Title: Poisoned Apple
Summary: Hermione's parents have no idea how to cope with their daughter's peculiarities and think it best to send her away to an institute at the age of seven. There, she catches the interest of a doctor who sees opportunity and is smuggled out and sold to the highest bidder—HYDRA.
Warning: Child abuse-sexual, physical, verbal, and emotional. Death of a child. Animal cruelty, language, implicit sexual content and references between f/f and f/m, violence, gore. Spoilers and references for all MCU films and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. More warnings may apply as story continues.
Thanks and enjoy!
Chapter 1: Like A Thief in the Night
The doctor comes into her room, and she doesn't look up from the pages of her book. She doesn't like him. He scares her with the way he looks at her. He doesn't look at the other kids like this. He doesn't say the same things to them as he does to her.
"Hello Hermione," greets the doctor. "How are you this fine afternoon?"
"You had another incident, I heard."
She shrugs again, this time belatedly. She bites her lip and tries concentrating on the page. It's a book she's read a dozen times, but reading repeatedly about Alice and the Red Queen and croquet is preferable than to indulge Dr. Lawrence.
"I'm not upset, dear girl. Not in the least." He sits on the chair closes to the wall, resting his elbows on his knees. "In fact, I would like you to try and do it again."
She shakes her head and flips a page.
He sighs and then after a moment, he makes her an offer. "I'll get you new books."
Her finger nails dig into the paperback cover, and she thinks of her humble stash on the shelf beside her. Her parents don't send new ones anymore. Why don't they? Why don't they visit? How long has it been since she's seen them? She misses them so much. Valentine's Day went by and other Mummies and Daddies paid visits.
"I want to see my mummy," she whispers. She closes the book and sets it aside on her bed, staring down at her lap.
"Hermione, they're not coming back. They left you here. Remember?"
Her eyes snap up to his doughy face. "But not forever. They said. They promised to see me—"
"Sometimes grownups lie, and they lied to you. What you can do, Hermione, frightens them. They don't understand."
She scowls at him to hide the tremble of her chin. "You're lying."
He scoots the chair closer to her. On the floor is a teddy bear with a wind-up knob in the back. He turns it repeatedly and then sets it on the bedside table next to the lamp. It plays the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Her daddy got that for her for Christmas.
"It's been two months since they moved you in. They haven't been back since, and why would they? You're terrifying. What you did to that boy."
Her heart beats loudly in her little chest, and she widens her eyes. She wants to cry because she hadn't wanted to hurt Robert. She just wanted him to stop.
Staring down at the floor, she wishes her troubles would go away. Her parents would come back if they did.
"I didn't mean to."
"Yes, you did."
She shook her head wildly, but she doesn't quite believe herself when she says, "No. It was an accident."
"You would've been put in solitary confinement again if I had not stepped in."
Her stomach began to knot, and she wanted to vomit.
"I could go change my mind—"
"No, please!" She hops off the bed, sniffling. "Please. I'll be good. There won't be any more accidents. I promise."
He dips his chin at her, as if weighing her words. "There are two things you must do for me then."
"I promise no more accidents."
"That is not what I want from you." He removes his glasses and slips them into the breast pocket of his tweed jacket. "First, I want you move that bear from the table to your shelf without moving from where you are."
Hermione lets out a soft and sad sob. "No, please don't make me. Please."
"Second, tonight I'm going to come pay you a visit, and you are not to make a sound. Is that clear?"
She couldn't answer, she's so distraught. Dr. Lawrence allows her to cry for a minute or so before losing patience and snapping at her to buck up and move the bear.
"I'll put you in solitary confinement if you don't, and I may just forget you're allowed books."
He's so horrible. Why is so mean? Hermione wiped her face, unsuccessfully wiping the tears away. Another wave of sadness and fright washes over her, and she breaks down again. Dr. Lawrence exhales sharply and gets up from his chair to roughly grab her arm.
"Off we go now…"
"No! No! I'll do it! I'll do it. Let me go, please."
He lets her go, and she drops to the floor. With her hands pressed into wood, she looks up at the bear and tries to focus. Her head already hurts from the crying, and she's feels so nauseous. The bear barely wiggles, but wiggle it does. She jerks her head up at Dr. Lawrence who appears unimpressed.
"To the shelf, Hermione," he orders.
"No buts. Try harder."
Hermione wipes her face with her sleeve this time and gets to her feet, staring down the teddy bear, willing it to move. She extends her arms and opens her palms, the threat of being locked up alone with nothing fueling her will. Behind that threat is a deep fear of her parents never returning for her and Dr. Lawrence. What is he going to do to her when he comes back later? She can't make a sound, whatever he does.
