Ten years had passed since that infamous night on Hogwarts grounds when Harry James Potter became a celebrated murderer and the last of their innocence bled into the hallowed soil of the magical world. The Order, slim in its numbers, had reduced the Death Eater contingent to single digits within an hour of Voldemort's defeat. When the Aurors finally deemed the fight worthy enough to join, they had the mundane and somewhat disturbing task of identifying the enemies deceased and constructing a makeshift morgue in the forest.

Unlike the others, too caught up in their own grief, Hermione had remembered Professor Snape's sacrifice and as soon she could escape from the Weasley's she had run to the shack after raiding the Headmaster's private stores of Dittany, Anti- Venin and Blood Replenisher. She had arrived within minutes of his death, pouring potion after potion down his throat until he begged for her to stop. She sequestered him away in one of the numerous Order safe houses and he had never questioned why she was helping him, nor did he once thank her for saving his life. Hermione supposed the guilt he had carried consumed him more than the gratefulness of being alive and he hadn't uttered a single word in those two weeks they were confined together.

Severus Snape had fled the safe house in the wee hours of the morning, shortly after regaining his magical ability and Hermione hadn't seen him since. Not for the want of trying, mind you, she'd exhausted every avenue at her extensive disposal to locate the erstwhile Professor, but it was as if he'd vanished into thin air. His magical signature could not be traced in Europe or Asia and she even went as far as the Americas to locate him. Her determination to find Snape had begun a long bitter divide in her relationship with Ronald Weasley, to whom she hadn't spoken in five years. He couldn't understand her desire to find a man who'd gone out of his way to be hateful. But then, only one person understood her need...the only other wizard she'd consider to be an intellectual equal...

'I think it is thoroughly decimated,' he whispered in her ear, his long pale fingers moving tantalisingly slow against her thigh.

'If it is to be called mashed potato, Remus,' she whispered back, 'then perhaps removing the lumps might be a good idea?'

With a sigh she pushed the mashed potato around her plate, ignoring the Order of the Phoenix's lively chatter during their once a year 'reunion' or as Remus liked to call it 'The let's check up on everyone to make sure no one has died since we can't be bothered to owl any other time' gathering at an unplottable estate in the Scottish Highlands.

'Now now, Hermione, be nice. Molly tries her hardest.'

Hermione snorted into her wine. 'She tries her hardest to exclude me from every function. I'm surprised she allowed my attendance this year.'

Remus grinned. 'Try as she might, Molly Weasley will never be anything more than the mother hen to the baby chickens.'

'Are you referring to me as a baby chicken?' She shot him a sly smile.

'Wolves prefer to devour hens,' he murmured, his hand slipping onto her thigh and caressing her bare skin. 'And the full moon isn't for days.'

'Are you hoping for an interlude, Remus? You know my requirements.'

His smile faded and his fingers clenched around the stem of his goblet. 'Do you wish to die, Hermione?'

'You know my requirements,' she reiterated. 'If you cannot fulfil my needs then perhaps I should start looking elsewhere?'

'I know all your secrets, Hermione. Don't try to hide your needs from me.'

'What would you know of my needs, Remus? You haven't met them for quite some time now...'

'Come now, dearest,' he smirked when she stiffened and pushed his hand from her legs. 'I'm not as stupid as you'd like to believe. I know who you pine for; we all know why you come to these reunions. Your continued presence whilst, enjoyable-' his hand moved back to her thigh, slowly pushing up her skirt, 'is not without its shortcomings.'

'And what shortcomings would there be?' she asked, turned her upper body to face him, her eyes catching the briefest glimpse of desire before he effortlessly masked it.

'He'll never need you again, surely you know that? He's hidden from you for a decade now, never once answering your owls or gracing you with his much desired presence. Surely that should enlighten you to his true feelings?'

Hermione flinched and rose slowly from her chair. 'Thank you, Remus,' she said softly and cupped his cheek in what would appear to others as a tender gesture but to Remus Lupin held a pain that would forever torment the witch, 'for reminding me just how unimportant I am to him and this world.'

'Don't run away again!' Remus hissed, ignoring Arthur's discreet cough as several eyes turned to the pair. 'You cannot just waltz back into our lives whenever you feel like it! It isn't fair to those of us who love you.'

She slumped against his shoulder and he could feel the wetness seeping from her eyes. 'You love me?' She scoffed. 'You like fucking me, Remus. What we share isn't love. Would you prefer never to see me again? I can arrange that quite quickly you know, I prefer solitude to the continued presence of the light brigade, their magic hurts me, surely you know this?'

'Merlin girl, what did he do to you?' Remus breathed, completely uncaring now that half the members of the Order were openly staring at them.

'You know what he did!' Her voice rose slightly. 'He took a 13 year old girl and ruined her!'

'How did Severus...'

'Not Severus!' she snarled. 'Albus bloody Dumbledore!'

Her hands clenched Remus' forearm as she slowly looked up, a curtain of curly hair obscuring her vision but she could see their accusatory stares, feel their eyes beating down on her.

'What did Albus do?' Remus asked and turned the witch to face him, blocking out the whispers with a simple charm.

'You know what he did; you were one of his most trusted soldiers. Don't plead ignorance now. You're drawn to me because of the taint he encouraged in me. The magic that feeds my soul lives within you. Tell me you feel the difference in my magic, tell me you feel it.'

Remus swallowed thickly. 'I've always felt it ever since you were a small child and I know Albus knew of your affinity for that brand of magic. Why have you never spoken of it before now? The past has always been taboo even when Harry mentioned it.'

'And what should I tell Harry, Remus? Hi love. Just thought you'd like to know that man you loved so much, you know, Albus Dumbledore, fed me books on the dark arts from when I was 13, never once helping me when the seduction became too much or warning me of the side effects. He gave me book after book and witnessed my shame in casting the blackest of magic, encouraging my exploration, demanding I live in the most noble house of Black to conquer my fears he said...but what he really wanted was a weapon, a second chance should Harry fail and you know how I found this out Remus?' Hermione shouted, unaware that the entire room was now silent and watching her with horrified interest.

'I read it from your minds, Moody, Kingsley, Molly, Arthur...you all knew...you all allowed me to succumb to the Dark Arts and no one lifted a finger to help me! And the one person, the one saviour I might have from this ridiculous life doesn't want to see me for fear I may throw his life debt back in his face. Well guess what, I no longer give a flying fuck what anyone thinks- I see the way you look at me,' She spun around, the crooked wand once belonging to Bellatrix Lestrange, wielded without effort in her hands now, and she pointed to the Order members in turn- 'You all knew, don't deny it there isn't any point. Instead of helping me find Professor Snape you stole my letters, you removed the tracking charms and lied to me. But I knew, every time you deceived me, every time you felt hatred towards me.' Her gaze slid to Molly who had paled and was looking everywhere but the witch. 'Unjustified hatred of an innocent child, used by Albus Dumbledore as a weapon. And you can pretend that wasn't the case, you can act blameless yourselves, but I remember Arthur Weasley the night you stunned me after a particularly passionate argument between Ronald and I, I saw the fear in your eyes as we raised wands against each other, you thought I would kill him...yet you made not a single utterance to protect me. And you wonder why I avoid the entire Order of the Phoenix, cowardly bastards the lot of you.'

Hermione's hands shook as she stood from the table and neatly pushed her chair back in. 'I'm sorry Harry,' she murmured and chanced a look at her dearest friend who was pale and shaking himself, unable to meet her eyes. 'I never intended you to find out this way, I wanted to control my addiction first, so you wouldn't be burdened...' A swallowed a gulping sob and turned to flee from the room when Harry launched himself at her, his strong, muscular arms surrounding the witch in a fierce protective hug.

