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Chapter Eleven

Draco burst into the Auror office of the Ministry, Blaise trailing behind him at a more leisurely pace, and was glad to see that there weren’t any extra Aurors lounging around. At least it seemed like they were taking him and his girlfriend’s abduction seriously.

Blaise had kept his word and stayed by Draco’s side since he spoke to him in the kitchen. He hadn’t been home or anything, he devoted his entire being to helping Draco figure things out and even though it was annoying, Draco was also strangely grateful to have his friend around.

Not that they had made any progress in finding Hermione.

Draco breezed into the back office without knocking and before he could even say a word, the desk jockey said, “Nothing of importance yet. We’ve had numerous owls and floo calls, but as of now none of the information seems to be leading us anywhere.”

Draco let out a breath in a huff and sat down quickly, Blaise taking a chair to his left. He was honestly hoping for good news.

“I have something to talk about.”

“What is it, Mr. Malfoy?”

“Hermione is brilliant and I’m thinking she’s going to try to get Harry to come to me. I’ve been thinking it through the last couple days and it seems like something she would do. I have something he wants.”

“And he’s going to come to you?”

“Well, I don’t know that for certain, but I think she’s going to try and get him to approach me. Although he won’t just approach me - I think he’ll attack me - but either way she’ll be trying to get him to come to me so I can follow him. I don’t know if it’s going to work though, since he’s completely lost it and will probably just attack me and leave without waiting for answers. If he does come for me… I hate to say this –“ Draco stopped speaking and dropped his head into his hands for a moment, his sadness palpable, but he took a steadying breath before continuing, “- if he comes for me, I think that will mean that she’s not doing so well. It means that she’ll be more than desperate to get me there.”

“Well it could just mean that she needs to get out of there. I mean, we have all come to terms with the fact that he didn’t abduct her to take her to his home for tea and crumpets.”

“You don’t know her like I do, she wouldn’t want to endanger me in any way unless she absolutely had to. She’s stubborn and ridiculous but she’s loyal to a fault; she wouldn’t do it unless it was her last resort.”

“Do you think it’s a likely possibility? For him to track to you down?”

“It’s been seven days, I think it’s more probable, at this point.”

“Well, let’s take the ordinary steps then, yes?”

/////

“Hermione?”

Hermione’s eyes snapped open when she heard her name because it was a completely different voice than she was used to hearing.

“Hello?” she asked faintly, her vocal cords rubbing on her dry throat.

“Hermione!”

The voice calling to her was echoing slightly around the damp cell and Hermione wasn’t sure exactly where it was coming from.

“Who’s there?” she asked, fighting to keep the tears from her eyes. She was sick with a deep, dreadful sounding cough, she was tired, and she was ashamed to admit that she just wanted this to end. Death or not, it needed to end soon. She was hanging onto her sanity by a thread and she was frustrated that Harry hadn’t gone to find Draco when she gave him the information about the Elder wand days ago. She didn’t understand why he hadn’t gone, and she was disappointed in herself for thinking that two days in was torture.

This, this was torture.

“It’s me, Ginny.”

“Ginny? Help me, please!”

“I can’t Hermione,” and Hermione could tell that the girl was crying now, “I’ve been here even longer than you have.”

“You’re chained up too?”

“Yes, I’m so sorry, I wish I could help you.”

“Where are we?”

“I don’t know,” and then Ginny burst into chest heaving sobs. Hermione felt tears prickle her own eyes at the sounds coming from the other girl’s cell, but she couldn’t summon the energy to sob like her friend.

Harry had finally given Hermione food and water on day three, four, five, and six, but she hadn’t seen him for a while now, and that was worrying.

“When was the last time you saw Harry?” Hermione asked after Ginny got her sobbing under control.

“It’s been a while. What is he doing to you?”

