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Chapter 9 : ix.
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Even though Hermione hoped they wouldn’t, it did not take her friends long to find out what happened with James, Sirius and Severus. Hermione awoke the following morning to Amelia and Remus sitting near her bed, both with identical looks of worry on their faces. She sat up slowly, due to her shoulder still being rather tender, and groaned.
“I’m fine,” she whined, instead of giving a proper greeting. The last thing she wanted was for anyone to fuss over her.
“Sure you are,” Amelia said sarcastically. “Just felt like kipping in the Hospital Wing for the night then?” She raised a challenging eyebrow.
Hermione rolled her eyes then reached for her glass, which was sitting on her bedside table. Her mouth felt sticky and hot, so she welcomed the room temperature, stagnant water.
Amelia clicked her tongue impatiently. “I told you that Snape could be dangerous, Hermione.”
Hermione choked and dribbled a bit of water down her chin, which Remus kindly siphoned away with a swish of his wand. How did Amelia know what happened already? Then she realized, as she glared at him – his red face was a mixture of apologetic and guilty – that Remus most likely told her. Of course James and Sirius would have complained about their upcoming detentions, and the reason for them, when they arrived back to Gryffindor Tower the previous evening.
Her breath came out in an exaggerated huff of aggravation; she kept her steely gaze on Remus, who would not look at her. “James and Sirius blamed everything on Severus then?” she asked in a voice as cold as ice.
Amelia’s brow furrowed. “Wait. So – So Snape wasn’t the one who did this,” she gestured at Hermione’s bandages.
Hermione shrugged – and immediately regretted it due to the sharp pain that shot down her arm. “I’m a little fuzzy on the details to be honest,” she admitted.
Although she was more than aware that it was Severus who caused her to end up in the hospital wing – she remembered George Weasley’s ear and knew that had to have been the same spell he used - she wasn’t lying about her memory of the event being unclear; even if she could tell from Amelia’s expression that she thought Hermione was being untruthful. From the moment Hermione ran in between the boys until she woke up in the hospital wing was mostly a blur. She vaguely recollected placing herself in the midst of the boys’ duel, an intense pain and a lot of blood. After that, everything went blank.
“Hermione,” Remus spoke for the first time. “It wasn’t James or Sirius who did that to you. They don’t use magic like that.” He looked angry as his eyes focused on her injury.
“It wasn’t exactly as if Sirius or James were completely innocent either, Remus,” she spat. Remus’ eyebrows shot up as he leaned back in his chair.
She didn’t know why she was being so defensive of Severus, or why their placing the blame solely on him was making her so angry.
“If it were not for Sirius acting like the arrogant prat I’m starting to know him to be, I wouldn’t be in this state. Period.”
Hermione could feel the heat rising up her cheeks. Amelia placed a hand on Hermione’s calf and asked quietly, “What happened then, Hermione?”
After taking another drink of water, Hermione spent the next quarter of an hour explaining everything to Amelia and Remus. She left out the small detail of James having the invisibility cloak, knowing that Harry would have that in the future, and not wanting a future Ministry employee being made aware of its existence. Not when she knew how vital said cloak was to her, Ron and Harry’s survival in the future.
When she finished, Amelia looked livid, her fists were clenched and her jaw tightened. Remus, she could tell, was embarrassed of his friends’ behavior.
“I’m sorry Hermione. I know they can be completely out of line at times, but honestly, they’re alright once you get to know them,” he tried to convince her.
Hermione smiled sadly; she knew he was right. Sirius was one of the bravest men that she had ever known, which was why she lost her temper so much with the teenage version of him. It was like night and day between the boy and the man. The way he behaved made it hard to believe that he would become a man she cared for very much. The same man who loved and treated her best friend as if he was his own son.
"I'm sure they are, Remus. I'm just not seeing that side of them yet," Hermione explained, trying to ease the tension.
Soon Madam Pomfrey came to check on Hermione and give her more tonics and potions to take for the pain and to replenish the blood she lost. As the pain potion was due to make her extremely drowsy, Madam Pomfrey ordered Amelia and Remus away, assuring them they may come back and visit her later that afternoon.
