Greetings and Salutations my favorite people on the planet!

So I have been working on this one on and off in between 'Storm'and 'Secret' and I had thought I was going to be the first to post on our wonderful joint Coven profile. And then Moon and Claw just popped up with stories I knew nothing about...sneaky witches! I was feeling like I was letting them down so I took the time today to push through to the end so I could have at least one up as well.

As agreed upon, all rules were followed. I have a Coven member listed as HG's friend Shea (aka Snow). I admit this one did not afford a lot of actual interplay for OC characters but I have plenty planned for those witches so they will be okay.

There is a challenge line in this one. Moon challenged me to add it and so it is in bold when you get to it later on in the story. I see your challenge Moon and I accept! Love you witch!

Warnings: This is set in the summer between 5th and 6th year and goes through DH so any and all torture or violence from that may be included. Also it is M-rated because I like Lemon flavored everything and may or may not have given you at least one scene of that. Keep in mind I marked this as Sevione and though she is of age she is still in school during the first bit. If that is not your style...though I really did keep it as away from teacher/student anything as I could...don't read. So again...sex, torture,language, blood, violence, and possible other gory things...if this is not okay...please move on.

I have 5 other title fics in the works as we speak but I will not be posting them until they are done. All my love to you all. I hope you enjoy!

Always

Tempest E. Dashon (aka Dash)


The summer was the worst time for Hermione now. With five years of magical schooling behind her, Hermione's parents had taken to going on trips at all times of the year and this summer was no different. Oh they had invited her to go but they were going skiing in some remote pace that still had snow and she hated snow and outdoor activities. And she knew if she went her parents would make her put on a pair of skis and she would have made a fool out of herself. She had already embarrassed herself and her parents enough in the previous years. This year she decided to stay home on her own.

It was moving into July and she was utterly bored. She had already read all of her text books for her sixth year at Hogwarts...twice. She was of age now though the ministry didn't know that so she had even practiced a lot of the spells she had learned in her room. She had also brewed and stocked several different potions in her beaded bag in case the world went to Hades in a broom closet. She was halfway through the healer's book she had confiscated from Madam Pomfrey at the end of the year and was pretty sure that she could heal almost any wound they may suffer if they had to run.

Fed up with her internal whining and deciding that a trip around London late at night on the underground was needed to clear her head, Hermione grabbed her beaded bag, a backpack for her muggle items, and wand and headed out. Locking her back door she walked to a hidden spot on the back side of her fence and apparated away with a slight pop. Stumbling as she landed at the wizarding side of the underground, Hermione shook off the dizziness and headed around the other side to the muggle entrance. The last thing she wanted was to wait on the platform on the magical side with death eaters known to be out and about. Thinking of that, Hermione did a few spells she had learned to straighten her hair and change her eye color from brown to blue. They were small changes but if anyone were looking for a bushy haired, brown eyed girl...she would be overlooked as just another muggle...she hoped.

Taking the stairs down quickly she slid her ear buds out of her pocket and put them in her ears. Pushing play on her CD walkman, Hermione waited on the train, swaying slightly to the Gin Blossoms. Her cousin Shea in New York had sent her the latest CD of mixed songs and this one, I'll Follow You Down was one of her favorites so far. She could only wish she had someone who loved her enough to follow her through the good and bad times as long as it wasn't too far. In her logically organized mind it made perfect sense. As it was all she had was her momentary crush on Ron which had ended the moment he took up with Lavender and she realized he really was as moronic as Professor Snape called him and her one night with Viktor.

To be fair she was still friends with Viktor and he was a very attentive and sweet wizard. Sadly, he didn't have the intellectual capacity to keep her interested the way she was always taught she should be in a boyfriend or future husband. The date with Cormac...nope, no real reason to even count that one. He had been an attempt to get back at Ron and one of the most dunderheaded decisions she had made to date!

As the train pulled to a stop on the tracks Hermione slide the walkman back in her backpack so the beaded bags magic wouldn't fry it. She stepped through the sliding doors and walked along the sections until she came to one that was completely empty. Sitting down and pulling out her book, she was soon lost in the notes of the newest and hottest American bands and the wonderful tale of Emma…one of many Jane Austen books she had read a million times already. Maybe tomorrow she would take a trip to the book store and get something new and exciting to read...like one of those up and coming supernatural romance novels.

At each stop, Hermione would lift her head and watch the people coming and going at such a late hour on the Underground. For some reason it always shocked her how alone she felt even in a room full of people. She wondered if the people getting on and off the train so late at night felt the same way. Her parents always wondered why she gravitated to a spot alone to read at any social function they attended. She really couldn't help it! She just had a hard time relating to other people her age when all she had had to talk to until Hogwarts was her parents and other adults. Could she really be blamed now that she found conversations with her peers boring and childish due to her upbringing?

At the fourth stop of the night Hermione lifted her head to take a glance at all the people and only saw one person on this particular platform. He looked to be about her age with long stringy hair that she thought looked rather dirty from where she was sitting. His jeans were black with a rip in one knee and his boots looked like worn and very old combat boots. As he boarded the train on her section she caught the glimpse of an Iron Maiden logo on the long sleeve black t-shirt. He had a set of old headphones over his ears and what looked like a normal walkman stuck in his back pocket.

Basically he was one of those boys her mother had warned her to stay far away from but as the train started to move again she knew to get up and leave now would be very obvious and very rude. And after five years with all the students she was surrounded by every day, Hermione had learned to keep her swotty comments and actions to herself.

Dropping her eyes back to her book as his head tilted in her direction, Hermione tried to get lost in the words again but couldn't seem to do it. She could swear she felt eyes on her and when she looked up she realized she was right. Though he had a book out and open on his lap, his coal black eyes were locked onto her and for a moment she couldn't catch her breath. His eyes were burning with pain and anger and the bottomlessness of his emotions carved a hole straight through her heart. Of course that could also have been from the onyx abyss that his eyes reminded her of but she didn't have the mental cognizance to tell right this moment.

Refusing to be the first to hide away now that they were locked eye to eye, Hermione let her book rest in her lap with her hands holding the pages as she kept her gaze on him. After a few minutes the burning rage seemed to roll away like a receding tide and in its place she saw a hint of confusion. Reaching up he moved the earphone over the ear closest to her off and in response she pulled hers off completely.

"Why aren't you afraid of me?"

His question was so blunt that it threw her off kilter and with an honesty she didn't mean to use she answered him.

"Am I supposed to be?"

Her answer seemed to surprise him but he shook it off rather quickly as he got up and moved to the seat directly in front of her.

"Most people are just by looking at me."

"Then most people are judgmental jerks who need to take a good look in their own mirror and reevaluate their moral standing in life."

"So you aren't scared to me?"

"Do you plan to hurt me, attack me, steal my stuff?"

At the shake of his head side to side she gave him a shrug and a soft smile.

"Then I have no reason to be scared of you. I admit that you could use a wash for your hair and your clothing is obviously old but I also know I am lucky to have the parents and life I have and I am not about to judge someone who was not so blessed in their upbringing."

Tilting his head to the side as he studied her, he pushed the headphones all the way off of his ears and let them rest around his neck.

"You are ridiculously clean and well kept to be riding the Underground at ten at night."

"I was bored at my house and my parents were out so I figured why not. I can't stand to be bored."

He nodded his head in agreement and brushed the hair in his face behind his ear.

"I'm Cassian..."

Standing carefully so she didn't fall with the rocky ride she leaned forward with her hand out for him to shake.

"Honora...nice to meet you Cassian."

His hands were rough from obvious physical labor but they were warm and dry. That was one thing she hated about Ron's hands...they were always clammy feeling. Taking her seat again she crossed one leg over the other.

"So what brings you on the 'Midnight train going anywhere'?"

His lips twitch upwards slightly before he raised one eyebrow at her in a very good imitation of her potions professor. Biting her lip to keep from chuckling she waited to see what remark came with that eyebrow.

"Journey...really?"

She shrugged with an even larger smile.

"It's a classic...what can I say?"

His chuckle when it came was deep and surprising. It caused the hair on her arms to stand up and a warmth to roll slowly through her blood stream.

"My father is on one of his binders and when he gets like that he thinks my mom and I are his personal punching bags. My mom may be willing to stay and take it but I no longer am. So it's either jump ship and go back later or fight back and end up in the hospital."

Her gasp of shock turned to a look of anger and Hermione had to close her eyes to get her temper under control before it started to show through her magic in her hair.

"I'm sorry Cassian. That has to be a very hard way to live. I'd ask all the usual questions but considering you are reading the philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche I am going to go out on a limb and assume you are fairly intelligent and have tried all avenues open to help you."

His surprise this time was very noticeable and as he looked down at his book and back up at her, his curiosity was plain to see.

"How do you know what book I am reading? And you should never assume. I could not have a clue what I am reading and have picked it up by accident."

Her snort was very unladylike but caused his lips to twitch in amusement again.

"I recognize the cover as I have read it already and you have the book ear marked half-way through. The only type of person who gets that far into that book is someone with a brain who can comprehend what is being said. Normal dunderheaded simpletons would have gotten to page two if they were determined and then thrown the book back."

His head fell back on a laugh as she finished her reasoning and the changes it brought to his entire countenance made Hermione stare more than she meant to.

"What?"

"You should smile and laugh more often."

"Oh...why is that?"

She could tell her cheeks tinted pink by the heat in her face. Damn Gryffindor impulses. Her mouth spoke without her brains permission and now she had to totally embarrass herself by answering. So much for a possible new friend.

"It transforms your face from cute to very pleasing."

Instead of disgust at her obvious liking he gave her a glare full of fury.

"No need to lie to me! I know I'm not attractive and no one would ever look at me twice so if you feel the need to lie…just keep your soddin' mouth shut!"

As he reached up to slide his headphones back on, Hermione lost the hold on her own temper.

"I don't lie! And I have been looking at you this whole time you jerk!"

Bending over to snatch her backpack up from the floor she missed the shocked look that crossed his face. As she stood to storm away to a different section she was stopped by a gentle hand on her arm.

"I'm sorry...please don't go."

She looked up at him to see that his eyes were softened in apology and with a huffed breath out she turned to face him fully.

"Unless I have no choice Cassian...I don't lie. And I only do it if pushed into a corner where I have to answer or if answering truthfully would be dangerous. I don't know who you have to deal with on a daily basis but other than the hair needing a good wash...I think you have a very attractive face."

A moment passed where he looked at her like he could see into her soul and then with a very slight curve of one corner of his mouth he nodded and dropped his hand.

"Would you please stay?"

"Okay..."

Taking her seat again she was surprised when he grabbed his book and bag and moved to sit next to her. Turning her body so she was facing him and pulling one of her legs up into the seat she smiled as he settled to face her as well.

"So you go to school around here Honora?"

Shaking her head no she thrummed the pages of her book in a nervous manner as she answered.

"I go to a very exclusive boarding school in Scotland. My parents wanted to make sure that I got a full education for the brain I was gifted with so off to another country I go every school year."

She chuckled to try to cover up the fact that she wasn't giving all the details and he chuckled as well.

"Sounds nice. I wish I could get away from all of my problems now by skipping off to a school across countries. Think they would accept a wreck like me?"

She gave him an indignant frown.

"You are not a wreck and I don't know. Their standards are very specific but it's possible if you meet their crazy check list. It would be nice to have someone there who can read. I am starting to think it is all about money and not intelligence because most of my classmates are beyond salvageable at this point."

With a roll of her eyes she let out another sigh of annoyance. She froze as his hand came up and he brushed her cheek gently with his thumb.

"I have to tell you something but you have to promise not to freak out on me...can you do that?"

She debated for a moment before nodding her head.

"You are one of the brightest people I have ever met...Hermione."

Her patience turned to fear as she jumped up and backed away from him, her wand out before she even considered grabbing it. He held his hands up and out to the side so that she could see he was unarmed.

