Author's Notes: Bellatrix/Hermione. Very dark. AU. Set in sixth year. Very dubious consent/non-consent. Song lyrics are from Seether's "Roses."

Save me even as you break me
Every time you rape me
Leave me coming all undone
Praise me, turn your back and hate me
Every time you waste me
Keep me underneath your thumb

She must be going mad. That's the only explanation Hermione can find, in the shadow-strewn corridor that Bellatrix has dumped her in this time, her lungs burning and her stomach heaving. For someone who remembers the most devilish three hours spent with You Know Who's right hand, she is surprisingly unmarked. Unharmed. Though her nerves tingle and burn with the remembered Cruciatus, not even a hair is out of place in her bushy mane. She's even still wearing her bloody bunny slippers, the ones her parents got her for Christmas third year and she hasn't had the heart to toss.

"Nothing happened," Hermione whispers, picking herself up off the lint-prickled carpet. Her wand remains complacent and cold in its holster, pressed along her arm. Grimmauld Place is silent as the grave around her, and she wonders where on earth she is. She's not been in this hallway, that's for sure, and it's rather...creepy. She tiptoes her way down the corridor, aiming for where she thinks the stairs is. If they're not, then she hasn't the faintest what building she's even in, and wonders if it's possible to sleep-Apparate. Granted, she doesn't even know how to Apparate yet, but anything is possible, isn't it? In your dreams?

-In your nightmares-

A cold shudder ripples down her spine, but the stairs are there, gleaming in the grimy moonlight, and she pads down them easily, discovering that she was only on the fifth floor all along. Only two floors down is her bedroom, the one that she currently shares with Ginny, and when she slips in, she sees her blankets are neatly turned down, and Ginny is snoring away, oblivious.

Just a dream, Hermione thinks and kicks off her slippers, burrowing under the covers with a slight sigh. She sleep-walked when she was younger, and it is apparent that under the strain of N.E.W.T.s coming up, and the ongoing War, that the habit has returned, that's all.

As she drifts off to sleep, she doesn't notice the breath of wisteria-perfumed air that wafts across her bed, or the whisper of her name that stirs the thick brown cloud of her hair.

She wakes up feeling mostly refreshed in the morning, although Ginny comments on the dark shadows under her eyes.

"Oh, you know," Hermione shrugs, a bit airy, as she dresses for the day in sensible Muggle attire. After all, she plans to spend the whole day studying in the library, and who needs to dress up then? "Slept a bit poorly, is all."

"I woke up and you weren't there," Ginny yawns as she attempts to put her sock on inside-out. After a moment, she pauses and looks at it, glaring and scrunching the thing out the right way.

"Oh, I got up for a drink of water," Hermione lies, the tips of her ears flushing. She can't admit to Ginny that she's started sleep-walking again, she can't. The other girl will make fun of her in some way, and anyway, it's no one's business but her own, is it? She's sixteen years old. She can handle a bit of sleep-walking.

Breakfast is a rowdy affair, but she expects no less, spending the time with the entire Weasley family as she is. Harry is there, too, of course, pale and drawn as he stirs his scrambled eggs aimlessly about his plate. She encourages him to eat more, but knows it's a wasted effort. Professor Snape rescued Harry from the Dursleys this summer, though no one will explain what happened, and ever since then, Harry's been like...this. Nearly silent, unwilling to eat, unwilling to sleep, unwilling to do much of anything, as far as Hermione can tell. He won't even do his summer homework and that is practically anathema to her. But she won't push. She tried asking him early on what had happened, but he'd clammed up instantly and told her to shove off, he didn't want to talk about it. Bossy as Hermione is, she knows that sometimes it's not worth it, and so she leaves him alone as much as she can, although she still keeps companionable silence with him in the evenings, when he's slumped up on the sofa in the parlour and staring blankly into the flickering fireplace. This place is painful and reminds him of Sirius, reminds them all of Sirius, and yet where else can they go? There is nowhere else, nowhere safe enough.

After breakfast, Hermione flees to her sanctuary. The Black library is an enormous, cramped affair, with books stuffed in every nook and cranny. Some of them are quite Dark, and most of these have been packed up and sent to lurk in the attic by Mrs. Weasley, who keeps shaking her head and clucking her tongue around Hermione, telling her that she should get out and do more, get in the sun or something, she's much too pale. Hermione doesn't have the heart to remind her that no one's allowed to go outside.

Not that it stops the twins from trying, of course, she thinks with a private smirk as she settles down in her favourite armchair. They apparently decided that being of age makes them over the rules, and there's been more than one time Molly marched them back down the hallway with pinched ears and uncomfortable expressions to prove otherwise.

Ah, yes. She is more than halfway done with her Charms essay, although she is uncomfortably aware that it is already two rolls of parchment past the stated maximum. Professor Flitwick is used to her mammoth summer homework, though, and usually resorts to sighing and reminding her, with a slight twinkle in his eye, that it is also good to practise being succinct.

She knows, and normally, she is succinct, she does her level best during the school year, but it's so difficult during the summer, when there is no feedback but your own (especially when you are a Muggleborn!) and you just want to add in that one little detail, and just one more, and just one more...

And before you know it, you've written ten feet of essay when the blasted thing called for two.

Unless she is writing for Professor Snape, that is, because he takes points if you go over the maximum. Because he is a git, she thinks and feels guilty. He has sacrificed so much for the cause, and she knows how difficult it must be to be a double agent, to pretend you are following a megalomaniac while being blasted with judgmental hate from the 'light' side.

