Chapter 9: And the Cycle Completes…

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Chapter 9: And the Cycle Completes…

Hermione’s whole body was aching.

 Her scalp was burning from repeated painful hair pulling.

Her eyes stung from constant crying.

Her lips were bruised from forceful kissing.

Her throat hurt from prolonged screaming and her limbs were numb from brutal beating. She couldn’t move them an inch.

But none of those pains were equivalent to the one she felt between her thighs: the place that bled due to loss of innocence.

She lied motionless on her side in the Malfoy Dungeons, too tired to even open an eye after the vengeful encounter with Draco Malfoy. There were other occupants in the dungeons: Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange.

“Your handiwork is perfect, Draco.” Bellatrix praised her nephew after observing her captive’s condition, “Especially the blood between her thighs looks so deliciously temping. I guess she was a virgin.” She licked her lips, “Greyback had been requesting me for the Mudblood. I guess this sight will arouse him beyond anything.” She let out a high pitched maniacal laugh.

“Let’s have her dressed, aunt.” Draco’s voice came from his stand in a corner. It was strangely empty.

“Why be so shy, dear nephew?” Bellatrix mocked him mercilessly, “You just violated her, didn’t you? Besides, it is more fun to torture naked victims. Crucio!” without giving anyone a moment’s notice, she pointed her wand at Hermione and cried.

Hermione’s nerves were too taut to feel any kind of physical pain. Like Moody’s spiders, she writhed in silent agony as Bellatrix subjected her to Cruciatus Curse again and again and again. Why didn’t death just come and take her? She would welcome it now.

“Enough Bella!” Lucius voice whipped in the air, it was authoritative. “We need her alive and sane for the Dark Lord. He will be needing her to question about that Potter’s whereabouts.”

Bellatrix lifted her curse reluctantly. She kicked Hermione on her bare stomach.

“I will come back later, darling Mudblood.” She cooed sickly sweet. “But before I leave, I would like to bestow a gift upon you, something that will remind you who you really are.”

She stooped and lowered her mouth over Hermione’s almost lifeless left hand. Her tongue licked a tender spot over the forearm and after a second Bellatrix bit her flesh like a hungry animal.

Unable bear the inhumane torture any longer, Hermione screamed this time and tried to pull her hand away from the maniac’s vice like grip. But Bellatrix ignored her and continued biting. 

It went on for what seemed like ages. Hermione screamed and screamed and screamed until her voice was too weak to even squeak. It echoed around the cold walls of dungeon and was magnified manifold. She thought of Ron, she thought of Harry, she thought of her parents, and Professor McGonagall; those who could save her from this hell; but there was no one to listen and come to her aid. They were not here. She was completely alone and only a few hours from death when Voldemort returned and started questioning her about Harry Potter.

“Look at your new signature!” Bellatrix licked blood off her lips and held Hermione’s bloodied forearm before her unfocused eyes; “It says…” she examined the writing in the wand light, “…Mudblood.” She let out another maniacal laugh and dropped Hermione’s hand with utmost neglect. It landed on the floor like a dead twig.

“Lucius!” Bellatrix’s head spun at her brother-in-law’s direction as she stood up, “Call your elves and tell them to clean this mess. Then take this Mudblood to the other prisoners in the cellar.”

Lucius clapped twice and two house elves appeared immediately. They were on filthy rags and bowed deeply to him.

“Master?” their trembling voices echoed and reached Hermione’s ears.

Lucius pointed a long nailed firm index finger at the motionless and bloodied Hermione lying on the floor. “Clean that Mudblood.” he spat at the elves. “…dress her. Then take her to the other prisoners, vermins.”

The elves bowed obediently again and proceeded to take care of Hermione. Handing her roughly, they started cleaning her wounds and after it was done, repaired her torn clothes and dressed her in it.

“Draco, do you think Potter will come to save his Mudblood?” Bellatrix asked her nephew, watching the elves work from the corner of her eyes.

