Fic: Hibernation (NC-17; Hermione/ Barty Crouch Jr.)
Pairing(s): Hermione/Barty Crouch Jr., implications of Hermione/Krum and Ginny/Voldemort
Warnings: Underage sex (Hermione is 15), and maybe a hint of dub-con.
Disclaimer: Oh, how I do wish that they were mine... but alack!
Author's Notes: Let's just pretend that SPEW never existed, shall we? It will make our lives so much easier.
Hermione grinned at Neville and paged through the book.
“I’m glad he’s taken an interest in your abilities – it’s just... I still think it’s bizarre that he would do that in front of the whole class.”
Neville just shrugged and took the book as she pushed it back across the table.
“I’m sure he meant no harm, really. He’s just a bit daffy is all.”
“He wouldn’t still be an Auror if he’d gone daffy. And besides... look, I’m not trying to be mean, but if he was an Auror he’d know about your parents.”
“Oh for fuck’s sake, let it drop, would you?”
She’d clearly struck a nerve, and demurred herself quickly.
“Look, I’m just saying that it didn’t sit right with me.”
“You’ve been trying to look after me since the moment we met, Hermione. You’re one of my very best friends, and the day will never come when I won’t appreciate it, but... someday I’m going to have to keep track of toads on my own, if that makes any sense.”
He made to stand up, but then brightened up a bit and smiled.
“Oh, I forgot – somehow we got to talking about you, and I told him about all of the research you’ve been doing on Dementors.”
“What? He mentioned that you must be an awfully good friend to stick up for me like that, and I told him that we’re just friends, and that you’re the only reason that any of us have passed most of our classes these past few years.”
She shook her head and chuckled.
“What, did he offer to find one to show me what they look like without a hood on?”
“Nah, nothing like that... he just said that if you needed any help, he’d be happy to try and answer your questions.”
Three weeks passed before she decided to go pick Moody’s mind about Dementors – after all, it was said that he’d been stationed at Azkaban when the outer wall was being reinforced back in the 60’s.
It was after dinner when she made the short trek to his office, and found the door ajar.
Tapping politely on the doorframe, she hesitantly looked in. “Professor? Are you there?”
The reply was almost instant.
“That I am – come in.”
Pushing to door open, she was surprised to see him sitting at his desk, minus his magical eye. It was suspended in a glass of water in front of him, and she reflexively wrinkled her nose in disgust.
After a moment, she shook herself.
“I... I’m sorry, Professor, I’m obviously disturbing you...”
“Sit DOWN, Miss Granger. I am free now. If you think this,” he said, gesturing to the glass, "is disturbing, then I shudder to think how you'll handle some of the things I'll be teaching in class this year."
She sat in the chair across the desk from his and nodded to herself.
"I was wondering if you could help me with my research – Neville mentioned that you’d offered as much.”
“Do you mind me asking as to the exact nature of your research, then?”
“Well... I know that this is going to sound strange, but I’m trying to find a certain kind of spell... you see, I’m trying to find a spell that would protect against the effects of a Dementor’s Kiss.”
Moody’s face went dark for a moment.
“Are you planning on perpetrating a Kiss-worthy crime, Miss Granger?”
“No, nothing like that! I’m just... after last year, when... well, surely you know that Harry almost got Kissed by one of the Dementors?”
He nodded slowly, his expression still dark.
“Well... I’m trying to find a record of any instance of a victim regaining their soul, or at least any sort of normal function. I mean, should a Patronis fail, and a person is going to be unjustly Kissed... am I making any sense?”
After a moment he nodded again, lips pursed slightly.
“How long have you been at this?”
“About three months.”
“And what have you found so far?”
“Very little, when I do find anything. Suppositions on origins of the Dementors, vague information on the first documented cases of people being Kissed, and the dates of the first Kiss being administered as a capital punishment in various countries. History of the development of the Patronis... beyond that?”
Turning her palms upward in a gesture of futility, Hermione sighed.
Moody Nodded once again, and sighed.
"Well, that’s about as far as you’re going to get, I’m afraid.”
“Let me put it this way, Miss Granger. Supposing such information were to exist... do you think that the Ministry would allow it to be public knowledge?”
Hermione didn’t answer for a moment, simply scoffed to herself.
“You honestly know of nothing that could help me?”
“I’m afraid not.”
She stood and nodded.
“Thank you for your time, Professor. I’m sorry to have bothered you.”
