Where Memories Hide
It has been five years. In the five years since the end of the war so much has changed. For one – and the biggest change – Voldemort had won.
This was wizarding Britain as under the reign of Tom Riddle Jr.
Hermione sat in the sunroom of Malfoy manor looking out at the gardens and smiled to herself. She had been lucky. She had been given to the Malfoy patriarch. Narcissa had died in the final battle; actually, she had been executed for lying about Harry Potter being dead. And so, for compensation – or, she rather believed it was another twisted game move – Voldemort had ‘gifted’ the brains of the Golden Trio to Lucius Malfoy. And then something happened that they would never have considered could. They had learned to care for each other in this post-apocalyptic Voldemort ruled world.
They had learned to love each other.
It was rocky, and a long road. But she could say she was happy with the man she was with. He had never pushed her. In fact, in the first year, he was too grief-stricken and mourning his murdered wife to really notice her much. Even though she had freedom of movement of the manor and its grounds she had barricaded herself firmly in her suite of rooms. She had mostly only had contact with the elf that was designated to her.
She had finally started venturing out after almost a year she knew she was pushing her mental stability. But it was almost two years into her ‘confinement’ at the manor before she and Lucius started any form of communication with each other. By then all anger had left her and she had just settled in the hopelessness of Voldemort ever suddenly being vanquished or she being miraculously rescued or other such rot. So when he suddenly started appearing at all the areas of the manor that had become her routine to frequent, she never said anything, never lashed out or nothing. They would both just stare at each other in silence and then quietly continue what they were to be doing. After a period lasting months, they finally started speaking. Short stilted sentences, mostly just remarks about something and one-worded responses. It was in her third year there that their communication evolved to actual conversations. She would have expected that any contact between them would have been fighting and sarcasm; it certainly would have been in the old world… with the old Hermione and Lucius. Instead, it was quietly murmured conversations about matters that touched them deeply. She guessed the war, and the losses they both suffered, had damaged them both more than anyone could ever comprehend. She knew that had they not been basically locked in together with no one else, then they would never have developed feelings or any form of a bond. But they had been, and so it had developed.
In the fourth year there she knew everything about him, and he about her. He would share his burdens with her about his service to Voldemort and she would quietly advise and guide him with his responsibilities in that position. As she was a muggleborn that had been given to a Death Eater she was tantamount to a slave – so no career or freedom of movement for her. Yet, Lucius never made her feel like a prisoner. Instead, she was a house-mate and later a friend and then a confidant. Finally, she became his lover. It was a natural progression and would have happened with anyone in their position.
Luckily Voldemort had interesting rules, for instance, a gifted prisoner may never be taken from the recipient. Also, they could do with their ‘gift’ as they pleased.
Want to torture them? Fine.
Want to kill them? Fine.
Want to marry them? Also fine.
Hermione smiled once more at the garden through the window before glancing down wistfully at the emerald stone ring on her engagement finger. Lucius had proposed, and at least she knew she would have a good and love filled life. And her babies will be free as they would be Malfoys.
Maybe it wasn’t her dream… Maybe she had become co-dependent and merely settled for the inevitable. But, this was the best it could be for her in this world. And this best was actually pretty good. It was real and she was beyond being a silly little girl that believed in silly little fairy tales.
Yes, she was one of the extremely lucky ones….
Lord Voldemort was breathing through his nose heavily as he listened to the blond wizard speaking to him. He was having a hard time not exploding in anger at the pompous peacock. Lucius Malfoy was informing him that he would be marrying his mudblood.
Lord Voldemort suddenly stood up, effectively cutting off the peacock mid-sentence. A sneer forming on his face at the personal nickname he had for the Malfoy patriarch. He watched in satisfaction as Lucius shrunk back minutely. If he hadn’t been looking for that reaction he would have missed it and instead would have believed the man had no fear for his lord.
As it was, Lord Voldemort stalked out of the room without a word, leaving a confused Lucius Malfoy staring after him. Voldemort entered his suite and start pacing the floor, twirling the Elder wand in his fingers absently. He knew his rules.
Lucius could marry the mudblood and she could live her life free as Lady Malfoy. Yet that mudblood was his.
But he couldn’t take her back. It would be against his own rules!
Lord Voldemort came to a standstill in front of his full-length mirror. After a few seconds of focus his image started to simmer and within seconds his true form was looking back at him once more. He was Tom Riddle Jr. Middle-aged and considered attractive. Dark and wavy hair with dark round eyes that could look right through you. It would be how he would show himself from now on he decided.