Amelia promised to return with some books for Hermione to read, so she did not go bonkers while confined to the hospital bed. Hermione thanked her and mumbled a goodbye; the potion seemed to be a fast working one. Her eyes felt heavy and a sense of calm and peacefulness washed over her like a warm blanket. As much as she tried to fight it, her eyes were closed before her friends were out the door.
5th Spetember 1976
Much to Hermione’s irritation, she was told she must spend one more evening in the Hospital Wing, which meant she would spend her whole first weekend there. It also meant that two days of free time was wasted that she could have spent trying to get to know Severus.
It was very early in the morning, still hours from sunrise, when Hermione was jolted awake suddenly by someone coughing quietly next to her.
Her heart felt like it was about to fly out of her chest as she sat straight up in bed and immediately reached for her wand. For a moment, she thought she was still on the run, sleeping in that tent with Ron and Harry, and thought she was being ambushed by Death Eaters. Jumping out of bed, she pointed her wand directly at the chest of the young man standing in front of her.
Severus’ eyes widened in surprise as he raised his hands to show her he meant no harm. The coldness of the concrete floor beneath her feet and the sight of her former professor, twenty years younger than what she had known, brought Hermione to her senses. She lowered her wand slowly and felt her heart rate return to a normal rhythm, then sat on the edge of her bed.
“I suppose I deserve a welcome like that,” Severus whispered dryly.
There was no denying it, Hermione was confused. She was mildly disoriented from being woken up so suddenly and also had no idea how or why Severus Snape was standing beside her bed, in the middle of the night. She tilted her head to the side as her eyebrows knitted together.
“What are you doing here?” Hermione hissed. “Madam Pomfrey will skin you alive if she finds you!”
Hermione looked anxiously over Severus’ shoulder for any sign that Pomfrey heard the commotion, she was sure she made, when jumping out of bed and nearly attacking Severus. Sitting completely still, she held her breath and strained her ears for any sounds of movement while Severus reached into his pocket.
He flicked wand he whispered, “Muffilato," immediately put it away, then sat on the chair next to Hermione’s bedside table. “There. She won’t hear anything now.”
Hermione shook her head and gingerly shifted her position to face him better. He looked at the ground, out the window, to the objects on the table; he seemed to be trying to look at anything that wasn’t her.
“Severus,” she said sharply. He stiffened. It was the first time she had addressed him by his first name. She couldn’t be sure, but she thought she saw the corner of his mouth pull up the tiniest amount when she did. “What are you doing here?” she repeated.
"I - I..." He fiddled with the cuff of his sleeve - a nervous habit she assumed, as she had noticed him doing the same the evening before. "I'm not sure," he said slowly as he looked her directly in the eye.
"Well there had to have been a reason for you sneaking out after hours to come here and wake me," Hermione probed.
She thought she saw a flicker of annoyance flash briefly in his dark eyes followed by a hint of indecision. Why had he taken the risk of earning a detention to come and see her, she wondered.
While she waited for him to respond she drew in a sharp breath. Suddenly she remembered exactly how she ended up in the Hospital Wing the night before.
"You - you carried me here last night, didn't you?" she said so quietly she was surprised by his nod of agreement. "And you healed me, too," she added, not asked.
He nodded once more.
Hermione remembered the entire thing. The strange spell he used to seal her opened wound, the look of worry and determination in his eyes as he worked on her, how cold his hand felt when she wrapped hers around it to thank him, and how surprisingly strong his arms felt as they held her close to him the entire time - until she fainted. Maybe he wasn't as cruel and uncaring as he tried to portray to the world.
"Thank you," she smiled.
Severus' eyes narrowed. "Thank you?" he repeated incredulously. The smile quickly melted off Hermione's face. "Why in the world would you thank me?"
Hermione shrugged. "Well. You brought me here. You stopped me from bleeding out," she stated as if it was obvious.
With a cruel twist to his lips, Severus snorted. "I was the one who injured you to begin with, Devereux."
He shook his head. "How are you - Why are - What is wrong with you?" he spat.
Hermione felt the anger begin to bubble in her chest. What was wrong with her? He was absolutely insufferable!
“Are you always this lovely to people who are genuinely trying to be nice to you?” she asked in a venom filled voice.
“Why are you meddling in my business?” he countered.
The anger was now fusing with irritation. She was becoming more furious by the moment.
“You were the one who stopped to talk to me last evening! And you were the one who snuck up here to see me now!” she shouted.
