AN - I'm playing here. I've researched, and charted, and made time lines, and generally put way more thought than I originally intended, but I've also taken liberties. I love fan fiction, but I'm a little weary of the darkness some days. So this is 'Harry Potter lite', which is ridiculous because it's a hurt/comfort, angsty little affair. But what I mean by that is, Black's still kicking around, and Voldemort's just a little more laid back here. Maybe someone hugged him at some point and this universe fractured and spun off. Still a git, still bent on world domination and muggle extermination, but not storming around cruciatusing everyone and throwing rape orgies. A touch more subtle. And of course I'm talking more about in comparison with other fanon. This is a complicated universe, and my first foray, so maybe you could just squint your eyes and let it blur a little? Much appreciated.
"Potion Master, Potion Master, Where have you been?"
"I've been to London to visit the Lord."
"Potion Master, Potion Master, What did you dare?"
"I frightened a little rat under his chair."
Severus Snape was a very busy man. When it wasn't Voldemort, it was the Order. When it wasn't the Order it was teaching, and when it wasn't teaching it was stocking potions. Right now it was a cascade of obligations. Even on summer break it didn't end. Voldemort had kept him for days, simply for the pleasure of his company apparently. Possibly the only person in the universe to feel thus. At least someone appreciated his scathing wit, even if it was a psychopathic ego-maniacal dictator. Must count one's blessings and all that optimistic tripe Albus so dearly loved to peddle.
And so it was that in his last fleeting weeks of freedom before the annual forced march back to the trenches of teaching, he found himself entombed in his make-shift potions lab at Grimmauld place brewing frantically to restock the Order's bare cupboards. And delight of delights, knowing 'how very over strained his time table had become' he'd had an assistant pressed upon him. A very small, bushy haired, know-it-all of an assistant. Who may not have been quite the atrocious inconvenience he had anticipated. After a searing warning about needless questions to start off, she actually seemed to sense the urgency of his task, and settled in as a biddable set of extra hands. Nothing critical of course, but she had proven reliable for fetching ingredients, instruments, and nourishment when given properly detailed instructions. More than could possibly be hoped for with the majority of her dunderheaded classmates.
And now Lupin had returned just days before the full moon having handed out his entire supply of Wolfsbane potion to the werewolves he was trying to sway to their side as a sign of good intentions. Brilliant. Just pop back and have me whip up a batch, eh? Because brewing Wolfsbane is so simple. And having a werewolf at headquarters who may have missed the potion's window of efficacy is such a sound decision. And let's not lock him up just yet, because that would be cruel. To him. Poor thing. Never mind everyone else.
It was academically interesting to him to see if the potion would have any effect, the course being started so late. If that nullified the effects the same way interrupting the cycle did, or if it would merely be less effective, as he was hypothesizing. And to what degree the calming properties would be diminished. But not interesting enough to warrant housing an anxious, pacing, sweating werewolf down the hall from him. Albus really was losing his mind, just waving off all his concerns as if his own experience had rendered him incapable of discussing the situation rationally. He'd always been too soft on his beloved 'Marauders'.
Three potions were coming into their critical final stages just as the Wolfsbane began to smoke, signaling it's completion. It would be a complicated dance to juggle them all, but one he'd done before. And the Wolfsbane must be administered as soon as possible.
"Miss Granger, the Wolfsbane is complete and must be delivered with all speed if there's any chance of it being effective." The girl paled. As if he'd put a student into that kind of danger. Although it was refreshing to see she'd learned something from that terrible night in her third year. "Go and find a senior order member and have them bring it to Lupin, preferably Dumbledore or Black, and then return here, unobtrusively, as the next few minutes will require all my concentration. When these are finished you may assist me in bottling them."
With a small nod she swept away, with the large eyes and carefully measured steps of the very young entrusted with something fragile. And important. He gave a nod in return at her care, to her fleeting back.
Ten minutes later he was sagging back into the wall, admiring three beautiful finished potions when a scream rent the air.
She had tried. She really had. Looked everywhere. But they were all in a meeting. Locked in the library. A very important meeting if she remembered the whispers correctly. And she couldn't interrupt him to ask. Three potions! At a critical stage! Days of work. And she was so very grateful for every scrap of his time. Had worried so much when he was away. Wanted so very badly to please him. It was so important to Mr. Lupin to take this right now. She didn't want him to have to be locked up. It wasn't his fault he was- like he was. And he was so very nice all the rest of the time. And giving the other poor werewolves all his potions had been so kind and brave and selfless. He was brave, and so could she. Gryffindors the both of them.