'Don't you ever apologise for Albus Dumbledore's manipulations, I knew...I felt it from you all those years ago when you first took control of Bellatrix's wand. I hadn't wanted to believe it; I needed to see you of the light, that my loved one couldn't possibly be a dark witch...that it was the wand. I found his memories, Albus' about you, his sorrow at corrupting an innocent witch and his glee when you submitted to his will so easily. Don't think for a second that I would have kept you from Snape had I of known what you were going through...'

'What do you mean kept me from him?' She pulled away. Extricating herself from Harry's arms as he desperately tried to hold onto her.

'Ahh...' Harry's eyes pleaded with her but she felt betrayal coursing through her body.

'Please tell me you didn't...?'

'I had to!' Harry hissed and grabbed her shoulders only to shake the witch roughly. 'They told me you were in love with the greasy bastard!'

'Of course I wasn't in love with him, but like calls to like Harry!'

'You spent too much time mooning over Snape when you should have loved Ron!' He cried and pointed to the third member of their trio who sat stock still, face red and brow sweating as errant magic sparked through the dining room.

'But I didn't love Ron, Harry and I don't love Neville, Remus or Kingsley...you can keep throwing these men at me but it will never work because I cannot stand to be within two feet of any of them. All I need is Severus and he's the one man I cannot have.'

'Hermione please...' Harry buried his hand within her mass of curls and pressed their foreheads together. 'I know the magic you seek; it will kill you in the end.'

'You smell of it, Harry, the dark, it reminds me so much of him that even now after all these years I want to devour you just to be close to him again.' She groaned slightly as a puff of his breath dissipated across her lips.

'I found out what Albus had done shortly after the war ended, he was so proud,' Harry sneered in disgust. 'To have found such a willing witch, one that devoured magic – he said you were his own personal Severus Snape that he could mould and control.'

Hermione's eyes fluttered closed as Harry's magic seeped through her skin, it was like home to the witch, a like minded soul, the dark magic Voldemort manipulated made her own magic soar. 'He was a bastard, Harry. It wasn't until I met Sirius that I knew for sure what the Headmaster had done to me.'

'Sirius?'

'I saw how he broke Sirius, how he pitted Severus against him just to watch them fight, it was sick.'

'Sirius goaded Snape, Hermione he wasn't blameless.'

'They were both manipulated, as were we! Albus knew of Pettigrew and still let Sirius go to prison, he knew of the threat against your parents and allowed Severus to believe he'd save Lily.'

'They won't let you leave, Hermione.' Harry whispered and clutched her hand tightly.

Out the corner of her eye Hermione saw the Order members moving slowly towards them, a sea of red hair all brandishing their wands, ready to strike the Muggleborn witch should she dare touch a hair on Harry Potter's head.

'I need to leave.' She said suddenly and stepped back, gracefully conjuring an arc of magic that surrounded her body and protected her from the array of spells that dared be flung her way.

'Stop!' Harry shouted and jumped between Hermione and the Order as Minerva McGonagall raced into the room, followed quickly by Kingsley Shacklebolt and Hestia Jones.

'What in Morgana's name is going on in here?'

'Hermione was going to hex Harry!' Ginny wailed and tried to jump into Harry's arms, only to be held back by George and Ron.

'That isn't true Miss Weasley,' Remus said quietly. 'They were simply talking, someone-' He levelled a glare at Ginny and Molly, 'Took it upon themselves to hex Hermione in the back.'

'Oh my goodness lass!' Minerva bundled Hermione into her arms and ushered her to the door. 'I expected better from all of you- thank you Mr. Potter for showing the Order that even in times of peace we do not turn against our own. Remus, please come with me!'

'They sense your magic has changed again.' Minerva murmured softly, stroking the younger witch's hair. 'I felt it the minute I held you.'

Hermione remained silent, stifled by the white witch's magic but cocooned by her love.

'I'll never forgive Albus for what he did to you lassie.'

'We mustn't blame Albus entirely.' Remus entwined his fingers within Hermione's hand and she was instantly soothed by his presence. 'Some of that blame must fall to us – we knew what he was planning.'

'With an arse!' Minerva snapped.

'Does that make it all right?' Hermione asked from the witch's bosom.

'Of course it doesn't,' Remus said gently. 'But the original plan had been for Severus to train an ally, someone who he could trust.'

'And I was not the ally he desired or expected?' Hermione asked, failing to stop the tears that slipped down her cheeks.

'Hermione what do you remember of your sixth year?'

Not much,' Hermione replied.

'No Remus you mustn't!' Minerva protested angrily and held Hermione closer to her chest.

'Minerva it is what we always feared, she hasn't the memories!'

She sat up and gently pushed Minerva away. 'Remus what are you trying to say? That I was Obliviated?'

'I believe your memories have been tampered with Hermione, please listen to me,' Remus pleaded and held her hands tightly within his own. 'Tell me what you remember of your sixth year.'

She could feel her hands begin to shake within Remus' and her heart was pounding at an incredible speed. 'I remember Harry with Snape's advance potion's text, Draco being an arse and trying to kill everyone,' She squeezed her eyes shut and willed the memories forward. 'The Headmaster was hurt...Bill and Fenrir...' Her eyes flew open- 'Albus wanted me to find a cure...he gave me magic.'

'What do you mean he gave you magic?'

Hermione gulped and pressed her hand to her stomach. 'Here,' she whispered. 'He used his wand and channelled magic into my core...why did he do that?'

Minerva and Remus exchanged a glance laden with fear. 'Did he say an incantation?' Remus asked and covered her hand that was splayed on her stomach.

'Voleroson." Hermione recited.

'Are you certain?' Minerva asked, fear lacing her voice.

'Yes, I've searched for years for the incantation but there isn't a text in our world with reference to it.'

'Bastard!' Remus snarled and kicked over his chair before gathering Hermione in his arms. 'I'm so sorry for what he did to you Hermione.'

Hermione sighed sadly. 'Tell me what the incantation is Remus!'

They exchanged that look again and the silence seemed to stretch for an age before Minerva finally spoke. 'Roughly translated it means to steal magic.'

Hermione blinked then shook her head quickly, unsure if she'd actually heard Minerva correctly. 'He wasn't giving me magic was he?'

'I'm afraid not.'

'I think I need to be alone.' Hermione murmured and stood on her toes to briefly kiss each of Remus' cheeks. 'He betrayed me, he used me to further his own agenda and keep himself alive- I cannot be around any of you right now...'

'You cannot leave the estate, Hermione,' Minerva said and reached for the witch who deftly dodged her. 'The wards are in place until Wednesday.'

'So I have to endure six days in the constant companionship of the Order of the Phoenix, most of who wish me - a weapon they constructed- dead?'

'No one wishes you dead Hermione.' Minerva said.

'They all know what Severus and I did to stay alive and help the war effort, why would they want a constant reminder of that?'

'We will protect you, Hermione.' Remus declared and she smiled pityingly at him.

'Oh Remus,' She mocked. 'I am quite proficient in both arts my dear wolf, have no fear your precious Order will retain their lives, I will defend myself only out of necessity.'

Hermione realised after her big toe went numb that she'd failed to cast a warming charm upon her person, but she hardly cared, it was that tingling sensation in her feet that allowed her to remember pain and the anger associated with it.

Sanctimonious bastards! Her mind screamed as the laughter from many a Weasley filtered through the sitting room of the castle that served as one of the many Order Safe Houses. Her desire to murder them all in their sleep had faded somewhat, even though the need for revenge still haunted the young witch. How dare they sit upon their gilded thrones and judge what they created, their hands were stained with the blood she'd spilled, their souls torn asunder amid the magic her soul had been tainted by. Sirius Black had tried to save her, those lonely nights spent separated from the Order- he'd recognised what Albus Dumbledore was doing and attempted to stop him, only to be forced back and kept under lock and key.

