Hermione had finished packing her things when she heard a commotion down the hallway.
They seemed to be in some argument and they could hear them telling Harry off about something.
Hermione quickly zipped her bag close and went for the door and listened closely.
She could hear the loud voices of Harry arguing with Bill and Mr. Weasley for some reason.
She was about to go out and go downstairs when she heard angry and fast footsteps racing up the stairs.
She backed away from the door; it banged open with a very angry looking Harry at the doorway.
“How did you do that?” Harry angrily asked her. “How did you let them know they could do that?”
“Do what?” Hermione asked him. “What are you talking about that I’ve done-“
Hermione was so confused by his words and the commotion that she barely felt the sharp slap that ran across her face that she had received from Harry’s angry stance.
Hermione looked up behind him and saw the Weasleys standing and looking very worried.
One glance and she saw Bill was holding some sort of crumpled parchment in his hand and Mrs. Weasley looking very worried.
She stared back up at Harry who was still looking as if not only Christmas had been cancelled but a prior important Quidditch game.
“What’s going on?” Hermione cried looking aghast at them all. .
Everyone was worried – about Harry.
Apparently and unfortunately nobody had seen how fast his hand gesture had been the moment he entered the room.
“I think we need to go home.” Harry angrily said grabbing Hermione’s cloak from the bed. “Come with me-“
“Harry dear, don’t make hasty decisions – Arthur and Bill and can go down this afternoon at the Ministry and-“ but Harry no longer listened to Mrs. Weasley.
Harry had grabbed Hermione’s hand painfully and had literary dragged her out of the room in front of everyone.
Hermione could hear them worriedly telling Harry to calm himself down and to not make any bad decisions as he dragged her down the stairs with him with his wand out in his other hand.
“What’s going on?” she attempted to ask as she painfully staggered down the steps to catch up with his fast pace.
He looked vicious.
He looked ready to murder someone at that moment.
It took her a while around the commotion to understand what Bill was saying.
The Ministry of Magic had sent a note to remind Harry about the schedule of the next trial and that they should be prepared for the accused had been provided for by a Defense Council.
Hermione wasn’t sure of all the aspect, prospect and the positive effect of it to Snape and his case, but it sure has of some sort because Harry did not look please at all.
If she recalls it correctly, it was some sort of version of a Muggle lawyer in the Wizarding World. However, differences in law from both worlds had narrowed down the ability of convicts and wanted wizards and witches in the latter world to be able get hold of one.
There were only two reasons a criminal may be able to get such a Defense Council – first is their professional privilege – this meant if the convicted or wanted individual is a professional of some sort he has the favor to be given one if he chooses so.
And the second, is if the individual has a great sum or amount of money for one because in the Wizarding World they were one of the most expensive costing professions to hire.
Apparently, whoever gave and provided the services knew that Snape could be entitled to both privileges.
The first one being his title as a ‘Hogwarts Professor’ – a title he has never lost and would only do so once he in convicted guilty. And the second, someone obviously had enough money to parade around to hire one for him.
Three guesses who.
“Draco..” Hermione quietly thought to herself.
She snapped back to reality the moment they reached the landing of the stairs.
Bill and Charlie were blocking their way while Mrs. Weasley was trying to give him reasons not to leave.
“I think it best if Hermione stays behind –“
“She’s not staying behind!” Harry angrily yelled at Mrs. Weasley.
Everyone stared at him for what he had done.
“Hey.” Bill said warningly as he pulled his wand out. “Calm yourself, Harry. No need to yell at mum.”
Harry pointed his wand then at Bill and Charlie had raised his own wand in defense for his brother.
“Come Harry, you want to take this outside?” Charlie asked him raising his wand further at the level of Harry’s eyes.
“Perhaps you’d like to do it the old-fashioned way, eh?” Bill asked with his free hand clenching at the side.
“Boys!” Fleur angrily yelled.
She angrily said something in French then stood in front of Bill and glared daringly at Harry.
“Hermione, I think it best if you go home for now.” Fleur calmly said but she also looked like she was ready to aim a wand at Harry if she had one at the moment.
Hermione had never seen Fleur quite as angry yet restrained at a wand being pointed at the face of her husband.
“We can talk about this.” Ginny implored as she reached the scene and was staring concernedly at Hermione whose wrist was already red from Harry’s grip.
“Harry, dear.. please calm down..” Mrs. Weasley bravely said making a step forward although she was already also prepared to whip her wand out should Harry do something uncalled for.
