Rite of Passage

BY : Nerys
Category: Harry Potter > Het - Male/Female > Hermione/Voldemort
Dragon prints: 2765
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations from Harry Potter created and owned by JK Rowling. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

A/N: Thanks to Serpent In Red for being a wonderful beta.

Thanks to everyone who read and to ElliePhaux for reviewing. 

Review reply to ElliePhaux: I'm really glad you enjoyed the first 2 chapters. Those themes definitely interest me, too, and I love playing with them with this ship. This story is four chapters long in total. It's all written. It just needs editing, which is always the most work when writing. Thanks again for leaving a review. xoxox Nerys


Rite of Passage

 

Not like it mattered because she was gathering her things and getting the hell out of there.

 

Chapter 3: Captured

 

In the end, she never could make herself actually leave. She’d packed her bags, was fully ready to go, but there was always an excuse to stay one more day. Not even finding out what had happened to Cormac got her to leave. Even though she recognised the message—the gift left solely for her, sent in the way he was found stuck with his hands to the rocks on a shoreline—it didn't bother her as she felt it should've. A part of her wished she'd thought of it herself or had been able to watch. It sent a thrill through her body that they'd still not been able to remove his sticky hands off the rocks despite returning the rest of the mutilated body to his family. 

 

Still, leaving behind a body with possible traces for the Aurors to find… 

 

Thought you weren't that sloppy, Julian. Next time, try chocolates or flowers.  

 

She stared at her hands, her blackened veins hidden from view by a measly beautification charm, but she knew they were there. They'd spread, moving farther and farther over her body. She always could feel it rearing inside of her, its desperation to be unleashed. Losing control of this darkness was a terrifying prospect to Hermione. It wasn’t just the book he’d given her or the research she’d done on what the special properties of a Beltane ritual could do for her, to help her heal, to control, grow and protect. There was a dread inside of her whenever she considered leaving, a dread that grew with time, a dread that stayed her wandhand when she was on the verge of Apparating abroad—the idea of leaving the United Kingdom, of leaving Him became a painful squeeze around her chest.

 

Hermione looked around the fields, the familiarity of the sight of a revel a source of ease in her mind. The bonfires soared high into the sky, giving the air she breathed a layer of protection. She delighted in her enhanced abilities. Now she could actually witness that protection shimmering all around the crowd. Beltane’s protection gave her a sense of security on top of her disguise and the beautification charm to hide the darkness that had become quite visibly present on her body—she didn’t need the extra attention it would draw. She also didn’t need Julian unravelling her identity by mistake when he would look for her darkness showing on her skin, so instead of mixing it into her disguise, she opted for a secondary, little more obvious, less effective charm to string above it. If he broke the one above, at least she wouldn't reveal her true identity to him, and no one at the entrance would question a witch or wizard using a beautification charm at these events. 

 

Her brown eyes searched around, while her hands rested comfortably in the pockets of her light-grey trouser suit.

 

Oh yeah, those dresses Madam Malkin had put aside for her, there was no way in hell she’d wear any of them in public. There was a figure-hugging, black velvet, strapless number that barely came over her butt and definitely wouldn’t still be if she actually moved like she normally did. A flowy, silvery satin, baby doll dress, reaching mid-thigh that, despite its obvious hefty price, still felt like nightwear to her. A long, red, completely see-through dress with spaghetti straps that came with a matching set of lace underwear. A long, dark-blue, velvet one she’d almost liked if it weren’t for the plunging neckline so deep it almost showed her belly button and had her worrying her breasts would pop out. A green, long-sleeved, heart-shaped neckline, A-line dress that would’ve been acceptable had it not been for the ridiculously tight, black leather corset serving up her breasts on a platter and making it unable for her to breathe properly. 

 

It wasn’t that she thought she didn’t look good in them. She was actually surprised at how flattering they all were to her figure. It was just completely different from the modest style she’d worn before, and hell would freeze over before she would bow to his wishes. She’d declined to buy any of them. When she woke up the next morning and found all of them in her closet with a note stating how utterly fuckable she looked in all of them ( peeping pervert! ) and that he would leave the choice for Beltane in her more than capable hands, she’d clenched her jaw and vowed to wear something completely opposite to it.   

 

She was really looking forward to seeing his face. A smug smile formed on her lips and her eyes sparked with joy. This would surely be interesting. She strolled around near the entry, kicking a pebble while wondering what was keeping him. He’d send her a note, stating he’d be there at seven, but so far, no Julian. She’d rehearsed many times what she would say to him. 

 

Yeah, I’m not wearing any of those dresses you wanted me to. What are you gonna do about that, eh?

 

She kicked the pebble again and tapped her fingers against her leg. 

 

Why couldn’t people be punctual?

 

So annoying.

 

She sighed, cracked her neck, stretched her hands out above her head to ease her back, and strolled on, kicking the pebble a bit harder for good measure. 

 

Why was she even waiting for him?

