The Defense Council
“Harry?” Bill called out. “Are you sure you’re going to be fine here?”
Harry hurried down the corridor and saw him finishing his own ponytail while Fleur secured the buttons of his traveling cloak.
“Yeah.” Harry assured him. “We’ll be fine. Ron’s sleeping and Charlie’s-“
“Leaving with Remus.” Fleur pointed out. “Tonks is bound to arrive in a few hours.”
Bill and Fleur exchanged glares and Harry looked up at them with a confused look.
“I thought Remus is staying?” he asked them.
The couple stared at one another and Fleur said something in French before slapping Bill’s chest.
“There were change of plans.” Bill began and Fleur gave him another look.
“Just say it.” Fleur snapped at him and then she said something in French again.
Bill looked up at Harry and heavily sighed.
“There were change of plans. Remus needs to go to Hogwarts to see the headmaster. And Tonks will unlikely make it in time.”
“That’s not a problem.” Harry said. “It’s just a couple of hours. We’d be absolutely fine here.”
“That can’t be.” Bill said. “The headmaster specifically said that you are not to be left alone here.”
“It’s Grimmauld Place.” Harry reminded him. “We’re safe here. It’s not the three of us here.”
Fleur and Bill stared at one another.
“The headmaster decided you to be accompanied.” Fleur firmly stated as if it was law. “Just don’t try his patience. We all don’t like him – that’s already a given - but he’s just also doing his job.”
“He?” Harry asked bewildered as he turned to Bill. “What’s that? Who’s coming?”
Harry looked at him and was to ask when there came some knock upon the door and the portrait was wailing again.
“I’ll get it.” Bill quickly said walking out of the room.
Fleur rolled her eyes and turned away from Harry before he could even ask her.
It was pretty obvious that the couple was trying to avoid answering him.
Harry listened down the hallway as Hermione and Ron came down to help Fleur with the portrait while Bill opened the door.
A few minutes later, Harry found himself gawking at Bill as he returned to the kitchens and was closely and quietly followed by none other than Severus Snape.
“What’s he doing here?” Harry asked, forgetting that he was still his professor.
Snape ignored him and stood quietly by the doorway.
“Harry.” Hermione whispered discreetly taking his hand into hers and pulling her slowly next to her.
“Well, as I’ve said-“ Bill began as he eyed Fleur that they were leaving. “-you needed to be watched by an Order member who will stay until the next shift arrives-“
“He will watch over us?” Harry asked pointing at Snape. “Him? Are you serious?”
“Harry!” Hermione gasped pressing his hand into hers.
He moved his hand away from her and stared back at Snape with all the hate in him.
He did not hold back at his displeasure upon finding out that Snape would have to stay with them for a few hours.
“Why him?” Harry bluntly asked as he stared back at the man.
Snape’s eyebrows quirked.
“So much for pointing at your professor, Mr. Potter.” Snape said curtly. “I am still your teacher.”
Hermione looked away from Snape and turned to Harry whispering something in his ear and pulling him with her.
“So much for pointing at your professor, Mr. Potter.” Snape quietly said. “I am still your teacher.”
“But Bill-“ Harry protested still eyeing Snape suspiciously. “We’d prefer to be alone here. We’re alright and-“
“Your preference does not matter.” Snape interrupted him. “The headmaster and the rest of the Order do not think it appropriate nor safe for you to be left alone unattended. Believe me, as much as you do not want me to be here the feeling is very much mutual.”
“And the headmaster thinks we’d be safe with you?” Harry said in a sassy tone. “Is he serious? I think the headmaster is losing his touch in picking who should-“
“Why you little insolent-“
“Professor, sorry!” Hermione suddenly said placing herself between him and Harry. “We don’t mean to sound ungrateful.”
Snape looked down at her with utmost question in his eyes.
“I’m sorry.” Hermione said looking back at Harry. “We’ll just be in our room. I will make dinner later. Do let me know if there’s anything you would like me to make for you.”
And with that, she nodded at him and pulled Harry unwillingly with him back down the corridor and up the stairs into their room.
Snape’s black eyes merely followed them as they disappeared into view with Hermione’s whispers echoing as she and Harry debated down the corridor about Snape being there for the night.
Half an hour later, Hermione found Snape in the kitchens as if looking for something.
She was just about to prepare their dinner.
“Professor?” Hermione asked with a reluctant smile. “Would you like some coffee or hot chocolate?”
Snape did not say anything.
Hermione nodded to herself and began moving around the kitchen to make a cup of hot chocolate for him just like she had done so for Harry an hour ago.
Snape watched her nervous yet flawless movements around the kitchen as she picked up a small coaster, a mug and was warming the water from the stove and had taken out a jar of hot chocolate, sugar and some cinnamon spice from the cabinets.
“How are you, professor?” Hermione asked as she moved around the kitchen. “I mean, your summer?”
Snape was barely listening.
His eyes were following Hermione’s movements and he took a mental note to himself how fluid-like her movements were like and how her voice seemed to trail softly around his ears.
