Recipient: The lovely community!
Pairing(s): Rodolphus Lestrange/Ron Weasley
Word Count: 10,800
Warnings: Dub-con, non-con, humiliation, depictions of torture and blood, rough play/breath play, death (not main characters)
Summary: Ron becomes Bellatrix' prisoner, but it's her husband who takes a special liking to him.
Author's Notes: It was a pleasure writing Ron, who is one of my favourite characters but whom I don't write nearly as often as I should. I have become strangely fond of this story. Thank you to my beta, M, and to K, who was a brilliant cheerleader ♥ The title is from the quote, "Stone walls do not a prison make/ Nor iron bars a cage..." by Richard Lovelace.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter characters are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Ron felt a wave of panic before he even heard her shriek, as if he knew she'd been caught before it actually happened. Hermione. His mind replayed her name as he ran through Malfoy's house, trying to follow the sound. Her screams echoed off the stone walls of the archaic mansion, making his blood run cold. Hermione.
"Hermione!" He rounded a corner. "Hermione, I'm coming."
The sounds were now sobs, heavy with pain. Ron's vision was blurred in his haste, as he wanted to reach Hermione as fast as possible, but also dreaded to see what was being done to her.
A cackle sliced through the air, as sharp as a knife.
"Hermione, I'm coming!" He felt like he was flying down the hall. "Hold on," he exhaled.
She was lying on the landing of a stone staircase that led downward, with candlelit sconces that cast angry lines of yellow light in the darkness. Hermione lay in a heap on the floor, face down, her loose hair tumbling over her shoulders and face.
"Oh, fuck." Ron ran to her and knelt down. Without hesitation or finesse, he grabbed her shoulders and flipped her over, shaking her roughly with both hands. The weightlessness of her body - its complete lack of resistance - terrified him. "Wake up, Hermione, wake up."
He didn't even notice Bellatrix Lestrange standing only feet away, until the woman's laughter made him whip his head around in surprise. She twirled her long, black wand between bony fingers, wearing a wide grin.
"What did you do to her?" Ron yelled, still holding onto Hermione's body. "You fucking, lunatic bitch." He wanted to get to his feet and charge at her. Strangle her. He felt no fear in that moment, only an overwhelming desire to hurt the woman. He would honestly kill her, he thought, nearly blinded with rage.
If Hermione hadn't stirred in his hands at that very moment...
He looked down to see her eyes flutter open. Her face was so bleached of color, Ron's heart ached. "Hermione. Can you hear me? Are you all right?"
Hermione blinked at him, and her gaze sharpened immediately. "Ron," she said croakily.
"Yes, I'm here." He wiped her hair off her sweaty skin, pushing the whole frizzy mass off her forehead so he could see her. "God, Hermione, I'm so glad you're awake."
Hermione's brow furrowed then, and she frowned. "No. Luna."
"What?" He tried to pick her up, but Hermione winced in pain, so he laid her down again.
She shook her head. "Luna is downstairs." Her head fell toward the ominous staircase beside her. "Dungeons," she said, wincing and grabbing her abdomen, where Ron saw her robes ripped and blood seeping through her clothing. "I was on my way... going to find her."
Ron had no idea what to do with that information at the moment. Although a part of him was concerned for Luna, the most crucial thing now seemed to be to get help for Hermione immediately. Then he could think about others. His mind automatically turned to Harry. Harry had to be around here somewhere, because last Ron saw him, Harry was running down a corridor trying to find the Horcrux he thought was most definitely hidden here in the Manor. Damn those Horcruxes, and damn the Malfoys, and damn their stupid, fucking manor.
"Don't worry about your friend," said Bellatrix Lestrange, who stepped closer.
Ron pulled Hermione into his lap and turned his body, as if to shield her from Bellatrix' maniacal gaze. He reached into the back pocket of his jeans and pulled out his wand. "Step back!" he said, aiming it at Bellatrix.
She ignored him and pointed her own wand without much urgency. "I'll see to her later. But first, I'm still working on this one." A flash of light shot from her wand and hit Hermione in the chest, eliciting a blood-curdling scream.
Bellatrix didn't have to utter a word for Ron to know it was the Cruciatus. It was obvious enough in the agony written over Hermione's face.
"Stop!" Ron shot a disarming hex at Bellatrix, who only flicked her wrist to easily deflect it. At least the Cruciatus was broken, and Hermione sagged in his arms again. "Leave her alone," Ron shouted, his face hot and his palm sweating around his wand.
Bellatrix bared her teeth in a sickening grin. "Oh, you poor thing." She pointed her wand at him again. "Step aside before I force you." She smiled. "Trust me. It will be much worse if I have to force you."
"I won't leave her." Ron set his jaw against the fear that was beginning to creep in. He was beginning to feel paralyzed, because it seemed as if he were trapped, and there was no way he was getting out of this one. With all his remaining strength, which was quickly starting to drain, he swallowed and lifted his chin. "If you want to get to her, you'll have to get through me first."
Bellatrix laughed again, throwing her head back this time. "Well, that won't be very hard at all, will it?"
Ron's face burned with embarrassment, because he knew she was probably right. He was no match for Bellatrix Lestrange. No matter how long he fought, she'd eventually win.
"Let her go and... and...." He knew what he had to say, but his breath almost left him completely. "Take me."
Bellatrix put one hand on her hips, never lowering her wand, and looked down at him with twinkling eyes. "Take you where?"
Her amusement added salt to the wound, because it was taking all his guts to even make such a sacrifice, and to be belittled too was grating at his resolve. "Just let her live." His voice sounded embarrassingly broken. "Please."
Instead of laughing again, Bellatrix slowly narrowed her eyes as if there was surprising merit to his words. So, with a glimmer of hope, he took a deep breath.
"Let her walk away right now, and I'll stay in her place. And … and you can do whatever you want to me." His voice squeaked. "Hex me, torture me... kill me," he breathed, his body trembling. His eyes felt scratchy, and he blinked rapidly. "Just let her go."
Bellatrix seemed to consider it, pursing her lips in thought. "A trade?"
Ron's heart felt as heavy as lead, but he nodded once, resolutely.
She stared at him silently for a moment that seemed to drag for a lifetime, but then she smiled and pointed over his shoulder. "Throw your wand away," she commanded.
He flinched. "W-Why?"
"Just do it, or I'll kill her now."
Without another thought, Ron threw his wand over his shoulder. The moment he did it, he drew in a sharp breath between clenched teeth. "Fuck," he said to himself. What kind of an idiot was he?
Bellatrix cackled. "So impulsive. And so foolish, too. Now you have no way of defending yourself if I decide to kill you both." She smiled and held out her hand. "Luckily, I am going to keep my word... if you come take my hand."
Ron's heart pounded his chest. "Your hand?"
