FIC: " The Well Bred Warlock: A Guide to Wooing, Courting and Every Day Behavior for the Pureblood Wizard." for imera
Recipient: imera
Author: ?
Title: The Well Bred Warlock: A Guide to Wooing, Courting and Every Day Behavior for the Pureblood Wizard
Rating: R – Language
Pairings: Yaxley/Hermione Granger, mentions of HG/RW, Y/FOC
Word Count: ~40,000
Summary: When a tradition bound, beplaited Iacob Yaxley takes anarchist Hermione Granger prisoner, he must rely on the The Well Bred Warlock Guide for help. Who will drive the other mad first? Yaxley or Granger?
Warnings/Content Information (Highlight to View): dub con, Stockholm/Lima Syndrome
Author's/Artist's Notes: Story jumps around in time a bit. Like most stories, it begins at the beginning of an end and then ends at the new beginning.

Thank you to the letters L and U for their assistance in Beta-ing. Also thank you to Delphi for granting me multiple extensions for the HP Beholder as Iacob Yaxley refused to be part of any scenario not condoned by The Well Bred Warlock Guide.

"Your warlock is quite reliant on you and your quiet strength, gentle reader. No matter the ill winds of fate, as long as your warlock is secure in your esteem; he and your family will endure." Malfoy, Beatrice. Manners and Social Etiquette Guide for Pureblood Ladies, 12th Edition. London: Dragon Press, 1905.

28 November, 2003 11.00
Ministry of Magic
London, UK

Hermione Granger crossed her arms and met Kinsley Shacklebolt's eyes. His dark eyes were tired, but she saw that he had saved enough energy for another "No Way in Hell" rebuttal.

"I desire to see him, alone," she stated. Her voice was firm and no-nonsense. Due to her experiences of the last few years, she had become more, rather than less, self-reliant. She knew the few on which she could depend, and Kingsley Shacklebolt and his Order members had been scratched from that the list. "He's fettered, and his magic is restrained. I believe that means it should be perfectly safe if I see him. Unless you don't have any faith in your personnel and you believe that I'll be made hostage."

A soft chuckle from Remus Lupin convinced her that she had scored on Kingsley.

"He's dangerous," Kingsley softly protested. "Hermione, I'm not sure if it's appropriate… safe…"

"You don't trust me," she sharply said. "Just admit it."

Always a gentleman, Kingsley wouldn't say that he could no longer trust her. However, a deeply hurt Hermione noticed that he didn't rush to her defense, didn't assure her that she was horribly mistaken.

You trust Harry. You trust Ron. Both of whom abandoned me to the Death Eaters. Like you did.

"You are his staunchest defender," Remus Lupin quietly reminded her.

"I'm his only defender," was her lightning fast response.

"I just don't understand why you defend him," Kingsley admitted.

"I've explained my reasons countless times. My reasons have not changed." She had first struggled to explain whenever anyone had decided to have a friendly chat with Hermione regarding the past six years and more of her life. But she quickly realized that they couldn't… or wouldn't understand. Because they didn't wish to understand why Hermione refused to repudiate her Death Eater. The War was over, the Good Guys had won, so they wanted to move on with their lives. Therefore they couldn't understand why Hermione, with what they believed she had endured, didn't even wish to move on. And moving on in their eyes meant that she should testify against her lover.

She couldn't move on, because she had been fundamentally changed by her capture by one of Voldemort's followers. He was in the back of her head, more than slightly annoyed that he seen her only the once since the day he was captured and fettered. It wasn't that he doubted her and her personal loyalty to him, far from it; he just didn't trust her supposed friends. He wished to see her to confirm that she was being treated properly, not just because he desired her to bring him some cigarettes. Though she could sense that he was craving a cigarette something fierce. Really, he needed to stop smoking, but perhaps being incarcerated for the remainder of his life was the wrong way to go about breaking that nasty habit.

To tell these two men that she wished to see prisoner #19234-5234 because she knew that he wished to visually confirm that she was being properly treated… well… that would just make everything go arse over tit. Because in their biased minds, they were the good guys, and he was most assuredly not.

I am here with you. I will always be here for you. Don't trust them, as you know that only I care about you. They don't care, not like I do. I protected you. His voice was in her head, because he knew how much she craved reassurance. It was though he was there in the room, holding her. Such tenderness was only permitted by him in private, never in public. They left you, alone, among the animals. How truly fortunate you were, that I took mercy on you.

"I wish to see him," she again stated. She would be strong, and not weaken.

You are far stronger than you believe yourself to be.

"Let her, Kingsley," Remus inserted. Hermione bequeathed him a victorious smile which faded when Remus continued, "Except you and I will be there during this happy reunion."

Well, she'd take what small victories she could, so she focused her attention on the door where he'd enter. He'd be there soon, and he'd be proud… she hoped… of her.

28 November, 2003 11.15
Azkaban Cell # 1535
North Sea, UK

"A proper Warlock sustains and protects his family at all costs." The Well Bred Warlock: A Guide to Wooing, Courting and Every Day Behavior for the Pureblood Wizard. Translated from the Original Gaelic. Glasgow: Warlock Press, 1544.

She was quite worried about him. Silly girl, she needed to be focused on herself. He would endure because he would endure, and while it had been close to three months since they had last seen each other, he was trying to hide his unhappiness from her. She was physically and emotionally exhausted besides being at her wit's end, so she needed to rest. He was concentrating on their connection, trying to emotionally support her when the guards interrupted his mediation.

"Get up, scum. Time for a visit."