“Uneventful.” Snape simply said not even meeting her eyes.
“Things are quite uneventful here as well.” Hermione said. “The boys get bored easily. But well, with my cleaning around the place to keep it and all I’m not very bored.”
She was too occupied in forcing some form of small-talk to him and reaching for the cabinet that she did not notice Snape’s eyes were unconsciously staring at her legs that were quite bare from the short dress she was wearing.
“I mean, we’ve been here for some time and it really is tiring but-“
“Here, Miss Granger.” Snape softly said behind her ears as he quietly crept behind her and had reached for the object she was reaching for
Hermione yelped at surprised but Snape managed to catch her back and steady her before she completely lost her balance.
Hermione’s heart raced as Snape’s hand held her arm and he stood just a few inches from her.
It was the first time she had seen him that close and she had noticed that his eyes seemed extremely tired as if he was not sleeping at all.
Snape was lost in her stare that he did not realize he was not letting her arm go.
“Professor Snape.” Hermione quietly said as she gently pushed herself from him.
Snape quickly let her hand go and handed her what she was reaching for.
Hermione walked to the other side of the kitchen.
“Have you been getting enough sleep?” she asked turning away from him.
For some reason, her face was so red and that her heart was beating very fast.
Hermione pretended to be occupied on what she was doing at the other side of the kitchen to keep her red face away from Snape.
“Barely.” Snape quietly answered completely unabashed by what just happened.
Hermione turned back to the table and saw that Snape had already taken a teaspoon from the container that Hermione had been reaching for and he was already making a hot chocolate for himself.
“I was going to offer you tea instead to make you relax.” Hermione had said staring at him but he was busy making his drink.
He did not answer her.
“Right.” Hermione muttered to herself.
She moved around the kitchen and grabbed a small platter and began taking some scones from the glass container.
“Professor, have some of these.” Hermione gladly offered. “ Fleur and I made them and I think this will taste well with tea or that hot chocolate you’re making.”
Snape’s eyes looked up from the drink he was stirring to the platter of scones and gingerbread Hermione had laid before him.
“No thanks, Miss Granger.” Snape had said returning his gaze to his drink. “I’m already good with this.”
Despite that Hermione felt slightly off by his rejection of the food she only nodded at him.
“I’ll make dinner early then.” Hermione said with a small smile at him. “Tonks will be here soon and I’m sure the two of us can-“
“Please do not bother, Miss Granger.” Snape had simply said as he took the mug. “I will be leaving the moment she arrives. I’ll be at the leaving room to finish reading some lesson plans. And I’m hoping that there would not be much noise from the three of you since you are no longer kids to be babysit.”
And without another word, he left the kitchen leaving Hermione half-confused and half irritated at the way he was acting despite that she tried to be nice and respectful outside of classroom premises.
“Hermione! Are you alright?”
“Sorry – what-“
Hermione blinked and stared at Ginny from across the table.
Ginny was flicking her fingers in front of her and waving a book right up to her face.
“Sorry, what?” Hermione repeated, blinking as she sat up straight.
Ginny was staring at her with a raised brow.
“You’re thinking about Harry.” Ginny smartly pointed out with a grin.
“No, I’m not.” Hermione lied looking away from her.
“Oh come on.” Ginny groaned at her. “I heard Ron asked Harry this morning about what happened lastnight.”
“You tell me.” Ginny said smirking. “What happened last night?”
Hermione’s face turned red as she tried to hide her embarrassment.
Well, nothing happened last night that was for sure.
It was just that the two of them snuck out onto Astronomy Tower under Harry’s cloak and just watched the view from them.
There were too many stars lastnight according to calendar prediction and they did not want to pass it up.
Well, the view and ofcourse a couple of kissing session wasn’t missed out lastnight.
“We just went to the Astronomy Tower.” Hermione whispered at her. “Just had some view.”
“Some view huh.” Ginny said grinning mercilessly. “I have to go, ‘Mione.”
“Why?” Hermione asked as she helped her pack her things quietly in their spot at the library.
“I remember that I asked Neville for help in our Herbology assignment. He’s waiting for me at the Common Room.”
Hermione looked disappointed that Ginny was leaving her alone to study in the library.
“Go to Harry.” Ginny offered sensing her mood.
“I don’t know where he is.” Hermione replied. “I’m not sure if he has practice today. I totally forgot.”
“Don’t worry. It’s just a few hours and it’ll be dinner and all. I’ll see you later.”
And without another word Ginny left her to her work load and thoughts still grinning back at her.
She could hardly concentrate on her assignment.
She really had a good night with Harry at the Astronomy Tower.
They talked about their plans after Hogwarts and some things they’d like to do after they’re done with the ordeal with the Dark Lord.
Hermione offered that he spend a few days the coming summer at their place so she could formally introduce him to her parents and Harry had immediately agreed to it.
Hermione could not be any happier with how their relationship was going at the moment.
She was so lost in her thoughts that she felt quite angry when she heard someone banging a couple of books from the other side of the book shelf where she was.
