Disclaimer: I'll sing you a song, a song of litigation. The litigationthatI'm trying to avoid!

This story was written after the 5th book came out. (In reference to necros' review). You could consider it AU if you want, or you could just read and enjoy the story without trying to make it fit perfectly, which no fanfic truely can do.

He assumed she was sleeping. After all, she had stopped sobbing into his chest, which was irreparably sodden by now.

Severus laid Hermione gently down onto the thick coverlet, placing her head gingerly on the pillow and scowling as he eyed the purple and red bruises forming around her left eye.

He had always liked this room, it had used to be his Great Aunt Margherita's. While she was still living, of course. It was rather pastel; lavender and blue, and one would argue that it was akin to his own antithesis. Nevertheless, the room invoked somewhat of a calm feeling within him.

Straightening up again, he turned to make his way out of the room, leaving Hermione where she was. He figured he'd be back before she woke up.

Halfway to the door, Severus heard a crash downstairs. Frowning, he took his wand out and carefully extricated himself from the room, warding the door on his way out. He slowly crept downstairs, going as slowly as he could while still making progress. Despite his best efforts, one of the boards squeaked and there was a sudden movement in the foyer below.

"Snape!" a voice hissed. "I ought to kill you now and save myself the aggravation."

Severus narrowed his eyes. "And here I thought you loved me, Lucius," he replied scathingly.

Lucius loudly scoffed as Severus finished descending the stairs. "Is there a problem?" asked Severus in a low tone.

"The Granger girl is gone," said Lucius while removing his hood.

Severus' eyes flashed. "You mean Mulciber ran off with her?"

Malfoy snorted lightly. "Don't be foolish. The man is a gimp. He wouldn't dare. Besides, he was obliviated. Barely knew his own name."

Severus paused a moment, letting the silence grow heavy upon them. "Why are you here?"

Lucius Malfoy's face took on a haughty look, as if his intelligence was being insulted. "I was sent here to see if you had the girl. After all, you did leave right before she was gone." He looked behind Severus, as if he would be hiding the girl there. "I should have a look around," Lucius' nostrils flared, "and worse, you look guilty."

"Do I?" asked Severus, raising a solitary eyebrow.

"You told the Dark Lord you were going to the school. Unless Hogwarts' new residence is your manor, I do believe you lied."

Severus internally groaned at Lucius' attempt at wit. "Lucius, you know I don't like staying any longer than I have to," he soothed. "I never have. What makes this time any different from that?"

Malfoy exhaled loudly in defeat. "Yes, I know. You should still get over to the school. I did tell the Dark Lord that you were very unlikely to have tried to save her, but he still insisted I go and look for you."

Severus nodded, brushing an errant piece of hair out of his face. "I was heading over there presently. I just had to pick up a few things."

"Yes, well..." Malfoy trailed off, shrugging slightly. "I hate having to cross examine my own brothers. Especially when there are so many more useful things to be doing. Whatever happened to trust?"

The side of Severus' mouth turned upwards slightly. "I do believe that any trust that we had, dissipated when the Dark Lord was fallen."

"Too right," the blond man mumbled in response. Looking around he continued, "I must be going. Damn Mulciber for making things difficult. If he had just done what he was supposed to..."

"I don't doubt that he has been properly punished," Snape replied with a wry look. "Good luck finding her."

"I'll need it," said Malfoy as he walked over to the fireplace. Taking a handful of powder, he lit the fire and went in, disappearing in green smoke.

Rubbing his temples, Severus continued to make his way down to the laboratory. He was down to his last reserves of patience, there was nothing like a meeting with Lucius Malfoy to make him want to beat his head against a stonewall in frustration. But as much as he didn't feel up to making these potions, he couldn't very well leave Hermione in her current state.

Trudging down another slimmer pair of steps, he finally arrived in his basement lab. As much as his manor looked as if it should contain a dungeon, it didn't. Just a rather small basement that Severus had renovated years ago during the brief period in his life when he thought wanted to live here.

Taking a quick inventory, he saw that everything seemed to be in its place, although covered in a fine layer of dust. Taking off his cloak, he tossed it absentmindedly onto a nearby table, colliding with a set of vials that clinked angrily at the intrusion. His forehead scrunching up minutely, Severus made his way over to the lab table and gently pulled his cloak up.

Underneath lay a container of vials, each carefully placed in a wire holder. Attached to the container was a note written in lopsided cursive. A note from one R.J. Lupin.


I finished the potions. Figured you wouldn't want to start over again. Hope everything goes well.

R.J. Lupin.

Severus frowned lightly, his face turning into a bit of a grimace. Lupin was never a particularly good brewer and that last sentence was particularly foreboding. He picked the container up by the handle at the top, holding it at eye level. All the vials seemed to be correct; they were even labeled in that same lopsided cursive. Satisfied with them, he made his way back up to the lavender room to Hermione Granger.

