A/N: Hello! Yes, I'm here. I'm alive, sound and all. I realize it's been a while… alright, it's been AGES. And I am sorry. There was just this awful time when nothing came out of my brain, into my fingers and then to the keyboard… in short, a writers block. I've got it rather bad, seeing as how I've read so many fantastic stories, and knowing I'm not half as good. :-/ But you guys are great, I still got reviews after those 4 months, and I think it's a miracle, and I really, really didn't want to leave you hanging, guys.

KDarkMaiden, Kiristeen, xSnapeLoverx (sorry to dissapoint you, but i guess there willl be probably more cutting. Maybe ooc, but on the other hand, considered the circumstances... :-/), wildchild247msn.com, someone28, Deb .. ., Jess16, Ipo (i've e-mailed you, but thank you again for you review.), dryade (no, this will definately need time.), Tiffie101, Sunshine Cammie, wavy avey (:P you can cough as much as you want, i wouldn't tell you if it had anything to do with her own father raping her... i may be really sick, but that's a bit too much, even for me. ugh), Cianna Greenwood (hope you're not offended that i didn't e-mail you.), Brittany Malfoy (i won't tell you more than others, that wouldn't be fair. I sincerly hope you will survive ;-)), Professor Farfie (after reading your review a certain girl [me] started to sing out loud: it's like rain on your wedding day... §lol§ oh well, have very little self-control!), Davina Meaoru, coldasice, Joshua Glass, tortify, Greenstuff, snickerdoodle, awwwwwww, curlylein (nachdem Deutsch meine Muttersprache ist, erlaube ich dir großzügigerweise, ein deutsches review zu hinterlassen. §g§ Jaja, der authoralert. Spinnt bei mir auch immer. §grummel§ und nun beeil dich mal und mach deine Muse feuer unterm Arsch, du hast schon ewig nicht mehr gepostet!!), snapesucks (lol, just wanted to ask why your name is 'snapesucks' when you read storys like mine. :)), Smeagol/Sesshluva (Your reviews were a bit strange, but so yeah.. i'm glad you liked it in the end. I wonder what changed your opinion, so tell me?) TheCrow-R.I.P-BL, Antigonesev, Time Bob87, Tammy (it has that effect on me, too, but unfortunately i need him for the sake of the story... just a bit longer;-)), Davina Meaoru (there's just one answer to this: writers block. Look, i'm really sorry, but sometimes i just get stucked, i have so much ideas, but i just cannot get myself to write it down, i don't find the right words. It doesn't help that even i have a life.. Anyway, i hope you forgive me and enjoy the chap!) jessica garcia, QueenBonnie (lol, ich war total geschockt, mal wieder ein deutsches review zu kriegen, hat mich aber trotzdem gefreut), fryesdestiny, QueenBonnie (now again in english, huh? I like your idea of the project.), Lacewing, hugsalot22990, Harpys Pistol, Smeagol/Sesshluva (again, please tell me what changed your mind, because i do take criticism seriously, though it was rather a flame... ;-)), anonymous, star no star, sweetbabe, samantha snape, RetroTreasure, FieryWildChild, skyscape, Tired Recluse, coldfire05, Tiger][Wolf]168, F75 (even though I'm not sure if you made it until now), dark.milady (thanks for the offer! I have a beta already, but I do appreciate it. You're French? Interesting, I'm German, Austrian to be exact.), potts, x Raya; SilentSoul (Thank you for your review, I appreciate that even though you must be mad at me you still review to make me update. :)) Thanks to LisaViola, my beta. §hugs§

Can you forgive me? (and review?)

§- 10. Seeking Sanctuary -§-

Everything had worked out fine.

Smith hadn't made any wrong move since the scene in his classroom with Snape, and Hermione had seemed to regain part of her joyfulness again, though those who really knew her could see the longing gaze she threw out of the windows from time to time, appearing like a bird in a cage, wishing to be free again.

Snape had been eying both of them carefully enough to know that the peace was only short-lived.

Smith might have controlled his hands, but he could not control the glances he shot towards Hermione every meal.

