Disclaimer: I don't own anything =( , it all goes to J.K. Rowling. Although I would really like to own Professor Snape :D

A/N: Reviews make me happy ^^, I hope you enjoy it ! Let me know what you think. Lacey

Chapter one : Marked

"I'm really sorry Ron, but I just can't do this anymore. " Hermione voice was soft and thick with unshed tears.

"But 'Mione! I love you. I don't know where I'd be without you." Ron exclaimed in disbelief. His face contorted with confusion, anger and hurt all at once. His ears began to turn red despite the cool temperature of the Gryffindor common room.

"I'm really, really sorry Ron. You are like a brother to me, not … not a boyfriend. Please forgive me, but I can't be with you anymore. " Her voice eventually broke with the emotion inside of her.

With a last desperate look at Ron a teary eyed Hermione Granger walked away from the red haired boy in the Gryffindor common room and fled up to the girls dormitories. She lay on her bed, face pressed into the pillow sobbing for the pain in her heart and the hurt in his. She knew he would never talk to her again, and why should he? She had been his best friend for 6 years. They had had a lovely relationship for the past year. Hermione trusted Ron, but she simply could not hurt him anymore.

Due to the fact it was the last day of school and she needed a distraction, Hermione began to pack her things into a suitcase, sniffing every so often and wiping the tears from her eyes. She did not regret her decision; she simply mourned the loss of a best friend.

You're such an idiot Hermione!!! You may lose Harry and Ginny now!!

Hermione's thoughts were in a tumble, some horrid, harsh and unyielding but some were slightly better, thoughts of belief that she had done the right thing. She was starting to get a headache when there was a knock at the door. Jumping at least three feet high she dropped her journal and favourite muggle book "Wuthering heights". She wheeled around to see Professor Snape standing at the door way; a bored expression on his face.

"Miss Granger, I realise that …" He drawled in his usual, I-cant-be-bothered-with-you voice.

Hermione had suddenly felt very dizzy and had paled to a chalk colour, she began to sway violently on the spot. She tried to focus on her professor's words, something about next year but her vision became dark and fuzzy, lapsing in consciousness she fell.

Professor Snape lunged forward and caught the young woman in his strong grip. Rolling his eyes in annoyance at her inability to keep from all but swooning in his presence, he easily lifted her into his arms and carried her, bridal styled, back though the common room and out of the portrait hole.

Many whispers followed her from the common room to the hospital wing; students looked shocked at the sight of Professor Snape carrying his worst student. Well not so much his worst student, but the student known to annoy him the most and, to him and his irritation, to be the 'insufferable know it all.' The journey to the hospital wing was quick and relatively effortless, Hermione was very light despite being a total dead weight in Snape's arms. Once entering the hospital wing he lay her gently on a bed nearest the double doors before stalking off to find the matron.


Hermione stirred, feeling the warm and comfortable cotton sheets against her skin. Her head began to sear painfully starting at her temples and then radiating out in waves through her entire skull; her hands flew from her sides to her forehead in an instant, gasping at the pain which had started to overcome her senses. Her eyes watered uncontrollably and her breathing had become raspy and ragged sobs as she squirmed in anguish and temporary blindness.

"Dear! Miss granger what is wrong? "

Poppy Pomfrey, the medi witch of Hogwarts, tried to comfort Hermione by taking her hand, rubbing small circles on her back whilst trying to deduce what was wrong. Admittedly this wasn't an easy task as Hermione's sobs were getting louder and her speech was lost,

"Miss Granger, I can't help you until you tell me what is wrong." The medi-witch said calmly although her insides began to squirm with building panic. After a few, agonising moments in which Hermione's state seemed to deteriorate even more the medi-witch took the young girls face into her hands and tried to, very gently, manoeuvre it so that she could look into her eyes.

"Dear please!!" She asked again, her voice no longer calm but edging onto alarmed as her continuous diagnostic spells revealed nothing.

"MY HEAD!!! God my head! Make it Stop!! PLEASE DO SOMETHING!" She tossed and turned, writhing so violently neither Severus nor the medi witch could hold her still. She started to sob hysterically, screaming repetitively for someone to help her with the pain.

Severus Snape had chosen to stay with his student until she woke up in order to give her the bad news he had been asked to deliver. When she had started screaming he was lost for what to do, he had never seen anything like this before. He followed Poppy's demands, holding the young woman down whilts she performed diagnostic spells which revealed nothing. He then helped her perform other spells … nothing. He sat back down looking lost but his mind was whiring faster than a sneakerscope.

"Severus do something!" Poppy cried in sheer desperation, looking imploringly into his black eyes.

Professor Snape had already stood up and pulled out his wand, thinking quickly he pointed it at Hermione's head. He had had a thought, it was a long shot, but a thought nonetheless. Motioning for poppy to restrain the young girls arms as he himself had just done, he aimed his wand and practically yelled,

"Vacuus poena"

A faint purple light flew from his wand, swirling peacefully before directing itself squarely between her honey coloured eyes; the liquid gas it, shimmering as it swirled around her face suddenly became fully gas and all but sucked itself into her very head.

Hermione struggled for breath as the pain left her completely, edging away slowly until pouting out of her entire system like a tap turning itself on, flushing away the dirt and flushing it down the plug. Having regained her breath slightly and wiping her tears with the back of her hands, she managed to gasp out in a strangled and weakened voice,

"Th ... thanks"

"Poppy what was that?" Snape snapped at the matron, his mind still whirling with endless possibilities. This was something even those at 's would have been stumped with.

