A/N: Warning! This story contains graphic descriptions of torture and rape as well as scenes of horror. This story is clearly marked as Mature! Read at your own risk!
The night was cold and damp, the dew on the grass soaking the ends of his robes as he walked through Hyde Park on his way home. Sure he could have Apparated there, but he was in no hurry. There wasn't anyone waiting for him; there never was. It was nice to steal these few minutes for himself. In this moment he didn't have to pretend, didn't have to act like his father or be the vicious Death Eater; he could think. He could enjoy the sounds of the few Muggles around him as they hurried home in the dark. He could stroll through the park and bask in the quiet of the grass, feel the brisk fall breeze ruffling his hair, enjoy the anonymity that the darkness and the trees provided.
Officially, the war had ended two years ago. Two long years since Harry Potter had fulfilled the hopes and dreams of most of the wizarding world and killed the Dark Lord Voldemort. Yes, officially the war was over.
The Ministry was in denial. The world was still at war; it was just a different kind of war now. One that was infinitely more dangerous because it had gone underground. Now instead of facing off honourably on a field of battle, the enemy attacked out of the blue and then scattered to the wind. Sometimes their targets were so random and puzzling that only the bizarre stories of the witnesses confirmed that the incidents were caused by wizards at all. Who blows up a Muggle animal shelter?
The remaining Death Eaters had scattered after Voldemort's death at the Battle of Hogwarts. A new leader took the reins, backed by a new generation of supporters. Seventh year students that got a taste of power under the tutelage of the Carrow siblings and that Umbridge woman had joined dear Uncle Rodolphus Lestrange in his quest for revenge and blood purity.
Bloody idiots, the lot of them. Hypocrites! Even the Dark Lord himself had been a half-blood, and yet they all conveniently forgot about that. Once they got a taste for the killing and desecration, it really wasn't about blood purity any more. It was all about the power and anarchy they revelled in.
Rodolphus was quickly joined by some of the more unstable of the original Death Eaters: Alecto Carrow, Mulciber, and Dolohov. All with a personal grudge and a heavy dose of insanity to fan the flames of the quest for blood purity. They terrorized most of the world with their attacks on Muggle-borns and 'blood traitors'. Only now, things were almost worse than they were when Voldemort was alive. Now, there was no rhyme or reason to the attacks; no pattern to follow. They weren't out to take over the Ministry or achieve world domination. No, they were on some demented mission from their martyred Lord to take out as many Muggle-borns, blood traitors, and half-breeds as they could before they were killed or captured. Yes, they had added half-breeds to their vendetta. Ethnic cleansing they called it.
Draco mentally rolled his eyes. He wondered if a selective memory was a symptom of the insanity that plagued the so-called 'Pure Bloods' or if it was as a result of too much in-breeding. They all had some kind of Muggle blood in their families somewhere, either Muggle blood or some kind of creature. Giant blood, Veela blood, or even an Elf on rare occasions; it was inevitable. No wizarding family could possibly be entirely pure-blood wizard. It was arrogant to think otherwise.
To Draco's mind, magic flowed like water, like a breeze through the trees, vaguely predictable but completely uncontrollable. If a witch or wizard was born to two Muggle parents, it was simply a fact of nature. An anomaly to be sure, but the Pure Blood families were dwindling. Squibs were born almost every day. The way Draco saw it, it was nature trying to preserve the balance. Where magic was lost in one place, it was replaced in another.
As for the half-breeds, adding the blood of a purely magical creature to your family tree just seemed like a way to strengthen the magic as far as he was concerned. Hell, that oaf Hagrid was almost impervious to most harmful spells due to his half-giant blood. That was bloody useful when you thought about it.
And how did Draco know so much about the inner workings of the Death Eaters? Because he was one. Sort of.
He supplied them with food, clothing, magical supplies, and information on the Ministry. At least they thought he did. They thought he was their perfectly placed, outwardly reformed spy. To the world, Draco had taken up the mantle of the Malfoy name and conformed to a post-Voldemort world. He invested in companies owned by Muggle-borns and half-bloods. He had taken his father's place on the Board of Education and was active in political circles that supported rights for all magical creatures. The Death Eaters thought it was the perfect joke and a brilliant cover story. Only it was the truth. Sometimes the truth was so outlandish, so unbelievable that it had to be a lie. Not one of the Death Eaters would ever believe that Draco Malfoy, son of Lucius Malfoy and Narcissa Black-Malfoy, could ever sympathize with Mudbloods, blood-traitors, and half breeds.
Draco had become a master of duality. No one played their part more brilliantly than he. Even the famous Harry Potter secretly commended him on his performance. He was the major lynchpin that held it all together. Without Draco, Potter and his followers would be stumbling around in the dark, constantly on the defence never on the offence. It was a very delicate tightrope to walk. If the Death Eaters ever found out his secret, death would have been a welcomed mercy. The things they would do to him would make the torture of the Longbottoms seem like a mild interrogation.
Yes, it was nice to walk through the park in the middle of the night and not have to perform. He could relax his cold visage and drop his mask, let down his guard a bit, if only for a while. The darkness, somewhere no one could see, protecting his identity and his emotions. He could contemplate his life and the loneliness that permeated his very soul; the life that he had condemned himself to.
He could never allow anyone to get too close; they would be in too much danger. Even his few friends were held at a distance for fear that someone would think to use them against him. Never again would someone he cared about get hurt to force his compliance. He had been hiding his thoughts and emotions and living a double life for so long, he was surprised he even knew himself anymore. Everyone assumed that he was a Pure Blood fanatic due to his upbringing. And they might have been right. Up until he was fifteen, he honestly thought he was better than any Muggle-born or blood traitor. Did he think that they should all be killed? No, they were simply beneath him. He never questioned it; his parents had kept him well sheltered from the Muggle world, and his only friends were the sons and daughters of his parents' friends. All Pure Bloods.