Severus had known that all Smith needed was the feeling of being safe and unobserved and he would do it again. So he hadn't given him that feeling.

He couldn't be everywhere, though, and he only had two hands, and two eyes.

No matter how hard he might have tried, he would have never been able to save Hermione from her teacher every time.

No matter how often he told himself that, it was only cold comfort now.

It had been some hours since he had been disturbed in his thoughts by a shy and barely audible knock on his door. Because of his recently developed insomnia, he had been sitting in his office, trying to mark papers.

It was too late. No one would come to see him that late at night, maybe except for Dumbledore, but the word "shy" would never fit the headmaster. It had to be the only person whose appearance Snape had dreaded. He had known which fragile hand had caused the knock on his door the very instant he heard the sound, and he had known the only reason why said person would ever come to visit him, the redoubtable potions professor.

-§- Flashback -§-

Hermione ran along the empty floors of Hogwarts at midnight. She couldn't focus, everything seemed to blur in front of her. He mind was spinning and every part of her body ached. Her hair was curly and wild, hanging in her face, and her robe was untidy and looked as if it had been thrown over her trembling body recklessly. She hadn't even taken the time to button it up, instead it swirled around her body loosely, revealing her skirt and blouse.

The purple bruises around her ankles hurt, and her stomach seemed to be aflame. Every fibre of her body seemed to scream at her, aching.

She couldn't make out where she was running, but it didn't matter to her. Just away from that room, from that man, away from the pain.

Afterwards, she didn't know how she got there, but somehow her feet seemed to find their way down to the dungeons on their own. She could not go to Gryffindor, where questions and sorrows would haunt her.

Almost an instant after her weak hand had knocked on the heavy door, the potion master's face appeared in front of her.

He seemed as if he had been awaiting her.

Hermione would not believe this, of course, but it seemed quite irrelevant at the moment anyway, she let go of that thought. For a moment, he locked his gaze with hers, then he opened the door swiftly and let her step into the office.

They didn't speak. Severus didn't know any words of comfort, and he doubted that it would be of any use. Miss Granger stood in the centre of his office unsteadily, she didn't so much as recognize where she was.

Her eyes were blank.

It scared him how familiar this look was. When did this happen? When did the annoying, yet livid girl become that foreign person without emotion? How could he have been so oblivious to it?

It wasn't as if he hadn't noticed what was happening to her, the way she constantly changed. Yet he had always been deliberate, trying to find out what would be the best way to act. One was not a Death Eater and a spy for the Light side without becoming cautious and wary. He had long ago stopped to see the world in white and black, and was only too aware that there were more solutions to a problem than one. While figuring out what to do, he failed to understand that the only thing that this young woman needed was release from the tormenting she had to endure way to long.

No matter how much Hermione would beg him to stay silent, no matter what she had done, it had to end.

Hermione was breathing harder now, as if she had trouble lifting her chest. Her world began to spin around once again, but Snape didn't notice it. Instead he said, "You are hurt. Tell me what he has done to you, so I can give you the appropriate potion."

She glanced up at him, only to lower her eyes to her abdomen, where she clutched her hands over the white blouse.

Just in time, Severus saw that her eyes rolled up inside her head, and Hermione collapsed onto his floor.

Severus reaction was quick. He lifted his arms immediately, catching her back and holding her limp body close to his to prevent her from falling. He put another arm under the hollows of her knees and lifted her up to his chest.

Considering where to place her, he pushed the door open and strode through his living quarters, aiming for the black sofa in his study. Severus spent most of his time here, with each wall full of book shelves and a big desk in the centre, two armchairs by the fireplace and a black leather sofa next to the door, facing the desk.

He gently placed her body onto the cold leather.

Severus kneeled beside her, watching her pale face. His long, slender fingers took her wrist, searching for a pulse. When he looked down, he made out the purple wound on her skin, probably from handcuffs. He let go immediately in disgust.

Instead, he drew his hand to her neck, feeling the slow but steady heartbeat. His fingers stayed a moment longer on her skin than they needed to, absorbing the sensation of the creamy, soft skin under his touch.

