Story Summary:
Lucius abducts Hermione. Slytherin versus Gryffindor - Pureblood versus Muggleborn - the old order versus the new. Two opposites, one room, no way out... no holds barred.

Chapter 13 - Light

Chapter Summary:
Lucius abducts Hermione.
Author's Note:
Yes, this chapter is even shorter than the last one. And I have a feeling that half of you are going to love it and half of you are going to loathe it. If you're in the latter group, I ask you to bear with me...

Author's Notes: Yes, this chapter is even shorter than the last one. And I have a feeling that half of you are going to love it and half of you are going to loathe it. If you’re in the latter group, I'd ask you to bear with me...
As always, my deepest gratitude to Hijja, who has been bearing with me for well over a year now and who gave me a most heart-warming welcome onto LJ last week (I'm chthonya over there).
Finally, just a wee reminder that there's an announcements list for the fic, should you want to know when I submit the next chapter.


~ Invictus ~
by Chthonia

Part 13: Light

I've got used to finding things in the dark.

The soap. A towel. The toothbrush. My robe. The doorknob.

I open the bathroom door, and walk out into the cooler room beyond. I turn around and push the door closed. A hand comes down on mine.

I freeze.

It's still there. I'm not just imagining it.

All I can hear is my breathing. Too loud, too fast.

I try to jerk my hand away, but that other hand slides up to grasp my wrist.

It's him. It has to be him.

But why is it still dark?

He's always cast Lumos before, always. It's the first thing he does. Always.

And he's always worn gloves before, too. These fingers are bare against my skin.

Oh God.

It... it could just be the ferret.

I'm not sure whether that would be better or worse.

But anyhow, it's not. This hand is too large.

He moves behind me. A second hand touches the small of my back, pushing me forwards. My left hand, my free hand, is pressing against the bathroom door.

What's he doing?

His left hand, the hand on my back, trails over my left shoulder, following my arm down, past my elbow, brushing along my forearm ... and strong fingers curl firmly around my wrist.

Strong gloved fingers.

I'm trapped.

I've always been trapped...

He raises my left hand above my head, pinning it against the wooden panelling of the door. But he loosens his grip on my right wrist, sliding his hand down and pushing his fingers between mine so that he can prise them from the doorknob.

I... I...

I wish he'd stop.

But he just turns my hand over in his, with his thumb pressed into my palm, then strokes along each of my fingers in turn.

I'm shaking. I'm not sure whether it's from anger or fear or... but whatever it is, I know exactly why the bastard is exploring my hand so... so thoroughly. He couldn't proclaim his ownership more clearly if he shouted Mine! from the roof of his bloody manor house.

But you don't own me. Not any part of me.

I hold my breath. I can hear him breathing now, soft and steady in the darkness.

He raises my right hand, pushes it against my left, traps them together with his gloved left hand. He holds me in place as we stand there, silently.

This... isn't good. It really isn't good.

I can feel something touching my hair. I close my eyes. I open them again. It's equally dark either way – I can't shut this out.

"Now, little one," he murmurs, "where were we?"

Get away from me!

He's so close I can feel his breath against my cheek. It smells faintly of alcohol.

"Here, I think." And two fingers touch the left side of my neck, right over the pulse-point where they came to rest before.

And that means that he's reaching round in front of me and I shrink back but then his chest is warm against my back and he's too close, too close and, and... I can't stand it!

I jerk my head away from his fingers and throw myself to the left to get away but he's gripping my hands too strongly and it's useless, there's nothing I can do, and I knew there was nothing I could do but at least I tried...

I shift my feet slightly to regain my balance. He says nothing. He doesn't need to say anything. All he needs to do is stand there, too close, while I stand in front of him with my head bowed because if I held it upright it would be that much closer to his face.

Even like this, it's too close. Even the smell of his robes, of, of... him seems sharper, stronger than usual.

And he places his hand against my left cheek and slowly slides it down, feeling for that place just under my jawbone where he can press in and feel my heart beating out the rhythm of my fear.

Don't, don't, don't...

"Now," he says, in a low quiet voice that makes me shudder, "you didn't really want to go anywhere, did you?"

He draws his finger down my neck.

I know what he's going to do. I'm not stupid. It's... it's... I've been trying not to think about it, ever since that first day when he smiled that horrible twisted smile and told me to- to take off my robe, ever since that look in his eyes when he stuck me to the wall and first made me scream...

And the worst of it is, if he'd done this back then I'd have felt sick just from the thought of him touching me, but now it feels almost... inevitable. He's smashed through so many of my boundaries with the unthinkable agony of Cruciatus, the mind-rape of Veritaserum, the vicious way he cut into my arm, that this boundary seems trivial by comparison.

But it isn't.

