"Lily…"

Hermione's eyes snapped open. She looked over at her bed partner and saw that Severus was in the throes of another dream. His cock was high and hard, tenting the blankets, and he was gently thrusting against them. He turned on his side facing her, binding his blankets around him tightly. Hermione could see that her sleeping husband was using them for resistance. She watched in macabre fascination as her husband dreamed about fucking his lost love.

"Oh Lily, yes, unnnhhhh…."

He thrust faster and harder, the roughness of the blanket inflaming his ardor. When his thrusts lost their rhythm and he began to pant and whine, straining for release, Hermione sighed dejectedly and cupped the head of his covered cock, placing her thumb on the underside where the tip met the shaft. She knew his trips and triggers after all this time, so she applied just the right amount of pressure.

"Liiilllyyy…."

He stiffened and came, his cock pulsing in Hermione's hand. She withdrew when he stopped spurting and watched the moisture of his release seep up through the blankets.

Severus woke up spewing hot, sticky liquid, and he couldn't move as the sinful pleasure rocketed through him, locking him into position. Sensations radiated out from his tightened sac, and he lay there stunned as his anal muscles trembled and pulsed in time to his spurts.

His body was suddenly released from its seizing rapture, and he felt like he melted into the bed as his muscles relaxed all at once. Severus felt his release moistening the sheets and marveled at it; he had no idea what he had been dreaming, but he hadn't soiled his bed like that in decades.

He moved to get his wand and clean up when he noticed Hermione quietly staring at him. Ashamed that she had witnessed his wet dream, Severus cast a quick cleansing charm and turned on his wife.

"It's called a 'nocturnal emission,' Hermione," he sneered at her. A cruel snarl marred his features. "I imagine Potter and Weasley messed in their sleeping bags more than once with you in the tent."

Hermione gasped. She was already vulnerable and hurt from having to watch Severus's erotic dream about Lily, so his barb regarding her and the boys' stressful time in the tent hunting horcruxes met no resistance and struck home.

She clenched her jaw and went for her wand, but she was no match for the man who had been Voldemort's best Death Eater. He disarmed her, but she twisted around and bit his wand hand hard; his ebony stiletto clattered harmlessly to the floor as he focused on trying to disengage his wife's gnashing teeth. Both wands fell to the floor, forgotten, as they struggled on the bed.

"Release me at once, you little animal!" Severus snarled. The pain was penetrating the fog of his shame. "Hermione, let go!"

Her eyes flashed up to her husband's and took in the grimace of his features. It reminded her of how his face had crumpled when he had come moaning Lily's name, so she bit down harder, reveling in the taste of his blood as it spurted into her mouth.

As a last resort, Severus drew back his other hand. The motion itself sickened him after years of watching his father hit his mother, but he had to make Hermione let go.

She felt his movement, and when she saw is other hand draw back she growled and released him. Hermione leaped from his grasp to the end of the bed, snarling with a mouthful of blood-stained teeth.

"Would you have really struck me, Severus?" she hissed, her eyes flashing with madness; something inside her had broken. "Would you have beaten me for the crime of not being Lily Evans?"

Severus stopped in the middle of wrapping an emptied pillowcase around his wound. He was floored; what on earth did Lily Evans have to do with this?

"Do you honestly think this is the first time you've dreamed of fucking her?" Hermione asked, rage flooding through her so much it crackled in her hair. "Do you know how many times I've finished you off when you dream of her? How many times I've thumbed your dick so you can hose down the bed and go back to sleep? Dozens, Severus. Dozens!" Her last word was uttered as a scream; pink-tinged spittle flew everywhere, and she launched herself at him.

Though Severus had been Voldemort's best Death Eater, even he was unprepared for the intensity of Hermione's assault. She slapped him, punched him, bit him, swore at him, called him things that were so inventive he filed them away for his own later use (though not at her).

She landed a few good punches and bites before Severus got control of the situation. He spun her away from him, locked her thighs and ankles between his, pinned both arms behind her with one hand and grabbed her hair with the other, revealing her neck. She made to wiggle free, but his hand in her hair was unwavering, and she hissed when pain seared her scalp.

Severus leaned down to her ear. "Hermione," he murmured in his softest purr, "stop." He spoke softly into her ear but held her tightly, careful not to let her hurt herself in her rage. "Easy, Hermione, easy."

Ten minutes later Hermione stopped struggling, her madness spent. Exhausted, she slumped back against her husband's strong chest and burst into tears. Heaving, wracking sobs tore through her, and her entire body shook with the strain.

Severus held her until she quieted down, and he was about to release her when she began a whispered chant. He listed closely, wary of a wandless spell, but he only heard her utter the same phrase over and over: "I'm sorry I'm not Lily."

His fury at his young wife instantly died. He had no idea he had been having these dreams of Lily, no idea how long he'd been dreaming of her, and no idea how many times Hermione had watched him dream-fuck her.

He steeled his resolved. He was about to find out.

