Written for the 2011 Inheritance of Magic Challenge on Granger Enchanted xoxo

This fic is quite obviously AU and Hermione is going to turn out not to be Muggleborn- if this kind of story annoys you, please do us both a favour and don't read it :D

'You must do this!' he bellowed and dragged the young witch through the dungeons to the Slytherin Common room, where five of her past and present dorm mates waited anxiously.

'This is wrong,' the young witch groaned and was thrown into the circle and instantly surrounded by the protective arms of her the older witch.

'There is a chance,' the older wizard murmured, 'that we, as a house, will not survive this war.'

'But you're one of his!'

Severus Snape smirked nastily. 'I am one of his, Miss Parkinson, but that does not dull my sense of survival. I can assure you the light have made similar precautions against death.'

'This feels wrong.' came the soft, gentle voice of the youngest witch present, Hestia Carrow.

'Do you wish to die, Miss Carrow?' Severus Snape's deep resonant tone vibrated through the walls of the common room and the witches were not the only ones to shudder in fear.

'I don't want to die.' Blaise Zabini stepped forward and held his wand to the circle.

'Neither do I.' Adrian Pucey moved to join his former housemate.

'I will stand with my housemates.' Pansy said and pressed her wand to the others.

'I stand with you Professor, knowing I may not survive this war. I trust you.' Millicent Bulstrode, still a rather stocky, large girl, added her wand to the mix, receiving a sharp nod from her Head of House.

'As will I.' Marcus Flint pushed off from the wall and draped his arm across Pansy's shoulders. 'Carrow?'

'I- I just don't know.'

'Get her out of here!' Adrian hissed and the witch stumbled back, but not before the softly whispered spell of Obliviate removed any knowledge of that night from her mind.

'Well, this does leave us with an unexpected problem,' Snape murmured and tapped his wand thoughtfully to his lip. 'Shall we summon Nott?'

A large white doe plummeted from his wand, racing quickly through the shadows and into the dorms. 'Why do we need Theo? We all know he's a Mudblood lover.'

Pansy snickered. 'He does have an unusual attraction to Granger, but then who doesn't.'

'I don't,' Blaise muttered.

'Oh please, Zabini,' Adrian grinned wickedly. 'I do recall you saying only last year that had Granger been anything but Mud, you'd have fucked her to death.'

'No,' Blaise said slowly. 'I said I wished someone would fuck her to death, not that I wanted to.'

'Gentlemen!' Snape hissed. 'Your petty schoolboy crushes matter not in this war. What concerns me is we need the power of seven to complete-'

'You summoned me, Sir?' Theo sauntered down the stairs, sparing a sneer for his housemates that had segregated him since the first day of the New Year for a careless comment or two he'd made about the war.

'Do you recall our conversation at Christmas, Mr. Nott?'

Theo swallowed hard and nodded. 'I recall.'

'Miss Carrow has decided she will survive the war without our help, would you care for her place?'

Theo's brow rose slightly and he fished into his pocket, removing a small, crumpled piece of parchment. 'I calculated some revisions, Sir. I thought it might help.'

Intrigued, Severus Snape unfurled the parchment and smiled, his face morphing into unconcealed pride. 'Well done, Mr. Nott. You have increased the potency of our spell, the life of which shall now be almost twenty years.'

'Twenty years?' Pansy whispered. 'Does that mean...'

'Yes- we can be retrieved for up to twenty years from the moment of our deaths, respectively.'

She clenched her fists and nodded, once again raising her wand.

'We come together, my children, to put a stopper in death. I do not wish to lose more of you, I want to see you grow, have families...' he paused and strode forward, his black robes billowing about his legs. 'We will prevail; Slytherin will live to fight another day.'

Seven wands were raised in the depths of the dungeons, a spell, darker than the age it was created, chanted through the chill that permeated their skin.

'Adstringo, Signum, Contego.'

To bind.

To seal.

To Protect.

The magic coursed through their wands, conjoining to form a seven point star. It shuddered and convulsed, illuminating the dungeon in a hue to be only described as chartreuse. 'Blood, I bind thee,' Severus intoned and blood joined their magic, trickling from their fingertips. 'Soul, I seal thee. Blood and soul, I protect thee.'

An almighty thud could be heard as far as the dark forest as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was rocked by an unknown, unseen magic. And in the dungeons, seven glass jars glowed with a tiny blue sphere of light, one for each of the brave souls who chose to tamper with fate.

He lay on the floor bleeding, his memories leaking pathetically from his fractured mind. He saw Potter, leaning over him, his eyes- those green eyes forcing out the dreams of a young, tortured boy.

'Look at me...' he hissed as blood gurgled up his throat. 'Look at me...'

The girl conjured a glass container; trapping his errant memories in a last ditch attempt to win the war. He knew his role; his death would reveal his true loyalties.

'Thank you.' Potter said and when a shout outside drew his attention away, Severus found his gaze lingering over the girl, the Mudblood, the witch that kept Potter alive, his voice of reason and sometimes Severus' own angel of mercy.

