The Island of Beltane
“Just for clarification for the whole courtroom, Mr. Snape. Did you just tell us that after Miss Granger's healing within that period, you still refuse to release her or bring her back to her friends and family?"
"Yes." Snape answered audibly enough for the whole room to hear his deep, rough voice.
There were strong reactions from the crowd and even the attendee's eyes slightly widened at the confession.
"What are you doing?" Hermione whispered at the edge of her seat. "What are you doing?"
Harry didn't say anything as he quietly sat next to her listening intently and watching Hermione's body language.
"And why would that be?" asked the attendee. "Why would you do that when you knew they were all looking for her?"
"Would you not keep a young lady to yourself given a chance?" Snape sarcastically answered with a small smile at the edge of his lips.
"What are you doing!" Hermione hissed and Harry had to grab her back to her seat to restrain her from standing up or calling for any attention again.
Since the hearing began, she had been warned twice already to remain quiet or she would be sent out after interrupting the interrogation.
"Harry, they have to understand -" Hermione winced as Harry pierced her wrist with his hold.
"I will personally bring you out of this room if you make one more scene, Hermione." Harry whispered to her ear before letting her arm go and sitting back comfortably in his own chair.
"Mr. Snape, I ask you a question with a specific answer." the attendee rolled out a small parchment to Snape. "We are deducing questions and answers to enable us to determine your fate if you will be set free or sent to the Dementors. Are we clear?"
Snape didn't say anything; he remained still with a passive expression over his face.
"Because I wanted her," he answered after a while slowly turning his head to face the attendee and look him straight in the eye. "I wanted to keep her."
By this time, the crowd could no longer contain from loudly reacting at Snape's continued admittance of his crime.
Hermione was already tearful and as she looked at Harry, despite his calm demeanor, she could see the hatred and the murder in his eyes.
She averted her eyes back towards the room and then she saw that Draco had been sitting directly right across where she and Harry were seated.
She couldn't see his face but he was as still as Harry as he focused attentively at Snape's interrogation.
“And your intentions, Mr. Snape?” the attendee's voice echoed above the murmuring crowd. "What were your intentions in keeping, Miss Granger?"
Snape looked up at the attendee with a bored look over his face.
"She is brilliant, young, beautiful, and let us now forget.. untouched."
"I'm going to kill you!" Harry angrily yelled, "I'm going to kill you!" Harry leaped up from his seat before Hermione could grab hold of him.
The crowd had gone wild by now, pointing angrily and cursing at Snape.
"SILENCE! SILENCE!" yelled some of the members of the Wizengamot from the front row of the room.
The attendee looked back at Snape whose black eyes stared unblinkingly back at him as if daring him to ask him another question.
"Harry, no, no please.." Hermione cried holding him back to his seat as he took out his wand and ready to strike if not for Hermione and the wizard seated next to them.
"I'm going to kill that fucking bastard!" Harry angrily pointing towards Snape across the room. "I'm going to fucking kill you!"
Unable to do anything, Hermione could only tear up until two Ministry officers came and walk up towards them to where they sat to contain the crowd at their spot.
"Alright - alright - I'm fine, I'm fine!" Harry angrily said as an officer ushered them two back to their seats.
"They're going to throw us out if you do something like that - Harry, please-"
"I'm fucking fine!" Harry angrily said to the officer who remained standing near them expecting him to keep his wand away.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry-" Hermione said helping Harry stash his wand back inside his jacket pocket.
"I'm fine - don't touch me! Don't you know who I am?!" Hermione heard Harry yell angrily at the officer before she settled back down to her seat with her angry companion.
The officers gave them a final look before sweeping along the aisle to contain the people back to their seats.
Some people were staring at them, and Hermione was still worried about the wand inside his pocket that was within reach anytime.
Hermione looked around and saw Draco across the room, and they caught one another’s gaze. There was a grave look on his face that she couldn’t quite identify.
It took a while but the crowd calmed and the attendee resumed his questioning.