And then he turned fifteen. At fifteen he learned the secret the Malfoys hid from the world. At fifteen Voldemort returned, and he saw fear in his father's face for the first time.
Malfoy Manor was no longer his home; Voldemort had moved in and brought all his insane little friends with him, forcing Draco's family to live under a very dangerous magnifying glass. Draco watched helpless as his parents were reduced to mere servants in their own home, tortured for the smallest infraction. All of them withered and became fragile under the strain of constantly having to guard their thoughts from the most skilled legillimens of the age. After his father's failure at the Department of Mysteries...well, Draco didn't like to think about those times if he could help it. Suffice it to say that Draco hated the Death Eaters and everything they represented.
The silence of the night was broken by a pained cry and the sound of someone laughing cruelly. Draco stopped, indecision flickering over his aristocratic features. Then a scent came to him on the breeze and Draco froze, his blood running cold. Hoping his senses had failed him for the first time in his life, he eased in the direction he had heard the cry come from.
"I've had my fun, now it's time to take you to your new Master, Mudblood! He won't be near as nice to you as I've been." The gravelly voice grated across Draco's nerves and raised the hair on the back of his neck.
The scent of blood was heavy in the air and his ears were filled with a soft pain-filled whimpering. Decision made, Draco drew his wand and silently transfigured his robes into a long black cloak with a deep hood to hide his features and distinctive honey blonde hair. Blood rushing in his ears, he crept forward and saw a broken and bleeding woman trying painfully to drag herself to safety, a laughing Death Eater standing over her. Before Draco could do anything, the Death Eater kicked her over and pressed his wand into the woman's flesh. The park rang with her ragged screams.
Rage flooded his body as Draco pointed his wand and thought, 'Stupefy!' In a flash of red light, the Death Eater fell to the ground and lay quiet, caught completely unaware.
Draco ran up to the woman whose agony-filled eyes were fighting with consciousness. Her face, although partially obscured by her hair, was swollen and covered in blood, much of it bubbling from her mouth. Her clothes were in rags around her. It was obvious she had been raped. Her body was covered in bruises; several of her bones were clearly broken and strips of flesh had been systematically flayed from her body. She had been tortured.
Unbidden images flashed through Draco's mind of his mother lying on their ballroom floor as Voldemort used her to punish Draco and his father for their failures. Instead of the woman's body, he saw his mother's as she was held down by cloaked and masked Death Eaters, Voldemort watching in delight as she was tortured and raped in front of a laughing and cheering crowd of black cloaked figures, figures that previously the Malfoy family had called friends. Lucius gagged and chained, unconscious beside Draco, his mother's blood soaking into their shredded clothes. Draco, screaming behind his own gag, struggled, helpless to save her. Even now he could feel the iron of the shackles cutting into his flesh. The clink of the rings on the stone floor as his mother's screams echoed in his ears, the cloying scent of blood and fear clouding his senses.
The woman's moan brought him back to the present. Draco used a shaking hand and gently brushed the long, dark, and blood-matted hair back off her face. Even under the scent of fear and adrenaline, under the swelling, blood, and tears, Draco could identify her in the dim moonlight. It was Hermione Granger: a member of the Golden Trio and his childhood nemesis.
"Hermione," his voice came out in a sad exhalation.
It was the first time he had ever allowed himself to speak her name aloud, and it was strangely easy. He didn't care who she was. He didn't care who he was and the role he forced himself to play. No one deserved this, especially not know-it-all Granger.
He bent down to pick her up but stopped when she started to claw at his hands. "Shhh…it's alright. I won't hurt you. You're safe now." He tried to reassure her.
Her eyes struggled to open and she gasped out a warning, "Set up...No hospital…..no Ministry…..waiting for me…..I was….set up….Need Harry. Please...Harry," she whimpered, the plea for her best friend falling from her lips as the tears fell from her eyes.
Whatever he felt about Granger, no matter how hurt she was, she was no fool. If she said someone in the Ministry had set her up, they had. And she was right; St. Mungo's wouldn't be safe for her if that was the case. But without knowing who it was, Draco had no idea who he could trust. That left him with only one choice. He would hide her in the last place anyone would look for her―Malfoy Manor.
Pulling a piece of parchment from his robes he used his wand to write the location of the stupefied Death Eater. Only Kingsley Shacklebolt and Arthur Weasley had the other pieces of parchment that it was linked with via a Protean Charm. Either Kingsley or Weasley would send someone to arrest the unconscious monster momentarily. It was time to go. Draco pulled her into his arms and stood, his 6'3" frame easily cradling her slender 5'2" body. The woman in his arms whimpered in pain, her eyes opening briefly.
"Shhhh...Hermione. You're safe now. I won't let anyone hurt you," he whispered and for a moment her eyes focused on his. "You're safe."
With intense concentration, a whispered "Expecto Patronum," and a flick of his wand, a stream of silver shot from the end and something large and hairy took off into the night. His Patronus would find Potter no matter where he was. Draco turned on the spot and with Hermione cradled gently to his chest, Disapparated into the night.
A/N: Here it is, the first chapter of Cerberus' Tears. For those of you new to my writing, welcome. I have been hanging around in the Twi Fandom for a few years but have many different stories to tell.
For my Twifans, thanks for giving this story and fandom a chance. Glad to see you like my writing enough to try something new!
This story is 90% written so I will be posting one chapter a week until it's complete. It should finish up around 17 chapters or so. As you can tell the content is mature so if you're under the age of eighteen you probably shouldn't be reading this.
Come and find me on Facebook. I love meeting new people and getting to know my readers. facebook dot com slash james dot ramsey dot 5264