He retreated as soon as he was conscious of touch, and instead spent more attention to her body, trying to find out where she was hurt.

It was then that he first noticed that her other hand was still protectively laid over her abdomen, although the grip had loosened. Taking a closer look, he saw that there was something seeping through the white fabric of her blouse. Something that looked suspiciously like -

'Blood.'

Sickened, Severus lifted Hermione's arm and let it fall on her hips instead.

While he carefully unbuttoned her, he couldn't help but feel like a molester. Wasn't he doing something she would never allow him to do if she was conscious?

'Nonsense, I'm trying to help her, and that's that.'

He only opened the lowest buttons, but the sensation stayed, but soon it was replaced by a wave of shock and nausea.

He had lifted the fabric that hid her belly and what he saw did not even cover his expectations.

Her whole abdomen was blood smeared, old wounds inflicted by knifes, whips, probably cigarette burns and other various things were all over her sore skin.

The causes of the blood were slashes on her lower abdomen. Red, infected and still bleeding lines created four letters that forced Severus' stomach twist.

'Mine'

Sometime between Hermione passing out and reading this word, Severus began to wish this would all be a nightmare. But instead of giving in to the longing of blissful ignorance, he felt anger rise up inside him.

He wanted to kill Smith. He wanted to murder him slowly, painfully, let him have part of the agony this girl had to go through. He wanted to hear him screaming and pleading, and begging for forgiveness that would never be granted.

Never was the temptation to use one of the Unforgiveables so big.

He stood up and got a blanket so that she wouldn't freeze, then strode into his lab, where he kept his pain relieving and wound-healing potions stored. Looking up to the shelves, he soon spotted what he was looking for: the purple liquid he once used to heal Hermione's cut; a blue potion which healed the wounds from the inside; and a pale green salve, which was used to clean severe wounds that they would not get infected and to numb the pain. He would think about which one to use later.

While stretching to reach them, his arm knocked over a flask of cleaning potion. The scattering glass and the spilled potion gave Severus the last kick to lose his patience and he drove his arm over the table top, throwing down various potion vials, ingredients and preparation items. Shattering glass and varicoloured liquids hit the stone floor loudly.

When the surface was clean from all his working stuff, he rested his hands on the table, head facing the table top and breathing harsh and angrily.

'Contain yourself. You are of no use when you lose control over the situation,' he reminded himself sternly, but he couldn't help but feel useless anyway.

Where did all these emotions come from? He had spent half of his life ridding himself of feelings like that, or feelings in general. But the look in those eyes, the familiar, empty look which haunted him in his sleep, the countless girls who visit his dreams just to whisper pitiful pleas in his ear. He might not have been able to save any other girl from the clutches of their tormentors, but he wasn't a Death Eater here in Hogwarts. For once, he was not bound to keep any cover.

That moment, Severus vowed to save Hermione from Smith, determined to bring back the annoying Know-It-All Granger at any costs.

The strangest thought occurred to him then; he wouldn't do it because he had to. All the sins he still tried to pay for had nothing to do with this situation. He would do it because he wanted to have her back.

Shaking his head as if to clear himself of these confusing thoughts, he turned his attention to the vials in front of him.

Severus reflected shortly what he should do: If he woke her, he could easily administer the potion that only had to be drunk, and her wounds, at least those from this night, would vanish. But in Hermione's condition it was more than likely that she would panic at the mere sight of him, not to mention that he had touched her and seen her wounds.

If he chose to put the potion straight onto her skin, the worst wounds would have healed until she woke up, and even if she panicked he would definitely have an easier job calming her down.

In any case, he needed to spread the salve onto the slashes, or he couldn't ensure her health. He probably really should wake her, but truth to be told, he was a lot better at handling unconscious people than panicked and crying girls.

One thing was for sure: If he wouldn't do something soon, she would loose too much blood and the visit in the infirmary was something she surely wanted to avoid.

Why had he waited so long?