And so her feet carried her slower and slower towards his door. Her hands began to shake, and she was terrified she'd slop the potion. So important.
"Mr. Lupin, sir?"
A timid knock, and the door was wrenched open. She gasped as a clawed hand shot out, grabbed her arm, and dragged her inside. She was up against the wall in a second, the air forced from her lungs. The growling behind her scared her more than the actions. Any order member was just as likely to jump at high strung instincts. Moody had laid her our just last week when she reached for a cup of tea. But this was different. This was terrifying. Hands dug in as the growling increased and his hot breath pounded on her neck. Animal instinct kicked in as she began to writhe and struggle until she felt the teeth at her neck, his whole weight crushing her into the wall. Please not that, not to be bitten and turned, it would kill him when he came to. He was such a nice man.
"Please Mr. Lupin, please! I'm sorry! I'll go. I didn't mean to. To startle you. I'm so sorry! Please!"
His teeth snapped shut with a click a breath from her ear, and then his face was in her hair, along her neck, snuffling.
"Please Mr. Lupin, it's me, Hermione. Harry's friend. Please. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."
Didn't know what she was sorry for, didn't know anything but that she so very, very much wanted to be down the hall, back in the potion's lab. Safe. Severus. Please.
More deeper growling, and she was flung around, back to the wall, head bouncing off, and she was dazed, things were spinning, hands and growling, and ripping. And then he was bearing her down, down onto the floor, on top of her, pushing and pulling and growling. It was cold, and something was wet down her back, hurt maybe. And then, and then she remembered to scream. But only until he hit her across the face, then everything got quiet and black.
Severus Snape was down the hall and throwing the door open before he had a conscious thought about the matter. What he saw then made his blood run cold. Lupin. On the floor. Savaging his apprentice.
The werewolf was thrown across the room, stupefied and bound, even as he was lifting Hermione in his arms and sweeping out the door, warding it behind him.
"Hermione?" She looked dazed, too much white visible in her eyes, but she was conscious, and her fingers had curled into his robe, clutching it in a white knuckled grip. He heard yells from the library, and the pounding of feet up the stairs. Her eyes began to roll with the approaching commotion, and she let out a pitiful whimper.
"Shh, I won't let them. It's alright."
He saw Albus's ridiculous maroon cap preceding him up the stairs, almost at the landing- the man could probably beat Potter at a foot race if he hiked up his robes and gave it half a try- and yelled down to him
"Albus, there's been an incident. Keep Lupin under strictest guard in that room, no matter the circumstances. I'm taking Miss Granger to my lab, and I expect no interruptions for the time being."
And with that he swept inside and slammed the door behind them, throwing up his strongest wards. Even Albus wasn't getting through until he so chose. With that he sagged a bit against the door, catching his breath until the girl in his arms began to shiver. Shock. Of course she was in shock.
"Hermione, I'm going to sit you on my desk." He whispered a cushioning charm as he crossed the room and set her down. "I need to make sure you're alright."
That managed to wrench a startled look from her even in her current state. Her current state. Of course she wasn't alright! She'd just been attacked by a fucking werewolf. He hung his head and his eyes pressed closed as he rubbed the bridge of his nose.
"I'm sorry. Of course you're not alright." He gathered himself back together and straightened up. "Does anything hurt? Do you know-" Oh god. "Do you know if he bit you?" Please no. Please, please, please say no. Not- no. But she just looked up at him with those huge eyes and began to cry, until his arms wrapped around her and drew her close. Pressed her face into his chest and stroked her hair. All the things he wished someone had done for him after- No. Not the time.
He rocked her, and made those shushing sounds that seem to well up like sympathetic blood from people in the wake of such visible pain. Until she finally quieted down and he could step back a pace. She whimpered and he realized her hands were still locked in his robes. If that helped her calm, for now, so be it. Then he realized the hand that had been stroking her hair had come away wet. Wet, and dark, and sticky. Oh god.
"Hermione. I need to see your head." She cried out when he shifted, and he hushed her again. "You don't have to let go. I'm going to take one step back, and I want you to lean against me, looking down to the floor so that I can examine the back of your head."
