Chapter 2

Warmth, the only thing that could register in Hermione's weakened mind. The air was thick, as though it was raining. A smell, like nothing she had smelled since her capture slowly invaded her waking mind. Sandalwood, lavender, a touch of something else that ticked away at a long forgotten memory. A slow breath rattled up through her chest passed her broken lips and rewarded her with a new sensation.

Hands; large, soft, slow-moving hands. She couldn't recall having felt them before. Her brow ticked as they moved from her arm, raising it up, holding it in their palm. Her fingers twitched but she didn't resist. Soft wet clothe brushed against her fingers making her skin burn. A broken noise caught in her shattered throat but she didn't dare to push it forward.

Gradually, the burning faded and she felt—for the first time in a long time—all the dirt that had covered her skin lift away. It felt odd, freeing, The small cuts on her digits seemed to breathe on their own, no longer covered with blood. It reminded her of the feeling of taking a shower after being out in the heat and sun all day. That sort of liberating feeling one would get when the feeling of cleanliness registered. It was a woefully appreciated feeling.

When the cloth pulled back, Hermione didn't resist, rather she slowly extended her fingers out, as though begging for its return. The hand that held her own shifted, resting her thin fingers over their wide palm. There was no question that the hand that held her belonged to a male. A thought that should have revolted her, made her fear their intentions, felt nothing more than a casual observation.

The cloth returned again, this time taking to her chaffed wrist. Her face pinched and her fingers curled around their palm. Still, they did not relent. Oddly, their touch remained gentle, almost—dare she say, kind. Moving in small circles, calling away bits of dead skin and anything else that had come to cover her. Just as before, the burning warmth subsided and her skin breathed.

Down and down they went, breathing new life into her soul. As they came to the junction of her shoulder she felt her hand being lowered down. A small fear prickled at her senses when they turned her arm, exposing the vein of her elbow. The fingers that had held her returned, running over the sensitive skin, pressing and prodding. It was only when a small pinch registered did she realize what they had done. A soft cloth wrapped the needle in place and her world slipped into the void once again.

Severus let out a slow breath, turning the wheel on the tube to allow his potion to flow directly into her veins. His dark eyes shining in the evening light that filtered in from the sheer curtains. He couldn't believe that the girl had managed to survive. It seemed impossible, improbable. Yet there she was. Laid out on a cushioned table he'd transfigured to work as a makeshift medical table.

Her cleaned skin was raw, the cuts leaving large swaths of skin, frail and thin. Rashes, bug bites, other maladies colored the surface. He'd been extremely careful not to pull away any large amount of skin having used dittany where he could. Bruises, handprints, and binds; striped the expanse. It was only the beginning. He had to make sure she could survive the healing process otherwise, there would be no point to any of this.

The drip he'd placed into her arm would give her body the basic nutrients it would need to remain alive, buying him the time he needed. It would allow her body to rest, naturally and provide him the solace of keeping her face free of pain. There was so much to do.

Another deep breath steeled his resolve and he cleared away the murky water to start anew. With the tip of his wand, he pulled away the sheet he'd placed over her, settling it at her waist. Once there he cut the remaining fabric of her shirt, carefully pulling it free from the skin that had grown around it.

Her chest and shoulders were dark, stained brown with blood. A large gash under the arm he'd cleaned had turned black, infected by the fabric caught inside the wound. It was truly a miracle that she hadn't succumbed to the infection. His fingers worked in time with his magic, pulling away the threads until her entire chest was exposed. Her female form was completely lost to malnutrition. A flat, rib exposed expanse.

He pulled the cloth from the bowl and set to work on the side closest to him, tearing away the large black scabs to clean the thin flesh beneath. Her blood trickled down onto the cushion beneath, coating his fingers. Small whispered spells sealed the ravines, the warm cloth clearing away the blood.

Her chest rose and fell beneath the pads of his fingers, the taunt rough skin tugging at his senses. Still, he did not waver. His keen eye sought out everything. Cleaning away the crimes that had befallen her. His stomach churned and he felt a lust for blood that he hadn't felt since his youth warming his blood.