Picking up the potions he came looking for, he re-entered the study.

-§-

It was a hopeless sight he met: Hermione had her legs drawn closer to her stomach in attempt to protect her still unconscious form, one arm had slid back in front of her abdomen, the other hung limp from the edge of the sofa.

Severus stepped closer, watching her face intensely. Several locks of her bushy brown hair hung into the deathly pale face, her pink, arid lips were slightly parted. The eyes were still shut, but her brows were furrowed, leaving the impression that she wasn't even relaxed in a sleeping state.

Which brought him back to the problem of hand: He drew out his wand and muttered a sleeping charm, ensuring that she wouldn't awake while he was touching her. Her breath evened out and she wouldn't wake by herself for the next hour or so.

Then he kneeled himself next to her, the healing salve grasped tightly in his right hand, his teeth gritted. While he wasn't what one would call delicate and had to endure torture himself for twenty years, he would admit freely that he was not good in helping other people - even more so, when those 'other people' were young girls who were innocent and hadn't deserved the punishment received in any way.

Because of that, Severus hesitated when his fingers were about to touch the wound. He found it disgusting, and he clearly never thought he would be doing this. But Miss Granger needed his help, and quite opposite to common belief, he cared a great deal about his students.

'Yes, about my students,' he thought, emphasizing the word 'student' just to remind him why he was doing this.

Gently, as he hadn't been with any other human being for a long time, he put down the salve onto her skin.

Having had way too much experience with any kind of healing potions, he knew the exact reaction of the body to the potion; and that was not what it was supposed to be: Hermione's skin seemed to be encircled with a magenta glow as soon as the potion touched her. Instead of absorbing the ointment, Hermione's body seemed to repel it, beading it to drops which ran down her side.

Severus frowned, quickly searching his mind for information; but there was only one thing that could have caused this reaction, and Severus was not at all familiar with the ancient spell, he didn't even know the name of it. For all he knew, it was one of the more complex spells. It was used rarely even in the Death Eater meetings. The charm would keep him from interfering with the wounds, which didn't necessary mean that she would die. It really WAS complex, but the spell was invented purely for tortures sake. It slowed down the progress of the wound, which was the reason why he hadn't seen the blood earlier.

The reason why it wasn't as popular as the Cruciatus with Death Eaters was simply because they usually tortured their victims to death. Severus could only recall one time, where this curse was used, and that was while Lucius Malfoy was 'persuading' a ministry man to let Crabbe, Sr. out of Azkaban once more. The curse was performed after hours of torture, the ministry official was broken long before, and the curse gave him just enough energy that he was able to apparate to his home. After that, Lucius had told Severus that the official would be surprised when he found out later that no potions would help. Actually, the wound would heal even slower than the muggle way.
"Nasty, that one," Lucius had laughed, and Severus had forced a grin on his lips.

Severus, again, felt his temper getting the better of him. He wasn't able to think straight, except for that one instinct to hunt Smith down and hurt him, badly. Feeling his pulse pounding between his temples, he concentrated only on the main target and let his body do the work.

He stood up and walked to the dark corner in his store-room where he kept the potions which needed more 'discretion'. Picking up a small reddish vial, he walked out of his quarters with a fast pace, leaving the sleeping patient to herself.

In vain, Severus tried to get his anger under control. Not that he fought that hard; he wanted Smith to feel the wrath he held against him, but storming in his chamber without any self composure wasn't going to get him anywhere.

While gliding soundlessly, yet aggressively through the silent corridors, Severus thought it was a stupid thing for Smith to do.

'It doesn't make any sense. Why is he doing this to her all of a sudden? Wouldn't he think others would get suspicious? What was he thinking, keeping her until after curfew!? Her dorm mates will notice if she wasn't in her bed at that time!'

Just then, Snape realized that they probably really wouldn't. Smith had played his games since the beginning of term, and nobody had ever noticed or said anything about Hermione disappearing from time to time, or this would have ended long ago.