“He should.” Draco replied curtly, sounding disturbed and left of his place in the shadows. “I am going to my room.” He declared, “I need to clean this muck.” he indicated the blood that was smearing his groin.

“But your seeds are inside the Mudblood’s womb!” Bellatrix teased him, sounding delighted. “There can be no higher honour for her. After all, they are pureblood seeds.” she said proudly. Draco did not respond and left the dungeon without a backward glance at the woman lying on the floor.

The elves finished dressing Hermione, who was, by that time, too weak to think who might be her prison mates. Then in the click of a finger, they brought her in a dimly lit cellar and dropping her like a rag doll, left.

Hermione curled herself into a ball and lied motionless. She heard footfalls approaching her but she did not care. Nothing mattered anymore.

“Hermione?” a voice asked in surprise.

“Luna?” Hermione opened her eyes and saw the vague outline of Luna Lovegood who she knew was abducted monthes ago. “So they brought you here?” she commented, too weak to even think properly.

Luna nodded and sat beside Hermione, looking relieved to meet a familiar face after such a long time. “But how come you are here?” her eyes roved down Hermione’s crumpled form.

Hermione sighed, “Long story.” It was strange. She has never felt so helpless and defeated.

“Are Harry and Ron here too?” Luna asked, looking terrified but Hermione shook her head. “Water, Luna, water!” she asked instead.

“Yes, of course!” Luna looked mortified to not have considered the point, “I am sorry I did not think that you might be thirsty.” she went to fetch some water. “Here!” She brought a medium sized pitcher and set it on the floor before Hermione. “They don’t give us goblets. So we drink directly from this.” she indicated at the pitcher.

Hermione sat up with difficulty and brought the pitcher to her lips, her hands trembling. She tried her best to drink without spilling water on her but her hands were too weak and her throat, too dry.

Luna eyed Hermione with concern. Somehow her always carefree attitude was absent now. As Hermione put down the pitcher, she reached for her left forearm,  her aim being to touch the scar that proclaimed ‘Mudblood’.

Hermione’s eyes absentmindedly followed Luna’s hand’s movement. “Don’t touch me!” she withdrew her hand as soon as Luna’s reached hers. In the coldness of the dungeon, her warning sounded unnecessarily sharp.

Luna withdrew her hand and sighed deeply. Hermione gulped down some more water, only for the sake of doing something with her mouth. She had no interest to know if there were other prisoners in the cellar or Luna was raped too.

They remained silent for a long time. Then Luna spoke.

“They will not know about it, Hermione.” She said simply.

Hermione looked at her companion, a new fear gripping her heart. Surely Luna has not guessed what happened to her? No! No, she didn’t! Hermione wouldn’t let it! No one should ever know what that Malfoy did to her! Not even upon her death!

“What are you talking about?” she asked Luna, her tone accusing.

Luna smiled. It was strangely sad and didn’t really match her usual carefree features. “You know what I am talking about, Hermione. But I promise I’ll never breathe a word to a soul.”

Hermione’s body went rigid. Luna knows! Luna knows! Oh Merlin! “How do you know?” she asked, tears silently streaming down her cheek.

“It’s simple.” Luna replied quietly and came closer to Hermione. She ran an earth covered hand over her disarrayed curls and for some inexplicable reason, Hermione didn’t flinch away. “Your aura has changed, dear. It has increased. It’s brighter now.”

Hermione stared at Luna in utter disbelief. Has Luna finally lost her mind? It was one thing to say that Nargles or Crumpled- Horned Snorkacks existed and it was another to comment that the aura of a violated female body has increased.

Hermione was brought back from her reverie as a small body shifted against hers and she looked down at her sleeping son.

Her son: Adrian Thomas Granger! The child born from the precious seeds of Draco ‘pureblood’ Malfoy that was planted on her Mudblood womb on that fateful day!

