Miri (mieronna) wrote in riddle_gifts,
Miri
mieronna
riddle_gifts

Exchange FIC for Jamie2109: The Changeling

Recipient: jamie2109
Author: archon_mentha
Title: The Changeling
Characters: Voldemort, Ginny, Draco, Harry (Pre-H/D, but only if you want to read it that way – this is gen.)
Rating: R for violence
Warnings: Torture
Summary: The Dark Lord knows how to get the most out of his people.
Author's notes: Thanks to F. for all of the hand-holding! I hope this is what you were looking for, jamie2109!


The Changeling


Lord Voldemort

He felt it when Dumbledore finally died. Felt it like the pain of forming his own body, or the pleasure of feeling Nagini's soft breath when she sang sweetly into his ear. He felt it like the first bites of food that had both sustained and burned, until he had learned that his food was now better swallowed whole.

He would expand to consume the world. The plans were nearly complete.

One piece left to set into place, one who required only the proper motivation. Only seventeen and so much accomplished; it spoke well of the Malfoy bloodline. The boy still had his weaknesses, surely, but they could be easily overcome.

"Bring the boy to me," he hissed, and Nagini slithered away sullenly, disappointed. She loved Malfoy's scent and had looked forward to tasting his pale and pointed failure.

Lord Voldemort smiled serenely. There was always more hate for a blood traitor, more reason and rage to learn how to use. Under his guidance, Malfoy's sensitivity would become an asset rather than a liability.

*

Ginny

Every time she closed her eyes she saw her home, shabby and cheap, lived in and loved and wonderful – but now her mind always cast it in the green light she hadn't seen when they'd stolen her, blindfolded, in the middle of the night. Her mind painted the image in the light of the word she'd heard so clearly: Morsmordre.

What bothered her the most, far more than her own capture, was that her Mum and Charlie had been home, and she did not know what had happened to them. She wondered if she would ever see them again, their faces so clear in her mind. They moved like wizarding photographs in an endless loop through her thoughts, smiling emptily at her, telling her to be strong, to make them proud, to survive.

The room she was held in was perfectly ordinary, aside from its lack of windows and visible door. The bed upon which she'd first awoken was soft enough, and there was an unusually large plain oak table in the corner where meals appeared at regular intervals.

But there was a deadness in the air that made her think of Hell, and she could nearly taste the oily sourness of Dark Magic, a visceral reminder of her blackouts first year. She couldn't quite seem to force herself to start to keep track of the days, afraid to see how many she'd lost.

*

She was asleep when the door first appeared, but she felt the change in the air all the same, and her eyes flew open. The robed figures surrounded her on the bed silently, looming in a way that should have been overdone and ridiculous but wasn't.

It was to be her turn, then. She would be brave. She wouldn't tell them anything.

One, the one standing closest to her right shoulder, raised a wand and cast a spell and she was naked.

Rape, then. She set her jaw and pressed her thighs together tightly.

"Blood traitor filth," one of the other figures spat, his voice nasal, familiar. Malfoy. It figured. "Do you think any of us would lower ourselves to touch you? You are just a dirty, disgusting animal who doesn’t deserve a decent witch's robes."

The spellcasting wizard – she didn't recognize him – ignored the comment and cast another spell. Cold air suddenly hit her scalp. Her hair, her thick red hair that Harry had loved to stroke and braid, had gone. She glanced down, and saw that it had gone from there too, that she was naked and completely hairless, like an infant.

They all laughed at her, and she felt her face heat in response. Ridiculous, the thought that she was supposed to be upset by this, embarrassed, as though the opinions of murderers could ever matter to her. "What are you going to do with me?" she asked, very proud that she managed to keep her voice cool and steady.

Her only answer was more laughter, until the first wizard pointed his wand at her again. "Crucio! he said, and she heard the word, understood it, though by a strange lag of perception it seemed whole minutes passed before the pain started to tingle in her nerve endings. It set fire to her body, scoured her from the inside. It was being born and dying, sick and sore and sharp.