It feels like I'm just watching, as he guides that finger across my collarbone and down the front of my robe. It feels as if there's some kind of glass wall between my body and my awareness of it. But that doesn't stop me shivering when he brushes between my breasts, and slides his hand to the left and curves his fingers round underneath...


I hear him exhale.

This isn't happening.

It is happening.

Tell him to stop.

I- I can't.

You're not meant to fight when there's no hope of getting away, that's what everyone says. Just let them get on with it so you've a chance of walking away afterwards. I never really took much notice – after all, I had my magic to protect me, didn't I?

Stupid, stupid me.

I'm looking straight at where his hand is, but I can't see a thing, of course. It's as if the darkness itself has formed into the shape of those fingers, to reach out and hold me here...

No, no, that's ludicrous. It's him. A person, a human being.

Well, that last one might be pushing it a bit.

But I can imagine what his hand looks like, icy-pale against the black robe he gave me. It feels quite different from that, somehow. It's warm, for a start – why does that always surprise me? I... I wish to God it wasn't there, but from a purely objective physical point of view, it's not actually uncomfortable.

It's what he's capable of that makes me uncomfortable.

I can't believe he's doing this. This is Lucius Malfoy. I thought he hated me so much he couldn't even bring himself to touch me!

But he did touch you. He touched your cheek.

Not like this. Not with his fingers tracing those small circles...

It... tickles. But I hold myself motionless, desperately clinging to the hope that if I don't respond he'll lose interest and go away.

But then he cups his hand under my breast, and lifts it slightly, and slowly brings his thumb and forefinger together to – oh God, no – to catch my nipple, and there's a brief jolt that's so slight it's hardly even pain at all...

This time it doesn't tickle. It feels... weird. I've never been so aware of anything as I'm aware of that... pressure... but somehow it's not on the surface that I feel it. It's as if he's holding something with roots deep inside me and there isn't any separation between us at all.

I wish he'd let go. I wish he'd LET GO.

I take a breath. I can feel myself trembling.

Tell him to stop!

What good will that do? He'll do whatever he likes anyway.

He moves his fingers, twisting gently but even ‘gently' magnifies that connection a hundred times over and I bite the inside of my cheek to try to focus somewhere else because I don't know what he's doing and it's scaring me.

It's not... nice. It's nothing like anything Lavender and Parvati spend their lives giggling about. I wish he'd stop it but if I say so he'll know he's won, and what will he do then?

Viktor tried to touch me... there, once. We never talked about it afterwards, and I try not to think about it, but I can't help remembering now. It was utterly, utterly different. Well, of course it was, because Viktor liked me and I liked him even if he did make me a bit uncomfortable sometimes. But he was so nice about it, nervous almost, and the whole thing was just... embarrassing, really. And... and Lucius Malfoy just puts his hands anywhere he likes after proving again and again that all he wants is to watch me suffer, and...

It's not fair.

And then he briefly clamps his thumb and finger hard together and I yelp and twist round to glare at him because there was nothing ambiguous at all about that burst of agony.

Stupid, to react like that. Yes, of course it hurt, but it was such an insignificant pain compared to the Cruciatus...

But so much more personal.

"Well, well, well," he drawls. Even the sound of his voice makes me flinch. "So that's what I have to do to get a reaction out of you, is it?"

I don't reply. Anything I could say would only make him worse. I can't bear it.

He lets go of my breast and twists his hand in my hair, jerking my head to the right. I blink back tears.

"So, Hermione," he says quietly, right into my ear. "Are we to conclude that you do have an appetite for pain after all?"

That's just... sick.


"Ah." He turns his hand so that the tug on my hair is even more painful. "In that case, little one, perhaps you should learn to respond to what you do like."

As if I'd like him to touch me in any way whatsoever! Arrogant piece of slime.

He releases my hair and a moment later I feel his hand on my right breast. I almost pull away as his thumb brushes across my nipple, but he's standing so close I'd only back right into him if I did.

"You need to learn to relax," he tells me. "It's really very rude to ignore someone who's going to so much effort for you."

A flick at my nipple, a fleeting shiver. I suck in my breath.

"That's better," he says. "You know that I like to see you show your gratitude... and you do want to please me, don't you? Because we've already agreed on what will happen if you don't."

Bastard! How can he bring that threat to my parents into this?

But that thought leads straight back to the spiral of hate, and I can look at it another way and see how completely bloody ridiculous this situation is: that he, Lucius Malfoy, the epitome of pure-blood pride, is standing in the dark forcing himself on me, a teenage Mudblood. It seems... beneath him, somehow. Beneath what he'd like to think he is. Beneath the image I'd expect him to present to me.

Ridiculous... Of course!

If he really wants to see me react, why doesn't he turn on the light?

Because he can't. Because this isn't Lucius Malfoy at all.

