Chapter One: Punishment of the Most Cruel Kind

"Professor, please!" Hermione pleaded as she ran to keep up with his long and fast strides. "Don't do this!"

"Stop your prattling and get out of my way girl!" He snapped, not even looking at her or slowing in the slightest.

"There's no sense in it!" She darted ahead of him and blocked the door he intended to go through, gripping to the frame desperately as Malfoy watched, numb in the shadows.

"Miss Granger, if you do not move, I will move you" his words were harsh but they were nothing when compared to his inky blue, almost black eyes.

"This is suicide!" She screamed at him, praying for him to see reason. Instead he grabbed her forearms and yanked her from the door frame, pausing only to carelessly cast her aside. "He knows what you've been doing! He'll kill you!" Her voice was a frantic cry for something, anything, to stop him.

"I thought you of all people would be glad to be rid of me," he sneered coldly as she scrambled back to her feet, to give chase once again.

"That's not true! No ones life should be cast aside this casually!"

That was when he snapped. He whorled around, black cloak billowing, and grabbed her throat with such ferocity that for a moment she actually thought he was going to kill her. She was almost relieved when he forced her to stumble backwards and slammed her against the wall with a dull thud. Yet the fire in his eyes was anything but dull. "You," he squeezed her neck, she choked, but his grip did not loosen in the slightest, "understand nothing of this!" His voice was low and dangerous, the tone he used when he was truly angry. "Now, whether you and young Mister Malfoy want me to or not, I am answering this summons," it was odd, but she hear a trace of longing and relief in his voice, and that scared her far more than his violent outburst ever could. He squeezed her neck again, almost completely cutting off her air supply. "I, in no way, need to explain myself to two students, but if you have learnt anything from me it should be that no one has the right to go unpunished."

Tears began to prick at her eyes as she struggled for breath, fleeting thoughts of ghosting out of his grasp flashed across her mind as spots danced before her eyes. But she didn't, she trusted him. As absurd as that might sound when he was choking her, but she trusted him and so made no move to fight against him, even as unconsciousness threatened. His eyes widened out of their glare for a split second as he realised what he was doing. Still he did not relent his harsh actions. Rather than gently releasing her, he gave her neck another painful squeeze and slammed her back once again, before carelessly throwing her to the ground.

His assault had the desired affect. She was not seriously hurt but she was hurt enough to not be able to stop him. Her vision was hazy at best and she only recognised the figure at her side because of the light flash where she supposed his head would be. "Malfoy," Hermione whimpered as she heard the front door to number twelve Grimuld Place open then slam shut, "I'm sorry I-" A gentle finger was placed over her lips to stop her raspy voice from continuing.

"You tried, that's all anyone could do. And if he wouldn't listen to you, he wouldn't listen to anyone," her new friend cooed softly.

Then he gave an exasperated sigh. "You should have ghosted out of his hand Granger, why didn't you?"

"I trust him." She muttered hoarsely, still trying to catch back that breath that had been denied to her. She heard another sigh before he spoke again.

"Lets get you fixed up, we can't have you not being able to nag at me, now can we?"

Severus Snape found very few things disturbing. He found child abuse disturbing, he found the fact that men he associated with enjoyed raping muggles and muggleborns, regardless of their victims' gender or whether or not they could still draw breath, very disturbing, he found dismemberment disturbing and he found other peoples gratitude disturbing. But he had never expected to find Grangers apparent distress disturbing.

In all honesty he had expected no one to bat an eyelash when he decided to answer Lord Voldemorts summons, knowing full well that he had been discovered as a spy. The fact that Malfoy had paled to the point of appearing dead had been shocking enough, but for Granger to fly off the handle and purposefully get underfoot in an attempt to stop him from leaving was the most disturbing thing he could have ever imagined, and what made it so disturbing was that he did not know why she had reacted like that. Couldn't she see that he needed this? He needed to be judged; he needed to be condemned for what he had done. Who was doing the condemning did not matter in the slightest, nor did the supposed hand of justice have to be punishing him for the crimes he had committed, he simply needed to answer for something. Whether it was for murder or betrayal he did not care, for both weighed heavily on his conscience. All that mattered was that someone pass judgement.