Hermione groaned, moving her shoulders. Harry had changed her position in her chains. She was now wearing manacles that gave her some movement, chained lower on the wall so she was able to sit or lay on the cold stone floor. She was currently curled into a ball on the damp floor but she had lost the protection from even her knickers the first time Harry had raped her. He had taken all of her clothes and never gave them back. She was freezing and sore, tired and mentally damaged as well as physically, and she just didn’t understand why Draco hadn’t found her yet.

“Probably the same things he’s doing to you.”

Ginny didn’t answer that for a while, because she really didn’t want to tell her old friend that Harry had only beaten her a few times when she had first got there and then seemed to forget about her for a few days. He had remembered her after a while and brought her food and water, as well as a warm blanket – which totally stumped the red headed girl - but he seemed to be unsure with what to do with her now. Ginny feared that he would kill her soon. He couldn’t just let her go, obviously, which meant that death was the only choice that made sense.

“Maybe,” she said non-committedly. Ginny had been able to hear many of the things Harry had inflicted upon Hermione, and she knew for a fact that he had raped the poor girl at least four times, judging by the noises she had been hearing.

“He’s been gone a while, Hermione, maybe he got captured or something.”

Hermione didn’t answer.

She didn’t want to say anything about the idea she had planted in his head in case he was lingering somewhere, listening.

“How long has he been gone?”

“I don’t know for sure. A while though.”

“Guesstimate.”

“Well I fell asleep a few times, but if I had to wager a guess I’d say at least a full day.”

“That’s kind of strange.”

“Yeah,” Ginny agreed quietly, wondering if they would both starve to death before Harry came back.

Just then, an echoing bang made both females jump, their chains clanking against the stone walls and floors.

“Hello?” a deep male voice called.

An unfamiliar deep male voice.

“We’re in here!” Ginny screamed.

Maybe their salvation had finally arrived.

/////

Draco hadn’t been wrong that Harry would seek him out. On day eight of Hermione’s abduction, Draco decided to take a leisurely stroll in a park. Although he hadn’t decided that on his own and it definitely wasn’t leisurely.

He was freaking out.

The Aurors wanted him out in the open so that he would be able to be found easily by anyone attempting to contact him, namely Potter, and there were Aurors placed at strategic intervals all around the area. He was always within sight of at least one armed lawman, but that didn’t stop the frantic beating of his heart or the slight tremors in his hands.

Draco had just sat on a stone bench and unfurled that days Daily Prophet while trying desperately to appear at ease. Like this was just an ordinary day, on an ordinary bench while surrounded by ordinary people.

Nothing to freak out about, nothing at all.

The first thing he saw was his plea for information adorning the front page, which reminded him – as if he needed it – that this was not even close to being a typical day. He randomly flipped to the middle of the newspaper and gave it a snap to straighten it out and tried to pretend that he was reading the ad for Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. He wasn’t, of course. His brain was going a million miles a second while he tried to slow down the beating of his heart and covertly wipe the sweat that was gathering on his brow.

He just had a feeling that this was going to be it. He could tell that something was going to happen; he couldn’t say how he knew, he could just tell.

Despite that, he still jumped in surprise when an angry Harry Potter appeared directly in front of him, yanking the paper out of his hands harshly and causing loose pages to flutter around them in an instant.

“Give me the fucking wand,” Harry snarled, his wand pointing directly at Draco’s heart the instant the paper was tossed to the side. Draco stared into the face of his girlfriend’s kidnapper and had to use every ounce of self-control he possessed to not whip out his own wand and start hexing the tosser to death; never mind the temptations of starting a muggle fight.

Those thoughts rushed through his brain while staring at the man he literally detested in about three seconds - moments before Harry had been ruthlessly stunned from the side and back simultaneously. The double curse lifted the dark haired wizard a couple inches off the ground before slamming him down harshly.

Draco smiled at the loud cracking noise Potter’s head made as it made contact with the concrete.

Harry was apprehended and apparated away within moments and Draco found himself back in the Auror offices of the ministry less than five minutes after the stunning spell hit his enemy, Blaise looking at him in triumph. The dark skinned wizard hadn’t been allowed to accompany Draco to the park, for obvious reasons, but he was granted access to wait at the ministry.