'Please-' he whispered as she reached the door, her hand drifting over the splintered wood. She turned to him then, running back to his side and sinking to the ground. Her hand pressed against his wound but it was too late, his death would now be swift, the poison destroying organs, his veins too far gone for redemption. 'You need to know...'

'I do- you were very brave.' Tears slipped down her cheeks as she cradled her former Potion's Professor to her chest. 'I'll see you again, won't I?'

His fingers entwined with hers as he laughed. 'Find Pucey...Pucey...'

'Stay strong,' Hermione murmured and kept her hand firmly to his wound. 'I won't leave you.'

He realised then that the girl who held him so tenderly hadn't a clue who he really was, she was simply a soft hearted Gryffindor who couldn't bear to allow him a solitary death.

'Look at me-' He was weakening, the waiting room calling his soul- but there would be no afterlife for Severus Snape, no peace and tranquillity, just darkness. 'My- my daughter- find...' He choked and her eyes went wide, a single bloodied hand touched her cheek, his fingers trembling. 'Pucey.'

His body slumped to the floor and the Muggleborn witch, Hermione Granger, closed his eyes and stood slowly on shaking legs. He must have been delirious, the venom having confounded his mind. Yes, that was it. Stumbling to the door, she took one look back at her deceased Professor and thundered down the stairs. There was a war to be won.

He ran a frustrated hand through his perfectly groomed, dark blond hair and heaved a sigh.

'Are you saying it incorrectly?'

A dark glare was sent to his companion who merely grinned and snatched the parchment from his hand. 'The inflection is wrong,' her brow furrowed in concentration. 'It doesn't sound right. Do you think after all this time we've been using the wrong spell?'

'He wouldn't have gotten this wrong.' The wizard raised his wand and, once again, murmured the spell, grasping the arm of the witch with his hand as they were dragged along behind the strength of the magic.

'Look, see-' He pointed to the witch standing silently in the graveyard, her head bowed and hand stroking the former Headmaster's headstone.

'How many times have you completed the spell?'

'Thirty-seven.'

A soft laugh came from the witch and he buried his face into his hands. 'You do it then!'

'I trust you, Adrian.' The witch watched the other carefully; they were concealed by Disillusionment charms in the dense forest near the graves of the fallen. 'Speak to her.'

'What?'

'You like her, yeah?'

Twin pink spots appeared high on his cheeks. 'I like her, yeah. It's hard not to when she's been the focus of my attention for so long, however-' he said slowly, 'she doesn't care for me much, apparently.'

Pansy smirked. 'That's not what Draco told me.'

'You're delusional,' he muttered but allowed his gaze to drift back to the witch. 'What did he say?'

'She's asked about you, a lot.'

'She has?'

'Hmm, yes. It would appear the Princess of Gryffindor goodness and light wants to slum it with a Slytherin.'

'I wasn't aware she knew who I was, apart from all the tracking owls I've received over the years,' he smirked. 'And you know how I feel about those.'

'Granger owled you?' The shocked witch asked.

He looked disturbed. 'I couldn't be sure, you understand? They were always from different Owls, always tracked and stained with dark magic- I had to be careful. Her name was the sender but I was concerned...'

'We need her, she knows something Ades.'

'Fuck it.' he hissed and wanted nothing more than to slam his head against the large tree they were currently standing in front of. 'We could always wait until next year?'

He sounded so hopeful but it was far more amusing to watch him suffer, so she shoved him forward with a soft giggle and a mocking wave.

Adrian Pucey stepped into the graveyard, his stomach clenching at the familiar names, mostly old school chums that had perished during that horrible final day of the war. With a conjured rose in his hand he moved towards her silently, pausing at the white tomb of Albus Dumbledore.

'He hated tears.'

Hermione jumped and whirled around, her wand clasped firmly in her hand and pointed at the wizard, leaning ever so casually against Dumbledore's tomb.

'He hated most everything,' she answered, her eyes appraising him quickly, noting the absence of his wand and the offering in his hand. 'You knew him well?'

Adrian nodded. 'I was his student.'

'Ahh, as was I.' She dabbed at her face with a crisp white handkerchief and allowed her gaze to wander back to the black tomb of Severus Snape.

'I wasn't aware you had any sort of connection with him, Miss Granger.'

'What you aren't aware of could fill the black lake, I'm sure.' She smirked when the handsome grin dropped from his face. 'But then I haven't a clue how Slytherin's work, so I shouldn't pass judgement.'

'You are confident I am Slytherin?' The grin returned and she scowled at the cheeky wizard.

'It's not often one can identify a former Slytherin, however your green tie with snakes on it kind of gives you away.'

'It was a present.' he answered and moved towards the tomb.

'From a lover?'

'No.'

'Enemy perhaps, wanting to single you out for potential torment?' Hermione smiled even as fresh tears slipped down her cheeks.

'I hardly call Draco Malfoy an enemy but then he does have the strangest choice in friends.'

Hermione bristled and turned from him, but not before his long, warm fingers wrapped around her wrist. 'Why are you here, Granger?'

'You presume to be familiar with me, Sir,' she hissed and pushed him hard, only succeeding in pressing closer to his body, 'where no familiarity exists!'