She was a child. As insufferable as she had been in class—nothing— she had ever done warranted what he saw before him now. A small thought of mercy—of ending her life— graced his thoughts, though it quickly fled.

Who was he to deny her the life she had so valiantly clung to? Who was he to take her life, her future, into his unworthy hands? He had killed yes, though not this way. It wasn't his choice, she had not asked him to, there was still hope. Hope... that maybe, tomorrow would be a brighter day. He was no God, merely a man. He could not take away the future of a child who had just barely come into the world. He was not a nice man but he had never been that cruel.

A deep scowl covered his face with concentration. He had to do this. Pandora's box had been opened and he had been left holding what had been left behind.

Severus pulled the sheet down to her hips, his stomach lurching at the sight of small maggots crawling in the open wound on her stomach; eating their way out of the center, clearing away the infected tissue. It had definitely been a slicing hex, a deep perfectly centered one.

It arched from the bottom of her left rib, running nearly the width of three fingers before stopping at the bone of her hip. To say her stomach was concave would be an understatement. He wasn't even sure she had any organs left with how deep her stomach had grown.

Keeping his lunch in his stomach by will alone, Severus turned to the small table behind him taking a small pair of tweezers and his bottle of dittany. With all the concentration of a surgeon, he leaned forward. Reverently, taking to his task.


Hermione felt the same spiraling sensation that had begun accompanying her every time she'd woken. A new sensation having woken her from her first peaceful sleep. Her body felt heavy though oddly strong. A gentle warmth moving in slow circles across her cheek. The smell was even stronger now, the soft cloth wiping away tears, dirt, blood, and sweat. A warm palm kept her head straight as the other gingerly worked months of grime away.

When the fingers on her cheek shifted, she parted her lips, trying to taste that hand held her. She'd long learned how to identify the hands by the feel and taste, knowing just who had come to take their pleasure. These fingers, however, moved away sharply as though they didn't wish for what so many others had demanded.

Her upper body felt warm, safe and clean. A light soft fabric hiding her form from view. The heavy collar around her neck kept her head tilted but she could feel a cloth between her skin and the steel.

The cloth lowered to her lips, a drop of water slipping down against her parched tongue flooding her senses. Her breath hitched as she swallowed it down, grateful, despite its taste. The hands shifted her head to the side and pressed gently over her eyes. Her brow furrowed tightly from the burning pain that sparked through the heat that was meant to soothe her. Then, just as quick as they'd come, they were gone.

Her lashes fluttered, twitching from the pain they'd left behind before a new sensation washed over her. A thick, salve-like sensation brought relief to the ridge of her nose before gentle fingers closed her eyes again. The feeling grew as the rough fingers moved over her eyes, sating the burn. Her jaw moved but no sound passed, only a breathy exhale of relief filling the air.

Severus pursed his lips when the girl had reached her small tongue out to taste his fingers. An odd behavior on any front he'd called out to her but became confused as she hadn't seemed to hear him. He'd rested a small bit of gauze over her eyes to allow the salve to work its magic, her eyes hadn't opened enough for him to see inside, he could only guess by the damage her sight was presently lost. His mind cycled through every potion he knew for the eyes but found himself sorely lacking in the field. He'd have to research.

His eyes turned down to the ear that he could see just behind her matted hair. A diagnostic spell passing his lips, confirming his fears. Deaf, blind and possibly mute. What had her world become?

He'd been unable to release the collar encasing her throat, the heavy steal a solid unhinged piece, he'd have to cut it to remove it. Similar to the magical steal the prisoners of Azkaban were exposed to, he was sure only a torch would be able to cut through the half-inch steel. It was a problem for another time.

His hands reached into her hair, snarling as little fleas jumped onto his coat. A swift spell dispersed them but no amount of cleaning could save her locks. He'd have to cut them off. His wand rose again, sheering away her once wild hair. He left behind a little more than an inch before gently turning her head again. Her tongue came out once more licking at the balm he'd placed over the split lips. He paid it little attention as he finished his previous endeavor.

