Disclaimer: Not mine.

A/N: This is in response to MistressMalfoy's challenge for her b-day.

Important: Do not leave reviews on "Iris" with your petulant threats about your belief continuing or not that I'm a good writer based on whether Severus lives or dies. You are showing your ignorance by leaving such reviews. Everything I put in a fic is there for a reason…nothing is just thrown in…everything is thought out and planned ahead of time. I will start blocking people that leave such asinine reviews. If you don't like what is happening then write your own! If you are not one of the people doing this then please disreguard this A/N as it does not apply to you.

The Hunted

by Ravenesque

It was undoubtedly orgasmic.

The way his lips moved when he spoke…the way his voice sounded…as if each syllable was a sensual caress on your skin. He experienced each syllable of his speech in a way that made one quiver inside. It was like he knew what just talking did to the female population of Hogwarts. It never failed in lectures that he would pause after an important point and smile…knowingly.

Just the way he said his name the first day of class won every female over.

"Professor Lestrange…Professor Rabastan Lestrange."

It was a nice distraction…something to take the mind off the world around them. It was nice to sit in a class where suddenly everything was forgotten as the girls looked upon the professor with nothing short of desire and the boys scowled at no longer being the center of attention.

But they weren't little girls and boys anymore.

They were, in truth, older than the normal seventh year class at Hogwarts. A year repeated for everyone…mandated by the Ministry. So Hogwarts opened its doors as if nothing had happened…as if the Great Hall had not been used to lay the dead aside…as if it had not been run by Death Eaters just the year before…as if it's seventh year class were still children at heart…as if everyone and everything was still whole. Yes, the school year began…

…and survivors were hunted like well fed prey.

Hermione looked up from her cauldron to glance back over the instructions that were written on the board. She felt eyes on her…a feeling she had often. Across the room the few Slytherins that were in the class glared at her with so much hate she was sure her soul could feel it. Yes, the Slytherins never did like her, but since the final battle things were…worse. Many debated whether or not it was advisable to allow children of known Death Eaters back into the school. Hermione shivered understanding why that was still being debated.

She looked down at her cauldron and stirred it twice counter-clockwise. A satisfied grin spread on her face as the potion turned the shimmering silver it was meant to. She looked up quite smug in Ron's opinion. His face was rather irritated and aggravated as he looked from Hermione's perfect potion to his own not so perfect potion.

"It's white," she whispered in wonder to the red head.

"How did you manage that," she asked slightly amused at Ron's total lack of Potion skills.

Even Harry seemed overly amused as he stirred his own potion and watched it turn the shimmering shade of silver. The-Boy-Who-Lived-Again smiled quite pleased that he seemed to have retained some modicum of skill in Potions…at least since having Snape's old school book.

"I don't know how I managed it, Hermione. We can't all be geniuses you know."

Hermione opened her mouth to retaliate, but quickly closed it when she heard Professor Lestrange behind her.

"Beautifully done, Miss Granger," he said as if whispering in her ear, though everyone could hear him.

She never could deny a compliment to her intelligence. Her lips turned up in a bright brilliant smile. Professor Lestrange stepped up to the table, standing on the other side of Hermione looking across the table at Harry and Ron's potions. He nodded his approval of Harry's with a compliment sent his way, but on Ron's he stopped and stared. He blinked slowly, his long dark eyelashes hypnotizing.

"Mister Weasley, next time wait two minutes after adding the daisy roots to stir instead of one minute and fifty-nine seconds."

Ron blinked, mouth hanging open looking absolutely put off by that comment. Did a second really make a difference? Professor Lestrange seemed to understand what Ron was thinking.

"Ah, Mister Weasley. Potion making is a very exact art form. Each potion must be treated differently…just as any woman must be treated differently—according to their preferences and personality," he said flashing a sultry smile Hermione's way.

Ron scowled, but Professor Lestrange ignored it and continued on.

"Some women need to simmer…to be slowly coaxed to allow their desire to build to a boiling point. Some prefer a bit of control. They don't like to boil over out of control. Some are never in control to begin with…each ingredient adding to the volatile mix, but if done incorrectly it can be dangerous…"

As Professor Lestrange continued explaining to Ron why the timing was important, Hermione had to shake her head and laugh slightly. It had to be killing Ron. Ever since they over heard the news that the Rabastan Lestrange in prison was not the original, but the original was in hiding…hiding since graduating Hogwarts, Ron was put off to him. He didn't trust him even though he was not the man that committed those horrible crimes.

Hermione thought he was just jealous.

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He knew.

He wasn't stupid.

He could see the looks on their faces when he spoke…the longing looks that, in truth, amused him so. As he would look out over the classroom they all had that look…all except for one.