She was almost to the door when his voice made her turn.
“Miss Granger, could a make a suggestion?”
“Of course, sir.”
“Perhaps you should look at the nature of souls, and what happens to a soul during a Kiss.”
“Of course! It’s not in preventing the Kiss, but actually shielding the soul... Occam’s Razor!”
“It’s a muggle theory, Professor. Occam’s Razor states that the simplest answer is, almost without fail, the correct one.”
The cool flame of the Goblet burned only inches away from his face as he dropped the parchment into its harmless inferno, and he grinned to himself.
He checked his watch - he'd forgotten the flask, and he had just enough time to get back to his rooms before the Polyjuice wore off.
What he was not expecting, as he arrived, was Hermione Granger running down the hall towards his classroom from the opposite direction.
"Professor, I need to talk to you!"
If I kill her someone will notice. Calm down, Bart. Just get her out of here.
"Miss Granger, it's nearly 11... can this wait until morning?"
"I know, I know I shouldn't be out of the Tower so late, but I had to tell you that I've found something useful!"
Mentally, he screamed in anguish. On the one hand, he had all of two minutes before he changed back into himself... and on the other hand, he was absolutely dying to know if the uppity little Mudblood could possibly have found the answer to rendering Dementors harmless.
He never had the chance to decide, though. Without warning he felt his stomach cramp painfully - he must have misjudged the last dose, much to his panic.
"Professor? What's wrong?"
He was all but doubled over in pain, grasping for the doorhandle.
"Professor! Should I get Madam Pomfrey?"
He got control of himself enough to speak.
"NO!" was the one word he forced out, as he finally managed to stumble into the classroom and towards his office.... he vaguely regisered that she was following him, but at this point he realized that it was too late to do anything about it. There was the flask, on his desk, but the transformaion was already gripping his body too completely.
Hermione watched in stunned silence - she had an inkling of what was going on, but refused to admit it to herself, if only because she was too shocked to think.
As he turned to face her again, she gasped, and a word flew across her mind in brilliant neon letters.
On any other day, at any other time, Hermione might have considered this man attractive, but she was too distraught to register anything other than fear.
The look in his eyes was daunting - on an instinctual level, she knew that she was quite possibly about to die.
"Well... this is unfortunate. I mean, I could just kill you and be done with it, but I think there might be too many questions. Don't you?"
She stood grounded to the spot, not sure how to respond.
"That rules out death then, doesn't it? I could just obliviate you, but that's no fun."
"Who are you?"
"Bartemus Crouch, Jr."
With a gasp, Hermione knew where she'd heard that name.
"I've heard of you! You tortured Neville's Mum and Dad - it was you wasn't it?"
"Yes. Well, Bellatrix and the others helped. Who knew that being under the influence of two Crucios at once could shatter a person's mind?"
She couldn't even form words. She realized that she'd backed herself against the door, and she tore her eyes away from him to glance quickly at the doorhandle. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him grin.
"Look at me."
Grudgingly, she did, and when her eyes met his, she heard him whisper something, barely audible. Her body twitched, just once, but she thought nothing of it.
"You may go now, Miss Granger. And I would be quite interested to hear what you have to say... tommorrow after class."
The world tipped itself on its head, seemingly in an instant.
Alastor Moody was an impostor, and she couldn’t tell anyone.
Somehow, she knew that whatever he'd said was a spell to keep her from telling.
And she did try to tell. The words simply died on her lips, and it was driving her mad.
And then there was that rebellious little quirk at the back of her mind: whenever she thought about him, about how he looked and how he spoke, about the way he'd looked at her... she was deathly afraid of him and she knew that she was supposed to hate him, but she also found herself mortified at how badly she wanted him.
She refused to admit it to herself, but she knew anyway.
As though this wasn't enough, the unthinkable happened: Harry was declared the fourth Hogwarts champion.
Nothing... made... sense.
It took nearly two weeks for her to work up the will to even speak to him again.
After class on a Thursday, as the others filed out, she approached him curtly.
“Well, Miss Granger.”
“I was wondering if I might speak with you this evening. Professor.”
“Finally ready to tell me about souls, then?”
"Yes. If you actually have any sort of expertise, that is."
"Tut, tut. And here I thought you’d look past my brains and love me just for my body. Well," he said with a grin and an arched eyebrow, "my real body, anyway."
Barely concealing a sneer, she turned on her heel. "Disgusting. I don’t need to put up with this."
