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Forbidden Rapture

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Hermione Jean Granger sat by the cafe window where she could see the rain.

 It was a quarter to three in the afternoon, and she was waiting for the handsome man with emerald eyes and the mark of a legend slashed across his forehead.

 

She was eager to see him, but the longer her eyes lingered upon the falling rain, the further away her mind traveled.

 

 

 

 

 

"You need to eat. I told you I will bring you news if there is anything significant." 

 

He set a plate on the table in front of her. 

She looked up at him with sharp eyes. 

 

"What do you know about which things are significant and which are not?" she asked incredulously, almost forgetting she was in his territory.

 

He chose not to answer. 

The witch was always demanding answers.

 

"You should stay healthy so you better eat." Snape ushered her the platter. 

A spark of anger flashed in her eyes. 

 

Hermione pushed the plate of food away. 

 

"Your judgment is questionable the moment you betrayed us. I want to go home.

 

"I tried to be reasonable. But if you want it that way." Snape heavily breathed and he waved his hand and all the platter of food from the table came crashing against the wall. 

 

It scared her, but she tried her best not to show it. 

She sat still, refusing to look at him again. 

She knew that if she stared into those black eyes, she would only fuel the fire of fear already ignited inside of her.

 

"My judgment is not flawed nor questionable, Miss Granger." Snape angrily said banging his fist against the table. "I know because you're here and you're alive. If my judgment were flawed you wouldn't be alive being ungrateful at this very moment. I saved your life. You should be thanking me on bended knee."

 

His voice was cold, sharp, and threatening through her soul. 

 

 "Then you should have left me for dead!" she screamed at him. "You should have left me to die with the rest of them! You should not have taken me! You shouldn't have saved me!" 

 

"I did what I had to do." Snape countered grabbing her angrily and binding her wrists in his grasp. "I did what I had to do - what he made me do. I promised him I would save anyone and everyone I could and you were the only one within my reach, Hermione. Only you." 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Hermione?"

 

She blinked and saw Harry standing over the table, a smile on his face. Hermione stared up at him with her mouth slightly open.

 

 

"It's time," he told her, pointing at his watch. 

 

It was five minutes to three. 

 

"We don't want to be late." Harry offered his hand to her. "Are you all right?"

 

Hermione nodded. 

 

"I'm fine." 

 

Harry gently held her by the hand and they started toward the Ministry building across the street.

 

"Hermione," he said cautiously, "don’t worry, the Wizengamot always decides for the best." 

 

He tried for a supportive smile.

 

Hermione stared back into those emerald eyes sparkling behind the spectacles. Those beautiful eyes—those same eyes she had fallen in love with.

 

He could see her hesitation. 

She bit her lower lip whenever she was nervous.

 

“Harry, what if...?" 

 

She didn't continue. 

 

They were lovers and best friends and everything else that there could be, but she knew he would never see things from her point of view. 

She suddenly opened her arms and hugged him tightly around the neck. 

 

"Harry, please, you need to understand. No matter what you hear at the trial, just remember that he kept me alive.”

 

Harry tried to avoid her gaze completely. 

 

 

Why did she insist on protecting that monster? 

 

That wretched man had completely ruined his beloved, and he wanted him to suffer. 

He wanted him to pay dearly.

 

"We've talked about this, Hermione." Harry said, slowly letting go of her hand and turning away.

   

Hermione sighed and stalked after him as he crossed the road. 

 

“Harry! Wait, please!” 

 

She caught up with him mid-way and grabbed his arm. 

He turned to her and pulled her with him to the other side to avoid blocking the sidewalk.

 

His eyes swept over her fragile form and sad expression. He sighed heavily but tried his best to control his anger. 

 

"I know how you feel,” he told her calmly, “but I believe that justice should be served." 

 

And without another word, Harry turned from her and entered the building.

 

She followed wordlessly with her head down, silently praying that justice wasn't as harsh with Snape as Harry.

 

The moment they entered, the Daily Prophet's people swarmed around them. 

They were all desperate to get a photo and a quote. 

 

 

The scandal was front-page news.

 

 

 

 

“Mr. Potter.” Kingsley greeted them. 

Ministry guards helped Harry and Hermione by blocking the nosy reporters from getting too close.

 

“Minister,” Harry replied, giving him a respectful nod. 

He turned and took Hermione’s hand, pulling her to keep up with his fast pace.

 

Harry had allowed only one press conference after finding Hermione, and he had stated that it was the first and last one before the trial. 

 

He promised the press that once the twelve hearings had concluded, he would set a date and time for another one.

 

“Thank you Kingsley,” Harry said as they were led to a narrow corridor, away from the press. “I am grateful for this.”

 

“Nothing to worry about, Harry,” Kingsley told him. He nodded at Hermione. “I'll see you in the courtroom.” He opened up the door for them and waited for them to enter first.

 

Harry avoided Hermione’s eyes, but he squeezed her hand. 

People started staring and whispering when they recognized who had arrived. 

 

Harry and Hermione walked into the room and headed straight to the raised gallery. 

 

Harry had been in this room several times as a child and a few more as an adult. 

The last time he was in there was the hearing of Lucius Malfoy. 

The Death Eater was sentenced to Azkaban for a lifetime but he had gone insane just within the first few months. He was then later transferred to St. Mungo's - left forsaken, forgotten by his own family. 

 

He passed within the walls of the asylum and rumor has it that his only heir Draco Malfoy never visited him. 

 

People began to stand up as the Wizengamot entered. 

 

The temperature in the room slowly changed and gasps were heard. 

 

Hermione looked beside him where Harry sat still, his hand clasping something inside his robes as he sat straight, eyes down at the middle of the room. 

 

The Dementors entered, dragging a thin man in prisoner's clothes whose face was hidden beneath long locks of dark hair. 

 

Her heart skipped a beat at the sight of him. 

 

"Hermione, sit down," Harry whispered quietly tugging her hand when she made the slightest movement upon seeing the arrival of the prisoner. 

 

"Harry, this is a mistake." Hermione pleaded but Harry was still and cold. 

 

 

 

"Today," the clerk announced, "we are here for the hearing of Mr. Severus Prince Snape for day one of twelve hearings. Today's charges are pressed by Mr. Harry James Potter, long-term friend and fiance of Ms. Hermione Jean Granger, the victim of the accused."

 

There were strong murmurs around the crowd, and Hermione felt nauseated. But she was able to hold herself together. 

 

"I'm here," she thought to herself, staring at the back of Snape’s head. "I'm here. Please look at me. Please.”

 

"Wizengamot Federal Case 151924," the witch's voice echoed. “The Wizarding Community and full jury of the Wizengamot versus Severus Prince Snape - ex-Death Eater and ex-alumni of Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The court hearing shall discuss the case of Miss Hermione Jean Granger, who was held captive by the said prisoner for ten consecutive years." 

 

There were more murmurs around the crowd, and Hermione's chest tightened as the witch continued.

 

“How do you plead?” asked the courtroom’s head of the Wizengamot.

 

Hermione and Harry sat still and straight on their chair while the whole room held its breath for the answer they all knew had been there all along.

 

Snape was motionless for a moment and then for the briefest, slightest moment, his face moved up at the very exact spot where Harry and Hermione sat.

 

His black eyes were cold and emotionless.

 

He turned his face back to the jury and old-head of the Wizengamot before uttering the words that echoed throughout the whole courtroom.

 

 

“Guilty.”

 

 

The room immediately burst into commotion.

 

Hermione cried out and Harry had to stand up to grab her by the arms to settle her back down her seat.

 

His black eyes met her brown ones. 

 

He looked up at her with a passive expression as if he didn't recognize her. 

 

 

A tear trickled down her cheek as she recalled his final words to her.

 

 

 

 

 

"You will tell them the truth," he whispered. "You will tell them the truth and nothing but the truth Hermione, you hear me? LOOK AT ME!" He held her arms, shaking her violently. “You will tell them nothing but the truth no matter how much it hurts, no matter what it takes.”

 

 "No, I can't. Please, don't make me do this. I can't do it.”

 

"Do you trust me?" he asked her gently.

 

She stared into his black eyes—those black eyes that had been her windows to the outside world for the past ten years.

 

"Hermione," he repeated warmly, tracing the side of her cheek. He made sure that her eyes were fixed on his. "Do you trust me?" he asked her softly.

 

 

 

 

 

His voice rang through her head. 

She couldn't let it go. She couldn't let him go. 

 

No, her life depended on that voice. 

 

Hearing it meant her sanctuary was still safe and intact.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter I

The Potions Book

 

 

 

Hermione sat in the back of the car as the rain poured down their vehicle. She was waiting for Harry, who was still in the lobby signing papers for their next court hearing. 

She could barely contain her tears. 

She couldn’t believe what had taken place at the first hearing.

 

 

 

 

 *Afternoon’s trial*

 

The court attendee swore Snape in. 

 

"How do you plead?" he asked for the official record.

 

"Guilty." 

 

His voice was distinct and it echoed throughout the room.

 

The courtroom waited for the room to settle back down, the court attendee continued. "You are Mr. Severus Prince Snape, yes?"

 

Snape nodded curtly. "Yes."

 

 

All the time Hermione had known him, he had not aged, but seeing him for the first time in three months, she was surprised to see the years finally catching up with him. 

 

His face was thinner and his hair longer and lankier.

His skin was not only paler but also dry and flaky. 

He looked as if he had aged a hundred years in the three months they’d been apart.

 

 

 "And your relationship with Miss Hermione Jean Granger for the past 17 years?" asked the attendee.

 

There was a momentary pause before he answered. 

 

"She was my student for the first seven years.” His black eyes swept up to meet the attendee. “The following years were no different."

 

Murmurs circulated the crowd, and Hermione's hands clenched to fists at her sides. 

 

"No," she whispered, her heart pumping fast. "No, please. Why are you doing this?"

 

 

The attendee was signaled to continue with the questioning. 

He cleared his throat and walked to the stand. 

 

"You’re telling me you have treated her as your student for the past ten years? Perhaps you did not understand my question clearly; I’ll rephrase it. What, exactly, was your treatment toward Miss Granger for the past ten years? Obviously, you were not in a classroom or academic environment."

 

"I have answered you."

 

 

The Wizengamot stared at one another, and their whispers echoed throughout the gallery. The attendee glanced up at the Wizengamot, who nodded at him to go on with the next question.

 

"Very well, Mr. Snape, let us move on.”

 

Hermione was on the edge of her seat. Harry’s gentle hand covered hers, offering her his support but his stance said otherwise. 

 

"Mr. Snape, how did Ms. Granger happen to be in your custody for the past ten years? Can you tell us precisely how that happened?”

 

Snape's expression remained blank; he gave nothing away. 

 

"It was the night the Order of the Phoenix transferred Harry Potter to a more secure location. The Death Eaters were sent by the Dark Lord to ambush them.” 

 

He paused as if recalling the memory.

 

Hermione was silent next to Harry, but she could swear he was struggling not to launch from his seat and attack Snape. 

 

Everyone remembers that night. 

 

That night was as fresh as it could be for both of them. The memory had too much horror to be forgotten.

 

 

"We attacked them when they were most vulnerable. We waited for hours until they were transferring Potter by broomstick. We thought they were vulnerable, but they were more than prepared to protect the boy—they were willing to die for one another. Some of us were spared and some of us were diminished." Snape kept his eyes on the floor as if watching the memory play out before him. 

 

The vision of the memory seemed to play both in Hermione and Harry's eyes as Snape retold the events of the night. 

 

"Curses and spells flew through the air, and both sides found it difficult to recognize whose spells were aimed at whom. The Order suffered. They were reluctant to attack for fear of hitting one of their own, but the Death Eaters were reckless and attacked anyone who blocked their path. I found an opening for a curse, and I took it." 

 

He knew that his curse had bounced and pelted straight towards one of the Weasleys, injuring one of the twins permanently.

 

"Curses flew everywhere, and I was able to deflect everything that was aimed at me. Then one curse turned my way, but before I could deflect it, someone else got to it first and it rebounded towards Ms. Granger. She was heading straight towards the ground when I tried to disengage the enchantment. I was able to catch her before she crashed."

 

Another round of murmurs erupted, and Hermione could tell that they were dubious, but she remembered that night clearly. She hadn’t seen the deflection, but she did see the emerald curse coming straight at her. Her broom had gone haywire, and she began to plummet toward the ground. Then she felt a heavy, warm sensation like a rope wrapping around her, shielding her from the various spells flying past and, most importantly, preventing her from hitting the ground. 

 

The next thing she knew, a hand grasped her arm, and a pair of black eyes were staring into hers.  

 

 

 

*end of first trial*

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Hermione? Are you all right?"

 

She looked up and saw that Harry was already out of the car.

 

“Hermione?” he called her again, extending his hand.

 

She blinked and saw that they had arrived.

 

"We're here. Mrs. Weasley and the rest of them are already waiting inside.” He pointed at the building behind him.

 

Hermione nodded. 

 

They were supposed to meet with the Weasleys for dinner to talk about the first hearing. Hermione had requested that only she and Harry attend the hearings, and Mrs. Weasley had honored her request despite her desire to be there to provide comfort and support.

 

Hermione took Harry's hand and got out of the car. They were in the heart of London—near the shops and restaurants.

 

The September breeze made her feel comfortable and wary at the same time. She wanted to go home and go to sleep, but she knew it was impossible. 

 

Everyone would want to know how the first hearing had gone.

 

They entered the restaurant and quickly found the Weasleys. 

Hermione was greeted by Mrs. Weasley, who wrapped her in a matronly embrace.

 

“Oh, my Hermione. Come, come," she ushered her to the table, dragging her by the arm. "We‘ve ordered all your favorite. You sit here next to Harry—no Bill, go pull out that chair so she can squeeze in and sit next to Fleur."

 

Hermione smiled at everyone as she was passed around for hugs. She had been with them for weeks now, but she still felt awkward. It seemed as if it was all a dream as if she had lived another life.

 

Conversations bounced around the table but nobody dared to ask about the hearing. 

 

Hermione thought perhaps they feared causing her more pain. 

 

She knew they were aware of her nightmares even though it was never mentioned. Since she had returned, she would wake up in the middle of the night screaming and crying, and Harry would be devastated, knowing that she was dreaming of her years with Snape.

 

 

“Here Hermione,” Harry’s said. “This is your favourite.” 

 

He replaced her untouched platter with the second course. 

It was beef with potatoes, some vegetables on the side. He looked down at her with an unsure smile as she helped herself to the new dish.

 

Her isolation had kept her away from such moments. 

 

She had forgotten how to eat the way she did back at Hogwarts and the Weasleys - carefree and happy with stories passed and told around the table filled by a crowd. 

 

She forced a small smile when Mrs. Weasley stared in her direction. Despite all their efforts to act normal, Hermione knew that normal would never again be possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"There is meat and chowder downstairs. I say you make good of the good food I was able to get. We don't know how long the storm will last and I might not be able to find us enough food for days." 

 

She didn't answer him or even move a muscle. 

She remained immersed in the Potions book he had left her with that afternoon. 

She continued reading, but her attention was no longer on the book; she was well aware that Snape had opened the door and entered the room. 

 

In the blink of an eye, the book flew out of her hands, hitting the floor across the room.

 

"Are you deaf?" he asked impatiently.

 

She closed her eyes and stretched out on the bed then stared up at him as she sat up. 

"I'm not deaf,” she answered, moving to pick up the book. "And I'm not hungry," she added, returning to her position on the bed and resuming her reading.

 

"I will not be treated this way," Snape spat, taking the book out of her hand again and grabbing her by the arm. "Dinner is ready downstairs. You will walk down those goddamn stairs and eat, or I will make sure that you never touch any of these little—“

 

"NO!" Hermione wailed and reached for the book.

 

Snape threw it away, shoving her back.

 

She was breathless but she tried to look defiant.

 

“Is this really how you're going to be when you don’t get what you want?" he demanded.

 

His black eyes were glinting, and Hermione knew she had pushed his patience to its limit.

 

"No," she answered in a small voice. "I'm sorry. I just...I'm sorry," she winced, her voice faltering as her eyes threatened tears. “I just want to read and take my mind off things."

 

"Your attitude and tantrums will not bring back the Weasley boy."

 

 She didn’t flinch, but he could tell by her shaking how shocked she was by his words.

 

"I'm sorry," she repeated in a small voice. "I just wish...things were different." Her words disappeared when she felt his arms around her.

 

"But they aren't." Snape simply told her. "Hermione, please, you need to understand that defiance will not do you any good." 

 

His arm was around her, but he was barely touching her. It felt as if he was reluctant to make contact, but still, he kept his body close to hers.

 

"Hermione, I know it has been extremely hard lately; but you need to be strong. You need to be strong when you return to them.”

 

"I know, I'm sorry," she said and began crying.

 

Snape didn't know what to do with the weeping witch in his arms.

 

"It's been two weeks Hermione," he told her. "It won't do you any good to keep dwelling on it. Deaths are inevitable, and you should learn to accept that. I know the Weasley boy was closer to you than any of us, but you need to move on. You need to understand that all these sacrifices will someday ensure a better future."

 

"I don't know how to move on,” she answered. "He's my best friend. What about Harry? Do you know where he is?”

 

He didn’t answer.

 

“Please tell me where Harry is,” she pleaded, her fingers tugging at his arm. "Please. I need to know where Harry is. Is he alive? Is he safe? Where is he?”

 

"I told you that if there is something you need to know, I would tell you." He firmly took hold of her arms and pushed her away.

 

Hermione stopped crying and stared up at him. She knew there was nothing more to say. 

He would give her glimpses of the outside world but not everything. She could cling to each of his words, but he would never divulge more.

 

"Hermione, you need to understand what I’m trying to do here. "

 

"I do," Hermione answered slowly as a tear fell. "You're doing all this to protect me.”

 

She repeated the phrase, but he didn’t respond. 

 

Instead, he moved towards the door. "You know the way downstairs," he simply said; and without another word, he closed the door behind him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Some pudding?" Fleur's voice interrupted her thoughts.

 

Nodding at Fleur, she took a slice, but it remained untouched on her plate.

 

"Hermione, I’ll be having a tea party in a few days,” Fleur told her. “Come and help me out? I would be delighted to have you around."

 

"Yes, I would love to," Hermione replied with a smile. “I’d love to see everyone."

 

For the rest of the evening, Hermione was forced to smile through the endless questions and invitations, their way of making her forget things.

 

But forgetting wasn’t that easy.

 

Three months wasn’t long enough to erase those memories. 

 

She knew they wanted her back and were happy to find her alive, but her return had been a struggle for her. She felt she no longer belonged in their world.

 

She didn’t know any of them anymore, even though they were just as she remembered. She was now an adult who could make her own decisions, but she felt estranged from the faces around her. She felt restrained by unspoken limits she didn’t even understand. She felt as if nothing around her was real and nothing around her mattered. Not even reality felt real.

 

 

 

 

*Courtroom trial*

 

"And you took her?" asked the attendee. "You took her without her consent?"

 

"She was unconscious," Snape answered clearly. "She needed to be healed."

 

“Why not take her to the hospital?”

 

Nothing but silence.

 

“Was it because taking her wasn't just about healing Ms. Granger?"

 

There was anticipation in the air. Hermione could sense Harry’s irritation with the time Snape took before he answered.

 

"Yes," Snape finally answered. "I wanted to heal her, but I had other reasons for claiming her that night.”

 

There were loud murmurs, and the Wizengamot had to restrain some violent reactions around the room.

 

"No!" Hermione screamed, struggling against Harry, who was now holding her around the waist. 

 

“No! You're lying! You're lying to them. Why are you doing this?”

 

"Hermione." Harry whispered, eyes wide in disbelief. 

 

“No!” she cried, turning to him, “Harry, help him. Help him!” she pleaded. 

 

Harry let her go. 

 

He looked at her with so much hatred and question in his eyes. 

 

"Why are you protecting him?" he asked awestruck at Hermione's initial reaction to the trial. 

 

He had expected many things but nothing of what was becoming of her at that moment. 

 

Hermione turned away from him, knowing there was nothing she could get from Harry.

 

Her eyes averted back at the dais where Snape was being held down. 

 

“Why are you doing this?” she thought, looking down at Snape who had returned to his usual passive state. “Don't lie to them, Severus! Don't lie to them!"

Chapter Text

  Chapter Two  

Diagon Alley

 

 

The rain didn't stop until Hermione and Harry returned home. 

 

It was a nice, cozy flat Harry had bought in the hopes that she would one day be returned to him. 

 

And three months ago, his dreams were finally coming true. 

 

 

“Home sweet home!” he announced, placing his arms around her waist and kissing her cheek as he opened the door for her. 

 

Hermione nodded and managed a weak smile in return. “I’m going to rest.”

 

Harry's smile faded a little when she moved away from him.

 

"Right." Harry said placing the keys on a side table. "Hot chocolate?" 

 

Hermione nodded at him.

 

"Well, just make yourself at home. I'll be in the kitchen." 

 

Harry kissed her again before walking off down the hallway and into the kitchen. 

 

It has been three months and every time they came home from the courthouse, the Ministry or the Weasleys or as trivial as an errand, he hoped that Hermione's face would light up at the sight of the home he worked so hard to built. 

 

 "Here you go." 

 

Hermione looked up as Harry entered their small and cozy living room. 

 

It was a dimly lit room. 

 

Two long couches sat atop an expensive-looking carpet. Bookshelves paneled the walls, and they were filled with Defensive magic reference guides and some collections he'd bought in anticipation of Hermione’s homecoming through the years. 

 

The way Hermione could describe it, Harry built the house, well-prepared and decorated as if two people were already living in it - as if her absence only meant she was on a faraway vacation and was coming home too. 

 

He had never lost hope of her ever returning home.

 

"Thanks," Hermione said laying the cup down on the wooden table. 

 

Harry stared at it but eventually decided to ignore her reluctance to drink. 

 

"What do you want to do tonight?" he asked as he sat next to her, taking her hand and kissing it. 

 

Hermione let him but slowly drew her hand back when Harry moved closer to the couch, his hands moving around her for another kiss. 

 

"If the weather is better tomorrow, let's go to Diagon Alley to buy a new wand for you? I already wrote them a note ahead of time so they will prepare a selection for you. I got a note from them this morning that the wands are prepared." 

 

Hermione only nodded and smiled at him. 

 

He smiled back at her and had moved forward to kiss her on the lips but she turned away and had picked up the hot chocolate to take a sip. 

 

Harry sighed heavily watching her slow drawn movements as she drank from the cup he made. 

 

"Good?" he asked her. 

 

"Yeah. Really good. I was thinking of maybe just staying in and reading tomorrow" Hermione replied placing the cup back down and moving a few inches away from him on the couch as she reached over for a book from the table. 

 

Harry stared at her cautious movements and body language. 

 

He was unsure how to feel about her homecoming. 

 

Although he had been advised by St. Mungo's that she was physically healthy, an elder healer had already advised him that there would be changes in her that would slowly come around as the days go by and he should not only take note of them but be patient about all of it. 

 

Hermione was a victim of verbal abuse and for obvious reasons, possibly physical and emotional abuse as well. And for these reasons, Harry had been advised not just by Healers but by the Order and Weasleys as well that bringing Hermione home after a decade, would possibly be like bringing another person they've never met. 

 

But Hermione Jean granger - the love of his life - had been safely returned to her and that was the only thing that mattered to him. 

 

He wasn't stupid. 

He was noticing all the changes since she woke up from St. Mungo's at the time they have successfully extracted her from that godforsaken cottage - for which the first thing she asked for was Snape and if he was alright. 

 

She was with him, she was physically well but he knew that somewhere behind her eyes, was a hollow soul. 

 

Snape had damaged her beyond anyone would understand. 

 

The road to her recovery was going to be quite long. But he was patient. 

 

A few more days or weeks or inevitably months of waiting for her to be returned to her old state was nothing compared to the ten long years of waiting he had to make. 

 

"Harry?" Hermione's voice pulled her back to reality. "I'm just going to clean up and get some nap." 

 

She was standing before him and her hand held his. 

 

He nodded coherently before deciding to pull her back to him. 

 

Hermione was too shocked at the movement but before she could move against him, his hand had wrapped around her waist, his other hand holding the back of her head still as he kissed her deeply. 

 

For a moment she had pulled back and fought against his hold but the moment that he was deep in their kiss and she felt his muscles relax around her, she roughly pulled herself away from him. 

 

"I'm sorry." Hermione said quickly stepping away from him. "I'm just.. I'm not... I'll see you later." 

 

Harry sat on the couch, his arms still in midair as Hermione broke their kiss and went up the stairs as fast as his legs could carry her. 

 

He stayed still on the couch, eyes narrowed and fists unconsciously curling. 

 

When she was taken, their relationship was just becoming something more. The night of his transfer when they were ambushed, they were just about to announce that Hermione had said ‘yes’ to his proposal. But the tragic night ended all their dreams. 

 

Now he was unsure if Hermione still wanted him the same way she did then. 

 

She seemed so distant.

 

Three months it had been, and it still felt as if Hermione wasn’t home. Harry had demanded they repeat the tests at the hospital to make sure she was physically and mentally healthy. He was worried she has been under some kind of curse or enchantment. But everything was normal. 

 

The first month was spent at St. Mungo's where he oversaw her treatment, double-checking that she got the psychological support she needed. To his and the Weasleys' delight, all the examinations showed she was in perfect health and perhaps the only thing to keep an eye on was her low weight. Harry made sure everything she needed or wanted was attended to.

 

He had bought her new clothes, took her to large libraries and parks—everything he could think of to make sure she felt safe now that she was back. And yet, despite his efforts, none of it seemed to matter to her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Thanks," Hermione said, setting her empty mug on the table. "I'm going to bed early. Goodnight." 

 

Snape just nodded gruffly. He was sitting on the couch by the fireplace completely exhausted.

 

"Are you ill?" she asked.

 

Snape shook his head and waved his hand. "Go to sleep," he told her. "I just need to get away from this headache."

 

She placed her hand over his forehead, and he quickly opened his eyes and grasped her wrist, brushing her away.

 

"I'm sorry. I'm just worried. You don't look good."

 

"If you'd been spending weeks and months taking care of a whole castle full of dunderheads, you’d have a headache too.” 

 

Hermione turned to the window where she could see the snow falling. "Hogwarts is beautiful at Christmas." she whispered.

 

She missed the castle, especially during the holiday season.

 

It had been a few months since the ambush on Harry's transfer, and she still didn’t know how the outside world was faring. 

 

Was Harry all right? How were her parents?

 

"About the other day," she said reluctantly. “You said if it was safe, you would take me to Diagon Alley.”

 

He didn’t answer.

 

Thinking he might’ve fallen asleep, Hermione headed for bed.

 

"It's not yet safe to be out there," Snape said. “I know I made you a promise—and I intend to fulfill it once it’s safe."

 

Hermione stared at him for a moment and nodded to herself. She’d heard that answer many times.

 

“About my parents,” Hermione continued. “I Obliviated them before I left for the Burrow, but I was wondering if you’d allow me to visit if—“

 

“I will check on them this week,” Snape told her, his impatience growing. “If there is any sort of emergency, I will let you know.”

 

“I was wondering if I can go with you. I don’t need to show myself. Just a glimpse of them from afar and—“

 

“And which part,” Snape began, turning to her, “about keeping you safe do you not understand?” 

 

His eyes glinted upon her. 

 

She looked away. 

 

“Do you want to jeopardize the plans we have? I’m trying to protect you. Do you have any idea what the Dark Lord would do if he found out that the Muggle-Born is alive? He could use you against Potter.” 

 

He towered over her, and she looked like she was going to cry again. 

 

“Do you want to be out there, to be seen and to be used against your beloved—“

 

“No, no,” Hermione said quickly. “I’m sorry. I was just… I just miss my parents and Harry and everyone else. I just thought maybe—“

 

“Not now Hermione,” Snape said, regretting his earlier indifference. 

“When it’s safe, I’ll take you to see them. Right now, this is where you are safe. Here, I can protect you. I have placed extra wards around your parents’ home. I am sure they are safe and there is nothing to worry about. Just stay here.” 

 

He moved a step forward as if to touch her but halted at the last moment. He just stared at her and slowly lowered his hand. 

 

“You have to trust me,” Snape said looking down at her cowering figure. 

 

“I trust you,” Hermione assured him. “That’s why I’m here... because you’re protecting Harry, and you’re protecting me. For the Order. I trust you with my life.”

 

Snape didn't say anything. 

 

Hermione knew that expression. 

 

He stared at her as if wanting to say something, but he didn’t continue. Without another word, Snape walked out of the living room, leaving her to her thoughts and her tears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Hermione? Hermione!” Harry’s voice woke her out of her reverie. 

 

They’d arrived at Diagon Alley. 

 

He tried to act normal when they were in public, as they were being closely watched. The Daily Prophet still kept reporting on Hermione’s abduction and trial.

 

"Where have you been?" he asked letting go of his hard grip around her wrist as he reached her at the corner of the street. 

 

"I'm sorry." Hermione said rubbing her wrist. "I was just looking at the other shop..." 

 

He stared at her with disbelief in his eyes and a loud thumping in his heart. 

 

He had a growing panic in the pit of his stomach every time Hermione becomes out of sight. 

 

"I'm fine." Hermione assured him reaching for his hand. "I'm here, I'm here, Harry." 

 

"Please don't.. don't do that again." Harry bitterly said before grabbing her arm painfully and dragging her with him to the pizzeria. 

 

They took lunch at a small pizzeria at the heart of Diagon Alley where they bumped into Neville and Ginny, who were having lunch after picking up some things for Neville’s new job as Professor of Herbology at Hogwarts. He invited Hermione to come to visit the school anytime. There was an opening for a new professor, and he said it would be nice if she applied for the job. Hermione nodded and thanked him and said that she would visit Hogwarts once Harry was free to accompany her.

 

“You see anything you want?” Harry asked.

 

“No, I’m good.” Hermione smiled at him as they entered the bookshop.

 

“They said at Ollivander’s that they would have your wand delivered.”

 

“It’s fine, Harry,” Hermione said, squeezing his hand and kissing his cheek. "Let's browse around." 

 

“I’ll check some books as well.” Harry kissed her forehead before allowing her to walk down the book aisle by herself. 

 

She went through aisle after aisle of books, reading the titles and not knowing what to buy. She had been reading a lot since she returned. Harry had bought her every possible book he could get his hands on. She kept reading, but it felt different now. Nothing she read seemed interesting anymore.

 

Hermione’s mind was drifting off again when she passed the Potions section. She stared at the titles and took one book from the shelf. She opened it and read through the pages. It was a thick book with instructions on interesting Potions. It also had the histories and makers along with graphic drawings. She stared down at each page and could almost imagine each potion being brewed thoroughly….

 

 

 

 

 

“Aaaaargh! It burns! It burns!” Hermione screamed as she dropped the vial and backed away from the cauldron.

 

“Evanesco!” Snape commanded, and the caldron disappeared altogether. 

 

He ran over to her. 

 

"It burns - it burns - help me-" 

 

“Let me see it.”

 

Hermione felt a hand trying to bring her to her feet. “I can’t walk,” she cried as the boiling potion scalded her thigh and dripped over her legs.

 

“I need to see it,” Snape said, roughly pulling her leg to him.

 

“I can’t stretch it out!“ she wailed as the pain burned deeper. “Don’t touch it. It hurts!”

 

“I said I need to see it!” Snape barked, and without warning, he scooped her in his arms and carried her back to their living room, and set her on the couch.

 

“Granger, I need to see it,” he told her as he tried to stretch her legs, but she remained curled in a ball. “I need to—“

 

“It hurts when I move it—“ she cried, not wanting to see her burning skin beneath her pajamas.

 

“I told you not to touch it! It was not yet ready!” Snape spat. 

 

He grabbed a pillow and placed Hermione’s leg over it.

 

“Really! You’re going to scream at me right now about what I did or didn’t do—aaaaah!” she screamed again. 

 

Her skin was blistered. 

 

Either he had to do something about it or they’d have to go to the hospital. Her impatience had ruined an important potion.

 

“Granger, look at me,” he said, kneeling next to the couch. “I need to see it so I can heal it. You need to stretch out your leg for me.”

 

“It hurts, I can't move it!” she wailed, trying to shove him away. “It’s burning my legs!”

 

“I can see it’s burning,” he spat, losing his patience with her.

 

He took out his wand and rolled up his sleeves. He tried to calm himself down so she wouldn't panic. “I need to see it so I can heal it. “

 

“No! It hurts.“ She tried to shove him away, but he grasped her wrists tightly.

 

“Granger.” He took hold of her arms, but she shook her head and refused to move. “Granger, look at me. Hermione! Please look at me,” Snape said softly. 

 

She slowly opened her eyes and looked up at him. He saw the pain in her eyes as the potion continued to burn her skin. 

 

He breathed heavily.

 

“Hermione, you need to trust me. You know I can't take you to the hospital. I need to see it so I can heal it now, please.” 

 

He was growing impatient, but he also knew that he couldn’t do anything without her cooperation. The seconds were ticking. The more she delayed, the more damage the potion would inflict.

 

“It hurts,” she whispered, reaching out for his arm as she shook her head. “It feels like I'm dying in pain.”

 

“I know,” Snape whispered as he knelt closer. 

 

He then realized that he had to take off her pajamas so he could fully see the damage. He looked at Hermione, and she seemed to sense what he was thinking. She closed her eyes and more tears spilled out.

 

“Please just make it stop hurting.” She lifted her upper body and started removing her pajamas.

 

Snape swallowed hard as he watched her. When they were halfway down her thighs, she refused to move anymore. 

 

He slowly placed his hand over the waistband. 

 

“Hermione, I need to—“

 

“Just do it.“ Hermione said, biting her lower lip in pain and embracing the other small pillow he’d given her. “Please hurry.” 

 

She looked away, unable to watch.

 

Snape nodded and muttered an incantation as he placed the tip of his wand over her pajamas. 

 

He traced a line down each leg, and the material sliced itself following the path of his wand. He winced at the sight of her beautiful skin marred by the burns. He knew he could repair it, but it would take time for her to heal completely.

 

“Hermione,” Snape said, still reluctant to touch her skin. ”The potions I'm going to use are going to sting, but you need to just hold still and it will be all right.” 

 

She didn't seem to hear him. He whispered a Freezing Charm and pointed his wand over the burn marks.

 

“This will cool it down a little.” He carefully turned her face. “Hermione, look at me.”

 

Hermione stared up at the Potions Master. She’d never seen him so worried.

 

“I'll go get the potions.” 

 

She nodded incoherently and pressed his wrist tightly. 

It looked as if she was on the verge of passing out from the pain.

 

“Please help me,” she whispered, tears in her eyes. "Please don't leave me. Please help me." 

 

“I will,” he said, and without knowing why he did it, he moved towards her and kissed her forehead. “I will, love. Just hold still. I'll take care of you. I've got you, Hermione. I've got you." 

 

Snape’s voice echoed somewhere in her head as her eyes closed in pain. She blacked out after that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Ms. Granger?” asked the attendee, shaking Hermione back to reality.

 

The whole courtroom was staring at her. Her brown eyes blinked and glanced around the room. Everyone was waiting for her to answer the question.

 

“I’m sorry,” she answered in a small voice, staring back up at the wizard questioning her. She saw that at the left side of the room Dementors and Aurors surrounded the small table where Snape sat quietly with his face down. 

 

“Please look at me,” she thought. " Please.

 

The wizard questioning her breathed heavily and stared up at the Wizengamot, who nodded and encouraged him to repeat his question.

 

“Miss Granger,” he started as he walked around the witness stand, “I will repeat my question as it seems you were not listening. In the ten years that you were held captive by Mr. Severus Snape, was there any instance where you were forced to disrobe?"

 

 

Hermione stared back at him and then glanced over at Snape, who was silent and unmoving in his chair. She did not want to answer the question, but she was sworn to tell the truth. Her heart was pounding as she struggled to find the words. She swallowed, unsure what to say.

 

“Forced me?” she repeated, knowing what they wanted.

 

“Miss Granger,” the wizard repeated with impatience.“I am asking if—“

 

“I heard you,” Hermione answered through gritted teeth. 

 

Harry's fists clenched under the table as he wore an encouraging nod before the public. 

 

“Yes,” she answered, her fingers clawing her skin beneath the table. “Yes, but it wasn't the way you think.“ 

 

Her heart sank as the whole room started speaking loudly and pointing in Snape’s direction.

 

“No, wait!” Hermione said, panic in her eyes. "I'm not done with my answer! Let me finish." 

 

But the wizard just nodded and smiled at her. 

 

"The answer is yes." the attendee repeated louder for the whole room to hear. 

 

But it’s not what you think—there’s a story behind why he did it.” Hermione reasoned as her body edged from her seat. 

 

Nobody was listening to her. 

 

She looked in Harry’s direction, and he nodded at her with a gentle and encouraging look on his face. She shook her head with tears in her eyes. 

 

“No! That’s now what it was. It was an accident and there was a potion that spilled and he had to—“

 

“No further questions right now.” the wizard said, walking away.

 

Hermione knew that nobody was listening to her. She stood from her seat and banged her fists on the table. 

 

“No! I said it wasn't like that. Why won’t you listen?”

 

Tears began streaming down her face, and she stared at Snape. 

 

Amidst the chaos and the noises around them, she saw him for the first time, staring straight at her. She swore she saw the light of appreciation in his eyes. His expression was still passive, but there was something in his gaze that told her what he was trying to say.

 

“It’s all right,” his black eyes seem to communicate. “You're doing well. Just tell them all truth there is to be told.”

 

Chapter Text

 Chapter Three

Truth and Lies 

 

 

"I saw Luna today," Harry said as they entered the apartment after their trip to the grocery store that morning. "She said she will help us minimize the press report and other newspaper leaks." 

 

Hermione quietly watched Harry put up the wards around the doors. 

 

"Is that necessary?" she asked him. 

 

"Which?" Harry said looking up at her, pocketing his wand and bending over to carry the bags to the kitchen. 

 

"The wards," Hermione answered as he led them both to the kitchen. 

 

"Yes." he simply said. "We don't want anyone trying to get inside." 

 

"How about anyone going out?" Hermione blurted out unable to stop herself. 

 

"What did you say?" Harry asked him sharply turning his head to her. "I'm not him." 

 

For a brief moment, Hermione saw what looked like anger from him that she's never seen before. 

 

It had vanished as quickly as it had come. 

 

"I'm tired." Harry suddenly said putting all the grocery bags on the table and reaching for a box of what looked like a large box of chocolate. "I'm going to clean this up later. Get some rest." 

 

"I'll make you a sandwich?" Hermione quickly offered him but he was barely listening anymore. 

 

"We have tea tomorrow at the Weasley's I almost forgot to tell you." 

 

And before Hermione could say anything, he kissed her forehead and walked out of the kitchen with his chocolate to his small office down the hallway. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made you a sandwich,” Hermione said, placing the platter on the table. 

 

Snape sat in the armchair with his eyes closed.

 

 

She walked over to him. 

 

“I thought maybe you were hungry.” she said, biting her lower lip as she always did whenever she was nervous. 

 

He did not answer immediately. Instead, he remained still; but he must have sensed her nearness.

 

“I’m not hungry. You can leave this room.” 

 

He listened but he didn’t hear her move. Slowly, he opened his eyes and saw her standing over him with that same dreadful expression. Her brown eyes were threatening to shed tears, and he tried his best to ignore it. 

 

“I said you can leave now-” 

 

“Professor, I didn’t mean what happened.”

 

He continued to ignore her as Hermione made another step forward.

 

“Severus, please listen to me. I’m sorry.”

 

Snape hated it whenever she begged him in that pitiful tone and gave him that sad expression. It was such a pain in his already-aching insides.

 

“Severus, I’m sorry. I promise that it will never happen again.” 

 

Her brown eyes were now shedding tears. She went down on her knees and grasped his robes.

 

“Severus.” Her fingers tightened around his clothing, and she felt him shiver under her touch. He tried his best to ignore her, which was becoming harder by the moment.

 

“Severus, please talk to me. I’m so—“

Suddenly, he grabbed her tightly by the wrists. “Do you have any idea what could have happened if you were seen?”

 

 

 

His voice was filled with hatred, disappointment, and anger. His black eyes glinted fiercely. Hermione’s voice seemed to have gone.

 

 

“You could have been seen.” he gripped her wrists tighter. “You could have been taken. You could have been killed, and all of these would have been for nothing!”

 

 

All of the tears she had been holding back spilled from her eyes.

 

“I’m sorry!” she cried back. “I’m so sorry!”

 

Snape stared at her. He raised his hand as if to strike her, and she cowered lower. But the blow never came. Instead, she felt herself being thrown aside and she heard his angry footsteps fade away.

 

“No, no, please...” she cried, gathering herself from the floor. She crawled towards the door and followed him. “Severus, please!”

 

She found him in the entryway putting on his traveling cloak

“Where are you going? Severus, you can’t leave. There’s a storm and it's dangerous out there and you can't-" 

 

“I’d rather be out there than stay here,” he spat as he struggled with the sleeve of the cloak.

Hermione tried to stop him. “Please, don’t leave me, please. Let’s talk. You can’t just leave me here.”

 

“You were just about to do that to me!” he said, pushing her away.

Hermione hit the wall, but she remained standing. “No, I didn’t. I wasn’t going to—“

 

“You were going to leave me the first moment you had that freedom in your hands, Hermione. Well, I guess you should—“

 

“I would not have left you!” she screamed, reaching for him again.

 

He stopped her by grabbing both her hands. His black eyes continued to glint with a fury beyond her imagination. 

 

“If you have been seen, Hermione. If you have been taken - if something happens to you - that's on me. If you die…if you die..I would not be able to survive without—“

“But I wasn’t and I’m safe, and I’m back here and I wasn’t going to leave you!”

“You do not understand!” Snape screamed. “You are supposed to be smart, Hermione! You still do not understand what this war has done to many and what it can still do to those who are left.”

“Severus, I’m alive and I’m here and—“

“DAMMIT, HERMIONE!” he yelled as he raised his arm.

 

Hermione closed her eyes ready for the real blow to fall this time.

 

But it didn’t come.

 

Hermione slowly opened her tearful eyes and saw that his fist had collided with the wall beside her cheek. Blood dripped from his fist.

 

“Severus.”

“I’m trying to protect you,” Snape said without looking at her. “I have been left with that responsibility and many others that I did not ask for. I am just trying to protect you, but if you do not need that from me….”

 

She cried harder. She could hear an unbearable pain in his voice she has never heard before.

 

 

“I should not keep you here if you wish to leave. I won’t stop you from doing what you want, Miss Granger.”

 

Snape slowly lowered his fist from the wall and turned away.

“Severus.”

“I cannot keep you here forever.”

 

Snape quietly walked from the empty corridor toward his laboratory to heal his bleeding fist. He was halfway there when he heard her wail behind him and then, without warning, he felt a pair of arms wrap around his waist, completely catching him off-guard.

 

“Miss Granger, please let me go.”

“Don’t call me that,” she cried. “I’m sorry.”

“I’m not keeping you here for no reason. I’m trying to keep you alive. But if you cannot live with that any longer, you have my consent to leave.”

“I can’t,” Hermione admitted, pressing her face to his back and placing her arms around him again. I won’t leave you. You can’t make me.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Miss Granger?”

 

The attendee’s voice came out from nowhere, shaking Hermione back to reality.

She stared around her and realized that she was lost for words again.

 

“I’m sorry,” she said, shaking her head and trying to ignore the look of worry Harry wore. “I’m listening.”

 

The Wizengamot stared at her as if they didn't believe her claim.

 

The attendee continued then, “So Miss Granger, you’re telling us that in the first few months that you were in Mr. Snape’s home, you did not try to escape?”

 

 

“It’s not called an escape,” Hermione said impatiently. “If you call it that, it would mean that he was forcing me to stay there without my consent. I will repeat it, he had my consent. I agreed to stay with him.”

 

“But then again, it was before you found out that the Dark Lord has gone?” the attendee interrupted her with a clear smirk on his face.

 

Hermione glared at him. 

 

They were going to do everything to make it sound as if Snape was guilty. She opened her mouth, but the attendee waved his hand in the air to interrupt her.

 

“I will get to the point, Miss Granger, and please do try your best to give straight answers to my precise questions.”

“I’m trying to.”

“Did you try to leave the cottage where he kept you? The man in question kept you for six months, and during the early stages you tried to escape his place, did you not?”

“I did not try to escape him!” Hermione screamed. “I tried to see my parents because I was worried about them, but I returned to the cottage because he was protecting me there.”

“Protecting you? But after the six months, didn’t you wonder what was happening with the war? Didn’t he tell you that the Dark Lord had been defeated? Why would you want to stay?”

“Severus Snape was only trying to protect me!” Hermione stood from her chair.

 

 

Everyone was watching her. 

 

The attendee's eyes were bright and wide, and the jury was murmuring and pointing at her. Her tearful brown eyes roamed the room and found Harry. He was sitting right across her, and a look of utter disappointment and surprise was written all over his face.

 

 

“Please,” Hermione begged this time, her eyes softening. “This isn’t going anywhere. You’re only asking me things to get the answers you want to hear.”

 

“Miss Granger,” the head of the Wizengamot finally spoke.

 

Hermione was silent as she stared up at the old man in the middle of the long table. 

 

“We are asking you the questions pertinent to your situation. If the man in question is innocent, he will be freed. If he is found guilty, he will be charged and you will be given justice.”

 

The room was silent. The rest of the jury seemed to have been terrified that the head of the Wizengamot had spoken.

 

Hermione sank back on her seat with her fists clenched at her sides and her eyes filling with tears.

 

It wasn’t right. 

 

They were asking her things that would put Snape in a negative light and would surely land him in Azkaban for the rest of his life. And the worst part of it was he had made her promise that she would tell nothing but the truth. Now, he was going to rot in Azkaban because of her.

 

 

“Leaving ‘without his consent would suggest that you were escaping, Miss Granger. Given this, was there any other time you tried to leave?”

 

Hermione sat back with such hatred in her eyes before uttering a spiteful, “Yes.”

 

“When was this, and why did you not succeed?”

“Isn’t it obvious that he tried to—“

“Miss, Granger, kindly answer the question,” the head of the Wizengamot reminded her.

 

She was furious. She looked up at the attendee then glanced, then around the room and sideways at Harry who had nodded at her in approval. He was giving her his most encouraging look, but it wasn’t helping her at the moment.

 

 

“He had ways of monitoring the cottage. I couldn’t just leave.”

“When was this second attempt of escape?”

“It wasn’t an escape,” Hermione spat. “It was a long time ago. I can’t remember the specific time and date.”

 

Suddenly her bright mind lit up with an idea. She needed to answer them in ways that were neither truth nor lies.

 

“Very well. Do you remember why you were unsuccessful?”

“I was...” Hermione hesitated. 

 

She looked at Snape. He sat with his head down, unmoving. She wondered if he was even awake.

 

“Miss Granger?”

“I was bitten by a snake. He found me just in time and healed me,” Hermione answered truthfully. “He saved my life.”

“He healed you?” the attendee asked her. “What did he use to heal you?”

 

Hermione’s eyes rolled. “Potions. Obviously.”

“What kind of potion did he use to heal you?”

“He’s a Potions master. He has an array of antidotes.”

“So there is an array of potions where he kept you?”

 

Hermione’s face turned red in irritation. “I said, he’s a Potions master. He has a laboratory where he brews all sorts of potions.

“All sorts of potions,” the attendee repeated in a manner that Hermione didn’t like at all. “Did you know what antidote he used on you?”

 

“I don’t know,” Hermione answered and then realized that it was not the right answer. Her face turned slightly red. “What I mean is that there are all kinds of potions and antidotes that could prevent one from dying of a snake bite.”

 

“But you drank it?” the attendee questioned. “You took it even though you didn’t know exactly what it was.”

 

The head of the Wizengamot wore a look of slight disappointment from his face before withdrawing from where he stood to return back to his seat. 

 

“He was trying to keep me alive!” Hermione wailed again. “He tried to heal me using the craft he knows the best! I may not know what exactly he had used on me, but I know that he healed me, because I’m here right now in front of you answering your nonsense questions! I’m sorry I was bloody dying at the time, and I didn’t have enough consciousness to inquire which antidote he was going to use on me!”

 

She has lost all the patience she has left. 

 

The Wizengamot looked down at her as if she had lost her mind. She tried her best to keep her voice-controlled, but the way things were turning she could not hold it any longer. They were going to make sure that Snape was sent to Azkaban for a crime he didn’t commit.

 

But the attendee wasn’t the kind of man who would let her get away with an attitude like that, even if she was the victim, even if she was one of the Golden Trio.

 

He nodded at her and turned to the Wizengamot. 

 

“It is obvious that for the years Miss Hermione Jean Granger was in the custody of Severus Prince Snape, she was given potions she could not identify. I think it is safe to conclude that these potions were used to manipulate and control her mind.”

 

“My mind is intact!” Hermione suddenly raged, standing up again. She banged her fists on the table. “My mind is completely fine, and I was not fed mysterious potions you dumb-dimwitted-”

 

“Miss Granger, you just admitted to the whole room that you were given a potion—an antidote as you called it—but you were not sure the precise name of the potion.”

 

 “This isn’t just!” she wailed at the man. She turned to Harry for support, but he did not look convinced at all. She turned around to Snape, whose face was hidden beneath his long black hair.

 

 “Please,” she pleaded again. “This is nonsense. He saved me from that snake bite, and he protected me all those years. This isn’t just.”

 

“We ask the questions, Miss Granger,” spoken yet again by the eldest member of the Wizengamot, and for the first time, Hermione felt a sense of respect for the jury in front of her.

 

The old man’s eyes bore into hers, and she swallowed hard as if fearful of the old man, or at least fearful of lying to him.

 

“Miss Granger,” the old man stood from his chair again, “we are here for the trial of a man whom the whole Wizarding Community thought of to be dead or missing. Now years later we find you in his custody. It is human nature for us to assume that some things happened that most would deem criminal.”

 

Her eyes averted to Harry, who seemed to agree with what the old man was saying.

 

The whole courtroom fell silent as the old man held their undivided attention. 

 

“Therefore, whether you like it or not, you will have to succumb to these hearings and answer all the questions truthfully. If you were to ask me, there should be no trial in this case.” He gestured towards Snape. “Keeping you from your family, your friends, and loved ones for all those years is a crime punishable by any law—not just our laws here in the wizarding world, Miss Granger. However, for the Wizengamot to be just, these trials and hearings must proceed. If Mr. Snape is found guilty, he will suffer the consequences; and if he is found innocent,“ his eyes bore momentarily towards Snape, “he will be a free man. Now, today’s hearing is simply to ascertain whether you left his place without his consent; if you failed, what was the reason; and if there were times he gave you potions that you could not identify. These are simple questions Miss Granger, so please do not make things complicated.”

 

 

There was silence around the whole room. Hermione was also lost for words. The old man nodded and gestured for the attendee to step aside as he came forward to question Hermione himself.

 

 

“The question is simple Miss Granger,” he had said calmly. “I believe you were able to answer it. Now, we have another question. In regards to the potions he asked you to drink, was there any potion you were reluctant to drink? Any potion he forced you to consume?”

 

Hermione breathed heavily. Her eyes strayed to Harry, who was anticipating her answer. Then she looked towards Snape, who was as silent and still as he had always been.

 

 

 

You need to drink this.” Snape said, placing the vial on the table next to her bed. “Don’t be stubborn.”

 

She had her back turned, and she completely ignored him. He inhaled sharply and stared at her unmoving form.

 

“Are you deaf?” he asked as he slowly lost his patience. “I said, the potion is here. Drink it now.”

 

Hermione continued to pretend that she was sleeping.

 

“I know you’re not sleeping. Stop pretending you can’t hear me. I am very much aware that you are wide awake. Now, either you get up on your own to drink this potion, or I will force it down your throat.”

 

Still, Hermione did not move.

 

“Bloody hell,” he growled. He moved forward and grabbed her by the arm. “Miss Granger, I told you to drink this.“

“Then what?” Hermione said, turning to face him as he grabbed her. “And then what after I drink that?” She gestured towards the potion in complete disgust.

“It will keep you safe.” He gripped her arm harder and grabbed the vial with his free hand. “Now drink this before I pour this down your gullet.”

“I won’t,” Hermione said, shaking her head, her eyes starting to fill with tears. “You can try and shove it down my throat, but I will not drink that on my own!“

“DAMMIT, HERMIONE!”

 

Hermione saw the frustration in his eyes.

She tried to ignore the look he was giving her and fought not to give in to the fear. He looked at her with such frustration and desperation.

 

“Why won’t you listen to me when I tell you—“

“Why won’t you listen to me too!” she wailed at him. She moved towards him. “Please, I don’t need that. I don’t need—“

“You don’t know what you’re talking about. You don’t know what you’re saying, Hermione. Please, you need to understand—“

“It doesn’t matter,” Hermione interjected, and slowly opened his hand with the potion. “Let it go,” she softly said, moving his hand to set the vial back on the table. “Please leave it. I already told you, it doesn’t matter to me.”

“If I...” Snape began but he was unable to go on when he saw her pleading eyes. “Hermione, you do not understand. What if... we cannot even attempt to have…. You don’t understand our situation. This isn’t right. I’m supposed to protect you.”

“And you’re already doing it.” Hermione moved closer to the Potions master.

 

Those black eyes she’d known since her first year at Hogwarts, the black eyes she feared so much now stared through her soul. No, she refused to be shaken out of her decision because of the fear those black eyes once inspired.

 

 “I’m with you,” Hermione whispered, placing her hands on either side of Snape’s cheeks. “I was meant to be here.”

“You don’t understand,” Snape said in a defeated tone as Hermione pressed her body against his. “I was meant to protect you, not harm you...not in any way. Miss Granger, please stop this.”

 

 “Hermione,” she whispered as she brought her face to the Potions master’s “It sounds a lot better when you call me Hermione.” She moved her lips closer until they were almost touching.

 

 He captured her lips with his and was enthralled once more in the arms of the Gryffindor girl he had been asked to protect with his life.

 

 

 

 

 

“None,” Hermione lied in the jury. “There was none I refused or was forced upon.” 

 

She lowered her gaze so they wouldn’t see the lies in her eyes. There was some murmuring, and when she glanced up, she saw the disbelief in Harry’s face.

 

The Wizengamot stared at one another, and their heated whispers told Hermione they were debating her answer. Finally, the wizard by the stand stood up and called for the courtroom.

 

 

“There will be half an hour of break.”

 

Hermione’s heart relaxed at the announcement.

 

“When we resume, Mr. Severus Prince Snape will take the stand.”

 

 

 

And with that, the Wizengamot stood up and the rest of the jury and witnesses around the room began leaving their seats.

 

Hermione stayed where she was and stared up at Harry who was slowly making his way towards her. Hermione bit her lip and stood up, glancing towards Snape, who was being led out of the room by two wizards. She looked up at him, expecting that he’d look in her direction, but he didn’t even glance up. He walked out of the room quietly with his head down and his hands bound behind him by magical bonds.

 

“Hermione? Let’s go grab something to eat.”

“I’m not hungry,” she answered truthfully. Her eyes remained on Snape until he was led out of the room and was completely out of her sight. She turned to Harry. “I just want this day to be over.”

“I know,” Harry answered, taking her hand to his. They started leaving the stand together and Harry waited for the room to be almost empty before turning to her with a dark look from his face. 

 

“Hermione,” he slowly said, “why are you lying?”

“What?” she turned to him. “Harry, I’m not lying. I’m not!“

“I saw the results of your medical records. They saw traces of different potions in your blood,” he began. “They saw a trace of a potion to keep you from getting pregnant.”

 

Hermione noticed the hatred glowing in his eyes.

“Hermione, why are you protecting him?”

“Harry, I’m not lying. I’m not trying to protect him either,” she lied again, but she knew Harry didn’t believe her. “Look, I’m trying... I’m trying to tell the truth.”

“The truth?”

 

For the first time, she heard the disappointment in his voice.

“The truth, Hermione? You’re just making it easier for him to get off scot-free.”

“Harry, they want him jailed in Azkaban.“

 

“Because that’s where he belongs!”  Harry shot back, and his voice echoed all over the room, “Hermione, he took you in and kept you for years. We thought you died. He took you, and he should pay for whatever he did to you. Do you have any idea what it felt like for me every single night knowing you were somewhere out there, god knows where, and I couldn’t even do anything! Have you had any idea—“

“He was trying to protect me!” Hermione answered back, all the anger rising inside of her. “He was trying to protect you—all of us!“

 

“Protect my balls!” Harry cursed loudly, not caring who heard. “He kidnapped you. Did he damage your brain so much that you can’t tell what’s right from wrong! Voldemort was gone for years, and he still kept you! Why can’t you goddamn see that!”

 

Hermione didn’t say anything. Her eyes were filled with tears, and her whole body was shaking, unsure of what to do. But before she could do anything else, Harry let go of her arm and stormed out of the courtroom, leaving her on the witness stand-alone and crying. 

“Harry, wait!” she called after him, realizing the hurt and anger she was causing. She jumped out of the stand and quickly exited the courtroom, passing the gawking crowd. She reached the double doors but couldn’t see where Harry had gone.

“Harry!” she called out, but no head turned to her. She let the people pass her and push their way around her. She bit her lower lip, and her eyes filled with tears again. Her heart was pumping so fast in anger and frustration. She was just about to re-enter the now empty courtroom, when she saw the tall wizards guarding Snape.

 

“Severus,” she gasped tearfully. “Excuse me, excuse me,” she said, making up her mind to reach them and talk to the man she hadn't spoken to in three months. She had not been allowed to see him and was unable to go to Azkaban to visit him because of Harry’s restrictions. But now she was just so close to the man the whole world was accused of a crime she knew he had not committed.

Chapter Text

Chapter IV 

In Your Memory 

 

Hermione was distraught as she lay crying when they got back home. 

 

One of the Ministry officials had seen her running after the guards who were taking Snape out of the courtroom and when she almost reached them, the guard had raised a concern and soon enough Harry arrived at the scene. 

 

“Harry, you’re hurting me,” Hermione complained, trying to remove Harry’s claw-like fingers. He halted and rounded on her. “Harry—“

“And what do you think you’re doing to me?” Harry spat at her. “What do you bloody think I’m feeling right now?”

"I just wanted to-" 

"You just wanted to what?" he asked through gritted teeth. "You just wanted to what Hermione-" 

"Harry, my arm-" 

"You don't get to decide how you will just-" 

"Mr. Potter." a voice cut in. 

 

Harry and Hermione looked up and saw a member of the Wizengamot walk up to them. 

 

He quickly let her arm go. 

 

"Kindly keep your voice down. You are still within Ministry premises." 

 

The wizard had witnessed the whole scene and had decided to cut in when he saw how Hermione was being painfully dragged out of the room. 

Harry didn't know how to react to being reprimanded. 

 

"I need some air." Harry blurted out and before he could do any further damage to his image, he stormed away from Hermione and the wizard. 

 

"I'm fine." Hermione quickly said, concerned at Harry and at the official's expression towards Harry. "He's just.. it happens. It was my fault. I know this is hard for him." 

"And more so, for you." the wizard kindly reminded him. "Miss Granger, forgive me. But in case you are unaware, during trial proceedings you have a choice to ask to be kept in a special house as both victim and witness to a crime that will keep you away from parties in order to have a better and calm environment." 

 

Hermione didn't know what to say. 

She wasn't that aware of the choice but at the moment, she knew that the best place to be was with Harry after everything that he had gone through. 

 

"I understand." Hermione simply replied. "We have the same witness protection program in the Muggle world. Thank you for the offer, sir. But.. I feel Harry needs me more." 

The wizard nodded at her in understanding. 

 

"Mr. Oswald." he offered his hand to shake hers. "My wife is Muggle-Born too. In case you need anything, please know you can reach me. She works here as well in the archives section. Good day, Miss Granger." 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The offer had been lingering in her head until dinner time but she didn't dare bring it up in front of Harry. 

 

"Dinner?" she asked him entering his small office studio. 

She's only been there twice since they moved back to his apartment. 

 

It was a small room and a little eerie to her taste. 

It was decorated with nothing like the Harry she knew. 

Although the walls were paneled with books of his line of work that she quite liked, it was dimly lit. 

The only window was boarded up and locked, his table was toppled with books and papers that didn't look like he has touched in weeks or even months, and his wall was plastered with photos, sketches, notes, and maps of cases he handled. 

 

"I'm not hungry." Harry coldly responded to her looking away from her and turning back to the notes he had been reading. "Go ahead and eat." 

She hesitated before entering the room with a heavy sigh. 

"Harry. I apologize for how I have.. acted earlier." Hermione began looking at him moving around the room and not paying attention to her. 

"It's fine." Harry simply said shoving the parchment in his hand in one of the boxes and rummaging for another. "You had to tell the truth and if that's the truth, we can't change it." 

"It's not that.." Hermione started, "I meant.. after the trial.. when I.." 

 

BAM. 

 

Harry intentionally dropped a large book back over his table. 

He stood there, eyes fixed on the book, hands clenched over the table. 

 

"I don't want to talk about it." Harry heavily breathed after a moment. "But you must know that as the trial proceeds you are not allowed to see him. That is by the law. It's not something I'm disallowing you to do." 

 

The glint of hatred in his eyes was visible as he looked up to her when she reached to him. 

 

"I know." Hermione sincerely apologizes as she moved to him. "I know that. It's me.. I'm sorry." 

 

She leaned her face to him in a reluctant way as she attempted to rest her face against his. 

 

But Harry mistook it for another. 

He quickly captured her lips to his and moved her against the table. 

He was quick and he was far from gentle as he kissed her, his arms locking her against the table. 

 

"Harry, wait - no - I can't-" Hermione murmured in between the kisses as he moved her arms around her, his fingers fidgeting for the buttons of her blouse and skirt. 

"Hermione.. I just need you." he whispered against her neck, nipping her gently with his lips. "Hermione.. I just need you." 

 

Hermione struggled against him as his knees parted her legs apart and she felt his hard-on between her thighs. 

 

"Harry, please stop." Hermione whispered her hands blocking him from removing her clothes. "Stop! STOP!" 

 

She screamed at him as she bit his lip to halt his advances and roughly pushing him off her. 

 

"FUUCK!" 

 

Harry angrily screamed back in pain, staring at her wide-eyed in disbelief. 

She stood frozen at the spot, eyes tearful after throwing Harry off her. 

Her hair and clothes were both disheveled and Harry's trousers were half-open already. 

 

 

"I'm sorry..I'm sorry..I'm sorry." Hermione gasped in panic and in fear as he saw the enraged look over Harry's face. 

 

She had never seen him that angry since she returned to him three months ago and the look upon his face was far from unnerving. 

 

"I didn't mean - I didn't - " she cried, torn between walking to him and just staying where she stood. 

 

Harry gave him a hard expression over his face before breathing heavily and looking away from her. 

When he turned back to her, the look of anger had disappeared from his face. 

 

Hermione stared, afraid of the sudden change of expression from him. 

 

"Harry.." 

"It's fine." he simply whispered closing his pants back and straightening his shirt. "I'll be late. Don't wait up for me." 

 

Hermione watched in silence as he straightened up his clothes and grabbed his cloak and wand from behind his desk and stormed out of the studio without another word. 

Hermione listened as the apartment's silence settled from Harry's absence. 

She heard him storm out of the apartment's main door with thoughts racing through her head. 

 

 

Bill and Fleur once mentioned in one of their earlier dinners since she's arrived that Harry had developed sudden or abrupt tendencies of storming out of meetings or dinners when the topic offended or didn't suit his ideals. And it took them months to discover where he went. 

Harry had become a regular at certain bars around London including several pubs at Diagon Alley. 

He didn't draw attention but it had spread that he would be frequently seen drinking alone for hours until morning at the corner of bars he frequented. 

She knew that she was tearing him apart, but she also didn’t know what to do. She understood his misery and anger, but she also couldn’t let an innocent man go to Azkaban.

 

 

 

 

“What are you thinking about?” she asked in a soft voice. 

 

She was staring at his quiet silhouette next to her on the bed. 

 

"I'm not thinking of anything. Go to sleep." Snape answered her turning to his side with his back to her. 

 

Hermione scooted closer to him and placed her arm around his bare body, tightening his grip around his waist. 

 

"It's cold." she softly kissed his left shoulder blade. "Please keep me warm."

 

But he didn't move and continued to ignore her. 

 

Hermione could sense the indifference and she wondered if it had something or anything to do with what took place a while ago. 

"I'm still having the dreams." Hermione sighed after a while, moving herself from him, she lay on her back. "I still keep having them." 

"I'll make you a potion to put you to sleep." Snape quickly offered as if he had been waiting for a reason to be excused from the bed. 

 

Hermione turned her head to see him putting back his white shirt over himself. 

"I don't need a potion." she said halting him mid-way from dressing up as he moved to him.. "Don't go."

 

Hermione reached for him but he was quick. 

Snape grabbed her wrists and stopped her.

"Hermione, please-" 

"Something's wrong," she commented her brow creased in confusion. "I knew something's wrong. 

 

He looked away from her and turned quiet. 

He didn't know what to say or do. 

 

This was a very big mistake. 

 

He knew it was and yet his body and emotions told him otherwise. 

He just couldn't hold himself any longer from doing something he had tried to avoid for the past eight months. 

 

He should not have let his emotions get the better of him. 

Now he couldn't even look her in the eye. 

Snape felt her warm touch on his left hand. He tried to control his breathing but he could feel his body reacting to that minimal skin contact. 

He wanted to burn the goddamn idea out of his head. 

 

 

"Miss Granger, please." he quietly whispered gently pushing her hand away from him. "This shouldn't.. happen again. It's not.." 

"It's not what?" Hermione demanded her expression quickly changing. "It's not what exactly?" 

 

Snape looked back at her and despite the anger in her face, he could feel the fear rising through her. 

 

Ofcourse she would be afraid of his sudden change after what had just transpired between them. 

 

"I'm sorry," Snape said suddenly realizing his insensitivity towards her. "Miss Granger, you know.. you know that this isn't right. It's a mistake, to begin with."

 

She blinked in disbelief. 

 

"A mistake?" Hermione incredulously reacted. "A mistake, professor?"

 

There was a hint of hurt in her voice and tears quickly filled her eyes. 

He felt that pinch in his stomach when she addressed him.

 

"Hermione, that's not what I meant - what I meant was-" he reached for her out of fear of the hurt she was unable to suppress from him. 

 

"No, don't touch me!" Hermione angrily said, swatting his hand away from her and withdrawing back against the headboard and dragging the blankets to cover herself from him. 

 

The look of fear and anguish filled her eyes. 

 

"Hermione, please. I only meant-please let me explain" 

"I think we both know what you meant!" Hermione angrily said. "You don't have to explain yourself! 

 

He couldn’t explain himself. 

He knew what he sounded like—a bastard with a very special place in hell. His eyes softened at the sight of her crying.

 

"Hermione-"

"I want to go back to them," she cried, "just bring - just bring me back - you got what you wanted - you got -" 

"Love, please.." Snape whispered determinedly reaching for her despite her struggles against him. "I'm sorry.. I'm sorry." 

 

He stared with a softer gaze, almost pleading to her. 

 

Silence took over the room and after a moment and look of contemplation from Hermione, she dived back towards him, crying with all her heart.

Her arms clung heavily against him and he wrapped his strong arms around her to comfort her. 

 

Hermione buried his face in his chest, crying as hard as she could.

Snape closed his eyes in relief and he tightened his grip around her to reassure her.  

 

"I'm sorry, love. I'm sorry." was all he could utter as he kissed her forehead to soothe her worries away. 

 

 

Several hours ago, he was Severus Snape—the professor of Hermione Granger. But now it was different; he was Severus Snape—the lover of Hermione Granger.

 

Or was that what he should call it? 

Were they lovers? 

 

Heaven knows he had tried her best to avoid this very situation with her all the months they've been cooped up and isolated together and from the world in the cottage. 

The process of controlling himself around her was such a struggle and he did his best until he could. But he was weak - just like any other man. He had given in to what he had been longing for. 

 

With only the two of them staying in that cottage, he knew something was bound to happen. And the worst part was that it wasn't that she was the only available witch to the hunger he needed to fulfill in himself. 

 

He knew deep down that he'd wanted her even before they had been thrown together. 

Snape recognized the unspoken feelings for her that he had first been having since seeing her that one summer at Grimmauld Place. 

He wasn't sure what he had come across that afternoon but the house had been empty except for her and for that Potter boy and Weasley. 

 

He arrived at Grimmauld Place in hopes of bringing a message for McGonagall who had arrived later than he did. 

He clearly recalled that out of surprise and irritation, he was greeted by a laughing Hermione on barefoot running down the stairs to race against Harry to get to the door out of expectation that it was Lupin who arrived. 

He remembers being livid at seeing them both in that behavior - Harry was wearing an open shirt while Hermione was wearing nothing but a very short summer dress that had one of its straps barely hanging on her shoulder. 

But that was also the very day he knew that she was no longer the child he taught throughout all those years but that she had grown into a woman. 

 

 

It was wrong in every sense, and yet here he was now with that very Gryffindor woman in his arms. He knew she was still confused about her feelings for him, but there was no confusion on his part.

 

He knew that this was a point of no return. 

 

He was sworn to protect her, and he had failed miserably; now he needed to face the consequences of his actions. Whatever she was feeling for him, he was still the one responsible for everything that has happened. He was the only one to be blamed, and he should have known better.

 

He was a man to be detested. 

 

He abhorred himself, and he could think of no reason for her to love him. And yet here she was in his arms. She had agreed to stay with him for several months without question. Yes, she had tantrums at times, but she still stayed with him. He knew she was smarter than she let on; she could have escaped. But she did not. She stayed.

 

 

And now he knew that there would be a change of dynamics in their relationship. He could no longer command her as a professor, and surely she would no longer follow his orders the way she had before. She would no longer look at him the same way ever again; he knew that her respect for him had altered.

 

Was he that stupid and weak to have come to this decision? 

 

He should have been stronger. How was he going to handle the task given to him if feelings were now involved? It was the golden rule he lived by—never become entangled with anyone else. 

 

He had never slept with such a woman, and he knew that she was not just any woman. That night he had discovered that he was her first. 

He hated himself for having to do it—but she did not hesitate. 

She completely trusted him—with all her heart and soul. 

She was Gryffindor, best friend, and lover of Harry Potter, but still, she had given up to him what no other man had ever had and would never have.

 

Snape knew he was going to hell, and he was going to rot there, if not in Azkaban first. He did not belong in her gentle world; he had taken her innocence and everything there was to take from her. And she had allowed it. She had trusted him without question. She had succumbed willingly.

 

He had completely lost track of his plans now that this had happened. But to hell with it, he was going to die anyway. And that thought complicated things further. How was he ever going to leave her now?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Food,” called a guard’s voice.

 

Snape completely ignored the sound of the tray being pushed beneath his cell’s door. He wasn’t hungry. He didn’t want anything.

He closed his eyes and counted the seconds. 

 

How long had it been? 

 

Three months he recalled. It had been three months since he had been cast into the depths of Azkaban as one of its most highly-guarded prisoners.

 

He was facing a death or life sentence. 

He was charged with the killing of Muggles and the ambush of Harry Potter and his friends on the night of his transfer. But the most grave of all charges was the one that had been placed by Harry Potter—charges against him for abducting and keeping Hermione Granger for the past ten years.

 

 

Did he regret any of it? 

 

He closed his eyes and turned over in the bed, remembering the face of the Gryffindor girl and how she had smelled beneath him. 

He had seen her several times at the trials, and he knew that she would be attending each hearing. He had tried to avoid her gaze as much as possible. But today, he had heard her clearly going after him. 

 

He’d done his best to ignore her.

 

He had her captive for the past ten years, and after the first few days of separation from her, he thought he would go completely insane. 

 

These three months had been rough. At night he knew that he would be screaming for her, and even in his weakened state, he was still constantly thinking of her.

