Continuing Tales

A Great Task of Solitude

A Harry Potter Story
by Laurielove

Part 17 of 27

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And so it continued.

Every day, Lucius hoped she would shift from her stupor and revert to the woman who had brought such brilliance into his life.

She would come through.

He had, had he not? He had come through horror, through Azkaban.

But his blinkered hopes were in vain.

She was now persistently withdrawn and rude.

Lucius was not immune from her acerbic tongue. She would snap at the slightest thing, finding fault in his precision, his occasional need for solitude, hounding him if he did not humour her sexual needs instantly. He invariably did, but even he was finding her relentless demands tiring. He missed the days when they would sit together and read in companionable silence.

But it was the things she said during sex which troubled him most. At first, he had put it down to her ardour, to her libido pushing reason from her mind. He knew that feeling all too well. If he didn't, he himself would have the ability to resist her pull.

The time in Bath had made it all too clear to him.

She had spoken of his pureblood superiority in no uncertain terms, degrading herself as a Muggle-born before him, inciting him to grasp the power he felt when with her, power he could not deny.

At those times, as profound pleasure tore through him, almost pulling him out of his body, granting him strength beyond imagining, he believed her, he adored all she said.

Only when the pleasure had subsided, and the light had once again faded from her eyes, did the cold reality of their situation crash down upon him.

Something was working upon her. An external force. A force of darkness.

Hermione was under a curse.

He had known in his heart for a while. He had chosen to ignore it.

He knew also that it would only get worse.

And now? Should he mention his fears to her, try to administer counter-curses?

He hesitated, shamed perhaps that he should have already done more.

As he sat in the dark of night, staring at her asleep before him, sleep which now came to her amidst troubled fits and starts, her bony elbow protruding from the covers, he knew why he had not.

This woman had stirred in him things he was afraid to let go of. Despite the agony of her temper, the witnessing of her life-force waning, still he remembered the ecstasy she wrought in him every time he was inside her. At those times he was once again given a glimpse of all that could have been.

All that yet could be?

He shut his eyes tight.

He saw behind his eyelids the image of her rushing down his stairs in those early days, her face flushed after working hard, her eyes alight with her new discoveries: light which dispelled the gloom of his house, the gloom of his soul. Dancing eyes.

Her eyes no longer danced. They were empty and lifeless.

Except when she was impaled on him, and then they were fierce, burning, searing him in their intensity. The brilliance of those moments banished all others. They were together at those moments, together with more vibrancy than he ever imagined.

No. He shook his head hard.

He knew those times were in reality a deceit, a mask, a ruse to lure him into a false sense of empowerment. The woman who held his body captive so easily was not her. It couldn't be.

Lucius sighed hard.

Did he have the strength? The everyday strength to do what was right?

Right? When had he ever done what was right?

Right for him? Right for her?

Another complication presented itself. He was terrified of losing her. He didn't want to alienate her or push her away.

But this was not her.

He moved beside her on the bed and looked down. In sleep she was as beautiful as the first day she had come to the Manor. He bent down and inhaled the scent of her hair. She smelt the same as she had then.

He loved her smell.

Lucius sat back up. His hands instinctively pulled the cover back and gazed at her naked form underneath. She turned in her sleep, her leg bending to the side, placing her in a position of complete sensual delight. His face twitched. She was asleep, but her hand came down, moved between her legs, resting just above her perfect little bud of expectant flesh, flesh he knew so well. She sighed out. Even in sleep the darkness was working in her. His cock twitched, he knew it. He wanted her again, even now.

He wanted her.

Lucius stood quickly and left the room.

Time passed. Hermione's condition did not improve.

In the weakness of denial Lucius still hoped vainly, desperately, that she would recover without intervention on his part, without him having to confront the pain of reality, the darkness of his own past.

He tried. As she slept, he attempted the occasional counter-curse or healing charm. Nothing helped. He knew it would not. The evil which was poisoning her body and soul was so dark and consuming that nothing except the deepest and purest magic would purge it.