Naturally, since he was a dangerous war criminal, they didn't permit him the opportunity to do a wash up. It would have been nice to be given a comb or to shave before he spoke with whoever had decided to visit him. He wouldn't permit himself the sliver of hope that it was Hermione because he could not bear to be disappointed yet again. Naturally, they stuck a hood over his head, and led him to the visitors' chamber. He wasn't particularly surprised when they tripped him and slammed him into the wall a few times on the way there.

"Scum," hissed his guard. "Bastard. Murderer. I hope you hang."

He didn't give them the satisfaction of acknowledging their treatment. Really, it would just piss them off more if he ignored them.

They slammed him into a chair, jarring his bad arm. The pain ran up and down his arm, and he heard Hermione sharply inhale.

"'Tis nothing, mo nighean dhonn. The old injury sometimes pains me," he assured her. The guards pulled the hood off his head and he smiled once the realized that he rated Kingsley Shacklebolt, Remus Lupin and half a dozen Order members. Truly, it was good to be feared. "Are they treating you well, Nighean? I am afraid that I was denied the basic courtesy of a shave and a hairbrush before I met you. As you know, I might throw the hairbrush at them."

Her lips pursed, as she wished him to behave. Like bloody hell would he be a tame, defeated opponent. Then she sighed, as she knew him. Knew him very well indeed. "Just behave, for me," she mouthed.

"Her name is Hermione." It was a ginger who spat that, so it was one of the Weasley spawn.

Nighean was his name for his pet. He never called her Hermione, only Nighean. Sometimes, when he was feeling particularly affectionate, he'd call her Grádhág.

"Nighean is the name I gave her," he explained, though Hermione and he both knew that they wouldn't understand. Once again, it was the two of them against everyone else.

"I brought you cigarettes," Hermione told him. "Only two packs, but it's something. Next time, I'll try to bring you more."

"Thank you, Nighean." At his sincere gratitude and his courtly bow of his head, she blushed.

The two of them didn't say anything for a time. There were questions that he wished to ask, but he wasn't sure how much the Victorious World Order knew. Instead he watched and observed, and waited, as was his traditional approach. A growl of protest escaped when he Delved how exhausted she was, the dark circles under her eyes and hollows in her cheek. He leaned toward to her. "They're not treating you like you deserve, are they? They are the ones that haven't let you visit?"

"They have Aurors following me everywhere, because that's how Shacklebolt is fulfilling his promise to protect me," she confessed. "Remus is my personal guard, but I'm not supposed to know. I've tried to see you before, but they don't trust me."

Iacob Yaxley leaned towards Hermione and spoke in a voice that could be easily heard by everyone in the room, "That's because it's obvious you've been sleeping with the enemy, Nighean."

She was in the late stages of her pregnancy so she was curvy and endearingly awkward. He sent her a rather risqué thought through their bond, detailing how much he craved for the two of them to be in his bed so he could properly ravish her. It had been three months after all. His expression of carnal interest in her made her blush, so he couldn't help but smile. She knew him well enough to know that it was a true smile, which he rarely gave to anyone, just Nighean. His declaration of profound lust and his smile lightened Nighean's heavy heart. She was quite flattered because he had reminded her how avid he was when she was carrying. Especially when she was near term, when she was in need of his physical assistance.

Nighean was exhausted and desperate for reassurance from him.

Only him. Because she felt betrayed by everyone…. Except for him. She went to bed clutching one of his shirts because it smelled of his cologne and cigarettes. Unlike the earlier part of their relationship, where she had chaffed at his restrictions, she now wished to be cosseted by him. And unlike the earlier part of the relationship, where he had viewed her as a ball and chain, he was quite delighted to cosset her.

Oh, it had been an unbelievable stroke of luck for him when Hermione Granger had sauntered into the pit of vipers known as the Ministry of Magic, wearing Mafalda Hopkirk's stolen clothes and her too large high heels. If Granger had been wearing trainers, he never would have caught her.

"If the fates permit; you will have an heir. During his gestation, you must cosset and protect the child's mother, be her your wife, the surrogate chosen by your wife, or your mistress. Speak tenderly and with great affection as she needs both your strength and your consideration. A proper Warlock sustains and protects his family at all costs, especially those that would do them harm." The Well Bred Warlock: A Guide to Wooing, Courting and Every Day Behavior for the Pureblood Wizard. Translated from the Original Gaelic. Glasgow: Warlock Press, 1544.

Hermione softly spoke, "They say…."

"I know what they say. They say that I repeatedly raped you. That you're unwillingly had the bastards of a Death Eater. They call our little girls, bastards, Nighean. They say they are the product of rape, but you and I know the truth," Iacob softly stated.

"Our girls miss you so badly," Hermione insisted.

"I can't give voice to the pain I feel being separated from them. My only reassurance is that you are there, to love and to protect them," he told her. "It's amazing; Lucius gets a pardon because Narcissa saved Harry. Severus is the hero of the realm because he saved Harry. Harry. Harry. Harry. And I kept you safe for years, and I'm in Azkaban. Shows how little your so called friends esteem you. Then again, Grádhág, you knew that as they didn't bother a rescue attempt. They just wiped their hands of you, declared you dead. Fortunately, you had me to protect you, to care for you, to love you like you deserved. They don't understand that I have always assured you that I would keep you safe. They think I broke you, Nighean. Instead, I saved you."

"I still don't know why," she whispered.

"You know why," he insisted.

Really after all these years together, his lover still had no true comprehension of him.

Breaking her composure, Hermione reached for him. She clung to him, in front of the others. Really, it was only because she was obviously in distress that he permitted her that leniency, because it violated every ounce of proper Warlock behavior that had been drilled into his soul by his great grandfather. Plus the horrified looks on her guards was something he would savor, as Nighean's reaction, the fact that she wanted comfort from him, horrified them. Some of them were still unable to wrap their small minds around the fact that what Hermione and he had was bloody consensual.