He's still a git though, she decides and finds another book on experimental charms. This year, her Charms assignment is to compare two charms and how they were created, then design her own charm based on the previous two-what she would improve upon, what she would change, etc. It's fascinating, and Hermione is soon completely engrossed in her work, her quill tapping against her lips as she reads a paragraph, scribbles down some notes, then reads another. The bustle of the house around her slowly fades as people leave or find other pursuits.

She doesn't even notice when the portkey around her neck activates.

"Ah, my little pet," Bellatrix purrs at the motionless girl crouched on the carpet. She has accidentally brought her book along, and it's crumpled open to the center pages. "Leave that, would you?" Bellatrix asks sweetly, kicking the book aside. Hermione looks up, mouth working, but says nothing. Her eyes are completely glazed over, and if Bellatrix looks hard enough, she can see pinpoints of green in the normally amber-coloured irises. Perfect.

"Have you been a good girl?" Bellatrix asks, pulling the sixth-year up to her feet. Hermione sways a bit, but remains relatively steady, staring into Bellatrix's eyes as if she's drowning.

"Yes, Mistress," Hermione whispers. The silver crescent around her neck gleams.

"Not told anyone about your little wanderings at night, have you?"

"No, Mistress," Hermione confirms, in a slightly dull voice.

"You don't even know, do you?" Bellatrix smirks, claps her hands in delight. Her wand appears from nowhere, spinning around two fingers. The bushy-haired girl shakes her head.

"I think I am sleep-walking, Mistress," Hermione says.

"Good girl," Bellatrix murmurs in approval, sliding her hand through her pet's thick brown hair and cradling her skull, pulling her forward until their lips just brush together. Hermione moans low in her throat, a helpless sound that makes Bellatrix glad she's not wearing knickers.

"Pretty thing, aren't you?" Bellatrix says throatily, pressing her lips finally against her pet's and tasting the sweetness. She bites Hermione's bottom lip, hard, nearly drawing blood as Hermione whimpers and raises her hands, as if she wants to bat the woman away and doesn't quite dare.

"Be a good girl," Bellatrix says in warning, drawing away and taking an unsteady breath. "You don't want to make me angry, pet."

"No, Mistress," Hermione breathes. Her lips are swollen, and her cheeks flushed, as if she has just tumbled out of someone's bed. It is quite a becoming sight for a little know-it-all Mudblood, Bellatrix thinks as she guides the girl to her bed. She knows she cannot press the girl too far, this soon, but oh, how she wants to.

Still, she contents herself with tumbling the girl backwards against the sheets, with caressing her breasts through the thin fabric of her top. She is wearing Muggle clothes and Bellatrix longs to rip them from her, to demand she wear wizarding attire or go nude from now on. But she can't. Not yet. Soon, she promises herself as she nips at her new pet's throat, leaving a tiny bruise that she cannot bear to spell away. Soon.

The girl thrashes and moans beneath her, lost to her touch, to her voice hissing praise and instructions in her ear. Finally, Bellatrix's hand slips into Hermione's panties and rubs her to completion, watching the ecstasy spill over her face. Her fingers are soaked and she licks them clean, saving one to slide into the girl's gasping mouth to suck.

"Good girl," Bellatrix hisses, buttoning up Hermione's jeans for her and ensuring that she looks more presentable. "Good pet, come on now. Time to go."

"I don't want to," Hermione whines, still drunk with her orgasm, her eyes heavy-lidded and almost entirely shot through with green.

"I don't care what you want, now do I?" Bellatrix sneers back as she slips the Charms book into the sixth-year's hands. "I'll send for you again. Tonight. Now go back, Hermione. Little pet. Go back...and forget..."

The girl's fingers wrap around the silver charm of her necklace, and she is gone, leaving nothing behind but the lingering scent of sex. Bellatrix collapses back onto the bed and smiles like a very satisfied cat. Soon, Hermione Granger will be all hers, her mind lost forever, and there is nothing she can do to stop it.

How can you stop what you know nothing about?

Hermione blinks and stretches, feeling unaccountably sore. There's an odd taste in her mouth, although that can probably be chalked up to the fact that she seems to have chewed on her quill for a rather long time.

"Hermione!" Ginny peeks her head around the door. "So that's where you've been all day."

"Yeah," Hermione half-smiles, stretching again. From the looks of it, she has fallen asleep on her Charms book-drool dampens the corner, and embarrassment colours her cheeks. "Although I seem to have had an unscheduled nap."

Ginny shrugs, clearly not caring very much.

"Dinner's ready," she offers. "Mum sent me to find you."

"Oh!" Hermione exclaims, blushing harder as she struggles to extricate herself from the studying detritus. "I'll be right there, okay?"

Ginny nods and disappears. Hermione stands up and blinks in surprise. The zipper of her jeans is all the way down, although the button is still fastened. How odd, she thinks as she zips her trousers up and packs away her things in her book-bag for later. She's already learned if she leaves things out, the twins tend to come along and...add a little excitement. Like the time they charmed her Potions notes blank and she was frantic for three hours until they confessed and reversed it.