"So many questions." She pointed her wand at Hermione again, and Ron jumped to his feet and stepped in front of Hermione's body. "You asked for a trade," Bellatrix said sharply, impatience threading her voice, "and that's what you're getting. Take my hand and Disapparate with me, and she'll stay here. Or, I kill you both right now. Which will it be?"
"But... someone else might find her. How do I know she'll be safe?"
"You don't." An evil smirk twisted her lips. "But at least she'll have a chance."
Ron stared at Bellatrix' outstretched hand, then back down at Hermione, and he knew what he was going to do. It was the only thing he could do, really. He felt almost faint, and his heart was speeding so fast it felt like it would stop altogether, but he braced himself with whatever strength he could, and took a step forward.
Stretching his own hand out, it was like he saw his fingers reaching toward her thinner, paler ones in slow motion. Inches away, then millimeters, and he wondered if he was really going to do this... until the pads of his fingers brushed Bellatrix'. She was so powerful, that was all the contact they needed before he felt himself Disapparating away with her; to where, he had no clue.
Pain shot through his ankles as his feet landed hard on solid ground. He sucked in air through clenched teeth. Looking down, he realized he had landed on a dark Persian carpet, only a thin layer on top of the hardwood floor.
"Welcome to your new home, Blood Traitor." Bellatrix pointed her wand at him and ropes flew out of the tip, twisting around his wrists and binding them behind his back. His ankles were next, and Ron gasped as he lost his balance and hit the floor, landing on his hipbone.
"Damn it!" he said, wincing. He rolled onto his back to release the pressure on his side and found himself staring at an ornately carved ceiling. Was this her house? The room was dark, lit only by the light drifting in through an open door. He had to squint to see that it was some sort of library. A small one, though the home was obviously wealthy.
"What is this you've brought now?"
Ron whipped his head toward the source of the strange voice. He saw a tall figure in the doorway, painted black with shadow as light from the other room outlined him. It was definitely a man from the look of his posture and from the way he stood with his legs slightly spread, if the baritone tone of his voice hadn't already given him away.
"He's not a Mudblood," Bellatrix said, "but he's possibly worse. Which is why it'll be even more fun to play with him."
Ron felt himself being yanked to his feet by the rough pull of a spell. He stood looking at Bellatrix with his breath coming short. The cloud of snarly curls framing her face, and the harsh shadows emphasizing the peaks and valleys of her sharp bone structure, made her look like some sort of feral creature.
There was no telling what she would do to him. Most likely, it would be bad. But what, and for how long, were two questions that paralyzed him. Most likely, it would hurt.
"Look at him," she said, striding closer. "I've never seen such an ugly" step "little" step "blood traitor."
Her nose almost touched his, and Ron looked away from her eyes, his cheeks burning. How was it her words stung more than her wand?
"He's frowning, Rodolphus. I think I've hit a nerve."
Ron refused to meet her eyes, staring hard at an armchair behind her.
She cooed, bringing her fingernail to trace along his jawline. "Poor thing." He jerked his head away, and she laughed softly in her throat. "He's probably scared."
"I'm not scared!" It was the first time he looked back at her, and all he saw was humour in her eyes. Still, he set his jaw and repeated more resolutely, "I'm not scared." Damn, but his voice cracked. She wasn't fooled.
"Don't blush, Blood Traitor. It makes you even more hideous."
Ron felt himself blush even more, despite himself, and a sick rush of shame gnawed at his chest. He hated her for making him feel this way. "Fuck you," he gritted out.
"That ghastly red hair," she continued almost maniacally, "that pallid complexion, and those revolting, dirty spots on your face. I bet they're everywhere. I bet they're all over that skinny, little body of yours, Blood Traitor."
"Shut up!" His heart pounded, almost propelling him forward in its own rage, and he swayed a bit before catching himself. Her laugh made it so much worse.
"Let's see, shall we?"
She brought her wand over her head and aimed it at him, releasing a flash of purple light. Ron felt cold, and he looked down to see himself naked. He shrieked and fell backwards, smashing his head against the floor in a sick thud that blinded him with stars. His eyes itched again, and he blinked.
"Oh, no, you don't," Bellatrix said.
A spell lifted him again, and he was held there on the spot, naked. Tied up. Humiliated. All the while, her high-pitched, gleeful laugh pounded in his ears.
"Isn't he just hideous, Rodolphus?"
Ron blinked harder, faster. He was right about his treatment: it did hurt. Just not in the way he'd expected. And if he were honest with himself, he might have preferred the other.
The man from the doorway strode into the room lazily, as if this whole scene bored him but he had nothing really better he could be doing. Ron didn't want to look at him, he wanted to look at the floor and pretend it was swallowing him up. He only saw the man's long, pointed boots.
"Isn't he?" Bellatrix asked again. "Or should I say, isn't it? This monstrosity?"
Something - maybe a twisted sense of pride - made Ron feel worse looking at the floor, so he raised his eyes to the man, challenging him to say, yes.
Rodolphus Lestrange was thick-set, with wide shoulders and the stance of a man with too much muscle, who took up too much room. His wife looked dwarfed next to him, though he was only a bit taller than Ron himself. His hair was dark and seemed to be a little past shoulder-length, pulled back and away from his face.
He didn't agree with Bellatrix, nor did he disagree. He only stared at Ron with what looked at first like a blank expression. Though Ron noticed something in his eyes the longer he held them, and he found he couldn't look away. He was almost relieved Lestrange wasn't speaking, though there was something more unsettling in his firm gaze.
"How long are you going to tease the boy?" Lestrange asked his wife without taking his eyes off Ron.
"Oh, don't worry," she said, circling Ron's body like a vulture and twirling her wand in her fingers - a habit that Ron was beginning to apprehend. He swallowed as the tip of her fingernail bit into the skin of his back as she rounded him and returned to face him. "The Dark Lord needs me." She tilted her head toward Ron. "I think I shall save him for later."
At least it was a bed, Ron thought. Seriously, this was the bright side. Keep thinking of the bright side. It could be worse. Much worse. But this wasn't too bad. He was spread-eagle on a bed. A soft bed.
A trickle of sweat slid down his forehead, and his mouth twisted violently when a desperate sob threatened to escape him. But he forced his face to relax and held it in. This was nothing. It was just a bed.
His wrists hurt where the leather cords dug into his skin. His ankles, the same. He pulled with all his strength against the binds, his biceps bulging in his effort; he thrashed his body off the mattress, turning either which way. Nothing. Of course, nothing. He would bloody his wrists if he kept at it like that. But a wild panic overtook him, and he tried again, more harshly this time, pulling and twisting and shouting out loud from the fruitless effort of it all.
He stilled again, breathing deeply to steady his racing heart.
The bedroom was dark, like the rest of the rooms he'd passed through. Ron wondered if the house ever saw sunlight; the windows were draped thickly, and he somehow doubted it.
