Vespertine

Got Love? Whether it’s unrequited, extramarital, obsessive or completely otherworldly, this fic’s got it covered. Contrary to public opinion, Severus Snape didn’t die at the Battle of Hogwarts. Although he’s not exactly “alive,” he is on a mission to possess the very thing that eluded him in life: love. While love might be the best revenge, it’s never easy. When murder and madness are part of the mix, desire has teeth—and this kind of love really bites!

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32. Separate Lives

There were cleaner, drier, and more comfortable places in the castle, but Hermione wanted none of them. The room reeked of scorched wool, spilled lantern oil, and blood. Too much blood. Most of it hers. She'd opened all the doors and windows to air out the room as best she could, but no matter what she did, the scent remained, coppery-sharp and unmistakable. For all her efforts, the only odor she'd managed to almost completely obliterate was his.

His because she couldn't bring herself to think his name, let alone speak it. There was power in a name, magic in every syllable: part of her knew that voicing it in an empty room would break that spell. To say his name was to lose him forever.

And she was losing him, ever since the forest, she could feel him slipping further and further away. He no longer whispered inside her head and her efforts to reach him fell into painful silence. The return to the castle was the longest walk of her life: no matter how tightly she squeezed his hand or desperately she entreated, he wouldn't awaken and hadn't stirred. Once they'd arrived, Professor McGonagall's Healer friend had whisked him away with the others and forbidden her access to the Infirmary, leaving her alone with her thoughts in the long hours that followed.

She wasn't angry anymore.

Well, she wasn't angry with him. He'd kept his promise, proved his love and in the end, paid the price. They all had. The moon wept and blood ran: even Trelawney hadn't escaped becoming a pawn in her own prophecy. Of all of them, Sybill was truly an innocent victim of the night's events. Hermione couldn't feel anger for her, only pity.

Thoughts of Weasley, on the other hand, made her new fangs twitch. The wounds he'd inflicted had only healed on the outside. They would meet again one day and when they did—

Hermione pushed the thought away. No. Better to seek justice than revenge. But could enough justice ever be extracted for what he'd done to her, to Sybill, and...Severus. "Severus," she whispered, the name spoken aloud breaking the spell and releasing a sudden flood of tears.

The sofa cushion squished beneath her, but she felt neither its wetness nor its chill. The fire still burned, but Hermione couldn't feel the warmth of its flames. She didn't want to feel hurt, hot, or cold.

She didn't want to feel anything at all.

Especially not the hunger. 

Like rage, it rose inside her, clawing at the inside of her throat, knotting her stomach, and stiffening her joints. She knew she needed to feed but she didn't want to. Indulging the hunger would make it real, would make her—

Hermione looked up at the frame that no longer held his image, an oblong of black canvas, a portal to nowhere, the blank slate that now signified him. Like his name, another spell, broken. "What should I do?" she asked.

The door to his storeroom opened and a phial floated out. A fluted lavender phial filled with a potion.

Should she drink it? Would Severus really have wanted her to choose asphodel and aconite over platelets and plasma? His words came back, haunting her: I've spent a lifetime hiding who and what I am, subverting my true nature out of shame, fearful of its power...

Then again, where in bloody hell was she going to get fresh blood without shedding blood?

That settled it. "Accio," she whispered, the fingers of one hand reaching for glass container.

It flew into the fireplace and shattered against the stone fire back.

Bugger.

In the bedroom, curtains 'fwaaped' tiredly over the broken window. Outside, the rain slowly drip-drip-dripped. Time crawled and her vision grew fuzzy around the edges, all images fading, disintegrating from the outside in. Part of her wished she could fade with them, become boneless, weightless, insubstantial as a shadow. If she didn't sate her hunger soon, she had a feeling that she would do just that. Turning, she knelt on the soggy cushions, braced herself on the back of the couch, and scanned the bookshelves, wondering if any sage advice for the newly undead lay hidden inside those books.

Feed...The thought made her fangs throb. "But I broke the phial," she whimpered, sliding back to her former position.

Another drifted out of the storeroom. This time, Hermione waited until it landed on the coffee table.

Potion or blood: in the end, did it really matter? She needed something and either way, there was no going back. She picked up the tiny, lavender bottle. Its contents looked cloudy and slimy: completely unappetizing.

He'd said it was an appetite suppressant.

She was beyond caring.

Summoning all her resolve, Hermione pulled out its cork stopper with her teeth. Immediately, a new odor filled the room, a cross between dead fish and turpentine. Gods, it minged! She regarded the small container narrowly. To think, he'd taken it for years! How had he managed without turning his innards inside out? Hand trembling, Hermione pinched her nose, raised the vial to her lips, and offered up a silent toast: I will never ail, I will never age, and I will never die.

