Rite of Passage

BY : Nerys
Category: Harry Potter > Het - Male/Female > Hermione/Voldemort
Dragon prints: 2129
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

A:N:  Thanks to my amazing beta Serpent In Red


 

Rite of Passage

 

Chapter 1: Julian

 

It all started with a book.

 

After they’d spectacularly lost the war, Hermione Jean Granger lived a quiet life in solitude—the best way to avoid getting caught. She’d got herself a job in Muggle London as an administrative assistant at a tiny financial firm, nothing too fancy or in the picture, and owned a small flat nearby. All of which she got by faking documentation and confunding quite a substantial amount of Muggles. She couldn’t ward the flat, which made her uneasy, but a warded flat in such a Muggle area would stick out like a sore thumb.

 

Then, the news spread that Lord Voldemort had declared—most likely for his amusement given the viciousness of the wards around the property—that given the lack of Black family heirs, whoever could get into 12 Grimmauld Place would be its rightful new owner. Hermione couldn’t believe her luck. That place was a fortress. She’d canvassed the area for several days, just in case it was a trap. Not that she thought they were still actively searching for her, but you never knew. When it became clear that no one was there hunting for her, it smarted a bit. 

 

However, she reckoned it wasn’t strange, given she’d posed no threat over the years, and he probably deemed it far beneath him to search for a Mudblood at all. 

 

So, with a broad smile, Hermione walked into the house, and tipped her imaginary hat at the Dark Lord for granting her a more foolproof hideout than any she ever could’ve conjured herself. She had to agree, watching the house eviscerate follower after follower who tried to get inside and claim it as theirs was entertaining. Luckily, she knew that the ancient magic of the house would not grant the Ministry access to any claim on the house already being fulfilled because she wasn’t sure the wards would keep Him out.

 

And so she lived. 

 

Not the life she had imagined for herself, but alive nevertheless.

 

She went to work, always carrying a briefcase with her that had the same properties as her old beaded bag in case she ever had to flee in a hurry. She was not if not prepared for every eventuality. She did her job well enough to not stand out and not so bad that it would get her fired. She cooked spectacularly bad meals for herself in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place when she forgot to bring takeaway meals and read every book available in the Black library. It wasn’t until she stubbed her toe one day on her old beaded bag, that she picked it up and tipped it over—after a decent amount of swearing and skipping around on one leg because whatever it was she’d hit was hard as a rock. 

 

So many memories. 

 

A photo of her and the boys laughing, one Colin had made during her second year at Hogwarts. Many emptied-out, glass potions vials that she hadn’t dared leave behind in case they’d have left a trail to them. Clothes of hers and the boys. Her parents’ tent, which she briefly clung to, and then, burned away. 

 

No matter what, she would never ever go camping again. 

 

And books, so, so, so many books. She caressed the spine of The Tales of Beedle the Bard before magicking it to one of the shelves around her. Her many schoolbooks went the same way. Then, she went through everything she stole from the library of Hogwarts. There was a lot she’d read during their trip, but the stack of unread books next to her became quite substantial, too. One book in particular caught her eye: Rituals in Magic—Enhancing Wizarding Powers.

 

She turned it around in her hand, but apart from a bunch of nondescript rune-like signs, there was no information. She opened the book and flipped through it. 

 

Revels’ primary beneficial goals are—

 

Hermione snapped it shut. This one must have come from the Restricted Section for sure. She’d heard about Voldemort’s revels. There was nothing, nothing beneficial about those disgusting rape fests. She tossed the book over her shoulder, not even caring where it landed, and went to sort out the rest of her bag. 

 

That night, she slept restlessly. She woke with a scream, her body perspiring, her heart racing, her clit pulsing, and remembering the feeling of terror and exhilaration of the revel in her dream—no, nightmare. 

 

Definitely a nightmare.

 

She couldn’t recall details, just feelings, feelings both good and bad. The good ones disturbed her the most. As she took a cold shower, her body and mind settled. It must have been all those memories haunting her, she decided. 

 

Just a nightmare.

 

She went to work, did her usual daily routine, and woke up with a scream again the next morning. Whether that scream was from pleasure, pain, or both, she couldn’t tell.

 

Nightmare. Should not have gone through my beaded bag.

 

Another boring day followed by another restless night ending with a scream.

 

And another.

 

And another.

 

By that time, she couldn’t pretend it was just her memories influencing her dreams anymore. There was something else at play here. She called in sick and rushed into the Black library, summoning the blasted book on rituals and swishing her wand over it. No magical signature came forth. She used potions, runes, arithmancy, charms, the dark arts, anything she could think of to see if the book were responsible. She grabbed Harry’s invisibility cloak from her briefcase and went to Knockturn Alley for more information on rituals, runes or type of runes, and nightmares. She got nowhere with the information she stole. The nondescript runes taunted her. She still hadn’t located their origin, and it had to be them. No translation or summoning charm brought out their true nature either. 

 

Somehow, all her troubles had to be the book’s fault. A sigh of resignation left her lips. All her troubles and thus their possible solution would be inside the book.

 

She opened it.