The one he couldn't stay away from.

The one that invaded his dreams and his thoughts.

The one that treated him like the plague.

He opened his dark eyes and stared across his office at the fire dancing in the fireplace. So many years were spent in hiding…nothing but books for company…hiding from what he had committed himself to at such a young age…afraid of what he would be forced to do.

He closed his eyes again.

It wouldn't be long before he was one of the hunted. Rumor had it there was a list among the loose Death Eaters…a list containing the names of all those alive after the final battle…names from the Order or anyone affiliated with the Order. Her name was one of those at the top of the list.

He felt a cold shiver run down his spine.

He opened his eyes.

Something was not right.

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The corridors were always eerie at night. Hermione hated having to do patrol, but it came with the job of being a prefect and was more than expected of the Head Girl. It was ridiculous to still be bothering with the patrols. Most students were too frightened to go wandering about at night and those that would be out would be the reason for the fear in the other students. Gryffindor or not Hermione Granger was afraid. She saw no one, but she could sense them…feel eyes on her…watching her every move as if calculating some plan of attack.

She gripped her wand tighter.

The shadows had eyes.

Her heart was pounding wildly. Someone was there…she could have sworn she heard laughter…taunting laughter from the darkness. Gripping her wand to the point that her fingers were turning white, she stopped and turned in circles feeling like a trapped animal. Where did the laughter come from?

Hermione felt her bottom lip quiver slightly. Perhaps she and Ron should have stuck together for the patrol. Instead, he was on the other side of the school and now she was regretting that decision.

"Tsk tsk tsk. Lost, little girl?"

Hermione whirled around, eyes wide in surprise and fear. She didn't know what she expected, but Professor Lestrange was not it. He was leaning in the doorway of his office. His dark chocolate hair was pulled back in a ponytail and a few strands in the front that were simply too short to remain confined swept down across his face. His lips wrapped around the lollipop he held in his hand and his deep dark eyes remained on Hermione taking in every inch of her he could.

She held her hand over her chest as if checking to make sure her heart was still beating.

"You frightened me, Professor," she said trying to take the quaver out of her voice.

He held out one finger and crooked it, motioning her to him. She immediately started to nibble on her bottom lip not sure what to do. Usually she tried to steer clear of this professor. Every female at Hogwarts was nuts about him. Hermione felt drawn to him for some reason and it bothered her. She was not like other girls! She would not fall for his good looks and charming smiles. She glanced over her shoulder…eyeing the menacing shadows of the corridor.

Perhaps it was a better idea to get behind closed doors.

She took a tentative step toward the professor and he stepped aside to allow her in. When she stepped in she froze for a moment. It wasn't like the other professors' offices. True they all had at least one bookshelf full of books pertaining to their specific subject of study, but nothing like this. From floor to ceiling on all four walls of his office were bookshelves covered…overflowing with books of all subjects. It was like a personal library.

Rabastan stepped around from behind her and followed her eyes to the books.

"Is it to your liking, Hermione?"

She blinked as if coming back from some far away place and nodded her head.

"I had no idea you enjoyed reading so much, Professor. You must have had excellent grades when you attended school…bringing much pride to Slytherin House."

Rabastan looked at Hermione slightly amused, a slight smirk on his face and one eyebrow raised. Hermione turned to look at him and blinked.

"I do not believe I brought Slytherin House any pride," he said, smile growing. "However, my own House of Ravenclaw was quite pleased with my academic performance."

Hermione, not caring that gaping really was not an attractive quality, gaped for only a moment. Rabastan wasn't in Slytherin? She had always assumed he was, but then she had also believed for years that Rabastan Lestrange was running amok with his brother and sister-in-law.

It wasn't long before Hermione found herself seated on a sofa in his office with tea and biscuits on a table in front of them debating various emerging theories in the world of Potions. He enjoyed the way her cheeks would flush in frustration at a very well placed rebuttal to her argument. Sometimes it seemed all the excitement went straight to her hair as it seemed to become angry as well.

Hermione should have left. She knew that, but she just couldn't. She was drawn to this man…to the mystery his eyes held…even to his intelligence and all it had to offer. She was thoroughly enjoying herself shut up in this cozy office with her professor, debating theories and forgetting that outside that door she was prey…she was one of the hunted.

Until the scream echoed through the castle.

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It was a sight she wouldn't soon forget. A horror that would haunt her…the reality of the world they were living in after the final battle. She was naïve to think everything would be daisies and rainbows because Voldemort was dead. There would be those running and hiding that wanted vengeance and they would have it. Three had already been hunted down and killed like nothing more than animals.

It was Lavender Brown's scream that was heard through the corridors.

She was the one that found him.