He easily snapped his restraints and he embraced her, because she needed soothing. As he anticipated, the Order sprung to their feet so they could restrain him once again. Hermione saw it, and reacted poorly to this latest in a long line of betrayals from her supposed friends. However, Kingley Shacklebolt was far more political savvy than Yaxley had anticipated. A quick gesture had everyone back off, because Kingsley understood how Hermione would react. A clinging Hermione said in a small voice, "Ron told me that I'm no better than a Knockturn Alley whore. He said… I wouldn't do it with him, but I fucked a Death Eater and bore his bastards."

Yaxley glared at the youngest Weasley cur. The chit was heavily scarred, thanks to being tortured by Bellatrix LeStrange, and there was a dark look in his dead eyes that said that the war had not been kind to him. But to take his anger out on Nighean…

"His opinion means nothing. I know at one time, you were quite fond of him, he's but a jealous child who never treated you as well as you deserved. You're exhausted, you need to rest as our children need their mother healthy. You must let the House Elves help you," he gently instructed her. "Shhh…. You know that based on the traditions…"

"You and your blasted pureblood traditions," protested Hermione.

"My blasted pureblood traditions means that our children, both born and unborn, are legitimate. However, you look tired."

"I'm exhausted," she whispered. "Last night, I dreamt of Rodolphus and Rabastan. You weren't there to protect me."

He continued to embrace her. "When you wake from those dreams, you must remind yourself that Rodolphus and Rabastan are dead. I ensured that they never would bother you or anyone again. Tell me what else is bothering you. You will tell me what boon I may gift to you, the mother of my children?"

Shacklebolt's head bobbled at that comment, as he was obviously raised in the pureblood traditions, but Hermione didn't notice.

"You can't help me, not when you're in Azkaban. I'm just exhausted and I have no one I can lean on. I… want… my mother," she softly admitted. "I desperately want my mother. I want to stop having to fight so hard, so I can survive another day. I am trying to be strong, to defend our family, like you did all those years. It would be easier, if I could just sleep for one night without everyone's insults ringing in my ears. I'm not a whore. I am not… a whore… you were the only one… though the others…" She couldn't continue until she composed herself. "The others… tried… they kept trying and you kept stopping them. I want a full night's sleep where I don't wake with my heart pounding because … you're not there to stop them. When I was a child, I had night terrors and my father…. He'd stay with me until I was asleep again."

The old fears reawakened, his pet needed to be cosseted and pampered, especially now that she was carrying.

"Shh… shhh… What you need is for me to take care of you. I would make sure that you were eating and resting like you should. I'd horribly indulge you and I'd keep your bad dreams at bay. Shacklebolt," Yaxley growled. "Perhaps one of your sainted Healers can give her something so she can rest? Do you deem your protection of Nighean, adequate? After you swore on your name and your soul? I believe that you have failed, Minister Shacklebolt."

He scored and scored hard on Kingsley. He felt no guilt for doing so, because Nighean was in need of help.

"No Healers. I can't bear facing them…I'd rather be here with you than face their accusing looks. I hate being vulnerable... during the exam." Hermione pulled away from him, and she hugged herself. "I hate being on my back with people looking down at me. I hate being known as a Death Eater's whore. They don't understand… they don't know…"

"They don't understand because they never asked you what you endured. Not them, they didn't care enough about you to bother to find out the truth." He stroked her face with his index finger. A slow, deliberate caress which calmed his pet. She associated that rare, public gesture from him with comfort and tenderness. "You are being seen by Healers, aren't you?"

She nodded. "I hate being touched."

Even by me? I thought you had grown to enjoy my touch, he thought. She shook her head, and she sent back her overwhelming trust in him.

There was a thought in the back of her mind. One that she was struggling to hide, but really, did she honestly think he wouldn't know? He continued stroking her face and focused. Yaxley found the thought, easily, and then felt the edgy emotions that surrounded it. Nighean was worried about his reaction if he discovered what she was hiding… that he might break out of Azkaban… and he focused still further.

"They're deliberately hurting you? Who?" Iacob growled. His raw rage frightened Hermoine, as she pulled away. "I'm not angry at you. Who is the Healer that is hurting my children's mother? I will not permit anyone to hurt you. The LeStrange brothers could vouch for that… if they were still alive. Shacklebolt, you will address this immediately."

"A witch of worth listens intently to conversations but does not interject her opinion, unless asked. Because it is accepted as Merlin-validated truth, witches are far smarter than warlocks." Malfoy, Beatrice. Manners and Social Etiquette Guide for Pureblood Ladies, 12th Edition. London: Dragon Press, 1905.

1 June 1997, 12.00
Orders Headquarter
12 Grimmauld Place
Islington, London

"Augustus Rookwood," Alastor Moody growled, as he put the picture on the kitchen table at the Burrow. "Jolly chap. All the females and some of the laddies liked him. In debt to his eyebrows, as he has a bit of a gambling problem. His wife has been financing him but it seems that she's not footing the bill anymore."

Augustus Rookwood, Death Eater, smiled and waved at the camera. Hermione noted that Augustus had a bright, easy smile and seemed to be the very antithesis of what a wand-carrying Death Eater should be.

"He looks like Lockhart," snorted one of the twins. She flinched at that thought because she remembered how enamored she had once been of that badly dressed prat.

Rudolphus, Bellatrix and Rabastan LeStrange were described in detail. Hermione wrinkled her nose in distaste, but wrote down everything Alastor Moody thought to divulge. She ignored Ron's comment about there not being an exam on this, but really, didn't he realize? There was an exam on this, a life or death exam.

