Chapter Four

Hermione looked up tearfully at Severus, "It started in 2nd year. Dumbledore had the three of us brought to his office at the beginning of the school year. He convinced us that for Harry to defeat Voldemort, he needed a magical boost. The conniving old bastard had us take a blood oath, but he didn't tell us what it did – it literally made me their slave. He told us it made us like natural born siblings."

Snape snorted sardonically, "Of course he did." He smoothed her hair back and squeezed her reassuringly.

She sighed, "In fourth year, he summoned me alone. The memories are very clouded, so I don't know for sure what he did, but when I woke up the morning I felt…different. Like part of me was missing. Over the next few years I would experience blackouts and my body always felt strange afterwards." Hermione closed her eyes for a moment before continuing, "Looking back, I think I was raped repeatedly and then Obliviated. I also believe that any damage done to me was repaired each time, even to the point of restoring my hymen."

Severus looked down at the tiny witch in his arms. He wanted to howl in rage that someone would deliberately hurt such a precious treasure that was Hermione. In an uncharacteristic show of tender emotion, he touched his forehead to hers and whispered, "I love you," as he willed the same sentiment through their bond. Hermione trembled at the intensity – she could not doubt the sincerity of his declaration. She raised a hand to stroke his cheek, "Thank you. You have no idea how much that means to me." With a lopsided grin, she reached up to press a gentle kiss to his lips. "I have a great deal of affection for you, Severus. It is not love yet, but it's getting there."

The Potions Master gazed at her for a moment before he nodded and resumed rubbing soothing circles on her back. Hermione sighed and rested her head against Snape's chest, "Where was I? Oh right…well, Ron and Harry didn't seem to act any different towards me, so I've never been sure who was using me for sex. For the boys, it was all about doing their homework for them so they could goof off. But now…looking back, they must have known something was happening, even if they never…" her voice faltered, "…participated. Every time I balked at doing their bidding or wanted to do something different from them, I had a blackout shortly afterwards."

She groaned slightly when Severus involuntarily clenched his arms too tight around her in his anger. He immediately loosened his hold, "Merlin, Hermione, I didn't mean…" he trailed off as a delicate finger pressed against his mouth.

"None of that," she scolded, "you were only wishing to protect your mate, not deliberately harm me." A pensive look came over her face. "Would Legilimency break the memory charm? We really need to know what spells were cast on me and if they'll still affect me as a vampire. Speaking of which, I am starting to get really hungry!" Her eyes were beginning to glisten with blood lust and the allure of retribution for what was done to her.

Snape shared a feral grin with his mate, "Of course, my dear, we shall…dine…shortly." He summoned a jar of pig's blood to him and slowly warmed it for her. "In the meantime, this will help curb the cravings until we can find a suitable meal. His lips quirked as Hermione made a face before downing the container of blood.

She scowled slightly as she looked up at the dark wizard holding her, "It tastes funny."

A dry chuckle followed her complaint, "That's because it's animal blood, which helps control our craving for blood – it allows us to be able to take what we need from humans without draining them completely." Severus sighed, "In these more modern times, it becomes such a hassle to explain corpses to the authorities, so it has become routine to supplement human blood with animal blood. We can glamour humans to believe an alternate explanation than 'a vampire bit me'!"

Hermione giggled a bit at the put out expression on her mates face and then frowned, "Can we try breaking the memory charm now?"

Severus shook his head, "We need to feed first. Knowing Albus, there will more than just memory charms and we will both need all our reserves to fix the damage he's done. Now come, I will teach you to hunt."

They shared a hungry grin before heading to the exit of Snape's lair.

A/N: sorry for the delay – upon reviewing my notes, I realized I deviated completely from my original storyline and it's taking some time to pull this together. Thanks for all the great reviews received so far! They are much appreciated!