Chapter 17

Hermione didn't know what Fiendfyre was exactly, but she was happy it made an appearance when Greyback let out an angry growl and left to investigate. He pulled out a wand too, aiming it at the messenger threateningly.

"Watch the mudblood," he ordered.

"But the fire-"

Fenrir towered over him, his eyes narrowed to slits, murderous at the very idea of being questioned. "Watch. Her."

The other man just nodded quickly. Hermione eyed him up. He looked average enough. How dangerous was a werewolf in their human form?

"What's fiendfyre?" She asked.

"Shut up. Just don't talk, don't move."

Her brow furrowed. Ass. She continued to watch him very closely, almost smiling when she observed how distracted he was. He kept looking out the door every few moments. Fiendfyre must have been something scary if it reduced a werewolf to this. Or the man was naturally a coward or something. At one point he even stepped out of the room. Hermione didn't waste her chance, grabbing the knife from the bedside table and creeping towards the door. As she neared it she could make out the distant sound of screaming, and beneath it all some kind of insistent roaring. It didn't sound like an animal, it was a strange and foreign sound.

When the man filled the doorway again she was ready, plunging the knife into his neck. She still felt awful about it, he hadn't actually hurt her and he didn't look like he even wanted to be there, but she wasn't going to be stopped. She wasn't going to be here so Greyback could come back and do with her what ever he had been planning.

She wasn't sure where she stood on the moral spectrum, but she would choose her life over any of these people. Risking it for someone like Severus was one thing, but screwing over her chances of survival for these strangers who were helping a bad man was another thing entirely.

She left the room, trying to be more cautious this time. But once she smelled the smoke, she realised what was going on. Fiendfyre suddenly made a lot of sense. Some kind of magical fire she supposed. When she found a window she leaned out of it to get a look at the lower reaches of the building. She had to question her sanity a moment as it looked like a giant fiery serpent burned through the wall before slithering back around and into the building.

Magic Hermione, it's just magic. Magic can do things like that.

Well, going downstairs looked like a stupid idea. She had to find a fire escape. Taking off at a run she checked windows hoping to catch sight of an escape route.

When she heard footsteps nearby she ducked into the nearest room and hid, waiting for them to pass. She didn't think they were looking for her, but like her were looking for an escape.

She continued her trek through the building and found an exit leading to a stairwell. It was quiet here, maybe the fire hadn't spread to this part of the building yet. She followed them down, tucking the knife she had been gripping tightly away in the back of her jeans. She bounded down the steps, sometimes two, three at a time. Hearing a door slam nearby she tried to stop herself and stumbled, tumbling down the rest of the steps and crashing into the wall. She heard a bark of rough laughter and knew instantly Greyback had found her. She sat up and watched him climb the rest of the stairs.

He stood there a moment, his arms folded over his chest and he grinned, his dirty pointed teeth on display for her to see.

"Not quick enough mudblood."

He was on her the next second, crouched in front of her, his hand holding her throat and pinning her to the wall.

"He's coming for you," he muttered. "Who'd have thought?"

Hermione frowned at him and managed a choked "Who is?"

He rose to his feet, dragging her with him and hauled her back up the stairs.

"The fire," she reminded him.

"He won't let it touch you."

He took her into the nearest room, throwing her down on the bed. She felt the knife press into her back, hopefully it wouldn't actually cut her.

He climbed on top of her. What was he doing!? The building was on fire!

"He should be here soon I imagine," Greyback told her, leering down at her. "Shall we give him a little show?"

Hermione tried to keep fighting him off, kicking at him, trying to hold her jacket closed. He got frustrated with her and backhanded her across the face, hard. With the damage already done to her, it really hurt and stunned her a moment or two, enough time for him to grab her wrists and trap them in one of his massive hands above her head. She regained her senses and renewed her efforts to fight him, kicking, screaming, hissing, spitting, biting if he came close enough. When she managed to land a bite on his arm, he let out a pained grunt and hit her again to make her release him.

He took one of her hands and shifted it so he could get better access to the junction between her neck and shoulder. When he bit into her, it burned, like he was injecting lava into her. Fears of becoming a werewolf flashed through her mind, terrified of ending up like this monster biting her.