 

She stopped, turned, and then paced away. Surely there were more interesting things to do here than kick a pebble.

 

Fingers tightened around her throat, and an arm pulled her harshly against a familiar, tall form. 

 

“Brat,” Julian hissed into her ear, making her heart skip a beat and her core clench at the threatening tone of his voice.

 

He Apparated them to the centre of the field. Her arms flung up. Shackles formed around her wrists and pulled her up until only her toes could barely touch the ground. His grip around her waist and neck tightened. A witch winked at her in passing and mouthed “nice catch” at her. Some wizards gave her a lewd once-over, but most moved on quickly, searching for their own entertainment. A soft cloth slid over her eyes, and she could no longer see what was happening. Her heart was in her throat as she couldn’t do a thing to stop him. She was only allowed enough air to narrowly stay conscious. The ease with which he held her under control had her wet for him already. 

 

“I’m as of yet undecided if brats deserve oxygen,” he said casually, unbuttoning her blouse in a single swoop of magic. The cold spring air had her nipples stand at attention through her bra. 

 

She opened her mouth, and then gagged, when before she could speak, something big, round, and hard got pushed between her teeth. She tried to push it out with her tongue, but it wouldn’t budge. 

 

“They definitely don’t deserve a voice,” he said, loosening the grip he had on her throat but keeping his fingers there as a warning. 

 

She could feel her arteries pulse against his fingertips. 

 

She tried to form words to tell him where he could stick his voice, but only inaudible sounds came forth. The arm around her waist slid down, unbuttoning her trousers. His fingers slipped into her sensible underwear. 

 

“So wet you are for me, brat,” he said coldly.

 

His fingers slid over her clit fast, the spark that was sent through her body made her toes curl and lose their grip on the ground. She struggled to regain her grip, but he wouldn’t allow it, pulling her wrists up higher. She dangled helplessly on her arms, his fingers on her throat and palm on her pubic bone pushing her flushed against that firm body of his. She really enjoyed the ease with which he held her under control, shut down the voices inside her mind, and made her focus on him and him alone. She didn’t have to think for once, just be. She didn’t have to make all the decisions, just follow his lead. It was soothing and exhilarating at the same time. She sank against him, ceasing her struggles.

 

“Now that’s how a good pet behaves,” he purred into her ear.  

 

That purr vibrated over her skin, titillating her senses before her brain could even make up a snarky comment about him sounding like a kitten. She moaned into the ball gag, wanting so much more of him and wanting it now, needing it now.

 

“Patience, my pet. We have all night,” he said, snickering. “I shall need your consent first and foremost.”

 

Hermione was stunned. He needed her consent now?! Not before he hung her up, gagged and blindfolded her, and displayed her body to the crowd?! 

 

“That was already given without words.” His voice sounded like an echo, caressing her mind .

 

She harrumphed mentally, knowing it was true and yet not really wanting to acknowledge it to him, while trying desperately to hide how nice that caress of his voice had felt, causing him to laugh softly against her cheek. 

 

“You should know by now you can’t hide anything from me, pet.” 

 

She swore he’d deliberately added another layer to the vibration of his voice as she swayed in the midst of it

 

“You really are mine, aren’t you, Jean?”

 

Her acknowledgement came before she could stop herself thinking it, and she knew he heard it by the way his magic suddenly engulfed her. 

 

“Damn, at least talking has a delay!” she thought, frustrated.

 

“Not by much with that blabbermouth of yours.”

 

Blabbermouth, her? Hah! Pot calling kettle. She had some really splendid ideas where he could put his. 

 

“Fascinating suggestions, pet. However, before this brat side of yours comes back in full force, I shall need you to vow to me that ‘For this night, I shall be yours alone to do with as you see fit’.”

 

“Deal,” she thought snarkily. She would’ve had the largest smug smile in the world had her mouth not been restrained with that ball gag. 

 

“Repeat it, Jean, word for word, or this will be the last you’ll ever see of me.”

 

She wasn’t seeing anything at all. 

 

“Brat.”

 

His tone turned her smug smile to a fond one. He knew her. He knew what she needed. He wasn’t like the weak blabbering fools she’d been with before. He was strong enough to give her what she wanted, and she really needed this. She needed this release, this surrender of control, to not have to think, to not have to worry, to just be. He’d only requested it for one night. She could do that. She didn’t need to be in control all the time.  

 

“For this night, I shall be yours alone to do with as you see fit,” she replied mentally. 

 

Her eyes widened underneath the blindfold when her magic rose and met his, weaving itself around her body, mind, and soul. She let out a sigh, relaxing fully. He was in charge now.


 



 

Though Voldemort’s revels were always full of people fornicating in plain sight, Hermione’d never been one for exhibitionism or public sex before. It’d always felt like a private matter to her, so she wasn’t sure why it turned her on so much when Julian stripped her bare in front of everyone and then tied ropes around her body in ways she couldn’t imagine its purpose. His hands came to rest on her wrists. The shackles clicked open, but he still held her, her full weight being held up by him. 