A creaking sound made him jump, momentarily tightening the cords around his wrist, and he turned toward the door of the bedroom. It was slowly opening, revealing Rodolphus Lestrange. Ron stilled and set his jaw.
Lestrange walked a few paces into the room, his eyes widening slightly at seeing Ron, who suddenly felt more aware of his nakedness. Ron wished he could close his legs, but as it were, his entire body was on display to the strange man in front of him. Every single bit - the sensitive bits. Lestrange's eyes lingered there, making Ron's skin prickle uncomfortably. He wanted to disappear down into the mattress as he, in many ways literally, wilted under the scrutiny. Lestrange continued to gaze over Ron's body silently, his nostrils flaring at an intake of breath.
Lestrange seemed to have to tear his eyes away to look up at Ron's face. He pulled his bottom lip into his mouth fleetingly before coming closer, stopping millimeters from the foot of the bed. His hand came up and rested on the edge, his fingers delicately playing with the wrinkles in the sheets. He wore a thick ring over his finger with a large opal stone that gleamed white under the candlelight.
Ron looked him in the eyes with as much defiance as he could muster. His voice came out shakier than he'd have liked. "What do you want?"
"I was curious to see what she'd done with you." Lestrange took a few steps closer.
"Why?" Ron spat.
Lestrange shrugged. "I'm curious about all her guests."
Ron looked up, scoffing at the ceiling. "Of course. Typical she's kidnapped others. Brought them here to..." His voice faltered as he looked at Lestrange, finding it difficult to actually say the word. "... to-torture." He pulled on the cords binding his wrists. "Has she tied them all up, too, then?"
Lestrange simply quirked his mouth in a humourless smirk. "Yes."
Ron blinked. "Oh. Great," he mumbled. "Just brilliant." With a frustrated sigh, he looked away into a dark corner of the room.
"Mm. Bellatrix is fond of having house guests."
Ron's heart suddenly felt heavy, and sick with fear. It was hard to bring his voice above a whisper. "What'll she do to me?"
"To be honest, I'm not exactly sure."
"You're not sure?" Ron raised his eyebrows. "How can you not be sure?"
"I don't often care enough to watch."
Ron scowled as an irrational pang of anger struck him. "Can't stomach it, eh? What kind of a Death Eater are you?"
Surprisingly, Lestrange smiled. "No, I'm just not interested."
"She usually brings back girls."
Silence fell upon them as Ron stared at Lestrange curiously, letting the meaning of his words fully sink in.
"You're a poof?"
Lestrange tensed visibly, straight through his shoulders and down his fingers, which paused their caressing of the bed sheets.
"But... You're married."
Lestrange's lips thinned, and his face adopted a more closed, defensive look.
"I mean..." Ron swallowed and spoke up rapidly. "Maybe not. You don't look like a poofter, that's not what I meant. You're much... you know... manlier." Lestrange's face turned menacing. "Not that there's anything wrong with being a poof..." He trailed off in a whisper.
A loud bang sounded from the corridor outside the bedroom, and Lestrange frowned. "She's back."
The words sent a shiver over Ron's bare skin. Every soft click of heel made his muscles tense in dreadful anticipation. He stared unblinkingly at the open doorway, into the pitch black corridor beyond.
The footsteps became louder, and soon, Bellatrix' messy head appeared. Her face was cast in shadow, barely illuminated by the weak light in the room. Though, her wicked grin was clear as day.
"Ah," she said with a sigh, "my new pet. I have been anticipating coming home to you."
She did not spare her husband a moment's glance as she dashed right past him and hopped onto the bed, making it bounce under Ron's body. Her arms crawled around his torso, and her knees crawled into the space between his parted legs. Her wild hair fell into Ron's face, and he gagged at the sharp smell of sulfur. God, she was the fucking Devil.
"Get off me!" Ron thrashed his hips up and twisted his whole body from the right to the left and back again, over and over. He was stronger than her - he was all muscle, and her frame was probably half the width of his - and he almost managed to topple her to the floor.
With a strong grip in his hair, she managed to stay on top of him, laughing at his screams as his scalp burned. Her joy was written all over her face.
"Oh, you are going to be a fun one." She aimed her wand at him and smoothly said, "Crucio."
A scream tore through Ron that left his throat raw. It was over quickly, but he shivered violently afterward regardless. The aftershock of such intense pain left him already a little weaker.
She traced a finger over a line in his forehead, and he didn't even have the energy to twist his head away, still panting. "You're sweating." She put her finger into his open mouth and pressed it to his tongue, and he tasted a hint of saltiness.
Thrust back to his senses, he bit her hard.
"OW! You little bastard!"
Again, the Cruciatus. This time it felt longer; even a handful of seconds longer was like a lifetime. When it stopped, Ron lay there with his eyes shut tightly and wondered how he had managed not to pass out. He opened his eyes to see hazy shapes that slowly sharpened into recognizable objects, and his vision drifted past Bellatrix, over her shoulder, to Lestrange still standing by the doorway. He stared at Ron and Bellatrix with a rigid set to his brow, unblinking and still. Ron wanted him to move; to leave the room, to say something, to come forward and edge his wife on. He just couldn't stand, for some reason, Lestrange doing nothing but frowning.
Bellatrix leaned in to speak slowly and deliberately into Ron's ear. "You. Disgusting. Boy." Ron's heart thumped; had she just read his mind? "I almost don't want to look at you. I want to burn these spots right off your face." She grabbed his chin firmly between her fingers and lifted his face up, forcing him to look at her.
Ron winced. "No..."
She smiled, and it was disgusting. "I think it will be an improvement." Her wand's tip traced a path over his rib cage and down his side.
Ron became frantic, the idea of burning suddenly the only thought on his mind. "No, no, get off." He began to twist, ignoring the rope that numbed the skin of his wrists and ankles. "Get off me." She jabbed the tip of the wand painfully into his side. "Please!"
"What would you do to get me to change my mind? Hm? Would you tell me where your little friend, Harry, is hiding?"
Ron faced away from her, trying hard to fight the heat on his face and the damn, itchy tears building in his eyes. "Oh, fuck..." His heart raced so fast, he thought he'd never catch his breath. "Fine." He inhaled deeply and screwed up his face, shutting his eyes tightly. "Do it. Just... do it."
"Get on with it. Go ahead." He held his breath, waiting for the sharp pain of the burns she promised.
He did not dare open his eyes to see her expression, but she did not respond for a few seconds. "All right," she said finally, voice low. "We'll start with the face."
Ron let out a sort of whimper and scream in one, waiting for the burn to come.
"Oh, leave him alone, Bellatrix," came Lestrange's deeper voice.
Ron had forgotten Lestrange was there. Tentatively, Ron opened his eyes and saw Bellatrix' body twisted around as she turned back to look at Lestrange, who was suddenly much closer to the bed than Ron remembered him a minute ago.
