Hermione Jean Granger sat by the cafe window where she could see the rain.
It was a quarter to three in the afternoon, and she was waiting for the handsome man with emerald eyes and the mark of a legend slashed across his forehead.
She was eager to see him, but the longer her eyes lingered upon the falling rain, the further away her mind traveled.
"You need to eat. I told you I will bring you news if there is anything significant."
He set a plate on the table in front of her.
She looked up at him with sharp eyes.
"What do you know about which things are significant and which are not?" she asked incredulously, almost forgetting she was in his territory.
He chose not to answer.
The witch was always demanding answers.
"You should stay healthy so you better eat." Snape ushered her the platter.
A spark of anger flashed in her eyes.
Hermione pushed the plate of food away.
"Your judgment is questionable the moment you betrayed us. I want to go home.
"I tried to be reasonable. But if you want it that way." Snape heavily breathed and he waved his hand and all the platter of food from the table came crashing against the wall.
It scared her, but she tried her best not to show it.
She sat still, refusing to look at him again.
She knew that if she stared into those black eyes, she would only fuel the fire of fear already ignited inside of her.
"My judgment is not flawed nor questionable, Miss Granger." Snape angrily said banging his fist against the table. "I know because you're here and you're alive. If my judgment were flawed you wouldn't be alive being ungrateful at this very moment. I saved your life. You should be thanking me on bended knee."
His voice was cold, sharp, and threatening through her soul.
"Then you should have left me for dead!" she screamed at him. "You should have left me to die with the rest of them! You should not have taken me! You shouldn't have saved me!"
"I did what I had to do." Snape countered grabbing her angrily and binding her wrists in his grasp. "I did what I had to do - what he made me do. I promised him I would save anyone and everyone I could and you were the only one within my reach, Hermione. Only you."
She blinked and saw Harry standing over the table, a smile on his face. Hermione stared up at him with her mouth slightly open.
"It's time," he told her, pointing at his watch.
It was five minutes to three.
"We don't want to be late." Harry offered his hand to her. "Are you all right?"
Harry gently held her by the hand and they started toward the Ministry building across the street.
"Hermione," he said cautiously, "don’t worry, the Wizengamot always decides for the best."
He tried for a supportive smile.
Hermione stared back into those emerald eyes sparkling behind the spectacles. Those beautiful eyes—those same eyes she had fallen in love with.
He could see her hesitation.
She bit her lower lip whenever she was nervous.
“Harry, what if...?"
She didn't continue.
They were lovers and best friends and everything else that there could be, but she knew he would never see things from her point of view.
She suddenly opened her arms and hugged him tightly around the neck.
"Harry, please, you need to understand. No matter what you hear at the trial, just remember that he kept me alive.”
Harry tried to avoid her gaze completely.
Why did she insist on protecting that monster?
That wretched man had completely ruined his beloved, and he wanted him to suffer.
He wanted him to pay dearly.
"We've talked about this, Hermione." Harry said, slowly letting go of her hand and turning away.
Hermione sighed and stalked after him as he crossed the road.
“Harry! Wait, please!”
She caught up with him mid-way and grabbed his arm.
He turned to her and pulled her with him to the other side to avoid blocking the sidewalk.
His eyes swept over her fragile form and sad expression. He sighed heavily but tried his best to control his anger.
"I know how you feel,” he told her calmly, “but I believe that justice should be served."
And without another word, Harry turned from her and entered the building.
She followed wordlessly with her head down, silently praying that justice wasn't as harsh with Snape as Harry.
The moment they entered, the Daily Prophet's people swarmed around them.
They were all desperate to get a photo and a quote.
The scandal was front-page news.
“Mr. Potter.” Kingsley greeted them.
Ministry guards helped Harry and Hermione by blocking the nosy reporters from getting too close.
“Minister,” Harry replied, giving him a respectful nod.
He turned and took Hermione’s hand, pulling her to keep up with his fast pace.