Hermione ran through the dark corridors forgetting how scared she really was in them, knowing that right behind her was Professor Lestrange and oddly it made her feel safer. She skidded to halt as she turned the corner. Lavender was on her knees hysterical in tears and yelling for someone to do something. Several students had appeared all looking pale and frightened at what was before them. Hermione saw Harry standing there…eyes closed looking angry, guilty, and horrified all at once. Then she saw the one thing she was trying to avoid seeing.

Ron.

Nailed to the stone wall as if he were crucified…blood pouring from wounds all over his body…face pale…body as still as death. Hermione began to shake her head in denial. Her mind went through a myriad of thoughts. Had they fought that day? What was the last thing he said to her? What was the last thing she said to him? She was not seeing this. She stepped forward to go to him to yell that this wasn't true, but she felt a hand wrap around her arm just above her elbow stopping her. She tried to jerk her arm away, but he kept a hold of it.

"No, Hermione. You can do nothing," he said.

Rabastan felt her body begin to shake. He pulled her back toward him and she turned welcoming the comfort and buried her face in his chest. His arms wrapped around her, engulfing her completely.

It was four now…four had been hunted down and killed like animals.

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It was raining the day of the funeral…the day they buried Ron Weasley. Rabastan stood in his quarters looking out over the grounds of Hogwarts. His white shirt was no longer tucked into his black pants and hung loosely as he had most of the top buttons undone. He leaned against the side of the window watching the rain fall.

From the distance he could still see Hermione sitting beneath the tree by the lake with Harry. She said something and he nodded before wandering off back toward the castle leaving her out in the rain. Rabastan ran his hand through his loose hair.

She looked so broken out there not even caring that she was soaking wet…not bothering to even cast a charm to stay dry. Rabastan turned from the window and wandered out of his quarters and through the castle. He pushed through the large double doors and stood under the slight overhang protected from the rain.

She was still there under the tree…knees pulled up to her chest…pale and sickly looking. Still he felt that pull…something drawing him to her. He could not just let her sit out in the rain…even if she wanted to be alone.

It wasn't safe.

She was one of the hunted.

He stepped out into the rain…like Hermione, not caring to cast a charm, allowing the rain to pelt down on him soaking him to the bone.

Hermione felt him before she saw him. She couldn't explain it, especially on any academic level. She could feel him when he entered a room. It was like some unexplained connection she had to him. There was no reason for it…no answer she could find in a text book anyway. It just was and it drove her insane. There were times in class or in the corridor she wished to ask him if he felt it too, but thought better of it. Despite what all she had been through…despite her age she would come off sounding like a love sick teenager with unrealistic fantasies about her teacher.

The rain fell in a heavy downpour all around them. She looked up from the feet she had been staring at. His hair was down and now plastered to his face just like how his white shirt was soaked through and plastered to his body. She barely registered the giant quid jumping out of the water seeming to enjoy the rain in the lake behind Rabastan. His dark eyes looked down at Hermione…long dark eyelashes hypnotizing her with every blink.

"Hermione," he said in that voice…that sensual voice.

She just watched one of her best friends be buried…another person lost…another person hunted down. Slowly, she stood up and found herself staring into his chest making her very aware of how close Professor Lestrange was to her. He took a step toward her. She took a step back and felt her back hit the tree behind her. Rabastan just stood there…so close to her, but not touching her trying to figure out what this connection to this young woman he felt was. Did she feel it too? He looked down at her, unconsciously licking his lips. Hermione felt her heart pounding in her chest.

Rabastan shifted his eyes, looking around noting the dying sun.

"The castle will be shrouded in darkness soon. It is not safe outside the castle and it is not safe to be wandering the corridors at night," he said, eyes shifting back down to stare into hers.

She nodded her head in agreement and possibly understanding as well. Rabastan didn't move though…wanting to remain as close to her as he could for as long as he could. Hermione stepped to the side and with a quick glance back up at her professor she made her way through the rain to the castle. At the doors she paused and looked back over her shoulder. Professor Lestrange hadn't moved…remaining in the place he stood when he had her backed against the tree. His head was turned to the side…his deep fathomless eyes watching her.

Little did she know that would be the last she would see of him.

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Something wasn't right and hadn't been for days. Hermione could feel it…like something was missing. She sat in the Great Hall on a Monday morning poking at her breakfast, but not really eating it…it held no taste for her anymore. She knew when Harry entered the Great Hall because most of the whispering stopped. It happened whenever she entered crowded rooms as well and she could only imagine what they were saying prior to either her or Harry's entrance. He sat down across from her.

"Did you hear," he asked as he placed some food on his plate.

"What," Hermione asked looking up from her food actually curious as to what Harry was talking about.

"Professor Lestrange is missing…the Aurors found signs of a struggle out by the old tree."