 

She moaned. He was so strong. His magic was everywhere around her. 

 

Then, he lowered her, forcing her to her knees, the rope between her folds brushed over her clit, making her yerk in reaction. She felt his pleased smile against her throat when she didn’t resist him as the rope began to painfully dig into her labia before her bottom landed on her feet. He silently pulled her arms behind her back, bending her forward as he tied her elbows together. When she whimpered from the pain of the stress on her shoulders and arms, he added one more pull before sealing her arms in place, the rope weaving all the way down to her wrists. His silence brought a new dimension to their play. It had her on edge, made her constantly focus on his actions, her body’s reactions, and what he’d do to her next. His hands trailed up her sides to her hair; magic followed, deepening the intensity of his caress. His fingers dug into her hair. She closed her eyes behind her blindfold. This felt so nice, him caressing her scalp and moving her hair up. The back of his fingertips moved fast against the back of her head. 

 

Was he braiding her hair? 

 

She knew the answer was yes when his fingers grabbed a hold of a tight braid and yanked her to her feet without a word or other warning. She scrambled to gain her footing. Even though the rope sliding through her folds was tremendously distracting, she succeeded. When she finally stood up straight, she missed that delicious friction and moved her hips ever so slightly. He gave her a warning squeeze around her throat, and she held positively still after that. 

 

“Good kitten,” he whispered against her cheek. “Time to properly tame you.”

 

He moved, using her braid like a leash and his other hand holding her throat to force her in the direction he pleased. Every step she took, the rope slid over her clit, making it incredibly hard to stay on her feet, yet also eager to keep walking. Occasionally, his hand would slide down from her throat over her body, twist her nipple, and pull on any of the ropes that had her body trembling at sensations her mind couldn’t predict. As he clearly paraded her around the grounds for everyone to feast their eyes upon, there was a part of her that told her she should feel humiliated. A part of her that questioned her decision to allow Julian to blindfold her, strip her bare, tie her up, and do with her as he wished for an entire night without her having any input or voice. 

 

And bloody hell, he had gagged her! That part he would get an earful about once he’d got that thing out of her mouth for sure. The constant drooling down her chin it caused was disgusting, and her jaw ached. If he planned to stick his cock there tonight, that would be a perilous undertaking. 

 

For him.

 

However, she knew she didn’t feel humiliated but strangely empowered. No one had ever bothered to show her off like this, to demonstrate her body and not want her to hide it, but be proud it was his.

 

No matter how many eyes were on her, she was his and his alone. 

 

The tight grip of his fingers and the occasional, abrupt pull on her hair, forcing her in another direction, made her knees weak and sent signals to her core that had her craving him to take her even if it were in front of everybody. There was something about him that was difficult to pinpoint, a presence so overwhelming it had her sex thrumming with desire, with a need for him. The now slick rope sliding over her clit enhanced his claim on her. She was sure everyone could see her thighs glistening from her arousal.

 

She almost stumbled when he yanked her to the left on her hair. 

 

“Careful, there, my pet,” he breathed into her ear, his arm sneaking around her waist and pulling her flush against his body, sending shivers up her spine. “I wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself. That’s my job.” 

 

Her inner walls clenched at the threateningly spoken words, and she let out a sound through the ball gag that sounded almost like a cat’s meow when he explored her naked body with his fingertips as he desired.

 

Hermione felt it was completely unfair he was still fully clothed against her. He should take something off and stick that prick where she truly needed—

 

Oooooh, God.

 

Her knees buckled and hit the grass when his fingertips briefly dug under the rope through her folds, sending one singular spark up her spine as he brushed his magic over her clit. 

 

Once.

 

She tilted her hips, only to find that he’d pushed the rope outwards and it no longer gave her any friction at all where she needed it. 

 

Fucking cheater.

 

His laugh swirled around her skin as he pulled her along, not caring that she was on the ground now and scraping her knees trying to keep up. Soon, she couldn’t keep up, stumbled and fell, face first. Grass tickled against her nose and chin as he dragged her along by her braid. She twisted and turned, managing to get on her back to avoid her face scraping the grounds. Unfortunately, now the back of her hands, and mostly the knuckles on her fingers, were the target. She had to push with her feet to keep her butt on the ground so her fingers would gain some relief. Even though it was grass she was on, after a short while, the skin on her arse started to chafe painfully from the additional pressure she put on it. Her feet kicked in a continuous attempt to get back up. Instead of getting back up, her push made her hit her head against his legs when he’d abruptly stopped and harshly spoke. 

 

“No.”

 

Hermione frowned. No, what?  

 

Her ears were ringing. 

 

Yet, he stood still. She had a window! 

 

She quickly rolled on her stomach, wincing at the pressure on her hair that caused, and scrambled to get her knees under her and then her feet. His slight pull helped her make it. She was almost grateful if it weren’t for the grass and dirt that stuck to her body and her painful behind and fingers. His arm enveloped her waist and pulled her against him, possessively. She liked it when he did that. 

