Disclaimer & Story Warnings: The characters and the world of the HARRY POTTER universe belong to JKR. The plot is mine. This story plot is rated MATURE. If you are not 18 years or older, this story is not for you. You have been warned!
Harry and Ron had, of course, fussed over Hermione and pleaded with her to stay with them for the summer before they went off to start their jobs in the fall. Hermione had insisted she needed the time to think about what she wanted to do, since she’d decided she didn’t want to pursue being an Auror. Molly, of course, had protested right along with her, making Hermione promise to come “home” to the Burrow often.
Hermione had accompanied them to the Burrow for just long enough to retrieve her things; then she promptly returned to Hogwarts and headed straight for the Potions classroom. Upon entering the room she paused and looked at all the empty shelves, noting the disheveled look of the room in general. She knew some of the wounded had been cared for down here during the battle. She had figured Slughorn would take some of the supplies when he left, since most teachers brought a lot of their own stock and instruments. But to clean the place out? she thought incredulously. She was quite glad Slughorn had left to enjoy his retirement once again. He was a good teacher, but too much of a politician for her tastes.
She pulled out her wand and conjured a quill and a piece of parchment, and made an organized list of the things that would need to be stocked before next term. When she was satisfied that the list was complete, she put the parchment on the chalk board with a Sticking Charm so she wouldn’t lose it in the chaos of Severus Snape’s quarters.
She approached the door that led to his office and said, “Draught of Living Peace.” The door glowed green and opened for her. The office itself was in disarray similar to the classroom. Hermione tried to remember what it had looked like before, when Severus Snape had occupied it, but she couldn’t. Ignoring the regret she felt for not remembering, she walked forward and opened the door to a hallway that led to the Potions master’s quarters.
During the previous year these rooms had still been used by Professor Snape, since Slughorn had demanded nicer quarters, so all around her was the essence that was Severus Snape. After closing the door and waving her wand to light the candles about the room Hermione stared around her, taking in each and every detail with a reverence that only Severus Snape could inspire.
The room was simple, yet it spoke volumes about the man who had occupied it. The only furniture that graced the room was two plain wooden chairs, a small black and green brocade couch, and a coffee table. Across the room was a vast window covered in heavy green and black velvet drapes. Behind it Hermione imagined there was quite a view of the lake. But it seemed from the stiffness of the material, as she brushed her hand over it, that he had preferred to keep them closed. Moving on to the fireplace, Hermione stared at the single picture frame that sat in the middle of potion bottles of different colors and sizes. It was a small picture of a woman and a little boy. From the shape of the boy’s nose and the rough hair that hung over most of his face, Hermione knew at once that it was a picture of Snape and his mother. She picked up the frame and stared at it, wondering what life had been like for him in his youth, before Death Eaters and Voldemort had corrupted it.
She set the frame down and looked through a doorway that led to a small, curving hallway with three doors opening off it. The first door on the right led into his bedroom. Hermione’s boxes of possessions, stacked at the end of the bed, seemed to stand out as if they didn’t belong there. The bed was a four-poster made of black walnut, finely carved into a simple design of branches with an S on each post. The headboard was more ornate, featuring two S’s surrounded by thorn branches. The other furniture in the room, two night tables and one large dresser, made a complete set with the bed. In front of the large fireplace was a brocade chaise lounge that matched the sofa out in the sitting room. Next to it was a small coffee table upon which sat an old vase of dead flowers and a silver tea service. Without thought for her actions, Hermione Vanished the dead flowers and conjured a simple arrangement of a few roses.
Satisfied with the small change, she grabbed a box that was labeled “Clothes” and headed for one of the doors that stood on either side of the bed. The first door was the closet, a fairly large walk-in. There were three large dowels inside, but only a fraction of the left one was occupied by a few robes that hung there. Everything else was bare and a bit dusty. Hermione wondered, as she waved her wand and Vanished the dust on the right side, why the house-elves had not been in these rooms. Granted, she was happy that they had at least one less area to slave over; but it was odd to find a Professor’s quarters in such disarray. Hermione emptied the box of clothes until everything was organized in an orderly manner.
Sparing one last look at the black wizard robes, she left the closet and fetched the box labeled “Toiletries”. Hermione took the smaller box toward the door on the other side of the four-poster. She opened it and froze in the doorway as she took in the room before her. The bathroom resembled something out of a Home and Garden magazine she used to read at home. The floor was exquisite with its black foot-square marble tiles. The cabinetry was of the same black walnut that the bedroom furniture boasted. The counter to her left, around the sink, was of the same black marble as the floor. To her right the tile continued up the walls behind the fancy glass doors of a large walk-in shower. And directly in front of her was a large, old-fashioned claw-footed bathtub. Every faucet, handle, knob, and hinge in the room was silver. Above her was a simple yet elegant black and silver chandelier. On closer inspection of the counter Hermione saw a row of phials and bottles. She read the labels to herself: Healing Paste, Pepper-Up, Sleeping Draught, Headache, and Blood-Replenishing... were among the many potions, pastes, and salves that were cluttered together all along the back of the counter.
