The large oak doors of the hospital wing burst open, and Severus stormed in. "Where is she?" He bellowed frantically looking around at each bed. The hospital wing was empty save for one spot near the far end of the room.
A startled madame Pomfrey, rushed over, stumping herself in front of the man. The witch was tiny in comparison to Snape's height but she wasn't afraid. "Severus... this isn't a good time... she is still weak."
"I don't care," he pushed past the thin witch and rushed over to the farthest hospital bed. "Hermione," he started but he stopped dead at the sight of her. She was pale beyond recognition. All colour left from her face, her eyes dark as if she hadn't slept in years. A sickening feeling entered Snape's stomach. He knew this wasn't natural, that this wasn't her doing. His anger rising at the thought that anybody would harm her.
She turned her head at the sound of his voice and forced a smile, "Hello Professor." Her voice was weak, and breathless. Her body shivering beneath the blanket.
"What the hell happened?" Every attempt Snape normally put to composure was gone at the sight of her. Hermione bit her lip and turned away. She really didn't want to tell him about any of it, including what was on her stomach. She knew exactly how he would react, and it wouldn't be good. "Hermione..." he placed a hand on the sheet right over the cuts and she uncontrollably grimaced.
Madame Promfrey rushed over and grabbed his arm, pulling him away from ear shot from the bed. Hermione watched the two talk. As she saw the blood slowly drain from Snape's face, she too felt more nauseous as she knew this wouldn't end well.
The potions professor couldn't believe what he was hearing. Madame Pomfrey talked slow, "Miss Granger's body has suffered from severe frost bite."
"What happened?" Snape tried to sound professional but there was a slight strain in his voice.
"Hagrid found her by the lake..." the old witch didn't know how to explain the absurd situation. "Miss Granger was tied to a tree, exposed and..." The small witch trailed off. She was unsure how to say what happened, and at the same time was confused about the professor's interest in it. Poppy had known Severus since he was just a boy, and never had she seen him so concerned for someone's well-being.
"Well she was bleeding from several cuts in her abdomen," the witch paled at mentioning this. "None of our potions that we carry will heal them. It seems to have been done with a dark form of magic, that's why I called you."
Snape rushed back to Hermione's side and made to move the blanket but the small girl grabbed his arm. "Severus no..."
He pushed her hand away, ignoring the girls plea and pulled the blanket back. The shock of her stomach made Severus stumbled backwards. In black lettering, almost as if it were burned into her skin, were the words 'teacher's pet'. "What the devil..." Snape's stomach turned, and he held back the nausea that filled him.
Snape just shook his head, and painfully watched as the girls eyes welled with tears. "Who did this?" he questioned trying to fight the urge to yell when she didn't answer. As tears fell down her cheeks a small suspicion picked his brain and he asked, "Was it him?" Her silence was answer enough, and mental pictures of the blonde boy defiling her filled his head. He turned to Pomfry and commanded, "take her to my quarters, I have medicine there to help her." He stormed away without receiving a response and out of the hospital wing.
Anger filled him like never before, and he stalked through the hallways towards the Great Hall. The students would be having breakfast but he didn't care about making a scene. He was half tempted to kill the boy himself. A sick thought of him merely choking the life out of the little rat was satisfying enough.
Not only was he enraged about the act itself, but Snape was baffled as to why the child would do that in the first place. Did he not know who he was dealing with? Severus couldn't care any less about who the boys father was, or who was residing at his home. This was something you just don't do to anybody.
A dark thought made him waver in his pace. Your a deatheater Severus, it's your life. "But not hers," he said aloud bitterly.
He pushed open the doors to the great hall, and in an instant the room grew quiet. Severus was a man where people could feel his anger, it engulfed the room like an incense. A looked over to the long Slytherin table and picked out the blonde boy at the edge, smirking, as if waiting for him. With just a look from the dark haired teacher, Draco Malfoy nodded, and strode cooly from the large room and into the halls. The two walked silently through the stone halls, Draco losing his strong posture as the silence grew thicker. After they were a few halls away, Snape grabbed the collar of the boys shirt and threw him up against a wall.
"I thought I told you to stay away from her," the man snarled in the boys face.
Draco tried to look cool, but the tad amount of fear could be seen in his eyes. "Just following orders like the rest of us..."
Severus was done with this idea of dragging Hermione into everything, and he pulled out his wand digging it into the boys neck. "I can make you disappear, and I can make it look like an accident." Draco's eyes flickered from his angry professor's face, to the wand digging into his neck. "Now who's orders were these exactly? The Dark Lord's?"
"Well... th-they weren't orders exactly, more of a suggestion..." The boy replied, and at that Severus lowered his wand.
He knew exactly what that meant, and who's orders those would be. Still holding him against the wall, Snape snarled in his face, "I don't want to see you near Miss Granger again, and I don't need to explain what will happen if you do. Got it?"
The boy nodded, no hint of a smirk, and Severus knew he had to act fast because Draco Malfoy wasn't one to listen to threats, or keep his word.
First stop was to his quarters where he directed Poppy to take the girl. He entered the warded door of his quarters and strode in to find Madame Pomfrey immediately trying to halt him again. "She is sleeping Severus, leave her be."
He didn't need to say anything as he pushed past the thin witch and towards a cabinet that was set in a shelf. He pulled the cabinet open, grabbed a select few vials and made to enter the room, glancing back at Poppy.
"You have five minutes," she said sternly but soft before leaving Snape's quarters.
Severus sat on the the chair beside the bed and watched the sleeping girl. He was beyond angry and knew he would regret what he was about to go do, but he had to see her first.
He caressed her cheek, listening to her slow deep breaths and watched as her eyes fluttered open. "Severus?" Her hand lifted and held his.
"Don't worry Hermione, I just have a few potions for you, then you can go back to sleep."
He handed her the first vial and she drank it obliging. "I'm sorry Severus."
"No, don't apologize for something like this," he handed her the remaining few vials and she drank each one, the last one being a sleep potion that lulled her into a slumber, and Severus was left watching her sleeping form again.
It was an understatement to say that he felt something for the girl, and he knew it was wrong. He was old enough to be her father, that was obvious enough, but mentally she wasn't that age at all. Mentally she had grown from her experiences, but now she was a target. He had made her a target. Snape ripped a piece of parchment from a notepad that was on the table beside her bed, he scrawled quickly and left it folded on her nightstand. As he stood he leaned in and kissed her forehead, apologizing even though he knew she couldn't hear it. He then stalked out of the room, through to the front doors of the castle and to the edge of the grounds before apparating into the night.
The darkness of the mansion loomed before him, but it was a sight Severus had seen many times. He knew the mansions halls as if he'd grown up there all his life, so he knew exactly where the man he was looking for would be. Up two sets of stairs, to the end of a hall, to a room whose light was shining under the edge of the door. Severus didn't bother knocking, he never did anyways so now wasn't the time to start.
He opened the door revealing an elaborate setup. Though the room was at the end of the hall, it extended long enough to be a small apartment. There were two dark leather couches and a fire going in a large stone fireplace. It was almost a scene you would see in a muggle's movie. Out from a room in the back came a tall thin man with long shining blonde hair the same colour of his sons. At the sight of the intruder, one Lucius Malfoy stopped and smiled the icy sly grin he was famous for and said, "I guess this meant you got the message."
It was at those words that Snape lunged towards him, his wand stretched out and pointing at the tall man's face.