His voice stopped her in her tracks.
“Oh, but you will. For one thing, who are you going to tell? And for another thing, who else could actually help you with any sort of practical application of this little project of yours?”
Hermione didn’t turn back to face him, but she nodded anyway.
“Well then... I shall be free for questioning after dinner. And I’ll be my natural, charming self if that’s alright with you.”
Looking past the fact that he was a mentally unhinged murderer, with the odd tendency to leer at her suggestively as a sort of innuendic punctuation to his sentences, he was actually quite brilliant.
“So you see, if I could just find some way to condense the soul, anchor it at some point within the body, and then place some sort of time-release containment charm on the condensation point, then... in theory, it should work.”
“But just in theory.”
“Well, it’s not as though I have any way to test it - it would be a nightmare! Condensing the soul, anchoring it, ensuring that the anchorage is done properly... getting the containment to the proper point without cutting off blood flow, and quickly enough... and even then, how would I know that the person wouldn’t just explode when the soul is re-constituted?”
He shrugged dismissively and rolled his eyes.
“No omelets without broken eggs. Or whatever cliché you prefer. Though the idea is elegant in its simplicity. The soul goes into hibernation and emerges intact... do you even have any sort of theoretic method, in any sort of specific detail?”
“That’s the next step. If I ever get a moment’s peace in that damned library, of course.”
Barty looked a little bit taken back.
“Since when is Pince’s library anything but a fortress of solitude?”
“Since Viktor Krum began studying there every afternoon, followed by an inevitable contingent of squawking groupies.”
“Well, take your time. Keep me up on any leads.”
As she gathered her notebook, Hermione regarded him with a bit of a cold glare.
“We’re not friends, you and I.”
He gave what must have been his hundredth suggestive leer as he added, “You’re hardly a squawking groupie. But really, girl. You’re the only one who knows about me, I can’t kill you, and you can’t go blabbering. Add a common point of interest, and we have a way to pass the time.”
After Hermione stood, she gave him another of those piercing looks.
“Did you put Harry’s name into the Goblet?”
“All in its own sweet time, girly. Now run along.”
“He’s there watching you, you know.”
“I beg your pardon?”
Hermione looked up from some notes, slightly dazed - he'd caught her right in the middle of a train of thought.
“I was in the library the other day. Krum watches you when you’re not looking.”
“Quite! But I’m also correct.”
She shook her head and sighed, going back to her notes.
“So what? Let him look, see if I care. Now, what do you know about simple containment charms?”
“Plenty. Don’t change the subject.”
“The change of subject is the reason I visit you once a week. Now, containment charms.”
“Oh, have it your way.”
She tapped her quill against the glass of the inkbottle as she tried to puzzle out the problem of condenstaion, and finally just threw the quill down on the table and slumped back in her chair.
Angrily, Hermione threw a glare in the direction of a group of second-year girls who were clustered in the arithmancy section trying to get a look at Viktor Krum, who was studying at a table further down from her own.
She was having enough trouble juggling homework, research, the Tournament, Rita Skeeter, and Barty Crouch Jr. without trying to put up with Krum's adoring fanclub.
She stowed her things in her bag, shouldered it, and then made straight for the younger witches. They quieted down when they saw her approaching, and she fumed for a moment before she spoke quietly.
“If you want him to notice you, then perhaps you should stop acting like a bunch of squawking hens! People come here to STUDY, not to listen to you make fools of yourselves, so do everyone a favor and GET ON WITH YOUR LIVES!”
With that, Hermione turned on her heel and headed out of the library.
She was halfway back to the Tower when someone tapped her on the shoulder. She spun around and was surprised to find Krum standing behind her.
“Hello. I am... I would... be liking to thank you for... erm... for helping.”
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Those girls. All of those girls will never leaving me alone... maybe now they get message, yes?”
“Oh. Well, you’re welcome. They were driving the rest of us crazy with the noise, is all.”
“What is your name, I wonder?”
“I will see you later time, I hope, Miss Gronn-jar.”
This was the last thing Hermione thought she would ever do, but she had no choice.
Hand over hand, she climbed the ladder and flipped open the trap-door, coming at last into the outer room of Trelawney's classroom.
Not knowing exactly where she should look for the office, she slowly walked into the classroom, and almost jumped in shock when she heard the dreamy voice drift towards her through the smoky air.
"Why, Miss Granger - are you lost?"