Hermione dropped her fork back to her plate not caring that the loud clanking noise would draw attention her way. She ignored the morbidly curious stares and the strange eyes that seemed to be watching her lately.

"W…was he hurt," Hermione asked.

Harry shrugged his shoulders.

"They don't know. They found some of his blood on the tree, but they are pretty sure he is still alive."

Her eyes…analytical as her mind quickly worked to try to figure out where he would be at, narrowed slightly. He would not run off on his own leaving his own blood behind. That meant one thing. Death Eaters had taken him and as she stared across at the Slytherin table noticing the snickering going on between them, she knew…she knew where he was being held out. She knew in the same way she knew when he was in the room…knew that something was wrong…she knew.

And she knew what she had to do.

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Hermione sat in the darkness of the girls' dormitory. It felt like an old abandoned room that once held laughter and giggles of young girls…that once held the memory of better times…happier times. The room held only three girls now. The others either didn't return to school or were dead. Lavender let out a strange snore as she turned.

Hermione quickly figured out that if she closed her eyes and really concentrated she could still feel Rabastan…feel him enough to know he was alive. It was now or never while the moon was out and the castle was dark. She glanced over at Lavender to ensure the girl was asleep before tiptoeing from the seventh year girls' dorm.

The common room was just as abandoned…even the fire in the fireplace seemed to have fled the room once night fell. As slowly and as quietly as she could, Hermione made her way across the room and out the portrait hole. The Fat Lady as nosey as ever huffed at being disturbed while at the same time wishing to know exactly where she was going.

Hermione ignored her.

The castle was especially sinister at night. She could feel the shadows watching her and though the hair on the back of her neck stood up in a sure sign there was danger, Hermione pushed on through the castle. She had to get to Professor Lestrange…Rabastan. She just had to.

Laughter…cackling insane laughter filled the corridors alerting Hermione that there were indeed people about. The sanity of the Slytherins had more than become questionable and the school's lack of control on the matter was more and more concerning. She had no time to think about that at the moment. She had to try to avoid running into anyone…to get out of the castle…out the gates and apparate to the one place she hoped to never return.

Malfoy manor.

As she wandered through the corridors she began to think. She hadn't been aware of just how much a part of her life Professor Lestrange had become since the beginning of the school term. How many times had she been patrolling the corridors only to have him appear from one room or another?

"Lost, little girl?"

How often had he distracted her from her horribly morbid thoughts with the sugar coatings of her lost childhood?

"Want some candy, little girl?"

It was a joke she knew, but still she hadn't realized how much she actually looked forward to the distraction. How many times had he appeared out of nowhere by her side when she was in a corridor full of Slytherins? Did he feel her anxiety as she so very often felt his mere presence?

She pushed open one of the large double doors and with a quick glance around she ran out into the night…a slip of a young woman running with all her might for the gates…ready to disapparate…mentally prepared to return to that place.

Her overwhelming anxiety almost kept her from being capable of disapparating…almost that is because this was Hermione Granger after all. Even if she was afraid in the corridors at night she still would not abandon someone she cared for in their time of need…even if she was desperately trying to deny on what level it was she cared for him.

She remembered the manor well enough…the location and the layout…she would never forget. The doves that skitted across the lawn were strange to say the least, but her concern was being caught before she could get to Rabastan. Rabastan? When did he stop being Professor Lestrange? She wracked her mind, knowing there was something that had caught her attention down there in the dungeons of the manor.

A window.

A small window close to the ceiling of the dungeon. She could remember seeing the feet of those patrolling the grounds of the manor out of it. She hovered just inside the grounds behind some odd shaped topiary. She really had to question the sanity of the Malfoys. When she was sure no one was nearby…at least near enough to notice her dash across the large yard, she ran for it skidding to a stop down on her stomach at the window so that she could see inside.

The light down in the dungeon was so soft…coming from nothing more than wall sconces. She saw the blonde head of Lucius Malfoy leaving the dungeon and she waited until she heard the loud thudding of the door shutting followed by the sound of a lock and whispers that were more than likely wards to keep anyone from going in…through the door.

Not very creative, Mr. Malfoy.

She glanced around…making sure no one was nearby. Removing her cloak, not caring that the night air had become chilly, she wrapped it around her hand and with a quick glance around she proceeded to bust out the window. Thankfully the size of the window kept the sound of it breaking down a bit…that and the cloth of her cloak wrapped around her hand. A spell would have been too loud…it would have alerted anyone and everyone in that house.

With another quick glance around, she shifted sticking her feet in the window. It was a slow process, but a successful one. She gripped a hold of the window ledge gritting as the small jagged pieces of glass cut into her hand as she lowered herself as much as possible. She was hanging there from the ceiling for a moment before she packed up the courage to let go and allow herself to fall to the dirty ground.

