Chapter 1 : The Unexpected
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Severus Snape looked disdainfully out of his window at Spinners end, he had always hated the filthy river that ran opposite his house and looking over it now, as it flowed under the orange haze of light from the broken street lamp he couldn’t help but rekindle his dislike.
That river had always marked the memories of his childhood, his mother and fathers fighting and then his hasty escapes from the house where he had to wade through that river to see Lily.
He ripped the curtains of the living room together to block the provoked memories, he returned to the armchair and drank deeply from the tumbler full of elf made wine.
He hated this house, despised being back here, yet he always did come back…in the end. He had thought recently that he would never escape it. He was barred from moving away. But could he really, could he really call anywhere else home, Hogwarts was his home, and it was likely he would never step foot into that candlelit hall again. Would he find a place to fit anywhere else? Best to stay than feel royally rejected and have no where else left but the dusty road to oblivion.
He took another drink, emptying the glass and poured himself another.
He was expected at The Manor just before dawn, and he decided that another glass would ease him into his sadist role. He sank into the ragged chair and closed his eyes as he held his head in his hands.
Back to the Death eater role, and then the spy role, and then the Order role and then the Order’s spy role. There were only so many parts he could play, and there hadn’t been time for the role of the real Severus Snape for a long time, maybe there would never be time.
A soft knock on the door lifted him from his descent to self-pity.
He wasn’t expecting anyone, and very few people knew he was home at the moment. He held his wand firmly before him as he walked down the hall and to the door.
He waited, waited for another knock, waited for a destructive curse but waited none the less.
‘Severus?’ a soft whisper and another knock.
Severus took hold of the door knob and opened it just a crack, shock grasped his gut for just a second as he looked down at the figure on his door step.
Her face was concealed by the hood of her crimson red cloak, but he could still see her eyes shining from within, sparkling slightly from the dimly lit hallway. She was the last person he would expect to turn up at his door, to see on this particular street even.
‘Miss Granger’ he said and tilted his head slightly.
‘Hello Severus’ she said thickly.
Here we go, thought Severus, why didn’t I expect this, I should have known I was going to get a lecture, and the Order sent the best nagger of them all.
Prim cut, mediocre, insufferable big headed know it all Hermione Granger.
Of course those were the thoughts he kept in the front of his mind, for he would never let his thoughts that she was kind and intelligent and a rather beautiful young lady pass through his head at all if she was close.
He sneered before he gestured to her to come in and she stepped gingerly into the hallway. He closed the door behind her and as he turned he saw her drop the hood of her cloak. Her hair was twisted into a messy not at the back of her head, several curly strands hung around her face.
She looked pale, he supposed that was normal, who was their normal shade of colour in the midst of a war. There were bruise like bags under her eyes that made her look ill and her eyes that were still glassy were framed with swollen lids.
‘Come through here’ he hissed as he walked into the front room. Hermione followed and sat on the end of the sofa next to the armchair.
She looked around the room, casting her eyes over the walls, to her left it was covered from floor to ceiling with dusty books and written bits of parchment. She looked over the shabby armchair Severus was sat in and on the wooden floor, where the rug that sat in the centre of the room, was dusty and tattered.
Severus conjured a second glass with his wand and filled it with the wine. He passed it to her and their fingers brushed slightly as she grasped it.
He snapped his hand back as if he were burned, though Hermione hadn’t seemed to notice at all. Had he been so long without physical touch that his nerves shrieked with pain on contact?
She held the glass, staring into its dark depths, but did not lift it to her lips to drink.
Severus looked curiously at her, it is a funny thing, the effects of war on the innocent. How a child grows up so much quicker when the weight of responsibility falls upon their shoulders. It was cruel really, a cruel thing to have the burden of the world in manacles connected to your wrist…cruel.
‘What are you doing here Miss. Granger?’ Severus asked, sticking to his malevolent tone.
‘I’ve come to see you’ she said, not raising her eyes to meet his glare.
‘Yes I deduced that one all by myself’ he said sarcastically ‘Why have you come to see me I wonder, to rap my knuckles with the cane, to tell me that its my fault for the failed ambush of The Manor, to tell me the Order are not angry, just disappointed for the disastrous way their plan unraveled’ he breathed heavily through his nose, trying to muffle the bass drum sound of his heartbeat.
She gulped ‘No’.
The blunt answer calmed Severus immediately, why was she here?
‘I didn’t think anyone got too badly injured, apart from Mr. Weasley whose pathetic chivalrous attempts left him with a few scratches, it seemed to me that there was far more damage done to The Manor than to any of you’
‘Ron had more than just a few scratches’ she raised her eyes at last, there was something about the deadness of her tone that made Severus feel as though a heavy stone had dropped into his stomach.
‘He’s dead’ she said, her voice stony.
Severus was lost for what to say, did she blame him for that, did she want sympathy, support, maybe she wanted a shoulder to cry on. Although he couldn’t imagine why she would want his shoulder when she could have her pick of everyone in the Order. Why choose me over Harry Potter to cry on?
‘Cursed wounds’ she carried on still in her placid tone ‘nothing would heal them, I tried everything. He just…wouldn’t stop… bleeding’
A shiver ran down his spine, how she could speak of such a thing like it was nothing more than a broken finger nail. Had she really changed so much, that the slow and painful death of the man she apparently loved meant nothing in the face of war?
‘I see’ he said, failing to fill the silent void.
‘But that doesn’t explain why you are here’ the cold and uncaring façade was wearing rather thin.
She looked at him, furrowing her brows, as if she was wondering why the answer wasn’t clear to him.
‘I thought that if I saw you, if I could see the face of the man that sent him in there, I would feel…something’ she tilted her head ‘I should be angry with you, I would want to shout, to scream and curse. But I feel nothing, nothing at all’
Mad, maybe she had gone mad. It wouldn’t be the first time someone with a brilliant mind like hers failed to function when the life of the world was balanced upon it.
‘I couldn’t stay with the order, not when they are crying and I can’t, I couldn’t stand the comforting arms, the sorry faces’ she said ‘I knew you wouldn’t do that, you would be nasty and cold and cruel… but you would never reduce me to fool by acting sorry’ she said, the corner of her mouth twitched slightly into a crooked sort of smile. She lifted her glass and tilted it to him before drinking the lot in one go.
She needed to feel and she came to Severus Snape, probably the most unfeeling out of the lot of them, the most broken, the most emotionally challenged. He had never realized what an odd girl she was.
‘I suppose, after everything, I have finally broken’ she said as she placed her empty glass on the table.
I would say, thought Severus, broken like a little wooden clockwork toy whose cog has been turned so tight that the elastic band has snapped, leaving the toy motionless and still, like the very wood it was carved from.
I'm not really sure how readers will react to this one, i'm not sure how people are with Snermione fics. As the information shows, this is an Alternate Universe plotline, and of course Hermione and Severus are both adults i just wanted to rectify that) I hope you enjoy this one, please leave your thoughts and suggestions. Thank you!
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