There was an incessant buzzing in her head that was slowly driving Hermione mad. Candlelight flared, flickered, and died, spearing her eyes, blinding her temporarily. She felt realization dawn on her, oozing like molasses into her tired brain, that she did not belong here in this cold and smelly room that reeked of blood and fear, pain, and sex. Her limbs felt numb, achy, yet blazed with fire at the slightest movement.
Hell, even breathing hurt and she grew concerned at the breathy wheezing gasping sounds that dropped jaggedly from her cracked and bloodied lips; then another flash of light and all concern drained away as whiteness filled her vision and then all went dark.
The blessed ignorance did not last as her failing body was manhandled roughly and cold water thrown carelessly over her shaking form. Pain bloomed to roll through her small frame, scattering all thought and reason from her. Helpless – like an animal trapped – she thrashed and howled, though weakly.
Dimly voices registered, and Hermione thought she recognized a voice or a cruel laugh. Rough, steel-like vices clamped down on her broken body and she felt even through the agony she suffered the sharp jab of a wand into her side. Fire roared through her veins, twisting the existing pain, ratcheting it to unbearable levels. Her throat tore from the force of her screams, feeling like splintered glass had been wedged into her suffering esophagus. She blacked out again, pleading silently to an uncaring universe to never wake again.
When conscious thought reclaimed her, Hermione did not recognize where she was. She knew she no longer resided in that cold, slimy pit of rape and pain and despair, but she could not identify this new location. Her body still ached, her eyes gummy from the tears wretched from her, and her mind was still fuzzy from her ordeal.
She blinked rapidly, wanting to clear some of the grime from her eyes, to at least be able to see what was happening around her. Arms, legs, ribs flared with pain when she tried to shift position, warning her not to move even minutely.
Grey stone filled her vision as it cleared slightly, and Hermione thought she saw rune work imbedded in the rough ridges near where she lay. Her breathing was labored, coming in swift gasps, dust tickled her nose, she tried, oh she tried to stifle the sneeze, but failed. Her overtaxed body seized, and her vision began to grey once more.
Then she heard, faintly at first, hard footsteps pounding towards her; the stress, the pain, and the helplessness she felt overwhelmed her and Hermione's shattered body tried to tense in fear of more harm to come. However, the pain crested over her, and she blacked out once more, but not before hearing a deep rumbling voice spit out, "Shit."
A tall brooding figure stood over the helpless heap of flesh that oozed blood and other bodily fluids over the stone floor before him. He thought the petite girl was slightly familiar but in her current condition, there was no true way to tell.
He was irritated that the ward alarms had disturbed his work, but he had never expected to see such a devastating sight greet him at the portal to his location. Men and women both had been sent to him in the past, more to test his willpower than anything else, but never in such a condition. Perhaps his enemies were upping the ante in their game of cat and mouse, or perhaps this poor girl had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they wished for him to dispose of the evidence.
The man was not unpleasant to look at, quite the opposite in fact. He was large with broad shoulders, thick biceps, hard chest, taunt stomach, trim waist, and hefty thighs. He was a healthy, virile man who had confidence in his body and mind. His blue eyes glittered with intelligence and his long hair hung nearly to his waist.
Sighing internally at the task before him, the figure gently levitated the dying girl and ushered her down the corridor to room where he could attempt to heal many of her wounds. He almost wondered if it would be better to let her die than attempt to save her, knowing she would be in for a terrifying ordeal when the full moon arrived if she lived.
But he needed the hunt and the claiming that would inevitably follow. He only hoped she would be strong enough by then to play or she truly would die by his beasts' hand.
With a gentleness that belied his large frame, the man set Hermione's barely alive body down in the large shower stall of his domain. He grimaced at the sight of her injuries, and knew he had no choice but to vanish her clothing. To make up for the indignities about to performed to heal her, he turned on the warm water to sluice her down.
As the blood, mucus and dirt were rinsed away, he felt a sense of dawning horror – he did know this frail little girl. He paused in his thoughts, she was no longer a little girl – her body's curves proved that; and she wasn't exactly frail, she was tough enough to have survived so far.