"Iacob Yaxley," Alastor continued as he placed another photograph on the table. The compact Death Eater scowled at the Order Members once he realized who was examining him. "He's an odd one. One of the older Death Eaters, though in the first war, he claimed he was Imperio'd. Bit of a vicious streak in him according to his few surviving victims. Long time widower. Rumored to have crawled into the bottle after his wife died. He's one of Alfred Nott's confidants as they were brother-in-laws. However, there's supposedly a strong dislike between him and the Malfoys-LeStrange crowd."

"Iacob doesn't like that Lucius's hair is prettier?" quipped Fred. "Perhaps we can send him a hair tonic."

"Or a new binder. Perhaps something sparkly to make his mad eyes pop," cooed George.

Alastor growled his disgust and left the table, muttering under his breath. Kingsley Shacklebolt looked at the old mage fondly, rubbed his own short skull fondly and quipped, "Personally, I find hair highly overrated." He left to calm down the sputtering Alastor.

Ignoring the various quips of the other Order members, Hermione Granger examined the diverse photographs and continued with her lists. Lists were important as they brought order and structure to a world that was increasing chaotic and fragmented. And she was planning on passing the cumulative exam.

Alfred Nott.

Wears his grey hair in the plait that was customary at the turn of the century. Friends/brother-in-law with Yaxley. He's older than Yaxley, who is noticeably older than Lucius. Married a much younger witch quite late in life, she died of natural causes after the birth of her son. Alfred went into seclusion to raise his son after her death. Not a great deal is known about Alfred Nott – he is like the spider in the darkness. Unsure of whom his loyalties are among the Death Eater factions except for Yaxley. Though it is assumed that he is not of the LeStrange-Malfoy crowd.

Iacob Yaxley.

Older warlock that also wears his blond hair in the traditional plait. Friends with Nott, also another older wizard. Seems to be a bit of a generational gap between him and Lucius Malfoy's contemporaries. Married late in his life to a much younger witch. She died of natural causes soon after the wedding, perhaps a year or two later. As did her sister who married Alfred Nott. The official inquest was there seemed to be an undiagnosed condition that ran in the sisters' family. Didn't marry again, even though he didn't have an heir of his body. Right now Theodore Nott stands to inherit both sizable estates. Yaxley claimed he was Imperio'd though he couldn't say at his trial who had done it. Quite intelligent as he obtained NEWTS in all his classes in his seventh year. Even Muggle Studies.

He's known as a vicious attack dog when he's unleashed. He is the bare steel fist to Lucius' silk covered iron fist. Possibly an alcoholic or a recovering one. Rarely mentioned in the society column or in Rita's column which either means Yaxley is a recluse or Rita is terrified of him.

Her list completed, it was fortunately time for Molly's dinner. Always an outstanding cook, Molly was outdoing herself lately in preparation for Bill's wedding.

"A witch takes care to walk sedately. Nothing offends the well bred Warlock more than a witch who bounds like a hound." Malfoy, Beatrice. Manners and Social Etiquette Guide for Pureblood Ladies, 12th Edition. London: Dragon Press, 1905.

September 2, 1997, 15.00
Ministry of Magic Headquarters
Whitehall, London

Hermione Granger was attempting to run for her life. In high heels. Dratted Mafalda Hopkirk and her vanity. Behind her, she could hear an enraged Yaxley growling like a mad dog in the noon day heat. Damn it, Harry had Stunned Yaxley, and the warlock was already sufficiently recovered to chase after them. The older wizard was power walking his way through the Ministry, with every sane soul getting out of his way. It was a sight akin to the Red Sea parting for Moses. There was a quick blast of energy, close enough to singe her… Mafalda's tights.

She stumbled then, twisting her ankle painfully and Harry wrenched her arm as he pulled her toward the Floo.

The growling was becoming louder which meant that Yaxley had picked up speed. The trio stumbled into the Floor when she felt Yaxley latch onto her arm. He also grabbed Ron's arm with his free hand and Hermione panicked. Really, she wasn't bloody Alastor Moody who did this every day for shits and giggles. She was a bloody school girl and there was a Death Eater attached to her arm. She cast a spell, and then….

Craziness. Ron was yelling, Yaxley was bellowing, Harry was doing something… useless… but no doubt terribly sincere. They were landing in the Order's secret location so Hermione again cast a very reckless spell. There was a loud thump when she hit the floor, and she found herself underneath Yaxley. There was a great deal of noise, mainly coming from Yaxley and he was screaming something very obscene at the very top of his lungs. Or maybe he wasn't, but since he was bellowing in his heavy Glaswegian accent, it all sounded the same to Hermione.

There was also a great deal of blood, Hermione noticed. Most of it seemed to be from the Death Eater as he was missing most of his left arm; Ron must have taken the Death Eater's arm with him when Hermione had created a desperate port key.

No Harry. No Ron. Just a very angry Death Eater who was missing his left arm and her. She felt his magic wrap itself around her very soul and she knew that he was her gaoler.

"Stop the bleeding!" He screamed. "If I die, you die, bitch."

She cast something, recklessly and then blacked out. Later on, the Death Eaters found her. She had regained consciousness to find herelf still underneath Yaxley, unable to escape as he was literal dead weight. He had cauterized his stump and then had blacked out from the pain. And the bastard had cast something, so she couldn't leave him to die.

"Who gets the Mudblood?" Rabastan LeStrange quipped. "She seems a lively wench as she's seemingly killed Elder Yaxley with her physical charms."

The Death Eaters made numerous disparaging comments even while Alfred Nott stabilized Yaxley. He peered at her in confusion and then looked at Yaxley. "My Lord, it seems that Iacob has Intrinsically Bonded the wench. He's still alive because his body is using her magic to stabilize him."