Hermione knew now what Luna had meant that day. Her aura did change because a new life was already taking its form inside her body at that moment.

For a long time, Hermione watched Adrian sleep. He was snuggling against her and his small chest rose and fell rhythmically with each breath he took, unaware of the truth about what had happened to his mother and how he came to be.

Apolline had discovered Hermione in her bathroom earlier that afternoon, soaking wet under cold water and screaming hysterically. She had fainted soon afterwards and they called their family Healer, Monsieur Jonas, who had given his patient a strong dose of Calming Draught and a Stress Reliever. Adrian had stood on the doorway, watching with round eyes as his mysteriously sick mother was nursed back to health. Hermione took her supper and went to bed early. She was calmer now but awake and reliving the unholy events that took place in the Malfoy dungeons more than six years ago.

She saw him at Gringotts today. The arrogant teenager was now a full grown and even more arrogant man. He was dressed in all black and Hermione, though not wanting to see him ever again, couldn’t help but notice a wedding band on his left ring finger. His silvery blonde hair had grown longer, now touching the nape of his neck. He was taller now and leaner. Hermione still could feel the power of those muscles when he had beaten her mercilessly and forced himself on her. There were some scars that never fully healed, no matter how hard one tried.

Eventually Harry and Ron had saved her, Luna and the other captives from the cellar with the help of Dobby the House-elf, who perished at Bellatrix’s hand and succumbed to death on the shores beside the shell cottage.

Hermione sighed and pushed the thoughts of Harry or Ron on the back of her mind. It was a past that she has left behind. Her life was her son now, her Adrian.

•••••

Draco had spent his first week in France by visiting famous Parisian landmarks, The Louvre Museum, The Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. His uncle’s family, his aunt and cousins, had accompanied him and Narcissa to all those places.

Paris was a city full of life and the more he scoured the city, the more he felt how very lonely he was. He would see couples clinging to each other, hugging and kissing and it would remind him of his wife, Astoria. He would see families walking on the streets, fathers with their sons held securely in their arms and mothers clutching their daughter’s hands, and it would remind him of his Scorpius. He could have been here too, carrying his own son in his arms, laughing and kissing his wife Astoria.

Ten days after his visit to Gringotts, Julian decided to take Draco to Musée d’Orsay or Orsay Museum. Compared to Louvre, Orsay was relatively young and housed the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world. Draco was not interested in paintings but he had nothing to do at the Château. Time was dragging by and he has already visited Ruelle Les Halles on pursuit of ingredients for the Headache Potion, which he brewed for Audré two days ago.

Julian was in an exceptional good mood as he apparated Draco and himself to their destination. Seconds later, they appeared in a quite alleyway and Julian showed him the museum building. It was glowing by the morning light.

“Orsay museum was originally a railway station called Gare d’Orsay,” He started his usual history lesson and Draco stifled a yawn. “It is on the left bank of the Seine and mainly  holds French art dating from 1848 to 1915, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography by world famous Muggle painters including Monet, Manet, Renoir, Cézanne and Van Gogh.”

They spent the rest of the morning and afternoon in the museum. Like a reluctant student who had no option but to listen to his teacher’s boring lecture, Draco followed his cousin from one painting to another.

“Julian, sorry but I am getting confused.” Draco finally lost his patience around midday. “I don’t know all these Muggle painters.” He rubbed his eyes wearily.

“Point taken.” Julian smiled and nodded, as if understanding Draco’s silent trick to leave him be. He had all the usual Malfoy traits except for the silvery blonde hair. His hair was dark, like his mother Audré’s was. “Let’s go home then. It’s lunchtime.” He said, checking his time piece.

Draco shook his head. He wasn’t feeling hungry at all. All he needed was some fresh air and solitude so that he could clear all these lectures on painters and paintings from his head. “No, thank you. Is there any other place where I can spend some time alone?” he asked Julian.