 

 



 

The air felt alive, like it had a quality of magic by itself. It surrounded her, insinuating words of  invinciblity in her ears. It was a heady feeling, one she could barely shake, one she was sure she would’ve drowned in had she not come properly prepared. Despite all her research, this was her first revel, and she couldn’t lose her head. 

 

Observe first. 

 

Possible participation at a later time.

 

If absolutely necessary. 

 

A gruff-looking man in his fifties with blood smeared on the stubbles of his beard walked past her and gave her a lewd once-over before licking his upper lip at her. She shivered, and he merely laughed as he moved along.

 

If there were absolutely no other choice to gain what she needed.  

 

Eww...

 

She wasn’t really feeling it with all these Death Eaters, werewolves, vampires, wannabe Death Eaters, Snatchers, and so on around. Fucking moronic creeps, the lot of them. Nope, she wouldn’t be caught dead having sex with any of those disgusting individuals. No matter how much power it would gain her.

 

Yeah, that was the surprising information in the book. Revels equalled power gain due to their ritualistic nature. There had to be rules in place, repetitions of activities, but what she gained from reading was this had the answer to her restless nights. Even though she was pretty darn sure the damn book was responsible for those nights to begin with. 

 

She almost slammed into two men throwing themselves at each other in her path, and they were fucking without even taking the time to take their clothes off or take notice of her. It was a regular debauchery everywhere. She scratched the back of her head and moved around them. 

 

Seriously, get a room.  

 

It wasn’t like there weren’t any tents—she groaned—on the grounds.

 

Luckily, in order to access the power, participation wasn’t an absolute necessity. Sure, she’d read she’d gain more with. It would give her a quicker relief, but without would do, too. Just her presence there was enough. She really, really hoped it would be enough. She’d thought she would go insane if she kept waking up screaming in terror and longing.

 

Hermione knew she took a huge risk coming here, especially given Lord Voldemort would be present at some stage during the evening. Sure, she didn’t look like herself, but still, she was planning to stay far, far away from him. 

 

She stopped at one of the buffet tables, pushing past the other participants also eager for some drinks and snacks. Eyeing her choices, a sense of foreboding tingled her nerves. She reached for one of the dates with cream cheese stuffing.

 

“Sure about that?” a soft, deep voice spoke barely above a whisper beside her.

 

Her hand halted, and her head turned to the person in question. Her eyes widened at his almost ethereal presence, tall, dark and handsome beyond anyone she’d ever seen before. Eyes so dark you could drown in them and be forever lost. He looked out of place, like he didn’t belong. Too beautiful to be present at such an ugly event. Too handsome to stand among all the common people, an angel fallen from the sky.

 

“The dates are a gift from the Dark Lord,” he added, causing her to withdraw her hand immediately. 

 

If he’d noticed her gaping at him before, he didn’t comment on it. Her eyes darted in confusion at all the people not having a problem filling their plates with them. She eyed the rest of the table suspiciously. 

 

“Isn’t everything?” she questioned, realising how close she’d gotten to being completely and utterly fucked.

 

He shrugged. “Technically, that would apply. However, most of these are choices the house elves make themselves and the impact is thus lessened significantly. These, however, are his personal preference and favourite.” He grabbed one of them and slowly savoured one in his mouth as he languorously swallowed it, ignoring her raised eyebrows. “I don’t suppose I need to explain what eating one could mean for a girl like yourself.”

 

“No, you don’t,” she replied in a clipped tone of voice, suddenly realising she’d made herself look younger than she was. “However, if you think I’m still a virgin, you’re quite mistaken.” 

 

She reached for the dates again, a feeling of security settling over her. Cream cheese stuffed dates happened to be her favourite, too. His fingers curled around her wrist like a vice. The rush his touch gave her made her sway on her feet. Her body woke like a live wire, need thrumming through her veins so badly it was on the verge of painful. 

 

His pupils dilated, staring at her with wide eyes, obviously equally affected. 

 

She pulled away, and he let her, both taking deep breaths. 

 

“Don’t. Touch. Me,” she hissed, steadying her hands on the table.

 

“My apologies,” he breathed. “However, you should know that the main ritual needing a virginal maiden is as much a ridiculous myth as these revels being rape fests.”

 

“Tell that to the dead witches’ families,” she snapped but removed her hand from the dates just the same. 

 

Perhaps her peckishness could wait until she was home again? 

 

He quietly observed her pocketing her hands in her robes before nodding in acquiescence. 

 

“People often confuse what they desire with what they truly need.”

 

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

 

“Consent comes in many forms, my innocent.” 

 

She bristled at him using that word for her.

 

“You’ll see what I mean later on,” he said, smiling. 

 

He picked up a shiny green apple, took a bite, and gestured at her to follow him. For a moment, she looked at his back and then decided at least this one could hold a normal conversation and wasn’t trying to undress her with his eyes. She wasn’t following because he was positively drop dead gorgeous. Nope, absolutely not. 

 

She was not that shallow.

 

“Hello, beautiful.”

 

That voice…

 

Those exact same words...

 

It was like a bucket of ice got dumped on her. 