She saw Trelawney standing just on the other side of a curtain of beads, and she turned to face her.
"No, Professor... listen, I... I'm sorry I've been so rude to you, in the past, but I need your help."
"I will do whatever I can... what did you need help with?"
"...Would it be possible to stop a person's chakras?"
Trelawney parted the bead curtain enough to look Hermione directly in the face.
"My dear girl, why would you ever want to do something like that?"
"It's just... part of a theory I had. I'm - working on a project for Professor Moody."
After a moment, the older witch nodded and gestured to her.
"Yes, I think I may have something that would be of use to you... come with me."
The office was full of the odor of incense, but it was far from what Hermione had expected. Aside from the occasional arcane-looking oddment, it was just a tidy little study.
"Yes, over here, I think..."
Trelawney reached up on tip-toe to pull a rather large book off the the upper shelf of a bookcase, then placed it gently in Hermione's hands.
There was no inscription on the cover, or the binding, but Hermione could tell that it was considerably old.
"This is a 13th century Hindu text... do you speak Sanskrit? Don't answer that, I'm sure you don't."
She walked over to the desk and scribbled something out on a scrap of parchment.
"This is a translation charm - you say it, and the words on the page will be translated as you read them. I believe that the chapter you'll be most interested in is somewhere just after the middle of the book, though I could be mistaken... and I must warn you of something, Hermione. Some of what you will read in here would be considered very dark magic... you aren't actually planning on performing this, are you?"
"Of course not, Professor... thank you, so much, this will do wonders for my research."
"You're quite welcome! Oh, and Miss Granger?" she added, as Hermione was about to leave.
"You need to stop lying to yourself about him."
An almost painful silence passed between them before Hermione could summon words.
"I beg your pardon?"
"I'm not sure who the man with the sandy hair is, but repressing yourself won't help matters."
Hermione just nodded and then walked away, a little bit numb.
“And what do we have tonight?”
“I solved the condensation problem.”
“No, deep meditiation. I went to Trelawney a few nights ago and asked her for some help – if she asks, I’m doing an extra credit project for you – and I figured out how to approach this.”
“And what did you find out?”
“I tried it on myself, and it’s scary because of how quickly you have to do it.”
She could see his eyes light up, and he set down the scroll he’d been skimming.
“You have my undivided attention.”
“Alright. It’s a question of deactivating the chakras.”
“Concentration. You work from your feet up, and you have to concentrate on halting each chakra’s energy flow. By the time you finish the one on the top of your head, your aural energy is completely inert. Then... you have to have already picked where you’re going to anchor it, and I chose my left foot. Anyway, so, once the charkas are inert, you meditate, and harness the aural energy and draw it to the anchor point... it stays there for about ten seconds after you let go, then it just... flows back out into your body. The chakras re-activate themselves.”
He looked like he’d just gotten the best Christmas present of his life, and finally he whispered in a low voice.
“What was it like?”
“Cold. Worse than standing next to a Dementor. Cold, and completely... insane. And it was hard to keep my thoughts quiet, because there were suddenly voices in my head that were twittering like lunatics... and then when the energy came back, it was like... being kicked in the stomach, and I just burst out into hysterical sobs of laughter. I feel better than I have in years.”
“Did the voices stop?”
She looked distant suddenly, and then stood and shrugged.
“That’s all for tonight.”
“Has he asked you to the Ball yet?”
“Who?... are you still on about Krum?”
Barty shrugged and flashed a trademark leer along her body with a vague grin.
“I can’t say that I blame him, of course... just barely still illegal, monstrously clever, and quite nice to look at.”
It took only moments for Hermione to slam out of his office, shaking with anger, forcing herself not to acknowledge the surge of lust she’d felt when he said that.
Those girls she’d told off must have spread the word like wildfire, because the library had been utterly tranquil from then on.
Three days later, sitting in the library, she was impatiently tapping her quill against her inkwell again, staring at the latest line of her notes.
But what if the containment charm accidently severs the condensation point?
Hermione actually smiled when she looked up to see Viktor approaching.
“Hello, Har-moyen. Do you mind if I sit?”
Forcing herself not to cringe at his pronunciation of her name, she gestured to another chair at her table.
“Thank you. I just came over to ask... I hope I am not sounding rude, but if you are not already going with somebody else, would you do me the honor perhaps of being my date to the Yule Ball?”
Before she even knew what she was doing, she answered.
“I... yes. That would be lovely.”