Odd-but it's happened before, and Hermione thinks nothing more of her undone zipper as she slips out of the library and makes her way to dinner. This time, Professor Snape is there, and he's glowering at everyone, especially Harry. Not that that's surprising, she thinks as she slides into her chair next to Harry and across from Molly Weasley. The hatred between her best friend and the Potions professor is legendary, although sometimes she has to wonder how much of it is feigned-at least on the professor's part. It's certainly not feigned on Harry's, fed up as he is with constant low marks, constant detentions, and always, that dark, icy voice telling him what a useless, attention-seeking prat he is.

He's polite at dinner though. It's impossible to be anything else under Molly Weasley's motherly eye, and even Harry contents himself with sulky glowers at Snape as he digs through his mashed potatoes. It is a sight comforting in its familiarity, and Hermione forks up her own dinner with an eagerness that has been missing since the beginning of summer.

But how else is she meant to feel, she thinks as she finishes up her treacle tart, when she is forbidden to leave Grimmauld Place, even to visit her own parents? They've been placed under the Fidelius Charm, and while she is her parents' Secret-Keeper, she can't visit them for fear of leading the Death Eaters to them, anyway. They understand-as much as they can, anyway-but she can't. She doesn't want to.

"What are you going to do after dinner, Hermione?" Molly Weasley asks, smiling encouragingly at her and patting her hand. Hermione looks around and realises most of the table has already left.

"Study," she answers truthfully, ignoring Ron's groan from down the table, where he is eating another plateful of treacle tart.

"You've been studying all day, Hermione," Ron complains, and Harry seconds.

"I'm not done with my essay yet," she protests. "You know, you two would do well to study yourself, I don't see either of you even starting your summer homework, and I am not going to do it for you! At this rate, you'll be lucky if I even read it over!"

"Good for you, Hermione," Molly approves, her eyes snapping motherly fire at Ron and Ginny. "Ronald, I believe you should take Hermione up on her offer, don't you think?"

Ron opens his mouth in protest, then thinks better of it and snaps it shut with an audible click before nodding. Hermione smiles smugly as she slings her book-bag back over her shoulder.

"Coming, Ron?" she asks with one eyebrow arched. Ron grumbles something under his breath, but follows her willingly enough, Harry desultorily bringing up the rear. Ginny stays behind, but only because her mum asks her to help her wash the dishes, and as the door swings shut behind them, she can hear the younger girl's half-whined protests already starting up.

"Merlin, she never shuts up," Ron says under his breath, making Harry laugh. Hermione feels her lips quirk up in a smile, and hastily changes her expression to a more somber one before rounding on the boys and telling them to shut it.

Harry actually has started his Potions essay, but it is a scribbled and blotted mess, and Hermione tells him that he'll have to start over unless he wants Professor Snape to give him a grade of Troll.

"I think I'm destined for that no matter what I turn in," Harry says gloomily, but copies over what he has so far willingly enough on a new sheet of parchment. Ron hasn't started at all, but decides that he might as well do his Charms essay, too, hoping to peek at Hermione's work...until he sees how much she's got, in her customary small, cramped writing, and then he gives up.

Still, it's a pleasant enough two hours, Hermione thinks, scratching out the last bit of her essay and rolling it up to be placed in her book-bag with an anti-cheating spell on it. It's not that she doesn't trust Ron and Harry, it's that she's caught Ron pilfering her assignments more than once, and always with the threadbare excuse of "wanting a place to start."

"Time for bed?" Harry suggests when he catches Ron and Hermione both yawning more than once. A round of nods all round, and within twenty minutes, the boys are in their own room and Hermione is tucked up in her own bed beside an already sleeping Ginny. Ginny has put up a silencing spell around her bed, which makes Hermione wonder in amusement what the girl's been up to that she doesn't want anyone to hear. Then again, the hastily rolled-up copy of Playwitch by the girl's pillow pretty much gives it away.

More tired than she expected, Hermione curls up in a ball and falls asleep within moments. The clock strikes two when the silver crescent around her neck begins to glow, and suddenly, Hermione's not there anymore.

Bellatrix is in quite an excited mood as she waits for her pet to arrive, pacing up and down the expanse of her bedchambers as she waits. Her Lord knows that she has a pet, but he does not know who-and truthfully, Bellatrix doesn't want him to know. If he does, he will make it, as usual, all about the Brat Who Lived, and if Bellatrix never sees that lightning-scarred tosser again, it will be too soon. The boy plagues them all, is a thorn in her Lord's side, and has as much to do with her delicate-boned, glossy-eyed pet as a pig with the moon. Oh yes, Hermione Granger might be his friend, might be the brains behind Potter's little operation, but underneath Bellatrix's ministrations, she is an empty-eyed pet, a vessel ready to be filled at her Mistress's whim.

It was quite a coup for Bellatrix to accomplish, and she only wishes that she could brag about it more. The necklace, given to Hermione as a surprise Christmas present from a classmate, imbued with Bellatrix's own special compulsion and tracking spells, including one that ensures Hermione will be transported to her Mistress's side whenever she calls-no matter what anti-travel spells might hang around the Mudblood. The silver crescent moon is also dipped in Bellatrix's own concoction, a brilliant green potion that ensures Hermione's compliance and docility. And her...forgetfulness when away from the watchful, possessive eyes of her Mistress.

Truthfully, Bellatrix is amazed it is all working quite so well as it is-she had thought the Gryffindor Mudblood would have more fight in her. It is almost like she wants this, she wants to submit, and that thought makes it all the more delicious as Hermione pops into her quarters, already falling obediently to her knees.