Though he did feel guilty about what he had done to the girl. She would be bruised, sore and unsteady for a while, but she would be okay in an hour or two. She was also a strong and rational girl, so he hoped that she would eventually work out why he had done that and why he had left. Why he felt guilty for strangling her he had no idea. She was a good pupil and he should have told her that instead of pinning her to the wall and choking enough of her breath from her to put her out of the way, out of harms way really. He knew she would have followed him if she could have, so really that was the best thing to do. It was just one more crime to atone for, one tiny addition to an almost never ending list of transgressions, almost all of which were far worse than what he had done to Granger.

That was why he went to the Dark Lord now. He knew he would receive punishment and he knew it would not be as quick as simply killing him. It would most likely be slow and drawn out torturing to death. As perverse as it may seem to anyone else, it was what he needed to be able to die at peace with himself. He had to know that he had paid for his crimes, whether through punishment or atonement. With atonement an almost impossible task, he was left with only punishment.

So, with his Death Eater attire wholly and purposefully missing, and his Dark Mark causing serious discomfort, he apperated to where ever the damned thing was trying to guide him. Which led him to the centre of a dark forest clearing, lit only by the moons light. Taking in the thirty or forty Death Eaters around him, standing in a circle, and the grotesquely serpentine Lord Voldemort perched upon a makeshift throne directly before him, he did not feel fear. All he felt was a slight irritation, an irritation that he decided to voice. "How clich├ęd," Severus sighed, sounding disappointed. "I had at least thought you would come up with something original, or has your imagination fled you with your humanity?" Rather than seeming furious, the thin Dark Lord simply chuckled quietly.

"Why tamper with a classic when it works so well? Though I must admit, I am glad you still have your caustic tongue; it will make this all the more interesting." That did not sound good, he was amused and in a good mood, that was never a good thing.

Severus sneered, refusing to be polite to this false master and artificial father figure, if anything it would be very satisfying to annoy him without a thought to the consequences. "I suppose you'll be torturing me to death as well? After all, you seem to quite fond of staying within the limits of a lackey's imagination," he made sure that he was looking at the tall figure to Voldemorts right, obviously Lucius Malfoy. The Dark Lords eyes glimmered with amusement as he regarded Severus. Finally he shook his head slightly.

"No, I'm not going to kill you, or have you killed. Your guilt will do that to you in the end." Severus frowned, but let him continue out of simple curiosity. "It may surprise you to know this, but I have always thought of you as somewhat of a son. You were the only apprentice I've ever had, most likely the only apprentice I ever will have, and I was proud to teach you. You have proved yourself to be very useful and I regret to have to do this, but betrayal can not go unpunished.

"I have also known for some time that you had developed some form of conscience, so your activities were not an unexpected discovery, though I had hoped reducing the actual direct killing you had to carry out would prevent this. It did not, and because I know you, I know that you want to be punished. To be tortured and to be killed for what you perceive as your crimes." A slow smirk crept across Voldemorts thin lips as he paused. "And because I know you, I know what you hate and fear most of all, fortunately for me, though possibly not for you, depending how much you value you life, it is something very easy to become against your will."

The demon, who had once been a man, and a surrogate father to Severus, gestured for him to turn. The Death Eaters parted revealing his punishment. His eyes widened in horror and for once he had nothing caustic to say. He could not help but think that it was somehow fitting, but horrific none the less. "Farwell, my wayward son. I release you from my service." Burning pain lanced through his left arm, and the hell before him took its chance with glee.

Hermione sat with her arm around Malfoy. He was calmer than she thought he would be. She knew what Snape meant to him, the potions Master was more of a father to him than Lucius ever had been. "I can't help but think that he's going to come back, even though I know he's probably already dead." His voice was completely droll, empty of everything but sound. Hermione held him tighter; she could only imagine what he was feeling since she had never really looked to anyone as a father figure and her own father, well, she didn't even want to think about him.

"I just don't understand why he would leave when he knew what would happen."

