Disclaimer: I do not own any aspect of HP.

Chapter 62

Unexpected Change

It was a few days until the new term was due to start when Severus was summoned by the Dark Lord. He had not heard from his former Master since he first saw him after he had regained a body and he was more than thankful for that. When he realized where he was being summoned too, however, a profound realization hit him. He was to meet him at Malfoy manor which meant he had released the Death Eaters from Azkaban, Lucius among them. He knew Lucius was bent on revenge and while he was not afraid to fight him, his mind went to his wife and the three babies she was carrying. If something did happen to him during that duel...he shuddered at the thought at what Lucius might do to them.

He did not tell Narcissa the details, he didn't want to worry her. She was napping, and so she let her sleep. He told Draco he was being called, but that was all, in case Narcissa woke before he returned and wondered where he was. Draco had been under strict home arrest since the little stunt he pulled. He hadn't been able to leave their quarters unless Severus or his mother were with him. He was not allowed to send any owls or flo call any of his friends, which included Hermione. That was the part that bothered the reincarnated teen the most.

Severus took a long deep, cleansing breath as he approached the main door to Malfoy Manor. He could hear the commotion inside, raised voices, and then a loud crash followed by a scream and then a roar of laughter. The picture that suddenly appeared in his head of dozens of half-crazed convicts, some who may now be in possession of wands, going wild in the confines of Malfoy's estate, was not something he was in the mood to face. His feelings on the matter however were not something that could be taken into consideration and so, wand in hand, he rang the bell.

Bellatrix smirked menacingly at Severus as she opened the door, a hostile glimmer in her grey eyes. "You actually showed," She laughed. "I would have thought you would be hiding under Dumbledore's robes, too afraid to face the consequences of your actions." She heckled

Severus rolled his eyes in annoyance, "I have done nothing wrong, you crazed psychopath, now move out of my way," he snapped as he pushed passed his wife's eldest sister.

It didn't take long for him to spot Lucius, slumped over in his emerald green wingback chair which usually was in his den, yet that day it rested in the far left side of the main room. He had a wand in hand, though his grasp around it was weak.

"Ah, Severus." The Potions master gave a sideway glance at The Dark Lord as he entered off of the main staircase. "Glad you could make it."

"I would never ignore your call, My Lord." He replied, his eyes still keeping Lucius insight.

"No, I didn't think you would, even if you knew what was coming. Not that you need to be overly concerned." He said looking over at Lucius' pathetic form.

"So, the only reason I was called was to dual Lucius?" He questioned.

"No, not just that. As I promised I have freed our comrades. They are… not healthy to say the least. They will need a variety of potions to help them recover. I am, of course, giving that task to you."

" Of course, My Lord, I am happy to help in any way I can."

It was at that moment that Lucius suddenly gathered the strength to stand from his chair, extending his wand he glared at the man who was once his best friend. "You stole my wife." He hissed, then taking a couple of shuffling steps. "I knew you were seeing her behind my back...I knew it!" His voice raised steadily. "You seduced her, you tricked her… you had to, why else would she leave me, for a filthy, disgusting half-blood. You are nothing Snape, NOTHING!"

"Lucius." Severus stated calmly, "You are not well. You need to recover then we can discuss this.". Lucius has been a good friend at one time, he did not want to kill him, he would fight if he had to but not then, he could barely stand under his own power.

"There is nothing to discuss," He then shot off a curse which Severus easily blocked.

"Lucius, you are not going to win... You need to stop."

Severus was trying to reason with him, but his former friend was so filled with rage, and anger he could not think clearly. Without a word Lucius shot off another curse and then a hex. Severus easily blocked both of them but did not fire back. The recently freed convicts were stupidly egging Lucius on and Severus realized he was going to need to incapacitate him before he hurt himself.

After Severus blocked a pretty weak blasting curse from his old friend, he fired his own spell, quickly stunning him and then accioed his wand. "I do not have time for this," he stated simply, then handing Lucius' wand to The Dark Lord.

"Coward," Lucius hissed."

"No Lucius, I will not duel you like this. When you are well if you still desire to die then I will accommodate you. There is no honor in this."

Voldemort laughed, "Honor...you have been hanging around too many Gryffindors, Severus."