Tom used glamours to make himself appear snake-like. It was his public appearance you could say. It kept the masses in their place with fear. But no more. The masses knew to fear him now, no matter what his appearance. He let his thoughts go back to the mudblood that seemed to haunt his mind. For years now he had been coveting her. Wanting her. He would watch her when she would accompany Lucius to his little meetings and parties. Watch her as she silently played hostess when he would visit Malfoy manor. And always he would kill someone or something once he was alone afterwards out of pure frustration. He should have kept her and never gifted her to the peacock.
Then this burning resentment and desire would not be warring with each other so strongly. She had been Potter’s mudblood. Quite intelligent and her magic was strong. She was the epitome of someone that was just being begged to be mastered.
Tom was vaguely aware that his breathing was quick bursts through is nostrils, his hand clamping continuously on his wand as tenseness vibrated through his body. He couldn’t let Lucius marry the witch. She was His!
He had to break his own rules.
He was abducting a ‘gift’.
He was claiming her for himself.
Hermione was woken up as a storm raged outside. Thunder clapped simultaneously as lightning streaked and lighted the master bedroom for a few brief seconds – showing a tall silhouette towering over her bed.
With a shriek, she sat upright with the sheets bunched to her chest, acutely aware that Lucius was called away with some business matters for the night.
A voice she had no trouble recognising spoke to her. “Shhh… if you promise to come with me quietly then Lucius Malfoy won’t be hurt.”
With a thudding heart, Hermione realised what he meant. He was abducting her by blackmailing her. Her greatest fear had just been realised. She wasn’t to be so lucky after all. Hermione nodded jerkily and pushed the sheets away. Of course, she would not let Lucius be hurt. She loved him.
Hermione sat on the cold stone floor. She shivered and rubbed her arms with her hands as she once more glanced around the cold stone cell. She was in the dungeons of the old Riddle Manor. Homestead of Lord Voldemort.
With a grimace she corrected herself; Tom Riddle.
He had shown her his true countenance once they had apparated directly into this very cell. His cold voice informing her that she will only see him as Tom Riddle from now on. She was his apparently.
A quiet sob broke free from her then and her tears finally started rolling down her cheeks. The dungeon gave her terrible flashbacks to the couple of months directly after the final battle before she was gifted to Lucius. She had been kept in Azkaban with other prisoners of war. Her eyes squeezed shut in memory of the Dementors, another uncontrollable shudder wracking her body.
What was she to do?
Just then the heavy wooden door swung open once more and Tom Riddle strode in smirking. Hermione scuttled backwards and pressed herself deeply into the shadowy corner while staring at him wide-eyed. He stopped before her and only looked down at her, seemingly deep in thought while studying her intently.
Hermione shivered as she waited with baited breath to see what he would do.
Tom studied the witch before him thoughtfully; he saw the fear in her form as she shivered yet her eyes sparked defiance. She would not submit to him. Not easily… He would have to break her. Completely.
And so with a smooth swipe of the Elder wand, he watched as the witch on the floor lifted and shackles hanging from the ceiling clamped around her wrist. At her feet bolted shackles clamped her flat-footed to the ground. He smiled coldly as he saw the realisation enter her eyes and traced a finger down her cheek. “I told you that you belong to me… And soon you will beg for me.”
Hermione wanted to scream and yet she was frozen silent in abject terror. She was no fool. She knew her history from the muggle world. What he just did was place her in a stress position designed to cause excruciating pain within hours as well as sleep deprivation. It was some of the worst torture techniques used by some muggle governments to this day. She watched with a pale face as he swept from the cell. The moment the heavy door closed and locked behind him she tested her wrist restraints. It had just enough slack to give her arms some leeway, but she knew the moment she fell asleep she would tilt and then the chains would tension and jar her awake. Hermione then tried to test her feet. No leeway. They were bolted down over the bridge of her feet and around her ankles solidly to the floor. She couldn’t shift them an inch.
She moaned into the darkness as despair swept through her, minutely trying to struggle against the restraints, knowing it would be useless. Tears started to well in her eyes and spill over her cheeks and she couldn’t keep back the sob that broke out of her to echo in the dark cell.
Hermione knew that her destiny was looking dark.
Pain. Everything was pain. Her ankles and feet were throbbing, the skin pulling uncomfortably tight which told her that swelling had set in. Hermione groaned as she closed her eyes, her body instantly tilting forward in pure exhaustion. The chains tensioned and her arms almost pulled out of the shoulder sockets in the process. Her voice cried out instantly in pain as she righted herself and tried to keep her focus. Blinking rapidly she tried to count the grooves in the wood of the door, not that she could really see much in the dark cell. Hermione’s eyes drooped again…
The warm liquid trickled down her legs and pooled at her feet. She didn’t even get bathroom breaks. Hermione looked at the door, willing anyone to come through it. She was in pain. The skin around her ankles felt like it was tearing; the ache in the bones had escalated to what felt like knives repeatedly splintering her ankles. Her vision blurred as she tilted forward; not even reacting this time as her arms once more felt like they were being ripped from the sockets.