 

Hermione jumped when she felt a hand on her shoulder, shrugged it off, and swirled around, wand in hand. Her heart stopped when she realised she’d been right and the voice belonged to the Snatcher who had once brought her to Malfoy Manor. Scabior clearly had gotten a promotion, given the Dark Mark now embellishing his arm quite prominently.

 

“Whoa! Hold on. I just wanted to have some fun, pretty girl. No need to point that thing at me.” 

 

“Hello, beautiful. Hello, beautiful. Hello, beautiful,”  repeated in her mind over and over again, bringing back the terror of that day.

 

Suddenly, her back filled with a warmth of magic, rushing onward and steadying her nerves, the presence of the tall man she’d been following ever so inexplicably right behind her. 

 

He spoke in a deadly quiet voice, “Nobody ever taught you to ask for permission before touching?”

 

Scabior turned white as a sheet. “I didn’t know.” 

 

“Or do you wish to inform the Dark Lord you’re the reason the revel didn’t produce as expected?’

 

“I—I—” Scabior stuttered, clearly wishing to do anything but that. 

 

“Why are you still here?” the man snarled.

 

Scabior left in such a rush; Hermione just stared. 

 

“Are you okay?” the man asked gently.

 

She turned and gave him a once-over. She couldn’t recall seeing him before in any of the Daily Prophet issues. She thought she knew most of the higher ranking Death Eaters, despite her limited chance of getting information about the wizarding world. However, someone able to make Scabior run tail clearly had to be high enough in ranking to do some serious damage to his standing, despite his promotion.

 

“Who are you?” she asked. 

 

“You first,” he said.

 

“I asked first,” she replied, placing her hands at her sides and accidentally poking herself with her wand, making sparks fly. “Oww! Fuck! Dammit!” she said, clutching her side. 

 

His laugh raised her ire. So, she wasn’t used to holding a wand anymore, not that he knew that. But still, not funny. 

 

“I haven’t seen that happen to anyone since first year,” he mocked.

 

“Oh, you’re the comedian of the pack,” she snapped from her hunched over position.

 

“Allow me,” he said, stepping in.

 

“I got this,” she said, swatting his hand away and immediately grabbing her side again in pain, regretting that rise, however brief it was. 

 

Shit, had she struck her kidney?

 

“I see that,” he said coolly above her head. 

 

She winced when he suddenly whirled around her, arms moving around her waist and coming to rest on her hands clutching to her side. His body enveloped her fully. 

 

“Hold still,” he ordered. “A first year does far less damage than someone with evolved abilities.”   

 

Before she could react, his diagnostic charm hit her. He hissed, and she glanced up to see the dark-purplish colour it had turned out. 

 

Oh fuck. Worst colour right behind black. Black being dead. 

 

Her body turned cold, and she would’ve crashed to the ground had he not had such a tight hold on her. Her vision blurred. Her ears took in a humming noise in a language she couldn’t identify before the world turned dark around her.


 



 

Grass, freshly mowed, she smelled, taking in a deep breath and feeling soft ground underneath her and grass between her fingertips. Her hands flew to her side to find no more pain or injury. 

 

I’m still alive!

 

“Well, look who finally decided to grace us with her presence again,” that soft familiar voice spoke. 

 

Hermione looked away from her healed side and up, where he sat, lounging on a comfortable couch. She was lying at his feet, the implication of that not lost on her. Her head swivelled around, noticing he’d taken her somewhere a bit more private at the edge of the revel. Carefully, she moved to a seating position, still nervous the pain would be back. His hand came into her vision and she took it, allowing him to pull her upright. 

 

“How long was I out?” she asked, noticing the sky had turned dark. 

 

“Give or take two hours,” he replied, patting on the couch next to him. “Have a seat. The show is about to begin.”

 

She wanted to decline, quite liking this higher position she held above him now. However, he had saved her life, so she sat down at his request. Her eyes followed the direction he pointed at and widened when she noticed Lord Voldemort sitting on an elevated platform in an almost throne-like chair, his long legs stretched out before him, ankles crossed as he leaned sideways on one arm of the chair to talk to an uneasy Draco Malfoy beside him. She had no idea what was said, but the little ferret twitched quite a bit.

 

“He looks uncomfortable,” she blurted out. 

 

“He’s left his wife at home, probably so she couldn’t be picked,” the man beside her said with a smirk. 

 

“That’s not going to go over well.”

 

The wizard next to her snorted. “Quite the understatement.” 

 

Hermione frowned, “But how could she be picked if she held no interest? At least if force is, as you told me, not an option.”

 

His dark eyes took her in. “You question me after I saved your life?”

 

Hermione swallowed and stuttered, “I—I … thank you for that.”

 

“No problem,” he said coolly. “Didn’t feel like cleaning up the mess you were bound to make.”

 

“Would it have been your mess to clean then?” she mocked.

 

He shook his head. “Are you always like this?”

 

“Like what?”

 

“Impossible.” 

 

“Insufferable, I’ve been told. I’d say it’s slightly better than arrogant, overbearing prick.”

 

His laugh echoed around her. “Your gratitude surely last.” 

 

“You want a woman who will prostrate herself before you?”

 

“Hmmm….” he replied, pondering, as his eyes roved over her folded arms before her chest, “I wouldn’t mind seeing you try.”