She may have been a naive teenage girl but she saw the hunger in his eyes, the desperate need to touch her whenever she was near and the books that would mysteriously appear at her bedside when Albus was otherwise occupied. Kreacher, for all his nastiness around the Order, was polite and almost sweet to her in private and in the following years he'd become her personal elf- much to Hermione's disgust. He was useful in his own way, reminding her to eat, to sleep and when a particularly dark tome was sucking the life from her body. She supposed there was a method to Sirius' madness in willing her the elf; he couldn't protect her whilst living so in death he provided her with an ever present elf on her shoulder, chastising, bullying and saving her.

Yet no matter what she went through and how deep she fell to the dark arts, one constant remained.

Severus Tobias Snape.

Every time she closed her eyes. Every time she dreamed he would be there, beckoning her forward, beseeching her to find him...and Merlin had she tried until her fingers were bloodied and mind bereft of intelligent thought. Perhaps her need for the wizard had been conjured through a desperate desire to punish herself or the bond they shared transcended any magic she could devour. But why wasn't he here...why hadn't he searched for her? There was only one answer to her questions- he didn't want to seek her out, as far as Severus Snape was concerned she was nothing.

The hairs on the back of her neck prickled and a sudden awareness rattled the witch, she fingered her wand, turning slowly to the darkness of the east wing, her eyes drawn to a third floor window where the curtain moved suddenly and then the world went still.

Goosebumps broke out across her flesh and as if under the Imperius curse, her feet moved forward- left right left right left right, until she felt the obtrusive wards placed on the gardens by Minerva McGonagall in her desire for less wandering and more bonding.

'Hermione where are you going?'

'I want to visit the garden.' Hermione said softly, not bothering to turn when Remus placed a hand on her shoulder.

'You aren't allowed- you know that.'

'I've always wanted what I cannot have.' She replied and shook off his hand. 'Who lives up there Remus?'

'No one Hermione. The Castle's been empty since before the first war, come on let's go inside.'

Levelling the final Marauder with a withering glare, she broke free from his tight grip on her arm and strode away. 'What for Remus, exploding snap and tiddly winks? I'd rather hex my own eyes out.'

The next morning only fuelled the witch's curiosity in the Castle they currently inhabited. There weren't any discernable characteristics, frames which no doubt held portraits at any other time of the year lay barren, prying into the drawers of the ornate desk only succeeded in giving Hermione a rather sore set of burned fingertips- she was at a loss to explain the magic that enthralled her about this home, every inch of wood begged to be stroked, the worn carpets longed for bare toes and the bath- she might be going insane but it was as if the walls had eyes themselves and she felt a genuine shiver of pleasure every time she disrobed and wandered her rooms naked.

The Order had been very careful to occupy her time, reverting back to the glorious days of old with their happy smiles and carefree outlook on the world- but Hermione knew better, she saw the looks they would send her way when they thought her occupied, she caught the subtle stroking of their wands whenever her magic began to act erratically and it was obvious even to an outsider that they didn't trust her or more importantly thought her a loose cannon, one which required extinguishing.

That is what drew her to the East Wing, not only the magic that burned alight the blood in her veins but the desire to flee the light magic the Order was intent on drowning her in. Even Remus' company felt stifling and obtrusive. It felt as if she were going rather mad, that and the voice she heard the previous night just as she was drifting off to sleep.

They'll never release you.

They would kill you first.

You are a stain on their perfectly pristine achievements.

Hermione shuddered and stroked her skin with the softest sponge, lathering the gentle bathing potion across her arms and down to her stomach.

She felt on edge today, that voice vibrated through her mind, a distinct echo on her past. Had Albus Dumbledore really cursed her into forgetting such vast portions of her own life?

The sponge dipped lower caressing her thighs, dragging the now tingling potion to the sensitive skin of her cunt.

'What have you done to me Dumbledore?' She hissed as steam filled room and spread her thighs, gently dragging the sponge across her folds, moaning in pleasure as the potion warmed, then spread to embrace her inner core.

She had wondered that morning who had left the neat little row of potions in her bathroom, one had been a calming draught, another to soothe her burned fingers, the third a lotion for her hair, the fourth a cream for her dry skin that she coveted but was too expensive to buy from Slug and Jiggers and far too advanced for her NEWT potion skills. Yet it was the last Potion she'd now deemed her favourite, the bathing balm that made her skin feel alive and her body tremble with desire.

It had to be Remus or Kingsley...the Minister held a soft spot for the witch ever since they'd spent one rather passion filled night together after a boring party that she had been bullied into attending. She awoke the next morning with bruises on her thighs, love bites on her neck and a randy former dark wizard catcher wrapped around her body committing wickedly sinful deeds to her cunt. If anyone could handle the witch, it would be Kingsley Shacklebolt - a wizard that had devoured the dark arts like food to a starving man.

Her eyes fluttered closed as the sponge drifted aimlessly away, her fingers entering her body in one swift motion. She arched from the bath, water sloshed over the sides and splattered to the tiled floor and she moaned, vigorously rubbing her folds and sinking further into the hot water. 'Merlin...' She whispered, her mouth gaping as tremors exploded across her skin, cascading down her back, across her arse and directly into her cunt- she felt like magic itself was making love to her, entering her body, thrusting inside her over and over. With a shout her head fell back against the bath with a thud as pleasure rocketed through every pore, right down to her tiniest toe nail.

'Hermione?' Loud banging drew the witch from her satiated reverie and she looked back at the door almost coming off its hinges. 'Please love, open the door?'

As she rose from the bath the soapy water slithered from her skin had she looked just slightly to her left the witch would had noticed the man, leaning lazily against the wall, his pants slung low on his slim hips and a decidedly wicked smirk upon his lips.

She was finally here, after all this time.

'Do you ever get the feeling you're being watched?' Hermione asked lowly as Harry escorted her through to the dining room for the evening's festivities. 'I feel as though-' She licked her dry lips. 'There's something sinister in this house- don't you feel it too?'

'Not really,' He smirked. 'But then I employ other people to notice that.'

'Ahh the life and times of Auror Potter!' Hermione exclaimed and grinned happily, feeling like her old self for the first time in weeks. 'How ever do you cope, Mr. Potter, with the legion of fans all clamouring for a piece of you?'

'I don't know,' He said softly, pausing at the doors to the dining room and taking her hands within his. 'You tell me.'

'I don't have fans Harry.' She responded and chanced a look into his eyes, unwittingly drawn into the depths of his mind where chaos reigned and dark magic fought valiantly against the light. She saw herself there, a tiny little witch with her hand flapping endlessly in the air, Remus and Sirius featured prominently as did- she gulped, Severus Snape but the visage Harry had created in her mind was not who the wizard was at all, he wasn't a black hearted tyrant hell bent on destruction, he didn't have a dark scowl nor was his face that ugly...

'When you're finished...' Harry asked gently and broke eye contact as a deep, sad sigh fell from his lips. 'I knew about the two of you.'

'What do you mean Harry?'

'Snape and you, Hermione. I knew what Dumbledore did, not the dark magic part, found that out from his portrait and Pensieve after he'd died. I saw you with Snape, after Slughorn's party.'

'Harry you're talking nonsense. I saw Severus once after the party when he dragged Draco from the room.'

Harry blanched, his eyes widening at her confusion and within seconds he was fumbling for his wand, his intent clear as he pressed it to her temple.

'Harry Potter if the next words from your mouth are Obliviate I will send your body to the earth alongside your parents and Voldemort.'

Clattering to the ground, his wand fell as his fingers smoked from the silent, wandless hex she'd cursed him with. 'I don't know what you're playing at Harry Potter, but this is not a game I choose to participate in- either you tell me exactly what's going on or I'm leaving.'

'Minerva's wards...'

'Minerva's wards cannot stop me from leaving!' Hermione hissed. 'I chose to stay thus the wards remained, had I desired, truly desired to leave then the world would have bent to my will.'