"I go to your school and I know who you are and I swear I mean you no harm. I am out trying to get away from the pain and danger of the war too and no I can't tell you who I am though we do know of each other. I have no one to converse with on my level either and I would love it if we could but I didn't want to keep lying about knowing you and trying to form a friendship...it felt wrong."

"So you know who I am but I am not allowed to know who you are? How is that fair?"

His sigh was one of utter rejection as he hung his head.

"It's not fair but it's all I can offer you...conversation that is on your level and a hidden companionship during the summer. Will you take what I'm offering?"

Meeting her eyes again she can see his are filled with the same loneliness that she always feels and realizing she doesn't want to turn this chance down she nods and puts her wand back in the holster on her arm. As it slides in it disappears once again.

"I'll agree if I can call you Cas...just because if you can't tell me who you are then I'm sure you are someone a nickname or shortened name would annoy."

His grin was almost a full one this time as he chuckled.

"Only if I get to call you Mione like your annoying little troupe of friends."

Sitting back down she gave him a grin of her own.

"Fine. But no talk of my friends or anyone else at Hogwarts that is not a teacher. If I can't know who you are for safety reasons then I don't need any hints through your opinions of other people. As a matter of fact let's leave out the teachers too. Only the school work or subjects...deal?"

"Deal."


By the time the two exited the train, having ridden it to the end of the line and back again, the sun was coming up over the horizon and the city was starting to wake up. Standing just outside the entrance with her eyes closed, Hermione enjoyed the feel of the first rays of warmth on her face. The slight shuffle of feet next to her pulled her back to her companion.

Glancing over at him, she couldn't help but smile. They had talked about anything and everything they could think of for hours on end. It had started with her classes and different subjects at school but had evolved from there. They had discussed muggle chemistry and mathematics, news articles and philosophy, even music and art. She had never had a more fulfilling conversation with someone in her entire short seventeen years and she was sorry to see it coming to an end. She knew if she didn't get some sleep though she was going to turn into a banshee soon.

"You wanna meet up at the park we were talking about sometime…maybe tonight?"

His hesitant question only endeared him to her more and with a grin she nodded her assent.

"Sounds wonderful to me! Meet there say…seven tonight? Gives us both time to get some sleep and eat and stuff."

"Ye…yeah…sounds good. I'll see you then…"

He hesitated again and with the courage of her house she lifted up on her tiptoes, just now realizing how much taller he was compared to her, and gave him a soft kiss on the cheek.

"I had a great night tonight Cas…thank you."

Twisting sideways and apparating away to allow him a less awkward moment, Hermione landed in her backyard with a squeal as she danced and jumped and wiggled until all her happy overflow was burned out. Moving through her house with the same stupid grin on her face, Hermione took a quick shower and climbed into bed as the clock hit eight in the morning. Setting her alarm for three that afternoon, she closed her eyes and allowed her exhaustion to take her.


As her alarm clock buzzed annoyingly through her room, Hermione rolled to her back and stretched. Hitting the button to shut it off she kept her eyes closed for another minute and enjoyed the last vestiges of sleep and her very steamy dream. She knew that she had just met him but after hours of conversations and talking, Hermione couldn't help but be utterly attracted to Cassian. He was not only brilliant but very resourceful as well. He challenged her to think outside her books and her normal lines of thought and to find a solution to a problem with more creativity and cunning. She was pretty sure already that he was a Slytherin.

That of course made for a very dangerous liaison if they were to be discovered. She also found after last night and her dream that she did not care. She wanted time to get to know and enjoy his company before they both had to go back to that damn school and back to hating each other. As far as she was concerned…all of Slytherin house were not evil, dark witches and wizards and she hated that her Head of House and the Headmaster tended to hint that way instead of judging people fairly and of their own actions.

She knew for a fact that Theodore Nott was not only not a dark wizard but couldn't stand the rhetoric the purebloods spouted or that they followed such an insane and unstable wizard as their chosen leader. She and Theo had become study partners during her fourth year and it had continued from there. They sat in a secluded part of the library to make sure Theo did not have to deal with any excess crap for being near her but they had become fairly good friends. He was also quite brilliant and very soft spoken. She had entertained the thought for a second that Cas might be Theo, except Theo would not have hidden from her and Cas was not soft spoken at all.

Hermione took her time getting up and going. She spent twenty minutes arguing with herself over her outfit before she realized what she was doing, growled in frustration and grabbed the first pair of jeans and a shirt that were within reach. Three shirts later she huffed her way out of her room to go try to fix the mess that was her hair. It had calmed over the years but when she went to bed with it wet like she had last night…you wouldn't really know it. Adding some potions to it she had found in a little shop off of Diagon Alley last September, she carefully cast the spells to make it straighter and less full until her hair was hanging down her back in soft waves instead of looking like she had put her finger in a light socket.

Hair and clothing handled, Hermione took a long look at her face. Like Cassian, she did not see anything staring back at her worth looking at. She knew she was not an ugly duckling by any means but she also was not a starlet beauty like Ginny or Pansy or even Lavender. She normally didn't bother with putting on makeup but maybe if he knew her he would understand that she really did like his company if she made more of an effort. Deciding that it would make him feel good as well if he figured that out, she put on a light dusting of blush and eye shadow. She rimmed her eyes with a light gray color and added just enough mascara to have her lashes stand out. As a final touch she painted her lips with a nude colored lip gloss that made her lips shimmer.

Going back to her room she added the lip gloss to her backpack and with everything ready she headed down stairs to get something to eat. She was starving and had already missed breakfast and lunch while sleeping. Heating up some of the food her mother had prepared for her before they left she sat at the table and ate as quickly as she dared. She wanted to go to the book store before she was supposed to meet with Cassian and see if she could find something new to catch her interest. Not to mention she had a few books he had suggested that she had not yet read as well.

Waving her wand to clean up her dishes and the kitchen, Hermione slid her backpack over her shoulders, tucked her beaded bag into her pocket and headed to her garage. Grabbing her bike she locked everything up, double checked the wards on the house, and then headed down her street and towards the book store that was only a few miles from her house.


Hermione rode her bike over the grass as she spotted his dark hair across the park. He was sitting on the table top of one of the wooden tables and like the night before he looked very unapproachable. His hair was still unkempt and his clothing was all black and if the Gothic look didn't scare you away then the menacing aura he displayed probably would. However, all she could do was grin as she saw him.

Hopping off her bike and leaning it against a nearby tree, Hermione took the pizza box she had stuck to the handle bars with a sticking charm and the bottles of water and headed his way. Making sure not to startle him she made a wide circle so he would see her in his peripheral first. His head came up and as his eyes landed on her his entire posture relaxed and she would say even his eyes brightened a little. Setting the pizza and drinks on the table next to him as he slid his headphones off, Hermione hopped up to sit with the pizza in between them.

"You came…"

The slight shock and amazement in his voice made her look up from opening the box to glance at him.

"Of course I came…I said I would be here."

He dropped his eyes and turned his head in a moment of shyness and Hermione bit the inside of her cheek to keep from grinning.

"Did you really think I would stand you up after all the wonderful topics we talked about last night?"

His shrug was very telling and rallying her courage Hermione hopped back to the ground and walked until she stood before him. Once he lifted his eyes and then his face to look at her, she brushed his hair out of the way so she could see him clearly. He had such a bad habit of hiding behind it when he was feeling awkward.

"This may be too fast or really stupid of me but I am going to say it anyway. And I am only saying this once so take notes."

Her stern voice did not match the shy smile she gave him before she took a deep calming breath and continued.

"I like you Cassian. I think you are an absolute pleasure to talk to and debate with. I like the way your mind twists and turns to find new solutions or answers. I enjoy your wit and even your sarcasm. I think you are beyond a doubt the most intelligent wizard I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and I would never pass up a chance to see you if you were free. The only reason I wouldn't be here is if something happened that was out of my control and I couldn't get to you. Barring that…if I say I will be somewhere with you…I'll be there."

His hand reached forward with a slight tremor to it and touched her cheek gently.

"You're wearing makeup…why?"

"Do you not like it?"

"I didn't say that. It's just…I don't think I have ever seen you wear makeup except at the Yule Ball when you went with Krum. Did you wear it for me?"

The dawning of that possibility made his eyes widen and as he waited for her answer he seemed to be warring with himself over something in his head. She could feel her cheeks heat and was glad it was getting darker to hide it. With a small nod of her head to accompany her answer she couldn't help but drop her eyes in embarrassment.

"Yes…I wore it for you."

She felt rather than saw him move and she was suddenly in his arms. She lifted her head to look into his eyes and the burning need she saw there made her knees weak.

"I…I want to kiss you Hermione but I'm afraid if I do I'll never stop."

Her brows drawing down in confusion she started to ask what he meant when he seemed to understand and explained on his own.

"I have never had anyone who cared enough about me to wear makeup. I don't get touches of love or affection from my parents or anyone…never have. The one girl I thought I was in love with only used me so she did not feel alone until she had other magical friends and then the one time I messed up she turned on me. I don't know how to be someone with someone else. I do know I won't like other boys touching you or being near you and I can be a right wanker when my anger is in play."

He turned his head to look out over the park. She could tell he was afraid his words would scare her off but she waited to see what else he would say.

"I'm possessive and jealous and if I kiss you then it will be a first for me…kissing someone I like who seems for some odd reason to like me too. I am not sure I will be able to just let you go and not make you mine before the end of summer. I don't want to tie you down or scare you away but that is just who I am now and you need to be aware of that."

Reaching up she let her hand glide over his cheek and with a gentle pressure turned his face back towards her until his eyes finally looked back down into hers.

"Am I going to be fighting against you in the coming battle?"

Shaking his head no, his eyes gained a little bit of hope in them.

"Do you believe in his doctrine or ideals?"

Another instant no with the shake of his head and she let a smile form on her lips.

"Will I get to know your real name at some point in all of this?"

One corner of his mouth quirked up as he nodded his head yes slowly.

"Then ask me if you can…"

Licking his lips, his eyes heated as he watched her tongue mimic his.

"Can I…Can I kiss you?"

"Yes."

By the way his hands tightened on her waist she expected the kiss to be hard and fast. Her shock kept her from responding at first as his lips whispered back and forth across hers. The light brush made her lips tingle and she parted her lips slightly to breathe in as she suddenly felt like there wasn't enough air. His lips left hers as his nose traveled a gentle path along her cheek and into her hair as he pressed a kiss to her brow.

Following a path back down, he kissed each of her eyelids before leaving a trail down her nose of light brushes. Another set of whispered brushes of his lips to hers had her giving a quite pleading whine. The noise seemed to be what he was waiting on as he tilted his head so their noses wouldn't bump and connected their mouths firmly together.

He still didn't push for more or turn the kiss beyond exploring as he seemed to be memorizing the way her lips felt on his with little movements back and forth. Running his teeth along one side of her bottom lip, he sucked it into his mouth causing her to gasp. Her mouth opened fully to him with the sound and he took full advantage. Her first and only thought was so perfectly Slytherin before his tongue swept in to tangle with hers and her thoughts melted away on the tide of desire that pulsed in her veins.

No longer paralyzed with uncertainty, Hermione moved her hands up his chest and over his shoulders to pull him closer to her body as she wrapped herself around him. Her brain had left her already and with an instinct she didn't even know she had she helped deepen the kiss, parting her lips for his invasion, chasing his tongue back to his mouth, nipping and licking each other's lips until both were making keening, animalistic sounds.

His hands fisted tighter into the back of her shirt before he dragged one up to grip her hair, gently pulling her head back as he trailed his lips from her mouth, across her chin, and down the side of her neck. The new sensation caused Hermione to moan in appreciation and dig her nails into his shoulder. His hiss of pain had her releasing him with worry until he grazed his teeth over her skin, whispering for her to never let go as he bit her, just shy of painful, where her neck met her shoulder.