Bellatrix snorted. "You are so predictable." She turned back to Ron, a scowl on her face now. "But aren't all men? No matter what their proclivities." She slid off him and off the bed. "Your friend would not have been as lucky as you are."
Ron had no idea what she was on about, he was just fucking amazed she had got off him. He almost couldn't believe it, and he watched with wide eyes as she walked to the door.
She paused and turned to her husband, who looked down at her only by lowering his eyes. "At least get him out of my room, will you?" she spat before stomping past him.
Lestrange stared for a moment longer at the empty spot where she had been, then raised his eyes to meet Ron's.
"Where are you taking me?"
Lestrange's grip on Ron's bare arm tightened, and he tugged to force Ron to keep up. The house was small, and it wasn't a moment before Lestrange led him into the library they had Apparated into earlier. Lestrange walked a few paces inside with Ron, pulling him along, and then shoved him away as if Ron disgusted him.
His mouth twitched in a frown, and he clenched and unclenched his fist, staring down at his left arm. "Stay," he commanded, then turned abruptly, the hem of his robes billowing slightly.
Ron stepped forward. "Wait."
With a swift motion, Lestrange whipped around and shot a spell at Ron, propelling him across the room until he toppled over onto a claw-footed loveseat.
"Ow, fuck." Ron rubbed his lower back where pain had bloomed the instant he hit the wood trim of the armrest; he sat on the sofa, unconsciously spreading his legs while arching to reach behind himself. Lestrange was staring at him.
Ron closed his legs, and it occurred to him to be embarrassed. His bits were hanging out in full view, and Lestrange had got an eyeful. A wave of modesty almost crushed him. Lestrange must have sensed it, because he looked up into Ron's eyes with a slight start, and then he turned again and rushed to the door.
"Wait," Ron called again, though much more quietly, and he did not get off the sofa to follow Lestrange this time. "What's happening?"
Lestrange slammed the door shut. There was the unmistaken clicking noise of a lock.
That spurred Ron to get up and run to the door. He pounded on it with both fists. "Wait! Wait! Come back!" From the first pound, something snapped in him, and he found he couldn't stop. He pounded relentlessly, punching the wooden door until his fists felt bruised all over, and even then he continued to ram his whole body against it. His shoulders and arms ached, but the pain released seemed to release his fear like steam from a tea kettle, a ringing in his ears whistling angrily as he migrated from the door to the furniture. He knocked a candle lamp over with his forearm, and grabbed the edge of the side table upon which it had been perched overturning it. Something about the clattering and smashing noises was soothing, and he smashed more things around the small, claustrophobic room, and he felt it becoming airier as he went.
As quickly as it started, his energy seemed to leave him altogether. Ron fell into the petite loveseat once more, this time trying to catch his breath. His cheeks and neck felt hot.
It was then he noticed the windows. He let out a sharp laugh at his own stupidity for not having thought of it earlier, and he ran toward one of the two windows. It's curtains were thick, and he thrust them aside. It was raining, but for some reason, the rain drops weren't hitting the window pane. Ron's heart fell as he recognized the workings of a charm - his mother placed water-repellent charms over their drafty windows all the time in the Spring.
Slowly, he placed a spread palm over the glass, and huffed bitterly. It wasn't even cold.
Through the downpour outside, like a sheet of water, Ron saw faint movement. His heartbeat picked up as he realized people were walking around outside.
"Where the fuck am I?" he whispered, staring so intently at the glass he imagined it might shatter. This place was small enough and posh enough to be a row house, and the fact there were people walking the streets confirmed it for him. He was likely in a city. Maybe London. He looked around and saw boring, old furniture. Nondescript, really. On one of the tables, there was a folded newspaper. Ron picked it up, surprised the Lestrange's actually gave a damn what was in the Prophet, when he realized it was a different paper altogether. His brows furrowed as he read the headlines. It looked like a Muggle paper.
He set it down, his mind whirring. Why did the Lestrange's want to read the Muggle news? Was there a reason for it - did Voldemort need information? Ron decided he needed to get the hell out of this house, first and foremost.
There had to be some clues as to where he was. The only other row houses he'd seen were the ones on Grimmauld Place.
His heart felt weighed down at the thought of his friends. He felt like he was living in a strange, suspended universe inside this house, and he suddenly felt the sick press of claustrophobia all around him. His naked skin felt all too warm, and he pressed his palms harder against the window pane.
"Hey!" He pounded the glass. "Hey, out there!" Pound, pound, punch! "Anyone. Someone. Help me!"
The nearest, most solid thing he could grab ahold of was the side table he had only just overturned. Ron picked it up, judging its weight, and then grunted as he lifted the surprisingly heavy piece of furniture above his head. His biceps strained, but he held it steady and aimed it, then chucked it.
"AH!" He covered his head with his arms and ducked only a split second before the table came whizzing back at him. It hadn't even touched the window pane before it was repelled back by a whoosh of magic that Ron felt himself.
"Buggering fuck," he breathed, staring wide-eyed as the table crashed loudly into the opposite wall, causing a large, thickly-framed equestrian painting to clatter onto the hardwood floor. Ron winced at the mere effect of the noise.
Then he heard another noise, like a low pounding from somewhere in the room. He stood stock still, his heart beating madly. Calm down, he told himself. It's probably one of their bloody house-elves.
Quick footsteps from outside the room made Ron turn his head to the door. Which swung open a moment later to reveal a bewildered-looking Lestrange.
"What the hell are you doing in here?" Lestrange asked softly through clenched teeth.
Ron blinked, then turned his head to look at the fallen painting. A tall, electric table lamp had ripped straight through the canvas and stuck out at an odd angle. The side table's leg had broken off, a splintered fragment of which was lodged into the wall.
Ron turned back to Lestrange, and suddenly became aware of himself, crouching naked on the floor. He hastily stood up, although he realized this revealed him quite a bit more, but he would rather stand with a red face held high than be cowering on the floor.
Lestrange exhaled loudly through his nose, his mouth thin like it had been in Bellatrix' bedroom. Their bedroom. Whatever the hell.
"Get over here now," Lestrange said. He pointed in front of him.
Ron's jaw twitched, and he almost said no, before moving out of impulse to stand next to Lestrange. Or was it out of nervousness? He didn't want to think about it. Until a tightening in his stomach told him, You great, stupid prat! He'll be taking you to some sort of torture room now where he'll tie you up again, or be giving you back to his crazy wife for punishment for breaking that table. And that painting. And the wall. Before he could stop himself, Ron groaned aloud.
Ron clenched his jaw. "Do not laugh at me." Bastard.
The amusement did not leave Lestrange's face even as he regarded Ron more seriously, gazing down over his body. His eyes lingered long moments in one place before moving to another; over Ron's chest, his clenched fists, and even lower...