'I beg your pardon,' he said softly and lifted her trembling hand, kissing the back ever so gently. 'Adrian Pucey, madam.'

She blinked quickly - then launched herself at the wizard, wrapping her arms tightly around his waist and burrowing her face into his chest. 'Merlin, are you really?'

'Witches have been known to call out to Merlin in thanks whilst I'm having my wicked way with them Granger, but no, I'm just Adrian Pucey.' She pulled back, her brown eyes full of anger which quickly vanished upon seeing the naughty grin on his face.

'I've been searching for you, for a very long time.' She reached out a small shaking hand and touched his cheek, gasping when she made contact with his warm, smooth skin. 'Thank the gods.'

'For what, may I ask?'

It was her turn to grin as she muttered a spell and they disappeared with the crack of Disapparation.

'Sit!' she commanded and shoved him into a worn, yet comfortable armchair that had seen better days. 'You've been following me, with Parkinson and Nott.'

'You knew?'

Hermione rolled her eyes. 'I, Adrian Pucey have worked in the Department of Mysteries as an Unspeakable. And not because they think my hair is pretty.' As she leaned over him, he couldn't help but get an eyeful of her breasts as her top gaped open.

'Stay like that, would you?'

'Why- what are you...oh my gods, you filthy arse!' She stood quickly and pulled her top together. 'Thirty-nine times you've used a tracing spell when my back was turned, twenty-three uses of the Imperius curse, nine attempts at Portkeying my sleeping body from my flat and thirty-seven blood revealing charms. Would you care to explain why?'

Adrian cursed inwardly at their stupidity; brightest witch of her age would never have been fooled by a first year concealment charm. 'Not particularly, no.'

Pulling out a parchment, Hermione allowed it to roll to the floor and he recognised it instantly. 'Probation clause for Adrian Charles Pucey: no advance spell work, no traces, no dark magic and, most certainly, no attempted abductions! What the sodding hell are you playing at?'

Adrian breathed in deeply. 'I've the hots for you, kitten. I've wanted to fuck that pretty mouth of yours and see if your cunt is really worth all the hype Malfoy spouts about.'

He congratulated himself for not flinching when her wand pressed to his temple and sparks burned his skin, seeing her angry was worth it, her face was tinged red and she was snarling, 'You fucking bastard. Draco would never speak of me in that way.'

Adrian smirked. 'No kitten, but I do like seeing you get angry- I could get addicted to that face. It makes me wonder what you look like when you co-'

'Legilimens!' Hermione cried and Adrian's eyes went wide as she brutally attacked his mind, sifting through the memories with a precision swiftness. 'Wow, I've never been able to do that before...' She sucked in a deep breath. 'That spell...' She fell back onto her bottom and swore roughly. 'Those jars...where are they?'

His lips clamped shut and he concentrated on a spot just above her head. 'Pucey! Tell me now and I won't call the Aurors on you and your little friends.'

'I would hardly trust a Gryffindor.' He sneered and looked away from her, rubbing his temples. 'You bitch. You could have asked.'

'I DID ASK!' she yelled and grabbed the front of his robes, giving him a rough shake. 'Do you know how many owls I've sent you over the last three years?'

'Ninety-seven,' he answered and was forced to look into those big brown eyes when she clamped her shaking fingers around his chin.

'Ninety-seven pleas, ninety-seven attempts to find you and then when I finally do, all I receive is your arrogance!'

'Hardly arrogance, madam.'

'You protected your souls, the seven of you?'

Adrian sighed and nodded.

'Flint died, Zabini hasn't been seen for years and Bulstrode hung around your robes like a lost puppy, so it's just you, Parkinson and Theo who remain the strongest?'

'We have to do this, Granger. We need to right the wrongs and stand united.'

'What makes you think he wants to come back?'

'It was Severus' idea, Granger. He is the one who brought us together. The heirs of all the noble lines, to be protected, sealed away in a little jar until such the time arrived that we could be safely resurrected.'

'You cannot bring back the dead,' she whispered and Adrian noticed the witch had yet to remove herself from his lap. Smirking, he held gently onto her hips and pulled her closer.

'Granger,' he murmured and she gripped his forearms tightly. 'Do you know the reason why it's taken us so long to complete the spell?"

'You cannot bring back the dead.' she said again and lowered her head as tears slipped from her eyes and fell with a gentle splash onto his linen pants.

'We aren't using the stone, but age old magic, hidden away for centuries. It works, Granger. We experimented before the final spell, and the proof is that Dolohov rots away in Azkaban because we brought him back to life.'

'He's insane.'

'You're right; we didn't use a pure soul because we didn't want the taint on our own.'

'I don't understand, Pucey.'

'The spell of seven, heirs of the Pureblood lines, untainted by magic nor potions, just our blood and our life force. We stored a promise in those jars, a wish to be restored and should one of us die, the others would join together their magic to anchor the soul to our world once more.'

'What about Flint?'

Adrian winced when he recalled watching Marcus Flint die without hope of resurrection; it had been a stark reminder as to whose side he should be on. 'His body lived on after his soul was removed.'

