Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter in any way. Please hail Joanne Kathleen Rowling!

Summary: An unpleasant Christmas Holiday changes the course of Hermione's life. (SS&HG)

Author: Tiian

Authors note:

I have often thought that Snape doesn't really (in the books) take from 50-100 points for some simple mistake. So I took the points Gryffindor lost down a bit. Now they lose only 35 points when before they lost 120 points.

Also, since reading OotP I have had to change a few things. I didn't, for one, know/remember that after OWLs it was not necessary to take certain classes and I am positive that Neville won't be continuing Potions. Yep, positive.

It was a lot of work to recreate certain scenes...

I hate writing big confrontations since I often fail to make them realistic. Hopefully this came out alright. Also, in this chapter I finally ventured to investigate Snape's thoughts. Hopefully he isn't too OOC.

It seems that many have a good idea of the father. Well, soon you will all know.

Also, as anon suggested, I put up a rape warning inside the summary. But there was a warning at the beginning of the first chapter (prologue). I guess it wasn't enough for people to notice...

I made it clearer.

Towards a Brighter Future

Chapter 02:

I know

"I know how this child came to be and who is its father."

Snape's words rang in her head and she couldn't do anything but stare at him and shake her head. *No. It is impossible. He can't know! He simply cannot! How could he?* She had done everything in her power to keep people from seeing her current condition, she hadn't even hinted that something had happened. Somehow he had still found her out, but surely that didn't mean that he knew everything, right?

She laughed almost bitterly. "No, I don't think you know." How could he? She hadn't said one word to anyone and the man was someone no one would think of since they didn't know of the circumstances. She herself had troubles believing it so how could he of all people know? "It is not Ron or Harry as you probably think."

"I never thought it was either one of them." He answered surely and calmly. And she could see that he spoke the truth. He really didn't think it was either of them. Then who did he think it was? Harry and Ron were the only boys that were close to her. She didn't know if Snape knew that she had once dated Victor Krum, but he had been out of picture for a long time.

"Then who do you think it was?" She bit out angrily. This had been a very tiring day for her and she could no longer control her anger. So what if he was her teacher? She couldn't care less. Normally she would have lost house points for arrogance, but now they didn't really matter. Not to her and obviously not him either since he didn't take any.

"Lucius Malfoy." He said without any feelings in his voice. His eyes bore into hers and Hermione's breath caught in her throat. The intensity of his stare told her that he knew for certain. *No... How?* Her eyes widened with terror.

"I see I was correct." Snape said almost sadly. He turned to organize some papers that lay on his desk and so gave Hermione time to get a hold of herself.

Her most guarded secret. He knew. He really knew, everything. She tried to calm her heart and her breathing. She was taking in too much oxygen and was beginning to feel faint. She had to get a hold of herself, gain some control. She was not used to this since she hardly ever lost it. She was always able to process information calmly and effectively, but now everything had grumbled down. Taking deep calming breath she spoke.

"How...?" Her whisper was so quietly that he hardly heard her.

Still keeping his eyes fixed on the papers, he answered. "Dark Lord and his followers don't trust me anymore so I cannot get hold of insider information, but that doesn't mean that I couldn't find out anything. While spying on Malfoy at the end of the Christmas vacation I happened to hear Lucius complain to Macnair about a loss of a ... toy he had captured to keep him entertained now that his wife is dead."

"Toy...?" Hermione spit out and then started to laugh bitterly. "I was a toy?!" She shrieked and could feel long suppressed tears trailing down her cheeks. On some level she had known, but now that he simply slapped her with the knowledge, she felt more humiliated than ever before.

"To Lucius Malfoy all those below him are. Muggles, muggle-borns, squibs and people like Mr. Longbottom are something to toy with. He has no respect for those he thinks are below him. Sometimes not even for those above him. Head master is a good example of that." Snape explained before turning to look at Hermione. She wanted to turn away, but his black eyes held her still.

"It didn't take me long to understand that the girl he was talking about was you. A mudblood witch who humiliates his son with her grades and who happens to be a good way to get to Potter." He continued and no matter how much Hermione wanted to close her ears, she knew she had to hear this, had to listen. No matter how painful it was, no matter how humiliating.

"You were a toy to satisfy his needs and a knife they would place on the throat of Potter and Dumbledore for the Dark Lord. He has probably heard from his son that practically every teacher here worships the ground you walk on. That and your friendship with Mr. Potter made you a very useful tool. Also I believe that the fact that you are muggle-born and still reach out to be the best student at Hogwarts had something to do with why he chose you."