Harry looked truly frightened as he stumbled back from her, summoning his wand and sending his Patronus towards the sky.

'Do you think I'll stay now you've decided I am a liability?' She murmured and took a step back, drawing a second wand from within her robes. 'Don't look so shocked, Harry I knew the day would come when you believed my life wouldn't be worth saving, I'm sad you chose today.'

'Today?' His eyes darted left to right and Hermione could see the telltale shimmers of disillusioned witches and wizards moving quickly towards her.

'My birthday Harry, how thoughtless of you to forget.'

Another step she took backwards and her two wands were raised, drawing a vicious flaming blue circle around the witch. 'I wish I could stay and see for myself what you deem my present but I'm afraid I must leave.'

And with a crack, the witch was gone.

Her body screamed in agony as she breached the wards, in her mind was one detail, one tiny little flower that she'd witnessed when the wards to the East Wing renewed themselves, that flower clung to her mind, an ever present memory that held no emotion or rational thought- she just knew that getting to that flower meant salvation.

Hermione stumbled, the scent of roses filled her nostrils, gravel crunched beneath her high heeled shoes, bees buzzed around her face and that overwhelming feeling of magic that belonged to your soul flitted around like a welcoming fairy.

'I see you've finally broken free of Potter's foolish army.'

She gasped, unwilling to open her eyes in case she'd fallen into a hexed coma or perhaps she was asleep and this was another nightmare to add to the growing list.

His dark chuckle met her fears and she cried out when long warm fingers wrapped around her upper arms and steadied her. 'You may open your eyes whenever you wish,' He murmured into her ear, his lips moist and hot as they touched her skin. 'You shan't be discovered here.'

'And if I wish to be discovered?'

He chuckled again, sending shivers of anticipation down her spine. 'Then I will endeavour to discover you most thoroughly.'

The sun felt hot against her skin, in fact there shouldn't be sun at all considering not five minutes ago she was arriving for dinner and the sky shone with a starless black.

'Is it day time?'

'Why it is staggering to believe such a coveted education at the top European Magical institute has left you, Miss Granger with the lack of comprehension in day and night.'

'Don't be smart.' She hissed and flung open her eyes, only to squeeze them shut tightly again as his tall, dark visage loomed above her. 'They hexed me didn't they?'

'Potter?' He snorted derisively. 'Potter couldn't hex a herd of Hippogriffs standing still without you by his side.'

'You ignored my owls.'

'You know as well as I that they were intercepted.'

'My Patronus?'

'Was...' She could almost hear the thoughts turning over in his head as he considered his words carefully. 'Disturbing.'

'I found it amusing...not a doe though that should be a good thing?'

'Not a doe, you are correct. But a crow? Hardly amusing, rather morbid actually.'

'You're real.'

'I am.'

'Why?'

'Why am I real?' She cracked open an eye and smiled at his amused smirk. 'Shall I explain the birds and the bees to you my dear or are you fully educated on matters of the carnal needs?'

Hermione flushed. 'I am well educated thank you.'

'Hmmm yes you are.' He drawled as his dark eyes lazily perused the tight bodice to her dress and over the generous swell of your breast. 'Am I to assume you haven't a clue why I left you that night?'

She lowered her gaze, unable to stop the tears from pooling within her eyes. 'You didn't just leave; you abandoned me, even after...'

'The intimacies we shared?'

'Yes!' She cried and shoved at his chest, managing to move him only an inch before she slumped down onto the warm, lush grass beneath her feet. "No...I don't know!" She squeezed her eyes shut only to open them again quickly. "My mind is in turmoil, I know I need you, I think of you as Severus not Professor Snape, I know we were friends- somewhat, that we brewed together, but I haven't any other valid memories to confirm my suspicions."

"And your suspicions?"

"That we were more than Death Eater and Order member, that I was more to you than an insufferably hand waving student. I know you left me and it hurts, it still hurts after all these years."

'I was an invalid; you were my carer it was unfathomable to continue under such circumstances. We needed neutral ground, it was punishment enough to see you every day, crying over my stricken body, but to know you intimately and be forbidden to touch you was torture."'

'So you left like a coward?'

He lunged at her, grasping her shoulders and yanking her into the air, only to shake her hard. 'How dare you assume I left under my own cognisance, do you truly believe me to be lacking honour?'

'You were forced?' She stared up at him, consuming that face held only in her dreams, he looked peaceful now, the vicious lines that surrounded his eyes had softened, the harsh lilt of his mouth vanished and those eyes, once filled with hatred and obligation now roamed free with passion and emotion.

'I was encouraged to leave, lest my trial have an unfavourable outcome and the Dementors receive their first victim and you should somehow mysteriously run afoul of rogue Death Eaters.'

'I thought you were safe, I tried so hard to protect you.'

'Ahh yes,' one long elegant finger raked down her cheek and she all but purred at the contact. 'Your wards alerted every Phoenix within 100 kilometres, they followed the bread crumbs my dear.'

'I left a trail?' Hermione flushed at her own stupidity, in her haste to mask their Disapparition she had unwittingly left behind magical markers easily followed. 'I was not in my right mind.'

'Neither was I.'

'For that I apologise.' A curtain of black hair fell across his cheeks and his eyes, those bottomless black eyes that had glared and hated now stared down at her with a strange glint.

'You have nothing to apologise for,' He murmured and buried his face into her hair, breathing deeply the orange scented bouquet.

'Wh-What are you doing Professor Snape?'

'Do not call me that,' He hissed and shoved her away, pain gracing his pale face as she fell to the ground with a thud. "You refer to me as Severus in their company, in your dreams...in your fantasies...bestow the honour on my person now witch!"

'All you had to do was say please!' She snarled and summoned her wand, pointing it directly at the wizard. 'I think you have some explaining to do?'

'Come-' He beckoned, his eyes never once leaving hers. 'The wards will have drained your magic, you need to rest- I will acquire tea and some toast.'

She blinked. Tea and toast?

'I may be a Death Eater, Miss Granger but I still require simple sustenance, as luck would have it I am quite the fan of tea.'

'Quite indeed. Wait...' Hermione touched his shoulder lightly but it was enough to spark magic across the edges of her mind...how nice it was to touch him again, to smell a scent so familiar it surrounded her like a veritable shelter from those who'd wish to harm her.

'You mustn't...' He whispered, licking his lips as her fingers trailed down his arm and caressed his hand.

'But it feels so nice.' She whimpered as he spun on his heel, dragging her into his arms and smashing their lips together, her startled gasp allowing his warm, wet tongue easy access to her mouth and within seconds he was devouring every inch of her.

'Have you searched for years to find this?' Severus asked roughly, nipping along her jaw with his sharp teeth. 'Did you lie in bed touching yourself dreaming of this exact moment?' His tongue darted out and licked the seam of her lips and he growled as her small hands found his nipples and pinched hard. 'Oh yes my dear witch I have waited a decade to touch you again.'

'What moment?' She asked dumbly, yet still arched into his touch as those talented fingers caressed her covered breast.

'Come,' He whispered into her ear, his voice melting like hot chocolate across her skin, soft and velvety it was akin to a lover's caress. 'We must venture inside, the wards will only hold for a few hours before they come for you, and I'd much rather we've escaped by then.'

Peering out the window, Hermione realised with a start that she was looking down on the ground of the South wing of the Order's safe house but darkness surrounded the witches and wizards whom tried valiantly to break into Severus Snape's little courtyard garden. 'Your wards disassemble night and day?' She asked as he strode back into the room, levitating quite a large box.

'Time dilation wards,' His hands rested on her shoulders and he turned her slowly to face him. 'They haven't the stomach to use the required magic for breaking through; I will be surprised if they manage the first ten sets without draining themselves completely.'