The almost pain sent another pulse of desire through her and she could feel her panties grow damp as her body responded to his ministrations. His hand running up her side and over her breast brought her mind back to the moment and she tensed only to have it melt away as his lips came back to hers at the same time he cupped her breast firmly and rolled her budding nipple between his fingers. The moan she involuntarily made was one of need and confusion mixed together and somehow that seemed to register with him.

Pulling back he brought both of his hands to her waist as he nipped her lips once, twice more before opening his eyes to look at her. She knew her eyes were glazed with desire and her face was probably looking at him in awe but she wasn't sure she cared. She had been kissed before and it had never caused a reaction so visceral. She had been afraid she was one of those frigid girls who would never be attracted to a boy…apparently it just had to be this boy.

Tracing her lips with one of his thumbs he kissed her gently one last time before giving her one of his rare smiles and stepping back to sit back down. Giggling because she had no other way to express the bubbling feeling in her chest, Hermione took the seat next to him and pulled the now cold pizza box into her lap.

"I brought dinner in case you had not eaten yet. I knew I was going to be starving by the time I got here."

Flipping up the lid she made sure to balance the box correctly before letting go to grab a slice and handing it to him. He took it and never taking his eyes from her he began to eat. She followed suit and soon the conversation was flowing between them as it had the night before.

They talked again until the sun started to climb its ladder through the sky and never once did he take those enigmatic eyes from her face. As they said their goodbyes, he kissed her again, this time devouring her the way she had expected the first time. Unsteady on her feet she watched him as he smirked at her, said he would see her the next night, and turned to saunter away through the park and out of sight. It still took her several long moments before she was able to shake off the fog of his last kiss and get on her bike to head back home herself.


They spent the summer in exactly the same way. Even after her parents returned from their trip, Hermione would spend some of the day with them and would be gone before the clock struck Midnight. Her life felt almost midnightless as she would be back in his presence and his arms before the witching hour could strike and the world would melt away to nothing but him.

Gone were her days of loneliness and boredom. There were days where their discussions would turn to heated debates and then arguments as they would disagree on method or ideals or creation of something. She had learned that when he got frustrated he crossed his arms and would glare at her like a petulant child and she would lose her train of thought as she ended up laughing. Her laughing would cause him eventually to relax again and with a growl he would normally attack her.

Their rolling around and laughing would turn to kissing and at some point the innocent nature of their kisses became less innocent. She would go home at night with the memory of his body snuggled perfectly between her thighs as they would kiss until their lips were swollen and puffy and their lungs were heaving for air. She loved the looks he would give her as they would pull away to lie side by side. He would look at her like she was the very world to him and it made her feel special, beautiful…loved.

Hermione was pretty sure she had stupidly gone and fallen in love with Cassian at this point and as the summer neared to a close, she couldn't help but get lost in her own mind several times a night in worry at never seeing him again or having to face him not knowing which boy in green and silver he was at school. She knew they would not be able to talk much if at all while there and she hated it. She had grown to rely on his conversation and company to make the days and nights bearable as the war crept closer and closer. Neither of them had said those sacred words to each other and even though he made her feel that way, she wasn't sure if he actually felt the same about her. He was always so very private about his emotions outside of anger and frustration…even still with her.

On the occasions she would fade away into her own thoughts, he would pull her back with a soft touch or a gentle kiss and try to get her to talk about what she had been thinking about. Her sad smile was enough for him to back away from the subject and they would ignore the melancholy to return to whatever topic had been at hand to discuss.

After making sure her parents were completely asleep with a well-placed and gentle sleeping spell, earlier for them than normal but needed tonight, Hermione apparated to the train station to meet Cassian. It was the last night they would have together before leaving for King's Crossing the next day and Cassian had wanted to take her out on a special date he said he had been saving for all summer. As she stepped on the platform he turned as if he felt her presence and the smile that lit his eyes even if it didn't form fully on his mouth made her heart skip and her mouth go dry. She loved when he smiled or laughed…he always looked like a completely different person when he allowed it to happen.

Overwhelmed by the rush of happiness that rolled through her at seeing him, Hermione forgot to be a calm and sophisticated young woman and ran to him, throwing herself into his waiting arms with a grin so wide that it almost hurt her cheeks. His strong arms tightened around her and it was heaven on Earth to have her body pulled so snuggly up against his lithe body. She used to think she preferred Ron's hugs with his massive shoulders and frame but she had learned she in fact preferred the graceful, tall and thinner physique of Cassian after all. He was all sinew and muscles packed into a tall form that towered over her and made her feel petite and protected at the same time.

His lips met hers in a gentle kiss that turned heated within moments of it starting. It was always that way for them now. He would try his best to be gentle and sweet with her and the inferno under their skin would override that tender moment and burn through them with an intensity that obliterated sensible thought or rationale. The squeal of the train coming to a stop finally broke them apart and with matching grins and gasping breaths they boarded hand in hand, eyes still locked on each other. Sitting he pulled her into his lap as the train was quite full tonight and they whispered quietly to each other as the machine rolled forward, the world around them forgotten.


The Italian restaurant was family owned and what some would call a hole in the wall kind of place that only locals knew about. The dining room was small and intimate and the dim lighting and checkered red and white table clothes made it that much more memorable and special for Hermione. Once they had ordered a large plate of spaghetti and meatballs to share and a drink, they had faced each other and once again the world had disappeared as they talked and laughed.

When the food arrived Hermione felt like she was in some romance movie as he fed her bites and she returned the gesture in between feeding themselves as well. They kissed and giggled and were utterly Hufflepuff during dinner and looking into his eyes she swore she saw the feelings she had reflected there from time to time.

As the waitress took the check away and cleaned up the dishes, Hermione leaned her head on Cassian's shoulder with a contented sigh. Their hands were joined and sitting on his leg and he had his other arm around her shoulders holding her close. She could feel the tension as it entered his body and with a curious look on her face she glanced up at him. He was staring straight ahead and the look on his face to anyone else would have looked closed off. She knew now that he looked like that when he was trying to hide his nervousness. Sitting up and turning to face him she watched him jolt slightly from his thoughts and he turned his blank eyes to look at her.

"I have no idea what has gone through your head to close up so far behind your shields Cassian but you can talk to me. You should know that by now."

His eyes closed as he sighed out a frustrated breath and she watched a little of the tension leave his shoulders.

"I know…I just…have no idea how to say what I want to say."

She gave him a gentle smile as he opened his eyes to meet hers.

"How about just say it as you think it and let me interpret it the way you meant it. I seem to have gotten pretty good at that."

His chuckle surprised him she could tell and her eyes lit with her own amusement. He took another deep, slow breath before he reached into his pocket and pulled out a square box. Her eyes opened wider as she looked at it and then up at him. His laugh was low but filled with pure delight.

"It's not an engagement ring Hermione. Don't think we are quite there yet."

She joined him as he laughed again at her relief and then he lifted her hand and placed the box in it before placing his hand over the top of it.

"This summer has been the happiest time of my entire life. You are the most aggravating, swotty, high-handed, intelligent, kind-hearted, beautiful little know-it-all I have ever had the misfortune and fortune to run in to. You make me have to stop and think before I try to make my point and you make me smile and laugh. You drive me fucking crazy with your refusal to back down on a point if you think you are right and I have never been defeated or had to admit I was wrong so much before."

She could feel his hands shaking as one held hers up under the box and the other nervously rubbed back and forth on the top of it.

"Tomorrow we go back to being who we have to be at that damn school and I have no possible way of telling you who I am without it causing all kinds of issues. Not to mention I am pretty sure if you knew you would run the other way but that is my own insecurities."

Her glare melted away as he amended why he felt she would run and she placed her hand on top of his to give him more reassurance as he talked.

"I have no idea what is going to happen this year or as the war progresses. I know that I will not fight against you or your side in this war but I have no idea where I will be or what will happen between now and next summer. I wanted to make sure you had something to remember the real me and not the stupid role I have to play once I am back in that Salazar forsaken place."

Her giggle made him stop and then his eyes widen as he realized what he said.

"It's okay Cassian…I have known you were a Slytherin since the very first time we met. It's kind of obvious in almost everything you do."

"And yet you remained with me."

Reaching up she cupped his cheek and caressed him softly with her thumb.

"Of course I did."

Leaving it at that as she didn't feel the need to say anything else about it she waited to see what else he wanted to say. After a moment of dumbfounded shock, he cleared his throat and continued.

"When it gets tough or you miss me or think of me, I wanted you to have something physical you could touch or hold on to so that you remember wherever I am in the school, I am missing you just as much."

Lifting his hand to open the box, Hermione couldn't help the small gasp or the tears that formed in her eyes as she took in the silver locket that lay nestled on a green cushion. As she reached forward to lift it out of the box, she could feel a splash of magic reach out and wrap around her and it felt just like his arms when he hugged her. The first tears fell at that and she studied the designs along the heart's center. It was a perfect replica of what they had started to call their tree in the park and in tiny little letters carved into the tree were HG and CP with a heart drawn around it.

"Open it."

His words were a hushed breath between them and with shaking fingers Hermione pulled the two sides apart and froze as her eyes fell on the mirror on one side and then the words on the other. She watched as they scrolled to form a full thought in pieces and as the last bit faded so it could start over, her heart felt like it exploded in joy and love in her chest.

In this mirror you can see the face that haunts my dreams of the girl who has my heart. I love you Hermione.

Raising her eyes to meet his, she could see the worry and fear he was trying so hard to hide and with a sob of relief she threw her arms around him and buried her face into his neck.

"I love you too…so so much."

She felt him exhale in solace as he wrapped his arms around her and held her with a tenderness that made her tears come faster. Their lips met in what felt like the first time and as she sighed against his mouth she let her body melt into him in total surrender. She had always held a small part back to keep from getting shattered if this was all some summer fling that would be over and done by September. Now she gave him the very last piece of herself and with his keen insight she could tell he knew it as he growled into her mouth and fed at her lips like a man starved.

Breaking away he looked into her eyes with an intensity she had never seen before and the burning desire was almost overflowing.

"Let's get out of here. I want to take you somewhere we can be alone."

She had no words and could only nod. Sliding out of the booth he pulled her gently over and up and with his arm around her waist and his hand in her back pocket, they left the dimly lit diner for the moonlit streets. Every few steps he would pull her in to kiss her again and by the time they made it to their spot in the park she was a bundle of raw nerves of desire and want. Pushing him down on the table bench, Hermione straddled his lap and buried her hands in his hair as she melded their mouths together in another battle of lust and love.

They kissed for what felt like hours, losing themselves in the newly discovered love for the other and the freedom it seemed to give them to know they were truly not alone anymore. As their kisses slowed so they could both get back some of their breath, Hermione realized as usual that his hands were gripping tightly to her hips and he had not moved them once he had grabbed a hold of her. With a groan of need and frustration she reached down and grabbed one of his wrists, moving his hand from her hip up along her side under her shirt as she murmured against his lips.

"Touch me Cassian…please…"

She felt his hand flex against her skin as he groaned against her lips this time. She could feel his want to touch her in the way he held his body so tense. She had no idea why he was holding back but she knew she didn't want him to anymore.

"Hermione…I can't."

His voice broke with his need and his restraint and she broke their kiss to lean back and meet his eyes.

"Why?"

"It feels wrong. I know who you are and yet you have no idea who has their grubby hands on you. I'm shrouded in darkness and mystery and lies and I can't even tell you who I am for fear of putting you in more danger or Merlin forbid you run screaming for the hills when you realize how deep the lies go."

Covering her mouth with his hand as she started to protest, he gave her a sad smile.

"I know what you are going to say pet…I do. And I know that when you say it you mean it and you believe you can stick to it. I also know that if…when you finally find out who I am really am…it is going to destroy every happy thought you have about me. I am not someone that anyone loves or wants to hold and be held by. I am hated and feared and even with your generous heart, I do not think you could forgive my past transgressions or risk your friends and status to stay with me."

Her tears shining in her eyes again seemed to cause him real pain as he grimaced and moved his hand to her cheeks so he could rub the tears away.