And yet ...

Could they not survive as they were? Those moments between them were beyond imagining. She herself said ... together they were magnificent.

What if ...?

As he sat at the kitchen table one morning, contemplating the situation, Lucius slammed his fist down with violent torment.

"Everything alright, master?" Grimble inquired snidely.

"No, it is not, Grimble."

Hermione slouched in, slumping into the chair opposite, her head in her hands.

"Coffee, Grimble. Where the fuck is it?"

Lucius eyed her. "You should eat something."

"I'm not hungry."

The elf placed a steaming cup before her. She took a sip from it. Her face contorted in disgust.

"What the hell is this filth?"

Lucius continued to study her.

Grimble mumbled morosely, "It is a different variety of bean. We had run out of the other. I have been told this one is similar but of a higher quality."

"Pathetic creature. Can't you get anything right?"

"Master Lucius approved it himself. He had some this morning."

Hermione stood, her fists clenched, resting on the table and leaning over to Grimble.

"I am not Lucius, elf!" Her voice was deep again, as Lucius had heard it at her times of arousal. "Do not presume to tell me what I should or should not be drinking. If I want something, you should fucking well have it ready for me."

Grimble stood his ground and sneered up at her. "You are not my mistress. I take orders only from Master Lucius."

Hermione's face twisted beyond recognition. She grasped the coffee cup in her hand and flung the scalding contents over the elf. Grimble staggered back in horror. Luckily, the liquid did not hit his face but scorched his arm and soaked into his clothing. He fell back with a hiss of pain.

Lucius rushed to him, quickly muttering a healing and cleansing charm. Then he turned to Hermione. She had gone.

"I'm sorry, Grimble. Miss Granger is not herself." Standing quickly, Lucius rushed from the room after her.

"Hermione!" He could hear her footsteps disappearing up the stairs. Rushing along, he caught up with her at the top of the landing. "Hermione! Stop!"

She did not heed him. He rushed up and grabbed her arm, pulling her round to him.

"What? I thought you were ministering to that fucking little twat you call a house-elf." She tried to pull her arm away. He held her fast.

"Hermione, you have to listen to me." He tried to meet her eye. "Look at me. You must look at me. Something has happened to you. You've changed so much, so much."

"Don't be ridiculous!" Her face was distorted with anger.

"No. It has gone too far. You're behaving irrationally."

"Lucius, shut up. You're talking nonsense. I've just been a bit tired."

"No. It's not just your temper."

"What are you going on about?" Her words were as icy as her stare.

"Well ... your ardour, sexually... it was always good, but now ... you're insatiable."

She smirked. "You like that."

She had switched instantly from heated temper to lustful need. He swayed back, desperate for once to resist.

"Don't," he mumbled. "That incident with Grimble. That's not you. You're so forceful now, so violent. It is terrifying."

"Terrifying? You can be terrifying too, Lucius. I remember you. I remember when I was younger." Her voice had switched to low and tempting.

He closed his eyes against it. "You were never terrified of me."

"No - I was in awe of you. Even then ... Lucius Malfoy." She whispered his name while pressing herself up against him and drawing her hands with idle sensuality up his torso. With every ounce of willpower left in him, he moved away from her.

"Hermione." He fixed her with the cool grey of his eyes. "I think you've been cursed."

She stared at him open-mouthed, her lips curling into a cynical sneer. "Then you are more of a fool than I realised."

"I don't expect you to acknowledge it or recognise it, but it is obvious to me now. I have ignored it for too long."

She stepped in again, waving his words away dismissively. "Don't talk any more. It's boring me. Come, let's go back to bed. I can tell you're sad." Her voice had taken on a pathetic saccharine quality, but then morphed into her low throb of sexual need. "I can make you feel better. I always make you feel better, don't I, Lucius? Make you feel wonderful, magnificent. Because you are magnificent, you know that, don't you?" By now, she had shifted to her full powers of seduction - powers he found impossible to resist.