She whispered under her breath repeatedly… “a dream…just a dream…”
Reality was a fickle thing once you lose touch with it. It would tease you with glimpses but then dance out of your reach. How would you then have any hope of ever returning to reality if it just didn’t want to stay in reach?
Dark, scarlet rimmed eyes looked at her through the darkness. This time she was shackled while lying on her back. Her wrist together and arms pulled tight over her head. Her legs slightly apart. The eyes disappeared and she was left staring at the stone ceiling in the darkness. Her eyes drooped in exhaustion and in relief for lying down finally. Her mind succumbed to sleep.
Before she could completely lose herself to dreams cold water poured directly onto her face. She sputtered weakly as a desperate sob broke out. Will she ever be able to sleep?
Tired. She couldn’t stay awake anymore. She just needed to sleep. But the water kept her from oblivion. It was there every time she closed her eyes. But when the shadows finally became alive, she felt relief. She wasn’t alone anymore. The shadows moved and whispered around her. Sweet things…
It whispered of her love.
It whispered of her Tom – but why did that name not sound right? The shadows shushed those thoughts… Tom. Tom is your destiny. Forget the other…
Hermione blinked and saw familiar dark eyes looking down at her. She felt like she should know the face, yet it just didn’t want to stick. She became aware that the man was, in fact, hovering above of her, staring at her intently. Why did it feel like she was supposed to protest this? Why does it feel like he is the enemy?
Instead, she was only aware of the ache in her legs and feet… Ah yes… She remembered standing for a long time… Why had she been standing?
Water dripping. She thinks that was what she was hearing? Why does that memory seem so familiar? How does she know what water is? Or the sound of water dripping? Her mind felt like such a blank. Hermione’s eyes opened and she saw the same man.
He was holding a glass of water to her mouth.
She tried to open her lips to drink, but her lips just didn’t want to part more than a few millimetres. They were dry and chapped. The man tilted the water into her mouth, instantly her lips burned and she realised they must be burst open. She swallowed painfully. Thankful, to the man for helping her.
She was sitting in a chair, the man kneeling in front of her.
He smiled at her, or at least she thought that it was a smile? The man then vanished the glass and cupped her face between his palms. “Don’t worry, Hermione… you are safe now. You are mine and I take care of mine.”
She blinked at him; she trembled as she heard his voice. Why does his voice sound so familiar?
Hermione. That was her name; she tested it in her mind. It felt familiar… warm.
The man bent forward and touched her forehead with his lips. It was almost gentle. Yes, he wouldn’t hurt her. He loves her. She remembers him; he saved her from standing, from the pain. He rescued her!
She nodded slightly and tried to smile at her saviour, but it didn’t really reach far as her whole face felt swollen and stiff. But the man – what was his name? She frowned as her thought was stopped short. “Wh—who are you?”
Her voice was brittle and came out on barely on a wisp of air, but her love heard her. His smile was firm as he only answered, “Tom.”
Hermione nodded in understanding, but her exhausted and pain riddled body didn’t want to stay awake any longer and within seconds reality once more danced out of her reach.
The bed was soft and her body was pain-free. Those were the first thoughts that flitted through her mind as Hermione slowly drifted awake. She blinked her eyes open and saw she was lying on the giant canopied bed. The mattress soft and downy and the covers thick and fluffy as they kept her warm. She stretched her hands and then carefully pushed herself into an upright position. Hermione looked around the grand room curiously.
It was furnished lavishly, all dark woods and black velvets. She had the distinct impression that it belonged to a man.
With the thought, her face lighted up. Tom!
She was in his room, he had kept his promise! Hermione pushed the covers down further and carefully swung her legs over to dangle over the edge. All pain was gone but she could feel her muscles needed to exercise. So she gently pushed herself upright while keeping a steadying hand on the bedside table. When she managed to keep her balance she grinned and started to walk carefully forward.
Hermione wanted to find Tom. She needed to find him.
He was all that mattered to her, she missed him and she needed to tell him so. As if he knew her thoughts, a door on the other side of the room opened. Tom strode inside confidently and smiled at her charmingly. Hermione smiled brightly as he walked over to her.
“Good morning, my Lady…” Tom said as he stopped in front of her to brush her lips with a kiss.
Hermione obediently tilted her head up to receive the kiss. A shadow momentarily crossed her features as her body wanted to react to the kiss with a shudder. But she shook it off and the bright smile instead once more lit her face.