“I just want to leave with Hermione. I want to go home with her.” Harry said trying to control his anger as he stared at the people around them who looked alarmed with his actions.
Hermione looked around her.
They may be outnumbered, but Harry’s wand was already out and he looked so angry he could possibly Avada everyone in the room.
“We’ll be fine.” Hermione said.
She nodded towards Mrs. Weasley and carefully eyed Bill to slowly lower his wand.
“Harry?” Hermione softly called and it seemed to have taken some calming effect on Harry.
She took her other hand and gently touch his that was over her other wrist.
“Harry, let’s go home?” Hermione calmly said holding his wand arm gently. “We can talk about this there. At home? You want to go home with me, right?”
Harry did not answer.
His gaze was transfixed on the floor and he looked like he was debating whether he should argue further or listen to Hermione’s voice that was gently calling his name.
He could feel her soft touch over his. It was like she had not touched him this gentle for the longest time.
“I just want to go home.” Harry had quietly said and he slowly looked up.
Harry’s emerald eyes met hers.
Hermione could swear that he saw Harry in those eyes – the Harry she had fallen in love with.
“Yes.” she said quickly nodding at him and taking his hand into hers, “We’re going home, Harry.”
Hermione slowly held his hand and gently took his other to lower his wand down.
“Bill, we’re going home.” Hermione said in a louder tone. “We’ll see you soon.” Hermione said moving herself closer to Harry so he could hold her hand.
Bill slowly lowered his wand upon seeing Harry do the same first.
He looked at Charlie and nodded and Mrs. Weasley gave Hermione an assuring glance.
Sooner than she thought as they walked out of the house and out into the lawn and Hermione felt Harry’s wandless magic working and the familiar magic and pull of Disapparation.
“What’s going on?” Draco asked as he opened his eyes with a terrible headache.
He looked around him with his head searing in pain.
He was on his bed in his room at the Malfoy Manor and his mother was sitting on an armchair next to the bed.
She was staring at him with eyes seriously transfixed upon him.
“Mother?” he asked in the darkened room.
Narcissa stared at his son.
She was not sure if she should be angry or he should pity him.
Snape had just Obliviated him a few hours ago after seeing the both of them at a small inn.
He wasn’t supposed to see her nor was he supposed to see his godfather.
And Snape was nowhere supposed to harm him in any sort of way but they did not have much choice.
“How are you feeling?” Narcissa coldly asked him.
“Terrible.” Draco muttered sitting on his bed and looking for his wand.
Her mother stared, closely and quietly observing if Snape’s magic worked.
Well, it wasn’t a question really as she knew it had worked but she did not want to be complacent with glitches.
“What happened?” Draco asked her.
“Why don’t you tell me?” Narcissa asked back with a raised brow.
Draco breathed heavily and tried to think.
He could not recall what had happened exactly.
“I was practicing spells with aunt Bella.” Draco slowly said as he tried to recall the latest memories he could possibly view inside his mind’s eyes.
“And?” Narcissa slowly asked, fishing.
“And then Astoria came and visited. She had something to tell me…We had drinks at father’s study.. and..” Draco stopped and looked up at his mother who stared quietly at her.
The incident for which he remembered happened two days ago exactly.
Snape had extracted a little bit of more than what he should have had in the first place.
Perhaps he wasn’t sure from where he should begin the charm and so he just decided to completely erase a day or two worth of memories from Draco.
“Did we make a mess in his study?” he asked worriedly.
Narcissa unfolded her arms and stood up.
“Dinner is ready at the dining hall or would you like it to be served here?” she asked coldly.
In truth, she was calm.
She would have to tell off the elves later about certain things they should answer should Draco ask them about anything.
After all, she already did the same with the girl – scaring her off the Malfoy way should she ever dare come back to the manor or anywhere near Draco.
“The next time you drink with Miss Greengrass, make sure that you have finished doing your training with your aunt Bella and you should not do it in your father’s study. By all means, Draco – keep it here inside your room. I shall not be bothered again by such irresponsible actions!”
“What did I do?” Draco asked almost yelling at her.
He had completely no recollection of what he had done for the past couple of hours.
“You were a day unconscious my dearest boy because you’ve taken too much drink with Miss Greengrass. Too much drink that you’ve cost some mess in your father’s study – and I, your mother – literary had to drag you from that part of the Manor until here into your room. Have you no shame, Draco!”
Draco did not say anything.