"If I touch you…beyond what has already happened…I am not sure I would be able to stop. I would want to and I would try but you are so warm and so soft and so utterly good and filled with light that I want to sink so deep into you that I drown in everything you are and never resurface…"

Brushing a curl behind her ear, she watches as his eyes get a shine to them as well and she can feel her heart break in her chest as she knows what is coming.

"I will not allow myself to take you…to have all of you when you cannot have all of me. Since I cannot trust myself to hold on to that thought and my own self-control, I have to keep from touching you at all…no matter how much I want to put my hands all over you."

Lifting her to her feet as he stands, Hermione can see the distance start to flow back into his eyes as he brushes away the one tear that clung to his lashes.

"I love you Hermione Jean Granger. I never thought I would ever allow someone close enough to me again to love and knowing you now I realize what I thought was love…just…wasn't. You are the only girl to truly hold every part of me and I will never forget that or let it go. When this is all over…I will tell you the truth and risk my heart being destroyed as you walk away…but I promise you I will tell you."

Caressing her face in a way that she knew was the last time he touched his lips gently to hers before pulling away and giving her his lopsided grin.

"Stay safe pet. Miss me because all the gods know I am going to die a little each day missing you."

Frozen with her heart slowly cracking in her chest, Hermione watched him turn and walk away into the night, the darkness swallowing him entirely as her tears cascaded down her cheeks. She had known this was coming but she had not prepared at all for it like she thought. Her air seemed trapped in her lungs…or maybe it was stuck outside her body. Either way she felt like she couldn't get enough air and with the last of her resolve crumpling she whispered I will wait forever for you into the quiet of the night. Somehow she knew he was just out of eye sight watching her and that he would hear her.

Trying to take comfort in that and believing that in the end she would prove him wrong, Hermione didn't even bother to walk to a hidden spot but apparated from there. As she landed in her backyard, she collapsed to the ground and let her sobs drown out the too oppressive silence of her life and her tears wash away her heartache.


It was the beginning of yet another weekend. The school year had started off rather rough and his mood had not improved with time. As he sat quietly at his table, picking at his breakfast, he couldn't keep the scowl off of his face. In the three weeks he had been back, he had been threatened by psychotic wizards, forced to watch a brilliant wizard start to fall apart under the pressures of the war, and he couldn't quite contain his jealousy as he watched her be surrounded by her friends.

Speaking of her, he raised his eyes to look to where she was seated between the two idiot boys, her head down and her eyes moving over the words of whatever book had caught her fancy this week. He felt the corner of his mouth tick up slightly as she moved the locket back and forth on its chain as she read, one of her hands always on it if she wasn't writing or had to use them for other things. He wondered if she slept like that, with it gripped tightly in her small fist.

He had wondered if she would really wear it once she was back in the walls of this illustrious castle and he admitted he had been shocked when she had sat down in potions class and he had caught his first close up glimpse of her. She had unpacked her book, quill, and parchment in preparation and then she had picked the locket up from under her shirt and ran it back and forth as she was want to do while gently fiddling with the chain between her lips.

The sight had made him almost groan aloud now that he knew what those lips felt like and could do and he had to shut his eyes closed tightly to try to banish the thoughts. Of course that had only worked to make it worse as he remembered how she had looked that last night, sitting in his lap with desire blazing in her eyes, begging him to touch her. He had almost faltered right then and there and the control it took to reign in his selfish nature and not take what was being offered had almost killed him…at least it felt that way.

The first time the little Weasley shit had thrown his arm around her and pulled her under his chin for a hug, he had had to grip his seat to stay in it. He had wanted nothing more than to walk over and rip her away from him, claiming her as his own right then and there. His bruised and raging inner demons had been sufficiently shushed when later that week he had overheard her telling the idiot boy that she had a boyfriend and she was sorry but he was a little too late with his interest.

When the boy had tried to talk to her about them having years between them and what could one muggle do for her that he couldn't, she had lost her infamous temper and told him in no uncertain terms that not only was her boyfriend not a muggle but he was 'twice the wizard that you will ever be Ronald Weasley and I do not appreciate you trying to talk your way into his position and break up what I have you selfish prig' before stomping away in a huff. He was pretty sure if he had been a bird, he would have been preening right at that moment.

Now as he watched her from behind his hair he noticed her pause in her reading to look not so covertly over towards the Slytherin table once again and take her time taking in every face. He knew she was hoping he would give her some indication that he was there and still felt the same but that would be a tad harder to do from where he was sitting. Seeing as he had already broken his own moral rules by engaging with a student over the summer…even if he had been running around in his eighteen year old body…he knew he could never tell her it was him now.

Not only was it against the rules of the school to be caught fraternizing with a student…he was her most hated teacher. He wanted so much to believe that she wouldn't care as she said but he knew if he told her that it had been him in her arms all summer she wouldn't be able to flee fast enough. He had been awful to her for the past five years and this year was going to be no different. He could not afford to let his mask slip with the Dark Lord breathing down all of their necks. He had a mission to complete and if he planned to keep her safe and alive along with the other dimwits at her side…he had to play his part to perfection.

He knew it would never have happened if she had been underage or any other student but he knew from her time turner use that Miss Granger…Hermione…was of age and had been for a year now. Her birthday had been just a few weeks ago and he had hated not being able to get her anything. He had a present he could give her but he knew that if he did she would finally know and he wasn't sure he could handle the pressure this year was bringing and watch her throw a wall up between them. Of course if he could prove himself right then maybe he could focus a little better on something other than her.

She was also brighter and more mature than any student he had taught so far. When she spoke it was like talking to an older witch and he had forgotten by the end of that first night that she was only seventeen and had started envisioning all the wonderful conversations they could have over a glass of fire whiskey and a good book…until she had blushed while kissing his cheek and left. The blush had been a slap to the face that she was still too young for him and way too good. He had even debated not showing up the next night but his starved for companionship psyche had won out and he had gone against his better judgement. He had no regrets save one…that he couldn't pull her into his arms and sink into her warmth right now as he needed to do.

He watched her eyes close as the sadness and loneliness took her once again when she didn't receive any indication from one of the Slytherin boys that he saw her. What she didn't realize was that the one whose heart she'd stolen was not a boy but a man and that he was in fact not only looking at her but drinking in every detail like a man dying of thirst who had found an oasis in the desert. He had not thought it possible but though he still ached from Lily's death and his part in her early demise…his heart throbbed with pain at missing Hermione and not having his witch in his arms right now.


The next few months passed in flurry of agonizing over what to do about Hermione and the idiocy that was his godson. He had had to help stabilize and then transport Katie Bell to St. Mungo's after she had touched the cursed necklace Draco had tried to have delivered to Dumbledore. The old goat was also meeting with Harry to train him in Merlin only knew what and he was apparently not privy to that information.

December continued on with more issues as Ronald Weasley was poisoned by a love potion that he had to brew the cure for and then he had unable to get through to Draco at the Slughorn party in order to try to help him with his task. His heart had bled in his chest at seeing Hermione at the party with that dimwitted McLaggen until she had hidden behind a curtain to escape him. As the winter holiday approached he wondered if Hermione was going to go home and if she would expect to see him again during that time.

The answer…probably. The issue was being able to get away long enough to be able to sneak around and see her. He had been lucky the summer before not to be needed at all by the Dark Lord and had been able to enjoy his time with Hermione uninterrupted. He was not sure he would get that lucky again.

Of course the answer to all his questions was given when Hermione made sure to make a scene in the Great Hall the day before they were to leave for winter break. Watching her angrily pull her arm out of the grip of the Weasley spawn, he leaned forward slightly in his chair as her voice echoed across the tables.

"I do NOT have to explain myself or anything I do to you Ronald! If I chose to stay at Hogwarts for the winter break that is my business and none of yours. Now leave me alone!"

Turning abruptly she stomped her way to the Gryffindor table and flopped onto the bench away from where they normally sat and started to fix her plate. The red faced Ron Weasley glared at her as he passed and slammed into his spot beside Harry and with an enraged demeanor he started to pile food on his own plate and eat with absolutely no manners. It really was quite a disgusting display of barbarism. How anyone could find him attractive when he ate like a troll was beyond Severus.

Knowing the usually very private Gryffindor princess had made that scene to try to alert 'Cassian' that she would be here when most of the students were gone, he sat back to contemplate if he would be able to see her during that time or if it was still too risky. He knew he and Sprout were the only two teachers staying behind as most of the students were going home this holiday. He would be called to meetings with the Dark Lord here and there and have to meet Dumbledore to report.

Dumbledore and Minerva were going to be in Scotland at her clan's strong hold but Severus had been invited and had considered going for Christmas if Hermione was with her parents. Now it looked as though he might get to see his pet and talk to her after all but he would have to be careful about where they met and when.

Deciding he had had enough of his meal and needing to organize how to contact her and tell her he would be here, Severus stood and with a last glance through his hair to see her holding his locket and reading while she ate, he grinned to himself, leaving in a billow of robes and silence.


Hermione was early for breakfast as usual and as she sat down she did her best to cover her tiredness and worry. Ron had made a valid point to her yesterday and it had hurt to even think about. Though he couldn't see her face to face right now...Cassian had not even bothered to write her. No short letters or notes...no contact at all. The only thing that had made her balk at Ron's suggestions was that he had thrown in her face that she had just been used for sex...which had been wrong because Cas had cared about her enough not to take her innocence.

She tried her hardest as each day passed not to lose hope or belief that he had meant what he said and that he really just could not contact her right now. Of course that had led to her worrying that something had happened to him over the past few months and that had led to large sobs and uncontrollable tears as her very worst nightmares flowed like a river through her mind, taunting her with his death.

She had slept horribly and had woken multiple times with his name caught on her lips or stuck in her throat in terror as more tears poured. She was glad today was the last day before end of term if this was how she was going to be until she could get her emotions under control. She was not going to be able to focus at all in class as it was.

Her thoughts were interrupted as Harry sat down in his normal spot to the right of her, his hair a mess and his eyes bleary with sleep. She couldn't help but smile at him in amusement. It didn't matter what he did his hair seemed to have a mind of its own like hers used to so he just started running his hands through it to comb it and then letting it do as it willed. The overall effect was actually quite sexy or would be if it hadn't been Harry. Chuckling to herself she reached over and smoothed down a few bits that were standing straight up and he gave her a lopsided grin in thanks.

The angry huff that came from the other side of the table had her turning her head to meet Ron's glare. She returned it as she withdrew her hand from Harry and his face turned even redder.

"It is Harry then?"

The question threw her for a loop and with a confused scrunch to her brow she started to speak when he talked over her as usual.

"Don't try to look so innocent or confused. You are boffing Harry aren't you and the two of you are keeping it quiet so you don't have to stop seeing my sister over it!"

Hermione was so offended she had no answer forthcoming but it seemed like she didn't need to as Ginny sat down on the other side of Harry, picked up a sausage and threw it to hit Ron right in the nose.

"You are a git Ron! Hermione and Harry are like brother and sister and Harry would never do something like that to me or anyone. Just because she doesn't want you slobbering all over her the way you do your food or did Lavender, does not mean you get to be a jerk for the rest of our lives. Grow up!"

That simple gesture set the entirety of their end of the Gryffindor table laughing and with a glare at his sister, Ron tucked his head down, red faced, and started shoveling in his breakfast like it was the last meal he would ever eat. Of course that was how he always ate so really nothing new. Hermione mused how she could have ever thought herself having a crush on him.

Turning back to her own plate she was interrupted again as the owl post flew in and a very large school barn owl landed in front of her plate and lifted its leg to her. A small bit of parchment attached with a silver string had her heart skipping before settling into a faster rhythm. Giving the owl a nip of bacon she took the small scroll and held it tight in her hand as she gathered her bag and book.

"I need to go take care of...something. I'll see you guys in class."

