Truth and Lies
"I saw Luna today," Harry said as they entered the apartment after their trip to the grocery store that morning. "She said she will help us minimize the press report and other newspaper leaks."
Hermione quietly watched Harry put up the wards around the doors.
"Is that necessary?" she asked him.
"Which?" Harry said looking up at her, pocketing his wand and bending over to carry the bags to the kitchen.
"The wards," Hermione answered as he led them both to the kitchen.
"Yes." he simply said. "We don't want anyone trying to get inside."
"How about anyone going out?" Hermione blurted out unable to stop herself.
"What did you say?" Harry asked him sharply turning his head to her. "I'm not him."
For a brief moment, Hermione saw what looked like anger from him that she's never seen before.
It had vanished as quickly as it had come.
"I'm tired." Harry suddenly said putting all the grocery bags on the table and reaching for a box of what looked like a large box of chocolate. "I'm going to clean this up later. Get some rest."
"I'll make you a sandwich?" Hermione quickly offered him but he was barely listening anymore.
"We have tea tomorrow at the Weasley's I almost forgot to tell you."
And before Hermione could say anything, he kissed her forehead and walked out of the kitchen with his chocolate to his small office down the hallway.
“ I made you a sandwich,” Hermione said, placing the platter on the table.
Snape sat in the armchair with his eyes closed.
She walked over to him.
“I thought maybe you were hungry.” she said, biting her lower lip as she always did whenever she was nervous.
He did not answer immediately. Instead, he remained still; but he must have sensed her nearness.
“I’m not hungry. You can leave this room.”
He listened but he didn’t hear her move. Slowly, he opened his eyes and saw her standing over him with that same dreadful expression. Her brown eyes were threatening to shed tears, and he tried his best to ignore it.
“I said you can leave now-”
“Professor, I didn’t mean what happened.”
He continued to ignore her as Hermione made another step forward.
“Severus, please listen to me. I’m sorry.”
Snape hated it whenever she begged him in that pitiful tone and gave him that sad expression. It was such a pain in his already-aching insides.
“Severus, I’m sorry. I promise that it will never happen again.”
Her brown eyes were now shedding tears. She went down on her knees and grasped his robes.
“Severus.” Her fingers tightened around his clothing, and she felt him shiver under her touch. He tried his best to ignore her, which was becoming harder by the moment.
“Severus, please talk to me. I’m so—“
Suddenly, he grabbed her tightly by the wrists. “Do you have any idea what could have happened if you were seen?”
His voice was filled with hatred, disappointment, and anger. His black eyes glinted fiercely. Hermione’s voice seemed to have gone.
“You could have been seen.” he gripped her wrists tighter. “You could have been taken. You could have been killed, and all of these would have been for nothing!”
All of the tears she had been holding back spilled from her eyes.
“I’m sorry!” she cried back. “I’m so sorry!”
Snape stared at her. He raised his hand as if to strike her, and she cowered lower. But the blow never came. Instead, she felt herself being thrown aside and she heard his angry footsteps fade away.
“No, no, please...” she cried, gathering herself from the floor. She crawled towards the door and followed him. “Severus, please!”
She found him in the entryway putting on his traveling cloak
“Where are you going? Severus, you can’t leave. There’s a storm and it's dangerous out there and you can't-"
“I’d rather be out there than stay here,” he spat as he struggled with the sleeve of the cloak.
Hermione tried to stop him. “Please, don’t leave me, please. Let’s talk. You can’t just leave me here.”
“You were just about to do that to me!” he said, pushing her away.
Hermione hit the wall, but she remained standing. “No, I didn’t. I wasn’t going to—“
“You were going to leave me the first moment you had that freedom in your hands, Hermione. Well, I guess you should—“
“I would not have left you!” she screamed, reaching for him again.
He stopped her by grabbing both her hands. His black eyes continued to glint with a fury beyond her imagination.
“If you have been seen, Hermione. If you have been taken - if something happens to you - that's on me. If you die…if you die..I would not be able to survive without—“
“But I wasn’t and I’m safe, and I’m back here and I wasn’t going to leave you!”