"Welcome, pet," Bellatrix says, a slow, satisfied smile curling her lips. Hermione stays perfectly still, save for the slight tremble running through her body. "It's been hours and hours since I saw you, hasn't it?" Hermione nods, her eyes still cast to the ash-grey carpet.

"What are you waiting for?" Bellatrix's voice lashes out like a whip, causing her pet to jump. "Strip!"

The girl rises gracefully to her feet, pulling her nightgown over her head, leaving herself clad in only her panties and those ridiculous bunny slippers. Why she wears them to bed, Bellatrix doesn't know, but they add a touch of the surreal as the sixth-year kicks out of them and hooks her fingers into the waistband of her knickers, pulling them down and off, until she is completely bare. Thanks to prior sessions with Bellatrix, she is completely hairless, and Bellatrix licks her lips at the sight.

"Beautiful pet," she purrs appreciatively as she flicks her wand and sheds herself of her own clothes. The girl's own wand lays perfect and useless in her arm-holster. Although she knows that she should probably have Granger dispose of that for the time being as well, she likes the edge of danger. Likes the fact that the girl is capable of defending herself and can't. It is delightful, it is delectable, it is perfect.

"Come here," Bellatrix says, and Hermione obeys. One hand reaches out, caresses the exposed curves until the girl is writhing, whimpers spilling forth freely. Then-

"Crucio," Bellatrix whispers, and watches the effects with delight. The girl shrieks, a spiraling crescendo of splintered agonies that makes Bellatrix glad that her chambers have permanent silencing charms up.

"Oh yes, darling, yes," Bellatrix says, and kisses the girl hard, mashing her lips back against her teeth as she fondles her roughly, as she insinuates her fingers between Hermione's legs and finds the perfect spot just there. Bellatrix is experienced enough with the Cruciatus Curse that it needs no particular attention paid to it to hold it, and it is a confused and aroused Hermione who finds herself struggling with the razor's edge between pain and pleasure. It hurts so much-but it feels so good-and she is lost as Bellatrix takes her wand and jams it inside Hermione, several inches' worth, intensifying the agony and the ecstasy, until it is too much, and the girl slumps over against Bellatrix, her body spasming and tears leaking down her face as she orgasms, utterly helpless to stop it, just as she can't stop the Cruciatus from lashing her nerves over and over.

When the curse ends and Hermione lifts her head, her eyes are splintered with green.

"Oh my pretty pet," Bellatrix says. Her eyes catch Hermione's, and Hermione makes a small, helpless sound, her bottom lip caught between her teeth. "Do you want to please your Mistress?"

"Yes, Mistress," Hermione whimpers, desperate. Bellatrix catches one of Hermione's limp hands, pulling it to her, between her own legs.

"Please me," Bellatrix hisses, and Hermione does. It is clumsy-Hermione is still unexperienced-but the way her fingers tremble, the after-effects of the Cruciatus, are more than enough to get her Mistress off.

"It's going to be harder to sneak you out of Hogwarts, my darling," Bellatrix says afterward, a touch of regret in her voice. She so enjoys the ministrations of her pet. "But it shall be possible. Won't it? Won't you work as hard as you can to see your Mistress?"

"Of course, Mistress," Hermione cries, desperate, sliding against the woman in submissiveness. "Yes, please, I'll do my best, I'll do everything, please-"

"Of course you will," Bellatrix soothes her, pats the bushy brown curls until the girl subsides beneath her. "I know you will. My pet's brilliant, aren't you?"

Hermione preens under the praise. Bellatrix smirks, lifting the girl's head with a finger on her chin.

"You'd do anything to please me, wouldn't you, Hermione," Bellatrix whispers.

"Yes, Mistress."

"I'll be putting that to the test soon," Bellatrix says, and laughs.

This time, Hermione puts herself straight to bed, unseeing, unknowing. Ginny is oblivious in the next bed as usual, exhausted from her late night pleasure session between herself, her fingers, and Playwitch. Hermione knows nothing of her late night adventures, save that her dreams are filled with womanly curves, dark masses of curls, and spasms of pain. And everywhere, shards of green.

Today is the day they go to Diagon Alley for their school supplies, and Hermione feels anything but rested when she drags herself out of bed, her head aching and her hands trembling infinitesimally. She feels miserable and can't understand why. Ginny is already up, her bed smoothed over, the copy of Playwitch surreptitiously hidden beneath her pillows, though Hermione can see the corner peeking out.

She better hide that better later, or her mum will see, Hermione thinks with some amusement. Although Molly is rather open-minded when it comes to her children and their proclivities, Hermione isn't sure it extends to her only daughter reading pornographic publications. Especially when said daughter is only fifteen.

Still, it's none of her business, and she gets ready quickly, not looking forward to visiting Diagon Alley. It will be loud and crowded, and the risk of a Death Eater attack hangs like a gloom-filled storm cloud. Still, there's nothing for it, and Hermione slips out the back door with Harry, Ron, Ginny, Fred, and George as the sun beats down on their heads.

"Here," George says, holding out a very crumpled newspaper. His face is unusually somber. Hermione places her hand on it, feeling the greasy newsprint beneath her fingers with distaste. Less than five minutes, and the Portkey jerks them away, whirling them in a sickening meld of colours that have Hermione's stomach roiling and unhappy with the meager breakfast she's eaten.