Tom saw it but didn’t remark on it. He was pretty confident that her mind was completely rebuilt to centre on him. It had taken him weeks… well, actually a few months… but it was done. She still had all her knowledge and extraordinary capabilities of her magic and so on. But nothing of her life before him. She was his most perfect creation and now she was his own Lady.
A cold grin spread across his face as he watched her talking about missing him; he couldn’t wait to see how Lucius would react when she was introduced as Hermione Riddle. His fully bonded wife.
The wizarding world was abuzz with the knowledge that their Lord and Master had a bride. No one knew who she was, or how it all came to pass. But everyone couldn’t wait for the great reveal to happen that Saturday. Lucius Malfoy couldn’t care less about the mystery wife. He was at sanity’s end with his own problems. The problem of his own missing fiancée.
Lucius had been frantically searching for her for months! Yet to no avail.
He was at the point where he just didn’t know what else to do. He looked terrible and he knew it. He hadn’t shaved in weeks; his sleep is dismal, to say the least. He looked like he had done in the last months of the Great War.
Back then it had been fear for his deceased wife and his son.
Now it was for fear of the witch he had slowly learned to love in the last five years. A love that was very deep and consistent. He just could not bear the thought of losing another woman that he loves. How do you come back from that?
What made everything worse was the fact that he had no idea what happened to her. No idea even how and if she was dead or alive. Although he felt in his heart of hearts that she was still alive.
Lucius shuddered as the constant panicked thoughts whirled around his mind, clutching the piece of parchment in his hand harshly. As if the sound of the crumbling parchment brought him back to reality he scowled at the invitation. He didn’t have the patience to attend the gala to meet the newly bonded Lady Riddle.
Lord Voldemort had promised his help in finding his intended, and yet it hadn’t come. Instead, he only received the invitation or summons to phrase it more accurately, to attend the gala. Lucius crumbled the parchment completely and threw it in a corner. He guessed that he didn’t have a choice. He had been living out of the Dark Lord’s spotlight for years now, hoping that eventually, Voldemort would ‘forget’ him, or at least not bother him with things beyond attending a meeting or gala from time to time.
So he couldn’t skip the politely phrased summons unless he wanted the spotlight firmly back on him. Maybe he could broach the subject of the promised help then, maybe the gala and bride would have his mood be generous. Maybe…
The night of the gala found Lucius impeccably dressed, his hair washed and hanging loose as a shiny blond curtain. His face was also shaved, yet you could see the hidden dark hallows below his eyes and the gaunt cheeks. Anyone that knew the wizard knew that he was haunted.
He wondered around the assembly room between the guests, his eyes constantly searching as had become a habit in the last six months.
A hush fell over the room and Lucius Malfoy turned around to see what had caused the stunned silence. And his world stopped.
Hermione entered the grand room on the arm of her husband – who knew? She certainly didn’t. But when Tom showed her their bond lines around their wrist she knew it to be true. She was sad though that she bore no memory of it. She was sure it had been the happiest day of her life.
Hermione smiled at all their guest, momentarily confused at the shocked expression of the witches and wizards before her. Why were they all staring at her so?
As if feeling her confusion, Tom patted her arm and firmly led her to the dais where two ornate armchairs were placed. It reminded her very much of a king and queen’s throne.
“Ignore them; they are but minions at our feet darling.” His voice was its usual silky hiss almost, as he let her sit on the smaller of the armchairs. He followed her by sitting on the other one.
Hermione smiled and nodded at her husband, “Of course love… I just feel somewhat overwhelmed.”
Tom reached for her hand and covered it with his on the armrest, his smile almost a bit condescending. “You are above them. You are the Lady. Remember your station and never be overwhelmed. You must always overwhelm them.”
His voice was cold and hard, it made a shiver run down her spine as she somehow heard that same voice echo somewhere in the dark recesses of her memory banks. But almost as quick as she felt it, the overwhelming love she felt for him rushed back and with a soft smile, she nodded at him.
“Of course love… Anything you say.”
A voice clearing in front of them brought her attention back to the gala; Hermione turned her head to greet the guest. Her eyes met grey eyes that locked to hers searchingly.
Almost instantly flashes started piercing her mind. Those eyes… she knew those yes!
The flashes showed those same eyes laughing with her. Showed them looking at her with gentleness, and even in anger. There were times that they also looked at her coldly, but she somehow knew it hadn’t phased her. She saw a flash of memory as a hand (her hand?) ran through the long locks. She saw naked limbs entwined and hands clasped as they walked through gardens. The smell of old parchment and spearmint assaulted her senses with the images.
Hermione felt a bead of sweat pearling on her forehead, her head pounded with the assault and she blinked furiously to focus back on the reality. But was it a reality?
What was reality?
