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Warning: Dark fic, reference to rape (non-graphic) and character death, violence
A/N: This one has been in my mind for many months and I finally had to write it. I'm sorry! Not sure if it's any good, but I feel better letting it out. Now I need lots of happy fluff!

Originally Published: September 27, 2004

They should have known better. Dumbledore had told Harry and Ron repeatedly to stop focusing on Malfoy, that he wasn't the great threat they seemed to think, but neither of them would listen. When they'd received information about a meeting Malfoy had set up with Deatheaters during a Hogsmeade weekend, they had wasted no time making arrangements to find him and obtain proof he was a bad guy. They never suspected the quiet Slytherin who informed them of the clandestine meeting, Harry and Ron not even knowing his name.

She knew him, Zabini, an intelligent but silent presence in several of her elective classes. Harmless and rather attractive in an understated way, he'd never hexed them nor had he called her a Mudblood during six plus years at school. That had been enough to earn Harry and Ron's tentative trust, that and a promise to get Malfoy and prove their theory of the blond wizard's evil intentions. Hermione had been more hesitant, but she had finally relented because she could rarely say no to Harry or Ron and knew they needed her.

He told her she was beautiful.

When they arrived at the clearing, finding it empty with no signs of Malfoy or a meeting of any sort, Zabini had moved behind her, whispering the words in her ear. She'd quickly turned to face him but she hadn't been fast enough. She didn't even have a chance to scream a warning to Harry or Ron before they were surrounded by Deatheaters. She'd heard Harry cry out her and Ron's name, reaching for her wand to try to help them. The wand had been knocked from her hand, falling to the ground, useless. Zabini had grabbed her, his arms like steel around her struggling body, and then everything had gone dark.

When she woke, she had hoped it was all a bad dream, a nightmare, and that she would find herself laying in her bed at Hogwarts. Instead, she'd woken to find Zabini touching her, his bright blue eyes intense and glistening with intentions that scared her even more than the thought of facing Voldemort. She'd tried to fight him, scratching his face and pushing against his body, but he was too tall, too strong.

His hand had gripped her wrists painfully as he had slapped her, his other hand holding her throat as he warned her to play nice. She continued to fight when he ripped her robes open, tearing her shirt and bra, hand on her breast, squeezing painfully. Cursing him and trying to kick him, bucking to get him off of her, wanting to get free before he did what he obviously intended.

Teeth biting her neck and breasts. Material ripping as he removed her skirt and knickers, his nude body pressing intimately against hers. She'd screamed when he'd stolen her virginity, pain consuming her as he entered her dry channel, tears silently falling down her face as he slapped her again for being too loud. He'd entered her over and over, eyes a bright blue as he said the most horrible things about her body and what he planned to do to her, what he had been planning for years. By the time he had found his release, she had been staring blankly at the ceiling, hoping he would kill her after he was finished using her body, but she'd still resisted giving up, struggling as much as her sore and broken body allowed.

Her wrists were bruised, her cheek baring his red handprint from the painful slaps, her lips bloody and swollen, finger marks around her neck, her breasts bitten and sore. A mixture of blood and semen was dripping from between her thighs. Tears covering her cheeks, her eyes dull and confused. Her mind had been in shock that this had happened to her. She had known there was risk of death, imagining that her end would be met fighting beside Harry if it was her time to go. Rape, though, had never entered her mind. Death would have been a release from the horror of Zabini using her body for his own needs, taking her innocence and ripping her apart. After he was finished raping her, he had stayed buried inside her, simply smirking as he touched her face.

He told her she was beautiful.

He raped her another three times that night. Her body bruised and bloody, covered in his release. Her arse ripped open, her jaw aching from having him inside her throat, the area between her legs so sore she couldn't close them without cringing. He wasn't the silent Slytherin as he took her repeatedly, telling her dreadful things about the future that awaited her, telling her horrible things about the fate of her friends. When he had finished with her the fourth time, he'd pulled her behind him as they left the room, her eyes on the floor as he dragged her through a dark hallway. Her body was nude, covered in his stench and blood, her legs so weak she could barely walk.

They entered a large room, Deatheaters all around. He'd pushed her to the front of the crowd, forcing her head up. She had gasped when she had seen Ron, funny and sweet Ron, on his knees with a Deatheater taking him from behind and another in his mouth. He was covered in blood and bruises, barely staying on his knees as they ripped him apart, another man wearing a mask hitting him with Crucio and laughing. They were all laughing. She'd felt her spirit gain strength as she struggled forward, Zabini's arm around her waist and his laughter in her ear as he reminded her that she was helpless.

