Time of exposure: 1 hour, 32 minutes, 5 seconds
Physical interaction : none
The test subject did not seem averse to spending time together, as she tried initiating an intellectually stimulating conversation three times during our encounter. I played along, satisfying her curiosity whenever I could, even though it was sometimes tedious for me to do so. Spending time with her isn’t too much of a sacrifice though, if she is mostly keeping quiet, which she thankfully did, most of the time. Furthermore, I recognized a particular fondness for Transfiguration and Charms, which can possibly be used to initiate further contact in the future.
Severus put his quill aside and read over his notes one more time. Now he only needed to measure the time until the effect of this last interaction wore off and he would have the first set of data for his analysis. He had to admit that it hadn't been too painful to spend time with the girl, especially as they were spending time in the library, which was totally free of any students who might have gawked at them. He followed her patiently through the rows of books and even offered to levitate her choice of books back to the infirmary for her. It earned him another pleased smile from her that made his heart beat agitatedly for exactly 112 seconds, another fact he noted down in his lab book. It wasn't affection, or heaven forbid attraction, of course, more some sort of weird physical reaction to their magic being in sync, or something like that. He'd use the next hours to go over the book he had managed to secretly check out of the library during their visit. It contained a whole chapter dedicated to Kindred Magic and even though it was over a hundred years old, it probably contained lots of valuable information. He would use his evening reading-time to take detailed notes of everything that seemed relevant to him and maybe he could even use the summer break to visit the magical section of the British National Library. If there was a place where he could find out more about his condition, then it was there.
Going to the library had been a brilliant idea, Hermione decided, balancing the book on advanced Transfiguration on her knees while lounging on her hospital bed. The time outside of bed did not seem to have tired her out in the least, it was actually quite the contrary. When Professor Snape accompanied her back to the infirmary, she felt strangely refreshed and almost giddy with excitement, which was strange if one considered how horrible she had still felt yesterday at the same time. Her Professor was actuallymuch better company for her library visit than Harry or Ron had ever been. He did not stress her to hurry or started wiggling around impatiently behind her back. No, whenever Hermione found a section or a book she was particularly interested in, he started to browse the shelf himself and in the end, he checked out a few books too, the variety of topics surprising her. But was it really so surprising that her Potions Professor was interested in fields varying from his teaching position? As far as she had heard, he regularly applied for the position of the DADA teacher. Maybe she should try to be more open-minded when it came to Severus Snape. The man had surprised her more than once during the last few days, which made her realize that she barely even knew him. Wasn't that strange if one considered that the man had taught her for five years now?
The day progressed fairly quickly while she browsed through the various books she had brought back from the library. Some of them were fairly interesting but as Madam Pomfrey forbade her to take notes or practise any spells, she put them aside fairly quickly. She couldn't wait to get out of bed again as there was only so much she could read before her feet got restless or her back started to hurt from lying around in bed for days. Merlin, she didn’t remember that it was so boring to stay at the infirmary, but the last time she had been there, her friends had been over to visit her as often as they could. But Harry, Ron and Ginny were gone and there was no saying when she'd be able to see them again.
It was around dinnertime when she could feel herself getting more and more restless, but Madame Pomfrey was nowhere to be found. Instead, Professor Snape strode through the infirmary door, studying her with an unreadable expression as he stepped next to her bed.
"Professor Dumbledore sent me to look after you as Madame Pomfrey is currently … busy," he said with a sour expression. "You could, of course, wait for her, if this is what you prefer, but if you'd rather get this over with, I will change that dressing and help you administer the salve."
Hermione looked at him worriedly. “Is Professor Dumbledore alright? I somehow got the feeling that Madame Pomfrey was worried about him all day.”
The Professor sighed. "He's fine," he replied matter of factly before he focussed her with an impatient expression. "So? Do you want me to tend to your curse wound?"
She nodded. “It’s gotten itchy again and the salve helps to keep that at bay. I’d rather have it now,” she admitted. “Do you want me to take off my shirt? Or is it alright if I just lift it?”
The man looked at her unblinkingly for a long moment. "I guess taking this off would make things easier. Do you…" he paused, taking a deep breath. "Are you wearing anything below that, so that your modesty will be preserved? Otherwise, I could also transfigure your pyjama top accordingly."