A stream of heckling followed from the others in the room. Severus did not reply to his master's comment but turned back to Lucius. Steel faced he told him, "I did take your wife. You neglected her, disregarded her and she found comfort in me. We ticked the bond into breaking and the divorce finalized while you were in prison unable to do anything to retaliate. She is mine now. She warms my bed and sees to my needs and if you want to dual for her you certainly can. You will lose regardless, but I am not so low as to kill you in such a state." He then turned back to the Dark Lord and asked, "Do you need me for anything further?"

"No, but I desire the potions by the morning at the latest." He then pulled a piece of parchment with a list of what they would need and handed it to his potions master.

With a nod, Severus turned on his heels and left. Smirking at Bellatrix on the way out.

XXX

Draco waited anxiously just outside of the Great Hall as the students trickled in. He had wanted to see Hermione, to hold her, kiss her, he had waited weeks and he wasn't going to wait any longer. He should be seated at the Slytherin table waiting for his housemates and Severus told him, but he wouldn't be long. Just a quick hi, a hug, make sneak in a kiss, and then he would go.

"Draco!" It was Crabb, Goyle walking right beside him. "Hey mate." His friend greeted him.

"Hey guys, how was your holiday?"

"Okay...heard you got in trouble for sneaking out again." Goyle said with a laugh.

Draco's eyes widened a bit. "Yeah, um...did you hear where I went."

"No," Crabb said, 'your mom told my mum you snuck out again and weren't even allowed to leave your room until term started but she didn't say where you went."

"Head off to Switzerland again?" Goyle jokes.

"No," Draco replied with a laugh. Trying not to show how relieved he was that they didn't know he had gone to Harry's. "Just to a local quidditch game." He fibbed.

"Oh, that's not too huge I guess. You comming to the table," Goyle asked motioning over in the direction of the sea of fellow Slytherins migrating to their table.

"In a minute, I want to try and find Hermione first."

The smile on the two beefy boys suddenly slipped, "Oh okay." They said in unison, then heading over to the Slytherin table.

Draco thought that was a little odd but didn't read too much into it.

He saw Harry first, his mop of messy black hair bobbing in the air, right beside a couple of gingers and then, just behind them, brunette curls. Raising his arm he waved it in hopes to signal her through the crowd. It was Harry, however, who noticed his Slytherin friend first.

Harry waved back but then turned to Hermione. "I believe you are being paged." Harry joked pointing to the still waving Draco.

Hermione's eyes widened in excitement at the sight of the boy she loved, "Draco!" she hollered as she rushed past her friends and straight into the arms of the boy she loved.

"Hermione, Merlin I missed you." He whispered nuzzling her nose into her strawberry scented hair.

"I missed you too." She said with a giggle, then adding, "but there are a lot of people around, perhaps we should save this sort of affection for later."

Draco slowly pulled from the girl he loved, but still wanting to feel her he took both her hands in his. His eyes drifted to the collar of her Gryffindor robes. A shiny prefect pin rested proudly on her lapel. He knew she would make prefect, not just because she had in his previous life but because there really was no one who deserved it more. He, however, did not earn that honor this time around. Last time he truly did not deserve it. His grades were good enough but he was such a git back then, far from the model student a prefect should represent. He was pretty sure Severus had appointed him prefect as a favor to his father if nothing else. This time, however, while he had not been a bigoted asshole, he had gotten into a fair bit of mischief the past several years. Leaving the country without telling anyone, threatening to blackmail his mum and Severus, getting a dog without permission and of course sneaking off to Harry's birthday party pretty much guaranteed he was not in the running this time.

"I was hoping to talk to you, though," Hermione said. "In private, after the feast. We can meet in the Room of Requirement."

Draco gave his girlfriends a questioning look. It wasn't like her purposely break the school rules, especially now that she was appointed Prefect, and staying up after curfew was certainly breaking a rule.

"Is everything ok?" The young-in-bodied Slytherin asked.

"Oh yes, nothing bad at all. It's just a lot that happened this summer and...well I'd really like to talk about it."

"Oh, okay, sure."

"Great!" She then leaned in, gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, and headed over to the Gryffindor table.