"I think I do," she mumbled quietly. Malfoy's eyes darted to her. "He feels guilty, he wants, wanted, to be held accountable for his actions."

"It makes sense I suppose. But why like this? He apprenticed under Voldemort for his potions Mastership. The Dark Lord was as much a father to him as he is to me. It would tear him apart."

"Perhaps he thinks it's no less than he deserves." She suggested softly. Malfoy gave a short derisive laugh.

"Probably. He always has been a glutton for torment." He gave another laugh, but this one was a true laugh. "I remember he said to me in third year, when I asked him why he taught when he obviously hates it, he said, "If I had a clear conscience I would not have forced myself into the purgatory of teaching equally idiotic and brainless children who simply don't want to be taught". I think he was just making excuses to stay and look for an apprentice to be honest. I've seen the way his eyes light up when someone shows a real flare for potions. I just wish I had known how to stop him."

Hermione frowned, remembering something she was surprised she had forgotten. "What made you think I had the best chance of stopping him?" She asked gently, and Malfoy looked at her with mild surprise, as though he thought she should already know.

"Trelawney, she had another prophesy a year or two ago." Hermione rolled eyes. "Don't do that, some of us actually believe in Divination when it comes to prophesies."

She sighed, wondering why she was even bothering. "What did she say?"

"That a living ghost would save a dark soul, who loved her, from something worse than death." He paused for a moment, the living ghost was definitely her, she could walk through walls and spells could go straight through her, but a dark soul who loved her? That was simply ridicules. A dark soul he may be, but Snape certainly didn't feel that way about her. Malfoy watched her for a moment as she frowned, then finally spoke again. "He loves you, you know. He hasn't realised it yet but he does." She shook her head, he couldn't have. He would not have choked her if he felt that way. "It's easy enough to see, if you know what to look for." It was impossible, she was a student. But he did say that Snape hadn't realised yet. "If he had done that to anyone else, they would have been unconscious, he probably even feels guilty about doing it. But I guess there's more than one dark soul in love with you; I just hope it's someone who will treat you as well as Snape would have."

"Why on earth would he have fallen in love with me?" Malfoy seemed surprised at that as well.

"He has the unique gift of seeing beauty where most others don't." He spoke in a wistful voice, as though he was recalling some wonderful time long since gone. It was a tone she often heard when people spoke of the time before Voldemorts' rise. "In a perfectly brewed potion, in an elegant spider, in the movement of a duelling sword, even in the bookish wall flower, too intelligent and fiery for her own good. You have that strange, pretty quality he seems to look for, a subtle beauty but far more real than anything more noticeable. But he loves the challenge you pose and your intellect more than your appearance, that's where he finds your more stunning beauty."

"How do you know this? You're talking as though you've picked it out his mind!"

He laughed again, livelier than before. "No, I haven't been in his head. I'd be too terrified of what he'd do to me if he found out. Most of what I've just said originally came from his own mouth. Not to mention you're forgetting about one of my own gifts."

"Ah yes, your logical imagination. . . What do you mean it came form his own mouth?"

Draco smirked before he spoke. "When he called you an insufferable know it all, the tone of his voice gave it away as an endearment, well, it did to me, but I know him enough to spot those things. Then last year, when I had already spotted that he was in love with you, I managed to get him to describe you by constantly going on about the girls in our year. He had something awful to say about every one of them, ranging from garish, to fake, to brainless, and a few other, far harsher comments. Wait there, why don't I just show? It would be far easier." She frowned, no one knew about Malfoy's gifts, unlike her own, and no one knew that they were bonded together as they were. It was a valuable secret that she did not want to risk revealing.

"What if someone walks in?"

"They'll just think we're asleep," he soothed. Finally she relented and he leaned back into the couch in a relaxed position. After a moments hesitation, Hermione rested her head on his chest and sank into his arms, a linking was always easier if they were touching. The more they were touching, the easier it was.

As one, they relaxed their bodies and felt for each other with their minds. Hermione found her eyes drifting slowly shut as her mind seemed to drift from her, reaching out towards Malfoy. Since they were so close it didn't take long for the drifting feeling to cease and a blackness to cover all. All she could feel was Malfoy, a calm but grieving and not quite believing shroud around the little form she still had. Do you have the memory? She thought softly, letting her minds voice be heard.