With that lame excuse she left the hall in a hurry and went to the closest alcove before disappearing into it to read her note. At the table, Ginny couldn't help but laugh and give Harry a knowing look which he returned with a grin of his own before pecking her quickly on the lips and going back to lazily eating his meal.

My dearest Hermione,

Merlin how I have missed you these past months. It is like the very sun has died and left the sky and I am drowning in darkness, stumbling along blind and alone.

I am sorry I have not been in contact...it is too dangerous. But know that I see you always and you are never far from my thoughts. I heard your declaration yesterday and I too will be around over the holidays. I am not sure how often I can see you but I will try...

Do what you normally do...go outside, go to the library, anything you wish over the holidays. I will find you...if I can.

I must go as there are always eyes watching and ears listening. I am still here pet...I promise. And if that weasel does not keep his hands off of you...I may have to find a way to hex him the next time. Do mind your friends if you don't want them hurt.

All my love

Cassian

Hermione read the small missive several times as her eyes filled with tears before she hugged it to her chest and leaned her head back on the wall. The smile that formed on her lips seem to melt away her worry and her recent doubts and with renewed joy she giggled and bounced on her feet a moment before tucking it safely into her beaded bag and heading out and towards her first class.

A noise caught her attention and she froze as she looked around her. It sounded like a muffled noise of anguish and Hermione knew exactly how that felt to make. Disregarding the tingle of warning along her neck, she followed the sound into a normally unused bathroom. Stopping in her tracks she watched as the once proud little ferret heaved as sobs wracked his body. His hands gripped the porcelain sink with white knuckles like it was the only thing keeping him on his feet. His tie was loosened and a few buttons undone. His shirt was untucked and his hair looked as unkempt for Malfoy as Harry's did.

She had never seen the arrogant pureblood look anything but perfect. The picture before her made her heart ache and she blamed it on her own love for a Slytherin in hiding that she walked further into the bathroom instead of away. As her foot caused a scraping noise his head snapped up and his eyes turned hot with hatred and shame. Holding her hands up to show she was unarmed, Hermione ignored the warning signs in his face and continued to take careful steps in his direction.

Spinning around he raised his wand so that it was pointing at her chest and though her next step was a little hesitant and her heart beat felt like a heavier thud of fear, Hermione's compassion would not let her stop now. With measured steps she continued on until she was right against his wand. He watched her with a flashing mix of confusion, anger, and need and it came to a point where he was going to have to drop his wand arm or she was going to have to shove past it.

She watched the indecision cross his face before in a sudden moment of weakness for him he let his wand fall to the ground. At the clatter of the wood against tile, Hermione took that last step into him and wrapped her arms around his waist, tucking her head up under his chin and just held on. He held himself rigid for what felt like several very long minutes before his entire body crumpled.

Hermione didn't make a sound as her knees buckled with his weight but followed him down to the floor. Tucking herself snugly against him as he wrapped his arms around her back and pulled her almost too tight against him, she let his tears fall and soak her shirt as he muffled his sobs against her shoulder and neck. She had no idea how much time passed, only that she knew she had missed her first class and was probably late for her second when he finally took a deep, even breath and sat back to look at her.

"Granger...I..."

Watching his mouth open and close multiple times she took pity on him and with a small smile she shook her head side to side.

"It's okay Malfoy...you don't have to say anything. You needed someone and to have a moment and I was the only one near. I won't tell a soul about it and you can go back to hating me as soon as we leave the room and I will still keep your secret."

His stuttering ended as he returned the small smile and she couldn't help how her heart skipped at the way it changed his entire face. He was always a little pointy looking to her and though he had grown into his features more, his smile made the attractiveness turn to outright gorgeous.

"Thanks Granger...I mean it. No matter what happens...just thank you."

Her smile grew larger and she nodded her head at him. He stood and helped her to her feet and after righting their clothing and casting a drying spell on her shirt, Hermione left first to head to charms with Draco promising to go to class on his third period.

As she headed down the hallway towards Flitwick's classroom, she did not see the dark shadow watching her with rage in his eyes.


As the students filed out of the school for the break, Hermione stood off to the side and watched as all the Slytherins left except for one...Malfoy. Her confusion grew steadily heavier as he walked over and leaned next to her on the wall as he said goodbye to his fellow housemates. The sneers she received only made her roll her eyes but what really made her want to laugh in hysterics was Ron...who came barreling their way the moment Malfoy got comfortable.

"What the hell does he think he is doing standing next to you Mione?"

"Well...I don't know Ron, let's ask him. What the hell do you think you are doing standing next to me Malfoy?"

Her tone of voice did not convey her words properly and with an arrogant smirk, Malfoy cocked his head to the side and shrugged as he put his hands in his pockets.

"Didn't know I had to have a specific reason to stand against the wall next to a fellow student these days Granger...of course since I know it now annoys the weasel so badly...maybe I'll make it a new trend."

Ron's face turned a shade close to puce and as Hermione laughed at the statement many others turned to see what the commotion was about. Knowing she needed to end it before he got in trouble with his father, Hermione rolled her eyes again and stood up straight to look at Ron.

"Nothing Ron! He is just a sly little fucker who ferrets his way into everyone's business. Stop trying to be my protector and go home...I assure you I do not need protection from the evil little cockroach."

The noise Malfoy made would have been easily mistaken for a sound of irritation but she had been looking at him and caught the smirk he had to hide before Ron glared at him. Seeming to be satisfied with that answer, Ron hugged her once more even as she tensed from it and took off at a jog to catch up to Harry and Ginny. Barely moving his lips, Malfoy addressed her before sauntering off back towards the dungeon.

"I have no idea how you deal with being friends with him Granger...he is a menace."

Hermione bit her lip to stop from giggling and waited only a moment, waving to her friends one last time, before turning and heading in the same direction as Malfoy. As he reached the stairs down, she caught up to him and with one step on the stairs going up she threw out a cautious flag of cease fire.

"I'll be in the library right after lunch today if you get bored."

He didn't say anything back but she could tell he had heard her and with a slight happier bounce in his step he went down as she went up...two young adults trapped on opposite sides of the war and just wanting a moment to be a normal boy and girl.


Hermione was quite surprised when not only did he show up at the library later that day but seemed to show up at random times when she was out walking, sitting by the lake, or taking a stroll through the castle. She wondered briefly if he could be Cassian and had brushed it away as impossible. But as they found time to talk and converse, she realized he was as brilliant as she about most of their schooling and though his demeanor was not as dark or hard as she was used to from Cassian, she started to seriously wonder if maybe she was getting to see the real him.

The few times she had taken out her necklace and rubbed it back and forth along her lips, he had watched the movement almost avidly and his smile had softened. Confused as to how or why someone like Draco Malfoy would end up in ragged clothing on a muggle train in the middle of the night, Hermione gave up trying to piece it together and just decided that if it was true she would enjoy the time they shared as themselves before term started again.

There were only a few days left of the holiday when she was suddenly accosted and dragged into an alcove while on her way to meet Malfoy by the Black Lake. Not really thinking about it, Hermione used the self-defense she had been taught years ago and still practiced to break the hold on her, stomp on her assailant's foot and elbow him in the ribs, before pivoting as she stepped out of the alcove wand in hand and ready to duel.

The breathless face of Malfoy and his shocked eyes only added to the adrenaline racing in her veins and with a huff she put her wand away and growled at him.

"What the fuck Malfoy. You scared the crap out of me! You cannot just grab me like that you know...there are people who want me dead for Godric's sake! I could have seriously hurt you!"

Stepping out as he tried to fill his lungs with air he gave her what she now thought of as his signature smirk and shook his head to the side to get his hair out of his eyes.

"I think you may have already. Salazar Granger you pack a hell of an elbow there. Any harder and I think my lung may have collapsed."

A few seconds passed before they both broke into laughter and she stepped up to check on him.

"Did I actually hurt you?"

"Nah...probably just be a tiny bruise. If I had known you had muggle means to react with I would have been a little more cautious about grabbing you without you knowing it was me."

She grinned up at him and watched as a strange light came over his eyes. Seeming to weight his thoughts for a moment he leaned down and placed his lips firmly on to hers. She noted his lips were dry and warm before he opened to run his tongue along her bottom lip. Tilting her head she opened to him and as his tongue found hers she sighed into the kiss. his hand settled along her neck with his thumb rubbing a gentle line along her jaw and as he pulled her closer in with his other arm she realized that she had been wrong...he was not Cassian.

Of course she was not able to let that thought solidify before they jerked away from each other at the sound of billowing robes and a hiss of displeasure.

"Have you lost your mind Mr. Malfoy? If your father had been the one to see that..."

Hermione winced as Malfoy jerked his hand away from her, his finger catching the chain of her necklace and accidentally ripping it from her neck. The heart went spinning into the air and with a heavy thud of landing, slid to only a few feet away from the very imposing and livid Professor Snape. Knowing it was going to be a stupid move and not caring in the least, Hermione moved with quick steps to get to her precious gift. Of course he couldn't just leave it and she watched as it flew off the ground to slap against his palm, his long fingers closing over it like the fingers of death.

Stopping in her tracks Hermione gave a defeated sigh and stood still to see what her punishment would be this time for yet another seemingly foolish Gryffindor action.

"Godfather...you don't..."

The sound that flew from Professor Snape's mouth made Hermione jump and duck her head more and Malfoy froze in his speech...his eyes widening in fear as he looked from the potions master to her and back. Hermione watched him from behind her hair but refused to look up completely.

"It's Professor Snape here Mr. Malfoy and ten points from Slytherin for your disrespect. Get out of my sight before I have the urge to contact your father and alert him of your slip in decorum."

Moving past her he breathed out a soft Sorry Hermione as he scurried past his Head of House and then ran for the dungeons as fast as his feet would carry him. Knowing it was her turn Hermione slowly raised her head and met his dark, furious eyes.

"Professor..."

"SILENCE!"

She jumped a little and snapped her mouth shut, biting the inside of her cheek accidentally. The taste of copper and iron rolled along her tongue and she knew that was going to really hurt later.

"You and your idiot friends have been nothing but trouble since the very beginning. You may not care about other people's lives or what they may have to face by breaking tradition or rules but you will not...do you hear me...you will NOT take one of MY Slytherins down with you when you go Miss Granger. I do not know what possessed Mr. Malfoy to ignore all he knows would happen to get so close to you but you will stay away from him from now on! Do I make myself clear?"

Clenching her fists in anger and fighting the tears of humiliation and unfairness, Hermione bit the inside of her lip and waited.

"I said do I make myself clear Miss Granger?"

Knowing this was the worst idea and no longer caring, Hermione raised her eyes to meet his again and let her true self free.

"Yes Professor Snape...I heard you...and I sadly have to decline your directive."

His low baritone voice slithered over her nerves and made her heart beat race but she held her ground.

"Excuse me!"

"There is nothing to excuse at all sir. I heard what you said and I even understand your meaning and reasoning. But I will not be the one to back off of any Slytherin who wants to forge a new path or make a new way for themselves. So if Mal...Draco wishes to continue to be my friend then I will not turn him away...no matter how many points you take or how many detentions you heap on me. If he wishes to pull back for his own safety then I will not fault him for it in the least but as you said my idiot friends and I have been in danger since we were eleven years old so this is nothing new to me."

She did not think it possible but the rage in his eyes burned brighter and the dangerousness of his aura seemed to make it hard to take a full breath.

"That looked like more than just friendship Miss Granger."

She shrugged to try to keep her courage.

"He kissed me and I admit that I for the last few weeks thought he might be...someone else. I now know that is not true and if you had not interrupted us, I would have told him that I have someone who owns my heart and we could only be friends."

The scoffing noise made her hackles rise and she forgot for a moment who she was talking to as she allowed her eyes to glare her feelings at him.

"So you just go around kissing random boys hoping one of them will turn out to be this fabled 'boyfriend' you keep lying to Mr. Weasley about?"

"It's not a lie!"

Her hair sparking with her hurt, Hermione stepped forward to try to grab her necklace only to have it held out of her reach.