But still he stood his ground, despite the hardness pressing against his trousers.

He must do the right thing.

She moved into him again and whispered up to his ear, "I promise I'll be a good girl. Nothing too violent. Nothing too demanding. But you know you want me. And I want you. I want you so, so much."

Almost without him realising it, she had taken his hand and moved it between her legs, and he found himself stroking her wetness with his usual expert skill. "Yes ... yes," she moaned, her eyes closing in pleasure. "That's right, my darling. That feels so good, so right. You are so good. Come now, come. You must take me how you want. You make me feel so glorious. I'll do the same for you."

She took his hand and turned towards the bedroom. Lucius Malfoy allowed himself once again to be led by her, into her.

More days passed. Lucius seemed unable to do anything to stop the slow deterioration of Hermione.

His mind searched for answers. He tried the occasional spell, even slipping a potion into her tea.

Hermione stayed mainly in the bedroom. Grimble had recovered from the coffee incident and, under Lucius' instruction only, still served her, but she remained largely out of his sight.

One Tuesday, only three weeks before Christmas, Lucius went to ask her to lunch, hoping she would join him. He opened the door to the bedroom but didn't find her there.

He was unsure what to think. Part of him was relieved she had got up, part of him was fearful of where she had gone. He paced the corridor, calling for her. Not a sound. His feet carried him to the library in the optimistic hope that she'd decided to do some work. He knew in his heart how unlikely this was; she hadn't worked for days.

But still, as he turned the handle, his heart leapt at the prospect of finding her familiar form working happily at the desk. He opened the door. The room was empty, silent. A pall of disappointment fell over him. He crossed to the desk. Had she at least been here earlier? But the desk was nearly bare with no sign of any recent activity.

He turned to leave, but then his eyes fell on a large book placed on the side of the desk.

He stopped, staring at it. Something hitched inside him. Its pages, even when shut, seemed to be shimmering, glowing. He reached over and pulled the cover open. His eyes narrowed as blinding light shone out at him.

The Book of Desire.

Lucius reeled.

They had made love here, over the book.

The book.

It had been that day. Her mood had changed - from then - that first time in here. She had been different even then: her language, her needs.

He stared down at the pages of the book, narrowing his eyes against the glare. Its magic leapt out at him, as if daring him to acknowledge what was now clear. He placed a hand on the page. A surge of power travelled rapidly up his arm and into his soul. He could not prevent a laugh of triumph breaking out as the force of his magic rushed through him, stronger than ever.

Reality at last crashed down.

He pulled his hand back as if scorched, deadening the laugh in his throat.

It all fell into place.

Lucius' eyes closed with dreaded realisation.

The book.

It had been in his family for years. He had been told it was a book of beauty, of love, as indeed it was. But his was a pureblood family. For generations, if the book had been used at all, it had been used only between pureblood mates.

Hermione was Muggle-born. A union had taken place through the book of a Muggle-born and a pureblood.

Lucius suspected instantly this was what had put the curse in motion. What else could it have been? Immediately, when he thought back, there had been a change.

He swore violently and loudly into the room. How could he have been so stupid? Hermione had been trawling through his library in search of dark, dangerous texts, and he had allowed one to act its evil upon her right before his eyes, unknown.

He slammed his fist against the shelves, causing several volumes to come tumbling down upon him. With a violent, frustrated wave of his wand, he sent them back, a roar of angry fury rising out of him.

And now? He had the answer to how she had been cursed, but no solution to how to cure her.

And cure her he must.

She was fading before him ...

She was all he had.

Picking up the book, he strode from the room. He swept down the stairs as he heard footsteps in the downstairs corridor. His heart swelled as he recognised her sounds, her smell, but swiftly he rushed into the sitting room, placing the book in a drawer which he locked carefully with a charm. She opened the door just as he stepped away.

"What are you doing?"

"Nothing." He stepped towards her. He was struck by how gaunt her face looked, how sunken her eyes were. "Where have you been?"