“You do not understand!” Snape screamed. “You are supposed to be smart, Hermione! You still do not understand what this war has done to many and what it can still do to those who are left.”
“Severus, I’m alive and I’m here and—“
“DAMMIT, HERMIONE!” he yelled as he raised his arm.
Hermione closed her eyes ready for the real blow to fall this time.
But it didn’t come.
Hermione slowly opened her tearful eyes and saw that his fist had collided with the wall beside her cheek. Blood dripped from his fist.
“I’m trying to protect you,” Snape said without looking at her. “I have been left with that responsibility and many others that I did not ask for. I am just trying to protect you, but if you do not need that from me….”
She cried harder. She could hear an unbearable pain in his voice she has never heard before.
“I should not keep you here if you wish to leave. I won’t stop you from doing what you want, Miss Granger.”
Snape slowly lowered his fist from the wall and turned away.
“I cannot keep you here forever.”
Snape quietly walked from the empty corridor toward his laboratory to heal his bleeding fist. He was halfway there when he heard her wail behind him and then, without warning, he felt a pair of arms wrap around his waist, completely catching him off-guard.
“Miss Granger, please let me go.”
“Don’t call me that,” she cried. “I’m sorry.”
“I’m not keeping you here for no reason. I’m trying to keep you alive. But if you cannot live with that any longer, you have my consent to leave.”
“I can’t,” Hermione admitted, pressing her face to his back and placing her arms around him again. I won’t leave you. You can’t make me.”
The attendee’s voice came out from nowhere, shaking Hermione back to reality.
She stared around her and realized that she was lost for words again.
“I’m sorry,” she said, shaking her head and trying to ignore the look of worry Harry wore. “I’m listening.”
The Wizengamot stared at her as if they didn't believe her claim.
The attendee continued then, “So Miss Granger, you’re telling us that in the first few months that you were in Mr. Snape’s home, you did not try to escape?”
“It’s not called an escape,” Hermione said impatiently. “If you call it that, it would mean that he was forcing me to stay there without my consent. I will repeat it, he had my consent. I agreed to stay with him.”
“But then again, it was before you found out that the Dark Lord has gone?” the attendee interrupted her with a clear smirk on his face.
Hermione glared at him.
They were going to do everything to make it sound as if Snape was guilty. She opened her mouth, but the attendee waved his hand in the air to interrupt her.
“I will get to the point, Miss Granger, and please do try your best to give straight answers to my precise questions.”
“I’m trying to.”
“Did you try to leave the cottage where he kept you? The man in question kept you for six months, and during the early stages you tried to escape his place, did you not?”
“I did not try to escape him!” Hermione screamed. “I tried to see my parents because I was worried about them, but I returned to the cottage because he was protecting me there.”
“Protecting you? But after the six months, didn’t you wonder what was happening with the war? Didn’t he tell you that the Dark Lord had been defeated? Why would you want to stay?”
“Severus Snape was only trying to protect me!” Hermione stood from her chair.
Everyone was watching her.
The attendee's eyes were bright and wide, and the jury was murmuring and pointing at her. Her tearful brown eyes roamed the room and found Harry. He was sitting right across her, and a look of utter disappointment and surprise was written all over his face.
“Please,” Hermione begged this time, her eyes softening. “This isn’t going anywhere. You’re only asking me things to get the answers you want to hear.”
“Miss Granger,” the head of the Wizengamot finally spoke.
Hermione was silent as she stared up at the old man in the middle of the long table.
“We are asking you the questions pertinent to your situation. If the man in question is innocent, he will be freed. If he is found guilty, he will be charged and you will be given justice.”
The room was silent. The rest of the jury seemed to have been terrified that the head of the Wizengamot had spoken.
Hermione sank back on her seat with her fists clenched at her sides and her eyes filling with tears.
It wasn’t right.
They were asking her things that would put Snape in a negative light and would surely land him in Azkaban for the rest of his life. And the worst part of it was he had made her promise that she would tell nothing but the truth. Now, he was going to rot in Azkaban because of her.
