Oh boy howdy, it has been some time. I'm really sorry for the nearly year long delay. I really have no excuse beyond that I really didn't have much inspiration to continue. I've had this chapter set aside for some time now, and I figured that I would go ahead and post it sooner than later. I don't plan on abandoning the story, it was just under an unexpected hiatus. Hopefully chapter 7 shouldn't be too far off.
Trigger warning for this chapter.
Hermione opened her bleary eyes on another cold day in the cellar. Actually, she wasn't sure if it was day or night, it was always dark. She was beginning to lose track of the days, but knew that not much time could have passed, for she had yet to starve to death.
The last time she had any company was the day that Bellatrix forced the Veritaserum on her. Since then, she saw no person or creature beyond the usual spider or roach scuttling in the far corners of the room. No one came by to drop off food or water, or even check to see if she were still locked away. She had been totally isolated.
The first day alone had been stressful. She spent the day on edge, anxiously awaiting another beating or interrogation. She felt horribly guilty, and almost couldn't stomach her unwilling betrayal. She paced back in forth in the low ceilinged room, and cringed at any particularly loud creak of the manor or squeak of a mouse, but she was never granted any company. She had been left alone for the day, no torture or harassment, no company or rescue.
She supposed it was only a lucky coincidence, and was still on edge when the second day had rolled around. She hid in the shadows of the cellar, almost sure she could hear murmurings and whispers coming from the drawing room above her, but still no one came.
On the third day, Hermione began to wonder if anyone was going to bother with torturing her or antagonizing her at all, let alone bring food or water. That day she sat very still, resisting the urge to fidget and waste any more energy. If someone was going to come rescue her anytime soon, she didn't want to die an early death from starvation because she had expended her only reserve energy on her inability to sit still. She sat and glared at the barred doorway all day.
A few more days had since passed, and today seemed to be another quiet and miserable day. Her stomach ached. It felt like her stomach had collapsed into itself, churning in pain. An overbearing silence pressed into her, building an uncomfortable pressure in her skull. She wasn't sure if the room had since been charmed to keep her from hearing anything, or if the Death Eaters just hadn't convened in Malfoy Manor since the scuffle (which they hadn't). Either way, the silence was maddening.
There was a subtle roar building up in the atmosphere, which she dimly recognized to be the rumble of a thunderstorm brewing.
After a while, she heard a drip, a trickle, in the far corner of the room. Her ears seemed to be extraordinarily sensitive after so much silence. She got up to investigate. After crossing the room, she immediately located the source of the sound. Despite the cellar's darkness, her eyes had adjusted well and could see easily in the dark room. Water was steadily leaking from a hairline fracture in the cement wall.
It must be raining, she thought to herself. She was extraordinarily thirsty, so she weakly cupped her dirty hand against the wall and watched in relief as water pooled into her hand. She brought her hand to her lips and groaned in relief as the water moistened her dry mouth and eased her dehydration, if only slightly. She sat for quite some time, repeatedly bringing small quantities of the dirty water to her mouth until she was satisfied she would not die of dehydration in the immediate future.
She sat back and sighed, watching the water slide down the wall and wet the floor. She was supremely bored. As stressful as her capture had been, it had also turned into a time of reprieve. After being on the run for so long, staying in one place for more than a couple of days had been somewhat of a relief for Hermione, even if it was terrifying to be away from her best friends and in the hands of crazed megalomaniacs.
Hermione jumped at the sound of footsteps on the cement staircase outside of her cell. A deep throaty chuckle echoed through the hall when she jumped away from the door.
"Come on little bitch, let's play."
Greyback leered in the doorway.
"My dearest followers, I must ask, has anyone made any progress in securing the boy?"
None of the Death Eaters sitting in on the meeting looked up. All eyes were downcast and nervous. Even Bellatrix kept her mouth shut and eyes diverted. Not out of fear or disinterest, but because she felt betrayed.
She had discovered the truth that Voldemort wanted hidden, and she was furious about it. She had discussed the topic in full with Narcissa, seeing as she was skilled in Occlumency. Enough so to keep the Dark Lord from seeing their conversations and discovering their knowledge. They had talked at length and Bellatrix found that she was almost glad she had found a weakness in Voldemort. She had investigated her vault at Gringotts the next day to see if her assumptions were well grounded. They were.