"Very well, then if Yaxley lives, she's his," Voldemort decided.

"When presented with a female prisoner of war, treat her with the respect deserved to her as a formidable enemy. However, don't be too nice. Save that for later, after you break her." Black, Licorus. The Well Bred Warlock: A Guide to Wooing, Courting and Every Day Behavior for the Pureblood Wizard. Translated from the Original Gaelic. Glasgow: Warlock Press, 1544.

20 September 1997, 11.00
St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries
London, England

Iacob Yaxley was dreaming. He was in his wedding robes, walking toward his bedroom where the love of his life was waiting for him. She was pure, so he would be patient with her and take as long as necessary for her to become comfortable with him. He was curt and brusque at the best of times, so tonight, of all nights, he prayed that he could be comforting and gentle with his much younger wife. The doors swung open to reveal his new bride who was in his bed. Rowena was uncontrollably weeping, struggling to hide her nakedness and she flinched when she saw her new husband. "Please don't hurt me," she pleaded. "Please don't."

He woke then, disorientated, and while he struggled to sit, Alfie Nott gently pressed him backwards.

"Yax," the older wizard said in a very concerned voice. "Had me worried there, you bastard. You lost a great deal of blood, and they couldn't get you stabilized. I've been sitting at your bedside for the last few weeks. The LeStranges and the Malfoys stuck their heads in a few times and offered to relieve me for a spell, but I refused."

"Those kind souls would have put a pillow over my head to help me sleep," Iacob admitted. "How long have I been?"

"Almost three weeks. They put you in a magical coma to work on your arm and the loss of blood. Then you wouldn't wake up, so I am assuming you had pleasant dreams."

"I dreamt of Rowena," he confessed. "Of times gone by and of things that never happened between us. I dreamt of our wedding night and she pleaded with me not to hurt her. I never hurt her, Alfred. I was always very gentle with her."

"I know you were, Yax," assured Alfred. "Rowena adored you."

Yaxley rubbed his eyes and realized that only his right was responding. That brought back memories of the Ministry and he looked at his left arm. It was there, but it wasn't moving.

"We think it was splinched. We couldn't find it as the chit has no idea where she sent them. Only that she sent them as far away as she could. For all we know, both boys could be dead. The Healers managed to grow it but the stump was quite damaged due to your pyrotechnics. You'll need to strengthen it. Especially as every single eligible female paraded by your room."

What Yaxley said then, could not be repeated in the company of ladies, warlocks or hags.

"Brother, you are in very high favor right now. I don't even think Severus Snape ranks higher with our Master than you do. Severus grudgingly admitted that you managed to capture the brains of the operation. So if Potter is alive, he's wandering around… clueless right now. Moody and Dumbledore are both dead. They might have a school teacher or three, but no real brains. The various guardians of the eligible women in our company took notice of you, the fact that you have no heir of your loins, and have decided that you have enjoyed your widowerhood long enough."

His brother-in-law laughed. Softly and without malice.

"I'm afraid that Pansy Parkinson was in your room and had nearly sexually assaulted you in your sick bed. While you lay there, unable to protest her tender ministrations, she was quite eager to carry your heir."

"You left me completely defenseless, because you stepped out for a fag?" Iacob growled. "Pansy was probably prompted by her mother to uphold the family tradition. You know, get pregnant by a man in his death bed. She inherits because her belly is swelling and he can't protest as he's being interred."

"Yes. I fortunately got back in time and Stunned her while she was in mid-straddle. While she was Stunned, I ensured that there would be no child, if she had been successful in her noble goal. I don't think she had gotten that far, but I couldn't really ask you. I wasn't sure if you were still unconscious or dozing in post-coital bliss. I didn't notice you smoking, so I assumed you were still comatose and hadn't consented."

"Bastard," Yaxley said. While there was a dozen plus years difference between the two men, the brother-in-laws shared a similar sardonic sense of humor.

"Since I really need a smoke now and then, I brought a couple of your dogs in to guard you. It seems your Blue Paul Terriers are quite frighteningly protective, especially your alpha bitch. Effie insisted on sleeping in your bed, and Pansy doesn't want to share your bed with anther bitch. But those dogs of yours! All the fertile, unwedded witches were swooning in fear over them. I'm rather also impressed with the Protego charms on their collars as the most interesting things happened to some of your visitors. I'm afraid that Emily Rowle is no longer among the land of living as she had a rather nasty curse backfire on her. I wonder if you had a spare dog collar I could examine."

"Ro loved those dogs which is why I kept them. By all means, you can have a collar. I'm sure you made some enemies while you guarded Sleeping Beauty." His tone was dry and Alfred Nott laughed.

"I can assure you that I would never describe you that way."

Iacob laughed. Then in a loud tone, he called for his House Elf, Aggie and requested that she bring him a dog collar and a proper set of clothes. The House Elf quickly appeared with the requested items and wept copious tears of sheer delight as her beloved Master was alive. He patted her on her head only because she was a long time retainer and quickly sent her on her way.

With a sharp flick of his wand, Alfie had Iacob dressed, shaved and his hair neatly tied back. His left arm was neatly slung and swathed, though Yaxley noticed that his left arm was Death Mark free.

"Anyway, we need to get you upright. That Mudblood you bagged, you need to claim her as LeStrange and Malfoy want her. She seems pretty enough even though her blood is pure dirt. They've gotten as much information out of her as she's capable of giving, so now what to do with her? I suggested to the Dark Lord that you be given her as your nursemaid as her magic is the reason why you're still alive. I don't want her dead. She might prove beneficial in future negotiations, so it would be best if Bellatrix doesn't break her."