Hermione almost whimpered. The pain was greater than ever since she had left the dungeons. She had tried to block what had happened from her mind and forget it. Now he had brought it all up again and for the first time she was forced to really think what had happened. She had wondered why he had chosen her and now she knew, he threw it to her face. She had made guesses of course, but this was certain information.

Her desperation, anger, frustration, helplessness, pain and, all in all, her bottled emotions exploded like her potion before. She hadn't allowed herself to express any of the emotions and had lived through the past months in unstable balance. She had avoided actually thinking and feeling what had happened. Now she knew she finally had to. She hated Snape for forcing her to go through this and at the same time thanked him for doing so. She needed this.

She needed to cry and now she finally could.

She had cried when she had been captured, but never after it. She had firmly refused to since she knew she would break down if she did and would babble all her secrets to who ever would be listening. Now she was in the presence of a person who already knew it all and she could express her pain freely.

Her floodgate opened and for the first after her escape she allowed her emotions to run wild. She sat down to the cold floor and curled up into a ball. The fact that she was wailing in the presence of Severus Snape didn't bother her in the least. Not now...

In her state of mind she didn't notice that Snape cast a simple warming spell to the floor. She also missed the pained look that flashed across his face before it settled back to calm.

After some time she could finally settle down and her wailing quieted down to hiccups. She almost wiped her face to her robes before she noticed that Snape had crouched before her and was offering her a handkerchief. She took it with a thanking smile on her face and he nodded. She wiped her tears away and giggled a little.

"I must look terrible." She said with an honest smile on her face. It felt good to smile again easily. The pain had somehow subdued and a weight lifted from her shoulders.

Snape looked at her and then nodded. "True."

She puffed. "Why thank you!"

"Pleasure." He answered with a small smile and Hermione found her lips curving up. The man was impossible! But somehow the fact made her feel better. She slowly rose to her feet and tenderly placed her hand on her stomach.

"Finally... I truly understand." She said slowly with a small sad smile. "Thank you."

Snape only nodded. "Eat now and then do your homework. I will be back around time you should be finished to release you from your "detention". If you have questions, ask them then." Then he turned and left with his robes swirling. The door closed with a bang and she was alone.

She had avoided being alone for a long time now, since that was when she was most vulnerable. She had failed to protect herself already once and had no doubts that should Lucius come to Hogwarts and find her alone, she would be captured again. She was only glad that it was not safe for him here anymore. Or anywhere in the matter of fact. But why not use Draco then? Or some other future Death Eaters?

One of the reasons she had not stepped forward was that it would not help anything. Malfoy was a known Death Eater, had been since the end of her fifth year. He was already sentenced to a prison. Not to Azkaban since that was now under Voldermort's control. That was how he had gotten out.

Lucius Malfoy had been sentenced to Azkaban after the battle in the Department of Mysteries years back. He had not stayed there long before Voldemort had free him and the others.

She hoped that a day when Lucius Malfoy would have to pay for what he had done to her and what he had done to other people as well. She knew that Death Eaters did horrible things. She had read about them, heard about them and finally experienced them herself. Lucius had shown her what he was capable of, not that she had ever doubted him. After all, he had given Ginny the diary of Tom Riddle and caused all the horrors during her second year. She herself had lost a long time of her life having been petrified. Luckily, no one had died. Lucius had never had to answer for that crime either.

With a start she realized that she was thinking about the father of her baby.

Hopefully his evilness was not genetic and so inheritable feature. Draco was so like his father that it almost scared her. Still, Draco lacked the power his father had. Power, grace and dignity were a inseparable part of Lucius Malfoy. Unfortunately so was his cruelty and lust for even higher power.

Hopefully her child, no THEIR child, would gain some Gryffindor features from her to balance the Slytherin in Lucius.

She sat down on near by chair and rubbed her belly. She had often seen pregnant women rubbing their bellies, but had never understood why. Now the same instinct made her act.

She had wondered if the baby was a girl or a boy many times. She knew that there were spells to find out, but she didn't want to know. Not yet. And besides if she had started to show unexpected interest in books that told about expecting and babies, Ron and Harry would have caught onto her. If not them, then it would have been the librarian, Madam Pinch. She had sharper eyes than most people and she would most definitely tell at least to Dumbledore. No matter how much she respected the Headmaster, she didn't want him to know. It was strange, but somehow she felt better that the one who knew was Snape and not Dumbledore. Something she wouldn't have thought of before now. Perhaps... it was easier to look at Snape and know that he knew than look at Headmaster watching her with stern look. He was a person she didn't want to disappoint.