When it deposits them all in a heap just outside the Leaky Cauldron (in the back, of course, away from prying Muggle eyes), Hermione has to take several deep breaths and swallow a few times to keep from emptying her breakfast all over her shoes. Beside her, Harry looks similarly green, and even Ginny is very pale beneath her thick spattering of freckles.

"Wretched way to travel," Hermione murmurs shakily. There is a whirl of air beside them as Molly, Remus, and Professor Snape pop into existence a few moments later. Snape looks particularly sour, and Hermione wonders why. After all, he does not have to spend his time chaperoning a bunch of children, does he? He strides away as soon as he's found his footing, disappearing into the Alley ahead of them.

"Greasy git," Ron hisses beside her, and she hasn't the heart to scold him. Unfortunately for him, he hasn't kept his voice down low enough, and his mother does hear him, threatening to wash out his mouth with soap and dragging him off for a more "private" tongue-lashing that isn't anything of the sort.

"Shall we?" Remus smiles, but his eyes are strained.

It is a strangely grim trip, Hermione thinks. Everyone around them is still smiling and laughing, but it's like it's all forced, like the joviality is merely a veneer for screaming, empty chaos. Her wand is discreetly palmed and looking around, Harry and Ron are doing the same. Fred and George look more serious than she's ever seen them, and it disquiets her.

"Meet up at Fortescue's?" Molly asks as they split up-Ginny, Fred, and George going with Molly, Harry, Ron, and Hermione going with Remus.

"Of course," Remus nods, and the other three echo.

In retrospect, Hermione wishes that she could have stopped it. Stopped herself.

In hindsight, she knows nothing could have stopped it.

She's alone, in the book-shop. Harry and Ron up front, bickering good-naturedly about how long she's going to take, and if they're going to need to send Remus in to drag her out.

And suddenly-she's there.

Bellatrix Lestrange, leaning against the back wall, twirling her wand idly about her fingers and grinning. Eyes as wild as her hair. Hermione freezes, her throat clogging with fear and something else. Desire? Can it be desire for You Know Who's second-in-command?

"Oh, don't scream, darling," Bellatrix whispers, sauntering forward until she is only inches away from Hermione. "I know I shouldn't test you like this, but I had to see you. My little pet."

"You're mental," Hermione hisses, raising her wand in an empty show of defiance. Her arm can't stop trembling, and her knees feel weak. "I'm not your pet. I'm not your anything! You're lucky I don't curse you until you can't stand!"

"Tsk tsk, such defiance," Bellatrix clicks her tongue. "I love that brave little spirit of yours, Mudblood. But you know why you don't curse me where I stand? You can't." Her smile grows into a smirk. "You can't raise a hand against your Mistress, now can you? Come on, little pet. Put the wand down."

To Hermione's eternal dismay, she feels her arm lowering, feels her fingers slacken around the sweat-stained wood. What is she doing? She doesn't understand, can't understand.

"There's a good pet," Bellatrix murmurs and Hermione's shame thickens as she feels her knickers dampen. What is wrong with her? This woman is a Death Eater and her praise is arousing her?

"Oh, don't think so hard," Bellatrix drawls, leaning even closer until her breath is hot and insistent against Hermione's face. "It ruins your complexion. Just know, little Mudblood. You belong to me. And only me."

And with that, the woman Apparates away, leaving a very shaken and still turned on Hermione to stagger to the nearest chair and flop down in it, feeling more lost than she has in a very long time.

Despite knowing that she should, Hermione doesn't tell anyone about the encounter with Bellatrix. Every time the words hover on the tip of her tongue, she swallows them back. No one would understand. She can't tell them of the flutter of her heart, the stickiness of her knickers, when confronted with the Lestrange woman, the elite Death Eater who everyone knows has gone utterly mad. She can't tell them of how she longs to kneel at the blasted woman's feet, to accept her hissed words of "pet", to call her "Mistress." It's insane. It's completely insane, and she wonders more than once if the encounter happened at all. Perhaps it was a waking nightmare, brought on by too much stress and too little sleep.

By the time September first rolls around, Hermione is convinced that's all it was. No one else saw the woman, after all. If they had, they would have raised the alarm immediately. They know her face. An escaped convict. But no one saw her except Hermione, and Hermione's not even sure of that much.

The dreams have continued -they must be dreams- of Bellatrix ordering her around, of Hermione pressing her face between the woman's legs, of licking her until she screams out her pleasure. Of her hands fisting in Hermione's hair, of her wand digging into the soft, vulnerable skin behind Hermione's ear. The Cruciatus Curse digging pain-infused thorns into Hermione's nerves, leaving her spasming and twitching on the floor as Bellatrix's fingers slide into her, as Bellatrix pants in her ear and tells her that pain and pleasure are one.

Hermione wakes gasping in the morning, every morning, and is more pleased than she should be to find out that the Headmaster has decided prefects will get their own rooms. She can't imagine being so exposed in the dormitory anymore. It is bad enough knowing that Ginny is barely a stone's throw away, slumbering peacefully in the next bed. What of her year-mates? What would they think if they knew the dreams she had about a Death Eater? And a woman at that? Hermione's never been squeamish about girls who like other girls, but she's never considered herself to be one. Parvati Patil in her year does, but how can she even confide in her? Oh, hallo, Parvati, I know we've not really been mates, but it turns out I seem to bat for your team. Oh, and you'll really like this bit, I've got the hots for an Azkaban escapee!