Yaxley nodded, and struggled to stand. His much taller brother-in-law supported him easily, despite being his senior in age. Alfie handed him a cigarette and lit it for him, as Alfie correctly guessed that his magic was still erratic.

"Come, brother. Let us acquire your Mudblood nursemaid. If not your nursemaid, she could warm your bed. It has been empty for far too long."

"I haven't looked at another woman since Ro died. And before you deny it, I can say the very same thing about you since Anstey passed."

"You don't have to look at her when you plow her," Alfie reminded him. "Besides, I am a very ancient man and sexual exertion with a young girl might very well kill me. I already have an heir. You need to settle down and sire an heir, because I don't want Teddy getting both our estates. With all those riches, he might turn in another Lucius Malfoy. That peacock is a true waste of Abraxas' seed."

"His mother was Pansy's great aunt," reminded Iacob.

"When in doubt, gentle reader, tears work exceedingly well on the well-bred Warlock." Malfoy, Beatrice. Manners and Social Etiquette Guide for Pureblood Ladies, 12th Edition. London: Dragon Press, 1905.

Hermione Granger had struggled to remember everything Alastor Moody or the other Order Aurors had said about being captured. The first was to lie frequently, so when the truth was voiced as it would come out sooner or later, best it be sprinkled with so many fabrications that they'd have to waste time to separate the wheat from the chaff.

However, they didn't seem to be too terribly interested in information. No, the various LeStranges had decided they just wished to hear her scream. So when they hurt her in new and excruciating ways, she screamed and screamed until her voice broke, then screamed anew. Sensory deprivation, lack of water and food, Crucio'd randomly, God, they had even taken her clothes. Bellatrix had taken a knife…. And had carved… the dark mark into her skin…. The two LeStrange men had commented on her physique with Bellatrix's husband making thinly veiled threats about the brothers taking turns raping her when they next visited her. And while food had arrived three times since their last visit, they hadn't. Which meant that they'd be arriving sooner rather than later. She had a wicked headache and she felt woozy.

The door opened to her cell.

She wept, because her mind had raced and raced when she was in solitude, unable to escape the terror of knowing that her first time would be with the LeStrange brothers. Now, faced with the reality, she broke. She struggled, futilely, to hide her nakedness and she flinched when she saw it was two older wizards. Both of them wore their hair plaited, which meant… Yaxley and Nott.

"Please don't hurt me," she pleaded. "Please don't."

Yaxley put his right hand under her chin and forced her to look at him. His face was quite somber and he spoke in a heavy Scottish brogue. "I understand that the LeStranges have been in charge of you while I have been recovering from the amputation that you inflicted on me. Their pampering will stop effective immediately."

Instinctively, she pulled away from him. Recovering from the amputation that she had inflicted on him? Pampering? Her skittishness irked him as he yanked her jaw.

"You will not speak to me unless I address you. Normally, you will not look at me; however I wish to make sure that you understand what is occurring. Is that understood?"

"Yes," Hermione said.

"Yes, Master," Yaxley prompted.

She muttered something close to that, or it might a firm desire for him to go to hell. He gave her a wintry smile which meant that he wasn't fooled. Not one bit by her.

"Alfie, I'm afraid you'll need to put the collar on her," Yaxley announced. "It's for your own protection until I can do better. However, where are your clothes?"

"They took them," she explained. There was a disapproving look in his eyes until she choked out, "Master."

"Behave, and do exactly what I tell you. If you do so, it will go much better for you," he explained. "You will get food and water. You will be given clothing as quite frankly I have no wish to see you naked. Also, you will bathe on a regular basis. At the moment, you are quite ripe and your smell is making my stomach roil. In exchange, for my munificence, you will wear the collar. You will make no move against me. You will do everything I tell you to do, without any protestations. Make me angry and you will regret it."

Alfred Nott placed the collar on her neck. It was a dog collar, a dog collar and Hermoine trembled.

"Severus didn't say she was a lackwit. Look at me," ordered Yaxley. He hooked his fingers and stared at her brown eyes. Her head began to hurt more and she whimpered. After what seemed like hours, Yaxley stopped. "Concussion. Contusions, abrasions and she's dehydrated as it seems that they forgot to feed and water her. There are a few cracked ribs, and a broken orbital. Probably from Rodolphus, as Rabbie's too slight to put that much force in his punch. I have to take her to the Healers. Bellatrix always made a habit of breaking Andromeda's toys. And really, carving the Dark Lord's mark on this slut? Bella is so bloody predictable. I'll have the Healers remove it as she has not earned the right to wear it."

"And I'm sure they'll wish to talk to us about you walking out of them. I find Healers to be quite sticklers for protocols." Nott quipped.

Yaxley growled, and Nott laughed. "Now the question, Yax. Should we dress her before we parade her through the halls? If we leave her skyclad, it would do wonders for our reputations."

Hermione attempted to hide her nakedness as much as possible but the two warlocks continued bantering. It was worse than being with the LeStranges, as these two didn't even see her a human. No, it was like listening to Harry and Ron talk about Quidditch.

"That you and I had sex with a Mudblood? That's a fate almost as bad…" Yaxley sputtered.

"As being sexually assaulted by Pansy Parkinson. Yes, you're right, chap. Don't you worry, I had you fumigated. I know you don't want anything rotting," cheerily assured Alfred.

Another growl from Yaxley while Nott laughed.

"Can you clothe her, and we'll escort her to the Healers?"

"Yax, you are looking a bit unwell," Nott admitted. "She doesn't look much better. Girl, can you stand?"

