep out onto the carpet.
I didn't understand until he pulled his hands back to unfasten his pants, and I saw the blood coated rings on his thumbs. I had the strangely academic thought that it was rather medieval to even own a ring knife let alone two of them before he was one me. He reached for my face, trying to hold me in place no doubt, but that damn ring nearly stabbed me in the eye.
I threw my head to the side, narrowly missing being blinded, and choked down a cry as I felt the flesh of my cheek give way to the pressure he was putting behind the ring. He tore a track in my flesh clear to my ear before he released his hold.
My mind was aware that he was violating my body in the way that Dolohov had, but I could not feel it over the pain he was causing me. His hands continued to move over me, almost as if he were delivering tender caresses, but he was dragging his hands purposefully, leaving bloody tracks in his wake.
"You'll have to do better than that little girl," he hissed in my ear as he gripped my hips painfully, the rings sung deep in my flesh, as he thrust into me. "I can't get off until you do."
"Never," I sobbed at him, finally losing the battle with my tears, but fighting with everything I had in me to at least keep them silent.
Lucky for me that seemed to be what he wanted anyway. He began to groan as he slammed into me with more force, but then almost as quickly as it had started to he was finished. He slumped against me, and for a minute I couldn't see with his platinum blond hair covering my face. Then he picked himself up, dragging his hands down from where they had held so tightly to my hips tearing a deep furrow in each hip before he released me.
I lay there at his feet, the fight going out of me. I didn't know if I was breaking or if I was simply bleeding to death, but I no longer felt the fire that let me fight. I could faintly feel the tears still streaming from my eyes, but the meant little too me. I waited with an oddly patient air for them to simply end it, or to leave me and let nature take its course. I wasn't feeling particularly picky at the moment.
I was so beyond caring what happened to me that I didn't even flinch when Bellatrix's face filled my eye line as she crouched over me once more. I could hear that she was laughing, but she wasn't talking to me, simply focusing on my arm. I was already in so much pain that I couldn't truly feel what she was doing, but when I turned my head slightly I could see that she was carving something into my arm.
I closed my eyes and prayed for her to hit a major artery, but I had no such luck. Her hands left my arm, and for one wavering second I thought they were done. Instead I felt her push my legs open once more, and I was confused by the very idea that she would attempt to rape me. I didn't understand. I couldn't possibly have understood without being as insane as she was.
Her hand gripped my inner thigh, and then she stabbed me. I had expected her to stab me from the moment she had drawn the dagger, but not like this. My shock at the uncharted pain was so earth shaking that I could not have hoped to stop the scream. I wailed in pain, and she laughed wicked as she twisted the blade effectively shredding my most tender flesh. I would have gladly have been raped by every death eater I knew than have what was happening to me now.
I cried and I begged, and I moaned in pain. There was no longer any bravery left to hold on to only horrible blinding pain that did not recede when she withdrew the blade.
"I knew I could make you scream," she whispered evilly in my ear before she drew away from me. "Lucius cast a spell to slow the blood flow, but don't heal the wounds. We weren't supposed to kill her after all."
"Well one of us got a little carried away," he told her tersely, but I was losing my ability to focus.
"Please," I begged, looking to Dolohov who had surprisingly been the most merciful tonight. "Just end it please."
He spat on me again, and left the room with Bellatrix hot on his tail. I faintly heard the two cracking sounds that announced their departure. I was watching Lucius Malfoy, praying that his hatred for me would override whatever orders he had been given and he would simply kill me now that there was no one left to witness it.
"You know that we are going to let you live," he muttered as he set to work stemming the flow of blood from my wounds without allowing the skin to knit itself together again. "And you know it is so we can do this all again."
He said it with supreme malice, but somehow I knew he was lying anyway. He at least wouldn't touch me again after this. I choked on a dark chuckle at the thought of what a shame, it hadn't been good for him.
"Jesus Bella," he cursed when he pushed my thighs open to partially heal the wound inflicted by his partner in crime. "If I don't heal this you will actually bleed to death."
He stopped speaking and I got the impression he was trying very hard to make the decision that was least likely to get him punished upon his return to the dark lord. Surely he was already in trouble for the debacle at the ministry.
"Breathe a word to anyone of my effort to entirely heal this injury and I will kill you," he barked at me finally, and then he cast the charm.
It wasn't quite relief as so much of my body was still in agony, but I felt the flesh that had been viciously ripped apart by that dagger weave itself back together with a cool tingle.