XXX

Hermione sighed as she sat down at the table next to Ginny, who instantly turned to her with a look of concern. "Hermione you were really quiet on the train, everything ok?"

"Oh yes, I'm fine, just tired."

"You sure?" She questioned, a look of not complete belief filled her cinnamon eyes.

"Yes Gim, I'm fine."

Ginny could tell her friend was holding something back but it was obvious she wasn't in the mood to talk about it so she would drop it for now. She wondered if everything was okay between her and Draco…

Hermione honestly paid little attention to the feast, and she all but picked at her food. A lot had happened since she had last seen Draco, including her mum moving to France to take care of her ill grandmother. Her dad still hadn't really come to terms with her dating Draco, though he hadn't exactly forbidden her from seeing him so she assumed he was at least trying to deal with his feelings about their relationship. Her mum on the other hand was very supportive and said that Draco was 'a fine young man' and that she was happy her daughter had found such a kind, respectful, and caring boy to love.

When the feast finally concluded, Hermione helped escort the first years up to Gryffindor's house and then quietly left the tower and headed to the Room of Requirement. When she arrived Draco was already there waiting for her. She had missed him so much. Not even being able to write to him had been terribly hard on her.

"There you are." Draco said, wrapping his warm arms around his brown-eyed girl."I was starting to wonder if maybe your conscious was getting to you and you couldn't bring yourself to break the school rules." He teased.

Hermione just smiled and shook her head. "I'm not worried about it, come, let's talk."

Draco nodded and the two-headed into the secret room. A cozy loveseat appeared, next to a roaring fire, and really that was all that was needed.

"So," he said, taking her hand as they sat down together on the sofa, "What did you want to talk about."

"Well, My mum has gone to France to take care of my Gran. She's not been feeling well, the doctors don't know why really but her heart hasn't been doing well."

"I'm so sorry to hear that, I know how much your gran means to you."

In his previous life, a much older Hermione had told her that her Grandmother had died the summer of her 6th year and that while she didn't let on it was actually really hard for her. She was the only gran she had ever known, her father's parents had died before she was born, and they developed a special bond. Part of her wondered in her gran might have known who she inherited her magic from. She confided when she was little she would tell her all kinds of stories about magical worlds, creatures, and such, many of the had resemblance to the wizarding world. She thought perhaps her grandmother was a squib though she never did ask her directly. It was something she later regretted.

"Thank you. Also, my parents are thinking about selling their practice… They have been talking about retiring for a few years now."

Draco knew Hermione's parents were older, they were in their early forties when they had her, so he supposed that made sense. The odd thing was when he had talked to her as an adult she had mentioned that her parents still owned their own dentistry. Perhaps it was just all talk.

"My mum and dad are considering, after selling the practice on moving to France though nothings been finalized." Her gaze dropped to her lap, she folded her hands together in her lap, took in a long deep breath, and when she looked back up at Draco a tear had fallen to her cheek. "My dad says if that happened they want me to transfer to Beauxbatons Academy."

Draco felt as if his heart literally dropped to his stomach. He didn't think he would handle it well if he had to spend the last two years of school without seeing her every day. But this was just speculation, of what they might do, if they sell their practice. In his future that never happened, so there isn't really any reason to think it would this time around. Then again, if she and her family were in France they would be much, much safer when the war took a dramatic turn in a couple of years.

"I don't want to leave Hogwarts, Draco." She whimpered as she pulled her boyfriend into a tight grasp. "I don't want to leave my friend… I can't even imagine being without you."

"Don't worry, Hermione. I'm sure it will work out okay. For all, you know your parents may change their minds or even if they don't perhaps they will let you stay at Hogwarts. You can take a port-key home for the holidays if need be."

Hermione slid her arms down around Draco's waist and placed her head on his shoulder. "You...you haven't had any visions of me moving or attending another school have you?"

"No," he replied honestly, "And believe me if I did you would be the first to know."

Draco turned in his spot, causing his girlfriend to lift her head. "Hermione," He said cupping her cheeks, "I love you, and I'm not letting you go. I promise you." He then slowly brought his lips to hers.

A/N: Hello all, yes I"m back! Up next Severus finally duels Lucius and Draco tells Hermione he's going to be a big brother. Meanwhile, the pink toad has arrived and something must be done to stop her