Hermione shivered. 'Dementors?'

'Yes.'

'Why have you been trying to reveal my bloodlines?' She stared at him boldly and he couldn't help but flush at the intensity in her gaze.

'I don't care that you're a Muggleborn, Granger. The spell, however, is specific; blood of thy dead, soul of thy taken, blood of thy brother.'

'Severus Snape had no living family.'

Adrian nodded. 'Yes, this we know. Ruddy bastard tricked us into protecting ourselves and left himself with no possible return.'

'And you thought I could help?'

'No, kitten,' Adrian smiled and tucked an errant curl behind the witch's ear, allowing his hand to drift across her pale cheek, and then rest on her neck. 'The spell revealed your blood to be of the same line as Severus.'

'Well, I can explain that,' Hermione said and didn't push Adrian's hand away, in fact, it was nice to have a warm body so close to hers, even if he was a complete and utter prat. 'He died in my arms, Adrian. I held him until he took his last breath and we bled together. I had wounds, so did he and our blood mixed. I was sick for quite a while after the war ended; it seems snake venom doesn't like untainted Mudblood.'

'Snake venom doesn't like anything except sycophantic arseholes hell bent on destroying the world.'

'Well said,' she smiled down at him. 'See you're wasting your time. I'm no more related to Severus Snape than I am to Tom Riddle.'

'Have you done the heir spell, Granger?'

'Of course I have, it was one of the first spells I attempted when I arrived at Hogwarts- see look- Prosapia Ostendo Sum.' A white glow grew from her stomach, extending outwards across her body then coming to rest over her heart. 'A big, fat nothing. No magical relatives, no hidden brothers or sisters,' her smile wavered. 'Not that I'd mind, of course, having someone familiar to attach myself to.'

He peered up at her with a strange expression on his face before withdrawing his own wand and using the spell on himself. Much the same reaction occurred until the spell wound its way around his heart and two names levitated before them, 'Aubrey Pucey and Elizabeth Longbottom.'

'What does that prove?'

'Granger, the spell would still reveal your parents names, whether Muggle or Wizard.'

Hermione stared at him oddly for a moment before leaping up from the chair and summoning her cloak. 'Have you ever seen the spell react that way to a witch before?'

'Not on a living one. Wait, where are you going?'

'Pucey, I'll owl you. Please don't ignore me this time?' Her face was pale and as she moved to Apparate, Adrian grasped her hand and was pulled along for the journey.

'Why did you do that?' she yelled and ran towards Hogwarts.

'You're right in the middle of some odd happenings, Granger, and I don't feel entirely comfortable letting you go about by yourself.' He grabbed her hand and yanked the witch back into his arms. She was breathless and panting and he wanted nothing more than to kiss her, a fact that startled and confused him. 'Listen, kitten.' His voice was softer now and she fell into his comforting embrace as his hands drifted along her spine, soothing her frazzled body. 'Whatever it is you're about to do, you need to calm down- your magic it's behaving erratically.'

His green eyes were gentle as they stared down at her and once again Hermione Granger found herself lost to his touch. His fingertips brushed over her neck, circling around her ears before resting along her bottom lip. 'He asked for you, Severus did- 'Find Pucey' he said and I knew I had to. I didn't even know why, but I had to, Adrian, I had to fulfil his final wishes.'

He smiled and tilted her face to his. 'He knew we could help each other. He knew I'd take care of you.'

'You don't even know me.' she whispered and breathed in quickly as his warm, moist lips traced her jaw.

'We look after our own, Granger.' He nudged her nose before softly touching their lips together, one hand sweeping through her wind tangled hair whilst the other cupped her arse rather possessively.

'I'm not one of you.'

'Not yet perhaps.' His tongue entered her mouth and she melted against him as he sought to consume her. 'He gave his protection, Granger, when he asked you to find me.'

'I'm so confused.'

'I don't doubt it.' He entwined his fingers with hers and gently coaxed her towards the castle. 'Don't worry, kitten, I promise to snog the life out of you later.'

Her face warmed and she found this odd, handsome Slytherin strangely pleasing and desirable. How could she want him after only an hour? Did that make her some sort of harlot? Had Ron been right all these years?

'I find this all very peculiar.'

'There is one thing you should know about the members of Slytherin, Granger; we don't fuck about. If we want someone, we get them and make no mistake, witch; I want you. Merlin knows why since you're insufferable, far too intelligent to keep your mouth shut and have hair that looks as if you've been rolling around in the dirt. But no matter, you're sexy as hell and that tongue of yours should be put in Azkaban.'

Hermione sneered. 'What a complimentary wizard you are, Mr. Pucey. Remind me to Owl the Minister about a potential Order of Merlin for your charming personality!'

He laughed and brought her hand up to his lips, kissing each knuckle quickly. 'I forgot to mention feisty, passionate and fucking hot.'

'I think I shall turn you down, Mr. Pucey, purely for entertainment purposes you understand?'

'As if you could.'

She turned to him, her lips curved into a sly smile. 'You underestimate my self control.'

'And you underestimate my persistence.' he countered and grinned again.