“Well,” Julian let out an exasperated sigh and ushered Draco to the exit. “…there is Tuileries Garden, just across the river Seine.” He seemed to let go of the hope of a hearty lunch, “Let’s go.”

“No.” Draco stopped Julian. “I don’t want to be escorted every single place I go.” he said firmly.

“Are you sure?” Julian probed Draco, careful not to annoy him. “This is your first time in Paris.”

“I am not a kid.” Draco snapped irritably. This was downright insulting. What was his uncle’s family taking him as? “I am fluent in French and it’s been weeks since I came here. If I want I can apparate back to Château. Thank you.”

Julian did not press the matter further. He showed Draco the way across the Seine to reach the Tuileries and waved him goodbye before apparating away.

Draco started walking on the pavement to reach his destination, the famous Tuileries Garden.

•••••

Hermione was leaving for her Belgium tour tomorrow morning with Adrian, Gabrielle and her friends, Eva and Edmound.

After her last encounter with Draco Malfoy almost ten days ago, Hermione had been trying her best to forget it. She was keeping herself busy in shopping at Muggle and magical markets alike, searching books on Cursed Diamonds at the magical section of National Library of France and packing for their upcoming holiday to Belgium. In between her busy schedule, she had bought tickets for Thalys. It was an international high-speed train which ran between Paris and Brussels. Everything was perfect. Everything was set. Draco Malfoy couldn’t reach them there.

The most enthusiastic person in the whole Delacour Residence was, undoubtedly, Adrian who had been running around the house from the morning and questioning everyone about Brussels. By midday, he was making such uncharacteristic racket that Hermione found it very hard to pack her bags. So she Flooed Eva after lunch (Gabrielle was still at the Delacour apothecary) and asked her to take Adrian to nearby the Tuileries Garden. The kid loved to sit there and draw.

Eva, who has already visited many places with Adrian, was more than happy to comply. She assured Hermione that she’d take great care of her precious son and would never let him out her sight. She and her brother Edmound had already packed their bags and she had nothing to do for the evening.

Hermione almost had to wrestle her jumping son in a pair of jeans, a red and white striped T-shirt and a matching blue cap to protect his delicate eyes from sunlight.

“Now little rabbit, be a good boy and never leave Aunt Eva’s hand.” she kissed her son tenderly, “Don’t talk to strangers or eat anything they offer. Okay?”

“Okay, Mama.” Adrian squealed and tilted his head sideways.

“Don’t worry, Jean.” Eva rolled her eyes at her friend’s default advice. Hermione always did that, even thought she knew that Adrian wasn’t that fool to talk to strangers or eat anything they offered him.  Eva took the boy by his little hand and left the house for the Tuileries.

Hermione returned to her packing. She had just two hours to finish it before Adrian returned from his afternoon excursion.

•••••

Draco spent his after afternoon walking inside Tuileries garden aimlessly. The place was vast and he was soon lost in his thoughts. He did not even notice when he left the garden and reached the street outside.

Astoria had always wanted to visit Paris. She called it ‘the city of love’ and had asked Draco to take her to Paris for their honeymoon. But Lucius had interfered, reminding Draco of his French aunt. Draco had chosen Italy instead. He had a farm house in Tuscany and he would never forget their honeymoon there.

Remembering those golden days of his life, Draco sighed. What an irony!

Now he was walking on the streets of Paris and staying at the same French aunt and her family’s home and Astoria was dead and gone. He failed to fulfill her one wish to take her to Paris. Draco felt a sense of guilt fill his heart. It was Astoria who had to suffer for his father’s nonsense prejudices.

“OUCH!”

Draco was brought to his senses by a sudden thud and a loud cry of pain. Startled, he looked around for the source of the sound and after a few moments of frantic scrutiny of surroundings, realized that it was coming from a small boy who lay at his feet, rubbing his eye.

That boy, as he would find out in next ten minutes before Eva came and took him away, was his son, Adrian Thomas Granger.