 

She would always be a part of him, and that would never change. 

He would die without her. But what did she really feel for him? 

 

No, he should not think of it. 

 

He was a bastard, and he had destroyed her life. Yes, he was successful in keeping her alive, but he felt as if he had still failed his mission. He knew that Hermione Granger would never understand the consequences of his actions. But it didn’t matter—none of it did. He would rot and die in Azkaban.

 

 

He breathed deeply, closing his eyes and trying to lose himself in the memory of her. She was the only good thing that ever happened to him after Lily Evans. She was the only woman to ever accept him for who he was and what he was despite the consequences. She had stayed true to him, and now he must live with the regret. He could not tell her why he was doing everything he was doing now, and he wouldn’t allow her to know his true intentions ten years ago. No, she was safe now, and she would soon learn to forget him and be happy with The Boy Who Lived. It would take time, but she would heal and move on. 

 

After all, she wasn’t being kept within four walls of a cell, awaiting nothing but death.

Chapter Text

Chapter Five 

Patience

 

“Professor Snape?" asked a small voice. 

 

Another knock but he continued to ignore it. 

Another persistent knock. 

 

Bloody hell. 

It was half-past eight in the evening and he was halfway into his glass of wine.

 

"Professor Snape! I would like to ask something important about-" 

 

"What do you want, Miss Granger?" he asked irritably as he waved his hand for his office door to open. 

 

The wine glass had vanished from his table but Hermione was quick to notice and take note of it. 

 

"I'm sorry to disturb you tonight sir but-" 

"Just get on with it." he abruptly said. "What is it?" 

 

She reluctantly entered and the door behind her closed and locked itself. 

 

Suddenly, she wasn't sure if it was a good idea. 

 

"You're well aware that it is almost curfew time, yes?" 

 

"Almost sir." Hermione bravely answered him. 

 

He sneered at her. 

 

"What it is it that you couldn't wait till morning light? If this is about any error about my grading in the previous work, I assure you that you got lower than-" 

 

"It's about Potions." Hermione quickly said before she let her cowardice at that moment eat her up. "It's about something that professor Slughorn asked us to do." 

 

He raised his brow at her as she approached him and settled a parchment on his desk.

 

"Kindly respect that I now teach Defense Against the-" 

 

"I know what you teach, sir." Hermione said adding the title quickly. "But you were our previous Potions Master and I would like to clarify something he taught us." 

 

"Why don't you go to him?" Snape spat at her. "Why do you have to disturb me with this-"

 

"It's about a paper he asked us to write - "

 

"I'm no longer your Potions professor. I suggest you inquire with him any concern-" 

“As I was saying,” Hermione continued, ignoring his reaction to her persistence, “this assignment that we have is due next week and the research material that he—“

“I said, I am no longer your Potions professor!”

“Yes, I know that, Professor!” Hermione interrupted him with a raised voice.

 

Snape looked up at her in astonishment.

 

“Please,” Hermione’s voice was desperate. “Professor, you’re the only one who can help me. You see, I think his details are incorrect, and I need to double-check with you so I can prove that my argument is valid.”

 

Unwelcome and uninvited as she was, Hermione moved to the other side of the table to stand next to the flabbergasted Potions master to show him a chart she had created an hour ago in the library.

 

“Please just take a look at this reference list and chart I’ve made. I’m quite sure there’s something amiss about his details regarding this potion.”

 

Hermione handed him the chart. He took one glance at it and then turned and walked away.

 

“Professor Snape!”

 

Snape heard the frustration in her voice as he walked toward his storage room, which led to his private laboratory. He could hear her hurried footsteps behind him, but he continued ignoring her.

He reached his storage area and swiftly turned to her. She halted in shock.

 

“I will repeat,” Snape breathed out at her, “I am no longer your Potions professor, therefore, any inquiries should be directed to Professor Slughorn.”

 

“I already told you that I’m aware of that and you're not listening to what I have to say!!” Hermione argued, raising her voice.

 

He stared down at her unbelievingly.

 

Hermione blinked; realizing her mistake, she looked away from him.

Snape saw her consider the idea of running.

 

He stared down at her with both anger and question in his eyes. 

 

What could be so important in that assignment for her to be this desperate for his knowledge?

 

Hermione glanced right back up at him, and he gave her his most terrifying glare.

 

“I know you’re not our Potions professor anymore.” She sounded as if she was on the verge of tears. “But I already double-checked in the library, and I know he’s wrong. I was only thinking that perhaps you can help. You know this better than anyone else.”

“You are one insolent little—“

“I wouldn’t come to you if I didn’t think that you were the better Potions master.”

“Miss Granger, will you please hold your tongue?“

“You were my Potions professor for five years. I’m not going to let all that I learned from you go flying out of the window just because our professor now doesn’t know what he is doing!”

“Watch your mouth, Miss Granger!” he warned her, terrifying her with his loud voice and cold eyes.

 

He grabbed her wrists and pulled her farther into the laboratory.

 

“He was my Potions professor, in case you are forgetting, Miss Granger. He taught me everything I know—everything I have ever taught you.” 

 

He pushed her away and settled himself across from her behind a long wooden table. “Everything that I have taught you came from him. Have some respect. Just because he’s getting older does not mean he doesn’t know his craft.”

 

Hermione didn’t say anything as she stood there, transfixed by the fuming form of her professor. She stood quiet and still, determined to get the answer she came for.

 

There was nothing but silence between them. He continued to glare at her, but it was no use. He finally shook his head and angrily grabbed the chart from across the table.

 

“Which reference books have you been reading?” he spat as his black eyes moved left to right.

 

Hermione blinked and came back to her senses the moment she realized that he was actually going to help her.

 

“Just the ones which are written there, Professor.” She pointed to the end of the parchment and waited for him to finish reading it. “The library books seemed to be missing some important selections that might be—“

 

He shoved the chart back at her, cutting off her words.

 

She watched as he swiftly moved toward two large bookshelves at the end of the room. She gawked at what looked like the most complex and significant collection of Potions books she had ever seen.

 

Hermione stared in complete excitement, anticipation, and curiosity as he opened the glass door of the shelves and quickly scanned the titles. She waited nervously behind him. Her eyes roamed over the shelves of potions and books around the room.

 

 

“Here.” Snape’s voice snapped her out of her reverie. “Bring it back in one piece the moment you finish reading what you need.”

 

Hermione stared open-mouthed at him. 

He was offering her what looked like a priceless Potions reference book.

 

Her hands were trembling as she took the book from him. Her eyes were filled with excitement, and she breathed in the familiar smell of stored books. She could not wait to read it. She knew it was one of his most prized possessions. 

 

“I’ll take good care of it, Professor.”

Snape watched as her eyes locked on the book. He was struggling to keep from smiling. He knew that look too well, and he knew what it felt like to hold such a precious and informative book. He could already imagine that she would not be present at dinner as she would surely spend hours in her room indulging herself.

 

He continued to stare at her in amusement. She was too preoccupied with the book to notice that his black eyes had run from her fingers and arms to her waist and skirt, which was askew from chasing him.

Snape suddenly blinked away when he realized what he was staring at. He made a mental note to take off points from her house for not wearing the proper uniform. Hermione was not wearing her usual school robes. Instead, she was wearing a dark blue Muggle blouse and a skirt that was shorter than her usual uniform. His eyes strayed to her legs, and the idea of taking off points flew out of the window.

 

“Thank you, Professor!”

 

Snape looked up at her excited expression. His brow furrowed, and he tried to look sour again.

 

“Where’s Potter?” he demanded.

“In the library with Ron,” Hermione answered.

“Tell him that the Headmaster is expecting him in his office at exactly eight tonight.”

“Why would the—“

 

Snape had already turned and walked away.

 

“If you do not need anything else, Miss Granger, I would appreciate it if you would remove yourself from my office. Now.”

“Oh, sorry,” Hermione said quickly, realizing that she was no longer welcome. She grabbed her bag from the floor and gathered the chart.

Hermione thanked Snape again as they returned to his office, but he was already acting as if she was no longer in the room with him.

 

Just as she made it to the door, Snape called her back.

 

“Yes?” she asked politely.

“Miss Granger, I am assuming you will be using this book as your personal reference and not for something sinister like cheating.”

“What do you mean?”

“What I mean is that Professor Slughorn had been bragging to the faculty that your idiot best friend is at the top of his Potions class since the term began.”

 

His black eyes met hers, and she saw a gleam of hatred in his eyes. Snape crossed his arms.

 

“He’s been telling us that Potter is a natural at the subject. We both know, Miss Granger, that Potter is almost as bad as Longbottom.”

“Professor, Harry has been—“

“Cheating in class. However, I have no evidence, so we’ll just say he’s doing something rather peculiar for Professor Slughorn. Miss Granger, you know better. Warn your friend. Cheating at Hogwarts is prohibited and will be severely punished. I suggest you take a look at his copy of Advanced Potion-Making. If you’re as smart as everyone claims, you will not let yourself be outdone by a cheater.”

 

There was a long pause, and Hermione felt that his black eyes were searching through her soul. “Professor, Harry is just really—“

“Get out, Miss Granger. I don’t need to hear your lies to cover up that boy’s shameful actions.”

 

 

 

 

 

Hermione’s eyes were filled with tears as she stared at Harry’s old Potions books. She had been cleaning their apartment all morning, and Harry had let her work her way through his small office, where she was free to go through his selections.

 

“Want to go to a Muggle movie?”

 

She felt a pair of hands wrap around her waist, and his lips melted along the nape of her neck.

“Harry, please,” Hermione whispered, pushing herself free from his grasp.

 

Harry blinked. He watched her turn away from him and return the Potions books to the shelf.

 

“It’s quite cold outside, and I’m sure that the rain is terrible.”

“It’s just a drizzle.”

“Harry, go if you want to watch a movie or something. I’m sure Ginny or Bill can accompany you after your Ministry duty. I’m not really up for it.”

“You’re not up to doing anything.”

“Harry, I just want to—“

“When will you ever be up to do anything again?” Harry’s eyes narrowed and grew dark.

“Harry, it’s just that—“

“Forget it.”

 

Harry turned away, and she quickly followed him out of his small office. She saw the frustration and anger in his eyes.

 

“Harry, wait.” She caught up to him and grabbed his hand.

“Let go.”

“Harry, it’s raining. I just don’t feel like going out. If you want I’ll cook for us tonight, all right?”

 

Harry stared at her for a moment before pulling his hand back. 

He shook his head and gave her a spiteful look. 

 

“Eat here and read books again for the whole day, Hermione?”

 

His voice was growing angrier, and Hermione could tell that another row was about to begin.

 

 “Harry, it’s not like that.”

“Yeah, it’s nothing that I could understand, is it?”

 

Her eyes watered, but she tried her best not to cry. She knew what he was pointing out and understood his frustration—she was also very frustrated with herself.

 

“Harry, I’m just trying to adjust. Just give me some time. I’m sorry.”

“Have I not given you enough?” he demanded as he moved away from her. "We've been here for three months! Three months, Hermione!" 

 

Hermione didn’t answer. 

She could see the hatred and disappointment all over his face.

But the anger written all over his expression was the reason she was seriously considering Mr. Oswald's offer. 

 

 

“Harry, I’m sorry.”

 

Tears started leaking from her eyes, and the moment this happened, Harry turned back to her and quickly took her in his arms.

 

"I don't know how to do this.. how to start again.. Harry you've got to." 

"It's fine, I'm sorry." Harry said taking her into his arms and sighing heavily. 

 

He tried to calm her down—as he tried to calm himself down. 

 

He was losing it. He was losing her. 

 

He didn’t understand their situation any longer. 

He thought that saving her from that criminal was enough to stabilize her life. But nothing he’d done since she’d returned had put her back to normal. The deeper his frustration grew, the more he wanted the trial to finish so Severus Snape would finally meet his fate in the hands of the Dementors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snape threaded the dark corridors of the castle. 

It was past curfew already, and he was bound to go back to their cottage. 

 

This was his daily routine for the past few months. Since he had taken Hermione Granger—hidden her from the Wizarding World—he had crossed from the cottage, Hogwarts, and Malfoy Manor. Back and forth his life went into this cycle. 

 

Most of the time he was either at their cottage or at the castle, and the rest of the hours were spent at Malfoy Manor when the Dark Lord needed him. 

 

He no longer took teaching duties at the castle—having been named Headmaster—and he had endured enough from Minerva and some of the school governors. But these little annoyances didn’t hold his attention.

 

The teaching duties were given to the usual professors and to the Carrows. All he had to do was to make sure that no blood was spilled. At times, the Dark Lord would need him to brew a potion or he’d be called in for a meeting. But most of the time he spent in the cottage with Hermione.

 

He made sure that she was comfortable. He made sure that she was well-fed and that she was healthy. He wanted to make sure he took care of her as well as he possibly could. 

 

It was his duty. 

 

Of course, it wasn’t an easy task. She was constantly having tantrums and asking about the outside world, demanding to know the whereabouts of the people she loved and cared for. 

 

It was a struggle, but he needed to keep to his mission. There was no way in hell that he was going to let her out of his sight just because she wouldn’t listen to him. And now he had to go back to the cottage and relay the news that her beloved best friend—Ronald Weasley—was already gone after an attempted attack and rescue with some of the Order members. He could only sigh heavily as he walked out of the castle grounds to return to the cottage; Hermione had no idea what the future years would hold.

 

 

 

 

 

“Granger?” asked a voice behind her.

 

Hermione was taken out of her quiet musings as she stared by the Ministry lobby's extravagant windows where the rain outside was clearly pouring.

 

She turned and gaped at the sight that greeted her. 

 

"Malfoy?" she gasped in surprise. 

 

Draco Malfoy was standing in front of her with that familiar daunting look over his pointed pale face. 

 

"I didn't.." Draco began not really knowing what to say. "I mean.. I've read the papers..and.. How have you been? I didn't expect..I didn't expect to see you this close." 

 

Whatever Draco meant, she wasn't sure but she shook the hand he offered nevertheless. 

 

"I'm.. I'm adjusting." Hermione said unable to contain her surprise at seeing him there. "How have you been? Your parents?" 

 

She wasn't sure if it was the right thing she asked because she barely really knows what happened to the people after the war, let alone after ten years. 

 

But Draco didn't seem to mind her question and seemed to understand her condition and situation prior to being rescued. 

 

Hermione could only stare back at the boy she had not seen in many, many years. 

 

He was no longer the boy she could remember that taunted and bullied her back at Hogwarts. And though his features were fully created out of his father's, something seemed different about him. 

 

He had kept his hair short unlike his father; his physique, by all means, was obviously well-built than that of his father and but his facial features remained as handsome and had only grown mature. 

 

"Why are you here?" she asked after finally finding her voice. "I mean.. Do you work here?" 

 

"I just came back from a business trip," Draco admitted to her. "And I.. I was hoping to attend your trial." 

 

Hermione felt stupid. 

Ofcourse he would be there for the trial - Snape was his godfather. 

 

Draco's smile widened a little upon seeing her encouraging nod towards him. 

 

"I hoped to have been here at the previous trials," Draco said. But now I am here, I promise that I'll be attending the rest." 

 

“I understand.” She was still not comfortable with the conversation or anything to do with the Malfoy heir.

 

“You all right?” he asked her with a genuinely concerned look over his face. 

 

"I'm fine. Settling but good." Hermione replied. "You managing everything?" 

 

"Yeah. Family business keeps me busy." Draco chuckled but looked flustered. "I've been around, traveled.. learned a lot about life." 

 

"That's good for you," Hermione said. "you were made for this life to do well that." 

 

 

He looked her in the eye, and Hermione could swear she saw a flash of interest or curiosity in those beautiful eyes.

 

“I know that things have not been well since I last . . .” he paused for a moment as he chose the right words to use. "What I mean is that-" 

 

"Malfoy, I really need to go back to Harry." Hermione cut him short with a small smile. 

 

Draco nodded in understanding as he extended his hand again towards her. 

 

"It was good to see you. But I want you to know that I'm really sorry about what happened to Weasley." 

 

Hermione nodded at him, her eyes averted as she reluctantly reached for his hand.

 

"Thank you, I also wish you and Mrs. Malfoy well." Hermione chirped in as she tried to make up for the small talk Draco had been dragging along. 

 

"Oh, I'm not married. Granger." Draco was quick to correct her as he noticed her looking at one of the rings around his fingers. "It's not - it's just a-" 

 

"Oh, that's not what I meant-" Hermione quickly corrected herself as they both wore a surprised expression and a glaze of red over their faces at the passing of misunderstanding between them. 

 

Draco's eyes lit up and his face turned quite red. 

 

"Oh, you meant - I mean, ofcourse you meant my mother-" 

 

"Yeah, Mrs. Malfoy would have been - your mom, I meant your mom-" 

 

"She..she passed away." Draco said shaking her hand and unconsciously holding it still as he went on. "It was bound to happen. She was very ill. Nothing at St. Mungo's could help her. It was something along the bloodline or something." 

 

"I'm so sorry to hear that." Hermione apologetically said holding his hand still. "I didn't mean to.. I didn't know." 

 

A moment of pause came across them and they just stood there, holding one another's hand and staring at one another. 

 

"I have to go, Malfoy." 

 

"Please call me Draco. I do hope to see you around." he offered unsure why he said so. "I know. I know.. we weren't exactly friends back at school but I don't think formalities are still needed-" 

 

"Enjoying ourselves and getting re-aquainted?" 

 

They both looked up and saw Harry striding closer towards them. 

 

Hermione quickly broke their hand contact but without Harry nor Draco missing the movement. 

 

"Comfortable?" Harry asked Hermione before turning to Draco to acknowledge his presence. "Malfoy." 

 

"Potter." Draco nodded in response. 

 

"Come, we have to go. I want our usual place." Harry said kissing her over her forehead and placing his hand around Hermione's waist as he pulled her closer to him without taking his off Draco as he moved her away from him. 

 

"It was nice seeing you, Granger." Draco could only call out nodding at Harry. 

 

"See you around, Malfoy." Harry said in a monotonous tone. 

 

The last time he had seen Draco was a few years back—the court trial of Lucius Malfoy and at the hospital when he heard about the death of Narcissa Malfoy.

 

Harry was there at the hospital when she was dying; she was being transferred back to the Manor to die in peace, per her wishes. 

 

He had been there for two reasons that day. The first one was because of his duties as an Auror, to trace the lives of those who had been connected to the Dark Lord. And the second reason was that it was the day Fleur was feeling ill, and he had to accompany her to St. Mungo’s instead of Bill, who had been assigned on a three-day trip to Germany.

 

Although he had made the decision to make all Death Eaters liable for Hermione’s disappearance, he had to admit that the death of the famous Narcissa Black Malfoy was something he hadn’t anticipated. And at the funeral, which he had attended, it was the very first time that he had felt the briefest pity for Draco Malfoy.

 

 

 

 

"Malfoy was warming up to you." Harry made a comment as he walked them back to the. "Were you feeling the same cozy way?" 

 

"I didn't expect to see him." Hermione said in defense looking at him in an offended manner. "He was the one-" 

 

“I didn’t say you did.” Harry stared at her, slightly annoyed.

 

"He mentioned Narcissa Malfoy." Hermione softly said. 

 

“She died a few years ago." Harry simply said as Hermione hanged onto the story. "It was agonizing to be at that funeral. Lucius Malfoy wasn't there. Malfoy had limited the hours and the people who were invited. He stood there after hours when people were gone. I didn't expect to feel that much pity for Malfoy that day." 

 

“He seems happy now,” Hermione pointed out. "Peaceful life." 

 

"He's just like his father," Harry said as they settled on their usual bench. "Why wouldn't he enjoy the life he has now. He has everything." 

 

“I didn’t hear that Lucius Malfoy died,” Hermione said ignoring his last bitter comment. 

 

“Lucius Malfoy was sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban,” Harry told her. “His mind gave away just a few weeks after he heard about the passing of Narcissa. Draco has never visited him.”

 

 

That was a tough truth and she didn't expect it from Harry nor the story of Draco never visiting his father he seemed to idolize so much growing up. 

 

Hermione wanted to ask Harry what else had transpired, but her attention was already taken by the Aurors and Ministry officials who arrived in the courtroom, dragging Snape along with the usual magical bonds.

 

 

Hermione’s heart leaped at the sight of him. 

 

It pained her to see him like that. He seemed to be growing thinner every time she saw him. It was obvious that he had lost the will to live. 

Chapter Text

Chapter VI

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. 

 

"Harry, please-" 

 

“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?”

“But—“

“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. 

 

“Oh, Harry.”

“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.

Chapter Text

Chapter VII 

The Malfoy Heir 

 

 

Draco Malfoy sat alone in the extravagant living room in the Malfoy Manor. As it was, the Malfoy Manor was something he has inherited together with other villas and assets of the Malfoys being the only heir of their lineage. He was worth about a few billions for their estates, businesses and lands they owned in Europe and their expanded businesses across Asia.

Despite that he was not his father who was known to a tyrant business man, Draco Malfoy had inherited the business skills of his father and less the iron hand. He surprised even himself as he made good business after another and made quite some good money by his own skills and charm. Given these attributes, he was able to give justice to the name of Malfoys in terms of businesses and was slightly able to diminish their tainted name back in the reign of the Dark Lord.

It had been years since he had visited his own father in the god-forsaken place Azkaban. He had no regrets. The moment his mother passed away, every penny of the Malfoys was passed to the only living heir.

 Narcissa Black Malfoy died of an illness he had been unaware of. The death was thoroughly accessed by the government in case there was a foul play but given that she was living with a son she had loved so much all of her life, they had respected Draco’s decision to eliminate the investigation completely and made it known and publicized that the woman of the Malfoy Manor had simply died of an illness that they did not foresee coming. Narcissa’s inheritance as a Black all came down to be inherited by her only son, thus, making Draco Black Malfoy one of the richest bachelors in Europe. But despite the name and the worth of all his wealth, Draco felt empty and alone.

 

 It was the first time he had seen Hermione Jean Granger since he had gotten back from his business travel around the globe. He was aware of the night they were ambushed and that she had been missing or believed dead. She had been missing for the span of ten years – even before the war completely broke out and after the war had been dismissed, she was not found. They had all thought – even him – that the most precious girl of the Golden Trio had disappeared and had died in pursuit of the war.

He had heard of it from his father and the Death Eaters that were assigned to attack and ambush Harry Potter and his friends and the Order the night of his transfer. He was not there for he had been forbidden to join any other Death Eater activity. But he knew of the plan and has heard of the outcome – the deaths that came after it, the sacrifices made and the lives taken – he had heard and known all of it. And he did hear of the attack that had pelted straight towards Hermione Granger. But he heard differently – she had been attacked by a spell and seen by Order and Death Eaters alike, she was drawn straight towards the country of London they were flying across with an inevitable death coming upon her. And that was it. Nobody knew for sure what has happened to her – no body was found – for which they assumed she had died when she had fallen across the waters from where they were flying above the night of the ambush. She had died with the spell or had drowned completely or maybe both. But nobody found a body which everyone presumed for her death. That was the last of what he has heard of the brightest which of their age he had ever known of. But three months ago, news broke of her being found after a full decade of being abducted by none other than Severus Snape – her mother’s most trusted friend, his godfather, the so-called Dark Lord loyal servant and Dumbledore’s man. He had taken her for the long ten years and had kept her for god-knows-what reason.

 

He was in a hotel at Russia when he heard of the massive news that came to be plastered all over the globe of Hermione being found in a small cottage at the very end of London. He could not believe what he has heard of or read and so he cancelled everything he had been planning to do in the coming weeks and had ordered his assistants to grab him all possible reading sources of the news of Hermione Jean Granger being found after the abduction for 10 years in the clutches of their own Potions professor. He had spent three days reading about it and learning about the news and he quickly asked his servants to find him more sources of reading and tell him further news and updates of the case whilst he could not yet returned to London.

 By the time he was able to return to London, it had been a few weeks later and that the case of Severus Snape was being opened and will be heard at the Wizengamot. He was rotting for three months already at Azkaban and he was to be tried for the many cases for which he had been accused of.

Hermione Granger’s case was only one of the many but it was pursued more popularly because of the demands and depths of the scandal.

All these years, he had thought that his godfather had died the same night of the attack – the ambush was a suicide mission as he heard of. There were many Death Eaters that attacked that night of Harry Potter’s transfer, he knew that the Order’s fastest and best members were taken that night to ensure the safety of Harry Potter. And despite the number of Death Eaters juxtaposed to the Order members, he knew death in their side was also inevitable what with the people willing to die for their only Chosen One – their only hope of defeating the Dark Lord to ensure a future for everyone.

 

 When he first saw her in the court of the Wizengamot he could almost not believe his eyes. Ten years had passed and still, she was looking as young as he could imagine. Perhaps she was a little taller and some part of her hair seemed a little darker and her eyes were boring circles around and her weight had been thinner than he had last recalled or remembered of her, but definitely, she as the Hermione Granger he had grown up with from school. She seemed more quiet though than the know-it-all he knew of and had been annoyed of for years but now, he could not remember that part of her really that he hated. There brightness in her eyes had also vanished completely.

 

Draco could not help but think of her. How did the years change her? How was she when she was away? She had survived a full ten years living with only the Potions Master. He could not help what could have had transpired in those ten years. Not that it was really surprising what Snape could have done to her knowing the man but she had actually lived through it.

But what surprises Draco was Hermione’s protest and rally against bringing the very man that abducted her for so long into Azkaban. She did not wish him to be thrown towards Azkaban or be sentenced to death or any harm at all. She was actually trying to rally for him to be freed.

What had gotten into her? Did he use potions of sorts on her for her thinking to be tainted or somewhat control her? But that long? She could be dead by now if the strength of potions and spells alike were used on her upon those long years. She would definitely not survive – not with her extremely strong will and strength of mind she bore. Unless..

 

“She had wanted it,” Draco whispered to himself softly with his brows creasing at the thought of it, “Did she want to stay with him?” he thought to himself.

He was interested and he made up his mind. He was going to dwell and investigate personally between the two of them. Not that he wanted his godfather to be thrown and to rot and die in Azkaban or did he want him freed if he was really guilty of the crime. For all he knew, he was unsure for his reasons but definitely there was a reason. He knew there must be some sort of reason for what he found out a few weeks ago regarding Snape’s role in her mother’s foreboding and inevitable death.

 

 

 

“Harry?” Hermione gentle voice called out as Harry entered the dining room. “Yes?” he asked kissing her from the back of her neck and grabbing a toast from the platter she was making.

He grabbed a toast and grabbed some sausages and eggs and placed them on the table.

“Coffee?” he asked staring at the pot that was placed on the table.

Hermione nodded at him, “Yes,” she said smiling and finishing the rest of the toasts and the sausages and placing them altogether on the table.

 “Work?” she asked him as she grabbed a glass of juice for herself and was stirring the cup of coffee for him.

 “Some stuff at the Ministry,” he told her in a mouthful of toast, “I’m not sure what time I’ll be home. I should be home early tonight, “he looked up at her, “you seem all dressed and early. Are you going somewhere?”

“I was planning to meet with Ginny and Fleur,” she said with a smile, “we’re going to talk about the business we wanted to put up. I’m not sure if Ginny or Fleur had-“

“”The small school?” he helped out with a smile and nodded, “Charlie mentioned it to me before,” he said with a look over his face, “not that he’s against it. But Bill was really egging Fleur on it and Fleur found an ally in Ginny and so now I see they found ally in you,” he told her with a smile, “where are you guys meeting?” he asked taking a sip from the cup of coffee that she made for him.

“Diagon Alley,” she said with a smile as she sat opposite him and began on her toast and sausages, “Fleur reserved a café for us to meet. Then Ginny will be bringing in some of her materials she has brainstormed on and stuff-“ she said with a glow in her eyes and such excitement was flourishing all over her face.

“I’m going to bring in ideas for the group,“ she told him with a coy smile and Harry smiled more. He was glad that her thoughts were being occupied despite that three days from now, another court hearing will take place and he did not want her to be bothered by it.

He wanted it this way – that she was beginning to be really functional again, that she was beginning to be exited again with things and was beginning to be with people around her – she was living a normal life again little by little and he wanted that more than anything else.

 “Should I pick you up somewhere?” he offered her.

“No,” she said, “after the meeting Fleur asked us to go with her to buy some clothes. We’ll go and I thought of buying some for myself as well. Bill will be taking us back to Mrs. Weasley’s right after. Perhaps you can go there and have dinner?” she asked hopefully. “I’ll wait for you there until you finish work. I suppose you and Mr. Weasley might be going home together.”

“Brilliant idea,” Harry happily said, “Dinner then at Mrs. Weasley. Please just tell her I’d be there so she knows. Breakfast was good but I do need to go,” he said swallowing the last sausage and grabbing another toast from the table.

He lifted himself off and kissed her over the forehead, “I love you,” he whispered taking a close embrace around her, “I’ll see you later?” he hopefully asked.

Hermione kissed him and nodded.

“Later, Harry.” she said with a smile and Harry returned the gesture and lifted himself out from the dining hall and out of the house feeling completely blissful at seeing Hermione at this state now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  The rain was very cold and hard outside. She had not remembered hearing a storm like that in many weeks that had been. How long had that been?

“Hermione?” Snape sleepy voice came in when he heard her reenter their room.

 “I just grabbed some hot chocolate for you,” she said placing the tray on the bed, she looked down at his exhausted and drunk form. Snape’s black eyes settled on the mug as he moved from his stomach to turn to her.

 “You did not have to Hermione.”

“I want to,” she insisted, scooting herself back on the bed with him with the tray before them, she looked up at him, “I know you were really tired. And really drunk might I add-“ she said with a small giggle, “But here, I want you to enjoy this. The storm outside is horrible. I also went down into the lab to make a potion to help with your headache, I hope you don’t mind.”

“I don’t,” Snape softly said, he reached for her and kissed her on the forehead, he stared at her with all beauty and glory for him, “Thank you Hermione..” he whispered gently, kissing her again, he laid his hand over her porcelain skin and gently ran his hand over her skinny legs, “I know that it has been very hard for you lately and..”

“I’m fine,” she said with a smile and he could not tell if she was lying or telling the truth, “I’m really alright, Severus.. I mean.. we’re doing well here – it’s not like you’re starving me here or anything..”

“I know,” Snape said with sadness in his eyes as he pulled her half-clothed body to his fully-naked one, “I know but it’s been a few months since..”

 “Ron was meant to go,” Hermione said with a forced smile and he saw the spark of sadness in her eyes, “and out there I know that soon things will become better too..and here,” she moved closer him and nuzzled face beneath his neck, “here, I am safe,” she placed her hand over his barechest, “I am safe here because I am with you. “

 Snape did not say anything. He could hardly tell her everything that was going on outside the Wizarding World. He could not tell her that the war was nearly over and truth be told, it seems that Harry Potter was going to win it after all. But with the relationship they now have, he was unsure if he was willing to even let her out of his sight.

 “Do you?” he softly asked although he gently moved the tray to the side and pulled her into his arms, he moved his lips to her neck and she closed her eyes at the sensation of his mouth over her skin.

“Do you feel safe with me, Hermione?”

“I feel loved when I am with you,” she answered with eyes closed as he gently pressed feather-light kisses around her neckline, “I know I am safe with you, Severus..” she gasped as he slowly laid her down back on the bed.

 “Severus,” she whispered to him as she halted his movement over her, she looked up at him with such love and sincerity in her eyes, “Severus, I..” but he covered her mouth with his, her body readying for his entrance and her hands clinging around his masculine arms.

Snape’s black eyes met hers and even though he knew that she knew that he was still shutting her out of his thoughts, he still reveled at the idea that she believed and trusted him.

Not because they had been sleeping together for weeks and months, not because she always showed her care for him, not of anything – but by the simple means and gesture of her trust with him. She had never shut him out of her thoughts and her life after all the things that came to be between them in the years of the war.

No, she had always been an open book for him – she had always been honest. Scared as she was with her thoughts, desires and ideas, but she had always showed it to him without hesitation. She had always trusted him no matter if she was blind to the true outcomes of the world around her. She had placed her heart and her life in his hands – it was enough for him to love her.

 “I know,” he answered back, tears threatening to come down from his eyes, “I know, Hermione.” he whispered back as he hovered over her naked form and had lowered himself to her.

He looked gently at her.

“I know you do.” Snape whispered back laying his lips over her and tasting her gently as if it was the first time they kissed. She closed her eyes but only before he saw the soft disappointment in them.

She had been telling him for weeks or months now how much she loves him and had fallen in love with him. But he had never – not in those many days and nights, weeks and months it could be counted – ever said the words he knew that she had been dying to hear.

No, he could not say it. Not that he did not feel the same way too or that the feeling was not mutual at all. But he was not brave enough to say it. No, he was a coward in that piece and part of him. He could not bear to tell her how much he has fallen in love with her. It would complicate things if things would go and end badly. He could not bear her hurt and the idea that she would left abandoned if he would die at the preceding of the war.

 Hermione gasped and moaned when he felt her enter her. She spread her legs wider as he came down to her, his face buried around her neck and his lips teasing, sucking and kissing the life and breath out of her.

 “Severus!” she gasped his name and he felt his emotions and his lust for her intensify as her lips uttered his name like it has never been called for before. He gasped in pain as he felt her nails digging and clawing behind his back out of the pleasure and pain they both endured in their leveled and heavenly intercourse.  

 Her lips were ravished by the Potions Master’s love and lust for her. His thin lips savoured the tears and the sweet sensation from her mouth. Their tongues entwined and his lips taking and sucking each part of her skin that he could probably reach for. His tongue had lolled in and out of her mouth, sucking her to the state where she could probably forget her name in the morning.

He moved around her with intensity, his strong arms pinning her down on the bed and securing her within his grasp.

 “I’m going – going-“ she gasped, eyes tightly shut and she was biting her lower lip as she clung around his arms for dear life. Snape gasped as he moved back and forth inside of her knowing that sooner he was also going to come and inside of her.

 “S-Severus!” she gasped loudly, “S-Seve-r-rus – Severus!” she gasped as his knees moved faster, buckling up and down, back and forth inside of her and rocking the senses out of her as hard as he could.

He let his eyes flew open despite that it was hard to do so in their condition. He breathed hard and heavy and moved his arms closer around her so that their bodies collided closely and perfectly well.

“Hermione..” he gasped her name nudging his lips towards her, “Hermione, open your eyes,” he softly told her as he knew their climax was nearing and he will no longer be able to hold himself further.

 “Hermione, open your eyes.” he gently commanded her.

Hermione bit her lip and did not want to but she slowly opened her eyes.

 Tearful brown eyes met the pair of saddened black ones. Her fingers clung tighter around him and she placed both her hands around his neck to pull his face closer to her, she spread her legs further and let Snape bury himself harder and deeper inside of her.  

 “Look at me.” he whispered to her making sure they do not lose eye contact as he gave her the sensation of a lifetime.

 “Look at me, Hermione.” Snape gently whispered to her and their eyes met – words and feelings unspoken but they shared a bond that neither knew where was going but knew that it existed in the deepest and most dangerous form they never imagined possible.

 “I love you..” she whispered back at him their eyes never breaking contact.

His black eyes seemed to glitter in tears.

 “I love you, Severus.” her lips muttered as tears streaked down from both sides of her eyes. Snape did not say anything. Instead, he slowly and gently took her mouth as if it was the first time he would ever kiss her.

He took her into a deep and passionate kiss and she accepted the kiss, closing her eyes at the sensation, her fingers closing in around his neck as he deepened himself inside of her, burying him as far and deep as he could possibly do so.

And in the moment that they both reached their climax and their feelings for one another reaching its peak and deepest distance, Snape’s eyes gently shed tears just as he came inside of her, gasping and screaming her name, his voice echoing all throughout the cottage before he collapsed on top of her completely knowing that she had first passed out before he did.

 “I love you.” he whispered back at her knowing she could no longer hear him because she was already somewhere halfway down the road of dreamland and bliss of life.

He ignored the warm tears still streaking from the sides of his face, leaking thoroughly knowing he was doomed forever. He gently forced himself to move from her, his hands taking hold of her inside his arms in a protective and possessive way, “I love you, Hermione.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Hermione sat up wide-awake . The thunder had awakened her from her restless sleep. She was alone I her dark room. The winds outside her windows were howling mercilessly and the rain was spattering hard against the roof as well. The storm was going nowhere tonight.

 She sat on her bed and took out her wand and pointed it towards the fireplace. She walked towards the window to watch the mayhem caused by the storm. Inside their house she was safe and sound and warm but a part of her still felt cold. She was wondering how Snape was doing at Azkaban. It was the dead and dread cold of the night and she wondered if he was going to be alright. In three days time another trial was to commence. They were soon going to finish the twelve trials and after that they were going to decide if he was to receive the Dementor’s Kiss or be a freed man. But at the moment, the trials’ outcome was not meeting his needs. He was going to go to Azkaban judging by the way the way things were turning and she no longer knew what she could do. If only she could talk to him just one last time.

 

“No work today?” Hermione asked a few hours later. She walked down the stairs and headed for the kitchen where Harry was already having breakfast. He was still dressed in his night clothes and was reading what looked like a slightly damp copy of the Daily Prophet and drinking his morning coffee.

  “Suspended.” Harry answered her. “There will be no work for two days due to this storm.” Harry smiled up at her and saw the slightly disappointed look over her face which she quickly flushed away by forcing a smile.

“That’s great then.” Hermine said turning away and pretending to make her own coffee.

“You can stay in and rest and all that. I’ll be out with Ginny maybe later or with Fleur. I’m still waiting for their note where we are going to-“

“Hermione, there is a storm.” Harry reminded her with a grin over his face. “Nobody is going in and out today or tomorrow.” he pointed towards the window where nothing could be seen or heard but the storm he was describing.

  Hermione swallowed hard. It meant that she was stuck at the apartment with Harry. It also meant that if he wanted to make love to her – for which she had been avoiding for god-knows-how-long there was no avoiding of it now.

 

“Oh, that’s great.” Hermione commented even though she felt the opposite. “I can general clean around here then and you can go sleep the day off and stuff. I’ll make you a wonderful lunch later and a nice dinner.” she told him while she finished making her coffee and attempted to make a toast for herself.

  Harry stared at her for a moment as if observing her gestures. He didn’t say anything.

“Actually,” he began and he sounded as if he was planting his words carefully, “I was planning that later this afternoon. I have other plans this morning.” Harry said and Hermione halted for a moment on what she was doing.

She looked up at him with a small smile, “Oh, that’s nice. Are you going to-“

“I’ve brought files with me.” he told her and pointed over the table by the living room. It was only now that Hermione noticed a large pile of folders and parchments over the table.

 “What are those?” she curiously asked him.

“Snape’s cases.” Harry answered proudly. His green eyes settled on Hermione for a moment.

“Snape’s-?” she asked reluctantly.

Harry stood from his chair and folded up his paper.

“Yes, I better start on them. It all the cases against him and that large pile is actually your case.” He pointed at a rather taller pile from the rest. Hermione stared at him with question in her eyes.

“Harry, are you going to-“

“I’m going to study all of it today. I’ll make a list and some thorough analysis on every case against him so I may understand yours better and be able to help them work on it.”
 

“Help them?” Hermione asked in wonder. This time, she sounded alarmed.

She walked over to Harry who was just smiling at her.

“Harry, what’s going on?” she asked him and there was distaste in her tone.

Harry rounded on her with the same determined look over his face.

“I’ve only figured there’s no going out today and since I don’t want to kill myself in boredom staring at books and at you the whole day, might as well put myself into good use.”

Hermione’s eyes lit up. She folded her arms and knew instantly where Harry was coming from.

“Harry, I already told you that I need some time before we can-“

“Take all the time you need, Hermione.” Harry answered him and she watched as he gathered all the pile of files in his arms and carried them out. He stared at her with a defiant smile, “I’m going to work in my study today, Hermione. Have fun cleaning.”

And with that, he walked away from her knowing he had infuriated Hermione’s mood for the whole day. 

Chapter Text

Chapter VIII

The Secret of Narcissa Malfoy 

 

The rain gave no absolute consolation to Hermione’s feelings that weekend afternoon.

Days were passing and there seemed to be no solution to what she and Snape had to face at the trials.

On the first weekend morning, Mrs. Weasley invited them over for breakfast.

When Harry noted that they couldn’t an owl returned and two hours later, Ginny, Fleur and Bill were by their apartment carrying with them a package for brunch.

Harry no longer refused but was glad of the effort they made in order to try and put Hermione’s mind off the case.

Despite her excuses to get out of bed because she was ‘feeling unwell’, Hermione greeted them in the dining and joined them for the meal.

While Bill and Harry finished their meal and joined together in the living room for some drinks, the girls were left in the dining where Harry was convinced that Ginny and Fleur could take Hermione’s mind off things and make her happy and cheerful even just for a while.

“You alright?” Bill asked Harry as he entered the living room carrying a bottle of wine with him.

“Fine.” Harry lied opening the bottle and pouring drinks for the two of them.

Bill was intelligent and observant enough to know that things were not well at their end and it wasn’t just because of the case.

“Harry-“

“All is well, mate.” Harry said raising his glass and resting on the couch opposite Bill.

He looked back at Harry with a questioning glare.

“Really?” he asked. “Are things really well?”

Harry only mumbled and drained his first glass.

“I thought she wasn’t feeling well.” Bill said stating her refusal to her mother’s invitation that morning.

“Well, you’ve noticed it already.” Harry said with resignation in his voice. “She’s completely different since she’s returned.”

“Maybe she needs time.”

“I don’t know.” Harry said staring over his glass and refilling it again. “It feels.. different. She’s completely changed. I’ve really been trying but there’s just something amiss.”

Bill looked concerned over his story but he was more concerned on how alcohol was becoming Harry’s occasional bestfriend.

“Fleur and I are here for the two of you.” Bill suggested taking the bottle from his hands as he refilled his third glass already.

Harry nudged his hand and finished refilling it before handing it back to him.

“You want some more?” he asked him with a hiccup. “There are more bottles in the kitchen-“

“I think we’re already fairly well with just one.” Bill said taking the bottle out of his reach and staring at him.

He looked at his friend and could tell that things are not well even as early as this stage.

They’ve been friends and they know of the suffering he’s endured since Hermione’s disappearance.

Now she’s back, despite that they anticipated adjustment and changes, he seemed to sense that something worse was still to come.

“Harry, we’re here and you know that, right?” he said staring closely at Harry who seemed too occupied thinking if he would open another bottle.

“Yes, I know.” Harry mumbled at him. “And I thank you for that. Cheers mate.”

He raised his glass to Bill and waited.

Bill stared at first then toasted his glass to him which he’s barely touched at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 “It’s still raining so hard.” Hermione commented. “Is there news of a storm or something?”

“It’s September, Hermione. What do you expect?” Snape answered without looking up from what he was reading.

“I’m not sure.” Hermione irritably answered him. “I’m all locked up here it’s not like I can track everything down perfectly well.”

Snape ignored her.

It was half past eight in the evening.

Although he left very early that morning, he had arrived later than she had expected of him.

He left her a good breakfast and lunch and left her a note.

It usually scared her to just see a note from him telling her that he’d be back with no specific time.

She fear that he’d just abandon her for some ungodly reason.

He arrived late but atleast he arrived.

He was drenched in his traveling cloak but with large bags of groceries and other tools and kits and box complete of new fresh potions ingredients.

He left the living room and walked to their kitchen where she soon followed

“Where have you been?” she asked him.

He didn’t answer her.

He began organizing the table to prepare their dinner.

“I asked you a question.” Hermione demanded.

Snape looked up at her for a moment.

“I bought groceries, obviously.” Snape returned to the table and pointed his wand around where plates and utensils appeared and began arranging themselves over the table.

“Just groceries?” she asked him.

Her voice was somewhat accusatory but still, Snape managed his own temper.

He was silent but he was curious what answer she was seeking exactly.

“Just groceries?” she asked again.

“Is there something you would like to just ask me?” he lashed back at her finally losing his patience.

Hermione looked taken aback but she didn’t hold herself down.

Usually, she was never really allowed to inquire about his whereabouts and about anything at all.

But it had taken him hours to return and she was smart enough to know that it wasn’t just grocery shopping he had gone to.

Hermione didn’t answer him but he could tell that her eyes were still on him.

He continued to fix the table.

“I had to run a couple of errands.”

“Errands.” Hermione repeated blandly.

“It was last minute.” Snape said in a restrained voice. “I also saw a book in one of the bookstores I’ve passed when I crossed the town. I thought you might like it.”

Snape moved away from the table and went back to the living room.

Hermione soon followed him.

Hermione watched quietly as he rummaged for something in one of the paper bags.

“Here.” Snape said taking out something and walking back to her. “I thought you might like it.”

Hermione stared up at him and stared over the book he was offering her with a small smile over his face.

Without warning, she threw it away from her where it pelted off from his hand and landed back onto the carpeted floor.

 Snape’s black eyes widened at what she had done.

His fists clenched and he stared down at her shaking in anger.

 “Bloody hell.” he muttered, he bent over to pick it up but Hermione was fast and she quickly kicked it far from him.

His black eyes shot right up at her burning gaze. He sighed heavily and tried to hold his patience and he moved away from her.

 “I don’t have time for this.” he muttered but Hermione was really trying his patience. She moved about and Snape heard her throw away the bowl of food she had been eating from before he arrived.  

 He halted on his footsteps, rolling his eyes and sighing heavily, he slowly turned to her.

She was sitting on the couch and staring scathingly up at him.

 “What the bloody hell is wrong with you?” he asked her and with a whip of his wand, he cleared away the mess she had made.

 “That’s it?” she asked him as she watched Snape move away from her after cleaning her mess.

“You’re just going to say that and walk away from me?” she asked with a smirk, “You’re not going to say anything else? Do anything else?” she asked provoking his patience further, “You’re not even going to punish me for this?” she asked crossing her arms.

 But Snape moved away from her waving his hand up in the air and ignoring her as best as he could.

 “Really?” she screamed after him.

When he continued walking away, Hermione stood from the couch and with an angry stance, she launched herself behind him and nearly knocked them both onto the slippery kitchen floor.

 “Bloody hell, Hermione!”

With a fierce movement, he snatched her arm and held her up painfully, “What the hell is wrong with you?” he angrily snapped at her.

 “YOU!” Hermione angrily screamed at him her eyes burning with anger, “You – you bloody hell – you bloody liar-“

 “Liar am I now?” he angrily spat at her, “Last night I was nowhere near-“

 “You liar! You told me that everything is alright!” she screamed against his grip, “You told me that everything is alright but it’s not!” she angrily screamed at him.

Snape stared at her in anger and then she angrily pulled something from beneath her pillows. It was a crumpled piece of paper and she threw it right at his face.

  “What the hell-“

 “Hell, that’s what this place is!” Hermione breathed out angrily watching him bend down to pick up the piece of parchment she had thrown right at him, “You tell me that you’re not a liar.”  

 He bent over and picked it up and smoothened it all over and read thoroughly.

The question in his sides had spread all over and a horrified look came over his face.

He looked up at Hermione who had tears in her eyes but was giving him a mocking smile.

 His face turned pale.

“Hermione, wait. I can explain-”

 “Now you would like to explain?” she angrily said, she backed away from him.

Snape tried to reach for her but she moved away from him.

 “You liar – you told me-“

“Look, if it was something sort of horrid, I would have told you-“

 “It says in that goddamn letter that you’ve been seeing Narcissa Malfoy secretly!” she screamed angrily at him, “You told me we are far from everyone – that it would be safe that way – but you’re seeing her – you’ve been seeing her!” her eyes were wild in question and in anger and Snape was unsure how to calm her down.

Snape did not know what to say. She was breaking down in front of him and he could understand why.

 “Severus, I have not seen my friends, my family – my parents in ages because you said it is unsafe if we go anywhere near any of them – any of the people you know!” she cried at him with such despair and hatred in her eyes.

Snape was at loss for words.

“Hermione-“

 “And now.. now you would.. she was.. “ she shook her head, her whole body shaking in anguish, “You said.. I don’t understand, I don’t..”

“Hermione, wait,” he said trying to follow her around the room to reach for her, “I can explain to you, it’s not what you’re thinking – please, just listen o me and I will explain to you why I’ve been seeing Narcissa, yes, I admit it now – I have been seeing her but there’s nothing to keep-“

 “Nothing to keep?” she wildly asked him back, she sighed heavily trying to dry her eyes from the tears that were streaming nonstop, “Now you’re going to tell me the truth because you’ve been caught?” she asked incredulously, she halted from moving around as Snape caught her arm and was staring at her in a pleading manner.

“Hermione please..”

 “If I’ve not known of the letter would you tell me?” she asked him turning suddenly, her brown eyes glinted as her gaze pierced his heart.

 “Would you have told me had I not read this letter?” she asked him shaking in anger, “Answer me, Severus!” she screamed at him with her fists clenched as she hit him over his chest.

  “Hermione, please-“

Hermione cried and he was sure that the sound of the pain was as unpleasant as how it felt.

“Please.”

Hermione’s whimper brought a heavy chain over his chest.

“Have I not been enough for you?” Hermione had asked sorrowfully. “Have you been keeping me just to be your plaything?”

 His black eyes suddenly showed fear like he had never shown her before.

 “No.” Snape quickly answered her advancing towards her and reaching out for her.

“Hermione, please.” Snape begged her.. “It’s not what you think of--“

“Are you just keeping me because you need someone to sleep with?” she cried at him.

“No, please.” Snape softly said. “Hermione, it’s not-“

“Severus, I cannot..”

“No, I have not been keeping you for that reason, Hermione, please.”

He grabbed her with both his arms and tightly placed them around her, keeping her in a forced and tight embrace.

 “Let me go – get your filthy hands off me – if you’ve been touching her, if you’ve been kissing – if you have been having-“

 “I have not been having anyone but you,” he struggled to say as Hermione fought against his tight embrace but to no avail, “I have not been lying to you – I might not have told you I’m seeing her but please.. please believe when I say that I have not been with anyone but you-“

 “You’ve been seeing her!” she cried in his arms kicking herself free from his grasp, “You’ve been – you’ve been keeping me here and you have been having that Malfoy woman-“

 “Narcissa is dying,” he suddenly said in a constricted tone that suddenly halted Hermione’s movements and protest, “Narcissa is dying, Hermione. I’ve been seeing her to keep her alive with the potions I make for her.”

There came some silence and Hermione completely went limp in his arms. He took a harder hold on her and began brushing her thick brown hair and gently kissing her forehead.

“Please, I have not been lying to you.” he whispered against her skin.

“Dying?”

 “I couldn’t tell you because I swore to her that I would not tell a soul that she’s dying..”

 Hermione didn’t say anything. Her thoughts of his lies were suddenly diminished and were replaced by thoughts of question.

Narcissa? Narcissa Black Malfoy?

The powerful Malfoy woman was dying?

How could that be possible? She had last seen her perhaps at the battle or when she was at the Malfoy Manor a lifetime ago and she was nowhere sick-looking for her to just be dying right now.

 “Draco does not know.” he whispered against her ear.

Hermione seemed to lessen her struggle against him.

“Nobody knows about it Hermione. Not anyone else.. but not it’s just me and you.”

“But..” Hermione croaked out. “It can’t. Narcissa Malfoy.. but she’s..”

“A deep and old cruse embedded in her blood.” Snape slowly explained to her as he continued to grasp her.

“A curse?”

“She’s dying. Anytime soon she can die. I’ve been keeping her life longer with the potions I am making for her. That’s wy she knows where we are – that’s why she knows of my secret.”

“She knows about me?” she softly asked him.

There was silence.

“Severus.”

“Yes.” Snape admitted to her. “She knows you’re with me.”

“But-“

“I keep her alive and she will keep my secret.”

“She trusts you? And you trust her?” Hermione asked with a definite anger in her tone.

“She expects me to protect Draco in any way I could.”

Hermione was silent.

It was one of those revelations again that she didn’t expect.

What was really happening out there in the war?

Did the enemies she thought of are the real heroes?

They could only hear one another’s labored breathing.

“Does Draco know?” she slowly asked him. “Does Draco know about me?”

“No.” Snape answered after a while. “Draco does not.”

 

 

 

   

  

 “That’s a nice book,” came a voice next to her. Hermione shook her head and turned to her left side. Her mouth fell open upon seeing Draco next to her holding a copy of the one book she was holding.

She shook her head, closed the book and quickly returned it to the shelf.

“I have to go, I’m sorry.” Hermione said quickly closing the book and turning away from him.

But she wasn’t fast enough.

Draco had reached her in time and had blocked her way.

She looked up at him and then he let her pass.

“Granger.” Draco called after her following her aisle after another

Hermione didn’t answer him.

“Isn’t there a hearing?” he called after her. “At three? Why are you still here?”

“It was cancelled.” Hermione simply answered him. “They owled us two hours ago. I’m not sure when it would commence.”

“That’s good to know then.” Draco said. “Would you like to have lunch or coffee with me?”

“I’m not hungry.” Hermione answered him truthfully. “And I also don’t think it’s a good idea to be with you.”

Draco looked hurt for a moment and Hermione realized her mistake.

“It’s not entirely what I meant.”

“I get what you’re trying to say.” Draco said with a small smile.

“Malfoy-“

“Maybe just a few minutes?” Draco offered her. “Just a coffee or something.”

She looked up at him with a reluctant look over her face.

Draco could tell that she was completely avoiding him and thinking of a reason out of his offer.

“I’m sorry, Malfoy. I have to go.” Hermione said completely turning away from him.

Draco didn’t know why, but he followed her and grasped her arm upon reaching her again.

Hermione turned and looked backed at him.

She looked uneasy so he quickly let her arm go.

“I’m sorry.” Draco quickly said realizing that he might be reminding her of some trauma she’s endured from Snape.

Hermione didn’t say anything but was rubbing her other hand over the spot around her arm that he had touched.

“I didn’t mean to.” Draco apologetically said. “I just thought that-“

“If I give you this hour while I wait for Harry will you promise not to bother me every again unless it’s entirely imperative?”

Draco’s eyes lit up.

That was new of her but he quickly accepted nevertheless.

“I swear.” Draco answered her. “Where do you want to go?”

“I don’t know.” Hermione said looking away from him. “I haven’t been here for some time.”

“The same here.” Draco said with a smile. “But there’s a café that my mother takes me to when I was a child. I think it’s still around. Do you want to check it?”

“Lead the way.” Hermione said quietly.

He offered his hand to her but Hermione refused to take his hand and only nodded for him to move forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 “Happy Anniversary!” he greeted her with a small smile.

He placed his arms around her and kissed her neckline as she received him in her arms.

Her eyes were wide at the red bouquet of roses.

She was beyond delighted.

It’s been so long since she held anything so beautiful and so fresh at the same time.

“Thank you.” Hermione answered him with a soft kiss. “This is beyond beautiful.”

“Well it’s something to be celebrated.” Snape answered her. “And you are beyond beautiful than anything or anyone else.”

Hermione didn’t say anything.

She only smiled back at him.

It has been two years now.

Many things had come to pass and changed in the outside world.

Things has also come to pass and changed between the two of them.

Ron Weasley had come to pass away together with Order members and many other nameless casualties.

The Minister of Magic had been replaced by Kingsley himself.

Things were changed into order and despair in the outside world.

And yet to all these things, Hermione had been quiet oblivious and unknowing.

She knew only the things that Snape wanted her to know.

And she was aware that it wasn’t everything to be known out there.

It has been two years as she had traced down.

She kept a hidden spot in the cottage for which she created drawings and timelines and charts of events in accordance to whatever things Snape were telling her.

Some of the things aligned together which she concluded were truth.

But there were a lot that didn’t.

And so it confused her and she knew that there were things he still refused to tell her about.

It devastated her deeply but she knew that she had no choice.

It was this way of surviving or some worse situation she may come across with.

No real news ever reached her.

No newspaper nor any owl post – nothing.

She was in absolute isolation from the outside world and her life solely depended with Snape and everything she knew were only the things he preferred for her to know.

She had been so used into this kind of living that she even surprised herself that she was surviving this way.

But it was still survival and she desperately needed to survive.

They ate dinner and drank the expensive wine he had bought for them.

They kissed and she knew that things were to remain as it were for the coming days.

She knew he had some sort of job somewhere across town, some two hours from where the cottage was.

They never discussed it fully.

No, they never really discussed things over.

He would come and go and get back home to the cottage bringing in everything they or she needed – food, clothes and even books.

He tended to absolutely everything she’d ever need and look for.

He seemed to never run out of supplies as they were always abundant of everything they needed.

She got tired of asking as their discussions would always not end well.

“Sev?” she asked looking up at him.

He laid her over a beautiful white mattress by the fireplace for which he filled and scattered with both red and white roses.

He wanted to make sure that their anniversary wasn’t something she’ll likely forget.

“Yes?” he answered kissing her gently.

“I was thinking. It’s been quite long and perhaps we can.. you can allow me to see them?”

He stopped from kissing her and he looked down concernedly at her.

“Are you not happy here?” he asked her softly.

Hermione’s eyes quickly narrowed in panic.

“No, it’s not like that.” Hermione said reaching up to him. “It’s just.. I miss my mother and.. well the others as well-“   

“I don’t think it’s the right time to talk about this.” Snape said filling her mouth with wine from the glass next to them.

Hermione swallowed and stared up at him.

“But I was – “

“The last time I checked they were alright.” Snape simply said and she could already hear the irritation in his voice.

She kept quiet then.

She didn’t like it when she angered him.

She bit her lower lip and looked away from him.

He drained the glass first before returning to her.

He repositioned himself on top of her and began kissing her neckline again.

“It’s been two years. I thought maybe we can visit them on Christmas or something – “

“There have not been much changes, Hermione-“

“Not much changes?” she asked unable to stop herself from reacting.

He looked down at her and stopped kissing her again.

“Not much?” she asked him irritated. “Was Ron’s death not of any significance and difference?”

Her eyes were wide as she spoke and she pushed him off from her.

Snape was silent as he looked back at her stricken state.

“Of the deaths of the people out there? Of the fall of the Ministry of Magic? Of Gringotts? The attack on those Muggle states you’ve told me about – what about those? Are these things not important? Are they not big differences in the span of two years, Severus??”

He was silent as he looked back at her.

“I’m sorry.” Hermione angrily said. “I can’t toast tonight.”

Snape watched as she grabbed the blanket from the end of the mattress and began covering herself with it.

“I’m sorry.” Snape whispered grabbing her by the wrist.

“I want to go to bed.”

“Please, don’t go. I’m sorry.”

“Severus, let me go.”

“No.” Snape answered. “You’re staying here with me.. please.. Please don’t ruin the night”

Hermione stopped moving.

His hand had turned gentle as his voice did so.

She looked up at his black eyes that were seemingly longing deeply for her presence.

He began to move his fingers over her legs and gently caressed her at her most sensitive parts.

“Sev-“ Hermione moaned as he moved his arms around her and began kissing her again.

“Please, please don’t ruin tonight.” Snape whispered gently.

He placed soft kisses around her and soon enough, Hermione felt her body relaxing and responding to his touches.

The moment she did, he quickly captured her lips and once again enamored her into his passion for her.

Capturing her attention and her will easily, he kissed her deeply and gently pushed her back down on the bed of roses he had made especially for her.

 

 

 

  ‘Happy Anniversary’ Hermione read over the envelope in her hands.

“Well what do you think?” Harry asked watching her reaction at the large chocolate in her hands and the pair of tickets to the international book fair they were going to.

“Happy anniversary?” she said back with a reluctant smile back at him.

But before she could do anything else, Harry moved to her and captured her lips to his.

“Harry, stop-“ Hermione said pushing him from her.

His eyes narrowed at her sudden refusal.

It wasn’t like they hadn’t slept again since she returned to him.

“What’s wrong?” he asked her restraining the anger in his tone.

Hermione looked up at him.

“Nothing.” Hermione said. “I’m not – I haven’t washed up and all-“

“It doesn’t matter.” Harry said advancing towards her again but Hermione moved herself away from him.

“Stop it.” Hermione said pushing him. “I’m serious, Harry.”

“I’m also serious.” Harry shot back at her. “Hermione, please-“

“Stop it.” Hermione said moving away from the bed. “I’m serious. I’ll meet you downstairs.”

And then without another word she left him in silence in the room.

 

 

The book fair was the best offer Harry could think of that would cheer Hermione up. But to his utter astonishment, it did very little to cheer her mood.

He was able to purchase tickets for the fair that granted them special access and purchase discounts in all the books in the great book fair.

Great selections after another were placed all over gigantic aisles – the Hermione he knew would have bought almost everything in within sight at the first few steps upon entering the large arena.

But they’ve already been walking for almost an hour, has met some old Hogwarts professors and renowned Ministry officials and some Hogwarts governors as well as some old friends from Hogwarts but still, Hermione had not decided on which book to get.

“The tickets will grant us the largest discount, ‘Mione.” Harry reminded her as they’ve barely bought anything at all. “Are the books not good?”

“They’re fine.” Hermione dryly answered as they walked down another long aisles at the book fair.

“I’ll buy you anything you want.” Harry cheerfully said taking his hand into hers and placing his other hand around her waist.

Hermione shifted and moved away from his arm.

“Yeah, I will tell you if I want something.” Hermione said.

Harry didn’t say anything as they continued to walk down the aisles of selections.

He didn’t understand it.

This should have cheered her up.

“Harry! Hermione!” someone had suddenly called from the other side of the aisle.

They both stopped and turned.

Old Quidditch Captain Oliver Wood came towards them with his wife behind him and a small toddler tagging along his arm.

“Yours?” Harry happily asked.

“Mine.” Oliver said in reply as he shook hands to the both of them. “My wife.”

They both nodded and smiled at the woman who smiled cheerfully back at them.

He took the toddler into his arm for a kiss and handed the child to his wife who left them.

“How are things?” Oliver asked them.

He had been away for years and he was in town for vacation.

“Getting better.” Harry replied taking Hermione’s hand into his.

Hermione smiled and nodded at him.

Ofcourse Oliver was aware of what has transpired to Hermione over the years.

He only smiled back at her.

“Just in the country for a short vacation. We’ll be back in Russia soon.”

The two others nodded noting that’s why she looked not like an English woman and had a different accent.

“I met her on a tour.” Oliver said. “She’s very patient and all.”

“She’s very beautiful.” Hermione commented.

“Thanks.” Oliver replied. “She’s half British. She’s writing about my team when I met and well we dated and that’s where it all began.”

“Good for you.” Hermione commented. “I’m sorry, I would like to check something over that aisle.”

Hermione squeezed Harry’s hand and then she walked towards the other direction.

Harry nodded at her and they both stared at her disappear behind aisles of books.

“Everything good?” Oliver asked Harry.

Harry shook his head.

“I’m trying.” Harry replied. “I’m trying to make things better but I’m not sure if it’s working.”

“Give her time.” Oliver said patting him over the shoulder.

“Have you read the papers?” Harry asked him “Have you heard?”

“I’ve heard.” Oliver answered him. “I don’t understand too why she’s defending him.”

“The fucking bastard manipulated her mind, that’s what.” Harry coldly said.

Oliver looked concernedly up at Harry.

“We’ve got all evidences down.” Harry continued. “But I don’t get why she’s all over into protecting him.”

“Maybe there is a reason?” Oliver suggested.

Harry gave him a glare but he didn’t say anything.

He shook his head.

“I don’t know.” Harry said. “I’m going crazy thinking of things to cheer her up but nothing seems to work.”

“Is she well though?” Oliver slowly asked him in fear of offending him. “Like is she well?”

“She’s fine.” Harry answered brushing his hand up in the air. “We’ve had her check and all.”

“To be honest I’m as surprised as everyone else to find her alive.” Oliver said shaking his head. “Everyone thought that..”

“Everyone else thought she’s died.” Harry said and there was something else in his tone.

“I don’t want to say anything because we all don’t know what really happened, Harry.” Oliver said as he reluctantly stared back at Harry. .”But you’ve got to admit that he did take good care of her and had helped her survive the war.”

 

 

 

“Mother, are you in here?” Draco opened the door and entered her mother’s bedroom. “Father is looking for you.”

His eyes scanned the empty room as he entered.

His burrows furrowed as he saw two open luggage over the bed, a paper bag of dresses and two other bags of goods and necessities.

“Oh, Draco.” Narcissa gasped as she entered the room from the bathroom.

She looked slightly stunned at the presence of his son in her bedroom.

She crossed the room and quickly closed the bag with dresses.

“Are you going somewhere?” he demanded of her as he walked closer to her mother.

“I was just.. I’m just packing some things..” Narcissa replied. “Do you need anything?”

“Father is looking for you.” Draco only repeated staring at her and then looking back at the bag she quickly stashed away.

“I’ll be right out.” Narcissa said.

 “You’re going somewhere.” Draco pointed out at her.

Narcissa looked up at him unable to hide it any longer.

“I’ll be back in two days. I just need some fresh air.”

“Fresh air?” Draco asked back. “You need to bring bread and blankets to get some fresh air to wherever you’re going?”  

Narcissa watched as her son scrutinized the contents of one of the bags and he even bent down and picked up a fallen clothing from the floor.

“I don’t think this will fit you.” Draco pointed out yet again.

He lifted up what looked like a night dress that was way smaller in size than of her mother’s tall physique.

Their eyes met.

“Draco-“

“Where are you going?” he demanded again and this time there was hatred in his voice. “Where are you going mother? Where are you bringing all these things?”

Narcissa didn’t answer. Her gaze upon her own son was wavering and her hands were slightly shaking.

“It’s for a friend. I’m only visiting them for a few days.”

“A few days.” Draco repeated, folding his arms he watched as her mother packed away the rest of the objects. “Do I know this friend of yours?” he asked her.

Narcissa didn’t answer.

She continued rearranging the bags at the other side of the room and turned only when he heard Draco cross towards the end table at the side of the bed.

“Do I know this friend of yours?” he asked, staring at the small bottle in his hand with bluish liquid inside it. “Do I know these friends of yours, mother?”

Narcissa’s eyes turned to slits.

She stared at his own son who reminded him a lot of her husband.

Draco suddenly picked a small bottle from the bed.

Narcissa’s eyes widened as he held it in his hand.

“You see, that’s the thing, mother. You used to tell me everything. Now, you seem to lie to me.”

He threw the bottle up in the air –

“Draco, no!” she screamed at him but Draco caught the bottle back in his hand and stared from her mother and to the bottle and back again.

“What is this?” Draco asked her opening the lid and smelling its contents. “What is this mother?”

“It’s nothing.” Narcissa lied to him. “It’s nothing, give it back to me.”

Draco’s eyes turned into slits this time. He placed it closer to his mouth.

“You’re not going to tell me?” he asked her lowering it to his lips. “What is this mother?”

“That’s – Draco, put that down this instant.” Narcissa ordered coldly.

She tried to look authoritative despite that Draco already knew that she was lying and fearful that he was going to drink it.

“You’re not going to tell me?” he asked him with defiance in his voice.

“Draco, I am warning you.” Narcissa took a step forward.

“Well then.” Draco smirked at his mother. “If you prefer not telling me might as well-“

“ACCIO!”

Both Draco and Narcissa turned and saw Lucius by the doorway with his wand. He was closing the lid once more and was staring angrily at Draco.

“I asked you to call your mother and not waste time dwindling on some nonsense.” Lucius entered the room and handed Narcissa the bottle.

Draco stared at his own father with pure hatred in his eyes.

“I also asked you to stay in the library because your dear aunt Bella will teach you a special spell today after our meeting.”

Lucius stared at him for a full moment before turning to Narcissa.

 “I need the key to the West Wing’s door that leads to the gardens. The Dark Lord has requested to make that area a place to store in some artifacts. I will wait for you downstairs.” And with that, he turned away from her and gave Draco a stern stare before leaving the room.

Narcissa was silent.

She breathed heavily and pocketed the bottle.

“Do what your father asks of you.” Narcissa quietly demanded of him.

She crossed the room to get the key from the drawer when Draco spoke.

“You know where he is.” his voice was low but meaningful. “You know where they are mother. I’m not stupid. Why are you helping them?”

Draco suddenly turned and faced her mother who looked both angry and stricken at him.

“What are you talking-“

“Mother, they’re looking for her!” Draco angrily said. “They’re going to kill you if they find out that you’ve been helping him keep her-“

“I don’t understand what you are talking about – Draco, let my hand go-“

“Mother, please. Let her go. I don’t understand why you’re keeping her – what’s going on -  why he’s keeping her-“

“Draco, let me go this instant!” Narcissa angrily said.

They stared at one another for a long while and Narcissa could see the desperation and fear in her son’s eyes. He was scared and unsure of their fate in the war.

She was seething in anger. Draco was stunned by the look that her mother was giving her. He had never seen her so angry with him before.

“Mother, you’re going to kill yourself if you help them.” Draco told him, walking to her he reached his hand out to her.

“Draco, stop this inst-“

“Mother, please.” Draco softly said and he got down on his knees and without warning, he had placed both hands around the hem of her mother’s dress.

“Draco-“

“Mother, I beg you.” His voice was filled with worry. “Mother, please don’t help them. Don’t tangle yourself up to this war. Please, I don’t want you to die. Please, let her go. Let them find her. There are enough reason for those Order people to kill us –“

“Draco, I said let me go-“ she stopped dead as he looked up at her. There were tears in Draco’s eyes.

“They will kill you if they find out that you’ve been helping him keep her. Mother, please tell me where they are. I’m going to free her, I’m going to let her go.”

They stared at one another for a long while. Draco looked like he was a very young boy begging for some toy he had found in a shop.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Narcissa simply said. She pulled her dress away from Draco and turned away from her own son.

“Mother, please-“

“This is nonsense, Draco. I don’t understand you. I shall pretend we never had this foolish conversation. Go and follow your father’s order of you before he returns here.”

“They’re going to kill you if you-“ Draco cried at her. “I don’t want you to die!”

But Narcissa didn’t say anything. He couldn’t tell what she was thinking and she certainly wanted to keep her facial expression hidden. She didn’t turn to face him again.

“I told you to follow your father’s orders. A good son never disobeys her own mother.”

There was a long pause.

And then she heard Draco move behind her.

He still waiting for her to face him but she did not.

Soon after, Narcissa heard Draco leave the room without another word.

As the door snap shut and his footsteps faded away, Narcissa suddenly dropped to her knees.

“I’m sorry, Draco.” she burst out. “I cannot let her go for that precise reason. I do not want to die. And only Severus can extend my life.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Nine

Wrath

 

The whole hall was quiet as they continued to listen to the attendee of the Wizengamot who was questioning Snape at the witness stand.

“Miss Granger tried to escape your custody in a two time occasion and you have consequently thwarted both circumstances. The war has been won over and stil you kept her in the far islands of Beltane. A decade Mr. Snape if we would specify it – the time for which you have kept Miss Hermione Jean Granger under your custody. The Dark Lord has been defeated only months after the incident of the ambush to the Order of the Phoenix. Tell me if these details are correct?”

There was silence as they waited for Snape’s answer.

His black eyes scanned the attendee first before putting out the word.

“Obviously.” Snape silkily answered him without blinking.

There were strong murmurs in the crowd around them.

“You kept her?” the attendee asked. “And nobody knew about it? Nobody until you were discovered?”

 “Nobody.” Snape’s casual answer.

Hermione was silent across the room where she sat next to Harry.

He was going to lie again.

He was going to keep from everyone that someone else knew where they were.

He was obviously not going to drag in another name in the case – not that it was no longer relevant.

But he was obviously torturing himself into turning himself as a lone criminal into this.

He wasn’t going to drag in the name of that Malfoy woman – he was going to keep her name clean from all of it just as he had promised her.

For Narcissa Malfoy, Draco no longer deserved an additional shame onto his already lifetime smeared resume.

“Ten years into your custody – you had provided her with things and clothes, food and a good shelter. By all means, where did you get all these resources?”

Snape didn’t answer but the attendee continued as he walked around the hall making himself heard all over the large room.

“A secure and almost, completely isolated island Mr Snape – where would you get your means to survive? Yes, let’s assume that there is a small town across it but where – where in the name of heavens did you get resources to sustain everything that the both of you would need?”