'You are arrogant, egotistical, self serving and an utter gobshite!'

'What about handsome, deliciously edible and smart?'

They reached the gates of Hogwarts and with a touch from her wand, they swung open. The two former Hogwarts students were welcomed inside by the giant hog statues that stood sentry.

'I haven't any doubt that you are all those things and more, Pucey. Truly, I find myself neither caring, nor wanting your pathetic attentions. You will desist immediately.'

He rolled his eyes and spun her around, instantly devouring her mouth with his tongue. 'Piss off witch. I'm not going anywhere until Sev tells me to.'

'And when he tells you to?'

Adrian's lips quirked into a beautiful smile. 'Oh, don't worry your pretty little head, kitten, He won't tell me to.'

'But if he does?' Hermione persisted.

'Then I shall retire to my lovely castle in Wales, sip cocktails and Polyjuice whores to look like you so I can fuck their pretty little brains out.'

'Oh my goddess,' Hermione's face flamed and she was torn between slapping Adrian Pucey's face and ravishing him. She suspected he would like both those options equally and vowed when this crazy mess was over, to investigate this wizard more thoroughly.

'Adrian!'

He inclined his head towards Hermione and smiled at his dear friend. 'Pansy, you remember Hermione Granger?'

The witch turned up her nose but nodded. 'Of course, how could I forget her?'

'Pansy, how lovely it is to see you again when you aren't trying to use an Unforgivable on my back.'

Pansy paled. 'That was Higgs, not me!'

Hermione grinned. 'Another one to add to the list? Well, I must speak to him about it when I see him next. Now, if you'll both excuse me...'

'Wait, Granger!' Adrian tugged her back into his arms and kissed both her cheeks, licking his lips when her eyes darkened and a sweet little moan fell from her mouth. 'This isn't over, kitten.'

'Is it ever with you?' She smiled slightly then ran up the stairs into the castle, yelling back, 'I'll owl you!' before she disappeared.

'What the fuck was that about?' Pansy snapped. 'You were just supposed to get her blood.'

'Ahh, my dear Parky, I did get her blood racing- for me. Don't worry, dearest, it will all work out in the end. When it's over, Severus will be with us and she'll be a delightful little playmate for me.'

'How does Granger feel about being your whore?'

He smirked. 'I didn't quite sell it to her that way, but she'll come around. They all do eventually.'

'Hermione love, what are you doing here?'

She grinned and accepted the tight, warm hug from Bill Weasley. 'I'm so happy to see a friendly face!'

'Are you all right?' He seemed genuinely concerned and she was touched. Despite their shared, intimate past, they had tried to remain friends and although Ronald had tried his best to defame them both in the Daily Prophet and Witch Weekly, her fondness for the eldest Weasley still pulsed strongly through her body.

'Is Minerva here?'

'Yeah, she's with the Governors right now. Malfoy's been stirring up trouble again.'

'What this time?' She grinned, knowing that Draco always liked to keep his finger in every single pot, even if that meant upsetting the entire Wizarding world in the process.

'There's been talk about setting up homes for Muggleborn kids so they can integrate better into our world. I'm sure you understand how hard it is for them?'

'Like another galaxy, far far away,' Hermione murmured, grinning at Bill's confusion over her Muggle reference. 'I've billeted several witches over the past two years so they can learn how to live both sides of the Galleon. Doesn't he want the change?'

'Merlin quite the opposite,' Bill gestured her towards the Great Hall where the delightful aromas of an elf made roast wafted out from the doors. 'He's all for it but the other Governor's are dragging their heels, it might help if he had a friendly ally?'

'Should I go to the Head's office?'

'No love, come eat with us. They'll be here all day, it's their annual- let's catch up and tell Minny how she's running the school incorrectly meeting. I'm sure she'd love for you to sit in as well.'

'Actually,' Hermione grinned and gave his arm a squeeze. 'That sounds like a wonderful idea. It's been such a long time since I've eaten good food.'

'I can tell,' he remarked and peered down at her seriously, his large hands giving her a friendly pat down. 'You need to eat more.'

'Bill,' she responded, smiling and tugged on his shirt. 'I've missed you.'

With a wicked grin he leaned down, his lips barely an inch from hers and whispered. 'You have no idea how much I've missed you, witch.'

The air caught in her lungs as his warm hands gripped her waist and pulled her forward. 'There's been no one else, you know that, yeah?'

Her face warmed. 'Not even...?'

'Merlin, no!' he said. 'She left me after- well you know.'

'After you hexed her bald and sent Dragons to her house? I remember- vaguely.'

Hermione sighed and pressed her cheek to his chest, feeling safe, secure and a little overwhelmed by the delicious masculine scent of this strong wizard.

'Minerva's adopted me,' Bill said into her hair. 'She lost her own daughter during the first war, same time as Benjy Fenwick. Evidently they were on a raid of the Lestrange estate and didn't stand a chance.'

'Professor McGonagall had a daughter?'

'Hmm yeah, not much is known about her and she doesn't like to talk about it. I'm just grateful for a warm supper at Christmas.'

'Why didn't you come find me?' Hermione asked and leaned back, peering up at him. 'I would never have turned you away.'