Standing herself back up, she dusted herself off and shoved her cloak back in her bag. He was just across the way in a cell…shackled to the wall. The chains rattled as he moved across the cell, laying his hands lazily on the bars as he stared at her through those dark eyes…one eyebrow quirked in amusement.

"Hermione," he said, his voice caressing her every sense with every syllable he spoke.

She felt the urge to run over there and attack him in a way most of the female population at Hogwarts dreamed about. She held her wand tightly as she stepped up to the cell. She could feel the magic rolling off it. The wards were strong ones, but nothing she couldn't handle.

It took five minutes.

That was it.

Five minutes and she was opening the cell and stepping in. He watched her through eyes that could be seen to say something totally different than "I'm trapped; get me out of here." It was like with one look he could undress her and see her very soul…naked and bared. She walked passed him to the wall he was shackled to observing the bindings.

She had to get him out of there.

She backed up so that Rabastan was between her and the wall. With one hand she lifted his shackled hand up to look at what was clasped around his wrist keeping him tied to the wall.

That was when she felt it.

It was like a reminder of the odd connection to him she felt.

It was like a bolt of electricity shot through her body and immediately her heart started to pound. Her eyes shifted up from where their skin was touching to look in his eyes.

She would regret it the next day…if she got out of this alive. She knew that. Still that part of her brain…the part warning her was snuffed out it seemed by a larger part—the part that felt the connection with Rabastan…the part that felt the electricity and feared dying in that dungeon…that feared leaving him there to rot.

Slowly she rose herself up on her tip toes…hand sliding up from his wrist to his arm. Her lips barely touched his before she felt his arms wrap around her waist and suddenly found herself being turned and slammed against the wall, her head protected by the sudden appearance of his hand behind it. It was as if the slight brush of her lips on his had broken a damn that was held in place only barely…one shift and it would burst and Hermione shifted it.

He devoured her…she would have thought with the way he moved so suddenly slamming her against the wall that it would be a ravenous hungry sort of kiss, but it wasn't. No, Rabastan preferred savoring each moment. Once she was against the wall, he paused for a moment…just a moment. No, he kissed her in the same manner he spoke—slow, savoring everything, feeling, experiencing every moment…every inch of her that his lips touched.

When his lips moved up her neck she couldn't stop the sigh that escaped. And then he whispered in her ear…voice jagged and husky sounding, but still that sensual sound that was so pleasing to the senses.

"We must get you out of here."

"Not without you," she whispered back.

What had he done? He watched her pull her wand out and with a silent spell the shackles were off his wrists. What had he done? She was one of his students…yes, he felt this strange pull to the young woman and it only intensified when he kissed her, but this was just…not right. She pulled him toward the window and looked up at it now wondering how to get through it. Rabastan already had a plan.

He was tall after all.

He jumped and got a hold of the ledge enough to pull himself up and through the window. He didn't pause for a moment before turning around and hanging his upper half back in the window to reach Hermione as she jumped up grabbing his arm. He pulled her up through the window.

Even in that moment she could feel the connection between them…she could feel his regret.

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Hermione was still in the hospital wing with Rabastan when another one was hunted down and slaughtered.

This time it was Lavender Brown.

The night in the hospital wing was Madam Pomfrey's doing. She insisted. So, Hermione found herself lying in a bed frightened by every sound she heard in the castle…including the maniacal laughter that seemed to fill the castle at night fall.

Was she safe being in here?

Was she safe anywhere?

She turned, facing the bed next to her. Rabastan lay there wide awake watching her. She wiped the tears that had been falling for her friend, even if she wasn't a close friend it was still another lost.

"I can feel it you know," Hermione said to him in a whisper.

She looked up from his bare chest to his curious face…though one corner of his mouth turned up in a slight smirk, something she was learning to be a sign of nervousness in him.

"I can feel your regret," she elaborated, looking away.

She was unable to hold it in any longer. She had to tell him to punctuate that closeness she felt. Things with her and Harry just weren't the same since the final battle and with the death of Ron. She needed that closeness and to feel so close to someone and say nothing was torture. She had to let him know in hopes she wasn't going insane. It was all just too much. The tears started to pour. She was losing everyone. They were all being hunted.

They would all die.

She didn't notice him move. Rabastan threw the covers off him and in a flash he was sitting on the edge of her bed scooping her up to his chest holding her tight.

"I won't let you die. Not you," he whispered into her hair.