I have it, but you're still not letting me in properly, I can never really feel you right when we do this. What are you afraid of?


You are. If you trusted me completely then you would simply let me in without having to try. Her mind sighed into his. He was right. Why was she so afraid to trust him? Because you think if you trust me I can hurt you easier, he answered softly with a caring swell in the sense of him she had, but I'm not Harry and Ron. I won't run away because you can heal people and walk through things. I'm a freak as well remember. I can grow wings and guess peoples life sorry correctly after ten minutes of watching them. And this isn't exactly normal either.

I'm sorry. I really am. I trust you with my life-

Just not with your heart. The feeling that radiated to her was awful, enough to break open the guard she had around her heart.

The spirit crushing disappointment became heart wrenching joy at the simple act of letting him into her heart, once and for all. Both of them felt something else click seamlessly into place, though what it was neither of them knew, but it felt right. Now I can show you, Hermione. It was the first time he had ever called her by her first name in their uneasy friendship of almost a year and she could call the feeling it caused nothing but odd. So she said the only thing she really could say.

Oh get on with it you big sappy Dragon.

Very well, he sighed, but the amusement he felt at her statement clearly reached her.

And Draco, be careful what you show me. I have no doubt that you have a fair few memories that I have no wish to see. Most of which involving a witch, or knowing you, two of them. A deep sated chuckle rippled through her being as Draco slowly and gently pulled them into his memories.

"Why on earth would I want to look at student to see if they are attractive?" Sneered Snape from behind his desk. "They're disgusting enough when I attempt to look at them as what can loosely be described as human." Draco laughed from his seat in front of the large sturdy desk.

"Indulge me?"

"I can't see why you want my opinion on this sort of thing. You know I'll say insult after insult about every girl you mention."

"Ever thought that might be the point?" He drawled arrogantly. Snape gave a heavy sigh and rolled his eyes.

"Very well, pester me if you must, but I doubt I'll have anything nice to say about the garish females you seem to find appealing."

"Pansy Park-"

"Not enough between her ears to fill a matchbox, not to mention her repulsive taste in clothes, pink, pink and pink to name but a few disasters." Wow, he hadn't been joking when he said he'd have nothing nice to say.


"That I'm not even going to grace with an answer, I'd be saying snide remarks until dawn if I started on that particular specimen."

"Lavender Brown?"

"Shallow, conceited, irritating, fatalistic and false, need I go on? And the same can be said for her friends, the Patel twins."

"Hannah Abbott?"

"Boring and of average intelligence. Not to mention gaudily attractive."

"Gaudily attractive?" Draco questioned with a slight grin and a raise eyebrow.

"Yes, the kind of attractive that is simply too obvious to be of any real value." Snape explained dully, giving the flawless impression that he really wasn't interested in this conversation in the slightest.

"I happen to think she's quite beautiful."

"That's because you're young and foolish with no appreciation of subtlety"

"Fine, then who would you say is attractive in my year?"

"You're asking me to tell you what seventeen year old girl I find attractive? Not only that, but I'm meant to chose from those I've been teaching for almost six years?" Draco nodded, still smirking, and Snape rolled his eyes before leaning back into his chair with a contemplative expression on his face.

"Then I suppose I would have to say Miss Granger." Draco's jaw dropped and he gaped at his professor. "Close your mouth Malfoy, unless of course your hoping to gain the elegance of a koi karp by letting it hang open like that." The younger of the two quickly closed his mouth and shook his head, expertly faking shock at Snape's revelation.

"Why on earth would anyone find that irritating wench attractive?" He asked, secretly agreeing with the older mans opinion. Snapes lip curled at his words.

