Author's Notes:

1) Post-War AU. Canon-divergent from when the Snatchers found the Golden Trio.

2) Updates will be sporadic (my break aside). Chapter lengths will vary (some may be over 5k words long, some may not break 2k).

3) This story contains a backstory element I came up with that has also appeared in my Fenmione/Dramione fic Wolf's Blood in regard to Fenrir's activity and behavior during the War, as well as one (that is not solely mine, but is a theory quite few people in the fandom believe) about Hermione's heritage that appears in the majority of my Hermione-werewolf fics.

CANON DATE REFERENCE: The Skirmish at Malfoy Manor occurs roughly around Easter, 1998 (which was 12th of April), making it approximately 3 weeks between then and the Battle of Hogwarts (2nd of May).

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Harry Potter, or any affiliated characters and make no profit—in any form—from the creation of this work.

Chapter One

It had happened while they were shagging. As she felt it, as she became aware of what she was doing, she understood . . . .

All this time, she'd still had some little kernel of doubt buried in the back of her thoughts. Some tiny voice letting out muted screams that it wasn't true. She wasn't one of them, she couldn't be. That the last two months and three weeks hadn't happened. She was a human. She was a Muggle-born. She was not a girl descended from werewolves. She did not have wolf's blood coursing through her veins.

She did not feel driven by the same instincts that they drove them, only manifesting in her life in different ways because of her conditioning by the Muggle—and later the Wizarding—world.

Yet, there was this . . . .

As he'd shifted back to sit on his heels and pulled her with him, straddling his lap. As his hands clamped tight over her hips, rocking her against him. As she'd let her head tip back and her eyes drift closed at the blissful sensation of an orgasm sweeping through her . . . .

Everything crashed down over her in that moment, and not in a good way.

Pulling back, that sweet feeling horribly cut short, she stared up at him with wide, frightened eyes. She could feel the wetness on her lips, could taste the bittersweet copper on her tongue.

As that orgasm had swept through her, Hermione had snapped her head forward again and sank her teeth into Fenrir's pectoral muscle.

Being who and what he was, the pain hadn't affected him in what she'd consider a normal way. He'd choked out a delighted gasp and then a breath hissed from between clenched teeth as he tightened his hold on her.

It was that moment. It was how perfect it had felt, in the quiet of night beside the roaring fire. The two of them alone in the forest. The feel of his bare skin pressed to hers as those amber eyes of his had held hers in that look . . . .

Their limbs wrapped around one another as they pushed each other over the edge. Somehow, in that moment, biting him—biting him hard enough to draw blood—had seemed a perfectly logical, rational, natural thought.

As she pulled back to stare up at him he froze, already aware she was panicking over what she'd just done. He knew she'd hate it if he pointed out how seeing her like this—her chestnut eyes huge and his blood dripping from her lips—only made him want to throw her down and keep going.

Holding back a growl, he slid his hands up from her hips to cup her face. "It's okay."

But those eyes, the ones he was so sure would somehow be the death of him, started to well up as she gaped at him. "No . . . no. It's not. It's not okay, don't make this normal, please!"

A heavy sigh rumbling out of him, he carefully plucked her off of him, extracting himself, and pulled across his lap. Cradling her petite frame against his, he made gentle cooing noises—she imagined these were the sort of sounds wolves made to soothe anxious pups.

"That's what you're most scared of, isn't it? Not what you did, but the feeling that it could be normal?"

"Shut up," she said, sniffling, though her tears garbled her words a bit. "Don't make this make sense." Yet, even as she half-yelled at him, she curled her arms around his as he held her and ducked her head beneath his chin.

He held in a chuckle—no, no, she wouldn't appreciate him laughing just now. "I can smell your fear, you know. You keep telling yourself that if this isn't normal, if this isn't actually you, maybe you can go back to your old life."

"I know it's stupid."

Fenrir made another soothing noise as he rubbed one of his large, rough palms over her back in gentle circles. "No, not stupid. Wholly unrealistic, perhaps, but not stupid."

"That's not very helpful."

"More helpful than placating your little pity-party, Sweetness."

Hermione knew he was right about that. She didn't want him to be right, but that didn't change the fact that he was. "I know it's probably really shit of me to be so afraid when this is what you are, but it makes me feel like everything will change if I accept it about myself."