It could not be endured, and she didn't care at all that she could hear herself screaming and screaming. Every second she felt as though she'd die the next, that she'd be torn apart from the inside, but it never let up.

Only when she was hoarse and too exhausted to keep screaming did it finally end. She spent the first few minutes in the afterimage of the pain soaked in her own sweat and wondering if she'd gone insane yet. One of the figures was leaning over her now, much too close. Looking down, she saw the Death Eater was painting the coiling, sinuous movement of a brilliant green snake on her arm.

"No," she tried to say, but her voice had been lost in the screaming. She didn't want a Dark Mark, although weren't they black? As long as they didn't plan to make her like them. They couldn't; she'd die first.

But there was no way for her to stop them from doing anything. She could barely move out of sheer exhaustion and, if she wanted to admit it to herself, for fear of the pain. Slowly, a number was etched into the snake's spine. 108, her new identity.

"We're done here," the artist, a witch, said as though satisfied as an unpleasant task was finally finished. She sneered down at Ginny. "I need to wash my hands."

"Fuck you," Ginny managed, though she felt as though her throat was tearing wide open. "Fuck you and this ugly tattoo."

The robed figures filed out, but the woman paused, staring down at her. "What you've been given today is much better than you deserve, traitor. But the Dark Lord himself has taken an interest in you. I don't doubt you'll look back on this day fondly before he's finished."

The woman spat, filthy and disgusting on Ginny's skin. She refused to give the Death Eater the satisfaction of seeing it bother her so she ignored it, staring at the back of the witch until she had gone. Only then did she allow herself to roll over and wipe herself off. Only then did she let her self relax enough to cry.

*

She had seldom wondered whether she would be able to stand up to torture. It was a subject she'd tried her best to avoid even thinking about because she'd always been afraid, secretly, that she would crack and break under the pain. Her brothers had always been around to protect her from anything too horrible, after all.

But Ginny found that she was stronger than she'd ever given herself credit for. Death Eaters came to her daily, surrounded her, stripped her, mocked her, cast Unforgivable after Unforgivable on her. She fought off the encroaching madness with the remembered faces and names of her family, and with her hope for the future.

She never forgot who she was.

After a few days, Malfoy began lingering after the rest had gone, offering her water and returning her clothing. He mocked her, too, but she could tell that his heart wasn't in it.

"You don't have to stay here, you know," she told him one day, when the grey shadows beneath his eyes seemed darker than usual. "There's still a chance you can do something with your life."

Malfoy had laughed harshly at that, but his eyes had flickered quickly but unmistakably to the doorway as though worried someone was listening. "I am doing something with my life. I'm helping to purify our society from the filth your kind has let in. You should join us; the Weasleys were quite a decent family, once."

"We still are." However many of them were left. Ginny swallowed, too exhausted from the day's ordeal to hide her tears. "Draco, my mother - can you -"

"Can you give me something in return?" Another quick glance to the doorway. "I can give you answers, but only if I have something to show them for it."

Neither Crucio nor any other threat had been able to tear any information from her. But this - she wasn't sure how much longer she could go without knowing the truth.

Ginny looked Malfoy in the eye. He met her gaze without flinching.

"What is it you need to know?" she asked. If anyone would end up hurt or dead, Malfoy could just forget it.

"Anything, really. Potter. Your relationship with Potter."

The irony made her giggle, a high-pitched noise that she quickly stifled when it threatened to go out of control. "He broke up with me so I wouldn't become a target," she managed, and then the exhausted giggles started to sneak out of her again. This time she let them, for awhile. It had been a very long time since she'd had reason to smile.

"He must love you very much," Malfoy said, his voice quietly cutting into her hysterical laughter, and killing it abruptly.

"He never loved me," she said, and it didn't even hurt to say it. "And I never really loved him. He was my knight in shining armour, and I was the girl he-" It was too difficult to continue, and she let her voice trail off.

"The girl he saved." Malfoy finished for her.

She nodded. Deep down, she couldn't help but wish in the most selfish place in her heart that he would come and save her again, despite the risk to himself.