Severus gritted his teeth and gave her a glare scarily reminiscent to the one she had seen on multiple occasions, in the Potions classroom – normally when she had spoken out of turn, or on the occasions in which she would help Neville with his work. However, she did not back down nor let it shake her, as she might have whilst he was her professor. Now she was his peer and she was not going to let him intimidate her any longer.
Hermione inched closer to him and squared her shoulders. “Now I’m going to ask you again, Severus Snape. Why. Are. You. Here?”
He took a deep breath. “Because I needed to see if you were alright!” he growled, seemingly unable to contain himself. Even he looked surprised by his response.
Slowly her indignation towards him faded away and was replaced with pure astonishment. Hermione cocked an eyebrow and observed his embarrassed expression thoughtfully. He cast his eyes to the ground and twisted his fingers. He was truly an enigma. One she was determined to figure out.
“Oh. Well yes. I’m – I’m perfectly fine. Just a little tender, that’s all,” she answered in a small voice.
Severus gave a jerk of his shoulders and a small grunt.
“You’re really not as taciturn as you pretend to be, are you Severus?” she mused out loud.
“You don’t know anything about me,” he responded in a sad quiet voice.
Hermione couldn’t help but to feel sorry for him. He sounded so lonely and broken. It made her want to get to know him and offer her friendship more than she already had up until that point.
Tentatively she reached forward and placed her hand on his shoulder. “So let me get to know you.”
He pulled his shoulder out from under her touch and shook his head.
“You don’t want to get to know me, Devereux. Trust me,” he scoffed.
“Hermione,” she corrected.
They sat in a mutual silence for a few moments until out of nowhere Severus stood up.
“I – I can’t. I don’t need anyone. I don’t want to be your friend!” His tone returned to the unfriendly, cold tone she had been accustomed to.
“But Severus-“ she stood up in front of him.
He looked down at her with a burning look in his eyes she had never seen before; quickly his face rearranged itself into an emotionless mask as he stepped away from her and began to walk away.
“Please. Just – just stay away from me. You’d be better off.”
Severus waved his wand – she assumed he lifted the Muffilato spell – and swiftly made his way towards the door. He stopped for a moment before opening it, looked back at her and opened his mouth, as if he was about to say something. Instead he exhaled loudly, opened the door and left, leaving a thoroughly confused Hermione staring after him.
11th September 1976
The following week at school passed excruciatingly slowly for Hermione. Severus seemed to be avoiding her at any cost, even to the point where he skived out on Potions class that week. Even though he had been attending their other shared classes, Professor Slughorn had been under the impression that Severus was ill and would not be making it to class. She assumed he was also arriving to the Great Hall extra early for his meals, since would be finished with his food the moment Hermione would arrive and would be gone by the time she sat down.
Amelia noticed Hermione’s sullen demeanor and questioned her about it, which Hermione chalked up to her just being homesick and a bit overwhelmed by being in the new atmosphere of such a large school. She wasn’t completely sure, but it seemed as if Amelia bought her lame excuse.
She started to fear that befriending Severus and ultimately saving his life would prove to be impossible. The only silver lining was their detention that Saturday evening – which James cheerfully reminded her of during Transfiguration class that week, as Hermione had no memory of McGonagall assigning them to her. She hoped that she would at least get to spend her detention with Severus, because she knew there would be no chance of him avoiding her there.
“I still think it’s completely unfair that McGonagall gave you detention along with the boys,” Amelia complained as she plopped down on the couch in front of the fire in the Ravenclaw common room. “It’s not like you were dueling. You were trying to stop them for Merlin’s sake!” This had to have been at least the fiftieth time Hermione had heard that from her.
“I know, but what can I do?” Hermione said, sitting across from her in an armchair.
“Hopefully you won’t get back too late. Bagman managed to nick some Firewhiskey from his brother,” she whispered with a huge grin.
Hermione was still utterly shocked by these students. She couldn’t remember the Gryffindor parties having alcohol like these Ravenclaws seemed to have every weekend. The 70’s were just a different time, she assumed.
“Yeah, hopefully,” she answered half-heartedly.
Hermione checked the time and saw she had fifteen minutes to make it to detention on time. She said goodbye to Amelia and promised she would try to make it to their get together afterwards. Honestly she did not care either way. She knew there would be no way she would be drinking.