“This is a library, you’re supposed to be quiet!” Hermione said in a hushed tone rolling her eyes and wondering who would be that rude.
There was no answer but she heard a chair being pulled up angrily and another bang of another book.
“Bloody hell.” Hermione muttered.
She stood up and hurriedly shoved all her things back inside her bag and went to the other side of the shelf to check who was making the unnecessary noise in the library.
“Couldn’t you keep it down?” she said as she walked to the other side of the shelf with an angry stance.
A pair of familiar eyes looked up at her.
Draco was standing over the table and he looked as angry and as shocked to see her there.
Hermione recoiled a little and stared at him.
Something was seemingly wrong with Draco Malfoy.
He didn’t look as confident as he always did. In fact, he looked like he was – crying.
“Malfoy?” Hermione asked quietly.
But before she could do anything, Draco quickly grabbed his school things from the table and had angrily walked passed her muttering something that Hermione sure did not like.
“What did you just say to me?” Hermione angrily asked back.
She took her wand out and strode after Draco as fast as her legs could carry her.
Draco did not turn back as he walked and faced as fast as he could away from her.
Hermione wasn’t sure if was she was seeing was correct but Draco did not look well.
He was paler than usual and he definitely looked extremely exhausted and stressed out.
He turned into the last corner and followed him.
Hermione halted as she saw Draco accidently dropped a parchment from the stash of things he was carrying with him.
“Malfoy!” Hermione angrily called after him but he didn’t look back as he crossed the doors of the library and left without looking back at her.
She quickly picked up the parchment and stared at it.
“What’s this?” Hermione thought to herself staring at what looked like a drawing of some large and antique-looking wardrobe.
Based on the parchment she was holding, it looked like Draco was copying it from somewhere and it served as some sort of guide or blueprint for him because there were arrows at certain areas and point of the wardrobe and notes on size comparison at the side.
She stared at the door and despite that she did not really care what it was, she quickly followed Draco out of the library.
It took her a few turns and two staircase ride to find Draco striding towards the boy’s bathroom.
“Malfoy!” Hermione angrily yelled after him. “Malfoy!” Hermione breathlessly called after him.
She was sure that he has heard her but he was relentless in his strides and determined to draw her to the hallway leading to the boy’s bathroom.
Hermione stomped her foot angrily and seeing that the last corridor was empty she decided to yell fully at him.
“Draco!” she called out his name loud and clear. “You’ve dropped something!”
Draco suddenly stopped.
He stood with his back turned to Hermione but he was silent.
“You’ve dropped something in the library.” Hermione said walking fast to get to him before he decided to walk away again.
Draco sharply turned to her just as she had reached him.
“What do you want, Mudblood?” Draco angrily asked him.
His eyes ran from her face then down at her hand with a wand.
He slightly looked alarmed but he did not say anything.
Hermione angrily stared at him.
She looked as if she was deciding which part of him was good to hex since they were at a deserted corridor.
“I have a name.” Hermione pointed out raising her hand with the parchment. “And you’ve dropped this from the library.”
Draco stared at her then at her held up hand.
His grey eyes fell onto the parchment in her hand and they widened in slight shock.
He quickly snatched the parchment out of her hand and hastily kept it inside his robes. .
“Get your filthy hands off my things, Mudblood.”
Hermione’s eyes flashed in anger.
But as she continued to stare at Draco she was now sure that he had been crying.
His eyes were read and there were evident tears at the side of his eyelids.
“Malfoy, are you alright?” she asked concernedly and forgetting for a moment what he had just called her.
For a moment Draco just stood there as if deciding if he should hex her or not as she stood before him staring curiously and worriedly at him.
Draco sensed her worry for him and he quickly looked away from her.
“Don’t ever call me on that name ever again!” Draco angrily spat at her and without another word, he quickly turned and strode off away from her as fast as he could possibly go.
Hermione stood there shaking in anger as she stared after Draco’s disappearing back.
She wasn’t sure if giving Draco back something he had left behind was a good idea.
He did not even thank her for what she had done.
“What an arse.”
“Who’s an arse?” asked a cold voice.
Hermione’s heart skipped a beat in surprise at the voice.
She slowly turned around and the Potions Master was standing over her with a curious gaze at her.
“No one, professor.” Hermione quietly answered as she looked away and quickly turned from him.
“Not so fast, Miss Granger.” he softly said crossing his arms.
Hermione closed her eyes and cursed herself.
Now she was going to get into trouble.
“Yes, professor?” she politely asked despite that she was sure he was just going to say something that was not so nice at all.
Snape stared down at her, closely observing her with his black eyes as if scanning if there was something wrong about her.
“Why are you here?” he asked gently.
“I was-” Hermione slowly said realizing where she was.
“This is the corridor leading to the boys’ lavatory, yes?” he quietly asked her.
Hermione bit her lip.
She knew it.
She was going to get into trouble for helping Draco.
“I followed Malfoy.” Hermione said deciding to just tell him the truth. “He was at the library and I saw him drop some parchment and I followed him.”