He'd entered her again, forcing her to watch Ron's rape and torture, tears falling down her cheeks as her best friend was taken over and over, screaming as they continued using him. Zabini told her that she was his reward for giving Harry to his Dark Lord, that she belonged to him, a present from Voldemort. He told her that she needed to be a good girl or she would replace Ron, that he'd give her to the Deatheaters. Only, they would treat her even worse than Ron because she was nothing but a Mudblood whore. He'd come as Ron had died, semen dripping down her leg as her best friend, the first boy she'd ever kissed, had let out his last breath. The Deatheaters had tossed his body to the side, laughing as they kicked him away like he was nothing more than rubbish. Zabini had bitten her neck, his hand tightening his grip on her chin as he forced her to watch, warm breath in her ear.

He told her she was beautiful.

What they did to Harry was far more horrific. Zabini took a seat, forcing her to sit on his lap and watch them rape and torture Harry, his length within her as he bruised her breasts. It had gone on for hours, all of them taking turns with her best friend. His glasses broken and laying on the floor, his hair covered in their release, blood dripping down his legs from his arse. They knocked his teeth out with the ferocity of the assault on his mouth. Cursing him, hexing him, raping him. Hours and hours of his screams in her ears joining with their laughter.

He had finally stopped screaming when he was too hoarse to speak, but they continued using him. She had watched in horror as Voldemort moved to her fallen best friend and raised his wand. It was then that Harry had raised his head, turning it slightly and looking straight at her. He'd given her a gentle smile and whispered Survive waiting until she mouthed I promise before his head had fallen back down. A bright green light had filled the room, tears running down her cheeks as Zabini had cheered along with the other Deatheaters.

In the days, weeks, months since, she had refused to die. When it was unbearable, the pain and misery threatening to consume her, she heard Harry's voice in her mind. Survive. His last wish before his death was for her to survive and she was damn well going to do her best to honor that request no matter how horrible and painful. She couldn't give up.

Survive. Survive. Survive.

Zabini raped her constantly, using her body and bruising her, loving to make her bloody, but she never allowed him to rape her mind. She ignored his words, her tears withheld until he was gone, not wanting to give him the satisfaction of tears. Staring at the ceiling as he took her over and over, ignoring the pain as he used things on her and pushed them inside her with a gleeful smile. Building an endurance to Crucio as he cursed her with the dark spell while taking her arse, happily telling her how tight it made her as the pain hit her body. She rarely left the room, though he forced her to accompany him to the meetings with his Dark Lord.

Crawling behind him, her body nude and bearing the scars of her days as his playtoy, covered in his release and blood and bruises because he rarely allowed her to bathe, preferring to see his marks on her. He forced her to sit beside him and listen as the Deatheaters and Voldemort discussed the capture and death of so many of her friends, the Order refusing to give up despite Harry's death. They found it amusing, the stubborn resistance that continued despite the death of the Boy Who Lived. He would make her take him in his mouth at these meetings, wanting to show everyone what a good little pet she was, listening to the other men say things about her and her body and what they'd happily do to her once he got tired of her. His hand always possessively tangled in her thick brown hair as he gloated about his reward, never letting anyone else touch her.

When he'd have a private meeting with Voldemort, he left her by the chair, no one daring to touch her even without his presence because she was a reward from their Dark Lord and touching her without permission would be facing his wrath. She never looked at them, staring dully at the floor as she fought the impulse to just give up and die, missing Harry and Ron, not able to sleep without seeing their deaths and hearing their screams. Sometimes, she would imagine fingers gently brushing through her hair and a whisper promising her that he would save her, that he would get her out.

Survive. Survive. Survive.

Hermione finished making the mark on the wall, her fingers tracing the sixty-two lines that told her how many days she had been there. It was becoming more difficult to focus on Harry's voice in her mind or the whisper she imagined promising her rescue. She was barely alive, fed only when Zabini could use the promise of food to force her to do things, taking delight in having her permission instead of simply raping her, believing that it hurt her worse. He enjoyed giving her books, making her talk to him about the subjects as he raped her, trying to break her mind as well as her body.

Survive. Survive. Survive.

He had no idea that she had been broken the moment Harry had died. In that instant, her world had fallen apart. The rapes and beatings, the threats, they had not taken away her fight, her struggle for freedom. Watching Ron and Harry die had killed her, too. She was existing because it was Harry's wish for her to survive, but she had given up the hope of being rescued weeks ago. The Order could do nothing against Voldemort without Harry, every attack claiming the lives of more and more friends. Soon, she would be alone. Zabini's reward until he was tired of her. She would then be given to the Deatheaters that had killed Harry and Ron, used by them until she was welcoming death.

Even the whispers in her mind about being saved no longer gave her hope, knowing that it was pointless to dwell on such things. Zabini owned her, her life and death in his hands. He could kill her at any moment, and she was unable to fight him at all. She wasn't worried about him killing her any time soon, though. He took too much delight in owning her, raping her and trying to break her. She wouldn't be given away until he was tired of her, bored with his games, unable to think of new ways to torture her body and mind.