She tried to thrash harder but nothing she did shook him off. When he finally pulled away from her she could see her blood running down his chin, see it on his teeth as he grinned at her. He hardly gave her a moment to recover before he was pulling off her shoes and trying to tear off her pants. She was pretty sure she knew where this was going and of course she fought through the pain flaring ever more painful in her shoulder.

She needed to reach that knife.

xXx

Severus was walking up the stairs, cautious of any more werewolves, the Fiendfyre crashing around him and devouring everything in its path down below. He had already killed several werewolves stupid enough to try and stop him. But it had been a long time since he had wielded such power and he could feel the sweat on his brow from the exertion of keeping it to the lower floors without bringing the entire building down.

Fiendfyre was difficult for even the best of them.

"Severus!"

Severus' eyes narrowed on the man calling his name.

"Lupin," he practically snarled it. If he had anything to do with this...

"Hermione's two floors up, come on," he said.

"What the hell are you doing here?"

"On assignment," Remus replied.

Severus didn't bother questioning him further. If he turned out to truly be with the werewolves, Severus would kill him just like the others. Though he didn't really think the man capable of such duplicity, he took the oath when he joined the Order and for all the reasons Severus may not like him, he was loyal to his friends and the cause.

"Fiendfyre...a bit over the top don't you think?" Remus asked as he fell into step beside him.

"They were out of silver bullets at the corner store."

"Right," he said, well acquainted with the dark mans sarcasm.

They headed up the stairs and when they hit the floor Lupin was certain Hermione was on, they could hear shouting, Severus immediately recognized one of the voices as hers. His whole body turned cold when the sounds abruptly ceased. He broke out into a run, having to double back when he accidentally passed her room.

He paused in the doorway, eyes widening a fraction as he watched her straddling the werewolf's body and repeatedly shoving a knife into his face. She was crying, her shoes and pants were gone, her jacket torn and hanging off her in strips, her t-shirt wasn't in much better condition.

So intent on stabbing the man was she that Severus' entrance didn't even register.

"Hermione," he called softly.

Her eyes snapped to his and her grip tightened on the knife a moment before she registered just who was standing before her. Her mouth opened, looking as if she wanted to say something but nothing came out.

He pulled off his jacket and stepped towards her, wrapping it around her and helping her off the corpse of the pack leader.

How had she managed to do it? The man was easily twice her size and a beast. Severus looked down at the mess Hermione had made. He didn't think the werewolf was going to be coming back from this.

He looked to Remus. "Apparate us out of here."

Remus nodded and placed his hand on Severus' shoulder while he held the girl. She was unnaturally still, maybe having gone into shock.

With all the magic Severus had used today, the Death Eaters should be on their way if they hadn't arrived already. Hopefully Remus' use of magic would go unnoticed, drowned out by all the other magic use.

They reappeared out in the middle of some forest, the ground still blanketed in sludge from the melted snow. Severus helped Hermione take a seat on a near by rock while Remus stepped back to give them some space. He watched as Severus started speaking softly to the girl, with a tenderness he would never have associated with the usually harsh and abrupt man.

"Hermione," he said gently. "Tell me where else you're hurt."

He could see the damage to her face, bruises and scratches up her arms, but that wasn't the kind of hurt he was referring to. She was unnaturally still and silent and she was missing most of her clothes but he didn't know how to come out and ask whether or not Greyback had raped her.

Finally her eyes seemed to fix on him and the glazed look receded a little.

"He didn't. He was going to but he didn't. I stabbed him first," her voice came out in a quiet rush.

"Good girl," he tried to soothe her obvious panic.

"He almost did though, he got so close."

Despite how quiet her voice was, Remus could hear her easily. She sounded like she was on the verge of a panic attack. What stunned him more was the way Severus helped her through it, calmed her down and reassured her she was safe now. This was definitely a side of Severus he had never seen before, a side he didn't even think the other man had. Even more surprising, the girl was responding to it.

"He bit me! Does that mean I'm going to-?"

"No," Severus assured her quickly. "It's not a full moon and he wasn't fully transformed."