“Leaving ‘without his consent would suggest that you were escaping, Miss Granger. Given this, was there any other time you tried to leave?”
Hermione sat back with such hatred in her eyes before uttering a spiteful, “Yes.”
“When was this, and why did you not succeed?”
“Isn’t it obvious that he tried to—“
“Miss, Granger, kindly answer the question,” the head of the Wizengamot reminded her.
She was furious. She looked up at the attendee then glanced, then around the room and sideways at Harry who had nodded at her in approval. He was giving her his most encouraging look, but it wasn’t helping her at the moment.
“He had ways of monitoring the cottage. I couldn’t just leave.”
“When was this second attempt of escape?”
“It wasn’t an escape,” Hermione spat. “It was a long time ago. I can’t remember the specific time and date.”
Suddenly her bright mind lit up with an idea. She needed to answer them in ways that were neither truth nor lies.
“Very well. Do you remember why you were unsuccessful?”
“I was...” Hermione hesitated.
She looked at Snape. He sat with his head down, unmoving. She wondered if he was even awake.
“I was bitten by a snake. He found me just in time and healed me,” Hermione answered truthfully. “He saved my life.”
“He healed you?” the attendee asked her. “What did he use to heal you?”
Hermione’s eyes rolled. “Potions. Obviously.”
“What kind of potion did he use to heal you?”
“He’s a Potions master. He has an array of antidotes.”
“So there is an array of potions where he kept you?”
Hermione’s face turned red in irritation. “I said, he’s a Potions master. He has a laboratory where he brews all sorts of potions.
“All sorts of potions,” the attendee repeated in a manner that Hermione didn’t like at all. “Did you know what antidote he used on you?”
“I don’t know,” Hermione answered and then realized that it was not the right answer. Her face turned slightly red. “What I mean is that there are all kinds of potions and antidotes that could prevent one from dying of a snake bite.”
“But you drank it?” the attendee questioned. “You took it even though you didn’t know exactly what it was.”
The head of the Wizengamot wore a look of slight disappointment from his face before withdrawing from where he stood to return back to his seat.
“He was trying to keep me alive!” Hermione wailed again. “He tried to heal me using the craft he knows the best! I may not know what exactly he had used on me, but I know that he healed me, because I’m here right now in front of you answering your nonsense questions! I’m sorry I was bloody dying at the time, and I didn’t have enough consciousness to inquire which antidote he was going to use on me!”
She has lost all the patience she has left.
The Wizengamot looked down at her as if she had lost her mind. She tried her best to keep her voice-controlled, but the way things were turning she could not hold it any longer. They were going to make sure that Snape was sent to Azkaban for a crime he didn’t commit.
But the attendee wasn’t the kind of man who would let her get away with an attitude like that, even if she was the victim, even if she was one of the Golden Trio.
He nodded at her and turned to the Wizengamot.
“It is obvious that for the years Miss Hermione Jean Granger was in the custody of Severus Prince Snape, she was given potions she could not identify. I think it is safe to conclude that these potions were used to manipulate and control her mind.”
“My mind is intact!” Hermione suddenly raged, standing up again. She banged her fists on the table. “My mind is completely fine, and I was not fed mysterious potions you dumb-dimwitted-”
“Miss Granger, you just admitted to the whole room that you were given a potion—an antidote as you called it—but you were not sure the precise name of the potion.”
“This isn’t just!” she wailed at the man. She turned to Harry for support, but he did not look convinced at all. She turned around to Snape, whose face was hidden beneath his long black hair.
“Please,” she pleaded again. “This is nonsense. He saved me from that snake bite, and he protected me all those years. This isn’t just.”
“We ask the questions, Miss Granger,” spoken yet again by the eldest member of the Wizengamot, and for the first time, Hermione felt a sense of respect for the jury in front of her.
The old man’s eyes bore into hers, and she swallowed hard as if fearful of the old man, or at least fearful of lying to him.