They were roughly the same height, although Ron felt much smaller in that moment. He felt a raging desire to punch Lestrange and level the playing field.
"Stay here and don't make any more noise," Lestrange growled.
The thought of being alone all night in that tiny, stuffy room made Ron antsy. When Lestrange turned as if to leave, Ron found he didn't want him to.
"Don't go. I..." He exhaled hard through his nose as he attempted to gather his jumbled thoughts. "What's going to happen to me in the morning?"
Lestrange raised an eyebrow. "Bellatrix will most likely have forgotten you by then."
Ron's lips parted as he stared in confusion. "What does that mean?"
With a tired sigh that Ron was not expecting, Lestrange relented and walked to the loveseat. He plopped down and sat with his legs spread wide, and one arm spread along the back of the sofa. "It means she'll find some other sad Muggle to play with."
Ron set his jaw. "I'm not a Muggle," he said, standing a little taller.
Lestrange looked at him with a slight intensity in his stare before saying, "I know."
The ensuing silence was uncomfortable, and Ron looked around awkwardly. He shifted on his feet. "And what's going to happen to me?" he asked again.
"I don't know." Lestrange blinked once, and then schooled his features into a cold, controlled mask. "And I don't care."
Ron narrowed his eyes and pinned him with a stare of his own. "You didn't let Bellatrix... you know. Do that to me."
A muscle twitched in Lestrange's jaw. He stood up and then began to walk toward Ron.
Ron didn't move - barely even breathed - as the man came closer, suspended in a discordant mix of anticipation and fear. Rodolphus came so close, Ron could see the stitches in the man's robes. He reached out, and Ron watched his hand approach until the pads of his fingers connected with his arm. Lestrange's touch was surprisingly warm. He traced his fingers up the firm muscle of Ron's bicep.
"And mar this beautiful skin?"
Ron was frozen in place, his skin tingling where Lestrange touched him. His hand made a path over Ron's shoulder.
"It seemed like such a shame."
"But you're..." Ron trembled. "... married."
"I thought you'd figured me out." His hand traced over Ron's collar bone.
"Huh? Oh. Right."
"Tell me, boy," Lestrange sighed. He laid his hand flat against Ron's chest, his palm covering hard muscle and Ron's sensitive nipple. "What is your name?"
His voice came out more softly than he'd have liked as he answered, "Ron."
Lestrange's eyes searched his face. "And tell me, do you have a girl waiting for you?"
"Er..." Ron was sure Lestrange could feel his heart pounding in his hand. "Not sure. I suppose it's complicated."
Something lit up in Lestrange's face. "Complicated? How so?"
"I wouldn't tell you, for one."
Lestrange smirked. "Does she play with your cock?"
Ron's jaw dropped just as an overwhelming pang of lust hit him, which he fought to suppress. Lestrange caressed his chest, and Ron wondered if he could sense his discomfort.
Lestrange's smirk was wide and menacing. "Like this," he said, and his other hand moved to Ron's groin, one finger tracing up the length of Ron's shaft.
Ron made a nonsensical croaking noise in his throat.
"If you like, I can steal you away for myself. I know I would like that very much."
Ron's mind reeled with the implications, and his head felt like a whirlwind, too confused and mixed up to reply. He wished so badly that his first instinct would have been to outright refuse, but he made no move to stop Lestrange from continuing to stroke up and down his cock. One finger. Teasing. Maddening. His body felt so warm and good.
His mind finally caught up, and he furrowed his brow. "Wait, stop." He stepped back, but Lestrange grabbed his cock in a firm grip, and Ron groaned even though it mildly hurt.
"I can force you, you know," Lestrange whispered. His wand was suddenly at Ron's throat, and Lestrange hissed, "Imperius."
Ron swayed on his feet, taking a step back to keep his balance.
His mind was being intruded by a foreign feeling of calm happiness. Ron tried to hold on to the few wisps of defiance left in him, but they slipped away every time he got close. Next thing he knew, he wanted to kneel.
His knees hit the floor, and he felt accomplished.
Lestrange's fingers traced his lips.
Open your mouth.
Ron parted his lips and Lestrange's index finger slipped in, pressing against Ron's tongue.
Suck my finger.
Ron looked up into Lestrange's eyes, and a prickle of wariness shot through his mind, but only for a second. It was squashed almost instantly by the other presence - Lestrange's presence. Ron continued to look at him as he closed his mouth around his finger, sucking hard at the rough skin.
"See what a good pet you can be?" Lestrange said, in a tighter voice than usual. He sighed, and then, "You could be this for me."
Blood flooded Ron's cock.
Lestrange put another finger in, and Ron sucked them both, saliva dribbling to his chin. A third finger, and Lestrange wiggled them and moved them in and out, playing with Ron as he watched him with a self-satisfied smile.
Suddenly, his complacency vanished, and Ron felt as though he'd just awoke from a dream. His mind unfogged, and he was sharply aware of what he was doing. Fingers, sucking, knees... He blushed and pulled his mouth away. He blushed harder when strings of his saliva connected to Lestrange's fingers. Ron roughly rubbed his face clean with the back of his hand.
"Bastard," he whispered.
Lestrange grinned and began walking to the door. "I assure you, I am a much better Master than she is."
Ron looked down and faced the most distressing thing. He was still hard. Shame swept him, because no one could make someone hard with the Imperius.
Ron woke up from a scream in the hall. He stilled on the loveseat, where he was curled up around a cushion. Silence, then...
Another scream. It was a girl's voice.
Ron's mind immediately flashed to Hermione. Had Bellatrix gone back to Malfoy's place and found her? Had she caught Harry as well? What had happened to them?
He got up and tiptoed to the door, trying the heavy handle. It didn't budge, damn it. The only thing left to do was press his ear against the wood. Nothing. He peeked through the crack in the doorframe, but nothing was visible. Finally, he plopped down onto his stomach and closed one eye, peering underneath the door.
The hallway was empty, but the glow of a faraway light emanated from Bellatrix' room.
The poor girl. He was petrified it was Hermione, although logic told him it probably wasn't. Still, Ron jumped to his feet and began to pace the room, back and forth in front of the door as though it were the entrance to the Room of Hidden Things. What killed him was that he could do nothing to help. Go nowhere. He was trapped. Possibly for the first time, he felt the full weight of being a prisoner. It was devastating to feel this helpless.
Another scream, this time less muffled. It tore through Ron's resolve, and he lunged at the door, pounding it mercilessly.
Footsteps, then the door handle twisted in front of Ron's eyes, and the door opened. Lestrange scowled at him.
"Want to come watch?"
"No!" Ron put his hands flat against Lestrange's chest and pushed him. The man was all muscle, but he fell a few steps out of the way from the sheer force of surprise. His hands clasped Ron's arms, but Ron twisted and grunted, moving past him and out the door. "Fuck... off!" Ron gritted out, his face hot with exertion.