They were obviously trying to find out if he had other accomplices.

Hermione was sure that he’d rather die than tell them the truth behind that.

“I had a post at Hogwarts before.” Snape simply answered him. “I had a good position at Hogwarts as an instructor.”

The attendee almost laughed at him but Snape ignored it.

“I do not supposed that teaching could provide you such wealth Mr. Snape.”

“You undermine my skills and intellect in a profession-“

“No.” the attendee impatiently cut him off. “You had an outside resource. Someone from the outside was obviously helping you. Who was it?”

There were a couple of murmurs around the room again.

Hermione could tell that Harry had shifted from his chair but his eyes were focused on Snape.

That thought didn’t seem to occur to him or anyone else for the matter but it interested Harry.

“I had no one else.” Snape answered quietly. “I was able to provide everything by what I had already and by selling custom-made medicinal properties – potions in our world – across the town. We didn’t need much – enough clothes and meal were all we needed. Miss Granger was certainly not demanding of anything else.”

“And if she was sick?”

“I provided her with whatever potions were needed to tend to her.”

There was another silence.

Hermione wanted to say something but knew that it wouldn’t do any good anyway.

The attendee moved away from him with a heavy sigh.

“So it seems you really did take good care of Miss Granger.”

“She was well attended too.” Snape said in a mocking tone. “And much more.”

The attendee sharply turned to Snape who had given him a smirk and a knowing smile.

Even if it was a small gesture, Harry caught sight of it from where they were seated.

“Harry.” Hermione whispered holding his arm that was slowly curling into fists.

“I’m fine.” Harry said through gritted teeth shoving his hand away from her.

“Was there any time Mr. Snape that you had physically hurt Miss Granger?”

“Harm her?” Snape slowly repeated. “Physically?”

“Yes.”

His black eyes turned into small slits as if he was asking him something stupid.

And then he slowly relaxed over his chair as if taking his time to answer the question.

It was challenging the patience of the attendee.

“Did you not read her medical records?” Snape slowly asked.

Gasps were heard across the room.

“Mr. Snape please answer the question directly.” one of the members of the Wizengamot had spoken.

 “Was there any time, Mr. Snape, that you had physically hurt Miss Granger despite that you have taken good care of her welfare?”

Snape looked back at the attendee and then nodded at him.

“She was physically well when she was found, was she not?”

“A few pounds less than normal but she was in a good state.”

“Because I took care of her.” Snape simply said. “If any, I only relished to what a man would certainly desire and lust for a –“

Reactions from the crowd were heard once again.

Snape only smirked.

The attendee looked back at him with wide eyes.

Something that was glinting in his black eyes somewhat angered the attendee.

He knew what he was targeting but he had to continue with his questions.

“You admit that you have physically hurt her?”

“Yes.”

The attendee stared at Snape for a moment.

Never has he ever questioned a man willing to answer and admit the accusations.

“Will you specifically tell us how you have physically hurt her?” the attendee asked.

Snape stared at him for a moment with his black eyes boring to the attendee’s gaze. And then without a mistake, a small smirk appeared across his face again.

“You would like me to specifically give you in detail how I had.. enjoyed our stay at the cottage?” he slowly asked with such pleasure in his silky voice.

A robust of reactions came from the crowd once more.

“You would like me to give you in detail how I had successfully manipulated her mind or how I physically and sexually assaulted Miss Granger?”

NO!” Hermione had loudly screamed from the audience.

Everyone stared at her direction and Harry struggled to keep her back to her seat.

“No! You’re lying! Severus! You’re going to Azkaban, don’t do this!” she cried strangling herself free from Harry’s grasp.

One of the members stood up and nodded for a few Ministry officials to go over to the side where Hermione and Harry sat.

“Mr. Potter, please restrain Miss Granger or she will be taken out of this courtroom.”

But the crowd became harder to sustain as well.

They were all pointing at Snape’s direction and throwing off words at him.

 

“Harry.” Hermione struggle against the officials. “Harry, do something-“

“Keep quiet, Hermione!” Harry warned her nodding to the officials to let her go.

“But Harry-“

“If you do not keep your voice down and behave we are both going to be thrown out of here-“

“I don’t care!” Hermione screamed at him with wide eyes. “I don’t give a damn!”

Harry stared at Hermione with tears struggling in his own eyes.

He couldn’t understand it. He saw her medical records and had read and seen all the evidences and traces that Snape had indeed physically used her.

Did she lose her mind?

How could she not understand reality from fantasy?

Harry, please help him –“

“I’m not going to help him!” Harry suddenly said.

He suddenly grabbed her by the arm and pierced her painfully as he pushed her down back on her chair.

“Harry, you’re hurting-“

“Keep yourself together!” Harry angrily said and people began to stare at their direction.

“I can’t believe you’re doing this to me-“ Hermione screamed as she stood up and pushed Harry backward.

Harry was able to steady himself and then he angrily grabbed her by the arm and she screamed in pain.

People now openly stared at them and even the Wizengamot’s attention were on them.

Hermione’s cries echoed all over the hall.

“You’re not being fair!” Hermione cried at him.

Harry was losing his patience as his fingers painfully dug around her arm.

 “He’s going to be in Azkaban for what he did to you.” Harry breathed out. “He’s going to rot in that godforsaken place for what he did to you.”

And with that, he stormed out of the courtroom leaving Hermione crying by the chair and being contained by the Aurors.

 

 

Hermione remained at the coffee shop across the building.

The hearing had finished and Harry had not returned.

Harry was so pissed with her that she wasn’t sure if he was going to attend the next hearing or if he was even coming home that evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May I?” asked a voice.

Hermione looked up and saw Draco standing with a cup of coffee in his hand.

The café was quiet and wasn’t that crowded when her eyes discreetly looked around her.

He obviously wanted to sit with her.

She didn’t say anything but she sighed and nodded curtly.

She backed away a little from the table and grabbed her book with her at her end of the table.

“Thanks.” Draco said with a slight nod and he sat comfortable in front of her.

She nodded and continued to ignore him.

She reopened her book to return to her ready but was well aware that Draco was staring closely at her as he stirred the small added shot of caffeine over his cup.

“Where’s Potter?” he casually asked her.

“Do you see him around?” Hermione answered without even taking her eyes from the book.

Draco looked up at her dead-pan of an expression.

He knew that reaching out to them wasn’t going to be easy.

Draco didn’t say anything but Hermione seemed to have a bit of a conscience to realize that there was no reason for her to lash at him.

“He went home, I think.”

Draco looked up at her slightly surprised but he didn’t say anything.

“I’m sorry.” Hermione said. “I didn’t mean to sound crappy and all. I’m just not feeling well.”

“That’s alright.” Draco returned curious at what she was reading. “It’s understandable.”

Her love for books has never vanished from her no matter of the years that had passed.

Hermione continued with her reading as if she was alone by the table .

“It’s understandable, you know.” Draco said at his attempt of some sort of small talk.

Hermione still didn’t answer.

“I mean, it’s been very hard for him lately.” Draco said taking a sip from his cup.

This time, Hermione’s eyes slowly left her book and she looked up at him with a narrowed glare.

“Well, it’s not like it’s not hard for me, is it?” she snapped at him.

Draco stared and reached his hand out to her across the table.

Hermione closed her book shut and shoved it back to her bag and was ready to leave.

“It’s not what I meant.” Draco said and it was evident that he didn’t want her to leave.

“I’m sure you meant something else.” Hermione said ignoring his attempt to stop her.

Draco extended his hand to reach across her over the table.

“Granger, you need to understand that Potter is going through a lot-“

“I am also going through a lot!” Hermione angrily said shoving his hand away.

Both their cups of coffee nearly toppled over the table.

Her brown eyes were so cold and her face red in anger.

Draco stopped in mid action staring quietly at her.

He has never seen her that angry before.

She had a point.

“Granger-“

“I’m also going through something, Malfoy but do you see me losing it all over in front of the Wizengamot?”

She was beyond furious as she held her hand up towards the other direction.

Her anger towards Harry had obviously found someone else to vent on.

He didn’t say anything.

He didn’t want to put more wood on a fire that was already more than enough to burn him alive.

He tried to ignore her by changing the topic.

“I heard they’re warning.” Draco said sitting back over his chair. “Even if he is Harry Potter, they are going to ban him from the trial if he doesn’t learn to restrain himself if he loses it again.”

Hermione didn’t say anything this time.

She was staring down at him and how comfortable he looked over her table.

“He listens to nobody.” Hermione said sitting back again.

Draco tried his best to hide the smallest tinge of smile that appeared over his lips as she sat back down.

“Are you sure about that?” Draco asked casually. “Have someone to talk to him like – you know, professor Lupin? He’s with your lot isn’t he-“

“He listens to no one.” Hermione repeated emphasizing the last word.

Draco didn’t say anything.

He began to talk what looked like a sort of small planner from his bag and an elegant looking quill from the inside pocket of his robes.

“Aren’t you going home yet?” she asked curiously seeing his actions.

“I have a business deal in two hours.” Draco answered. “Aren’t you going to go home yet?”

Hermione looked slightly irate again.

“I don’t want to go home yet.” Hermione said settling her book back over the table again.

Draco only nodded at her.

“I want to be away from Harry. To stay somewhere where Harry’s not all over the place spreading his anger.”

Draco looked up at her and could not only hear but also see the frustration over her face.

He’s heard that she’s been living with Harry since she was out of the hospital since she was found.

For about half an hour, they just sat quietly across one another.

Hermione had gone back into reading her book again and Draco kept his attention over his planner.

But he wasn’t really writing.

He was just sitting across her, pretending to be doing something when he was actually observing her closely.

She obviously could stand him now than when they were younger.

“Granger.” Draco quietly said.

“Hmmm.” Hermione said changing the page of her book..

“He’s not hurting you, is he?” Draco slowly said.

Hermione didn’t answer but he caught sight that her eyes had stopped moving.

She had stopped reading and was obviously contemplating on what to answer him.

Hermione slowly looked up at him, staring with careful eyes.

Draco sighed and slowly reached out for her hand across the table.

“I know it’s not my business but I just wanted to-“

“I have to go.” Hermione said shutting her book again and shoving it back into her bag.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t – Granger-“ Draco said trying to stop her but she was determined.

He watched wordlessly as she put her things back inside her bag and wore her scarf across her neck.

“Granger-“

“I need to cook for Harry before he gets home. I totally forgot.” Hermione said avoiding his gaze. “I have to go. I lost track of time-“

“I’m sorry.”

Hermione stopped and stared over his hand that caught her wrist.

They stared at one another in mid-action.

“I’m really sorry, I have to go.” Hermione said pulling her hand back from him.

Draco gently let her go.

“I’ll see you again, won’t I?”

“At the trial.” Hermione said moving away from the table.

“I mean for coffee! Granger, wait-” Draco called out after her as she immediately walked away from the table to the point that she was running already.  

He stood there, staring after her wake and curious with her actions after hearing his question.

He could almost swear that he could smell the fear coming out from her well-groomed features.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The only reason that you are here is because your father had gone a great deal of favor for my family.”

“Understood. And I am more than grateful.” Draco quietly replied as he bowed towards the Ministry personnel who let him enter the high-security tunnel that led down the corridor and towards a completely sealed room.

He opened the door for Draco and let him inside without meeting his eyes.

Draco nodded and quietly entered.

“You have only an hour to stay here and ask him what you need to.” the official had said.

“Thank you.”

“This is the first and last time I will ever do this for you, young Malfoy.”

And with that, he left Draco alone in the room.

Draco pulled up a chair inside the sealed room and stared around him.

His footsteps ebbed away down the corridor and then nothing.

The silence in the room was almost dementing.

Draco quietly sat and waited for the door opposite him to slowly open.

It took a few moments and when it did, a man garbed in prisoner’s clothing came out.

The man just stared at him for a moment, still in what looked like a frozen state of shock upon being taken out of his cell and brought upon into that room.

It has only been three months and years had already been added to his facial features.

 Their eyes met.

The look of shock slowly faded away from the man with black eyes.

“It must have taken you a great deal of money and favors to get me out of my cell to meet you in this secluded room.”

Draco stared up at his godfather that he has not seen up this close for so many years.

Sitting across him now and hearing his cold and snarky voice slowly returned him at the point in time where he used to scare the wits out of him.

“You have to eat.” Draco said waving his wand across them over the table.

A large tray slowly appeared filled with a full meal.

The black eyes lingered lazily over the tray and then back at Draco.

“Bread and butter will not change my fate, Draco.” Snape quietly said sitting straight over his chair.

“But at the moment, it will change your state of hunger.” Draco said. “Eat.”  

Snape didn’t move.

He was just staring at him, carefully studying Draco and trying to read through his mind which he has found to be open and vulnerable for him to read through.

He wasn’t there to hide anything from him or was there for any sort of sneaky agenda.

“What do you want, Draco?” he asked in a clear voice. “What is it you want from me?”

“The truth.” Draco gave the straight answer staring meaningfully back at him.

There was silence.

Then Snape gave out a hoarse laughter.

It sounded as if his voice had not been used for this long.

“The truth, Draco?” he asked him waving his arms over his dirty and dangling prisoner’s clothing.

He was giving his godson a mocking smile.

“This is the only truth, Draco.”

Draco didn’t look amused at all.

Draco didn’t look amused.

He shook his head.

He did not understand him.

“I can get you out of here.” Draco seriously said.

He moved closer across the table and rested his arms over it

“Severus, I can get you out of here if you would like to. I am one – if not the only – of the richest man in all of Europe.”

Snape stared back at the determination glittering over his godson’s eyes. .

“I can get you out of here.” Draco whispered. “But you have to let me. You have to help me get you out. You have to tell me what has happened all those years.”

Snape’s black obsidian eyes met Draco’s.

He could also see the desperation in his eyes.

There was sincerity to help but there were things he didn’t understand as well.

For him, despite of all the years that has passed, Draco was still too young to understand everything.

And he was too old for a new life.

He was never going to be with Hermione anyway.

“I am tired, Draco.” Snape said.

He moved closer to the table and rested his hands on either side as he slowly stood up.

“Severus-“

His black eyes lingered over the sandwiches but he did not touch them.

He noticed his eyes lingered longer over the cups of tea before them.

He could tell that he was reminiscing some of the old days where he brewed for passion and hatred.

“I am a tired and old man, Draco.” Snape quietly said. “Let me be. Leave me alone. Leave me here. There is no life for me outside-“

“That’s a lie.” Draco interrupted him. “You know there’s a life outside of these-“

“There is no life for me out there, Draco!” Snape suddenly said.

His black eyes were filled with anger this time.

“You’re lying-“

“You of all people should understand that.” Snape said. “There is no life-“

“Don’t you want to be with Granger?” Draco asked him. “Were you two not in a relationship?”

Snape stopped.

He suddenly blinked and looked away from him.

Draco was only second-guessing but his reactions were already revealing things he wanted to know without even asking.

Draco stared at him, determined to get the answers he came for.

“It’s Granger, isn’t it?” Draco said. “There was something in those years-“

“You don’t understand what you’re talking about-“

“To hell with that!” Draco suddenly yelled at him. “You can foold the world but not me – no, you cannot-“

“Enough of this, Draco!” Snape lashed out at him banging his fists over the table.

Draco’s eyes widened in alarm.

He stood away from the table and was struggling to kick the chair.

His fists were clenching at his sides as he tried to avoid Draco’s gaze.

Draco waited for him to calm down a little.

“I can get you out of here.” Draco said yet again. “I can assure a future for you and for Hermione – all you have to do is-“

“There is no future for the two-“

“You are a hero of this war if you have forgotten!” Draco angrily yelled at him.  

“I am no hero of this-“

“Dammit!”

Snape’s eyes widened.

Draco had banged his fist over the table and his godfather glared at him as if he was mad.

They stared breathing heavily against one another.

 

 Snape looked furious but it was nowhere near how Draco looked at the moment.

“I can bloody get you out of this hell.” Draco breathed out. “I can goddamn give your life back if you want to. But you need to tell me – you need to make me understand what happened in those years.”

Snape didn’t answer him.

If any, he only looked like he wanted to avoid his gaze.

“Why did you take her? Why did she stay with you for that long only to come back and end up this way?”

Still, there was nothing.

“I can get you out of this hell.” Draco said in barely a whisper.

His godfather stared back at him.

Snape could swear that he could see the same begging eyes from Narcissa many years ago. .

“Please.” Draco’s voice broke the silence. “Let me help you as you have saved my mother and loved her as if she were your own sister.”

Snape looked away from him, the pain in his eyes very evident.

And Draco was nowhere giving up.

“If you have loved the both of us, you will let me help you. She would want it. Please let me help you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rain was so hard that it made it very difficult for Draco to see where he was going exactly.

His travelling cloak was so drenched that it weighed heavier than usual over his shoulders.

He looked around him as he reached what looked like a very old village.

It was almost midnight and he wasn’t sure where exactly he was.

He was only sure of one thing – he had been travelling for seven hours – following the trails of magic of his own mother as she Apparated and Disapparated place after another.

He tried so hard to keep himself hidden from her but not too far that he’d lose sight of her.

She was very careful that he could swear that she was doing something along the lines of stealth. 

He followed her carefully and as quietly as he could possibly do so.

And she had stopped in front of what looked like an old-looking inn and pub.

He entered ten minutes after she did.

The bar was full and the wizards and witches inside were foreign looking people.

He may be at a side of London that he’s never really visited or so.

No familiar face greeted him and so he entered quietly and looked around his surroundings beneath his hooded cloak.

He went straight towards the bar where the bar man was cleaning several glasses.

“May I help you?” he asked Draco as he reached the counter.

“Have you seen a woman walk here?” he asked not really knowing how he was going to describe her.

The barman stared curious at him as his eyes continued to scan the room.

“A woman in black cloak and emerald robes?” he asked him.

“Yes.” Draco said. “She entered a few minutes before I did.”

The bar owner just stared at him.

Obviously perplexed and annoyed at Draco’s inquiry as he seemed uninterested in ordering anything.

“Are you going to buy a drink?” he asked him.

Draco looked back at him, annoyed.

And then he realized that he was asking for some money for the information he needed.

“Bloody hell.” Draco muttered rolling his eyes.

He pulled out several galleons from his wet pocket and tossed it across the table.

“What would you like to drink?” the bar owner asked casually.

“Whatever you have.” Draco said impatiently. “Now, have you seen her?”

The bar owner stared up at him as he prepared him something to drink.

“The woman with the blonde hair?” he asked her with a raised brow.

“Yes.” Draco answered in gritted teeth. “Where did she go?”

“Why would you want to know?” the barman asked him as he tossed vodka and some other things over his glass.

Draco glared at him.

“Because I already paid you for the answer.” Draco angrily said adding a few more galleons across the table.

The barman smiled as he collected over the additional coins.

Draco impatiently waited as he finished his drink and placed it carefully in front of him across the table to drink.

“She exited the bar the moment she got here.” the barman answered. “She used the back door and went to her usual place at the other side. Her usual habit. She visits every three months. ”

Draco’s eyes widened at the answer.

“Do you know her?” the man asked him

“Where’s the exit?” Draco asked back getting himself off the stool he sat on.

The man stared blankly at him for a moment

“Bloody hell.” Draco spat at him. “Are you kidding me?”

The barman only smirked as Draco tossed another pouch full of galleons across the counter.

“Straight to that corridor. Turn left and then a door across the back – the black one. There is a staircase that will lead you to the private rooms. She hired the third door at the left side. Only employees are allowed. However, sicne you’ve been very generous like that woman-“

“Keep the bloody change.” Draco spat and before the barman could say anything else, he hurriedly left the counter and followed the given direction.

Draco followed the man’s directions and has quickly reached the black door that led to the staircase.

His heart was pumping so fast.

He was unsure of what he was going to see and why he was even there in the first place.

 And most importantly, he knew that he was betraying his own mother’s trust.

He had been doing it for weeks now.

Draco had been following her whereabouts and trying to know who she was talking to or writing the anonymous letters to.

But he had failed time again.

But tonight, he was going to find out about his mother’s deepest secret.

He had been very determined for a long time now and he has never gotten this far as tonight.

He had a hunch, but he couldn’t be very sure until he sees it with his own eyes..

She was seeing someone.

And he had a terrible idea on who it might have been all along.

All the anonymous letters, the things she would sneak out of the manor or packages she sends out and disappears without a trace.

It felt as if she was feeding some secret family.

 But that secret will no longer be tonight.

Draco breathed and entered the black door he’d reached.

As instructed, he found the staircase that led to the door and the private rooms area.

He found the seventh door altogether and counted the third at the left side.

As instructed, he found the staircase that led to the corridor with private rooms.

He found seven door altogether and counted the third at the left side.

His ears were agile and he was vigilant for any type of movement at all from any of the rooms and doors around him.

He halted at the third door at the left side.

He wasn’t sure now what to do.

Should he knock?

Should he blast the door open?

But before he could even fully decide, he heard noises from the inside of the room - like something had been yanked away that caused the heavy sound.  

“You’re endangering yourself! You have to give her up!”

A voice had screamed fully.

Draco’s eyes widened.

 He knew that voice too well.

And it made him fearful to hear fear in that tone that was usually in command or proud.

Draco slowly took his wand out and held it tight in his hand.

He has decided to draw himself inside the room and use Stunning Spells.

But before he could even begin counting before he blasts the door, it suddenly burst open right at his face.

Draco nearly dropped his wand.

His blue eyes met very wide and surprised pair of black eyes.

Severus Snape, his ex-professor and godfather was standing right in front of him.

“You…” Draco whispered unable to move a muscle.

His godfather looked as surprised as he was.

And then at one glance, her mother suddenly appeared behind him and was looking over Snape’s shoulder to see what was happening.

Her eyes widened upon seeing Draco.

Draco’s eyes ran from her then back at Snape.

He had a moment to take in his image.

He had not seen him for about a year now and he looked as if he had aged many years already.

He was wearing a travelling cloak that looked old and shabby.

He was bearded and his eyes were sunken too deep as if he barely slept at all.

He was even thinner than Draco had ever seen him.

Draco opened his mouth to say something but then, a sudden flash of light appeared before him and a spell he knew too well had been uttered before he could even take one step backward and defend himself with a spell that would counter act on, “Obliviate.”

 

 

 

“Should I Obliviate Harry then?” Draco asked as he stood in front of her across the table.

Hermione looked up at Draco Malfoy and nodded for him to have a seat.

“You don’t have to.” Hermione dryly replied.

“Then pray tell why you had invited me for coffee?” Draco asked.

 

It has been two days since the trial and Draco had been walking around Diagon Alley when he saw her inside a bookstore.

He entered in the hopes of stalking her to see if she was alright.

But she saw him thinking that it was a chance upon encounter.

Hermione then asked him if he wanted to have coffee with her.

“I told you.” Hermione replied. “I’m bored at home.

Draco stared at her.

Hermione Granger was never bored with her books.

There was always something to read or something to do for her.

“I would have believed that if you had been in Slytherin.” Draco said signaling for the waiter to give them two cups of cappuccino and a platter of sandwiches.

Hermione didn’t say anything at his comment.

She looked like she wanted to say something but didn’t want to continue.

Hermione only bit her lower lip, avoiding his gaze and pretending to look for something inside her bag.

“Pray tell brave Gryffindor – if you’re really brave, then tell me the truth.”

Hermione looked up at his mocking tone.

“Why did you ask me to accompany you here?”

She looked away and placed down the book she took out from her bag.

Draco stared and waited and for some reason, her brown eyes were suddenly intimidating him.

He tried not to blink away.

 “Is it wrong to see you?” she asked. “Is it really wrong to want to see an old schoolmate?”

 “I would have been fooled if I’m an idiot.” Draco said with a small smile at her.

Hermione bit her lip and looked annoyed.

“Slytherins are not stupid, Hermione.”

She rolled her eyes at him and opened her mouth for a backlash but Draco suddenly grabbed her arm.

It was a sudden but gentle movement.

She looked sharply up at him as if she had been electrified.

She tugged and pulled her arm back but Draco refused to let her arm go.

“Malfoy-“

“I’m sorry.” Draco said letting her arm go.

He watched as she touched and rubbed the area he had touched as if it was a painful grasp.

Did she not want to be touched by any man?

Was she still traumatized at being touched by a man?

“It’s nothing.” Hermione said avoiding his gaze again.

“I’m just wondering why.” Draco said. “It’s not that it’s wrong. I’m just slightly confused and all. It may be wrong for Potter.”

“Everything is wrong for Harry nowadays.” Hermione suddenly said.

She returned her attention to her book and Draco quietly observed her.

There was spite in her tone.

“Hermione?” Draco slowly said. “Can I call you that?”

“Yes.” Hermione answered without looking up at him.

“Are you and Potter fighting?”

“He’s a changed man.” Hermione sighed heavily. “He absolutely hates everything now. He’s a stranger. It’s as if I don’t know him anymore. He’s sour all the time. He barely smiles and he wants nothing and talks nothing but –“

“Putting my godfather to jail.” Draco ended the sentence.

She didn’t say anything.

She turned her head the other direction and just as the waitress returned for their order.

Draco watched her depressed eyes as she moved forward for her cup of cappuccino.

“Hermione, I will try to help the two of you.”

Her eyes slowly lit up but she didn’t say anything.

Draco didn’t know why but her attention towards him seemed and felt so important at that very moment.

He slowly reached forward her hand again.

His fingertips touched the back of her wrist.

She didn’t withdraw this time but she didn’t react either.

“Hermione.”

“Draco, look.” Hermione heavily breathed looking up at him. “Just try.”

He stared at her with a questioning glare.

“I will do my best.”

Suddenly, Hermione let her coffee go and placed both her hands over his extended hand across the table.

Draco was too shock himself to move at all.

“I’m begging you now.” Hermione said looking back at him with a saddened gaze. “I know I am in no place to ask you anything. But please.. please, Draco.”

“Hermione-“

“Severus is innocent.” Hermione quietly cried at him. “Severus is innocent and that as much I can tell you.”

 

 

 

 

 

Where have you been?”

Hermione quietly entered their darkened living room space.

The whole house was dark and it started raining again outside.

“I just wanted some air.” Hermione answered without reluctance.

She removed her travelling cloak and dropped the house keys over at the small end table next to the sofa.

She carefully placed a small paper bag on the sofa.

“I bought us some dinner so you don’t have to cook tonight.”

“Really?”

Hermione didn’t say anything.

 Harry’s tone was one of mockery and she was sure that they’d end up fighting again.

“Yes, really, Harry.”

Harry stared up at her with eyes that were ignited with anxiety.

“Nothing else?” he had asked her. “You did not go anywhere else?”

“Where would I go?”

There was some silence between them and they only exchange glares.

Hermione did not like how Harry was treating her recently and she will definitely not tolerate it.

“Tell me if you’re going to have dinner so I can prepare it for you.”

Hermione began picking up the paper bag again and was about to turn to leave when Harry grabbed her thin wrists.

He looked up at her with mixed emotions of anger and question in his eyes.

“I will ask again.” Harry quietly said. “Where did you go?”

Hermione stared down at him.

She did not understand what answer he wanted.

Was he following her the whole day?

“I already answered you.”

Hermione tried to grab her arm back but Harry didn’t let go.

“Harry-“

“You’re not going to tell me?” he challenged her.

Hermione’s eyes darkened down at him.

She angrily snatched her hand back.

“I already answered you.” Hermione angrily said pushing herself away from him. “ I don’t have to explain myself.”

Without another word, she turned away from him with the bag she was carrying.

But before she could reached the door Harry had suddenly launched from the chair and had closed it before her face.

“What the-“

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!” he suddenly yelled at her pushing her against the door.

Hermione’s eyes widened in shock and pain.

Harry was standing before her seething in anger.

She had never seen him like that and it scared her.

The look in his once warm emerald eyes had gone.

 It was like he was being possessed.

“Harry-“

“I’m not going to let you cheat on me-“

“I’m not bloody cheating on you!” Hermione screamed at his face.

Hermione turned away from him and tried opening the door but it wouldn’t budged.

She looked up at him and knew that he was using wandless magic to close and lock the door.

“Harry..”

“I asked you and asked you nicely, Hermione. I just want to know where you have been-“

“I’ve gone out for air and bought groceries and dinner for us-“

“Bloody liar!”

Harry angrily screamed and he shoved the paper bag away from Hermione’s hands.

Two platters of packaged food scattered all over the floor with bottle of warm Butterbeers spilling all over.

Hermione stared up at him but before she could react Harry had shoved her back against the door.

She fell hard and painfully towards the floor.

She cringed in pain as her knees hit the marble floor painfully.  

Harry angrily grabbed her arm and shook her.

“Why are you lying to me!”

He pushed her back on the floor.

Hermione closed her eyes, stunned as Harry angrily raised his arm ready to hit her.

She coward and whimpered in fear but the blow never came.

She slowly looked up and saw him staring at down at her with tearful eyes.

“Harry..” Hermione softly whispered.

It took him a moment for Harry to regain composure.

He blinked and stared at the mess around them as if not aware of what he has done.

He straightened himself breathing heavily

“I’m not hungry.” Harry simply stated straightening his cloak.

He walked over the spilled food and kicked the empty bottles of butter beer.

“I’ll be back before midnight. I need to finish a work at the Ministry.”

“Harry-”

Without another word, Harry had moved away from her and towards the door.

Hermione was left on the floor, stunned and scared at what had just transpired.

She remained unmoving until she heard their entrance door open and close and lock and she heard the familiar sound of Disapparation. 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter X

The Enchanted Glass 

 

 

 

 

Ten

 

It was nearly midnight when Draco received a note from one of his associates.

He sat waiting in the large library in the Malfoy Manor waiting for the man to arrive.

 “Brandy? Whiskey?” Draco offered the wizard the moment he arrived in his drenched travelling cloak.

“I’m alright, Young Master Malfoy.” The man declined and sat opposite Draco.

He stared at Draco’s exhausted physique.

“Losing some sleep, Young Master?” he asked with a curious smile.

“A lot of it actually.” Draco said returning the smile.

The man nodded and he slowly pulled out an envelope from his cloak and placed it across the table between the two of them.

He pulled an envelope from his cloak and handed it across the large mahogany desk towards Draco.

“Are you sure about this?” Draco asked staring at the Ministry seal over the envelope.

“Positive,

He read it a couple of times before folding it back again and placing it over the table.

“Are you sure about this?”

“Yes, Young Master.”

Draco looked reluctant to open the envelope.

He inhaled sharply and took hold of it.

“If you will act, you must act fast.” the man reminded him. “Mr. Potter is doing everything in his name and power to speed up the process of Mr. Severus Snape’s trial.”

“I know what he’s doing.”

“No, not this Potter.” the man said “He is no longer the man he used to be. As I’ve heard, he seems to be willing to go for the resources of the old ways to win the Wizengamot over.”

Draco didn’t say anything.

He seemed to be expecting that fact already.

The man stared back at Draco with a mournful look over his face.

 “He does not differ from my own father if he would take on that path.”

“You must understand that a desperate man will go to any length to gain what he wants.”

Draco’s eyes turned up to the man across him and they exchanged a meaningful glare.

The sealed envelope contained information on reports on Harry’s late-night visits at the Ministry talking to people after another who can possibly ensure a faster process for the trial no matter what the jury will decide for Snape’s fate.

It was so unlike for the Boy Who Lived to be working this way.

But he was desperate.

And love could truly make a person insane.

“How long do we have?”

“A month, Young Master.” the man answered.

Draco’s eyes widened.

“A month?” Draco repeated, aghast.

“I’ll give you two if we get lucky.”

“I’ll give you two if we get lucky.”

He was speechless.

Draco knew he did not have much time.

This would only mean that he would also have to take drastic measures if he really wanted to help Hermione and his godfather.

But the main problem was that Snape does not seem to want his or anyone’s help.

He seemed determined to rot at Azkaban.

Draco sharply turned to the man.

“What arrangements must be made?” he seriously asked. “I will pay – no matter how much. Tell me what it is that I need to do – anything and everything – whatever must be bought to win this one.”

The man looked back up at Malfoy.

He was carefully studying the boy before him.

He seemed only slightly concerned of his offer.

He knew the Malfoys since the old days.

His own family had worked for Draco’s great grandfather and he himself had worked for Lucius Malfoy.

He stared at the boy that he knew before he could even learn to walk and talk.

He had watched Draco grow up from in his constant visits at the manor doing his father’s biding.

He was a kind boy and a son who had no choice for the choices his own parents forced upon him.

“What is it that we need?” Draco asked again disturbing his trail of thoughts.

 

 

 “Time, Draco.” the man said standing up to meet his gaze. “Time is the resource that your godfather is in desperate need of. It is the only defense you have at the moment.”

 

 

 

 

 

“We don’t have enough time.” Snape said. “You must allow me to do this.”

“I can’t!” Hermione cried painfully. “Please, don’t.”

Severus Snape stared at his wounded student.

She has been bed ridden for seven days now.

Seven days exactly since the ambush of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Seven days and the damage it inflicted upon the Order members would certainly last a lifetime.

The ambush had been overwhelming, too much to the expectation of the Aurors.

Their main goal was to attack and kill as much Order members as possible and if lucky enough, take Harry Potter to be handed alive to the Dark Lord.

The Order’s attempt of saving and transferring the boy to another location was so futile that it was as good as a suicide mission.

Snape had been there amongst the other Death Eaters at that fated event.

He tried his best to do what he had to do that night – to try with his best and ensure the safety of the boy he swore to protect to his mother’s grave – and to save anyone else he could.

Deaths did become inevitable.

He could not save them all.

But he was able to save one – the only one within his reach at the time.

Hermione could barely remember everything that took place.

Her whole body was in pain and a deep wound was still fresh at her side.

She opened her eyes and found herself on a four-poster bed encased in a circular glass case created by her professor.

She had been healing within it for the past days.

She had been too weak to even question him why she was kept inside a glass.

Snape had asked her what she could recall.

It took her days to remember and yet the memory was quite vague.

They were partnered each with an Auror or so but instead, Harry proposed they ride together.

Despite Lupin’s reluctance for such a plan, they agreed that she go with Harry Potter.

The ambush took place and Harry soared across the skies in order to save both their lives while trying to evade the spells trying to kill them off.

She recalled someone tailing them in the speed of light, determined to kill them.

And then there were a spell that hit them both and another sharp pain seared her.

Her visions blurred and she could only remember Harry’s voice screaming her name out and that was it.  

She could hear the screams of people around her, she could see the blurred lights of spells being hit and thrown at different directions.

She could feel her pulse losing as she felt the fast draw of London wind across her face.

She was going to die.

But she didn’t die.

Snape didn’t say anything as she finished her recollection of what has happened.

He had seen everything from his airborne position.

He had tried so hard to fly as close as possible to them without having to look like he was actually waiting for someone to attack them so he could counter-act the spell.

It was very difficult to try and save them when it was Bellatrix tirelessly tailing on them.

Bellatrix had hit them with a spell so hard that the light was blinding enough for him to take in a moment to adjust his flight to see what has happened.

And then he saw it – the pair had bit hit squarely and he had to use some maneuver to save the both of them.

But Hermione was closest to him and it would raise much suspicion if he saves the boy’s life should anyone seen him take the boy instead.

So he took Hermione instead.

It occurred so fast that next thing he knew, he found himself landing straight over the ice-cold waters of London with Hermione in his grasp.

“Am I dead?”

Were the first words she uttered the moment she woke up.

She was within a glass case of some sort on some comfortable bed.

 “You’re not dead, Miss Granger.”

 “Professor Snape? Is that you?”

Snape didn’t answer.

He wasn’t sure he wanted her to remember who had healed and rescued her.

After all, the war out there was far from over.  

“Rest. That is all that you need to know right now.”

“Wait..”

A hand clasped around his.

It was a weak grasp but it had stopped him from walking away from the bed.

Snape stared down at his weak ad badly wounded student.

He had been tending to her for days now.

He did not understand why the usual potions and spells he used for healing were not working on her.

Something was amiss, something was terribly wrong.

“Am I going to die?”

“You’re not going to die.” Snape firmly said wishing he could really confirm it. “Now, rest.”

He had been firm with his word.

No, he was not going to let her die.

He was going to save her in any way he could.

He gently pulled her hand away from him and rested it on the bed next to her.

He did not want her to inquire any further about anything.

He did not want to answer her questions he knew she would tend to ask sooner or later.

He must figure out first what is wrong with her so he could heal her thoroughly and then he could probably talk to her about how he was going to get her back to the Order or much better, Obliviate her and secretly bring her back to the doorstop of the Order safe and sound.

That was the plan he was willing to go for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Ten years’ worth of evidences have been laid out, Miss Granger.” The attendee said as he walked around the trial room pointing over some pile of thick parchments over the long table in the middle of the room.

“Dialogues, statements and physical evidences – most of them if not all – are telling the one fate that Mr. Snape may soon face. The man in question even admitted all of these.”

Hermione didn’t say anything as the attendee walked around the room.

She sat as quiet and as well-behaved as possible in the witness’ stand.

“The cottage at Beltane had been swept and found more than enough evidences of the ten years you’ve been under the wing of Mr. Severus Snape. Statements of those who rescued you that day – or those there to witness taking you out of the cottage – would only point to one fact and reality – that you have indeed been taken and abducted by the man in question.”

The whole courtroom listened to the attendee’s opening remarks regarding today’s trial.

The first on the stand was Hermione herself.

Both Harry and Draco were present at the audiences and Snape was held at the other side of the courtroom guarded by Aurors of the Ministry.

“Please do not deny all these as it would be a waste of time.”

Hermione was gritting her teeth and giving the attendee dagger-like stares but she didn’t say anything.

The attendee continued and he laid out a couple of parchments over the large table in front of the judge and the jury.

“These are medical and physical statements – verifying that Miss Granger had been physical used by the accused in those ten long years. There have been evidences of a few potions that remained in her blood. These various of potions contain the following: healing potions for both external and internal wounds, essences of Sleeping Draught, various traces of potions used to heal physical deficiencies such as fever, colds, sore throats, etc, etc. And there is also a trace of a strong potion called ‘Enamortia’ found in her blood.”

There were several whispers to the last statement.

Everyone knew what the potion was and what it was for.

Draco stared across the room for Harry’s reaction.

He was quiet but he could tell that he was seething in anger.

The last mentioned potion was a strong potion to prevent one from bearing a child.

It was evident to everyone that Snape had indeed been physically using Hermione and had been feeding her such a strong potion to prevent her from getting pregnant from his advances.

“A few if not many.” The attendee continued his statements. “Evidences of your failed attempts of escape has also been stated within this court and heard by both audience and jury. Concluding these altogether, the jury and Wizengamot will have to decide their final jurisdiction to this case within two or three final trials.”

Hermione looked up at the attendee who turned to her with an utmost smirk over his face.

“Miss Granger, we are but at the near end of this trial. Please bear with all the people within this courtroom and cooperate accordingly. Do you understand?”

Hermione stared up at the man with pure hatred in her eyes.

Since the first day of the trial, all evidences had indeed pointed at Snape and all her attempts at saving the man was futile.

There was nothing she could do to save him.

If only she could talk to him or if only they will be given a chance to talk – she would understand what was really going on – why was he doing this to her?

Did he not want her anymore?

Did he not love her anymore?

“I understand.” Hermione quietly answered.

She looked up across the room and saw Harry relaxed a little in his seat.

He was quiet but his eyes were on her.

 It slightly scared her to see him stare at her that way.

She unconsciously reached over her painful arm where he had grasped and pinned her angrily against the wall a few days ago.

“We shall go back then to the events of the time he had taken you.”

The courtroom was silent as the attendee opened another folder.

“These are statements sworn to by Miss Granger and Mr. Snape.”

Hermione’s eyes turned to the parchments being laid towards the jury’s long table.

Harry even straightened up to his seat to have a closer look at the parchments being handed over across the room.  

“According to both statements, Miss Granger have been taken in by Mr. Snape the night of ambush in the year of 1997. It was the night where the Order was planning to transfer Mr. Harry Potter to a safe house in order to keep him from He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-“

“From Voldemort you mean.” Hermione clearly said.

The room gasped and stared at Hermione.

The attendee tried to ignore her and continued as if she did not say anything.

“The Order and Aurors alike were attacked by the Death Eaters the time. Killing one of the most successful Aurors of all time, Mr. Alastor Moody.”

Hermione tried her best not to recall that night.

It was one of her worse nightmares.

“Deaths from both sides have been laid out. Miss Granger had been hit by spells and that is where Mr. Snape had come into the situation. He was among the Death Eaters that ambushed the transfer and it was that very opportunity that he had taken to abduct Miss Granger.”

“He rescued me.” Hermione angrily corrected him.

The attendee ignored her and made his voice a little louder than necessary.

“Mr. Snape admits in his statement that he had taken Miss Granger. Yes, he had healed her for the several days that he had taken her in and this statement has been validated by Miss Granger herself. Is that right, Miss Granger?”

“Yes.” Hermione answered at the corner of her mouth.

She was giving the attendee dagger like stares but she did not say anything else.

The attendee smiled and continued.

“Seven days – these are from both their statements. She was unconscious for the first three days and then had come into consciousness for the rest of these days accounted for. Seven days, my respectable Wizengamot. This is the crucial part of the investigation. For from this point on, their statements began to vary at different parts of our story or rather their stories.”

Draco sat straight and listened to the continuation of the trial.

Apparently, there really were lapses between their statements and listening here now may give him clues as to what really happened.

“Miss Granger’s statements says that after the seven days or so weeks after that, she had noticed that Snape had been asking her to drink something and that he had encased and kept her in the circular glass case from which she had woken to. His previous statement to her was that it was a place to keep her as he healed her. However, her stay within this magical glass case had been longer than she had expected. She had stated herself that he had asked her to take in several more potions and had kept her locked in the room for reasons she did not understand. And in Mr. Snape’s statement, he has still been healing her by this time. This discrepancy is very obvious – Mr. Snape had begun doing something against Miss Granger’s will and wants at the time.”

“I already told you that this statement is not what I have given you!” Hermione angrily said almost shouting .”After the seven days, he had kept me still and locked up in that cottage because he was experimenting on some potion for me because he thinks something is seriously wrong and ill with me!”

“Silence, Miss Granger!” The attendee had lost it and had pointed a finger at her.

The Wizengamot held the people down from their reactions but gave blessing to the attendee to continue reading the statements at hand.

“As this continued for weeks and months, this were the time that she had attempted two of her failed escapes from the cottage and from Mr. Snape. And to Mr. Snape’s statement, this was the time that he had admitted of keeping extra incantations around the cottage as to prevent her from escaping him.”

“This is insane!”

“As months would pass,” the attendee continued ignoring Hermione’s tactless banter. “Miss Granger’s statements become more and more different from Mr. Snape’s. As an example, she kept her statement that he had been feeding her well, giving her clothing and a well-kept shelter she needed as he healed her. That he has been giving her potions that strengthened her and helped her regain her old weight and her physical activities that she had failed to do so at the first days and weeks after the attack. She also stated that despite being bored and secluded from the Wizarding World, he had been giving her enough if not scarce news of the Wizarding World and the war’s on-going and such and such. In Miss Granger’s eyes, she is under a protected environment by a man whose will is nothing but to heal her, protect her and give her back to her loved ones.”

Harry didn’t say anything.

He continued to listen and watch the trial and its transition today. He had been trying so hard all afternoon to keep his cool and his nerves under control despite of all the things he had been hearing.

“And this is where it is differed in Mr. Snape’s statement. He had admitted that by this time, he had been administering potions to Miss Granger – not just healing potions, but potions to keep her from remembering things, potions that would prevent her from being fully well or potions that gave her enough strength to move around and about to think she’s gaining back her strength but weren’t really. He admitted into feeding her false information to many things – from the potions he fed her to the news of the WIzarding World. He stated that gaining her trust was his first step into making sure that she trusts no one but him so she would stay for a few more weeks until his plans were complete.”

“Plans? There were no plans! He was just trying to keep me alive – he was trying to keep all of them alive!”

“Restrain the lady.” The attendee calmly called for the Aurors who began holding Hermione down over her seat.

Harry didn’t say anything.

He did not even flinch when the two Aurors stayed behind Hermione and kept her arms down to keep her from standing up again.

The attendee looked furiously at Hermione but he did not say anything else.

He straightened his clothes and continued walking around pointing and holding various of the parchments of the statements of the two.

“We all know – and history would agree with us – that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had been defeated by none other than Mr. Harry James Potter only months later from the night of the ambush. This would give enough time for Miss Granger to completely heal at the place she had been kept and would give more than enough time for the accused to bring her back to her loved ones especially to Mr. Harry Potter who as sources said, had a relationship with her at the time.”

Harry sat straight and proud from his seat.

There were glances and whispers.

He was wholly proud of this information and knew that he had the upper hand in this case.

“The hero of this war survived. The world may be victorious but he was not. For he knew that he was missing someone – the love of his life, Miss Granger. She had been missing from the said night of the ambush. There was no body found in the waters of London nor any trace to tell of her death, therefore from then henceforth, she was presumed to be missing. As time had passed, even Miss Granger’s closest loved ones believed her death and that there was no one they were waiting. In vain, Mr. Potter had looked, had searched and waited and all for nothing. Nothing until they were recovered at the island of Beltane.”

Hermione kept her head down and her mouth quiet.

Her eyes were filled with tears now. Everything were true. She could almost feel Harry’s pain in those ten long years and therefore she understood the hatred he had for the man accused.

 

“Ten years – a decade - dear jury and Wizengamot.” the attendee loudly said. “Ten years would be more than enough time to heal Miss Granger completely of the injuries she has sustained from the attack in the night of 1997. You Know Who has been vanquished and defeated by Mr. Harry Potter just a few months after that night. These are enough evidences to suffice the idea that Miss Granger is already healed and safe enough to be returned to her loved ones. Why then, why then would Mr. Severus Snape still keep her! Six months may be an excuse after the ambush of the night, a year may be given as the most excuse – but to be extended for ten years! Ten years!”

The jury and the audience were both in chaos.

Reactions from all sides could be heard and Hermione had given away to crying.

There was no way she could save him.

There was no way they were going to win this trial.

There was no way they could ever be together again.

She had tried her best to keep him safe and alive.

 She promised to tell all truth and she thought he was asking her that to save them both but she was wrong. He had ensured that she kept her word as to ensure that he would be guilty of this trial if the day would come. But why? Why?

“Ten years, Wizengamot. Ten years to keep a young woman in an almost isolated island at the ends of London with no legitimate reasons to do so. It is against ANY law – may it be the Muggle Law she is also under or the Wizarding Law they are both withheld. There is no reason for this man to keep Miss Granger for ten years if she is not his student any longer and if there is no existence of a dark wizard to endanger her life any longer!”

“I LOVE HIM!” Hermione suddenly screamed. “I LOVE HIM! PLEASE DON’T DO THIS! WE LOVE ONE ANOTHER!”

The stunning silence that followed was nothing short of the deadly from the glare that Hermione had received from Harry from across the room.

He was silent but he was staring at her as if she was mad.

His fists were clenched at his sides but he did not move a muscle.

The attendee stared at Hermione as if she had completely lost her mind.

Even the head of the Wizengamot had his mouth hanging open at this revelation.

 

Draco’s eyes went wide as she stared across the room from Hermione to Snape and back at Hermione again.

She was crying as she stood there before everyone’s gaze.

Snape was silent from where he sat.

He was unmoving and he kept his head down.

The attendee looked at them both, lost for words.

It was like everything he had prepared for to declare and state for that trial had gone out of the window.

But before anyone else could say anything a deep and dark voice had spoken.

“She is lying.” Snape had said enough for the whole room to hear. “Miss Granger is out of her mind. She is lying. There is no such relationship between the two of us.”

“NO!” Hermione angrily yelled.

She turned the other way and faced Snape.

“Why are you doing this?” she cried at him. “I’m not letting you jail yourself in Azkaban just because you think we can’t be together!”

Snape ignored her.

He kept his gaze away from her as if he did not hear her.

Everyone stared at their directions, confused with the whole scene taking place.

“I have diluted her mind enough with various of potions in those ten long years to make her think there is a relationship of some sort that existed between the two of us. There was no relationship between the two of us. I have taken her from the night of the ambush and had kept her even after the war simply because I was interested with her. I have kept her – used her, abused her – abducted her in every sense there could be far and away from her loved ones without any intention of bringing her back to them.”

Snape was unblinking as he said this words with his eyes straight towards the eldest member of the Wizengamot.

“There should be no trial anymore. I believe enough evidences has been laid out to you. Miss Granger’s mind has been confused in those many years she had stayed with me and these things inside her head may be due to the potions I had administered to her in order to keep her and control her within those years. I assure you, there is no special relationship between the two of us. I had complete control over the situation and complete control over her in that span of time she had been lost in the eyes of her loved ones. I admit to all these crimes accused of me. I will await and accept whatever fate this jury and the members of the Wizengamot will put upon my head.” 

Silence and then commotion broke from every direction.

Draco stared across the hall and saw Harry silent and unmoving from where he saw but there was an obvious glow in his face that told nothing but a triumphant feel inside of him.

The head of the Wizengamot stood up.

“Please restrain Miss Granger and put her back in the witness’ hall.” the old man had said. “Two hours of break will be given before this trial resumes today. New witnesses or statements will be considered within the day.”

The head of the Wizengamot stood and left the room using the back door before the people from the Daily Prophet could question him and the rest of the Wizengamot.

People still talked, pointed and whispered but Draco and Harry both stood up from their seats to follow the Aurors that will take Hermione to the holding area  where she was kept whenever she needed to be questioned for the trial.

Draco hurriedly followed Harry out of the courtroom.

He was walking hurriedly talking to two Minsitry officials.

“Potter!” Draco called out to him. “Potter, wait!”

Harry continued walking, ignoring his calls for him despite that he was all aware of Draco’s presence.

“Potter!” Draco called out as they turned hallways and staircases after another.

Finally, Harry seemed to have lost his patience.

He handed the two Ministry officials an envelope and halted in a crowded corridor.

“What do you want?” he demanded from Draco.

He straightened his robes and glasses and stared at the boy he had loathed all these years.

“I need to speak with you.”

“Oh yeah?” Harry sarcastically replied. “About what?”

“About Hermione and this trial.”

“You heard and saw what took place today. I have no time for you, Malfoy.”

“You need to make time for me, Potter.” Draco snapped at him. “You’re making a wrong decision.”

“Excuse me?” Harry asked walking towards him. “Who are you to tell me this?”

“I’m telling you this as-“

“As a friend? I don’t recall us being friends, Malfoy. You are in no position to tell me what to and what not to do. Besides,” he gave him a cold stare, “I want you away from Hermione. Do you understand that?”

Draco didn’t say anything. It felt like all his anger for the boy were coming back. He tried to control himself to be the better man.

“I’m not your friend.” Draco said. “But I am here in behalf of an innocent man. We both heard it from Hermione. He is innocent and-“

“We both heard it from your beloved godfather.” Harry said shaking his head with a smirk. “ He admitted to the whole Wizarding World what he did to her and what is causing all these bizaare thoughts and imagination she has in her head-“

“She is not insane and you know that.” Draco pointed out. “You’re using it as an excuse to bring this innocent man to Azkaban and accept a fate he does not deserve-“

“Does not deserve?” Harry walked towards him, fists clenched.

“Potter-“

“Do you hear yourself, Malfoy?”

He was seething beyond anger.

He was ready to strike him in this crowded hallway no matter of the consequences.

“You know Snape will never do this, Potter. You know what kind of man-“

“I know exactly what kind of man he is.” Harry interrupted him with such hatred in his own eyes. “He killed Dumbledore. He killed a lot of other nameless and countless of men. He made my life at Hogwarts miserable. He made –“

“He rescued Hermione from an ill-fate in this war. He has done something we do not know yet and understand but we will. Visit him, Harry. Visit him and perhaps he will tell you why he has kept her-“

“Visiting him will only make me murder him. I do not think he deserves that mercy yet.”

Harry turned away from him but he was already holding his wand in his hand.

“You are blinded by hatred, Potter. You are blinded by your hatred for a man who did nothing-“

“A man who stole everything from me!” Harry angrily screamed at him.

He had lost it.

He turned back and grabbed Draco by the neck and pointed his wand right up at his face.

People scattered and gasped and stared as they both drew out their wands.

Even though he held Draco against the wall, Draco did not retaliate.

He held his wand in his hand but he did not attack Harry.

“Are you going to hurt me?” Draco drawled at him with a smirk.

“I’m going to kill you if you do not stop meddling.”

“So you’re going to hurt me just like you’re hurting Hermione?”

Harry did not say anything.

He stared at Draco in complete shock.

 He has not hurt Hermione – well, not intentionally anyway.

“I’m not hurting Hermione.”

“Is that why she’s keeping a bruise under her arm?”

Draco smirked at him and he slightly lessened his grasp of the blonde boy.

“I’m not an idiot.” Draco said straightening his robes. “She does not need to show me nor tell me. I can tell. I have seen the same fate of my mother from my own father’s hand, Potter.”

Harry stared at him for a long moment.

And then he let him go completely.

“I am nowhere like your father.”

Harry started walking away from him.

“I can help you Potter.”

“I don’t need your help.”

“I will help him then. I will help them, Potter.”

Harry halted but he did not look back.

He pocketed his wand and straightened himself up.

“Help them with what?”

“With everything that I have in order to let the truth come out. He is innocent and you know that. You are only blinded by your hatred and jealousy.”

“I am Harry Potter.” Harry responded quietly. “That is all the world needs to know for me to win this case against that bastard.”

 

 

 

 

“I’m gonna kill that bastard.”

Hermione stared at her fresh wound at her knee.

Snape had left her a bottle of potion to apply over her fresh wound.

He had not wanted to administer it to her in his reluctance to touch her or get any closer to her as she had notice in the past week that she had been staying with him.

He had kept her in the circular glass-like room like some guinea pig under an experiment.

He told her he needed to keep her there in order for her to be completely healed and in order to isolate her from other people as it seems to him she was still bearing some deep embedded curse that may be harmful to others.

He promised to get her out of it the moment he finds out what is keeping her from healing completely.

She had been stubborn.

 In the past week she had stayed with him she refused to eat properly and drink the potions he told her to drink to regain her energy.

She demanded news of Harry and the rest of the Order.

He had simply refused.

He told her that it was not yet safe to go outside in the world and that he would tell her any news of them.

He had lost his patience and had now resorted into leaving her food trays and healing potions outside the glass case for her to reach.

It was difficult for Hermione to move around and about but she had refused to follow his orders and now she had made him lose patience with her.

She could not wait to heal and get out of that place.

Despite the idea that he had rescued her from sure and instant death the moment she had lost control of her fall from the broomstick, she still refused to believe that he was in their cause.

He had explained to her that he was still a spy, watching out for all of them.

He needed to prove it by more than words.

And right now, until he has allowed her to contact Harry and the rest of the Order, she would refused to trust him completely.

Hermione’s days comprised nothing but counting the minutes and hours of the day.

 Thrice or more, Snape would come to the room and bring in food, water and potions she needed to drink.

He would also come and bring her new clothes and her until the doorstop of the bathroom across the hall where she’s all by herself at the other side.

This routine went on for about two weeks as she had counted. They would not talk as she refused to give in to his inquiries on ‘how are you feeling’ or ‘is this wound still hurtful’ because of her personal vendetta against the man for refusing to let her out and be back in action in the war.

One afternoon however, Hermione had was no longer able to go on with her own game.

“How’s Harry?” she had asked Snape.

He had entered.

He brought in a tray of warm pastries, a glass of water and juice and two bottles of her healing potions.

“The boy is strong enough to live through this.” Snape answered her.

He knelt next to the fireplace and began igniting it.

“So he’s alive?” Hermione slowly asked, fishing through his words.

Snape mumbled something then pointed his wand over the fireplace. Fire came to life and it began warming the room.

“As if you would even bother answering.” Hermione bitterly spat.

She pulled the tray over and took the two bottles of healing potion and stared at it.

“How come they look different?”

“Because they are different set of potions.”

Snape stood up and walked towards the circular glass case.

He pointed his wand around and muttered some things and light surrounded the glass.

“How long am I staying here?”

“As long as you still need to be. There are two more test I need to try on you, Miss Granger. We would soon get to the end of this. Be patient.”

“I’m being patient, professor.”

Hermione’s answer was nowhere near truth and Snape could tell how much she was itching to get out of the place. In truth, he wasn’t sure how long he would have to keep her there.

He could not tell her yet what hunch he was having about what must be wrong with her.

“Talk to me.” Snape had said. He sat by the glass and stared at her pale and weak figure. “Tell me how are you really feeling this past days?”

Hermione stared up at her professor.

 She hated him for keeping her there and keeping her out of news of the war that was happening outside but she had no choice.

She was weak and wandless and she needed him and his skills in healing her.

“I’m not really feeling that well at night. I sometimes feel I’m having some sort of deep fever. Then I would have some sort of nightmares and all and then..”

“Then what?” Snape asked her moving closer the glass. “Miss Granger, then what?”

She looked up at him as if reluctant to continue.

She was not sure how to tell and describe it exactly.

“I keep on dreaming of killing Harry, professor.” Hermione admitted.

She closed her eyes, shaking away tears.

“Killing Potter?”

“Dreams. Dreams or nightmare but it feels so real, it feels like.. Like I’m really there, strangling him. I don’t know.. I don’t understand.. and then when I refused to kill him in my dream, there’s some sort of pain inside of me. Like..”

“Like what? What kind of pain?”

Hermione stared at her professor.

She wasn’t sure how to describe it even more.

“Professor, I don’t know how to describe it.”

“Tell me what it is like and how it feels.”

“I can’t.” Hermione answered him.

 She looked away then she breathed deeply before continuing, “But I can show you.”

Snape stared at her. She stood from the bed and walked towards the glass case.

For a moment they stood tall against one another with just the glass case in between them.

There was silence between them.

Snape opened his mouth to ask her again but had stopped because Hermione began undressing herself.

“Miss Granger..”

“You need to see, professor.” Hermione whispered.

She began untying the white robes she wore as she walked closer to the glass so that Snape could take a closer look to at her body.

Snape gritted his teeth.

He had been trying to avoid physical contact with her and now he would have to stare at her bare body.

He did not want to see this.

This was not something he was prepared to see but before he could do anything else, she had unveiled her skin towards him without any further hesitation but question and worry deep in her brown eyes.

But she trusted him enough to let him see her whole being without having second-thoughts that despite that he was her professor, he was still a man.

He breathed out heavily and stared back at her porcelain skin.

It were all smooth until it had reached her neckline.

There were traces of her veins along her neck that drew right down across her chest.

It was like her veins were popping out of her skin only it was the colour of deep red like blood.

Snape’s mouth dropped open and went dry.

He had noticed slight marks for the first few days when he cleaned her that she was unconscious but they weren’t this deep nor obvious.

“Do they hurt?” he managed to asked her.

Hermione turned to him and looked up at his black eyes as if searching for answers.

“Hermione?”

“Yes.” Hermione said.

She turned fully to him and moved closer to him.

Snape stood rooted at the spot now knowing what to say or do.

“Please help me.” Hermione begged him. “What’s going on with me?”

Snape stared closely at the deeply embedded marks.

 He knew it.

But he did not know how strong it was.

The traces along her skin was that of dark magic.

 It was an old and ancient curse – one that only Purebloods would know how to use.

One where the Dark Lord and his followers would only dare to use.

But he wasn’t that sure – he needed someone else’s opinion about it to make sure it was that curse he has been thinking of.  

 “Please help me, professor.” Hermione cried at him as she walked further the glass and held her hands against it.

“I do not know and understand what it is but I know something is wrong with me.”

Snape stared at her.

His hands shaking at his sides.

His mind was almost blank as he stared at the curse he knew too well.

He was one of the ones who had practiced it and taught it even to the Dark Lord’s followers.

Only Bellatrix Lestrange was able to perfect it in no time.

He walked away from the glass thinking hard.

Hermione had began crying at the other side.

He fidgeted around for his wand to lower the enchantment holding the glass case around her.

“Move away.” Snape sharply ordered her “I need to break the glass.”

 Hermione was crying and was confused.

She nodded at him and moved backward away from the glass case.

Snape waved his wand several times, muttering enchantments.

 Gold lights sparked out of his wand and slowly engulfed the glass between them. In no time, it slowly vanished out of sight.

He looked at her with a pitiful glance.

She was half naked in front of him – crying, scared and desperate.

She was so confused at what was happening and here was another problem.

“What.. what is it..” Hermione asked him as she walked forward the Potions Master.

Snape stared up at her and her almost-perfect body.

It was no longer perfect.

 In fact, it was presently marred and scarred by a deep curse that the Dark Lord has created and that which he has enhanced himself.

He never imagined that any of the Death Eaters he taught it to would ever dare use it.

Not even Bellatrix.

The woman was obviously mad.
“It’s a curse.” Snape answered her after what felt like ages. “It’s a curse but we would figure a way to heal it.”

“What curse?” Hermione softly asked him.

He didn’t answer her.

She stared at his black eyes.

 “What curse, professor?”

Snape looked back at her unable to answer.

 He could not lie to her.

She was an intellectual witch. It was futile to attempt to lie to her about a non-existent curse or something that was not.

He was sure she has read as many about curses as he had done so.

“I’m not yet-“

“Don’t lie to me.” Hermione begged him. “Please tell me what it is!”

Snape did not say anything.

He would not be able to tell her yet.

Not until he has a solution for it.

“It’s dark magic, Hermione.” Snape slowly answered her. “That’s as far as I could tell you.”

He tried avoiding her gaze and instead focused his glare onto the traces and lines of red across her neck and chest.

“Dark magic?” Hermione asked him. “But you would be able to heal it, won’t you?”

He did not answer.

Worry crossed Hermione’s eyes.

“Professor?” she cried at him. “YYou can counter-act whatever dark magic this is, right?”

Snape stared up at her.

He did not want to lie to her.

“I can’t promise you anything.” Snape said unable to lie to her. “ Not until I’ve figure out how you got it-“

“How I got it?” Hermione repeated in despair.  “How I got it?”

Their eyes met and he could see the hatred in them.

“Were you not there?” she asked incredulously. “Were you not there when the Death Eaters – when those monsters attacked us?”

“That’s not what I meant.”

“Then you bloody know what I also meant!” Hermione almost screamed at him. “They attacked us, professor – they attacked me!”

Snape did not want to look at her eyes.

 It pained him somewhat deep inside that she was suffering for something she did not even deserve.

“Miss Granger, please calm down. I’m going to find a way to cure this dark magic that has been-“

“They attacked us. They attacked us professor and-“

“I need to know first whose wand this enchantment came from!” Snape told her without hiding the anxiety and anger in his voice.

Hermione blinked.

She wasn’t sure she heard him right.

He was more concerned on knowing who had cursed her?

“What?” Hermione asked her, confused. “What do you mean?”

“Figuring out whose wand was used to execute this curse will help me find out how strong this is. And..”

Snape had paused for a moment.

 He looked reluctant.

“And what?” Hermione impatiently asked him. “And what, professor Snape?”

He looked uncomfortable.

“And I might be able to figure out how to undo it in that way.”

For a moment Hermione just stared at him.

He did not make sense.

And then Hermione understood what he was trying to tell him.

“You’re going to try and convince the Death Eater to undo the curse?” Hermione asked with a brow raised.

Snape did not say anything.

 It did sound stupid.

“Well, that’s thick of a plan, professor.” Hermione muttered withdrawing herself away from him.

She began closing her robes again.

Hermione walked back to her bed.

“Miss Granger-“

“No Death Eater will help you undo a curse they’ve done so purposely.” Hermione said spitefully. “Especially one they have used on a Mudblood like me.”

“Don’t use that word.”

“It’s true.” Hermione whispered.

“Miss Granger-“

 “I’m a Mudblood.”

“Hermione-”

“Go away, professor.”

“Look, Miss Granger, I’m going to figure out a way-“

“I said, I want to sleep, professor.”

“Miss Granger, there is no use of not talking about it. We have to talk about this sooner. Until I find out what this really is and how we can undo it, you’re staying here and you’re going to do whatever I ask of you.”

Hermione stared up at him as if he was mad.

“If we’re not going to talk about how you are going to tell them that I am alive and how you are planning to bring me back to them, there is no point of talking.”

Snape stared back at the brat with hatred in his eyes.

 He was trying to control his temper in order to avoid unnecessary judgments and decisions.

“I want to sleep, professor. Please go away. “

Snape did not say anything.

He did not know how to comfort her.

There was no way of comforting her when she was obviously no in the mood to talk to him.

Chapter Text

Chapter XI 

The Urduja Curse 

 

“What the fuck is wrong with you.” Harry spat at her pushing her hard against the large crimson couch.

The witness’ waiting room was empty except for Harry and Hermione.

Hermione’s wail of pain echoed throughout the large room but no matter how loud it could get, they were not to be heard outside.

Harry kept his wand back inside his pocket after muttering a Silencing Charm inside the room.

Hermione stared up at him with pure hatred from her eyes. He had literary dragged her from the courtroom up a staircase and into that room.

People stared on their way but nobody dared to stop Harry from what he was doing.

Nobody would dare defy the Chosen One, the Auror who killed the Dark Lord in his time. Nobody would defy the boy who vanquished the Dark Lord who was currently seething in anger holding out his wand and dragging his fiancé back into their waiting room.

“Harry, please stop this madness.”

“Madness?” Harry incredulously repeated. “Madness? No, Hermione. I’m not mad. YOU are.”

Harry turned away from her. He walked towards the window to avoid seeing Hermione’s figure on the couch that he wanted to hurt even more.

“Harry, listen to yourself, look at yourself-“

“No, Hermione. Look at yourself and listen to yourself!”

Harry screamed at her. He kicked one of the chairs within his reach and angrily turned back to her.

“Did you hear what you just admitted to the whole courtroom? How mad is THAT Hermione?”

“I’m not mad!” Hermione cried at him. “Harry, please, I’ve been meaning to tell you-“
“Tell me what?” Harry scolded. He walked back to the couch. “Tell me what?” he challenged her.

Hermione shook her head. She bit her lip and cried even more.

“Harry, please.. Just.. just let this go. Please we don’t need to.. the man has..”

“You told the courtroom lies, Hermione! Lies!” Harry yelled back at her.

“I have never lied in that room!” Hermione angrily screamed back at him. “I have never uttered any lie in the stupid room-“

“Never lied?” Harry yelled. His eyes were wild in anger and he looked murderous.

“I have never –“

“You just told the whole courtroom that you love that bastard! That you’re bloody in love with him!”

“Because I am!” Hermione screamed back at him. She stood tall and angrily pushed Harry back.

“I am inlove with him, Harry! So what? What are you going to-“

Hermione screamed as she fell back on the couch again.

A hand so hard slapped her right across her cheek that the side of her lips had bled.

“Harry-“

“I’m going to leave and get some fresh air, Hermione.” Harry simply said as he turned away from the couch.

Hermione stared as he grabbed his travelling cloaked and pocketed his wand. He turned back to her and smiled as if nothing had happened.

“When I return, I’m going to pretend that everything that has happened in that court room today did not happen and no non-sense have been uttered from those mouth of yours.”

His emerald eyes turned into slits and a scary glint appeared for a brief moment.

“When I come back, I want to see the Hermione Granger I’ve known for years. My Hermione Granger, that is. Do you understand?”

 

 

 

 

“I don’t understand what you’re doing.”

“You don’t need to. Stay away from the glass.”

Snape ordered her as he took out his wand.

Hermione moved away from the circular glass around her bed that has been keeping her for the past few days from roaming round the room.

“Is it safe to be out of the glass?” she had asked as the Potions Master uttered the right enchantments and the glass slowly dissolved and disappeared.

“As of now, it is.” Snape answered her.

He stood up and straightened himself and stared at her weak and thin figure.

“Professor?”

“I’ve prepared dinner downstairs. Some clothes are also at the ready at the bathroom – two doors from the hallway. Once you’re done, come have dinner downstairs.”

“I’m not really hungry.”

“It’s not a question if you’re hungry or not. We need to talk.”

“About what?”

But Snape didn’t answer her. He quietly walked out of the room he has been keeping her for days since his rescue from her from the ambush.

Hermione didn’t say anything else but stood staring quietly at the closed door. She did not understand what was happening but she had no choice as her only contact to the outside world was the Potions Master whose actions were as impossible to read as his mind.

 

Snape quietly waited downstairs in the small dining room. He wasn’t sure what to do with his life now. He had been bestowed by a task that was not part of any deal at all.

The headmaster had asked him to save anyone he could and it happened to be Hermione Granger. However, her injuries were making things impossible for him to bring her back. And to think of it, that was not the only pressing matter he has at hand.

 

Harry Potter had been badly injured in a collision at a train station at London just few days after their ambush. He had been following said Death Eaters in hopes of finding Hermione. He was lucky to be alive after the Death Eaters fought back. But it wasn’t the problem – it was the Weasley boy.

He really fought against the Death Eaters and ended himself with a curse that was presently almost incurable. Chances of surviving was so slim especially if they did not have someone who can brew miracle concoctions for them.

And a few hours ago, he received news from that the Weasley boy had passed away.

He was unsure how he was going to rely that news to Hermione Granger that one of the Golden Trio did not actually make it through the war.

The Dark Lord was winning most of London and with Hogwarts, Gringotts and the Minsitry at his hands, it wouldn’t take too long for him to secure the whole of London.

He needed to escape while there was time. He had done what he had been tasked to do and for sure, the Dark Lord would not mind if his favourite minion would be out for a little vacation himself. It was his only chance of getting Hermione Granger out of harm’s way. Getting him back to Potter was a matter he would have to meet later. The priority right now was to ensure Potter’s and her health.

“Miss Granger, I need to run some tests on you tomorrow. Then you would have to stay here alone because I need to take your tests in my laboratory.”

“You mean you need to go back to the Dark Lord’s lair?”

Hermione’s voice was almost cold. He knew she was tired of not knowing things for the couple of days she had been kept there.

“I need to get some things as well. We won’t really survive this long here if my equipment are not completely.”

“How long are you going to keep me here, professor?” Hermione asked.

Hermione placed her knife and fork down and sat straight. She looked at her professor straight in the eye.

“I already told you I’m feeling better.”

“I’m the one to know if you’re alright or not. We’re not going to argue about this.”

Hermione stared at him. She hated the man.

“Atleast tell me where Harry is.” she almost begged him. “I want to know if they’re alright.”

Snape could not eat anymore. Not with all her questions and with his conscience banging things at the back of his head every now and then.

“That is what I wanted to talk to you about.”

Silence followed. Hermione was almost not breathing.

“Harry..” she whispered standing up. “Where is Harry?”

Snape gently pushed his plate away from him.

“Mr. Potter is alright.” he quietly answered her. He looked up at her straight in the eye.

“But I’m afraid Mr. Weasley did not make it.”

For a moment, Hermione just stood there with her eyes transfixed at the man.

She almost did not understand what she had just heard. Was he kidding?

“What do you mean..” Hermione whispered.

She swallowed hard and gave him a stern look.

“What do you mean that Ron did not make it?”

“I’m afraid Mr. Weasley has been hit hard after another crossfire down at London the other day. He, together with Mr. Potter and another Auror had gone down to London and chased a suspected Death Eater in hopes of finding you.”

Hermione listened in silence but tears were already threatening to fall from her eyes.

“Mr. Potter was badly injured but he is currently at St. Mungo’s. The Auror is still in a critical condition and Mr. Weasley…”

“What about Ron?” Hermione asked him. “What about Ron?”

Snape stared up at him and shook his head.

“Mr. Weasley passed away from deep injuries from the spells executed to them and after jumping off a few heights of floor from a building that he and Mr. Potter tried to escape from.”

Hermione did not really hear further details after that. All she knew was that her surroundings turned black and she felt her chest growing painful by the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry entered a nice-looking bar. It was full of witches and wizards alike and some had greeted him in recognition.

“Mr. Potter?”