She was informed earlier in the week that her detention would be served in the Potions classroom with Professor Slughorn - apparently he had requested to supervise. She assumed it was due to her outstanding work in the class and knew he was probably itching to get a chance to invite her into his Slug Club. Unfortunately she would have to endure that once more in her lifetime, she thought with a heavy sigh.
When she arrived only Slughorn was there, sitting at his desk at the front of the dimly lit classroom. She noticed two rags and an assortment of cauldrons and other supplies were scattered on top three of the desks in the front row. Her shoulders dropped. She didn't anticipate cleaning for her detention.
"Oh Miss Devereux!" He greeted her with a wide smile. "Early, I see?"
"Good evening, sir," she tried to smile back.
"Well take a seat anywhere my dear. I suspect Mr. Snape will be arriving shortly. Then the two of you could get to work."
Hermione reluctantly made her way to the table she and Severus shared her first week, sat down and waited for her instructions.
"I have to say, Miss Devereux, I was a bit disappointed upon hearing the news of your detention -- and Mr. Snape's for that matter," he tried sounding stern, yet he offered a toothy grin.
"I'm sorry, Professor. Hopefully it won't happen again," she mumbled and felt herself blush. After all she had been through, she still hated the thought of disappointing one of her professors.
"Oh ho! Speak of the devil and he shall appear! Good evening Mr. Snape," Slughorn called towards the doorway.
Hermione felt a chill run through her. This would be the first time she would be face to face with him since nearly a week prior. She froze and remained facing forward.
"Professor," he greeted as she heard his footsteps grow closer.
Severus sat in the desk furthest from her; he did not so much as look in her direction.
"Now that you've both arrived-"
"You mean it's just us, Professor?" Severus asked with just a touch of relief to his voice.
Slughorn laughed. "Of course, dear boy. Professor McGonagall thought it would be… er – more constructive if you were separated from your Gryffindor friends during your detentions."
"They're no friends of mine," Severus mumbled.
"We did not want a repeat of what happened last weekend," Slughorn finished, acting as if Severus did not speak. "But just between us," he stage whispered, "You're better off with me. Rumor has it Professor McGonagall has them cleaning bed pans in the Hospital Wing. No magic," he winked again.
Hermione couldn't help herself and giggled picturing the looks on Sirius' and James' faces when hearing what their punishment would be. She glanced at Severus and saw that he had cracked a smile and she assumed he was imagining the same thing. When he looked at her, however, the smile quickly left his face; he immediately looked away.
Professor Slughorn then assigned the pair items to clean - Hermione would be tackling scales, stirring sticks and vials. Severus would be doing the cauldrons. For the following month, they would continue to clean all of the items, even the spares which normally rested in the storage cupboard and did not see any action in the classroom.
As Hermione scrubbed a particularly filthy scale she tried to work out a plan as to how she could corner Severus after detention, since she could not exactly speak to him in front of their professor. She hadn't come up with anything concrete and was almost settling on placing a full body bind curse on him, but decided that would most likely earn her a few more weeks of detention.
She watched him out of the corner of her eye a few times throughout the evening; he meticulously cleaned every last inch of the cauldrons nonstop. He didn't stop, stretch, rest or look away from the items in front of him the entire time. He really did seem to be going out of his way to pretend that Hermione did not exist.
After nearly three hours Professor Slughorn cleared his throat. "Alright, alright. I think that will do for this week."
Hermione was grateful as she put down the rag and the stirring stick she was cleaning, and stretched out her arms, flexing her cramped fingers.
"Don't worry about putting everything away, I'll take care of that for you," Slughorn said kindly.
"Thank you, sir," Hermione and Severus said at the same time, then both turned to look at one another. Hermione gave a half-smile which Severus replied by snorting and rolling his eyes.
Slughorn eyed them both with a bit of something close to suspicion in his eyes. "Right. Well, off you go then."
As Hermione said goodnight and turned to leave, she saw Severus basically run from the classroom. She went to go try to catch him, but right before she reached the door Professor Slughorn stopped her.
"Oh Miss Devereux. A word please?"
Hermione felt the disappointment run through her as she plastered a phony smile on her face. "Sir?"
"I don't know if you have heard from Miss Bones, but I have been known to throw together a supper party every now and then."