He did not remember being that drunk or drinking that much.
Something seemed amiss.
He needed to talk to Astoria and ask her soon enough what had transpired the moment she left the manor.
Well, that was if she was going to find her again or perhaps his mother had already scared the wits out of her.
Draco watched as Narcissa stood up to leave the room.
“Have you seen my wand?” Draco asked her.
“Your wand is with me. “ Narcissa answered. “You can get it from me once you’ve finished your dinner and have rested well enough.” Narcissa snapped coldly.
Draco did not like it when his own mother meddled with his affairs or his little agenda around the manor that kept him from feeling like they were prisoners of their own home.
Draco looked up at her for another spiteful answer when his eyes grew wide.
Narcissa’s nose was slowly bleeding.
“Mother-“ he said quickly getting to the end of the bed with panic rising through his chest.
“What?” Narcissa asked looking scandalized over Draco’s actions.
“Your nose – it’s bleeding-“ Draco said as he quickly got off the bed and ran to his dresser.
Narcissa quickly wiped the blood by the back of her hand with alarm completely written all over her face.
She could hear Draco panicking at the other end of the room as he fought to look for anything that could be used.
He returned to her shortly with a small cloth in his hand but Narcissa had already wiped the blood away and it had also stopped from bleeding.
“What’s going on?” Draco asked her as he handed her the cloth.
Narcissa took it and wiped the back of her hand with it. She turned away from Draco.
“It’s nothing.” Narcissa simply answered staring away from Draco. “I’m only stressed out.”
“Stressed out?” Draco asked him. “You want me to believe you’re stressed out?”
“Who wouldn’t be stressed out inside this house?” she angrily said.
“No, mother.” Draco said facing her. “I’m not an idiot. Please don’t think I’m an idiot.”
“I know you’re not.” Narcissa quietly said straightening herself up and standing tall before Draco.
They glared coldly at one another.
“This is the third time I’ve seen that happen. What is going on?” Draco seriously asked her.
Narcissa stared at her own boy.
She didn’t want to lie but she needed to. .
“Do not lie to me.” Draco warned her his eyes glinting. “You hear me? I’m not some idiot. I’ve seen this happen before – something is wrong – no, I’ve seen you! I’ve this happen when aunt Bella arrived the other day and the other night father even tended to you-“
Narcissa did not say anything but she wouldn’t let her guard down.
“It’s my loss of appetite and stress from the situations at hand, Draco. It’s nothing to be worried about.”
“Are you sure about that?” Draco slowly asked completely unconvinced by her excuses.
Narcissa stared at her own son.
She knew the mistakes she had done so in raising him but right now, she could only see the boy whom she loved dearly and who she knew deep down knows how to love.
“Yes.” Narcissa quietly answered him. “I’m quite sure, Draco that there is absolutely nothing to be worried about.”
“I said, I’m not comfortable!” Hermione angrily said pushing McLaggen away.
It was half past one in the morning already and they were standing near an alcove in the castle.
Hermione had been waiting for Harry to finish by any chance of any luck for his task with Slughorn and the other boy had been toying his time away with her.
“Oh come on, ‘Mione-“
“Do not call me that!” Hermione angrily said as she tried to move herself away from the boy whose hands were tight around her waist.
“What?” he asked her angrily. “Everyone calls you that-“
“Not everyone.” Hermione corrected him coldly.
She looked up at the boy and was ready to pull her wand out any minute now.
His eyes flashed at her, her defiance and rejection seemed to amuse him further.
“Just one kiss – just one kiss Hermione, and I swear I will-“
“You swear you will what?” asked a cold voice.
They both stopped and turned around.
Potions Master, Severus Snape, stood tall a few feet from them and were staring menacingly at either of them.
“Professor Snape..” Hermione breathlessly said quickly straightening herself up and pulling down the dress that McLaggen had been successful into pulling up so he could glorify himself by touching her inner thighs.
“And what would the two of you be doing here?” he asked slowly as he walked forward them.
“Professor Slughorn’s party-“ McLaggen began but Snape interrupted him.
“Had been over a few hours ago.” Snape told him. “In a few hours it’s dawn already. Certainly, there is that word ‘curfew’ you are aware of?”
Neither of them spoke as Snape continued to stare them both.
Snape glanced from the boy then at Hermione who looked back at him with a pleading glance.
Despite his appearance, she seemed to have never been so relief in her entire life to see his presence.
“I’m just escorting Hermione back to her dormitory.” McLaggen defiantly said.