Harry looked up and saw a waited walking up to him.

“Yes?”

“This way to the private room.”

Harry stared at the old man but nodded and followed him.

“Mr. Malfoy had been waiting for you. A wine shall be serve in a moment as you study our menu for your orders.”

The old waiter led him to a private room at the very corner of the bar.

He opened the door for Harry and carried two large copies of the menu with him.

Harry entered and saw Draco talking to a wizard. He quickly nodded at the old wizard who nodded at Harry and quickly left.

“You do look like you love fancy things, don’t you?”

“And you do look like you’ve already had a drink or two before coming in here?”

Draco stared up at Harry who sat opposite him.

He gave Draco a smug stare and rudely grabbed the menu from the old waiter and pointed on a couple of things from it.

The waiter turned to Draco but he shook his head and the waiter left them to get the orders.

Draco stared at Harry and for a brief moment, he had thought how he’d never seen Harry as pathetic before.

He sat before him, half-drunk and dazed and he looked like a lost boy.

“I’ve had some drinks down at Diagon Alley.” Harry admitted staring back at him with half a smirk.

“You’re not looking bad yourself. You know.. Draco Malfoy.. all shimmery and shiny..”

Draco smirked and shook his head. He did not want to say anything to provoke Harry even further.

“What do you want from me, Malfoy?” Harry had asked. “I’m quite sure you did not want to meet in this fancy and private place just to get some old school catching up?”

Draco opened his mouth to answer but the waiter had returned.

He brought in two glasses of wine and whiskey and then a bottle of wine and whiskey.

He opened the red wine and poured some for Draco and was about to pour some for Harry but Harry had grabbed the whiskey bottle and had poured his glass almost full with it.

“Let him.” Draco muttered to the old waiter.

He watched as Harry half-filled the glass and raised it to his nose.

“To life, Malfoy!” he raised and he swallowed half of it in one go.

The waiter turned back and laid a long platter of small servings of different dishes for the two of them.

Malfoy nodded at the waiter and they were left alone.

“Well?” Harry said grabbing some grapes from the platter and then drinking another fill of whiskey.

“We’re all alone now. You can talk to me what kind of thingy you wanted to talk about.”

“I want to talk about my godfather.” Draco bravely said.

Harry stared at him for a moment. A glint passed his emerald eyes.

“Your godfather?” he asked him. “You mean old ex-professor bastard Snape?”

Harry asked him. And then he started to laugh hysterically at Draco.

Draco watched as Harry took turns swallowing a grape, refilling the whiskey bottle and dawning it all over all the while laughing at him.

“What do you want to talk about him?” Harry asked.

He laid down his empty glass and sat straight on his chair. He moved closer the table and settled his hands on the table.

“Do you want to free him? Do you want me to free him? Because honestly that is an impossible task.”

“No, I don’t think that is possible from you anymore.” Draco quietly said.

Draco moved himself closer the table and rested both his hands on the table as well. He poured some whiskey for himself and drank in one go all the while that Harry was staring at him.

“Then what do you want?”

“I want you to give him a fair trial, Potter.” Draco said without even blinking.

“It’s only a few trials left and I want you to leave it fair and hands free from you.”

“Hands free?” Harry repeated. He shook back his head.

“You think I am manipulating the Ministry? The Wizengamot?”

“Are you not?” Draco challenged him. “Are you not, Potter?”

Harry stared back at him with pure hatred from his eyes. He had suddenly remembered why he hated this blonde boy so much.

“I’m nowhere like you and your father.”

“You’re acting no different from my father, Potter.”

“I will never be like any of the Malfoys.” Harry whispered coldly. “I am no Death Eater.”

Draco stared at him for quite some time. It looked as if he was fervently fighting inside of him if he would just curse Harry or punch him right then and there.

“Fine.” Draco had said. He pushed his chair from the table and threw the napkin on it.

“Does it hurt you to hear what your father was?” Harry asked him. “Or what you were?”

“There’s nothing here to talk about.” Draco said. He moved away from the table but Harry continued talking.

“You can fool the world, Malfoy but not me. This façade you have – this businessman, a changed man. You are still a Malfoy and a Death Eater. Good clothes will not hide your precious mark nor the read you deep inside.”

“I’m not going to say anything against all these as it is the alcohol you’ve taken talking.”

“Really?”

“Really.” Draco turned to him. “But I am warning you, Potter.”

“Warning me?”

“If you hurt Granger one more time. I’m telling you that I would personally send you to Azkaban for the abuse.”

“You?” Harry laughed at him. “You? Who are you? You are no one. You are a disgrace of our world. You’ve fallen from grace, Malfoy. There is nobody to believe in you.”

“Don’t be too sure, Potter.”

Draco took his travelling cloak towards the door. He turned back at Harry.

“This is the first and last time I will warn you. Do not attempt to hurt Hermione again or this will be a case against you. Do not tempt me, Potter.”

“No, don’t tempt me to do what you will regret.” Harry said. He stood from his chair and he drew out his wand.

He pointed it directly at Draco’s chest but the other boy did not flinch.

“Over were the days when I would cringe at the sight of your wand, Potter.”

“And over were the days when I would be threatened by any of your lot.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We both know the war is not yet over.”

“No, really?”

Narcissa stared at her dearest friend who was taking books from the shelves of the Malfoy library.

She stared with interest as he scavenged for books after books in the most precious collections of the Malfoy family.

“Would you like something to eat at least?” Narcissa asked him. “You’ve been here for three hours.”

“No, thanks.” Snape answered without looking up from a book he has been scanning. “I will also leave in a while.”

It has been two weeks since the ambush and she has been worried for her friend’s safety. She knew that Snape was part of the team to ambush Harry Potter’s transfer.

She wouldn’t show it around, but she had always been worried for his safety especially at the assignment the Dark Lord gives him.

“You’ve been away for days, Severus.”

“I’ve tended to some of my injuries.”

“You weren’t at Spinner’s End. I visited three days ago.”

Snape didn’t answer. He didn’t have time to explain everything to her.

“I had been elsewhere.” Snape said. He closed the book and opened another one.

“How’s Draco?” he had asked her to change the subject.

Narcissa crossed her arm and sat in front of him and watched his progress closely.

“Draco’s upstairs. He’s already resting. He’s alright. I’m trying my best to keep him out from all these as you know.”

“I know.” Snape said. “And Lucius?”


“Lucius is with the Dark Lord. They are trying to infiltrate some more connections of the Ministry to ensure a strong grasp of the bigger part of London.”

“I’m quite sure that will take some time.”

“And I’m quite surprised myself that you have not been in those missions.”

“I asked the Dark Lord to let be spared from those missions as he knows that I need to brew him potions in order to heal everyone that has been and might be injured still.”

Narcissa stared at Snape and knew that he was avoiding her gaze. She leaned across the table and handed him another book from the pile across the table.

“The Dark Lord seems to be soft on you lately.”

“Not really.” Snape answered her.

He continued copying something from one of the books to another parchment.

“The Dark Lord does not seem to bring you around.”

“He knows my duty has been fulfilled. I’m more of someone he needs at the back to heal his most precious army.”

Narcissa stared as Snape continued to copy something from another book.

“You can bring them, Severus.” Narcissa said. “Lucius will not be here to look for what is missing in his precious library.”

“I can’t carry them all.” Snape simply replied. “I can only bring what I really need. But thank you.”

Narcissa continued to watch him silently.

“Won’t you tell me where you are staying?”

Snape stopped writing. He lowered his quill and pocketed another parchment. He closed three books from across the table and pulled another one.

“When it is safe, I will tell you.”

“Is there anything else you would need from me?” Narcissa slowly asked him.

She knew him and knew too well that he was hiding something from her.

“Let me help you, Severus. What exactly are you looking for here?”

For a moment, Narcissa thought that Severus would refuse her help. And then suddenly, he closed the book he was reading and he pulled out a parchment from his pocket.

Narcissa quietly watched as he edged her towards a parchment where he drew something on it.

When he finished, he looked up and showed it to Narcissa.

“Do you know what this is?”

Narcissa slowly took the parchment from him and glared closer at the drawing.

It was a drawing of the mark that was alike the one across Hermione’s neckline and down across her chest.

“Narcissa?” Snape quietly asked. "Can you confirm if this is what I think it is?"

“Where did you see this?” Narcissa slowly asked back.

She slowly lowered the parchment and flinched at the sight of it. She looked up at Snape.

“Where did you see this mark?”

“Do you know what it is?” Snape urgently asked her. “I need to know what it is.”

“I need to know first where you’ve seen it.”

“I can’t tell you.” he answered knowing it wasn’t going to help them. “But it is imperative I find out what it is."

Narcissa stared at him for a moment. She was studying the lines across his face and the look in his eyes.

“Get away from the mark.” Narcissa gravely said. “There is no information in these books in here that will help you from getting rid of it.”

“Narcissa, please.” Snape whispered.

It wasn’t the painful grasp he gave Narcissa’s arm but the urgency in his voice that made Narcissa turn to him.

“Narcissa, please. I will not be here if it wasn’t important. I wouldn’t be begging you now if it isn’t a matter of life and death. Please. I need to know what this is and how I can undo it.”

“Who casted it?” Narcissa asked him. She looked deeper into Snape’s eyes.

“I don’t know.”

“You need to tell me who casted it.”

“I don’t know. I have no idea who might have casted it-“

“If not him, only a high-ranking Death Eater can cast something as strong as-“

“I don’t know. I have no idea, Narcissa. It was chaos, there were so many spells and-“

“Severus, please, calm down. Focus, tell me who has-“

“I don’t know – there were only few high-ranking Death Eaters-“

“Severus, you have to-“

“It might have been Amycus or even that stupid werewolf and perhaps even Bellatrix-“

Narcissa grabbed his hands and made him face her. She grabbed his face and forced him to focus on him.

“Severus, you need to tell me who it has been casted upon.”

Snape’s black eyes met Narcissa’s blue ones.

He tried to keep it to himself, he tried to let her through his mind.

“Narcissa, I can’t tell you.”

“Severus, if you don’t tell me who this curse has been casted upon I can’t-“

“I can’t tell you-“

“That person will die slowly. Not only will that person die slowly and painfully but that person will also kill everyone who gets in close contact.”

Snape stared at Narcissa as if they have a sudden understanding.

“The Urduja Curse?” Snape slowly asked her with grave worry in his voice.

Narcissa slowly nodded at him. The colour faded from Snape’s face.

“A powerful one. The lines across your drawing – the marks are together – they are usually apart when casted. Bella must have casted it because it is too strong.”

Narcissa held him closer.

“But the Dark Lord has said that..” Snape paused for a moment as if remembering a memory.

Snape shook his head.

“He told me that the incantation is not yet perfect the last time we discussed it. He needed more research, more information from me on this. The Dark Lord wouldn’t use it unless it is perfected and he trusts me to perfect the curse. The information he needs about it is not yet complete as I have not yet handed it to him.”

“The looks of your drawing Severus tells the both of us that the Dark Lord has found a way to perfect the curse and has actually had one of his favourite minions execute it for the first time.”

Narcissa held him closer and firmly pressed his hand. She looked up at Snape’s pale face.

“Tell me who it is.”

“Narcissa..”

“Severus, who was it casted upon?”

Snape stared back at her with hesitation in his eyes.

“You don’t have much time. You can’t undo the curse. Not only it is too powerful but there is no undoing it. It is dark magic therefore it gets stronger over time.”

“The Urduja Curse does have a limit, Narcissa.”

“It depends on the strength of the curse, Severus.”

Snape looked at loss for words. His face was drained of colour.

“Severus, who was damaged by the Urduja curse?”

“Narcissa-“

“You need to tell me. We don’t have much time. We can’t stop it, there is no stopping it. But we can make remedies, we can study if its effect may be limited depending on how strong it has been casted. You’ve help create the beginnings of the enchantment I’m sure we can find a way out of this and a way to break it. I promise I will help you. But you need to work with me, Severus. Tell me now, who has been affected by this deadly curse?”

It took a while for Snape to be shaken back to their conversation. The scariest possibilities were driving his mind at the moment and he looked as if he was going to throw up.

 He has been living with Hermione for almost two weeks now only to find out she has been bounded by a curse almost as deadly as the Killing Curse.

“The Muggle-Born. Granger. Harry Potter’s fiancé.” Snape answered her. “Hermione Granger.”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter XII
Nightmares 

 

  

Hermione was woken late that morning by the good smell coming from the kitchens.

Curious, she wore her slippers and walked down the stairs only.

She took a glance by the kitchen door and sure enough, Harry was there humming to himself in aprons and preparing a big breakfast for the two of them.

“Goodmorning, sweetheart.” Harry greeted her when he noticed her by the doorway.

Hermione looked back at him with question in her eyes.

He walked to her and kissed her on the cheek.

She was too shock to move away or react at all.

“The bacons are nearly done.” Harry said as she laid two platters over the table.

She watched in silence as he placed a platter of toasts, jars of jam and cream cheese over the table, another platter of scrambled eggs and sausages

“Would you like coffee?” he asked her as he finished up the bacons and placed them as well over the table.

Hermione only stared as if she had lost her ability to speak.

“Or maybe some juice or milk?” Harry offered her as he placed a pitcher of freshly made orange juice over the table and a carton of milk over the table.

“I’m fine.” Hermione said as he pulled a chair for her to sit on. “I’m fine, I’m alright with any.”

She looked around her, very conscious of her surroundings and careful with her actions.

No trace of the monstrous version of Harry could be found in that room.

He was very much like the Harry she had always known.

Reluctant, she walked to the kitchen in her night robes and sure enough, she found Harry in the kitchen fixing the table.

He kept on humming as he placed an empty plate before her and started serving her with helpings of each platter he laid over the table.

Harry kept humming.

Hermione knew that he was joyful about something whenever he did that.

“How was your sleep?” he casually asked her as he settled a napkin over her lap before sitting across her on the table.

 

Hermione was too taken aback by his actions that she barely realized that he had actually kissed her on the cheek one more time.

“Not that well.” Hermione said finally finding her voice and realizing that nothing was normal in his attitude at the moment.

Harry didn’t say anything as he placed some helpings of sausages and toast over his own plate.

“Where have you been?” Hermione worriedly asked him. “I’ve stayed up waiting for you.”

Harry continued to ignore her as if he didn’t hear her.

“Harry-“

“Eat.” Harry simply said giving her a look and continuing on placing jam over his toast.

“I asked you-“

A momentary glint crossed Harry’s emerald eyes as he threw his toast back over his plate.

Hermione stared unblinking at him although beneath the table her fingers were tightly holding her nightdress already in fear.

“I’ve had a drink with Kingsley.” Harry simply said sighing heavily and taking a sip from his glass of orange juice.

“A drink with Kingsley?” Hermione repeated looking at him like she didn’t believe him.

A smile reappeared over his face.

He nodded and then he reached over the platter of bacons and placed some over her plate.

Hermione only stared at him.

What was going on exactly?

“You need to eat up.” Harry said with the same kind smile again. “You need to gain all the weight you’ve lost.”

Hermione stared confused at him.

It was like she was dealing with two persons across the table – one was the Harry she had always known and the other, a version of Harry she never wanted to ever see again.

She wasn’t sure how to make a conversation with him if he was acting this way.

She wanted and needed to talk to her.

Hermione cleared her throat as she casually went over her breakfast.

 “Harry..” she softly began.

“Yeah?” he asked taking a large bite from his toast and grinning at her.  

Hermione looked up at him nervously.

“About yesterday..” she nervously began closely observing his reaction.

“What about yesterday?” he asked her in the same casual tone.

Her eyebrows quirked at him.

“What about yesterday?” he asked yet again.  

Hermione stared at him and there it was again – the strange glint in his eyes that was never there before.

Did he not want to talk about yesterday?

Was he making up for yesterday’s fight?

Either way, Hermione did not want to ruin Harry’s mood.

She does not want to see the Harry she had seen the previous day.

“Nothing.” Hermione quickly said, forcing a smile she began helping him around the table.

“Exactly.” Harry said with a devilish smile over his face as he reached out across the table and wiped the bit of toast that hung at the side of her lips when she bit on her food.

She moved away in her reflex and they exchanged expectant glares.

“Sorry.” Hermione said consciously wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.

She looked up at Harry who was staring quietly at her.

He slowly sat back down.

She swore she heard him mumble the word with a smirk over his face before turning away from her.

 “I’m finishing some things today at the Ministry.” Harry said returning to his plate. “I’ve been missing out on some work.”

“I’m staying in today.” Hermione simply told him. “I feel like catching up on sleep and perhaps some of the books you’ve bought me.”

“Good.” Harry simply said with a smile over his face. “Perhaps tomorrow we can go to Diagon Alley?”

“Diagon Alley?” Hermione asked swallowing her buttered toast.

“I need to buy some materials.” Harry said as if reminding her of something. “Come with me?”

Hermione stared at Harry.

His words did not seem like an invitation nor a question.

They sounded more like some sort of demand.

She stared up at him with slightly worry.

He was smiling at her but there was something in his tone that made her cringe.

“Y-yes.” Hermione answered. “Sure, ofcourse.”

“Great.” Harry said. “It’s settled then.”

He moved across the table and placed a soft kiss over her cheek.

“I like this, Hermione.” Harry whispered with a smile caressing her face with the back of his hand.

“Harry..”

He was smiling kindly at her – no trace of anything vile or monstrous at all.

“I like this.” Harry commented. “The idea that you’re here. Just here with me and having breakfast and making plans. Just like the old days, yes?”

Hermione stared at him with a slight smile over her face.

There was something in Harry’s eyes and tone that made her worry despite that he was smiling at her.

“Yes.” Hermione muttered, “Just like the old days.”

 

 

 

 

“Just like the old days.” Snape muttered staring at Hermione’s deadly stare. “As foolish and stubborn.”

“I’ve done what you’ve asked of me, professor.” Hermione said through controlled anger. “I’ve been staying here as you wish - drinking all these potions you are giving me to heal and I’ve been as docile as I can ever be. Why won’t you allow me to write to Harry?”

Snape stared up at her from across his work desk.

He folded the parchment in his hand and stared up at Hermione who was standing before his table.

Snape was obviously not pleased.

He sighed heavily and Hermione saw his hands turn into fists over the table.

“First of all, it is six in the morning.” Snape began. “You are disturbing me because this impatience of your just like in my classes before. You are as insolent as ever despite our current situation – or rather your situation.”

Hermione glowered down on him.

“You’ve been awake since three in the morning.” Hermione pointed out folding her arms.

Snape raised an eyebrow at her.

“I heard you arrived.” Hermione added smartly.

He breathed deeply and tried to ignore her comment that was true anyway.

Hermione still didn’t move from where she stood.

Snape stared at her with a raised brow.

He sat straight on his chair and lowered his elbows on the table.

 “Secondly, these potions I’ve been feeding down your throat – did they not make you feel better? Did they not heal your wounds or any ill-feeling over you?”

“They do not taste well-“

“You’ve studied potions under me for years. You should know by now that not all Healing Potions would taste like Butterbeer, Miss Granger.”

Hermione continued to stare at him.

He shook his head and returned to his work.

He reopened the parchment and reached over for a quill when Hermione snatched it out of his hand.

Snape’s eyes flashed in anger and he stood angrily over her.

“Why you little-“

“I want a parchment and a quill!” Hermione demanded. “I want to write to Harry!”

Hermione had demanded it so furiously that Snape looked like he was ready to murder her.

How dare she demand anything.

He did not even want to be there in the first place.

“It is not safe!” Snape yelled back at her. “How many times do I bloody have to remind you that?”

“I don’t want to stay here any longer!” Hermione wailed at him as he reached forward for her wrist.

Hermione gasped as he twisted her wrist painfully so as to let her go of the quill.

“Which part of it is not yet safe out there do you not understand-“

“I want to go back home!” Hermione screamed back at him.

They struggled against one another over the table as Snape tried his best to take the quill back from her.

Hermione did her best to take his hand off from her but he was strong enough.

Soon, the pain was too much for her to take and she opened her hand to let the quill go.

It dropped back over the table and Snape angrily pushed her away from the table.

Hermione fell back on the floor but before she could recover, Snape turned from his side of the table and went over to her.

“Professor Sn-“

“You little insolent-“ Snape breathed out as he bent over her.

He painfully grasped her by the arm and dragged her back to the door of his small lab.

“I want to go home!” Hermione screamed as she struggled against his pincer-like grip. “I want to go back to them!”

“If you’re bored, don’t take it out here in my office-“ Snape angrily said heaving her up with his two arms now as she purposely weighed herself down to keep him from dragging her across the floor.

She was kicking and crying like a small child and it began to frustrate him.

If only she understood their situation.

“You’ve been keeping me here for so long!” Hermione cried at him. “This isn’t fair – nothing here is fair – you’ve taken me here against my will, I can have you punished by the law-“

“I do not give a damn about the law!” Snape screamed back at her.

He had managed to drag her back into their living room and he pushed her back over their large couch.

His nostrils flared as he stared down at her fuming in anger and exhaustion.

“Am I not aware of that!” he screamed at her pointing over her head. “Does that head of yours think I like to be here!”

“Then let me out!” Hermione cried back. “Let me out of here! Bring me back to them!”

Snape didn’t say anything.

This argument wasn’t going anywhere at all.

It has just been mere two months and they did nothing but fight about the same thing over and over again.  

“Professor Snape, please.” Hermione looked like a little school girl begging for some candy.

Snape remained his stance.

 “I want to go back home.”

“We’ve discussed this, Miss Granger.”

“Professor, I want to go back home. I haven’t heard from any of them – even from Harry.”

“I told you already what you need to know.” Snape said. “I give you news about them.”

“But I want to see him.” Hermione reasoned out “I want to talk to him. Professor, I need to speak to Harry-“

“I will not spend another hour arguing with you about this.” Snape said turning away from her.

Hermione launched forward and knelt by his feet grabbing the ends of his robes.

He closed his eyes as he began losing the little amount of patience he had for her.

“Please.” Hermione cried desperately hanging at the ends of his robes. “Please bring me back to them. Please.”

“Which part of your brilliant mind cannot comprehend the idea that it is absolutely NOT safe to communicate with any of them?”

He was right in every sense.

But she was getting pissed being kept in a place she barely knew and without any contact from the Order or anyone else she knew except for Snape.

“Tell me, do you want to die in this war?” he asked her. “ Do you want to follow that Weasley?”

A tear fell from the side of her left cheek but she continued to stare threateningly at Snape.

“You’ve told me when I’m healed you’ll take me out of this place.” Hermione spat at him.  “You’ve taken me out of that goddamn glass case – does that not tell you that I am well?”

Snape didn’t answer.

He stared back at her now knowing anymore what to tell her.

No, she was not physically well as she thought she was.

His problem about her case was soon to be out of hand.

He could not bring it up to her and tell her the truth – not yet anyway.

“I tell you what you need to know when you need to know it.” Snape quietly said. “I have given you shelter and food to eat. Are these not enough?”

“I want to go back out there.”

“You want to endanger yourself whilst that Potter is doing everything he can to win this war not just for himself, not just for the world but for you most of all?”

A tear fell from her eyes.

She understood that fact but she desperately wanted to go back to the others.

 “I just want to go back.” Hermione cried at him. “I just want to see them all.”

“No.” Snape firmly said. “You are only thinking of yourself. That is what you want.”

Hermione looked up at him and moved closer.

 Snape did not move from where he stood.

“Miss Granger, it’s not going to help-“

“I want to go back to Harry.” Hermione cried at him. “I want to go back to my Harry.”

“Miss Granger-“

Snape was cut short of his words.

Hermione had suddenly thrown herself shamelessly over her professor and began crying like a little child.

He stood frozen on the spot.

Hermione’s hands were around his waist as she buried her face over his chest crying her heart out.

He did not know what to do nor what to tell her to comfort her.

For in truth, he was no longer sure of what to do in this war and with this unexpected task at hand.

“Miss Granger.. “ Snape slowly said. “Miss Granger, please stop, stop crying..”

Snape slowly moved his arm over her and reluctantly placed his hands on either side of her arms.

Hermione moved closer to him and embraced him even tighter and cried harder.

Snape breathed heavily.

“Alright, please, stop crying… Miss Granger.” Snape breathed deeply and slowly placed his other hand over her shoulder and the other began to slowly caress her hair in his attempt of comforting her.

“Professor Snape..” Hermione’s voice cried at him. “Professor Snape, please help Harry.. please save us.”

Her voice was barely heard as she buried her face deeper over his chest.

“Miss Granger, please..” Snape whispered over her.

He closed his eyes and tried to calm himself as well.

“Professor Snape, you are the only one who can help us-“

“Hermione.” Snape spoke her name softly and it seemed to have called her attention to him. “Please, please stop crying.”

“Please promise me you will save us. Please..”

Snape looked down at her.

She slowly lifted her red and teary-eyed face and stared up at her professor.

He held her close and they stared at one another for quite some time.

“Professor Snape..”

“Hermione, I will do my best.” he whispered at her as he stared at those brown eyes.

“Do you promise me?”

Snape stared at her for a moment.

“I promise you to take care of everyone I can. And right now, that is you. You need to give me your word that you will follow what I need to ask of you, Miss Granger. You are not just endangering your life but chances of everyone’s survival. You need to listen to me.”

Hermione stared at him.

She did not know why but there was something more than worry in his voice and that was scary enough for her to actually listen to him.

“What’s going on?” she slowly asked.

She moved herself free from his grasp and took a step back from him.

Snape just stared at her at loss for words of reply.

“Professor Snape?”

“I need your word, Miss Granger. We’re running out of time. You need to promise me you would stay here with me until we’ve figured all this one out.”

“One out?” Hermione repeated. “Figure what out, professor Snape?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We’ll figure something out, don’t worry.”

“Easy for you to say that. It’s not your wife that has been abducted for so many years only to come back wanting no one else but her captor.”

Bill looked up at Harry with a raised brow.

Harry looked away from him and breathed heavily.

“I’m sorry. I should not have said that.”

“It’s fine. Relax.” Bill replied with a smirk.

Harry closed his eyes and breathed heavily counting the floors before getting to the right one.

The elevator was empty except for the two of them.

They were heading up the Auror’s main office.

“I think she should go out more often with Ginny and Fleur.” Bill offered him as the elevator doors opened to their floor.

“I don’t know.” Harry replied getting out of the elevator first and being greeted by other Ministry members or officials.

“How about take her out on dates or something? Buy her books and all that?”

“I’ve done everything Bill. Absolutely everything. She’s not getting her old self back.”

“Give it some time. It’s just been a few months.” Bill said handing over a couple of parchments from his bag to the two wizards they met along the hallway.

“Time?” Harry repeated incredulously. “She has been given all the time in the world. How about me?”

“What about you?” Bill asked in return.

“Me? What I want ofcourse.”

“What do you want?”

Harry halted and turned to Bill.

The eldest Weasley was giving him a knowing glare.

That’s not what I want.”

“Is it not?”

“Yes. I’m not like that.” Harry answered as they continued walking.

“But you are jealous.” Bill pointed out as they reached Harry’s office door.

Harry snorted reaching out for his wand to open his office door.

“Ofcourse not. It’s not like Hermione’s going to fall in love with that git.”

“She’s not inlove with him.” Bill answered him as they entered the dark room.

“Ofcourse she’s bloody not!” Harry angrily said. “I’m going to kill murder him myself if that happens.”

He pointed his wand around the room that quickly lit up in his command.

Bill quietly watched as Harry walked towards his desk without another word, leaving him alone and in awe by the doorway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Do you like what you see?” drawled a voice.

Hermione turned to look at the doorway to see the Young Master Malfoy enter with an assistant behind him bringing in a tray of snacks for the two of them.

Hermione thanked the assistant but refused to sit and eat.

“Well?”

“Well what?” Hermione asked him looking away.

Draco stared at her for a moment with a look of wonder over his face.

“I thought you’d like this place better than my office in the west wing of the manor.”

Hermione did not say anything.

She had sent him a note a few hours ago to meet up with him he quickly replied.

Soon after, he had Apparated in front of Gringotts and picked her up.

He brought her right at the Malfoy Manor.

She was reluctant the moment they appeared by their gates.

 “Was it not dangerous you asked me to pick you up at Gringotts? It’s a public place.”

“I’m sure it’s not a big deal to be seen at the bank.”

“Yeah, not a big deal. But to be seen with me, would that not be a big deal?”

Hermione did not say anything.

She quietly sat down and kept staring at everything but at Draco.

Draco had noticed this gesture.

Although it bothered him, he did not want to push the subject to her.

He sat opposite her and offered the tray of food.

“They’re going to make some lunch for us in a while. But do help yourself. My assistant makes good tea and good sandwiches.”

“I’m not here to eat.”

Draco raised a brow at her.

“Pray tell why you are here.”

Hermione did not say anything.

She bit her lower lip and took the cup of tea in her hand but did not drink it.

Draco waited.

He quietly watched her move her fingers around the tea cup in silence.

“Granger.”

“Tell me what we can do.” Hermione said with a sudden sharp look over her eyes.

“I’m sorry?” Draco asked her.  

“What can we do?” she asked apprehensively. “ What can we do to save Severus’ life?” she put the tea cup back on the small table and moved at the edge of the couch.

“The trial is on-going-“

“Harry won’t let him win.” Hermione said in a determined voice. “Harry will do anything that he tays and dies in there. We both know that.”

Draco stared at her and could tell the fear and urgency in her voice.

There was something stirring inside her – something familiar from the old days that he had thought had died a long time ago.

“What do you suggest?” he asked slowly.

“I don’t know.” Hermione quietly said. “But I know Harry is speeding up this trial or is doing something not very him behind our backs. He is different now. I can tell. He is no longer the Harry I know.”

A gleam passed Draco’s eyes.

His brows crossed.

“Did he hurt you again?” he slowly asked her.

Hermione shook her head.

“What happened then?” Draco’s tone was accusatory.

“Something is strange – something is different about him.” Hermione looked up at the boy who had bullied her most of their life.

“Tell me.” Draco said reaching out for her hand across the table. “You can tell me, Hermione.”

Hermione’s eyes lit up at being called by her name.

“I’m sorry.” Draco said quickly withdrawing his hand from her. “It was just

“Something about Harry is scaring me.” Hermione admitted to him. “I know something is different and if we don’t do anything about Severus, he is going to die in there. We can’t let that happen, Draco.”

Draco’s eyes widened this time as she called him by his name.

He wasn’t sure what to tell her.

He first had to get past the fact that she had just called him in his name.

“Draco?” Hermione repeated calling back his attention.

He blinked away and turned back to her.

“If we’re going to do this, we’ll have to turn to drastic measures.” Draco began. “Are you willing to go for that to save his life?”

 Hermione looked up at him.

The way Draco had said it, they really did not seem to have any choice.

“Drastic measures?”

“Yes.” Draco answered her. “We don’t have time I’m afraid.”

Hermione was silent.

 Draco could tell that she was contemplating hard on the subject.

She heavily breathed and nodded at him.

His eyes lit up at her answer.

She was so far and deep into the man that she was willing to do whatever it takes.

“What do we do?” she slowly asked him. “Where do we begin?”

Draco stared at her in utter silence.

Truth was that, he did not have a full plan yet – ideas, yes maybe – but no solid plan.

He wasn’t even sure she was going to agree to whatever he might come up with.

But the look of determination in her face was enough to tell her that she was willing to risk and do anything to save the man’s life.

Was she really in love with his godfather?

“Well first is a step you’d need to face and go through.”

“Tell me what it is and I’ll do it.”

“Are you sure?” he slowly drawled out.

Their eyes met and for a moment and there was a hint of hesitation in her eyes.

“Hermione?”

 “I’m sure.”

Draco sighed and gave her a curt nod.

Draco slowly reached for his wand and placed it across the table between the two of them.

“What do you want me to do?” Hermione asked him, confused.

“You have to tell me everything.” Draco said. “Rather, you’re going to have to show me everything that has happened in those ten long years, Hermione.”

Hermione’s eyes widened.

She understood what he was asking of her – her deepest and most kept memories of the last decade of her life.

She flinched at the sight of the wand but she tried to keep her composure.

Draco could tell that she was halfway into running away from the manor.

“This is the only way I can help you.” Draco softly said. “If I understand what exactly has happened.”

“Will it ensure that you can save his life?” Hermione asked him.

“No.” Draco honestly said. “But it will give me enough information to suffice a good strategy so we can have a chance of saving his life.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“You will tell them the truth.” Snape had whispered and gasped.

More sounds were heard from the outside of the cottage.

Hermione was painfully tugging at his cloak as she cried.

“Severus, please-“

Her voice and whole body was shaking.

Her mind was swirling in confusion and fear.

How could it happen this way?

“Hermione, focus. Listen to me.”

“Severus, no, please no – no, you can’t-“

He sharply turned to her and grabbed her painfully by the wrist.

“You will tell them the truth and nothing but the truth Hermione, you hear me? LOOK AT ME!”

He held her arms, shaking her violently.

“You will tell them nothing but the truth no matter how much it hurts no matter what it takes.”

“No, I can’t. Please, don’t make me do this. I can’t do it.”

“Do you trust me?” he asked her gently.

Hermione stared at those black eyes.

Did she trust him?

Did he really just ask her that?

After the ten long years they have been together, he would ask her that?

Did she trust him?

“Severus..”

“I ask you.”

“I trust you.” Hermione answered.

She closed her eyes and clung her arms tightly around his neck as they heard windows being smashed and the door being taken down by loud spells.

“I love you, Severus.” she cried helplessly within his arms.

She felt him tighten his grip around her and kiss her forehead.  

Hermione barely heard nor recalled what had happened next exactly because the commotion that came next was too much of a surprise and shock to take in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“NOOOOOOOOOO!” Hermione screamed and she was blinded by a sudden light that passed through the room and settled at the corner of their room.

She was gasping for breath, her face filled with tears.

She moved around the bed looking for something that she did not know what exactly.

It took her a moment to realize that she was not alone in the room.

Harry was sitting across from the bed with a wand lit in his hand.

His eyes were on her and he carefully lit the small fireplace in their room with a smooth flick of his wand.

“Harry..” Hermione gasped breathlessly staring at his silent form in the armchair across the room.

He did not say anything, he was just silently staring at her.

“Why are you-“ Hermione swallowed hard trying to catch her breath. “Why are you still awake?”

He did not answer her.

His emerald eyes continued to just stare at her form.

His silhouette scared Hermione.

“Harry?”

“I couldn’t sleep.” Harry silently spoke without taking his eyes off her. “You were screaming.”

“I’m sorry.” Hermione answered looking away from him. “I didn’t realize.”

He watched as she slowly went to the other side of the bed.

She turned her back at him but he could tell that she was brushing away the tears from her face.

“Just the usual nightmares.” Hermione quietly said.

 She slowly stood up to go to the bathroom.

“Yeah, I could tell.” Harry answered keeping his eyes on her. “You were screaming his name again.”

Hermione halted from walking to the washroom but she did not face him.

“You’ve been screaming his name all night long, Hermione. Do you think any fiancé would be able to sleep at that? Hearing and watching all night as their partner twist and toss around on the bed screaming someone else’s name?”

“I was having a nightmare.” Hermione said in a low voice.

Her hands were shaking in anger at her sides.

Harry snorted.

Hermione turned to him and gave her a dark look.

“I’m not going to argue about this, Harry.”

“I’m not going to argue with you about anything anymore, ‘Mione.”

He slowly stood up and walked up to her.

Hermione backed away but he grabbed her by the arm and forced a kiss over her face.

She struggled to get away from his grasp but he did not let her go.

“Harry, you’re hurting my arm-“

He ignored her.

He continued to kiss her until they both fell back on the bed.

Hermione gasped and struggled as she tried looking for her wand.

“Accio!” she heard Harry whisper.

With a flick, her wand came out from her side of the bed and flew right at Harry’s hand.

Harry pushed her back on the bed and straightened himself up from her holding two wands in his hand.

She stared up at him with hate.

“Give me my wand.”

He just stared at her and there was the glint again in his eyes.

Hermione wanted to cry but she wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of fear.

“Harry, I said give me back my wand.”

“You’re demanding from me, now?”

“I’m asking for what is mine.”

Harry stared at her for a moment.

“And you?” Harry asked her. “Are you not mine?”

“You’re mad.” Hermione gasped at him.

 And then he suddenly laughed – a high-pitch and cold laughter.

“You.” he turned from her and struggled with his laughter.

The sound of his voice scared Hermione.

“You are in no place to demand and ask me to give you back what is yours.” Harry screamed at her.

Hermione was shaking on the bed but she tried her best to control her fear.

Harry turned about and raised his hand at her.

“Are you going to hurt me again?” she slowly asked him.

His emerald eyes stared at her soft ones.

“What is mine is yours, Hermione. Therefore, what is yours is already mine.”

Hermione tried to make out of what he had said but she was too fearful at the moment to think clearly.

“Go back to sleep.” Harry said kissing her forehead. “ I’m going to finish some work downstairs.”

Harry gently moved towards her and she flinched at his gentle touch across her cheek.

 “Go back to sleep, ‘Mione. We have things to do tomorrow.”

And without another word, he flicked his wand and the fireplace lit died as he left and close the bedroom door.

Hermione held her breath and clutched her hand over her chest.

Her heart was beating fast – too fast, perhaps.

The moment she heard Harry’s footsteps ebbed away, she fell back onto the bed and tears began rolling down her cheeks again.

She wasn’t sure if it was because of the nightmare she had the time they were discovered at the island at Beltane or was it because of the nightmare she was presently living even when she was wide-awake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Thirteen 

Favors 

 

 

 

“When do you plan on telling her?”

“I don’t know.” Snape answered. “I’m not even sure how considering how difficult and delicate the situation is.”

“There is no easy way of telling her this.” Narcissa said. “No way out nor around it. You would have to tell her sooner or later.”

Snape did not say anything.

He moved his eyes away from the lady of the Malfoy Manor.

But the silence between them did not give him enough space to think either.

“Where’s Lucius?” he asked her after a while.

“Where do you think?” Narcissa answered briskly.

“Winning this war is a tight cause.” Snape said.

“I do not care who wins.” Narcissa said. “As long as I am able to protect my son and keep him safe until it all ends, that’s the only thing that matters to me.”

Only one miracle will save them all.

Snape’s black eyes moved from the fireplace and then back up at her.

Narcissa was holding the small vial with bluish liquid and was staring deep into it.

“You can send these to me.” Narcissa pointed out. “You do not have to endanger yourself bringing me these.”

Narcissa gestured over towards a box where half a dozen of the same vials with the same potion lay.

“How are you feeling?” Snape asked ignoring what she had just said.

She looked up at him with an irritated glare as if it was an insult to be asked with her condition.

“Alive.” Narcissa quietly said pursing her lips at him.

“Narcissa.”

“I’m alive, can’t you see?”

“Cissy.”   

 “I’m alive and well.” Narcissa answered truthfully. “That is thanks to you.”

Their eyes met.

“You have no need to thank me.” Snape said. “It is you whom I should thank.”

Narcissa shook her head and lowered the vial across the table.

“This is for Draco.” Narcissa quietly said.

She walked away from the table and crossed her arms as she stood by the fireplace.

“It would be better if you would be able to find out how long I have yet to live.”

“You will live longer, Cissy.” Snape said. “I will find you a cure.”

“A cure?” she snorted out shaking her head. “We both know there is no cure for this. You don’t need to lie between the two of us.”

Snape looked up at her.

Narcissa shook her head with a smirk over her face. She looked as proud as ever.

 “I live right now because we have discovered this and you have provided me with alternative potions from what I have been taking. But for how long will they help? For how long will I survive this?”

Snape did not answer.

He was unsure how long he could heal her and attempt to recover what still may be.

They did not foresee it – they did not know of it.

 But it had been long in her blood and it was almost too late.

He quietly wished his skills in potions could still redeem the life she should live.

“I need more time for the tests. But at the moment, I’m quite sure you would live longer.”

“Long enough to see the Dark Lord finish and rid of us once he is done with his use of us? Of my husband? Of my son?”

Snape stared up at her worried expression.

He stood from the armchair and walked towards her desk.

Despite her name, wealth and power, Snape pitied the idea that behind all of those façade she showed to the world, she was – as her husband and son – was just a disposable life to the Dark Lord.

“I already gave you my word that I will protect you and your dear Draco.” Snape said.  “I am keeping a close watch at him. He is like the Dark Lord’s most precious heir right now because of the contribution I have – because he knows I care about the boy.”

Narcissa did not say anything.

His words were not enough to comfort her.

Narcissa straightened herself up and nodded at him as she returned to the table.

She picked up the vial and placed it inside the box to fill in the fifteen holes for vials.

“I need to make more tests on you.” Snape said. “It’s only been three months, Cissy.

“Three months and thirteen days, Severus.” Narcissa smartly corrected him.

He looked at her and knew that she wasn’t referring to the months he had been giving her the vials to tend to her needs.

Snape chose to ignore her commentary for which he knew which message she tries to purposely deliver.

“I’ve made you a couple more of bottles.” Snape told her. “These will last for several weeks and maybe a few months.”

“I gather that the idea is that I won’t be seeing you until then?” she asked him with a narrowed brow.

Snape did not say anything to her.

He didn’t want to divulge too much information on her in spite of everything he had already told her.

“It is too risky to come back every now and then.” he simply explained to her as he began packing his belongings.

Narcissa quietly watched his progress.

“Severus.”

“ I have to travel twice as careful and sometimes in the latest of hours to avoid being caught that I do not actually stay at Hogwarts nor at Spinner’s End.”

“Very well.” Narcissa coldly said. “ It’s not as if I can actually do anything about your decisions.”

Snape finished his packing and zipped his black bag back.

Narcissa placed her hand over his with a very thick envelope in her hand.

“Cissy-“

“Let me return the favor.” she said meeting his eyes.

“I still haven’t used up everything you have given me the last time.”

“It doesn’t matter.” Narcissa said. “Just take it. I know you need it – she needs it.”

He didn’t say anything.

“Buy her something.” Narcissa said. “Books, dresses – anything she will like. Anything that will take away her attention from the real situation.”

“She’s a mart girl.” Snape reminded her as he stared down at the thick envelope. “No, she’s a smart woman.

Narcissa watch him correct himself with a peculiar expression over his face.

 “You have to tell her everything as soon as possible, Severus.”

Snape did not say anything.

He looked uncomfortable again.

“I must get going.” Snape slung the bag around his shoulder. “ It is getting too late. I do not want to be seen by anyone.”

Narcissa stared at her dearest friend – she was unsure if it was pity for him she felt.

She reached for him and placed her hand over his shoulders.

Snape stopped as she placed the envelope in the inside of his traveling cloack.

“Severus, you have no choice.” Narcissa whisperd against his ear. “You’re going to have to tell her. The curse gets stronger over time. You are the only one capable of helping her. If she is as smart as you claim, she would understand. She would endure and agree with what you have to deal with together.”

“I must go.” Snape said taking the package from the table.

Narcissa placed her hand over his.

Snape stopped and stared at her quietly.

“I will be with you as you go through and deal with this, Severus.” Narcissa whispered. “ I will not forsake you.”

Snape did not say anything.

He looked away from her with such shame and sadness in his eyes.

Everything that has happened since the night of the ambush was too much already.

Fate has been asking – no, demanding too much from him.

“This is not an easy task.”

“Nothing has ever been easy for us, Severus.”

“You do not understand. It involves everything and everyone she loves-“

“Do I not understand?” Narcissa asked him with a hint of sarcasm.

“You, whom I have watched suffered the fate of losing that one love- be fated for her never to be yours and I, to have to spend the rest of my life with a man I have never loved?” her voice was one of controlled angered and Snape felt that he had offended her greatly. .

“Cissy-“

“Do I not understand the depth and the pain of our situation?”

Narcissa stared and slowly withdrew her hand from him.

Snape turned and faced her but she moved away from him.

“You underestimate my understanding of love, Severus.”

“Cissy-“

Snape grabbed her hand back and kept it still inside his.

They looked at one another with such understanding.

 “I apologize, Narcissa. I am too tired and confused lately.”

“Do not let the situation get into you.” Narcissa whispered.  “Take control and remain mindful. This is not a time to fall apart.”

Narcissa’s words were soft and kind but they made an impact.

“How do I tell her?” Snape asked and there was desperation in his voice.

Narcissa’s eyes met his.

She could tell the fear in them.

“I know the weight of the situation. But you are the only one capable of saving her and saving everyone. This is the part of the Dark Lord’s plans. Anything he would do – anything – to ensure he wins this war. He would do anything to ensure that Harry Potter gives himself up. He would do anything and use anyone he could.”

“And me? What about me?”

“You are tasked and destined to save them – to save the boy, to save her, my son – you’ve been destined to carry this because you can.”

“I don’t want to do this anymore.”

“Hermione Granger has no one but you to save her.”

These words silenced him.

For a brief moment, he looked both guilty and remorseful of the words he had just told her.

There was something in her words that pierced his heart.

“I will break her heart.”

“Hers?” Narcissa asked him slowly.

 She stared closer making sure that she could see the depth on his eyes.  

“Her heart, Severus?” Narcissa softly spoke. “Or yours?”

He looked away from her and pocketed the package in his cloak with sudden hurry.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Narcissa.”

Narcissa didn’t take her eyes off him.

She knew her friend too well.

“Just about a few weeks or months and there you go, Severus - giving your heart away again.”

Snape looked away from her with a sharp stance about him.

“I’m not a child, Narcissa.”

Narcissa gave a small laugh at him but none too unkind.

“You’ve always been like what?” she asked him with an amused expression over her pale face.

“Ah yes, a little brother to me that I come to watch over every single day at Hogwarts because I know that Lucius and his so-called friends are always hovering around you. And look at you now. I see no difference from that boy who loved someone so well and deeply many years ago.”

Snape still did not say anything.

Narcissa was the only woman who ever spoke of him this way or rather the only one he allowed to do so.  

“There have been many differences.”

Narcissa crossed her arms and looked even more amused.

“Perhaps.” Narcissa silkily said “I used to take good care of you. But now look at you today, taking good care of me.”

Snape slowly stared at her as he heard the gratefulness in her tone.

All the sarcasm and smugness and confidence of the Malfoy woman had vanquished and was quickly replaced by warm words.

He would not deny that she did care for him and watched over him closely in the Slytherin House when they were at school.

She had even saved his arse several more times or so from things he did not foresee coming in his hunger for power and will to prove himself worthy in the circle of the popular Slytherin boys.

Snape stared at the beautiful woman before him.

He would never find another Pureblood friend as genuine as she was despite their differences and beliefs.

Snape smiled curtly at her and nodded.

 Narcissa did the same.

“I have to go.” Snape took his belongings. “I’ll see you soon.”

“Rescue her and save her. It would break her heart. But it is essential to keep her alive – to keep the boy alive in order to save us all.”  

He did not say anything.

He turned from her and took the package and the large bag filled with more than enough necessities Narcissa accumulated for him.

He walked to the door and halted only when Narcissa called him again.

“Time is running, Severus. The curse is getting stronger over time. You must make up your mind.”

 

 

 

 

“I got your owl. What’s going on?”

“We can’t talk here.”

Hermione pulled Ginny with her inside the bank. 

It was twice that week that she had used the excuse of going to the bank to Harry so she could get out of their place without him being suspicious of her whereabouts.

She looked around cautiously and knew that one way or another they would bump into an Auror or a Ministry official that would soon tell Harry of her actions.

She took Ginny around by the arm and lined up in a long waiting line of something she did not even bother to check.

She grabbed her by the arm and they stood at the very end of the line.

“I need to get out of the house.”

“Yeah. I could tell, what’s going on?”

Ginny looked worried towards Hermione.

 She had written her a secret message that she was all too surprise to bother asking what it is for but agreed in her form of secret message as well that she would meet her at the bank.

“I just need to get out of the house until the trial is over.” Hermione said. “Can you help me?”

“Help you?” Ginny asked her back. “Help you how exactly?”

“I don’t know.” Hermione said. “I need a place to stay.”

“You can stay at home. I’m sure my mum would be glad –“

“No. That’s the first place Harry would look for me. And I’m sure Mrs. Weasley would give me up.”

“Give you up?” Ginny asked. “ Hermione, what’s going on between you and Harry? This is so strange having to discuss this with you over her in the bank where we actually have nothing-“

“Ginny, sssh! Please keep your voice down!”

Ginny stared at her friend.

She did not understand one bit of this and was unsure if she was doing the right thing.

“What do you want me to do?” Ginny asked her.

Hermione was unsure if she was irritated or worried about her.

She wasn’t even sure she could completely trust her but she was her only shot.

“I don’t know. Take me away. Let’s tell them you’re going for a vacation or something and you’re bringing me – Gin, the important thing is I need to get out of the house. I’m not comfortable around Harry anymore.”

“What?” Ginny asked, alarmed. “Is he hurting you?”

Hermione quickly shook her head.

She looked away from her scrutinizing gaze.

“No, it’s not like that.” Hermione looked reluctant to tell her everything but she didn’t have much choice.

“You have to tell me.” Ginny insisted.

“ It’s just that there are days he seems himself and days where he’s some sort of- I don’t know – I can’t seem to understand and explain exactly but I know he is not himself from time to time-“

“You can tell mum?”

“I can’t.” Hermione told her. Her brows furrowed. “Ginny, you can’t tell her either.”

She stared back at Hermione with a confused look.

“I want to help you, but I don’t know how – Harry!” Ginny gasped looking over her shoulder.

“What?” Hermione said.

Ginny pierced her wrist and turned her about.

Hermione’s face turned pale as she saw Harry signing something from a Ministry official’s hand-filled of parchments and then he began walking towards them with a big smile over his face.

“What’s he doing here?” Hermione asked with great alarm all over her face.

“I don’t know Hermione, but whatever this is-“

“Please keep everything I told you a secret.” Hermione whispered just in time as Harry had reached them.

“Hermione-“

“Please-“

“Hello ladies..” Harry said smiling as he had reached them.

Ginny and Hermione gave him a reluctant smile.

His arms quickly crawled around Hermione’s waist as he bent over to kiss her cheek and then one just in between her jawline and neck.

Ginny looked back at her with question in her eyes.

Harry smiled at Ginny then back at Hermione and he pulled a rose from behind him.

“Why are you here?” Hermione asked him.

“I decided to pick you up.” Harry said. “I’ve chanced upon the time you said you’d be here.”

“Are you following me?” Hermione asked irritably. “I don’t remember giving you the time-“

“How are you, Ginny?” Harry asked interrupting her. “How’s Mrs. Weasley?”

Ginny looked from him then back at Hermione and back at him again.

She was unsure of what exactly was going on between the two of them.

“I was closing an account.” Ginny lied.

“Why would you close an account?” Harry asked her. “And isn’t that line over there?”

He pointed over a long line two rows from where they were.

 “Yeah!” Ginny quickly said. “Actually, sort of. I mean, Bill asked me the other day to check the account he has with him and-“

“I thought Bill’s account is French as he has transferred everything with Fleur?” Harry asked her.

Hermione’s face turned pale but she did not say anything.

“Yeah.” Ginny said. “He asked me to check the account he has with him and it is Charlie’s.” Ginny quickly made up. “But he does not have the time so that task that Charlie asked him to do he had assigned to me.”

Harry stared at her for a moment but did not say anything.

“Right, alright. And you?” he turned to Hermione.

Hermione stared back at him and was smiling at her in a way that she did not like.

“I just wanted to try and ask for this old account I had before. Hogwarts days. But the line there was long and I was about to go home and then I –“

“I saw her. And called her and asked her to go in line with me.” Ginny finished with a smile.

Harry stared at the two of them.

Whether he was convinced or not, Hermione was unsure of.

“Right. Well, we’re off to Diagon Alley for lunch. I’ll see you around?” Harry nodded at Ginny as he took Hermione’s hand.

Hermione stared helplessly at Ginny who could only stare at them.

“Yes, sure. Visit this Friday.” Ginny said. “Mum is having dinner for everyone. Bill and Fleur are arriving again.”

“That will be delightful.” Hermione had answered. “What time would that be-“

“I’ll send an owl if we can.” Harry said with a curt nod.

Ginny looked up at Harry and she could have sworn that she saw the look Hermione seemed to describe about.

Hermione gave Ginny a pleading glance.

“It would be nice if you would come.” Ginny pursued. “Mum will be delightful to see you both and-“

“I said, I would send an owl if we can.”

“Harry-“

He took Hermione’s hand firmly and kept her quiet.

Ginny did not miss the gesture.

“I have plans for us. Friday.” Harry simply said.

Ginny stared at Hermione whose face was pale and eyes trying to communicate to her.  

“Right. Alright then.” Ginny had said. “We’ll wait for your owl.”

Hermione and Ginny’s eyes met for a split second that Harry had missed.

“Let’s go then?” Harry asked.

He smiled and nodded at Ginny and turned Hermione with him.

“Harry, please remove your arm from my waist.” Hermione commented but Harry took a firmer hold.

“Should I not show the world my affection?” he asked with a smug smile over his face as a wizard recognized them had passed and bowed at Harry.

Hermione lowered her hand knowing that Harry won’t let her go anyway.

The moment they stepped outside the bank and were now far from Ginny, Harry whirled at her.

“Did you tell her something?” he asked her with a raised brow. “What did you tell her?”  

“What?” Hermione asked him pushing herself away from him.

Harry did not let her go.

“I asked if you have told Ginny some made up lies.”

“I didn’t tell her anything.” Hermione said. “And is there anything she should know about?”

Harry did not answer her.

The glint in his eyes vanished and he smiled at her.

“That is my ‘Mione.” Harry whispered.

He slowly reached his hand up and began caressing her cheek.

Hermione did not move. She tried her best to act normal.

“I just want to go home. I’m not feeling well to have lunch outside. I can cook for us.”

Harry looked at her for a moment.

“Alright.” Harry simply said with a glad smile over his face. “That is a lovely plan.”

He took her hand and took out his wand and the two of them Disapparated from the grounds.

 

 

 

Hermione turned over the other side of the bed only to find herself alone.

She moved her hands around and opened her eyes to find the space next to her empty.

She looked around their darkened room and the fire in the hearth was already dying.

“Harry?” she slowly called out.

There was no answer.

The small light in the room told her that she was indeed alone in the room.

“Harry..” she sighed heavily lying back on her back.

Hermione stared up at the ceiling and realized it was raining hard again.

The weather seemed to be mourning with her every day.

It was somewhere two in the morning and she had wondered if Harry had left again when she had fallen asleep.

He had made dinner for the two of them that they had eaten in the living room a few hours ago.

He even bought an expensive wine for her and another bouquet of fresh red roses.

There was no occasion but he was obviously doing his best to claim her again.

And she wasn’t sure if that was something she should be happy about or scared of.

She tossed and turned to the other side of the bed and closed her eyes.

She missed Severus horribly.

She had constantly wondered how things would be and how things would really end up.

Their situation was as hopeless as ever and she knew that Harry would never change his mind now. He would always refuse to listen just because he believed that Snape had indeed abducted her for his own gain.

If only Harry knew.

“What if I tell him?” Hermione thought.

She closed her eyes and quickly shook the idea away.

No, she couldn’t.

That would break her promise to Severus and Harry would never understand the depth of it.

It would only seem like an ideal excuse but not what it really meant.

“But you already told Draco.” Hermione guiltily admitted to herself. “Why can’t you tell Harry?”

Hermione turned to the other side of the bed again.

Yes, tonight no nightmares.

Just a conscience trying to bury her alive.

“Because Miss Know-It-All if you tell Harry you would hurt him.”

Hermione bit her lower lip and shook her head.

She could hear the rain getting louder by the moment.

“It’s not as if you’re not hurting him already. He’s already hurt as it is. Why spare a few more parts of his heart that is not yet broken?”

Hermione felt as miserable as ever.

She told Draco in hopes he would help her and Snape – or rather Snape out of the position.

But if he tells Harry – not only would he get hurt and be furious it would break him miserably if he finds out what she has sacrificed in the first place.

If only she could turn back time.

“I don’t regret being with you.” Hermione thought out loud. “But I never thought we’d end up this way.”

Hermione sat up from the bed and decided to get a glass of water from their kitchens to help her ease the heaviness in her already broken heart.

“What happened to us?”

Hermione halted in the hallway halfway to the kitchens when she heard his voice.

She stopped and saw that the fireplace in their living room was lit.

She slowly and quietly walked to the opened doorway and stared.

Harry’s back was turned to the door and he was alone in the room.

He was sitting on the carpet by the fireplace next to a lot of opened boxes around him.

“Harry?” Hermione uttered in barely a whisper as she moved closer and curiously stared.

From where she stood, she could see that he was holding a photograph in his hands and a scarf at the other.

Photo albums of sorts, old school books and crumpled parchments, and other memorabilia and objects were laid out around him in the living room.

She immediately recognized the scarf in his hand – it was the one she had given him in their last Christmas together that she had sewn herself with the help of Ginny and Mrs. Weasley.

She didn’t think he would still have it. She didn’t think he could keep her school things and other things they shared together through all these years.

He had indeed never given up on her and it breaks her heart to see him like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I thought I had made it clear that the last time I would ever see you in this room was also the last it would ever be.”

Draco did not say anything as he entered the room and sat opposite his godfather.

Snape looked him in the eye.

“You were the one who told me that.”

“Things may change.” Draco simply answered him.

Snape observed him carefully. His black eyes bore carefully around his godson.

“I am indeed highly amazed by your ability to manipulate people to get what you want, Draco.”

“It’s called favors.” Draco smugly told him. “I’m a Malfoy, after all.”

Draco stared at his godfather who sat opposite him at the very same room they had been in the last time.

Two wizards waited outside and guarded the room while two of Draco’s assistants waited outside as well.

A well-managed dinner had been served at the large black table between the two of them and yet neither godfather nor godson took a bit from the feast before them.

“I told you already that I cannot help you nor give you any more favors, Draco. You are wasting your time here.”

“You know for a long time, I thought you’re being stubborn but it turns out you’re just being an idiot.”

Snape stared up at Draco for a moment.

He had been wondering about the smug look over his face since he had arrived.

The boy looked so confident and in a highly good mood that Saturday afternoon.

“I’ve seen Hermione the other day.” Draco slowly said knowing her name will get his attention

“I didn’t know you two were close enough to call one another first-term basis.”

“Would you rather I call her ‘love’? or ‘sweetheart’ than her name?”

Snape moved uncomfortably from his seat and Draco sensed a momentary tension in the room.

“Oh that’s right – that was what you called her.”

“I do not understand what you’re talking about. I would never call her that.”

“Not even for a moment? Not even for a slight moment in eternity?”

Snape’s black eyes shot up at him and a gleam of amazement passed his features.

Draco looked satisfied at the reaction.

“What?” Draco smiled at him. “Did I say something wrong?”

Snape stared at him and he looked as if he was struggling with words.

“If I had my wand with me-“

“You’d erase it from my memory?” Draco dared him.

Snape remained quiet and still. He looked away from Draco – in an almost shameful way.

“Whatever she told you-“ Snape said through gritted teeth – “-or rather showed you, these are all lies-“

“You didn’t erase it from her memory.” Draco pointed out. “Giving me the idea and impression that you wanted her to keep your memories together.”

“Her mind is diluted. I think I already clarified that in the courtroom. These things you’ve seen may perhaps be part of these imagined and corrupted mind of hers.”

“We both know they are not corrupted memories. You’ve always been there – careful to watch me when aunt Bella taught me how to tell real memories from those which are not so I could tell if someone is lying.”

Draco watched Snape look uncomfortable and unguarded with his feelings as ever.

The man stood up and turned away from the table.

“Draco.”

“I want to hear it from you.” Draco said. “I want to hear from you that you are willing to help yourself. Ask me and I will help the two of you.”

“There is no life for the two of us. She is young and I am an old and tainted man. She will never be happy with me. She has a life ahead of her and that should not include me.”

“She’s not happy. She’s not happy with that Potter.”

“She only thinks that way while I am here. Once the jury and the Wizengamot has decided my fate in Azkaban with the Dementors – she will mourn, yes. It will take time but it would heal and she would realize that her fate is with Harry Potter.”

“Is that so?” Draco asked him. “Another loss? To another Potter?”

Snape closed his eyes and clenched his fists.

How much did Hermione tell or rather showed Draco?

“I will not stop. I will help you – I will help the two of you. Whether you like it or not. You do not deserve the life here. You are a hero of this war.”

“I’m no hero. Hermione deserves another man. Whatever she has shown you – whatever past we might have had – tell her to forget it, forget it all. Tell her to forget me.”

“Tell her yourself.” Draco challenged him. “I’ll get you out of here and tell her yourself then.”

“I don’t need to see her nor talk to her anymore.”

“She needs you.”

“She doesn’t need me. She only thinks she does.”

“Harry is hurting her. She is in need of your rescue.”

That was it.

 It was the magic word to gain Snape in his hands.

“What?” he asked swiftly turning to Draco. “What did you say?”

Draco stared at his godfather and saw a glint of fire-like anger in his eyes.

“She’s not happy with Potter. I think he’s hurting her. I don’t really have evidences but I’ve seen a mark or two in her arm.”

“Potter wouldn’t hurt a fly. He couldn’t hurt her.”

His face was turned from Draco but he could see his godfather’s hand fisting over his sides.

“He is a changed man.” Draco pointed out.

There was a grave look on Snape’s face.

His eyes turned about and Draco knew he was contemplating everything.

“Hermione will be happy with you. She needs you now more than ever. Why can’t you see that?”

“There is no life for us. There is no future for us.”

“Why do you think this way?” Draco asked him and Snape could tell he was highly frustrated.

He did not answer his godson.

“You’re the only one who thinks this way. I think you’re a hero of this war. I think if we cleared your name, you could be free. And then you can live a life with her. This is ridiculous.”

“You think if you clear my name, I would be free? We would be together? We could live happily?” Snape asked him and Draco could hear the sarcasm in his voice.

Snape shook his head and a hoarse laughter came from him.

“You may clear my name but we would never end up together.”

“Hermione wants to be with you. I think that is the only thing you should know about.”

“You think Potter will allow it?” Snape asked him. “Do you really think Potter will just let Hermione go? Do you think he would just let me out of this? No, Draco – no. He isn’t going to just let this go.”

“I will help you.”

“Help me?” Snape repeated mockingly. “Help me?”

Draco felt slightly insulted but he wasn’t going to give this up. Not now.

“Let me do this favor to you.” Draco sincerely said. “Let me return the favor you granted my mother.”

Snape was silent but he shook his head.

He slowly smirked and it confused Draco for a moment.

“Are you out of your bloody mind?” Snape asked him. “You are being ridiculous. Do you have any idea – what lies in store for me outside Azkaban? You may clear my name – yes. But life will never be easy anymore. I already have a stigma of what I have done to her – and if she stays with me she would have to endure it all as well for the rest of her life and I do want that to happen to her-“

“You are not the one to decide what she wants to endure or what she doesn’t. That’s not your decision anymore. She wants to be with you and that is important. Don’t you want to be with her anymore?”

“Do you really not get it?”

“Do you want her to spend the rest of her life with Potter?”

“They will get married and she will be happy.”

“No.” Draco warned him. “They will get married and she will be just like my mother in the hands of my father!”

That seemed to have silenced Snape.

His black eyes went emotionless for a moment.

Draco stared at his motionless and speechless form.

He was breathing hard after yelling.

Snape shamefully looked away from Draco but the boy would simply not give up.

“He’s hurting.” Draco said watching him hear and let the reality and pain of it sink inside him.

“Potter is incapable of such act.”

“He’s hurting her. He’s treating her exactly as how my father treated my mother. Do I need to remind you how exactly or you remember everything in detail?”

The colour in Snape’s face was turning red.

His fists began to clench in anger.

Draco could sense the attention he was gaining and he wasn’t to be stopped now.

“He’s hurting Hermione and Hermione has already asked for my help – twice.”

Snape was still silent.

He looked, for the first time, that he was actually considering life out of Azkaban.

“Draco, it won’t be easy.” Snape finally said breathing out heavily.

“I didn’t say it would be.” Draco answered with hope in his eyes.

Snape looked up at him and Draco could see the man he has known – the man who was as brave as anyone he has ever known.

“But we can begin somewhere.”

“How? Where?”

“I just need your word that you would tell me everything and then you will let me stir everything from here.”

Snape stared at his godson.

Since when did Draco Malfoy become a real man?

“He’s hurting her?” Snape asked slowly.

Draco nodded.

“I saw a bruise in her arm.”

Snape closed his eyes and sighed heavily.

He placed both his hands over his face in frustration.

“I didn’t save her all those years to be harmed by anyone.”

“Exactly.” Draco whispered. “Will you let it happen now?”

Draco leaned closer the table and closed his hands together.

“I can appeal for the trials to be extended by a few more. We can provide more evidences. I will request such things.”

“You don’t know the Minsitry of Magic, Draco.”

“No, I don’t.” Draco answered him. “But I do know that I’ve learned several things after my few years of hiatus in Germany.”

Snape stared at him as he slowly pulled something out from his pocket.

For a moment he did not understood what it was.

And then his black eyes widened as he realized that Draco was showing him a folded parchment that looked like a certificate and a glimmering golden card plate in his hand.

The card plate showed a photograph of Draco with a smug and proud smile over his face with his name scrawled magnificently beneath the photograph and an embedded scrawl beneath it was a licensed position his godson had obviously passed for.

Snape’s black eyes glimmered with hope for a moment.

He looked up at his godson and Draco was smiling at him.

“Draco..”

“It won’t be easy.” Draco told him honestly. “But she needs you to rescue her just like you have done ten years ago.” 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter XIV

“Flight”

 

“Mother?”

“I’m coming out in a while, Draco.”

“You’ve been there for more than an hour. What’s going on?”

“I said, I’m coming out in a while.”

Two more locks clicked and Draco knew that no matter what persistence he would do, his mother would refuse to open the bathroom door for him.


“Where’s your mother?” a cold voice asked. “What the hell is taking you too long Draco?”

Draco turned to his father who stood behind him in the hallway.

“Mother’s been there for almost two hours.” Draco pointed out. “She’s locked herself inside and won’t let me in.”

Lucius stared at Draco for a moment then walked forward pushing him aside.  

“Keep your wand away, Draco.” Lucius said seeing him with his wand at the ready.

Lucius stopped in front of the door and knocked several times.

“Narcissa?”

They could both hear the continuous sound of water from the faucet.

“Narcissa, what’s going on?”

“I’ll be out in a minute, Lucius.” Narcissa’s voice croaked out. “I’m going to follow the both of you. Give me a moment.”

“Mother, you’ve been there too long. What’s going on? Why won’t you open this-“

“Draco, I told you to go with your father-“

“You’ve been in there-“

“Draco, go to your aunt Bella.” Lucius ordered him.

“But father-“

“I said, go to your aunt Bella.” Lucius quietly repeated with his gray eyes glinting.

Draco stared at his father then at the locked door before them.

He kept his wand away when his father stared at it again.

“I told you, something is wrong with her.” Draco angrily said but Lucius only stared at him.

“I don’t have time for this.”

“Something is wrong with mother-“ Draco pointed out angrily  banging at the closed door. “And you’re bloody concerned about your stupid little meeting downstairs-“

Lucius looked as if he was ready to hit his son with the staff in his hand.

“Draco, lower your voice down – if they hear you-“

“If they hear me then what?” Draco challenged him. “What father?”

Draco’s eyes momentarily moved towards the snakehead of his wand.

“You’re going to hit me like you do to my mother?”

Lucius didn’t say anything to his son. He looked like he was trying very hard to remain calm and composed.

Draco stared at him with nothing but anger rising inside of him.

“This is our goddamn house but for some reason I feel that we are prisoners inside it!”

“Draco-“ Lucius reached out for him.

“No, don’t touch me!” Draco angrily said shoving his father’s hand away from him.

Lucius’ eyes glinted but he did not say anything nor attempted to hold him again.

“Your aunt Bella is waiting for you downstairs. I’ll deal with your mother. Get out of here.”

 

Draco look unconvinced and contemplated for a moment if he was going to follow his father.

“If something happens to my mother, it’s on you.” Draco angrily spat before reluctantly turning and angrily leaving the both of them.

“Narcissa.”

There was some silence.

“Narcissa.” Lucius repeated.

He heard the water being turned off.

“Is he gone?”

“He’s gone.” Lucius heavily answered.  

There was a moment of silence. Two clicks and the door unlocked itself.

Lucius stood before the door and stared down at his pale faced wife.

He did not say anything despite her disheveled clothes and hair.

“I told you to have yourself checked.”

“I’ve also told you that it’s nothing to be worried about. I’m taking what I need to take. I’m fine.”

Lucius did not say anything. He merely helped her out of the bathroom and back to their bedroom in the two hallways down without a word.

He watched her in silence and despite her pale and thinning figure, he never pushed her to stay at St. Mungo’s Hospital if she did not want to be taken there.

He noticed it – her loss of appetite, her weight loss and her consistent lack of colour and energy to do the things she used to do.

It worried Lucius. But at this time of the war, he could not be distracted no matter the consequence and reason.

“I’ve been told you visited the hospital the other day. What did the Healers say?”

He walked her to their bedroom and helped her settle in their large four poster bed that they barely shared anyway.

Narcissa shook her head.

“You’re still tailing me around, Lucius?”

“I never stopped tailing you around.” Lucius spitefully said. “Now don’t change the subject.”

“I’m fine.” Narcissa snapped at him. “It’s the age taking place.”

Lucius continuously stared at the woman he has been with for the longest of time.

Lucius genuinely loved her. But he loved his ambitions more and nothing is ever really whole when your love story merely began because you’ve been fixed by your family to marry one another.

“What did he say?”

“What did who say?” Narcissa asked as she turned and faced the other side of the bed.

Lucius stared at her back with clenched fists.

“Who do you think I’m talking about?”

Narcissa did not answer.

“I saw the box of vials, Narcissa.” Lucius slowly said. “I know you’ve seen Severus lately.”

“Is he the only Potions Master in London?”

“No.” Lucius answered sitting on the end of the bed. “But he is the only one you would trust with your life.”

Narcissa snorted at him but Lucius ignored it.

“Severus has too much on his plate from the Dark Lord’s orders to engage and trouble himself with tedious tasks like taking care of an old woman.”

“You are not yet that old to be this sick.” Lucius pointed out. He watched her with careful eyes.

Lucius waited for her answer but she did not say anything. He turned his attention to the serpentine end of his wand to keep his mind focus as he was starting to grow impatient with Narcissa’s choice of actions and words at the moment.

“Severus has been.. seemingly engaged with other things outside the Dark Lord’s knowledge. I thought maybe you know something about it since you’ve been seeing him.”

Narcissa did not say anything. She knew that Lucius knew none of what she did but she is also aware that despite that the man has made small and mass mistakes in the past, her husband is not a complete idiot who would not notice the irregularities around him.  

Lucius sighed heavily. He shook his head and stared continuously at her.

“If you are unwell, Cissy…” Lucius softly began but when he noticed that Narcissa was taking no notice nor attention to him so he suddenly grew cold.

“Narcissa, if you are unwell, you can tell me. We have everything you would need to make you feel better. Let me find a way.”

She suddenly laughed – a cold and mocking one.

“Freedom, Lucius.” Narcissa whispered slowly looking up at her husband. “Do we have freedom? Can you possibly get me that on a golden platter for two?”

Lucius closed his eyes and gripped the snake head of his staff where he kept his wand.

“Narcissa, are you not glad of the life the Dark Lord has bestowed upon us?” he whispered.

Narcissa did not answer and Lucius knew that this was not going to end well again.

“If you want to make me feel better, take Draco out of this.” Narcissa quietly said. “Leave Draco out of these plans you have. I do not care what you do, I will not stop you. But spare my son – our son.”

Lucius did not say anything. He would never admit it but he knew that he was as helpless as she was.

Narcissa felt him stand from the bed and walked towards the bedroom door.

“We have been bestowed a second chance and good graces by the Dark Lord. I do not understand why you are very ungrateful. I have done my best – my part on all of these to keep you and your wretched protected!”