And suddenly the pressure of darkness feels somehow lighter, though I'm not sure I'll be able to laugh at it. I never was much good at Boggarts, and even if it's not real, well, not really him, it still has me trapped. How can I get it to let go?

How can I make Lucius Malfoy less scary?

I don't think Neville's method would work. Lucius Malfoy would be terrifying no matter what he was wearing.

The Boggart-hand closes around my breast, so imperiously that for a moment I forget it's not real. And then its thumb is stroking over my nipple and... God... No, it's not pleasant but it certainly refuses to be ignored. And yes, knowing that it's not real lessens that unholy feeling of connection, but it can't banish it altogether.

How on earth can I feel connected to a Boggart?

A tendril of doubt creeps into my mind.

But isn't it precisely those doubts and fears that Boggarts prey upon? And they're my doubts and fears, after all – of course I'm connected to the thing!

"I thought I told you to relax." It squeezes its fingers together, a little too tightly. I can't help squirming, but there's nothing I can do to relieve the pressure. I shift my weight from one foot to the other.

"Now, now," it says. "If you really don't like pain, you'll have to learn to do as I say, won't you?"

Suddenly I remember Dobby, and the horrible things he had to do to himself when he did something the Malfoys wouldn't like. And then I grin as I think of a Lucius Malfoy-Boggart shrinking to half my height, of its voice rising from a menacing murmur to a high squeak, of its full velvet robes fading to a dirty threadbare pillowcase, of that thin pointed face growing large pointed ears, and all that oh-so-perfect hair falling out all over the floor...

Maybe I can do it – I got that wandless Lumos spell to work before, just about. And perhaps having the thing touch me will provide enough focus for the spell.

I turn my head towards where the voice came from.

"Why on earth should I listen to you? You're nothing but a Boggart!" And I laugh, loudly, and maybe my laughter has a slightly hysterical edge but of course it's funny to think of Lucius Malfoy turning into a house-elf, even if it is a grave insult to the elves, and Professor Lupin never said anything about feelings of poetic justice and revenge interfering with the spell. So I focus as best I can and shout out, "Riddikulus!"

There's no crack. Just a resounding silence.

The hand disappears from my breast... but my hands are still trapped in the thing's grasp. I try to pull away, but I can't.

Damn. Boggarts never were my strong point. What am I going to do now?

Then it laughs, and the sound echoes round the room as if the darkness itself is laughing at me.

"So." The voice is rich with dark amusement. "This is what you dream about, in the darkest corner of your soul? I'm flattered, Hermione, truly I am."

In spite of myself, I shudder. That... I can't imagine a Boggart saying something like that.

"But if this is your worst nightmare," the voice continues quietly, "I would have to conclude that you lack imagination." The hand is back, nestling between my breasts. "Or maybe just..." and as his voice drops to a whisper his hand starts to move down, "...experience."

Oh God.

It's not real, it's not real. This can't be happening. Why would he do this?

No. It has to be a Boggart. It's just doing what it knows will frighten me most. It's just playing on my fears.

His finger circles my navel. I can feel the sharp edge of his fingernail, even through my robe.

But... my fears were never this... detailed. It's not like I was ever imagining Lucius Malfoy holding me against the bathroom door, tracing intricate patterns across my belly with those long fingers of his...

This is not coming from me.

I lean forward and rest my forehead against the door. His hand stops, resting warm where the line of my underwear would be if the bastard had bothered to give me any.

It's horrible, being this... close.

But the worst thing is that it doesn't feel as awful as it should. Because I hate it, I hate it.

"But I'm a Mudblood!" I cry out. "You hate me! You can't even stand touching me!"

His hand jerks away from my body as if it's been stung. His other hand clenches my wrists, hard, making me gasp in pain.

"I have no desire whatsoever to touch you," he says coldly. "But this isn't about me. This is – entirely – about you."

And his hand is back, even lower than it was before and... and... and he can't touch me there...

I jerk back but he brings up his knee to push me forwards, holding me in place against his hand. There's a soft chuckle from the darkness.

"Do you want me to continue, little one?"

No! No no no no NO!

I thought he said he didn't want to touch me. God knows what's going on in his evil, twisted mind. He won't even put on the light and look at me!

I can feel my cheeks burning. It's too horrible. I can almost feel him standing there behind me and I can't stand it...

Damn him! If he's going to do this he can sodding well face up to what he's doing!

I twist round to face him and this time I don't have to envisage the movement I would have made with my wand because I can feel the power move within me as I shout, "LUMOS!"