 

Hermione laughed. “Wrong witch, wrong era.” 

 

“Perhaps…” 

 

A loud rumbling interrupted their conversation. Hermione turned her focus to the grey stone that rose from the depths. It had a patina of dark-red blotches and lines that she feared its origin of.

 

“Is that blood?” she whispered.

 

“Yes.”

 

“Eww…” She wrinkled her nose.

 

Lord Voldemort rose from his chair, and to her surprise, many men and women—even boys and girls that appeared barely of age or maybe even younger—bowed down before him, begging to be picked. She could feel the dark magic swirling through the air, throwing her off balance, but she had no problem remaining fully seated while others everywhere crashed to their knees. 

 

“Figures,” the man beside her mumbled.

 

“What?” she asked, looking at him confused. 

 

“For you to be difficult.”

 

“You’d rather I was on the ground now before him instead of you?”

 

His lips twitched. 

 

“Well?” Hermione said, placing her hands at her sides.

 

“Sure you wanna do that?” he mocked, nodding to her sides. 

 

Her wand!

 

Panicking, she patted her pockets, letting out a breath of relief upon feeling the familiar tingle of magic as she connected with her wand. 

 

“Thought I’d stolen your wand there?”

 

“N-no,” she stuttered, blushing furiously, because yeah, she had considered that. 

 

“Liar.”

 

“Sorry.” 

 

Was she destined to keep apologising to this wizard? Damn her and her stupid actions. 

 

“It’s starting.”

 

Even though they were quite some distance away, they had a clear line of sight. No one was crowding her view, though frankly, with almost everyone practically doing their utmost best to get as low as they could go, blocking her view would’ve been quite a feat. 

 

Lord Voldemort’s magic roamed through the air, finally settling on a tall blonde kneeling a few feet away. He glided through the crowds and held out his spidery hand. Hermione noticed the blonde’s blue eyes shone in an almost unnatural, mesmerised way as the Dark Lord pulled her to her feet. 

 

“Is she spellbound?” she whispered, not wanting to break the silence of the moment, yet needing to know.

 

“What makes you think that?”

 

“Her eyes.”

 

“Good catch.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Makes it easier.”

 

“On whom?”

 

He didn’t answer. She supposed it had been a rhetorical question anyway. The only ease Lord Voldemort ever cared about would be his own. She wasn’t sure she wanted to watch what was about to happen, and yet, another part of her ached to know, to see, to feel, to experience it …

 

Damn, no, keep your head together.

 

She blinked, shaking her head, suddenly feeling the keen eyes of the wizard beside her boring into her very being.

 

“Stop staring at me.”

 

“Excuse me for finding you fascinating.”

 

Her cheeks burned. It had been a while since she had been on the receiving end of male attention, especially of someone that handsome, intense, and obviously powerful. 

 

The blonde stopped before the stone elevation and divested her clothes. She was skinny, demure, almost emaciated, with small breasts and no hips—nothing like Bellatrix Lestrange.

 

“Is that his type?” Hermione wondered out loud.

 

The wizard beside her snorted. “It’s not about type; it’s about power.” 

 

“I don’t understand.”

 

“You will.”

 

As the witch crawled on the stone elevation, Voldemort vanquished his robes. Hermione froze, her eyes widening at the sight of that alien body. He was an odd mix of muscles and bones, ribs completely visible as if his skin were transparent. The reddish muscles between the chalk-white ribs visibly moved with every breath he took—it reminded her of a decaying body’s desperate attempts at survival. His arms and legs, however, seemed healthier. They had a clear definition of muscles underneath a combination of white, humanlike skin and a greenish snakelike pattern, parts of which seemed to be in various stages of shedding. His belly had a dark iridescent colour that starkly contrasted to the no skin effect above it. Even as far away as she was, she could still see a scalelike pattern that didn’t look like any snake she’d ever seen with how sharp, hard, and rough the edges seemed. It gave off the impression of the back of a crocodile. Hermione imagined if you’d draw your hand over that, it would come back with a nasty abrasion on the skin. 

 

However, the most alien part of his body was surely his sexual organs. He had three penises, or well, she didn’t have another word for whatever the hell that was between his legs. The bottom one had an odd bulge in the centre and seemed relatively smooth without a normal cock’s head. The middle one had odd ridges and was thicker and longer than any cock she’d ever seen; it also moved in ways no normal cock ever would while its head had a furious purple colour and it already sprayed something that didn’t look like normal precum to Hermione. The top “penis” was thin and its head was like a snake. When it actually opened its mouth and flashed its fangs, Hermione pressed her back into the couch in horror. 

 

Also, where the fuck were his ballsacks? Had these things emerged from them or had he castrated himself to prevent offspring?

 

“Are you alright there?” he asked, amusement lacing his tone of voice.

 

Her shoulders yerked, having totally forgotten about the world around her for a moment. She turned to the handsome wizard beside her. 

 

“How is she not running in fear?”

 

He raised his hand, pointing out the continuous chanting of Lord Voldemort’s name. The blonde was doing the same, her hands reaching out for him in some sort of desperation. Hermione looked around. The people chanting all looked like they were in a trance. Several were doing so while fucking each other as if they couldn’t climax without permission. 