'Why did I come here?' Hermione allowed her former Professor to lead her into the centre of the room, where two worn armchairs surrounded a wooden table laden with cakes and a pot of tea with cups.

'I know what Albus did to you,' He poured her tea first, black with two sugars and she didn't question why he knew her preferred way of drinking tea- she just accepted it as fact. 'For he did the same to me.'

'What?'

'Albus Dumbledore preyed on my inquisitive mind, showing me wonders I never truly thought possible. And then when it became all too much, he sent me to my death...to the Dark Lord.'

'Why do I get the feeling I know all this already?'

'Because you do!' He hissed and she pulled back, startled, her tea cup rattling against the saucer.

'Did you take my memories, Severus?'

'You speak my name with achingly familiarity does that not conjure a memory or two?'

Hermione shook her head. 'No, but I needed you so desperately and I've felt you-' She pressed her hand to her heart. 'In here, it's as if...' She paused when he leaned forward, his nostrils flaring as his gaze slid across her body, leaving fire in its wake.

'As if I'm meant to be there.'

'That sounds terribly sentimental, does it not?'

He smirked and again she was drawn to the once harsh line of his lips so tantalisingly close that should she lean forward, if only the smallest of distances she could kiss him...

'Don't!' He cried, his voice strangled and body rigid. 'I cannot do this again- the spell upon your person is set to regenerate, that is why they brought you here. The Order of the Phoenix has a mere two hours to locate you and curse you once more. I shan't allow it!'

'Curse me with what?' She asked and reached for his hands but he jumped from his seat as if burned.

'Do not touch me,' He snarled his voice deep and dangerous as his wand flipped into his hand. 'I will die before I allow the Order to interfere again.'

'Severus please...' Hermione was powerless to stop the tears sliding down her cheeks. 'I'm so confused.

'I led the Order here, I compelled Minerva to choose my estate for the reunion, I knew once you were here we would be together again,' He said softly, his eyes darting to her lips then back up again. 'I planted the image of the crown of thorns in your mind many years ago. I knew should you see it again that the overwhelming desire to find me would return and that your magic would recognise the flower for what it is.'

'And what is it?' She implored, moving swiftly to his side, close but not touching - she could feel the heat emanating from his body.

'A symbol,' He all but purred in her ear as he leaned down, his black hair falling into her eyes and the smell, Merlin she remembered that smell, clean and invigorating it wafted under her nose, lemongrass and grapefruit...like a delicious summer day. 'A symbol,' He repeated, smirking as she breathed his scent in deeply. 'A symbol my dear of our bond and the memories we share.'

'What memories do we share Severus...why does this feel so important?' Her breath hitched as he rubbed his cheek against hers, a rumbling moan falling from his lips. 'Oh gods...because it is important! I didn't just save you in the shack did I?' She gripped his black shirt, her fingers burrowing into the warm soft material. 'You kissed me...Slughorn's party, didn't you? That's what Harry was talking about!'

'I did.' He whispered into her ear.

'Severus?'

'Yes my dear?'

'I love you don't I?' Her voice sounded so small and wrought with confusion. 'And you loved me?'

Hands cupped her cheeks and he stared down at her in wonder. 'You remember?'

'No...it's just a feeling when you spoke into my ear I felt a rush of something...' She swallowed hard and looped her arms around his neck. 'We shared more than a manipulation into Dark Magic, Severus- didn't we?'

'Much, much more.'

'I remember seeing you in Dumbledore's office the night before he died...you were so angry- you held me, whispering that everything would be all right and that old fool couldn't keep us apart for long. My head hurts,' she whimpered and felt her knees buckle as memory after memory assaulted her mind.

The time turner slung carelessly around Severus' neck.

Fighting, magic careening around them as they hid amongst the shadows.

Hunted by Werewolves, luring the animals into their traps.

Albus Dumbledore bellowing in her face that her love for Severus was improper and he'd put an end to it.

Remus...oh Merlin, not Remus! Cursing Severus when his back was turned then pointing the wand at her.

Minerva...screeching at Albus that he'd destroyed an innocent child.

The vanishing cabinet carefully restored by her hand.

Kissing...tongues...touching Severus' naked body everywhere...licking his- oh my goddess!

Hermione gagged. 'Gods what have I done, what have we done?'

'I assume you know of your assistance to Mr. Malfoy?' Severus drawled, his lips curling into a disgusted sneer.

'You blame me?' She asked brokenly.

'I BLAME ALBUS!' He screamed and spun around, punching the window so hard the glass shattered into his knuckles. 'For over twenty years I toed the line, grovelling at the feet of a madman and just when I find a moments happiness in a horrifyingly annoying witch, she is snatched away from me, by those who think they know better than I.'

'We used the time turner to go on missions for Dumbledore?'

'Yes we did and you were very brave.' Severus said softly with a hint of pride in his voice.

'Page 84,' Hermione said and Severus' eyes widened just a smidgeon. 'It was missing from the Liber Juratus Grimoire; the curse is on that page isn't it?'

'Yes it is, and I have it- would you like to see?'

'How did you acquire it?' Hermione asked, eager to see the curse that had plagued her existence, stealing her memories and time with a man she knew in her heart she loved.

'Imperius curse,' He answered with a smirk. His long fingers drifted across the folded parchment, only the protective spell upon its words keeping the weathered paper from dissolving into ash.

'On?'

'Does it matter?'

Barely a second she thought about it before answering, 'No, it doesn't matter.'

'Do you see the fine print?' His chest pressed against her back as he brought the parchment closer to her. 'A decade to steal time, a decade to renew the vow or blood shall be spilled.' He led her slowly to the window where the Order lay in various states of exhaustion. Currently Ginny Weasley was trying her hand at the wards and failing miserably, receiving singed hair and a burned arm for her troubles. 'The spell was the brainchild of a Father, wishing to protect his most beautiful daughter from the amorous attentions of the servant's son, he did not wish for a bastard heir so he cursed the boy then his daughter to simply forget...however the spell was complex and he failed to recognise the dark magic he was wielding or the impending signs of his doom once a decade had passed,' One arm wrapped around her middle as he pressed the witch into the glass. 'I did not wish you to touch me, for it sends me made with grief...I hunted for you, searched the world for your magic but it was hidden behind the curse...as was mine which I found out quite by accident.'

'Tell me about the creator of the curse, what happened to him?'

'His failure to recast the curse to the Dark's satisfaction resulted in his most gruesome death.'

'Are you saying that if the Order doesn't curse me again they will all die?'

'Of course not, they weren't all present during the initial curse.'

'Who?' She demanded as Ginny was thrown back onto the grass and Ron stepped forward.

'Hestia, Molly, Arthur and Remus.'

Tears pooled in her eyes and she felt her stomach clench in agony. 'Remus?" She felt betrayed and so very hurt. 'He will die if the curse is not renewed? I do not know if I can allow that to happen.'

'Yet you would condemn me?' He snapped and roughly ripped off the bodice of her dress, rubbing his palms to her nipples. 'You would allow my life to fester away into the depths of hell to satisfy your own conscience?'

'No!' She cried and tried to turn around, but his chest kept her pinned between him and the wall with little effort. 'Surely there has to be another way?'

'Oh but there is,' Severus said silkily in her ear. 'There is a most satisfying counter hex to this curse...one you would find unbelievably pleasurable.'

'Is it just sex?' She asked, cursing the tremor in her voice.

'Oh no my dear know it all, the counter is much more serious than just sex.' With a flick of his index finger, page 84 flew across the room, into his hand. 'Should the witch or wizard,' he read, his lips moving quickly across her ear as the words fell from his mouth, 'break free of the curse, a binding consummation is required to ward the souls against their destroyers.'

'We fuck and they don't die?'

Severus laughed. 'Fuck? Yes dear witch we shall fuck as many times as necessary to protect you from those fools. But we must spill our blood to fortify the binding.'