“Miss Granger,” the old man stood from his chair again, “we are here for the trial of a man whom the whole Wizarding Community thought of to be dead or missing. Now years later we find you in his custody. It is human nature for us to assume that some things happened that most would deem criminal.”
Her eyes averted to Harry, who seemed to agree with what the old man was saying.
The whole courtroom fell silent as the old man held their undivided attention.
“Therefore, whether you like it or not, you will have to succumb to these hearings and answer all the questions truthfully. If you were to ask me, there should be no trial in this case.” He gestured towards Snape. “Keeping you from your family, your friends, and loved ones for all those years is a crime punishable by any law—not just our laws here in the wizarding world, Miss Granger. However, for the Wizengamot to be just, these trials and hearings must proceed. If Mr. Snape is found guilty, he will suffer the consequences; and if he is found innocent,“ his eyes bore momentarily towards Snape, “he will be a free man. Now, today’s hearing is simply to ascertain whether you left his place without his consent; if you failed, what was the reason; and if there were times he gave you potions that you could not identify. These are simple questions Miss Granger, so please do not make things complicated.”
There was silence around the whole room. Hermione was also lost for words. The old man nodded and gestured for the attendee to step aside as he came forward to question Hermione himself.
“The question is simple Miss Granger,” he had said calmly. “I believe you were able to answer it. Now, we have another question. In regards to the potions he asked you to drink, was there any potion you were reluctant to drink? Any potion he forced you to consume?”
Hermione breathed heavily. Her eyes strayed to Harry, who was anticipating her answer. Then she looked towards Snape, who was as silent and still as he had always been.
“ You need to drink this.” Snape said, placing the vial on the table next to her bed. “Don’t be stubborn.”
She had her back turned, and she completely ignored him. He inhaled sharply and stared at her unmoving form.
“Are you deaf?” he asked as he slowly lost his patience. “I said, the potion is here. Drink it now.”
Hermione continued to pretend that she was sleeping.
“I know you’re not sleeping. Stop pretending you can’t hear me. I am very much aware that you are wide awake. Now, either you get up on your own to drink this potion, or I will force it down your throat.”
Still, Hermione did not move.
“Bloody hell,” he growled. He moved forward and grabbed her by the arm. “Miss Granger, I told you to drink this.“
“Then what?” Hermione said, turning to face him as he grabbed her. “And then what after I drink that?” She gestured towards the potion in complete disgust.
“It will keep you safe.” He gripped her arm harder and grabbed the vial with his free hand. “Now drink this before I pour this down your gullet.”
“I won’t,” Hermione said, shaking her head, her eyes starting to fill with tears. “You can try and shove it down my throat, but I will not drink that on my own!“
Hermione saw the frustration in his eyes.
She tried to ignore the look he was giving her and fought not to give in to the fear. He looked at her with such frustration and desperation.
“Why won’t you listen to me when I tell you—“
“Why won’t you listen to me too!” she wailed at him. She moved towards him. “Please, I don’t need that. I don’t need—“
“You don’t know what you’re talking about. You don’t know what you’re saying, Hermione. Please, you need to understand—“
“It doesn’t matter,” Hermione interjected, and slowly opened his hand with the potion. “Let it go,” she softly said, moving his hand to set the vial back on the table. “Please leave it. I already told you, it doesn’t matter to me.”
“If I...” Snape began but he was unable to go on when he saw her pleading eyes. “Hermione, you do not understand. What if... we cannot even attempt to have…. You don’t understand our situation. This isn’t right. I’m supposed to protect you.”
“And you’re already doing it.” Hermione moved closer to the Potions master.
Those black eyes she’d known since her first year at Hogwarts, the black eyes she feared so much now stared through her soul. No, she refused to be shaken out of her decision because of the fear those black eyes once inspired.
“I’m with you,” Hermione whispered, placing her hands on either side of Snape’s cheeks. “I was meant to be here.”
“You don’t understand,” Snape said in a defeated tone as Hermione pressed her body against his. “I was meant to protect you, not harm you...not in any way. Miss Granger, please stop this.”