Lestrange chuckled and pushed Ron face-first into the wall of the hallway. Ron's nose slammed into it, pain blooming white behind his eyes. He brought his hands up to cover his face.
Lestrange squeezed Ron's hips with strong hands that would surely bruise him. "I love that," he growled hotly against the skin of Ron's neck. Lestrange's lips tickled the tip of his earlobe, sending shivers through his body.
Then, Ron felt something huge... pressed against his behind. He knew exactly what it was - his entire body knew, and burned.
Lestrange jerked his hips, pressing it further against Ron's arse, and Ron whimpered quietly against the wall. "You're gorgeous," Lestrange said. "I want to -"
He was cut off when another scream tore through the air. Now that he was in the hall, it sounded crisper and more agonized to Ron's ears.
"What is she doing to her?" Ron screamed.
"I told you she'd find another pet," Lestrange said rapidly. "A girl this time, just as she likes. She's left you to me."
"I'm not your pet," Ron spat.
Lestrange turned Ron around with ease, slamming the back of his head against the wall as if Ron was nothing but a doll. If he was anywhere near the mindset, Ron would be impressed by his strength, but all Ron could think about was...
"Is it Hermione?" He felt dizzy for a moment. Too many slams to the head.
"Who the bloody hell is that?" Lestrange asked almost lazily.
Ron scowled. "My friend, you sick fuck." He roared, "Tell me."
"Let's go take a look."
Lestrange grabbed him by the hair, and Ron winced and shut his eyes as he was dragged to the doorway of Bellatrix' bedroom. Ron was almost afraid to open his eyes.
"Well?" Lestrange asked, shaking him once. "Is it her?"
Ron slowly squinted, and then his eyes widened and his heart nearly stopped. The only good thing was that no, it was not Hermione. If it had been, he thought he might have fainted on the spot.
The poor girl, whoever she was, floated in the air. She was bleeding from the scalp. Her matted, bloody hair was strewn across the floor. Bellatrix grinned at them from the bed, where she leaned against the headboard and crossed her ankles, as relaxed as on holiday.
Ron gagged. He was glad when Lestrange pulled him away.
"Not her," Ron breathed as he let Lestrange maneuver him further down the hall. They entered another bedroom. It was larger than the last, but decorated in much the same style. Ron looked around. "Yours?"
"How'd you guess?" Lestrange dumped him onto the bed. Ron's heart beat furiously, and he couldn't get the gruesome images out of his head. Lestrange quickly solved that by adding, "And now, I have you to myself."
Ron's eyes snapped to him. "No."
"You don't tell me, no." Lestrange cast a spell, and Ron's wrists flew together behind his back, bound by magical ropes. "You tell me..." Lestrange gripped Ron's chin and lifted his face. "...yes, Sir."
Ron jerked his head away. "Fuck you."
"Yes." Lestrange got onto the bed, straddling Ron's body, and pushed Ron onto his back.
"Get off me." Ron felt himself begin to sweat. His hands were pressed into the mattress underneath him. He felt helpless. Trapped. God, but his damn cock started to twitch.
Lestrange undid the clasp of his robe, and Ron looked on more eagerly than he wanted to admit. Lestrange pulled the robe off and tossed it away, revealing broad shoulders and strong chest, covered in dark hair. The fabric of his trousers rubbed Ron's hips as he leaned over Ron's body. His ponytail fell over his shoulder as he looked down at Ron, the end of his straight hair caressing Ron's cheek.
"Are you scared of me, Ron?"
Ron swallowed. For some reason, he told the truth. "Yes."
Lestrange grinned. "Why?"
The scent of musk and sweat made Ron dizzy, and he laid his head down into the mattress feeling warm and compliant in a way he didn't quite like. He whispered, "I don't want to die." Lestrange looked like he wanted to roll his eyes. "And I don't know why you're doing this."
"Isn't it quite obvious?" Lestrange pressed his lips to Ron's neck, sucking hard on his skin.
"Ah..." The tingles sped lower. "Your wife said it herself." His muscles tensed as he physically recoiled from the memory. "I'm not the most attractive of blokes."
Lestrange lifted his head and looked at Ron incredulously, a deep frown pulling his lips. His tone was serious as he said, "She's a fucking imbecile." Ron blinked, not even flinching as Lestrange's finger came up to draw a line down Ron's cheek. "I want to have you." He traced Ron's jaw line.
Ron didn't know if he was supposed to feel revolted, but he only felt hotter.
"You're so young." He grabbed Ron's throat in one hand, and Ron tilted his head back to ease the pressure; to breathe. "I want you."
Lestrange undid his zipper with his other hand, and although Ron could not see his cock, he felt it. It was heavy and hot against his thigh, and he inhaled sharply. He felt its wetness as Lestrange rutted his hips; the slippery length of his rubbing everywhere - against Ron's leg, his hip, his own cock. All the while, he struggled to breath under Lestrange's bulk and his hand, which still squeezed Ron's throat.
His vision blurred and his head became light. His cock softened. He couldn't breathe.
Lestrange might have sensed his struggle because he let go, and Ron finally inhaled deeply. He looked into Lestrange's eyes and saw they were unfocused. His cock ground into Ron's, sliding with precome, and Ron felt himself harden again almost instantly. The sensation was just so smooth and pleasurable and...
Hot come shot onto Ron's skin while Lestrange grunted deep in his throat, like some sort of animal.
When he was finished, he fell on top of Ron like an anchor, knocking the wind out of him and pinning him to the mattress. Ron was still hard, and he squeezed his eyes shut and tried to quell his erection. He thought of how scared he should be, and how Lestrange had nearly strangled him. It didn't work. Lestrange's body was hard and warm, and Ron just wanted to rut up into it.
He lifted his left leg and wrapped it around Lestrange's thick thigh. His trousers were still on, which was even better because Ron's cockhead brushed the heavy cotton, and Ron moaned.
Lestrange growled deep in his throat, raising his head from the crook of Ron's neck to look at him. "You want it, now, don't you, pet?"
Ron's voice caught in his throat, but he managed to force a pathetic-sounding, "No."
Lestrange dragged him to the head of bed where he laid Ron against the pillows, and because Ron couldn't use his hands, he let him. It was so comfortable and warm in Lestrange's embrace, he spread his legs without thinking. Lestrange's hand was on his cock immediately. Fingers spread his own precome around and around the head of his cock, dipping into the slit for more. Lestrange's sticky load was drying on his lower stomach. Ron felt dirty and kept.
"I'll take care of you much better than she will, pet," said Lestrange's deep voice in his ear. As if to demonstrate, he played with Ron's bollocks, squeezing them lightly in his slicked palm. They fit well in his large hand, and it felt so good, Ron shut his eyes and rode the waves of pleasure coursing through his body. He felt his orgasm build, peak, and then he turned his head away from Lestrange and screwed up his face to keep from making any noise...