Hermione awoke in a strange chair. It was soft and plushy, and it supported her back just right. She moved her leg a bit, and the chair moved along with her, cradling her limb. She moved all over, testing the chair, and every time it conformed to her every curve and bump. Fascinated, she tried getting up to have a look at its mechanics, but the chair held her down. She couldn't get up. Panic began to set in as the chair's comfort transformed into entrapment.

A hand on her shoulder stilled her movements. Severus came around and knelt before her, his face revealing nothing. "You are stuck here, Hermione, until you tell me what I want to know."

She licked her lips in fear, her mouth suddenly dry. "I'll tell you anything you want."

A rueful grin played across his features. "I don't think you'll find it so easy to tell me what I want to know." He stood up and paced back and forth in front of her. "Tell me, Hermione. Why do you hate Lily Evans so much?"

Her mouth snapped shut. She had not known what to expect, but it certainly hadn't been this. She wasn't sure how to proceed; Lily was a sacred cow to him, so she had to tread carefully where she was concerned. "What do you mean, Severus?"

He shook his head. "Ah, ah, ah, Hermione. No answering a question with a question. That's a Slytherin prerogative." He paced back and forth a few minutes more. "I will ask you again, Hermione. Why do you hate Lily Evans so much?"

"Why do you want to know?" she blurted out before she could stop herself.

Severus eyed her for a moment. "Why do you think I want to know?"

Hermione looked down, defeated. She whispered something intelligible and sniffed.

Severus knelt in front of her. He put his hand under her chin and raised her face so he could look in her eyes. "I didn't hear you."

"I said, um, I-I said..." She closed her eyes as fresh tears poured down her face.

This was too brutal; he wanted information, not to emotionally torture her. He obviously wasn't going to get anywhere this way, so he resorted to his back-up plan. He walked behind the chair to a cabinet and brought out a vial. He unstoppered it, added three drops from another vial, and shook it a bit.

By this time Hermione was openly sobbing. She had no idea how she had lost her footing with Severus regarding Lily Evans, but lost it she had, and badly. She was grateful when Severus offered her a small bottle marked "Calming Draught," and so desperate was she for a moment's peace that she downed the whole thing in one gulp.

A sense of peace descended upon her. Everything would be fine. Things would work out in the end; things had a way of doing so. She sighed with relief.

"Is that better, Hermione?"

"Yes, but it tasted awful." She clamped a hand over mouth, and her eyes went wide when she realized it was not just a Calming Draught she'd taken. "Damn you."

Severus smirked. "I've been damned for so long that one more won't matter." He grabbed a stool and sat in front of Hermione's chair. "Now," he said, grinning like a Cheshire cat and flashing his crooked yellow teeth, "we will get some answers."

Hermione drew away from him in fear. The Veritaserum would loosen her tongue, and she had no idea how he would react. She briefly wondered if she would be homeless by dawn.

"I will ask you one last time, my wife," he said, standing to loom over her. "Why do you hate Lily Evans so much?"

Hermione felt like she would vomit. She tried to close her mouth, to not speak at all, but the potion's compulsion was strong, and she was so very tired. "I hate her because you love her instead of me."

He had suspected something like this. He sat back down on the stool and folded his arms. "Why do you think I love her instead of you?"

The Calming Draught was taking a firmer hold, and Hermione relaxed back into her chair. "You dream about her all the time, Severus. Erotic dreams, the kind which make you come in your sleep."

"And how many times have I had these erotic dreams?"

She was safer now; she was in the realm of numbers. Numbers were good allies; they never lied. "You have dreamed of her sixty-four times in the last six months."

Severus was stunned. He would have remembered that many wet dreams. "Why have you not said anything before now?"

She smiled a dreamy little smile. "You've never woken up before now. I always let you sleep through it before because when I helped you come, I felt that at least a little part of me was in your dreams."

It took a moment for Severus to assimilate this information. Hermione obviously believed that she had had to witness many "incidents." His own wife, the one person with whom he felt he could share anything, didn't think he loved her. How could her perspective be so off? Had her soul reattachment somehow gone wrong?

He gazed down at his Dark Mark, and a terrible idea began to form. "Hermione?"

"Yes, Severus?" she answered, gazing at him with adoration.

"When you were in the darkness, were you alone?" He held his breath in anticipation.

"No."

Damn. "Who was there with you? What did he look like?"

"He said he was a friend, but he had funny eyes and a flat face."

Double damn. Severus leaned forward. "Be more specific, please."

Hermione smiled. "He said he was a friend of yours, and that Lily Evans's son had hurt him."

Triple damn. Severus held his head in his hands and groaned. He now knew why Hermione hated Lily so much. Voldemort had somehow reached her while she was in the darkness.

"Hermione?"

"Yes, Severus?"

"I want you to think back to this evening, when you woke me up from my dream."

Her brow furrowed. "I don't want to."

Severus took her hands and held them between his. "Please, Hermione. Do it for me."

She nodded, sighing in apprehension.

"I want you play the memory exactly as it happened, alright?"

She nodded again.

Severus raised his wand. "Legilimens!"