“All the way here?” Snape asked her with a raised brow. “Until here?”
Snape’s black eyes stared down at her brown ones and for some reason he could not see through her.
Harry Potter was obviously teaching her some sort of mental defense or she had been teaching him and practicing Occlumency together.
“You are aware Miss Granger that this is the corridor leading to the boy’s lavatory?” Snape asked her standing tall.
Hermione stared back at him without really knowing what to say.
His presence really intimidated her until this day – well, not really in classroom space when she was constantly trying to prove to him her worth to be in his class.
“Yes, professor.” Hermione said. “I thought the parchment he dropped was sort of important.”
“Really?” Snape asked her as he walked around her with arms folded. “How valiant of you, Miss Granger.”
“The parchment looked important.” Hermione insisted.
Snape did not say anything as he stared at her for a moment.
“What was the parchment about?” he asked her, eyes glinting. “What’s so important about it?”
“I..” Hermione began thinking of some way to describe what she was seen in it.
“There was just a drawing.” Hermione slowly said visually recalling the parchment.
“Drawing of what looked like a wardrobe, professor.”
“A wardrobe.” Snape softly repeated and Hermione knew how stupid it had sounded.
“It looked like a blue print or something. I’m not sure.” Hermione said feeling even more stupid by the moment as she continued to speak. “ There were side notes about size comparison and stuff..” Hermione said her voice fading at the realization of how stupid her description sounded.
Snape stared at her and Hermione knew that he was thinking how big of a liar she was.
“Did anyone see the parchment?” he asked her after a while. “Other than yourself?”
“No.” Hermione said and she noticed a slight relief passed across his face. “Just me, professor.”
Hermione waited nervously but Snape seemed to have no interest to punish her at all.
“Very well.” Snape slowly said. “Be out of your way here. Have you seen Potter?” he asked then before she could leave completely.
Hermione shook her head.
“I haven’t seen him since three this afternoon, professor.”
Snape stared at her – scanning, tracing for any form of lie but there was really nothing he could see.
If she was indeed learning and practicing Occlumency with Potter these days, she was ahead of it and getting quite good at it.
It was both an advantage and disadvantage, Snape quietly thought.
Hermione stared at him as he seemed to be lost in thoughts.
“You may go and keep out of this corridor.” Snape spat at her and without another word, he turned from him and followed the direction from which Draco had disappeared.
Hermione giggled as Harry mercilessly tickled her.
“Harry, I said stop!” she cried out. “If you don’t stop I’m going to hex you!”
“If you hex me, you’re going to get into trouble because you’re not supposed to use magic against another student!”
Harry laughed so hard as Hermione tried to kick free against his grasp.
She was breathless as she lay against him down the breezy grounds of the castle.
The week had been too long with three quizzes they had over the week, Harry’s preparation for the next Quidditch match, Hermione’s constant research on all her subject essays and ofcourse their impending worries about the Dark Lord’s recruitment around London.
Harry stopped tickling her and let her rest against his chest as he lay down against the large tree down the grounds.
Soft breeze passed their faces as they lay near the lake beneath the cloudy sky.
Harry slowly placed both his hands around her waist and held her hands across her chest.
“Harry, I sort of feel guilty that we didn’t accompany Ron and Lavender down their date at his brothers’ shop at Hogsmeade today.”
“Yeah.” Harry lazily said as he stared at the beautiful view before them. “Me too.”
There was some silence and then the both of them burst out laughing.
“I knew it, you’re not the littlest bit of guilty!” Hermione laughed at him looking up.
Harry tried to look serious at her as he looked down through with a charming smile.
“What?” Hermione asked him gushing red as he stared down at her.
Harry reached out for her and kissed her forehead gently.
“Hey, I remember we need to finish that long overdue essay for professor McGonagall.” Hermione reminded him frowning. “I’ve finished mine so I’ll help you with yours.”
“Let’s not talk about school work now.”
“Yeah, but we need to hand it over before the deadline.”
“I can’t really concentrate on it. I’m too excited. Dumbledore said he’ll bring me with him in his next task or something. I’m really quite curious and excited about it. A little scared but I’m with him so why should I be, right?”
Hermione looked up at Harry and she could tell the slight fear and bigger glow of excitement in his eyes at the prospect of doing something with Dumbledore like some secret mission they shared.
“You’ll be fine with him.” Hermione proudly said. “I’m sure it’s quite important cause he wants to take no one else but you on this one.”
There was some silence between the two of them.
Harry’s fingers touched the side of her cheeks and Hermione turned her face to the side so she could kiss the inside of his hand.
“Harry, I don’t ever want to be far from you.” Hermione whispered against his skin.
Harry bent closer and kissed her forehead again as he pulled her closer to him.
“I won’t lose you.” Harry assured her closing his eyes and feeling her heartbeat against his body. “I won’t ever let that happen, Hermione.”
“Hermione?” his voice called out as he entered the darkened living room.
He walked and pointed his wand to the hearth and the room glowed with the light from it.
“Hermione?” Snape called out again but there was no answer.