She gave her head a slight shake before plastering a forced smile on her lips and greeting the stranger before her. But was he a stranger?
Her head pounded as she nodded at him, he hadn’t said a word yet. “Can I assist you – sir?”
The beads of sweat rolled down her skin to disappear somewhere below her ears, her head was pounding even more intensely as she tried to keep her grasp on reality and not on the images – no, dreams – that were still playing off in her mind.
Yes, they were nothing more than fantasies. The reality was here, next to Tom. With that, she glanced sideways at her husband. She was a bit surprised to see a very cold look and almost malicious smile directed at the blond wizard in front of her.
The said wizard finally spoke then as well.
His voice arrested her, it was familiar, smooth. “Hermione?”
He sounded uncertain though, and looking at him she realised that he seemed to be barely keeping some emotion in check. It was strange though, he seemed perfectly composed and cool, so how did she know that he wasn’t in fact?
She smiled formally and nodded at him, “It’s Hermione Riddle, in fact. Do I know you Mr—?”
She arched her brow at him, remembering her husband’s lessons about being the superior. She chanced a quick glance sideways, wondering at Tom’s silence. She noted that he was watching their exchange almost calculatingly, yet his whole body was tightly strung as if he was a predator just waiting to pounce.
The blond man gave her a slight nod, a slight frown marring his features. “You used to.”
And with that he gave a slight bow to her and in turn to her husband before swiftly turning on his heel and stalking away, disappearing into the crowds. The pounding in her head intensified and she felt nausea turning in her stomach. She blinked her eyes furiously to maintain her focus. That man… he was important.
How Hermione survived the rest of the night she had no idea. Her head didn’t ease up for a minute, nausea kept churning and the images of some other life that couldn’t possibly be hers kept piercing her mind. She was thankful when she finally stumbled into the master bedroom. Finally, she could sleep and purge the flashes from her brain. Hopefully, when she woke up it would be forgotten. Sleep was good. Sleep made her forget.
She was just busy stripping from her robes when Tom entered and gripped her now naked hips. His long slim fingers digging into her flesh almost painfully. His breath whispered into the nape of her neck, “Lucius Malfoy affected you…”
The moment the name rolled off his lips another image painfully pierced her mind… a kiss… a simple yet passionate kiss…
And it wasn’t from the lips of her husband.
Everything went black then as she blacked out, luckily she was caught before she hit the ground. Hermione instantly came to again, looking confusedly up at her husband. His eyes were dark and rimmed red. He seemed evil at that moment. Cold and Heartless. Closing her eyes she shook her head to clear the dark thoughts and opened them again. When she met his eyes once more the red was gone, she must have imagined it.
Tom righted her and then pushed her back so that she fell on the bed behind her, then with the same predatory look she had seen earlier that night he stripped his own robes and proceeded to crawl over her.
A shudder wracked her body; the problem was it was due to equal parts arousal and disgust. Although, she didn’t understand where the disgust came from. Tom hovered over her as he looked at her as if he would devour her… literally.
“You are mine… and I will kill anyone that dares to try and take you from me. Anyone. Do not test me.”
His voice was hissing and there was no mistaking the danger in it. She knew that he meant every word. Hermione surged up and met his lips, hungrily kissing him in an attempt to assure him that she was indeed his…
Tom took her roughly that night; he was merciless in his onslaught of her senses and held nothing back. He whispered things in her ear, things she couldn’t understand as it was said in Parseltongue… yet it served to only enrage her passion further. She held nothing back either, she scratched his back drawing blood with her nails. She bit his shoulder as he ground into her. He left bruises on her hips and arms…
And it was all in an attempt to quiet her mind… to drive out the images that kept striking at the fabric of her sanity. That kept trying to pierce apart the strings of reality. The more they came the harder she bit. The louder she cried out in release.
Hermione lost control of reality all the more. She would sometimes be someone completely else… someone she couldn’t remember. And then Tom would come and pull her back. The more she strayed, the harder Tom fought for her. She became dependant on his tethering. If he wasn’t there how would she remain in this world? The real world?
A cold, dark cell…
So tired… so so tired…
Grey eyes searching hers… a firm, pale hand holding her hand…
She saw him again. The blond wizard with the grey eyes. It was another gala, another event with warm bodies pressed together to try and get into the good graces of their Lord… her husband.
He was watching her, following her with his eyes.
He was important. She knew he was. Why was he important? Why did she seek his eyes to rest on only her? Why did her body tremble when she knew his eyes did rest on her? Hermione shook her head to clear it.
Peacocks. Where were the white peacocks?
Her head span and she was back in the dark cell. Cold. It was so cold and she hurt, why did it hurt? Dark eyes that flashed red… they were looking down at her while she felt hands choking her. But why is Tom hurting her?