"It has been nearly a week Bellatrix. Have you gathered any useful information from our… house guest?" Voldemort asked with a disgusted hiss, clearly referring to the captive Gryffindor down in the cellar.
The Cup in question had an evil aura to it, one that spoke volumes of the soul fragment encased in the powerful object. When she had gone to inspect the priceless cup, she found it to be pulsating with a dark energy. Bellatrix let it be, unsure what to do about it. Seeing as she knew the sword in her vault was a fake, she had no way to destroy it, and would need a powerful magic if she chose to do so.
Bellatrix startled when she felt Narcissa's elbow dig into her side. She snapped her gaze up immediately and found Voldemort's eyes on her own. He had apparently been speaking directly to her while she had spaced out. She reinforced up her mental barricade and returned his gaze unflinchingly.
"Care to join us Bellatrix?" He chuckled hollowly. "I asked you a question." His words were laced with a warning. Answer the question or suffer the consequences. The only problem was, she hadn't been listening and hadn't the slightest inkling of what he had asked. Thankfully, Narcissa had been listening.
She felt her sister's gentle prodding into her mental barricade. He was asking if you made any progress with the girl and if you had learned anything of use from her. Narcissa relayed.
Thanks Cissy. Bellatrix once again solidified her Occlumency shields and spoke quickly.
"She has been quite the fighter my Lord," she began with an amused and satisfied chuckle to cover for her lapse of attention. "However, the information she has is useless. I managed to squirrel out a few of their former hiding places from the Mudblood, so that may be of some use, but I doubt Potter will be doing much in terms of retracing his steps. She doesn't have any idea of where the boy and his blood traitor companion were headed next, which leads me to believe they are on the run, my Lord. They never had a plan to carry out. Dumbledore sent them on a wild goose chase. The war is as good as over." She explained the little information she had acquired and assumed, leaving out any word of Horcruxes or how to destroy them. She didn't care if they found out about everything else, but she would keep the biggest secrets and clues to herself for now. If he would keep secrets from her, then she could keep secrets from him.
"The boy must die, Bellatrix!" The Dark Lord shouted, clearly letting all at the table know that this was not over until he had his hands around the boy's neck. "Make note of what you learned. I'll send out groups to investigate. He may have left clues at his past 'hideouts.' In the meantime, dispose of the girl. She is of no more use. Her blood defiles this house."
Bellatrix steeled her outward expression so that he couldn't read the panic racing through her brain. I can't get rid of the Mudblood so soon! I need her in case I need more information. She has my only clues… think of something, quick!
"My Lord, if I may," Bellatrix interrupted warily, calculating the amount of tact that she would need to employ in order to get her way. "I would like to keep her. She is quite... entertaining." Bellatrix said cautiously while flashing a coy smile to further throw all of those around her off of the true reason she wanted to keep the girl. She was aware of the uncomfortable grimaces flashing around the table. Not many had the nerve to interrupt and ask favors of the Dark Lord. If they did, it was usually met with a bout of the Cruciatus curse.
Voldemort, falling for her ruse, grinned at the suggestion, "Do whatever you please with the girl Bellatrix. I'm sure you will treat her with the utmost care." He chuckled without humor. Bellatrix had to stifle a sigh of relief.
A few of the Death Eaters around the table chuckled in dry amusement. They all assumed the prisoner was going to be kept as a sort of plaything for Bellatrix's own amusement. While this was partially true, it was not the whole story. Bellatrix fell silent after Voldemort's reply, and did not attempt to squash any assumptions the group may have made.
"Now, let us get back to business," Voldemort continued. Thunder rolling in the skies above the mansion as the meeting went on.
Assignments had been listed off, and Death Eaters were paired up, ready to disperse. Bellatrix cringed at the busy work assigned to her. Go there, destroy, terrorize and cause mayhem. The usual. She was reluctant to leave. She wanted another opportunity with the Mudblood. Have a little fun. No such luck. She was to take Nott and Travers to carry out their assignment.
They had been dismissed, expected to carry out whatever assignment had given this time. No set time frame was given, but they all knew that missions were to be completed before the next meeting. Meetings that were held at the Dark Lord's whim, meaning assignments were nearly always completed immediately.