“Mr. Severus Snape, do you know that what you have done is considered abduction?" the attendee asked. "Forcing her to stay with you when it was inappropriate is called kidnapping.”
“I’m aware,” Snape simply answered. “I assure you that I regret none of my actions; if anything, I enjoyed them thoroughly.”
"Alright. Fuck it." Harry angrily yelled and without warning, he pulled his wand out of his pocket and got out of his seat, and began striding down the row of seats to get a better aim.
“Harry, please,” Hermione called after him as she tried to go through the crowd while several officers had seen Harry's movements already.
In a moment, there was chaos along the rows as Harry struggled against the officers who were restraining him to reach the stand.
“NO!” Harry spat at her. “He’s admitting what he did to you. Did you not hear? Are you deaf?”
His fury was beyond anything Hermione could imagine. He was shaking in anger, an expression that Hermione barely recognized from him.
“No, these circumstances are—“ she started.
“Hermione, did you not hear what he said?”
“I heard what he said!” Hermione shouted. “I’ve heard everything that he’s said, but—“
“But what?” Harry growled,"I'm fine, I'm fine. Let me go. Let go!" pushing one of the officers off him and raising both his hands in surrender.
The officers let him go but didn't put their guard down incase Harry attempted anything.
"Harry, just calm down. You don't understand -"
"I don't understand?" Harry asked her. "I don't understand what exactly?"
Hermione reached for him but he moved away from her.
"I understand everything pretty clear, Hermione. And you should. And you should get your head together because later when they question you, you are just going to bypass and ignore all the evidence and tell them he was just trying to protect you all those years-"
"Harry, calm down - you don't -"
"I understand and I'm fucking calm!" Harry yelled at her.
"Harry, let's just talk - just talk calmly about it -"
"Now you wanna talk?" Harry challenged her, "Alright. Let's do that, let's talk. We'll talk."
And without warning, Harry grabbed her by the arm and everyone watched as he painfully dragged her out of their seats, all the way down the stairs and rows of seats disregarding all eyes on them.
“Harry, you’re hurting me. Please, Harry, don’t do this. I’m going to tell them the truth.”
“Truth?” Harry asked, rounding on her as they reached the double doors.
He looked ready to punch someone.
“The truth? What truth Hermione? The reality you keep telling everyone? That one he planted in your heart and that once brilliant head of yours are we talking about that made-up truth?"
"Because he protected me!" Hermione wailed at him as the people began to crowd them. "He did his best to keep me protected! You don't understand what happened all those years!"
"I understand exactly what happened all those years!" Harry angrily yelled and everyone around the room was now paying attention solely to them.
"I'm trying to make this right," Hermione whispered. "I'm just trying to make things right."
"Things will NEVER be right!" Harry's voice echoed all over the silent hall where everyone was openly staring by now.
Hermione was tearful while Harry was shaking with all the pent-up anger growing out of him.
"You're here but I don't feel that way. You were gone,” Harry said. “You were gone for a decade—a decade, Hermione!”
Two Ministry officials and an Auror now approached and gently warned them both, especially Harry, to quiet, but Harry wouldn’t stop.
“You were nowhere to be found and you have no idea how THAT felt! Ten years! Ten miserable years not knowing where you were—not knowing if you were still alive or if I was ever going to see you! Ten years, I waited Hermione - and here you are standing by this crowd alive! I was the only one who believed you were alive all those ten-long-years! And I'm going to give you the justice you deserve!"
The crowd was silent as they watched the boy who lived lose it. Even the Wizengamot were all staring in their direction. The attendee was open-mouthed, standing in front of Snape and staring up at the exit door where the scene was taking place.
"Justice for me?" Hermione said through her tears. "Justice for me or you? For you Harry? Because since I got back here everything's been about you and all you've thought about is yourself. I hate you, Harry!"
He stared shocked at her; he certainly didn't expect that. He took a step forward, but the Auror behind him held him back. He clutched Harry’s wand arm gently, but he wouldn’t let his wand go.
For a moment, Harry just stared at her. The silence around the room was unnerving. Only Hermione’s crying could be heard.