 

“I recommend you leave now before I slowly skin every inch of you alive, starting with your cock. And while you slowly bleed to death, maybe I’ll make you eat it while everyone—” 

 

His laugh rang around her once more, causing her to shiver in his arms. 

 

“They give up so easily. Pathetic,” he spat. “Not to mention rather underwhelming. You wouldn’t turn tail and run like that in a million years, right, pet?”

 

Hermione blinked in confusion. What had they given up? What was going on? Who was there? She couldn’t hear a thing. Well, she’d heard him responding, but to what and whom?

 

She grumbled. 

 

That ass had done something to her, so she could only hear him. When did that happen? And how the hell did that work? She knew of Muffliato but nothing that made a person only able to hear one other individual. Would that be a derivative of the original or was it an entirely new charm altogether? 

 

“Always with the curiosity,” he whispered in her ear. “It will be your undoing.” 

 

Be that as it may, she still needed to know. 

 

“I’m afraid it’s not a derivative, and not a charm either. Maybe if you’re a good girl tonight, I’ll teach you, but for now, no points for Gryffindor.”

 

Gryffindor?! 

 

A slight panic grew in the pit of her stomach. How did he know that? They hadn’t talked about Hogwarts, had they? He couldn’t know, could he? Maybe it was just a guess on his end?

 

She racked her brain, going over their many conversations as he yanked her along by her hair, and she had to pick up the pace to keep up and not fall flat on her face. Given how he previously hadn’t cared that she'd fallen on her knees, she really didn’t want the experience of being dragged over these grounds, naked. There was no longer grass underneath her bare feet, and she didn’t want to envision what those tiny pebbles would do to her skin.

 

His hand landed on her back, and he pushed her ahead of him. She shrieked into the ball gag and yerked in fear when something soft flapped in her face.

 

What the fuck was that?

 

“You have a mouth on you, Jean.” 

 

His voice came from behind her now. She no longer felt the wind against her bare skin and realised they had to have reached his tent. He’d probably had that flap brush her face deliberately to freak her out. 

 

“It will be my pleasure to tame it.” 

 

Before she could think of anything in response, his hand grabbed the rope between her arms and then he yanked her upward by her arms and hair as if she weighed nothing. Her shins hit something hard—some very creative swear words went his way in her mind—and then, she landed on her knees as he roughly pushed her forwards onto some hard, rough, cold surface. She sputtered against the harsh treatment while steadying herself by leaning against his body behind her. His hands let go of her. Her aching butt landed on her knees, making her body jolt. Swiftly, he pulled her legs apart. Before she could even react, she heard a click, and a soft yank on her legs confirmed she was solidly held in place. 

 

Jerk!

 

She could practically sense Julian’s smirk at her cuss when an all too familiar, high-pitched voice sibilantly interrupted.

 

“Well, that took you long enough. Did you think I had all night?”

 

Her heart stopped briefly and then started to rapidly pick up pace.

 

Bloody hell, Voldemort. I’m dead.

 

That thing that hit my shins and then this surface. Oh fuck, I’m on that blasted sacrificial stone, am I not?

 

That traitorous piece of shit! He’d better hope I don’t get out of here alive because I will skin him!

 

Voldemort’s high-pitched, eerie laugh rang through the place.

 

“She does have a mouth on her and rather deliciously creative ideas on what to do with you.”

 

“Not surprising,” Julian spoke a lot farther away than she’d anticipated. “She likes it rough.”   

 

Get the fuck out of my mind!

 

How does he even do that without eye contact? That shouldn’t be possible. It’s a direct violation of

 

Bright light blinded her sight, and she closed her eyes tightly, not wanting to see. Sharp nails dug into her cheeks as a warning; she could feel her blood dripping over her skin. She blinked several times, for the first time meeting that red gaze with their black slitted pupils head on. 

 

“You wanted eye contact, Miss Granger.” 

 

Bile erupted in the back of her throat. He knew.

 

“You shall have it.”

 

With a flick of his fingers, her ball gag disappeared. She coughed and spit, doubling over, trying not to inhale her own drool. The top of her head hit Voldemort’s hard scaled belly. She winced when she moved her jaws, wishing she had a piece of cloth to wipe her face and chest and a pair of free hands.  

 

“Sure you want to remove that? It’s so nicely quiet without her ranting,” Julian snarked.

 

“I like to hear them scream,” Voldemort said, drawing a finger over her spine. 

 

It made her realise whom she was resting her head against. She froze, and he stopped, turning to Julian. 

 

“This doesn’t look like consent to me.”

 

“It is.”

 

“It…” She moved her jaws open and close, taking a deep breath and rising up. “—sure as hell isn’t,” she added, glaring at the bane of her existence on a too familiar couch. She wouldn’t go down a whimpering coward. 

 

“‘For this night, I shall be yours alone to do with as you see fit’,” Julian reminded her.