The injuries were bad, though. Hermione wouldn't be able to hide them well, even though they were on her stomach. They were still bleeding and Severus doubted that she would be able to go through the next week without fainting at least once a day. Smith had never done something so drastic before, and Severus wondered why he did it in the first place. Of course if Hermione would pose a threat...

He couldn't finish the thought, because he found himself in front of Smith's chambers. Being a teacher, Severus knew of the entrance through the picture with the setting sun, it was a security measure.

Of course, it was warded with various spells and charms, but nothing Severus hadn't broken before. Soon enough, Severus found himself standing in the middle of Smith's pitch-dark quarters.

A little disoriented, he tried to remember where Smith's bedroom was while waiting for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. Silently he sneaked forward towards the nearest door. A quick glance told him that he had to be in the kitchen, and he retreated smoothly.

He opened two other doors before finally reaching his destination. There was only one room left, this had to be Smith's bedroom. A quick disguising charm later, Snape opened the door as silently as possible, only to be nearly put off by the intense smell of sweat, blood and other body fluids. Severus features hardened as vivid images of torture and abuse in this very room flooded his mind and reminded him unnecessarily of the reason he was here. He turned towards the bed, seeing the silhouette of a sleeping Professor Smith in the dim moonshine that seeped through the window.

'How can he sleep with this stench? The man belongs to St. Mungo's. Pity that he won't have a chance to get there once I'm finished with him,' Severus thought grimly to himself.

It was evident that he had at least cast a cleaning spell, or it would have been even worse, but obviously that spell did not much for the room's air.

Severus sneaked forward, reaching the end of the four-poster. Disgusted, he watched as Smith seemed to smile satisfied in his sleep.

Stepping around the bed to the left side, Severus leaned down slowly, only stopping when he felt the other man's even breathing at his throat. Severus reached into his pocket and retrieved a short dagger. Holding it closely to Smith's throat, Severus breathed in the younger man's ear: "Sleeping well, are you, Nathaniel?"

The body beneath him stirred a moment, before stilling completely. Severus leaned backwards to observe if Smith had opened his eyes already. 'Bingo', he thought, smirking to himself while watching Smith staring blankly, yet anxious into a shadow where usually would have been Severus' face.

"Who are you? What are you doing in my chambers?" Smith asked, quite anxious. Snape chuckled menacingly.

"But didn't you expect me here?" he asked in a soft, innocent voice, that didn't suit him at all. "Ah, and I thought my warning the other day was clear enough, even for you to understand!" his voice grew more and more like a dangerous snarl now.

Smith's eyes got wide in understanding. When suddenly, he spun around to his right to reach the wand that lay at the nightstand next to him. Snape saw the move even before it happened and cast a quick binding spell to the man's body, relieving only the head.

"Wrong move, Smith," he stated coldly, lifting the disguising charm and taking away the dagger that had still been placed at Smith's throat. Locking eyes with the other teacher, Severus retrieved from his robes the bottle he pocketed earlier.

Seeing the panicked expression on Smith's handsome features inspired Severus to smirk again, satisfied. "Oh, don't worry, it doesn't hurt. You will only feel very calm and relaxed."

Then he forced his mouth open roughly, pouring the liquid inside and pushing the chin upwards, that he wouldn't spill everything out again. He unhurriedly placed the vial at the nightstand and then held Smiths nose, so that he would have to drink the liquid if he didn't fancy suffocation.

Which was, fortunately, not the case, and soon the expression of fear in Smith's face changed into the one of ease and contentment. Severus lifted the charms that held Smith to the bed and harshly commanded, "Get up, get dressed and then come to the living room. Take your wand with you."

Then he left the other man, who followed his command immediately and without objections. Severus stepped again into the living room - the centre of Smith's quarters - and muttered a lightening charm. He watched as the room lit up slightly, showing him nothing out of the ordinary: a couch, a fireplace, two armchairs; the usual furnishing.

Snape snorted to himself, of course it wouldn't be obvious what everyone's favourite teacher did in his free time, but yet it set him into an unease that he was the only one in this castle, with the exception of Miss Granger, who knew what was behind the facade of the always helpful and friendly Professor Smith.