He frowned and there was slight worry in his voice.
He walked to the couch and lowered the cake he had bought for the two of them for the night.
“Hermione!” he called out again, his chest rising with slight panic.
And then he heard it.
Something with a loud ‘pop’ came from the bedroom.
“Hermione!” he cried out, pulling his wand out as he ran as fast as he could to their bedroom.
He reached the door and quickly pushed the door open.
“Surprise!” a voice called out happily.
A pop, another and another one soon followed.
Snape stood at the doorway with mouth open and wand at the ready as he was slightly blinded by the confetti and light that came from the small party shenanigans in Hermione’s hands.
Breathless, he stood by the doorway and stared around their bedroom.
She had placed a lot of rose petals across the bed and the room was lit with small candles, the fragrance of rose oil and vanilla could be smelled all over the room and there was a small table with a prepared dinner and champagne on ice in the bucket.
“Happy Valentine’s Day?” Hermione asked seeing his face slightly red from panic.
Snape’s eyes went to her and he could feel his heartbeat racing even more.
She was wearing the simple haltered dress he bought her a few months ago for which she promised him she would wear for a special occasion.
She may look very Gryffindor tonight but the smile over her face was too devilish to be a Slytherin.
“Hermione..” he breathed as he walked inside the room looking at her sweet face.
She giggle and slowly looked up and walked to him.
Snape felt time was slowing down as she did so.
Since when did she ever become this beautiful? No, she was becoming even more beautiful every single day that she spent with him.
She became more of a woman within all those years before his eyes. Her charm and grace only ignited her beauty.
The way their relationship had grown was beyond his comprehension.
She reached him and she gently placed both her arms around her neck as he slid his hands around her waist.
“You like it?” she asked with a grin.
Snape could not say a word.
Did he like it?
He was speechless not just with the surprise but how she looked.
“You are beyond stunning, sweetheart.” Snape whispered breathless as Hermione’s face closed in around his teasingly.
Hermione quietly laughed and pulled his face closer to her.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Severus.” Hermione softly whispered against his lips. “It’s our eighth, isn’t it?” Hermione asked him.
Snape pulled her closer to him.
He could feel his own chest beating so fast as he lowered his face to her.
“Is it not, seven?” he asked slowly as his long nose touched hers.
Hermione’s eyes caught his black ones and he could just melt at the way her caramel eyes stared up at him.
“Will you not count the first year I was with you here?” she softly said moving her lips closer to him.
Snape’s eyes were slightly in danger of tears at her words.
“Eighth it is then.” Snape said and without another word, he moved his face to hers and lavishly captured her lips within his in a full, warm and passionate kiss.
It was just eight in the evening and Harry came home to another empty dining room with a prepared meal waiting for him.
Two nights in a row now that this was the occurrences in their apartment and he wasn’t sure if this was what he really wanted.
Tomorrow was the hearing and Hermione was surely asleep as early as that hour.
He did not argue.
It was better that she kept herself in their room than have a tantrum wanting to go to places or spending time with other people.
As much as possible, he wanted to keep her there and just keep her with him.
He did not care much what she did at home when he was around and when he wasn’t as long as when he opened his eyes she was there and when he gets home she was still there.
Hermione had been quiet since their return since the other day from the Weasleys.
She had spent as much time in the room when he was home but when he wasn’t around she did her best to move around and about the household.
She had cleaned the living room, his small study and the kitchens and had prepared their meals in good quantity and quality.
The previous day, he came home around the afternoon to find her quietly reading in their bedroom.
Harry only smiled and kissed her on the forehead and handed her a warm package of baked pudding that Mr. Weasley had taken to the Ministry to him from Mrs. Weasley that morning.
Despite that he only came home to change, to bring her the pudding and take some files with him back at the Ministry, Harry stayed for an hour longer to have tea with her in their living room.
He sat quietly with tea in one hand and the other brushing Hermione’s hair as she lay quietly by his side on the long couch reading a book.
It did not bother him that she was quite docile since they returned.
It was far more favorable with him and he find that her new attitude about the things happening around her was quite more pleasing than he had expected.
“Roast chicken?” Harry asked her before he left that afternoon as Hermione walked him to the door.
“Alright.” Hermione smiled at him as he tenderly held her. “I’ll add some carrots and potatoes – the ones you love like Hogwarts days?” she asked him.
“Like Hogwarts days, ‘Mione.” Harry answered her as he kissed her on the lips and bid her goodbye.
Hermione was quiet as she quietly watched move from their doorstep and down the lawn, carefully waving his wand around and creating his usual enchantments and wards – the very same ones Hermione had taught him many years go - to ensure that nobody gets into or leaves their premises.
Hermione could barely move her heavily bandaged leg.
She not only felt pathetic and useless at the moment but angry as well with herself for what has happened.
Maybe if she listened a bit more to his warnings about being ‘unsafe’ out there this would not have happened.
Maybe if she listened a bit more to her instincts and had come going back to the path and not being nosy around and about this would not have happened.