 

“Yes,” Hermione hissed. “Yours alone, not him.” She would have gestured dismissively to the Dark Lord had her arms not been so tightly bound.

 

Why they were suddenly both laughing was beyond her and mighty irritating. She wished she had her wand on her, so she could poke out an eye or two or three or four. Where the hell would it be? Had he left it on the ground with her discarded suit, or had he taken it with him? 

 

Probably the latter. 

 

Hopefully the latter.

 

She wouldn’t stand a chance without it. 

 

Julian was done laughing first. He shifted on the couch, stretching out his long legs and crossing them at the ankles. His elbow rested sideways on the armrest while his fingers disappeared into those pitchblack locks of hairs of his. It was like a lightbulb moment in her mind. He was a spitting image to how Lord Voldemort liked to sit on the many thrones created for him during the revels. Her brown eyes shifted between him and “Julian”, searching for resemblances, yet finding none, except maybe their height—for as far as she could tell with him seated and Voldemort standing, they did seem equally tall. Her memories dashed back to descriptions she’d heard a long, long time ago regarding Tom Marvolo Riddle: tall, dark, handsome, rather pale skin...

 

“Well, fuck!” she swore out of the bottom of her heart.

 

She vowed if they both laughed at her one more time, she would throttle them with these ropes currently holding her in place.

 

“At least rumours of her intelligence weren’t overrated,” Voldemort said, reaching out and ignoring her futile efforts to back away as he grabbed her braid. “This shimmer is a nuisance though. I can’t believe you could stand it all that time.”

 

Her hair felt like it exploded, brown curls falling into her face, as both of her disguises slowly got ripped from her, top to bottom. It was like he put a knife to her skin and started to peel. It was beyond agonising. Her magic tried to subconsciously fight it, not wanting him to see her like this, but he ripped through her defences with ease. Her screams filled the tent until he was done, and she leaned forward, gasping for air and shaking relentlessly.

 

“You could’ve told her not to fight it,” Julian—no—fake Voldemort said, sounding disapproving.

 

“And miss out on those delightful screams of the little Mudblood? Besides, I wanted to see what she’s capable of.”

 

She took a deep breath and rose, eyes sparking with hate. “Untie me, and I’ll show you,” she hissed. 

 

“Feisty, too.” He stepped closer, grabbing her jaw and turning her head harshly from left to right, his pupils darting up and down, clearly examining her. “That’s quite an impressive infestation you got there, Miss Granger, especially for a Mudblood.”

 

Infestation? What infestation was he talking about? If he dared suggest she had bugs, like lice or fleas, well, she undoubtedly got it from that traitorous thing of his. 

 

He turned her head back to face him, his eyes boring into hers, while his other hand trailed down her front with the tip of his wand.  

 

She didn’t move, didn’t dare to move. It felt worse somehow, sitting before him, naked and without any charms to hide her features. Her breathing turned heavier when she noticed that wherever the tip of his wand had been, her skin took on a strange feeling, like it didn’t belong to her, like it needed something—something only the creature before her could supply.

 

“What are you doing?”

 

He raised a nonexistent eyebrow and turned to his other self, not stopping whatever he was doing to her. 

 

“I told you,” the prat said.

 

“Told you what?” Hermione snapped, her head swivelling between the two, trying to understand what the hell they were talking about. 

 

She cringed when his wand slid over her inner thigh. 

 

“I’d be willing to inform you if you’re going to behave,” Voldemort said quietly.

 

Voldemort Jr. snorted.

 

“Does he have to be here?” Hermione blurted out to Lord Voldemort, watching with great satisfaction how that made the fraud on the couch freeze. 

 

A devilish smile rose on that lipless mouth. “Not necessarily.”

 

“You want to gamble it working without all of you present, be my guest,” Mini Voldemort said, recovering quickly.

 

All of them?!

 

“Then whatever it is will never work,” she said, relieved.

 

Voldemort lashed out like a snake, his fingers around her throat in a flash of a second.

 

“What is he anyway?” Hermione added triumphantly, feeling the fingers around her throat constricting. “Another Horcrux? Don’t tell me there was anything left to split,” she mocked, coughing, gasping for air, feeling the world swim before her, daring him to squeeze harder with her eyes.

 

“She’s aggravating you into killing her, so you won’t get what you want,” Stinking-No-Good-Blabbermouth said calmly. 

 

Voldemort didn’t let go of Hermione’s throat. He merely squeezed harder and harder. In the distance, Hermione thought she heard an exasperated, “And apparently succeeding,” before she passed out.


 



 

She had no idea how much time had passed when she woke. Through her eyelids, she noticed two, indeed equally tall, male figures in the flickering of candlelight. She couldn’t make out what they were saying to each other. She really wished she could. Somewhere along the line, someone had untied her because she was lying on her side with some kind of fur blanket on top of her unfortunately still naked body—at least the patches of grass and dirt on her skin were gone. Though she’d no idea why he’d gone through the trouble of cleaning her up. She was glad she wasn’t on her back. Given how full of abrasions her fingers were, her throbbing arse had to be worse. The harsh stone underneath her told her she hadn’t been moved elsewhere. She was still in the same tent. 