"Do I seriously have to explain my preferences to you?" At Draco's nod Snape gave an exasperated sigh then began to explain. "I don't find women who are obviously stunning to be that attractive, actually, I find them to be quite dull and often self centred. That's why a Veela has little to no affect on me. If you look for the wall flower of the group they are often far more interesting. Even if she is quite bookish, as well too intelligent and fiery for her own good, I doubt that anyone could say she was boring. And as for her appearance, she may not be stunning but she has a sort of . . . prettiness I suppose you could call it, that is far more beautiful than any garishly bedecked Veela look a like could ever be, her subtlety is where her beauty is. I also get the impression she would pose quite the challenge on an intellectual level, and unlike hormone driven teenagers, I tend to look at someone's intellect as a sign of beauty."

"Sooooo, when are you going to make a move on her?" He asked mischievously.

"When am going to what!" Shot back the now horrified potions master.

The blackness returned as though it had never left, liquid and comforting as Draco guided them out of his memories. I would have let you see more, but the rest of that conversation gets a little, erm, embarrassing. Well, for me at least.

In other words he hammered you.

Yep, he answered almost proudly, most horrifically.

By unspoken agreement, the pair began to unravel from each other, pouring back into their respective vessels. With a sleepy murmur, Hermione opened her eyes. But something was different. Wait there . . . She could still feel Draco. That had never happened before. They had separated. They should only be able to feel each others strongest emotions. But she could feel his slight confusion wrapping around her heart as surely as she could feel her own. What the. . . ?

Fuck! I could hear that! She heard reverberate around her mind. They looked to each other, startled.

Maybe if we stop touching. She suggested hopefully, completely forgetting to voice it. It might just be some sort of residual thing.

I bloody well hope so. This is weird an- what's that?

A bizarre flush of pain, emotional and physical rushed through the pair, but left them unaffected. They knew the pain was there, but unlike with each other it did not affect their own emotions. Hermione leapt up and pushed away the dismay she felt at Dracos continued presence in her being. "It's getting closer." Hermione pointed out needlessly as the feeling got stronger, the use of her voice making the statement seem all the more dramatic. Draco slowly followed her example in rising to his feet.

"You feel it stronger, but why does it feel so familiar?"

There was a violent split in what they felt and they both shuddered at the ferocity of the tear. Now there were more than one, but somehow still only one. They looked to each other, as though they could find the answers in the others face, but all they found was confusion. A howl seemed to thunder through Hermione. "I didn't feel that." Draco told her, but it was a far away voice, unreal and insubstantial. She put her hand against her shoulder, where the others pain seemed to be coming from. It was a wound, she could tell that much. But it was extreme. Probably fatal.

The door banged open two floors below them and confused shouting rang out. Hermione took a pencil out of her pocket as she realised what had happened and handed it to Draco. "Don't you dare!" He ordered, already knowing she wouldn't listen, but he took the pencil anyway. "Hermione, it'll be worse than it's ever been. If you have any sense you won't do this."

"I have to. No one else will be able to do anything."

There were distressed sounds as people moved up the stairs to the floor below the pair. Hermione took a deep breath and walked out of the study type room, closely followed by Draco. She slowly walked down the stairs, following the confused shouts and cries into one of the houses many bed rooms. The one next door to her own.

The sight was horrendous. There was blood everywhere and a confused crowd of five, painted in gore, rushed about the mangled thing they had lain on the bed. But it was this very sight that sent a wave of relief through both of the gifted teens. The shredded black cloth hanging limply on the blood matted person and the gore covered hooked nose was all they needed to see to know who this figure was. Severus Snape. Alive, just, but grievously injured.

Suddenly Draco was coursing with hope, but fear ran through her veins. With a deep shuddering breath and literal emotional support from Draco, she called out to the helpless five who had no chance of healing the man. "If you want him to live, get out of my way!" Surprisingly, they did as they were told, obviously deeming Snape a lost cause.

She walked up to Snape. To get to all of his injuries she would have to ghost into him, but that was risky considering the reaction her healing provoked in her. But if she only ghosted for a short time she might be able to pull it off.

So with her nerves running high she laid her palms on the bloody chest of her professor. The few times she had ghosted before had mainly been brought on by fear of being hit by something and she had only ghosted once on purpose, running through a wall to get Draco out of the Malfoy Manor. But doing this was different. Ghosting through people was dangerous and doing so to heal them even more so. It was a risk, but he would die if she didn't try. Then again, he could die if she misjudged her healing gift.