He smiled and nodded.
“Thank you, very much. I will... see you around?”
She nodded and felt a little bit lost as he walked away, and then let her face drop down against the tabletop.
I am in WAY OVER MY HEAD.
She stopped herself short of actually knocking on the office door, and decided instead to scribble a quick note and slid it under the door before making a hasty retreat towards the Great Hall.
I need to talk to you tonight. After dinner, at about 8.15. Be yourself.
She was three minutes late and she really didn’t care.
She stood in front of his desk, fists clenched, and stared him down. He was sitting with his fingers steepled when she came in.
“So, what exactly has your pants in a twist today, girl?”
“He asked me. I said yes.”
With a raise of his eyebrows, Barty nodded.
“Our boy Viktor finally grew a pair, then?”
“It would seem so.”
“And you came here... to give me the chance to say that I told you so? How delightful!”
She walked over to the desk and leaned towards him, palms flat on the desktop, and looked him square in the eye with a defiant grin. Her tone was soft, but venomous.
“No. No, I came to tell you so that I could rub it in your perverted face that Viktor will have me before you EVER do.”
Barty nodded, his expression cold, as he stood and slowly made his away around the desk.
“You’re using the boy to get to me? Excellent. Except for just one thing.”
He closed the few feet between them and backed her up against the wall.
He didn’t touch her, just rested his hands flat on the wall to either side of her and grinned as he leaned in to whisper in her ear.
“Maybe he will have you first. But you will be left wondering how I would compare. Wondering how I could be different, or better, and you’ll come back. And when you do, I will carve my name so deeply into your skin that you’ll never be able to look at your reflection in the mirror without that... little twinge of shame.”
He broke off, and moved his right hand to run his fingertips over Hermione's throat, watching her eyes the whole time.
He let his hand drift down, slowly, to her chest. Her eyes went wide but she was obviously forcing herself to not make a sound. His hand ghosted around her back to rest on her arse for a moment.
“Feeling brave, I see.”
He brought his hand down to her knee and almost glacially began to push it up under her skirt.
At last, she made a sort of whimpering sound as his palm came to rest at the top of her thigh, and his thumb traced slowly along the crotch of her knickers.
“Oh yes... you’ll go to him. Play your games, but remember this: you can kick him around like a ragdoll, but if you return to me, you will belong to me. Do you understand that?”
She nodded slowly and then made a little bereft sound when he wrenched himself away from her.
“Leave. Go have your fun with your Bulgarian. I’ll be waiting.”
Viktor found her as she left the Great Hall, the skirt of her dress swirling out behind her, and he jogged to catch up with her.
“Her-my-knee... hey, WAIT!”
She turned to look at his, trying to fight tears.
“Oh, it’s... I’m sorry.”
“Your friend is very rude, the one with the bright hair.”
“Yes. Ron is a stupid twit. I hope he didn’t say anything awful to you...”
“It does not matter. You are alright?”
“Yes. Listen, I’d like to talk to you, later on... can you meet me in two hours, and we’ll go for a walk?”
“Why not now?”
“Well, it’s just... this dress. I’m not used to it, and I’d like to change into something a little bit less fancy.”
“Oh, well that’s alright. Where would you like to meet?”
She thought for a moment and then grinned.
“Do you know of the painting of the green pear?”
“You mean the kitchen?”
“How do you...”
“Now, now. Having Ravenclaw friends has its advantages, yes?”
“I suppose so.”
December 30th. 3.52 AM.
He opened his eyes slowly when he was awoken by the sound of a door slamming. And there was the sound again.
Keeping his eyes on the bedroom door, Barty slid out of bed, slipped on a pair of trousers, and picked up the wand from the nightstand.
He all but crashed through the door and out into his office.
Hermione was sitting in his chair, at his desk, looking rather stoic.
She'd lit the oil lamp on the desk, which cast a vauge bronze light about the room
“Good morning, Barty,” she said in a very cold tone.
When she stood and walked towards him after a moment, he took in the sight of her in a white cotton sundress, barefoot, her hair as wild as ever.
“I might have killed you, you know.”
She scoffed and shook her head.
“Maybe. But you have threats to make good on.”
She was barely an inch away, and he let the wand drop to the floor.
“So be it.”
He grabbed her by the shoulders and spun her around, took her wrists in one of his hands and held them behind her back, and forced her down beneath him to the carpeted floor.