Snape’s eyes flashed in anger.
He looked back at the boy.
“Do you think I’m a fool, boy?” he asked him angrily. “Gryffindor tower is the other way around!”
Neither of the two students spoke.
Hermione could tell that this was not going to end that well.
“Can’t we stroll around?” he spat back at Snape. “Can’t we stroll around to finish our date?”
“Your date?” Snape repeated.
He glared at Hermione for a moment who was brushing the side of her arm and she did not look pleased at all with the boy’s answer.
She was staring at him as if quietly telling him that it was not that way.
“But it looks and sounds to me as if Miss Granger is being harassed here.”
Snape nodded at Hermione’s pale form and dress that was askew from the boy’s advantages.
McLaggen did not say anything but his face turned pale.
“Should I just take off points since you’re still out of bed after curfew and in a corridor that is leading to one of the forbidden areas of the castle?” Snape slowly asked. “Or should we go straight to the headmaster and tell him that one of his students is harassing another? I’m quite sure that harassment at Hogwarts is not tolerated and certainly exceeds the boundaries of suspension.”
“Professor Snape, he was just-“
“Silence, Miss Granger. Let us hear what he has to say.”
McLaggen did not say anything but his fists were clenching at his sides.
“Very well.” Snape said. “Fifteen points from your house, Mr. McLaggen. And get out of my sight.”
The boy did not seem to care nor wait for Snape to punish Hermione as he had quickly gone and ran out of the corridor without another word.
Hermione stared after him, shook her head and quickly turned to leave when Snape grasped her wrist.
“Not so fast, Miss Granger.” Snape slowly asked her.
Hermione looked up at him and at the hand around hers.
“Are you alright?” he asked her gently.
Snape stood still, holding her wrist to stop her from walking far from him but he did not look at her.
Hermione was quiet and did not know how to respond.
She was not alright.
And she could not thank the heavens more that Snape had arrived just on time.
She had enough to drink from Slughorn’s party and the only reason she had agreed to bring the boy to the party was so that people around them – who had been spreading rumours and suspecting her dating Harry – would no longer think of them being together.
Despite their relationship and status, the headmaster best advised at the moment that they did not share publicly whatever it was that they have for safety reasons.
Not only for obvious reasons but because of Hermione’s blood status for which the Dark Lord’s loyalists would be excited about to eliminate without hesitation.
Harry was to take another for the party as she was.
They agreed despite that Harry was already correct in his instincts about Hermione’s preference of boy to bring.
Hermione promised she could take good care of herself but the drinks they had at the party and Harry’s very late attempt to get information from Slughorn had brought her into the unwanted situation she had just experienced.
Snape had just been very much timely but she would never tell him how glad she was to have him interrupt them.
“I’m fine, professor.” Hermione quietly answered him. “Thank you.”
“Do you have a bruise?” Snape asked. “Did he hurt you?”
Hermione quickly looked up at him.
She did not know how exactly he knew but he was right.
McLaggen had forced her into the spot and alcove earlier that she had hit the right of her arm against the stone wall. For sure, there would be a bruise there somewhere.
“It’s alright.” Hermione quietly answered. “I will tend to it.”
Snape let her arm go and she slowly lowered it without taking her eyes from Snape.
Snape heavily breathed and slowly turned to her.
“Where’s your boyfriend? Shouldn’t he be your date tonight?” Snape’s voice was somewhat cold as he asked the question.
Hermione stared back at him and felt slightly embarrassed at the term.
“Shouldn’t you be with Potter?” he asked her as he folded his arms.
“I was waiting for him.” Hermione had said. “To finish his business with professor..” Hermione’s voice trailed off as she realized that she wasn’t sure if that information was to be shared with Snape.
Snape did not say anything.
He wasn’t that informed yet but he was somewhat well aware of Harry’s attempt of gaining some information for Slughorn and perhaps tonight was one of his rendezvous to try out for it.
“Harry and I decided we can’t be seen much in public.” Hermione’s voice suddenly came back. “But I was waiting for him to finish on something.. that’s when McLaggen tried to.. I’m alright professor.”
Snape stared at her concernedly.
He wasn’t sure how to handle the situation at hand but she looked nowhere near grave danger.
“Tell Potter that the headmaster is expecting him at his office later today as soon as he can.”
“And please, do your best to not take chances with boys like the one you dated tonight as the circumstances are quite.. unwanted.”