No, Hermione can't really see herself telling her dorm-mates anything.

Still, she settles into the routine of classes well enough. She has no more dreams for the first two weeks and she starts to believe that perhaps, they have decided to leave her. Maybe now she can have normal dreams, Hermione thinks with a slightly rueful laugh. Little does she know...

Bellatrix is more than impatient by the time she figures out what she can have her little pet do to bypass the wards at Hogwarts. The ones at Grimmauld Place were child's play, especially to a Black-the ones at the bloody school are quite a bit trickier. Finally, she realises that all she has to do is bring the girl to the Room of Requirement, and the Room will do the rest, delivering her pet to her like a ribbon-wrapped gift.

"You always thought you were sleep-walking, didn't you, dear?" Bellatrix muses to herself, her laughter echoing through her chambers. "Time for you to do some of it for real."

It is a very blank-looking Hermione Granger that gets up from her bed that night, at approximately two in the morning. Her eyes are glassy, shattered with green, as she slides her feet into her bunny slippers and retrieves her wand. Her nightgown hangs loose around her thighs as she carefully opens the door and peeks out. Not a sound is heard, and she slips fully out, tapping her wand on her head and disillusioning herself. Since she doesn't have Harry's invisibility cloak, it is the next best thing, and only the sound of her soft footfalls over the thick red carpet betray the fact that anyone is there at all.

The seventh floor calls her and she makes her way up to it quickly, pacing back and forth in front of the wall with only one thought in mind. I want to see my Mistress, I must see my Mistress. The door appears and she scurries through it, shaky in anticipation. There is a slight pop as Bellatrix's spell takes over, and then Hermione is falling to her knees in her Mistress's bedchamber, her throat dry and her soul longing.

"Pet," Bellatrix's voice comes from above her, though Hermione dares not look up. "It has been a while, hasn't it."

"Yes, Mistress," Hermione whispers. The woman's hand comes down, sharply, bearing a lash that trails a whip-cord of fire across Hermione's back. She bites back the cry of pain, her teeth digging painfully into her bottom lip.

"Did I give you permission to speak?" Bellatrix hisses acidly. Hermione shakes her head, green-clouded eyes glassy with tears.

"I didn't think so," Bellatrix resumes her monologue, her hand now caressing the top of Hermione's head, fingers digging into the dark curls. "My Lord wants your friend. The Potter boy. How I long to have him under my wand again..." Bellatrix trails off, dark laughter bubbling in her throat. Hermione kneels, panic lapping at the forced tranquility.

"Oh, don't worry, pet," Bellatrix says when she notices the controlled tremors running through the girl's body. "I have no intentions of finding him. Or using you to get him, although wouldn't that be a trick. Oh, no, darling. All I want is you. You may speak," she continues, pulling the girl up to her feet.

"Why?" Hermione asks. Her eyes show more intelligence than she's shown all year, and Bellatrix smirks in approval. Oh, how she longs for this, when her pet is no longer merely an empty-eyed slave, but knows herself, is herself, and yet is Bellatrix's loyal creation at the same time. The thought is heady.

"Why not?" Bellatrix shrugs, pretending a nonchalance she does not feel as she pushes the Mudblood to her bed, as she flicks her wand and ties the girl, spreading her open and vulnerable and utterly nude to the bedposts. "You are very beautiful, pet. And very brilliant. I happen to prefer both in my pets. You might be a Mudblood, but, well...nobody's perfect."

She strolls to the edge of the bed, between Hermione's tied open legs, and smiles. It is not a pleasant-looking smile, and she can see the shiver spread down Hermione's spine.

"Now, my little Mudblood princess," Bellatrix purrs. "It's time you scream for your Mistress, don't you agree? Crucio!"

Hermione shrieks and writhes against her bonds, but there's not much she can do, tied as tightly as she is. Bellatrix holds the straining knees and bends forward, her tongue laving Hermione's center, finding that one particular nub just there and licking, flicking, and nibbling it until the girl comes, sagging limply in her bonds as her body overloads her brain and she faints. Bellatrix rises to her feet, licking her pet's taste from her lips.

"Delicious," she says, swishing her wand and undoing all Hermione's bonds in one go. The girl lays there limply, breathing ragged as her limbs tremble with the after-effects of the Cruciatus.

"Ennervate," Bellatrix says sharply, tapping her pet's chest with the tip of her wand. "Good," she adds in approval as Hermione's eyes flicker, brilliant green and shiny with adoration. "Now, pet. This is what I want you to do..."

It is a very subdued Hermione Granger who walks down to breakfast the next morning. On the surface, she looks the same as always-hair scraped back in a ponytail, robes neatly pressed, tie snug around her neck-no one would guess that she's not wearing knickers beneath her uniform skirt, or that said skirt has been carefully mended to be three inches higher. Her shirt is similarly taken in, accentuating her chest. Her wand feels hot against her arm.

For Mistress, she thinks, and for just a moment, her eyes flash green.

"Hermione!" Ron laughs from the breakfast table, his mouth half-full of toast. "Took you long enough."

"Indeed," Hermione says, more than a bit distracted as she sits down. Breakfast, classes, Snape, she recites in her head as she nibbles at a piece of toast. Harry keeps eyeing her, but she ignores him. It doesn't matter.