“I’m being ungrateful?” Narcissa laughed at him. “A good life?” Narcissa muttered back at him. “You mean he spared our lives because Severus requested it to be so!”

Lucius’ eyes flashed in anger, his fists were clenched and shaking at his sides.

He knew the truth in those words but he did not need to hear it over and over again.

Narcissa waited but he seemed too exhausted for the past days to spare an amount of energy arguing with her about things they’ve already done so for so many times over.

“Take an early rest, Cissy.” Lucius said and she heard him open the door. “I have better things to do than pity a woman who has barely ever showed me compassion.”

 

 

 


Hermione hurriedly folded the parchment in her hand and was barely able to seal with inside the envelope when a voice came by the doorway.

“What’s that?” Harry asked leaning against the side of the door.

Hermione turned around and stared at him with the letter in her hand.

“It’s nothing.” Hermione answered. “Just a note.”

“Just a note?” Harry slowly repeated folding his arms and staring closely at her.

His emerald eyes gleamed behind his spectacles that Hermione had charmed and fixed several times in their lifetime already.

“Yeah.” Hermione simply answered standing still by her desk. “Just a note.”

“For who?”

“Ginny.” Hermione simply told him. “Just to answer her letter this morning.”

Harry stared at her and she knew that he was unconvinced.

“I want to see it.” Harry said walking inside their room. “Hand it over please.”

Hermione did not move. She stared as he stood before her.

She had thought that he already left an hour ago for his work at the Ministry as it was a Monday after all.  But then she had noticed that he was wearing comfortable non-Ministry work clothes.

“Don’t you have work today?” she asked pointing at his sweater.  

“Hermione.” Harry slowly said reaching his hand out. “Hand it over.”

He quietly waited.

“I told Ginny that I’m going to ask you if we can go this Thursday.” Hermione answered handing the envelope at him.

Harry snatched it and tore the envelope open and threw it aside as he opened the parchment.

 

‘Gin, hope all is well. I’m going to have to ask Harry if we can attend dinner on Thursday. I’m sure we can make time as last Friday’s had been cancelled because Fleur wasn’t feeling well. Hope she is better. I’ll write to you as soon as Harry has an answer. I’ll see you.

                                                                            ‘Mione.”

 

Harry folded it back and stared at Hermione unblinkingly. He stared at the desk behind her and grabbed what looked like Ginny’s letter. He quickly read through it and it was a simple invitation for the raincheck of Friday’s cancelled dinner at the Weasleys.

“Well?” Hermione asked feeling satisfied and irritated at the same time.

She bent down, picked up her enveloped and smoothened in back on the desk as Harry threw both letters back on the table.

“Well what?”

“Well are we going? Given I don’t have to ask you anymore since you’ve already read it yourself.”

Harry stared at her and could tell the irritation in her voice. He did not say anything.

“I’m not sure.” Harry slowly said. “Depends on Wednesday.”

“Wednesday?” Hermione asked him.

She watched as he stared and tinkered over her things on her small desk as if looking for something.

“There’s a trial on Wednesday.” Harry simply answered. He looked up at her. “Have you forgotten?”

Hermione did not say anything. In her haste and fear in their house, she had barely remembered that there was a trial in two days.

“So what if there’s a trial on Wednesday?” she asked him.

Harry only stared at her. He moved closer her and gently touched the side of her face, moving it around and settling to trace her jawline with the tips of his fingers.

Hermione flinched a little but did not move away nor said anything.

“Nothing.” Harry simply answered her. “Have I told you how beautiful your freckles are up this close?”

“How what-“Hermione’s words were cut short as Harry moved both his hands around her waist. Pinning her against her own desk, he moved and kissed her mouth deeply.

Hermione move against him and could feel his excited manhood getting the better of him.

“Harry, move away – stop it-“

“Come on, ‘Mione. I don’t have work today. Let’s just stay at home and be cozy-“

“Harry, I said move away from it – I’m not comfortable – I don’t want to do this now-“

“You don’t want to what?” Harry asked grabbed her wrists painfully. “You don’t want to what?”

Hermione shivered in fear. She felt his fingers pressing hard around both her wrists and his body painfully pushing her against the edge of her table.

“Harry, please, you’re hurting me again-“

“What, am I not allowed to touch you now?” Harry angrily said. “Am I not allowed to kiss my girlfriend? My own fiancé?”

“Harry, stop it – it’s not helping our situation – please think straight, Harry- let my hand go-“

“What Hermione, you prefer to be touched by him?” Harry suddenly yelled at her, “You prefer to be kissed by him? Is that what this is all about? You prefer him over me? Well guess what Hermione, you’re never going to see him again because I’m going to make sure he dies right where he belongs-“

“Harry, I said you’re hurting me!” Hermione angrily screamed pushing him away from her.

Hermione turned on her heel but Harry was too fast.

“No man is ever – EVER – allowed to touch you again-“ he screamed back at her as he pulled her by the ends of her long hair.

“Harry-“ Hermione yelped as the sharp pain over her scalp overpowered her ability to fight him.

“Not Severus – Not Draco – “ his fingers gripped her hair so hard that Hermione felt as if she was going to lose all the hair she has.

“Harry – this isn’t – you’re hurting me –“

“I WILL NOT ALLOW ANY OF THESE NONSENSE ANYMORE!”

Hermione struggled and with all her remaining strength, she pushed Harry forward and slapped him hard across the face.

Harry’s hand accidentally let her go at his surprise at what she had done.

He stared and his emerald eyes dangerously flashed in anger.

He fell back but he managed to quickly recover from her defense.

“Harry, I’m sorry – I didn’t mean to-“

Hermione realized her mistake, but before Hermione could take flight, Harry had suddenly grabbed her shoulder and neck.

Hermione screamed in pain as he took her by the neck and pushed her hard against the wall.

She felt dazed for a moment and thought she was going to black out because of the pain she endured by hitting against the wall.

 

“Harry!” Hermione croaked out painfully. She tried to grasp him to make him stop but she could barely lift her hands up.  

Harry held her by the neck, pushing her hard against the wall and choking her as his fingers dug and pierced her deeper around the neck by the moment. 

His warm emerald eyes had gone and had been replaced by a pair of anger and hatred-ridden ones.

His eyes had never gleamed with such anger and jealousy in them.

Staring at her form and remembering her nightly screams of Snape's name on their bed only made his temper even more agitated.

He could almost imagine her in his bed and the years they have spent together – the years Snape had stolen from him.

His fingers pierced her neck painfully and the looked of madness in his face frightened Hermione beyond anything she has endured for a long time.

She struggled and tried to move her hands over Harry’s arm to keep him from strangling her.

“Harry…” she coughed out with tearful eyes. “Harry… no… please… I can’t breathe..”

For a moment, he kept his hand around her neck and was just gazing blankly at her.

And it was when Hermione’s fingertips grazed for the briefest moment at the side of his face did he seem to come back to reality and see what he was doing.

His eyes blinked and flashed in worry when he saw the color fading from Hermione’s face.

“Hermione!”

He quickly let her neck go and she fell forward in his arms.

“Fuck.” Hermione heard Harry mutter in her dazed and almost unconscious form.

“Hermione, can you hear me?” he asked worriedly as he took her in his arm on the floor, shaking her endlessly.

He watched in horror as he stared at the marks around her neck that was from his own fingers and doing.

“Hermione!” he cried out worriedly as he struggled to carry her in his arms, “Hermione, wake up! I’m sorry! I’m so sorry – I did not mean to-“

Hermione coughed and tried to move. Her eyes fluttered open for a moment as she struggled to gain oxygen again.

“Hermione, I’m sorry – can you hear me? ‘Mione? Baby, I’m sorry I did not mean to.”

Hermione barely remembered what happened next as soon her exhausted mind, sore body that lacked oxygen for a moment, slowly gave away to unconsciousness.

 

 

 

 

Hermione seemed to have calmed down a few hours later since their physically exhausting argument that led to a lot of uncalled for words and actions.

She sat by the fireplace with an open book in her hand but her mind was barely there. She was staring blankly by at the hearth.

She could not believe what she had just learned a few hours ago – the lady of Malfoy Manor was dying.

“Hermione? Are you in here?”

She heard his voice but after tonight’s argument – which was probably one of their biggest – she felt too exhausted to even move her lips.

“Hermione?” Snape called entering their small living room.

His worry faded away from his face and he walked towards her.

Hermione quickly wiped the tears off her eyes and looked up at him but Snape did not miss the action.

“Aren’t you going to sleep yet?” he gently asked her.

Hermione stared and realized that he was already dressed for bed.

“It’s nearly three in the morning.”

“I’m sorry.” Hermione said as she closed her book. “I didn’t notice the time. I’m going to follow.”

Snape gently took the book away from her hands and helped her to her feet.

He pointed his wand to the hearth and the fire slowly died away leaving the room slightly dark for them.

“Hermione.”

“I’m going to bed.” she simply answered and Snape could not argue with her indifference towards him.

“If you want to talk about it, we can talk about it.”

“I don’t want to talk.” Hermione answered as she avoided his gaze. “I’m just really tired today.”

He watched as she grabbed the book back from the couch and began walking towards their bedroom.

After his double-checking their locks and wards, he went back to the bedroom to find her back to him on the bed and the blanket over her shoulders.

It was her usual sign that she did not want to talk to him and that she was sleeping tonight feeling ill against him.

Almost nine months it has been – nine months – since the night of their ambush and it felt for him as if they have gone for years by now.

He had gone from Death Eater to babysitting the only girl of the Golden Trio, to being the most annoying Potions professor who never failed to let her feel how miserable their situation was and into the most spiteful bastard and being on the planet by giving in to his desires just to be her lover.

He deserved more than hell for corrupting her innocence and taking advantage of her and their situation.

He was the one in control of things and he should have done so. And now, there they are at the point of no return just because he had failed to do so.

 

“Hermione?” he whispered gently climbing on the bed next to her.

He climbed in and pulled the sheets closer to the both of them. He gently placed his hand over Hermione’s waist.

She did not move a muscle but he was sure that she was awake based on her breathing pattern.

He gently placed a soft kiss over her cheek as he reached around to hold her hand.

He found it but just as he was about to take it, she gently moved it away from him and drew a deep breath.

Snape closed his eyes and wondered what he had to do this time to make her feel better.

He had done countless of things in countless of occasions to make her feel better, to improve her mood and generally just to gain her back to him.

“Hermione.” Snape whispered moving himself closer to her and attempting to hold her hand again.

He moved closed and this time, he placed a soft kiss on the spot between her shoulder and neck for which he knew was a weak spot for her.

“Sweetheart, please.” Snape whispered attempting to reach for her hand again.

This time, he was victorious. He hand found it and gently held it without Hermione withdrawing it or protesting against his touch nor his lips at the side of her neck.

“I’m sorry.” Snape gently said closing his eyes and resting his face against her. “I know I should have told you about her.”

 

Hermione did not say anything. She was wide-awake and there were too many questions inside her mind at the moment for her to feel any sleep at all. But she was too exhausted, too confused, angry and still in shock upon knowing that after all this time, someone knew where they were.

 

“When you feel better, please talk to me in the morning.” Snape said placing another gentle kiss over her skin before shifting himself closer to her, ensuring there was not even the smallest gap between the two of them.

There was momentary silence and then he heard her sigh heavily. She sniffed back tears.

“Did the red dress come from her?”  she softly asked.

Snape opened his eyes and knew that the night was going to be quite long.

“Hermione-“

“I’m asking if all those clothes, the beautiful dresses, shoes, the food we’ve been eating here, the books I’ve been-“

“I’ve bought you all the books you’ve had here.” Snape clarified with enough indignation in his voice.

Hermione did not say anything but he could tell that she was crying silently.

“Is this place hers?”

“No.” Snape answered her. “I’ve bought this place a long time ago.”

Another silence fell.

“Narcissa only supplied half the investment I needed in order to fulfill the required potion ingredients I need to make certain potions for certain clients and Apothecaries.”

“She’s invested a lot then.”

Snape stared at her and could not tell whether she was being sarcastic or otherwise.

“She’s invested on the same ingredients I’ve been using for the potions that kept her alive and well.”

Hermione did not answer to that. She seemed to have lost on commenting anything.

“Does Draco know?” she asked after a while.

Snape’s brow turned up at the mention of the boy. He was just suddenly reminded of another headache.

“No.” Snape shortly answered and Hermione could tell that he did not want to talk about him.

“Should you not tell him?”

“It’s Narcissa’s secret to tell.” Snape simply answered her. “It should have been something between us.”

Hermione suddenly shifted on the bed and Snape sharply looked up at her.

She was looking back at him with her face very red in tears as she had been crying for hours now.

“Hermione-“

“Are you suggesting that I should not have known about it?” Hermione coldly said.

Snape was suddenly alarmed by the look she gave him. She moved about the bed and hastily grabbed her hand from him.

“Hermione-“

“Is that what you’re suggesting? That you should have kept it a secret from me? That it’s something you should be sharing only with her?” she angrily asked.

For a moment, Snape thought she was still angry about him not telling her. Then he realized that she was just jealous that he kept something from her and had attempted to keep it as some sort of bond between Narcissa and himself.

He sighed heavily and gently sat on the bed shaking his head.

“Well?” Hermione asked folding her arms as she sat there waiting for his answer.

Snape stared at her and could not believe that they were arguing at that hour just because she was jealous.

“Come here.” Snape gently said extending his hand to her. “Sweetheart, come here.”

Hermione resisted. She did not move and merely stared at him as if she could threaten him.

“You’re going to be the death of me, Hermione.” Snape muttered under his breath.

He sighed heavily and made an effort to move to her side of the bed. He gently ran his hand over her lap and then towards her folded arms.

“Love, this is nonsense. I wasn’t trying to keep it from you because I wanted to keep it from you. Narcissa only made me promise.”

Hermione stared at him looking as murderous as ever. He was trying so hard not to give in to the slightest grin that was attempting to come out from his face.
“Love.. iIt’s her secret to tell and not mine. I know I made a mistake for choosing not to tell you and I’m already very sorry for it. Why can’t you forgive and see that?”

Hermione stared hard at him. In truth, she wanted to forgive him. In truth, she wanted to hold his hand and stay warm in his arms. In truth, she wanted to just kiss him right now and stay with him after he had dearly and deeply apologized.

“Narcissa is my friend.” Snape assured her gently as he began kissing her hand. “I’m only trying to help her.”

Her brown eyes stared and he knew that she was slowly holding her guard down.

“Just a friend?” Hermione asked slowly.

He stared at her and realized how innocent and forgiving she was - how young she was to be with him. She had chosen to be in a relationship with a man twice her age despite the misgivings they would surely have towards one another.

 He realized how easily she got jealous, how easy or light her perceptions her thoughts were, how vulnerable and fragile she was on many things.

“Just a friend.” Snape simply repeated. He didn’t let her hand go and kept gently rubbing its back with his thumb.

“You’ve never had her?” Hermione asked spitefully. “You’ve never kissed her?”

Snape stared at her and wondered where all the thoughts and jealousy were coming from.

 He was unsure if he should be happy on seeing her struggle and be miserable over her feelings towards him just because she thinks someone is better than her and someone might actually steal him from her.

“And why would I do that?” Snape slowly said as he moved closer to her and he began kissing her hand in his. This time, he was confident with his gestures.

Hermione began relaxing at his touch and at the soft lips that touched her skin.

“I don’t want you with anyone else.” Hermione simply said and she reached out and touched the side of his face.

Snape closed his eyes as he reveled at the feel of her hand against his skin. Her fingertips moved from his cheek, upward his temple and rested at the fine strands of his lanky hair.

“I will not want anyone else.” Snape whispered. He moved towards her and gently grabbed her to him.

Hermione sighed and opened his arms towards him as he began to gently kiss her hand again, her forearm, the side of her arms, her neckline and jawline.

“Severus.” Hermione gasped as she shivered beneath his touch and kisses.

“Hermione, I would never want anyone else.” Snape said as he rested his body between her legs and gently moved and adjusted himself in position.

Hermione stared up at the black eyes she had come to trust. He inched closer to kiss her but she stopped him.

“Hermione-“

“I want to go back.” Hermione had said her eyes had suddenly turned sad. “Let’s go back?”

He was quiet as he looked down at her.

 It has been quite some time now and yet here she was, still thinking and wanting to go back. He had thought that changing her feelings about the boy and giving her everything she could possibly need or want would somehow make her forget them and not want to return.

He did not want to return anymore.

“You are not yet well.” Snape slowly said looking away. He began withdrawing himself from her but Hermione reached for his face.

She placed her hands on either side of his cheeks and made him look at her. There was that woeful shame in his eyes again.

“How long do we have to wait?” Hermione asked him. “How much longer?”

For a moment he just rested himself before her, staring deep into her eyes and not wanting to be anywhere else in the world.

“You already know the answer to that.”

“It’s too long.” Hermione had said and tears began streaking down her cheeks. “It will be too long and by then maybe they’re no longer – what if they forget about me?” she asked fearfully. “What if they no longer remember me? What will happen to me? What’s going to happen then?”

“I will be here for you.” Snape had said. He moved closer and grazed his lips gently to hers.

Hermione sighed and took her hands from his face. She turned her face to the side and moved from him.

Snape felt disappointed but could understand it.

“I want to go to sleep.” Hermione simply said moving him away from her.

Snape stared at her and for moment there was pain and anger in his chest.

“Am I not good enough?” he had asked as he watched her move from him from the bed. “Am I still not enough, Hermione?”

“I don’t want to talk tonight.”

“No, you’re not the only one who has a say on this.” Snape spat at her. “Dammit Hermione, I have feelings too!”

Hermione sharply look back up at him. They stared at one another for what felt like eternity.

“You’re not the one being kept down here for so long. Do not talk to me about your feelings. Because as far as I can remember, I have done everything – EVERYTHING – you have asked of me and you have NEVER considered how I feel about that-”

“Do I not know?” Snape said. “Are you sure I do not know and understand how you feel-“

“If you do so, you would let me out of here!” Hermione angrily said. “You would atleast let me see them even from afar!”

“You know it’s dangerous! I’m keeping you alive – you don’t understand – you’re the one who doesn’t-“

“I know the dangers! I know and I understand but you don’t know how it feels – you don’t-“   

“You still do not get it! You still want to go back out there!”

“Because that’s where my parents are!” Hermione angrily screamed at him. She angrily moved on the bed towards him and she began hitting him with her hands.  

“Hermione-“

“Because that’s where my friends are! Because that’s where I belong! I should not be there! I shouldn’t even be here in the first place!”

She began crying and hitting him at the same time.

Snape did not defend himself. He let her hit him with her bare hands just like any other time they did this.

She was nowhere near better as he had thought so. She was still at the state where she thought of them, she remembered them and she preferred to be with them.

Will she ever forget about them? Will she ever want just him?

He had sacrificed a lot for the Order already, for the ungrateful spawn of Potter and for her most of all – he had to live with the shame and guilt every single day and still, he was unappreciated and unwanted most of all.

He was always never enough.

“Hermione, you know why you are still here.” Snape softly said, he gently grabbed her arms and embraced her.

Hermione kicked and tried to reach for him but his arms were long enough to keep her from strangling him as he held her in his arms.

Hermione could only cry as his strong arms held her down as he kissed her head.

“Sssh, please.. Please, Hermione.”

“I want to go back.” Hermione cried in defeat in his arms. “I want to go back to them, please.. I don’t want to be here any longer.”

Snape closed his eyes and listened to her plea and cries for hours. He knew that she still wanted to go back but he did not know that it was still this bad.

“You know if you are able to, I will bring you back.” Snape had whispered as he kept her still, rocking her gently backward and forward the bed in his arms to calm him down. “Hermione, you know I will bring you back if I can.”

“I want to die.” Hermione whispered beneath the sound of her tears. “I just want to die.”

“No, no, please don’t say that. Please don’t.. Love, please don’t say that.”

Hermione did not want to live any longer. She wanted out and yet fate did not want to do so.

She had been with him for almost a year now since the ambush. She barely heard news from the outside world. Her feelings might have change for Harry and for her ex-professor, but she still wanted to go back.

She did not want to be kept away from the world. She did not want to be kept away from the people she cared about and love.

“Hermione, please, I’m with you. I won’t leave you. I’m going to stay here with you. I will take care of you.” Snape promised her.

He kept his face buried beneath her sheer locks of brown hair and held her tight in his arms. Her words were usually empty but he did not want to risk losing her at any stupid attempts she might have had in her head.

He held her hand to his and tried his best to keep her still and calm in his arms. He did not want her anywhere else nor wanting to be anywhere else but there with him.

He knew there was going to be risk upon his decisions for the past several months. But he felt as if he was the one who do not foresee being trapped inside it. He had let his guard down when it came to his feelings and now here he was again, the one losing.

“I want to go home.” Hermione whispered holding his hand and silent tears still streaked down her face.

Snape stopped brushing her hand. He moved his lips from her forehead and gently looked down at her. He tried his best to hold back the warm tears that were suddenly threatening to come down from his eyes.

“Are you not home with me?” he softly asked her.

He immediately regretted asking it. He knew he did not want to hear her genuine answer to that.

He was not prepared for her rejection or for whatever she really felt for him.

He knew deep down that despite that they’ve already slept together, despite her sweet kisses, her warm embraces, her sunny laughter in his arms – despite all that – he knew that somewhere inside her she was still confused of her feelings. He knew that she just had no one else to cling into and that if she would ever get out of the place, she still has the possibility of having her feelings for Potter returned.

“Hermione?” Snape softly asked. His chest was heavy knowing that Hermione’s silence was already the answer.

Taking her that night wasn’t really an easy decision but a drastic and hasty one he had to make at that last moment he saw her at the feat of the Order’s defeat.

Healing her that night with the intention of bringing her back and sneaking her back to the Order once it was safe was something he really had in mind.

But fate intervened.

The Urduja Curse that Bellatrix has casted upon that night had severely injured her and had definitely change the course of plan he had in mind for her.

It has been only several weeks or so since her discovery of its depth and he knew it would take time for her to understand and accept their situation that got worse.

Ofcourse he wanted her to be happy and free again. But he couldn’t help but be glad that she was with him – she was the only good thing that fate seemingly paid him for all the sacrifices he had to make.

It pained him to see her like this – not wanting to live any longer or living every day in a place she did not want to anyway. He did not want to wake up every single day seeing her like that but he would also not lie to himself.

He would never admit it to another soul in the world, but deep down he knew that he was glad that the curse took its place and now he had her with him.

“I want to go home.” Hermione whispered after a while.  “I want to bring you back with me to tell them.”

Snape did not say anything. But he could tell that her anger was ebbing away by now.

“Hermione-“

Hermione moved and shifted her position and faced him. She placed one arm around him and pulled him closer to her by the neck as she lay on her side caressing his cheek.

Snape closed his eyes at the sensation of her addictive touch.

“I want to go back, Severus. I want to bring you to them. I want them to know about us. I don’t want to hide anymore, I don’t want to keep you from them. I want to tell them.”

He looked down at her and knew she wasn’t lying. If only they could go back. But even if they could, he wasn’t sure he wanted to bring her back to them.

“The curse will take effect if we go back. You know we can’t yet.”

“Can’t you heal it?” Hermione asked hopefully. She held his gaze. “You are a powerful wizard, can’t you heal it?”

Snape looked at her and kissed her forehead. “If I can, I would have done so.” he halfheartedly lied.

“I want to be with you. But not here.” Hermione embraced him and quietly cried in his embrace again.

He tightened his grip around her, not wanting to let her go either.

“I want to be with you, Severus. But not here but in the real world – in our world out there. I want to let them know about you – about us.”

“Someday, Hermione.” he quietly promised her knowing that they were in for a long-shot on that.

“I want to share us to the world.”

His heart was breaking further with her words.

“Look at me.” Snape gently moved her face to him. “Look at me, Hermione.”

She nodded and stared up at his black eyes. The obsidian orbs no longer scared her. They were even comfort to her fears – they were home.

“When the time is right, I promise you we would go back.” his words were quiet and slightly constricted in his throat.

“I will bring you back to them, Hermione. But right now, what is important is that you are alive and you are safe here – and you will keep everyone safe by staying with me. And with me-“

“I am home.” Hermione finished for him. She stared at him and caressed his cheek back.

Snape stared back at those soft brown eyes.

“I am home with you, Severus.”

“I may not be able to give you everything, Hermione. But I will provide you with everything I can.” Snape promised her and Hermione could have sworn that she saw a glimmer of tear flicker at the side of his face.

“Severus..”

“I will give you a home you could have while we wait for the right time. You have a home – you are home with me until the right time comes when you can go back.”

“I don’t want to go back without you.”

“I will be with you then.” Snape promised kissing her gently. “But right now, we live this life. We live together- even just the two of us – our little home, Hermione. Remember that no matter what happens, keep it in your heart that you have a home with me. I cannot promise you that bright future that they can and we both know we can’t live forever..”

Hermione only listened at his words, unable to say anything else – she wanted so much to be in the world again but with him this time.

“But remember that I am here and I am just yours - even just for that borrowed life we have from the gods – I am yours even just for that slight moment in eternity.”  

 

 

Hermione jerked and suddenly opened her eyes as she awoke.

Her body still felt dreadful from her neckline stung for some reason.

What the hell just happened?

Reaching for her neckline as she tried to recall what had happened, she felt something sticky and could smell some sort of cucumber and vanilla scent on her fingers - wound and bruise ointment.

It took her a while to recall what had transpired and the moment she did, she suddenly felt alarmed and scared.

She sat painfully on the bed and looked around her. She was alone in their room and it was still slightly dark although the light from the outside told her that it was probably a few hours before dawn.

Hermione painfully scrambled off the bed wildly looking for her wand until she remembered that Harry had taken it.

Quietly creeping out of the bedroom, she walked outside and listened to the sounds around her.

“Harry?” she quietly called out. There was no answer. “Harry? Are you in the kitchen?”

It was so quiet in the house that it scared Hermione even more.

She slowly walked around the house and down the hallway leading to their kitchen. It was empty.

Her heart was racing slightly. Was she alone?

“Harry? I’m a little thirsty.” she pretended as she called out for him, listening and anticipating any movement and sound around the house.

“Harry? Where are you?”

Hermione reached their living room and it was empty as well. She was alone in the house.

Where was Harry?

Her heart raced at the prospect that she was alone in the house. Where was Harry? How long was he going to be gone?

But she did not have enough time to think or really comprehend the situation.

Upon realizing that she was completely alone for the first time and might have a spare few more minutes of freedom, Hermione limped back up the stairs to their bedroom with all her remaining strength and dashed into packing her things.

She had grabbed her brown sling bag she always used whenever they went out.

She dashed to their wardrobe and quickly changed from her night dress and into a pair of comfortable sweat pants, she grabbed whatever first clothing material she could get her hands on their slightly messy wardrobe.

Within minutes, she was garbed with her sweatpants, a blouse she wore under long-knitted Weasley sweater and an over-large blue cloak from the stash of clothes by their bedside.

She grabbed her purse that barely had any money in it since Harry had been taking care of every bit of penny and finance since he got her out of the hospital three months ago.

Barely able to properly wear the first pair of shoes she was able to get her hands on, Hermione dashed back to their bedroom and grabbed a couple of parchments and quill and a bottle of ink from Harry’s work desk and dashed downstairs as fast as her weak legs could take her.

She reached their doorway and to her utter amazement it wasn’t even locked.

Harry had surely just gone for a while and had the intention of quickly getting back home.

With that thought, Hermione barely had second thoughts on dashing out of the house and scrambling out of the small steps by their door and barely being able to stay steady as she walked then ran as fast as she could the moment she left their lawn and heading god-knows where at that moment in her head.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter XV 

"Secrets"

 

“Rise, Severus.”

The voice was cold as it spoke.

Snape rose to his feet as other Death Eaters knelt around him before the Dark Lord.

 “I have been given information, Severus that you have certain absences in certain days where your presence is required??”

Snape did not immediately answer.

He knew this day would come and knew that Bellatrix was behind it.

He could swear that he could hear her restrained laugh beneath one of the hooded figures around him.

“Yes, my lord.” Snape replied knowing there was no point in lying. “That is true.”

“Pray tell where you have been going my most loyal servant?”

There was the unmistakable malice and anger in the Dark Lord’s voice.

“To the same place, my lord.” Snape answered. “At the place where my heart mourns.”

Voldemort didn’t say anything.

He was carefully observing Snape’s gaze and Snape knew he was trying to trace lie out of it – if there was any sign at all of treachery that he should immediately be alarmed of.

“Have you not known that I could provide you with any woman you would desire, Severus?” he asked him.

“Thank you, my lord.” Snape nodded at him. “This is most gracious and giving of you.”

“But that does not matter to you if your heart still belongs to that Mudblood, isn’t that so?”

He did not say anything.

His head was kept down and his fists were restrained at his sides as he struggled to control his anger.

“Forgive me, my lord.” Snape answered him again with another bow. “My heart has died with her.”

 

“And that what makes you not only my most loyal but my most useful servant” Voldemort whispered.

His eyes watched him closely.

“Your lack of emotions and empathy for others make each of your mission for me quite flawless, isn’t that so?”

“Yes, my lord.”

Another silence.

“For in her death, your heart has died with her. And as one loses his heart, he also loses his conscience and his soul, yes?”

“Yes, my lord.”

“It then makes you my perfect aid to rid of that woman’s spawn. For you have lost anything that will possibly hold you back from the tasks I ask of you, yes?”

“Yes, my lord.”

Snape’s face was kept passive as he stared back at the Dark Lord.

He could tell that he was still considering whatever news it was that Bellatrix had told him.

But he also looked content.

He was safe – Hermione was safe at the present moment.

Snape simply nodded. He was safe – Hermione was safe at the moment.

The Dark Lord will surely not dwell no go through his dealings and whereabouts as this have now been discussed and he was able to provide an answer – a full answer that seem to satisfy him anyway.

Snape wanted to squeeze the life out of Bellatrix’s throat.

She now looked smug and disappointed across him from the table.

He would surely kill Bellatrix the first chance he gets.

The woman was daunting and was really doing her best to make sure that the Dark Lord finds that minimal mistake from him that will ensure his death.

He was not going to let that happen. 

“Yes, my lord. Thank you for understand-“

“I am forgiving, Severus but not always as understanding.” he interrupted him with his wand in his hand as a gesture of warning.

“I understand-“

“I do not care wherever it is you are going and whatever it is that you do in times I do not need you for as long as you make sure that these things shall not distract you from your purpose in my war I will let you deal with your nonsense. You have been most useful. Our ambush had been most successful. The boy’s thought of attacking us has led him nowhere but the death of the blood traitor’s son and his own feat of absence in this war.  We are at the edge of victory. I shall not lose just because of some petty heartbreak over a Mudblood whose child will die at my hands anyway.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Mum? Is Harry going to be alright?”

“Ofcourse he’s going to be alright, Ginny!” Molly answered with an annoyed expression over her face.

She had helped the nurse changed the beddings over Harry’s bed and Ginny had arrived with her fresh vase of flowers.

Ginny stared at Harry’s comatose form on the bed.

She wasn’t sure how to feel at the moment.

He had been her crush for eternity but knew that he will always belong to someone else.

Seeing him like that at that moment, her feelings felt as if she was missing just one of his brother who was asleep and at the verge of never waking up again.

They had been ambushed about a month ago by the Death Eaters. They were planning to transfer Harry into a safer location but all hell broke loose.

Order members died including Mad-Eye and Tonks.

Remus had been severely damaged physically and emotionally and was presently in no state nor will to survive and help the war.

But the worse of it all was what happened to Hermione.

She had been attacked straight by the Death Eaters.

It all happened too quickly – they were attacked relentlessly and mercilessly – all they saw were blinding lots at one direction and then she was falling as fast as Harry.

No one was quick enough to save the both of them.

Harry had survived the fall but she had vanished in the waters of London that had been their crossing path the moment they were ambushed.

She had vanished.

She was nowhere to be found in the waters across London for where she had fallen and there were no news at all of her being found anywhere else.

 No threat either from Death Eaters claiming they exchange Harry for her life.

Nothing.

Harry was just as devastated as Ron.

And it led them to drastic decisions, measures and actions.

Soon after the ambush, the two boys heard of possible whereabouts of Hermione.

Despite being physically unwell, the duo had decided to take matters in their own hands.

Whether it was truth or just some ploy of the Death Eaters they were not able to tell because next thing they knew, Harry and Ron had gone into a suicide-rescue-mission for Hermione.

Harry and Ron walked right into a death-trap.

They fought their best and it was a miracle for Harry to survive.

Ron was no lucky enough to evade death.

He had passed the moment the curse had hit him – even before they completely managed to escape from the structure they jumped and escaped from.

Harry was severely injured and had been left in a comatose state.

He would have died if he did not have enough magic in his blood to save him from the pit of his fall.

But now, the war has gone from bad to worse.

The Dark Lord was winning – he has taken over Hogwarts, the Ministry, Gringotts and every other possible government ruled establishment.

Order members were at loss in numbers, Ron had gone and Hermione was missing.

And Harry Potter was in no state of even open his eyes.

 

 

“It’s been quite long mum and he hasn’t woken up-“

“Ginny, please, we must remain focused and think only of the best despite all these situation.”

Her mother was hopeful but she needed to be intact with reality.

They were dying in numbers.

It would take a miracle to win the war.

“How do we tell him?” Ginny asked. How do we tell him about – about Ron?”

Molly did not answer as tears streaked down her cheeks.

“Ginny, please-“

“Mum, how do we tell Harry about it? He’s just lost Hermione and now –“

“We would find, Hermione.” Molly insisted in a firm tone. “We would find her, Ginny.”

Ginny didn’t say anything.

Why was everyone in denial of every bad to worse circumstances that has happened already?

“Harry has to know.” Ginny said. “I know that he was or has just proposed to her-“

Molly gasped as she turned to him.

She looked back at the unconscious boy before them.

More tears leaked from her eyes.

“Oh Ginny – I didn’t – oh Harry-“

“It’s been too long.” Ginny cried at her mother. “He has to wake up. We have to find Hermione for him. We have to just do something about-“

“Oh dear, I know that-“

“I helped Harry.” Ginny said. “I helped him prepare for his proposal and Hermione was – and –“

Ginny stopped.

She moved herself away from Molly’s arms because she was sure that she had seen Harry’s fingers moving.

“Mum, look!” she gasped quickly moving back to the bed and pointing over his hand.

Molly wiped her tears and blinked to see what she was pointing at.

There was no movement.

And then after about half a minute, his fingers moved again.

Molly’s eyes widened.

“Gin-“ she cried out as Ginny was crying next to the bed. “Quickly! Call – call the Healers outside!”

And before she could even finish her sentence, Ginny had already scrambled out of the room yelling for Healers to attend to them.

 “Oh, Harry.” Mrs. Weasley cried kissing his forehead. “Please, please wake up.”

“Mio…ne…” some sort of sound came out from his mouth. “’Mi…oh…ne…”

Harry’s fingers were moving weakly and his mouth was slightly moving as if he was trying to speak in words of coherent form in a repeated pattern.

 

 

Hermione wasn’t sure how she managed to do it or how she really got there but two hours later, she found herself at the doorstep of the Weasleys.

The Burrow had been reconstructed through the years and using some of the galleons that were given to the family in lieu of all their help to the government and losses at their part, it looked way better.

It was the first time to be there without Harry.

Hermione staggered by their doorstep from the pull of the Portkey.

From their place, she managed to go downtown market not too far where a small alleyway was a magical shortcut trip to Diagon Alley. And from there, she was able to seek for help.

Confused as she looked, the couple who saw her recognized her and immediately aided her for whatever help she needed.

They helped her with a Portkey without questions asked and it landed her at the Burrow – the first and only place she could think of to get help from.  

 

 

 

It was dawn and the sun was going to completely come out soon and she must finish her business there.

Her plan was plain and simple – get to Ginny and borrow several money and clothes from her so she could find a place to stay as she knows that their house would be the first where Harry would most likely go to find her.

And once she is able to borrow these items from Ginny, she could stay in a small motel or something and then come up with another plan.

“Ginny!” Hermione gasped rapping at the back door of the house. “Ginny!”

There was no answer.

She tried several more times.

“Oh god.” Hermione cried rapping at the door again. “Please! Ginny!” Hermione cried out.

Then she heard it, rather quick footsteps getting into the door.

There was a sound of the door being clicked open from all the locks.

“Oh my god, Hermione!” Ginny gasped opening the door and seeing her.

“Gin!” Hermione cried as they tightly embraced. “Ginny, I can’t stay long- listen I just need-“

“Oh my god, ‘Mione – I’ve been dead worried-“ Ginny said pulling her inside the house.

Hermione followed through the backdoor into the kitchens holding her hand tightly.

The house was unlikely dark and silence at the time when usually Mrs. Weasley would already be cooking at the kitchens.

“What has happened to you?” she asked as they turned to the kitchen and she handed her a glass of water.

Hermione gulped it all in one go.

“I can’t stay long.” Hermione said wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. “Listen, I just really need you to lend me a couple of clothes and if it’s alright, some money and-“

“Ginny?” a voice suddenly came. “What’s this commotion?”

They both turned to the door and Fleur entered with an empty tray in her hands.

“Oh my god!” Fleur gasped nearly dropping the train. “’Mione! Where have you been? We’ve been z’ed worried-“

“Fleur, I’m sorry, I’m sorry-“ Hermione cried as the French woman embraced her. “I didn’t mean to alarm you or anything-“

“Thank god, Hermione.” Ginny said as they embraced her and kept her down over one of the chairs around the long table. “We’ve been damn worried about you-“

“I really can’t stay long-“ Hermione said sounding as devastated as she could possibly be. “I just really need to get-“

“They’re all here-“ Ginny said as they watch Fleur prepare a quick meal for her. “They’re in the living room. You have no idea how sleepless mum had been- if you didn’t show up in minutes we would have gone into some sort of wide search for you. Mum has been terribly-“

“Ginny, wait, I just need to- wait, what did you say?” Hermione asked alarmed. “What do you mean you’ve been dead worried about me?”

Ginny and Fleur looked at one another as Hermione slowly stood up from the table and staring at them with a fearful look over their faces.

Hermione stopped moving and tried to listen to her surroundings.

And then she heard it.

There were people across the hall where the living room was and by the sound of it, there were more than just the Weasleys in there.

“What’s going on?” Hermione asked, eyes wide in alarm.

She began backing away from the two girls who looked stricken and alarmed by her reaction.

“Just calm down.” Ginny said walking forward her. “They’ve been dead worried – all of us, Hermione. You don’t need to panic. We’re quite sure that Harry would understand-“

“Harry?” Hermione repeated in alarm. “What do you – is Harry here?” she asked terrified.

Ginny looked back at Fleur for support.

“’Mione, calm yourself down.” Fleur gently said walking forward her and extending her thin arm to her. “Come, we can talk about it. Have a seat and have something to-“

“Is Harry here?” Hermione asked again. “Is Harry here? Answer me!”

Ginny shook her head and she looked like she wanted to lie but their faces already revealed the answer.

“’Mione, look, whatever the problem is we would sort this out. I’m sure mum will-“

“Answer me!” Hermione urgently asked her. “Is Harry in there?”

She looked both angry and fearful as she spoke.

Ginny looked hesitant so Fleur answered for her.

“Yes.” Fleur said. “He’s with the others at the living room.”

Hermione’s eyes widened as she backed away from them.

She quickly picked up her mag from the table and slung it tightly around her.

“I have to go.” Hermione cried out. “I’m sorry – this – this shouldn’t have-“

“Hermione, please.” Ginny said walking across the room and grabbing her arm to stop her.

“I have to go!” Hermione said trying to remove her hand from her arm. “Let my hand go-“

“Hermione, please let’s fix this.” Ginny begged her as she signaled Fleur to block the door. “You don’t have to be scared. We know you didn’t mean to do what you did-“

“What?” Hermione asked her looking confused. “What do you mean-“

“What you did to Harry.” Ginny reminded her looking as confused. “You don’t remember?”

“Don’t remember what?” Hermione asked shoving her hand away from her arm.

“So you don’t remember?” Fleur asked looking as alarmed as Ginny did.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about-“ Hermione said turning to the door. “Please, I need to go. Let me out of-“

“Please, ‘Mione!” Ginny begged as she opened the door and she struggled with Hermione. “We’re not mad about what you did – we understand you – Harry understands you. He’s been very worried about you, please-“

Hermione’s heart was beating so fast as she tried to escape from them.

She did not understand everything but she needed to get out of there as fast as she could.

“Let my hand go-“ Hermione begged them as they tried to stop her from leaving.

“Harry’s told us everything that happened last night.” Ginny explained to her with tears in her eyes now. “You can stay with us – that’s not a problem. Just don’t ever do that again – you’ve alarmed us-“

“Do what?” Hermione asked her angrily. “What did I-“

“What you did!” Ginny cried at her.

“What did I do?” Hermione asked back. “What did I do?”

“You ran away!” Fleur said grabbing hold of her wrist and making her look at her. “You ran away from your place – from Harry.”

Now Hermione looked completely terrified.

What exactly was happening?

“You don’t need to run away like that – if you’re not feeling well with him, just tell us.” Fleur said with a serious note over her face.

“Ran away?” Hermione repeated, aghast. “What do you mean I ran away?”

“Hermione, Harry’s told us everything.” Ginny gently said looking up at her. “Your hallucinations and all.”

“Hallucinations?” Hermione asked almost screaming as she sharply turned at her. “What halluci-“

“Last night.” Ginny reminder her. “You just went off after your fight with him and-“

“I did what?” Hermione incredulously asked her. “I’m not have hallucinations-“

But before she could hear what she had clearly done in Ginny’s opinion there was a commotion at the hallway behind them.

“Hermione!”

It was Harry.

He ran forward the kitchen door and pushed Ginny and Fleur aside as he grabbed Hermione and placed his arms protectively around her.

“Oh thank the heavens, ‘Mione!” Harry cried out clinging tightly around her and kissing her forehead all over. “You’re safe, you’re safe!”

Hermione struggled to free herself from him but he took a tight grip around her.

“How are you feeling?” he asked her looking into her eyes. “Are you hungry? Do you feel alright?”

Hermione looked stricken as he gazed at her and continued to embrace and caress her gently as if he had found the most precious thing in the world he had thought he’d lost.

“I was so worried sick – bloody worried. I’m glad you’re here ,- please don’t ever do that again-“ Harry cried at her.

Hermione was too stunned to react.

People had come out of the hallway and had come running to the kitchens to see what was going on.

What was happening exactly?

Mr. And Mrs. Weasley came down the hallway and was quickly followed by Bill and George and Charlie who had arrived a few hours earlier from his travel in Italy.

“You need to eat, dear.” Mrs. Weasley said as she sniffed tears away and quickly began fixing up some meal for her.

“You’ve made us so, so worried.” Harry said pulling her into his arms again.

She stared up at him with alarm and question in her eyes.

She wanted to push him away but he had a sharp and tight grip over her.

“Please don’t ran away like that again.” Harry said kissing her over the head again.

“Stop that!” Hermione whispered back at him trying to push him away but he pierced her in the arm.

She opened her mouth to react but Mrs. Weasley moved them back to the table as she prepared meal for her over the table.

“Come Harry, have her to eat.” Mrs. Weasley said. “I’m sure she’s so tired and – Ginny, please get Hermione something to drink-“

Hermione was pushed back over one of the chairs and was aided with food and water.

Everyone was staring down at her with alarm and worry over their faces.

“Hermione, dead, eat.” Mrs. Weasley said. “Where have you been? I’ve been so worried too-“

“Come, eat.” Harry said ushering her towards the table and pulling food across the table towards her. “You need to feel better and-“

“Get away!” Hermione angrily said pushing Harry away. .

There was a clatter as the platter of toast toppled all over the floor.

Silence.

Everyone was staring at Hermione as if she was mad.

The silence was broken when there came hurried knock over their doorway.

“I’ll get it.” Bill said walking away from the scenery. “I think they’re here.”

He was quickly followed by Fleur.

Hermione looked around them with a fearful look written all over her face.

She wanted to run away from all of them but at the same time she wanted to know what lies Harry had been spreading about her.

As it looked, he already managed to tell them some sordid and twisted version of the story where she was no victim.

“Mum!” Bill called out as he walked back down the hallway. “They’re here!”

Hermione’s eyes shot towards the doorway.

He returned with Fleur by his side and they heard more footsteps heading towards the living room.

Two Ministry officials entered the kitchen and shook hands with Mr. Weasley and Harry .

“The Healers are waiting.” they said nodding at Harry.

“What’s going on?” Hermione immediately asked. “What’s going on here?”

Panic was visible from her eyes.

“Drink this.” Mrs. Weasley said laying a cup of tea before her. “This will calm you down, dear.”

The others might have missed it but Hermione certainly did not miss the glint growing inside those emerald eyes.

Hermione ignored her.

She was staring at the officials then back at Harry.

“Come, let’s have you checked then.” Harry said and before she could even react, Harry took a grip around her arm and pulled her away from the table.

He literary dragged her out of the kitchens and everyone else followed them.

“If you don’t let my arm go I swear I’m going to scream-“

“Do you want me to hex your friends?” Harry asked under his breath as he dragged her to the living room.

Hermione shot him a glare but she was led recklessly to the living room.

The Healers were preparing some bandages and the Ministry officials were talking to Bill and Mr. Weasley as they followed them through.

Everyone else were too occupied and in complete relief upon seeing her that they did not notice what was really going on between Harry and Hermione.

“Let me take good care of this.” Harry said and without warning, he took her bag over from her shoulders.

Hermione protested but Harry pushed her back over one of the couches.

Everyone was staring worriedly down at her. .

“Mr. Potter we need to tend to your wound.” one of the Healers said pointing over at Harry’s hand.

Hermione looked down at the direction and only noticed then.

A bandaged was messily wrapped around his left palm.

“Yes, thank you.” Harry said removing his scarf from around his neck and forcedly placing it around Hermione’s neck. “Just need to make sure she’s not cold.”

“I’m bloody not cold-“ Hermione muttered in gritted teeth as Harry secured the scarf around her neck.

For a moment Hermione thought her mind was playing tricks.

And then she realized that he had used the scarf to merely cover the marks around her neck from his doing several hours ago.

Hermione gazed angrily at him but she could not do anything nor say anything until she finds out what exactly was going on.  

“What did you do?” Hermione whispered at him. “What did you do, Harry?”

He did not say anything.

He moved and secured the scarf tighter in place and kissed her forehead.

“What I had to do.” Harry said kissing her forehead one more time. “We’re going to talk when we get home.”

He smiled and straightened himself up and walked towards the Healer who had prepared a whole kit to clean his wound and change the bandages.

“I’m not going home with you.” Hermione muttered back.

“We’ll see about that.”

He only smiled at her as he sat by her side over the couch and the Healer moved forward and began tending to him.

Hermione was struggling to hit Harry right then and there.  

“All seems better, Mr. Potter?” the Ministry official walked over to them and stared down from Hermione and back at him.

Harry nodded and he shook his hand with his free hand.

“Thank you.” Harry said nodding to the Healers. “I deeply apologize for the disturbance. I panicked. I didn’t really think well and straight that Hermione would likely come over here-“

The Ministry looked unconvinced.

In fact, he looked like he was worried that Hermione was some danger to others than to herself.

“Mr. Potter, it is none but natural for you to feel this way.” the Ministry official said. “And you will never waste our time – what with everything you have done for our world.”

 

That was the cue word that Hermione needed to hear.

Everyone was in debt to Harry for what he has done for the Wizarding World.

There was obviously no one to take her side no matter her situation and what truth there was.

Well, seems all good, Mr. Potter?” the Ministry official asked turning to him and getting ready to leave.

Harry nodded at them. He bowed and shook their hands.

“Thank you, thank you.” Harry said nodding to the Healers as well. “I deeply apologize for this disturbance. Perhaps I really just panicked and did not think well that Hermione would most likely come over here and-“.

“We are at the beck of your call at any time of the day at any day, Mr. Potter.”

“Thank you sir.” Harry had said standing up as the Healer finished replacing the bandages with new ones around his hand. “I really appreciate this.”

Hermione stared wordlessly as the man patted Harry’s back like that of a son.

She had seen them in the court trial several times already and she was sure that they did whatever Harry asked of them.

“I’ll call you should there be another trouble.” Harry said with a gentle smile. “I really appreciate this but I’m sure Hermione and I will sort this out better. But I really hope we don’t fight anymore.”

Hermione shot him a glare.

 “Not a problem.” The man had answered and he pointed at Harry’s hand. “You will be well?”

Hermione stared over his newly bandaged hand – it was the same hand he had used to strangle the life out of her the previously.

“It’s fine.” Harry said with a smile. “I’m sure Hermione didn’t mean what she did.”

There was something in his grin as he turned to her.

“Right, ‘Mione?” he asked her.

Hermione could only stare back.

Everyone else was staring back at her.

The ministry officials were staring quietly at her as if they doubted her.

“Excuse me?” Hermione asked unable to stop herself any longer. “What do you mean I did?”

Harry’s eyes glinted but he didn’t answer.

“Hermione dear, are you feeling better?” Mrs. Weasley asked her as she sat next to her.

Hermione stared up at her.

Harry was just staring quietly at her and everyone stared at her as if she was mad or that she had done something horrible.

“Good thing it was just a vase you threw up in the air, ‘Mione.” Bill had jokingly said as he coffee in paper cups around the room. “Fleur once threw an actual jewelry box made of opal stone at me.”

He handed one to his father and even Mr. Weasley laughed on what he had said.  

Bill took the last cup and handed it over towards Fleur who took it with a small nod.

It had slowly began to be slightly funny but Hermione knew that the Ministry officials didn’t find anything funny at all as they stared down at her.

“What are you talking about?”

Fleur gave Bill an angry look and had said something in French for which Bill, Charlie and even Ginny laughed for a moment.

Bill placed his arm around his wife and then Fleur gave a short laugh.

Hermione stared at each of them.

Was nobody really concerned of what actually happened?

“I don’t understand.” Hermione said trying to sound both serious and worried. “I threw what at you?”

She was glaring angrily at Harry now.

He looked calm and collected as she had expected.

The more tantrum she showed, the more ridiculous she looked to the others.

Ginny handed her a warm towel to keep her hands warm.

“The vase you threw at Harry last night.” Ginny reminded her. “When you fought? Do you not remember?”

“No.” Hermione said giving Harry another angry look. “I didn’t throw anything at you!”

 “You don’t remember?” Ginny skeptically asked her.

Hermione stared at her.

Well, she only remembered that Harry strangled her and tried to choke her to death because of his jealousy.

Hermione did not answer her.

She wanted to know and hear what lies Harry had provided in this household.

Ginny looked uncertainly at her but nodded when Mrs. Weasley gave Hermione a small nod.

“Harry told us about your fight.” Ginny said with a worried look. “He said he made you dinner and asked you to drink the potion you kept on drinking every night to keep your health up and strengthen you faster and then you two started arguing-“

“Arguing about Snape.” Harry said with a serious look over his face. “It’s my fault that you went all berserk. I shouldn’t have forced the potion to you – it might have triggered your hallucinations with Snape forcing you to drink-“

“I don’t have hallucinations!” Hermione screamed standing up and pointing at him.

Everyone was stunned.

She looked mad as she began crying as well.

“He’s lying to you!” Hermione cried pointing at Harry. “Why are you doing this?”

But nobody looked like they were questioning Harry’s words.

They were all only looking worried about her.

Harry stared back at her with no sign of slightest disturbance of how she was reacting.

“Hermione, relax.” Ginny said trying to calm her down. “It’s alright – we understand. Harry even understands when you started throwing-“

“I didn’t throw anything at him!” Hermione said in anger. “I would never do that-“

“Hermione dear, please calm down.” Mrs. Weasley gently said walking to her. “We know you couldn’t control your magic at the moment with everything you’re presently enduring and-“

“I’m not using any magic!” Hermione wailed at them. “Harry’s lying – he’s – he’s-“

“Hermione, please-“

“He took my wand!” Hermione shrieked pointing at Harry. “He took my wand!”

She could no longer take it.

She couldn’t help herself from hearing all the lies Harry had formulated for them to believe.

 The whole room had gone quiet and every single person in the house were staring at her.

“He bloody took my wand, Ginny!” Hermione screamed angrily pointing at Harry’s direction.

She was aware that all eyes were on her and were listening to every word.

But they did not look interested and rather looked only worried.

“He took my wand, Ginny and he was keeping me away from all of you!” Hermione screamed staring at Harry who only stared back at her.

Harry looked up at her and finally stood from the couch and went over to her.

“Mr. Potter-“

“It’s fine.” Harry said nodding his head. “I’ve got this.”

Harry turned to her fuming form but he was still calm.

“Sweetheart, please-“ he reached out for her hand but Hermione shoved his hand away.

“Don’t call me that!” she warned him. “Don’t touch me.”

A glint passed his eyes again.

The Healers slowly moved forward and the Ministry official gave one step forward.

Hermione’s eyes looked up at them in alarm.

“Don’t come near me.” Hermione warned backing away from them.

Harry raised his hand to stop them and he placed himself before Hermione.

“Mr. Potter, if Miss Granger is not well, we suggest that-“

“No.” Harry protested gently. “She’s alright. She doesn’t need to be taken at St. Mungo’s.”

Hermione’s eyes widened as she looked at the Healers and back at Harry.

So that’s why they were there.

Harry had concocted some sort of lie and should it be found reasonable, he was willing to give her to St. Mungo’s.

Two guesses which ward he would have her kept.

“’Mione?” Harry gently said extending his hand to her. “We’ll sort this out together, right?” he asked her.

Hermione didn’t answer.

The Healers looked ready to strap her in a jacket.

“We don’t need them, right?” he asked her softly.

Hermione took one glance at the Healers and back at Harry.

She was smart enough to understand that Harry was actually threatening to send her off at a mental ward in front of everyone without them getting the hang of it.

“Mr. Potter, if Miss Granger is unwell, we suggest that she may be taken to-“

“No, she’s alright.” Harry insisted looking back at her. “You’re fine, right? We’ll sort this together? On our own?”

He was looking at her in a warning type of manner for which only she understood.

She stared back at him with nothing but hatred in her eyes.

His jealousy has really gone beyond what was normal and now he was doing things she never imagined he was ever capable of.

Did her disappearance really damage him this much?

“Hermione?” he asked her gently with a smile. “Right?”

“Right.” Hermione answer through gritted teeth.  

Harry smiled and sighed back at the officials.

“She’ll be fine with me.” Harry said. “It’s just one of those episodes.”

Harry kept staring at her as he said the words without breaking eye contact.

“But Mr. Potter-“

“I’m fine. She’s better with me.” Harry said. “Her hallucinations and delusions are normal according to her first checkup. It’s part and process of her trauma.”

“Miss Granger needs to rest.”

“I will tend to everything she needs.” Harry said. “It would happen from time to time but atleast she’s home with me.”

They still looked unconvinced and more worried with Harry’s well-being than that of Hermione’s.

Hermione looked around her and knew how it all looked like to them.

So he was playing it differently and everyone was falling for it.

She looked up at Ginny across the room and knew immediately that she had probably told Harry about her note.

 She did not think that Ginny would side with Harry in all this.

“I’m not mad!” Hermione angrily said withdrawing her hand away from Harry.

“Nobody said you’re mad.” Harry calmly and quietly answered her.

Hermione angrily stared back at him then around the room for support but she got none.

Even Fleur and Ginny were both looking as highly concerned about her seemingly irrational behavior.

“Hermione.”

This time it was Mrs. Weasley who spoke.

She walked to the middle of the room and stayed next to her.

Hermione looked up at her with tears leaking at the side of her face.

“Please.” Hermione cried at her. “Please, believe me – I’m not-“

 “Darling, calm yourself down.” Mrs. Weasley had said.

She pulled something from behind her.

Hermione stared and recognized that it was her wand.

 It was wrapped in a blue smooth clothing.

“I have your wand with me.” she had said. “Harry said that you’ve left it when you ran away lastnight. You can get it from me tomorrow morning when you’re feeling better.”

Hermione opened her mouth to argue.

She looked across the room at Harry who was quietly staring at her.

Since when did he ever get to outsmart her?

“Harry was so worried that you didn’t have it with you.” Mrs. Weasley was showing it to her. “He gave it to me in hopes that if you ever did come over here for help I could give it to you.”

Hermione looked from her, then at her wand then at Harry.

He looked back at her as if daring her to take the wand from Mrs. Weasley.

“I think it best if Mr. Potter will keep Miss Granger’s wand for now – for safe keeping.” the official ha said as he turned to Harry. “You live at the same place, do you not?”

“Yes.” Harry answered. “We live at the same place, sir.”

“I think it best if you keep her wand, Harry.” Mr. Weasley suggested.

 “No.” Hermione protested seeing her wand being taken away from her again. “No, Harry had – he had taken my wand from me –“

“Miss Granger, we best advise you get some sleep.” the official said. “You need to keep your head together until we finish these proceedings of your trial. There is a hearing soon and we need you to be well rested.”

 “I am well rested!” Hermione angrily said unable to control herself again.

Tears were now openly visible from her eyes.

Not only was she confused, angry and exhausted but also very emotional because things were not only falling apart at the trial but at home as well.

She knew what everyone was thinking and knew that Harry was manipulating the situation altogether.

 “Come dear, you need to sleep. Come to Ginny’s room. I’ve made the bed for you.”

Hermione looked scandalized at how she was being treated because Fleur had also crossed the room as well and had taken her other hand.

“Come, ‘Mione-“ she said in her usual French accent. “I’ll stay in the room with you until you fall asleep.”

“No, wait-“ Hermione said trying to protest but the two other women had taken her by the arm and was gently walking her out of the living room.

Hermione protested at being stirred out of the room.

She looked around for help but nobody seemed willing to listen.

Mr. Weasley began apologizing to the officials and Bill and Charlie were doing just the same while Harry stood at a corner of the room staring quietly at her.  

“Mr. Potter, Miss Granger would need to drink this.”

Hermione heard one of the Healers suggest handing him a tall flask.

“Thanks.” Harry had answered with a grateful nod.

“It would help her to get to sleep and will probably lower the rate and possibility of more hallucinations. She must get sleep before the next hearing.” the Healer also gestured towards his hand.

“I feel alright. It’s nothing.”

“Come by my office at lunch today and let me check it again.”

“Thank you. But I need to tend to Hermione fully today.” Harry answered without removing his eyes from Hermione who was being stirred out of the room against her will.

Ginny had soon followed Fleur and Mrs. Weasley as they took Hermione to her room.

“Miss Granger, be well.” one of the officials called out to her before they disappeared completely from the room. “We would see you at the court trial on Wednesday.”

Mr. Weasley and Bill shook hands with the two Ministry officials.

“Thank you for coming. We were just really worried about her whereabouts.”

“It’s nothing, Arthur. Call us if anything of this sort happens again.”

“Is this normal?” Bill had suddenly asked looking around the room. “For her to be this way?”

One of the Healers nodded as they packed their things away.

“People who have been trapped for a long time with someone who is not family will find themselves in the middle of a post-trauma experience. We believe Miss Granger is enduring such.”

“But to hurt Harry?” Charlie had said openly as only the boys were left in the room. “Would hurting Harry make sense?”

The Healer nodded at him.

“It is but natural. Her hallucinations are also part of this. We would update on her.” he then turned to Harry. “There must be improvement before the week would come to an end, Mr. Potter. If none, we suggest you bring her to St. Mungo’s.”

Harry nodded and shook hands with the Healers again. “Thank you for the concern.”

“Please call us again – any time – should something like this happen again.”

Harry nodded as he led them to the exit.

“I’ll see them off, Harry.” Mr. Weasley had said leading them down the hallway. “Get some rest. You can ask to Ginny to sleep at her mother’s room so you can sleep in hers with Hermione or you can sleep with the rest of the boys.”

Harry nodded and held his bandaged arm and smiled and turned to Charlie and Bill who began swishing their wands around to clean the room.

“Well I have a few hours of sleep with me.” Bill had said. “You can come sleep in my room, Harry. I’m sure Fleur is going to sleep over at Ginny’s room with the two.”

“Yeah.” Charlie said patting Harry’s back. “I’m parking myself at Bill’s room since it is spacious, right my big brother? You can come with us.”

Bill threw a towel at Charlie. “I didn’t bloody invite you in my room.”

Harry smiled at the two as they began throwing stuff towards one another in jest.

“I’m fine. I’ll sleep with Hermione in the room.”

“Nah, fat chance, mate.” Bill had said as she watched Mrs. Weasley come down the stairs alone. “I’m sure the girls are going to have some girl-talk. Let’s leave them to that tonight. It might help improve Hermione’s mood and emotional state and rest her mind if she has the other two with her tonight.”

“Gross.” Charlie commented. “Girl-talk. What do they talk about anyway?”

“Nothing significant.” Harry said but he was staring up the staircase that led to Ginny’s room. “That’s what I can tell you.”

 

 

 

 

 

Hermione could barely sleep.

Fleur and Ginny had stayed with her in the room and despite their perseverance to ask her what exactly has happened, she simply told them that she was too tired to talk and wanted to get some sleep.

Ginny and Fleur respected her decision but Hermione sensed that Ginny was not convinced of her actions.

It took her a while to be able to let the other two know that she was alright and that she just really wanted some sleep.

Scared that she would have another unconventional actions done, the other two simply went to Ginny’s large bed and let her sleep alone in the spare bed that Mrs. Weasley had brought in the room.

She had been wide-awake for two full hours and knew that the sun will rise any minute.

She did not know what to do.

It was nowhere safe in the Weasley’s and Harry was just across the hallway.

She had never felt so trapped in her life.

There was nobody she could trust.

She tossed around the bed and tried to think, think hard of what she could do.

Harry had taken her bag and the little money she had and she was sure that he had already seen the things she had attempted to pack for her getaway.

She closed her eyes and turned the other side of the bed.

If she wanted to run, she should already do it now because seeing the way of things the moment they get back to their apartment, she will endure hell from Harry.

Putting things and things together and from Ginny and Fleur’s version of what has happened Harry is obviously out of his mind.

They had said that Harry had come knocking at their door at about half past midnight.

He was panic-stricken and his hand was bleeding as he knocked down their door and was desperately looking for her.

He was settled and calmed in the living room by Mr. Weasley and Mrs. Weasley and he relayed to them the story of their argument that led to her throwing things around and hitting him with the vase.

The two said that Harry’s hand bled in front of her that might have alarmed Hermione so she threw another object and had drastically taken things around the house and had fled.

Harry told them that in her haste and fear, she had left her wand which worried Harry even more because there was no way she could Apparate or go anywhere without money nor her wand as her magic had been suppressed for quite a long time that wandless magic for her was almost impossible to do.

Given these information, Mrs. Weasley quickly sent a Patronus to Bill and Fleur who quickly arrived within half an hour to help figure out what they could do to help or where to begin looking for Hermione.

Bill  had also sent Patronus to two of his Healer friends for a house-call in to heal Harry at home order to keep from press and others not concerned that something like that happened to Harry Potter.

Mr. Weasley’s Patronus was quickly dispatched to the Ministry where two of his friends quickly arrived upon hearing that Mr. Harry Potter desperately needed their help at that hour of the night.

In Hermione’s opinion upon hearing these stories, Harry had the upper hand in what had just transpired and he was quick and clever enough to turn tables around.

He was fast with his instinct that she was going to go first to the Weasleys and so he created a plan that will surely look like he was dead worried about her and that he was the victim again.

It was so unbelievable of Harry.

Unable to gain any sleep, Hermione slowly crept out from the bed.

She just needed some space and some place to be alone and if she was lucky, maybe she could find her bag lying around somewhere and she could possibly get out of the house.

But that was fat chance as Mrs. Weasley could also be awake at this hour.

Hermione quietly walked out of the door to get herself a glass of water to maybe help her think about what she was going to do next and how she was going to get message to Draco for help.

She couldn’t believe it, but she was actually considering the help of that boy who has bullied her for years.

 

Hermione reached the landing of the creaky stairs and was to make way to the kitchens when she heard Harry’s voice from the hallway.

“Did you know that there are certain ways to create a poison that may just look like water?”

Hermione froze from where she stood.

 Harry was awake already and was obviously anticipating for her to wake up.

“In other words, you can actually poison someone without them knowing and making it look like an accident.”  

Hermione stood frozen on the spot.

She listened and slowly turned to the other direction and braved herself to walk to the living room where she heard Harry’s voice.

It was slightly dark and the room was dimly lit by a small fire from the hearth.

She looked around and found Harry sitting alone in the room and was holding a book in his hand.

“Lovely this book, eh?” he said lifting it up and showing it to her. “Most useful and the memories it gave me are just superb. This was the time I’ve outdone you at Potions, do you remember?”

Hermione stared at him then slowly averted to the book in his hand.

It was his Potions book in their 6th year – Snape’s book.

 She did not know how he was able to gain it again but at the moment she did not care.

“What are you doing?” Hermione asked him walking forward. “Why are you doing this, Harry?”

“Doing what, Hermione?” he asked back innocently.

He stared up at her with such longing eyes as he held the book in his hand.

“Would you like to read with me?” he slowly asked her showing the book again. “There are a lot of useful potions here that you might like.”

He began flipping the pages before her, vaguely smiling and commenting on the things he somewhat found amusing.

But Hermione wasn’t amused.

She felt as if she was dealing with someone demented.

“Harry, stop this madness.” Hermione finally said. “Stop whatever you’re doing.”

“I’m not doing anything.” Harry said. “Oh, look here, Hermione – this page says that you can actually create this potion that can poison anyone with a single smell of its scent-“

“Harry!” Hermione said as she attempted to tug the book out from his hand. “Why are you doing this?!”

“Doing what?” Harry quietly asked her.

He suddenly shut the book close and slowly stood up.

Hermione slightly cowered as he towered over her.

He was barely taller than her but at that moment, Hermione felt as if he was way taller and scarier than he ever was.

His emerald eyes were gazing down at hers and that glimmer of hatred was very much visible in his eyes again.

“I’ve done nothing but protect and take good care of you and this is how you repay me?”

“Repay you?” Hermione asked shaking her head at him. “I don’t know what you’re-“

“You want to talk about it?” Harry slowly asked her.

Hermione did not answer.

She did not want to talk about whatever it was even though she already had a hunch about it.

“I was going to let you get away with it, you know.” Harry casually said. “I was going to let it all go until I learned that you actually went to Ginny.”

Hermione’s eyes turned to slits.

So it was confirmed.

Ginny had spilled to Harry what happened at Gringotts.

Hermione understood that Ginny was worried about her but she bagged that she would have some sort of ‘special girl bond’ with her and would keep their meeting a secret.

“Harry, I did not-“

“Don’t you lie to me.” Harry calmly said. “Ginny told me everything.”

“Ginny might have misunderstood me.” Hermione quickly lied.

Harry only stared at her and Hermione could tell that she was nowhere going to get away with it

“She cried, you know.” Harry said. “Told me that she felt really, really guilty for lying to me at that day. She told me that she was sorry and that she would not want to lie to me and that she’s terribly, terribly worried about you – most especially your behavior.”

“My behavior?” Hermione repeated with wide-eyes. “Maybe they should be worried about yours.”

Harry’s eyes glinted but he ignored her and gave her a wicked smile.

“She’s worried about you, Hermione.” Harry took a step closer her. “But you see, ‘Mione, she’s more worried about me.”

Hermione did not say anything, her fists clenching at her sides.

“Yes, she’s worried about me.” Harry pointed at himself. “She saw how much I suffered when you were away and she understood that. She understood how I felt then and now - unlike you – you never-“

“Harry, I don’t want to fight and I don’t want-“

“You were going to go away!” Harry said with sudden anger rising inside him.

“I only said-“

 “You were going to go on some getaway – you were going to plan something behind my back – what? Don’t deny it. Ginny told me every single thing you’ve told her that day.”

Hermione stared at Harry with hatred in her eyes.

She could comprehend Ginny’s loyalty to Harry because she saw his suffering when she was gone.

But still, how could she betray her?

“I told Ginny that I just want time off from-“

“From me?” Harry asked her. “What do you think I am, Hermione? Some pet you can just leave around if you feel tired-“

“Harry, it’s not like that – I just wanted to-“

“If you think that you have anyone to help you from these bloody place you’re making a mistake, Hermione.” Harry took one last step and had suddenly and painfully grabbed her arm.

“Harry-“

“Nobody, you hear me?” he whispered at her as he advanced towards her.

He suddenly grabbed her arm and painfully gripped her around the wrist.

“Harry-“ Hermione winced in pain.

“Nobody. You hear me?” Harry quietly said. “Nobody in this place is going to take your side.”

Hermione felt completely threatened.

She knew the truth in those words.

She knew that everyone would take Harry’s side especially now that Harry had made it clear to people that she was having some post-traumatic problem and hallucinations.

He was clever to use something like that in order to spin them in his hands.

Since when did he learn to be this cunning?

“How could you manipulate them?” Hermione asked him as she snatched her arm back from him.

Harry stared at her for a moment then smiled at her.

Hermione used to be so inlove with the boy’s smile.

Now, he scared her beyond her wits.

“I’m not manipulating them.” Harry calmly answered sitting back down on the couch.

Hermione stared at him as he returned his attention back at the book again.

It was Snape’s book and she immediately recognized the vast danger at hand while it was in Harry’s possession at the moment.

“Get a few more hours of sleep, ‘Mione.” Harry said with a warm smile at her. “You need energy. I know you haven’t slept well and you heard what the Healers said about you being well-rested. We can leave before lunch today. Get some more-“

“I’m not going with you-“ Hermione said with her hands shaking at her sides. “I’m never going back to that place.”

Hermione saw that Harry’s fists turned into a ball for a moment.

She took a step back but he didn’t do anything at all.

Harry breathed deeply as if trying to control himself.

He slowly looked up at her and an amused look began surfacing over his face.  

He shook his head and continued leafing through the pages of the book in his hand.

“Sure.” Harry had simply said. “You can stay here at the Weasleys for as long as you want.”

Hermione just stared at him as she tried to analyze the catch in those words.

“I won’t stop you if you want to stay here.”

“I want my wand back.” Hermione quietly said. “You give it back to me.”

“You heard them earlier.” Harry simply said.

“I want my wand back, Harry.” Hermione demanded.

 “It is quite unsafe for you to have your wand with you. Don’t worry.” Harry told her. “I’m going to keep it safe for you sweetheart, until you feel better and is sound in mind.”

That was it.

Hermione’s had lost it.

Hermione launched forward and attacked Harry.

She angrily grabbed the book from him and threw it aside and then had gone straight into hitting him.

But Harry was faster and stronger than she was.

They both stepped over the book.

Harry was fast enough to defend himself.

He had grabbed Hermione’s other hand and began twisting her left arm in another direction as his other hand quickly grasped her by the jaw.

“Harry-“  Hermione cried out in pain as Harry shoved her back against the wall without letting her go.

The pain was such a shock that Hermione felt her visions blurred for a split moment.

She struggled against him but to no avail.

“You want to scream?” Harry asked her his fingers digging painfully around her jawline. “You want to wake the whole house?”

Hermione’s eyes leaked with tears.

This was not the Harry she had fallen in love with.

“Do not tempt me to hurt them.” Harry breathed at her. “Do not tempt me to hurt them, Hermione.”

“Don’t.” Hermione croaked out. “Please – you won’t – you can’t-“

“Don’t dare me.” Harry darkly said as his fingers dug deeper to the point of breaking her jaw.

“Harry, you won’t-“ Hermione was choking viciously.

“You don’t believe me?” Harry asked with a sneer. “Do you want me to try it out first on that bastard? I can do that. I can call Kingsley and-“

 “You won’t hurt him. You can’t.” Hermione angrily spat at him. “You prefer to see him suffer with the Dementors.”

Hermione stared back at him with such defiance in her eyes that it only agitated and angered Harry further.

“Maybe it’s not them I should hurt then.”