Leaning down, he used his free hand to push the hair from her neck and nipped at the skin at the base of her skull. She shuddered beneath him, and he pressed himself against her, clothing be damned.
After a moment, he let go of her arms and rolled her onto her back, then pinned her hips to the floor with his own. He pressed his lips along her jaw, and she arched up against him.
Finally, he kissed her forcefully on the mouth, a deep, bruising kiss that she began to return after a moment, and he vaguely registered the sound of her groan.
Pushing a hand up under her dress, he felt that she wasn’t wearing any knickers, and smiled against her lips.
Pulling back just a little, he undid his trousers just enough... a few moments later, he pushed himself inside her without a word of warning.
She clearly bit back a scream, and threw her head back as far as she could manage, eyes riveted shut.
“Look at me.”
He thrust again, and punctuated it by loosely wrapping a hand around her throat.
“Look – at me – or I will snap – your – neck.”
Her eyes flew open and she let a grin play on her lips.
“Promises, Bartemus. Such promises.”
He pulled her closer to him with one hand splayed on the small of her back, and he moved his other hand from her neck to her shoulder.
Keeping his eyes locked onto hers, he whispered something against her lips as they moved more and more quickly against each other.
It was a spell – a very subtle binding spell, one that Hermione would never know about until it was too late to stop.
Her nails were digging into his shoulder blades and her ankles were pressing into the backs of his thighs.
He felt her start to shudder in his arms, and forced another of those bruising kisses to muffle the sounds she was making.
He finished just moments after she did, eyelids flickering and jaw clenched.
Minutes later – how many, she never really knew – as they lay next to each other on the floor, she forced herself to stand and took a few shaky steps before she felt his hand on her ankle.
“Was I right?”
She took a deep breath and nodded.
“Yes, you were. Now let me go.”
For the next two months she refused to think about it.
She busied herself with Viktor, with patching things up with Ron, and with her research, of course.
She ran a few tests on the containment charms she’d come up with, and was able to breathe a sigh of relief when she managed it without severing any limbs.
Experiments with longer and longer times on the charm all proved successful – she was able to keep her soul condensed, anchored, and contained for an hour and fifteen minutes at the longest try.
When Dumbledore put her to sleep for her little trip to the bottom of the lake, however, any attempts she made to stop thinking of Barty were completely ruined.
The entire three hours that she was out, she dreamt of him, strange dark fantasies that she never allowed herself to consider in her waking life.
When Viktor pulled her from the lake, and asked her if she wanted to visit him in Bulgaria that summer, she could only say yes. Getting out of Britain for a few weeks may well have been just what she needed, so her assent could not have been more fervent.
She did not, of course, know of the binding spell.
Another month and a half went by before Hermione even acknowledged Barty’s presence again.
Neville came and found her at breakfast on a Saturday, a scroll clutched in his hand.
“Hey, Neville... what’s all this?”
“Professor Moody wanted me to give this to you – he said that you’d understand.”
“Did he? Alright, then. Thanks.”
I’m going to bet that you haven’t really let the boy near you since the last night you saw me, have you? Well, no matter. Should you care for another chat, just give me enough warning so that I might be myself…
Resisting the urge to scream in anger, she shoved the scroll into her pocket and stomped out of the hall without a word to anyone.
She stomped all the way to the DaDa room, and tried her best to basically knock down the office door with her fist. Finally, it swung open and she was greeted by the figure of Alastor Moody.
“Well, well, well. I was starting to think you’d forgotten me...”
“Despite my best efforts. I’ll come back and talk to you this afternoon.”
“Why not now?”
She looked around to make sure that no one was listening and lowered her voice considerably.
“I want to talk to you, not to some caricature of Moody.”
“Let’s say 1.30, then?”
Making sure that the office door was shut, Hermione turned to look at him. He was standing in the doorway to the bedroom, leaning against the frame and looking slightly bemused.
"Alright, you son of a bitch. I want to know what you’ve done to me.”
“Well that’s a fine how-do-you-do...”
“I’M NOT JOKING. What sort of curse have you put me under?”
“You’ve noticed, then?”
“The thought of sex with him physically repulses me. In fact, the thought of sex with anyone but you, repulses me. It makes me wonder what you meant when you said that I’d belong to you.”
He quirked and eyebrow and sniffed.
“Well, you seem to have it figured out quite perfectly, actually.”
Crossing the rooms in just a few steps, she swung her left hand to strike him soundly across the face.