"Are you all right, Hermione?" Harry questions. She nods, swallowing her mouthful of marmalade and toast, and smiles brightly.

"Of course, Harry," she responds. "Why?"

"Just a feeling, I guess," Harry shrugs and turns back to his porridge. "I dunno."

-I'm betraying everything I ever loved-

But the thought is gone as soon as it surfaces, and within minutes, Hermione is done, rising smoothly from the table and murmuring something about the library. Ron and Harry don't need to know that she intends to rush into the nearest loo and finger herself until she screams her Mistress's name into her arm, do they?

The last day of her normal life passes quicker than she expected it to. Twice more, she slips into a loo and touches herself, unable to stop from moaning Bellatrix's name into the crook of her elbow as she shudders in hasty completion. She doesn't understand why she's so turned on, why she'd rather spend all day frigging herself in a loo or the curtained confines of her bed. It's never been this strong, the compulsion, but she doesn't question it, only holds the silver crescent of her pendant in one hand as she fucks herself with the other.

Finally, dinner rolls around and with it, her freedom. -Her slavery- She hugs Harry and Ron, mouthing silent goodbyes into their hair, as she tells them she's got to go and see Professor Snape about her homework. It is the work of moments before she's knocking on the Potions professor's door, trembling all over.

"What is it, Granger?" he snaps as he opens the door. She opens her mouth to speak, but is transfixed as her Mistress's essence infuses her, making her eyes glassy and the silver moon dangling in the hollow of her throat glow.

Snape's eyes widen, and Hermione laughs, the sound hollow.

"Figure it out?" she taunts him, her wand out and pressed against his sternum. "I knew you would. You're a quick learner. She's under my spell, Severus. You know the one. You can't break it. No one can. And she doesn't want to leave me."

"Then why am I needed?" Severus sneers, his voice slightly hoarse.

"To free her from Hogwarts," Hermione says simply in Bellatrix's voice, and Severus nods. He rolls up his sleeve, his Dark Mark singed black around the edges, but Hermione flings out a hand to stop him.

"No," Hermione says, harsh. "Not like that. This isn't for him, Severus. This is all for me."

Severus's eyes widen almost imperceptibly, but he nods once more and gestures to his quarters.

"I can show you the route into Hogsmeade," he states. "It's well-hidden. No one will suspect."

"Good," Hermione smiles, and Severus shudders at the insanity inherent in it. He presses the bookcase, watches it swing open, revealing a dark corridor, choked in spiderwebs and dust. "And before you get any ideas..." The tip of her wand slams between his eyes. "Obliviate!"

She disappears down the corridor, the bookcase sliding smoothly shut behind her, as Severus sways a bit on his feet, rubs his forehead, and wonders if perhaps he needs some more sleep.

Hermione wanders down the tunnel that leads to Hogsmeade, feeling as if in a dream. Her hands reach up, unclasp her robes, and let them fall to the ground. She doesn't need them anymore. Her Mistress will make sure of that. Her Mistress has made sure of everything.

Though Bellatrix did not tell her to do so specifically, she has left behind a note for Harry and Ron. She feels like they deserve to know why she has gone. Why she has abandoned them. She will not fight for the Dark Lord, but she knows that if Bellatrix orders her to fight for her, she will do it without question.

Finally, the tunnel ends and she slips out of the door, cunningly disguised as part of a hillside. Hogsmeade is spread bare below her, twinkling with lights, but she turns her back on it. The town has nothing there for her. She knows where she must go, shivering a bit in her modified uniform. She keeps her wand out, knowing that danger still lurks, ever-present in the growing dusk.

"Hermione," a whisper, little more than a breath, on the wisteria-perfumed breeze. A turn and she is there, standing on the rock-studded path. Hermione thuds to her knees, mindless of the rocks scratching them, the thorny branch that whips across her shin, leaving behind a thin red line.

"Mistress," Hermione breathes. Bellatrix is there, right there, within touching distance, and although some part of her mind is aghast at this, insists that she should Stupefy the woman and bring the Aurors running, the rest of her mind can't think anymore. Can only feel as the woman's hand settles against her cheek, as the Death Eater pulls her to her feet, and Apparates with her, leaving nothing behind but a small pop of displaced air and a few drops of Hermione's blood to stain the dust, soon blown over by the wind.

They arrive in Bellatrix's bedroom in a tangle, Hermione's stomach twisting in on itself as she scrambles loose, hand clapped over her mouth. The nausea subsides after a few moments though and she takes in a few grateful breaths through her nose.

"My poor pet," Bellatrix says sympathetically, smoothing Hermione's hair. "You don't like Apparating, do you?"

Flushing, Hermione shakes her head.

"It's not my favourite method of travel, either," Bellatrix laughs, presses a kiss to Hermione's temple. Her lips are cool against Hermione's skin, and she shivers. "Up you go, pet, that's right." Hermione blinks as her Mistress guides her, not to the bed, but to an elegant, black-cushioned chair.

"We have all the time in the world for other things," Bellatrix smirks at Hermione's look of confusion, watching her pet's cheeks colour. "Don't you think?"

"Yes, Mistress," Hermione whispers. Her hands twist together in her lap. "What-what happens now?"

"Everything," Bellatrix says simply. "You are mine, pet. The Dark Lord has no say over this, your precious Potter has no say. Nor Dumbledore nor the are mine, Hermione. You will never be taken from me. You couldn't. Your heart wouldn't allow it. If you couldn't be reunited with me, you would pine away and die."