"Then why has he not shown his interest in you this entire year?"

Growling as she stared up at her necklace held high above his head, Hermione crossed her arms and let her eyes roll in a glare to meet his.

"He is not able to because it would be dangerous. I am pretty sure he is one of yours as well and trapped under the same constraints as you are trying to force Draco under. Now can I please have my locket back?"

"So you are claiming to have one Slytherin wrapped around your finger and then you go and what...seduce another during the holiday break?"

Letting her eyes fall closed she drops her head back and groans in frustration.

"Not that you give a flying hippogriff about my love life Professor but no...I did not decide to seduce one while playing another. Ca...my boyfriend was supposed to meet me over the holiday break when we could be alone. Draco was the only Slytherin I saw stay so I thought that maybe after the moment we shared the day before break that he might actually somehow have been...my wizard outside of his disguise."

Pulling her head back up so she could rub her face with her hands, she let go of her anger and let her dejection shine through.

"When he agreed to meet me the first day of break and then kept showing up like the note I received said he would...it became more like that theory was correct...until today."

"Oh...do tell Miss Granger...how did today change your mind?"

The sarcasm and menace in his voice caused her to glare up at him again before she huffed in his general direction, turned and walked to the wall, and slid down it in defeat.

"He kissed me...that's what changed it okay! He fucking kissed me and I knew as soon as he did he wasn't...mine."

The disbelieving laugh only made her heart hurt more as she pulled her knees up and laid her head against them.

"So you're saying that you know for a fact that Mr. Malfoy isn't this mystery boy because of the way he kissed you? You think you would know the difference in one boys kiss and another's?"

Rubbing her forehead on her knees side to side for a moment she looked up at him with the most honest and open expression she had ever let him see since first year.

"Yes Professor...I would know his kiss anywhere. Draco kissed me like it was exciting and forbidden and he was curious what that would feel like. It was nice and warm and a little thrilling."

Her eyes losing focusing some she reached to grab her necklace only to find her neck without it and frowned as that brought her back to the here and now.

"When Cassian kisses me...the whole world falls away. He kisses me like I am the light and the air and the very universe to him. It's reverent, and passionate, and yet shy and a little uncertain. His kisses say that he thinks I may leave him one day but he is going to take all the time he has to memorize my taste before I do and show me why I should stay."

Looking up at him only to see the anger gone and his eyes blank once more, she pushes through her worry that he will belittle her and finishes her thought.

"So yes Professor Snape...I would know his kiss out of a hundred different kisses. I miss him and I thought maybe he had found a way to come to me as himself but now I think I may have fucked it all up because he would have seen Draco and not been able to get to me safely and I spent the entire holiday with the wrong wizard...even if it was nice to see a different side of the blonde prat...and I have no way of telling him the whys or the hows so that he knows I did not suddenly walk away from him."

The first tears fell and as they did she closed her eyes so she wouldn't have to stare into his eyes...so dark they reminded her of Cassian's and yet so empty of any of Cassian's fire or warmth.

"He is...everything to me. I can't sleep or eat or focus correctly anymore because he is always there...just out of reach. I miss him and I love him and I just want to see him again and this stupid war and the stupid rules like what you just tried to lay down are why he can't or won't come to me and I feel like I'm dying a slow and painful death from heartbreak which is stupid and childish because no one dies from a broken heart...but it still feels that way."

Through her rant her voice started to rise until she was sobbing and screaming in pain at her most intimidating Professor with absolutely no fear.

"So you can take that and find ways to tear my self-esteem and soul to pieces little by little throughout the rest of the year if you like but can I please for the love of Godric have my heart back?"

Thrusting her hand out violently she glares at him as the tears continue to fall, chin thrust up in defiance and her limbs shaking in anguish and fury.

For a moment neither of them moved and she waited with heaving breaths to see what retched thing he would say or do next...which is why when he moved to do what he was going to do the shock froze her to the spot.

Reaching forward as he took the step that separated them he slid one hand under hers to hold it up as he let the heart cascade into her hand followed by the chain. Placing his hand over the locket and her hand he spoke in such a quiet voice that if she had not been as still as she was she would not have heard it.

"No one should have their heart shattered or mocked by anyone Miss Granger...not even you and certainly not by a wizard such as me."

With one last odd look at her, he turned with a typical billow and started to head off in the direction Draco had fled, back to the cold and dark of the dungeons. Her subconscious thoughts reacted before she could and as the movements he had made when giving her back her locket registered, she whispered her lovers name into the quiet air. Her conscious brain catching up to the moment, Hermione let her Gryffindor nature rule her as she went from utterly shocked and stiff to running full tilt in his direction.

Hearing her footsteps, she watched as Professor Snape turned with a look of something she couldn't really name before raising one brow at her as his usual sardonic look appeared on his face.

Sliding to a stop with the air laboring in and out of her lungs she forgot any tact she might have and just spoke without thought, her hand holding the locket to her heart.

"It's you..."

The breathy quality of her voice made it sound almost like she was trying to be coy but the wonder on her face told the truth.

"Miss Granger do not be absurd. I am not only almost twenty years your senior but I am also your teacher and in case you have forgotten the most rotten and hated teacher at that. How you would go from realizing it isn't Mr. Malfoy to suddenly thinking it is me is beyond..."

She didn't let him finish as she grabbed her courage and his shoulders with both hands, pushed up on her tiptoes and brought her mouth against his. At first he tensed so much she had a fleeting thought that her logic had failed her and she was in serious trouble. Right before she could pull back and start to stammer apologies, the dam broke and he yanked her against him so hard and fast that she lost her balance and her breath.

Tilting his head he took the kiss from trying to prove a point into the soul scorching, fire inducing kiss that she was addicted to and with a cry of joy against his lips she let go of all her worries and fear and melted into his arms in complete surrender. She heard and felt his utter surprise at that before he pulled her along on a kiss so deep and hungry that she thought she would die if he stopped. He fed at her mouth like he normally did and she let him, mewling and moaning as her body answered its mate's needs.

Running her hands up and into his hair she noted that even after she had gotten him to clean it over the summer, he had let it get greasy again. That thought brought a smile to her lips and gripping him tighter to her, she stopped being a ship battered aimlessly on the sea and started to pursue him with equal vigor and aggression.

Her back hit the hard stone wall of the castle as he backed her into it and she lifted one leg to wrap around his waist as he nipped her lower lip with a groan and filled his hands with her ass. Lifting her up so she had to wrap both legs around him for balance, he ground his thick, hard erection into her. Throwing her head back she moaned and the sound seemed to have the opposite effect she had wanted. Reality crashed back in and with a hiss of a curse he set her down, albeit carefully, and then backed away from her shaking his head like he was yelling at himself internally.

She watched him as she took the time to actually look at her potions Professor for the first time in years. It was normally smarter to avoid all eye contact so she never really paid much attention to his appearance. Now though she could see the resemblance of him and Cassian. He must have found a way to go back to his eighteen year old body...spell maybe or a potion?

His face was the same overall shape though his nose did not have the hook at that young age; must have been a fight that he had to let heal naturally. His hair was a little shorter but had the same midnight blue tint to it and was just as greasy as when he was a teenager. He was pretty much the same height...made to look taller by the thick soles of his dragon hide boots and though he had grown into that lithe frame...he was still thinner than other wizards under that frock coat...yet no less strong.

As he finally looked up from whatever inner dialogue he had finally come up with to feed her she had fixed her necklace and was putting it back on. The movement seemed to stop his words in his throat and as she settled it back around her neck and under her shirt she met his eyes with a fierce determination.

"Whatever you came up with to try to get around this moment you can just forget. No matter what vitriol you try to spew or denial you try to heap on this...I will know it's all bullshite so save your breath. I told you I would know out of hundreds of kisses from hundreds of men on hundreds of planets. Maybe not that specific the first time but I thought it. I would know...I do know now."

Running her fingers gently over her lips she couldn't help the soft smile that stole over her face.

"My heart hates it but my mind understands that this moment changes nothing between us right now. You are my Professor...my hated, mean as a rattle snake Professor and I am just another annoying, soddin Gryffindor problem. I can't say I understand why you have to be so utterly cruel to Harry and Ron...and to me but I know you have your reasons and they are good reasons. I know that because I know and I trust MY Cassian...and you are MY Cassian."

Walking towards him she felt like the lioness on the prowl as he stumbled back and away from her until he hit the wall and stopped with a grunt. Reaching up she ran her hand down his face gently, watching him try to hold on to his Professor Snape persona as she did it.

"You said when I knew I would run. Well...Severus...I know and this is me not running. I meant every word I said and this changed nothing for me. I love you and I will tomorrow and the next day and the next week and so on until the end of this war and beyond. I always believed you were on our side and now I know for sure. So for now you are Professor Snape, the great billowing dungeon bat and I am Hermione Granger, the swotty little know-it-all Gryffindor princess."

Pushing up on her tiptoes once more she briefly brushed a soft kiss over his cheek before placing her lips against his ear.

"When this war is over Cassian Prince or Severus Snape or whatever you decide to call yourself...you are mine. So you better make damn sure you survive your job as Dumbledore's spy or I'll drag you back to life and kill you myself."

With that said Hermione dropped back to the flat of her feet and turned with a billow of her own, heading away from the love of her life with a giddy smile on her face and a spring in her step that nothing short of death was going to steal from her.


A more accurate thought had not been uttered inside her brain or anyone's brain in centuries...she was sure of it. As she watched from the astronomy tower as Professor Snape fled with Draco in tow and Bellatrix LeStrange cackling in complete insanity as she skipped along, Hermione felt that light inside her die. Not for herself because she knew...she knew whatever reason he had for just killing the leader of the light...it was justified. She couldn't think of one at this time but she held on to the belief that deep inside he was still the boy he showed her all summer and that this was not what it seemed.

No, she felt that light die for Harry and Ron and the Order who would feel lost and scared and unsure how to win this Merlin forsaken war now that Dumbledore was dead. Praying that they would find a way now that they were on their own, without the old wizard's help, Hermione left the tower and raced to the grounds to try to catch up to Harry. Using passageways she had learned on her own exploration, she came out of the edge of the forest just as the other death eaters crossed the boundary and apparated away.

Her eyes met Draco's first and the sorrow and fear in them was enough for her to forgive him whatever task he had been given to get to this moment and she let him see that in her eyes. The tears that fell after left a path of scar tissue inside her own heart as deep as any ocean trench. Grabbing Harry as he tried to scramble to his feet after being knocked down by the dark wizard she held him tightly and cried for him to stop as her eyes met...his.

For a moment she had the sensation of falling and then she felt like she was outside in a snowy storm, shivering and alone, looking in to a warm home with the fire burning in the hearth and she wasn't welcome. Just as quickly the image faded and she knew in his own way he had given her his heart...his emotions right then. Struggling with holding Harry back, Hermione mouthed I love you to him right before he turned to the side and disappeared as well.

The rage filled scream that left her best friend caused her tears to fall steady as pain ripped through her chest. A chime sounded in the distance signaling the hour and she thought that once again midnight had not made it in time to see the joy or this time the pain of what life could bring.


They had been on the run for what felt like years but was really only a month or so. Hermione was just as cold and tired and hungry as the boys. She was sick of Ron's complaining and Harry's bouts of rage. At least she could understand Harry's. He had that bastard in his head and the locket wasn't helping. Ron had left them in a fit of pique weeks ago and she had no idea if he was ever coming back. She had never truly hated anyone in her life until that moment…when he let his selfish needs overrule every bit of friendship they all had and left. Even Harry had finally seen the light fully and had gone to bed in a very defeated state.

Now…sitting out in the dead of night…waiting on midnight to come so that she could switch shifts with Harry and hopefully get warm and some sleep…Hermione let her mind drift to that out of place summer. Whenever she was feeling low or needed a pick me up she let her mind relive those wonderful weeks with Cassian. No matter that she knew the truth she never let herself use his real name. If he was Cassian in her mind than hopefully she could keep him safe if someone ever got into her thoughts.