Hermione only nodded at him.
Was the man concerned for her well-being?
“Yes, professor Snape.” Hermione said with a small smile at him. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
“And-” Snape slowly said before turning from her. “Fifteen points from Gryffindor, Miss Granger.”
“What?” Hermione cried with eyes wide and suddenly feeling scandalized. “What did I-“
“You see, you too are out of bounds at this time of the night and you are very drunk from the party. Is this anywhere decent for a lady and student like yourself?”
Hermione couldn’t say anything even if she wanted too.
Yes, it was truth they were out after curfew hours but did he not witness how she was harassed?
She hated him.
She will take back all the gratitude she just had as a mental note to herself.
“But he was- We came from professor Slughorn’s – professor, wait you cannot --“
“You’re very drunk. You could barely walk. Do you understand?” Snape spitefully pointed out.
Hermione no longer argued.
He was right.
The only reason she agreed for McLaggen to escort her back to Gryffindor tower was indeed because of her state at the moment.
She could barely think and walk straight half an hour ago due to the drinks they had.
“Sorry, professor.” Hermione answered him. “I will go back to our tower now.”
Snape watched her defeated features as she limped her way from him.
She could barely walk.
“Miss Granger!” he called after her.
Hermione did not stop from walking.
“Miss Granger!” Snape called again, clenching his fists as he strode after her.
“Hermione!” Snape called her name out loudly.
She paused and slowly turned to him just as Snape reached her.
She looked up at him with a questioning glare from her dazed and sleepy eyes.
“Professor?” she asked quietly looking up at him.
Snape stared at her as if confused for a moment.
Hermione stared blankly at him, waiting.
“Professor Snape, what do you-“
“Let’s go to the dungeons.” Snape coldly said. “I’ll mend your bruise.”
Hermione blinked and stared.
Did she hear him correctly?
“S-sorry?” she asked to make sure she heard right. “Did you say-“
“I said, I’ll mend your bruise down the dungeons and escort you to Gryffindor Tower.”
“I think I’m-“
“I also need my book back.”
Hermione stared for a moment trying to comprehend what he said.
She suddenly remembered the book she had borrowed from him two weeks ago.
She had almost forgotten that it was still with her.
“Oh.” Hermione said. “Right. The book. Yes, sure professor. I will – it’s in our room – I mean, girls’ dormitory and-“
But Snape had already turned and had gestured that she follow him down the dungeons.
A few minutes later, Hermione found herself sitting on a stool while patiently waiting and watching as Snape brew some kind of paste over the table.
He was quiet the whole half hour he had been working around her.
“It won’t be finished for five more minutes.” Snape said after a while.
He walked to her side of the long table in his work area and offered a goblet with something warm inside it.
“To ease your headache in the morning from everything you’ve drunk tonight.” Snape simply told her without looking at her.
Hermione just stared at the goblet for quite some time.
“It will also drain and ease the drunken feeling you have at the moment.”
Hermione nodded twice at him.
She really did not comprehend what was happening around her.
She felt quite exhausted and sleepy to the point that she felt she could just sleep on the table.
“Miss Granger?” Snape called out on her.
He stared and nodded over the goblet.
Hermione nodded at him and then she reached out for the goblet and slowly drank its contents.
It tasted like some rose tea and it was warm and comforting against her lips.
Hermione sipped the contents slowly as she stayed quiet, slowly watching him work his way in front of her.
He worked quietly but flawlessly in front of her.
Brewing and creating potions were really his highest skill.
It was his true passion.
She had wondered when he had found out himself that this was his true gift.
It was one of many things he could do flawlessly she was sure of and it sort of made her curious to know what other things he was well endowed with other than brewing potions.
Hermione made a sort of noise and slightly choked over her drink in her mental battle with herself to stop herself from wondering more about her professor’s other skills.
Snape looked up at her but he did not say anything.
He returned his attention to the potion that finished brewing and had slowly turned into paste as it boiled and its surface was displayed through the air.
“So that’s how you make that.” Hermione quietly said. “It’s seven times turned left and three times right and twice left again.”
Snape stared up at her with a raised brow.
“Sorry.” Hermione quietly said shaking her head. “I’ve been trying to make one – for emergency purposes.” Hermione quickly added seeing the look over Snape’s face.
“Really?” he asked as he placed the small amount of paste into a smaller container to let it cool down.
“Well, not according to the Potions book. But in Harry’s book, there’s this side-notes about it being brewed that-“ Hermione stopped talking.