"You may as well kill me now," I told him defiantly, trying to elicit his anger. "The first thing I am going to tell everyone is that Lucius Malfoy stayed after to take care of me like my own personal nurse."
"Crucio," he shouted at me, and my world erupted into pain once more.
I have no idea how long he held the curse over me, but when the pain finally receded and left me panting on the floor he was nowhere to be found. The sun had set completely and I lay amongst the rubble strewn hallway in complete darkness, none of the lights in the house having ever been turned on.
I thought for a moment it would be usefully to have my wand for a bit of light, until I was hit with the sickening realization that all of this had happened tonight because I was a witch. If I had never received the letter inviting me to attend Hogwarts, I would be attending a muggle high school right now. My parents would be alive. I would be a virgin still. I was never more repulsed by the idea of magic.
The thought of magic reminded me of the ministry of magic. Surely someone would be on their way. There were multiple spells used at a muggle residence this evening. No doubt there would be a dark mark hovering over my house, and a clean-up crew would be sent to deal with the aftermath. I needed to be gone before they got here.
I struggled to my feet, my entire body shaking with the effort. I cried out with each movement as the agony ripped through me, but I used the overwhelming need to be away from magic to power me up off of the floor. I went a little further down the hall, leaving blood smears as I used the wall to support myself. I slid in through the next door way and nearly toppled down on to the floor of my bedroom.
I staggered to my bed, pulling my dressing gown on haphazardly so my absolutely destroyed body would at least be covered. I breathed a shaky, tear filled, sigh of relief at the realization that I wouldn't have to pack a bag to run away. In the commotion of the evening I had forgotten that my parents and I were leaving for a short holiday in the morning. I already had a bag full of summer clothes sitting at the foot of my bed just waiting for me.
I scooped the carpet bag up off of my trunk and lurched my way back out of my bedroom. I had to stop in the doorway, leaning on the frame for support as I wavered on my feet. I needed to get somewhere for medical attention quickly if I was going to survive. If I wanted to survive. I honestly wasn't so sure.
I stumbled awkwardly past my parents unmoving bodies, my already falling tears only increasing. I made my way through the utterly destroyed kitchen. Ignoring the trail of blood I left in my wake, I scoped my father's car keys off of the counter and staggered out the back door into the drive. His silver Prius was parked at the end of the driveway, and I set my sights on it, praying I could make it through that much open space without something to help me support my weight.
It seemed to take a lifetime, but I eventually staggered my way to the car. As I pulled the driver's side door open, I took a moment to look at the ghastly green skull that now hung over our house. If the collapsed kitchen wall wasn't a sign of what had gone horribly wrong tonight, that surely was.
I threw my bag into the car, and slumped into the seat, biting down on a scream of pain as my body made contact. I snapped the door shut, and turned on the ignition without bothering to buckle. The radio roared to life and I almost laughed when I heard Rilo Kiley's Close Call blaring through the speakers. I pulled out into the street, turning the radio up louder, and just as I rolled away from the house the first crack rent the air announcing the arrival of the ministry officials.
I got lucky, they were wizards, they didn't think to look at the car driving away from the scene of the crime. I drove off into the night laughing at the ridiculousness of the song blaring around me. I whipped through the streets of town making my way toward the hospital without obeying any of the traffic laws. I wondered vaguely if I would care if I got in a car accident now, but I arrived in the ambulance bay of the hospital without incident so it was irrelevant.
I screeched to a stop outside of the door, throwing the car in park but leaving the engine running. I scooped my bag up, and groaned at the blinding wave of pain as I drug my damaged body out of the car. I made it halfway to the doors that lead inside before the black spots began to pop up behind my eyes. I knew the blood loss was becoming too much but I powered forward. I managed to get inside the lobby door before I swayed on my feet for the last time, and the blackness took me. I never felt my body hit the ground.
I barely made it away from the Granger house before the others began to arrive. The sound of the apparition was echoing in my ears as I apparated away to Malfoy manor. I pushed the panicked thought that my warning had been to late deep beneath my occlumency shields and entered through the front door. This time I made a point to close the door loudly and announce my presence this time around. I swept into the library with my head bowed in an act of contrition, and immediately dropped to me knees a good ten feet away from the dark lord.
"My sincerest apologies for my late arrival my lord," I spoke to the floor. "Dumbledore kept everyone late at the meeting of the Order, I could not get away."