'How many times do you think we'll need?' She turned her head slightly, a sly smile playing on her lips and he growled, spinning her around and shoving her hard onto the window ledge.

'Would you like to find out?'

'I have them all, Severus...' She cupped his cheeks, her thumbs stroking his lips, whining slightly as his tongue darted out to lick the pads of her fingers. 'Our memories...all of them and Morgana's tits my brain hurts.'

'They will fade in time.'

'How did you stand it, knowing all this time?'

'I have endured far worse at the Dark Lord's hand, but let me assure you Hermione that once we fuck again, I shan't let you go- however neither will they,' He tilted his head to the Order members down far below in the garden. 'I will go to the ends of the earth to protect you.'

'I trust you.' She said softly and squeaked when his hands roughly pushed up the skirt of her dress, bunching it at her waist and tearing her knickers from her body. 'Not so rough!'

'You liked it rough...has that changed?' One maddeningly elegant brow rose in question and she leaned forward, pressing her lips to his.

'I haven't changed but I do require love making once in a while.'

He smirked, his once yellow teeth now a pearly sheen. 'Then I shall endeavour to meet your needs.'

'Wonderful- can we get on with it then?'

Snarling, Severus pressed between her thighs, kissing her once again, moaning as her small hands unbuckled his pants and pushed them down his thighs. 'No underwear, Severus?'

'I like easy access to my cock.'

'Mmm, as do I.' She grinned and nudged him forward, the head of his cock banging against her wet cunt. 'Oh Merlin I definitely remember this!'

'Indeed,' He drawled and latched onto her neck, his teeth breaking through the skin as he surged forward, impaling the witch on his cock and pressing her arse cheeks into the glass window. 'As with all dark magic rituals, blood must be spilled to enact the protections.'

Grinning impishly, Hermione murmured, 'Yes Professor,' and bit down hard on his neck, effortlessly drawing blood then licking soothingly at the wound. 'Severus...it's customary to move whilst fucking.'

He chuckled and bit down on her again when he pulled his cock out, only to thrust hard back into her welcoming body. 'My dear you are frightfully coherent for a witch being ravished.'

She laughed, tangling her fingers into his lank hair. 'This is what I've been missing, it was you all along- I wasn't going mad!'

'Hush witch...there'll be time for sentiments after we defeat the Order of the Phoenix.'

Her skull connected with the glass as Severus fucked her brutally, their magic swirled together, meeting after a decade of painful absence, the two magical beings finally completing a rite they were born to commit. 'Bite me again...' He ordered breathlessly and she moaned when his hands covered her breasts, kneading the tender flesh like he'd done so many times before.

'I don't want to hurt you again." She said staring at the livid teeth marks already on his skin.

Through hooded eyes and barely parted lips, his voice rumbled, demanding and fierce that she bite him instantly or suffer the consequences. 'Wh-where?'

'You know where.' He whispered and lowered his mouth to her breast, suckling her nipple as his arse clenched in an effort not to fuck her through the window.

Hermione yanked on his hair, forcing his head back so her hungry lips could attack his nipples and with a dark viciousness she'd thought had been repressed by the scions of the light; she bit him, hard, breaking through the delicate pectoral muscle on his chest. 'Lick the blood.'

She whimpered again her tongue darting out to gather the droplets of blood onto her tongue.

'Kiss me.' Severus ordered and she did, sharing the tangy vicious red substance with her lover, she heard the spell, whispered from his thin lips and their magic amalgamated, the sheer force of the world's will poured between their bodies, and she screamed, her head falling to Severus' shoulder as her body convulsed.

'Oh Severus...how did I survive without this magic?'

He thrust weakly against her, breathing heavily, panting against her skin. 'We simply coped as best we could with the magic at our disposal.'

'And now...what happens now?'

Severus caressed her hips and nuzzled her neck with his rather large nose. 'I have consumed the festering magic within you,' He whispered and kissed her gently on the lips. 'The need to fulfil your darker needs will always be there, just beyond the surface of your mind...I will help you embrace it rather than fight- together we will practice magic how it was intended.'

'Without intent?'

He smirked and stepped back from his witch, amusement dancing across his face when she moaned from the loss of his warm body. 'Do not believe for a second I shall be leaving an inch of your delectable body undiscovered tonight- but for now we have more important things to do.'

Hermione followed his gaze down onto the gardens where the Order was regrouping, gathering their strength in numbers, intent on hitting the wards as a combined magical effort.

'I need clothes.' Hermione said, shivering as the cold air prickled on her skin.

'I have procured suitable clothing for you,' Severus said, eyeing her critically before waving his wand, conjuring a beautiful set of midnight blue robes that clung to her curves. 'Hmm perfect.'

'These are quite...' Hermione rubbed the fabric between her thumb and index finger. 'Over the top, don't you think?'

'We will be facing the Order's full compliment I would rather you appear as a witch rather than a Muggle,' Severus inclined his head as black robes, moulded to his body. 'I shan't have them thinking you've been taken advantage of and your Muggle clothes give thought to naivety.'

'I am hardly naive, Severus,' Hermione snapped but conceded the robes may be a good idea. They did look very witchy and gave her a slightly more powerful edge than jeans a t shirt would. 'But I will wear them- for you.'

He smiled and it warmed her heart the genuine feeling that ricocheted into her soul. 'You are quite handsome when you smile, Severus – might I request that you do it more often?'

'Only in your presence my dear, I do have a certain persona to maintain.'

'Ahh yes, former Death Eater.'

'I never relinquished that title, Hermione,' Severus said softly. 'I am and forever will be a Death Eater, consumed by dark magic. I may have disagreed with the Dark Lord's principle reason for being- destroying Muggles - but the power of the dart arts are far more entertaining than Tarantallegra do you not agree?'

Long, dextrous fingers stroked her cheeks and she fell into his embrace, allowing his lips easy access to her mouth when he slowly, languidly sought her tongue with his own. 'Our magic will not define the strength in our hearts or the loyalty in our souls- it does not drive us to commit wrong doings or harm another living being, it demands we devour it, learn every nuance of its being...we cannot deny those feelings.'

'I wouldn't want to,' Hermione whispered and hugged him tightly. 'Not that I've found you again.'

'The wards...' Severus breathed and tightened his hold on the witch, cradling her to his chest. 'I will Apparate us to their side of the estate, clear your mind and ready your wand.'

The shocked look on the Order's faces might have been worth the pain she'd endured over the past ten years, had they not instantly begun firing hexes in their general direction, to which she and Severus deflected with amazing ease.

'Tut tut Lupin, I thought you wished to protect the delicate cub, not condemn her with such a vicious curse.' Severus mocked and wrapped his long arm around Hermione's waist, pulling her to his side. She felt safe and cherished within the arc of his magic and as she gazed upon the Order she realised a startling clarity had formed in her mind, banishing the cloudy judgement she'd been cursed with.

'Let her go Severus!' Remus yelled and stood side by side Harry Potter who gleamed with unrestrained magic.

'Control the child Lupin- I would hate for dark magic to befall boy wonder after Albus' careful protection.'

'Please Severus, let Hermione go.' Minerva pleaded and took a small step forward, only to stumble back as the shield that surrounded the pair choked her white magic.

'He can't let go, that which he doesn't hold.' Hermione said softly and took a step to the left, gasping at the betrayal Severus' eyes held. 'I am with him by my own free will- he does not hold me hostage nor am I under a curse.' Her eyes drifted to Ron who had the grace to blush and look away. 'You've kept me from him, all of you, conspired to ensure I would never be happy-'

'No Hermione that's not it at all! Did Severus tell you we wanted to harm you?' Remus said gently and stepped right through the barrier protecting her from the Order, the dark magic cleanly washing across him like a second skin.