Lestrange's hand gripped his jaw, forcing Ron to look back at him. Ron opened his eyes and caught Lestrange's gaze. His hand massaged Ron's cock firmly one more time, then he said, "Come, my pet." And Ron came, flushing with embarrassment all over his cheeks, neck, and shoulders, his whole body hot and desperate. His jaw dropped and, never breaking eye contact, and Lestrange's hand still holding his head still, Ron let out a strangled noise as his cock twitched to completion in Lestrange's fist.
"More," Lestrange said, his gaze turning hungry. His eyebrows drew together sharply, and he continued to pump Ron's sensitive, still-hard cock until Ron convulsed all over and arched his back off the mattress. Lestrange was milking more from him, and Ron could do nothing but take it, trapped as he was in Lestrange's hands... in his bed. Then, out of nowhere, another attack of pleasure gripped him more frantically than the last, his vision turned white, and he shouted helplessly.
It was over quickly. Ron whimpered as the pulling turned painful, and he shut his eyes as tears wet his eyelashes.
Finally, Lestrange let go of him, and Ron cried out in relief.
He felt like he'd just been drained of all energy. His entire being felt heavy. His eyelids felt heavy. He let himself lay there, regaining his breath.
A painful ache woke Ron up, and he jumped with a start. Lestrange's room. He remembered. With a sigh, his heart began to beat normally again, and he lay back against the pillow. The room was much brighter than before, with sunlight battling through the heavy drapes, though it was still supremely gloomy.
The ache again.
"Oh, fuck." He realized his hands were numb, prickling painfully, and his wrists were sore.
With some effort, Ron rolled onto his stomach.
Heavy booted footsteps came closer, and Lestrange's voice sounded from the door. "Mm, what a nice visual first thing in the morning."
Ron turned his head to try to look at him, but Lestrange was directly behind him. Ron realized his arse was in full view.
"Untie my hands," he demanded.
Rough hands ran up his thighs. "Why?"
Ron hated the heat that assaulted him from the touch. He scowled, more at his own body's betrayal, and said, "They hurt, you bastard, that's why. I've been tied up all night."
"Do you promise not to run?"
Ron snorted. "Where would I go?"
Suddenly, his wrists snapped apart, and he almost sang his relief. Until...
He felt his arse being spread.
"What..." Ron breathed hard. It was a strange sensation, having his arse cheeks spread wide open and knowing his hole was right there. Visible, and open to the world. "What are you doing?"
He didn't get a verbal answer, but he felt Lestrange's nose and mouth and stubble in a very sensitive place, and he buried his face in the pillow as his cock hardened .
"Why can't I just eat it myself?" Ron asked.
Lestrange smirked and held the purple grape in front of his mouth. He teasingly drew the wet fruit across Ron's lips.
"And why - mm." Lestrange popped the grape into his mouth. Through chewing, Ron asked, "Why do I have to be tied up again?" He pulled on the binds that tied his hands way up over his head, spreading him out even as he sat against the headboard. Between feeding him, Lestrange ran his fingers through the light hair under Ron's arms. Ron was sure Lestrange just enjoyed seeing him twist and squirm in his binds.
"I haven't had a man in bed with me in a long time."
Ron watched Lestrange's features soften and take on a far-off look. It was loneliness.
The thing Ron hated most was that he actually felt bad for the man. Lestrange was like a prisoner, too. In a marriage he never wanted; in a society that didn't understand; in this dark, cold house...
He said softly, "More, please."
Lestrange raised his eyes to look at him, and Ron parted his lips and let his mouth fall open. A devious smile stretched his lips. "Does this mean you accept?" he asked as he fed Ron another grape.
Lestrange narrowed his eyes, but he continued to look amused. "My ownership of you. Of course."
Ron choked on the grape, coughing for moments. "Not quite."
Lestrange pinched his nipple, and Ron hissed. Holding onto it and twisting, Lestrange said, "I could force you. You've seen how. I could force you to live forever in that state. To drool at my word."
Ron winced, his cock hardening.
"And you like it," Lestrange whispered.
"I've told you before, I'm no one's pet, all right?"
"No. Not all right."
Suddenly, Ron's arms fell down, but he still couldn't move them. He couldn't move anything. Lestrange levitated him off the bed, and Ron couldn't even speak to ask him what the fuck he was doing. He could only float behind Lestrange as he led them out the bedroom and down the hallway. He pushed a door open, and Ron saw Bellatrix sitting at a polished mahogany dining table.
She was leaning back in the chair, her feet up on the glossy wood. When she saw them come in, she raised an eyebrow.
"What is this?" she demanded, like they were interrupting her. Though she did watch Ron with mild curiosity.
"A show." Lestrange released him of the spell, and Ron fell to his feet with a grimace.
Lestrange grabbed both his arms and pushed Ron face-first against the edge of the table, bending him over. Ron stared straight into Bellatrix's face.
Panic choked him, and he struggled, though Lestrange was obviously stronger. He used his weight to pin him.
"Get off me!"
"You want to see what it will be like?" Lestrange's voice was amused. Cruel. "I had hoped you'd give in, but since you want it this way..."
"I don't want it any way!"
"Well, you're getting it."
Lestrange undid his trousers, and his naked thighs brushed Ron, the hair coarse against Ron's legs. Bellatrix leaned closer, her elbows on the table. The neckline of her top was low, and her cleavage spilt over. Closing his eyes, Ron swallowed down the sick feeling in his stomach. They were both of them perfect for eachother.
"I think it's his first time, Rodolphus," Bellatrix said with glee. "He's petrified."
Ron clenched both fists and banged them down on the table. "'M not scared."
Bellatrix threw her head back and laughed, and he scowled at her.
"Go ahead, then!" Ron said, squeezing his fists so his arms wouldn't tremble. "I'm not scared of either of you." He squeezed his eyes shut, bracing himself. "Do it."
"You heard him," Bellatrix said. "He wants it, Rodolphus. He wants your cock up his tight, virgin arse."
Ron's head swam. He was going to get fucked. And Bellatrix was going to watch. It was actually happening.
Lestrange spit, and Ron felt it on his arsehole. Warm wetness, dripping. Then, he smacked Ron's arse with his flat palm, and Ron winced at the sting. Bellatrix's cackling filled the air.
Something pressed against his arsehole - something big and hot. It felt like the wrong place for it, but the thing didn't stop. Lestrange pushed his cock in, slowly, until Ron's hole felt like it would rip apart. It was too small, and his cock was too big, and it burned with only the minor bit of spit as lubricant. Ron knew this was not going to be good. He was being punished. He was paying for not complying and being the good, obedient little boy Lestrange wanted.