Who is Lucius Malfoy?
Why was she so cold, and so tired? She just wanted to sleep, please could she sleep again?
Another night… more people… she was outside, hiding at the fountain. It was night and there were no clouds, nor any stars. Even the moon was gone.
Her mind was grabbing at any form of substance to keep her in reality, yet all she could see was him. Her hands combing through his hair… she even saw a ring on her finger… she was sure it was an engagement ring. A hand clasped her arm and whirled her around.
Hermione gasped as she looked up into grey eyes.
Lucius didn’t say a word; he only pulled her against his chest and then kissed her. He kissed her as if his life depended on it. He kissed her as if he was drowning and she was his only life raft. His lips moved over her chin and into her neck fervently whispering between his kisses. “Please remember… remember me… us…”
And then before she could respond completely he was gone.
She whirled in a circle to see where he had gone to but she was completely alone. She became aware then of clutching something in her hand; lifting it she opened her palm. There lying in her palm where Lucius Malfoy must have pressed it during the fervent kisses was the same ring she saw in the images constantly. An emerald stone nestled between small diamonds and set in a white gold band. Frowning she studied it and looked at the inscription inside.
‘ Against all the Odds’
Scarlet eyes glaring at her… Snake-like features… Tom?
Hermione slapped her head in an attempt to rid it of the impossible image and thought. It couldn’t be her Tom. It was just another dream. Just like the dreams of Lucius Malfoy. Against all the odds… Why was that significant? Why was that significant to them? Was there even a them?
What was real? She didn’t know anymore.
Another night… Another party. This time he had her pressed up against a wall… his mouth trailing kisses down her neck… her hands tangled in his long hair, it was so familiar and felt so right. “Remember love… you need to come back…”
And then she was alone again. Lucius was gone.
Tom was glaring at her from the doorway of the room she was in. She heard the party was still in full swing beyond the room. Tom stalked over to her where she was still against the wall. Did he see? She saw his dark eyes flashing scarlet for a second and blinked in surprise. Must be her imagination… She was imagining most things these days after all.
Tom lifted his hand to her throat where he grabbed her neck harshly to push her up against the wall. She had to struggle a bit to get oxygen through to her lungs and watched him silently. With his free hand, he hiked up her dress and found her knickers. Pushing it aside he stepped into her, forcing her with the action to part her legs. She was vaguely aware that he had somewhere along the line opened his own robes so that he was exposed and jutting out proudly. Her breath caught in her already constricted throat with arousal as he rammed into her roughly. She cried out hoarsely, her vocal cords restricted with his hand still squeezing her throat as her legs lifted automatically to clasp around his hips. He didn’t relent nor did he release the hand around her throat. Hermione’s eyes rolled into her skull as a twisted pleasure washed over her. Something in the slight strangling and suppressed anger with which he took her against the wall made her core clench with need. Tom kept hissing into her ear as he slammed into her over and over… “I will kill him… remember you are mine… you will never escape me… I will kill him…”
And as his words kept nailing into her head in rhythm with his pounding into her, she knew he was speaking the truth. And with that twisted thought, she climaxed.
Scarlet eyes…grey eyes… dark brown eyes… blond hair… bald…. Brown hair… three faces. Three wizards.
Who was real? Who was she?
Why was it so dark? And cold. She was constantly cold. Is that a door? It was a heavy wooden door; she knew every groove in it. Four-hundred and sixty-five grooves to be exact. Where was that door? She needed to find it. It was where she would find her answers…
This wasn’t her home. There were no white peacocks in the gardens.
She had to find that door! It would take her home it would give her the answers.
Hermione followed the narrow passage with only the small light at the tip of her wand. She had found the passage in the back corner of the cellar. It was a damp stone passage and seemed to stretch forever. There was another gala in full swing upstairs, but she didn’t really care. It was most likely all in her head in either case.
She knew he was following her. She had wanted him to follow her.
Finally, at the end of the passage, a dark wooden door loomed in front of her. It was the same door, but something wasn’t quite right with it…
She unlocked it with her wand and pushed it open. Walking inside Hermione waited patiently for the soft footsteps that had followed her to also step inside. Once the blond wizard had she closed the door.
That was it.
She had gotten to know the door from inside this dank stone cell. Hermione stepped forward and traced a finger over one of the familiar grooves. “Four-hundred and sixty-five…”
Lucius Malfoy remained silent behind her. He only watched the witch quietly. He held back a shudder. He had watched her slowly unravel over the last year. Yes, it had been a year already since he saw her that night as Tom Riddle’s wife. He doubted that she had any concept of time anymore. Tom had destroyed her mind, and he had been trying to get her to find reality again. Maybe he had succeeded, maybe it was why she led him here?