Harry made her swear before not to tell anyone else about the book he has for Potions and the notes all over it.
She might not have agreed to Harry’s use of the book but the further he used it, the further it proved that its side-notes were quite more useful and effective than the actual book.
“Potter’s book?” Snape slowly asked her as he pointed his wand around the table to clear them of all the mess.
“I mean his notes.” Hermione quickly corrected herself. “His notebook on potions. We’ve been taking notes together from the library. He copied some things that I did not. I just remembered I read it from his.”
Snape did not say anything.
He acted neutral and Hermione felt quite relieved.
She watched as he took the paste and walked to her side of the table.
She finished the rose-tasting potion he made and she sure did feel sober.
She watched as Snape pulled up a stool in front of her and slowly sat down as he gently mixed the bluish paste with a miniature paddle-like stick.
“I have never seen Potter take notes the entire years he has spent in my class.” Snape slowly pointed out as he prepared the paste across the table. “The wonders you can do to enable him to stay put for hours at the library with you is amazing.”
“Harry’s a responsible student.” Hermione confidently said. “He does what he has to do and he can put an effort if he wanted to. And..” Hermione paused unable to continue her words.
“And what?” Snape asked, interested.
Hermione shook her head.
“And what, Miss Granger?”
Hermione hesitated for a moment.
“And professor Slughorn has been.. sort of.. giving some fun lectures, advices and stuff to do at Potions that made Harry – well most of us – feel quite excited about the class. But I’m not saying yours wasn’t interesting or anything.” Hermione quickly added knowing she did learn a lot more in his class than in Slughorn’s.
Snape snorted at her comment and shook his head but he did not say anything else.
“Your arm, Miss Granger.” Snape said as he continued to mix the paste that has now turned into a lighter blue colour.
Hermione stared at it and could smell it from her position.
It smelled a lot like honey.
Hermione reluctantly pulled her arm over the table and pulled the thin fabric of her dress so Snape could clearly see where to place the healing paste.
Her ivory skin glowed beneath the candle lights that were lit around them in the dungeons.
A bluish-green semi-circle bruise was very visible over the side part of her arm in between her forearm and shoulders.
Snape’s left arm was extended over the table as he waited for her to extend her arm out to him.
Hermione breathed deeply as she felt him trace the bruise with his long finger to estimate the amount of paste he would have to place.
“This might hurt a little.” Snape warned her.
Hermione only nodded.
Hermione took another deep breathed and watched as Snape dipped the small stick over the paste and had gently placed it over the bruise on her arm.
For a moment it felt like nothing, then there was an icy feeling like it was being sliced down.
She flinched and writhed in pain but Snape held her arm in place by taking hold of her wrist.
“Bloody hell.” Hermione muttered unable to control herself.
“Blood hell.” Snape repeated. “Couldn’t you have found yourself a better date?” he suddenly spat at her.
Hermione’s eyes snapped up at him and for a moment she forgot the pain she was momentarily enduring.
She couldn’t believe what he was trying to say at the moment.
“Excuse me?” she asked him trying to withdraw her arm from him but he wouldn’t let go.
The paste was slowly dissolving over her skin but it was still slightly burning her.
“Couldn’t you have found someone who wouldn’t hurt you this much? What were you thinking?”
Hermione stared at her unable to retort as the pain seared through her skin.
Hermione rolled her eyes disbelievingly before making a retort.
“Well Harry and I were thinking that we shouldn’t be completely seen in public.”
Snape’s brow arched a little and he dipped the stick over the paste and added more over her skin – a little more than Hermione thought was enough.
She squealed as the painful sensation repeated and twice as painful but Snape still kept a firm hold over her wrist so she couldn’t move away from him.
The paste stung her so much she could feel her knees weakening at the pain of it.
Snape stared as she closed her eyes, bit her lower lip back and forth as if trying to stop herself from saying some swearwords from what she was enduring.
“It’s not like I really have a lot of decent choices around here.” Hermione angrily spat, eyes closed at the pain.
Her mind was too occupied with her answer and the pain she endured that she did not see the grin that passed Snape’s face as he watched her writhed in pain as a result of her decisions for the night.
“Certainly I would have believed you have higher standards, Miss Granger. Mr. McLaggen is decent enough for you already?” he asked her as he dipped the stick for the last time and placed the last bits of paste over her skin.
Hermione banged her free hand over the table and terribly cried out in pain.