Maybe if she was a bit more concerned of their well-being altogether and not just herself this would not have happened.
She had to be nosy and pushy and stubborn about their whereabouts and about the world out there so this had to happen.
But could she blame herself?
Could she blame him?
She was frustrated.
No, she was beyond desperate.
How was Harry doing?
She needed to be out there.
She needed to be back in the battlefield.
She needed to feel needed and important once more.
The Ministry of Magic has fallen alongside Gringotts and Hogwarts.
The Dark Lord has all his allies around the government and states of London to help him rule and he has people across the United States and even across Asia to do his bidding to create a new world order.
And despite all these mayhem, all these losses and wins, all there is about the war and involve to it, she was there – safe and sound with Severus Snape.
But she did not want to be safe and sound.
She wanted to help out into the world and contribute however way she can.
A knock came upon the door.
Hermione looked up from the book she was reading on the bed as the door slowly opened.
Snape stood at the doorway holding out a small open box in his hand.
“It’s just three in the afternoon.” Hermione told him. “It’s not yet time to drink-“
“We have to change the bandages.” Snape simply said closing the door behind him.
“We’ve ran out of it already. I can change it with a cloth later.” Hermione replied.
Snape did not say anything as he entered the room and settled the box on the end of the bed.
Hermione was quiet as she watched his progress at the small table near the bed.
He took out some tools from the box, a light green potion-paste on a small cup with stick, two small bottles of purplish liquid in them and three large boxes of bandages.
Hermione’s eyes widened at the sight of them.
“Professor.” her voice was hushed in slight surprise. “You’ve been to the hospital, yes?” she asked slowly but there was excitement in her voice.
Snape did not answer as he continued setting things up next to the bed.
“Professor – you’ve been – these bandages, you’ve taken them from the hos-“
“I didn’t steal them.” Snape coldly said. “I bought them.” Snape corrected her as he opened one large box of it and slowly took out and unrolled its contents. “And yes, from the hospital.”
“Yes, I mean you’ve bought them.” Hermione breathlessly said.
Snape did not look up at her but he could tell the questions running and ready to jet-set fire within moments from her.
He tried his best to look quite passive and ignore the questions he was sensing to come out from her.
Hermione quietly watched him in progress biting her lower lip back and forth as if waiting for some sort of right timing to ask him questions.
She looked like she had so many questions but it also looked like Snape was not in the mood to entertain them at the moment.
“How – how did it go?” Hermione slowly asked unable to stop herself after a while.
Snape settled the rest of the objects aside and pulled up a chair next to the bed and began taking a measure of how long and how much of the bandage he needed to put around Hermione’s leg.
“I’m not yet sure.” Snape curtly said as he cut a few bandages and took the small cup of paste and settled it next to Hermione’s leg.
“But did you-“ Hermione continued to inquire as the tip of Snape’s wand settled around her bandaged leg and began slicing it down just like it had done so to her pajamas a few nights ago.
“I don’t know.” Snape simply answered her. “But if all goes well, I’m sure you have nothing to worry about.”
“But how do we know?” Hermione said desperately. “How would we find out if it did work?”
Snape stared at her as if her question was beyond stupid.
He breathed heavily and shook his head.
“I think, Miss Granger,” he slowly began, “that if that occurs – it wouldn’t be quite a secret to the world.”
“The word would reach us?” Hermione quickly asked. “We are still in London, yes?”
Snape did not answer her but instead he gesture that she move her leg slightly to the side.
Hermione flinched in pain as she forced herself to do so.
She watched as Snape began cutting out the bandages and preparing the rest of the medical supplies to help her change the ones around her leg.
“Professor, what happened?” she slowly asked as Snape handed her the blanket so she could cover the rest of her upper thigh as he began slicing the old bandages with the tip of his wand.
“Professor Snape?” Hermione repeated, barely concerned at the pain she was enduring as he slowly progressed upon removing the rest of the bandages.
Snape did not answer.
Hermione thought he was trying to concentrate hard on what he was doing.
Once the old bandages were taken away, Hermione’s bare skin were revealed to the both of them.
Three days’ worth of potion boils, marks and damage were still visible over her skin.
Apparently, with their limited medical supply at the cottage, the healing process made by the damages from the potions accident were taking much longer than it would have been if they were at a real hospital.
Snape could only mend enough damage from the potion although the potion he creates in order to stabilize the wound and not create further infection and helps as pain reliever in the midst of the night does help a lot for Hermione’s comfort.
“Hold still, Miss Granger. This should sting just a little.” Snape said without taking his eyes off the blue paste he was mixing over a cup with a stick and was about to place over Hermione’s healing burns.
Hermione breathed heavily as she stared at the medicine that was to go all over her skin.
“Is that the same paste you used on me before?” she slowly asked and her voice was slightly accusatory.
Snape still did not answer as he sat down in order to take a closer look over the burns.
“Professor Snape is that the same-“
“Miss Granger, I would be able to focus and concentrate better if you keep quiet just for a few moments while I do this.”