Draco accompanied a few lawmakers behind a one-way wall while Blaise kept his position in the waiting area; he wasn’t allowed to view the actual interrogation. Draco took a seat in a hard wooden, straight backed chair and sat forward, resting his forearms on his thighs. He could see Harry and the team of Aurors who were interrogating him, but Harry could not see him.

Although, with the way the maniac kept glancing at the empty wall and cracking a small, knowing smile, Draco had the distinct impression that Potter knew he was watching.

“What have you done with Hermione Granger?” was the question being asked at that moment, and a deranged grin broke out on Harry’s face, although he didn’t answer the question.

He had adamantly avoided answering all questions asked of him for seven hours before the Aurors finally decided to use Veritaserum.

Apparently it was ‘barbaric’, but if Draco had a choice in the matter the mad man would have had it forced down his throat within two minutes of stepping into the interrogation room. He couldn’t believe the time that these ‘professionals’ were wasting while his witch was being detained somewhere, and he didn’t shy away from voicing his opinion on that fact numerous times throughout the day.

Everyone ignored him, of course.

It was when he growled at Reynolds, an Auror sitting with him behind ‘the wall’, that Harry could have known he was about to be captured and decided to do away with Hermione before he came for Draco, letting her die a slow and painful death while they fucked around. He made his point clear that this monster was being treated much better than his girlfriend was; once that was brought up they decided to go ahead with the use of Veritaserum.

Apparently the Auror department didn’t like the threat of being sued by one Draco Malfoy.

Draco was tired and antsy at this point, but now that the Aurors were breaking out the big guns he was going to be giving them their full attention.

While a lawman was running out to get the potion, Draco left to get a large cup of coffee; he needed to hear everything first hand, even if it would kill him.

When he arrived back behind the glass with a few other lawmakers, he took a seat and riveted his attention on Harry, who was having the potion poured down his throat while stunned.

“Ennervate,” an Auror, Evans, spat at the dark haired man, who immediately perked up.

“Your name?”

“Harry James Potter,”

“The shape of your patronus?”

“A stag,”

“Do you have Hermione Granger?”

“Yes.”

“Why have you taken her?”

“I love her.”

“You knew she didn’t want to go with you?”

“Yes, and her oaf of a boyfriend tried to stop me, but I got her in the end.”

The man was grinning, and Draco saw one of the Aurors, Collins, flinch away at the sight.

“What have you done to her?”

Harry laughed, the sound making Draco break out in a light sweat, his heart beating furiously against his rib cage.

“Everything.”

“We are unaware what you mean by that, Mr. Potter. What have you done to Hermione Granger?”

Harry took a deep breath and began rattling out all of the things he had subjected the girl to, his voice completely void of emotion. Draco tried to blink back the tears when he heard Harry say that he made Hermione live through her worst fears and memories, her worst nightmares, for almost four days straight. Harry laughed when he started to explain how afraid she was, and how often she would scream for Draco Malfoy to help her. Save her.

When Harry started talking about using the Cruciatus curse on Draco’s girlfriend he was momentarily blinded by white-hot rage, and he had the strongest urge to throw something, break something violently, or wrap his hands around the raven-haired prick’s neck. Sobs started forcing their way out of his throat when Harry boasted about raping her. Harry tried to make it clear that Hermione had wanted it, and he was only doing her a favour, even though she had tried to fight him off and cried and screamed the entire time.

“How many times did you force yourself on the girl, Mr. Potter?”

“Seven.”

“Over the entire span of time you had her?”

“Oh no, seven times in two days. I was trying to make her come to terms with the fact that she wanted me before I took her, but on the sixth day I realized I would just have to show her.”

That was when Draco excused himself from the viewing room and sat behind a random Aurors desk. He needed a break, and then he felt pathetic because he needed a break from hearing about what had been happening, but his poor girlfriend had been living through it for over a week.