Here it comes, she thought. "No, sir. She hasn't." Hermione noticed his mouth turn down in a small frown. "At least not yet. Maybe she just did not want me feeling left out of something so exclusive," she added, playing into his ego, which was nearly as large as his bulging stomach. It seemed to have done the trick, since the smile returned to his face in a heartbeat.
"Of course," he nodded. "Well it is for Hogwarts' best and brightest and I would love for you to join us some time."
It took all of Hermione's strength not to roll her eyes. "Thank you, sir. I would be more than happy to!" Her face was beginning to hurt from keeping the fake smile on it.
"Excellent! You shall receive an owl soon, my dear!" He beamed. "Now you better be off. You don't want Filch catching you out of bed after hours."
Just as she suspected, Severus was long gone by the time she got out of the classroom. She felt a little sting of saddness as she glanced down the dark and empty corridor. Another day wasted.
As she trekked back up to Ravenclaw tower, she promised herself that she would make some substantial progress the following week, if it was the last thing she'd do.
Apparently she missed quite the party, she thought as she stepped into the common room. Rita and Lockhart were passed out - still sitting up - on one of the couches. Edgar was sprawled across an armchair; an empty bottle was still clenched in his hand. Bagman was face down on the rug in front of the fireplace - the fire seemed to have burned out long ago. The other two girls and Sturgis were draped across one another on the other couch. The snoring was unreal.
Hermione laughed quietly to herself, conjured several blankets and covered up her classmates before making her way up to her bed. When she entered the dormitory, she heard gagging coming from the bathroom she and the other girls shared.
When she walked in Amelia was sitting on the floor, her head rested on the wall next to the toilet.
"Her - Her-minn-oh-knee," she groaned, massacring her name.
"Oh Amelia..." Hermione couldn't help but laugh. "Look at you. Do you need anything? Water perhaps?"
Amelia nodded. Her eyes then widened, she covered her mouth and quickly stuck her head over the toilet, where she became violently ill.
Hermione scrunched up her nose and felt her stomach turn from the smell. "I'll be back with your water." She hurried out and back into their dorm.
There were pitchers of water and glasses left next to each of their beds every night; Hermione went to Amelia's table and poured a glass to take back with her. She wasn't sure if the students of this era were more wild than in her time, or if the teachers were more lenient, but the scene in the Ravenclaw tower was nothing she had ever seen before. It amused her as much as it horrified her.
When she arrived back to Amelia, she was now as unconscious as the rest of her friends. With a heaving breath, Hermione took out her wand and levitated Amelia into her bed.
As she took her shoes off for her, Amelia stirred.
"How was detenshhhun," she slurred.
"It was detention," Hermione shrugged with a small giggle.
"Shame you m-mmmisssed out."
Hermione full out laughed and chucked Amelia's shoes to the ground. "Yes, definitely a shame," she agreed.
Amelia rolled on her side, which Hermione was glad to see, and snuggled into her covers. She yawned loudly.
"Was Snape a git?" She whispered.
Hermione changed into her nightdress and got herself into bed before answering. Technically he wasn't. He didn't even speak to her.
"We didn't say a word to each other," she responded flatly.
"That's nice," Amelia muttered before she began to snore.
With a small shake of her head, Hermione got herself comfortable and closed her eyes. But that will change, she thought. Even if she had to stalk him around the castle, she was going to get to him. She had to, otherwise, what was she even doing there?
Soon she drifted off to sleep. Her dreams were filled with flashes of dark eyes, enchanted bubbles, large snakes, loads of blood and a high, cruel laugh. It was not a restful night.
A/N - Thank you all so, so, so much for the amazing reviews and unbelievably kind feedback you've been leaving on this story. I'm completely overwhelmed by the love you've all shown me, and even though I'm horrible at responding to reviews, I appreciate them more than you know! *hugs*
I think this is my favorite chapter so far. I hope you all liked it! Why do you think Severus snuck in to see Hermione? Do you think it was more than what he told her? Do you think Hermione will FINALLY get through to Severus soon? Are you glad that there was more Hermione/Severus interaction this chapter? Anything you would like to see or hope will happen? Let me know it that little box below!!
Oh and just in case you might not have seen, there is also a companion piece to this told from Snape's POV. It's called The Exchange Student, if you were interested in checking that out, too. :D
Thank you all again! <33
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