The bear jostles and then barely lifts from the bedside table, it's fur still brushing the surface. The bear stays afloat, thankfully, and hovers and dips and hovers again until it reaches the shelf. The landing of the toy isn't soft, and the bear falls to the side. Hermione drops her arms and looks at Dr. Lawrence, half expecting him to shove her into solitary confinement anyway.
Hope bubbles up inside her because he's smiling. He pulls out a handkerchief from his pocket and offers it to her. She takes it and wipes her face again while he pats her head.
"Good girl. Very good girl. You'll do nicely for them, I think."
He doesn't reply but leaves the room, leaving her shaken and not any less terrified.
After dinner, Hermione does her best in delaying going to her room. A lot of the children play out in the play area, but she knows they won't play with her. They're scared of her. They call her ugly freak. They call her wicked witch. So she reads. She goes to the bookshelves on the other side of the playroom and considers her options. There's not a lot of variety, and most she's read before. She runs her fingers along the spine, stopping at Lord of the Flies. She pulls it out and reads the back and thinks it must've been put in the playroom by mistake.
Still, it's new to her, and she goes to sit at the plastic tea table ready to read. Another girl is sitting there. Hermione thinks her name is Brittany, and she's deaf and has something called Asperger's. She's a couple of years younger than Hermione, and Hermione is grateful the girl doesn't seem to mind the company. For now. Brittany's occupies herself with half a dozen snow globes. Each one she shakes and shakes and then repeats. The girl presses her nose up against the rounded glass, gazing wistfully inside. The one with the frosted covered house, she stares the longest.
The time passes too quickly, and the nurses round up the children and escorts them to their rooms. Hermione shares a room with Callie, a girl two years older than her. When she reaches her room, her roommate is already there, and a nightshift nurse is helping her into pajamas. Sometimes Callie "checks out". A phrase Hermione has heard the adults say. Hermione thinks it means that Callie can be normal one minute and then not normal the next. The nine-year-old will be playing Duck, Duck, Goose with the other children. She'll pick her goose and get chased after and then suddenly stop. And stare.
She'll do that at night, too, which creeps Hermione out. Callie will just lay there, eyes wide open.
Even after two months, Hermione's still unsure how she fits with the other kids. When her parents said they were planning to put her in a place where there were other special children like her, she got excited. Finally, she'd be able to make friends, and these friends would understand her.
More than half these kids don't understand anything.
The ones that do are very odd. Weirder than her, in her opinion. So she moves things with her mind sometimes. Hermione prefers that quirk over Robert Baillie's quirks. Weeks ago, he grabbed all the fish out of the aquarium, laid them out on the floor, and then made a slingshot out a rubber band and pins. He killed each one of those fish with it.
According to Brittany-before she "checked" out in the middle of the conversation- there used to be guinea pigs in the playroom housed up in little boxes. When Robert arrived, the guinea pigs disappeared.
Hermione hurt Robert today, and Dr. Lawrence was right. It hadn't been an accident. A baby bird with a limp wing loitered the playground outside, and the boy spotted it. She saw him pick it up and tug at the bad wing and then roughly grip at the good one. Hermione was unable to reach him before he got to the bird's neck and snap!
She'd been livid and heard a flock of birds fly high above her. She could hear their chirps. She looked up at them and then at Robert who dropped the dead bird onto the pavement. She made a wish.
More like a command.
In a blink, the birds swooped down and attacked the boy, pecking him everywhere. He screamed and tried to bat them away, but there were too many, and he fell to the ground. He curled up and cupped his head with bloodied hands.
Security came to his aid as did a few nurses, the latter noticing Hermione standing a few feet away with clenched fists and focused attention. One of the women cautiously approached her and asked if she was somehow responsible. At the women's voice, Hermione had relaxed, uncurling her fingers, and the birds flew away.
The staff, Hermione now knew, feared her, too.
Callie's nurse pointedly pays Hermione no mind as she helps the despondent child. Hermione pays the same notion and removes her clothes in favor of her night clothes, a Snow White nightgown her mummy got her for Christmas. The yellow skirt is static-y and rubs uncomfortably against her legs. She pulls at the fabric and climbs into bed, shocking herself a few times.
The nurse turns off the lights and leaves. Hermione tucks into herself, Lord of the Flies cradled to her chest. It won't be missed, she's sure of it.
She falls asleep waiting for Dr. Lawrence, coming to believe he had never planned to show but only wanted to scare her. However, she finds herself shaken awake by the man. She almost screams, but his hand covers her mouth, and through the darkness, she sees a finger on his lips.
"We had a deal, Hermione," he reminds her. "Get up. Quietly."
She complies, and he's holding her hand now, leading her out of the room and into the dimly lit hallway. They take the stairs instead of the elevator, and the pounding in her chest becomes painful. Where's he taking her? Why is he taking her?
They get to the first floor, and she sees Robert crouched next to the door, stuffing candy into his mouth with his bandaged fingers. He regards Dr. Lawrence with blatant hope and then Hermione with disdain and severe apprehension.