 

Not everyone though, she noted. Beside herself and her companion, there were several others who just stood and watched. Some with eager expressions, enjoying the show and what was to come. Hermione looked away. She wasn’t sure why she came anymore, even though her nerves and blood sang with anticipation. Suddenly, she felt extremely uncomfortable.

 

“I—I should go,” she stuttered, trying to rise but finding herself unable to get up from the couch. 

 

“Watch,” the man next to her said quietly. 

 

“I—”

 

“If you get up now, he’ll notice you. If you behave out of order, he’ll notice you. If you don’t watch, he’ll notice you.”

 

Hermione swallowed. “Did you hex me?”

 

“I’ll undo it if you remain seated.”

 

She felt a tingle through her body at her small nod. How had she missed when he’d hexed her? She turned to the handsome man who was staring at the show in the distance.

 

“Who are you?”

 

“You don’t want to know.”

 

“No, I really do.”

 

 “I work from the shadows. My name is unimportant.”

 

“Scabior was scared of you.”

 

“He should be.”

 

“Why?” Her eyes bore into him, willing an answer.

 

His hand snatched out and grabbed her chin, forcing her to watch Lord Voldemort take the blonde’s hips in his hands. 

 

“Watch while you talk; I won’t warn you again.”

 

She inhaled, wincing when Lord Voldemort pierced the blonde in a single push. Power flushed over Hermione. The chanting grew louder. It took all her willpower not to chant along, not to sway to that overwhelming force. To her surprise, the blond witch tossed her head back in ecstasy, spreading her legs wider for what couldn’t possibly be a pleasant experience in Hermione’s mind. Yet, the witch pawed at the Dark Lord, clearly wanting more of him. Hermione noticed his eyes flash with annoyance when the witch touched him, his expression beyond murderous. Chains erupted from the stone, wrapping around wrists and ankles and pulling the blonde in an extreme spread-eagled position. His thrusts picked up speed and force, like he was trying to break what Hermione could only see as an already fragile and weak body. She wondered whether he was pushing all three in the same hole or whether he was—by Godric, why did her mind go there? 

 

She needed to stop focusing on Lord Fucking Voldemort!

 

“Why was Scabior scared of you?”

 

“He knows what I do for the Dark Lord.”

 

“Which is what?”

 

“Eliminate any and all threats.”

 

Hermione swallowed. Well, was he in for a surprise if he ever realised who’d been talking to so freely, which clearly she hoped would be never, because how bad did a threat have to be for Lord Voldemort to not finish it himself? Or maybe he just didn’t want to be bothered and had his lackey do that?

 

“So are you ever going to tell me your name?” she whispered, barely audible above the desperate pleas for release from the witch on the stone platform.

 

“Are you going to tell me yours?”

 

“Jean,” Hermione answered truthfully. She’d used a false last name for entry to the revel, but it was always easier to get away with lies close to the truth. 

 

“Julian,” he replied. “But don’t ever let anyone hear you say that name. The Dark Lord wants my identity to remain hidden.”

 

“Gotcha. I’m dead if I speak it,” she said with a heavy dose of irony.

 

He shook his head. “You’re impossible.”
 

“Insufferable,” Hermione corrected.

 

“That, too.”

 

An earth-shattering scream came from the blonde, drawing Hermione’s attention. The blonde’s eyes were no longer shining with mirth, the trance seemingly broken as her face contorted. Voldemort arched his back, his bald head tossed back, giving off a magical blast of unimaginable proportions. Hermione gasped for air, her head swimming. Her whole body was on fire, her nerves endings firing spark after spark without her body’s interference. 

 

She needed something. She needed something. She needed something. 

 

So, so empty. 

 

A mouth clasped over hers, his tongue demanding entry. She felt alive. So, so alive. The power roared inside of her, sliding like a snake, until she didn’t know where she began and ended. She needed more, so much more. Her arms wrapped around his neck, pulling him close, pulling him on top of her. He groaned—a sound of pained frustration—and breathed into her deeply. 

 

Once. 

 

Twice. 

 

She clung to him, desperate for life, desperate to contain the power, desperate to maintain it. 

 

Thrice.

 

Her mind cleared, and she blinked. 

 

“There she is,” Julian said breathlessly, his dark eyes looking at her pleased. “Thought I was going to lose you for a second.”

 

Confused, Hermione looked around. 

 

“What was that?”

 

“Powerburst. Not everyone’s body can hold it,” he said, gesturing around the grounds. “He had a powerful one today.”

 

Hermione gasped when her eyes fell on Voldemort pulling out of the lifeless body on the sacrificial stone and the cock that now had long, angry, thick spikes visible when before there were none. He stepped back, still erect. Those spikes shone red with the witch’s blood and something that looked almost metallic. 

 

“What the fuck?” she whispered.

 

Julian glanced sideways before looking back down at her, and then, merely said, “Clearly, her body couldn’t hold it.” 

 

Hermione stared back at him, eyes wide. “Who the fuck can?”