Hermione’s eyes grew wide.

Harry gave her a knowing smile.

“You’re not going to hurt them.” Hermione gasped. “You can’t – you won’t- they’re your family-“

  “Them?” Harry asked them.

 He nodded towards the old armchair for which Mrs. Weasley usually sat and knitted her most-loved sweaters.

“No, Harry. You’re mad – you wouldn’t hurt – you don’t mean that-“

“Would you like to bet one of their red-heads on it?” Harry asked threateningly.

Hermione opened her mouth to say something in protest when they both heard voices.  

They both stopped moving.

They heard people coming down from the stairs.

Harry quickly let go of her jaw and pushed her back over the couch.

Hermione gasped and coughed for air as she looked up at him listening to whoever was coming down the stairs.

Harry turned to him with a dark smile and placed his hand over his lips in gesture for her to remain quiet.

Hermione’s eyes burned with hatred as she stared at him.

Harry slowly bent down to pick the book up just as Mr. Weasley came into the room and stared at them in surprise.

“Up so early?” Mr. Weasley asked as he walked straight into the old desk at the end of the room.

He was too busy looking for something as he prepared himself for work that he barely noticed the tears that Hermione was wiping off her face.

“Hermione couldn’t sleep.” Harry said as he stared down at Hermione with a warning gaze. “She had a nightmare again. Came knocking at the boy’s room and asked if I could accompany her here.”

Mr. Weasley found a small stash of parchments he had been looking for and walked to them.

“Hermione??” he asked noticing her tear-streaked face.

“I’m – I’m fine.” Hermione said. “Just a little.. I’m alright, Mr. Weasley.”

Mr. Weasley stared worriedly at her then at Harry who only gave him an assuring glance.

“She’ll be alright.” Harry said placing his arm around her waist. “She just needed a bit of chat.”  

“Well if you can’t sleep come to the kitchens.” he said grabbing his fallen cloak at the back of the couch. “I’m sure Molly can make you a coffee or something.”

Hermione nodded and watched as he walked out of the living room calling Mrs. Weasley to tell her that the two were already awake.

“Do you believe in me?” Harry asked her. “Or would you like to bet on his head first instead?” Harry sneered at her as he moved forward and offered his hand to help her off the couch.

Hermione ignored his hand and remained still on the couch with an angry glare.

“Get up, Hermione.” Harry snapped at her. “Pack your things because we’re leaving before lunch.”

 

 

Half an hour later, Hermione had found herself in the kitchen of the Weasleys helping out Mrs. Weasley, Fleur and Ginny to make breakfast for everyone.

Hermione was quietly slicing up some oranges at the corner to make into fresh juice while Fleur was making toasts next to Mrs. Weasley at the other end of the kitchen.

Hermione’s untamed thoughts were disrupted when she felt Ginny walk to her corner.

She looked up at her with a mournful look over her face.

“Hermione.” Ginny began as she worriedly stared at her.

She hastily woke Fleur up at that morning upon realizing that Hermione was no longer in the room with them. They both jumped out of bed in their sleeping clothes only to find Hermione setting plates over the dining area as Mrs. Weasley began cooking sausages and eggs at the kitchen.

“Yeah?” Hermione simply said returning her attention to the oranges.

Ginny was reluctant.

“About what happened.. I was just-”

“It’s fine.” Hermione quietly said. “I know you’re only worried about me.”

Despite that she did not seem as mad as Ginny would have expected her, Ginny knew that she had offended her somehow.

She wasn’t sure if she should continue her conversation with her knowing that Hermione still looked tad bit of mad at the least.

“Look, ‘Mione..” Ginny pressed on. “I was just really worried – we all are. Harry says.. you’re a little-“

“Unstable?” Hermione offered. “At the verge of lunacy?”

Ginny looked alarm. She quickly shook her head.

“No, no.” she said reaching for her but Hermione slightly edged away from her. “’Mione, Harry’s just worried – all of us are. We know you’re enduring something we can’t really cure now or cure fully. We know you’re traumatized and you need people around you. We just – we just sort of panicked. Harry’s all worried about you – he’s always thinking about you.”

“Yeah, I’m sure he is.” Hermione said blandly.

Ginny looked slightly hurt at her but she also knew how she felt.

“If you want to talk, I’m just here.”

“Yeah.” Hermione snapped. “And you can tell Harry everything once more.”

Ginny opened her mouth to explain but Hermione put down the knife and the orange in her hand.

“I can tell Harry everything myself, Gin. You don’t need to bother.” Hermione snapped at her. “Besides, I know he’s been following me around or having people follow me around to check on me. Don’t worry, Gin, I think Harry has everything covered.”

Hermione’s voice had been raised a notch higher than even Bill and Charlie who had just come down the stairs had halted and were listening to them.

Fleur saw them by the stairs and had quickly eyed them warningly.

Ginny stared at Hermione and sighed heavily.

“I’m sorry, ‘Mione.” she simply said. “We’re just really worried about you.”

“Yeah.” Hermione had said. “I know. I’m sorry. But I just really want to be alone right now.”

Without another word, she grabbed the platter of oranges and decided to slice them up back at the other end of the room leaving Ginny looking crestfallen.

 

The dining room was filled with conversations as they ate brunch that the women in the house had prepared.

Hermione passed platters of viands after another as conversations took place around long table of the Weasleys.

She barely touched her food and sat quietly next to Harry who had been cheerful all morning and had even played wizard’s chess with Bill who decided not to go to work that morning.

The conversations around the table had been cheerful until Mr. Weasley was about to leave and had suddenly had to remind Hermione and Harry that he had been noted by a Ministry official that the court trial for Wednesday was going to be at three in the afternoon.

The reminder had definitely changed Harry’s mood.

“I’m going to get more bread rolls.” Hermione said excusing herself from the table as she went just at the next room.

Harry did not miss the gesture and had quickly excused himself as well and had followed her at the kitchen area.

“Three tomorrow, huh?” Harry asked as he watched by the door.

Hermione walked around the kitchen, grabbing a large platter and looking for the bread rolls that were just a few inches from the pan she had just moved aside.

Harry walked forward and had pointed at the pan she was looking for.

“I don’t want to fight, Harry.” Hermione told him. “We’ll be in the court by three and yes, I’ll still be telling the truth tomorrow.” Hermione spat at him.

Harry just stared at her, studying her closely.

Hermione felt uncomfortable with his gaze but she pretended not to care at all.

“I did not say anything.” Harry said walking at the other end of the table.

Hermione heard him grab something and had left the room without another word.

She angrily put down the platter of bread back on the table.

Her eyes began to water with tears.

She was just really so damn frustrated about everything.

She needed Draco.

She desperately needed to see Draco.

“Hermione?”

Hermione quickly wiped the tears from her eyelids as she looked up at the doorway.

Fleur was standing by the door and staring at her.

“Bill is looking for the bread rolls.” she said as she entered seeing the platter on the table.

“Sorry, it’s here.” Hermione pointed.

“He wants to grab some for work.” Fleur went to the table and grabbed one of the rolls for herself.

“Here, let me find you a place to pack it.” Hermione said looking around the kitchens.

 “He’ll just grab a piece or two. He’s just waiting for the orange juice that Harry is serving-”

Hermione nodded absentmindedly until she realized what Fleur had just said.

“What?” she asked in great alarm. “What did you say?”

“I said Bill is in a hurry and-“

“No. I meant –“

“He’s leaving. He’s only-“

“I mean, about Harry. What did you say Harry was-“

“He’s finishing the orange juice that Harry is serving over there?” Fleur repeated slowly. “He said he made it himself and-“

But Hermione no longer heard the rest of her sentences.

Her blood rose up to her head upon the realization of what she had just mentioned.

She ran out of the kitchen and had thrown herself back at the dining hall.

Her eyes quickly searched the room for Harry.

He was laughing at the end of the room at some joke Bill had been saying as he filled a glass of orange juice for Mrs. Weasley.

Hermione stood frozen by the doorway as she looked around the glasses filled with juice he had served around the table.

She quickly scanned the room and saw that Mrs. Weasley was just about to drink – the first one to drink.

Harry had quickly sensed her presence and had looked up at her direction.

He raised a glass in his hand that he just finished filling up.

“Try some?” he asked her as he nodded at the glass. “I made it, ‘Mione.”

It was the word that triggered enough panic and response in Hermione’s system.

Hermione did not know exactly what she had done but soon she found herself being strangled to calm down by Bill and Charlie at the other end of the room.

Everyone was staring at her.

She had come running inside the dining hall, screaming at everyone to not drink the juice and had literary attacked the glass out of Mrs. Weasley’s hand as she was about to take a sip.

Hermione had reached for the pitcher half-filled of it from the table and had knocked it down over the floor.

“Don’t drink it!” she kept yelling as she stared with wild eyes at Harry. “Don’t drink it!”

Fleur had quickly ran back towards the dining hall upon hearing the mayhem.

She covered her mouth in shock as she saw Hermione being strangled by her husband and Charlie to a corner as she fought against them.

Ginny and quickly grabbed Mrs. Weasley at the side of the room to calm her a little as she was too shock at Hermione’s actions to every comprehend what had just happened.

Harry was staring quietly at Hermione while Mr. Weasley had quickly waved his wand around to clean up the mess that had become around the room.

“What’s going on?” Fleur asked staring at Bill who had Hermione’s hands behind her back as she kicked herself free from him.

“Don’t know!” Bill said over the commotion. “She just attacked mum –“

“She attacked the glass in mum’s hand-“ Charlie corrected as he tried to help Bill restrain Hermione out of the kitchens.

Fleur stood frozen at the spot as they stared at Hermione kicking and screaming and pointing at the spilled juice all over the dining hall.

“What’s gotten into her?” Ginny asked as she settled Mrs. Weasley at the end of the room.

“Mum are you-“

“I’m fine, Gin. I’m alright.” Mrs. Weasley breathlessly answered still wearing the expression of shock.

 “She just ran in here and just grabbed the glass out of mum’s hand.” Ginny told Fleur who started to wave her wand around to help clean the messed up and spoiled food over the dining table.

“She what?”

“She started going berserk over the pitcher of juice right after.” Ginny supplied staring at the now empty pitcher.

“Ze juice?” Fleur asked with a raised brow.

Ginny merely nodded.

They could still hear Hermione screaming at the living room.

Hermione watched with wild eyes as Harry stared down at her with his hands crossed over his chest.

Bill and Charlie were both holding her down the couch in the living room and glaring reluctantly at her and back at Harry as if thinking if they should hex her or not.

“She’s fine, she’s fine. Please let her go.” Harry whispered as he pulled up a chair and sat in front of Hermione.

“Harry, she’s not-“

“She’s alright, Bill. I will talk to her. She’s stressed out.” Harry said emphasizing the word. “She did not have a good night sleep.”

Bill and Charlie stared at one another then loosened their grips over Hermione who had somewhat calmed herself down but was still glaring at Harry.

“What happened?” Charlie asked unable to comprehend the situation that took place.

“Hermione, why did you just do that?” Bill asked him as he stood tall with Charlie at either side of Harry.

“Yeah, Hermione.” Harry slowly said in a calm voice that was nowhere accusatory not shock as Bill and Charlie.

Hermione stared up at him and she was at loss at for words and she did not know how to explain her behavior.

Harry was staring quietly at her as if daring her to say anything to the two of the eldest Weasleys in the room.

He had obviously displayed what was a mocked action of what he could actually do without anyone getting the gist of it. It was true that he could poison and kill any of them without any of their knowing the better.

“I don’t..” Hermione began unable to look at the two Weasleys straight in the eye. “I’m sorry.. I was just…”

“Stressed?” Harry supplemented.

Hermione shot him a glance.

“Yes. Stressed.” Hermione answered in gritted teeth.

Bill looked did not look convinced at her.

“Hermione, I do not want to offend you.” Bill began staring closely at her. “But you really do not look good. You look as if you’re not eating well and not getting enough sleep. Do you want to go to the hospital later? I’m sure Fleur and Ginny could somehow accompany you and-“

“No, she’s fine.” Harry cut him out.

The two brothers stared at him.

“Can I have a moment with Hermione?” he gently asked them. “Let me talk to her. I’m sure she feels more comfortable..”

They stared at him and immediately agreed.

“Please?”

“Fine.” Charlie said giving a small smile. “We’ll be in the kitchens if you need us, Harry.” he gave Hermione a nod and together with his brother, they both left the living room.

Hermione glanced hopelessly at them.

She couldn’t give signals and could only stare at their backs with a pleading gaze.

She was shaken back to reality when she heard the door snap close.

Harry had locked the door and had placed a Silencing Charm.

He walked forward her with the same glimmer in his eyes as he sat at the chair he pulled in front of her with his arms crossed over him.

“Well?” Hermione asked him. “Are you happy?”

Harry stared at her for a quiet moment.

Then he slowly reached for her and rested his hand over her leg.

Hermione flinched at his touch but she did not move away.

“Happy?” Harry asked him with a smug look over his face. “I’m ecstatic, Hermione.”

“Go to hell Harry.” Hermione tearfully spat at him.

Harry gave a condescending laugh at her.

“Snape will go first.” he told her. “I’m going to make sure of that.”

“You’re not going to get away with this.”

“Actually.” Harry said moving closer to her. “I’m already getting away with it.”

Harry leaned closer and placed his other hand over her other leg and began to gently massage the area in between her thighs.

Hermione was shaking in anger and silently crying as she stared down at the monster he had become.

“I like this, ‘Mione.” Harry whispered at her with a triumphant glimmer in his emerald eyes.

 “This thing – our thing- just like the old days. When we keep secrets just between the two of us – when we keep things just to ourselves.”

 

 

 

 

 

It might have been an old ink bottle or glass case or a jar of some sort that had fallen but neither Harry nor Hermione cared as Harry carried her up over the desk.

Their breathing were labored and Harry’s member was just as excited and wet Hermione was already between her legs.

“Harry, are you sure that nobody will-“

“They’re all busy downstairs at the meeting.” Harry said nipping her neck as he had his other hand behind her back unclasping her bra and the other quite busy beneath her blouse and over her hardened nipples.

“Someone might come in-“

“It’s half past one, ‘Mione.” Harry quickly unbuttoned the rest the buttons over her blouse as he kissed and nipped every part of her chest he could reach.

“But Harry—“ Hermione moaned unable to even speak clearly as Harry set jolts of excitement all over her.

“They’ve been in there for three long hours.” Harry breathed heavily mentally taking note to reach for his wand to lock the door. “I’m quite sure that nobody will interrupt.”

Hermione nodded and giggled mischievously as her hand reached down for the inside of Harry’s pants and she began to massage his long member that has been longing for her for days now.

Harry moaned inside their lip-locked mouths as he felt Hermione’s excited long fingers taking the better out of him.

“Sleep in my bedroom tonight.” Harry whispered. “I’ll sneak you in or something or something. I’ll talk to Ginny to make Ron sleep in the other room.”

Hermione giggled at the prospect of it.

She felt excited at the idea of breaking some sort of rule – breaking some sort of rule with Harry.

It felt different – to be in a relationship with him and to have things and secrets shared only by the two of them. She felt quite glad to be in some sort of normal and not for mere display time of relationship for the first time in her life.

“If professor Lupin does not sleep here tonight.” Hermione whispered back, flinching slightly as Harry bit her lower lip, groaning excitedly at the prospect of sleeping with Harry in his bedroom for the third time.

They were not sure really when the feelings or the ‘sparks’ between them had begun, but it sure were quite explosive when it did.

It might have been Hermione’s comforting letters, words and presence around Harry right after Sirius’ death that might have triggered Harry’s longing for someone to love and care for him that soon had him sending her back notes and jokes that definitely crossed the line of their being bestfriends.

The feelings were mutual and reciprocated with enough just and lust.

The two were just as excited to go back to Hogwarts in a week or so with someone to call as ‘girlfriend’ and ‘boyfriend’ – even just in secret.

Despite the dangers their relationship could bring once the Dark Lord and his loyal servants find out about them, Harry and Hermione decided to hold on to their relationship and only let a handful of people to know about them with Lupin being one of the handful.

Despite that nobody could really tell – not even Harry and Hermione themselves- if the relationship was quite serious or long, it did not matter at the moment. For that was their new goal and aspiration in this newfound aspect of their lives - to just live each they and let things go as long as they were together.

“Harry, stop-“ Hermione giggled as Harry’s hand had slowly come down to her legs and he was massaging the lines in the inner of her thighs, teasing her mercilessly.

“Harry, I said – stop-“ Hermione’s eyes were fluttering at the sensation of his mouth around her neck and his hand between her thighs, “I think I heard something down the hallway-“

“It’s just your imagination.” Harry whispered nipping her neck as he pushed her legs apart over the desk so he could touch her better.

“No, I think I did hear something –“ Hermione said forcing to bring herself in control of the situation.

“’Mione, everyone’s downstairs – nobody is going to-“

“No, I think I heard-“ Hermione opened her eyes at the sound she has heard and she almost screamed.

Snape was standing by the doorway with his hands crossed over his chest and was staring at them in a manner that Hermione couldn’t tell if amusement or annoyance.

But he definitely looked like he had been standing there for quite some time.

“Professor Snape-“

“What-“ Harry asked slightly irritated upon hearing the name.

“Harry, stop – professor Snape-“

“What about the git-“

Hermione pushed Harry off him and nodded towards the doorway.

Snape’s presence alarmed the both and they both scrambled off the desk in the room and had begun zipping, buttoning and putting their clothes back altogether.

“Mr. Potter.” Snape softly whispered entering the room even without invitation.

Harry had closed his pants back and had halfway managed to straighten back his own clothes while Hermione had managed her somehow button back her blouse whilst she was already half-nake  earlier before Snape could reach them.

Harry stood straight and had moved himself in front of Hermione in his attempt to cover her as she hastily pulled her skirt back in place.

They were both red, flustered and breathless and guilt smelled all over the place just as the heat and lust that rose around the room.

Snape stared at them for a moment without really knowing how he was going to reprimand the two as they were not in the school grounds and neither were child to be told off upon doing such an act.

“How did you get up here?” Harry breathlessly asked him.

Snape stared at him for a moment then his eyes rested towards Hermione who just finished buttoning her blouse and was looking frightened behind Harry at the sight of him.

“Lupin would like to talk to you downstairs.” Snape had simply said. “He and Mrs. Weasley would like to get the schedule of the three of you-“ he nodded towards Hermione, “in regards of the schedule for which you would have to go to Diagon Alley to buy your new school materials for your sixth year.”

Harry nodded at him while Hermione looked away from Snape’s accusatory glare.

“I also need to inform you that you’re ought to take Potions within the school year in order to compliment your dreams of becoming… an Auror.”

His black eyes ran from Harry and had swayed momentarily at Hermione’s direction for which it caught sight of her skin that she had not properly mustered to cover up completely.

“We’ll be downstairs.” Harry said with a dignified look over his face. “You can get out now, professor.”

Snape’s eyes flashed at him but he did not say anything for a moment.

He opened his mouth but they both heard Lupin calling for Harry immediately downstairs as Kreacher was doing something that he wasn’t supposed to be doing.

“I guess duty calls.” Snape simply said with an annoying smile.

“Yeah, I heard.” Harry snapped at him. He turned back at Hermione. “Follow downstairs.”

Hermione only nodded at him and Harry glared at Snape but did not say anything.

“Learn your priorities, Potter.” Snape called back on him as he was halfway leaving the room.

Harry slowly turned back at him.

“Learn to knock, professor. This is my house – I can bloody do whatever I want.”

And then he left and only his quick footsteps down the stairs could be heard by the other two.

Hermione swallowed hard and looked away as Snape stared back at her.

“Professor,” Hermione began, “we’re sorry, we just-“

“Kindly fix your clothes, Miss Granger.” Snape slowly said as he gestured and slowly turned away from her and waited.

Hermione realized that she had buttoned her blouse at all the wrong places, thus her bra that wasn’t exactly in the correct place could be slightly viewed and her skirt was also askew that the inner of her right leg was showing.

She quickly unbuttoned and buttoned everything back in the right place and had pulled her skirt down into place.

“Sorry, professor.” Hermione said. “But thanks. Done.” Hermione said and Snape slowly faced her again.

He glanced back at her. His black eyes were seemingly gazing through every inch of her as if searching for something else that might be wrong.

Her face was still flustered and she somewhat looked stunning and glowing beneath the moonlight that reached through the room.

He blinked and blinked the thoughts away.

“Professor?”

“You do understand, Miss Granger, how untimely this is?” he asked her coldly. “You understand how this may distract Potter from his goals and what he is supposed to do?”

Hermione blinked and stared at him.                              

“He’s not distracted.” she defiantly said. “And I’m with him – though all this. And I’m guiding him and-“

“He’s about to be sixth year at school and he could barely brew a proper potion, Miss Granger. How do you think he could save lives and this as distraction as we near the end of the war?”

“Distraction?” Hermione repeated taking a step forward him. “You think I am a distraction to Harry?”

Snape did not say anything. He wasn’t sure why he was so annoyed at the student in front of him and why it boiled his blood earlier upon walking into them and their little act.

“I’m only stating that this is not the time in his life for him to have a… “ he paused looking for the right word or rather insult to call her but he somehow could not find anything that was mocking or insulting enough to call her. Not when in secretly, he actually and deeply thought that she looked rather ‘distractingly flattering and stunning’ at the moment.

“A girlfriend?” Hermione coldly helped him out.

Snape blinked at her.

“A kinky friend.”

Hermione was shaking in anger. But she could not – even outside school premises – answer a teacher. It was beyond her perspectives unlike Harry and Ron who preferred otherwise even within Hogwarts.

“I’m not-“ Hermione said unable to control her shaking voice. “I’m not what you think I am-“

She angrily grabbed her bag from the floor and had made her way to the door when she suddenly turned back to Snape.

She walked right in front of him and looked him up in the eye – gazing at him as if challenging him.

Snape was too shocked to say anything as she stood so close to him. He could smell her scent from their proximity - even the smell of her ‘unfinished business’ with Harry earlier.

“Why are you such a bitter person?” Hermione angrily said giving him a spiteful glare.

Snape’s black eyes glinted. Hermione looked as if she was ready to slap him.

She could possibly not do so, but answering to him just cause she could at the moment, definitely did not stop her from doing so – they were not at school grounds anyway.

 But before he could do anything or say anything, Hermione had already turned and had stormed out of the room, banging the door noisily behind her.

 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Sixteen 

Bruises 

 

 

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.

“Harry!”

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. 

“Mother-“

“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. .

“Draco-“

“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.

“Professor-“

“Not so fast, Miss Granger.” Snape slowly asked her.

Hermione looked up at him and at the hand around hers.

“Professor Snape?”

“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.”

“Yes, professor.”

“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.

Hermione halted.

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.

Five months.

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.”

 

Chapter Text

  

Chapter Seventeen

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.”

“About what?”

“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.

“Draco-“

“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?”

“Yes.”

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.

“Yes?”

“There was just a drawing.” Hermione slowly said visually recalling the parchment.

“A drawing?”

“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.

“Professor?”

“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?

 Bloody hell.

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.

But no.

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.

“Professor Snape?”

“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.

“Professor Snape.”

“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.

“Miss Granger-“

“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.

“Harry?”

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.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Eighteen 

Trust 

 

 

“How long do I have to stay on this chair?” Harry asked Ginny as he wheeled his wheelchair around to face her.

Ginny did not answer.

Despite that he has woken from his coma, he was left invalid.

His mood was nowhere improving either.

“The Healers said it would take time.” Ginny said for what felt like a dozen time. “They see no problem with your bones so they guess that-“

“They guess what?” Harry asked her. “If there’s no problem with my bones then why can’t I walk?”

He looked aggressed and Ginny remained quiet.

There was no point arguing with him.

“They will provide you with a therapist.” Ginny said trying to assure his condition.

In truth, she was no longer sure how to cheer him up.

She had stayed by his bed day and night and tended to everything he needed and yet he remained cold and relentless and had kept on complaining about everything.

 “I don’t need a therapist.” Harry spat at her. “I need them to find Hermione.”

Ginny gaped as he wheeled his chair again and turned to face the window again.

His miraculous awakening from the coma he had been in had left him weak and temporarily disabled.

According to the tests given to him since he woke up, his body was seemingly fighting what ‘vegetable’ state he would have been from his fall from the building floor.

There seemed to be an inner force taking him slowly out of the ill-fated life he would have been in.

“You will be able to walk in no time, Harry.” Ginny assured him. “I mean, look at you – you’ve woken up from that state and you’re getting better everyday.”

“I’ll only recover fully if I know where Hermione is.” Harry muttered. “I need to find her.”

She had been trying her best every day to make him feel better but she knew deep inside that nothing would make him feel any better at the moment or any day soon until Hermione was found.

Truth was that, no one knows for sure if Hermione was still alive.

Her fall across that high towards the London waters was too much to ask life from.

It would take another miracle for Hermione to survive that fall.

And nobody is merely brave enough to tell Harry that daunting truth.

They needed him to have the will to be alive, to continue – they needed some sort of hope for him to cling into.

“Once you are way better, I’m sure the Healers will let you out and you can help the Order look for Hermione.”

Harry did not say anything.

His green eyes were transfixed at the view of the sunrise expelling darkness across the city.

First they were ambushed and then he lost Hermione.

He had lost about more than a month’s worth of time of looking for Hermione.

And upon waking up, his strength weren’t as what he wanted or rather expected it to be as his body was still too weak at the moment that he was temporarily disabled from walking.

It frustrated him beyond comprehension and no matter what they say that they were looking for Hermione he simply wasn’t that convince unless he does it himself.

“Harry, they’re doing their best.” Ginny’s small voice came behind his back.

“I want to be alone for now, Ginny.” Harry quietly said.

“Harry, the Healers said you shouldn’t be-“

“I said, I want to be alone for now. If you please.”

Ginny stared at him with tears in her eyes.

She wasn’t sure anymore how to cheer Harry up knowing that Hermione was the only person who can do that for him especially at his very broken state at the moment.

“I’ll just be outside Harry.” Ginny said. “You know how to call for help outside incase you need any.”

The moment the door had closed, Harry’s eyes shed quiet tears.

The broken pieces of his heart cannot seem to heal at all like the rest of his body.

The Healers said that his fall had been fatal but there was enough magic in his body to save him and keep him alive.

It had been more than a month that he was comatose and a lot of people had believed the point that he wasn’t going to wake up on time to try to help the battle against the Dark Lord.

A lot of people also believed that he was never going to wake up.

But he did wake up.

He had miraculously woken from his state despite what the Healers at St. Mungo’s had said.

But he was invalid.

Being alive for him wasn’t enough if he was temporarily invalid.

He needed to find Hermione.

He desperately needed to find her before it was too late.

 

 

 

 

 

Hermione nervously sat at the witness’ stand once more.

Despite that whatever Draco had prepared for her and she knew deep down that it would help Snape she was still nervous.

Harry was quietly staring at her from across the stand.

Despite that they did not ‘rehearse’ anything to say for the day as this was unexpected, she knew that he was expecting better of her.

The whole room was quiet as Draco presented random evidences to the jury of the Wizengamot and across the room through parchments bearing factual documentary of certain events that had happened from the decade that Hermione was taken in accordance to Snape and Hermione’s statements.

“Miss Hermione Jean Granger?” Draco slowly asked staring at her.

“Yes.” Hermione nodded quietly.

Draco was staring quietly at her but he wasn’t giving her any secret signals nor any friendly gesture.  And despite that he did not look boastful at all, he did look formal and in such a way as if they do not know one another personally.

The look he gave her and the gestures he did around her made her nervous and intimidated.

“According to records, you have attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?”

“Yes.” Hermione quietly answered, curious where Draco was going to lead this.

“And that is the place where you have met the accused, Mr. Severus Snape?”

“Yes.” Hermione said. “That is true.”

Draco paced before Hermione’s desk as if thinking.

“That is because he is a mentor at the school?”

“Yes.” Hermione simply answered. “He was our Potions Master.”

“For how long did you study under him?”

“For about six years.” Hermione said. “In our sixth year at Hogwarts, he was replaced by Professor Horace Slughorn. He had then taken the post of Defense Against the Dark Arts.”

“And how was your relationship with your professor at school?”

Hermione was quiet.

Draco obviously knew this but he was after something.

“Well.. he was..” Hermione said clearing her throat before continuing. “Well he was strict. He was quiet distant with his students but he was a good professor. I did well with his subjects even if I wasn’t his favourite student and he did not keep down from showing off his favourites.”

Draco almost smirked at the commentary. 

“Do you say he hates you in a way or two or vice versa?” Draco quietly asked her.

Hermione stared back at him but Draco was unblinking.

He looked and sounded as if he had a plan towards where this was going even if it looked so vague at the moment.

“I couldn’t say so.” Hermione slowly answered. “Like I said, I wasn’t his favourite but that does not undermine that he hated me.”

The jury seemed to agree with the logic given.

Draco continued to pace around the room and question Hermione.

“How were your grades at Hogwarts, Miss Granger? Other than Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts?”

“They were very good.” Hermione confidently said and her brows were slightly raised because she could not understand where this was going now and how it were all going to help Snape.

“Above average?”

“Objection on this, Mr. Defense Council.”

One of the juries interrupted.

Hermione looked up and knew that this man was some sort of friend of Kingsley making him someone on Harry’s side.

“Yes?” Draco slowly asked him.

“We do not see where this is going. We are talking about the case of Miss Granger – not her grades at school.”

“Sir, with all due respect, I assure you I am going somewhere here.”

“Continue, Mr. Malfoy.” the eldest of the jury had said gesturing his hand. “Let us give him some time.”

Draco nodded gratefully and turned back to Hermione.

“Well, Miss Granger?”

“Above average.” Hermione answered him. “I aced most of my subjects in my year. I was highest in our N.E.W.T.s exam as well.”

Draco nodded at him and took a paper out from the many on the table.

He raised it around and nodded around the room.

“Here are records stating all of Miss Granger’s grades since she was a first year at Hogwarts and until the final year she was able to attend to.”

Draco laid out copies to the jury.

“According to these records, her grades are quite high – higher than most of her years and may be at par by those older than her generation - the best witches and wizards that ever studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, yes?”

He looked confident.

And despite that he wasn’t smiling nor smirking, Harry’s moody was slowly turning sour at the way things were going.

“These records shall state and give us factual and actual basis that she may be branded and was somewhat called as the ‘brightest witch of her age?’ yes?”

“Your point, Mr. Malfoy? We see no relevance of Miss Granger’s grades to this case.” asked the jury.

“My point is, given all these facts, shouldn’t we be aware of Miss Granger’s comprehension skills, her capabilities and her intellect and therefore conclude that if she is indeed this bright, it is unlikely that she could be manipulated all those years by the accused Mr. Snape?”

There was silence in the jury and it gave Hermione the slightest of hope.

The jury was listening and thinking.

“I am aware.” Draco continued. “And according to the medical records taken from Miss Granger as  that there were absolutely no traces of the Imperius Curse in her blood, yes?”

“That is correct.” answered the only woman from the array of juries.

“Therefore, we can conclude once more that her actions are based on her own choices?”

“Choices under impending danger and unwanted predicaments.”

The attendee stood up and had taken his place before the witness’ stand.

He was staring at Draco with pure loathing and back at Hermione as if he wanted to hit her.

“Impending danger?” Draco had slowly said. “But did he not protect her that is why he came to his wing in the first place?”

The attendee looked murderous.

“I would like to point out that he already admitted to the jury and the whole Wizengamot that yes that was his prior intention for which has changed in accordance to his own will and selfish intentions. His pure will to protect her had changed its course through time. Were you not present when that was discussed in this courtroom?”

The attendee raised a brow at Draco but Draco wasn’t to be intimidated.

No Malfoy was ever to be intimidated by anyone inferior of their status symbol.

“I was present.” Draco had said simply. “I have been here from the beginning.”

“Therefore, I am concluding Mr. Malfoy that you are aware that he has admitted that he had changed his intentions to her?”

“Yes.” Draco answered with a short nod. “I am aware of his admittance of that and many other things.”

Draco turned about to the jury of the Wizengamot.

“With all due respect.” he referred and nodded to the eldest member of the Wizengamot.

The old man looked down at him as he continued.

 “Would the full jury and trial room believe if someone admits their faults? All of it? Would their admittance of a crime be legit and legal just because they have admitted it? Would not actual evidences and facts be of any importance to any case?”

Another silence.

Hermione looked from Draco and up at the jury who seemed to be taking consideration everything that Draco was offering the jury.

Her eyes slowly strayed then at Harry.

He was quietly still sitting on his spot but from where she was he could tell that he was almost not listening.

Harry’s eyes were simply staring at Draco, quietly observing him.

The eldest member of the Wizengamot stared from Draco then at Snape then back at Draco and Hermione.

He quietly nodded as he observed Draco as if he had never seen anything like him in his trial room.

“That was the practice of the Wizengamot.” he slowly nodded and agreed. “However..”

A pause followed.

“However..” he cleared his throat for the whole room to hear him. “Changes in practice were in order after several mistakes from the past that included – I’m sure everyone is now familiar of – the case of Mr. Marvolo – who has been wrongly accused of a certain crime just because he had admitted of it.”

Harry’s fists were clenching in anger.

He was restraining himself but it was harder to do so every minute.

How could the jury be taking into consideration everything that Draco was saying?

“Therefore, would these school records of Miss Granger be good as actual basis and evidence that she is – before the ambush – very capable of thinking wisely and intellectually for herself? Giving us a glimpse and an idea that the whole time she was under the custody of Mr. Severus Snape – she is not totally incapable, helpless or naïve not to understand and know that she can escape him if she wanted to?”

Murmur grew from every direction but it was Harry’s severe movement on his chair that made Hermione gasped.

He had taken his wand out and Hermione could swear he almost lifted it to the point that it was directed towards Draco’s back.

“I would like to clarify.” the attendee began but the whispers weren’t dying at all.

He had to clear his throat several times to be heard.

“I would like to clarify that according to testimonies of both parties as well that Miss Granger’s wand has been taken and therefore she was wandless for the years that came. I don’t suppose she could defend herself by any means.”

“Wandless?” Draco repeated with a mocked smile over his face.

He looked back up at the jury.

“Did I just not mention that Miss Granger has been dubbed as ‘the brightest witch of her age’?”

There was a smug look over Draco’s face that insulted the attendee.

“Should it be not clear that whether with a wand or not, she can obviously do wandless magic?”

Murmurs turned into louder voices talking, agreeing and protesting for the things Draco was presenting to the court.

Draco did not show it but he was silently happy by what was happening before his eyes.

If there were division in the jury and the audience, then he was creating a hole against the case of his godfather – a hole that may grew to be big enough for Snape to escape from.

“The accused wizard Mr. Malfoy, was and is up to today a Death Eater.” The attendee had said with his face growing red in anger. “I supposed this one has factual and actual basis as well, yes?”

Draco was silent as he waited for him to boast around the room.

“I supposed when you are in the face of danger – say a Death Eater – you would be scared enough to not want to try something that might endanger your life? Is she not intellectual enough to find logic in that?”

Another murmur from the audience.

Hermione stared down at Draco but she could barely see his face as he was half turned away from her.

“Scared yes.” Draco answered him. “We shall not take away that fact. I guess anyone would be scared of the situation they have been thrown together. But he was still her professor, yes Miss Granger?”

Draco turned back to Hermione who nodded quietly.

“He was you professor, yes?” Draco asked.

“Yes.” Hermione answered uncertainly. “He was my professor for a long time before the ambush.”

“Therefore, you are scared of him in some aspects?”

“Yes.” Hermione admitted biting her lower lip. “I never wanted to fail in his subjects. I always studied Potions well so I could.. So I would pass the things he taught me.”

“You believe in the things he taught you?”

“Yes.”

“So you agree with your first statement earlier that he was a good teacher?”

“He knew his subject very well.”

“You trust that he can teach you everything you need to know about Potions?”

“Yes.”

“Then you can state in this trial room that whether it is a subject area, a classroom proper or not you trust Mr. Severus Snape?”

“Yes.” Hermione said. “Yes, ofcourse.”

She didn’t have to think, she knew it was something in her heart that she felt.

“You trust, Mr. Severus Snape?”

“Yes.”

“You trust him with your life Miss Granger?”

“Yes.” Hermione answered with his eyes straight at Snape who was being held down by Aurors at the opposite side of the room.

Draco nodded and turned back to the jury.

“Will you be scared fully towards someone when you trust them completely?”

The eldest member of the Wizengamot did not answer.

His eyes were directed towards Draco as if seeing him for the first time.

He did not answer Draco.

Draco walked back towards Hermione.

“Did you never wonder about your wand then, Miss Granger?”

“I did.” Hermione had said. “I knew he had it before.”

“And?” Draco asked. “Did he refuse to give it to you?”

“Not really.”

“Kindly specify this, Miss Granger.”

Draco’s eyes were straight towards her.

He was edging her to tell everything so he could bend it to their will.

“I did not find the need to need it.” Hermione had said. “He protected me in the cottage and gave me everything that I needed.”

“Can you specify these needs, Miss Granger?”

“Food, shelter, clothing.” Hermione said matter-of-factly. “He always made sure I was comfortable.”

“And were you comfortable?” Draco asked her.

Hermione stared at him.

Despite that she trusted him, she couldn’t help but think where these questions were going.

Yes.” Hermione had answered. “I was.”

“Comfortable enough to stay for several weeks and months?”

“Yes.”

“Comfortable enough then Miss Granger to stay for several months and maybe a year or two?”

“Yes.”

Draco smiled at her.

 He slowly turned to the jury.

“You trust her, Miss Granger with your life?”

“Yes.”

“You can tell right now to this whole room that in those years, you trusted Mr. Severus Snape completely?”

“Yes.” Hermione confidently answered him. “I trusted him completely.”

“Then you trusted him completely you can tell in this whole court room and verify that you were living a life with a man you trusted completely in a life whereas you were quite very comfortable with??”

“Yes.” Hermione had answered truthfully. “Yes, I did.”

“Comfortable enough Miss Granger to stay for more than a year or two?”

She did not answer.

Her eyes were quivering as her lips did.

Harry was staring quietly at her with ears awaiting her answer desperately.

“Miss Granger?” Draco’s voice slowly called out. “Were you comfortable enough in the life you were living with a man you trusted with your life to choose for yourself to stay and live with him for perhaps more than a year or two?”

Hermione looked away from Harry.

She knew what he was thinking.

But these were the right answers and the right questions.

Yes.” Hermione firmly answered.  

Draco nodded at her and turned back again.

He faced the Wizengamot with an utmost smile at the ends of his lips.

“Dear Wizengamot and jury – did we not just hear what Miss Hermione Granger had just admitted to this room?”

Silence.

“Did we not just hear her admit that in all those years – she had indeed felt fear and wonder – but she trusted the man she was living with completely in a comfortable life – trusted him enough to decide for herself that it was alright to live with the man?”

Another long silence fell.

Draco nodded again and turned back at the attendee with a quiet stare.

“I have no further questions at the moment.” Draco stated with enough clarity in his tone that he had made his point.

The room was silent as they watched Draco grabbed certain documents from across the table and nodded at the jury and slowly returned to his seat and waited for the attendee’s turn to question Hermione right after.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three cups of empty coffee mugs lay on the table by the living room.

Despite the vast heat from the hearth of the fireplace in the room the coldness of the growing storm outside was overpowering the temperature in the whole cottage.

It seemed like the weather could sense Hermione’s anguish and hatred for her professor.

Even though they had their usual arguments and brawls because of her relentless questions, his endless house rules and prohibition into many things, her fiery and disrespectful answers to him when she finds his answers unsatisfactory and a lot more of other reasons, they end the day closest to being well.

But today had been different.

It would soon be twenty four hours and Severus Snape still hasn’t returned to their cottage after their fight the previous night.

It all began when Hermione kept asking him if she could be given permission to grow a small garden behind their cottage where she could possibly grow some plants or various of flowers and spices.

Snape and Hermione had been arguing about the same topic from time to time but for some reason she had insisted on really wanting one telling him that it was something that might help her boredom around the house.

Snape then began berating and telling her if the books he had just given her and bought her the previous week weren’t enough to satisfy her ‘boredoom’.

Hermione then began giving a list of reasons why she wanted a garden and it included that she read once that tending to a garden was therapeutic to stress and she could even grow certain spices and herbs that he would need for his potion ingredients.

But Snape would not bend his own rules.

He did not want her out of the doorstep. Not anywhere outside the house premises.

Hermione then turned really angry and had smashed a small vase from the living room and left its mess scattered all over the place and disrupting Snape’s controlled mood completely.

Snape was hostile.

He had grabbed her by the arm and had dragged her back in her bedroom and had locked her from the outside telling her that she would only be allowed out of the room once she gives up her wailing and her childish manners.

Hermione had cried for hours on the floor by the door until at about 11 in the evening when she heard the spell being unlocked from the outside and Snape’s voice came along.

She could hear him from where she sat that he was hurriedly wearing his travelling cloak and telling her that there were food in the kitchen should she become hungry and that he wasn’t sure what time he would be returning as he just had to leave at that very moment for an emergency business he had to attend to.

Whether it was Order business or some Death Eater business, Hermione neither cared at the moment.

She was lost in thoughts and she felt like she does not have a care in the world anymore.

He had waited outside the door for a few moments for an answer from her but when it did not happen, he decided to leave.

Hermione heard his fading footsteps from the hallways, his hurried steps down the stairs and the sound of their door being locked closed.

A few reflection of lights from her window told her that Snape had once more placed his extra enchantments and wards around the cottage whenever he left her alone.

And now, nearly twenty for hours later, Snape still hasn’t returned.

Hermione wondered if he was finally fed up with her and decided to simply abandon her. After all, she had been such a burden for him for quite some time – about four or five months to be exact.

She had barely eaten the whole day in her frustration and thought that Snape might have finally left her for good.

She had yelled at him and told him how much suffering he was giving her by keeping her there in the cottage, for keeping her away from Harry and the rest of her friends and loved ones and for keeping her from her parents.

She had argued and yelled that just because he was used to being alone meant the whole world was the same as he was.

And the three mugs of coffee she drank in order to keep herself from sleeping in his anticipation for his arrival, only triggered and attracted more unwanted thoughts inside her head.

What if something bad had happened to him?

Not only was she worried about him but she had to be honest with the thought that she was locked inside the cottage and no rescue would be able to help her should that happen since nobody knew where they were.

There was no wand in the house and Snape had usually locked his potions laboratory when he left in order to keep her away from doing something unwanted.

But it wasn’t really her thoughts about being alone or Snape abandoning her that completely left her broken at that moment.

But it was the reason why Snape might have left her for good for the things he discovered.

 

Hermione sat tear-streaked and staring blankly out of nowhere by the carpeted floor.

In front of her lay open a box with parchments – letters after letters and notes she had written herself and had tried to keep away from Snape’s knowledge.

Since they arrived at the cottage, she began making a journal – some sort of diary to keep track of the hours, the days, and weeks that they had been there just to keep her somewhat sane out of her wits from all that was happening around her.

Her journals soon developed into letters for which she asked Snape if she could send Harry or he could possibly send Harry himself.

Ofcourse, all these requests were denied of her.

She instead, kept writing the letters as if she was going to send them.

She had kept them and prepared them so just incase she gets that one chance she could miraculously have, she could send it all to Harry no matter the consequence of their situation.

Apparently, since Snape had to clean the mess she had created herself in the living room a few hours earlier, Snape might have spotted the creaked floorboard where she had kept the box and all her precious letters.

A few hours since Snape had left, Hermione had left her bedroom to find something to eat in the kitchens only to find her box laid open on the carpeted floor and most of her letters read open and scattered all over the floor.

Now her conscience and her heart were breaking thoroughly.

Hermione felt she was losing her mind.

She had simply done it this time and now she was completely lost and all by herself.

How was she going to get back to main London when she does not even know what travel routes to take?

Since she had stayed with Snape, after he had saved her from the dreadful fall from the ambush, she felt that things were going to be alright.

That he wasn’t the traitor of the Order and that he was going to save her and bring her back to Harry.

She had expected and hoped that things would turn as she had wanted them to be.

He had kept her alive and had healed her for all purposes and matters.

He was even more patient with her than she was with herself in the most trying of times.

Despite her immaturity and childish behavior, he had been extremely lenient with her and had spared and spend hours with her there in order to ensure she was well and protected.

But as the hours days and weeks ticked by, she became a lot more impatient than he had expected of her.

She began asking for more things and had began questioning when they were going to return.

His answers were always quite frustrating and it always seemed that there was a reason not yet to go back.

And then came the interference of the curse that further prolonged her stay with him. They needed to find a cure and the cure was nowhere in sight yet.

She felt she was turning mad as the weeks turned onto months already.

She misses her family, her friends and misses Harry most of all.

Snape had assured her again and again that if there was something she needed to know, he would tell her.

He had assured her then and now that there was nothing to be worried about Harry Potter.

But when she asked if she could see him even from afar or write a letter to him, his answer was always a decline stating that she was intelligent enough to know that it was not possible at the moment.

Hermione knew and understood the precautions they were taking but there were just days where it was too much and that she wanted to rebel against the rules he set on ground for her own safety.

Sometimes she even thought it wasn’t the boredom striking her rebellious side, but her fear of her sanity. Because there had been things she had been noticing about Snape and about herself that weren’t normal at all.

For some reason, his use of her first name seemed to attract her to him in some different manner and she somewhat felt irritated whenever he called her ‘Miss Granger’ these past weeks.

And for some reason as well, she had accidentally called him ‘Severus’ a couple of times and as she remembered, he had not reprimanded her at all but neither did he react on it.

There are days, she felt she was hallucinating because more often than not, she would catch him staring at her and she would also find herself unconsciously staring at Snape and how he moved around and about the house seemed to fascinate her in some way.

She suddenly found herself being fascinated by his beautiful hands as he made their meals or if he was in his laboratory stirring potions.

It had been weird as it felt like she was actually ‘hanging out’ with him but the feeling inside was different.

Something odd but not unfamiliar seemed to be stirring inside of her and she wasn’t sure if it was good or bad because she could just be hallucinating everything from that point.

It bothered her, but what bothers her the most was whenever they fight and she would protest, Snape would always bring up the subject of her being ‘discontent’ with the things they have or the ‘life he provides’ for her seemed to be never enough.

He always talked as if he she was being the selfish one and that he was giving her more than enough and yet ‘he was never enough’ for her.

Looking at it, she thought that he seemed to be rather jealous or behaving like some unreasonable lover. But when being reasonable, she thought if she was being selfish or he was just being selfish.

They bickered and argued and it always left her angry and wanting to leave him and wanting to just go back to Harry no matter the consequence of her action.

But whenever the thought occurs to her and whenever he left her for a few hours, she would suddenly look for him and feel empty and more miserable than when he was around.

And right now at that moment, the thought that he had completely abandoned her feels very destructive inside of her.

Did he really leave her for good now?

 

Hermione stared at the fallen letters around her.

Was Harry alright?

Was he still looking for her?

 Could it be possible that he had also given up on her just like Snape?

He had so many things he dreamed for the both of them.

He had a lot of aspirations for their relationship and how they were even planning to get engage as soon as the trouble with the Dark Lord had gone.

And now, none of these things and plans would ever come true if she will not be found soon.

Hermione was half asleep and she had barely realized and heard the noise coming from the door if she did not hear the sound of Snape’s raspy voice reciting the enchantment so he could get himself back inside the cottage.

“Severus?” Hermione whispered as she quickly sat up and listened.

She could hear someone trying to get inside the door and could hear his faint of a voice trying to complete the enchantment.

“Severus!”

Hermione scrambled off her feet and quickly ran out of the living room and down the hallway that led to their entrance door.

She saw the knob being turned with difficulty as she could literary hear him outside.

“Severus?” she whispered again walking to the door.

But before she could walk to open it, the door had suddenly burst open and Snape fell forward, dropping his wand next to him.

Hermione almost screamed at the sight of him.

His cloak had been torn at the back where blood was also dripping from his shoulder blades.

Obvious and fresh wounds were cut behind his back like someone had used a whip behind his back.

“Hermione..” he had grunted helplessly as he tried to get up but his body could barely move.

Hermione’s eyes were quick with more tears as he stared down at his bloody and almost lifeless form.

“S-Severus..” Hermione whispered not really knowing what to do.

Snape fell forward on his stomach once more at his third attempt to get up and try to make it all the way down his laboratory.

She could hear his uneven breathing pattern and could tell that he was losing more blood.

But it wasn’t only these that distracted Hermione for helping him out of the floor and bringing him back to his bedroom.

It was the fallen wand across the floor from its master and the welcoming open door behind Snape that was inviting Hermione out of the miserable life she had been forced to live with.

Chapter Text

  

Chapter Ninteen 

The Lady of the Manor 

 

There were two hours of court break and Hermione sat by the café table as she waited for Harry who was ordering their food.

They had not spoken since they left the trial room.

Harry was obviously in a foul mood after all of Draco’s laid out evidences and statements he ruled out that were very much convincing.

He might not yet prove Snape’s innocence but he obviously shook the minds of the jury and the Wizengamot giving a small but enough hole to make way for Snape’s possible escape from the Kiss.

 “Hungry?” Harry had quietly asked as he returned to their table with a tray filled with a variety of meals.

He had ordered a soup, salad, some sandwiches, two kinds of pasta and a three orders of different desserts.

Hermione quietly nodded and stared at the food that Harry was serving in front of her.

 “Won’t I be cooking tonight?” Hermione asked seeing what he had ordered as she handed him some pasta she placed on his plate and began serving him some of the sandwich across the table.

“Why won’t you be cooking?” Harry asked staring quietly up at her.

He lowered the fork back over the plate as his other hand held the salad bowl. 

Hermione recoiled momentarily but she shook her head.

“No, what I mean is that – well, I thought these are too much and you might be full when we get home-“

“Can’t I buy you this much?” Harry asked her with a raised brow.

Hermione stared quietly at him.

“You don’t think I can give you more than enough meals, Hermione?” 

“No, Harry, I only meant-“   

“You don’t think I have enough money to buy you this much, Hermione?”

Harry lowered the bowl of salad or more like tossed it back on the table after he raised it to serve some for her.

Some people from the café stared back at their table at the slight noise it caused.

Hermione quickly shook her head, alert and aware that some people turned their heads at their direction.

“No, no, ofcourse not.” Hermione quickly said forcing a smile as she picked the salad back and handed it back to Harry.

She grabbed his hand across the table and edged him to add more to her place but Harry pulled his hand and the platter back.

“You don’t think I can provide you with abundant food, Hermione? Are you questioning-“

“No, no, Harry..” Hermione sweetly said as she reached across the table.

She quickly grabbed the pitcher of iced tea and began serving his glass.

“I only meant that you seem hungry and all but ofcourse I’ll cook for you tonight or we can go out to dinner and have some desserts and coffee after?” Hermione offered with a nervous smile over her face.

Harry stared at her for a moment as if reading her thoughts if she really wanted to spend time with him.

Harry blinked then a smile slowly spread across his face as he picked the bowl of salad again and resumed to serving Hermione’s plate.

“Actually, there is this coffee shop just a few streets from our apartment and Fleur once mentioned that they served authentic Parisian cakes. Do you want to try out there later?”

Hermione stared at Harry as he smiled hopefully back at her.

“Mione?”

“Yes.” Hermione quickly answered him with a forced smile. “Yes. We can stay there and maybe just have some cozy time together. I’ll bring – bring this book you bought me the other day and I could read it to you and – yes ? You like it? Sounds like a plan? Yes?”

Harry nodded at her and his joyous smile had suddenly returned as he took the glass Hermione had filled and drank from it.

Hermione quietly watched him and felt not just perplexed but somewhat scared at the way his mood changes nowadays and how she needed to quickly balance it in order to avoid unwanted circumstances.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“No.” Hermione quietly answered from the room. “I’m not hungry. Please go away.”

“Miss Granger, please do not try my patience. Open this door or I will force myself in.”

Silence.

“Miss Granger?”

Nothing.

“Miss Granger, if you do not goddamn open this door-“

“I said, leave me alone!” Hermione angrily cried. “Leave me alone! I don’t want anything to do with you! I don’t want anything anymore! I want to die! I want to die!”

Snape stood by the doorway with a shaking hand and a wand in his hand.

He so badly wanted to blow up the door, get inside and just strangle the life out of her because of all the melodramatic acts she has been acting upon for the past days.

“Miss Granger, this will not help you.” Snape reminded her, “Nor would it help Potter.”

“Nothing can help us now.” Hermione cried at out loud. “Nothing except you and you don’t even want to help us!”

Snape cursed as he heard something like glass being broken from the other side of the room.

He had just remembered that he had forgotten to take out the small vase of flowers inside the room that could possibly lead to danger in circumstances like one that was happening at the moment.

“Miss Grange, please open this door-“

“I SAID GO AWAY! I DON’T WANT YOU! I DON’T NEED YOU! I WANT TO DIE!”

Snape was shaking in anger as he stood by the doorway with her tray of food on the floor.

She hasn’t eaten since the previous night that he had first bought news to her.

That was the very reason he never wanted to bring her news about the outside world or anything about her loved ones. He knew she was going to be this way.

It was too much to ask to save her but to have to baby sit her this way whenever tantrums like this occur was already beyond his patience.

“I did not say that I do not want to help you.” Snape said as he listened to her restless cries since the previous night.

She hasn’t eaten and she has somehow managed to lock herself inside the room and had done nothing but cry for hours and hours.

He was getting worried but he took a mental note of using enchantment after this incident that would enable only him to lock and unlock all doors in the cottage.

 

He wasn’t sure what to do anymore. Her whining was driving him beyond mad but he was also worried that her health would go back into a relapse if she doesn’t stop from exhausting herself.

“Miss Granger, you just healed recently, please you must think about yourself as well-“

“What like you?” Hermione angrily screamed back at the door. “Think of myself first above anyone else?!”

Snape’s fists balled into a ball. He wanted to hit the door.

 “Miss Granger-“

“I said, go away!”

Snape closed his eyes and breathed deeply.

The echo of her cries were dementing and he seriously was too tired today to endure another long night of hearing her helpless voice across the hallway and all the way to his bedroom.

“Hermione.” Snape said knocking again. “Hermione, please have your dinner and if you feel better… we can talk about it.”

Nothing.

“Hermione, please.” Snape said as he turned around and rested his back against the locked door.

“Hermione, if you take your meal tonight I’m going to consider it seriously and we can talk about it.”

Still, only her cries could be heard.

“Hermione, I cannot help you if you do not help yourself.” Snape slowly said as he stood straight again and decided to leave because he knew that sooner or later he was going to lose his patience completely.

“I’m going to consider what you ask of me but you would have to help me help you gain strength first.”

Her crying seemed to falter but she was still on it.

“I need you to have strength, Hermione.” Snape slowly said. “I need your help to create it. The potion cannot be done by one person alone. And there are certain.. ingredients that you would have to provide.”

Snape listened but there was no change at the other side of the room.

“I’m going to have my dinner. If you change your mind I’ll be at my laboratory tonight.”

And with that, Snape slowly walked out of the hallway and down the stairs.

He was too occupied in his mind to consider what she was asking that he barely heard when Hermione’s door slowly creaked open and she was staring down the stairs where his silhouette has faded as he disappeared to his office downstairs.

 

 

 

 

 

“Draco, are you certain these are the questions you would have to ask?” Snape slowly asked as he stared at a parchment across the table.

They were at the holding room at the courtroom but now the room seemed a little cozy.

Since Snape was now provided with a ‘Defense Council’, he needed to be transferred into a holding room not just for a prisoner but one that could provide room for Draco.

It was small with two long couches, a wooden desk with three chairs, a small fireplace and a decent foyer at the side of the room where food were placed for them.

Draco had ordered food for the two of them and four more for the Aurors guarding the outside of the room and who had all declined it.

Draco nodded in a mouthful of Italian cuisine he had ordered for them.

Snape stared momentarily at the pasta, greens and some bread across the table but he did not feel like eating.

Despite that Draco had been providing him with better meals nowadays, his appetite did not improve at all.

“Yes.” Draco pointed at the parchment in his godfather’s hand. “It took me hours to study and write them down.”

“I can tell you’ve been studying the case and have been well-organized.” Snape pointed out as he rested the parchment on the table and sat back down over the chair.

“Do you have a problem with the questions? Do you have more suggestions or better ones?”

Snape shook his head.

“I never imagined you would be one fit for this job, Draco.” Snape said and a small smile spread across his face for the briefest of moment.

Draco stared up at him for a moment as if it was the first time that Snape genuinely complimented me.

“I’ve always been smart.” Draco pointed out smugly.

“But you’ve never really put that head of yours to good use.” Snape answered him with a small smirk.

Draco nodded and stared as his godfather continued reading the list in his hand.

In truth, he did study the case well and there were loopholes he could probably bend to their will in order to free him.

But he needed to be very smart and very fast with the transition of the case against Snape.

He needed to be smart enough to outwit the jury and the full Wizengamot especially the eldest member who seemed to know lies miles away from him.

Harry was also another case.

He might have been the Chosen One who saved the world but it was obvious that he was quite desperate to do anything that would take in order to win the case against Snape – even if it meant using his name, power and current status in the Wizarding World to bend the truth to his will.

“Draco?” Snape’s voice came after a while.

“Yes?” Draco said staring up at him.

“Some of these questions..” he paused as he stared and read down a couple of them.

“What about them?”

Snape stared up at his godson.

He knew he was smart – way smarter than he thought – but the questions in his hand that he needed to prepare for and the questions that were to be asked to Hermione were of his concern.

They were brilliant – yes.

But some of the questions were actually things he did not want to go through or he thought might hurt Hermione.

“Are all these necessary?” he asked him. “Will you be asking all of this? All of it?”

Draco stared up at him and nodded.

“You want to be free.” Draco said. “This is the strategy that we’re going to use.”

“And Hermione agreed?” Snape concernedly asked him. “She agreed?”

“I haven’t spoken to her.” Draco said. “Not yet anyway. But I’m sure that she will not have anything against these questions.”

“Draco.”

“Hermione begged me to help you.” Draco said standing up from the couch. “She was the one who begged me to free you whatever it takes.”

“Draco, how much did Hermione show you?” he quietly asked her. “How much memories exactly did she show you?”

Draco stared at him for a moment.

It was obvious that he did not want to answer the question at hand.

“I suggest you eat.” Draco said as he grabbed a couple of the parchments from the table. “You need to focus and concentrate on the resume of trial once this break is over.”

And with that he suddenly walked out of the room and left Snape lost in thoughts with the parchments in his hand.

 

 

 

 

 

“How is she?” Narcissa softly asked as she lay quietly over the four-poster bed.

“She’s fine.” Snape replied as he finished placing the bottles of potions in order over the table.

He looked up and stared at Narcissa’s nervous physique on the bed.

“I still do not understand why we have to do it here and not at the manor.”

“I already told you why.” Narcissa snapped at him. “Unless you do not want to help me, then I’m off.”

“You are easily offended.” Snape said smiling at her. “Signs of aging?”

Snape heard Narcissa stifle a laughter.

He stared at the bottles before him, at the wands at the ready and at the materials that were laid over the long wooden table.

“Does she know what’s about to happen?” Narcissa curiously asked after a while.

Snape mixed two bottles of potions into a glass goblet and the liquid turned into a colour of red wine.

“Not everything.” Snape replied taking the goblet and walking to the bed. “She’s aware of some of the procedure but not everything. But she already understands what is going on.”

Snape helped Narcissa on the bed and helped her rest her body against the headboard of the bed in the inn he secretly checked her in.

For the past several weeks, he had been taking her into several inns around London in order to help her gain strength and heal what else could be salvage out of her.

She only had a handful amount of time in her hand as the curse had spread through her blood.

It was a blood curse that might have been passed through families and separate generations.

Narcissa was the unfortunate Black of the family to have received it.

“Take this.” Snape said helping her drink the potion from the glass goblet. “It is a quick sensation. You will be asleep and I will be able to take some of your blood.”

Narcissa nodded and finished the wine-like potion in a few gulps.

“Tastes like grapes.”

“I’m doing everything to make sure this process will be as pleasant as possible for you.”

“Nothing is pleasant about dying, Severus.” Narcissa pointed out.

Snape shook his head and stared at his friend.

Narcissa reached for his hand and pressed it firmly.

“Thank you.” her voice was gentle but serious. “For everything.”

“Do not thank me yet.” Snape said as he nodded at her ill-physique. “We are yet to sort this.”

“I am dying.” Narcissa pointed out. “The least I can do is help you figure out a way out of the Urduja Curse.”

Snape did not say anything.

He gently withdrew his hand from her.

“How did she take it?” she asked him gently seeing the sorrowful look over his pale face.

“Not very well.” Snape honestly said and Narcissa could sense the stress in his tone.

“Not very well?”

“I’ve already caught her twice doing something that is not a good idea at all for her well-being.”

“She’s depressed.” Narcissa said nodding her head. “And frustrated.”

“She wants to go back, ofcourse.” Snape told her. “She still wants to go back.”

“A desperate person will do anything to get what he or she wants.” Narcissa said. “There is a danger in that.”

Snape didn’t say anything.

“She must try and understand the consequences of that want.” Narcissa said looking up at him.

“She does.” Snape said. “She is trying but it is very hard for her.”

Narcissa did not say anything.

“The potion we need would be ready soon?”

“I need two more tests and another week, Cissy.” Snape said as he returned to the table with potions and ingredients and books.

“I am sure that it will work.” Narcissa told him. “Bellatrix executed the curse. Bellatrix is a Black.”

Snape did not say anything.

“And I am a Black as well.” Narcissa whispered after a while. “I worry about you.”

“You should not.” Snape said. “I can take care of the consequences right after.”

“The aftermath wouldn’t be easy. Attempting to seal it is already too much but the aftermath of it would be devastating.”

“She does not have a choice.” Snape simply put. “Neither do I.”

Narcissa stared at the cauldron with boiling potion.

She could suddenly feel the heavy sleepiness inside her head and realized Snape’s potion was already working on her.

“A few years, Severus?” Narcissa asked him.

Snape stared at her for a moment as if telling her that it wasn’t something to be talked about.

“A few.”

“How few?” Narcissa sleepily asked him as the potion began working itself on her.

Snape nodded and kissed her hand in gratefulness for the friend he has in times of great need.

“Narcissa..”

“How few, Severus?” Narcissa asked, her eyes were faltering, blinking as she tried to keep herself awake.

“A few years.” Snape gently replied closing her eyes with his gentle hands. “Seven years.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Are you sure that you’re ready to give this up?” Hermione slowly asked as she stared at the beautiful bottle in her hand.

It was a crystal vial with an emerald top and a golden design around its glass.

Snape stared up at her from large cauldron over the table that was bubbling with water and a few herbal ingredients.

“There’s no point staying in the past.” Snape simply said as he forced his attention back over the ingredients he was preparing on the long wooden table around the large cauldron.

Hermione stared at the bottle then back up at him and then back at the bottle in her hand.

“How did you get it?” Hermione asked staring closely at the contents of the vial with great interest.

“Hogwarts days.” Snape simply answered her.

“Hogwarts days?” Hermione repeated. “Like how? Like how did you ask for it or how did you-“

“Are you well rested?” Snape asked from the table and Hermione quickly realized that he did not want to discuss the subject nor the mere memory of it.

 “I feel better, professor.”

Silence.

“Professor?”

“Yes, Miss Granger?”

“I’m sorry about the way I acted the other night.” Hermione quietly said. “It was childish of me.”

Snape did not answer.

“This will be ready in a few minutes. Where’s the parchment?” he asked her.

Hermione stood from the couch and walked to the table where Snape was busy with the rest of the ingredients he was preparing.

“Please put that aside for now.” Snape said staring at the vial in her hand. “You can put it back at the box where you’ve taken it.”

Hermione stared at him as he kept his eyes on the cauldron he was mixing with some herbs.

Hermione nodded and returned the vial over the black box she has taken it from.

She took a parchment from the pocket of her clothes and handed it to Snape.

He took it from her and checked the ingredients around the table and then he took a quill and wrote something at the side.

“Please remind me about the stirs later. I might be confused.”

“I can do it.” Hermione offered him. “I’ll just stir them up. It’s one of the last few steps anyway.”

Snape stared up at her and could tell how nervous she was as she watched him with his progress.

“Things will be better.” Snape told her. “This was one of the potions I’ve made in my final exam before I got my license.”

Hermione stared up at him. The comfort of his assurance wasn’t enough to satisfy her worry.

“How many did you make?”

“Twelve.” Snape said. “I had to create it in front of a full jury.”

“How many were there?”

“Twelve as well.” Snape simply answered.

He moved around the table and began chopping some things then and grinded them soon into smaller bits.

“Is that what I need to slowly add later as you stir?”

“Not yet.” Snape replied. “That ingredient will be added later. I will handle it.”

Hermione nodded and continued to watch him quietly with his progress.

“What’s wrong?” Snape’s voice came.

“What?” Hermione asked him, slightly confused. “What do you mean?”

“Well, Miss Granger, you’re usually nosy and noisy whenever you watch me create potions. But today..”

“Today is different.” Hermione said indignantly. “This potion is different.”

“So you think your silence will make it perfect?”

“I think my silence will help you focus more.” Hermione pointed out. “You always tell me how noisy I can get around here.”

Snape stopped chopping and he slowly lowered the objects in his hands as he stared at her mournful face.

She was quietly staring at the liquid that was brewing but he knew that her mind wasn’t there.

“Miss Granger, things will be better.” Snape said, standing up straight. “Miss Granger?”

“I know.” Hermione said. “I know, I know professor. I know things will be. You’re making the potion – nothing can go wrong.”

“But you are worried.” Snape said. “And worry will not get you anywhere.”

Hermione was silent as she stared up at him as if she wanted to hit him.

“You can’t make me stop worrying.” Hermione muttered. 

She shook her head and turned away from the table and Snape could hear her stifled cry.

He watched out of the corner of his eyes as she sat quietly back at the couch, fidgeting with her fingers and nervously trying to focus on other things than the potion they were making.

“Miss Granger-“

“So what were these twelve potions you’ve made for your jury?” Hermione asked cutting him short and obviously wanting to change the subject.

Snape eyed her carefully as she began walking around the small room, amazed by the walls paneled with bookshelves and several of his books that he has managed to transfer at the cottage from Hogwarts and Spinner’s End.

“Do you still remember the potions you’ve made?” she asked narrowing her eyes as she read some of the titles that were hard to read from the shelves.

“Ofcourse.” Snape confidently answered her as he continued making the potion by the table. “I’ve spent six months researching, travelling for the rare ingredients and working and practicing on each of the twelve potions before presenting it to the jury to just forget all of it.”

Hermione made a noise that sounded to him like a small laugh.

“So what were the potions?”

“Polyjuice Potion.” Snape began counting them mentally from his head as he added several ingredients on the cauldron with clear liquid inside it.

“Polyjuice?” Hermione muttered.

“I’m sure you remember how it’s made.”

“Professor.” Hermione said almost sounding as if she was warning him not to get on that memory.

Snape smirked and shook his head at the memory of it about her.

“Right. So there was Polyjuice Potion, Amortentia-“

“A love potion?” Hermione repeated turning her head back at him and shaking it.

“What?” Snape asked her with another smirk. “Don’t tell me you’ve-“

“No, ofcourse not.” Hermione said. “I mean, just in class at professor Slughorn. He introduced it to us.”

Snape nodded knowing of it as he was at the office of the headmaster when he presented the curriculum he proposed for the year.

“Why would that potion be included?” Hermione asked him curiously. “I mean it’s not like-“

“It’s not important?” Snape helped out.

He shook his head at the naïve way she saw the potion.

“It’s not just a love potion, Miss Granger. I’m sure you would see through it in time why it isn’t so.”

Hermione nodded and quickly calculated and considered in her head the negative possibilities of the use of the love potion.

“It could be dangerous?” Hermione suggested as she looked closely up at him. “Right?”

“Correct.” Snape repeated. He looked up at her. “I would have given you points, Miss Granger.”

“No you wouldn’t.” Hermione blandly said turning her attention back to the shelf. “You’ve never given me any points for the correct answers I’ve ever given in your class.”

“Never?” Snape asked.

“Never.” Hermione assured him confidently.

Snape was silent.

“Have you ever tried it?” Hermione asked him. “I mean I know you would NEVER really use it and all. But have you ever considered of it? Have you ever, you know, attempted to use it on her?”

Snape was silent.

He stirred the potion several more times and covered the cauldron and reached out for a couple of ingredients he began grinding over the table.

“Sorry.” Hermione quickly said realizing how personal the question was. “I didn’t mean to.”

“I haven’t.” Snape answered her truthfully. “Never.”

Hermione did not say anything.

“There were several circumstances when chances were quite there.” Snape slowly continued as he kept his eyes over the potion he was creating.

“Really?” Hermione asked, interested.

Snape nodded and he almost smiled as he gained back her attention.

“So what made you stop?” Hermione asked him.

“I just..” Snape breathed out, thinking why he never did and the answer was quite simple.

“You just?”

“I just couldn’t do it.” Snape simply said. He looked up at her. “I couldn’t make her fall in love with me and have my conscience bear the reason for it if she has fallen in love with me.”

“You loved her so much.” Hermione pointed out. “You’ve loved her all your life.”

Snape did not answer once again.

He walked to the other side of the table and carefully read through the ingredients.

“Anyway, the purpose of the twelve potions were to create the most potent and most popular ones – the hardest ones to create actually – so that you can be fully qualified Potions Master. We had to make the most complex ones to attain the vast knowledge of each ingredients and the large varieties and sorts of potions. Intensive research were needed and they had me draw the potions.”

“Draw the potions?”

“Draw lots.” Snape said with a smirk. “That’s how the potions were chosen.”

Hermione’s eyes widened at the idea of having to take an intense potions exam in front of highly skilled Potions Masters.

“You must have memorized a dozen of them or hundreds of them to ensure that you’ve.. wow, professor Snape, I knew it wasn’t easy but – just wow. The things you might have gone through to get to that point.”

“It wasn’t really that hard.” Snape said with a small boast in his tone. “Well, for me atleast.”

“Well if you’ve always been interested at the subject. I supposed you won’t find it hard given that you’re already gifted at it.” 

Snape had given her a small smile that she had missed.

He was enjoying it actually, having someone to talk to at that moment as he created a very crucial potion. It lessened the stress of making it and the purpose of making it. 

“What were the others?” Hermione asked after a while as she began cleaning away the unused ingredients.

“So we have Polyjuice Potion, Amorentia, Felix Felicis was also included and-“

“And then this potion?” Hermione helped out. “This potion you’re making?”

“Correct.” Snape answered her. “It was one of the potion from the twelve that got the highest mark.”

“You’ve been graded for each?”

“Ofcourse.” Snape answered her. “Did you think the exam was easy?”

“No.” Hermione quickly said. “I just did not think that the jury would be that scrutinizing and all.”

“They were very.” Snape pointed out. “Professor Slughorn was actually there. Ofcourse he wasn’t jury since he was my professor. But various of Potions Master and Mistress were present and he was there awaiting I finish it.”

“Were you scared to take it?” Hermione asked him. “Were you?”

Snape put down the stirring rod he was using and stared at the liquid inside the cauldron and covered it again.

He slowly placed the ingredients aside and began rereading the parchment and two books that lay open over the table.

“Professor?” Hermione asked turning to him and walking to the table. “Were you scared?”

“No.” Snape answered her lowering the book and staring up at her.

“Really?” Hermione asked with a bright smile over her face.

He sighed heavily and closed the book as he gave her his full attention.

“I need you to listen to this.” Snape slowly said.

“I’m listening.”

“Whenever you make a decision to do something – absolutely anything at all – you have to stand up for it.”

Hermione was listening and she knew that they were talking beyond the potion story and fear she was asking about.

“There are things you can’t really be fearless about.”

“Yes, correct again, Miss Granger.” Snape said with a small smile. “But you see, once you decide on something you must stand up for it. You see, each of us is scared on and about something and there is no point denying that.”