She'd kill him if he did, though.

"Your brother is dead," Malfoy whispered. "He threw a Portkey at your mother, and then stood in the way, buying enough time for it to activate. Stupid Gryffindor."

Malfoy didn't wait to see her reaction to the news, but stood and left. Even through her pain and loss, she couldn't help but feel grateful to him for that, and for giving her the truth.

*

Draco

Draco had long since stopped thinking of her as anything other than Prisoner 108. He stopped thinking of her at all when he could help it, associating her with the repulsive scent of her pain and sweat and fear. Obediently, he worked to gain her trust, tricking out the intimate secrets of her heart as though they mattered.

It was a test of his strength and his stomach for cruelty in light of his inability to kill Dumbledore. Failure wasn't an option. He had his family to think about. Well, he still had what was left of his mother, who had started chewing sneezewort root so often that her eyes now glowed on their own and she stared at him blankly when he tried to hug her.

He knew where things were heading with Prisoner 108. And when the day finally came and Draco was required to take his turn and cast the Cruciatus on the girl, he hesitated despite himself. It wasn't killing, but neither was it like the time he'd halfheartedly attempted to curse Potter the bathroom so long ago. Prisoner 108 hadn't done anything to him. She wasn't a threat.

During their brief conversations, he'd connected with her, just a little. And he couldn't help but feel that even though she was a filthy Muggle sympathizer and blood traitor, she didn't deserve this. No doubt, this ridiculous empathy was the reason they'd made him speak with her in the first place.

"He's too weak," Aunt Bellatrix hissed to her husband from beneath her mask, while Draco stared impotently down his wand at the girl.

"Give the boy a chance," Rodolphus said, but Draco could tell he was nervous. Anyone in their right mind would be; Bellatrix was not kind to those she felt had failed her Lord.

Draco's thoughts flashed back once more to Potter, to his own abject humiliation and a bathroom splashed with far too much of his blood.

If he didn't hurt the prisoner, he would wish Potter's spell had killed him.

"Crucio!" Draco said, and he felt the magic seize hold of him. He let out a breath, relieved at his own success.

The prisoner met his gaze with something he was tempted to interpret as forgiveness, not looking away even when the pain started. She held his gaze for all of ten seconds, an entire lifetime, before she succumbed to the pain, closed them, and began screaming.

He wondered if she could see how very sorry he was, but he knew it didn't matter.

*

The reward for Draco's success was a personal audience with the Dark Lord. It was easy to kneel at his feet, awed as always by the aura of power that surrounded him. He spoke sweet words, promising Draco glory and power and rewards, things that a lifetime ago would have thrilled him.

As it was, Draco would have traded everything he had to be able to close his eyes and sleep at night without seeing Dumbledore's face and Ginny's face and wondering how many more there would be if he kept on this way.

"Potter will come for her, and we will be ready for him," the Dark Lord finished with a quiet smile that was somehow more frightening than his anger. "You will attend me now while I work with the girl. All young ladies like to prepare themselves for such meetings, do they not?"

"Yes. Thank you, my Lord." There was nothing else he could say and nowhere he could run.

As commanded, Draco went to the prisoner's room. Ignoring her cautious greeting, he subdued her with a simple Petrificus Totalus, taking great care to ensure that she landed softly on her bed, that she remained awake. The Dark Lord would be very displeased should she sleep through whatever torments his warped imagination had planned for her.

Draco wished he dared sneak away to steal some of his mother's sneezewort for them both. He craved numbness more than anything in his life. But if he were caught...ending up on the torture table himself wouldn't accomplish anything.

Next, he prepared her oak table, the same one at which she'd eaten her meals for weeks. He enlarged it and activated the cleaning and scouring charms built into its sandpaper rough surface.

One light spell, bright and self-sustaining, which could be directed with a word, and one spell to circulate air freshened with the sweet scent of flowers completed the setup. Almost as an afterthought, Draco cast a water (blood) -repellant charm on his robes.