 

Maybe she could try and make a run for it?

 

She blinked a couple of times to catch her bearings and was about to push herself up when Tom’s hands landed on either side of her head with an audible smack. She really didn’t feel like going another ten rounds with Mini Me and the Dark Lord. Although she noticed said Dark Lord kept himself at a substantial distance from her now.

 

“Don’t look at him. Look at me,” the phoney hissed, his tone as ice-cold as she had seen him use on others who’d been in his way—a tone she’d seen him use before he killed someone, slowly, painfully, in cold blood.

 

Her eyes snapped at attention. 

 

“Good,” he continued, his face so close to hers she could feel the heat of his breath on her skin. His magic was like dark wave after dark wave, flowing over her, letting her catch one breath of air before the next wave pushed her under and burned her lungs.

 

“Now, I’m done accommodating this silly bratty behaviour.”

 

She opened her mouth, but his icy stare snapped her lips shut immediately. For some inexplicable reason, she suddenly was more scared of him than his monstrous version. 

 

“You may regret the choice you made now, pretending you’re upset it’s not me, but him you’ll have to service, but that doesn’t change the fact that the choice was yours.”

 

This she couldn’t let pass.

 

“It’s not a choice if you don’t know what you’re agreeing to,” she countered, wishing her voice sounded steadier and not so obviously frightened.

 

“And you dare look me in the eye and say you had not even an inkling, Hermione Jean Granger. You dare suggest you weren’t fascinated by the performances at the revels. You couldn’t keep your eyes off him. I saw you when he fucked those other witches, remember? You were enthralled. You enjoyed it when his eyes were on you the entire time he fucked another.”

 

“The ritual’s magic—”

 

“No,” he snapped. “Use that excuse on someone who doesn’t understand the properties of the magic better. You never once looked in my direction during those outbursts.”

 

“And now you’re pissed you’re second choice,” she sneered back in his face, pushing herself up on her arms, unable to resist the urge to lash out and hurt as well.

 

His hand grabbed her hair, and with one hard push, her head collided hard with the stone surface. A sickening crack echoed through her head. Her skull burst out in pain. She suddenly understood the stupid little stars artists always drew above hurt cartoon characters. 

 

Yet, still she snorted even though that action burned through her brain. “Muggle tactics now, really?” 

 

When she felt him lift her head again, she mockingly laughed as if her brain wasn’t pounding out of her skull already from that first smack.

 

“Stop,” Lord Voldemort said barely above a whisper, yet his commanding voice carried through the tent nevertheless. “I do need her in one piece.”

 

Tom Riddle froze, blinking and looking at her with wide eyes as if he hadn’t realised what he’d been doing, as if he’d lost control. He stepped back.

 

“And you say I have too bad a temper to handle her,” Voldemort sighed, moving in. “You really are an exact copy.”

 

Copy?  

 

If her brain weren’t trying to vacate her skull with the heavy hammering it did, she’d love to learn the details on that. The only attempts at copying she’d seen had been ghost-like or hologram-like, not someone so real of flesh and blood you could touch. Nausea rose like lightning, and she could just turn around on all fours before she puked so violently, she couldn’t see straight.

 

“It’s a complicated process,” Voldemort answered quietly. The sound came from right above her now dry-heaving body.

 

A chill of relief descended on her skull. A sickening crack followed as if two tectonic plates had been moved apart again and realigned. Pain, so much pain. She dug her hands in her curls, resting on her elbows. Warmth spread through her head, and blood pulsed. His hand came to rest in her hair, moving underneath her hands with ease. Coldness spread from his fingertips, marvellous, delicious, pain-numbing coldness. She could see straight again. She could think straight. Her stomach had settled. She inhaled and exhaled, inhaled and exhaled, and noted how he kept that coldness at her head, while his other hand removed the puke and stench of said puke with a dismissive gesture. 

 

How on earth was he performing two spells at the same time? That wasn’t supposed to be possible. 

 

She sank back on her side, her right hand grabbing the blanket at her hips to pull it back over, but his hand landed on hers, staying her movement. She swallowed, looking straight into those dark slits-for-pupils. The way he controlled magic was unlike anything she’d ever seen. It was amazing how there was not even a single tiny symptom or sign of her previous head injury left. 

 

“What kind of Healing Charm is that? I’ve never known one to work this fast and this thorough,” she asked, her hand investigating her skull with wonder. She was unable to help herself. She had to know. She also wondered about the scalelike pattern on his hand that clearly lacked definition. She wasn’t sure it had been there before. 

 

“One of my own creations,” he replied, ignoring her staring at his hand. Then, he turned to his other self, and his tone dropped to dangerously low levels. “You broke her skull and caused intracranial bleeding. Anything else you care to fix for me?”