And there's a blaze of pure white light and he drops my hands and jumps back and I turn and I can see him covering his eyes and I can see the whole room as the anger surges through me and I point at him and there's a screaming in my head no don't look away, look at me, you bastard, if you can touch me you can bloody well look at me! And I can see that he knows and I don't need to say it aloud because the light is all there is and it's burning, burning, burning away the dark and he has to see that I'm not weak and I'm not stupid and I'm not powerless and I am Muggleborn and I'm the same age as his bloody son and there's no way on earth he should be coming anywhere near me. And he's staring at me with a look of utter revulsion and the light is flowing through me and I scream and the sound is like fire and I want to burn him with it and I don't care whether I'm burning him or just burning up like a star about to explode-

He grabs me and pushes my face against the door with one hand on my back and the other pressing down on my head and his voice cuts straight to the heart of the fire.


And the dark rushes over me like a cold stream, washing away the burning and the fury and the light, and then I'm carried away in the flood and I can hardly breathe and I'm drowning and all I'm aware of is his hands, solid against my back and my head and I wish he'd take them away but if he did I'd be lost forever...

"You will not do that again," he says.

And then he does step away, and my hands scrabble at the door as I try not to sway. I blink. I can't see anything. I can't see!

Of course you can't see. You never can see anything down here without a light.

But this feels... different. As if I'll never see anything again.

I cling to the ridge between the door panels. Something solid.

He runs a finger lightly down my spine. I shudder.

"Oh, you needn't worry," he sneers. "Do you really think I'd want to touch an ugly little creature like you?"

The words hit me like a lash. How can he say that, after...

He laughs, quietly. "Sweet dreams, Mudblood."

And there's a crack, and he's gone.

I grab for the doorknob. It doesn't move.

The bastard! He locked the door!

I wrench at the door. All I want is a bath, a hot bath where I can scrub away the memory of his hands on my wrists and my neck and my body...

And he's even denying me that. I can still smell him. It's horrible.

I walk over to the bed. I sit on it, pulling a blanket around me.

Why? Why did he do that? Why?

What did I do? When he first brought me here, when he made me sick with the Probitaserum, he freaked out when I touched him. But yesterday... yesterday he was going to kill me, and then he just looked at me...

What did he see?

I should have spat in his face, instead of standing there like a hypnotised rabbit.

No. It's not my fault. It's not my fault.

But there must have been something... What did I do to make him...

I raise my hand and dig my nails into my cheek. Stupid, stupid, stupid me.

And I rake my nails down my neck because I'd rather feel that pain than the cold tight dread in my chest, and because I hate myself for blushing when he touched me yesterday and because I'm stupid, stupid to have told myself that the way he looked at me that first day, that what he made me do, meant nothing – stupid to have pushed that fear back into the furthest corner of my mind because now- now I don't know what to think. I've no idea what he's going to do, or – no, I have too many ideas and I'm scared, I'm so scared...

I can't think about it.

I sit further back on the bed and I pull my knees up to my chest and I wrap my arms around my legs and I dig my nails into my shoulders and I rock back and forth, hot tears soaking into my robe.

And when the tears stop coming I make myself breathe slowly, deeply, calmly.

I don't know what he's going to do. But I've never known what he's going to do. And I'm not dead, I don't know why I'm not dead but there must be a reason I'm still alive and I'll have to endure whatever he does, just like I've had to endure everything he's done to me so far.

But the way he touched me...

I can still feel his fingers, the patterns they traced over my breasts... I put my own fingers there. It feels different – his hand was larger, of course, and the angle is wrong. And it's completely different when I have control. I rub my neck and my wrist and all the places where he touched me, fixing the feel of my own hands in my mind to block out the memory of the way his fingers trailed over my body as if he owned me.

But he doesn't. And he never will. Whatever he does. Whatever he makes me do.

I lie back and stare up into the darkness.

I can't just go to sleep. What if he comes back?

I wriggle over so my back is up against the wall. That feels a little more secure, but not enough to let me relax enough to close my eyes and not think about him coming back and finding me sleeping...

But I'm tired. There's still that bone-deep weariness from the Cruciatus, and I need to rest if he's going to bring Malfoy down here again tomorrow.

That thought should horrify me, but all I want to do at the moment is blot everything out.

I push myself out of bed and stand, and stretch. Then I pull the bedclothes onto the floor. If I get under the bed, at least he'll have to wake me up before he touches me.

I really don't like the thought of it. But I examined every inch of this room when I was looking for a way out with his wand, and I know there's nothing nasty hidden here.

But it feels... I don't know. Like the mouth of some sort of cave. Where anything could be hiding.

Get a grip, Hermione! There's nothing under there!

I take one breath – in, out – and crawl underneath, pushing the sheets and blankets in front of me.

There... there isn't anything here. Just stone meeting stone meeting stone at the sharp corner of the room.

I'm never going to get comfortable, but I curl up on a couple of folded blankets and pull the rest around me as best I can.

My dreams, when they come, are deep and dark and not very sweet at all.