Harry had allowed only one press conference after finding Hermione, and he had stated that it was the first and last one before the trial.
He promised the press that once the twelve hearings had concluded, he would set a date and time for another one.
“Thank you Kingsley,” Harry said as they were led to a narrow corridor, away from the press. “I am grateful for this.”
“Nothing to worry about, Harry,” Kingsley told him. He nodded at Hermione. “I'll see you in the courtroom.” He opened up the door for them and waited for them to enter first.
Harry avoided Hermione’s eyes, but he squeezed her hand.
People started staring and whispering when they recognized who had arrived.
Harry and Hermione walked into the room and headed straight to the raised gallery.
Harry had been in this room several times as a child and a few more as an adult.
The last time he was in there was the hearing of Lucius Malfoy.
The Death Eater was sentenced to Azkaban for a lifetime but he had gone insane just within the first few months. He was then later transferred to St. Mungo's - left forsaken, forgotten by his own family.
He passed within the walls of the asylum and rumor has it that his only heir Draco Malfoy never visited him.
People began to stand up as the Wizengamot entered.
The temperature in the room slowly changed and gasps were heard.
Hermione looked beside him where Harry sat still, his hand clasping something inside his robes as he sat straight, eyes down at the middle of the room.
The Dementors entered, dragging a thin man in prisoner's clothes whose face was hidden beneath long locks of dark hair.
Her heart skipped a beat at the sight of him.
"Hermione, sit down," Harry whispered quietly tugging her hand when she made the slightest movement upon seeing the arrival of the prisoner.
"Harry, this is a mistake." Hermione pleaded but Harry was still and cold.
"Today," the clerk announced, "we are here for the hearing of Mr. Severus Prince Snape for day one of twelve hearings. Today's charges are pressed by Mr. Harry James Potter, long-term friend and fiance of Ms. Hermione Jean Granger, the victim of the accused."
There were strong murmurs around the crowd, and Hermione felt nauseated. But she was able to hold herself together.
"I'm here," she thought to herself, staring at the back of Snape’s head. "I'm here. Please look at me. Please.”
"Wizengamot Federal Case 151924," the witch's voice echoed. “The Wizarding Community and full jury of the Wizengamot versus Severus Prince Snape - ex-Death Eater and ex-alumni of Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The court hearing shall discuss the case of Miss Hermione Jean Granger, who was held captive by the said prisoner for ten consecutive years."
There were more murmurs around the crowd, and Hermione's chest tightened as the witch continued.
“How do you plead?” asked the courtroom’s head of the Wizengamot.
Hermione and Harry sat still and straight on their chair while the whole room held its breath for the answer they all knew had been there all along.
Snape was motionless for a moment and then for the briefest, slightest moment, his face moved up at the very exact spot where Harry and Hermione sat.
His black eyes were cold and emotionless.
He turned his face back to the jury and old-head of the Wizengamot before uttering the words that echoed throughout the whole courtroom.
The room immediately burst into commotion.
Hermione cried out and Harry had to stand up to grab her by the arms to settle her back down her seat.
His black eyes met her brown ones.
He looked up at her with a passive expression as if he didn't recognize her.
A tear trickled down her cheek as she recalled his final words to her.
"You will tell them the truth," he whispered. "You will tell them the truth and nothing but the truth Hermione, you hear me? LOOK AT ME!" He held her arms, shaking her violently. “You will tell them nothing but the truth no matter how much it hurts, no matter what it takes.”
"No, I can't. Please, don't make me do this. I can't do it.”
"Do you trust me?" he asked her gently.
She stared into his black eyes—those black eyes that had been her windows to the outside world for the past ten years.
"Hermione," he repeated warmly, tracing the side of her cheek. He made sure that her eyes were fixed on his. "Do you trust me?" he asked her softly.
His voice rang through her head.
She couldn't let it go. She couldn't let him go.
No, her life depended on that voice.
Hearing it meant her sanctuary was still safe and intact.