 

Xerox Voldemort merely shook his head. “We need to begin or we’ll have to wait another year.”

 

Hermione held her breath. She couldn’t, she wouldn’t, she shouldn’t do this. She would fight, even if it caused her death. She wouldn’t give him whatever they thought she could supply.

 

Voldemort turned back to her.

 

“Sure you want to stick it into a Mudblood,” she hissed. “It may taint you beyond recognition.”

 

For a moment, he looked utterly baffled. In shock even. It was the strangest expression ever on that alien-looking face, his cat-like slits for pupils turned to ovals even for just a second, and he seemed unable to move or speak. She couldn’t deny it gave her a rather empowering rush to be the cause of that. But then, the moment had come and gone, and he slid closer, gliding his butt onto the stone next to her waist. It took every bit of willpower for her not to move back, but she managed.    

 

“Interesting you would use the word taint, Miss Granger. I wonder if you know…” he trailed off. 

 

“Know, what?”

 

“You’ve been attending the revels for quite some time now.”

 

“Well, I’m glad everyone has been aware of that,” she snapped, sounding rather sour. How many people were in on this joke? 

 

“Oh, just me and … myself ,” Voldemort said, gesturing to his smirking copy. “Your disguising charm is quite proficient, even stood up to my identifying wards, which is no small feat, I daresay. I detect a hint of runic charming, dark arts, and … possibly some potions embedded into a transfiguration charm, I presume?”

 

Her eyes widened. How had he figured that out so quickly?

 

“I’m quite the proficient wizard, Miss Granger. Human transfiguration holds no mysteries to me, so imagine my surprise when I saw a young witch at my revel having used a charm in a manner unfamiliar to me. How did you counter the inevitable degradation of your charmed looks over time? Usually they don’t last for more than an hour, maybe two if someone is powerful enough.”

 

“Added some additional ingredients to potentiate the effect of the potions,” she said softly.

 

“Hmmmm…. Of course, ingredients for an Exstimulo Potion, but not all of them, so undoubtedly Re’em Blood, Bittersweet, and …?”

 

“What does it matter? Clearly it was pointless. You saw right through it.”

 

“And?” 

 

“Abraxan hair.”

 

“Interesting. I wonder…” he trailed off. 

 

Fascinated, Hermione watched. 

 

“An equilibrium catalyst,” he said, thoughtful. 

 

Hermione furrowed her brow. Wait, that would but that was impossible.

 

“Improbable,” Voldemort corrected. “Nothing is impossible with enough will and power.”

 

“Erumpent horn could be added next to—” Mini Mort started.

 

“No, that won’t work,” Voldemort interrupted. “Erumpent horn would accelerate it far beyond the equilibrium.”

 

Mini Mort’s lip quirked. “Could be fun to use as a curse then.”

 

Voldemort’s lipless mouth also briefly curved as if he were imagining who to use it on. 

 

Hermione felt it prudent to steer the subject away from magical subjects that could potentially lead to her being used as a guinea pig. It had already felt like being skinned alive when he’d ripped her charms off her, no need to add an extra dimension to that.

 

“OH-OH!” she called out, excited. “Dimensional shift. It needs a brief dimensional shift to slow the acceleration.”

 

Both Voldemorts looked at her in silence, then each other. Mini Mort gave a small shrug as if saying, “I told you so”.

 

“That may work,” Lord Voldemort said quietly, his red eyes firmly fixated on her now. 

 

She shifted uneasily under that intense gaze. 

 

“You really are the cleverest witch of your age, aren’t you?” he said like he’d always heard it but never quite believed it, up until now. 

 

She wasn’t entirely sure this added interest held any benefits to her.

 

“Quite a lot of darkness, too,” he added, lifting her arm by the wrist and tracing her blackened veins on the inside of her arms with his fingertips.

 

Hermione’s eyes focused on his movements. Baffled, she witnessed how the darkness underneath her skin shifted and curled in the wake of his trail. What was that? She’d never seen it move like smoke before. She’d thought her blood had turned dark. According to all the heavy, old, Dark Arts tomes she’d read, that was the case. And she had read many of them on the subject. This was, however, looking like it was not in but around her veins. How did that even work? 

 

“I wonder …” Voldemort paused, making her look up at him as he gestured to his other self to come. “Julian?” 

 

Voldemort placed his attention fully back on her. “On your back.”

 

“You call him Julian?” Hermione questioned, her brows lifted in surprise. 

 

He shrugged. “We needed a name.”

 

“Not your father’s,” she added understandingly and then wanted to bite her tongue off. 

 

“I implore you to think before speaking like that to me,” Voldemort hissed quietly. The fingers around her wrist tightened painfully. 

 

“Good luck with that. It’s not in her nature,” Julian said, stopping on the other side of the stone. “Turn around, Jean .” 