Bellatrix stood, rising with the rest after their Dark Lord had departed. She signaled to Nott and Travers, silently giving them orders. They apparated away, heading to their location ahead of her. Bellatrix turned to Narcissa.
"Watch the girl for me. I'm going to speak with her as soon as I finish."
Narcissa nodded, watching as her sister disapparated in a great swirl of thick black smoke.
Might as well give the girl food. I don't believe Bellatrix has been here long enough to bother with it yet.
"What do you want?" Hermione whispered, quaking where she sat.
"I only want to play a little. I've not had much to do this week. I figured you could entertain me for a while," Greyback smiled to himself. He wore a thick black cloak, but no shirt. Scraggly pants, but no shoes. His feet were large and dirty, and his toes were practically claws. He always seemed to be in mid shift.
Hermione didn't reply. Instead she backed wearily away, hoping he would just leave.
She would have no such luck.
He crept ever closer, his teeth flashing wickedly, "Come now, no need to be afraid. If you cooperate, maybe we both could have a little fun, eh? A little pleasure." His tongue swiped across his teeth, leaving them glistening in a sickening way. She could just make out a distinct bulge in his pants.
Hermione felt her stomach roll. If she had had any food in the past several days, she would have surely puked in disgust.
"Fuck off," she murmured, as she backed herself in the corner, wrapping her arms around her knees.
Greyback's next movements were sudden, but not unpredictable. He lurched forward, grabbing her by the ankle, yanking her away from the wall. He dragged her across the floor a foot or two, tearing the skin on her back as her jumper rolled up. Hermione cringed when his claws scraped the skin at her ankle. He was now hovering over her, nearly foaming at the mouth.
That's gonna leave a mark. She thought bitterly.
"What'd you say to me?" He hissed, his hot breath practically rancid. Hermione tried not to gag.
"I said," she replied, feeling bolder, "Fuck off." She spat in his face. Might as well get this over with. If I'm gonna die I may as well go all out.
Greyback roared in anger. He wrapped his meaty paws around Hermione's neck and lifted her right off the floor, slamming her into the stone wall behind her.
The world spun. Hermione couldn't tell the difference from up and down. She felt a warm trickle down the back of her neck. She felt darkness creeping into her vision, blurring out the spinning room. She struggled in Greyback's grip, but could only grasp feebly at the hand crushing her neck. She tried swinging her feet, maybe to get a lucky shot in his groin, but she couldn't tell if she was connecting, much less doing any damage.
She froze in horror when he pushed up against her. He had released her throat, and instead he was grappling with her hips, scraping his claws against the denim of her jeans. She wanted to cry out, but had yet to recover enough breath to do so. She tried to struggle but her body refused to cooperate, her hands still only able to push at his, but not strong enough to push his away.
Hermione choked out a sob when she felt the button on her jeans snap. Her body froze and she could no longer react. Her hands stilled, giving up all fight. Her brain shut down.
Hermione passed out.
Narcissa stood in the doorway, the light from the staircase beaming across the floor of the cellar, revealing Greyback about to commit another atrocious act in her home. Narcissa had put up with a lot in her home; scheming, torture, and even murder. But she could not condone rape, especially of such a young girl. A classmate of Draco's, no less.
"Greyback, you need to leave," Narcissa said, calmly and evenly. She kept her voice in check but her eyes gleamed, her anger threatening to boil over.
"Why should I?" Greyback asked stubbornly, dropping Hermione on the cold stone floor. Narcissa resisted cringing at his brutish behavior. She seriously wondered why anyone let this beast indoors.
"You weren't even present at the meeting Greyback. Why are you at my home, uninvited?" Narcissa's eyes were icy, clearly not in the mood for disobedience.
"Just having a bit of fun. We captured the little bitch, might as well get some entertainment out of it," he smirked, kicking the motionless girl at his feet.
"Leave now. You are not welcome here if it is not for business. I assure you, I decide who gets to remain in my home and when. You are to leave immediately. If I catch you here again without my knowledge I assure you will regret it."
He kicked at the unconscious girl again, grumbling his discontent as he left.
Once he was gone Narcissa turned to the girl. She snapped her fingers and a house elf popped into the room. She motioned towards Hermione; "Make sure she is taken care of. Feed her, and tend to whatever wounds she has. Bellatrix will see her when she returns."