The witch turned around and walked to the centre, she studied the chained shackles hanging from the ceiling followed with the bolted shackles on the floor.
Flashes stabbing her mind. She, shackled in this very spot. Urine and human waste trickling down her legs. Feet and ankles on fire. Tired… she was so tired… she saw stuff. Hallucinations her mind supplied her with the word. Tom…
Tom was here.
Her Tom. Her husband… he was the one who did this to her.
She turned around and looked at Lucius. Her Lucius… her beloved.
With a sob, she fell forward onto her hands and knees as she started retching. All her stomach contents emptying on the floor. She felt Lucius kneeling next to her and let him gather her into his arms. He rocked her gently as he held her head cradled against his chest. Hermione fisted her hands into his robes as she started to cry uncontrollably. For the first time in so long, her mind was clear. She knew what reality was at this moment. And the reality was Lucius.
“I’m sorry… I’m so sorry…” She kept mumbling against him.
Lucius cupped her face between his hands and pulled her head away so he could look at her. “It wasn’t your fault… don’t you ever apologise for what he did to you…”
Hermione didn’t respond and only pressed her face back into his chest. She didn’t know how long they sat like that on the cold stone floor. But finally her crying ceased and her fragmented mind managed to realise the truth of the situation. “He is going to kill you. He will never let me go.”
Lucius didn’t respond. He knew it was the truth. Just as he anticipated her next words as well.
“And—and I don’t know if I want to leave him…”
Her eyes had never been a true brown. More of a rich whisky colour, with flecks of gold in them. It was the same with her wild hair. Not a complete brown, but highlighted with streaks of bronze. She wasn’t a beauty in the traditional sense of the word. In fact, most would describe her plain. Yet, she had that something… that energy that you only noticed over a period of time. As if it grew on you. That’s why he never noticed her looks or her really.
Oh, he knew her; she was in the same class as his son. And he had never shut up about her. So she was the irritating muggleborn that his son hated. And as his father, by default, he disliked the girl himself. Yet, when Severus talked of her, and when he truly listened to Draco moaning about her he slowly became fascinated. He could appreciate her quick wit and intelligent mind in a way his spoiled son couldn’t.
When she was gifted to him after the final war, he was to grief-stricken to truly take it in. But, slowly she grew on him. Until one day he looked up as she ate breakfast across from him and he realised that she was pretty. Beautiful, to him in fact.
That morning he knew that he wanted to get to know her himself now. And so, that was how he started spending time in the same rooms that she frequented.
Lucius Malfoy took a long time to build his relationship with the young witch. Yet when it finally happened it was right. They were ready and they were right for each other. For the first time ever he had been truly happy. In a way, he hadn’t even been with Narcissa.
There was nothing he wouldn’t do for Hermione.
If she asked it, he would slit his own throat.
His hands were clasped around her throat, squeezing the air from her lungs. She gasped and tried to tear his hands from her throat, clawing with her nails and drawing blood. Yet his grip didn’t falter. Her eyes met his as she stilled, her survival instinct giving up finally. He watched the whisky colour with the golden flecks as the blood vessels burst in her eyeballs, making them bloodshot. Yet not once did her eyes harden or look at him with loathing. They remained resolved and looked at him with love.
His hands kept their grip as the light slowly dimmed from her yes. As her soul left her body.
Yet still, he kept his clasp, his own body shaking with the restraint of not stopping. Knowing she had to be beyond resuscitation. She had to be completely dead.
Finally, the last shudder went through her body and then she was completely still. With a barely audible choke, he fell over her and waited. He had nothing left.
All he had left was to die
At least he had saved her.
“I mean… It’s as if I crave him on some level and I don’t know if that is want or disgust –“
Lucius looked on as she frantically paced while pulling at her hair. It was a nervous habit she had that he instantly recognised… The Dark Lord hadn’t torn everything from her…
“I know, love… I have some ideas on exactly what he did… and I know what it does to the mind.” Lucius spoke softly; he didn’t want to think about the repercussions too much.
The Dark Lord had broken her mind completely and then brainwashed her. In her mind, she loved Tom Riddle. She craved Tom Riddle.
Even if she knew the truth now, her mind would continue to want to go back to the depravity that The Dark Lord had brainwashed her into.
Hermione stopped her pacing to slap her head repeatedly as if trying to keep thoughts in place. He flinched with each slap, she was truly destroyed.
“Just… just need to keep my thoughts tethered…” Finally, with a little shake, she stopped the slapping and turned her eyes on him. She looked desperate… pleadingly. “Please Lucius… I love you – I know I do… please save me?”