'He didn't have to,' Hermione said softly and took a step back from Remus as he advanced on her. 'I have my own memories as the truth.'

Remus' lips pursed and she could feel the anger radiating from the wolf. 'Is that so?'

'I'm afraid you're too late,' Severus said with a mocking smirk. 'She has beaten your curse, broken free of the restraints Albus thought to imprison her with.'

'It isn't too late.' Molly declared and raised her wand with a vicious glow to her eyes.

'Are you going to curse the girl, Madam?' Severus snarled and pushed Hermione behind him as the curse broke through their wards and hit him squarely on the chest. 'Is that the best you've got?'

She screeched louder than a banshee and fired the curse again but this time it ricocheted back and hit George, sending the wizard flying back into the hedge.

'Well that was unexpected.' Hermione said, peering out from behind Severus' back. 'You know I can defend myself?'

'I am aware of your wand prowess my dear but I'd rather not chance it.'

'He's going to ruin your life,' Remus said softly and reached for her again but she hexed him quicker than he could breathe.

'Touch me again Remus Lupin and the moon will be the least of your worries.'

'My my,' Severus drawled and pulled Hermione back to his side, 'how the lioness roars when her pride is threatened.'

'I shan't allow them to separate us again,' She captured his fingers in her hand and brought it to her lips, kissing his palm before pulling him close. 'I could not survive it again.'

'You speak as if you'd die without him Hermione.' Remus said. 'You can beat this, you don't need him.'

'Of course I do Remus,' Hermione replied and smiled. 'We're all we have.'

'You have me!' Harry called out, only to be shushed by an angry Ginny Weasley. 'Stop it Gin! Hermione I never judged you for what Albus did and for the record Professor Snape I couldn't care less if you loved Mum or not- you protected us and I know what you did for Hermione on those missions.'

'What do you mean?' Hermione asked, her gaze darting between Harry and Severus.

'I promised you back in our second year at Hogwarts that we'd have no secrets and I don't intend to keep them now. Albus took other memories from you, tasks so heinous your mind could not control the grief from bearing witness to them. He needed to destroy the Horcruxes and you know of the time turner- don't you?'

'He sent us back hours in time for reconnaissance on the Death Eaters.'

'Longer than that some times.'

'Severus?' Hermione turned to him then, willing the tiny threads of betrayal that begun to form within her.

'See, Hermione, how easily the lies come to him? Did he tell you about the Imperius curse you used on Peter Pettigrew, willing him to kill himself or how you hexed the Lestrange brother's into believing they were Squid food and sent them to be eaten alive...' Remus was trying desperately to persuade her away from Severus Snape. If only they could cast the charm and remove the memories of the caustic wizard.

'Are you truly wishing to sway the girl against me Lupin, perhaps you have designs on her yourself?' His voice was infused with the contempt and utter hatred he felt for the final Marauder and Hermione shivered as the dark magic he longed to strike with, slithered across her skin.

'I've already had her, Severus. She comes from my bed to yours and once again Snape gets another wizard's leftovers.'

'Remus,' Hermione said quietly. 'I suggest you take a step back, I shan't be leaving Severus no matter what you say.'

'Hermione please, he is a Death Eater and cannot be trusted!'

'And you are the Order of the Phoenix, yet you chained me to a life I didn't want!'

'You could have been such a decent witch.' Arthur shook his head sadly and joined hands with his wife and Bill, the three raising their wands as they begun to chant.

'Now see here!' Minerva cried but with a quick flick of Remus' wand, she was silenced and bound.

'Would anyone else like to interfere?' Remus snapped and looked to each member of the Order in turn, his fierce gaze forcing their wands upright and into position for the spell. 'I'm glad to hear it,' he said and turned to Minerva. 'I am sorry, Minny, but it had to be done. You weren't going to allow the curse to be re-established, and then she would have been his forever!'

'Why is that so bad?' Hermione cried and entwined her fingers in Severus' larger hand. 'I love him and you kept us apart. You, the beacons of light, honour and loyalty, deemed me unsafe, unstable and a threat to your very existence. It was the precious Order that gave birth to the witch I am today. Yet you would rather hide your sins away, and cast curses to remove Severus' taint on my soul. But you're wrong about him, he didn't seduce me, I seduced him!'

Molly gasped in shock, her wand shuddering in her hand as the magic they coveted, white and brilliantly pure, bubbled around them.

'My anger towards those involved in the first cursing belongs solely with Albus but should you choose to do this- you're condemning a witch in love, one who would die to protect her beloved. Do you want that on your conscience? If you take these memories from me, if you remove Severus from my life, I will surely die.'

Ginny snorted. 'Dramatic much? You're a right stupid bitch, Granger. Honestly we aren't going to let you leave, the curse isn't being re-established- we're going to kill you, both of you!'

'A stain on our perfect record,' Bill murmured, tilting his head slightly at his former Professor. 'It's been fun Professor. Sorry about the whole killing you business but it must be done. Surely you understand.'

'What I understand, Weasley, could fill that pathetic mind of yours a thousand times over and still have room for tumbleweeds to blow through aimlessly. Each and every person that raises their wand against us in anger turns their back on the very principle of the Order. You preach light and incarceration over death yet you stand before us, ready to kill a witch and a wizard that haven't harmed any of you.'

'I won't allow you to hurt him,' Hermione stated, 'and if you dare try to curse me, the only remains the Aurors will find are ash and abandoned wands.'

'Do you see?' Ginny cried, latching onto a very shocked Harry Potter. 'She would kill us!'

'In defence of a lover,' Harry said and crossed the dark magical wards threshold. 'I cannot let you hurt them, it isn't right.'

'Then I am sorry too, Harry,' Remus said sadly and aimed his wand, ready to bind Harry in the same way he'd secured Minerva. It was years of complacency and believing that Harry was still a boy that made the old wolf underestimate the younger wizard. Remus slumped to the ground with a sickening thud, and it took the Order only a scant few seconds to realise that the wizard known as Harry Potter hadn't raised his wand even once.

'I've hated Albus for years, Hermione, for what he did to us and I'll never forgive him for turning the Order into some kind of vigilante group,' he sneered at the gathered Order members who were now motionless and appearing petrified. 'A nice little spell the Aurory devised to stun a group of unruly Quidditch fans.'

'Yours?'

Harry smiled and nodded. 'They'll hunt you forever. You know that, don't you?'

'I shall modify their memories, Potter; they'll remember Miss Granger and myself but not the circumstances surrounding our disappearance.'

'That is some powerful magic there, Professor,' Harry said with a grin. 'You sure you've got enough?'

Severus scowled, his voice conjuring the deepest disgust. 'Rest assured, Potter, my magical ability has never been called into question. Shall I reveal the power of my wand?'

Hermione shuddered and rubbed her cheek against his chest. 'Please do, Severus.'

He smirked, raising a brow at Harry who grimaced and turned away. 'Would you like me to demonstrate the power you covet, my dear?'

'The only thing I covet, Severus, is you...please, we need to leave- they're already breaking through Harry's charm.'

'What? No they – bloody hell!' Harry ducked as a poorly aimed Stupefy whizzed past his head. 'Molly!'

'Stand aside, Potter!' Severus demanded as the boy who lived to one day die a martyr foolishly jumped in front of them.

'I won't let them hurt Hermione!'

'And do you think I will? Learn to trust your betters!' he snapped and shoved the younger wizard to the side and strode forward. 'You will cease this foolish wand waving immediately!' he bellowed and Hermione's knees shook from the magic careening along his voice, vibrating deliciously through her body. 'I will not suffer another decade without Hermione by my side. This inanity has been allowed to continue for far too long. Hear this, my estate is no longer for use by the Order- I revoke the blood rites issued here in the year 1981 by Albus Dumbledore, as master of this domain I banish thee- Order of the Phoenix- from my lands and my presence. You will be ignored by me and mine for eternity- BE GONE!' Hermione's wand rushed to Severus' hand and he lifted both into the air, murmuring a dark yet beautiful charm that rushed along his fingers, across his body and into the earth, shaking the dirt, the leaves and the very air around them as it fed into the elemental magic. Hermione's eyes fluttered closed as the spell washed over her, gently prickling her skin, setting her hair on edge, faintly she heard a scream, followed by several more and then only blissful silence.