“Hermione,” she whispered as she brought her face to the Potions master’s “It sounds a lot better when you call me Hermione.” She moved her lips closer until they were almost touching.
He captured her lips with his and was enthralled once more in the arms of the Gryffindor girl he had been asked to protect with his life.
“None,” Hermione lied in the jury. “There was none I refused or was forced upon.”
She lowered her gaze so they wouldn’t see the lies in her eyes. There was some murmuring, and when she glanced up, she saw the disbelief in Harry’s face.
The Wizengamot stared at one another, and their heated whispers told Hermione they were debating her answer. Finally, the wizard by the stand stood up and called for the courtroom.
“There will be half an hour of break.”
Hermione’s heart relaxed at the announcement.
“When we resume, Mr. Severus Prince Snape will take the stand.”
And with that, the Wizengamot stood up and the rest of the jury and witnesses around the room began leaving their seats.
Hermione stayed where she was and stared up at Harry who was slowly making his way towards her. Hermione bit her lip and stood up, glancing towards Snape, who was being led out of the room by two wizards. She looked up at him, expecting that he’d look in her direction, but he didn’t even glance up. He walked out of the room quietly with his head down and his hands bound behind him by magical bonds.
“Hermione? Let’s go grab something to eat.”
“I’m not hungry,” she answered truthfully. Her eyes remained on Snape until he was led out of the room and was completely out of her sight. She turned to Harry. “I just want this day to be over.”
“I know,” Harry answered, taking her hand to his. They started leaving the stand together and Harry waited for the room to be almost empty before turning to her with a dark look from his face.
“Hermione,” he slowly said, “why are you lying?”
“What?” she turned to him. “Harry, I’m not lying. I’m not!“
“I saw the results of your medical records. They saw traces of different potions in your blood,” he began. “They saw a trace of a potion to keep you from getting pregnant.”
Hermione noticed the hatred glowing in his eyes.
“Hermione, why are you protecting him?”
“Harry, I’m not lying. I’m not trying to protect him either,” she lied again, but she knew Harry didn’t believe her. “Look, I’m trying... I’m trying to tell the truth.”
For the first time, she heard the disappointment in his voice.
“The truth, Hermione? You’re just making it easier for him to get off scot-free.”
“Harry, they want him jailed in Azkaban.“
“Because that’s where he belongs!” Harry shot back, and his voice echoed all over the room, “Hermione, he took you in and kept you for years. We thought you died. He took you, and he should pay for whatever he did to you. Do you have any idea what it felt like for me every single night knowing you were somewhere out there, god knows where, and I couldn’t even do anything! Have you had any idea—“
“He was trying to protect me!” Hermione answered back, all the anger rising inside of her. “He was trying to protect you—all of us!“
“Protect my balls!” Harry cursed loudly, not caring who heard. “He kidnapped you. Did he damage your brain so much that you can’t tell what’s right from wrong! Voldemort was gone for years, and he still kept you! Why can’t you goddamn see that!”
Hermione didn’t say anything. Her eyes were filled with tears, and her whole body was shaking, unsure of what to do. But before she could do anything else, Harry let go of her arm and stormed out of the courtroom, leaving her on the witness stand-alone and crying.
“Harry, wait!” she called after him, realizing the hurt and anger she was causing. She jumped out of the stand and quickly exited the courtroom, passing the gawking crowd. She reached the double doors but couldn’t see where Harry had gone.
“Harry!” she called out, but no head turned to her. She let the people pass her and push their way around her. She bit her lower lip, and her eyes filled with tears again. Her heart was pumping so fast in anger and frustration. She was just about to re-enter the now empty courtroom, when she saw the tall wizards guarding Snape.
“Severus,” she gasped tearfully. “Excuse me, excuse me,” she said, making up her mind to reach them and talk to the man she hadn't spoken to in three months. She had not been allowed to see him and was unable to go to Azkaban to visit him because of Harry’s restrictions. But now she was just so close to the man the whole world was accused of a crime she knew he had not committed.