What was really strange, was that she actually trusted Snape to keep his mouth shut. She trusted him not to tell anyone. He had been horrible to her all of her school years. He had humiliated her, ignored her, disrespected her and simply been awful until now. Her pregnancy was something he could have used to really hurt her and have fun with, but instead she found herself facing a whole new Snape. One that was not a complete bastard.

She didn't know what made him act like this, reveal another side of him to her. Was it because of Lucius Malfoy? He was a former Death Eater and knew fully well what was done to female captives. He knew what she had went trough, did he pity her?

No, there hadn't been a trace of pity in him. She was glad about that. She didn't want people to pity her and perhaps he understood this. She knew he had gone trough a lot since Voldemort had risen again. He had tried to go back to spy, but he had failed in her sixth year. He had been barely alive when he had been found at the Burrow. Not able to return to Hogwarts because that was what was expected, he had went to Weasleys where Molly had kept him alive. Then with her husband and oldest sons, Bill and Charlie, she had brought him back to Hogwarts for Madam Pomfrey to look after. It must have been hard for him to rely on others.

She hadn't seen him, but the grave look on Headmaster's face had told her enough. Snape had survived and then returned to his normal duties. She knew that he still spied for their cause, but she also knew that it was dangerous for him to leave the safety of Hogwarts for even simple matters. He was on Voldemort's hit-list after all.

But he had left and his knowledge was based on those visits outside Hogwarts. How he had managed to spy on Lucius and Macnair without being seen, she did not know and didn't care to guess. It was not important for her to know and it might be even dangerous for him. The less she knew the better, the safer he was. Odd that she should worry about his safety.

He had told her that if she had questions, she could ask. But what was there to ask about? She didn't need to know more about how he had known and he had already told her why she had been selected. She knew she could ask why people do things like this, but she also knew that the answer would be different for all since people were unique.

She sighed and pulled herself up again. Her stomach grumbled as a remainder that she was hungry. She had already almost forgotten it. On his desk was a plate filled with rice, chicken and different side dishes. There was cup beside the plate filled with sauce. A can of pumpkin juice to help it all down was also on the desk with a glass keeping it closed. Fork was on the left side of the plate while knife was on the right side. Everything was organized nicely.

She pulled the chair and sat down. She was almost drooling already and she forced herself to eat calmly. In the end, for the first time in a month, she was full and felt like stuffed animal.

She then pulled out her books at her own desk and started doing her homework as Snape had instructed her to. She didn't have all her books with her and so she had only limited amount of work to be done. After finishing them she started cleaning herself. She had already forgotten what had happened before, but was reminded as she touched her hair. She knew that she would have to wash her hair with conditioner multiple times before she would get a hairbrush through it.

She knew few spells that could help, but preferred to do this on her own, without magic. She knew that after this "detention" she should be tired, not so clean and her hands should be in an awful shape. She was a bit of a perfectionist and wanted to look like she had hours of work behind her. She would ask Snape if he knew any way she could make her hands look realistic.

The stress, tears and food were beginning to wear her down and since she had already done all she could, she could see any harm in getting a nap. After all, Snape wouldn't return for another hour. She could easily close her eyes for a moment...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Severus Snape walked to the dungeons with his robes billowing. He gave hard stares to all students that he walked by, most covered back in fear. It was satisfactory to see that he had managed to install some fear into them, it made classes considerably easier to handle. Especially since Dumbledore insisted on keeping Gryffindors and Slytherins in the same class. He had to do everything in his power to made sure that no student was harmed in any way, well not permanently anyway. Accidents still happened, some intended.

He had tried to talk to the Headmaster, but had been ignored. Dumbledore could be annoying.

He approached the classroom with a strange mixture of feelings. He knew she had gone through a terrible ordeal and it was a miracle that she was still alive. What kind of miracle, he didn't know. He just knew that somehow on her own, she had managed to escape.

And after that she had stayed silent. Not a word of complaint, anger, sadness. Nothing.

She had hid herself behind a mask and studying. NEWTs were important, but he knew she had started preparing for them already during her first year. Perhaps not knowing it herself. She had escaped from the pain and memory, which was understandable but not recommendable.

Since he had had his guesses, he had kept a closer eye on her than others. He had noticed her tired expressions, longing looks towards food and few occasional times she had laid her hand on her stomach. He was no fool and could see what she tried to hide.

She was with a child.

He had cursed when he had realized it.

He had pondered whether or not he should approach her or not and decided to wait and see what she would do. When she had done nothing, he had been forced to act. She clearly wanted to keep her state a secret, but he had already noticed Minerva looking at her worriedly. And no wonder. Her tiredness was clear to everyone with eyes.