 

“Only those powerful and clever enough,” he whispered, stroking a piece of her hair away from her face. 

 

“Can you get off me?” Hermione whispered; she felt nauseated, like she was about to puke. 

 

“It’ll get better with time,” he promised, moving back up and pulling her with him. 

 

“How does this get better?” she gestured to the dead bodies, lying scattered around here and there. 

 

Her eyes briefly stayed on a bloke who kept pounding for a release in a motionless body as if they hadn’t mattered at all. She gathered that probably had been the case, otherwise you couldn’t possibly keep going while someone you loved had just died in your arms.

 

“I meant your nausea, but at what you’re suggesting, they all took this risk to gain power. Within every reward worth something, there is always a substantial risk. The dead gambled wrong.”

 

The dead gambled wrong .

 

“How can you think so casually about human lives?”

 

He shrugged. “I can’t control other people’s stupidity. Am I supposed to care about greedy powerseekers who lost out? Do you?

 

“Hah!” he exclaimed upon seeing the answer in her expression. “Hypocrite much?”

 

“I don’t know these people,” Hermione said softly.

 

“And you think I do?” 

 

“I shouldn’t have come.”

 

“Why did you?”

 

“Curiosity got the better of me.”

 

“Hmmm… I feel there’s something more to it.”

 

“I read a book.”

 

“Oh, which one, Rituals in Magic—Enhancing Wizarding Powers or Rituals in Magic—Enhancing Thy Nature ?” 

 

Her interest suddenly piqued. “There’s a second one?”

 

“I’ll bring you a copy next revel.”

 

Hermione’s face dropped. “I’m not sure I’ll be there.” 

 

“I am.”


 



 

“I am.”  

 

His words rang through her mind as the days passed, and her powers increased with every passing day. It was a heady experience, watching herself perform far more complicated wandless magic than she’d ever been able to do before. It would be such a handy skill should she ever lose or, like Harry, break her wand. Going to Ollivanders or any other wandshop in the world for a new one would be absolutely out of the question, so she needed the power. 

 

Just in case.

 

For her safety.

 

Not because she liked it.

 

Absolutely not.

 

Having experienced first hand that the revels were indeed consent-based only—although she still felt Voldemort himself took a lot of leeway with the meaning of the word consent—she felt less fearful of going again. 

 

Her nightmare, on the other hand, had changed. Now she woke up screaming as Voldemort’s slit-pupiled, red eyes gazed upon her, his thrusts bringing her to completion before he pulled out of her with his spiked dick, leaving her sliced open to die while Julian breathed into her mouth and kept calling her impossible. Strangely enough, it didn’t leave her feeling as exhausted and terrified as her other indistinguishable nightmare had. She really didn’t want to psychoanalyse that this dream feared her less.

 

She checked her calendar: Stonehenge, this Saturday. 

 

She wasn’t sure she should go.

 

She wasn’t sure she wanted to go.

 

But she needed to.

 

She needed it oh so, so very much.


 



 

It was easier the second time around. Hermione still kept to herself but didn’t go out of her way to look for people to avoid. Last time, she noticed how preoccupied everyone was with themselves. They weren’t looking for enemies within.

 

Why would they be? It wasn’t like there were any left , a dark voice in the back of her mind whispered.

 

Stonehenge was still tremendously impressive, but it looked smaller than the last time she’d been here with her parents at the tender age of six. It had been equally busy, only with Muggle tourists, not wizarding folk—or at least she didn’t think so. She realised she wouldn’t have known had any witch or wizard been there. Today, the Muggle repellent wards and charms were so strong they would not come near it for miles, which was a relief. She didn’t think her stomach could stand watching helpless people be toyed with.

 

She ended up at a similar buffet table, not really looking for food, because she’d be damned if she touched any of it, even though those dark, plump cherries looked positively to die for. 

 

No, she was looking for him, Julian. 

 

She’d done some research, despite his explicit wishes she wouldn’t, but he seemed an elusive wizard. She found a small, obscure picture with him in it in a Maltese paper. Apparently he’d been a witness to a rather gruesome murder. 

 

Yeah, right, “witness”.

 

Julian B. Barnes, the reporter had written down. 

 

To her surprise, she found his birth certificate in the Muggle registry. All it took were a couple of Confundus Charms to get into the archives, and she basically knew his entire ancestry. The rather Mugglish last name had her looking there, and also because she couldn’t exactly walk into the Ministry for Magic with her face still plastered everywhere and ask an employee about the documents on one Julian Barnes, special assassin to Lord Voldemort. That he turned out to be a Muggleborn wizard surely explained why he operated in the shadows. It was a relief to find out he hadn’t lied to her. Ever since that day they met, something itched at the back of her head, but clearly it was just her paranoia. 

 

CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

 

She scoured the crowd with her eyes for his tall figure. 

 

Maybe he’d gotten another assignment and wasn’t here today? 

 

“Hi, sweetheart, wanna—”

 

“No,” she snapped without looking. 

 

“Geez, and I thought Lestrange was a bitch,” the bloke behind her mumbled. 