Blaise had fallen asleep atop one of the desks but jerked awake when Draco threw himself into a chair. They didn’t speak, but Draco could feel his friend’s eyes boring into him as he studiously avoided eye contact.

He didn’t need to see pity etched there, staring at him, he was already drowning in it.

Before he could even think about his actions he leaned forward to a small garbage pail and vomited violently into it. He could feel a hand on his shoulder and knew that Blaise had approached him, but he couldn’t bring himself to look at him. Draco instead focused on getting his breathing under control as the nausea subsided, he wiped his eyes while his head was still bowed, but he knew that Blaise would never comment on it.

Before Draco was totally pulled together a handful of Aurors came barreling into the room, slamming the door open so hard it smashed into the wall behind it. They were pulling on safety gear while moving toward the exit, but one stopped in front of Draco and Blaise and shouted, “Meet us at St. Mungo’s, Mr. Malfoy. We’re going to get your girlfriend, as well as Ginny Weasley.”

Draco was glad that he was sitting, because had he been standing he was pretty sure his legs would have given way.

“Where are they?!”

“Harry Potter’s residence!”

“That can’t be! I was there already.”

“He lives on an acreage, Mr. Malfoy. Apparently he has underground dungeons built in the forest. We have the exact coordinates.”

Draco wanted to avada himself for not checking the property thoroughly and he glanced at Blaise, who looked shocked beyond all recognition.

Blaise had accompanied Draco to Potter’s property just two days ago, in search of some sort of evidence.

Draco could have ended this days ago if he had been paying more attention to his surroundings, but then again, the Aurors had been to Harry’s cottage on more than one occasion as well and they hadn’t found anything either. That thought made him feel a tad better about himself.

/////

“We’re in here!” Ginny screamed, and Hermione couldn’t stop the whimper from tearing from her throat as the entire area was flooded with light.

She shielded her eyes for a moment, trying to get them used to the sudden onslaught of light before looking to her left. Ginny was there, naked as Hermione, but Hermione noted that she didn’t look hurt at all and even had a blanket covering her form.

Ginny looked at Hermione at the same time and her eyes widened in shock to see how brutal the other girl looked. Hermione was covered in bruises and cuts, dried blood covered her body and Ginny was surprised that she could even see out of her bruised and swollen eyes; the red headed witch tore her gaze away when she noticed all of the dried blood between Hermione’s thighs and the bruising in the shapes of fingers all along her ribs, hips, and outer thighs.  

In a twisted way, Ginny felt ashamed at the treatment she had received compared to Hermione. Hermione looked like she was drug through hell and back by her hair while Ginny had a couple faint bruises and a blanket to keep her warm.

A man approached Hermione’s cell quickly and thrust the door open before stepping into her space, but he faltered as the brown haired witch started screaming at the top of her voice. Her throat felt like it was ripping open from the fast vibrations of her vocal cords, but she didn’t care. The man backed away slowly, his hands held up to chest height in a placating gesture.

He wasn’t here to harm her, his hands said.

She kept right on screaming.

Her screams quietened to whimpers and the man attempted to speak to her in a low, soft voice, inching closer. Hermione’s eyes widened by his movements and she started kicking and hitting at him, spitting with fear.

The man left and went to free Ginny instead even though it had been made clear many times by his boss, who was being run by Draco Malfoy, that Hermione was the utmost priority.

Ginny was silent as her chains were taken off, wrapping her blanket around herself more securely as she stood up without a flinch of pain and was lead from the cold dungeons, probably to the hospital; leaving Hermione alone in the hell hole without a second glance.

Hermione knew it was completely irrational of her but she did not want anyone coming near her at all. The man then tried to release her manacles using magic instead of the key in his hand, which he had found just inside the door where Harry Potter said it would be, but his magic wouldn’t work in here.

“Miss. Granger, I’m here to help you,” the man said, taking another step inside the cell.