Draco levitated the prisoner to the table and banished her clothing before activating his Dark Mark with a touch of his wand.

The Dark Lord entered the room almost immediately and wasted no time in approaching the table. His red gaze analyzed Ginny's body inhumanly slowly, from her bald head to her feet.

She's already dead, Draco lied to himself. There wasn't anything else he could do.

The Dark Lord seemed satisfied, for he looked at Draco and smiled.

"Do you know what is it that gives a witch or wizard power, young Malfoy? Did Professor Dumbledore teach you the secret?" the Dark Lord asked, running his fingers lightly over the prisoner's chest in ownership, possession.

"I thought it was in our blood, my Lord. Dumbledore said it wasn't, but he didn't say where."

"Professor Dumbledore," the Dark Lord chided. "Show some respect."

"I'm sorry, my Lord." Draco's voice only shook a very little.

"A wizard's magic is kept close to his heart. Watch. Sectumsempra!"

Draco reached for his chest protectively. But the Dark Lord didn't wield the spell as Potter had, wildly and out of control. The Dark Lord wielded it like the finest of knives. He drew a line down Ginn- the prisoner's chest between her breasts, shallowly dividing her body into two sides. The cut bled heavily at first. The Dark Lord slowed it with an offhanded gesture and a word until it oozed, more slowly than nature wanted it to, shiny and red and not nearly as thick as it was cracked up to be.

The girl's eyes did not move, staring up and outward. It must have only been Draco's imagination, but he would have sworn he could see her terror in her eyes. She's already dead, he insisted again to himself, but the trickling of her blood gave away the lie.

Slowly, carefully, the Dark Lord drew his patterns on her flesh, casting charms to clear away the bright blood when it got in the way of his work.

"Unlike what Mudblood sympathizers would have us believe, the fundamental differences between wizarding kind and Muggles are tangible, physical," the Dark Lord lectured as he worked. "It is possible to tell the purity of one's blood and the approximate strength of his," he paused and smiled down at the girl beneath him, "or her magic with a few simple incisions."

The prisoner stared up at them unblinking. Her skin was as white as snow beneath her freckles.

"Yes my Lord," Draco agreed automatically, knowing that it was expected.

"Expositus!" the Dark Lord said and with a loud crack, the girl's rib cage split and opened several inches, bones cracking like firecrackers in the quiet room.

"Come closer," the Dark Lord commanded, and Draco didn't dare refuse. Whether he wanted to or not, he looked and he saw. He barely swallowed back the bile that rose into his throat in time.

Ginny's heart was beating rapidly, completely exposed. Draco could have reached out and touched it, if he wanted.

"Hn. She really is quite powerful, isn't she? This, right here," the Dark Lord used his finger to ungently move aside a lung to show what looked like a small star, glowing gold almost too brightly to look at directly. "This is her magic. Without this, she will be no different from any Muggle. This is what we are going to send to Potter."

Draco realized Ginny could hear every single word, that she knew and was helpless to stop them from hurting her, mutilating her and using her own body to betray her friend. He grasped it all in a moment of understanding and thought he might never feel warm ever again.

"Hold this." The Dark Lord held out his hand and in it a small jar appeared. Draco took and held it obediently, though he couldn't have spoken to save his life.

Without ceremony, the Dark Lord reached into Ginny's chest and grabbed the shining thing, pulling mercilessly, his fingers handling her organs the same way house-elves treated raw meat. After a certain amount of yanking, the Dark Lord stopped and twisted. Finally, with a sickening squelching sound, Ginny's magic was ripped from her body to shine weakly in the Dark Lord's open palm. With his other hand, he wiped absently at his forehead, smearing Ginny's vibrant red blood against his colourless skin.

"Beautiful, isn't it, young Malfoy? Did you know that if you splinch a finger or your head, you only have a day or so to put yourself back together, but there is no limit to the amount of time a witch or wizard can be separated from their magic? It can always be restored.

"Magic is the most beautiful thing. The only thing. It is life." Wordlessly, the Dark Lord gestured, and the golden spark fluttered across the room, sealing itself into the jar.