 

She was about to turn around and tell said bloke where to stick his opinions when Julian was suddenly there, standing on the other side of the table with that ever so charming smile that made her heart skip a beat. He gestured with his head to his right, and she nodded, watching disgruntled how he dared pick up a bowl of those mouthwatering cherries. She had to apologize several times for bumping into others as she tried to keep up with where he was going, but in the end, she caught up with him at the head of the table. 

 

“So you are back.” 

 

“And hi to you, too,” she countered, making him smirk.

 

“Walk with me,” he ordered.

 

At first, she wanted to snap at him, but then, Hermione noted the interested glances people sent their way and the barely veiled attempts at eavesdropping as if no one had ever seen Julian with anyone—let alone a common-looking witch who was clearly reaching far above her standing. So, she let it slide and tried to catch up to the pace those long legs of his kept. 

 

When he abruptly stopped, she nearly ran into him, slightly out of breath.

 

“You should work out more,” he commented. 

 

That was too far over the line. 

 

“None of your business what I do in my spare time.”

 

He tilted his head. “Just saying that if this tiny stretch was strenuous exercise for you, you’ll be in a lot of trouble one day.” 

 

“Oh?” she said, crossing her arms. “What kind of trou—Eek!” she yelped when he’d pulled her tightly to him, and they were airborne, landing swiftly on one of the lintels connecting the higher stones of Stonehenge. She dropped to her hands and knees when he let go of her. 

 

Surprised, he looked down. “Don’t tell me thirteen feet is too high for you?”

 

“A bit of forewarning was too much effort?” 

 

“Sorry, I saw Lucius Malfoy coming my way, and I didn’t feel like listening to the self-congratulatory grandiose statements.” 

 

“He could get up here,” she countered on her hands and knees while Julian conjured up that same couch as he was sitting on at the last revel. That didn’t look at all windproof to her.

 

“He won’t be able to see through my ward. He’ll just think we went around the corner.”

 

Hermione felt it was surreal he would be hiding from Lucius Malfoy of all people. If anything, she was pretty sure he could run rings around Malfoy. Then again, not having to deal with Malfoy was a relief of some sort, so she wasn’t going to complain. She, however, wasn’t planning on sticking around.

 

“Give me your hand,” Julian ordered. 

 

“Stop ordering me around,” she hissed.

 

“Well, it’s not that I mind you on your hands and knees before me, but how will you pocket this book when you’re clutching to a slippery stone lintel?”

 

“Because it’s so slippery, there is no way that couch is secure,” she countered. 

 

A wave of his hand and anchors jumped out of the corners of the couch and slammed into the lintel.

 

“Better?”

 

Her eyes wide, she stared at the obvious holes that had created.  

 

“This is a prehistoric monument,” she said, exasperated. 

 

“You were scared the couch wasn’t safe to sit on. Now it is.”

 

Hermione growled and merely shook her head in disbelief at the lack of respect he showed the site. 

 

“Put me back down.”

 

“No.”

 

“No?”

 

“This is the best point of power reception due to the formation of the stones. It’s also quiet; we will be undisturbed and have the best view in the house, so to speak. I’m not moving us into the masses simply because you have to be contrarian.”

 

She gritted her teeth. Glancing down, there were heads as far as the eye could see. People were indeed standing shoulder to shoulder, or better said, hip to hip. She really didn’t want to be pressed up against a bunch of perverts, so she carefully crawled to the open spot on the couch. 

 

“I’m not contrarian.”

 

“Of course not.”

 

“I don’t like heights.”

 

“Want me to strap you to the couch?” he asked, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively. 

 

Her glare had him sniggering. When she was finally seated, her fingertips dug into the armrest and the edge of the cushion she sat on. He gave her a once-over before holding out the book she’d undoubtedly come back for. She took it from him cautiously, and he moved so fast she didn’t have time to even make a peep. When he leaned back, he looked at her tightly bound torso utterly satisfied. She could move her head, arms, and legs, but that was basically it. 

 

“There. All safely strapped in,” he mocked, enjoying the view. 

 

Hermione shook her head. “You are unbelievable.” 

 

However, she did let go of her deathgrip on the couch and relaxed, opening the book. 

 

“This is a first edition!”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“That must be worth a fortune.”

 

He shrugged. “I suppose. Do try not to wrinkle the pages, Jean.”

 

“YOU WROTE IN IT!” she shouted, giving him an admonishing glare. “Why—would you—I can’t—this is…sacrilege. Befoulment.” 

 

“I had to gather my thoughts.”

 

“You didn’t happen to have a notebook?” she stated, heavy on the irony.

 

“Too inconvenient. Besides, this way you can learn from my brilliant insight as well.”

 

Hermione rolled her eyes. “The same brilliance that decided to write inside a priceless book.” 

 

“It’s the contents that matters, Jean, not the alleged monetary value.”

 

She huffed. “As if they can’t both matter.”

 

She flipped through the pages. 

 

“‘Do try not to wrinkle the pages, Jean’,” Hermione mimicked sarcastically upon seeing note after note on almost every single page. Sighing, she pocketed the book in her jacket. It would be exceptionally rude to start reading it now.

 

“Yes, do remember because for every dogear I come across, I will find suitable compensation.”