Hermione bit her lip and tried to not feel bad towards him for what he had said.
“Sorry.” Hermione quietly said staring at him as he measured on how much paste to put over her burns.
Potion burns were not really hard to heal but it depended upon the amount and the type of potion that had burned the skin.
And unfortunately for Hermione, the boiling potion that severely damaged her skin wasn’t some ordinary potion at all.
She bit the ends of the blanket and her fists were clenched tightly as she held against the sides of the bed as Snape began to slowly swipe the stick with paste over the burn marks.
Tears swelled at the ends of her eyes as the pain went through the surface of her skin and through her skin. It was pain beyond what she has endured the time Snape had healed her light bruise at her sixth year – or somewhere in time not so very long time ago.
Snape was quiet as he progressed.
He knew that it was hurting her but it was the only way to mend the burn marks.
It would take time to completely heal it and some more to actually remove the marks fully over her once perfect skin.
He did not want to admit it but he knew that he would have to ‘literary’ take care of her in order to help her live comfortably for the days to come.
“It does sting.” Snape said as he continuously covered the burn marks with the paste. “It will take a few more minutes but it would go away. I made a Sleeping Potion for you to endure its pain while you sleep and keep your sleep uninterrupted and another bottle of pain reliever should it hurt later when I leave.”
“You’re going somewhere?” Hermione managed to blurt out with eyes closed as the sensation of pain crippled and reached throughout her whole body.
“Yes.” Snape simply said as he took final touches of the paste around her skin.
“How – how about me?” Hermione stuttered in me. “I mean, you’re going to leave again?”
Snape slowly looked up to her.
Her eyes were tightly shut and she kept biting her lower lip as she moaned and writhed in pain.
Did she want him to stay?
Did his presence not bother her?
Well, they’ve been together for the past months or so and he barely left her.
Most of the time he left would be very late for a Death Eater’s meeting or a few hours in the morning or afternoon when his presence was needed at the castle at certain days or so.
He also left a few hours every weekend to buy them supplies like food, potion ingredients and other things that needed to be stored at the cottage.
Although he has never left her for more than 24 hours, Hermione never really cared how long he was gone because she always knew he would come back before the day’s hours would expire.
This was the first time she ever said anything about him displaying his need to leave again.
“I’ll be back before midnight.” Snape slowly said as he prepared the bandages to be placed around her legs.
Hermione breathed in and out of her mouth as the pain slowly ebbed away and the paste drying thoroughly over her skin.
She slowly opened her eyes as Snape lifted her leg slightly to enable him to begin wrapping the bandages around her leg.
“I would be able to walk again, right?” Hermione concernedly asked him.
“Yes.” Snape shortly answered her. “In no time you can try and escape again.”
Hermione did not say anything but only stared up at Snape who was too occupied with wrapping up the bandages that he barely noticed her concerned gaze at him.
“Miss Granger, as impatient as you are, I am also waiting for the same results that you are awaiting for. We cannot do anything at the moment. It has barely been more than 24 hours. The potion does not make wonders in how you imagined it to be. I’ve been very lenient with you so please bear with me and try to spare me the rest of the afternoon in silence and stop pestering me about the same topic over and over again.”
“I was just going to thank you for thanking good care of me, professor.” Hermione quietly said. “And about..”
Snape was silent.
He stopped in mid-action of finishing up the bandages around her leg as he looked up at her.
Her eyes were focused over her heavily bandaged legged now.
Snape did not say anything.
He looked away from her to stop himself for feeling the littlest most of pity for her.
It was not a time to feel sorry or pity for anyone.
It was a time to focus on tasks at hand.
“Drink these two bottles of potion now.” Snape said clearing away the medical supplies from the bed and shoving them all back in the box. “Go take some nap. I’ll be back before nine tonight.”
Hermione quietly nodded as she watched him gather and clean everything around the bed so she could lay back down comfortably again.
He turned to the bed and moved closer to her.
He pulled up one of the pillows so Hermione could raise her leg on it and then helped her put back the blanket on its proper place.
Hermione handed him back the two empty bottles of potion and settled herself into a sleeping position as she felt the potion quickly taking effect the moment it touched her lips.
Snape flicked his wand around to pull down the large curtains in her room to dim the room so she could sleep better.
He took the box and turned when Hermione suddenly reached out and grasped his hand.
Her small hand warmly held his long fingers.
“Come home as soon.” Hermione groggily said looking up at him. “Please come back as soon as you can.”
Snape did not say anything.
He waited a few more moments until the potion had fully taken its effect.
Hermione’s fingers slipped from his hand and her eyes closed shut.
Snape stared at her small and exhausted finger.
Her breathing pattern told him that she was asleep already.
Snape turned back to the bed and stared down at her not knowing what exactly to say and feel.
He felt different these days.
He tried his best to ignore it but the more he spent time with her, something was seemingly amiss with him whenever he was not with her at Hogwarts.
Harry and Hermione arrived on time for the afternoon’s court trial.
Hermione made him breakfast and had taken note that he seemed quiet and had kept himself in his office at home and missed the lunch she had made.