Hermione pales at the blunt words, rocking back and forth in a calming motion.

"Die?" she breathes, and Bellatrix nods.

"But you won't be taken from me, little pet," Bellatrix reassures her as she sits on the bed, kicking off her boots. She is dressed simply in high-necked black dress robes, but they are unbuttoned down the front, and Hermione can see that she wears nothing underneath. "I am quite...possessive." Her eyes glitter, and Hermione shivers as she nods.

"Now," Bellatrix drawls, as she lets her robes drop away against the bed. "Strip, pet."

It is an odd sensation, Hermione discovers as she unbuttons her blouse with shaking fingers. She is more aware of her actions than before, she knows what is going on, but she's utterly helpless to stop herself as she lets her blouse fall, as she unzips her skirt and steps out of it, leaving her in her stockings and shoes.

"Leave the stockings," her Mistress decrees, and Hermione steps out of her shoes, standing before the woman with her head bowed, her hands kept trembling at her sides.

"Beautiful," Bellatrix says, her voice thick with appreciation. "You are quite beautiful, Hermione. Now come to me, pet. Come to your Mistress."

As if she is swathed in invisible chains, Hermione is drawn closer and closer to the bed, until she stops, trembling, her knees pressed against Bellatrix's legs, nearly face-to-face standing straight.

"Kiss me," Bellatrix whispers, and suddenly, her mouth is right there, and they are. It is a sweet kiss, a hungry kiss, and Hermione drowns in it, drowns even as Bellatrix's hands come up, encircling her shoulders and pulling her down, off-balance. She sprawls against her Mistress in a clumsy tangle of limbs, and still, she can't stop kissing her, drinking in the sweet, poisoned taste of her lips.

"Down, pet," Bellatrix guides her, and suddenly, Hermione's face is pressed between her Mistress's legs. The woman is wet, so wet that Hermione can see it, and she blushes, nerves taking over until Bellatrix puts her hand on the back of her head and forcefully pushes her, ensuring Hermione gets an impromptu faceful. Spluttering, Hermione realises that the taste is actually quite sweet, almost tangy, and keeps licking, focusing on the spots that make her Mistress moan the most, make her breath catch in her throat.

"Make me come, pet," Bellatrix orders, her voice lower than Hermione's ever heard it, her fingers painful in their grasp on Hermione's hair. She nods vigorously, her own body aching in ways she didn't know were possible, as she continues. "There-right there-there-oh, pet," Bellatrix gasps. Her body thrashes for a bit, her thighs clamping around Hermione's head as Bellatrix's fluids nearly spurt into her pet's mouth. Hermione swallows it all willingly enough, giving the swollen pink tissues several soothing licks as Bellatrix subsides.

"Good pet," Bellatrix murmurs, and Hermione quivers beneath the praise. When she looks up at her Mistress, her necklace is still glowing and her eyes have perfect pinwheels of green spiraling through the irises.

"Good pet," Bellatrix says again, knowing that Hermione hasn't the faintest what she's really saying it for.

"Thank you, Mistress," Hermione says, and curls up at her side.

-One Year Later-

Hermione Granger stands steadfast at her Mistress's side, not sparing her former classmates so much as a glance as they are paraded past her in chains. Without Hermione's survival skills and book knowledge, the other side crumbles much faster than expected. When Hermione is sighted kneeling at Bellatrix's feet, collar firmly in place around her neck (the silver crescent of her necklace worked into the clasp), Harry shouts and tries to get to her, to "save" her, but it is far too late. It is far too late for any of them.

Voldemort has won, and chaos reigns.

"Do you want another pet?" Bellatrix whispers in Hermione's ear, giggling as the Boy Who Lived is shoved past. Blood drips down into his eyes from a ravaged lightning bolt scar, and his eyes are as green and unseeing as Hermione's in the depths of her devotion.

Hermione looks at him, then shakes her head.

"I don't think he would make a very good one," she says, making Bellatrix laugh.

"The Dark Lord will fix that soon enough," Bellatrix suggests. Ron Weasley stares up at the two, face burning with hatred. He tries to spit at Bellatrix, but the effort is pitiful and lands far short. The effect on Hermione is incredible, though-she scrambles off the crumbled rock escarpment, her wand already out and "Crucio" spilling from her lips. As the boy doubles up and shrieks under the effects of it, Hermione laughs. Her Mistress laughs behind her, and through the agony, Ron's shock splinters forth. Their laughs are identical.

"Apologise," Hermione demands, ending the curse as she steps back up to her Mistress's side. Ron manages some garbled sounds that may or may not be an apology. Whatever they are, they are enough for Hermione who leans her head on her Mistress's shoulder, enjoying Bellatrix's long fingers stroking the soft, vulnerable curve of her neck, as Bellatrix whispers all sorts of filthy things she wants to do to Hermione when they are alone.

"Do you miss it, my pet?" Bellatrix asks curiously as the parade of prisoners ends, and they all line up in the Dark Lord's courtyard, ready to hear what he has planned for them.

"No," Hermione says. "I have you, Mistress-what else do I need?" Bellatrix's smile is predatory, as she pulls the girl to her, squeezing the breath out of her.

"Nothing at all," her Mistress tells her, and the world goes green.

Save me, don't turn your back and break me
Every time you rape me, leave me coming all undone