“Right.” Harry blinked, nodding his head and pocketing his wand.
Hermione realized her mistake. She quickly reached out for him, but Harry backed out of her reach.
“No, wait. That’s not what I meant.”
“I think I know what you meant,” Harry said, shoving her hand away and pointing at the crowd around them. "I think everyone else here knows what you meant, Hermione."
Harry turned, pushing one of the Aurors aside as he strode out of the room without another word.
“Harry! Please, listen to me!” Hermione screamed several times, but Harry never looked back.
Severus Snape stared at the blank wall before him.
The day had been long and the court trial had gone horribly. Not that he expected things to go better since he was just waiting for the Dementor’s Kiss.
A life sentence in Azkaban was not going to happen—his crimes were worth more than that piece of mercy. He was going to die at the hands of the Dementors, and before that, he’d be spending the rest of his days within these four walls—forsaken and left for dead.
He was going to die alone.
Alone and miserable.
How had it gotten to this point? He couldn't imagine. He had done his best to live a life of solitude. All he ever wanted when he was younger was a life with Lily Evans, and that was taken from him, and from then forward, all his decisions seemed to have a karmic effect on him.
He mourned for the death of his best friend and the woman he had deeply loved. And then he’d become a double-spy both for the Dark Lord and Dumbledore. Life had never been easy, and he knew that death was his only escape. But even that mercy was being denied.
He knew he was guilty of many things, and he deserved the Dementor’s kiss, but now things were complicated. He was on trial for the murders he had committed, for being the Dark Lord’s follower, and his abduction—as they called it—of Hermione Jean Granger. But it wasn't that simple—or at least he knew that it wasn’t the whole story. But he had made his decision. He deserved none of her goodness or the gift she had bestowed upon him. He was a bastard, and he did not deserve her—no matter what she said.
Hermione Granger was pure and innocent, and he’d ripped her from the world for reasons beyond logic.
But why would she choose a life with him?
Was it not punishment enough that he was to die alone?
Why would her memories— their memories— still hunt him down?
He deserved none of her, and he would learn to live with that until his dying day.
Hermione sat alone in the living room the entire day.
It was late in the afternoon already and it bothered her greatly that Snape has not returned yet.
It has been weeks since the ambush or at least, that's what her little diary claimed. She had created a small notebook to mark the date and keep track of events since there weren't any calendars in the cottage and the only old clock wasn't to be trusted.
She had tried to keep track of the days and she hoped that Snape would never find out about her little diary.
The war was far from being over; she had been stealing newspaper clippings when he wasn't around. The death toll she had been reading was too much to bear and she was unsure if hiding was even a good idea. She wanted to be out there, out in the war where blood was being shed as she stood side by side Harry but she couldn't. And despite all that, Snape was taking very good care of her.
She was fed more than three times a day as the kitchen was open to her liking. A few days ago, he came home with a bag of new clothes and even some books to pass the time. Other necessities were also provided for. It felt she was taking a holiday. But she didn't want any holiday, not when people out there were dying.
She asked once or twice - she lost count already - if she could glimpse her loved once. But he told her the same things - that it was unsafe, that if she was caught she could be used as bait for Harry and that if there was anything important, he would let her know.
He kept telling her that she was safe in the cottage with him and there was no point worrying at that moment but to keep herself away and hidden from the enemies until it were all over.
Hermione had begged to see her parents, even from afar, but his answer was the same. He promised he would immediately tell her or bring her to them if anything happened.
She trusted his judgment. Despite that, she was worried all the time. She kept her mouth shut though and tried to be as docile as possible. But as the days passed, she became impatient.
She knew that he was a good man, and he had proven that by taking care of her. But he had withdrawn all connections to the outside world. She wasn't allowed to send any owl post or Patronus. Nothing. It made her uneasy, at times giving her sleepless nights, but she hoped for the best.
She was well aware that whenever he left, he warded the whole cottage and made sure the grounds were secure. No one could get in. Or out.