She couldn't so the two warlocks ended up pulling her to her feet. They were kind enough to clothe her in a cotton robe, so they didn't parade her skyclad through the Malfoy Manor House.

"You know, Yaxley. This could be an interesting project for you. Turn this rebel into someone that values our traditions and culture."

"I'll walk on water first," spat Yaxley.

"How about a wager between friends?" Nott asked.

The idea seemed to intrigue Yaxley. "How much of a friendly wager?"

"I bet you ten thousand galleons and that lakeside cottage of mine that you enjoy during the fall months that you cannot turn her respectable. And to add a little spice to our wager, you have to use only your very inconsiderable charisma to do so." The older wizard laughed uproariously.

Yaxley stopped dead, and Hermione stumbled. In a very low voice, Yaxley stated, "My wife would hopefully disagree. Ro always assured me that she found me quite amiable. I was always a proper, respectful husband to her, and I strove to be charming. I am quite capable of being charming."

Well, if there was a choice between a ravenous anaconda with a toothache, Voldemort and Yaxley, Hermione would bet on the anaconda.

"Yax, I truly meant no offense. You know as well as I do, that it was only our wives who ever found either of us charming. And I believe that those dear, sweet girls took pity on us." Nott sighed.

"A proper host always ensures that their guests are healthy. If illness should befall them, it is the responsibility of the host to oversee their treatment. " Black, Licorus. The Well Bred Warlock: A Guide to Wooing, Courting and Every Day Behavior for the Pureblood Wizard. Translated from the Original Gaelic. Glasgow: Warlock Press, 1544.

"I'd appreciate if you'd ensure that she was lice-free," Yaxley requested the Healer from where he and Nott were sitting in the front row of the raree show. "The LeStranges have been playing with her and I don't want her bringing anything nasty in my house."

Nott hissed a warning, and Yaxley nodded his head in acknowledgement.

"It's well known that Rabastan picked up something from Knockturn Alley wenches, which is why he can no longer formulate full sentences," Yaxley reminded the other wizard. "Plus, I'm sure that a great many people went to visit her in her cell."

Granger reacted to that comment, which meant that he had scored. Who else had visited her, he wondered.

"She's still a virgin," the Healer informed Yaxley. Iacob nodded his head and then Oblivated the Healer as the less that knew about his … pet's… status, the easier it would be for him.

"They still make them?" Iacob quipped.

"They're actually born that way, I understand," Nott told his brother-in-law.

The two warlocks looked at each other, thought of their respective deceased wives and nodded their heads in weary acknowledgement of their mutual losses. Yaxley then looked away and saw that his… new toy… slave… Mudblood Mistress… whatever the hell was he supposed to call her… was out of her mind terrified. He wasn't one of those that prescribed to the belief that Mudbloods were lesser in intelligence than Wizards. He and Alfred just wished tradition maintained, rather than having the Muggle world influence his world. These Mudblood wizards and witches came in, all fire and enthusiasm and lacking the respect and the understanding of why the Magical World was the way it was. It had worked, and worked well, for over one thousand years, there was no reason to have everything go arse over tit because someone knew of a supposed better way.

He walked over to where his prisoner was spread eagle on the exam table. His arrival caused her eyes to widen even more. Really, it was rather ironic that his reputation was more intimidating than the bloody LeStranges, all of whom were stark raving nutters. Really, compared to the mindless bruits that made up most of the Death Easters, he was rather short and old. It was his voice, he knew, as it was something he had cultivated.

"Easy," he whispered into her ear. "Just stare at the ceiling. That tile, over your head, the one with the odd stain on it that looks like a Devil's Snare? Focus on it, and this will be soon over. I need to find out what the LeStranges did to you while you were in their care and repair the damage."

The chit said not a word, so he prompted her, "Thank you. I appreciate you taking care of me, Master. I am fortunate to have a Master such as you."

She whispered her appreciation and he shook his head. "You need to realize, I am the only person that stands between you and the LeStranges. I will be less likely to expend any effort if you are not appreciative of my pains. When they're done with you, I'll bring you to my house. There will a soft, comfortable bed for you, food and water."

"A witch always thanks her host for his hospitality." Malfoy, Beatrice. Manners and Social Etiquette Guide for Pureblood Ladies, 12th Edition. London: Dragon Press, 1905.

A soft, comfortable bed consisted of a mattress pad for one of his dogs located at the foot of the bed. He owned at least four of the big, massive animals who looked like Staffordshire Terriers, but she had been indignantly informed that they were actually Blue Paul Terriers. Yaxley adored the dogs, particularly the eldest bitch, Effie, who was permitted to sleep on his bed. Food, being soup, and water were served in the steel pans that the dogs utilized. And she was staying in Yaxley's BEDROOM. On the floor. On a dog mattress at the foot of his bed!

Yaxley sat on the edge of his bed, and he winced. He grabbed his left wrist with his right hand and pulled it closer to him. Once it was cradled against his chest, Yaxley began removing his tie with his right hand. Effie tilted her massive head and then licked Yaxley's left hand.

"Would you do the honors, Alfie?" Iacob asked.

"Will do. What is her name to be?"

"Nighean," offered Iacob. "It's girl in the old tongue. You, Nighean, stand by the bed. Hold out your right hand."

"You're not even letting her on your bed for this?" Alfred quipped. He had taken Yaxley's tie and had Transformed it into long, braided silver and green ribbon.

"Go to hell, Alfie," snapped Iacob. He took Hermione's right hand with his right and positioned it on top of his motionless left hand. He then used his right hand to prop his hand so Alfred began to wrap the ribbon around their hands. "Since you are a Mudblood, and uncaring of our hallowed traditions, I will kindly explain what is occurring. This is a time-honored method of assuring cooperation from an unhappy capture. Does this look familiar to you?"