“Well if you wouldn’t move as much, it wouldn’t hurt as much!” Snape spat at her as he also struggled to hold her writhing form against his firm hold.
“You’re purposely just throwing it over my skin!” Hermione angrily said as she opened her tearful eyes seeing that the paste were now slowly drying over her skin. “And I’m freaking not moving – how can I bloody move!”
Hermione was so angry that at the moment all she wanted to do was hit his head with the empty cauldron at the end of the table.
Snape pulled his wand out and pointed it over the paste along her bruise.
He whispered some sort of enchantment and the paste turned into complete ice stuck over her skin.
Every bit of pain had vanished and was replaced by a comforting sensation of something damp and cold over her bruise.
Hermione opened her eyes and breathed deeply.
She stared over the frozen paste over her skin and breathed deeply as she tried to wait for any more pain but none came.
“What did you do?” she asked him accusingly.
Snape stared at her and simply waited.
He still hasn’t let her wrist go.
They both watched in silence as the ice slowly dissolved over her skin and as soon as it slowly cleared and Hermione’s skin was visible again, the bruise was clearly no longer visible there.
“I just healed you.” Snape said letting her wrist go slowly.
Hermione did not say anything as she watched the ice melt away, leaving her skin painless and flawless once more.
“That kind of hurt though.”
“What did you expect?” Snape snapped at her ungrateful tone. “That it could be healed without any pain at all?”
Hermione’s eyes snapped back at him.
“Madam Pomfrey healed Neville once and he told us that it was painless.”
Snape shook his head and rolled his eyes at her.
“You do really fit well to be with Potter what with your ungrateful attitude.”
Hermione turned pale.
It was not what she meant.
“Sorry.” Hermione quietly said wiping the melted ice over her skin with the cloth Snape threw at her across the table. “It’s not what I meant.”
“I’m sure it’s not.” Snape snapped at her. “You see the problem with you and your friends is that you think everything should be easy – everything should be taught thoroughly, everything should be spoon-fed – you want everything to be easy.”
He waved his wand around the table again and cleared all the mess that were left over the table.
Hermione felt slightly hurt by that because she knew that she wasn’t like that or like any of her schoolmates who felt that way.
“I work hard for everything that I’ve achieved at Hogwarts and at life, professor.”
Snape stared up at her and he could swear that he saw a glimmer of tear at the side of her eyes.
He opened his mouth to say something but quickly closed it again.
He pretended not to hear what she had said.
“Does it hurt that way?” Hermione slowly asked him.
For a moment he wasn’t sure what she was asking and then he realized what she was actually asking him.
“I mean, your arm – if it does-“
“It hurts nowhere near what you’ve just endured.” Snape simply said.
He waved his wand and the table cleared of everything that was left.
“If you are feeling better, Miss Granger, you may go. I will just get the book from you tomorrow. I most probably expect you know your way back to Gryffindor Tower. Should Mr. Filch find you, tell him that you’ve been here because I asked you to.”
Hermione watched as he gathered all the ingredients from the other table and placed them back over their right storage places.
“I’m sorry.” Hermione quickly said, sensing that she had offended him. “I did not mean to ask about- it was so insensitive of me pro-“
“You may go, Miss Granger. I believe you know your way out.”
Hermione did not say anything else anymore.
She lowered the sleeve of her dress back to its place and left the room without another word.
“Hermione?” he called out to her walking in the living room.
They have returned to their apartment.
Hermione slowly looked up at him.
She was still slightly shaken about what has happened back at the Weasley’s but she barely had any choice.
Harry looked down at her with gentle eyes.
He handed her a cloth.
“It has a special potion.” Harry pointed at a saucer that came with the cloth. “Please put it over your arm and the bruise around your neck.”
Hermione nodded but she did not say anything.
Harry waited for her to remove the scarf around her neck and began the procedure of placing the cloth that she damped with the potion that Harry had concocted the moment they arrive.
“I’m going to let you stay here in the living room. You can go around and about the house doing whatever you wish to do. But I’ll expect you in our bedroom by eight. Is that a deal?”
Hermione stared at him and nodded.
Was everything from now on going to be this way?
“Harry, I’m sorry, about what –“
“I don’t want to talk about it.” Harry said turning away from her.
“Alright I understand.”
“Occupy yourself and your mind with books. I really don’t mind what you do around the house as long as you do not leave without my permission. Get some rest because you’re going to need it for the next trial.”
She watched as he gathered his belongs and his traveling cloak.