Just as he had thought, Hermione was still passed out cold. He checked his watch quickly, it read 5 am. He didn't have much time. He had to get back to Hogwarts; he couldn't afford to be absent from his classes.

Carefully extracting the first vial from its holder, Severus brought the first vial to Hermione's lips. She didn't wake, so Severus shook her gently. Mumbling to herself, Hermione woke, moving slowly with obvious pain. Her eyes opened, but there was no expression behind them. They were dull, without their normal inquisitive gleam.

Hermione's face twisted as she struggled to sit, confused by her awakening. "Shh...I've got the potions. Open your mouth and drink," Severus attempted to soothe. He felt like a sap, but he figured that if there was anyone he was going to be sappy with, it might as well be her. Wasn't as if she could tell anyone. For the moment, at least.

Hermione downed the vial in two smooth gulps. When she had finished, Severus procured the next one and the process continued until all the vials were done with. Pushing her hair off of her forehead, Severus laid Hermione back onto the bed.

"I have to go," he said shortly, though not without a bit of apprehension. She should really be seen by a mediwitch, after all she was with child. He wasn't qualified to evaluate her, he had barely passed the medical section of his classes when he was going for his master's. He could brew like no one else but when it came to dealing with others, he was miserable at it.

"You should be alright in an hour or two," Severus continued as he snapped his fingers, a house elf appearing at his side.

Hermione hadn't moved.

Severus narrowed his eyes in Hermione's direction, scrutinizing her. She was still breathing, which of course, was a good sign. He watched as she slowly shook her head. She looked...well...scared. Like she didn't want him to go.

Somehow, her hand found his and squeezed it in a vice-like grip. Severus found himself at a loss, wondering if she was in some kind of pain. "Hermione, I mean, yes, you see...," Severus stumbled over his words. He was going to leave her with a house elf, but he had doubts about doing that from the start, and now there was no way he could.

Severus grasped Hermione's hand back and sighed as he ran his thumb over the back of it. He didn't ask to be put in this position, but now that he had, he was going to do all that he could.

Pulling Hermione back into his arms which was becoming oddly familiar; Severus went over to the fire grate and flooed into his Hogwarts chambers.

Phew, heh. I'm dreadfully sorry for the long wait, but I'm sure that none of you really want to hear all of my problems. I was STUNNED by the outcome for the last chapter. I wish I could take the time to answer every last one of you personally, but I think you'd rather I work on Chapter 9, right?

MuppetsChik, Paprika, Angel Kakes, Hailie Donelley, Cow as White as Milk, dragonslyth, eepy, Xi Fang, jameslvr, Angie King, kat6528, imogenhm, forgot my login, Toms-babygurl, Gannet, armor, Sunday, Queenofwitches, kaylee, Beatlesluver91, runaway mental patient, dandylion2424, southernwitch69, dama-de-titeblas, Helkardowen, sevati, LiLy MaLfOy13, ShilviGrlAmyjernc, GEmory (I soooooo agree), Greenbean, Lisa aka lord snapes lady, SamanthaRiddle12, Alma1, hyz, iceprincess7133, Caryla, Stealor of Muffins (7 times in a row! o.O), CommodoreJewlz, Neko Blah Blah, Mordicai, xmaverickf14x, Miss3y, Anna Taure, necros, Artemis MoonClaw, Anarane Anwamane, Julia Bartlett (Made sense to me:grin:), deetje (Ooh...smart person...can't say more...), June, Natsuyori, Damia - Queen of the Gypsi's, mysticdarkraven, teh munchkin, Innogen, Jocelyn Padoga, bookwmnjan, Ophelia Eternal, iamtherealmaverick, risi, Midnight Lilly, Mrs.Drew Malfoy (Oh, I know they are. Or at least seem that way. Heh.), Moon-Pixie00, gooseflesh (Nice name, and yeah, I never got the feeling she did.), Intelligent Witch.

strega-in-progress: A bunch of people have said that. I just don't see it! Hehe.

ghzowy: It's terrible. And I've seen it happen a hundred times before.

the-sexy-flower: IS THIS MENTION ENOUGH FOR YOU:grin: Hehe...:hugs:

Vanilla Free:grin: Oh, I'm so glad someone else saw the humor in that too!

idonthaveone: Thank you! I didn't want to make everyone bad...heh...I was getting a bit carried away. Hope you liked the Lupin bit in this chapter as well.

Meli:grin: You definately bring up a good point. The cliche was intentional, for the record. I have felt that the first chapter could use some revision, and you just add another reason to the list.

cate: The society that Hermione and the Wizarding world is in is very medieval. But hey, if you want to feel that way about this story, you go ahead.

TammyLSlark: I don't really see it that way...but sure. Same thing I said to cate goes for you.

The Emerald Dawn: How could they not get together? Hehe. :grin:

Laura Granger: You'll just have to wait and see...:grin:

HoNeYnSwEeTs: Wow. You're making me blush! Hehe...well...the credit for spelling and all that stuff goes to my wonderful beta. But thank you!