Her hair was wet and matted, but he was relieved to see that it wasn't blood but the potion. Or not all blood. As he shifted her curls to the side he found some shards of crystal embedded in the nape of her neck, and scratches from others that had fallen to the desk. The remains of the goblet he'd sent the potion in. It must have smashed on the floor before she'd been thrown down on it. He evanescoed the mess of pieces and potion before summoning his medical kit and treating the gashes. Almost glad Lupin had smashed his only chance at relief. That rabid fucking animal deserved to suffer every second of his curse.
"Hermione?" She raised her head and he saw the side of her face had swelled and was darkening. He cursed softly under his breath as he smoothed a bruise cream over it with a bare touch. Her eyes looked tired now, still a little panicked, but worn from tears. As he finished his inspection of her face his eyes turned down in search of other injuries, and he realized her robes were torn open, hanging from her shoulders, jagged strips of cloth. He choked. "Hermione?"
She just looked tired, and raw, and she pressed her face against him once again.
"Do you want me to go get someone else-" Fingers scrabbled clutching tighter. "One of the women?" Her head began to shake from side to side. "McGonagall or-" Her breath had sped up and her head was jerking harder, thrashing against him. "Alright. Ok. Shh. Just me. No one else. Just me."
How could anyone, let alone a young woman, feel safe, want him- want him for this? And yet there she clung, with shocking strength and determination. He wouldn't let her down. She was trusting him. She was relying on him. He wouldn't make this worse. After a- a hug? A gentle pat on the back. He eased back from her again.
"Would you mind- I think- I think we should take off some of your torn things. So we can find any other injuries, to treat them." Softy, so softly, like to an animal. A hurt, frightened, little animal. "I'll get my blanket- for you. It's a very nice blanket. Soft. And warm. And we'll wrap you up. And get rid of these torn, messy clothes. Get some better ones. Clean everything up."
At her softest nod he summoned the blanket; black, and wool, and warm, and soft, and slid it between them, pressed between them, covering her chest.
"Can you let go-" She whimpered again, and something in his chest tightened painfully. "Just one- Just this one. Just for a moment. Just to slide this sleeve down. Then we can switch." And miracle of miracles, it worked, just like he'd said. And as the sleeve slid down it drew away like a theater curtain, revealing horrid hand shaped bruises, with red crescent nail marks, but he couldn't think about that now, he dare not stop now. Not now that she was calm, and she'd let go. Deal with it in a moment. Deal with it all piece by piece. He drew that sad, lost, little hand back to it's place on his robe, enfolding it with his own until it found purchase again. Releasing it with a soft swipe of his thumb across the back as he reached for the next, prying it loose, and gently pulling off the second sleeve before returning it to it's place, sealed there with the whisper of his lips to her knuckles. He guided her head back to his chest and took a breath before he looked at her back. A few more scratches from the crystal, and a bruise between the shoulders. Saw to her arms. The hand prints. The cuts from his nails. He pulled back. Another deep breath.
"Hermione? Shall we get you wrapped up in this nice blanket? You look cold. I'm going to wrap this around your back." She relaxed back enough for him to draw the blanket around her shoulders, enfolding her, with the edges across her front.
"Better? Hmm." Breathe. "Hermione? May I open the blanket? I need to- I need to check. To make it better." Now he sounded like an idiot, but he could barely bring himself to care. He was out of his depth. He knew it. She should bloody well know it. And he was doing the very best he could.
She nodded, even as the tears began to leak again, and resolutely turned her head away to stare at the far wall. That thing in his chest throbbed again, in time with her quivering lip. The slashes from the battle at the ministry had barely healed, still red and tender looking. And now there were deep scratches dug in at the sternum and radiating out to each shoulder. A bruise following under her right breast. With those red crescents. Breathe. Bruise cream. Healing balm. Breathe.
"I'm going to accio my pajama top. For you. Would that be all right? It's very soft. And it buttons all the way up." He thought he might have seen a flicker of light in her eyes at that. Good. He needed a moment. A moment of equilibrium. Before this got any worse.
With some gentle coaxing he got her dressed, and resettled. Swimming in his black, buttoned shirt. That bit in his chest seemed to ease up seeing her covered and set to rights. It seized again at the thought of what was next.