"Do you come bearing any good news for me?" he asked in that tight voice that made it clear I would be tortured if I didn't give him something particularly juicy.
"The order is arranging a second raid on the manor to be enforced by the ministry," I told him, hoping to find a way to stage a fake raid and keep myself from being killed. "They suspect that Lucius has made his way out of Azkaban right now, and they are hoping to capture him once more."
Lies, all of it, but would he buy it?
"I see," the dark lord seethed. "I suppose we shall have to leave the manor temporarily then, and Lucius shall have to be punished for his carelessness. Again. When is the raid to happen?"
"Two nights from this one," I lied smoothly. "Assuming they get the ministry to cooperate. If our people are well enough entrenched there, the order should be out of luck either way."
"We shall see," he hissed as he stalked toward me. "You were very late tonight Severus. I had to send Dolohov in your place. He does tend to get rather sloppy."
His quite rebuke was the only warning I got before he wordlessly cast the unforgiveable on me. I held tight to my mental shields, refusing to reveal just how much pain he was causing me. He must not have been as angry as his words suggested because the spell did not last as long as I had expected it too. It was mere minutes long and then he released me entirely.
"Get to your feet," he barked at me and I complied immediately.
I kept my head bowed; faking the respect he would want to see.
"Return to your other master," he spat at me. "He's about to receive a rather nasty shock, and I want you to report to me on how he deals with it."
"Yes master" I said falling into a full bow before I swept back out of the library.
I nearly stumbled over the damn rat Wormtail in my haste, and I shoved him into the wall to get him out of my way. I would never stop wanting to thrash him for his constant lurking. I didn't speak a word as I made my way back out of the house once estate and apparated back to the school.
I didn't bother to run on my trip back to the headmaster's office. Speed wasn't going to change the outcome of what I was about to learn. I was either going to be told that Hermione Granger was being taken to St. Mungo's to treat extensive injuries and be sentenced to a much longer psychiatric recovery process if it was Lucius, Bella, and Antonin that had been sent to deal with her; or I was going to hear that one of them had lost control and along with her parents Hermione Granger was dead. It honestly didn't matter how quickly I got to the headmaster's office.
I didn't take any short cuts, or move faster than a brisk walk. I wasn't so much as breathing heavily when I reached the top of the spiral staircase that emptied out by the entrance to the headmaster's office. Once again the door remained open, but he was not bothering with the pensive that lay in wait on his desk. Instead his ruined hand was cradling his head as he stared blankly at the desk before him.
"I take it you've heard this was not a test of my loyalty," I said, not bothering to hide my contempt as I drew his attention to me.
"The Granger's are dead," he answered dully, unable to meet my eyes. "Miss Granger has fled the scene, and no one in the order has yet to find where she went. She is unarmed, as they found her wand in the house, snapped clean in too."
"Why aren't you in the search party?" I scathed, not willing to endure his little pity party.
"I am so drained from this curse I can barely stand," he admitted quietly, and I made a mental note to brew more potion for him. "I would be of no use in the search. I need you to join the search Severus. It is imperative that we find her."
"I thought her importance was yet to be determined," I repeated his earlier words, surprised by how defensive I felt of the insufferable know-it-all.
Or perhaps I was just disgusted by the fact that he had been so careless with yet another student's life. It was becoming lethal not to be a favorite of the headmaster anymore.
"I was… callous earlier," he sighed in defeat. "Without her aid Harry Potter will surely perish before we end this war. We need her."
"If she wishes to be any more part of this war, she will allow herself to be found," I answered plainly.
"Severus," he reprimanded, not used to my defiance as it happened so rarely.
"No Albus. I came to you this evening to stop something terrible from happening and you did nothing," I said in that quiet whisper that spoke of how I was struggling to control my rage. "You did nothing, and because of it the most notorious torture artists in the ranks of the death eaters were unleashed on a 16 year old girl. You can rest assured that she was raped and beaten after watching her parents be murdered. She was probably raped more than once, and she was certainly tortured. Bellatrix was present, so there is only half a chance that Hermione Granger even remembers who she is anymore. So no, you cannot force me to allow something like that to happen, and then expect me to help clean up your mess."
I didn't wait for him to answer; I simply swept out of his office and made my way out of the godforsaken castle. I needed to get home before I really went into a rage, and quite frankly I need a stiff drink. Perhaps an entire bottles worth.