He swallowed heavily, remembering the promises they made to each other. They would always save the other. And they would do anything for the well-being of the other. He still would. “How—“
Her eyes softened as she stepped forward, one hand resting on the prominent swell of her abdomen that carried Voldemort’s heir. The heir he knew she didn’t want to bring into this world. Her other hand rested on his cheek.
Lucius had turned to lie on the cold stone next to Hermione. He was staring up at the stone ceiling. Wondering how many nights Hermione had stared at this same ceiling? How long had it taken for her mind to completely leave her? Was it the pain or the sleep deprivation? Most likely both.
He became aware of the blowing sound of Voldemort coming in his column of black smoke down the passage. A grimace lighted his features as he turned his head to the side to look at Hermione, her skin even paler in death than her normal light complexion. The freckles standing out starkly. His hand searched out her already cool one and clasped it tightly.
“Please don’t ask me that…” He begged the witch in front of him with his eyes.
Her hand still on his cheek stroked softly as a sad smile lit on her mouth. “It’s the only way… I can’t live like this. My mind is fragmented… I don’t even know how long I’ll be with my senses now. It could be gone any second… I can’t live like this.”
Lucius compressed his lips, refusing to agree with what she was saying. Not that she gave him chance as she continued speaking. “I can’t bring this child into the world either… And I don’t want to want him… just like I don’t want to be without you… please? Save me?”
And as the tears rolled down her face he knew he wouldn’t refuse. For he would do anything she ever required of him. And he knew that he wouldn’t be able to live with such a fragmented and brainwashed mind himself. Lucius closed his eyes slowly as he breathed in deeply. His hand lifting to cover the one still caressing his cheek. He moved her hand so that he kissed her palm fervently as he gave a barely perceptible nod.
Hermione released her held in cry and grabbed his robes to cling to him. He circled her waist tightly and held her to him. Together they stood like that for what seemed like hours. Tears leaking from both their eyes as they cried silently at what their lives had become. Lucius finally sought out her lips for a final kiss.
The kiss was wet and a bit desperate. But it was their kiss. Their last one.
“Please just don’t pity me, Lucius… It was not easy to realise that I had to die... I don’t want pity because of it…” Lucius searched her eyes, “I will never pity you. I love you, Hermione.”
Hermione finally stepped back and looked at him beseechingly. Lucius only nodded again and then raised his wand. Her hand stopping his wand made him pause to look at her questioningly.
“Don’t use magic… I am a muggleborn… and I want to die a muggle way.” Her voice was soft yet sure.
His eyes widened, “But there is nothing here to—“
His cut off sentence didn’t leave any doubt as to what he meant. There was nothing in the room with which he could do the deed.
“You have your hands…”
Tom Riddle’s form stood in the doorway through which he had just stormed. His eyes were cold as he took in the scene. In a second his cold eyes turned maniacal and flared scarlet as he saw the pale still form of his wife. “What have you done!”
His yell was almost desperate as he literally flew across the floor to drop on her other side. He seemed genuinely distraught Lucius thought off handily. Honestly, he didn’t really care for anything anymore. Draco had managed to get out of Europe years prior, so his son and heir was safe and would inherit eventually. And other than that, he truly had nothing left.
Lucius still lay flat next to Hermione as he watched his Dark Lord frantically casting diagnostic spells over her.
Finally, he mumbled into the room, “I saved her. And stopped your line from continuing…”
With that Tom’s head shot up and his scarlet eyes glared at him hatefully. Almost instantly Tom was on Lucius’ side with the Elder wand pointed close to his forehead. Lucius didn’t say anything and just stared Tom Riddle down, or attempted to. Unbeknownst to Tom Riddle, Lucius had carefully un-holstered the silver dagger that Tom kept in his boot at all times.
Gripping the dagger firmly he shifted his body to line it up perfectly to his heart. Tom Riddle only thought that the blond was trying to shift away from him. With a hiss, Riddle spoke the killing curse, “Avada Kedavra—“
As the words left his lips Lucius rammed the dagger straight into Tom Riddles heart right as the green light struck him.
Both wizards instantly slumped down.
Lucius was lying backwards over the body of Hermione Granger-Riddle, muggleborn, nemesis, fiancée and the love of his life.
Tom Riddle had fallen forward to come to rest over the body of Lucius Malfoy, pureblood, loyal supporter, Death-Eater, traitor and his conqueror.
His hands circled her neck tremblingly, his eyes begging her to not force him to really kill her. Not like this. But Hermione only kept that soft smile in place as her eyes never left his.
“I will be waiting at Kings Cross… don’t be too long my love.” Her voice was soft as she spoke her final words to him. With a swallow, he spared her a smile.
“Never. I’ll always be right behind you, love…against all the odds…”