There was more to it than that. He was perfectly aware she just didn't want to say it. That if she accepted her heritage completely rather than just in theory, she'd embrace it. She'd want it. She might actually want him to bite her. She'd have to confront everything that had happened.

Okay, perhaps this was a good moment for placation, he decided. Just a little, though—he'd mix it in with the hard truth.

Tightening his hold on her, he let out another heavy, rumbling sigh as he said, "It won't. It feels that way because it'll change how you see yourself."

She let her eyes drift closed. Listening to the steady, thundering beat of his heart beneath her ear, feeling the warm press of his chest against her cheek, she reminded herself that from the moment she'd first heard his whispered words in her ear, some part of her had known the truth.

Yet it hadn't prepared her for anything that followed.

Near-Three Months Earlier

He had known the moment he saw her . . . the moment he was close enough to smell her. He knew the girl who called herself Penelope Clearwater had wolf's blood. The Dark Lord was a shit . . . well, more so than usual. Only letting him eat people. Fucking hell, they called him savage, but revered the one who charmed him so he could only do as he was bid by the caster? And people wondered why he hated humans so.

But he hadn't wanted to eat her. Oh, no. He said he did, but that was just a cover for what he really wanted. Even in the state the Dark Lord had forced him to exist, he knew in a split-second of catching her scent that he wanted to keep her. Protect her. Have her. All the things that would mean she was his.

He'd leaned close as the crew with him had laughed and leveled threats while trying to scare them into talking, while trying to figure out who was who. He'd breathed the words in her ear, "Shit's going to get rough. Play along."

It was the best warning he could work up with his mind so fragmented by hunger and need.

But she'd only blinked up at him, her fear not changing or lessening a single iota. That was when he understood. The girl had no idea what she was. The girl who claimed to be a Half-blood but turned out to be a Muggle-born.

No one would care what became of her. Only one way to ensure she survived this.

He'd played up his ferocity just for them. He talked about how much he liked flesh like hers. Wondered allowed what her skin would taste like as he took bites out of her . . . .

By the time they dragged those three into Malfoy Manor, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that he wanted to eat her or add her to the army. No doubt that anyone they were about to see would mind handing the Mudblood witch over to him.

Hermione could feel it. She wasn't sure what it was. But something in the way he looked at her, something about the little internal shiver that rumbled through her core whenever he talked, something in the very nearness of him spoke to her on some primal level she didn't quite grasp.

When he told her to play along, it only added to her confusion about him—to her fear over getting caught. Play along with what?

Was she supposed to be doing something? Respond somehow to his gross and unsettling threats? He was a horrible, savage creature, just as Harry'd said, just as the stories of him portrayed.

And yet . . . something . . . .

She didn't know why, but as she'd been separated from the others after arriving at Malfoy Manor, her attention kept flicking back to him. Even while Bellatrix tortured her, she found her gaze fixed on him. Found how odd it was that he could not seem to look upon the scene. With his storied savagery, this should be amusing to him.

But again, in the way he couldn't watch . . . . In the way he gripped his wand, white-knuckled while he listened to her screaming . . . something . . . .

Then, Harry and Ron had burst back into the room and all hell broke loose.

Bellatrix had pulled her up, had held that blade to her throat. But as the threat of taking Hermione's life had fallen from the Dark witch's lips, her rescue came from the source she least expected.

Fenrir Greyback clamped his hand around Bellatrix's, peeling the knife from Hermione's neck, but not before Bellatrix had managed to gouge her captive's skin with it.

His voice was so thick with growls, his words were barely intelligible as he said in a seething whisper, "I had to put up with her screams, but no more. You'll not kill one of my kind, woman!"

Bellatrix gaped at him in a mix of shock and fury. A heartbeat passed before she realized he wasn't relinquishing his hold on the knife.

As she brought up her wand in her free hand—it wasn't her wand hand, but it would do for this—he realized he would not be the one to get the girl out of here. He shoved Hermione toward her friends.

In the confusion and tumult to follow, Bellatrix forced Greyback to his knees, screaming at him for his disrespect, bellowing about how the Dark Lord would make him suffer for this.