"Severus I have no idea! I have never seen anything like that." She answered in a somewhat slipped voice.

Snape ignored the medi-witch's tone and looked at Hermione with a worried expression; He never portrayed his inner emotions, rarely did he even let himself acknowledge them let alone show them! Nevertheless, this young woman had worried him, something was happening and his every instinct was telling him it was not good. He bent down next to her bed, searching her face with his black eyes.

"What is happening to me?" She asked, her Gryffindor bravery faltering somewhat in her petrified voice and terrified face. He himself was in two minds as to what to say … did he snide her as he would in class or should her tell her the truth? Those large honey orbs that were a gateway to her very soul implored him to give her the truth. And so he, rather unwillingly, obliged.

"Miss Granger I don't know. " His tone was resigned, cold even and he saw her face flash with hurt before she lifted her chin and glared at him. After having that moment of rather juvenile anger she nodded at him in acceptance and looked at Madame Pomfrey instead, an exhausted expression upon her soft but beautiful features,

"Madame Pomfrey, will I be able to go home tomorrow?"

Poppy looked at Professor Snape unsure of what to say, she took Hermione's hand in her own and put a cold hand on her forehead, pushing back her fringe and looking into her eyes, with the care of a mother and a matron fused together.

"We'll see dear." She replied, feeling this was the safest route to take.

Hermione snorted and rolled her eyes,

"Whenever my mum said that, it always meant no."

Professor Snape raised an eyebrow at her causing Hermione to blush at her unladylike outburst. Poppy rose, motioning for professor Snape to do the same; together they left Hermione and drew back the curtains around her bed. Snape turned to the medi witch with a thoughtful expression, his mind still going at full speed.

"Severus? What do you think it was? You must have some idea." The matron asked, the true panic of this case clearly showing in her face now that her patient was well out of eye sight and earshot.

Professor Snape looked at her, thinking hard. He was beginning to understand, or so he thought, he just hoped it wasn't true. If he was right, which he suspected his was , the poor girl was in danger … a lot of danger.

"I need to see the girl again, to examine her." He said decisively, his tone sharp and commanding. He saw her eyebrows raise at this point.

"Professor Snape I believe I am the nurse here," She replied, a steely tone of her own edging through her voice. She dropped her hardened gaze however and said in a more calm and soft voice, "she needs rest Severus. "

"Now poppy! I think I may know what is wrong with her." He said in his cold voice once again, he was not letting this nurse tell him whats what!

His voice had a sense of authority but also carried a hint of panic, and poppy could sense that. Despite his coldness and glacier eyes she knew him well enough to step aside and let him intervene. He himself moved sideways, pushed past her and re-opened the curtains to find Miss Granger curled in a ball and clutching her stomach. Looking over her he realised just how much pain she was in, he felt for her, he felt her pain. How could he not? After all those sessions with the dark lord punishing him with a torturing spell so vile it could physically tear the skin and break the bones. He wished with all of his soul that his theory was wrong.

"Miss granger?" He asked, his voice back to its normal teacher style tone.

"I'm going to be sick" She interrupted, leaning forward fast and throwing him a 'please-do-something' look. Conjuring a bowl from thin air he lunged forward, taking it from his hands quicker than a striking snake, she vomited violently into it several times.

"I'm not having a good day today." She moaned, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.

"Apparently not, have you finished?" He replied.

"Yes I think so sir."

"Right, Evanesco " He promptly vanished the contents of the bowl and then set the empty and clean bowl at the end of her bed in case she needed to use it again.

" Thank you sir " She replied weakly, giving him a small ghost of a smile before leaning back on her pillows.

"Miss Granger, do you mind if I take a look at you please? I am going to try and find out what is wrong with you." He rarely said please either, what was happening to him?!

"Okay" Her voice was quite hesitant but she lay motionless, her head on the pillows and her eyes averted from him, focusing on the curtain rail.

"Keep still, I won't hurt you."

She nodded slightly, but then stopped as her head had started to hurt again. She breathed in deeply and readied herself for what was to come … the unknown was always what she feared most. She wiled him to stop staring at her as if she were an unknown potion and just get on with it.

He moved to stand over her and began muttering in an ancient language, one she had never heard of before and bore a pleasing and somewhat alluring tone pitch. His wand traced the form of her body, emitting several colours as it pasted different parts of her. Finally it came to rest above her head, with a moments hesitation and a smile of encouragement and bravery from Hermione, he muttered "Aparecium ".

He stood back and gasped, if it were possible he had turned paler than Hermione herself. He felt his insides squirm, the back of his throat close and his eyes widen.

"Miss Granger … I" He struggled, looking at her in both horror and regret.

"What? Sir, what is it?" She asked, worry hitching her voice up a few semi tones.

Three beautiful snakes had tattooed themselves into her forehead forming the shape of an "S". The three snakes were moving underneath her skin. Two black, one green, platted together; their tongues flicking towards her hair line. The turned her youthful if pretty face, into a face of beauty and of sheer power. The marks themselves were fascinating, intricately entwined with each other, the only thing he had seen like it was his dark mark.

"Professor Snape!" She said again, her voice hard, sharp and demanding.

"Hermione you …" He began but trailed off feeling sick to the stomach.

Hermione? Since when did Snape call me by my name?! She thought paniced, her nerves and senses standing at attention.

"Professor what is wrong with me!" She asked again, the steely tone revealing her inner stress.

"You have … you have been marked." He spluttered.