“Are you going somewhere?” she asked him as she followed him to the door.
Harry stopped and turned back to her.
“Yes.” Harry simply answered. “I’m going to talk to Kingsley about something. Please do not try to escape, Hermione. I will know and you will not want the consequences. Do you understand?”
Hermione stared at his emerald eyes. The eyes that turned warm only for the briefest moment awhile ago.
“Yes.” she answered him.
Harry nodded and turned to leave.
He was halfway out of the door when Hermione called him back.
“Is there anything you want for dinner?” she quietly asked him with a small smile. “Anything you would like me to make?”
Harry did not say anything and he looked at her as if he was contemplating what he had just asked him.
Then a smile slowly spread across his cheek.
He walked up to her and suddenly kissed her cheek and gave her an embrace.
“Surprise me, ‘Mione.” Harry simply said, “I’ll be home by seven?” he excitedly asked her.
Hermione nodded at him.
She could slowly understand what was going on with him.
“Perfect then.” Harry said kissing her. “I’ll be home by seven and I’ll buy that pudding you love from Diagon Alley.”
Hermione nodded at him and without another word, Harry left and closed the door.
Hermione wanted to cry.
Something had gone terribly wrong with Harry – emotionally – that has affected his way of thinking, his perspective in many things.
He no longer reasoned the normal way and he acted very jealous of everyone that would be around her. He was beyond paranoid and it was not a good sign at all.
She could only try to please him from time to time until she finds a way out of the place and get to Draco for help.
From where she stood, she could see the lights coming out from his wand as he recited spell after spell to charm the house and ward off unwanted people from getting any closer to their premises.
“Harry?” a gentle voice called out.
Harry turned from the window and saw Ginny enter the door with a smile over her face.
“Christmas dinner is ready.”
“I’ll be right down the stairs, Gin.” Harry answered nodding to the mug of hot chocolate in his hand. “I’ll just finish this.”
Ginny stared as he turned back and stared at the window again.
“You’re thinking about her, aren’t you?” Ginny’s voice softly ask.
Harry did not answer.
It has been five months since the ambush.
Christmas has arrived with many first and changes to his life and the people around him.
It was the first time that the Weasleys were literary not complete because of death; first time in many years that he was not with either Ron nor Hermione; first time that he was spending it at the Weasleys’ with such a gloom demeanor because of what has happened and most importantly, first Christmas he could have had with Hermione as a real couple.
“You think she’s having a good Christmas somewhere?” Harry hopefully asked as he continued to stare at the falling snow outside the window.
Ginny did not say anything.
She saw how he has suffered since he had woken from the coma and how he suffered everyday thinking about her, searching for any news about Hermione. But there was absolutely nothing that came to all his hard work of searching for her.
“Maybe.” Ginny tearfully answered. “Perhaps she is, Harry.”
She wanted to cry.
She was as hurt as Harry at seeing him this way.
Truth was that, everyone really believed that Hermione has died at that night of the ambush.
To have been hit by a curse and to have fallen in deep waters – she was not bound to survive that.
But nobody – not a soul – would dare and clarify nor remind that fact to Harry.
Not when they knew the consequences at hand.
They needed him to hope for something.
They needed him to have a will, a reason to live so that he may overcome the challenges that the war was throwing at them.
They needed him to have reason to live so that he can be brave enough to withstand the Dark Lord.
“I wonder what she’s having tonight.” Harry said with a smile over his face. “You know we always liked the chocolate pudding at Hogwarts and the treacle tarts and all. But you know Ginny her favourite is this milky flan –“ he turned to her with a smile and began describing how it looked like with his hands. “- it’s her most favourite. I remember always keeping some spare for her on my plate and then sneaking some more in our dormitory that I’ll give her late at night if she’s still up and doing assignments.”
Ginny nodded at him.
She remembered those memories well enough as well.
“Harry, let’s go downstairs. Mum and the others are waiting.”
“Ginny, she’s coming back, right?” Harry asked her. “I mean, you believe she’s coming back? Because I’m waiting for her. I’m waiting..”
Ginny nodded at him as she tried to cover up the tears in her eyes.
“I’m sure Harry.” Ginny assured him. “I’m sure Hermione will come back when it’s safe – when it’s all better out here. I’m sure she will come back and you’d be together again.”
“I know.” Harry said with another hopeful smile.
He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.
“She will come back for me.” Harry whispered nodding at her. “Hermione will come home someday.”