Hermione looked at him with wide eyes, her heart fluttering nervously at the idea of undressing in front of him. Thankfully that would not be necessary, she realized and looked at him with a thankful smile. “I’d appreciate it if you could transfigure my clothes accordingly, Professor. This is… you are very thoughtful, Sir.”
He looked at her with an unreadable expression. “Sit at the edge of your mattress then and try not to fidget.”
She nodded and swung her legs out of bed. Carefully she shifted her weight and moved right in front of him. Hermione could feel him watching her and for some reason, her belly fluttered nervously at the realization. Why was she suddenly feeling nervous? She trusted Professor Snape, Dumbledore trusted him as did Madame Pomfrey. He obviously knew what he was doing, as the Headmaster himself had sent him to take care of her. It was therefore unlikely that he would hurt her, right? Still, she could not deny she was suddenly feeling fluttery when the Professor stepped in front of her, silently pointing his wand at her chest. Right away she could feel her clothes change, without him having uttered a single word, her pyjama top just shortening and getting slimmer, until it snugly fitted around her, perfectly covering everything she would rather the broody Professor not see. Hermione breathed a sigh of relief.
Professor Snape looked at her neutrally. “All right, next I’ll vanish these dressings. Hold still.”
She blinked at him in surprise. “While they’re still on? Shouldn't you take them off first?" she asked nervously. "Madam Pomfrey always…" she snapped her mouth shut when she saw his gritted teeth and the stormy expression in his eyes. "Sorry, Sir. I'm sure you know what you are doing."
He nodded with a dark expression, but to her surprise, he did not scold her in return. Instead, he just non-verbally vanished the dressings, before his eyes fixed on the large, purple scar on her side. At first, he did not speak, just studied the broken skin with his brows pulled together. "I will adapt the formula for your healing potions once more," he said and opened the little black container that held the green salve. "This still looks pretty angry. Are you still in a lot of pain?" Hermione nodded mutely, her eyes fixing his slim hands when he dipped two fingers in and scooped a generous amount out of the container. Finally, she could see him step closer and for a moment he towered over her before he kneeled down, to her surprise. It was a strange shift of perspective, as she could suddenly see the top of his head, right in front of her. But before she had the chance to study the structure of his ink-black hair, she could suddenly feel his hand against her ribs. For a moment she stiffened and sucked in her breath in surprise. She had not expected his touch to feel just like that . Madam Pomfrey’s hands were somehow always cold, and her touch was efficient and deliberate, but never overly pleasant. Hermoine had expected it to be the same with Professor Snape, she had been sure that his hands would feel cold and somewhat stiff, but to her surprise, they didn't. His skin was warm, his touch gentle, almost hesitant as he carefully rubbed the oily salve into her tender skin, sending a pleasant tingling through her skin where he touched it. Hermione inwardly shook her head about her own stupidity. Hadn't she already realized that she didn't know the man at all? So why was she surprised that he again behaved differently than she expected?
It was only a few seconds until she felt the itching and puckering of the scar lessen and she caught herself sighing happily as she felt the relief brought by the salve. She was glad she had agreed to Professor Snape helping her. Until now she hadn't realized how much the wound actually still bothered her.
"Thank you, Professor," she said a while later, when the man had finished dressing her wound. "It feels much better now."
Professor Snape rose to his feet, his eyes resting a moment longer on her side before his eyes snapped up and he undid the transfiguration on her pyjamas so that the top covered her chest completely once more. Hermione looked at him with a thankful smile.
"It was nothing," he said slowly, sounding like he was somehow deep in thought. "Good night, Miss Granger. I believe you do not need my assistance for taking your potions." He motioned to her nightstand, where ten little phials were neatly lined up. They had not been there a few minutes ago. When had he put them up?
Hermione watched him go and suddenly realized that she wished he would stay a while longer. Merlin, she was really starved for some company, wasn't she? Her eyes followed his retreating figure with resignation. It wasn't like she could ask the man to give up any more of his free time for her. "Good night Professor," she instead replied calmly and saw him nod in acknowledgement of her words. He did not turn around, but strode out of her room without saying another word.
Time of exposure: 16 minutes, 5 seconds
Physical interaction : touching the subject’s skin for exactly 2 minutes in order to tend to her curse wound
The test subject does not seem to be averse to physical contact, as no form of reluctance could be observed as I tended to her wound. I did so reluctantly, but as she is not particularly appealing in her physique, it was not much of a temptation to touch her more than strictly necessary. Therefore the situation was every bit as proper as it should be expected between a Professor and his student.