“Stop!” she screamed, and the man obeyed, “Don’t come any closer to me.”

“I just want to get you out of here.”

“Just stay away.”

“Miss. Granger,” the man said in a pleading tone, “It’s my job to help you.”

Hermione started to cry in earnest now, shuddering gasps as she tried to shield her naked body from the strangers around her.

“Go get Mr. Malfoy,” someone muttered, but Hermione couldn’t hear it over the sobs tearing from her throat, rolled up into a ball on the cold, damp stone floor.

/////

Draco was pacing in the waiting room of the hospital while Blaise sat off to the side watching his restless movements, his elbows on his knees and chin planted into the palms of his hands.

Both wizards felt like it had been a while considering the lawmen knew exactly where to go.

What was taking them so long?!

So many questions were pouring through Draco’s head as he continued his relentless pacing; he couldn’t sit still until his witch was brought to safety. The Weasley family burst through the door of the waiting area, causing Draco and Blaise to both look up expectantly but quickly resuming their poses when they realized who it was. The family rushed forward, spouting off questions immediately, but Draco waved them off as he paced. He couldn’t answer their questions right now.

Arthur, Molly, a redhead with long hair pulled into a ponytail, the one who married the Veela, and the surviving twin all sat down immediately, fear apparent in their eyes. Ron took to pacing as well, following Draco’s impatient footsteps.

All was silent except the light squeak of shoe soles on the linoleum floor from the two men’s movements.

Ron and Draco stopped suddenly, apparently hearing the commotion first, and the door to the room opened slowly. Draco’s heart plummeted as he saw Ginny Weasley tentatively make her way inside, surrounded by medical personnel and wrapped in a dirty gray blanket.

Molly Weasley shrieked and was on her daughter within seconds, pulling her into a tight embrace seconds before the rest of her family piled on, hugging and sobbing openly.

They dispersed after a moment, the healers telling them that she needed her space and turning away to lead them all to a separate room. When Ginny’s eyes fell on Draco she immediately began to tear up, her lower lip trembling hard while she tried to supress her tears.

Draco didn’t take that as a good sign and his stomach dropped somewhere near his shoes, his pacing stopped as he stared hard at a wall. Questions burning through his mind.

Why would they bring Ginny in first when it had been made very clear that Hermione was of utmost importance? He knew it wasn’t fair to say that her life was more important, but he was the one paying all of these imbeciles, after all.

Fear.

He hadn’t ever felt fear as strong as he was feeling it at that moment and that was saying something, considering he had a homicidal maniac living in his house for years while he was a teenager.

The door to the waiting area burst open again and this time a single Auror rushed through.

It was Evans.

“Mr. Malfoy, sir! We need your assistance immediately.”

“My assistance? With what?” Draco snapped at the man, joining his side and accompanying him down the hallway with Blaise silently bringing up the rear. His friend hadn’t spoken much or pushed his way into any of the situations that arose, but having him around had certainly helped Draco keep his head clear and his feet grounded throughout the entire ordeal.

“Miss. Granger… she won’t let anyone approach her. We figured you’d be the best bet. I tried to unlock her chains a few times but before I would even get a step or two into her cell she would lose it. Even clocked me in the side of the face,” he said, pointing to a small cut.

Draco took a deep breath before glancing at Blaise, who nodded and gripped one of the man’s arms while Draco took the other, allowing the Auror to side-along apparate them to the precise location.

/////

“Hermione?”

That was a voice she knew, a voice she loved, and she allowed her eyes to snap open and look into the grey ones she had longed to see for many long days.

He was standing in the doorway of her cell but he hadn’t stepped any closer; the toe of his shoes were stopped precisely at the line of the bars.

“May I come in?” he asked her, as though he was standing at the door of her flat and not the cell where she had been through so much.

Too much.

“Draco?” she asked, unsure if this was actually happening or if this was just another way for Harry to torture her.

“Yes, Hermione. It’s me,” Draco answered, trying to avoid hearing the harsh grate of her voice.