His long hair fell forward slightly falling down by her cheek and tickling it whenever he moved. So it wasn't just him. She was feeling it too…able to read…to feel his emotions and thoughts…connected through what they would never understand. Rabastan simply knew he was supposed to comfort her. Not because she was a female or because she was crying. It was some part of him that could not just leave it. He could forget who he was and who she was and he would still feel the desire to go to her when she was upset. It was beyond his understanding. It was simply something he had to do.

How many people had this?

How could he truly regret kissing her?

This was where he was supposed to be.

This was the reason he hid from the Dark Lord…his future held something more important, more tangible and believable than some Dark Lord and his fantastical beliefs.

His future held Hermione Granger.

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After the death of Lavender, Hermione found it even more difficult to sleep in her room. There were only two of them now and seeing Lavender's stuff littered around her bed and seeing her bed looking as if she had just been lying in it made it all so much more real.

More often than not she found herself asleep on the sofa of Rabastan Lestrange's while he sat at his private desk in his quarters grading papers. He never woke her. He never sent her away. In fact, it seemed he would seek her out when she was doing her rounds and it was always a good thing.

The laughter that would echo in the corridors always had her on edge…like a trapped animal.

She felt safe there in his quarters though. Safer than she felt outside in the corridors of the castle. As Rabastan sat at his desk grading papers, his dark eyes drifted up to glance at her, thankful he came across her when he did…

Hermione had patrol that night as the Head Girl did most nights. The corridors seemed to get darker each night and the laughter…the taunting laughter put her on edge reminding her that she was being hunted…even as she patrolled the corridors. She gripped her wand tightly in her hand turning in circles trying to figure out from which shadow the whispers were coming.

"Well…well…well, what do we have here? Mudblood out for a stroll?"

She held her wand up making sure Draco could see it. Her eyes narrowed looking around her at the Slytherins that seemed to come from the darkness. She wouldn't show them her fear, but inside she was screaming for help. Hermione had no doubt that most of the Slytherins were in on the hunting…they were the source of fear through out the school and no matter what the Headmistress did, it did not change. When night fell it was Slytherin territory.

The look on Draco's face was not pleasant. It was the sort of look that told Hermione she was next. She took a step back when Draco stepped toward her. His laughter filled the corridor as he caught a glimpse of her fear.

"So, where's Weasley," he asked with a smile born straight from the devil himself as he looked around.

"Oh, yes. That's right. He can't be here, can he?"

Hermione felt her bottom lip tremble. She was fighting it…she wouldn't let him win. Her eyes were swimming with unshed tears as Draco took another step closer, wand drawn out stroking it like a most beloved pet.

"Perhaps you'd like to join him?"

She said nothing, only shaking her head no as the other Slytherins encircled her.

"Hermione, I don't believe I was done with you, yet."

At the sensual sound of his voice, the Slytherins turned, breaking the circle they had formed around her. She turned to look at the man, the professor standing in the corridor…lollipop in his mouth.

"Does the little girl want some candy?"

He slowly pulled the candy out of his mouth and held it out to her as if offering her his piece of candy. She shook her head no, still unable to speak. He popped the candy back in his mouth and walked over to her as if he couldn't see the Slytherins and taking her by the hand, he led her away from that corridor…away from those Slytherins.

Rabastan looked up from a rather awful first year essay. When he brought Hermione back to his quarters he let her go through the emotions. She was a shaking shivering mess of nerves…tears pouring down her face. It wasn't long before that fear turned to anger and anger to exhaustion.

He put his quill down and stood up. Rabastan walked across the room to a cupboard that held extra blankets and he pulled out a thick one, draping it over her body. He enjoyed watching her pace back and forth in his private quarters ranting about fairness and Malfoys…ranting about how she was losing everyone because of him and his kind.

That was when Rabastan realized what was happening.

Yes, Hermione felt drawn to him just as much as he felt drawn to her, but she was fighting it. She was scared of it. Giving in meant gaining someone else that could be taken away…murdered viciously. Rabastan watched her sleep for a moment. He took a deep sigh and not taking his eyes off her, he spoke though it seemed no one was in the room.

"How long do you plan on standing there under your invisibility cloak, Harry?"

Rabastan slowly turned his head to look in the corner of his room where Harry was now slowly removing the cloak. His hair was slightly ruffled from being under the cloak for so long. Harry stared at Rabastan though…no sign of humor about him. Rabastan could tell. Harry knew…he knew there was some sort of connection between his professor and his best friend…there was some reason Hermione felt safe there in his company.

"Perhaps you should put the cloak back on and find your tower," Rabastan said before turning away and looking back down at Hermione.

"I would never do anything to bring Hermione harm. She is safe here."

Rabastan looked back up and over at Harry who was smiling slightly.

"I know," Harry said before tossing the cloak over his head and leaving through the front door.

