Authors Note: Yes, I know, before you say it, this is over dramatic, but hey! Artistic License and all that you know. It isn't like it is totally unrealistic. I am sure we have all heard of these sorts of things happening. Sensitive issues may be in here for some, so don't say I didn't warn you. Enjoy - Bee x
Severus had been known to occasionally leave the Dungeons for something other than patrolling, eating and visiting the Headmaster's Office. Every so often the idea to take a pleasurable and quiet stroll around the Black Lake seized him. Severus had found himself that particular evening feeling that it would be a good venture to undertake. There were times when even he felt hemmed in and contained by the castle that had become the focal point for most of the years of his existence. He was not irresponsible enough to leave the grounds except for when he was called upon to do so. After all, he was still a teacher, and had a responsibility to the students contained within the walls of Hogwarts, as unruly and disruptive a bunch as they were. He could use many other words to describe them but Severus did not like to waste his breath with conversation that was not required. There was too little time to be wasted on such foolish ventures. It was another reason as to why Severus was not as supportive to his House of Slytherin as his counterparts were to their charges. Most if not all of them were fixed along a road of destruction, torture and death. Their parents forced them into making the same mistakes as they had and geared them towards servitude to a monstrosity, a blight upon a so called civilised humanity. It was a chain that Severus could not hope to break. He was only one man after all, and he was not Albus Dumbledore.
Severus drew his cloak a little tighter around him as he left the castle, descending the steps in the darkness, camouflaged into the shadows surrounding him. He was just a shape, moving steadily across the grounds, his boots mostly silent upon the grassy ground. He swept towards the Black Lake, fully expecting it to be deserted. No student should be out this late in the night and if any were… Well, he would still be partially satisfied with that outcome.
As he approached the Lake, Severus caught sight of a shape. He removed his wand and stealthily made his way towards the shape. As he drew closer he was able to make a distinction of two shapes. He moved still closer and then stopped, unable to quiet believe what he was seeing. Now that he was close enough he could recognise who at least one of the shapes was, and he could hear what the boy was saying.
"I bet you have someone else on the side. Lavender was right about you. I should never have left her. I should never have let you in." Ronald Weasley snapped, as he dragged the other shape along the ground, a person. Severus could not yet tell who.
"Did you leave me for someone else? Someone better looking, someone with more money, who isn't ginger. I bet your one of the Slytherin's Sluts. A common whore, Malfoy's bitch. Well, we will see about that. I won't let you go back to them Hermione. I won't let you go anywhere." Severus was no fool, and he had an idea of where this might be going. Weasley was right by the shore now, with the prone body of Hermione Granger. She should be struggling, or at least speaking. She should be moving, but there was no sign. Severus was immediately spurred into action.
"WEASLEY!" He bellowed. Now was not the time for his usual soft and silky approach. This situation had to be dealt with and diffused quickly. Weasley spun round and growled before lifting Hermione into his arms. He headed into the water and Severus sprinted after him. He reached his hand out to grab hold of Weasley and pull him back. His fingers brushed the Weasley boys shoulder and then everything appeared to happen in slow motion.
Weasley roared something incomprehensible, yet filled with rage, and threw Hermione Granger into the waters of the Lake. Severus threw the boy out of the way and dived into the water. As peaceful as the Lake could seem, a few steps from the shore and you were completely submerged by the cold, icy waters. If Severus did not retrieve her, then Granger could very well die. He searched the dark waters for her. Wordlessly and wandlessly he cast the lumos charm and the waters were illuminated for him. He found her immediately, and grasped hold of her arm, dragging her body upwards. He wrapped his other arm round her waist and pulled both of them to the surface. He looked around, searching for any sight of the Weasley boy. There was none.
Growling in frustration Severus quickly made it to the shore. He retrieved his wand, which he had foolishly dropped on the grass, and sent out a Patronus to Dumbledore, alerting him of what had happened. Severus pocketed his wand and picked Granger up, carrying her in his arms towards the castle. Her body was cold as was his, and still she was not moving. Her eyes were wide and opened though, and he could very clearly identify that she had been stunned. Hopefully, it would wear off soon. Weasley had never been adept at spell casting, but the emotions behind the spell would have been strong, thereby the power would be increased.
As he reached the steps leading up to the castle, and the Great Hall, he was met by Albus and Poppy Pomfrey. The expression on Albus' face was enough to terrify even Severus, and Poppy's was filled with worry and concern.
"Take her. She was stupefied and then thrown into the lake." Severus explained as he handed the girl to the Matron. Poppy took hold of her and immediately turned on her heel and made her way to the Infirmary as quickly as possible. Severus ran his fingers through his dripping wet hair and tried not to groan. All he had wanted was a quiet walk, and he had ended up having to save the life of a student. He was not quite sure why he had acted in the manner that he had. Usually he would not have dived in after a student. This time though, he had, and he could not rationalise as to exactly why he had done so. Perhaps it could have been his fear of the wrath of the Dark Lord that had motivated him to do so. He would have been punished severely if he had allowed anything to have happened to her.
"Severus, tell me please what happened." Albus ordered with a slight amount of desperation in his voice, mixed with a righteous fury that could have made the very foundations of Hogwarts itself tremble.
"I approached the Black Lake was encountered the Weasley boy dragging Miss Granger towards the Lake. He appears to have been spurned by her romantically and felt that the appropriate course of action would be an attempt to potentially kill her." Severus replied, his tone filled with anger as he recounted what had happened. Even now, he could barely believe that it had happened. Such a thing, he would never have thought it could have occurred. Ronald Weasley had always been a hothead, but never to this extent.
"I see. Where is he now Severus?" Albus asked, his voice dangerously low and quiet. Severus defiantly would not want to be in the Weasley's boy's shoes.
"I do not know Headmaster. After I retrieved Miss Granger from the Lake, I could not locate Mr Weasley anywhere." Severus replied truthfully. He wished he could have been able to contain the boy but if he had delayed finding Miss Granger, then she may very well have been in a worse state than she currently found herself in.
"Thank you Severus. I will locate Mr Weasley." Albus said, turning away from Severus and heading back to his Office. He had his ways and means. Severus, meanwhile, was left at a loss as to what to do. He could continue his walk, or he could return to his quarters. Or still yet he could head to the Infirmary and check upon Miss Granger's progress, perhaps attempt to assist Poppy. He turned around and swept up the staircase, leaving the Great Hall empty behind him.
Hermione was in the library once more, and this time Tom Riddle was sitting at a desk, flipping through a book. He turned the pages gently, and cradled the book in his hands, treating it with the respect Hermione felt books should receive. He did not even look up at her.
"You have returned then." He said, paying very little attention to her as far as she was concerned. It confused her, and made her even more wary than she normally would be. She did not even want to move, lest she provoke a reaction from him. So, she remained standing where she was.
"Not of my own will. If I had it my way, I would not be here." Hermione stated, sure that she was repeating herself. She could not be sure of that one though.
"Yet here you are, once more." He remarked with a smug smile on his lips as he shut the book softly, and caressed the cover. Hermione involuntarily shivered.
"I am going to leave." Hermione said firmly, turning to walk away. Her statement was greeted by laughter and she whirled around furiously. He was still sitting there, having placed the book upon the table. He had one foot on the other knee and was laughing heartily. Hermione felt her face flushing and she glared at him.
"Leave if you must. I will see you again." He said with a promise in his words. Hermione inwardly groaned.