You might, if you drink that slop. A strange voice filled her head. There are better ways, much more pleasant ways to get what you want, what you need. Someone plucked the phial from her hand. Hermione opened her eyes.

The Healer with the long, white braid stood beside her. The one who wouldn't let her stay with Severus and who'd eyed her so cannily.

"Here, let me show you."

Madame Lavatska set her oversized satchel on the coffee table. "There are easier ways." She opened it and pulled out a plastic transfusion bag. A full bag of rich red blood. "See? No muss, no fuss, and best of all, no murder required." She charmed one of the overstuffed chairs dry and took a seat.

Hermione found her voice was soothing, almost hypnotic. "But where did you get it?"

"Drink first; questions later." She snapped off the transfusion port and handed the bag to Hermione. It smelled delicious! Hermione drank greedily.

"Like the Ministry, St. Mungo's shares a charmed space," she said. "Its human hospital has a blood bank, but if the blood is not used within a very short time, the workers must throw it away. Can you imagine?"

Hermione could, but picturing an entire room filled to the rafters with blood made her hungrier still.

"Do you mind?" Madame Lavatska pointed to the potion vial, which soon vanished with a flick of her fingers. "It's nauseating. Not one of my better concoctions."

It took her a minute to make the connection. "The potion in Professor McGonagall's locket! You're O. L!"

"Olga Lavatska, yes. Drink more." When Hermione had finished her second unit, she said, "Better?"

Warmth and flexibility returned to her aching limbs, Hermione nodded. "Much. Thank you."

"I wonder if you would humor an old woman. Where is your wand?"

"In there." Hermione waved to the fire. "Mr. Weasley destroyed it."

"No matter." She pulled a Medi-Wand out of her prodigious bag and set it on the far edge of the coffee table. "Try to call this one to you."

Hermione regarded it cautiously for a moment and then softly said, "Accio Medi-Wand!"

Slowly, it rose from the table, hovered in midair for a moment, and then glided straight into her outstretched hand.

"Excellent work! You're stronger than you look," Olga said, settling back in her armchair. "So, Miss Granger, have you given any thought as what you'll do now to further your education?"

"I gather I'm no longer welcome at Hogwarts, then," Hermione said bitterly.

"It was the Minister's doing, not Minerva's."

"Madame—Olga, how is Severus? Is he alive? When can I see him?"

"He's alive, but he will not see you."

"Not see me?" Hermione stared at her, stunned. "Why?"

"Because he is mortal now. His confrontation with Sybill in her were-form stripped him of his vampiric nature and his powers. All of his magical powers." She let Hermione fully register this before continuing, "Because he is only mortal, he cannot remain in our world, and because you are now a vampire, you have no place in his."

Only mortal. Tears stung Hermione's eyes. "Severus agreed to this?"

"He understands," Olga said slowly.

"But what will happen to him now?"

"Arrangements for his transition to Muggle society will be made."

"Transition? You talk about him as if he were some wild animal raised in captivity," she exclaimed through her tears. "I have to see him! Please, I want to help him!"

"Your presence would only prolong the inevitable." Olga shook her head. "He is beyond your help."

Hermione sprang from her seat. "Don't tell me that! I don't believe that. I will never believe that! There's always a way!"

"The only way to help is by honoring his gift to you."

"Gift?" Hermione snorted.

"You will come to see it for what it is in time."

"Time? Looks like I'll have no small supply of that from now on," Hermione said, flinging herself back in her seat.

"You will, unless you're impaled, incinerated or drown in self-pity."

"I'm not drowning in—I'm just saying, I didn't choose this 'gift!' Weasley's Confringo was fatal—well, it would have been, if Severus hadn't Turned me—and now, you're telling me I can't ever see him again! I have every right to be angry!"

"Forgive me, sometimes, I forget what it felt like, the moment life ebbed away and I became străin, trapped in a fate I did not choose. Yes," she said, revealing her own set of razor-sharp incisors. "So, you see, I am familiar with your situation. To find your way through, gain mastery over your new powers, you will need guidance, sustenance, and protection. That most of all. In the mean time, I could use an assistant at the hospital. What say you, Miss Granger?"

Hermione stared at the old Healer. In less than twenty-four hours, she'd been bedded, killed, and turned into a vampire; she'd fallen in and out of love, been expelled from Hogwarts, and just now, offered a position at St. Mungo's. All things momentous in themselves but when taken together, would have overwhelmed a normal person. Of course, she was now neither normal nor a person. "I'll fetch my things," she said.

 

 

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