Still he had had to wait until they reached the class about the pregnancy potion. He hadn't lied at all when he had taught them. He did the same every year and so none of the teachers could see that he did it on purpose. He had hoped that she would have been smart enough to just spoil the potion, but no. She had had to turn it into to a bomb. Soon the entire school would have heard about it and she would be a tough spot.

Not that she knew, but he had already saved her once. During the meeting when he had told about the detention and the cauldron, her clumsiness had caused many guesses. He had covered for her saying that someone must had intentionally spoiled her potion. He had received scolding from McGonagall about not having watched them carefully enough. He had endured it and in the end suggested, once again, to Dumbledore that he would not put Gryffindor and Slytherin together next year. Dumbledore's eyes had twinkled all the time and he had hummed under his breath. Snape could swear that he put those to houses together only to annoy him.

Of course he understood that Gryffindor was probably the only house capable of holding their ground when facing Slytherin.

Hufflepuff would be a disaster since they were far too good hearted. Every single Slytherin would look down on them and use them mercilessly for their own games.

Rawenclaws would easily make all Slytherins look bad since their grades were so much better and that would cause some serious problems. Envious Slytherins were perhaps the worst.

The dungeons were pretty much deserted as always when there were no classes. Some Slytherins wondered there, but otherwise people knew to stay far from there. He was not a tolerant man and the students had learned that. Even Slytherins were wary of him. They knew better than to disappoint their Head of house.

He thought he saw a flash of red hair around one corner and frowned. Obviously Granger's friends were loyal sort. There were no longer many redheads at Hogwarts, only one Mr Weasley and one Miss Weasley. At one time he had thought that they would never end.

Him being here meant that they were waiting for Granger. He had no doubts that Potter would be there as well. At least her friends cared about her even if they were clueless as hell. He didn't think she had told them or they would have already left to get revenge for her.

He opened the door to the classroom and shut tight behind him. As he raised his eyes, he saw Hermione sleeping on her desk. She must have been really tired to fall asleep on her desk in cold dungeons. He murmured few silencing spell making sure that they wouldn't be heard.

He purposely made some extra sounds and they woke her up. She looked panicked for a moment, then after seeing him seemed to calm down. She yawned widely and stretched. Some of her papers fell to the floor and she leaned down to pick them up.

In the mean while Snape walked to place the papers Dumbledore had given him onto the table. Then he turned to her and walked to sit on one of the chairs so that they could talk.

"Do you have questions?" He asked when she didn't seem to be willing to break the silence.

She shook her head. "No."

Snape nodded while a little surprised. He had expected her to ask about his ways of spying among other things. It was strange to hear that Miss Granger, who seemed to absorb knowledge like water, had no questions. Well, it was perhaps only better that way. "I have one for you."

Hermione blinked. "For me?" She asked.

Snape nodded. "How did you manage to escape?"

He had wondered about it for some time already. He knew that manor she had been kept was a huge place with many unexpected turns that were intended to confuse the quest.

She seemed to hesitate slightly before she answered. "He... miscalculated. I lived eleven years as a muggle, which he does not understand. He thought that without a wand I would be helpless and didn't bother to ward the room, just locked it. I managed to wriggle my hands from the bonds though it was painful, and then I picked the lock."

Snape raised one of his eyebrows and then, to Hermione's surprise, grinned. It was not a nice smile, but one he had often directed at Harry and filled with unholy glee. "That must have been what angered him so." He said with satisfaction.

"What?" Hermione asked totally clueless of what he was talking about.

He looked at her and then shook his head. "Nothing. Your "detention" is over. You are free to leave. I believe your friends are waiting for you." He said as he stood up and walked to his table.

A surprised look passed over her face before it turned into a smile. She hurriedly collected her things and shut her bag. Then she walked to him to see him grading papers.

"Umm... Sir, I were wondering..."

Snape raised his head from the papers. "Yes, Miss Granger?"

"Shouldn't we make sure that I look like someone who has been working all this time?" She said and held out her hands. As he looked, he saw that they were clearly not hands of someone who had just cleaned an entire classroom, without magic.

He found himself almost smiling. *Perfectionist.*

End of chapter 02.

Continued in chapter 03.

Author note:

I have read fics were Hermione has been viewed as a vegetarian. Does this have bases in the books?

And it seems that people caught on faster than I thought. Almost all guessed Lucius.

SO why him?

He's an evil bastards filled with confidence. I just love the man. And he is rather good-looking, I mean Jason Isaacs is. That long blond hair... ^^

Also, I hate the way most people view him. I will present my view of him during this fic.

Oh, another thing. It may take some time before I continue this...

I have so much to work on.