"I was looking in Draco's room." She spoke quite factually but stared hard at him to gauge his reaction.

Lucius knew she was taunting him, knew that it was not her speaking. As much as it irked him to know she had been in his son's private chamber, a place he himself never went, he strove not to show any grievance. "Oh?"

"Yes. He has lots of interesting things. In one drawer I found a stash of pornography. Quite exotic too. Your son has interesting tastes."


"I wonder if he's as good in bed as you."

Lucius tensed, his body rigid. She was looking steadily at him with a faint smirk on her face.

"I wouldn't know," he drawled before turning from her. "Lunch is on the table." She didn't see his eyes close in agony as he walked away.

Over the next few days, at every opportunity, Lucius would shut himself in the library, pouring over the texts Hermione should herself have still been documenting. Slowly, he started to piece together what the curse could be. Unless he found out specifically what evil had been cast upon the book and subsequently taken hold of Hermione, he was powerless to help her.

Powerless. He had never felt it so profoundly in all his life.

Yet, ironically, these were also the times when he felt most empowered.

Even through his days of research the pleasure went on. He could do nothing to stop it. Her sexual hold on him was complete. Despite looking fragile, deep rings set under her eyes, she never tired of his body, sought him out, craved him. And at those times, he reverted back to who he had been, he caught glimpses of the power he had wielded at those times in his life he thought he had banished forever, had tried so hard to banish forever. She knew it. She goaded him. She encouraged him to taste it again.

He ploughed into her; he never tired of it. He used her body as she bid him: her pussy, her mouth, her arse; even that tender place she had offered to him, and he had taken. She demanded it, and he gave what she wanted. Pleasure so extreme worked its way through him that it blotted out the agony and hopelessness that he knew awaited him on the other side. The irony of it tormented him, that the only thing able to provide him with any comfort was also the thing responsible for all his pain and misery.

He used her more than ever, poured himself into her, could not think of living outside her. And she opened for him, she welcomed him. He could tell he left her sore, hurt, but the pain never seemed to register with her. She would simply turn and offer more. Always more.

And when they were not joined, he tried to eradicate the terror which gripped him by throwing himself into finding a solution. Hermione remained permanently in the bedroom now, fading away, slipping almost into unconsciousness when he wasn't around. But when he came to her, she would awaken with sudden and remarkable vitality, and for those moments, he could forget she was ill, forget she was cursed.

Lucius discovered through his extensive research that the curse was most likely one designed specifically for the book, to protect its pureblood users and its sanctity. He concluded that it was a form of Purification Curse. This was a term used only by purebloods. In non-pureblood texts, it was known as the Soul-Eating Curse.

Purification curses were aimed at non-pure witches and wizards who were likely to come into contact with purebloods. They were designed to punish the half-blood or Muggle-born while also attempting to 'purify' them This purification happened in two ways, first by destroying their soul, eating away at it, and also by tying them inextricably to the pureblood they had dared connect with, rendering them no more than a pawn through which to glorify that person. The pureblood who had come into contact with the Halfblood or Muggle-born would in turn become, through their deterioration, more powerful.

The connection, however warped, between the pureblood and the non-pureblood would be exacted through the original source of their coming together; in Hermione's case, through her sexuality.

And in addition, as the soul was destroyed, the witch or wizard would occasionally feel invincible, but only in order to impart strength indirectly to the pureblood. Lucius felt it - the curse was working through her into him as well.

Lucius could find no reference to a Purification curse being used specifically on his Book of Desire, but the book was hundreds of years old. The curse would have been placed on it when it made.

And still Lucius read on. He had hoped that simply by destroying the book the curse would be removed.


As he researched further, he became more and more despairing at what he found. Many texts purported that purification curses were irreversible and unstoppable. They continued to eat away relentlessly at the person's soul until there was nothing left of them.

It was clear.

If Lucius did not do something to remove the curse, Hermione would die.

A Great Task of Solitude

A Harry Potter Story
by Laurielove

Part 17 of 27

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