Blinking away the slight sting of the slap, Barty turned to look back down at her and grinned maliciously.
They stood there for a moment in perfect silence – he was perfectly calm, and she was noticeably fuming with anger. She made a futile gesture with her hands.
In the next instant, they all but lunged at each other, kissing so hard that they could barely breathe, practically tearing off each other’s clothes.
Somehow Hermione forced him through the other door into his bedroom and used some bizarre reserve of strength to shove him down onto the mattress, then pushed the door shut behind herself.
Climbing onto the bed, she kissed him again before she did away with the last of her own clothing (her skirt) and went to work on his shirt, tugging it up over his chest.
“Four months, almost, I’ve been going out of my skull. All because of you. Now make it worth my bloody while.”
The wool jumper finally came off, ruffling his hair, and he reached out to grab her by the shoulders as she flung the garment away.
“Worth your bloody while? You pretentious little bint!”
He pulled her right leg up and over his left hip as his teeth grazed her neck.
“Worth your bloody while?”
When they finally just lay there in the aftermath, she let herself just go blank for a moment. Hermione actually felt sane again, and wanted to savor it while it lasted.
He whispered something that she didn’t quite hear, but an instant later, she felt the whisper of magic all along her skin.
“What was that?”
“Congratulations. You’ve effectively whored yourself. I broke the binding spell.”
“Because,” he said, not actually looking at her, “it would be so much more delightful if you were to return to me of your own free will.”
She pushed herself up and began to search for her clothes. Her shirt was in the doorway, and her skirt was near the foot of the bed. After a few moments, she gave up on finding her bra and knickers, and spoke as she dressed.
“The funny thing is, though, Barty, is that you actually just whored yourself.”
Finally, she found her outer robes and dug in the pockets for a piece of parchment.
“I got a shag and my freedom – you get my research. Quite... perfectly... simple. Consider it my payment.”
He watched, slackjawed, as she ran from the room, the parchment slowly unfurling on the sheets next to him.
Falling back onto the mattress, he whispered to the empty air.
"Pretentious little bint."
Hermione knew that they would never speak again. He never addressed her in classes (thank heavens), and she never even made eye contact with him. It was just better that way.
On the night of Voldemort’s return, though, she knew that she would never have reason to speak to him again.
Obviously, as well as her spell could work, it hadn’t held up against a Dementor - Barty was carted off to Azkaban to sit as an empty shell for the rest of his life.
The next morning, Dumbledore had called her to his office to speak to her.
“Good morning, Miss Granger – how are you holding up?”
After a shaky breath, she just shrugged, and he continued.
“I know it must be shocking, finding out about Professor Moody like this... I understand that Crouch had you doing some sort of extra credit assignment?”
“Well... I had been, but... I hit a dead end with it.”
“Did you ever have any idea that he may have been an impostor?”
All she did was shake her head.
“That’s alright. Well. What I’m about to say may be upsetting, but it needs to be said. You see, Voldemort is back, as I’m sure you know. It’s very dangerous, especially for you and young Mr. Weasely, as you are Harry’s best friends. I need to ask you to cancel any plans you may have had this summer, in the name of your own safety. There is a place where a lot of us will be staying this summer, and I ask that you seriously consider the idea.”
After a moment, she nodded.
"Thank you, Miss Granger. We may not exactly be staying in a palace, but immediate saftey is our concern here."
She just nodded, and then left to walk back to the dormitory to pack her things.
As she threw her books into her trunk, she let out a quiet chuckle.
Freed by the enemy to be trapped by friends.
It took her waking body a few seconds to notice the aches in her joints – but that was the hazard, she supposed, of having slept in a chair.
After a moment, though, she gasped in shock – the nearby bed was empty. Ginny was gone.
No-one knew what had happened to Ginny during the two weeks of her first disappearance.
She’d been captured during a raid on the Death Eater compound in Zurich, and had been counted as dead – that is, of course, until she’d wandered into the front yard of the Burrow, dazed and slightly bruised.
Molly and Bill had rushed her to St. Mungo’s, where she’d been for four days – the best-known Legilimens couldn’t even crack the outer layers of her mind, and she’d been only barely lucid most of the time.
Hermione had offered to watch her overnight to give Molly’s nerves a rest, and now, as she stared down at the note on the pillow, she was pinned to the spot, re-reading it over and over again.
Hermione... the soul goes into hibernation, and emerges intact. Never doubt your skills again. It works.