The feeling of being watched washed over her and Hermione stood with her wand at the ready. A slight breeze ruffled her hair and with it the scent of earth and wood filled her nose along with a smell she would never mistake for anything but sinful nights.

"Cassian?"

Her voice was barely a whisper but carried on the wind and within moments he emerged from the shadows, his face young again, his clothing that of the muggle heritage he grew up in. This time it was Black Sabbath and she couldn't help but grin at his attire of metal bands he had a habit of wearing. His eyes took in her riotous curls and dirt streaked face and she could see the weariness and hesitation in his eyes. Knowing that the separation would make him even more worried of his reception, Hermione flicked her wand behind her casting a quick muffliato around the tent, pocketed her wand and turned to meet his eyes again.

Taking that first step in his direction was like firing a gun at the beginning of a race and both were moving with haste. They collided in a tangle of limbs and mouths and harsh breathing as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her in against him. Trying and failing to stop it Hermione released a sound from deep in her belly that sounded caught between a moan of despair and relief and he swallowed the sound as his mouth captured hers in a heated kiss.

She gave herself to him with abandon and as he lifted her into his arms and turned to push her against the trunk of a tree, her only thought was that he still wasn't close enough. Gripping one hand in his hair and the other in his shirt, Hermione used the leverage of the tree to roll her hips along his hardening length until he had to break away to suck in air with a hiss. Determined to not let him find level ground this time, she used both hands to pull him back in and licked his lower lip before biting it just this side of painful. He hissed again as his grip on her ass tightened enough she was sure she would bruise.

Pulling her roughly off the tree, he stumbled back and away from the tent and the clearing they were set up in until the darkness of the forest enveloped them. His knees giving out in his passion, he dropped to the ground with her still in his arms and as gently as possible he laid her down as he settled between her legs. His hands roamed up her hips and over her waist before pausing just under her shirt and caressing her skin. Breaking the kiss to mewl at him in need and frustration, she opened her eyes intending to glare and give him a piece of her mind.

The need and want in his eyes made the words die on her lips. She could tell he was fighting his inner demons and decided that if she could push them over the ledge into insanity and drag him with her then that is exactly what she was going to do.

"I know what you think…what you believe is going to happen when this is all over and you're wrong. Damn it…I know the truth and it doesn't change anything. Either one of us could end up dead tomorrow and I love you and I want to have everything with you. Stop holding back out of fear Snape! Stay as Cassian…cancel the spell or swallow the antidote and go back to Severus…I don't fucking care. Please just make me yours…please don't stop."

She knew her voice broke with her desperation to have him and it seemed that was also what snapped his control. With a groan of surrender he leaned back down and took her mouth with his again. This kiss was the same and yet there was a quality to it she had never felt before. He was hers…completely…and there was no turning back for either of them after tonight.

She lost track of how they ended up laying on a very warm and soft cloak or when she had lost her clothing. The heated rush of hands and lips amid the moans and gasps of pleasure his hands invoked had erased any semblance of her thinking mind. She was all nerve endings and overwhelming sensations of sensual and wicked bliss. She only realized it all when his mouth left her hard and pebbled nibbles to feast between her legs. The first touch of his tongue against her throbbing center had pulled her mind back to awareness long enough for her to feel a momentary bit of shyness before he sucked her clit into his mouth and her mind spun back out of focus on a cresting wave of pleasure.

He continued to lick and suck and devour her until she cried out for him again…his name leaving her lips like a benediction. Dragging air in as fast as her body would let her, Hermione shivered and twitched from the aftershocks of her pleasure until she felt the gentle kiss on the inside of her thigh and then one on her stomach and in between her breasts as he crawled up her body.

As she forced her eyes open her breath caught in her throat and her body pulsed with renewed desire. Just a few inches from her was not the young boy she had met on the train but the grown man whose heart she had somehow managed to win against all odds and her entire body felt like it melted as he gazed back at her. There was no hesitation anymore or worry or self-incrimination. His eyes were filled with the fire she had gotten used to whenever they were together. They also held that little bit of insecurity; the thought that she would realize one day she had made a mistake. He would learn though…that look would become just another past memory…one day.

Before she had a chance to say anything at all, he allowed his arms to bend as his body came flush against hers and the sensation of finally having his skin on hers made hers eyes drift shut as she gave a sweet sigh. He shifted just slightly to the side and she felt his arm move between them and take his length in hand. She had been so lost in her own pleasure that she had not even had a chance to really see him or admire him without his clothing. As he lined himself up with her dripping channel, she realized he felt wonderfully thick as the tip of his head slid against her and into her just a bit.

Shifting so he was face to face with her again he seemed like he could not take her face in fast enough as his eyes darted from one feature to the next. Finally as she shifted under him in an attempt to tempt him to continue he met her eyes.

"Look at me and don't look away. I want to see your eyes as I take you."

Her response was lost in a moan of fullness, her body stretching and burning slightly to accommodate him as he started to push forward. All she could do was nod, her eyes on his with her hands gripping his arms, his shoulders, his back as he pushed further in. She was so sensitive from the pleasure he had already given her that as he continued forward it felt like there was no end to him or the stretching. She whimpered as he pulled back only to move forward again, inch by slow inch as he tried to patiently let her body get used to his invasion.

Her eyes squeezing shut as the feeling became too much, she pushed at his shoulders without meaning to…squirming under him to try to get away.

"Too much…it's too much…please…"

"Look at me!"

His voice was just a rumble of dark honey along her body and she shivered at the sensual way it poured along her skin and caused her core to throb in renewed desire. Her eyes snapped open in obedience even as she tensed and struggled not to fight him. His hands framed her face as he held himself still.

"You can take me Hermione…only you…always you. I'm not letting you run now…you're mine."

With the last words spoken in a dark and dangerous tone of possession, he captured her mouth in a searing kiss as he pushed forward and slid all the way in. Her cry of pain was lost along his tongue as he held perfectly still, his mouth making love to hers as his hands roamed up and down her body, playing it like a finely tuned instrument until she was shifting under him for completely different reasons.

With a restless yearning, Hermione dug her nails into his back and as he broke the kiss to moan she placed her foot on the ground for leverage and rolled them over, keeping her body pulled tight to his. His grunt of surprise flowed into a deep baritone moan as she rocked her hips and slid slowly up his pulsing shaft and down just as slowly. Bracing herself against his legs with her hands, Hermione let her head fall back as the angle had the head rubbing relentlessly back and forth over her g-spot.

His hands went back and forth from gripping her hips to help guide her as she rode him to fondling her breasts, rolling and pinching her nipples, or rubbing hard circles around her clit. It didn't take long for the pleasure to override the discomfort and with the wild abandon Gryffindors were known for Hermione started to ride him faster and faster until every stroke ended in his deep penetration and the slap of skin on skin that echoed through the trees. The sharp bursts of pain as he bottomed out inside her with each downward slide only heightened the even sharper pleasure and with a few final rolls of her hips up and down she came, her head falling back as she screamed her release to the heavens above.

She could feel her body's juices running out of her with each pulse of her orgasm to coat their legs and his balls. Just as she was slowing down to start to ride him again gently until her body could recover, Severus sat up and wrapped his arm around her waist. Flipping her back over he wasted no time driving back into her and again and again, her voice breaking on the cries and screams that she made as the pleasure and pain mixed together again until she couldn't think of anything else but his hard cock taking her body so savagely.

Within just a few minutes he fell over his own peak, his voice breaking in a hoarse cry of her name as he emptied his seed deep inside her womb. Collapsing on top of her, he drew in short frantic breaths along with her as they both tried to find their equilibrium again in the aftermath of such rapture.


Hermione woke with her nerves screaming at her and her arm on fire. She had known the moment Harry let that monster's name slip that they were all going to die. Her shock at their escape had overridden her pain and the horror of the death of Dobby for only a few hours before everything crashed down on her at once. She had collapsed in the bed at shell cottage and sobbed until her throat cracked again and her head felt like it was going to explode from the pain.

Fleur had come in with a potion of some sort and not caring what it was Hermione had taken it quickly. The effects were almost instant and as her eyes drifted closed she prayed he was safe and not being punished for their escape from capture.

They called the potion dreamless sleep but she was pretty sure she was either partly immune or her dreams were more potent than the alchemy of the liquid. She dreamed her lover was between her thighs again, whispering his love, his wants, his needs. He held her and caressed her and made love to her again once more before they had to part ways. The real goodbye had been tear filled and bitter sweet and both had promised to see each other soon. That had of course not been possible and now probably never would be as they were careening like a speeding train to the final confrontation with Snake Face!

Her dream however shifted the bitter sweet moment into one of absolute torment. As he had turned to walk away, Harry had appeared and called him Voldemort's spy. The name had brought the snatchers who had captured not only them but Severus as well. All had been taken to Malfoy Manor but it had been her under Bellatrix's wand and Severus under the Dark Lord's. She had had to watch between the pain and screams as the Dark Lord had tortured Severus until his blood ran free from his nose and ears and mouth. He had died with his eyes locked on hers and she had been helpless to stop it.

She woke screaming only a few hours later and though everyone had tried to calm her down she had pushed past them all and run from the house. Now she sat near the lake and watched the water as the wind blew and seagulls cried out their mournful song. Or maybe it only sounded mournful because she was feeling so morose. Either way…she had some work to do. Standing with determination she went back to the cottage and asked Bill for potion ingredients and a place to brew. She knew now she had to plan for every possible scenario and only had a few days to get what she didn't have made before they had to depart for the next location.


She had done her best to keep it a secret but the best laid plans as they say. She had been changing clothes from the escape at the bank and had forgotten the water washed away all glamour magic. She lifted the shirt to pull over her head as the awful 'Bellatrix' dress tumbled to the ground and she heard the sharp intake of air from one and a hiss of anger from the other. Pulling the shirt over her head and looking at them both as she slipped her jeans on, she didn't try to look innocent or even hide what she knew they now knew.

"Hermione…are you…have you…um…"

Poor Harry, his ears and cheeks turning a sweet shade of pink stammered and stumble over his words as he tried to be delicate about his questions. Ron on the other hand was his usual 'bull in a China shop' self.

"Who the hell got you up the duff Mione and how could you let that happen?"

Her snort couldn't be helped and it only exacerbated the issue.

"It's not funny you crazy bint! How are we supposed to trust you to have our backs when you are obviously sneaking around to sleep with your little boyfriend when you should be focusing on the war? I never knew you were such a tramp."

Her amusement took over and she threw her head back and laughed so hard that she felt the weight of the bank break in and subsequent escape roll off of her shoulders and fade away.

"Ron…you are a complete fuck-wit. Malfoy was right about you. I have no idea how I am friends with you…you really are a total menace."

Her laughter rang out in a steady stream of tinkling bells and tracks of tears down her face and even Harry couldn't seem to hold back from its contagion as he joined in.

"So what…you're shagging that death eating traitor? Is that why you stopped Harry from taking him out at Hogwarts that night?"

Her laughter died right alongside Harry's as she opened her eyes to stare deep into his.

"Who I'm shagging is none of your business or your concern Ronald. If it was Draco than it would stand to reason that I know something you don't know. I stopped Harry from trying to hurt or kill Malfoy and Professor Snape because it was the right thing to do. There are things at work that you don't know about or understand in any way and I am not obliged to tell you. However, allowing Harry to use those dark curses to harm someone only makes me an accomplice to helping Harry fall to the dark arts…which I would never do."

Sliding her trainers on, she pointed her wand at the dress and burned it to cinder and ash before tying her beaded bag back to her hip and slipping her wand back in her holster.

"I want to know who the father is Hermione!"

"And I want to know the winning lottery numbers Ronald. We can't all get what we want."

His wand was out and pointed at her before she had time to register he would dare. Harry had however and had his out and pointed at Ron.