The test subject worded some doubts considering my magical abilities, but there did not seem to be a general distrust towards my person. Still, the physical interaction with the test subject provoked an acceleration of my heart rate to 145 bpm and left the feeling of contentment for over 30 minutes afterwards, which is quite remarkable given the fact that the girl is mostly plain and did not say much at all. Apart from that, a refreshing effect could be observed, as I felt more alert and magically rested after ending my interaction with the test subject. This could indeed indicate a replenishing of magical reserves through interaction with the girl, a theory that is worth a further investigation.
Severus read over his notes with a dark expression. One day he would kill that meddling, old fool of a Headmaster. It was obvious that this sudden need for Madam Pomfrey was one of his schemes to bring him to interact with the girl, like this… condition wasn't already enough to motivate him to visit her at the hospital wing. But tending to her - touching her skin for Merlin's sake - was more than he ever planned to do. The girl was his student, for god's sake! Still, the interaction with her had felt nice, which could only be explained through this strange situation they found themselves in. He could have sworn that Miss Granger's scar looked less prominent after he had finished tending to it, an effect that could not be explained through the application of another layer of salve. Could this Kindred Magic somehow enable them to heal each other, as well? It was possible, he guessed, even though he had found no evidence for that in the book he had brought from the library. But that did not mean anything, right? He had just begun his research on Kindred Magic, but he got the impression that it was a fairly unexplored field, probably because most of the affected witches and wizards just took their condition for granted and did not have any inclination to do the necessary research. Well, he intended to do better, even if that meant he would have to ask Albus to take up even more of Madam Pomfrey’s time. Severus was sure the old man wouldn’t mind, as he would probably think his scheme had worked. It was ridiculous of course! Severus was only doing this for science and nothing else.
He was just about to put his quill aside when his Dark Mark suddenly started to hurt. Severus pulled himself to his feet with a curse. Merlin, he had almost forgotten about the fact that his master would want to see him today. He could only hope that this evening would not include a round of torture for him, because since he had been able to feel Miss Granger’s pain while getting wounded, so she would probably be able to feel his, too.
It was fifteen minutes later when he apparated to the front gate of Malfoy Manor and walked through the impeccably groomed gardens of the huge house. He could never understand his friend’s weakness for shaped bushes and exotic birds, but when he passed the gardens he could not help but think that they looked somewhat grey and gloomy today. In his youth, he would have thought the observation was a figment of his imagination, but after years of serving the Dark Lord, he knew better. This would not be a pleasant evening.
When he strode into the parlour, he could see that most of his comrades were already there and seated at a large table, the Dark Lord enthroned at the head of it with a calculating expression on his face.
“Ah, Severussss,” he greeted him, as soon as he saw him enter, and he hurried to his master's side, to kneel down in front of him.
“Master,” he said and lowered his head. “I find myself most grateful to be back at your side.”
For a moment there was no reply from the Dark Lord and instead, he could feel the man's red eyes scrutinize him for what felt like an eternity. Severus had expected nothing less and therefore had his Occlumency shields firmly in place. "And still I hear you have decided to stay at Hogwarts even though the term is closed. How does it come that you have not returned to your family home by now?”
"The Headmaster has been in need of my services," Severus replied evenly and looked at the snake-faced man with an unflinching gaze. "One of the students is still in need of specialized healing potions, as she had a rather unfortunate run-in with a pretty nasty dark curse." He let his mouth twitch with a smile before his eyes travelled to the other end of the table, where Dolohov lounged and focussed him with dark, hungry eyes. "I told the Headmaster I would only be available for a few more days and he should, therefore, send the girl to St Mungos, where she belongs, but he was rather reluctant to let her go."
His master focussed him contemplatively. "I see," he finally said, and motioned for Severus to get back to his feet. "See that you keep an eye on that mudblood," his master instructed before his eyes travelled through the room and came to rest on a pale-blond boy, who was seated next to his father and mother, who looked drawn and tired. "Dumbledore would not keep her close if she did not have any kind of use for him. Depending on what we discover, we might have to eliminate her, eventually."
Severus nodded even though those last words no longer seemed directed towards him, but to his godson. Somehow he got the feeling that the boy and his family were in the Dark Lord’s focus today, a fact that would have him worried if he had any sort of affection for the boy. Luckily he had not, because he got the feeling that this evening would get pretty ugly for Lucius and his spawn.