“So what do you do?”

“Do not be scared or don’t do it at all.”

“What?”

Snape breathed and looked down at her curious face that seemed to glow in the candlelight from the small room.

“Miss Granger, listen to me.” Snape slowly said and there was something in his voice that told Hermione that he was telling her something from his own experience.

“There are many things each of us will always be scared of but we need to decide on. But you see.. If you are scared to do something, then don’t do it.” His black eyes carefully held hers and it was almost hypnotizing for her. “But if you decide to do it, then you must not be scared.”

 Hermione could only stare back at him after what he said.

He nodded and returned to the other side of the table and began listing down something from the two books that lay open on the table.

Hermione quietly watched his skillful hands write with the quill, turn the pages, back in touching some of the ingredients from the table.

She quickly blinked away the moment she realized she had been unconsciously gaping at his work and progress around the room.

She moved away from him and from the table upon realizing the uncertain, unwanted and sudden rise of her heartbeat that she did not understand.

Snape looked up from the table and to her as she withdrew herself at the other end of the table.

“The potion wouldn’t be done down to its boil until about another hour. You can take rest. I’ll wake you up when your help is already needed.”

“No, I can stay awake all night.” Hermione said sitting opposite him on the large wooden table and reaching for one of the books across from her.

“Hermione, you look very tired. I think you should-“

 “I’ll just read and wait here, professor.” Hermione cut him short, avoiding his gaze and forcing herself to read the text on the book in her hand so that she wouldn’t be enticed to look up at him again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hermione was woken the following morning by noises that came from their living room.

Dressed in her nightdress, she wore an extra robe over herself and walked out of their room.

“Harry?” she called at the top of the staircase as she tired her hair into a messy bun and began walking down the stairs.

“Harry?”

“I’m in here!” Harry’s voice called up from the living room.

Hermione listened and could hear movements and various voices from the living room.

She felt slightly conscious and decided she wanted to change clothes but she was already halfway down the stairs and Harry suddenly came into view.

He was holding several parchments in his hand and was smiling up at her with an excited look over his face.

“What’s going on?” she slowly asked him with a reluctant smile.

Harry jumped up the stairs to her and kissed her on the cheek.

“Come. I was going to wake you up. Good thing you’re up.” Harry pulled her hand to him and began showing her the parchments in his hand.

They showed different drawings, layouts, designs and colours.

“Harry’s what are these-“

“Oh, here is the beautiful bride!” cried out a woman who suddenly jumped at Hermione and gave her a tight hug.

Hermione looked up, dazzled and confused as the woman let her go.

She stared at her and knew that she had never seen the woman in her life.

“Hermione?”

She looked around the room and Fleur walked up to her and gave her an embrace.

“This is Elise.” Fleur introduced the woman who was gaping at Hermione with excitement.

“She was the woman who made my bridal gown and also the same one who helped me layout the decorations at my wedding with Bill.”

“Wedding?” Hermione asked her. “Bridal gown?”

“Yes.” Fleur said with a confused smile. “We’re ought to plan the wedding today, right?”

“Wedding?” Hermione repeated with wide eyes. “My wedding?” she asked turning her head around looking for Harry.

Harry was talking to two other people from Elise’s team and was checking some table that seemed to show a chart of table seating arrangements.

He nodded at the two witches he was talking to and looked up at Hermione adjusting his glasses.

Hermione was quick to notice the change of mood from the expression of his eyes from her earlier tone.

“Yes, today.” Fleur’s voice came from her side as she pulled a sketchbook that was filled with different bridal gown designs.

“Yes, today – today, I forgot, I’m sorry.” Hermione quickly said avoiding Harry’s gaze and quickly turning her attention to the sketchbook.

“I mean, we talked about it.” Hermione had said not really remembering when they did, “But I just did not really –“

“Would you like to postpone this?” Harry’s voice asked her in a serious tone.

Hermione looked up at him with a smile, pretending she did not hear what he had said.

“What? Sorry?”

Harry stared at her and without warning, he threw back on the table the charts in his hands.

The room had gone quiet from all the rabbles of excitement and talks.

“I said, would you like to postpone this wedding plans we have? All these planning we have to do today?”

His voice was calm but Hermione knew it was under controlled rage.

She stared at him and could swear that he was just waiting for her to make the wrong answer.

“No.” Hermione quickly said taking the sketchbook and flipping through the pages. “Don’t be ridiculous, Harry. It just slipped my mind, that’s all. I was too tired lastnight-“

“So what are you saying?”

“I’m not saying anything, Harry.”

“Hermione, if you don’t want to continue this today I can cancel. I don’t want to-“

“No, Harry.” Hermione’s tone was hard and fierce. “We’re doing this today, so I suggest you take another look at those charts again.”

She was breathless as she spoke. She was shaking deep inside in both fear and anger and what was happening before her. She obviously did not have a choice at the matter at hand.

“Alright.” Harry said with a small smile spreading back in his face.

Hermione watched as he picked up the charts from the table and ignored the slight mess he had created.

He smiled at everyone and crossed the room and placed his hands around Hermione’s waist.

“Relax, sweetheart.” Harry had said with a smile as he gently pressed his nose at the side of her cheek. “No need to raise your voice. Yes?”

Hermione looked up at him with annoyance in her face.

“Yes.” she simply replied with a forced smile. “Do you mind if I take the sketchbook with Fleur in our study?” she asked wanting some space and privacy from him.

“Can’t you do that here?”

“I want my chosen design to be a surprise for you.”

Harry stared quietly at her as if trying to read through her thoughts.

When it was obvious that Hermione wasn’t really thinking or planning to do otherwise, he nodded and agreed.

 “I’ll have some drinks taken there.”

He kissed her again and nodded at Fleur.

“I can take care of it, Harry.” Hermione said gesturing for Fleur to follow her and the left the room without another word.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I can absolutely take care of it.” Narcissa voice was assuring and comforting for him. “Everyone will be at their position to ensure your entry is smooth and safe. Are you sure you can make it by the planned time?”

“Yes.” Snape said staring at the blueprint and map that Narcissa has handed him.

Narcissa was carefully observing Snape’s face.

“You are worried?” she slowly asked him.

Snape did not answer.

He was infact, terrified.

“Narcissa, I must not be seen at all costs.”

“And it’s my job to make sure of that.” Narcissa confidently told him. “I tell you to trust me on it.”

“I trust you.” Snape said with a firm nod. “But we can’t make a mistake.”

Narcissa did not say anything.

What they are about to do was as good as a suicide attempt if they were caught or if the Dark Lord gets the slightest hint of what they were about to do.

“I have friends who will take care of the rest of the things that are needed once you are at the hospital. Your job is simply to get into that room.”

“Friends? Your friends?”

“My friends.” Narcissa said with a sly smile. “Not Lucius’.”

He knew that she was talking about certain people that only she knew of and none that were ever connected to Lucius Malfoy.

“Narcissa, you’re the only one I can trust with this.”

“You’re the only one I entrust with Draco and the rest that must be done.” Narcissa’s voice was so serious that Snape knew how important this was for her.

“I know what must be done.”

“It is crucial the boy lives.” Narcissa said. “We cannot let him die, Severus.”

“He’s not going to die.”

Another long silence fell.

“How is she?”

“She’s a headache.” Snape truthfully answered. “We had to repeat the potion because of her anxiety to make it. I’m only grateful we haven’t added the last and most crucial ingredient before the accident.”

“And her skin?”

“Marred.” Snape replied. “But it would heal soon. I was able to manage the damage before it could do something that would have been permanent.”

“What happened?”

“I already told you. She was too eager and anxious about the potion. She made some miscalculations. We were making it for hours and she barely had any sleep and food when we made the potion. She’s too exhausted but it would have taken another round of tantrums if I don’t allow her to help and most importantly, the potion is really done by two people.”  

“She’s anxious and scared. She’s also confused. She feels a lot of things all at the same time, Severus.” Narcissa said in an almost amusing tone. “You must be patient with her.”

“Have I not been patient enough with her?” Snape irritably snapped at her. “Do you think she’s the only one who can harbor so many feelings at the same time?”

Narcissa laughed.

“Why tell me Severus, do you feel emphatic now towards what women feel? Boy, I did not know there was a feminine side of you.”

“Shut up.”

“You are truly amusing my dearest friend. Too much emotions, too much to bear lately?” she asked him with a smile.

Snape felt affronted.

“Or simply too much confusing emotions because she’s around?”

“That is most insulting.” Snape said although he did not sound the littlest bit of insulted.

“Well, I told you already this was never a good idea in the first place. You and her?” Narcissa asked him. “How much should I bet that sooner or later one of you will surely confess certain.. feelings?”

“Don’t be pathetic.”

“Or perhaps you had already?” Narcissa teased him.

She uncrossed her leg from the couch she sat opposite Snape and stared back at her friend.

“Now tell me, Severus, have you confessed your long time feelings for the girl?”

“This topic is already done.” Snape pointed out. “I already told you that this is pathetic. I bore no feelings for the girl.”

Narcissa only stared up at him and shook her head.

“Alright, alright.” Narcissa said shaking her hand in the air. “Anyway, I need to go back at the Manor. I’m sure you’ll do fine.”

Narcissa stood up and Snape only nodded, eyes still on the map and blueprint he put on the small table.

“Don’t be nervous.” Narcissa said as she gathered her purse with her and straightened her clothes. “I’ll deal with everything that would be needed to ensure that your way to the boy’s room is clear. Focus on what you have to do.”

“I know what I’m about to do.”

“Severus, are you thinking twice of this?” she asked him in a firm voice. “Are you having second-thoughts in doing this? Because if you are, then I suggest we do not even go there because if this plan fails we’re all going to-“

“I’m sure about this.” Snape said looking up at her. “I’m sure about doing this.”

“You don’t look and sound like it.” Narcissa pointed out.

Snape looked away.

In truth, did he want to do it?

Once more, it was for the ‘greater good’ so he had no qualms of doing it since he knew he had to do it anyway.

There was no question if he wanted to do the right thing. 

But somewhere in him, an unexplainable and inexplicable feeling was stirring.

“I’m doing it.” Snape said standing up and picking up the papers from the table. “It must be done.”

 

 

 

 

“Do you want to make love tonight?” Harry asked in a teasing voice. “You’ve been staring at me.”

Hermione quickly turned and looked away from him.

She finished the glass of milk that Harry had made for him earlier and placed the empty glass at the end table on her side of the bed.

She turned back to the bed and prepared it for them.

Harry was dressing and changing to his sleeping clothes and Hermione’s eyes had been unconsciously staring at a small mark at the lower left side of Harry’s ribcage area.

“Sorry.” Hermione quickly said not wanting to entice Harry into an activity that she did not want anyway.

“You’ve been staring at it.” Harry pointed out as he turned to the side of the room and stared at the reflection of his ribcage are from the mirror.

It was a small mark and bruise that never really healed.

“It must have been some sort of scar.” Harry said. “I had it since I got out of the hospital.”

Hermione did not say anything as he spoke and told her the story of the mark at the side of his body.

“Does it look ugly to you?” he asked her.

“No.” Hermione said. “Just like your scar, it’s a mark that you’ve survived.” Hermione quietly said as she folded the blanket and fixed the array of their pillows.

Harry’s eyes strayed down his own body and at the mark.

It wasn’t painful but it smeared a memory in him.

He had guessed that it was a mark he had gotten from the fall from the building that he and Ron had jumped from in an attempt to escape the Death Eaters who pursued them as they created the bait and lured them in their search for Hermione.

“It never healed.” Harry said as he dressed into black long-sleeves. “One of those marks, you know.”

“Yeah.” Hermione agreed as she pulled the sheets over so Harry could climbed up the bed. “One of those marks.

Harry nodded and pulled her close to him on the bed.

Hermione took a book from the side of her bed and despite that it irritated Harry to have another ‘book reading’ session before their bedtime, he did not say anything about it.

It was better settled this way than her having to try and escape again.

He found ways to tame her and so he would play the part for the meantime.

He decided that there was no good use for him to have Hermione having tantrums and trying to escape while the court trial was on-going.

But once that was done and Snape would be out of his way, he would have to deal with Hermione completely and have her follow what was apt and right for their relationship.

He pulled her closer to him and had her head rest against his chest as she opened the book and began reading quietly.

He kissed her fine brown tresses and kept her fingers brushing the side of her face and then her head to help her fall asleep as he had noticed it was a trick to tame her to sleep giving her almost night-mare free nights.

“Does it calm you when I do this?” Harry asked as he gently continued to brush her hair, his eyes running through the pages she was flipping but wasn’t really reading at all.

“Mmmm.” Hermione sleepily said with a short nod.

“Do you like it?” Harry asked.

“Yes.” Hermione murmured as she turned another page.

They continued quietly lying against one another on the bed for another hour until Hermione could no longer understand what she was reading and decided to sleep.

She closed the book and laid it back on the end table by the side of her bed and turned back to Harry.

“I love you.” Harry said kissing her forehead and tucking her right under the sheets close to him.

Hermione smiled sleepily at him and nodded.

She placed a brush of a kiss at the side of his face.

“Goodnight Harry.” Hermione simply said and she turned her back against him and just scooted closer to him so he could place his arms protectively around her as if ensuring that she wasn’t going to sleep away in his sleep.

“Goodnight.” Harry murmured against her tresses as waved his hand across the air and the light dimmed a little giving a small star-like glow to just lit their room.

As Hermione rested and easily fell into a sleep, Harry did not.

He had absolutely no plans of sleeping tonight.

 

 

 

 

“We send our regrets to you and seek to hope for the comfort and peace of your heart and mind, Mr. Malfoy.”

Draco looked up and saw his old professor Lupin extending his hand to him.

Lupin was with Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Kingsley, another Auror and to his great surprise, Harry Potter himself.

It had been two years since the downfall of the Dark Lord.

Death Eaters have been killed or have been sent to Azkaban and in his father’s case, was sent to Azkaban while Bellatrix Lestrange suffered another fate in the hands of the Aurors.

His mother, Narcissa Malfoy however, had suffered a different fate.

He knew that something was wrong with Narcissa Malfoy but his father refused to admit it or more like he did not want to pay attention to what was happening to her to avoid division of his attention in pursuing the Dark Lord’s wishes and tending to his family.

Ofcourse, Draco was different.

He knew something was different and something was terribly wrong with his mother.

But Narcissa was also a stubborn woman. She did not want to admit it to anyone, least of all Draco, whom she was aware was intelligent enough to figure sooner or later that something was wrong with her.

It had been a sudden, terrible and devastating two weeks for Draco.

Her mother had awaken at the midst of the night with a scream from a terrible pain that was searing through her heart and her nose was bleeding horribly.

Draco had quickly had them taken to St. Mungo’s hospital.

He tried his best to keep it down from many people but he was a Malfoy and so was she, a renowned wife of a Death Eater bestowed to be punished at Azkaban.

The following morning, St. Mungo’s was flooded with people from the Prophet seeking news that could be brought about what happened to the famous Narcissa Black Malfoy.

Draco was terrified.

He had no one to turn to.

His mother was taken into an intensive unit where she had been unconscious since she was taken there, the bleeding had stopped but something terrible was happening internally.

After two days of tests in her blood, Draco had been told that her mother had a few days to live due to the illness in her blood that was somewhat related to a long-term family curse that might have been passed down to her.

Draco was beyond devastated.

He did not know how to break news to his father and he did not want to waste time going to Azkaban to break the news as well.

He wanted to stay right by his mother’s side.

The Healers had said that she was lucky if another week was given to extend her life span.

Narcissa had surpassed the week and had woken but was already at the edge of her life.

Draco had ordered security for them and had sought for complete privacy.

He had managed two days of isolation with just her mother.

At the third day, Narcissa requested to be taken back to the Malfoy Manor.

The Healers completely agreed seeing that she barely had days to live.

At the fourth day, she was taken back to the Malfoy Manor and was given peace and privacy with Draco.

By the fifth day, her health had faltered at a fast pace that not even the Healers could do anything about it.

At the sixth day, Narcissa was persistent upon seeing their family Defense Council who had arrived and had stayed with her and Draco the whole day.

By dawn of the seventh day, Draco had kissed her mother for the last time and Narcissa smiled at her own son, whispering only a few words before her beautiful eyes had closed eternally:

“Bear change, my dear boy. I will always be proud of you.”

Draco nodded at the party that came to give their respect to her mother’s wake at the large garden of the Malfoy Manor.

The whole garden place was elegantly decorated with the colour of black and dark emerald as to the last will and wishes of Narcissa.

Despite that the event wasn’t something Draco could keep, he wanted everything to be small and private as much as possible.

Note cards, flowers and such were sent to the Malfoy Manor for the people who weren’t allowed nor were listed at a list of guests that were allowed to arrive to pay their respects for the lady of the manor.

A couple of Ministry officials had arrived and paid their respects, some other friends of his father had arrived and Lupin’s party.

Even if Harry and the rest were obviously not in the list of Draco’s allowed visitors, they were allowed entry because of the magic and blood that bind Lupin to Tonks and Tonks to Sirius in the Black family.

Draco only nodded quietly at them.

He did not look surprised to see them but was surprised to see Harry.

He did not say anything about his arrival but nodded and gave them proper entry.

Draco’s assistance took the black ribbons and flowers they had with them and let them seat in a spot in the garden where they were further assisted.

Harry was silent the whole time he attended the event.

He wasn’t sure what to feel at that moment.

It was the greatest downfall of his school rival and the boy who bullied not only him and many others but who had bullied Hermione Granger most of all.

Harry had wondered what Hermione would have done if she was there with them or how would she feel for the boy.

Harry and the rest quietly watched as Draco tended and attended to each of the visitors that came to pay their respect for her mother.

It seemed to have taken him forever for him to get himself to their table where drinks had been served for them.

He looked and nodded at Lupin whom he looked and felt most comfortable with since he was his old professor.

Lupin seemed to have sensed this and so he did not pursue the subject of letting others say anything to Draco as it was very obvious that the situation was beyond awkward.

“Your mother was a charitable woman, Draco.” Lupin had said as he sat for a moment with them.

Draco only nodded at him and slightly raised his glass.

“You may not know of it but your mother has a charity for.. for our kind..” Lupin said with a small smile. “I have not known it until recently. The business and charity was named after another name so as to have her wish to be kept anonymous, but recent news has reached me that it is actually her.”

“I’ve heard of it.” Draco had said. “Just a few days ago before mother passed away.” Draco pointed out. “Mother’s Defense Council came days before she.. before she passed. They had discussed many things including businesses, estates and other properties that mother owned.”

Harry did not say anything to this.

He did not really want to be there but he wanted to be reminded that he was not like that of the Malfoys.

Only a few nods and gestures were exchanged between Draco and Harry as for formality.

The last time Draco had seen Harry had been in his father’s trial where Harry had left the courtroom the moment that Lucius Malfoy had been sentenced.

Narcissa and Draco were left at the stand long after justice had been served towards Lucius Malfoy.

It was almost morning already when Harry and company decided to leave the manor.

Draco nodded and shook hands with them.

He was somewhat reluctant when Harry had extended his hand to him.

He stared but still accepted Harry’s hand who shook it very briefly.

“Potter.” Draco said staring reluctantly at Harry who stared back at him with question in his eyes.

“Yeah?”

“If you would need anything for your search..”

“I’m fine.” Harry cut him short. “I have everything I need, thanks.”

Draco stared at him and nodded.

It had been two years since the ambush and the incident that made him lose Hermione Granger who was still not found up to that day.

“Yeah, but I mean if you just need an extra hand or a number of people to help with-“

“I said I’m fine, Malfoy.” Harry firmly said as he looked away from him.

“Is there any recent news?” Draco asked curiously unable to stop himself from doing so. “Anything at all that may help in finding her?”

Harry looked at Lupin who quietly nodded at him.

“Mr. Malfoy, we do have to go.” Lupin said taking his hand and shaking it to gain his attention. “The Order offers assistance if there would be anything you would legally need incase there would be problems of sorts.”

Draco was slightly confused until he realized that Harry obviously did not want to talk about Hermione.

Draco nodded and two of his assistants stood up and led them.

He quietly thanked them with a simple nod as the two men led Harry and company out of the garden and out of the Malfoy Manor.

“Harry are you alright?”

“I’m fine.” Harry said as they walked down the long walkway out of the gates of the manor.

“Harry, I’ve been thinking.” Lupin began. “If Draco is offering his help in finding Hermione-“

“I said, I’m fine.” Harry simply said. “I don’t need his help. I don’t need anyone’s help. I’m doing fine.”

Lupin only nodded as Harry paced past him and walked faster and farther from him.

 

 

 

 

It wasn’t the sound of the guards that came and bolted to his cell gates that drew him out of his state of reverie at one in the morning.

It was the actions they’ve done as they entered their cell.

The three Aurors came inside and two had grabbed him out of his bed by the arms and the third one took out a long scarf from his pocket and drew the first around his eyes and the second around his mouth.

Not seeing and no speaking as it seems.

He listened intently as they dragged him without a word out of his cell door.

He felt the familiar cold breeze of the hallways as they dragged him out of his Azkaban room.

He wasn’t sure where they were taking him but by their actions and the way it was done at that hour of the night, he was sure that it wasn’t something very legal at the moment.

And to wherever they were dragging and taking him, he did not fear.

He already accepted his fate at Azkaban and the possible consequences.

He only hoped and wished that Draco will not be enduring the same possible fate he would and could possibly endure as he is taken out of the safety of the walls of his darkened cell.

 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Twenty 

Pain 

 

 

 

“Master Malfoy?” asked a voice.

Draco looked up and saw his old assistant by the doorway of his office bringing in a tray of tea.

“Come in, come in.” Draco ushered as he looked up from the parchments all over his desk.

It was nearly two in the morning.

“You must rest.” the old man had said serving the tray before him and staring around the documents all over his table.

“I’m just finishing some things.” Draco said stretching up from the armchair. “ They are needed for the next trial. I also need to work on the document that will request extension for the trial.”

“You work very hard like-” he paused momentarily.

“Like my father?” Draco asked with a slight smirk as he looked at the tea tray over his desk.

The old man shook his head.

“Like your mother.”

Draco did not say anything.

He only smiled.

“She would have been proud of you.”

“You think?” Draco asked him with a sly smile.

The old man nodded.

“Very proud.”

Draco nodded only and stared at the work at hand.

He wanted to make her proud of him.

And he knew that releasing Snape of a crime he did not commit would make her proud wherever she was.

He knew how close they were and how important Snape was for Narcissa.

He knew her love for him as a dear friend and how she would do anything to protect him.

“They have been very good friends.” the old man had said. “Incredibly good friends. I remember the days when Mr. Snape would be here - when you were young and he would carry you over his shoulders.”

Draco smiled at him but he barely remembered the memory of it.

“Did he?” Draco asked with genuine curiosity.

The old man nodded.

“Your mother always said he would carry you onto his shoulders any time he would see it fit.” the old man said observing his gaze. “It was a joke for her but I know that Mr. Snape took that seriously. He was very fond of you.”

Draco did not say anything.

He could barely remember the good memories with Snape at their house when he was younger.

But despite not really remembering those days, it does not matter.

He knew they were true anyway.

“Do you believe he is innocent?” the man had asked him. “Do you believe in him, Young Master?”

Draco stared at him and at the documents over the table as he recalled the memories he’s been shown, the words and stories of Hermione and Snape.

He wasn’t sure what to do really.

“I believe he is.” Draco slowly answered as he stared over the parchments as if looking for something.

He looked up at the old man who stared at him with a knowing smile.

“I believe of his innocence but it will take me more than enough time to prove it. There must be something out of this.. an escape of some sort for him.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Miss Granger if you already feel sleepy I suggest you go upstairs.”

 “What time is it?” she sleepily asked him as she closed the book in her hand and lowered her legs from the couch in the small laboratory.

Snape looked up at her from stirring the potion by the long table.

“It’s time for you to rest.” Snape simply said without telling her the time.

Hermione stared and shook her head several times to clear her visions.

She must have dozed off for several minutes or so.

“Is it done?” Hermione asked him.

She put the book down on the couch and stood up and walked back to the potions table where the large cauldron had its potion at boiling point.

“Nearly.” Snape replied as he added what looked like some black powder over the mixture.

Hermione watched the powder disappear in the boiling solution.

The smell around the room had changed. It smelled like some sort of garden around the room.

“What’s that?” Hermione asked sniffing around. “Is that it?”

“It’s the Essence of Life.” Snape replied without removing his gaze from the cauldron he was continuously stirring.

“I need a smaller cauldron for the last stage.” Snape said pointing at the cabinet beneath the table.

“Oh, yes. Sorry.” Hermione quickly bent down and opened the drawers and found the one that held smaller cauldrons.

She pulled one and placed it over the table.

“What do I do next?” she asked, feeling completely awake now.

Snape continued to stir the solution in full concentration. He was counting the stirs.

“Professor-“

“Give me a moment, Miss Granger.”

His black eyes were focused over the boiling potion as he stirred it in a perfectly smooth manner.

Hermione stared up at him and knew he had been up for nearly 24 hours.

His stamina was quite astounding and his ability to focus despite the exhaustion in his body amazed her.

“You should rest after we do this.” Hermione told him preparing the place where some of the potion will be transferred.

“I’m fine.”

“I’ll cook for you.” Hermione offered with a small smile. “The least I can do for you.”

“The moment we finish this I need to bring this to the hospital.” Snape simply said.

“As soon?”

“As soon.” Snape repeated. “It has to be taken at the least within twelve hours.”

Hermione watched him silently as he prepared to transfer an amount of the potion at the smaller cauldron.

“Have you figured out how you’re going to get there?” Hermione asked him. “I mean, how you’re going to get there without being seen?”

Snape did not answer her as he finished counting the stirs and lowered the rod.

He breathed heavily and a large towel from the end of the table and slowly began scooping some of the potion from the larger batch onto the smaller cauldron.

“I have.” Snape said as he settled the potion and continued to transfer certain amounts. “Getting inside is easy. It’s the getting out that might be a little tricky.”

“Do you..” Hermione slowly began clearing her throat. “Do you need..”

Snape stared at her momentarily and knew what she was going to say.

“You know you can’t.” Snape simply said.

Hermione bit her lower lip.

“I was going to ask if-“

“Hermione, you can’t come with me.” Snape said as he placed the final scoop of potion. “We’ve already talked about this.”

He lowered the towel in his hand and stared at her in a mixture of seriousness and suppressed impatience.

“Professor Snape, I’m only going to-“

“You can’t.” Snape said with finality in his tone. “Please understand the risk I am about to take. And I cannot risk you.”

“But how do we know?” Hermione asked him. “How do we know if it’s going to-“

“Hermione..”

Hermione stopped and nodded coherently.

His tone had already differed and she was sure to get the bad end of it if she does not stop.

“Things will be better after this.” Snape said. “You need not to worry.”

She did not say anything.

She watched him carefully read through the steps of the potion for the last time.

“Should I stir it now?” she eagerly asked him with a small smile. “It’s already the colour we’re waiting for.”

“A few more minutes. Three more stirs clock wise and fifteen counter.” Snape read out loud.

He lowered the paper and stared at the solution.

“I’ll stir?” she asked him staring at the colour of the potion that seemed to be ready already.

“Not yet.” Snape said shaking his head.

“But the colour-“

“It’s nearly there but not yet. There is a perfect colour and timing for it, Hermione. Wait for it.”

Hermione nodded and watched him walk to the other end of the room.

“Watch over it.” Snape said.

“I will.” Hermione replied.

Snape stared at her with a quiet warning.

He knew how much she wanted to finish the potion as soon as possible.

“Hermione, it’s not yet ready. I’ll go upstairs and get something. Where’s the final ingredient and the vial?”

“The second vial is here.” Hermione said pulling something out from the pocket of her pajamas. “The ingredient is in my bedroom on top of my desk on top of..”

“Why is the other one upstairs? I thought you were already holding it.”

“You told me to keep it away for a while until it was needed.”

Snape did not say anything but he looked slightly annoyed.

“I’ll get it upstairs if you-“

“No, stay here. I’ll get it. Just hold that empty vial.”

Hermione stopped talking and nodded at him.

“Don’t touch anything.” Snape warned her eyeing her suspiciously. .

He quickly left the small laboratory and headed upstairs.  

Snape felt beyond exhausted.

The potion had taken hours little longer than he had expected and this was the only time he ever had to make it and the steps weren’t quite easy.

The potion and the ingredients itself were complex. Creating it was another story.

But he had to make it.

He had to make it and in a few hours, it had to be delivered to its drinker.

Snape reached her bedroom and entered the room.

He inhaled the familiar scent of her dark tresses and the smell of the small vanilla-rose candle he had given her the previous night to help her fall asleep better due to her nightmares.

He walked over to her small desk and quickly found what he was looking for.

It was a smaller vial where he was going to transfer the ready-made potion later.

He was to place there the final staged potion and downstairs, in Hermione’s hand was the other half of the enchanted vials.

It was the most crucial part and ingredient of the potion that would make its drinker return to his or her former and complete state.

He held the bottle in his hand.

This last ingredient will never be available again once he uses it.

He took one glance at its contents with a heavy heart and soul.

“This is for you.” Snape whispered kissing the bottle gently. “For you..”

Snape breathed heavily and his eyes slowly fell over the parchment on the table where the vial had been.

Hermione’s familiar scrawl could be seen through it and the first word that catches his attention was the name ‘Harry..’.

It was a letter for Harry.

He slowly opened it just out of mere curiosity.

He knew that she had no means of communicating with the boy but perhaps she had hoped that his leniency and her luck these past few days could be pushed further.

He was about to open it when he heard it.

A loud crash and an ear-piercing scream that came straight from the depths of his small basement laboratory.

“Hermione!” Snape called in slight panic.

There was no answer but he could hear the cry of agony.

Snape quickly pulled up Hermione’s drawer and stashed the vial back inside it together with the parchment.

Her cries began to echo around the house.

Snape, driven by fear and panic, dashed out of the room and down the stairs as fast as his long legs could possibly carry him.

He had skipped most of the steps from the stairs and had seemingly flown down as he rushed back to the laboratory hearing the ear-splitting cries.

“Hermione! Hermione!” he called out in complete panic as he already had an idea of what had happened.

Snape pulled his wand out and reached the doorway of his lab.

The moment he entered and saw the scene before his eyes, his heart seemed to have stopped and his whole body shook in complete fear and panic.

Hermione lay helplessly on the floor crying and calling for his name.

The smaller cauldron had toppled over from the table, had fallen next to her and had spilled all its contents all over the floor and across Hermione’s legs.

The clothing from her pajamas had quickly burnt out and her skin was quickly melting, red and blistered from the boiling potion that spilled through her skin.

“Oh god, no.. Hermione.. no..” Snape’s voice seemed to have returned after a moment of being paralyzed by the doorway in shock of the scene before him.

He waved his wand around and the cauldron had moved away from the edged of the table and the spilling and dripping potion had slowly disappeared.

Hermione’s eyes widened in relief upon seeing him.

She opened her arms to him and was crying so hard in pain at the burning potion over her skin.

“Professor.. p—professor..” she wailed unable to stop the shaking of her voice upon the pain she was enduring.

“Hermione-“ Snape croaked out panic and fear growing inside of him as he saw the damage done as he tried to move Hermione. 

“Aaaaargh! It burns! It burns!” Hermione screamed as she dropped the second vial in her hand and had tried backed away from the cauldron.

“Evanesco!”  Snape commanded, and the caldron disappeared altogether.

 He ran over to her. “Let me see it.”

Hermione felt a hand trying to bring her to her feet. “I can’t walk,” she cried as the boiling potion scalded her thigh and dripped over her legs.

“I need to see it,”Snape said, roughly pulling her leg to him.

“I can’t stretch it out!“ she wailed as the pain burned deeper. “Don’t touch it. It hurts!”

“I said I need to see it!” Snape barked, and without warning, he scooped her in his arms and carried her back to their living room and set her on the couch.

“Granger, I need to see it,” he told her as he tried to stretch her legs, but she remained curled in a ball. “I need to—“

“It hurts when I move it—“ she cried, not wanting to see her own burning skin beneath her pajamas.

“I told you not to touch it! It was not yet ready!” Snape spat.

 He grabbed a pillow and placed Hermione’s leg over it.

“Really! You’re going to scream at me right now about what I did or didn’t do—aaaaah!” she screamed again. Her skin was blistered. Either he had to do something about it or they’d have to go to the hospital.

 Her impatience had ruined an important potion.

“Granger, look at me,” he said, kneeling next to the couch. “I need to see it so I can heal it. You need to stretch out your leg for me.”

“It hurts, I can't move it!” she wailed, trying to shove him away. “It’s burning my legs!”

“I can see it’s burning,” he spat, losing his patience with her.

He took out his wand and rolled up his sleeves. He tried to calm himself down so she wouldn't panic. “I need to see it so I can heal it. “

“No! It hurts.“ She tried to shove him away, but he grasped her wrists tightly.

“Granger.” He took hold of her arms, but she shook her head and refused to move. “Granger, look at me. Hermione! Please look at me,” Snape said softly. She slowly opened her eyes and looked up at him. He saw the pain in her eyes as the potion continued to burn her skin.

He breathed heavily .“Hermione, you need to trust me. You know I can't take you to the hospital. I need to see it so I can heal it now, please.” He was growing impatient, but he also knew that he couldn’t do anything without her cooperation. The seconds were ticking. The more she delayed, the more damage the potion would inflict.

“It hurts.” she whispered, reaching out for his arm as she shook her head. “It really hurts.”

“I know,” Snape whispered as he knelt closer.  He realized that he had to take off her pajamas  so he could fully see the damage. He looked at Hermione, and she seemed to sense what he was thinking. She closed her eyes and more tears spilled out.

“Please just make it stop hurting.” She lifted her upper body and started removing her pajamas.

Snape swallowed hard as he watched her. When they were halfway down her thighs, she refused to move any more. He slowly placed his hand over the waistband. “Hermione, I need to—“

“Just do it.“ Hermione said, biting her lower lip in pain and embracing the other small pillow he’d given her. “Please hurry.” She looked away, unable to watch.

Snape nodded and muttered an incantation as he placed the tip of his wand over her pajamas. He traced a line down each leg, and the material sliced itself following the path of his wand. He winced at the sight of her beautiful skin marred by the burns. He knew he could repair it, but it would take time for her to heal completely.

“Hermione,” Snape said, still reluctant to touch her skin. ”The potions I'm going to use are going to sting, but you need to just hold still and it will be all right.” She didn't seem to hear him. He whispered a Freezing Charm and pointed his wand over the burn marks.

“This will cool it down a little.” He carefully turned her face. “Hermione, look at me.”

Hermione stared up at the Potions Master. She’d never seen him so worried.

“I'll go get the potions.” It looked as if she was on the verge of passing out from the pain.

She nodded incoherently and pressed his wrist tightly. “Please help me,” she whispered, tears in her eyes.

“I will,” he said, and without knowing why he did it, he moved towards her. “I will, love. Just hold still. I'll take care of you.”

Snape’s voice echoed somewhere in her head as her eyes closed in pain. She blacked out after that.

 “I’m here.” Snape whispered, tears straining his eyes, “I’m here sweetheart.”

He gently kissed her forehead and unconscious form.

Despite knowing that she possibly couldn’t hear him anymore, Snape kept whispering words of comfort for her as his eyes strained with tears at the sight of her figure.

“I won’t leave you.” Snape assured her. “We’re going to fix this. You’re going to be alright. Just hold still.. just stay still, love.. I’m going to heal you. I promise you, you’re going to be alright, you’re going to be fine. I am here.. I am here.”

 

 

 

Snape wasn’t sure what exactly has happened in the last few minutes but he was sure that the pain caused to him did not even scare him the slightest bit.

He knew this was bound to happen sooner or later but he had to admit that he did fear it happening to Draco. He could only hope that he was better at that moment than he was doing.

He had been literary dragged by three individuals from his cell.

His hands were roped at his back, a cloth had been placed around his mouth and eyes but he knew that he was being dragged only to another room.

It was the middle of the night and it told him that it was going to be longer than usual.

He heard a door being opened and closed and then he was pushed back into a chair.

With his sharp senses, he could tell he wasn’t in another cell but in another room instead.

The temperature in the room told him that he must be in the upper floor of Azkaban.

He heard footsteps settling and then fading away before the door had closed.

He breathed deeply, waiting for any sound or movement around him.

He wasn’t sure what made him think so but he could sense that someone else was left in the room.

And then he heard it, a chair being pushed from the table just at the opposite side of his.

Silence.

And out of the blue, he felt the sharpest pain as someone from the back had forcedly, strongly and purposely banged his head with face forward the wooden table in front of him.

He did not speak but he inhaled sharply at the pain that his forehead and nose had just endured.

He felt as if his nose had been broken and he could feel the leaking of blood from his forehead.

He felt dazed and had barely recovered when another blow came but this time, it was harder and stronger than the previous.

He almost screamed in shock and pain but he was still able to control his voice despite the pain.

His nose was now bleeding and he could feel like his brain was being rattled off its place.

“Did that hurt?” asked a very familiar voice. “Cause I’m not quite sure if the pain made any impression on you, professor.”

Snape sat still and shook his head with a small smirk spreading across his clothed covered mouth.

“What’s that?” asked the voice.

He heard a chair being pulled in front of him.

Snape shook his head again and felt more blood dripping from the side of his head and nose.

“Oh sorry. My bad. Here, let me help you there.”

Another sharp pain as he felt his face suddenly turn from the other side and back as the cloth from his mouth had been pulled away without the slightest warning so he could speak.

He breathed out heavily, coughing at the pain and the lack of air.

“You were saying something, professor??”

“Are you done now, Potter?” Snape asked calmly.

He listened at the unnerving silence around him.

The chair moved again.

“No.” Harry quietly answered him. “I’m just actually warming up.”

Snape smirked at his answer.

He moved his head side to side as the blindfold was kept over his eyes.

“It’s actually stupid. You putting this blindfold on me. It’s not like I don’t know who you are.”

“You don’t know me.” Harry answered him. “Not anymore.”

Snape did not say anything as he listened to the voice of the boy he had taught for so many years.

He could tell that there was indeed something different there.

Something almost sinister.

“So are you going to torture me, Potter?” Snape asked him.

Harry breathed deeply as he stared at the man he despised more than anything or anyone in the world.

He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with him.

Murder was ofcourse on the top of his list but that would give him a leeway; an easy way out of everything that he had done.

And he must pay for everything that he had done – slowly and severely.

“Why are you here?” Snape asked as the silence around him almost bored him. “Come now Potter, you wanted a brawl, did you not?”

Harry did not speak.

He stared at the man he wanted right now to kill with his bare hands but that would make his life easy.

He hated him for all that he was and everything that he had done.

“You’ve taken everything from me.” Harry whispered. “I’m going to make sure you rot in here.”

“By all means, Potter,” Snape whispered at him. “I’m more than ready to rot in here.”

“Are you happy?” Harry asked him. “Are you happy for what you have done to me and to Hermione?”

Snape did not answer.

He shook his head.

“Your arrogance makes you jump into conclusions. But then again, you are James Potter’s son. What is the difference?“ he silkily whispered. “Nothing.”

He almost laughed and it gave Harry another reason to want to hit him at that moment.

He stared at the man he despised so much.

He was there, at his mercy and yet he wasn’t sure what he really wanted to do with him.

“You sit there and feel like all of this is a joke?” Harry whispered. “You’re going to pay for what you’ve done to Hermione.”

“You know nothing so I wouldn’t waste my time answering to all of these.”

“Hermione does not love you.” Harry said. “She must be disillusioned but she does not love you.”

Snape did not say anything to that.

He remained quiet.

It made Harrry smile momentarily.

“She was scared of you.” Harry spoke after a while. “She had always been scared of you. Whatever you two shared in that cottage for all those years – you think she will love you? No, no professor - you’re disillusioned if you think she loved you. She might have followed your whims and wills but that was all because of her fear of dying and being murdered.”

“Suit yourself for the reality you want to settle into, Potter.” Snape said with such calmness in his voice that Harry wanted to strike again to just make him feel the slightest panic.

“Hermione does not love you.”

Snape did not say anything.

“Hermione will be well soon and she will wake up from this illusion you’ve made for her. She will realize what a monster you were and she will bring you down at Azkaban.”

Still, Snape remained quiet.

“Hermione has never and will never love you.” Harry’s voice came closer as he spoke giving him the idea that he had advanced a few inches forward him.

“She only followed you because she did not want to die. She only followed you because she pitied the man that you’ve always been.”

Snape’s fists clenched behind his back but he tried his best to not say anything to Harry.

“All those ten years?” Harry asked him. “Hermione is a victim. But that does not make her any less smart. She might have been traumatized but she would come around and she would see the monster that you really are.”

“A monster?” Snape asked him slowly. “Have you checked yourself on the mirror lately, Potter? Because you see, I heard otherwise.”

A sudden blow came as Harry reached forward across the table.

He grabbed him by his long hair and had banged his face forward another time.

He screamed in pain but Harry could hear his smeared laughter beneath his bleeding lips and nose.

“You’re the only monster in this room.”

“Look at yourself, Potter.” Snape said spitting out the blood from his mouth. “Take a good look at yourself.”

Harry’s fists were clenching at his sides and he was very much tempted to use the wand inside his robes.

He had managed to get inside Snape’s cell and have him out despite the precautions given by Kingsley and the warnings by the Ministry and other Aurors.

There were no rules against him seeing Snape but knowing their history together and Harry’s uncontrolled temper from time to time, they knew it wasn’t a good idea.

But Harry was Harry Potter, the Chosen One and the savior of the Wizarding World.

There was nothing that would ever be forbidden of him to gain for whatever favor he would wish to ask.

“If I could kill you now, I would.” Harry whispered dangerously. “The only reason you are still alive is because I know you would suffer longer in these celled walls and at the hands of the Dementors.”

“Suffering?” Snape asked with an insulting smile. “You are still as naïve as ever, Potter. You think that suffering is only gained by physical pain. Look at me now.” Snape said looking up at him. “Look at me now and tell me you are not enduring any form of suffering.”

Harry did not say anything.

He was shaking with so much range in him that he felt he could just kill him with his bare hands now.

“Suffering is not only physical pain, Potter.” Snape’s soft voice echoed around the empty room. “I’m quite sure that for the past years you’ve learned that. How long has that been-“

“Ten years.” Harry cut him short. “You’ve taken ten years from me and I’m going to make you pay for each of it.”

There was danger in his eyes that resembled that of what Draco had described of him.

The dangerous gleam in his eyes that was surely hurting and scaring Hermione – his Hermione.

“Hermione will never-“

Another loud strike from Harry’s hand.

His lip cut and bled and Harry’s fist hung up in the air.

He was breathing fast and heavy and ready to strike again but Snape looked nowhere intimidated by him at all.

“How could you do all those things?” Harry quietly asked him. “How could you do all of those things when Dumbledore trusted you! The man had trusted you with his life!”

This time, he did not say anything. Not a word nor expression from Snape.

It was the first time in a long time he has ever heard of the old man’s name.

The mention seared some pain in his chest at the memory of him.

If he had any choice, he would have done differently.

“He trusted you!” Harry angrily screamed banging his fists on the table. “He trusted you! I trusted you!”

There hung a silence right after.

A silence that was a result of shock from the two of them.

Harry did not expect himself to say that nor did Snape expect those feelings from the boy he had loathed for so many years just because he was the spawn of his greatest rival at school.

He did not say anything. Nor did he look up to stare at the familiar emerald eyes that gleamed of anger for him.

“If you have nothing else to say, Potter. I’d like to go back to my cell seeing that you are not planning to kill me at all tonight.”

Harry was breathless as he stared back at the man.

He wanted so much to kill him. But it would have been mere mercy.

“You must think this celled walls are mercy, Snape.”

“These celled walls are more than mercy, Potter.” Snape answered him.

Harry looked up at him with question in his eyes.

He did not understand it.

Snape’s voice seemed almost remorseful.

“I could kill you.” Harry whispered holding his wand inside his robes. “I could.”

“I know.” Snape quietly answered.

He actually nodded at his hand he knew holding his wand.

Harry looked at him with so much hatred in his eyes.

“How could you.” Harry whispered. “I trusted you.”

Snape did not answer him.

He turned his head away from Harry.

“Know that I will find ways and ways to make you suffer.” Harry’s voice was full of hatred that Snape knew if he could only Avada him at that moment, he had already done so.

“I do not deny anything, Potter.” Snape answered him. “I will not stop you from doing what you want to do with me. But I ask one thing of you.”

“You have no right to ask me of anything.”

“Mercy, Potter.” Snape said. “Give her leniency and mercy that you cannot show me.”

Harry’s eyebrow raised.

“I love her.” Harry said. “I have always loved her and you took that opportunity away from me!”

Without warning, Harry had suddenly attacked him.

He grabbed him by the neck and with all his might and force, pulled him off his chair and punch him twice.

Snape, with his hands bounded behind his back was unable to defend himself.

But he did not look like he wanted to fight back nor defend himself at all.

He fell back on the floor in silence.

His black eyes were staring out of nowhere.

Harry stood over him with such rage all over him.

He had pulled his wand out by now and was pointing it directly over his left temple.

“The only reason I’m not yet blowing off your brains right now is because I know that you deserve the Dementor’s Kiss.”

“I deserve nothing in life, Potter.” Snape whispered. “Kill me now if you wish.”

The wand over his temple was deepening and it pained him but he was not scared incase Harry does the Killing Curse on him.

Maybe it was really better this way. Perhaps it would have been better to die this way.

“Kill me now.” Snape repeated softly without any left expression over his face. “But spare her. Spare Hermione.”

His hand was shaking in anger.

The Killing Curse was already at the tip of his tongue.

“Spare Hermione, Potter.” Snape whispered. “Spare her from the anger you are feeling for me. She does not deserve to suffer the way I do. She has done nothing.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draco entered the study in the West Wing of the manor and was surprised to see Snape in the room.

He entered the room to get the book he had left the previous day.

Snape was quietly sitting over the long couch at the other end of the room and had not spoken a word to him since he had entered the room.

Draco had found the book he needed from the table but he wished to know why Snape was there.

There was no Death Eater’s meeting and his father was away with the Dark Lord.

The only possible reason for him being there is for Narcissa.

He was curious.

Draco moved about the room looking for books across the shelves despite that he was really not looking for anything.

When he could no longer take it as his curiosity was killing him already, he crossed the room and decided to talk to Snape.

“Why are you here?” he asked fishing as he continued to pretend that he was looking for something from the tall book shelves in the room.

Snape did not answer immediately.

 He finished the tea served for him.

“For your mother.”  Snape said.

Draco nodded and took out a book from the shelf and opened it as if searching for something.

“What for?”

“Excuse me?” Snape looked up at him with a raised brow.

“I said, why do you need to see my mother?” Draco answered continuing to flip through the pages.

“Should there be a specific reason for me to see her?” Snape asked back. “Am I not allowed to see my friend?”

Draco smirked at his answer.

Snape lowered the cup in his hand and stared at Draco with curiosity.

“My mother called for you for some reason.” Draco answered. “I want to know why.”

Draco snapped the book shut loudly and turned to Snape.

Snape did not say anything.

He walked over to where his godfather was and halted right in front of him.

“Why are you here?” Draco asked him. “What do you want from my mother?”

Snape looked up at him and wondered where all these curiosity and questions were coming from.

“Are you deaf?” Draco asked him.

“Have you lost your ability to be respectful, Draco?” Snape quietly asked him.

“I asked you.” Draco said folding his arms in front of him. “You are in my territory. I am permitted to know everything I want to know.”

Snape raised his eyebrow again and stared up at him with such amusement over his face.

“Go upstairs Draco.” Snape said. “Your mother and I would need to finish some important business that does not concern you.”

“Right.” Draco said with a spiteful look over his face. “It concerns her, doesn’t it?”

Snape did not say anything.

“It concerns only two things, right?” Draco asked him. “It’s either about that Mudblood’s whereabouts or about my mother’s health. I’m not stupid.”

Snape did not say anything. He was losing his patience.

Where the hell was Narcissa?

He had been waiting for half an hour in the room.

“I do not understand what you’re talking about.”

“Liar.” Draco spitefully said. “You know where she is and you know something is wrong with my mother and you wouldn’t tell me-“

“Draco, I suggest you go upstairs because this meeting really does not concern-“

“Where is the girl?” Draco angrily demanded. “Where is she – I know it, I know you know where she is and you’re hiding her and you know what the fuck is wrong with my-“

“DRACO!”

They both looked up and saw Narcissa enter the room looking livid.

“Mother-“

“Go upstairs.” Narcissa ordered him as she walked to them. “Severus and I have something to talk about.”

“I want to stay here and hear about it.” Draco stubbornly said knowing that wasn’t going to work anyway.

 “I’ve just been telling Draco-“

“Draco, please go upstairs.” Narcissa’s voice was quiet but it was serious.

Draco stared at Snape’s gloating expression and back at her mother.

“Mother, please. I want to know what’s going on – nobody’s ever telling me anymore what’s-“

“Draco, I said go upstairs because Severus and I-“

“NO, MOTHER!” Draco yelled back at her with an enraged expression.

“I SAID GO BACK UPSTAIRS TO YOUR ROOM DRACO-“

 “I WANT TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON!” Draco angrily yelled moving forward Narcissa.

“Draco, stop it!” Snape angrily warned as he stood up from the couch and quickly grabbed Narcissa from Draco’s advances.

Draco moved forward and pulled Narcissa from Snape’s grasp but he did not let her go.

“I want to know what’s going on!” Draco angrily said. “I know you know where she is and I know that you know what’s wrong with my mother!”

“Draco, I said go upstairs and-“

“Draco, stop it!” Snape warned and this time there was worry in his voice as he stared at Narcissa.

Her eyes had widened and she clutched her chest painfully.

Draco quickly let her go as she fell unconscious at Snape’s arms.

“Mother-“

“Call Lucius.” Snape yelled up at Draco as he slightly shook Narcissa’s form in his arms. “Draco, call Lucius.”

Draco did not say anything. He felt like he couldn’t move a muscle.

Snape’s tone was alarming.

Draco’s eyes widened and tears filled them. He felt like he was frozen at the spot as he watched Narcissa’s unmoving form in Snape’s arms.

“Draco!” Snape yelled waking him from his reverie, “Draco, call Lucius! Use the enchantment that Bellatrix taught you-“

“What’s going on – mother – what’s happening to her –“

Draco did not know what to do but panic was rising inside of him.

Snape had taken his wand out and was gently touching its tip all over Narcissa’s body as if casting something to ease whatever she was enduring inside.

“What’s going on with her- what’s-“

“DRACO!” Snape angrily said looking up at him. “Send the enchantment to your father – NOW!”

Draco nodded and spoke incoherently and he pulled his wand out and began casting the enchantment that Bellatrix had taught her a few weeks ago.

He wasn’t sure what was going on at the moment. But he did what he was told.

Tears streaked down his pale face as his eyes watched Snape move Narcissa across the room while he began hurriedly chanting the spell from his wand.

He stared in horror as Snape carried Narcissa’s unmoving body on the couch and was casting charms after another with great fear and worry written all over his face.

 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter XXI 

"Books" 

 

“Where have you been?”

Harry looked up and saw Hermione standing across the hall with arms folded.

He closed the door behind him and hung his cloak on the wall behind the door.

Hermione was in her sleeping dress but she did not looked like she was able to sleep at all.

It was nearly six in the morning and he had not gone home the entire night.

Hermione stayed up waiting for him and wondering worriedly what he’d be up to this time around.

“Harry?” Hermione asked as Harry just walked across the hall and discarded his shoes at the rack.

Hermione’s eyes stared at his muddy boots and at the cloak he hung over the wall and back Harry.

“Harry, where have you been?” she impatiently asked him again.

“Auror duties.” Harry simply answered without looking up at her.

He moved to her and kissed her cheek and walked past her towards the kitchen.

“Auror duties?” Hermione asked him suspiciously. “You had spent the entire night doing that? What were the duties? Late-night catching Death Eaters?”

Harry didn’t answer her.

Instead, he walked away from her and went to the kitchens.

“Is there coffee?” he asked her.

Hermione stood there staring at his dirty boots again.

She already had a hunch on where he has been.

She could hear him moving around the kitchen opening cupboards.

Hermione walked to the kitchen and watched his progress around the cupboards.

“I can make you an early breakfast.” Hermione offered despite that she didn’t look up to the task.

 “I’m not really hungry.” Harry responded pulling a bowl from the cupboard and looking for the milk and cereal instead of making coffee.

Hermione wasn’t sure if she should ask him further knowing he wouldn’t be honest anyway.

“Are you sleeping in today?” Hermione asked him as she handed over a napkin across the table. “Do I have to cancel our appointment to the invitations shop? It’s this morning but I think you need some sleep.”

Harry found the milk and Hermione watched quietly as he tossed the milk and cereal together over the bowl and sat down.

“Harry.”

“I haven’t forgotten.” Harry irritably answered her.

“We can cancel if you-“

“We’re not cancelling anything.” Harry said with a slightly raised voice.

He looked livid for some reason. 

Hermione held her breath and walked to him and grabbed a small wash cloth to wipe the small amount of milk that spilled from the bowl he was eating from.

She was quietly watching him and didn’t miss the large circles around his eyes.

He obviously did not sleep the entire night.

No, he looked like he hasn’t slept for days.

She finished clearing up the mess.

“We can move it this afternoon if you’d like to rest first.” Hermione said. “I was just wondering if-“

“Damn it, Hermione!” Harry suddenly yelled at her.

Hermione stared, shocked and scared as he stared angrily up at her.

“Harry-“

“Just give me an hour to eat alright!” Harry angrily yelled at her moving the bowl away from him and nearly toppling it all over.

There was some silence.

It took a moment but Harry recovered and when he did he looked like he completely didn’t know what he was doing.

“Sorry.” Harry quietly said walking to the drawers to grab a cloth to clean his own mess.

Hermione stood silently, eyes transfixed at him and scared to move a muscle nor say a word.

Harry cleared the table but Hermione moved forward to help him out.

“I’ll do it.” Hermione gently offered taking the cloth from his hand. “It’s alright, I’ll do it, Harry.”

Harry let the cloth go and watched her quietly as she progressed cleaning the whole mess.

“Hermione-“

“Get another bowl and finish you breakfast.” Hermione said without looking up at him as she cleared everything away. “I’ll get ready and we can leave in two hours.”

Harry watched as she finished everything up and tossed the wash cloth over the sink and then wordlessly left the room without looking back at him.

 

 

 

 Hermione’s cries faltered a little as she looked up from the carpeted floor by the living room.

She had curled herself into a ball as her cries dragged over the hours.

Snape had already been too lenient with her but their argument that morning had been too much.

It had even come to the point where he tried to drag and force her back into her room but she had relentlessly refused and Snape had left her on the floor of the living room.

He had yelled at her and told her that she could stay on the floor for as long as she wanted and rot in there because he did not have time for her nonsense and her attention-seeking and childlike dramas.

Hermione had been reckless as well and in her anger, she grabbed one of the small vase decorations at the cottage right at Snape’s back as he left the room.

Snape looking both shocked and living turned back to her with his wand drawn out.

Hermione screamed back at him to kill her but he didn’t do anything.

There were only two of them in that cottage.

Just the two of them and he could kill her and murder her anytime he wanted to and nobody would ever find out about it.

She had been staying and living with the mere presence of her potions professor for months now since the ambush.

It was definitely not easy.

Despite his assurances, his promises and his words of comfort; the meals and clothes he had provided her, she had expected that he would have taken her back to the Order by now.

But he hasn’t.

She had begun to be worried and began to have panic attacks and anxiety about his plans that for some time, she had been demanding things and answers from him with ways beyond being ‘respectful’ of their standing.

But today had been different.

Today was her birthday and she was stuck with him in the middle of nowhere – far and away from her loved ones whom she has not heard from a long time.

It was driving her mad.

They were in the midst of a war and she had no idea how they were doing and coping through it all and she wanted to let them know she was alive and well and perhaps better than the rest.

But how?

Snape would not allow her to use magic.

She had not found her wand and had been suspecting that he had been keeping it. And she also suspected that he had placed a sort of enchantment around their place because even her attempts on using wandless magic seemed blocked and useless.

It made her worry for she knew that forcedly suppressed magic could only do two things – dry its owner of its full potential or have the owner’s powers greatly blow something or someone up sooner or later.

Both choices were not very pleasant to even just think about.

He had promised her weeks ago that things will be better but nothing good seemed to have come out of those promises except for the fact that she was being fed at the proper times of the day and was being given enough ‘necessities’ to survive the daily life.

But other than, the freedom she had expected and he had promised her was nowhere in sight.

“Miss Granger.” Snape’s soft voice spoke somewhere above her.

Hermione blinked and moved her head an inch and see the blurry image of an object being placed in front of her.

“Miss Granger.”

“I don’t want anything.” Hermione croaked out quietly.

Hot and silent tears streamed down her already red face.   

“Miss Granger.” Snape’s insistent voice came and she heard him settle on the floor next to him.

He moved and pulled something closer to the both of them.

Hermione looked up and despite that she could barely comprehend what was happening, she saw what looked like three boxes and two of them were quite larger than the last one.

“Miss Granger.”

“I don’t want anything.” Hermione simply repeated but she was watching his movements out of the corner of her eyes.

He had moved about and with a flick of his wand, she saw him lit what looked like a circular object on a large platter that came out of the smallest box.

It was a chocolate cake.

She moved and looked up and behind her.

Snape was sitting on the carpeted floor holding out the cake as he sat there with his back against the long couch behind them.

“Miss Granger, stop this nonsense.” Snape whispered taking placing his hand over the magically floating candle above the cake.

Hermione’s eyes glimmered at the sight of the cake and she wasn’t sure what she was feeling.

“What are you doing?” she slowly asked him remaining in her half turned position from him.

Snape slowly glanced down at her and glanced away again as he patiently held the large platter of cake in his hand.

“What do you think I’m doing?” he slowly asked her.

Hermione stared at him with an angry stance.

“I don’t want that.” Hermione spat turning away again and resuming her position from earlier.

“Miss Gra-“

“I said, I don’t want that. I don’t want anything.” Hermione bitterly said and Snape could hear the threat of more tears again.

He sighed heavily and stared at the cake in his hand.

He wanted to throw it away and wanted to walk away.

He should not even be doing that in the first place.

“Miss Granger-“

“I don’t fucking want anything from you!” Hermione angrily yelled at him.

She was fuming in anger and at the same time, crying helplessly with their situation.

She stared at him, eyes wide at what she had just done.

She wailed again, this time in great frustration about everything and in fear of being hit.

Snape has never really hit or hurt her physically but she felt like she had gone beyond by now despite that she hardly care at all.

She wanted to end it all, she wanted out and if her provoking Snape’s temperament and patience would will him to hurt her physically that would end her life, perhaps that would be better than all that she was enduring.

But it wasn’t pain she next endured.

She felt his gentle hand over her arm.

“Don’t touch me!” she angrily moved her arm away from him.

She heard him sighed heavily giving her the impression that sooner or later he would be walking out.

“Hermione.” Snape’s voice was quiet and warm this time.  

“Please go away.” Hermione cried knowing that his being gentle with her would only make her feel guilty of her actions against him.

“Hermione, this is not any easier for me.”

Hermione tried to ignore the emotional pain growing inside of her and the sound of his voice that was somewhat becoming comfort in her ears.

She knew it wasn’t his fault and that he was only doing his job as an Order member, as a professor and as the man whom Dumbledore had tasked to protect all of them.  

Despite that she hated him and that she deeply hated their situation right now, she had him and she could not deny that fact.

She did not have anyone else in the world at the moment and she had to be honest with herself at the truth on that.

She had him and he was taking good care of her if not one that would expect from a close friend or a family.

“You told me we would go back.” Hermione quietly cried. “You told me we would go to them soon. It’s been months.”

Snape closed his eyes and clenched his fist.  

Did she really think he was enjoying all of these hiding they were doing?

“I know I made you a promise.” Snape said. “And I intend to fulfill if once it is safe.”

Hermione closed her eyes knowing that these might be empty words again.

“But when?” Hermione asked him. “When will you bring me back?”

“When it is safe.” Snape quietly answered flicking his wand over the dying fire of the candle and igniting it anew.

“When will it be safe?”

“When the war is over.”

“And how far is it from over?”

Snape did not answer.

“How far from over is it, professor?”

No response.

“See? You can’t even tell – you should just bring me back to them even if there is a war-“

“We’ve been over and over this, Miss Granger. It is not safe out there and you are bloody saf-“

“Bloody safe.” Hermione spat. “Bloody safe my arse!”

Snape’s eyes flashed in anger.

 He was going to lose it any minute now.

“We’ve talked about this. It’s not safe out there.” Snape sighed heavily. ”The war is still on-going and here you are – being ungrateful while you are protected and safe. Do you know how many people out there are dying? Do you know how many would give their lives to their wives and children just to keep their loved one safe?  All you have to do is wait for that bloody goddamn right time and you can go back to them. Is that so hard to understand?”

Hermione did not say anything.

She had stopped crying and had seemed determined to spend the night fighting him.

Snape sighed heavily.

“This isn’t something I want.”

“Well do you think I want to be here?” Hermione irritably snapped at him. “Nobody wants to be stuck here. Least of all, to be stuck with you.”

Snape’s eyes sharply turned to her.

What an ungrateful little chit.

Her words were true but nevertheless, it did not make him feel better nor did it make the hurt of it any less.

“Fine.” Snape snapped angrily. “I don’t care if you go fucking hungry, Miss Granger. I’m not going to fucking wait and waste my time here with an ungrateful child like you.”

“I’m not a child!” Hermione angrily said.

“Well you sure are acting like one!” Snape angrily yelled back at her.

Hermione heard him lower the cake in his hand and had moved it hastily next to the two other boxes.

He stretched his legs out and took out his wand. 

Hermione slightly turned her head right at him.

He had positioned himself and was ready to leave her.

“Wait.” Hermione suddenly asked turning back at him with an alarmed expression all over her face.

Snape had ignored her.

“Wait.” Hermione scrambled back on her knees. “Where are you going?”

Snape stared down at her as he straightened his robes up with an irritable stare.

Hermione furiously glared at him for his refusal to answer her.

“I asked you-“

“I’m bloody going to work back in my laboratory if you’ll excuse me.” Snape coldly spat at her.

Hermione was becoming more furious by the moment.

“I already made an effort for you.” Snape spat. “I can’t stay here all night long baby-sitting you and trying to comfort you when you’re bloody not even interested with my efforts to make you feel better on this very day.”

Hermione looked more alarmed than anything.

Guilt and fear were both creeping all over her body and taking over her head.

Her eyes moved from the cake with the small floating candle and then at the two boxes next to it.

Snape shook his head and hastily turned from her when he felt it.

Hermione’s small and weak hands reached out for his wrist.

He turned back to her and their eyes met.

“Please don’t go.” Hermione suddenly whispered.

Snape’s heart seemed to be pierced with pain.

The anger from her face and voice had completely vanished and was replaced with complete sorrow and sadness.

“Hermione-“

“Don’t go.”

And without warning, Hermione had thrown herself over towards him.

Snape was frozen on the spot on the floor as Hermione fell forward him with her arms tightly wrapped around his neck, holding for dear life and her tears smearing water all over the side of his face.

“Please don’t go! Please don’t go!” Hermione cried. “Please don’t leave me here! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”

Snape did not know what to do at that very moment.

He had been trying his best to protect her and guide her through all of these knowing there might be circumstances that would soon become too awkward or complicated between the two of them.

And this is precisely one of those circumstances he had been trying to avoid as much as he could.

“Miss Granger-“

“Please. I’m sorry.”

Her grip on him was getting tighter and the look over her face more desperate by the minute.

“Professor, please don’t go.”

Snape stared and sighed at the look she was giving him.

This was nothing something that could continue any longer.

Either he controlled her by his words and actions or she controlled him by her whims, cries and that look in her eyes.

“Will you calm yourself down?” he quietly asked her.

Hermione nodded several times at him.

He placed his hand over hers around his body and gently removed them from him.

Snape slowly lowered himself back on the floor and moved Hermione a few inches away from him.

“Please wipe your tears away.”

Hermione did so as she was told as Snape sat back on his position and had reached back for the cake again.

He waved his wand to renew the fire in the candle that was almost gone by now.

He took the cake and held it back in his hand and had moved it between the two of them.

Hermione stared at the cake with tearful eyes and back at Snape.

“Well, I’m not going to sing you a birthday song, Miss Granger.”

Hermione almost laughed at that.

She shook her head and nodded at him.

Snape almost smiled at what his own lips had uttered.

He nodded towards the candle.

“I suppose I don’t have to tell you what to do.”

Hermione smiled and nodded at him.

She moved another inch closer to him and at the cake he held with both his hands.

She sighed heavily and closed her eyes as she muttered words that Snape barely heard nor was even interested to hear.

She then opened her eyes and the glow of the candle’s light seemed to have showed her face to Snape in a different and new way.

Snape quickly blinked what he called as ‘the illusion’ away from his eyes and looked away.

“Go on.” he said edging her.

“Thank you professor.” Hermione said.

She suddenly grasped his wrist and then moved herself closer to the cake and blew the candle as she finished her wish.

A gleeful smile spread over her face – one that he had rarely seen since they went or rather he kept her in hiding.

Snape gave her a very short smile and nodded as the smoke from the candle appeared between their faces.

“How are we going to eat it?” she asked with a smile as she picked the chocolate icing over the side of the cake.

“Yes, well I didn’t think about that.” Snape honestly said realizing the mistake himself.

Hermione only smiled at him and suddenly she rested her head against his shoulder.

Snape was too taken aback that for a split moment, his hand had weakened and had the cake slightly slid and go off balance from his hold.

“Miss Granger-“

“I’m sorry, professor.” Hermione said thinking about how grateful she should become.

Tears still fell from her eyes but she tried her best to smile.

She had him there, trying his best to do everything the headmaster had asked of him, risking his life for many and one that is hers and she was in no place to be ungrateful at all costs.

“Miss Granger, I think you should-“

“Thank you.” Hermione whispered placing her head comfortably against him and her hand over his.

Snape did not say anything.

He simply nodded quietly and tried his best not to move around her.

He wasn’t feeling well about them being physically close together.

He didn’t like the idea of their bodies touching no matter how much or small of a part of their bodies touch close – he absolutely did not like the idea of it.

But he didn’t do anything against it at that moment.

He didn’t really return the favor but he didn’t do anything against it either.

Not tonight, perhaps.

 It was, her birthday after all.

“Happy birthday, Miss Granger.”

“Thank you, professor.” Hermione replied, sighing heavily and staring sadly at her cake.

Snape nodded and held her for what felt like a seemingly endless moment.

“Would you like to see what I’ve got you?” he gently asked reaching for the two other boxes.

“You’ve got me something?” she asked with a surprised tone.

Snape shook his head and nodded at her.

He almost smiled again at her expression.

He pulled over the two boxes and moved them closer to Hermione.

She quickly settled the cake aside and excitedly went for the two boxes.

She opened the first one and pulled the object inside it.

“Enchanted.” Snape said pointing his wand at it.

It was a golden lamp with intricate designs and the inside quickly lit with a glowing globe-like fire with bluish and gold colour floating inside the glass.

“What’s it for?” Hermione asked knowing what lamps are obviously for anyway.

Snape nodded and pointed at the second box.

Hermione stared at it.

The second box seemed more special since it had a ribbon and a gift-wrap in dark emerald colours.

She laughed and wiped her tears at the pun of it but she excitedly opened it anyway.

Her jaw quickly dropped and her eyes went very wide.

She seemed to have lost her words.

“Do you like it?” he asked her knowing she would anyway.

Hermione couldn’t speak.

She only nodded vigorously as she pulled the contents.

Four thick, large and expensive looking books were inside the box.

They were special edition, rare finds – a collection of the selections that contained a full an in-depth information and history of the largest wizarding schools all over the globe.

Hermione read the golden text of the first book “Hogwarts, Beauxbatons” the next one had “Durmstrang, Ilvermory” and had continued reading the other two books.

“Professor, how did you-“ Hermione asked with excitement running all throughout her body.

The look over her face told Snape that she had quickly forgotten of the day’s argument, the sadness on her having her first birthday with just him and their overall situation at the moment.

“I’m glad you liked them.” Snape said with a very short smile.

“Like them?” Hermione said happily. “I love them!” she said staring at all the books in her hands.

Snape only nodded.

“But how did you – how – they’re very rare and not to mention very, very expensive-“ Hermione said staring hungrily over the books in her hands.

Snape didn’t say anything.

 Hell yes they were very rare and hard to find and very expensive.

Well, they weren’t expensive since he had them for free and wasn’t rare to find because he found them from a box of books and other selections that Narcissa was about to discard the previous weekend when he visited her.

She informed him that she was discarding the contents of the library since it wasn’t being used for its true purpose and only Death Eater meetings and Draco was nowhere interested in reading any of them.

He asked if he could have a look around and Narcissa had said that he could take any book he would like no matter how plenty he wanted to take with him instead of them rotting in the library.

And the books he had given Hermione were some of the selections he had taken from the aisles of aisles in the large library of the Malfoy Manor.

She had informed him that these books have been ordered or bought and most of them had never been used nor read nor even opened from their original packaging.

The books in Hermione’s hands have been ordered and were only read once by Narcissa herself as she was looking for something about the community of Durmstrang students.

They were very much as good as brand new.

“Can I-“ Hermione asked unable to stop herself from pushing her luck. “I mean, it’s my birthday and I can – you’re going to allow me to take all these to my room and read, right?”

“They are yours, Hermione.” Snape replied, finally satisfied to see a smile on her face that was proof that she had completely forgotten all sadness she had since the other day.

“Oh my – oh my! Thank you! Thank you professor!” Hermione excitedly said.

Snape watched as she scrambled on her feet and had quickly placed the book back inside the box and had taken the lamp and placed it inside.

“I’m going to come back for the cake.” Hermione quickly said as she carried the two boxes from the floor.

Snape only nodded at her. “I’ll keep this away.”

“No, no-“ Hermione said with a smile as she walked to the door. “I’ll come back. I’ll bring some plates, professor. I’ll just bring these to my room.” Hermione excitedly called back.

Snape heard her excited footsteps fade away and turned back at the cake next to him.

What a day it has been.

He did not think that he was going to be able to pull up a good birthday for her.

He knew how she must be feeling but he was glad that even for just a split moment, just for a few hours, he would be able to take away the hurt in her eyes and the hurt of the reality that had been thrown at them.

 

 

 

 

“Hermione, I’m sorry.” Harry whispered placing his head gently over the table across from her and reaching out to take her hand.

He moved his fingers slightly from her hand that was one the table holding the book.

She was no longer reading to be honest. She had been livid and was merely trying to control her patience in order not to anger Harry.

Despite her fear of Harry and his anger management issues lately, Hermione recognized when she could possibly hold it against him.

“Hermione..”

“It’s fine.” Hermione said forcing herself to read again as she continued to ignore Harry.

She felt his fingers reaching out, making small and gentle circles at the back of her hand.

It was his signature move ever since their Hogwarts days.

He used to do it a lot especially when he knew he irritated her.

This form of caress was what usually worked before and he had hoped that it still worked.

Hermione ofcourse has not forgotten that moved and knew that he was that desperate to win her no matter what it takes.

“Just order Harry. I want to go home after.”

“I’m not hungry.”

“Then we should get home.” Hermione suggested snapping the book shut and getting up.

Harry grasped her wrist and raised his head from the table.

“Hermione, please-“

“What-“ she asked with a raised brow.

“Are you still mad?”

“Are you done about now?” she coldly asked back.

Harry stared up at her and breathed heavily. He let her hand go.

“I’m sorry about how I acted this morning.”

Hermione stared at him.

She could not trace if he was lying about being sorry or not.

“You don’t have to do that and you know that, Harry.”

“I know.”

“Harry, let’s get things straight here. I thought we are trying to live again?”