Bill smiled, his large, hand cupping her cheek as his thumb dragged across her bottom lip. 'If I'd had any idea you would have been receptive to me again-' she released a long shuddering breath as his lips caressed hers, 'I would have been on your doorstep, begging to taste you.'

'Bill, I didn't mean...' she chided gently but willingly opened her mouth to accept his soft, teasing tongue.

'I don't know if I could go through losing you again, Hermione,' he said softly, his blue eyes overwrought with pain.

'Do you think it was easy for me?' she snapped and instantly regretted it as he stepped back, his long, muscular arms falling to his sides. 'I was painted as a scoundrel, a scarlet witch- again. I'm not the same witch I was then, Bill. Surely you can understand that?"

'You did nothing wrong.'

'Oh please,' she scoffed and covered his hands with her own. 'Neither did you.'

'I cheated on my wife.'

'I cheated on my fiancé and it cost me my job and all of my friends,' Hermione countered and nuzzled his neck, kissing him tenderly in that little spot she knew would turn his legs to jelly. 'Love isn't wrong, hurting people is. We just went about it the wrong way.'

'You mean falling in love with my little brother's fiancé could ever be a good idea?' He sounded amused, his voice catching as her tongue darted out to lick the rapidly beating pulse point on his neck.

'It doesn't matter how we found each other. What matters is that we did. Those were incredibly dark times for me, Bill, and you were the only light I had.'

'Yet we drifted apart and lost each other, hardly true love.'

'I needed to grow up, and the expectations you had were unrealistic.'

'All I wanted was you.'

'I couldn't give that; I wasn't even sure who I was anymore.'

'And now?' Bill asked and Hermione could detect a tiny sliver of insecurity in his voice. Many years before, Bill would never let a witch get the upper hand, let alone give his heart out so willingly. Being savaged by Fenrir Greyback changed that. He wasn't confident in his own body anymore. He actually thought himself to be ugly and a monster but Hermione had always found him attractive. The scars and Furry little problem only enhanced his appeal.

'I didn't expect to see you today,' she stated and saw him flinch, 'but I'm glad I did. I know the magic between us still exists but I don't think..." She ran a hand through her hair and sighed. 'I honestly believed you'd have a gaggle of Weasley babies and a pretty new wife to adore you by now.'

His brow furrowed and she was mesmerised by the Dragon Fang that dangled gently against his ear. 'Hermione, I never wanted a doting wife to pop out dozens of babies; that wasn't my ideal wife.'

'But you had Fleur.'

Hermione cursed inwardly at her own insecurities. Even though in her heart of hearts she knew Bill Weasley was not the wizard she'd grow old with, Fleur Delacour was still a terribly hard act to follow, with her one quarter Veela blood she had been a tempting morsel, whereas Hermione still thought her own looks resembled those of a defective mouse.

'I didn't want Fleur; I was obligated to her. She still wanted me after I was turned into this ridiculous caricature of a wizard and I felt grateful.'

'Bloody hell, Bill!' Hermione cursed and took his hand, dragging the wizard into a dark, secluded alcove. 'When will you understand? You are not hideous. You are beautiful and handsome, sweet and rough,' she insisted, smiling and running her fingers across the long jagged scar on his cheek. 'This scar doesn't define you, Bill Weasley, but it does make you mysterious and all the more lovely.'

'Sweet and lovely?' Bill sneered but his eyes danced with mirth. 'Merlin Granger, are you sure you're not talking about Percy?'

She laughed and stood on her toes, tenderly kissing his scarred cheek. 'She never deserved a wizard as special as you.'

'And you do?' He smirked and gripped her arse, pulling her forward to press against his erection. 'Keep that up love and you'll wind up being fucked against the stone...I won't care if you get hurt.'

Hermione whimpered. 'Do you speak to your students with that mouth?'

He roughly bit down on her bottom lip, dragging it towards him before plunging his tongue into her mouth. 'No, but I wank with this hand,' he stroked her cheek, 'and I imagine this one...' Her skirt was pushed up and his fingers dragged across the elastic of her knickers, 'touching that dirty little cunt of yours.'

She gasped and shuddered against him as he dragged her up the wall, pinning her with his chest. 'Fucking hell witch, you've been here ten minutes and I'm already fighting the wolf.'

'Sorry?' Hermione breathed, whimpering as his fingers dug into her hips. 'Bill, stop,' she said and pushed at his chest. "This isn't right- and you know it.' Behind them the Great Hall stood, doors wide open, children milling about and steaming platters of food lining every table.

Bill groaned, dropping his forehead to hers and carefully tucking himself back into his pants. 'I'm sorry,' he breathed against her lips. 'I don't know what came over me.'

Hermione sighed and kissed his mouth quickly. 'Don't apologise...it's not like I was fighting you off.'

That brought a smirk to his face and he kissed her back with a slight whine. 'There's something different about you, Granger.' A long finger raked across her jaw as he studied her carefully. 'Are you using a potion?'

'A potion?' Her brow rose in question.

'No, it's not a potion.' Raising his head slightly, Bill Weasley tasted the air with his talented tongue. 'Did you reach maturity?'