That was not the only thing unsettling him, though. He didn't like the unnatural calm look on Smith's face at all; he should have been squirming and trembling, his eyes should have shown that fear and uncertainty that they had previously. Severus felt as if Smith had won already and only mocked him with making him believe that he had the upper hand.

Of course, that was not the case; it was merely the effect that the Imperius Potion had onto the one who drunk it. It was the other effect that was important, though: control over the actions of said drinker without objections, due to the calm and happy feeling the liquid creates in the body, that the drinker doesn't question the request. The reason why this potion was not as 'famous' as the it's brother curse, despite the fact that it was a lot more difficult to detect, was that it only held on for some minutes.

'Hopefully enough to get Smith down to my own quarters,' Snape thought.

Just then Smith emerged from his bedroom, and with him the atrocious smell. Severus frowned and almost flinched; the smell brought out every bad memory he had of those Death Eater raids and missions he ever received from the Dark Lord. It wasn't any advantage to Smith, though, because it only increased his rage and his determination to help Miss Granger - yet the only one wasn't beyond remedy already.

Severus head spun around to face the other teacher only to see the utterly blissful expression and snarled, "Go to my chambers."

He then strode across the room on a quick pace, determined to get it over with as fast as possible.

The walk down to the dungeons was uneventful, Severus was close behind Smith, watching his every step and trying to ignore the look of contentment on the DADA professor.

When they finally reached Severus' quarters Smith stopped abruptly, waiting for the next commands. Severus considered telling him to counter the curse on Hermione immediately, but he was afraid that the potion was running out of effect. It wouldn't do if Smith came to his senses with his wand aimed at Hermione.

While thinking about it, Severus noticed that his colleague seemed to come out of his stupor. Quickly he disarmed him and a body binding spell later Smith found himself levitated into the other room, although fully aware of what was happening. Snape shot him a dangerous glance, but otherwise left him hovering in mid air, watching the other man approach Hermione.

Cautiously Severus went to the couch where Hermione laid, just the way he left her. Drawing out a harsh breath he kneeled down in front of her face, trying to shield her from Smith's view.

A streak of her wild, bushy had fallen into her face, and Severus gently pushed it behind her ear. Then he called out softly, just above a whisper, "Miss Granger!"

She didn't so much as stir, so he reached out and laid his hands on each side of her head, palms over her ears. "Miss Granger!" he said again, a bit louder. He then rubbed his thump slightly at her temple, but stopped abruptly, thinking it was probably a bit too much touching on his part and at the same time wondering why he didn't just 'enervate' her. He did not realize that Smith was still watching him closely from his corner of the room.

Hermione opened her eyes slowly, not trusting what she was going to see. Severus held her head in a light grip, directing her view to his eyes. She blinked once to process the thought that Professor Snape had woken her and that she was at a place she did not recognize at all. Just before Hermione could panic, Snape started talking to her, locking her eyes resolute with his to stop them from wandering around and discover Smith hovering in the corner.

"Miss Granger, it is of dire importance that you listen to me and look at me only. You have been injured very badly and unfortunately I was not able to heal your wounds due to a complex charm that has been laid over your body. This charm can only be removed by the caster. Can you follow me?"

Hermione nodded slightly, her head still trapped in Snape's hands. However, when she realized that it would mean another encounter with Smith, blank fear crept into her eyes, and it didn't take another moment to find her squirming out of Snape's grip, trying to escape.

Severus held her more tightly, forcing her to look into his eyes once again.

"Now is not the time. You wouldn't want to explain Madame Pomfrey how you got those wounds on your stomach, would you?"

She stared at him in disbelief.

/He saw me... He touched me!/ her mind screamed at her, and she felt more than ever like a trapped animal that had just been slapped hard across the face.

Hermione really was an open book if one knew how to read expression, and at the moment it seemed as if 'Panic' was written right across her features. Severus grabbed her shoulders and forced her yet again into listening.