"The handfasting ceremony," Hermione said. As Iacob's hairy eyeball, she added, "Master."

Whatever potion the LeStranges had given her to make her tractable and biddable was slowly leaving her system. Her mind was becoming clearer, so she'd have to pretend to be in her drugged stupor.

That observation earned a slight shake of Yaxley's head.

"You're correct, Nighean. That's how the traditional left handed marriage started, also known as hand fasting. Most of the brides were unwilling so this ritual ensured that they couldn't murder their spouse or attempt suicide. That's why I didn't give you a fork for your dinner, because I know you'd want to stab me with it."

Alfred Nott tapped his wand, and the cord tightened around both their hands. It then sank into their skin and disappeared, leaving not a physical trace behind. Though Hermione could now sense Iacob Yaxley in her head. His left arm had gotten gamy after the splinching and his self-cauterization, so he was in a great deal of pain. Plus it hadn't healed completely, so he lacked full mobility. There was also a growing sense of annoyance that he was being forced to deal with her.

She realized something else and she hoped to God that the bond was one way. To her horror, Yaxley turned and smiled at her. It was the smile of a shark, and it never reached his dead eyes.

"No. I don't plan on fucking you tonight. My wife was a woman blessed with munificent curves. You are far too thin for my epicurean tastes. I'd gouge out my eye on your pubis bone if I should ever perform…." He didn't finish what he'd be performing but Hermione knew. Especially with his rather smug smile.

Her reaction was instinctive at the very thought of him being THERE…. Doing that to HER; she yanked away from him. She jarred his left arm, he didn't strike her, instead he cursed a blue streak. She shared his pain, the excruciating pain, so she wasn't surprised when Yaxley threatened to bloody murder her as she was an absolute idiot.

Alfred Nott placed a vial against Yaxley's lips and ordered him to drink. The taste was tart, but the pain in Hermione's arm lessoned considerably.

"Another sip, Iacob. Then we'll get you undressed…."

Hermione's face burned when Iacob made a rude comment about her undressing him. It didn't help that she was feeling distinctively unbalanced as whatever Nott had given Yaxley, it had the warlock feeling as though he was flying.

"Least she's not like Pansy. You won't rot away from her affections. But yes, get you undressed and I'll show her how to take care of your arm. Then you can sleep."

"Don't leave me with her, she'll try to kill me," Iacob said. "She's terrified of us, Alfie. Far more than she was of the LeStrange trio. I feel so honored to have earned that level of fear. Our little Nighean is plotting her escape; however, I'm not letting her go."

"Really, whatever have we done to her?" Alfie quipped as he convinced Iacob to take a third sip. And a fourth. "Have we not been perfect hosts? Was she not seen by a Healer? Did we not clothe and feed her?"

"It's the hair," Iacob slurred. "She has a fear of braids, apparently. Plaitaphobia?"

After that proclamation about her plait phobia, Iacob Yaxley collapsed, quite dead to the world; fortunately that included the nascent bond in her head. Effie placed her broad head on his chest and the two of them were soon snoring in time. Alfred Nott was busy instructing her in what her main responsibility would be now that she was Yaxley's…. pet…. To salvage Yaxley's left arm. "He throws his curses left handed. You will be responsible for massaging his arm and working with him to regain full mobility. It could be a great deal worse as Rabastan has expressed an interest in you. I'd give you at the most a month with surviving with Rabastan, as the only thing that stayed his hand was the fact that Iacob wasn't dead. With Rabastan, you'd be pleading for death by the end of the third week. Fortunately, since Iacob survived, you have protection against the LeStranges."

"Why are you telling me this?" Hermione asked.

The old warlock briefly smiled. "Your dirty Mudblood prejudices are on full display, Nighean. You think this ancient Pureblood warlock is incapable of compassion? How little you know of the Pureblood traditions. We're all not like the LeStranges, Nighean. Some of us are far, far worse, and I'm one of them, my dear girl. Now eat, and go to bed."

She looked at the steel pans and then swallowed.

"It's water and soup. It's your menu for the next few days; Iacob will gradually reintroduce you to real food as you can tolerate it. Slow sips. Don't force yourself to finish it all."

He sat down on the settee and motioned for her to drink. She took small sips until her stomach threatened to rebel. Then she sat down on the mattress and curled herself into a ball. That way if Yaxley or Nott decided to kick her while she slept… like the LeStrange brothers had…

"Alfie… she needs a blanket…" Yaxley grumbled. "Also can you dose her so she will sleep? I can't get to sleep with her wailing and gnashing of her teeth in my head. Tomorrow, we need to figure out how to get the bitch out of my head."

Alfred dropped a blanket over her and he whispered a soft charm so that she knew no more.

The next morning, she was given weak tea and still more soup by one of Yaxley's House Elves after she was nudged awake by Yaxley's foot. "What did they do to you?" He stated in a voice that was akin to a rumbling avalanche. "So that you whimper in your sleep?"

They offered me the standard Death Eater hospitality; torture, the looming, never ending terror of the possibility of being raped by one of the LeStranges. They were such lovely hosts, as they included turndown service and chocolate on my pillow. My dreams are full of Bellatrix's absolute insanity, Rodolphus' egomania and Rabastan's lustful eyes that kept watching me.

Like bloody hell would she admit how the LeStranges came close to breaking her. She would never admit that to the brutal Yaxley.

"Fascinating, and yet you're more afraid of me," he softly laughed. "Alfie and I truly frighten you. While you're fretting about what I've got planned for you, I have to confess. I have no idea. The only reason I told you to call me, Master, was that they were watching us."