'I turned 21 last year.' Panic started to build in her stomach, rolling upwards ever so slowly. Had Adrian Pucey felt that as well? Could that explain his strange almost possessive attraction to her? There was anxiousness in the air and Hermione was certain it was crashing off her in waves; a definite change in her magic had indeed been felt. At Severus Snape's funeral it was as if the world spun around her, spells sparked at her fingertips and her mind had been filled with charms, hexes and so many potions she could barely process any of it.

'It's your magic...your core-' His hand splayed across her stomach and he swallowed thickly, his eyes darkening in arousal. 'Granger, your core is stronger- I can feel it, I can taste it, it's...' he paused and closed his eyes, gasping for air, 'fucking hell witch, I want to devour you.'

'Professor Weasley!'

'Buggery fuck,' Bill hissed and pushed the tapestry aside, smiling brightly and protecting Hermione behind his back.

'I would hope for your sake that the witch you are so gallantly hiding isn't a student...a Weasley in Azkaban! Imagine your Mother's shame!' The nasty little witch tsked loudly and Hermione fumed. She wasn't about to stand by and let Bill's reputation take a beating, especially after he'd worked so hard to bring peace to their world.

'And I would hope for your sake, Madam Umbridge, that you retract your statement lest Professor Weasley enlist a lawyer to sue you for defamation.'

The squat, toad like witch spluttered indignantly, her cheeks flaming red as she removed her shockingly pink wand and pointed it at Hermione. 'Granger!'

'Madam.' She curtsied then smirked as the witch shook with rage. 'Governors,' Hermione turned her gaze to the ten shocked board members and one extremely amused blond wizard. 'I do apologise for my behaviour and for bringing Professor Weasley's honour into disrepute. I was simply overwhelmed by being back at Hogwarts- I had a small panic attack, they happen a lot since the war.' She cast her eyes downwards and sighed. 'Professor Weasley came across me as I was about to faint.'

'Miss Granger,' spoke an elderly wizard as he stepped forward. Hermione recognised him as Professor Tofty, NEWTs and OWLs examiner. 'We understand, truly, and we would like to thank Professor Weasley for protecting a lovely witch with such gallantry.'

Smiling demurely, Hermione gave Professor Tofty's outstretched hand a brief, gentle pat before tucking her arm back into Bill's. 'Thank you, Professor. I am sure you understand how difficult it is for me- well for everyone really. Not only being subjected to such terrifying prejudice, but also to have survived a war,' her voice trailed off, 'as shocking as it was, I've had to be incredibly...'

'Brave? You humble us, not only with your maturity but your loyalty to those who suffer needlessly. Miss Granger,' Madam Marshbanks smiled at the witch fondly, 'will you join us for lunch? I am sure the Headmistress would love to see you.'

'That sounds delightful, Madam.' Smiling again, Hermione's gaze drifted to Draco Malfoy, who was casually leaning against the wall, his chest rising and falling in silent mirth. 'And perhaps I could visit with the Governors after? I would dearly love to speak on behalf of Draco Malfoy's proposal.'

His eyes widened just a fraction before pushing off the wall and stalking towards her. 'Granger, I would be pleased for your continued involvement.' He reached for her hand, kissing the back gently before winking.

'Hem hem! Now see here! This wasn't on the agenda. She can't just attend a meeting we've had scheduled for years!' Umbridge finally regained the ability to speak after having been shocked into silence at encountering her powerful enemy again.

'Oh hush up, Delores,' snapped a skinny witch with a tall black hat. She nodded briefly to Hermione before sweeping into the Great Hall.

'Come along, Miss Granger. A little birdie told me the elves have Yorkshire pudding,' Madam Marshbanks grinned conspiratorially. 'And chocolate cake for afters!'

'You're something else, Granger.' Draco murmured and gave her upper arm a squeeze. 'What are you playing at?'

'I need to see Professor McGonagall.'

'So you created a farce about helping me?'

'No, helping you is an unexpected side effect. Don't get me wrong, Draco, I did come here to visit with the Headmistress. Still, if I get to wipe that toadie scowl off Umbridge's face at the same time, all the better for it.'

'Getting cosy with Weasley again?' Swiping his tongue across his cake fork Hermione rolled her eyes and gave his thigh a pinch.

'Why do you care?'

'I don't care,' His eyes narrowed. 'I am just looking out for my investment.'

Hermione snorted and broke off a large piece of cake, moaning softly as the velvety chocolate melted on her tongue. 'Since I haven't made you any Galleons, how do I become an investment?'

'I never said you were a monetary investment, Granger.' He smirked, his grey eyes dancing with amusement as the witch choked on her cake. 'Calm down witch, I'm just teasing you.'

'Why you little...' Hermione snarled playfully.

'Ferret?' he whispered and laughed softly. 'Pikey gobshite? Albino wankshaft?'

'All of the above.' Her lips twitched as he reached down to hold her hand. 'I saw you with Pucey earlier.'

'Spying, Draco?'

He shrugged. 'Of course. You're shagging him, then?'