"Is it Harry? Is that why you won't tell me and he is taking it so well?"

"Put the wand down Ron before you make this worse than it already is. I am taking it so well because Hermione is my best friend and I trust that when it is safe, she will tell me all about it. And no you idiot…it's not mine and I am not going to bother defending us against you any longer. We have both told you we do not see the other that way and I for one am so tired of repeating myself. Now put the wand…DOWN!"

The wand wavered just enough for Hermione to step into his personal space and she let her fist shoot out and connect with his nose. Ron toppled backwards with a yell and dropped his wand in the process as he grabbed a hold of his face. Summoning the wand to his hand, Harry put both away as he stepped back, pulling Hermione with him.

"I will work with you because I have to right now. We have to win this war and it is the most important thing so I will not let anything get in the way. I am probably going to end up dead by the end but if I am alive when this is all over…you and I are done Ron. I cannot be friends with a wizard who would point a wand at a pregnant witch…no matter how pissed off he is or how suspect he finds it. Come on Hermione."

Taking her by the hand, Harry starts up the rolling hills to head to the next destination…not caring if Ron followed or not.

"You are gonna tell me right?"

"If I thought you would not lose your mind right now Harry…I would tell you all of it."

Looking at her and seeing the truth of her words reflected in her eyes he asked the only logical questions that could be asked at that moment.

"Do you trust him and are you happy?"

"With my life and unbelievably."

"Then I will wait until you think I am ready to hear the whole of whom and how. I trust you Hermione and I always will."

She gave him a bright smile, hugged him in a quick squeeze and continued up the hill and to their next impossible task.


They all knelt quietly behind the crates. She could see the Dark Lord circling Severus and she felt like our heart was trying to climb up her throat to strangle her. Her breathing was labored and she could feel her anxiety making her limbs fill with adrenaline, her fingers twitching in her jacket pocket as she waited to see what was going to happen.

The hissed and menacing words crawled along her skin and made the hair on the back of her neck stand up. Shivering and leaning into Harry, Hermione pulled out the vial she had been given the last night she had seen Severus and slid it gently into Harry's palm. As he turned his eyes to her she leaned in and barely breathed the words into his ear.

"You will know what to do with this and when. I have faith in you Harry…you can win this and save us all."

His confusion only registered for her for a moment before she moved around to the other crates and rushed out just as Voldemort lifted his wand towards the man who held her heart.

"Flipendo!"

Her spell only half worked as the dark wizard threw up a shield but he did stumble back slightly, his wand moving from Severus' to her. She turned to meet the wide, disbelieving eyes of her wizard just as the slicing spell cut across her back and made her cry out. Slapping the locket in his hand and closing her hand tightly around it, she opened her mouth to activate the port key only to feel a piercing, fiery pain along her neck and shoulder.

It registered that she had been bitten by that thrice damned snake and with an effort she didn't realize she had she pointed her wand back as Nagini struck again and shoved her arm down the snake's throat. Pulling up all her hatred and anger at the war and letting it wash over her she allowed the fire to race from her core and pour out of her wand with a hiss of the demon it was named after.

Locked on as she was to Hermione's arm there was no way for her to escape the fiendfire and as the spell consumed her and started to consume the shack, Voldemort let out a rage filled scream of pain and apparated away. With the last vestiges of her strength and Harry's terrified voice in her ears she looked up at Severus and in a gurgling voice hindered by the draining blood she activated the locket and the two of them spun and vanished as they were transported from the Hogwarts grounds to her parent's secluded cabin in the middle of nowhere Ireland.

Her last vision was of Severus' panicked face as he tried to stop the blood flow, crumbling to the ground with her in his arms. Reaching down she pulled the beaded bag out from under her jacket and placed it in his hands. Her smile was pained filled but peaceful as the darkness dragged her away from his tormented eyes and into the cold embrace of unconsciousness.


Severus had turned the little bag over and what had fallen out had caused him to stumble back. Rummaging through all the items he found exactly what he was looking for. Labeled in her flowing script were potions of dittany, blood replenishing, antidote for poisons, and…a vitamin potion for pregnant witches? Jerking his head to stare at her stomach his need for urgency and his panic almost caused his heart to cease in his chest as his limbs froze. With a foul curse under his breath he went to work healing the wounds, using the potions as needed and attempting to save the life of his future wife and his as unknown to him until just now unborn child.

Severus knew if he lost her…them…he would not see the light of day himself. He worked diligently through the long hours of the night, sweat running in his eyes and down his back, his exhaustion becoming almost too much to bare. He lost track of time as he watched her vitals and continued to work until he knew he could do no more and it was up to her magic to help the potions along and to heal her the rest of the way. He collapsed beside her and fell into an exhausted sleep and was so quickly away into his own dreamscape that he never heard the clock in the den strike midnight.


Severus startled awake as the still darkened room lit with a brilliant white light. A stag that looked just like James Potter's patronus bounded into the room and stopped beside Hermione. Potter's voice rang out filled with worry but also elation. His words made Severus' heart stop once more and tears filled his eyes as he let his eyelids close on a sigh of unmanageable relief.

"He is dead Professor. Voldemort is dead and we won! I don't know if you are hurt or alive or dead or how Hermione is but please…I'm alone in the Headmaster's office. Please come get me. I need to see her for myself…I need to understand what I am missing. Please sir…I'm begging you…"

The patronus faded with its last words and a bow of its head and Severus sat back and let the fear and worry wash away with the knowledge that Tom Riddle was no more and Lily's son had survived after all. Checking on Hermione and knowing she was stable if not exhausted, he reinforced the sleep spell so she would stay under, cast a quick scourgify on his clothing, and apparated into what was still his office.

The crack of his apparition caused Potter to jump and spin around...wand at the ready. As soon as he saw who it was, Severus watched as the warrior wizard, the chosen one fade from his face and the broken and beaten teenage boy replace the persona in his eyes. His eyes filled with tears and with an instinct he had no idea he had, Severus opened his arms and Harry flew into them with a cry of sheer anguish. His sobs were lost among the black wool of his coat which he realized he had never even managed to get off last night and the boy's shoulders shook so hard Severus was afraid he was going to break apart.

"Shhh Harry…it's okay…it's over and you saved us all."

"Not all. Fred and Tonks and Remus and Hermione and so many others are dead. I didn't save everyone…I…failed."

Holding him away from his body just enough so he could look into his eyes, Severus let his shields drop so Harry could finally see his own pain and agony.

"We cannot save everyone Harry no matter how hard we try. In war…people die…on both sides. But in the end you won and you saved everyone who survived from a brutal future of never ending torture and slavery. For that I will be eternally grateful to you. And you got one thing wrong…"

His confusion was evident on his face and with a smirk as he asked what's that, Severus took hold of him again and spun to the side, pulling Harry along in apparition. As they landed he kept a tight grip as the boy almost toppled over and as his eyes landed on the sleeping but still breathing girl, his cry of joy and relief made Severus' heart mend just a little.

"You saved her!"

Falling to her side and laying his head gently on her stomach, Harry gripped her hand in both of his as his tears cascaded down his face again.

"I could not save your mother even though I did everything I could think of to do so. I refused to allow Hermione to be taken by that monster too."

"So was it you…with her…the whole time?"

He could feel that shame and insecurity try to rise and he fought it down. She had saved him. She had almost died to make sure he survived. She was his and she truly was not going anywhere. It was time he stopped drawing away as if she was and start holding on as tightly as she did.

"It was…yes."

Standing taller and raising his head in defiance…a trait it seemed he had not conquered from his teenage years and dealing with the marauders, he waited for the incrimination to start.

"Do you love her?"

Startled at the question and the calm tone instead of yelling or accusations, Severus walked around and knelt down until he was sitting next to Hermione too. Taking her other hand into his, he gently ran his thumb back and forth across her skin.

"With everything I am."

"Did you know she was pregnant?"

Shaking his head he met Harry's eyes.

"I had no idea. We were only together the one time and I was so lost in her that I didn't even consider protection or that she wouldn't be on it herself."

"Are you going to marry her?"

"Harry!"

Before he could answer, the soft admonishment came from between them and both wizards looked down to see her glaring up the best she could at her best friend. Harry for his part started to laugh until he had tears rolling down his face and Severus looked on in confusion.

"Merlin Hermione…you almost died and you are still pretty injured and your first words are to yell at me for giving your…boyfriend…the brotherly interrogation. Please…never change."

Her face softened as she looked at him and Severus watched as the boy broke again from hiding behind his humor to the terror he had felt that he had lost another family member. Harry laid his head on her uninjured shoulder and cried as she gently stroked his hair…her eyes connecting with Severus' and the smile she reserved just for him gracing her lovely features.

As Harry finally cried himself out, Severus levitated him onto the sofa and then helped Hermione up and to the shower. Getting them both clean and making sure she took her potions again as he checked her over, neither spoke any words but let their wandering hands and soft kisses do all the talking for them.

Making sure Harry was covered up and leaving him a note to where the bedroom was, Severus took Hermione to bed and wrapped up tight in each other, he whispered his love to her and fell asleep with a smile on his face and her returned love in his ears.


Hermione watched Draco kiss his new bride…the couple an odd sight but still one she was so very happy about. After the dust had settled and the trials had closed, Hermione had taken the time to tell Harry and Ginny everything. As a group they had gone to help Draco recover and to show him that he was not alone in the world. His father had been sent to Azkaban and his mother had left England to avoid the shame and hate that was still thrown her way whenever she tried to go somewhere.

During that time they had all had a chance to get to know not only Draco better but Astoria, Daphne, Pansy, Blaise, and Theo. Strangely enough along the way, Ginny had fallen in love with Draco and Harry had fallen in love with a more humble but still no less haughty Pansy. The two had danced around the issue until Severus being the sarcastic git that he was had made them stop being dunderheads and talk it out. The moment both realized their love had turned to a warmer, softer love of friends and that they both wanted other people, they had publicly given an interview about it all and had expressed their new found feeling for all the wizarding world to read.

Pansy had tried to act upset that Harry had told Rita Skeeter, who had changed her tune after being subjected to the tender cares of Voldemort herself before the final battle, before he had told her but one kiss had shut her up and she had melted against the Boy-Who-Loved-Her as if she had always been in his arms. Draco on the other hand had been barely restraining the bouncing back and forth on his feet and as Ginny had stepped off the podium, he had moved without hesitation to her and pulled her into his arms.

The press had had a field day that the normally stoic pureblood heir was willingly showing his affections so openly. She was pretty sure Draco had not heard a word or whisper of the surprise with the way he had drowned entirely in the red heads arms. Hermione had just smiled as she held on to the arm of her husband and repeatedly said no comment to every question thrown her way.

Now as she held her baby boy in her arms and watched two of her best friends become a family of their own she couldn't help but smile up at the love of her life. His head turned as if he just knew she was looking at him and his warm eyes met hers. She loved that with her he never used his occlumency anymore and always let her see how he felt through his eyes. Speaking of his eyes, she watched as that onyx fire drifted over her faced like a tender caress, lingered on their son a moment before traveling along her body.

Sebastian had only been born a few months previous and she still carried a little bit of the curves from carrying him. At first she had hated it but the moment Severus had been allowed to get his hands on her he had proven to her that it didn't matter the shape of her body…he wanted to devour her every which way he was allowed. For an older wizard…he was an insatiable partner and she loved every single exhausting and mind blowing second of it. The look he gave her now caused her to tingle and burn inside and she shifted in her seat to try to cool the flames. His smirk let her know he was well aware of what he was doing to her and as he leaned to place his lips to her ear, she shivered in anticipation.

"The moment this whole retched affair of fluff and frills is over, I am going to take you home my beautiful wife and see if I can fill your womb with another little demon spawn. I find I quite enjoy seeing you carrying my child inside and outside of your body and I have a need to have both at once. Do you submit?"

Her body thrummed in agreement and need and her breaths came in short pants as she looked up into his eyes once he lifted from her ear.

"To you…always."