Another soft spell banished the fallen hair away, a following adjustment rested her head level once more. With a spell to shield her face, he pressed the tip of his wand towards the crown of her head. A sharp gasp and jerking of the hands he'd rested beside her head nearly made him pull back.

Water poured down through her shortened locks. Even with most of the hair gone, the water that fell down into the bucket below was murky brown. His fingers ran through spreading the water and searching for any possible creepy crawlies that had made their home along her scalp. His own mixture of conditioner softened the brittle strands and his wand removed the ticks that had attempted to make a home.

Her face contorted under his administrations but she didn't move away, rather her hands opened and closed as though resisting the urge to push him away. It wasn't until he'd completely washed away all the dirt did she finally relax. Her chest was moving faster now, and he could feel her anxiety wafting from her frail form into his own.

Without words to bring comfort, not that he had many, Severus resorted to gently resting his hand on her cheek. Her head turned then, doing as she'd done before. He supposed it was her way of identifying who or what was touching her. A rather adaptive trait that he was sure not many would have thought of. He didn't jump this time when her tongue came out to taste him, rather he forced himself to stay calm and actually watch what she was doing. When she pulled his thumb into her mouth he felt a rather uncomfortable sensation running down his spine.

A sharp snarl gently pulled his thumb free and he turned his attention back to her hair. The girl for her part calmed somewhat easing the tension that had built inside the room. He had hoped she would have slept longer than she had but he could guess that all that he had done to clean her wounds would have woken her sooner or later. He just hoped the pain potion he'd added to her drip was doing its job.

The hands that massaged Hermione's scalp became hypnotic. Moving in small circles clearing away everything. If she'd been able to move her eyes at all they surely would have rolled back. The cloth that covered them had for the time sated the constant burn that had become her companion. Her mind dutifully tuning it out for other things. Only when she would try and rest did she become reminded of her ailment. Already coming to bitter terms with her new world, she didn't dare to hope that these hands were her salvation. It wasn't the first time her body had been cleaned, for more...illustrious activities.

She had been unable to decern the hand's owner. They had tasted clean, the pad of his finger was coarse but the top was smooth. His skin smelled of sandalwood, subtle, not like a cologne. Perhaps in the soap he used? His hands were large and equally dexterous. They moved with such confidence and care. So unlike the others. Had she been sold? Traded away? Owned like some common house cat?

Her mind grew foggy, warm water soothing down the top of her chopped hair. She'd never liked having her hair short but who was she to say? Her body was not her own anymore. There was nothing she could do, except wait. Hope. That someone would find her.


Severus could feel the fatigue of the day wearing down his shoulders. He'd just finished cleaning what was left of her legs. The bar that held her ankles apart just like the one that encircled her neck. Her ankles had been nearly rubbed straight to the bone, leaving a large enough gap to slip one of her feet through. He was sure it hadn't felt pleasant, having felt the bone in her ankle snap during the process.

He'd set it and wrapped it in gauze but didn't dare to repeat the process. He'd have to find another way. For the time being, he wrapped the remaining shackled ankle to prevent any more damage. At the very least, she'd be able to close her legs. Something he was sure she hadn't been allowed to do for quite some time.

His body felt tight, every layer of dirt he'd removed only made him more furious. He had yet to be summoned, though he had delivered what little information he had been able to procure at the camp to Lucius just after he'd brought the girl into the safety of his home. He'd been quick, using an excuse that often left him without any follow-up questions.

He'd been made Headmaster of Hogwarts, a title he never wished to hold. The summer was quickly ending and he knew there were many things that were needing of his attention. In just two weeks time, he would open the doors of a school meant to shield and protect children from the war only to bring them right into the thick of things. It was going to take careful planning to ensure none of the children died under his watch, or at his hand.

A deep breath steeled what was left of his conscience. Another pulled the sheet he'd laid over her up over her stomach revealing the apex of her legs. A pair of dingy, modest red striped knickers looked back at him, a corner of which had been torn away from the elastic loosely holding them in place. The entire area surrounding was red, and black, deeply bruised with long nail marks.