“We are!” he angrily said raising his voice again “Ofcourse we are!”

People stared at their direction at the café.

Hermione folded her arms and stared at him.

He gently reached out for her and she moved away and more people stared.

Harry forced a smile at her and reached out again.

“Please sit down and let’s talk.”

“I’ll only sit down if you promise not to raise your voice.”

“I promise I won’t raise my voice.”

Hermione nodded and slowly sat back down with a small smile over her face to ensure the audience awaiting more of their drama.

She looked back at Harry with the same scary gleam over his eyes again but she did not want to be scared of that anymore. Not when people were staring and could help her anytime Harry tries something physical against her.

“You need to control your anger.” Hermione said defiantly

Harry did not say anything. He only stared at her and Hermione knew that he was being that ‘scary Harry’ again as she would like to mentally call it.

“I’m not angry all the time.”

“Yes you are.” Hermione said with a distinguished irritation in her voice.

“Fine.”

“There you go.”

“What do you want me to do?” Harry asked back slightly banging his fists on the table.

Hermione stared at his hand and he quickly withdrew it from the table.

“Be reasonable and be open to talking to me. You can’t always just walk away or just throw things whenever you don’t feel like talking about things-“

“Do we talk about things, Hermione?” Harry asked her back. “Do we ever really talk about things?”

Hermione did not answer. That was something she knew was a part of her downside.

“Okay. I’ll talk to you, Hermione. I’ll tell you everything. But you also need to do the same. We can’t stay in this relationship if it would always be one-sided.”

Now it was Hermione’s turn to look weak again.

She looked away from him but tried to look passive still.

“Come Hermione. Let’s talk about this. We can absolutely talk about everything. Which would mean that you would have to tell me everything else that I’d like to know.”

“Harry-“

“You want to know where I’ve been last night?” he asked her. “I’ve been at Azkaban. Yeah, Auror duties. I went there as part of my Auror duties to know how a certain bastard is doing with his time at Azkaban.”

Hermione’s eyes widened in fear at his shameless revelation of his actions.

“No, don’t worry. I didn’t do anything. I wouldn’t do anything to really harm him. I’d rather enjoy the pleasure of knowing the idea that he’d suffer at the hands of those Dementors-“

“Is that why you got home angry and all this morning?” Hermione asked breathlessly. “Because you weren’t really satisfied with the hurt you caused him?”

Harry did not answer.

“I’ve already answered you where I’ve been and what I’ve done this morning. My turn to ask questions, don’t you think?”

“Harry-“

“No, Hermione, you said you wanted to talk about things- about everything. Alright here we are talking.”

Hermione suddenly looked pale.

 She withdrew her hand from across the table and was staring around her as if wanting some form of escape from him.

“Should I continue, Hermione?” Harry challenged her.

“Stop talking.”

“No, you wanted to talk so were talking now. Should I begin my questions-“

“I said, stop talking.”

“Where do you want me to begin Hermione?” Harry asked his eyes now gleaming with the same scary look he had with him.

“Harry, I said-“

“Should I begin to ask you why all those ten years you didn’t try harder escaping him? Or why everyone now thinks you’ve chosen your abductor over your fiancé? Or maybe should I just ask you why you didn’t tell me honestly in the first place about how he has used you and made you drink that pregnancy potion?”

Hermione looked back at him – Harry looked demented and aggressive at the same time.

It scared her and angered her as well.

“Why it’s so fucking obvious Hermione that he’d been physically abusing you and you deny that to the world and yet you tell me, you fucking tell me you want to marry me?!”

Harry had lost it.

And in a split second he also felt like he lost the ability to really feel.

A pain like he has not felt before passed through his cheek as if breaking his jaw.

Hermione had stood up and reached across the table and had slapped his face so hard that her hand actually made a mark at the side of his cheek.

Harry opened his eyes and was shaking in anger.

Hermione’s face was so red in anger she looked like she was going to blow up.

You have no right to judge me.” Hermione’s voice came after what felt like an eternity.

Tears started flowing down her cheeks but she did not seem to care at all especially at the people now openly gawking at their direction.

“You have no right to judge me or judge him or tell me these things because you have no idea what has really happened all those ten years! You are so ungrateful Harry! You are so ungrateful, you have no idea what he has done for us – for me and for you most of all! You have no idea what he has done for you of all people-”

“Then goddamnit, tell me!” Harry yelled back at her standing up and banging both his fists on the table.

Hermione slightly recoiled but did not move from her position.

“TELL ME HERMIONE!” Harry angrily screamed back at her. “TELL ME WHAT THE HELL HE DID TO YOU ALL THOSE YEARS AND WHY YOU DON’T WANT HIM IN AZKABAN WHEN HE DESERVES TO BE THERE MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE I KNOW OF!”

Two of the staff in the café had begun walking at their direction and the manager had walked at Harry’s side of the table.

He had kindly and quietly asked them to not cause a scene but they only continued to stare at one another.

One of the female staff walked behind Hermione and took her hand and handed her a napkin.

“Miss Granger-“ she whispered recognizing the pair of guests they have at the café.

“Thanks.” Hermione said wiping her face with it and then she grabbed her book from the table.

Harry stared with a livid expression all over his face and his fists balled at his sides.

“I’m going to see you at home.” Hermione quietly said and she threw the napkin back over the table and stared at Harry and turned from the table.

With the people staring at them and the staff around and the manager holding Harry’s shaking left arm, Harry stood quietly and watched as Hermione stormed out of the café bringing her cloak and dignity with her out of the café’s glass door.

 

 

 

“Hermione, let’s go to sleep.”

“I’m going to follow.”

“If you don’t come now I swear I’m going to smash that light.”

Hermione sniggered and continued reading the book in her hand she had been reading for three hours.

It had been her 21st birthday the previous day and Snape had given her several gifts she has never gotten tired of for the past few years.

Snape walked into their room as he finished his shower and found her by the fireplace in their bedroom.

She was sitting on the carpeted floor licking her fingers off as she flipped through another page with her chocolate-free hand.

The bottle of red wine was half empty next to her with her half-finished wine goblet, the large box of chocolate, truffles and eclairs lay open next to her and the box of varied new books of special editions of many kinds lay open on the carpeted floor.

“Someone’s still enjoying her birthday.” Snape commented seeing her gleeful smile as she read through the second book she had been occupied with the whole day.

He had left her early that morning to cross town and sell a couple of potions and had left her reading by the living room that morning.

He had come home and brought her dinner and she was left in the kitchens still reading as he showered, finished a couple of potions.

And now it was bedtime, she was still reading and was finishing the box of chocolates he had bought her the previous day for her birthday.

“Do you like my gift?” he asked as he dried his long strands of damp hair with a large towel.

“Hmmm.” Hermione merely replied finishing another truffle in her mouth and flipping another page.

Snape shook his head in his amusement of her.

He gently walked across the room and removed his robes wearing only his black pajamas.

“Hermione.”

“Yeah?” she asked mindlessly as she flipped another page of the book.

He stared down at her form on the carpeted floor.

Sometimes he felt jealous of those books she held dearly.

“I said, it’s time for bed.”

“Yeah, I’m going to follow.”

Snape waited and watched her grabbed another truffle and flip another page.

“Hermione-“

“I’m going to follow.”

He waited for a few more moments, just standing over her but she was still very emerged in the book she was reading.

He bent over and grabbed her glass of wine and had finished it in one go.

She didn’t even look up at him.

“Alright, that’s it, we’re going to bed.” Snape said.

He gently moved to her and grabbed the book from her hand and closed the box of chocolates.

“Hey – wait, I’m still reading –“ Hermione protested moving to where he was bringing the book and box of chocolates.

He tossed it towards the couch and held her arm.

“Severus-“

“I said, I want to go to bed.”

“I said, I’m going to follow.” Hermione moaned at him trying to grab her book and chocolate back.

Snape took hold of her waist and moved her away from the couch.

His black eyes met hers and he could tell that she was seriously irritated.

“I want to go to bed.” Snape simply repeated staring at her.

“I’m just finishing just one last chapter.”

“You’ve been reading all day.”

“Yeah, but you gave me those books. You’ve always told me to occupy myself with them.”

“When I’m fucking not around.” Snape said but not unkindly.

“But just one last chapter-“ Hermione protested as he placed his arms around her, moving it up and down the side of her thighs over her silk nightdress.

“Hermione, what did I say-“

“Just one last chapter – please-“

“No, I said it’s time to go to bed. You know the drill.”

Hermione frowned at him as she rolled her eyes.

“Are you being defiant?” he asked her.

Hermione frowned further.

He placed his long fingers beneath her chin and slowly made her to look at him.

“I asked you-“

“No.”

Snape stared at her.

He wanted her tonight. He really wanted her tonight.

The day had been tiring and very stressful and he would get home only to find her unwilling to have him for the night or not even looking forward to his presence.

“Do you prefer to read for the night?” he asked her.

Hermione quickly looked up at him.

She knew that tone too well.

“No.” Hermione answered truthfully. She bit her lower lip and moved closer to him.

“No what?”

“No, I don’t want to read the whole night. I’m just entertained and occupied with what I’m reading.”

“Well, if you prefer to read than-“

“No, Severus, it’s not like that-“

But she didn’t finish her words.

Snape had moved and pulled her hard against him and had given her a very deep kiss.

Hermione moaned and dropped the last bit of chocolate in her other hand she had been holding the whole time.

She gasped as he pulled from the kiss.

She could feel his hard-on between their bodies.

“Severus-“

“I’ve given you lastnight.” Snape whispered kissing her again, nipping her neckline, her chin and moving his hands all over her body.

“But I-“

“I’ve given you lastnight. Why can’t you give me tonight?”

“Are you counting the times we’re sleeping together now?” Hermione asked with fire in her eyes.

Snape’s black eyes flashed in anger at being questioned on the topic.

“Would you like to start counting the times we’re giving in to one another’s needs?” he asked back.

Hermione didn’t say anything.

She knew she did not have anything to say against that.

Yesterday was her birthday and he had given her presents more than enough for one birthday and had left her to enjoy them all throughout the night as he finished his part of the strong alcoholic drink he concocted for them and had passed out right after.  

“Hermione, I just want you.” Snape gently said now and she felt his fingers running up and down her thighs, moving beneath her silk clothing and creating circles over her skin.

She breathed heavily at the reaction her body had given away and how it shamelessly betrayed her.

Snape smiled at the way her body moved against her will.

“Please, sweetheart?” he whispered. “Sweetheart, please.. please..” he whispered against her neckline where he knew she was weak.

Snape moved his hand more confidently this time beneath her dress and was tinkering between her legs and gently pulling the garter of her undergarment.

“Yes?” he asked her softly moving his nose closer to her face. “Yes? Yes, Hermione?”

Hermione looked away but her body was betraying her by each moment that passed.

Snape moved his fingers further and felt the wetness between her legs and beneath her sheer clothing.

“Sweetheart?”

“Yes.” Hermione whispered breathlessly as he pulled away her undergarment and had quickly slid his finger inside of her whilst he carried her effortlessly with his other arm.

Snape moved and carried her back to their bed as he kissed and groped each part and inch of her that he could as he continued to intricately moved his finger between her wet folds.

Hermione lost her will against him as she knew that there was no use anyway.

He moved around her and had taken the initiative to take both of their clothes off.

Hermione soon found herself beneath him, his touches, his kisses and his caresses one more time for the nth night and the nth time.

He kissed and whispered words of comfort against her skin at each part he could reach.

Hermione closed her eyes and submitted herself at the sensation and fire he ignited in her entire body as whenever they made love together.

Tears welled up in her eyes and soon flowed at the side of her cheeks.

She closed her eyes tightly as Snape pushed her back against the bed, kissing the side of her face and licking the tears away uncaring what they were for anyway.

He moved about and in one, two, three and deep and hard thrusts, he moved in and out of her shaking her and fucking her completely to a mindless and blissful night.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Twenty Two 

Seven 

 

 

“Damn it!” Hermione angrily banged her fists against the laboratory door.

She had been trying for minutes now to use wandless magic to open Snape’s potions laboratory but to absolutely no cause. The wards upon the door were too strong and would only submit alliance to its master.

Panic was written all over her face as she walked back to the kitchen opening drawers after drawers looking for some tools or anything at all she could use to help him.

He had come back within the perimeter of the magic he casted around the cottage and Hermione had found him literary dying by the doorway.

Hermione had a few moments to decide what she had to do – her freedom or Snape’s life.

Without second thoughts, she had tearfully but not grudgingly chose the latter.

She had picked up his wand that had been abandoned next to his bloody figure on the floor and casted the protective charms back around the cottage and had literary dragged his professor back inside the cottage.

Staring longingly at the outside of the door, Hermione closed the door and warded them back again knowing that once done, there was no undoing that magic again once Snape awakens and the magic he has casted around their place becomes stronger again.

Right now, that wasn’t something she was deeply concerned about but how she was going to save his life.

His laboratory – where he kept most healing potions and bandages and other materials to save life – had been locked and heavily warded with magic. And for some bloody reason, his wand that she tried to use against it wouldn’t open the door.

The wand seemed to know that its master wasn’t the one using it for his sacred room.

She literary dragged him on the carpeted floor of their living room.

The hearth in the fireplace was still magically ignited as he would always leave it whenever he left her alone in the house so she quickly made sure that the comfort of a warm room was to be given to Snape.

Hermione ran back upstairs in his open bedroom and ransacked his drawers looking for new clothes for him and cloths or anything she could use to clean his body off blood and anything to stop the bleeding from his body.

Remembering the stashed excess old bandages he had used on her before, Hermione ran back to her room and opened the end table next to her bed.

She found several rolls and ran back downstairs.

Staring around his unconscious and bloody figure and the scattered objects around him, Hermione tried not to panic at the situation.

His wand was useless to her for some reason and her magic was nowhere useful at the moment since she did not have a wand herself and her wandless magic was very weak due to her suppressed ability to use magic for weeks now.

She could only heal him the Muggle way.

“Basin, water..” she whispered to herself running back to the kitchen and bathroom to look for a basin she could fill up with water.

Barefoot, panic-stricken and breathless, Hermione ran back and forth around the house looking for objects that could survive the life of her professor at that moment.

Minutes later, she was kneeling next to his still unmoving form over the carpeted floor.

She had first tended to the worst part of his body which was his shoulder blades that were severely wounded.

He looked like he had been whipped or cursed just right there.

She had cleaned his skin with water and the cloth and had quickly wrapped cloth and bandages over the heavily wounded area.

Then she focused on the rest of his body that was either dirty with blood and soil or had been wounded or bruised.

She was unconsciously crying as she rid him off all the damage over his body.

She was regretting every word she had yelled at him when she last saw him.

What was she going to do if he dies?

It wasn’t that she was going to be in peril or probably die alone in the cottage but the idea that she was going to lose her only ally. The thought for her at the moment was quite unbearable.

She had used every ounce of Muggle way knowledge she had to tend to all the wounds and give comfort to him as she created a small bed-like place by the fireplace using the sheets and pillows she had gathered from both their bedrooms.

The only consolation she got was that as she tended to the wounds, he would groan painfully giving her the impression that he was still very conscious and quite alive.

“You’re going to be alright, professor.” Hermione had said as she wiped the tears in her eyes with the back of hand.

She watched at his weakened figure that she was sure in deep pain.

“I’m here, I’m going to help you.” Hermione promised him not knowing if she could really do so without the magic that would completely heal him.

She knew the bandages weren’t enough and wouldn’t last for more than twenty four hours but she had no choice and there was nothing really she could do to close and heal the wounds without her or his magic to help the situation.

She gasped as he moved his body along the made-up bed she had created using several bed sheets and pillows from both their bedrooms in order to give him a comfortable position.

But she knew it was nowhere comfortable.

He was still slightly bleeding and the pain he had from the bruises weren’t really going to heal all on its own tonight.

His body was no longer used into healing the Muggle way but tonight, that was how it was going to be.

Hermione patiently tended and scrutinized every part of him that seemed not only bloody or bleeding but seemed hurt in any way.

She wiped and cleaned and rid him of anything that could say he had a rough night tonight with the damp and extra cloths and had only the bandages left over his wounds.

She could only guess that he was tortured by the Dark Lord and his fellow Death Eaters or they had a clash with most probably, Aurors of the Ministry or anyone from Harry’s side.

Momentarily, her mind wandered and remembered Harry.

Could Snape have seen her beloved Harry hours ago?

Hermione shook her head and quickly focused again at the task at hand.

 “This might help you, professor.” Hermione whispered as she opened a small bottle and had forcedly poured its contents to his mouth making sure he swallowed each drop.

She had found a small bottle in his room that was labelled as a pain reliever to be taken and had recognized it when he let her drink it before.

He only groaned and turned back over the bed she had created for him.

She tried to move him and talk to him but he was not answering nor making any sounds anymore.

Despite that his breathing pattern seemed rigid and heavy, she knew that he was slightly better and had most probably fallen into an uneasy sleep.

“Professor, I need to know how I can get rid of the wards in your laboratory..There must be something in there that could help you.”

He did not answer her.

She only heard him groan out something and he had completely zoned out after that.

Hermione had stared at him and was crying silently at his form.

Despite that she had tended dutifully to the first-aid needs, she was sure that what she did wasn’t enough and he could still be hurt in the morning.

She stayed up for another hour, watching him sleep and waiting for him to wake up to use his magic to help her find a way to help him. But he didn’t wake up.

His breathing was labored and heavy giving her the idea that he was still in pain but at the least, he was breathing. She only needed to make sure that it does not stop.

She was halfway into a nightmare from her half-awake state when she felt his rigid movements next to her on the carpeted floor.

Hermione opened her eyes and was quickly alarmed to find him slightly shaking.

“Damn it.” Hermione whispered, scrambling around the carpeted floor.

She stared at his form and wondered what could be wrong.

She quickly checked the bandages but he was no longer bleeding heavily.

So what was wrong?

She stared at him and tried to look for what could be causing his movements until it hit her.

He was having a feverish attack.

She placed her hand over his forehead and around his neck and she was right.

He was having some sort of convulsion from a fever that was clamoring up high. It could be due to his bleeding or some sort of infection from the wounds.

“What to do.. what to do..” Hermione silently cried trying to wake herself fully and thinking hard on what to do.

She limped and ran back up the stairs again to his room to grab the last sheet from his bed to cover on his convulsing form back in the living room.

Hermione quickly covered him with sheets after sheets of cloth in order to keep him from getting any colder from the fever that was attacking his body now.

Hermione stood and looked around her for anything else she could use.

She grabbed the last small cloth from across the floor and quickly changed the water from the basin and soon returned from the kitchen carrying new water with her.

She damped the cloth several times and placed it over his forehead to comfort him and to lower the fever.

He was shivering harder than ever.

“Professor! What am I gonna do!” Hermione cried out loud not really knowing anymore what to do.

She was forcing herself not to panic but it wasn’t exactly that easy. Not when she was with someone close to dying and there wasn’t any help she could get from nor any form of magic she could use.

She hated herself, she hated herself more than ever as she felt very stupid and felt that her so-called brilliant mind was of no use any longer.

She should not have fought him earlier and should have behaved as she was expected of her age despite their situation.

But he had angered her and he had left her for some sort of ‘work’ he had excused himself.

She knew he got fed up with her and she now regretted deeply all the words she had yelled right at him.

She regretted him finding out about the letters she kept for Harry.

“Professor, what do I do..” Hermione cried touching his hand beneath the sheets she had covered him under, “Professor.. please, please wake up..”

Hermione breathed heavily and tried to think straight and not panic at what she was doing.

She had tended well to the wounds, and she had stopped the bleeding but he now had a fever.

They were at the living room, next to the hearth of the fireplace that was already obviously warming and heating the temperature around them but the fever he was having was relentless.

Where else could she get heat to secure his worsening condition?

Hermione’s eyes widened at a sudden idea she had read somewhere before.

She stared at his suffering body and bit her lower lip.

It was the stupidest idea of it all but it could just save his life.

She was ofcourse reluctant, but it seemed logical seeing that the wand next to her was nowhere useful anyway.

Nervous and unsure, Hermione moved herself over the carpeted floor and had moved beneath the same sheets where he was on the bed she had made up on the floor.

“Uh.. professor.. I’m not sure.. I really don’t know what to do but this might help. This might just help and I swear I’m going to just do it for a few minutes.”

Hermione reluctantly moved beneath the sheets with an unsure head and a guilty conscience.

She slowly took off her clothes and left only her pair of undergarments.

She moved towards and closer her own professor and had placed her slightly shaking arm around him and slid it under the black long-sleeved shirt she found in his room earlier to change him into.

“Body heat.. body heat..” Hermione kept muttering and reminding herself that it was only for that very reason she was doing this and nothing else.

It wasn’t an easy decision for her though it seemed the most logical at the moment.

She had hated the idea of it but she had no choice.

But it did not make any less easy for her to decide on.

These past few days and weeks, she had been battling with herself about some ‘things and thoughts’ she had been having towards Snape – her professor.

She had reprimanded herself several times and had hated how these unwanted thoughts were crossing her head every time he was around or anywhere close her perimeter.

She wasn’t sure if she was having some ‘stupid crush’ over his intellectual side or if she was merely infatuated at the heroic deeds he was doing for them or if she was just completely running mad due to the course of their situation.

Nevertheless, she had tried her best to push these thoughts off her head and away from her and had kept her distance from him as much as she could possibly do so.

Snape seemed to be the same anyway – he was always distant if not indifferent.

But tonight, she would have to face these devilish and insane thoughts inside her head incase they attack her.

She was doing this for him, for his health and well-being.

She couldn’t let him suffer further and die with the fever.

Not when they weren’t alright and that the last time they’ve talked, they weren’t in good terms anyway.

She felt more guilty than ever.

Hermione moved her almost naked body beneath the sheets and laid herself next to him, securing him with the body heat she was giving off.

She placed her head behind his bandaged shoulder blades and had rested her arms tightly around him as she pulled the blankets closer and tighter around them.

“Professor, please be well.. please be well…” she silently muttered as tears came down her cheeks.

She couldn’t lose him. No, she just couldn’t lose him.

He was the only living being she had at the moment and if something bad does happen to him she wasn’t sure what was going to happen next.

If he had been injured tonight by the Death Eaters or the Dark Lord himself and dies because of it, they will surely look for him if he stops reporting. And given that, they would surely trace him and his magic thus – tracing their place and finding her.

And everything they had gone through would be for absolutely nothing.

“Please be well.. please be well.” Hermione silently prayed, whispering words of comfort against his back as tears streamed down her face.

She felt both shameful and ridiculous at what she was doing but she didn’t really have a choice.

Her bare arms and legs were hung over him and she had pushed her body closer his so that the body heat she was giving off could be felt further by his.

She lay against him, silently crying and praying and hoping against hope that his fever would go down with this method and that he would also be well in a few hours because she did not know what to do without him.

 

 

 

 

Hermione’s eyes momentarily passed the bouquet of red roses at the foot of their bed and at Harry who was kneeling at the end of the bed holding it.

“I’m not seven or seventeen, Harry.” Hermione snapped returning her gaze at the book in her hand.

“I know you’re not.” Harry quietly answered.

Hermione did not say anything on the truth of his words.

“Hermione, I don’t want to fight anymore.”

“I don’t want either, Harry.” Hermione answered. “But you’re making it harder every day.”

“I’m sorry. I’m trying to change, aren’t I?” he asked her.

Although he knelt by the bed, Hermione could sense the struggle he had in him of holding back his anger.

“You’re trying but not hard enough. You’re angry all the time, Harry.”

“It’s not easy for me.”

“Neither for me.” Hermione answered her.

She kept her face passive and her eyes on the book.

She felt his movement across the bed.

He moved over the bed and laid himself by her legs that was across the bed.

“Hermione.” Harry gently whispered placing his hand over her knee. “I’m sorry.”

“I know you are.” Hermione said. “It’s fine. Let’s not talk about it anymore.”

“You’re not fine.” Harry answered. “And I know things are not alright.”

Harry moved closer and placed his hand over the book.

Hermione held it tighter.

“Hermione..”

“Harry..”

“Mione please?” Harry said gently.

He moved his fingers on top of hers and gently caressed her.

Hermione heavily sighed and rolled her eyes at him.

“What?”

“Please, let’s talk. This is ridiculous.”

“You’re being ridiculous.”

“You slapped me.” Harry had reminded her.

“Do you want me to remind you that you’ve done the same thing to me?” Hermione challenged him.

Harry’s eyes flashed in anger.

For a moment, Hermione thought he was going to do something again but he didn’t.

He only sighed and kissed the back of her hand.

Hermione let the book go so she could withdraw her hand away from him.

Harry moved further the bed and pushed the book and sheets away from him and advanced towards her.

“Harry-“

“’Mione, please let’s talk..”

“Harry, let my arm go-“ Hermione gasped as Harry held both her hands by now and was holding her down against the bed.

Her face turned slightly pale at what he was doing.

He had moved closer her and was aiming to kiss her.

“Harry-“ Hermione warningly said. “Let my arm go if you want to talk-“

“No, let’s just make up for the whole thing-“ Harry whispered against her neck trying to reach for her and kiss her lips.

Hermione angrily nudged and moved him off from her and quickly scrambled to the other end of the bed.

She heard Harry angrily cursed but he didn’t do anything.

He slowly turned to her as he straightened his clothes.

He looked like he was struggling not to hit her again.

Hermione stared up at him, waiting for his hand to hit her or his words to be screamed at her face.

“I’ve tried, Hermione.” Harry spat getting himself off the bed. “I’ve really, really tried.”

She watched as he grabbed the roses from the end of the bed and hastily threw it on the carpeted floor.

Hermione watched him step on it on his way towards the door.

“Where are you going?”

“None of your bloody business.” Harry angrily yelled back at her as he exited their room and slammed the door very hard.

 

 

 

 

“Well?” asked a soft voice by the doorway. “Are you still going to deny it to me?”

Snape turned from the bed and saw Draco standing by her mother’s doorway.

He stood there with arms folded and a cold expression over his face.

He walked inside the room and stared over at Narcissa who was sleeping blissfully on the four-poster bed.

They were having dinner and had Snape and Bellatrix for the night when out of the blue, Narcissa began to rigidly shake and had collapsed in the dining hall.

Snape quickly tended to her while Lucius and Bellatrix Disapparated to the Dark Lord’s presence in order to ask permission and beg for Snape not to be summoned within the coming few hours or day because of what happened to Narcissa.

It was only Draco, Snape and Narcissa that were in the manor that night as they waited for the other two to return.

Snape stared up at Draco with a narrowed glare from his black eyes.

“It’s half past one, Draco. You need to go to bed.”

“I’m not seven.” Draco reminded him as he closed the door behind him and crossed the room.

He stopped next to the bed and sat at the edge and stared down at the sleeping form of Narcissa.

“She is only exhausted.” Snape simply said. “I’ve already administered the potions she needed.”

Draco did not say anything but Snape saw his fists were clenching at his side.

“Is everything alright?” he asked him.

Draco stared sharply up at him as if he was struggling not to hit him.

“When will you tell me the truth?” Draco quietly asked. “When she’s about an inch from her death?”

Snape sighed heavily and folded his arms.

“Like I’ve said, I’ve already tended to her needs.” Snape pointed at the table near the bed where bottles of potions were laid out next to a roll of parchment.

“What do you want me to do?” Draco angrily said. “Act as if everything is alright when I know it isn’t?”

“The instructions to the potions and which ones to be given and taken by Narcissa in the right hours and times of the day are on the parchment. I’m quite sure you know how to read and you can help your father tend to these things. Your aunt Bella would surely want to help out.”

“And where are you going?” Draco asked in a mocking tone. “Are you going to go back to your little pet?”

Snape’s black eyes flashed at him at the word he had used.

But he did not say anything.

No matter what Draco says, he wasn’t going to be affected. He was stronger than Draco in aspects more than one.

“I need to leave within an hour.” Snape simply said turning away from the bed and gathering some of his things from the table where he had quickly concocted a potion for Narcissa.

“What’s wrong with her?” Draco repeated and this time, it was in pure form of demand.

“Draco, I already told you that your mother-“

“You’re not fucking going to leave this room until you tell me what the fuck is wrong with her!”

Draco had drawn his wand out and was pointing it directly at Snape’s chest.

Snape wasn’t sure if he wanted to be amused at that moment or wanted to reprimand him for the stupidity he was doing.

“I’ve already told you that I am fucking not a seven year old you can lie to anymore!”

“Draco, lower your voice, your mother needs rest and she’s going-“

“You need to tell me and you would tell me right now what’s happening with her! What is fucking wrong with her!”

“Draco, I said-“

“I warn you, I’m going to use this against you if you don’t tell me – don’t give me bullshit that-“

“Draco, I said lower your voice and lower your wand. You do not need to do this. Your mother is well. She is only stressed and exhausted due to the things happening around-“

“She’s not a warrior or a soldier in this war so there’s nothing to stress her out there.” Draco pointed out at him.

Snape stared back at the boy, calculating his movements to ensure that he wasn’t about to hurt Narcissa on the bed between the two for them nor himself.

“Draco, I’m warning you-“

“I don’t give a damn if you’re keeping that Mudblood anymore, just tell me what’s going on with my mother. I have the right to know – I am his son and I have the right to know!”

“Draco, I said lower your wand before your hurt yourself or Narcissa-“ Snape warningly said seeing green sparks emitting from the end of Draco’s wand.

He stared back at his godson who was wearing a look of anger, fear and desperation over his face.

He knew too well what he was going through but he couldn’t tell him.

Narcissa made him promise and he has never broken any promise he had made with this woman he called as his only true friend.

“Don’t tell me what to do!” Draco angrily yelled at him and another jet of green spark emitted again.

Snape had drawn his wand out now incase he had to suddenly attack or disarm him.

“I want you to bloody tell me the truth! She’s dying isn’t she?!” Draco demanded with tears forming at the lids of his eyes.

“Draco, calm yourself down and-“

“Don’t fucking tell me what to do!” Draco angrily yelled again. “Tell me about her! She’s dying isn’t she!”

Draco cried and glanced for a moment at Narcissa’s form.

She had gone very thin and face was always pale.

Despite her glamorous clothes and her finesse features, she had grown to be unrecognizable to those who do not see her often.

“She’s dying, isn’t she?!” Draco yelled at him. “Why don’t you – why won’t you tell me! I want to know! I have the right to know! I’m her son! I’m her son! I am her bloody son and I have the right to know if she’s dying! Please…”

Snape looked away from Draco.

He did not need to feel Draco’s anger and pain as well. He already has too much of that from the cottage.

“Draco, please. Your mother is-“

“She’s not well so don’t lie to me! I just want to know! I just want to  - I’m not a child anymore – I have the right to-“

“DRACO!” a cold and harsh voice had spoken.

They both looked up and saw Lucius and Bellatrix standing by the doorway.

He was looking very angry at Draco while Bellatrix looked very surprised at the scene before them.

She quickly moved towards Narcissa on the bed and held her close in her hand.

Snape looked disgusted as he moved away from the bed to make way for her.

“What foolishness is this?” Lucius asked as he walked towards the room.

One flick from his serpentine staff and Draco’s wand flew into his hand and Draco was left empty handed.

“I want to know what’s going on.” Draco asked in a controlled voice.

Lucius stared at his son and could read his thoughts through his angry and vulnerable mind .

“Your mother is well.” Lucius assured him firmly “This is her age catching up and her exhaustion from this war-“

“You’re going to lie to me too?” Draco angrily asked his father.

His eyes strayed from him then at Snape and back again.

“Draco, I suggest you go back to your room-“

“I said I’m not seven!” Draco yelled at Lucius. “You believe him?” Draco pointed at Snape.

Snape did not do anything.

He silently stood there watching Draco’s breakdown.

“You believe him father or you have completely no idea of what’s going on too?”

Lucius did not say anything.

He looked livid.

He never wanted to be thought of as ignorant from anything that he was supposed to know anyway.

“Draco, your mother is sick at the moment but she will be well. There’s nothing for you to-“

“I can’t believe you don’t know anything about it. And you?” he angrily turned to Bellatrix.

Bellatrix stared back at Draco with eyes wide.

It was the first time that Snape saw her as speechless and unknowledgeable about something.

“Draco.” Bellatrix whispered softly. “Sweetheart, your mother is-“

“You’re also going to lie to me?” Draco asked her.

Snape saw a glimmer of tear passed his face as he turned to his beloved aunt Bellatrix.

“Draco, sweetheart, no it’s just-“

“It’s either you’re going to lie to me or you also don’t know anything about what’s going on with her!”

Lucius looked like he had enough and Bellatrix looked stricken at Draco’s accusation

“I’m not an idiot!” Draco yelled at the three adults in the room. “I’ve observed my own mother. I watch her every single day and I see signs and see physical attributes in her that is not normal! I know something is wrong – I know something is terribly wrong – she’s dying! Why don’t you just admit it to me that my mother is dying!”

His cries echoed all over the large room of the manor.

Bellatrix looked away from Draco and stared at her sister on the bed as she held her hand.

“If she dies.” Draco slowly said as he turned to Lucius. “If she dies - you’re never going to see me again. I swear that. I swear that to her grave.”

And without another word, Draco left the room banging the heavy doors behind him.

Silence took over the room.

Snape heavily breathed and was the first one to speak.

“I’ve tended to everything, Lucius. Narcissa will be well as soon as she gets enough sleep.”

Lucius only nodded as he stared at the sleeping and pale figure of his wife on their elegant four-poster bed.

Snape nodded and turned to the door to leave.

“What are we not telling Draco?” Bellatrix’s voice suddenly asked.

Snape stopped from his tracks.

It was the very first time he had heard her tone like it.

There was no trace of lunacy, boast or anger in her voice or anything in particular that was her persona.

No, her tone was very low, clear and serious.

 It was as if it wasn’t her that had spoken.

“What is it that we are not telling Draco?” she repeated with her eyes focused on her sister’s sleeping form.

Snape closed his eyes and tried to control and suppress any possible expression from his face.

He wasn’t sure what to answer

 But before he could do so, Lucius had clearly spoken.

“Nothing.” Lucius’ tone was firm. “There is nothing for Draco to know because there is nothing to know.”

For a moment, another silence fell. Then to both Lucius’ and Snape’s surprise, a sound of what was like suppressed tears or the slightest hint of sniff came from Bellatrix.

“I am not Draco. I am not a child.” Bellatrix whispered softly. “I am not to be lied to about Cissy’s condition.”

Lucius and Snape stared at one another for a moment.

“I supposed that Narcissa will tell you if something is wrong with her.” Snape simply said. “You are her dearest sister. I believe that she would entrust you things she wouldn’t to others. I also believe that you would be the first to know if something wrong befalls her.”

A tear fell from Bellatrix’s eyes.

She did not say anything anymore.

And with that, Snape left the room without another word but only with a very heavy heart.

 

 

 

 

 

“Fuck.” Draco cursed staring at his godfather. “Fuck. How the fuck did this happen?”

He looked beyond angry as he stared at the bandaged head of his godfather.

He had visited prison in order to fix their discussion for the following trial only to find him with a bandaged head and a broken nose.

He pointed his wand over his nose and with a painful groan, his nasal muscles turned to its normal place as Draco fixed it.

“You bloody hell tell me.” Snape said shaking his head. “Or I think we both know how.”

Draco wasn’t sure if he wanted to break Harry’s nose at that moment.

He knew that he was desperate but he wasn’t particularly happy with how desperate he seemed lately.

His actions were becoming alarming by the moment and his main concern rests with Hermione’s well-being.

“We need someone to ask for a court order for Hermione to be out of Harry’s custody.”

“How brilliant.” Snape spat at him. “Potter is as good as her guardian. He’s her fiancé, remember.”

“If I can only summon her parents and all that shitload.” Draco said shaking his head.

“We both know you can’t.” Snape pointed out. “Remember that Hermione Obliviated them and last I know, it’s her decision to keep it that way. We don’t want them to suddenly remembering her and asking further questions. It will only further damage a lot of things.”

“I know that.” Draco said burying his face in his hands. “I don’t know what to do.”

Truth was that, he had a lot of things he could possibly think of doing but they were only going to complicate things.

“Can’t we have her in Lupin’s custody?” Snape suggested.

Draco shook his head. “And on what grounds?”

“For Harry’s unstable mentality.” Snape answered him.

Draco shook his head. “We have no evidence on that one. The evidence has to be a hard one.”

“Yeah, well right now we’re very short on that.”

“He not going to hurt her. Not to a certain point anyway.”

They both fell silence on the truth on that.

Harry might seem mentally unstable and he could be doing things that were beyond what was necessary, but they knew that he wouldn’t go overboard for what was at stake.

“So we’re going bank on the idea that he wouldn’t hurt her because he loves her?” Snape asked him.

“I think..”

You think?” Snape asked irritably. “Draco, the reason he’s hurting her is because he loves her – he’s obsessed with her!”

“Well I kind of have figure that one out, thanks!” Draco irritably said standing from the table and turning away from him.

Snape heard him curse over and over again.

“Calm yourself down.” Snape said seeing the frustration over his face. “This will not help us.”

Draco crushed the fine strands of his blonde hair and sat back down before Snape.

“Yeah, well I’m running out of things and ideas lately.”

“No, you’re going to find a way.” Snape replied. “We’re going to find a way. We must be patient.”

“Yeah, tell me about being patient. You’re the one in there.”

“Yeah, would you like to switch places?” Snape angrily asked him looking as frustrated as his godson.

“The trial is two days away. There must be another way of putting and tilting the balance off again.”

“Yeah, well while you figure that one out I need to go back to my cell.” Snape said standing up from the table.

“I just got here.”

“Yeah, well I’m not feeling well. My head still bloody fucking hurts.” Snape said and without another word he turned away from Draco and walked back to the door that would lead him back to his form of hell.

 

 

 

 

 

The door had burst open and all heads turned to the double doors.

“Is it true? Is this true? Where are they? Where is she?”

Everyone at the room stared at Harry who had come in three in the morning for the emergency meeting of the Aurors at the Minsitry of Magic.

He was on leave for quite some time now but a news unlike anything they have been expecting had suddenly come out several hours ago.

Remus Lupin entered the room after Harry and had closed the door behind them.

“Harry, calm yourself down. We’ve only been hinted about it.”

“Don’t tell me to calm down!” Harry angrily said. “I’m not seven goddamnit!”

They all stared at him and his loss of temperament once more.

It was becoming a habit and had become a trademark of him since Hermione had vanished without a trace many years ago.

“I don’t care what we got!” Harry angrily said as he turned to his old professor Lupin. “Something has turned up!”

Kingsley, the Minister himself, had stood from the head chair and had walked to Harry’s side.

The other Aurors began discussing things that Harry did not really understand at the moment.

“Harry, let’s talk. Calm yourself down first.”

“What did you find out?” Harry quickly asked staring around the room with wide eyes.

A Patronus from Kingsley had been sent to Harry but he did not really think that he would come down three minutes after sending it and that Harry would come down at the new Auror’s headquarters at that hour.

“What did you find out?” Harry repeated impatiently.

Kingsley grabbed a parchment from the table and nodded at it and handed it to Harry.

“Sources from this particular place had sent message that these names were triggered. We are still checking Harry to ensure that it is legit.”

Harry nodded vigorously and stared at the parchment he was handed.

It was a map and a parchment of message from another Auror at another place in Europe.

“It could be them-“

“No, it’s them.” Harry had said staring at the two names clearly written and scrawled over the parchment.

“Harry, we’re not yet sure. We need to check the legitimacy.”

“We’re going in right?” Harry hurriedly asked him. “This is sure, Kingsley. You’ve got to believe me.”

Kingsley stared at the boy in front of him. He could feel the tension from him and the anger that was slowly rising.

He was slowly regretting informing him about what they found out and had thought if he should have told him in a later time.

“I would have someone look in-“

“NO!” Harry angrily said.

People stared at them and Lupin had to walked behind Harry to grab his hand back gently.

“Harry, let’s talk-“

“No, Remus!” Harry said. “This is the first time – you hear me? The first time in a very long time that a source this informative and this precise and specific has been sent to us – it’s them! IT’S THEM! I’M QUITE SURE IT’S THEM!”

The Aurors around the room were all looking at Harry as if he had lost his marbles.

He turned back to Kingsley as he read through the parchment.

“Is this the place?” he asked them pointing at the certain point from the map. “Is this where?”

“We’ve traced that it came from this particular place.” Kingsley pointed out helping Harry understand the linings created around the map and the notes all over it.

“Who’s your source?” Harry asked as he created his own markings and notes over the map.

“Someone from the closest city from Beltane.”

“How did they trace it?” Harry asked reading through the travel guide at the side notes.

“The Ministry has connected office across the globe, Harry.”

“I see. How did their names come up? I mean, how come – after all these years?”

Kingsley stared at Harry then quietly at Lupin whom he had spoken to before Harry.

“Harry, perhaps we should leave the other particular details for the Aurors to study. What’s important is that we’ve already got a traceable location-“

“Where were they traced?” Harry asked Lupin and Kingsley in a firmer tone.

He looked at the two and knowing them for a long time now, he knew they were keeping something.

“Well?” he asked them both with a raised tone.

He lowered the parchments in his hand with his wand still firmly held in his other hand.

Kingsley looked like he did not want to answer and Lupin looked like he wanted to hit Kingsley for calling them at that hour.

“Their names came up at a smaller branch of an office that resembled the Ministry.” Kingsley said unable to keep it anymore from Harry.

“And?” Harry asked.

Kingsley nodded at Lupin who sighed heavily and gave Kingsley a threatening glare.

“Professor?” Harry asked turned to his friend, confidant and father-figure.

Lupin heavily sighed and walked closer to Harry.

“What’s going on?” Harry asked his voice shaking. “I want to know what’s going on!” he angrily demanded.

Lupin pointed at a certain location at the map and nodded at him.

“Their names came up from the office that had magical tracks and records that were connected in the Ministry of Magic were their births have been registered that quickly notified our Ministry that they are looking for their records in order to use them for something.”

“Use for something?” Harry asked turning to Lupin. “What office were they traced from?” Harry asked.

Lupin looked at him with a deeply concerned look over his face.

“Marriage Registry Office, Harry.”

No word came from Harry.

 Except that the next thing they knew, both Lupin, Kingsley and the other Aurors close to Harry had come running after him and were calling his name and yelling some warnings  after he blasted his wand on the floor from shock and anger and had stormed out of the room without another word.

 

 

 

A breakfast buffet seemed to have been laid out for Hermione as she woke up the following morning.

The previous day wasn’t well and this morning was another of those days they were going to try. Or rather, one of the days when Harry wasn’t going to force another ‘try’ on their relationship.

All her favourite breakfast dishes were laid in the dining table and Harry was wearing all smile in his face as he finished the platter of pancakes for her.

“Morning, sweetheart.” Harry said pulling up a chair for her.

Hermione did not say anything.

A frown was worn over her face as she sat down on the chair anyway.

She was getting tired of this routine.

They always fought and a few hours later, Harry would act as if he did not hurt her – physically or emotionally at all.

It was maddening her.

“Would you like to eat here or in the living room?” Harry asked her.

“Why would I want to eat there?” she quietly asked as she grabbed a plate across the table.

“I have a surprise for you there. You can go and check for yourself.”

Hermione stared at his kind face. It reminded her of the smile he always wore in their so-called ‘Hogwarts Days’ – a reality that was very far now.

“Go on,” Harry said, “I’m still finishing the bacons.”

Hermione nodded at him not wanting to stay in the dining at all anyway.

She quickly walked to the living room wondering what surprise that could be this time.

Walking in, she wondered what it could be until she saw it.

About seven really large boxes lay open on the carpeted floor.

Hermione walked over to the boxes and read the labels.

They were special editions and selections of various of books that Harry had obviously ordered.

He was spending more and more money everyday in order to please her.

Hermione knelt on the carpeted floor to check out the selections of books until her hand froze in mid-taking one of the books from the boxes.

Her eyes narrowed and she frowned.

She pulled the boxes nearer her and quickly went for the labels on each box.

Harry had walked into the room and he was wearing a proud smile over his face.

“Bacons are ready.” Harry announced. “You can take a book and bring in the dining or should I bring the food in here?” he asked happily.

Hermione was frozen on her spot on the carpeted floor.

It wasn’t the money Harry had been spending or wasting for her lately that was scaring or alarming her at that very moment, nor was it the smile he was wearing over his face that scared her at that moment.

But it was the titles and selections of books written over the boxes that Harry had just bought her.

They were all the very same selections, editions and titles of precisely each and every book that Snape had in their cottage at Beltane.

 The very same amount and titles of books that Snape had given and bought her through all those years they had spent together at the cottage of Beltane.

 

 

 

 

 

Snape heavily breathed as he walked down the empty white corridors.

 This was a suicide mission.

He wanted to turn back, he wanted to run away from it but he knew he couldn’t.

It was the right thing to do.

And she was waiting for him to fulfill his promise to her.

Despite that he had already passed scathed-free the main entrance and three more hallways as he reached the elevators that led to the twelfth floor, he still felt nervous as hell.

His only consolation was that Narcissa had come true to her word as always.

Her connections had made sure that his entry at St. Mungo’s would be untraceable and of completely stealth.

He had his entry at east and had not come across anyone along the way.

Her measurement of time and her ability to predict all possible obstacles and how to evade them all still astounded Snape.

He had reached the last floor as the elevator doors opened for him at the final floor.

He only needed to walk down this empty corridor and at the very end was the very room he was looking for.

Garbed in his travelling cloak and a hood that kept his face well-hidden, Snape continued to walk down the corridors with hand inside his cloak ready with his own wand if every something goes wrong from their original plan.

As he reached the last hallway that would lead him to the double doors at the end of the hallway, he had found himself walking opposite from two wizards that had just left the double doors.

He halted from his steps and had quickly stopped and walked stealthily closest to the wall watching them turn another corridor where a staircase could be found.

He had memorized the full map of St. Mungo’s and he was sure that unless they turn back from the staircase, he would not be found at all.

The moment they vanished from sight, Snape quickened his footsteps and soon he had reached for double doors.

He stared at the double doors and pulled out his wand.

As expected, the room was heavily warded.

But he did not come unprepared.

Uttering an incantation that only a very few people knew of from the hospital, Snape muttered the charm that turned down all spells casted to protect the room he was about to enter.

Snape took a mental note to congratulate Narcissa on informative, how resourceful and useful Narcissa’s connections were in comparisons to her husband’s.  

Snape breathed heavily as he pushed the double doors and entered the large room.

It was a very large room that held two long tables at the end of the room where potions of sorts were laid out and a smaller table where other necessary hospital supplies were spread-out.

Snape walked further to the room and halted only halfway through the destination he came from.

A very large bed with sheer white beddings was at the end of the room.

It took a lot more of courage and will from Snape for him to continue his halted steps.

He heavily breathed and walked forward and closer to the bed.

Once there, he slowly took his wand out and stared down at the person laid on the bed.

Harry Potter, unconscious and vulnerable as he had ever been was laid on it.

Wires of sorts were connected all over his skin like some sort of life-support.

Snape stood before the boy that had been there for weeks and weeks now.

The war was far from over and the light side of the war was not going to win until this boy recovers from the magical comma that embedded him into a very deep sleep.

Snape stared down at the boy and how he looked like his father more than ever only because his eyes were closed and the emerald orbs that resembled that of her mother were not visible.

Snape wasn’t sure if this was what he truly wanted but he knew that it was what must be done.

But what knackered his conscience deep down was that he knew he wasn’t doing this because the light has to win but because she had begged him to save his life.

Dumbledore had asked him to save anyone he could.

But he was about to save this spawn of the man he hated more than anyone all his life not because the headmaster has asked him nor because the world needed him… but because she desperately loved him.

Snape tried to suppress the emotions he knew were starting to show on his pale face.

Knowing he was wasting time, he slowly took out the vial from the innermost pocket of his cloak.

He stared at the bluish content shimmering inside of it.

It had taken him all his energy and effort together with hours and hours spent to create this potion.

It had also taken great damage on Hermione’s side.

But most of all, it had taken his last remaining memory of ‘her’ to create this potion.

A few hours ago, it was mere potion and a separate ingredient. Not potion and ingredient were one.

He stared at the vial in his hand and knew the contents inside of it, the effect it would provide and the memories now being held within the potion.

He pointed the tip of his wand over the stopped and it slowly dissolved and had turned into what looked like a very pointed end.

Snape stared at the vial and the glimmering bluish potion inside of it.

He could not help himself but think twice if he was going to administer it.

He knew it was the right thing to do.

But once the boy awakens..

There was no undoing it once the enchantment of the potion is administered.

Snape held the vial tightly in his hand.

He kissed it gently as if bidding goodbye to the last memory of his last love he had ever had with a tear forming within his black eyes.

Snape breathed heavily as he prepared to administer the potion to Harry still blissful upon the bed before him.

He was about to check his arms when he heard it.

There was commotion outside and he could hear hurried footsteps coming down the stairs and the hallways.

He was suddenly very alert at the sounds he heard.

He could not be seen there at all costs.

It would endanger himself and he would endanger the boy and will cost everything he had been working so hard for.

He grabbed the boy’s wrist and suddenly, an alarm had gone off in the entire room.

Snape cursed as red lights and a hail-like howl began screeching from the room.

He was going to get caught.

He turned back and let Harry’s limp arm go but the alarm did not stop.

There must have been some sort of protective charms within the bed’s perimeter that he had passed through and did not notice.

He looked around him and at both his arms seeing wires tangled all over him.

He would not be able to place the vial’s point at his wrists because it may collide with the other potions being administered directly through his veins.

The voices and hurried footsteps outside grew louder and closer the room.

Snape’s black eyes ran around him and all over Harry’s body looking for a place to administer the vial’s point.

When he no longer had any choice knowing time was running out and people would be bursting inside the room any moment now, he had come to sudden and unfazed decision.

Snape moved closer the bed and had grabbed Harry’s arm and with all his strength, had moved his limp and unconscious form to the side.

Holding it firmly so he could balance him and he would not fall back into place or would turn over his stomach, Snape used his free hand and took the vial in his hand.

He hurriedly inched up the white hospital robes he was wearing and had found a perfect spot right around his ribcage.

Without thinking twice as he knew he was running out of time, Snape stabbed the vial’s point thoroughly through that part of his body and watched closely as the potion slowly dried out from the bottle and had gone through the vial’s point and through Harry’s skin and had slowly administered itself through his body.

 

 

Chapter Text

Twenty-Three

First Kiss 

 

 

“Harry! Harry, come on now! It’s time for your birthday cake!”

Harry turned from the gardens of the Weasleys and stared back at the sunset.

Another birthday. Another dinner with the family and friends he had. Another year without Hermione.

Harry turned his back and slowly walked back to the Burrow with a big frown over his face.

He entered the household and looked around at the decorations, the food and the people around him.

As usual, Mrs. Weasley took a lot of time and effort to celebrate his birthday.

Mr. Weasley and Bill arranged the visitors and ensured that the most important people in his life were there.

From professor McGonagall, to Kingsley, to Oliver Wood, Neville and some other of his closest Gryffindor and Hogwarts friends came.

Fleur and Ginny had arranged for all the food laid out over the large wooden table at the middle of the room and had put an amount of effort to decorate the house.

The birthday routine had been the very same for about seven years now since the ambush.

Everyone made sure that everyone was there and that it was celebrated it the best way possible.

Everyone wanted Harry happy despite of the obvious reasons for him to be unhappy on his special day.

He did not have his bestfriend anymore and the love of his life was mostly believed to be dead.

Despite that the Dark Lord has already been defeated, Harry was nowhere happy.

He had saved the Wizarding World.

And fate paid him back by taking the love of his life.

Lupin smiled at Harry as he gestured him at the middle of the room.

Bill had lit up the cake and Lupin had handed Harry a glass to toast with the rest of the family members and the visitors around them.

“To Harry!” Lupin cheered and everyone followed.

Harry gave a small smile as he raised his glass together with the crowd.

“Birthday wishes Harry?” Ginny asked as she helped Bill pull the cake across the table nearer him.

The crowd’s cheer slowly died down as Harry stared down at the birthday cake before him.

It was the same cake he always requested – chocolate with cheese and blueberry.

Hermione’s favourite cake.

Harry smiled down at the cake before him with a seriousness appearing before his eyes.

“I guess everyone knows what I’m about to wish again this year.” Harry said.

Nobody said a word and they all just stared and listened quietly at him.

Ginny looked away and stared at his mother who was now teary-eyed.

“I mean, it’s the same birthday every year.. so it’s basically the same wish every year.”

Harry’s voice seemed to falter as he suppressed the tears threatening to come down from his face.

He swallowed hard and cleared his face of any deep emotion he had in him.

He forced a smile and silently wished what he had been asking for years now.

Harry closed his eyes and whispered the words before he blew the lit candle on top of the cake and then he straightened up and raised his glass to everyone with a big smile over his face.

“To Hermione!” he said with a smile.

As routine every year, they all slowly raised their glasses with a forced smile over their faces muttering the same cheer and words he had spoken.

Mrs. Weasley crossed the room and embraced him while Mr. Weasley patted him on the back.

Charlie and Ginny quickly began singing to diminish the awkward silence and everyone soon followed the cheers and the singing of his birthday song.

“You alright?” Lupin asked as he sat next to Harry over the couch half an hour later.

Harry only nodded and gestured over his plate with the slice of cake and a few cut of fruits from the buffet over the wooden table.

“Good.” Harry simply said with a smile at him. He raised the nth goblet of wine in his hand. “There’s more if you want.”

Lupin stared at him and nodded with a smile. He took a mental note of ensuring to Mr. Weasley and Mrs. Weasley to keep all alcohol from the house in the morning.

Harry was only allowed to drink in his birthday, on Christmas and other big celebrations. Other than, he had been advising not only the Weasleys but anyone close to him to ensure that he stays away from the drink.

Harry had been sent a memo several times by certain establishment for small fiascos he creates after staying in for hours at night bars and leaving completely out of his wits.

The habit had been going on for a few years now and Lupin had to admit that he was beginning to be worried.

“Harry, I think three glasses would do for tonight.”

“I think professor, it’s my birthday. I can drink for as much and as many glasses as I want tonight. What do you think?” Harry asked back raising his glass and taking another sip with an intention of refilling it once it was empty.

Lupin only nodded at him. He did not want to mess with Harry and have him cause a havoc for a party he knew Mrs. Weasley had worked so hard to have tonight.

Lupin only nodded at him being mindful and having no intention of leaving the place until he was settled on his bed even at the early hours later.

He wanted to ensure Harry’s and others’ safety at all times.

“Seven years, right?” Harry asked back and Lupin could tell that he had perhaps more than three glasses tonight.

The alcohol was talking already.

“Yes, Harry.”

“So seven glasses it is tonight.” Harry drained the glass in his hand and slowly stood up.

Lupin grabbed his hand and made him sit again.

“Empty your pocket.” Lupin quietly said making sure no one else heard him.

“What?” Harry asked back with a smile. “What are you saying?”

“Empty your pocket, Harry.” Lupin repeated nodding at him.

Harry only stared back at him.

“Professor, I don’t understand-“

“You very well know. I don’t want to cause a scene. It’s your birthday. So please empty out your pocket on me.”

Harry stared down as Lupin had opened his palm for him.

Harry stared at his hand then back at his face with a defiant look over his face.

“I’m not keeping anything from you-“

“Harry, trust me. You would prefer I take it from you now than have one of the Weasleys take it from you.”

Harry scowled at him.

“You told me I can drink on my birthday.”

“I told you that you can have a glass or two. I didn’t tell you to steal that object back from my office and use it again tonight.”

Harry didn’t move from his position.

Lupin sighed and patiently offered his hand to him again.

“Harry.”

“I said that I can control my drinking.”

“If you can control it then give me that back now. Trust me Harry, we don’t want another memo because of that again and you losing your head all over the place again. Not another Ministry incident, Harry.”

Harry had given him another scowl. But he shook his head at him with an annoyed expression and gently pulled something out of his pocket and secretly handed it to him.  

“Thank you, Harry.” Lupin said as he closed his hand over the object Harry had placed there.

“Yeah, whatever.” Harry said waving is hand as he turned away from him. “ I can drink as much of the red wine anyway.”

Lupin only nodded as without another word, he stood up and walked or rather swayed away from Lupin and headed for the table where the large bowl of red wine and punch for a drink had been mixed up.

Lupin closed his eyes and heavily breathed as he opened his palm and stared at the object in his hand.

It was a small steel flask that resembled the one Mad-Eye Moody used to have before only it looked modern.  

He turned it over and emptied it over the carpeted floor only to find it quite drained already. Harry probably had drained all its strong vodka contents over the Merlin-knows-how-many glasses he had taken since the party had begun.

He looked up concernedly at the boy who lived who was standing at a corner with another glass of alcohol in his hand with wonder in his face.

Lupin shook his head and wasn’t sure if he wanted to pity Harry, be angry at him or simply adjust and take good care of the boy that his bestfriend had died for and who has saved their world.

Lupin thought at how he can still be called that term when he knew somewhere deep down, something had died in the boy who lived many years ago.

 

 

 

 

“Harry?” Hermione asked knocking at the door of his small office in the house.

“Come in.” Harry answered.

Hermione slowly pushed the door and found him closing a sketchbook by his table and looking up at her.

“Yeah?” he asked with a smile.

Hermione stared at him and at the room.

The room looked as if he hasn’t cleaned it for about two weeks.

“Why are you still up? We have to wake up early for the trial.”

“Kingsley has moved it by three in the afternoon again.” Harry said going back to his desk and searching for something all over its messy state.

“Moved it?” Hermione asked entering the room. “Can he do that?”

“Yeap.” Harry simply said as he grabbed a quill and had began drawing something up on a page of the sketchpad he had closed when Hermione entered. “I asked him to.”

Hermione’s eyes narrowed at the statement. Power-tripping on the side once more.

“You asked him to?” Hermione repeated. “You can ask him that?”

Harry looked up at her with a peculiar smile over her face as if she had asked a nonsense question.

He only nodded at her and turned away again.

Hermione felt slightly annoyed.

“Harry, I’m still talking to you.”

“What?” Harry asked with a smile.

“I asked you if you asked him to move it? You can do that?”

“I can do anything, Hermione.” Harry simply answered and there was that glimmer in his eyes again.

Hermione didn’t say anything. She didn’t really want to provoke anything at the moment.

“Well I guess if you’re the Chosen One you can pretty much do anything.” Hermione said spitting the word out.

Harry didn’t say anything but she could tell that he was being smug about it.

 “Well are you going to have dinner because I’m done cooking.”

“I’ll pass up.” Harry simply answered. “I need to finish something for tomorrow.”

“What do you have for tomorrow?” Hermione asked him.

“You’ll see.” Harry answered as he returned to his work and was seemingly very absorbed in it.

Hermione stared at him and knew something wasn’t right.

He didn’t go to work at the Ministry today and after breakfast, he had kept himself inside the room whole day long and only left when two large boxes had been delivered at their doorstep.

She had asked him what they were but he only said that it was for some project he was finishing.

She had asked if he needed help but he said that he didn’t need her for it and he wasn’t going to use them until the following day so there was no need to hurry opening the boxes.

Harry then grabbed a platter of sandwich and had taken only that for the rest of the day.

Hermione knew something was up but she didn’t really want to provoke him. As long as he was quiet in his own space in their household, she could deal with it that way.

Besides, she was too preoccupied with the books he had ordered to be delivered for her.

She wasn’t sure if it was mere coincidence or he had been planning to buy her all those books that was a copy of every book she has ever had at the cottage with Snape. And if he has planned to do so, what was he thinking and how did he find out about that exactly?

“Hermione.” Harry’s voice suddenly came.

“Yeah?” she said turning back from the door.

“I’ll just maybe have a good sandwich later. I’m not that hungry. I need to finish this by tomorrow morning.

“I’ll make you one and bring it here later.” Hermione said and without another word, she had left him alone to his work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Narcissa, you must stop coming here anymore. You are not well.”

“You underestimate me still, Severus.”

Snape closed the door of the room they rented at the inn and stared at the woman sitting on the long couch before him.

Snape stared down at his dearest friend and could almost not believe his eyes.

He had only seen her two weeks ago and now she was thinner than ever.

The circles beneath her eyes told him that her sleeping pattern due to pain might have gone from bad to worse already.

The strands of her hair had seemingly thinned more than usual. Her cheekbones had become more prominent as her weight loss had become more alarming as the days had passed.

“I still have time, Severus.” Narcissa said in a firm tone. “I believe we still have time to what is to be done.”

“No, Narcissa. We can’t just do this just like that. It’s more complicated than that.”

“Have you told her?” Narcissa asked him.

Snape quietly nodded but remorse was all over his face. “I’ve already told her before.”

“And what did she say?”

“I haven’t told her the part of our plan. She’s already dealt with the fact that she cannot do anything about it but to wait for the curse to wane its effect.”

“It’s time we do our part, Severus.”

“I can’t give you up, Cissy.”

“You’re not giving me up. I am not to be taken nor given up by anyone, Severus.”

Snape did not say anything.

He walked forward her and sat at the edge of the bed and stared instead at the large bag next to it.

“Your supplies.” Narcissa nodded towards the bag. “I supposed it will last you for roughly two months.”

“Narcissa, you’ve already given more than enough.”

“My Draco has learned to strengthen his mind through things that Bella teaches him. I need you to ensure in the future that he does not lose sight of how to use these abilities in the better way, Severus.”

“Cissy, if you’re giving me all these because you want me to take care of Draco in the future you don’t have to. I’m his godfather, it’s my job. I need you to rest and take good care of yourself.”

Narcissa nodded at him and slowly stood up and walked the few steps from the couch to the bed.

Snape was alert as she slightly swayed but had not lost her balance.

She slowly sat next to him on the bed and had reached for his hand.

“I am still alive and well, Severus.”

“You can’t die.” Snape whispered. “I will not allow it.”

Narcissa didn’t say anything as they both continued to stare at the hearth in the fireplace that was glimmering with fire.

They both knew that her condition was nothing that could be helped and that she was only waiting for the day when fate would take away the life it had given her.

He wanted to take care of her but he knew that there was nothing that could be done.

Narcissa had played her part well at the war and had played her cards well especially when they found out she was dying.

For her, the most important thing of all was for Draco’s safety no matter the consequence.

Snape was the man she entrusted with Draco’s fate and the man was the only one perfect for the job.

“I will take care of Draco, Cissy.” Snape whispered. He slowly reached out and took her hand in his.

Narcissa nodded as she quietly continued to stare at the fire reminiscing memories with the friend next to her.

“I have done well, did I not?” Narcissa asked him slowly turning to face him. “I have done well, Severus?”

Snape stared back at her and knew her genuine fear in her voice.

He quietly nodded at her.

“You have done more than what is enough, what is good and what can be done to make life better for others.”

They both reminisced at that moment the things she had done for the people involved in the war.

A tear fell from her eyes.

“I will embrace death, Severus.” Narcissa whispered with a forced smile. “I will embrace it with enough grace knowing I’ve done everything I could to save those that needed to be.”

“You have done well, Narcissa Malfoy.” Snape whispered at her with a teary eye and a proud smile.

“Black.” Narcissa corrected him as tears streamed down her cheeks but she was smiling. “Narcissa Black. We might not have done well, but I still stand by the idea that we are an inch better than the name I now bear. I am still more of my own family than anything and I hope that Draco becomes more of a Black than a Malfoy.”

 

 

“Ready for tomorrow’s trial?” Draco asked as he entered the same room he visits to see his godfather.

He was eating an apple as he sat down before Snape where a good amount of dinner has been served before him.

“Don’t you like it?” Draco asked staring at the meals before them. “Should I ask them to change them?”

“You know how I despite it when you use your name, Draco.”

“Ah well, sorry. Can’t help it. I’m a Malfoy.” Draco said with a smug look over his face.

Snape sat back and folded his arms staring quietly at his godson.

“You haven’t been sleeping well. You do remember how to make the Sleeping Draught I taught you before?”

“I can take good care of myself, thanks. You rest early tonight for tomorrow’s trial. It will be in the afternoon but we have to be there a few hours ahead so we can settle properly.”

Snape didn’t say anything.

Another day and another trial. He was getting tired of all of it. But he wanted to end all suffering from both sides.

“Hermione will take the stand?”

“Yes.” Draco answered as he took another large bite from the apple.

“Have you talked to her?” Snape slowly asked him.

Draco shook his head.

Snape sighed heavily.

“I’m working on it.” Draco said with an assuring tone. “There might be a way but it’s a long-shot.”

“If it will only jeopardize things Draco, forget about it.”

“No, it won’t.” Draco said although he did not sound sure nor confident. “I’m still working on it so let’s not be against it this early.”

Snape only could only nod on that.

What can he do?

Draco was the one outside playing the cards right and straight so all he could do is advise him and stir him in the correct direction. But still, he was the one stirring things through.

 

 

 

 

Hermione groaned, stirred and slowly stretched out across the soft sheets and slowly opened her eyes.

The room around her was dimly lit by the dying fire in the hearth of the fireplace.

Hermione moved her head around to see her surroundings as she slowly realized that she wasn’t in her room.

She rubbed her eyes to clear her sight and stretched out again with a large yawn.

Hermione was halfway into turning herself onto the other side to further sleep when realization dawned on her.

She was lying on a bed made of sheets and pillows on the carpeted floor by the fireplace in their living room.

She was covered under thick sheets of atleast three blankets and she was wearing only her pair of undergarments.

The memories of the previous night suddenly came flashing into her mind.

“Shit.” Hermione cursed quickly sitting on the bed and grabbing every sheet around her body.

She wildly looked around her, slightly breathless and with panic in her system.

The living room was empty except for her.

Her surroundings were dark and as she stayed still, she could tell that she was alone in the house.

“Damn. Stupid, stupid.” Hermione whispered to herself as she sat on the bed and gathered all the sheets all over and kept it tight around her body.

She wondered where Snape was and her horrendous thoughts came crashing down on her and how stupid her decision had been a few hours ago.

He had surely – SURELY – seen her in THAT state and had probably wondered why she had removed all her clothes and had herself tightly wrapped around him like some tentacle being scared to lose contact of its prey.

Her face turned bright red at the thought and she buried her face beneath the thick sheets while cursing herself over and over again about what she has done.

Hermione wanted nothing more than for the earth to open up and swallow her alive right then and there.

But the question really was, where was Snape?

Did he leave her alone because of what she has done?

What was she going to say if he does come back and ask her about what she has done?

Well, she was just going to have to tell him the truth and the real reason. But what if he does not believe her?

Well, to hell if he does not. That was her intention anyway and it’s not such a shame because her intention was good.

But right now, she needed to find her clothes before she dies of shame as she played in her head over and over again what Snape might have thought the moment he saw her or rather them or rather her body with a half-naked nature clung tightly around him.

Hermione found her clothes neatly folded next to her on the bed she created on the floor and she closed her eyes realizing that Snape might have folded those himself.

She grabbed them and she hurriedly wore them back all around herself still berating herself and her stupid decisions.

Once dressed, Hermione grabbed her fallen hair tie and quickly pulled it up in a messy bun.

Hermione hurriedly cleaned up the bed she created as she created conversations in her head on how she was going to explain herself to Snape the moment they see one another.

She was just halfway into making a decision on which words to subtly use once he asks about what she has done when she heard their entrance door open and closed and heard Snape chanting the wards.

“Bullocks.” Hermione whispered to herself biting her lower lip and quickly gathering the last pillow from the floor and her own blanket and was prepared to take flight upstairs in her bedroom when Snape suddenly entered the living room.

“Holy shit.” Hermione whispered dropping the materials on the floor.

“Language, Miss Granger.” Snape said as he entered the room.

She silently watched him walked into the room and ignite the grate with new fire.

Hermione was slightly shaking and was thinking, formatting words and excuses in her head incase he suddenly ask her.  

Hermione may well be preoccupied with her panic-stricken head but she was still quite observant.

She noticed that Snape had dressed himself in his usual black robes and was walking as if there was no pain all over his body unlike the previous night.

But Hermione could tell that he was only suppressing the pain in his body.

“Miss Granger?” Snape had called her. “Miss Granger? Miss Granger!” Snape’s voice came and alerted her back to reality.

Hermione blinked and bent down to pick up the fallen blanket and pillow.

“Sorry.” Hermione whispered avoiding his eyes as much as possible.

Snape only gave her a curious stare but he didn’t say anything.

“I’ve bought breakfast from downtown. You may come back down to the kitchens after you finish clearing the living room.”

“Yes, I will.. uh…professor Snape.” Hermione answered nervously.

 She sighed heavily and decided there was no wait out of it anyway.

“Professor Snape, about lastnight-“

“Be in the kitchens and clean up after breakfast. I have things to do after.”  

And with that, Snape had walked and passed her as he headed for the kitchens without another word.

 

 

The following three days were the most awkward of all the days that they have stayed together at the cottage in Hermione’s opinion.

They had not talked about what had happened. Or rather, Snape did not seem to want to talk about what had happened either.  

He had kept himself at all times in his laboratory and would only come out at meal times or when he needed something from the small living room where some of his books were.

Hermione was half-relieved about the situation because it seemed that as much as she was avoiding the subject, Snape seemed to be doing the same thing. But half of her also wanted to explain herself to him and what her actions were for.

Hermione on the other hand was also worried about his health. She knew that he was not yet completely healed.

She could tell through her keen observations that he was only suppressing the pain he was feeling and forcing himself to move.

He walked in a slower pace and he made certain facial expressions under certain movements that gave Hermione proof that he has not yet fully recovered from the physical damage he suffered.

But despite Hermione’s curiosity and her decreasing self-restraint on asking Snape about what has happened to him, she was able to manage herself and managed not to ask anything in fear that he would ask her questions she did not want to be asked about.

But fate wanted to intervene on that fact.

On the third night since he arrived dying by their doorstep and where Hermione’s freedom had been there for her taking, things had moved very differently towards a certain direction.

Hermione had been reading several books from the selections they had at the cottage and had just finished drinking a glass of milk to help her sleep when she heard him in their living room groaning in pain.

Curious, she walked to the living room and found him by the couch and a couple of bandages, cloths and a large basin lay around him.

He was carefully and painfully tending to his wounds.

“Professor Snape?” Hermione slowly asked as she walked into the living room and stared at his very slow progress.

There was no answer in regards to his awareness of her presence but she did hear him curse.

He had been tending to a large wound around his ribcage.

Hermione gasped at the sight of him and had quickly grabbed a roll of bandages from the pack next to him.

“Miss Granger, you don’t need to-“

“Let me help you.” Hermione said grabbing a cloth and damping it over the basin.

She handed it to him but Snape only stared away from her and had even faced away.

“Professor Snape, let me help you.” Hermione insisted seeing the scowl of pain over his face.  

“I don’t need your help. Go to sleep.” Snape snapped at her as he cringed in pain as he turned to resume cleaning his wound.

“I just want to help you. Let me help you so you can rest earlier.”

“I said, I don’t need your help.” Snape spat grabbing the damp cloth from her.

Hermione narrowed her eyes and frowned at him.

She watched as he forced to wipe the blood off his ribcage area despite the difficulty of it.

He moved around and looked for a small case that had some sort of ointment and paste in it.

Hermione folded her arms as she watched him whirl around the couch not seeing that what he was looking for was just in front of him.

When Hermione got tired watching him make a fool of himself, so she bent forward and grabbed the small case he had missed just next to him and handed it over.

Snape stopped moving and stared at her offered hand with the object he had been looking for.

He looked up and snatched it from her hand without another word.

He avoided her gaze but he had seen the secretly amused look over her face and the suppressed smile she was trying to deeply restrain.

  “Nothing is funny with the situation.”

“I’m not laughing.” Hermione said clearing her throat. “Who’s laughing?”

Snape looked up at her and eyed her spitefully. Hermione tried not to laugh again.

“Professor Snape, let me help you.”

Her words were gentle and kinder than earlier and it made Snape realize that he needed her help.

“Just hand me that bottle.”

“This one?” Hermione