 

Hermione stayed still, her eyes shifting in every direction, looking for an out she couldn’t find. The magic now surrounding her was forceful, almost unbearable, and intoxicating—it made her feel free and restrained at the same time. She noticed them making eye contact with each other, and before they could move, she quickly turned on her back, wincing as her hurt buttocks touched the hard surface of the stone. 

 

“Smart move,” carbon-copy snarked, smirking at the glare she sent his way. 

 

“Is it very different from the last time you saw it?” Voldemort asked, trailing his finger up and down the inside of her arm. His touch felt really, really nice.

 

Julian leaned in over her chest to get a closer look. She didn’t like how the closeness of him made her body react. How the closeness of both of them clouded her senses and had her sinking fast.

 

“Much more pronounced, and ...” He shook his head, leaned back, picked up her other arm, and copied Voldemort’s moves. 

 

The whirl inside of her made her shake her head, trying to clear her mind.

 

“It’s more reactive, too,” Julian added.

 

“That could just be because it’s both of us,” Voldemort said, lowering her arm and stepping back. “Do it again.”

 

She really rather he didn’t. It made her question her ability to think as Julian’s fingertips traced beyond her arms over her torso, belly, and the inside of her thighs. She didn’t look at either of them now, finding the candles hovering right below the tent’s “ceiling” far more fascinating. At least then she wouldn’t have to see that smug expression as her body still reacted favourably to his presence and his touch, despite her knowing who he was. 

 

“No, it’s definitely more enhanced, much stronger than I expected it to grow, too.” He placed his hands beside her body, leaned into her face, and said, “I’m surprised you kept this under control.”

 

“What is it exactly?” she asked hoarsely, noting Voldemort had returned and slid his hand under neck. 

 

Her whole body jolted, and then, to her utmost panic, she couldn’t feel it anymore; she couldn’t move anything below her neck anymore. All she could do was move her head.

 

“Why?” she started, her head swivelling between the two of them, but the cold excitement the two wizards above her shared snapped her lips shut in absolute terror. 

 

Lord Voldemort twisted his hand, and his wand appeared. Hermione felt like she was going to be sick. He’d done everything wandless before now. What on earth was he planning that he needed a wand’s precision, and why had he paralyzed her fro—

 

His wand sliced through the air like a blade, and she couldn’t finish her thought. She screamed, tossing her head back and jolting her arms and legs when her chest cracked open as if he’d used a scalpel on her that could slice through bone and skin alike. She screamed and screamed and screamed. Tears trailed down her cheeks. Her eyelids pressed tightly together as if that would help numb the pain. 

 

Surprised, both of them looked at her. 

 

“How is she feeling that?” Julian said. 

 

“Fascinating,” Voldemort said. “She shouldn’t.” 

 

“She moved her limbs, too.”

 

“Not consciously,” Voldemort replied coldly. 

 

Hermione immediately tried to move her arms and legs, to slap them the hell away from her, and realised he was right—she was unable to lift them.

 

An oddly uncomfortable sensation in her chest caused her to look down, immediately wishing she hadn’t. Her ribs stood up straight, no longer kept together by a breastbone. Flaps of bleeding skin and muscle still attached to the white bones, and inside that gaping, bleeding hole, she could see her lungs inflate and deflate with her rapid breaths. The dark smoke that seemed to emanate from her chest didn’t obscure that Voldemort’s hand had disappeared fully inside her chest. Quickly, she looked back at the ceiling and clenched her teeth together so hard, her whole body was shaking. 

 

When his fingers curve around her heart, her screams filled the tent once more. The cold indifference in which he continued to examine her had her crying her throat hoarse. This was so, so, so much worse than the Cruciatus. 

 

“It’s everywhere,” Julian said with a clinical detachment, like she were a specimen under a microscope or a fly he was pulling the wings off.

 

God, why didn’t she pass out? 

 

Please let me pass out.

 

“Stop!” she yelled, desperate, convulsing, as Lord Voldemort’s magic tightened around her heart. “Please, please, please, stop!”

 

“It’s extremely responsive,” Voldemort said with that same clinically detached tone of voice.

 

“It seems to like us,” Julian added.

 

Hermione begged to differ. 

 

A flash blinded her sight, and her screams quieted down. The pain was gone, merely her sobbing remained. She carefully peeked down at her chest and saw it was completely healed. Even the scar Dolohov had once given her was gone. The memory of the pain, however, still burned through her mind and made it impossible to stop shaking and crying, even though she hated showing him this much weakness.

 

“I wonder,” Julian said, freezing her up as she felt his finger trail dangerously low on her belly. 

 

Her eyes wide, she shifted her head between him and Voldemort. Voldemort was looking at her pubic region with an interest she didn’t quite like. 

 

“No, please, no more,” she whispered, pleading at him.

 

His red eyes found hers, and after what seemed like forever but was merely seconds of silence, he said, “It won’t be necessary.”

 

Hermione let out a sigh of relief, while Julian seemed mighty disappointed by it. 

 

“Whether it’s there or not, I’ll find out anyway. Tonight.” 

 

 



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