Painfully aware of Bill Weasley sitting to her left, Hermione sighed and shook her head. 'I only met him today, Draco.'

He watched her for a moment before snatching the last morsel of cake from her plate and popping it into his mouth. 'Have you done something to your hair?'

'What?'

'It's like you have ten little Grangers running around in there.' He tapped her temple with his wand. 'Did you fall and bang your head?'

'Draco,' she whispered urgently. 'Can we leave? I don't want to talk here.'

One brow rose again and he nodded, rising to help her out of the chair. 'Bill?' Hermione murmured and bent down to kiss the wizard on the cheek. 'I'll come and visit after tea?'

Bill smiled at her oddly, snaking his arm around her waist as she turned to leave. 'Did you bring a bag?'

Hermione shook her head.

'We'll transfigure one of my shirts into a nightgown for you then.' He grinned again and Hermione fought against the sudden rush of blood to her face.

'Being awfully presumptuous, Weasley,' Draco drawled and flinched minutely when the taller, far more experienced wizard rose to his full impressive height.

'Keep those dirty little thoughts to yourself, Malfoy,' Bill murmured, smirking when the younger wizard's eyes widened. 'I don't presume anything- I know Granger will come to me just as I know that smarmy little face of yours will be slapped if you dare try anything.'

'Bill!' Hermione snapped and pushed his arm away, ignoring the pulse of desire that rushed through her at his need to dominate the younger wizard. He was arrogantly handsome and Hermione struggled to keep her thoughts pure and her mind clear- when every pore in her body was screaming to jump in his lap.

'You will come to my room.' Bill said, not in question but stated like he already knew she'd surrender.

'Bill,' Hermione said softly. "I won't disrespect Minerva by staying in your rooms," she ignored Draco's smug grin and continued, 'but I will come and visit with you. We have a few things to discuss." She gave his shoulder a squeeze and allowed Draco to lead her through the faculty entrance and out onto the lush grass of the Quidditch Pitch.

'What the sodding hell was that, Granger?' All semblances of control and propriety shredded and fluttered to the ground as he rounded on her, pushing the witch hard against the Ravenclaw stands.

'I don't know!' she cried. 'Bloody fuck, Draco something's happened to me!'

'You've turned into a deranged biddy, that's what's bloody happened, witch!' he snarled and gave her shoulders a shake. 'Pucey and Weasley? I knew you were desperate but Merlin, don't be a tart.'

Hermione's nostrils flared and with a surprising swiftness in her distraught state, she pulled back her hand and slapped Draco Malfoy smartly across the cheek. 'I'm not a tart!'

'You are lucky woman,' he murmured, his voice tight with carefully restrained anger, 'that I don't hit back or your head would be severed from your filthy little-'

'Stop!' Hermione pleaded and ducked under his arm, running towards the centre of the pitch where she fell to her knees and let out a piercing, broken cry. 'What has he done to me?'

Draco approached her warily, keeping an eye on her wicked hands and the wand she wielded with surprising merit. 'What's happened?'

A gulping sob tore from her lips and he grunted as her fingers squirmed into his robes and pulled him down to the ground with her. 'A few weeks ago I started to notice a change in my magic. Spells that had been hard to master came to me easily, potions I'd avoided in the past called to me like a long lost lover. I brewed a potion that doesn't even exist, and I can't understand its properties, but it's not a poison. It's most definitely not dark...but new and undiscovered.'

Draco's eyebrows shot to his hairline. 'Granger, are you telling me my Galleons just created a new potion? I fail to see the problem.'

'The problem, Malfoy, is that I don't recall even making the final potion. My mind decided to brew it and my body followed suit.'

'Again, fail to see how that is a problem.' His hand covered hers and Hermione gave him a watery smile.

'It's not just that, Draco,' Hermione sighed. 'The Heredom Familia won't work for me- don't you find that strange?'

He made a dismissive gesture with his hand then spoke, 'You have increased magic, you can brew nameless Potions sans a recipe and you're concerned?'

'My stomach feels like a cauldron of Polyjuice- clagging together, bubbling pathetically, oozing and spluttering, hot, gooey, thick mess all over me.'

Draco flushed. 'Damn it witch, think about what you say before that pretty little mouth of yours is damaged.'

'What are you...oh!' Realisation dawned on the witch who also flushed quite horribly. 'I feel like a bubbling cauldron and I don't know how to fix it.'

'Granger, have you...'

'Miss Granger?' The Headmistress shimmered into view, her body rapidly morphing from the small tabby cat into a powerful witch.

'Headmistress!' Hermione jumped to her feet and allowed the older witch to fold her into a warm, motherly hug.

'What are you doing here, dear?'

'I need to speak with you please, Professor McGonagall. Can we go to your office?'

'Minerva?' Draco drawled and rose as well, smoothing down his robes. 'I will take the Governors on a tour that should allow you at least two hours.' He bowed to the two witches and sauntered off towards the castle.

'Strange boy,' Minerva muttered. 'Come dear, let's visit my office. We have a new elf that seems to think I need fattening up- if all the chocolate biscuits are anything to go by.'

END OF PART ONE