With another deep breath she gently pushed down with her hands. Letting images of water run through her mind. Everything was insubstantial. She could pass through anything. She felt Draco shudder at the feel of the warm sliding liquid sensation glide through and over her own flesh as her hands disappeared into Snapes chest. She splayed her fingers inside of his rib cage, letting his flesh and innards remain insubstantial to her.

Now for the hard part, the healing. Her eyes rolled back as she searched within herself for that loathsome little store of energy. She found the wall that blocked it and pushed against it. It too flowed through her as easily as a brick wall would have. Then the burning force came with such savagery as she had never felt before. Her eyes snapped down to focus the power. Forcing it to flow through her hands from her heart. She let out a cry. Everything was insubstantial. A harsh white light shone out of Snapes chest. Everything was fluid. She slowly began to lift out her hands as the curse inside of him was forced from the wounds. She could pass through everything. His wounds began to knit back together as her body began to burn and shake. She pulled her hands out quickly. Her breath was shuddering as she let everything take on solidarity again. The burden halved but the burning intensified. Her hands shone more brilliantly than any star and she pressed her palms against Snapes solid chest. She cried out again. The shaking intensified as she forced Snape's molecules to replicate and close his wounds.

The first thing he registered was a cry of pain. Then there were nails raking across his chest and a loud thump. When he opened his eyes the sight he saw was shocking to say the least. Granger was spasming on the floor, not far from him, obviously having a seizure of some sort. Not only that but Draco Malfoy of all people was gently lifting her torso up and pressing a pencil into her mouth. "Bite down on this or you'll end up biting your tongue off," he cooed almost lovingly. Her eyes rolled back but she managed to do as she was told.

After a God forsaken ten minutes of not being able to do anything but watch as she shuddered on the floor with Draco's arms the only thing stopping her from repeatedly hitting her head off of the hard wood, Granger finally came to a stop and her eyes drifted closed. It wasn't until twenty minutes later when he had changed into another set of robes, astounded to find there was only a faint scar left on his shoulder, that Severus found out what had brought on Grangers seizure, and how he had come to bear only one scar from an assault that should have left him a mass of mangled flesh.

He stood at her bed side in her small room where the walls were covered in sheets of paper that held drawings, turning the walls into a motley of dark and light colour with patches of black and grey, and the desk on the other side of the room was laden with books and artists equipment. Over all the room was more homely than anywhere else he had seen in the Orders lair. Draco was sat on the chair that Severus supposed had come from her desk, watching her placidly, but with worried eyes. Severus sighed as he looked down to the witch in question.

Her brown hair fanned out over her pillow in bushy curls and her skin was pale, almost bloodless with even her lips verging on white. Her breathing was fairly even, thank Merlin, and her eyes were unmoving beneath their lids, with her long curved lashes resting gently against the curve at the start of her cheeks. Her heart was beating strong with a steady rhythm and he could smell no sweat coming from her. She was safe for now. Her condition was stable and she probably would not wake for a while. He only hoped that she would be the same Granger he had always known when she woke and for some reason he felt somewhat responsible for her current state. Perhaps throttling her earlier that day had had some hand in this.

As if reading his thoughts, Draco spoke quietly. "This isn't your fault. It's her own." Severus raised an eyebrow at the teen's words.

"What do you mean?" He asked warily, unsure if he really wanted to hear the answer.

"You won't know about her . . . gifts. You'd only just arrived after the word had been spread, then . . . left quite quickly afterwards," Draco started haltingly, but he soon gained fluency. "She has two sort of . . . powers; I suppose you could call them. One is Ghosting, that's basically walking through things as if they aren't there, she can make spells go through her as well, and there's a sort of force-field thing she hasn't got the hang of yet. That doesn't really take that much of a toll on her, but her other power more than makes up for that.

"She can heal people." He took in a shaky breath that sounded as though there was gravel rattling in his lungs. "Healing herself isn't that bad, she just trembles a little. But when she heals other people she has a seizure. The worse the injury she heals, the worse the seizure. Today was her worst. She knew what would happen, but she went ahead and did it anyway." The blond shook his head then rubbed his face.