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During the following week two more bodies were found…two more hunted down and killed. Through it all Hermione found herself in Rabastan's quarters nightly feeling safe there and when the nightmares would attack her, Rabastan would crawl up on the sofa with her offering her the comfort she longed for.

Then that morning came.

The morning after a night of horridly morbid nightmares about reality.

Nightmares that brought Rabastan out of his room.

Nightmares that caused Rabastan to awaken in the morning with a peacefully sleeping Hermione Granger laying half onto top of him snuggled into his chest.

The morning came that the Headmistress burst into his rooms unexpectedly having heard another body was found.

"Professor Lestrange! Rabastan," McGonagall called as she burst through the doors unannounced and looking toward his bedroom door expecting him to be in there…not bothering to look over the back of the sofa and at what lay there.

Hermione felt Rabastan stiffen beneath her…as if afraid to move. She shifted…a soft moan of denial about waking up already. Rabastan covered his eyes with one hand. Why did Hermione have to do that…now? When he uncovered his eyes and attempted to slide out from beneath the young woman Rabastan saw McGonagall's large angry eyes glaring daggers at what was before her on the sofa.

"Professor! Hermione Granger!"

Hermione was awake, scrambling off her professor. McGonagall was pale she was so angry.

"Never in all my years of teaching…"

"Professor, please. It wasn't like that…I had a nightmare…"

McGonagall cut Hermione off.

"I do not care, Miss Granger! This is wholly inappropriate behavior for a student and a professor!"

McGonagall looked between the two as if unsure what to do, but so angry she was possibly seeing red. Finally, she turned to look at Rabastan.

"Are there any other students you find yourself 'comforting' during the night, Professor Lestrange?"

She said "Professor" as if reminding him that is what he was. It didn't matter that the seventh year class was a year older…the age of someone who had already graduated. It did not matter. Hermione's heart was pounding almost erratically. What was the Headmistress going to do?

"Of course there are no other students," Rabastan said. "It's just Hermione."

McGonagall nodded her head as if thinking it had better of been "just Hermione."

"Well, I really can't afford to fire you just yet," McGonagall said. "Miss Granger, you will no longer attend Potions class." McGonagall ignored the indignant sound Hermione made. "You will continue to study for that N.E.W.T. if you still find it necessary to take it. There will be no contact between the two of you at allno reason for it at this point."

McGonagall looked between the two pointedly. Hermione could feel the tears swelling up in her eyes. Someone else taken away. It felt like the walls were caving in, the walls that at one time offered her comfort and shelter in a school that offered nothing but fear. What did the woman expect? Hermione, like the rest of her year, had fought in a war, they were a year older and had experienced things most adults hadn't and never would and yet they were shoved into a classroom—young adults with the expectations of children placed upon them.

Rabastan watched Hermione quietly leave through the door. He could tell though…he knew. Even though she said nothing else, not a sound escaped her, but he knew she was fighting the tears.

He watched the door close.

He would find her later.

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It was weeks. Rabastan did not see Hermione. Every corner he turned there seemed to be a professor watching him, checking to see where he went. Harry told him she stopped doing her patrols, not feeling safe when Rabastan was literally being kept from her. That and the fact that she felt eyes in the shadows watching her.

She was being hunted.

Just like the others, she knew.

She stayed in Gryffindor Tower most days…most people did—those that were left anyway. Hermione feared finding one of the hunted and found the tower to be a safe place. Even being in the Great Hall brought her much anxiety. Having the entirety of the school gathered in one place to eat seemed to point out those that were missing. Each table from day to day was dwindling as more and more bodies were found brutally slaughtered…more and more owls went out with well worded condolences, but still the Slytherin population remained.

Hermione stared down at the food on her plate and then looked across her at Harry. He tried to smile reassuringly at her, but she knew it was forced. Who knew the aftermath of the war would be worse?

They didn't.

Still, they carried on believing that one day it would be different…one day the Wizarding world would be able to clean up all that Voldemort had done.

Her eyes drifted up to Rabastan.

His eyes…so dark with a deep set mystery to them stared down at her, watching her every move. One eye on her, one eye on those around her. He could be nowhere near her without McGonagall knowing about it…and if she up and fired him anyway that would take him farther away from her. He would have to continue to watch from a distance…care for her from a distance…fall in love with her from a distance.

Weeks went by like this.

And then it happened.

The night that changed everything.

The night of the Hogwarts Massacre.

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The screams of horror carried through the corridors that night. It was a chilling sound…the first sounds of the Massacre.

Hermione looked up from the book she held. Her eyes were wide and alert as she looked from her curled up position in a large comfy chair to Harry on the sofa. The fear was in both their eyes and as they looked around the common room they quickly realized they were not the only ones.

Another blood curdling scream followed by the ruckus sound of insane laughter.