He had reasoned that he wasn’t that hungry and he needed time to review some things the Ministry had sent him for the trial of the day.
It also took them an hour that morning to talk about what the trial was to be about that day as Hermione was expected to take the witness’ stand.
Well, more like Harry had pepped talk her on what to say and the possibilities of her answers.
She was quiet.
She only quietly nodded the whole time he spoke which slightly annoyed Harry but did not show it in any alarming sort of way.
“Mr. Potter.” a Ministry official greeted them as they reached their usual seats in the atrium.
Hermione quietly sat next to Harry and her eyes quickly swept the room.
Draco Malfoy was nowhere to be found in his usual seat.
She sort of felt nervous.
She thought that Draco had taken a ‘Defense Council’ for Snape’s trial.
Shouldn’t he be there for that?
Hermione kept glancing back and forth the entrance doors then at the opposite aisle at the atrium for where they sat but Draco was really nowhere to be found.
Soon enough, the full Wizengamot had arrived already and the attendee stood up and announced the activities of the trial for the day.
“Now let us begin.” he had said in a loud and clear voice. “Let me call in the accused, Mr. Severus Snape.”
Hermione’s eyes shot at Harry who sat quietly next to her.
She wasn’t aware that Snape would be present at the early part of the trial as Harry had discussed with her that for the first part, evidences and other documents would be taken into consideration first.
He did not answer.
He was waiting quietly next to her as the attendee watched with the rest of the room as Snape was taken at his usual seat down the atrium with Ministry officials surrounding him, a few Aurors and ofcourse, the Dementors.
“The accused would like to present then his chosen council for the case.” the attendee had said around the room.
The eldest wizard of the Wizengamot agreed and let him continue with his announcement as he explained that Snape was indeed privileged for one due to his professional backround and that he was able to afford one.
Hermione was sitting at the edge of her seat as they all waited.
The double doors opened and in came about four wizards carrying with them small boxes or objects and folders and parchments in their hands that they carefully laid out around the long table in front of the audience, jury and Wizengamot.
“These are evidences, factual dates and events for which the accused would like to present today by his chosen Defense Council.” The attendee called out clearing his throat.
“Please call out your Defense Council.” the head of the Wizengamot nodded at him.
The attendee cleared his throat as the double doors opened again and welcomed the new character to take part in the trial.
“The accused would like to present his legal Defense Council – Licensed for four years at Germany and had taken Legal Law Management and Services at Dublin, Ireland. The courtroom would like to welcome Mr. Draco Black Malfoy, the Legal Defense Council of Mr. Severus Prince Snape.”
Hermione’s mouth fell open as Draco strutted and strode inside the courtroom quietly carrying with him a few folders that he handed each towards the Wizengamot.
Hermione quickly turned to Harry.
He was quiet and his eyes were transfixed at Draco and Snape down the atrium.
His fists were clenching at his sides and Hermione could tell that he was fuming in anger.
She did not say anything.
She was speechless.
He looked back down as Draco finished handing out the parchments and folders and had smiled and had even shook hands with one of the Ministry officials around the room.
He stood up at the middle of the room and straightened his black formal robes.
Hermione noted how he looked very much like his father at the moment only his hair was shorted and he did not look like a boastful looney but someone with just and confidence with the matter at hand.
“Thank you.” Draco slowly said with no trace of smug in his face.
He looked as serious as Hermione had ever seen him.
. “Today as the Defense Council I would like to present that I would be questioning my own client, Mr. Severus Snape.”
There were a couple of murmurs around the room.
Draco’s reputation as a Malfoy and the history of their family weren’t the only things he was known for.
It wasn’t quite a secret that he was the godson of the accused.
“But first.” Draco slowly said with a smile over his face as he looked up around the atrium. “I would like to request someone else for questioning first.”
“Go ahead.” The head of the Wizengamot told him with an agreed tone and look with the rest of the Wizengamot.
Draco nodded gratefully at him.
He looked up at the atrium and straight at the spot where he knew Harry and Hermione would be taking their seats.
He pointed up with a look of complete confidence over his face.
“Miss Hermione Jean Granger.” Draco called out clearly for the whole courtroom to hear.
Hermione’s heart felt like it had stopped beating completely.
She could feel a large lump at her throat.
Despite that she knew the possibility of being questioned today and Harry briefing her of what to say or do, this was not what she had expected.
She was not prepared for Draco’s questioning her regarding the case.
Nobody was prepared to find out that he was – out of the blue – a licensed Defense Council.
The possibilities there were now that he had the title and he is licensed and learned enough to possibility free Snape from what fate has already written for him.
Hermione was quiet and her eyes went to Snape.
As usual, his head was down and he was motionless at the trial. She even wondered if he understood what was happening around them.
Her reverie was interrupted when Draco spoke again.
“I would like to ask Miss Hermione Jean Granger – victim of the accused – to please take the witness stand so I could question her in regards to several events and dates from the time for which she was captured and abducted by the accused, Mr. Severus Snape.”