Opening the medicine cabinet, Hermione discovered magically enhanced shelves that appeared to hold vast amounts of bandages and several books about how to heal various ailments. She closed the medicine cabinet door, her breath coming out in shaken gasps; she knew all too well why Snape would have needed to keep such things handy in his personal quarters. She squatted low and opened the cabinet doors below the sink; the sight before her brought her to her knees and the tears began to fall. The contents of the cabinets would, to some, seem to be a complete mess, but Hermione saw the organization before her. On the left were several crates containing empty potion bottles and phials which, when she examined them, proved to be clean and sanitized and ready for use. In the middle were several crates full of used phials and bottles that had not yet been cleaned. And to the right were his stock potions ready for use, some of them glimmering in protective spells to give them extra longevity. Hermione slammed the doors and fell against them in anguish.
This room refuted much of Severus Snape’s apparent life: long hours of tedious potions classes followed by torturous meetings, attacks, plotting, and sacrifice. This was the room he came to when he returned from his own private hell on earth; this was where he healed himself over and over of the countless injuries his body went through in the act of spying for the Order. This was the room where he would heal the shell that contained so much sadness. Thinking of all the hells he had been through, Hermione wondered if anyone besides Dumbledore had ever tried to heal Snape’s soul.
She bit her lip in concentration as she carefully listed the order in which she planned to sort and pack the belongings in each room in the Potions master’s quarters. Part of her knew that if she succeeded in her plan, it would be all for naught. But she knew if anyone was to check on what she was up to, she needed to appear to be hard at work with the task. So, to keep up appearances, she started with the sitting room; it only took her around twenty minutes. Next she decided to sort through the bedroom, closet, and bathroom so she could put her own things away, making at least one room less of a reminder of Snape.
When the bedroom suite looked more like a room she herself would live in, she walked across the hall to the room that she knew to be the library. Floor to ceiling bookshelves covered every inch of the walls. A large desk and leather chair were positioned at the other side of the room, with two loveseats, two chaise lounges, and matching small coffee tables in between. The shelves on her left and right contained volumes upon volumes of detailed information about potions ingredients, while the shelves behind the desk were enclosed with glass doors. Bypassing the hundreds of other books, she headed straight for the glass doors and waved her wand.
The power of the wards that clearly protected the contents nearly knocked her off her feet. Bracing herself against the desk, she proceeded to spin a weave of spells to bring the wards down. With sweat on her brow and twenty minutes gone, she finally succeeded. The moment the wards came down the glass doors glowed an emerald green; then the light faded and there was nothing left between her and Severus Snape’s most prized and dangerous books but the doors themselves. With cautious fingers she slowly opened the doors; inside were the books she instinctively knew were the ones that would help her bring him back.
Pericoloso Potente and Viciousa Poisona were but two titles among the many dangerous and rare books before her. So as to not lose her nerve, she Accioed her white bag and preceded to put every one of them into it for her own personal use later. It was at that moment, when her mind was aching to get started on those books, that a loud pop sounded behind her, startling her. She swung around to see one of the Hogwarts house-elves bowing. “Please excuse, Miss, but the Headmistress sent me to announce dinner. She is saying you have never had dinner here in summer and would not know of the earlier time for eating. If you please, Miss, I will be showing you a shortcut from here.”
Hermione smiled and held her hands – and the bag that she was slowly closing – behind her back and replied, “Yes, that would be very kind of you.”
“Is no trouble, Miss,. I is volunteering on account of Miss’s past behavior. Some of the others was a bit scared to be helping Miss Hermione Granger.”
Hermione smiled at the elf and proceeded to follow him. “I understand I made a bit of a fuss in my fourth year, but you can let them all know I won’t pester any of you again – unless you ask me to, that is,” she replied carefully, still smiling and hoping she wasn’t posing a threat to the house-elves’ beliefs.
“I is glad to be hearing that, Miss. Though I is doubting any of us elves would be taking Miss up on such offers. We is happy with our work, Miss,” the small elf replied confidently.
Hermione smiled in wonder at the many changes when she entered the Great Hall. The tables where the staff usually sat were gone, as well as the House tables. In the center of the room there was one large, round table made of a beautiful cherry wood, with matching chairs all around. The table was set in the regular Hogwarts style, except there were candles on it as well as the enchanted ones that floated above. In the center of the table were four vases, each of them depicting one of the House crests. They were filled with a strange assortment of flowers and berries. Professor McGonagall was already there, as were Professor Flitwick, Professor Sinistra, Madam Hooch, and Professor Sprout. When McGonagall saw Hermione standing awkwardly in the doorway she motioned for her to join them at the table. Hermione chose a seat next to Professor Sprout, who greeted her with a friendly smile.
Professor McGonagall cleared her throat and said, “I would like to begin tonight’s dinner by greeting Miss Granger, who has agreed to attend to sorting Professor Snape’s possessions as well as preparing the Potions classroom for next term.” Everyone smiled at Hermione before turning their attention back to the Headmistress. “Now, as to the students themselves, there will be some changes. We will no longer accept students who have proven themselves to be unmovably prejudiced against others because of blood status. I am currently working on several strategies to deal with this and would be happy to hear of any ideas you have that might help. Now, I am starving, and I’m sure you are as well. Let’s eat,” she stated with a sense of finality that only McGonagall would get away with.
Hermione enjoyed the meal and the small talk with her previous Professors. It was even distracting enough to take her mind off the rooms a few floors below.
A/N: There you go, people. I hope you’re enjoying this story. I know this chapter may have been a bit…I guess lacking in dialogue…but I thought it was important, and I liked it, so no Howlers lol.