She stayed in all day eating and reading. When she was lucky, he would allow her to borrow from his library in the laboratory. Some days she’d clean, make their food, and once or twice she washed his traveling cloak and shined his boots. He reminded her that there was no need for her to do such a thing but she was more and the most tedious and demeaning tasks kept her sane.
Hermione tried her best to not argue or complain about how her boredom was bordering on insanity. He would usually leave early in the morning and arrive late. He would be there, but it felt like he wasn’t there at all.
In one of the first few weeks, she had a tantrum—wanting to know about her friends and family. It was raining and their fight had been a big one. She had tried for the door, and he hexed her ankle, causing her to trip on the carpeted floor. Then he had forced her back to the living room couch.
“First off,” he said as he threw her down and held her in place, anger burning in his eyes, “you are safe here. You are safer here than any of the Order members and any of your loved ones.”
His black eyes glinted as he spoke. It scared her out of her wits, but she nodded vigorously to show she understood.
“Second, you will listen to everything I tell you from this point on if you do not want this scene repeated. Do you understand, Ms. Granger?”
When she didn't answer, he tightened his grip and shook her.
“I’m going to ask you again, do you understand what I’m saying?”
“Y-yes,” Hermione cried, nodding at him and trying to free her arm.
Snape realized that he was hurting her and quickly let go but didn’t drop her gaze. He didn't want to scare her, and he wished he could take back what he'd just done, but it was too late. She was already crying so he could only take advantage of that fear.
“There will be no going out. No anything. I will be keeping your wand from this day forward and you are not allowed to step out that bloody door. There will be no spying around the cottage. You are to stay within these walls, and believe me I’ll know if you dare defy me.”
“But, Professor, I can’t just—“
“No! You will only do as I say!”
Hermione didn’t understand the frustration and fear in his voice. It was as if her life really did depend on him. She was at his mercy.
“But what about Harry? I need to go back.”
“There is no going back there!”
He moved away as if to keep from physically hurting her.
Hermione watched as he tried to calm himself.
“You listen to me.” Snape walked back to her and pulled her from the floor then threw her back on the couch. “There is nowhere to go. You are not going out, not anywhere until this bloody war is over; and right now it is far from being over! You are safe here, do you understand that?”
“I do not give a damn if you rot in here!” he spat. “I don’t give a damn if you are dying of boredom. Inside these walls, you are protected, and that is where you are staying.”
Hermione didn’t say anything. She continued crying, not caring how he might react to it; she had to let it out. It has been building inside her for days. She wanted to return to the others, but she was stuck with him until the war was over.
She cried on the couch until she heard him move toward her again. She felt a reluctant but gentle hand on her shoulder.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “Hermione, I’m sorry.”
Hermione stopped crying for a moment. His apology sounded sincere and it frightened her even more. He sounded scared too.
Without warning, she turned to him and suddenly threw herself at him and cried in his arms.
“I just miss them. I’m worried about them. I want to know where Harry is, Professor. Please save them.”
Her arms dug into him, and Snape was taken aback. It took him a while to speak and move again.
“Don’t cry, please don’t cry,” he said as he gently put his arm around her, “I will try and save them.”
Snape’s voice was surprisingly comforting, and his long fingers began stroking her tangled hair.
“I’m going to protect you for as long as I can, but I can’t do that unless you let me. So please, don't make this harder than it already is.”
Hermione didn’t say anything, but she nodded her head as her crying lessened.
“I will do everything in my power to protect you. But you need to give me your word that you’ll do as I say because it is the only way you'll survive this war. Do you understand me?”
He gently lifted her face and met her gaze. She stared at him, and her eyes told him how scared and helpless she felt.
“Miss Granger, I need your word.”
“I promise you,” Hermione muttered. “I’ll do what you ask of me, Professor.”
“Harry?” Hermione called out when she heard someone enter their living room. She looked up and saw that it was three in the morning.
Harry swayed as he entered the living room. He pointed his wand at the fireplace. It lit and he warmed his hands near the flames.