Hermione stood up, fear pulsing through her veins, heart pounding madly. They would never figure it out. They would never know how the Slytherin population of Hogwarts got all the remaining Death Eaters into the school undetected. The only concern was that it had happened and they were leaving an angry vengeful trail of blood and bodies.

One of the few Gryffindors left—a sixth year Hermione couldn't quite name at the moment, came running back into the common room after running out in search of help.

"They are all over the school! They're not even using the killing curse!"

"Did you find McGonagall," Harry asked.

The boy turned pale.

"She's dead…"

The boy was going to continue, but Harry held his hand up. He didn't want the details. The sounds of the screams echoing in the corridors was enough detail for most in the room.

Harry looked over at Hermione.

She was fidgeting and pale. He knew what he had to do. He had to fight for what was right…fight for the victory they were supposed to of had after defeating Voldemort.

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He ran through the corridors like a wild man, jumping over bodies that lay in pools of their own blood. He tried to block out the sound of the screams hoping they weren't Hermione's. He had to get to her.

He had been in the Potions classroom grading papers there when it began. As he ran passed the main doors, they burst open and Order members and Aurors burst in ready to fight for the school…to take back their victory.

Rabastan had a bad feeling.

This was a losing battle.

The school would be littered with even more dead bodies in no time.

He jumped over what looked to be a student, but he didn't stop to identify the body and ran up the staircase. His destination? Gryffindor Tower.

He ran…his hair flying off his face. He turned a corner, sliding across the corridor floor and saw the portrait of the Fat Lady.

"Let me in," he said as he gripped her frame as if threatening her if she didn't.

"Not without the password," she said rather haughtily.

Rabastan considered blasting her out of her frame, but thought better of it.

"If I do not get in there so that I can get Hermione to safety I will hold you accountable for her death and make sure every painting in this castle and out knows what you've done."

The Fat Lady looked nothing short of scandalized, but swung open for him anyway.

When Rabastan burst into the room all eyes went to him, the few there were. His dark eyes scanned the room until he saw her. She was so pale, gripping Harry's arm as he had his wand out and had apparently been attempting to leave. Rabastan ran up to her, gripping her by her upper arms.

"We must go," Rabastan said.

She shook her head no.

"Harry is going to fight. I'm sure Aurors have arrived by now. I will fight with Harry." Her voice held her old tone…the tone of the friend Harry remembered—the-Know-It-All tone.

"No," both Rabastan and Harry said at once.

"I'm staying," she said defiantly jerking herself from Rabastan's touch.

Even now she was trying to keep him at an arm's distance.

"Hermione," Harry said. "Please. I've lost pretty much everyone. You are the only one I have left. I don't want to lose you too."

Hermione looked up into Harry's green eyes. It was heart breaking. Harry…lost everyone…everything. Could she allow herself to be lost as well?

Suddenly, Hermione threw herself into Harry's arms, hugging him tightly. He would always remember that feeling.

"Be careful," she whispered choking back tears.

Harry pushed her gently back.

"Now, gogo and don't look back! I'll look for you when this is all over. When it's safe I'll find you two again."

She saw the determination in his green eyes sparkle like diamonds. He would not be broken. Her tears were still pouring down her face as Rabastan grabbed her hand and pulled her from Gryffindor Tower…pulled her through the school…over bodies…around Death Eaters through the shadows…and across the grounds.

Harry watched from the tower window until he saw them…Rabastan's hand gripping Hermione's tightly, looking over his shoulder for any sign of being followed.

He would find them…when it was safe…when they were no longer being hunted.

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Rabastan was running, not just for his life, but for hers…for Hermione's. He would get her to safety…he would hide her…hide with her. No one would take her away. They ran toward the Forbidden Forest, its dark foliage and shadows offering some sort of camouflage.

They were coming though.

He could hear them.

He held her hand tightly, pushing through the thick brush of the forest…running deeper into the unknown territory.

He would not let her go.

He looked over his shoulder. She ran with him, holding his hand just as tightly as he held hers, tears streaming down her cheeks. He could feel her fear…her worry…her sadness, but he could also feel the love she felt for him.

No, he would not let her go.

He pushed harder through the forest's denial…pushing into the thick of the forest where the moon no longer offered any light and the sound of the Death Eaters following become nothing more than a muffled sound in the distance.

He would never let her go. He would keep her safe and hidden. Until the Ministry was back on their feet and back in complete control they would both be hunted like animals…tracked down and slaughtered. She would return one day…when it was safe she would return to the world they once knew…return to her friend…

Harry would find them when it was safe…

If it was ever safe.

Until then, they had each other and a world to hide in.

A/N: Review and let me know what you think! This is my first one-shot , so be gentle with me.