He crouched down over Hermione to check her pulse and wasn't happy with how thready it was. She needed to be stabilized quickly or she wouldn't make it. He summoned several vials of healing potions and hefted her wet body up to prop against him as he prepared to pour the vials down her throat. The man ignored the water seeping into his clothing and the feel of her soft body pressed against his. Healing Hermione was the primary goal for the moment.
Hermione's eyes fluttered open for a second, and he wasn't sure if she was coherent enough to recognize him. A faint groan left her lips and he bent closer to hear anything she might say.
Hermione groaned; her pain was fading away and she could feel warmth beginning to seep back into her bones. There was a solid presence next to her but there was no fear. Her eyes fluttered and the large shape beside her was just a blurred figure, and she sank back into unconsciousness.
A few minutes later she stirred again; wet hair was tickling her nose and she attempted to raise a hand to clear it away but was restrained quickly. Panic flared briefly but her over exhausted body couldn't sustain the feeling and she slumped back into the arms encircling her.
"Try not to move, you're still very weak. You are safe here, for now," the man told her in a gravelly voice.
Hermione managed to focus on the face before her; it was handsome and framed by long flaming red hair – hair that she would recognize anywhere.
"Bill?" she murmured weakly.
Bill Weasley looked grimly down at Hermione Granger. She was still weak and now wet from the shower. Most of her wounds had been cleaned and would need settling before much longer. He was astonished that she had recognized him so quickly with the amount of pain she must have been in.
He sighed, "Hullo Hermione." Bill was not happy to see her, considering the magical impediment placed upon him to chase his prey and destroy it. She had less than three weeks to recover enough to enter the maze surrounding them and attempt to evade him. None of the previous prisoners sent to him had survived their encounter with him.
Bill was tired of the restrictions around him but held no hope that even Hermione Granger could find a way to free them both.
Hermione sighed in relief as the last of the healing potions was poured down her throat. Most left a nasty aftertaste in her mouth, and she was glad this regime was over for the day. Considering how long she had been at Death's door, she felt pretty good.
However, she was unsettled by Bill's lack of enthusiasm in greeting her. As far as she was aware, he was still a half-Lycan unable to fully transform, and she did not understand why he was reluctant to share further details with her on his own situation. So it was with some trepidation that she looked at large man next to her when he said, "We need to talk."
The eldest Weasley paced in front of Hermione, a deep frown on his handsome face. He glared at her a couple of times before coming to a stop in front of her and staring down at the girl seated below him.
"A lot of things have changed since I last saw you, Hermione. I am no longer what I once was," Bill told her gravely.
Hermione swallowed the lump of compassion in her throat, "Whatever it is Bill, I am sure we can fix it."
Bill scowled, "No, Hermione, there is no fixing it; no fixing me."
He held up a hand when she went to protest. "Hear me out. Fenrir Greyback returned to finish what he started. I am a full werewolf now. I am healing you so you will be ready for the full moon. You have less than three weeks to be prepared for the hunt."
He turned and strode from the room, leaving Hermione stricken and speechless.
Hermione felt fear trickle down her nervous system, and she shuddered to think what lay in store for her. She was trapped in an isolated area with a full werewolf who intended to hunt her down on the Full Moon which was just days away now.
She had argued with Bill over the last week and half over the options available to them. He was adamant that his beast would take over to hunt her down; he was less sure of the outcome since he knew her while the others sent to him were strangers. He didn't know if his beast would just want to devour her as a meal or want to fuck her first. It had varied with the other prisoners, and he wasn't sure what made the difference, but he wasn't willing to analyze his werewolf behavior for her.
Hermione was frustrated, scared and ready to scream from the boredom she suffered in between her bouts of terror. Her wounds were fully healed now, and she was using Bill's workout room sparingly in the hopes of regaining at least some of her strength.
When he entered her room looking particularly feral, her heartbeat sped up and she knew her boredom was at an end.
"Bill, how can I help you today?" she questioned, hoping to fend off whatever mood he might be in.
Bill stilled at her question, and then inhaled deeply as his body seemed to swell, "Well, Hermione, you can help me in a very specific way," he growled.