The Dark Lord waved his hands in the air and suddenly, they were clean. "We have much to prepare for Potter's visit. We shall make a public display, a celebration out of it. You, my loyal Death Eaters have earned it."

"Induco!" Ginny's chest closed and re-knit itself, a silver scar the only visible sign that she had been cut open and mutilated.

"Clean her up and have her ready. We will start working on the decorations first thing tomorrow."

The Dark Lord left, and Draco dispelled the Body-Bind Curse, keeping a good distance between himself and Ginny, holding his wand at the ready. There was no telling how the girl was going to react. She might try to kill him.

He deserved it.

Instead, she did not move. Barely even blinked. Carefully, he approached and waved his fingers in front of her face, but she did not respond.

*

Harry

He had almost given up on hearing from Snape, though several messages Dumbledore had left behind had finally convinced Harry that his old Professor had been loyal to Dumbledore all along. Still, not one piece of information had made its way yet to Harry by any means, no matter how great his need.

This finally changed one morning, months after the attack on the Weasleys' house, when he was attempting to use a shaving charm in the too-bright light of a summer morning. His mirror had been teasing him about the fluffy almost-mustache that valiantly kept trying to sprout on his face and then suddenly, without warning, it had suddenly stopped chattering and frozen over.

When the glass surface was completely covered in ice, it cracked, forming letters that made black, jagged words.

It is a trap. Malfoy has the key. Find him. Save her.


At the exact same moment, there was a great flapping of wings outside Harry's window. He turned, aiming his wand, only to see a raven tapping on the door outside, a parcel in its claws.

When he looked back, the writing had gone from the mirror.

Carefully, Harry went to open the window. On her perch behind him, Hedwig squawked in warning, and raised herself up, wings spread in aggression.

The raven ignored Hedwig completely and disdainfully held out his leg. Once Harry had the package, it did not wait for a treat or payment, but flew off. The moment he held it, the parcel grew heavier and larger in his hand.

Hermione would have several fits if she knew that Harry was going to open it. But if this was a clue from Snape, he couldn't afford to wait weeks while the Order took it apart piece by careful piece.

He opened the package as carefully he could, and nothing exploded or cursed him. Inside was a box, which proved to contain a rolled up parchment and a glass jar, inside of which something beautiful and golden glowed steadily.

With shaking hands, Harry unrolled the parchment and began to read.

*

"Potter?" Malfoy sounded surprised, but Harry didn't give him any time to continue. "Petrificus Totalus!"

"Where is she, Malfoy?" Harry pushed Malfoy's stiff body back so that he was resting diagonally against the wall. Malfoy's head hit the plaster pretty hard, but Harry considered that a bonus.

To his shock, Malfoy seemingly had no hesitation as he replied, "If you want to know, I will tell you. On one condition."

"I hardly think you're in the position to be making any demands," Harry pointed out, shoving the tip of his wand into Malfoy's cheek. He almost hoped he'd have an excuse to kill the prat.

Malfoy's attempt at a sneer was ridiculous, even for him. "Only if you want to find your girlfriend, Potter."

She's not my girlfriend! his mind supplied automatically, a reflex he was quick enough to avoid voicing out loud. Ginny did not have time to wait while he and Malfoy argued. "What do you want?"

"I want out of here. You rescue her, you get me, too. I don't want to be here."

"Should have thought about that before you killed Dumbledore," Harry snapped. But his mind supplied him with the image of Malfoy on the tower that night, his wand lowering and his expression conflicted.

Dumbledore had believed Malfoy worth a second chance. And for the first time, Harry wondered if perhaps the writing in the mirror meant that Malfoy would offer his help willingly.

"Are you going to take me with you, or not?" Malfoy's voice started to break, as though he might start crying. "I will beg, if that's what you want." He drew a deep breath. "Take me with you. Please."

Harry would have bet his last Galleon that Malfoy was sincere; he could feel it. "Right. Fine. I can't promise that the Ministry won't throw you straight into Azkaban -"

"I don't care!"