"Hermione? Can you tell me what happened?" A mew of pain, and a quick shake of her head. "Can you- Do you know if you were bitten?" Tears. "Did- did he- I need to know-" Shaking. Clutching at him again. Shaking. Looking up at him with those huge tear filled eyes. Gods, how hard could this be? Very, very hard. This was going to be so much worse if he just went bumbling ahead. He couldn't make this worse. Could not. Would not. Her eyes.
"Hermione? May I see? May I see the memories?" She cried out. "Then no more questions. I won't have to ask. I'll know. And I'll be so careful. You don't have to see, you don't have to remember. I'll just slip in, on little cat feet, and then we'll fix the rest and be done." Only a very skilled legilimens could. Thank god for small mercies. She looked terrified, but she nodded, and he was in, wanting this done. Wanting it all over. And then he was being grabbed, thrown to the wall, terrified, on the floor- saved and so grateful, so safe, bergamot and rosemary and a thousand scents that swirled together around black wool robes, and that voice- his voice! Jogged him out, and he slumped into her embrace, relief like a river washing over him. No bites. And not- he'd been in time to- the animal hadn't gotten as far as that. Treat the hip and thigh, and they'd be done. Not as bad as it could have been. Not as bad as he'd feared. The skirt had to go. Almost done.
"Hermione? No bites. You're going to be ok. Everything's going to be alright. I just need to fix up your hip now. I'm going to move the blanket down, and clean this up, and then we'll get you the bottoms to match that top." She had slumped in relief, and seemed to lose what little awareness she had had. He severed the skirt where it was already torn, tending yet another hand print on her hip, and then the scratches down her thigh, and raw spots at her back from her underwear being torn off. So close. Too close. He held her while he summoned the pajama bottoms to match the top, as he'd promised. She'd appreciate that in the morning. Women were very conscious of these things, were they not? His mind was wandering. He shrunk them down so they wouldn't fall off her, and very carefully slid them up and under the shirt, staring resolutely over her shoulder as he tied them at her waist. She need suffer no further indignation. She was very precious. His hands were shaking. He needed to- to what? To tell them, someone, that she, that things were- Dumbledore. On his third try he summoned his patronus and sent it to Albus, before shuffling them to the couch and collapsing. Hermione very carefully tucked against his chest, beating him to sleep by just a few moments.
A lively silver doe trotted not more than ten feet, through the wall of the potion's lab, and into the newly minted sitting room that had sprung up just outside it's warded door, cantering to a stop in front of a very haggard, drawn looking Albus Dumbledore holding a cold cup of tea in one hand, and compulsively tugging his beard with the other. It opened it's petite mouth and Severus Snape's equally haggard voice issued forth, waking the rest of the sitting room's occupants.
"Miss Granger has been violently attacked. Her injuries have been treated. I'm going to- She needs to rest. I'm not- She doesn't wish to see anyone yet. She wasn't bitten, and I am as sure as I can be, until the full moon truly rises and we can be absolutely certain, that she wasn't infected, thank god. I trust that you will treat this trespass with all the weight it's due, Albus Dumbledore, and keep that animal properly restrained until I can question him and justice can be served. I strongly suggest the house's dungeon with your own warding. I think Hermione would be particularly upset to have her attacker still just down the hall when she wakes. I- We will discuss this fully and privately- later. Tomorrow. Good night."
Pale faces turned, one to another, with looks of horror and sadness.
"How could he-"
"Why is she in there? With him! What if she's not ok? What if-"
"Mr. Weasley, that's quite enough. Professor Snape is a teacher, and takes the care of his students very seriously. He has explained more than I had hoped for at this late hour. She doesn't wish to see anyone, and he is respecting her wishes. He has treated her injuries, and obviously put her to bed. And if you'd listened with any modicum of clarity the concern and care in his tone would have been obvious. To bed with you now. All of you! All but you Minerva. If you wouldn't mind assisting me at this late hour, with one more sad but necessary task?"
"Of course Albus, I'll go prepare the dungeon, and then meet you back here."
"Thank you, my dear. I fear tomorrow will be a long, sad day."
AN - The end. For now. Possibly forever since I'm really awful at finishing thing. Sorry. I do have backstory for Remus's little jog off the deep end worked out, so if not knowing makes you as bothered as it does me you can msg me for it. Hat tip to kittyperry's The Black, Woollen Blanket for Severus's blanket, couldn't resist slipping that in. And much thanks to Cruel-Crush for the art.