The last thing Hermione heard as Ron caught her stumbling body in his arms and Dobby Apparated them away was Fenrir Greyback growling back at Bellatrix about how she had no authority over any werewolf. "The girl included," he said.

Everything had happened in such an odd, strained daze after that. Dobby—poor, dear Dobby passing away like that. Harry torturing himself for not being able to save their friend. Ron trying to apologize for not being able to save her from Bellatrix. Really, there was no way they could've, so Hermione didn't think there was anything to apologize for.

Still in that daze as she convalesced, Harry and Ron asked her about what Greyback had told Bellatrix. She filled them in on what he'd said when he pulled Bellatrix's blade from her throat.

They both guffawed at that. They assumed Greyback had only meant he wanted her for his army, wanted her as some sort of trophy-kill, maybe.

But Hermione knew in her gut it was more than that.

She heard his words over and over in the back of her mind in the days to follow. She remembered how oddly natural it had felt that night she'd howled to distract Remus—something that shouldn't have ever worked. She didn't have the vocal cords of a ruddy wolf! It should've sounded fake to him. She never thought on it. She'd absorbed that information about werewolves Snape had given them more readily than any other subject she'd ever researched. She'd felt so personally betrayed when she covered for Remus' condition only to find out he'd been helping Sirius, suspected of such heinous crimes back then.

And then there were all those suspicious feelings she experienced in Greyback's closeness.

Hermione had no idea how, but she knew in her gut . . . . There was something of the wolf in her.

Worse, now the Death Eaters knew it, too. If she was caught again, they'd probably consign her to being bitten to bring out the beast in her. Someone like her was probably guaranteed to change, no risking death when the curse took hold.

But she ignored the sense of her own thoughts. She didn't want to know the truth of it. She didn't want to believe. And so, she went along with Harry and Ron. Told herself she'd misread everything, even her own gut instincts.

She didn't see him again until the final battle. In the middle of everything, she couldn't spare the time to think about what it'd felt like to see him tangled up with Lavender Brown. Sick and odd and twisted as that was. She'd caught him with a hex without a second thought, propelling him away from the other witch, and kept running.

All the chaos and screaming and panic around her . . . .

And then Harry fell. Not in the way anyone feared he might. Hermione had no idea what had happened in the woods, but now, in front of the Death Eaters and their foul ilk, in front of the Light, Harry Potter bent knee to the Dark Lord and loudly proclaimed his fealty.

She didn't have time to think, a sensation like she'd been punched in the stomach rocking through her. Ron and the others were backpedaling in horror from the spectacle, as though the entire world had ground to a halt. And it might as well have. Nothing made sense to Hermione in that moment.

Nothing aside from Voldemort's laughter registered in her ears while he clasped Harry's left forearm in his free hand. While he pressed the tip of his wand to the inside of Harry's wrist, the Dark Mark exploding forth along his skin for all to see.

As Harry rose, the Dark Lord declared that those who still stood against them would be shown no mercy. Imprisonment would not be an option for those who continued the struggle.

But she could not take a tally of who fought on, or who capitulated. Because the Dark Lord's next words changed her world as surely as Harry's betrayal had shattered it.

"The werewolves," he said to Harry and other Death Eaters. He turned, pinning his gaze somewhere over Hermione's shoulder. Her breath thundered out of her lungs as she turned to look. Fenrir Greyback stood a meter behind her, his amber eyes wide in realization as he stared back at Voldemort.

"With Potter on my side, their force is no longer necessary." Hermione could swear there was a strange light of malicious joy in the serpentine wizard's eyes as he continued, "I want them dead. Every. Last. One."

Hermione thought sure her brain had shut down. Harry knew what Greyback had said about her. Hell, for all the Death Eaters knew, she had secretly been a werewolf all along.

"We have to move."

In a daze, she turned her head, meeting Greyback's eyes. Her attention fell to the clawed fingers of his outstretched hand.

Growling, he spat out the words, "It's me or them!"

She couldn't help herself. One last time, she looked back at Harry. He moved as one with the Death Eaters, following the Dark Lord's bidding as they chased down the werewolves still on the battlefield. The ones who'd not heard Voldemort's command.

Swallowing hard, she put her hand in Greyback's, a tear falling as he pulled her side-along away from the scene.