"What is she doing here?"
"Sh," warns Dr. Lawrence. He offers his unoccupied hand. "I hope the candy was to your liking. There will be more soon."
Robert takes the man's hand eagerly, and all three of them walk through the lobby, stopping at the security desk. Dr. Lawrence lets go of Hermione's hand, and she yells at herself to run but her feet stays put. She sees Dr. Lawrence hand over a stack of bills to the guard, and the guard smirks. A buzzing sounds makes Hermione jump, and she sees two hued bulbs above the door, one of them lit green. Dr. Lawrence fumbles for her hand and then grips it too tightly, marching both her and Robert out the door.
Her bare feet hit asphalt, and it's wet from rain. There's a chill in the air, and goosebumps spring up on her skin. The three of them come to a car, and Dr. Lawrence opens a door to the backseat. On the seat are two gigantic lollies which do nothing to ease Hermione, her parents having instilled in her that sugar be avoided.
Robert, obviously, didn't receive the same treatment. He bounds into the backseat and snatched both, not that Hermione cares. She's still got her book.
"Get in," Dr. Lawrence growls."
She feels brave now and puffs out her little chest. "Or what? You'll put me in solitary?"
He kneels, and his breath is damp on her face and smells of stale coffee and tobacco. "I'll put you in the trunk."
She stands her ground and even narrows her eyes. Maybe. Just maybe she can do something to him like she did to Robert. Maybe she can make him scared. Make him hurt.
There's a parking lot light standing far above them, and it flickers. They both hear the thrumming zzz of the electricity dip in and out. Dr. Lawrence snarls at her and wraps his fingers in her hair, yanking. His other hand smashes against her mouth to stifle her pained screams. He easily scoops her up and throws keys at Robert, ordering him to open the trunk. The boy obliges all too happily, and Hermione hears his laughter through her struggle. Even when the trunk lid slams down on her, and blackness engulfed her, she hears his manic laughter.
The drive makes Hermione nauseous, and she vomits and turns away from her own sick to get fresher air which proves impossible a few minutes later. She feels every dip, bump, and minor obstruction on the road. She curls into herself trying to get warm. She's so cold, and she wants her mum more than anything.
A thought passes through her mind, and it's one that makes her start to really cry.
And it's not even a thought really but a deep belief that she may never see her parents again. Wherever Dr. Lawrence is taking her, she very well knows it's not her home in Surrey.
After what feels like a lifetime, the car slows to a stop and through her mostly clogged nose, she smells a hint of the sea. The trunk lid pops open, and Dr. Lawrence swears at her. He grabs her by the material of her nightdress that's not soiled and lifts her out. Her feet touch wet asphalt again, and when her eyes adjust, she sees they're at a dock. Men load crates onto a cargo ship. Another man emerges from the tankard, dressed warmly in a thick, knitted black sweater and trousers. He's got a limp, but he's tall and strongly built. There's a jagged scar from his left temple to the corner of his mouth.
Hermione stands next to Dr. Lawrence, chin tucked close to her chest. Robert stands on the other side of Dr. Lawrence, and she senses his worry. He sees the ship and is thinking the same thing she is. They're going to be on it soon.
The man coming towards them rests his eyes on Robert first. "Only one. That was deal."
He sounds Eastern European. Like some of the bad guys on the telly shows her dad watches.
"The boy has potential," says Dr. Lawrence. "Good education. More than decent exam scores. Sociopath."
"Those are not unique." He pins Robert with an unimpressed expression. "But if you are so confident, doctor, then so be it. We'll let the superiors decide his fate. You will be paid for just the one."
"Now, see here—"
The man pulls out a gun and rests it on Dr. Lawrence's forehead. Hermione sucks his sharply and forces herself not to scream. Robert lets out a soft and uncomfortable oh sound.
"You were saying?" The safety of the gun clicks.
"Nothing." Dr. Lawrence shakes his head, hands up. "I was saying nothing."
The man nods, satisfied, and holsters his gun. He slides his eyes over to Hermione. "And this is the one?"
"She's not much too look at."
"Who cares what she looks like? It's what she can do. Brilliant. Her IQ is well above her level. Her mind is sharp. Her emotions fluctuate, but I'm sure that can be beaten of her." Dr. Lawrence brushes something invisible off his tweed jacket. "Oh, let's not mention the telekinesis. I don't think that's even all she can do."
The man's gaze hardens on her. "Is she dangerous?"
"Yes," says Dr. Lawrence.
A/N: I'm testing the waters with this one. I've got a million other projects on my list, but I'd like to see how this fairs with you, my dear readers. Please leave a review. Tell me if you'd like me to continue and out of curiosity's sake, who in the MCU you'd like her to be romantically involved with when she's all grown up. Or if you'd like her to be romantically involved with anyone.