Hermione let her hand fall from the wall, her eyes looking away from the marks, her arms wrapping around her thin body as she rested her chin on her knees. Her hair was tangled, the unruly curls matted with Zabini's release and grime, framing a face that was now far too thin. Her eyes were dull and lifeless, any spark gone from them weeks ago. Her lips were chapped and bloody, her cheeks bruised, lines beneath her eyes that illustrated her lack of sleep. Her breasts were covered in bite marks and bruises, the nipples sore and swollen, not quite as full as before due to the drastic loss of weight that had her ribs visible beneath her skin and had caused her hipbones to stick out in a horrible way. There were scars on her back and stomach, reminders of some of Zabini's more painful games.

It hurt to breathe. She thought that he might have broken her rib the previous evening when he'd beaten her, angry that she refused to speak to him. He loved cursing her but he also enjoyed using his fists, claiming that she should enjoy it because it was the Muggle way, something that should remind her of home. The home that had been burned to the ground not two weeks after her capture. He had been there, had killed her parents himself, forcing her to watch the pensieve that vividly detailed their torture and deaths.

She was so tired. Pain was a constant emotion that had almost become comforting, a reminder that she was alive. When the door opened, she didn't look up, knowing it was Zabini, preparing herself for whatever game he wanted to play this time. She heard the door slam shut, finally looking up, eyes widening as she saw the desperate look in his eyes. Scrambling off the bed, she ignored the pain and soreness as she moved before he could finish the curse. He followed her, his wand aimed, his intent obvious.

Survive. Survive. Survive.

She refused to die without a fight. She had endured so much to keep her promise to Harry and wasn't going to just meekly be killed. Death would be a welcome release from the pain and torture and rape but she couldn't break. Not now. It was painful to walk, her body lacking the strength to carry her too far. Her back hit the wall and she slowly slid down, her eyes not leaving Zabini's approaching figure. He smirked as he raised his wand, beginning the words of the curse. There was a bright flash of green light that caused dots to appear in her eyes, blinding her as she heard a body fall.

She was huddled in the corner rocking slowly as she waited for the killing curse to hit her. Instead, strong arms wrapped a robe around her nude body. She felt herself being lifted, crying out in pain as her rib was touched. The hand quickly moved lower, tightening his grip on her and pulling her against a broad chest. Words were whispered in her ear, familiar, telling her that she was going to be okay, that he wouldn't let anyone hurt her again, that she was safe. Her eyes were unseeing as they left the room that had been her prison for over two months, stepping over Zabini's lifeless body and walking down the dark hallway.

Hermione became aware of noises as her vision began to clear. Shouting and the hiss of magic was in the air as they entered the large room where Ron and Harry had been killed. Turning her head slightly, she looked up and found pale gray eyes looking at her with emotions she didn't understand. Confused, she looked away from him, seeing bodies of Deatheaters laying around the large room, others captured. Her breath caught when she saw Neville standing over Voldemort's body, his wand clenched tightly in his hand. She was carried through the room and outside, the cool night air washing over her for the first time since she'd been caught.

Looking back up, she moved her hand over his cheek, wanting to know that this real and not just a dream. He spoke softly, the whisper from her mind, sitting down and keeping her in his arms as his fingers gently moved through her hair. Tears silently fell down her cheeks as she realized that she was free, that he had saved her as he had promised. She slowly started to understand what had happened, realizing that he was a member of the Order when she heard Dumbledore's voice telling them that it was over, that Voldemort was gone.

He held her gently, careful not to hurt her, his hand moving along her cheek, his thumb brushing away her tears. His eyes looked into hers, respect, admiration, and something else in their pale gray depths as he told her that it was over, that she was safe, that she had survived. She clung to him, feeling safe in his embrace, safe for the first time in months. She hurt so badly, her body broken, scarred, and abused, but she finally felt alive again. Harry and Ron were gone, so many others killed during the War, but she had survived. The loss would never be forgotten, the memory of their deaths fresh in her mind even now. The time she had spent belonging to Zabini would never fade away, changing her in so many ways, but she was alive.

Hope began to push away the dull look in her eyes, sadness for the lives lost, happiness that she had fulfilled her promise to Harry. She had survived. Looking into his eyes, she traced the lines of his face, unable to speak, to thank him, to ask him why, a struggle just to breathe much less talk. There was time for questions later, she decided as she relaxed into his comforting embrace, feeling safe and secure as he gently brushed her hair while waiting for a Mediwitch to exam her. His voice soft as he spoke, his words causing her to smile for the first time in sixty-two days. A very faint twisting of lips, but a smile none the less, as the words became real and not a taunt, meaning something that would be discussed when she was healed and able to think about such things.

He told her she was beautiful.

The end.