“Is it really?”

She seemed unsure and Draco was trying to keep himself together. He swallowed hard over the lump in his throat and took a cautious step forward.

She didn’t scream, so that was a good thing.

He crouched in front of her, still a good distance away, but stared into her face, willing her to understand that this situation was real, was happening. He wouldn’t allow his eyes to travel anywhere else on her body, not yet.

The state of her face was almost too much to bear.

“Draco?” she asked again, staring into his eyes with unbridled fear.

She was scaring him that was for sure. He was listening to her raspy voice and could hear the rattling in her lungs when she would take a breath and almost on cue she started coughing. Her cough was deep and sounded awful, and Draco just knew that it wasn’t a good thing.

She was sick.

Very sick.

“Yes, darling. Can I unlock your chains?” he asked slowly but clearly, he really didn’t want to spook her and she timidly nodded her head, not taking her eyes off of him.

Draco moved forward slowly, trying to avoid taking in her appearance. He couldn’t afford to break down right now, but the sight of the blood on her inner thighs almost made him lose his composure.

Once he was close enough to her arms he gently lifted one at a time by the manacle itself, trying to avoid touching her skin because he didn’t want to set her off, and used the key that Evans gave him to unlock the manacles on her destroyed wrists.

Draco moved away slowly, using all of his self-control to not pull her into a crushing hug and never let her go.

“Would you like my cloak?” he asked her, but she suddenly seemed confused by the situation again. The Aurors had warned him that she wasn’t completely lucid and they were unsure when she would be. They also explained to him that the type of torture she had been subjected to would probably still be messing with her head.

Victims of abduction who had this curse cast on them, not that there were many since the curse was so old, had said that they had envisioned themselves being saved on many occasions, only to have that vision warp rapidly to their captor abusing them; completely destroying their hope.

It was just another way to break the abducted, make them more malleable to the abuse that still awaited them.

Draco could clearly see that Hermione wasn’t sure whether this was actually happening or not; she was obviously having trouble determining what was real and what wasn’t. No wonder Ginny had looked at Draco in such a sad way when he saw her at St. Mungos.

The things he wished he could do to Potter.

“Hermione? You’re very cold, do you want to wear my cloak to warm up?”

She tilted her head slightly to the right, watching him closely.

Then she finally nodded.

Draco removed his cloak carefully before approaching Hermione slowly, his arms outstretched with his cloak held open. He felt almost like he was trying to approach a wounded wild animal, no sudden movements and keep facing forward, thank you very much.

Draco knelt down and flung his cloak around Hermione’s back, securing it at the neck while she snuggled into the warmth. Before Draco could talk himself out of it, he reached forward and ran one of his long index fingers down her cheek in an odd display of endearment. He had missed everything about her and he needed some sort of contact with her while still trying to keep himself in check.

Her eyes widened at his touch and Draco withdrew his hand quickly, worried that he had crossed some unseen line. Hermione’s lip started quivering and her eyes were quickly welling up with tears but she reached forward and copied his gesture exactly, with a whispered, “Draco?”

“Yes, love, it’s me.”

And the dam broke when Hermione let out a loud sob and threw herself into his waiting arms. Draco clutched Hermione’s shaking form to his body carefully but determinedly, he never wanted to let her go but he didn’t want to injure her, either. Draco was still crouched and Hermione was all but sitting on his knees, clenching her arms around his neck tightly, her fingernails digging into the backs of his shoulders while she sobbed hysterically into his chest.

Draco was unable to hold back his own tears and he knew he was whispering words of encouragement about her safety to his witch. He honestly couldn’t even bring himself to be embarrassed by the Aurors and his best friend surrounding them.

He was just so damn relieved to have her back.

“We need to take you to the hospital, okay love?”

Hermione nodded, not breaking her hold in the slightest and Draco readjusted her in his arms, one around her back and one under her knees, before standing up and carrying her out of the damned cell that had seen her broken in so many ways.

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