 

“I’m going to need suitable compensation for every bit of nonsensical scribble I come across.”

 

“Deal.”

 

Er… what?

 

No, wait, there had to be a catch she was missing. 

 

“No deal.”

 

“Scared you’re not going to find anything nonsensical in my writings?” he taunted, laughing loudly at her exasperation.

 

“I’m not scared.”

 

“So deal then.”

 

He looked positively smug. Too smug. He’d made so many notes. It was impossible for all of them to make sense. Also, she had never ever ruined a book in her possession. Okay, she’d torn pages out of a Hogwarts library book, but that was an emergency. She had this in the bag. Even if the impossibility of his notes all making sense were the case, she would still not cause his book to return with dogears or other wrinkles or stains in them. Then again, he'd only stipulated dogears anyway.

 

“Fine, deal.”

 

“Wonderful,” he said, popping a cherry in his mouth and holding out the bowl to her. “Want one?”

 

Absentmindedly, she accepted and put it in her mouth. Mid-swallow, she recalled she shouldn’t be eating anything here and choked on the cherry. Julian was on her in a blink of an eye, one hand on her chest and another on her back as he forcibly removed it from her windpipe with a charm that would’ve made her double over if she’d not been so tightly bound to the couch. 

 

‘You’re not impossible; you’re a health hazard to yourself,” he quipped. 

 

“So glad you think it’s funny,” she said, her throat raw. “I shouldn’t be eating here and you know it.” 

 

Her stomach cramped in anxiety because she was pretty sure she’d swallowed some of the cherry she’d bitten into before realising and getting her coughing fit.

 

“It’s not a date,” he said offhandedly. 

 

Yet she couldn’t shake the feeling he was utterly pleased with what had happened. 

 

Her mind quickly got taken off the subject when he began discussing the feature article in the latest printed edition of Arithmancy Unveiled. Their heated discussion got so bad she almost missed the ritual—arguing with Julian was that exhilarating. When she felt the power surge, she looked down and watched Lord Voldemort already plunging into a chubby, tiny, dark-haired witch who was already strapped up tightly in that same spread-eagled style. From the angle she had up above, she soon realised those three cocks weren’t all going into the witch’s vagina, just the middle one—with the spikes, she recalled—even though she didn’t see them now as he pumped in and out of her. The one with the bulge clearly went into the witch’s anus and the tiny snake one licked her clit continuously, causing the witch to twist, squirm, plea, and cry out in need.  

 

She realised she’d been right about that middle one moving oddly with the way it seemed to change shape and curvature. It was beyond fascinating. She didn’t know why she couldn’t look away. She really should. This whole voyeuristic streak wasn't her thing. Yet, she’d never seen anything like it. She wondered where those spikes were hidden. She couldn’t detect a hint of them from up here. 

 

Then, the snake one hissed and flashed its fangs, biting the witch’s clit and holding on, while Voldemort picked up the pace. The witch’s back arched, and she moaned. Hermione didn’t realise she’d leaned forward for as far as her bindings would allow it. 

 

Probably any second now.

 

When she saw him stiffen, buried deep inside the witch, she realised it had happened since the screams had gone from pleasure to pain. Voldemort tossed his head back as the ritual power blew outward and enveloped her, and for a moment, Hermione looked straight into that alien face, which contorted in what she sensed was utmost frustration. His red eyes catched her, and then he pulled out roughly, demonstrating to her his spiked, rockhard cock. Blood dripped everywhere—the witch had already fainted. Hermione frowned. How could he be hard if he’d orgasmed? She was pretty sure that caused the spikes to appear. It seemed only logical. 

 

Soon.

 

When he broke their eye contact, she jolted back in her seat. He couldn’t have seen her, right? It was just her imagination that he looked at her. He was merely tossing his head back; he wasn’t truly looking up. Her heart beat rapidly in her chest, and she wanted nothing more than to leave. What if he came up there? What if he were to recognise her? 

 

“I see nausea is not a problem this time,” Julian said, disrupting her thoughts. “Then again, that witch hardly was worth the effort it seemed. Disappointing.”

 

“Disappointing? She’s dead.” 

 

“And for nothing it seems. The blonde at least held the connection longer. This one passed out so soon, he was barely able to create a surge.”

 

"I felt it though," Hermione said, looking at Julian in confusion. Had he really missed all that power? 

 

"You didn't notice the difference with the other one?" 

 

Hermione blinked. "Not really."

 

A flash of realisation ran through Julian's otherwise blank expression. 

 

"What?" she asked. 

 

He shook his head. 

 

"What?!" she demanded now. 

 

"I think it may be our, your , location that caused you to receive the bulk of the force."

 

Somehow, that made sense. It was why he'd put them up here to begin with, yet she had the distinct feeling he was holding something else back that he wasn't sharing. 

 

"What else?" 

 

"Nothing."

 

"No, not nothing. You thought of something else and are reluctant to tell me."

 

He gazed at her as if sizing her up. 

 

"You'll think it's stupid."

 

"Try me."

 

"There is a Divination equa-" 

 

"Oh please." Hermione buried her face in her hands, thus not noticing the satisfied, harsh glint that ran through Julian's dark eyes. 



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