Hermione quickly rose from the couch where she had fallen asleep with a book. “Harry? Are you hungry?”
He didn’t answer. She knew he was still angry about what had happened at the trial.
“I’m not hungry. Go to sleep,” he finally replied.
She stared at him as he sat by the fireplace. He was drunk.
“I’m fine. Go to sleep.”
But before he could do anything else, Hermione left the living room and returned with a warm basin of water and a pot of hot tea.
“Here, this will help you.”
She offered a warm, damp towel to him.
Harry glared up at her for a moment then took it without a word. She watched as he wiped it around his face and arms.
“Do you want honey with this?” she asked as she poured some tea into a cup.
“I don’t want that. I’m going to sleep.”
“Harry, wait. This will make you feel better,” Hermione called after him, but he already heading for the stairs.
She sighed heavily and stared at the fire then took her wand and doused the flames.
A tear slipped down her cheek, and she knew that there was no way Harry was going to feel better about her or them until she gave him what he wanted. She didn’t want it, but it felt like she needed to do it. It might even persuade him to change his mind about putting Snape in Azkaban.
“Harry?” she called, going after him.
Harry ignored her, but he heard his door open and close. She lit the small fireplace in his room.
“It’s freezing in here, aren’t you cold?” she asked, standing next to his bed.
He closed his eyes and pretended to be asleep.
“Harry.” Hermione waited for an answer. “Harry, I know you’re awake. I want to apologize for what happened today, for what I told you.”
“It’s nothing. Forget it. Go to sleep,” Harry said without looking back.
“No, I want you to know that I didn't mean it.”
“I know you didn't mean it,” he said with a sarcastic edge to his voice. “Go to sleep.”
Hermione stared at him, and then slowly she climbed into the bed next to him and placed her arm around his waist.
Harry opened his eyes, but he didn’t move.
He felt her slide her hand beneath his and pull him closer to her. The only thing he could hear was the crackling of the fire in the hearth.
Hermione remained silent behind him.
“Harry, I love you,” Hermione whispered. “I love you.”
Harry didn’t say anything. He tried his best to keep his feelings controlled. What he felt earlier that day was a pain he could not endure every single time they argued.
But at the same time, he knew that he couldn't let her suffer.
“I’m sorry for everything, Harry.”
“No, shhh, Hermione. Stop crying.” Harry turned to her and pulled her into an embrace. He lay there stroking her hair as she cried on him, her arms tightening around his body as if holding on for dear life.
“Harry, I wish I could just turn back time.”
“Just go to sleep, Hermione. You’re tired. We’re both tired. Forget about today. It doesn’t matter.”
“No, I need you to know that I care about you, that I love you.”
Suddenly, she moved closer.
She gently grabbed his hand and placed it on her body.
“Hermione, you don’t need to—“
“Harry, do you still love me?”
Harry stared at her.
His heart was beating fast, and he could tell that hers was as well.
It was a stupid question.
“Of course I do,” Harry answered, sitting up on the bed. “Hermione, I love you. I want you to know I’m here, I’m always here. I’m never going to leave you. Please, don’t cry.”
“Yes, I know,” Hermione cried, moving closer to him. “Harry, please just understand me . . . please be patient with me.”
“I love you,” Harry whispered against her lips. “I love you, Hermione. I need you to know that.”
“I know you love me.”
“It’s not enough that you know.”
He gently pushed her back down the bed and placed himself over her.
“I need you to remember.”
Their gazes met.
Hermione’s heart was beating extremely fast, but as she gazed up at Harry’s unwavering worry, she closed her eyes and placed her hand around his neck to move him closer.
“Remind me, Harry," she whispered against his lips, pulling him to her and gently placing his hand over her breast. "I need to remember.”
Harry stared down at her unsure of what she felt but he knew what he felt at that moment.
Her soft brown eyes were both tearful and encouraging.
He could hear the beat of her heart against his chest and she felt her fingers grazing softly against his skin, inviting and alluring.
It took him a moment to decide and once he did, Hermione felt his lips capture hers, and his hands began to undress her.