"You may pick up a few changes but nothing major," Remus told her. She might need to know.

She shot him a panicked glance while Severus glared at him for unnecessarily worrying her.

"Craving for red meat, irritability around a full moon, nothing to worry about," Remus said.

She nodded, releasing a relieved breath.

He sat and waited while Severus tended to the damage done to her before speaking up.

"We're about two days south of James' place," Remus told him.

Severus just nodded and Remus was once again surprised. He would have expected more resistance remembering quite clearly the hostility between Severus and James.

Severus was growing increasingly concerned for Hermione as she just sat there, trembling, or possibly shivering from her lack of clothing. She was without her pack and he didn't really have anything she could wear aside from his coat. And she had no shoes, but she would just have to suck it up.

He looked at her face, the damage was extensive, she looked as if she had been put through the wars. He cleaned up what he could and found her eyes drifting shut every now and again before shooting back open. It was possible she had a concussion, but just as possible this state was caused by mental and physical exhaustion.

"We need to get moving Severus," Remus reminded him.

He just nodded. "Hermione, are you capable of walking?"

She gave a nod as she hauled herself to her feet. Severus and Remus both watched her with concern. Remus had been forced to leave all his possessions behind as well so he had nothing that could have eased her pain or healed her.

Severus buttoned up the coat she was wearing and he glanced at Remus.

"We'll have to take it slowly. Can you please transfigure her some clothes?"

Remus nodded, doing just that. His transfiguration skills were a little rusty so the clothes probably wouldn't be very comfortable but they would preserve her modesty and the shoes would protect her feet at least.

xXx

Hermione woke up in the middle of the night gasping for breath. It had felt like he was on her again, choking the air out of her. She could smell his rancid breath and feel the weight of him...

"Hermione, you're safe. Be calm."

She stared at Severus, illuminated by the light of the moon. They had forgone a fire, not sure if the Death Eaters would have followed the apparition trace.

Remus was asleep, Severus had remained awake to take watch. His concern for Hermione was growing. She had been so quiet the whole day, subdued, flinching at every shadow or sudden noise. He understood she had gone through quite an ordeal. With how she was reacting he could only surmise she had never come this close to being raped before. A feat in itself in these times.

He had been terrified the entire time he had been searching for her. Even more so when he learned the werewolves had her. His attachment to her truly did go beyond his desire to get paid. God dammit... He had entered a werewolf den for the stupid girl, had actually been afraid for her safety and felt rage like never before when he had seen the state Greyback had reduced her to.

"I'm sorry, did I wake you?" She asked.

"No. I'm on watch."

"Oh."

"You should try and get some more sleep," he said.

"I'd rather not."

It had been hard enough getting to sleep the first time around with the amount of pain she was in from her various injuries. But the prospect of those nightmares returning wasn't a pleasant one.

She scooted closer to Severus and looked at him from the corner of her eye.

"Thank you." It came out a strangled sob. She scooted closer and rested her forehead on his shoulder. "Thank you for coming for me."

"Yes well, if you force me to do it again you'll regret it."

She smiled weakly into his sleeve. It was nice to hear he would come get her again should the need arise. It made her feel a little safer. She could rely on him, it was nice.

"Remus said something about a James' place. What is that?"

"A settlement. Last I heard it was actually thriving. It was started by James Potter after his wife was killed and he wanted to get away from the war."

"Losing his wife didn't make him vengeful?"

"It did, but he put it aside so he could raise his son."

"Is this the same Potter whose eyes you want to gouge out with the tip of his own wand?" She asked.

Severus frowned. "Yes, but I don't recall ever mentioning as much to you."

"When you had your fever you spoke sometimes. Lots of swears, lots of threats. We're going to go there and then what?"

"Take a few days to recover and plan our next move," he replied.

She lifted her head. Our? Still, she said nothing, not wanting to push. This was enough.

"How long will it take us to get there?" She asked.

"Without any detours, little over a day and a half."

"Our journey hasn't exactly been uneventful so far."

"No," he sighed. "No it hasn't."

"Hasn't been all bad though right?"

He looked down at her a moment. "It hasn't."