He didn't want to, he really didn't want to. A glance up to her passive face released another slow breath. His ministrations with her hair seemingly putting her back at rest. He placed a bit of hair growth balm into her locks, something he'd had on hand for another purpose entirely. Her hair now resting in soft curls along her shoulders. It was still short by her standards but helped ease the vision of her looking like a prisoner. She was not a prisoner. Not anymore. She was free, as free as she could possibly be.

His eyes turned down to his hands that gently ran under the band checking to make sure the fabric hadn't become inlaid in her flesh. When he was assured no further harm would come to her, he vanished away the material.

"Crisse..." His curse left his mouth feeling dirty, bitter and angry. He had to close his eyes and turn his head away to resist the urge to throw it all away. The feeling that he should just end her torment rose again, stronger this time. How could anyone have done this to another living being and still be able to look at their self in a mirror? How could anyone ever become so warped, so—demented?

A permanent hair removal charm left her completely exposed. A dark red burned brand resting just over her outer folds. Forever marking her as subservient. A ring of tarnished metal rested on top, pulling forth the inner layer, secured to the pleasure point of most women.

A small adjustment of her freed leg revealed more of her most intimate place, a dark stone dragon's head coming into view from further down. Held inside of her, for a purpose Severus could only speculate. He was sure he'd seen one of those before, in one of his dark arts texts. Its name alluded him but he was nearly certain of its purpose.

Cautiously he reached down, taking the metal ring carefully into his fingers. A small detection spell revealed it to be unlike the shackles that held her and he made quick work of removing it. The action awarded him with a soft mumbling groan and he knew she had woken once more. Setting the heavy metal aside, he reached down pulling over the cloth he'd been using and made to clear away the dirt and other, bodily fluids. Massaging in a dittany infused salve to try and heal whatever he could.

Her hips rose then, slowly as if greeting him. Her leg widening even further. So much so that the hand that had been cleaning the crease of her thigh pressed into the stone dragon head. The eyes glowed a bright red before the head split into fourths, slowly weaving its way up and back looping around her thighs and parting her outer folds. The remaining body began to move on its own, a slow rhythm raising her hips higher.

Severus pulled back then, a sharp curse barking passed his lips. He didn't know what to do, how to make it stop. Her body's response to it left him worried, more than worried, about her mental status. How could she find pleasure in something such as this?

Hermione knew what was to come, there was no fight left inside her. Her jaw opened to receive her reward but nothing came. Her forced response, her mental training led her higher towards what she was sure the hands were waiting for. A light sweat covered her brow as she waited for the hands to aid in her release. When they didn't come, she felt her fragile hold on her sanity slipping.

What should she do? What did they want? What would make this end? The dragon's head had been activated by them, this she knew because of the heads that wound a well-worn path around her legs. When it was on its own, it merely moved inside of her, grating against her senses as it forced her agonizingly slowly towards release.

Her head turned, searching for the hands, begging silently. Her tongue passed her lips reaching out but found only air. Her brow furrowed farther, her hands curling into fists by her side. Did they want her to finish it? Did they merely want to watch her depreciation? It was a risk, she had to take.

Her hand came down, running over the soft fabric that shielded most of her form from view. Did they not like what they saw? Were they disgusted? Why were they doing this? Why?

Her mind felt as though it was spiraling out of control. The world she had come to know, one she had so delicately pieced together was quickly falling apart. She needed to know...What did they want? How could she make this stop?

When her fingers found her core she moved them slowly, waiting— waiting for them to object. To punish her misstep. Her body arched slowly, the only muscle that she'd managed to retain thanks to repeated use, forcing her head back. Her mouth remained open, soundless panting breaths passing her lips as she found herself nearing release. She bared her teeth as she fell, her body twisting most unnaturally as the wave of pleasure over took her.

It wasn't much, but it was enough to slate the beast that had been forced inside of her. Her body relaxed down heavily, her hand falling to the side, coated with her shame. Her jaw released, opening again, begging for her reward.