'Are you well?' She felt his fingers running down her spine and over her arms, warm to the touch and so unbelievably soft.

'Severus...' Hermione breathed and tasted the air, finding only serenity and all conflict vanished. 'What was that?'

'A spell of my own making; a reverse binding.'

'You banished them from your lands?' she asked and slowly opened her eyes, staring up at the dark wizard as the sun shone down upon them.

'You will never suffer those fools again, Hermione. They will no longer linger in your mind; their thoughts not even a pin prick on your conscience...they are banished for eternity.'

'Um...not to, you know, interrupt, but I'm still here.'

'Harry!' Hermione cried and raced to his side, almost jumping into the wizard's arms in her attempt to hug him.

'As am I,' Kingsley said and rose carefully, rubbing the back of his head before helping Minerva to stand and checking her for injury.

'At least we know who to trust,' Hermione said and plucked her wand from Severus' hand, quickly checking Minerva and Kingsley for injury.

'Indeed,' Severus said and wrapped his arms around her. 'I would like to extend the hospitality of the Prince estate for your continued enjoyment.'

Minerva grinned. 'It has certainly been interesting.'

'Interesting?' Hermione asked incredulously. 'They wanted to curse me, then kill me then curse me again. How is that interesting?'

'Calm down, Hermione,' Harry said softly. 'You're all right and we'll find you somewhere safe to go, I promise.'

'Tell me Potter,' Severus drawled, 'where exactly is the Prince estate?'

Confusion drew across the wizard's face. 'Scotland?'

'Well spotted.' Hermione laughed. 'Are you implying the estate is under the Fidelius?'

'Your invitation was to the secret kept location. Once you leave the estate, the Prince home is burned from your mind- present company excluded, of course.'

'Ingenious,' Hermione said with a small smile and ran her hand up Severus' chest. 'Am I really free?'

He lowered his head, gently cupping her cheeks and kissed her, slowly at first but gaining a desperate passion that arched her body against his. 'We are free.'

'Uh, we're kind of still here!' Harry cried but was hushed quickly by Minerva who led the younger wizard back to the South Wing of the estate.

'Ignore him,' Hermione whispered as Severus glared hatefully at Harry's back.

'Why ever should I bother with an insufferable child when I have such a beautiful witch at my disposal?'

Severus engulfed the witch in his embrace, their gazes locked as the familiar squeeze of Disapparition wrapped around her. 'My bedroom- our bedroom,' he amended and with a whispered charm, rendered them both naked. 'We have several estates at our disposal, all unplottable and secret kept...'

'Several?' Hermione asked dazedly as her hungry eyes fell upon the walls laden with books and the sunken bath in the centre of the room. 'You have a bath in your bedroom.'

'The view is magnificent at dawn.' He crooked his finger and the curtains flew open, revealing a vast horizon of cliff faces and the vicious, swirling ocean beneath.

'We're at the seaside?' Hermione exclaimed, forgetting her naked, aroused lover as she raced to the window. 'Oh it's lovely.'

'Yes you are, my dear,' his deep voice rumbled against her back as he pressed her into the cold window.

'You seem to have a preference for windows,' Hermione gasped as he kicked her legs apart.

'I have a preference for you pressed against my windows,' he growled in her ear and she whimpered as his forearm slid across her chest and pinned her. 'Now I believe you mentioned fucking?'

'Is that all you recall from today? That I said the word fuck?' Hermione laughed breathlessly as his cock fell between her thighs.

'I remember the word love, as well,' he said softly and kneaded her breast with his left hand, as the right grasped the base of his cock, 'but there will be plenty of time for love later- right now I need to be inside you.'

'Oh Severus,' she whimpered and held on tightly to his arm as he thrust inside her, grunting in her ear as the welcoming heat of her body enveloped him.

'Like coming home, witch,' he growled. 'Do you have all your memories?'

'You know I do,' Hermione gasped as he pulled completely from her body, only to thrust back in so hard her head thudded against the window.

'Remember the battles...' he murmured and licked the shell of her ear. 'You saved my life then begged me to save yours...I didn't know then how it would affect me, but now...now I see you witch- all of you laid bare for me.'

'I remember,' Hermione sobbed with need as Severus stilled within her. 'You said we'd never be parted, that I belonged to you and only you. Did you truly mean it?'

'I mean everything I say.' He nuzzled her neck and brought his left forearm to her hungry gaze. 'I never renounced my old ways but chose the side of the light to protect you.'

'I know.' A low, desperate moan fell from her lips as he spun her around and lifted the witch into the air. 'I love you, Severus; never doubt that.'

Her declaration fuelled him, and he thrust forward, rougher than before, needier and more desperate to devour her. 'Lick it,' he demanded and she shivered as magic swirled around them. She'd only done it once before and he'd been so overwhelmed with the eroticism of her tongue touching the darkest part of his soul that he'd worshipped her body for days.

'Are you sure?'

He growled again and pressed his arm to her lips. 'A decade, Hermione, I have been without you. A decade that my magic yearned for its companion...will you deny me?'

Hermione would never deny him. For all his bravery and heroism there lay an insecure man beneath the magic, spurned by the witch he loved, and abused at the hands of those he trusted. She had been his light, his beacon to home. She could always bring him back from the brink of the black precipice with a simple touch of her hand to his heart. They had spent countless nights, sequestered away in the past, Albus' hapless lackeys: one driven by an unbreakable vow and the other by an obligation to protect the innocent.

'Severus move!' she hissed and licked his wrist, keeping her eyes locked to his. Her growing smirk sent a shiver of lust down his spine and she grew closer to the mark, that ever present reminder of his youth and his failure...but she revered it, toasted his mistakes, and blessed his darkness with her own unique brand of logic. 'I'll never leave your side- do you trust me, Severus?'

'Lick it!' he snarled and bit down hard on her ear, causing her to yelp. 'Do it now, witch.'

Her tongue darted out, languidly licking around the skull and snake brand on his pale skin. 'How does it feel?'

'Like torture!' Severus hissed and rolled his hips, making the witch squeal and bite down on his mark. 'Fuck witch! I said to lick it, not remove it!'

Hermione laughed throatily and swiped the length of his mark with her tongue. 'I remember the taste...'

'The Dark Lord,' he drawled and reached between their bodies, stroking her sensitive bud of nerves.

'No-' she smiled up at him lovingly, her thighs tensing around his waist, 'it tastes of you, Severus. I remember it so well...it's haunted me.'

'Feel free, my dear,' he murmured into her ear, gasping and panting as she tightened around his cock, 'to avail yourself of my taste whenever the mood strikes.'

As her body clenched he grunted his release into her, drawing out the last feelings of bitterness and regret, stealing his anger and forcing the joy he only felt with her to the surface of his lust addled mind. 'We will never be apart.'

'I wouldn't have it any other way.' She stroked his cheeks tenderly before placing a lingering kiss to his lips. 'We have a decade to catch up on.'

'And several rooms to...acquaint you with.' His smirk was wicked as he carried her to their bath and wandlessly filled the tub with steamy, fragrant water. 'But for now we bathe, and then I believe a tour of my home might be in order.'

Hermione snuggled against Severus' chest, silently thanking the Order of the Phoenix for forcing her compliance on this ridiculous excuse for a reunion. Had she continued to deny them, she would never have found her love again and regained her mind.

Dark magic may have brought them together but their love was pure as the light.