Severus could tell he had left something out, but if Draco did not want to tell, then he would not force him to. He knew that the boy, well, man really, only kept secrets if they were worth keeping.

He laid a hand on his surrogate sons' shoulder, taking a step closer to the bed to do so. That was when he felt something stir in his chest. A growl seemed to flow through him, unheard but reverberating through his rib cage. Finally it became words whispered into his mind by a smooth and somehow clean voice. She smells good. She's Alpha female. Strong and wolf . . . yet not wolf. Wild yet tame. I love her.

Severus frowned. He knew exactly what that voice was. It was the wolf that had been forced into him on this night. Strange how even though he should be distraught at becoming a simple vessel for a beast he actually felt as though he had finally paid for some if not all of his crimes. Certainly for betraying a man that despite himself he still thought of as somewhat of a father figure or a mentor. His punishment was somewhat fitting. As Voldemort had said, it was the one thing he hated and feared above all else, yet it was so easy to become. There was also the simple fact that he was allergic to a compound used in the wolfsbane potion, so he would have to suffer through every full moon with the savagery of a beast.

But he had not expected to be able to hear the thoughts of his wolfish counterpart. Communication between the two entities in a werewolves body had not mentioned in any book he had read on the subject, if it had he probably would have been able to invent a somewhat better, hmm, what was the word? Ah yes, sedative, than he had come up with, perhaps he would even be able to manage a cure. A brief thought that he might have gone mad flitted through his mind, but he doubted it. If ten years of teaching irritating little sods that didn't want to learn could not drive him insane then nothing could.

Truth be told, the situation had not yet sank in, but he hoped that it would when he was alone. At least then he could break things in privet. And if it didn't? Well, he would snap at people and then break something latter.

Alpha? He presumed that it was addressing him, since at the moment he held dominance over their shared body for the longest amount of time. He knew it would most likely prove to be a bad idea, yet something in him cried out for him to cooperate with the monster within. And so he endeavoured to answer.

Yes? A yip of joy rang through him; the wolf obviously had been expecting to be snubbed.

Who is she Alpha? It peeped excitedly. Is she your mate? She's strong enough to be. Severus's eyes widened in shock. What ever he had been expecting to be asked by the wolf, that was not it.

No, she's not, he snapped irritably. She's a student. I teach her. There was a pause, then another question.

A subordinate?

Insubordinate more like. There was another long pause before the wolf let out a cry of joy then seemed to bound around in his bone cage.

You joke! It cried happily. You jest! It seemed that the wolf was still a pup, either that or easily excitable. That's your affection! That's how you show it! You are attracted to her!

To say he was shocked by the wolf's declaration was an understatement. She was a student for Merlin's sake. "If you'll excuse me Draco." He took his hand from the worried teen's shoulder who turned slightly to look at him.

"Where are you going?"

"To break something," he answered curtly and honestly.

"Just sank in then?" Severus simply nodded, then turned away and strode out of the room. He had four hours to destroy his room and repair it again as many times as possible. Then, once he had done that he needed to talk to Lupin.

While things were smashed against the walls in the next room, and while Draco sat anxiously holding the hand of his only true friend as she lay sleeping and though she showed none of the usual signs of it, she was dreaming.

Dreaming of running through a forest glade, a black wolf whose shoulder reached her bust at her side and whose eyes glimmered the inky blue of long suffering and sadness. A sadness not entirely of his own making. True, bad choices had been made, but the sorrow in his soul had been born first of things not in his control. But the sadness was lifted only for a time by the company of his mate who was wolf and yet not wolf, wild and yet tame.

The dark soul, the black, blue eyed wolf elegantly ran at her side, the loneliness he had felt for what often seemed an eternity was something far away when he was with his mate. He loved her, and his greatest fear was tainting her. But she was brave, though he knew she was delicate, and she refused to leave him to his sorrow.

When she finally awoke, Hermione remembered nothing of her dream, but a wolf caged within the ribs of a man did remember, and it howled for the mans sadness.

A/N Please review.