Ron cried out as the ring of muscle was breached, and his arse clenched around Lestrange's cock.
"Is he tight?" Bellatrix asked.
Lestrange grunted. "Unbelievably tight."
"Stretch him open."
Lestrange pulled out a torturous inch, and then pushed in hard.
Even the small strokes were torturous. It felt like his cock was scraping through Ron rubbing small tears into Ron's insides.
Lestrange leaned over Ron's back and whispered, so close to his ear Ron doubted his wife heard, "It could have been good."
Ron's mouth twisted, and he spat, "Except it could never have been good with you."
Lestrange paused. He dug his fingernails into Ron's shoulders, making Ron shout. Then, he was merciless.
Ron didn't know how long it lasted, but it felt like hours. The continuous, dry pounding had him screaming in no time at all. He didn't even care to feel embarrassed any more, because all he felt was terrible pain. It stung, and Ron could tell he was bloody, the open wounds inside him ironically lubricating the way.
"Oh, fuck! Not now."
Tears soaked Ron's skin, puddling around his cheek and mouth where the side of his face pressed into the table. He moaned low in his throat, then screamed again when Lestrange pulled out.
Bellatrix moved around the table. "I was getting bored of this anyway."
"You might have been."
Ron stood still. He didn't know what was happening. They were leaving.
From the corner of his eye, he saw their watery figures moving around the room. Bellatrix pulled on a black robe that had been hanging over a chair, then she Disapparated. Lestrange's big, bulking person paused in the doorway, and he itched his left forearm. Then he passed through.
Ron held his breath, trying to hear Lestrange's movements, but he was too far down the hallway to make out. He must be in his bedroom. After a minute, Ron heard his pop of Disapparition.
Then, the house was silent.
Ron blinked through his tears. He took deep, steadying breaths, braced his elbows on the table, and attempted to haul himself up.
He screamed and fell back down on his chest.
As he caught his breath and geared for a second try, he heard a muffled thumping. His first thought was that Lestrange had returned, but Ron knew it wasn't him. The Death Eaters wouldn't leave Voldemort's side once they'd been called.
The thumping continued.
Ron remembered hearing similar pounding last night, in the library. He had thought it to have been a house-elf. There was something ominous about the sound that told Ron it wasn't a house-elf, and he needed to find out what.
With supreme effort, and much pain, Ron managed to get himself to his feet. Putting one foot in front of the other made his backside burn. He was afraid to touch himself, but he had to know... so with shaking fingers, he tentatively reached behind himself and touched the pads of his fingers to his arse cheeks. He didn't need to explore further to tell it was bloody. His fingers came back red.
For some reason, the whole thing made him angrier than he'd felt since being here. He set his jaw and grimaced through the pain of walking. When he got to the hallway, he stopped and reached out to steady himself against the wall.
"Hello?" he shouted.
"Was someone there?"
He was beginning to lose some of his confidence, a creeping feeling of unease entering him, but then he heard it again. This time louder. It was a pounding noise, and it came from the library.
Ron hobbled to the room and stood among the wreckage he had caused yesterday. The weak sunlight that now permeated the house made the whole place feel somehow harsher than it did at night.
In a corner of the room was a little door Ron had not noticed when the room had been dark. It looked like the type of door, small and unassuming, that would lead to a linen closet.
"Hey! Is someone here?"
The pounding sounded from the door, and Ron walked to it. He stopped outside it and just looked at it, afraid to know what was on the other side. He placed his hand on the wood.
Pound, pound, pound.
Ron jumped and pulled his hand away. He had felt the door vibrate beneath his fingers.
"Ho...hold on," he said, much less evenly, and swallowed hard. "I'll get you out."
He tried the handle. Of course, it was locked.
Ron looked around for something, anything he could break down the door with. His best option was a large, brass bookend on the bookshelf nearest him. He reached over and pulled it down, and it weighed heavily in his hand. Ron lifted it, then slammed it down against the handle.
It took a few tries, but the lock broke, and the handle hung from the door at an unnatural angle. This time when he tried it, it opened.
The door creaked slightly, and Ron held his breath, feeling his heartbeat in his ears. With a sharp inhale, he threw the door open.
"Bloody hell," he breathed.
Inside the small cupboard, curled up on the floor, sat an elderly lady with grey hair. Her bun was disheveled, and her clothing was rumpled, and a band of rope held her wrists together in front of her. Her mouth was covered by a gag.
Ron knelt down, ignoring the protestations of his aching body, and reached for the cloth gag.
"God, hold on." He pulled it down, and the woman inhaled harshly through her mouth. "My God..." he said again in disbelief. "Who are you? How long have you been in there?"
The lady opened her mouth, and nothing but a croaking noise came out. Ron suddenly realized she could have been in here for days, possibly without food or water.
Then it hit him like a brick. The busy street, the paper, the lamp...
He stared at the lady, whose eyes were dulling by the second, and whispered, "This is your house, isn't it?"
She blinked, then turned her head, and Ron followed her gaze to the bookshelf. Her voice was so soft.
"Pull the blue book. Servant's way." She looked at him, and her eyes sharpened for a moment. "Get out."
Then she became as still as a rock, her eyes and mouth open.
Ron stared at her, his own mouth gaping. Then he gagged and turned away, crawling across the floor until there was enough distance between him and the closet. He didn't even know how to feel - sad, horrified? All he felt was pain and urgency.
He stood up and stared at the bookshelf. Blue book.
There were about twelve of those.
He started pulling every blue book within his reach. A large, thick one on the third shelf. It just toppled to the floor uselessly. A thin blue book on the sixth shelf that Ron had to stretch to reach. That one also fell, its pages fluttering on its journey to the floor. With a horrible feeling of panic, Ron growled and started pulling books down at random - blue or not blue. He nearly emptied the third shelf altogether, then started on the fourth.
Finally, he pulled a book that wouldn't come out. A large, midnight blue volume that looked like an encyclopedia. It made a clicking noise and tilted out from the shelf.
Before his eyes, a panel in the wall moved. Ron was so surprised, he laughed. Behind the wall was the narrowest of passages.
Ron stepped through so fast, it took the cold stone against his bare feet to remind him of his nakedness.
Better naked than here.
Then he thought of something, and turned, leaving the library and walking down the hall as fast as he could bear.
The door of Lestrange's wardrobe was already open. So he had come into this room, to get his black robes.
Ron pulled out the first robe he saw hanging, and he slid his arms into it. It was baggy and the shoulder seams hung down his arms. The fabric smelled like him. The hard cotton even reminded him of Lestrange, and Ron hesitated before clasping the robes. He looked at the bed. The sheets were undone, exactly as they'd left them.
Ron grit his teeth and turned away; the pain deep in his body brought him back to what he needed to do.
All the way through the passage, Ron inhaled the familiar scent, then hugged the robes close to him in the chilly wind outside.