No one will understand why I’m leaving. None but you.
Tell them that I’m sorry to leave them, but that it is the only way.
I lost Tom once. I can’t do it again. I have to go back to him, no matter what he’s become. As sick and twisted as that is, it's the only hope that I've clung to for all of these years.
Tell Mum that I love her. Tell her not to worry.
All Hermione could do was to stand there shivering.
This changed everything.
Knockturn Alley was never a pretty sight, no matter the time of day.
A simple cloaking charm would keep her from being recognized, and she kept her head down to avoid eye contact - she already knew where she was going.
The man raised an eyebrow at her.
“I beg your pardon, Miss... you said...”
She reached across the table and grabbed him by the shirtfront, lowering her voice to a rather violent snarl.
“Let’s skip the jargon act, shall we? – I want an audience with The Dark Lord on any terms he demands, and I know that you can make it happen. So, make it happen.”
The room was actually quite nice – something of a private study. She was led in by a Death Eater whom she did not recognize, and immediately saw the man who was once Tom Riddle sitting behind his desk studying a document.
He looked up briefly, almost indifferently, and then back down at the paper. Voldemort gave a dismissive flick of his wrist, and the other Death Eater bowed out of the room, leaving them alone.
“Miss Granger. To what do I owe this pleasure?”
“I have reason to believe that you are in possession of a piece of my handiwork.”
He set the parchment down on the desk and looked up at her directly.
“Six years ago, I performed a spell that would ensure the survival of souls during the Dementor’s Kiss. I created this spell, though I never got to see how it would stand up to a real Kiss. One of my best friends, someone who could never have known of it, mentioned it in a note.”
“You refer to Ginevra?”
“I still fail to see your point, I’m afraid.”
“I want to talk to Barty. I need to know that the spell actually works.”
A tense moment passed, and he studied her for a moment before he spoke.
“You can never leave here again.”
“I know that.”
“You would swear your allegiance to me?”
“You're giving up everything you’ve worked for, for a
man you've not seen in over half a decade?”
His red eyes seemed to flare for a moment, and neither
“What did he do, Miss Granger, to make you turn your
Gryffindor back on your loyalties?”
“Does it matter?”
“Call it my price.”
After a sigh, she answered quietly.
“He set me free. He let me live. And I have been empty without him. I have woken up with his name on my lips almost every night since he's been gone, and I was certain that I'd have to let that bottle up inside of me every single day for the rest of my life.”
“And what did you do for him?”
“...Everything he asked.”
Voldemort snapped his fingers, never breaking eye contact with Hermione. Moments later, she heard a voice that she’d given up hope of ever hearing again.
“So, you’ve come back to me on your own.”
She turned slowly, letting herself gradually accept what she was seeing.
He was a little bit older-looking, but generally no worse for the wear. Hermione just looked at him and even allowed herself a grin.
“I’d given up hope, Barty.”
“I over-compensated on the containment charm. Four years, instead of four months.... Have you kept yourself occupied while I've been gone?"
"Of course. And there's still a twinge whenever I look
in the mirror."
He took a step closer to her to whisper into her ear.
"Have you ever wondered how knives would feel tracing along your skin?"
Involuntarily, she shuddered - oh, how she'd missed that feeling of shameful lust...
She’d acquired three tattoos since leaving school, but this was going to be so much more than a tattoo...
Ginny came to find her in the little room where she was waiting.
“Are you ready, Hermione?”
"Seems we both had our dirty secrets all these years, huh? I just... never would have thought of you with Barty in a million years, but it makes a bizzare sort of sense. Though I should be one to talk."
"Did it hurt?" she asked, gesturing to the Mark that was visible on Ginny's forearm.
"It's the most exquisite pain I've ever felt."
Hermione just nodded, and then followed the red-head down the hall to another small room where Voldemort and only a few other Death Eaters were waiting.
It had been a week since she'd arrived, and tonight she would receive the Dark Mark.
Tonight she would betray everything she had fought for in the name of her own sanity.
Since the night that Barty had been Kissed all those years ago, she’d been quietly and subtly losing her mind little bit by little bit.
Now all that was over.
As the first line was seared into her skin, her eyes were trained on Barty, who stood silently in the corner.
He grinned faintly as her eyes caught his. Even as the pain made her yelp and brought tears streaming slowly down her cheeks, she knew that she’d chosen the only real option... and much to everyone's surprise, she suddenly laughed out loud.
This was life.