"- but you can come with me. Finite Incantatem!" He released Malfoy, who struggled for a moment to remain upright before he managed to get his arm back to push up from the wall.

"She's this way," Malfoy said once he'd righted himself. Something about his face caused a shiver of cold fear to start working its way up Harry's spine. "She's not… She's been through a lot."

"Go, then." Harry gestured with his wand, indicating Malfoy should lead. There'd be time to find out what else the bastards had done to her when they reached safety.

*

He'd thought maybe to find Ginny bruised and battered, tortured in any of countless brutal ways. He'd been bracing himself against that sight, letting his mind wander over images of the grotesque and twisted.

He'd never imagined he'd find her still suffering.

Voldemort had crucified her, the bastard. Had hung her up, exposed and unsupported, long enough that her breath came so shallow that at first he'd thought he was too late.

Ginny's body was disturbingly hairless and child-like despite the swell of her breasts. He couldn't deny the reality of the situation, though, with the thick silver scar marking the place where her magic – safely hidden, kept safe for her return – had been ripped from her chest.

Her hair was gone, and her skin wasted. It seemed impossible that she was the same girl who'd played Quidditch so well, the one who'd been his best friend's odd little sister for so many years and who even now and despite everything he thought of as a sister himself.

She was tied by her wrists with thin strips of enchanted leather to a large wooden cross. Vaguely, Harry felt hot tears trickle down his face and realized they were his own.

"This is my fault," Malfoy whispered unexpectedly. "I helped hang her up there. That's how I know the spell that let bring her down. I did this to her."

"Do you want me to kill you?"

Malfoy didn't answer. If he'd said a word, Harry might have been tempted to carry out his threat. Instead, he looked and saw the shadows beneath Malfoy's eyes, lines of care and premature aging beginning to show on his pale skin. And Harry knew that there were more ways than the physical in which one could be a victim.

"Then you can help me get her down," Harry said. Malfoy cast the spell that would free her wrists, and then helped Harry lower her gently to the ground. She seemed barely aware of their presence.

Harry took off his robe and wrapped it around her tenderly. She was heavy, but not as much as she should have been, and a quick featherlight spell enabled Harry to throw her over his shoulder easily.

They turned to leave, only to find the exit blocked by two Death Eaters.

"Now just where do you think you're going?" the one on the left said, his voice perfectly self-assured, mocking.

*

Lord Voldemort

He'd hung an enchanted mirror across from his chair just so that he could watch and appreciate the slow inevitability of it as her body slowly strangled itself on its own weight.

It was beautiful, what he'd made of her, hairless and fractured. Pity he couldn't keep her long enough to complete the transformation. To restore her magic and then sculpt her, make her into something almost like him but still able to bear young. To make her the first, who would then breed many others, superior beings to inherit the Earth.

But it would not do to look too far into the future and forget the needs of the present. There would be other girls.

And in the mirror he watched, smiling, as Potter and Malfoy battled the expendable fools he'd sent to put up a good show. As planned, the boys succeeded and escaped with the captive.

The fools would never think to question their good fortune. They would heal the girl mentally and physically and return the bright spark of her magic to her body.

Not until the very end, much too late, would Potter realize that magic could be tainted and people twisted, that she was no longer the girl he'd known, and that his daring rescue had destroyed them all.

~End

*

My thanks to jamie2109 for this fantastic prompt: [Voldemort] can torture [Ginny] as much as he likes, (I'd really like to see this) thinking that either he will lure Harry into rescuing her and he will trap him, or that he will break Ginny's mind and he will gain another follower. I'd like Harry to have Draco help him rescue Ginny - perhaps it's the last straw for him and he finally changes sides. I don't mind if there is a suggestion of some H/D in there either, perhaps Voldie taunts them with it. I like all sorts of torture, but no rape in this one, please and no hateful!Draco. Smart and snarky, yes, but not hateful. And a successful rescue of course.
Tags: 2007_exchange_fic
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