"Look, I know how you feel about this, but there really is no time!" he practically shouted at her. Patience wasn't a talent that Severus could call his own, and quite frankly, he did not have to nerves to deal with this now. Smith's presence in this room made him uncontrolled and nervous enough as it was.

"Smith will remove the spell, and then you will drink the blue potion on the table. You will go to your dormitory as soon as the potion sinks in and you are fully healed."

He stared at her intensely, willing her to understand that he wanted to help her. Hermione thought he was finished when he spoke up again, very quietly, "You must trust me."

She nodded very slowly, trying to keep the panic inside her in check. If there was someone who could help her, it was him, and Hermione decided that trusting Severus Snape would not be so difficult. He was a man of his word, after all.

Then Snape moved his head into the direction where Smith hung in the air and Hermione followed his gaze. Despite her efforts, she failed to keep the trembling from showing at seeing the man who tormented her so soon again.

Snape stood up swiftly, walking towards the hovering figure that was Smith and lifted the spells. Professor Smith found himself on the floor, a wand directed threateningly at him. He stared up to Snape, who looked at him with such an intense hate and malice that an uncertain feeling crept down his back, warning him not to do anything imprudent if he wanted to live.

Severus leaned down to be face to face with Smith while still not breaking the eye contact, coming so near that Smith could feel his breath on his skin. "If you try any games, Smith, you will have a quite detailed perception of what it means to be on the receiving end of the Dark Lord's wrath. Believe me, I have quite the experience with that."

Severus smirked satisfied to himself, finally seeing the fear, for which he was waiting, returning to the other mans eyes. He handed Smith his wand, while his own one was still pointed at Smith's throat and he looked the other man warningly in the eye.

Out of the angle of his eyes, Severus saw Hermione squirm and while he understood that it was anything but comfortable to be pointed at by the wand of your sworn enemy, he firmly hoped that she would stay put.

Smith raised his eyes to meet those of the girl who was writhing under his touches just an hour ago. He felt betrayed that she would run to Snape, SNAPE of all people, to get rid of him. As if she wouldn't have wanted this. She actually challenged him to this, teased him with her delicious curves and her full, pink lips, with those thick lashes of her chocolate brown eyes.

Smith grabbed his wand in determination and pointed it at Hermione.

-§-

She could see the look in his eyes, the look of disapproval and anger and betrayal. Hermione didn't understand it, and it scared her to see him out of control. But still, she stared back into his eyes, even though she was acutely aware of the blood rushing in her ears, her heart pounding in her chest wildly, and the deafening silence in the room.

Both, mesmerised and petrified by the unholy look in Smith's eyes, Hermione found herself unable to look away.

"Finite consanescem detineo." [1]

The words were barely above a whisper, but it seemed to fill the whole room, and the silence that had reigned just moments before gave way to what seemed like an almost sigh-like sound from the room.

And then Hermione could hear again, breath again, everything fell back into place and seemed more real and loud than ever. She felt the wound on her flesh widen, and more blood flowed out of it now, staining her white blouse. She heard a rash "Expilliarmus", followed by a loud thud of a human body crashing against the wall. She saw Snape's face, and the relief washing over it, but yet he had that determination in his eyes, something akin to a promise for revenge.

Then he turned towards Hermione, pointed to the blue bottle again and said, "Don't linger here."

Then he added with a quiet voice laced with malice, "I will arrange for his fair treatment."

-§-

Yes, it actually is intended to end here. I've got it bad the next weeks, so no update really §soon§, but in any case sooner than this time. Next chapter, what do you think, a bit of torture? I'm not sure if that's going to fit in the 'R-Rated' section, but I'm not much for violence anyways. How about you give me ideas what to write and I'll try to update as soon as I can? :)

[1] Since I never had Latin, I'll try to avoid naming potions, charms/spells/curses and those things. I couldn't help putting the spell in there, though, because it's needed (in my humble opinion). I know it can't probably sound right, so bare with me.
'finite' - from 'finio' - settle, end, die (thanks to hp-lexicon.org) 'consanescem' - healing process, 'detineo' - to prevent;

Review, review, review!