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Chapter 11 : xi.
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10th October 1976
Sunday evening found Hermione wringing her hands anxiously as she paced back and forth in front of the library. She was nearly twenty minutes early, but knowing Severus, she assumed he was most likely already in there awaiting her arrival. She couldn’t deny it, she was incredibly nervous. What would she say to him? She had spent the majority of her time there so far just working on how to get him to notice her and then speak to her. Now that she had done both of those things, she wasn’t quite sure what to even speak with him about. What if she said the wrong thing and ended up right where she had begun?
Mentioning what she learned from Amelia, about him and Lily, was definitely off the table. There was no doubt in her mind that if she brought that up, he would leave quicker than she could say royal screw up. No, that conversation would have to be saved for a later date. If, and hopefully when, they were to become closer friends.
A few students passed by casting her strange looks, most likely wondering what the new girl was doing trekking up and down the hallway. Hermione gave a few of them half smiles, half grimaces as her anxiety continued to crescendo. She glanced down at her watch and saw that it was nearly time to go in, lest she be late, which would had been sure to anger Severus. After adjusting the strap of her school bag and taking a deep breath, Hermione lifted her head and marched into the library, hoping she did not look even a fraction as uneasy as she felt.
When she walked in Severus was nowhere in sight. She scanned a few of the tables not seeing his mane of stringy black hair amongst any of the students. A wave a disappointment came over her; she found herself wondering if he had stood her up. But, since she was already there, she figured she shouldn’t waste the evening moping around and should probably get some studying done anyhow. She had a two foot essay due for Slughorn in three days and decided she ought to get a start on it.
Not wanting to be bothered by any of the students, Hermione quietly slipped between the scattered tables and made her way towards some of the less frequently used ones in the back of the library. She hoped that perhaps Amelia and Remus would have ended up coming to join her at some point in the evening; she didn’t like spending too much time on her own. It gave her too much time to think. She didn’t enjoy becoming too wrapped up in her mind recently, if she could have helped it.
As she walked, she was not paying attention to what was or was not surrounding her, therefore she received quite a shock when an annoyed and silky voice spoke up quietly behind her.
“You’re late,” Severus said flatly.
Hermione jumped and let out a low cry of surprise.
Severus was sat at a table to her right, his books were scattered out in front of him, taking up nearly half of the table. He looked up at her with an expression that seemed torn between partial amusement and pure exasperation. The corner of his mouth lifted the tiniest amount forming a smirk that, for some reason, made Hermione’s heart pick up double time. With a small shake of her head, she attempted to convince herself she had not felt any reaction to him whatsoever, but subconsciously thought he looked almost handsome when he smiled.
“Well are you going to sit down, Devereux? Or are you going to hang about looking as if you were hit with a Stunning Spell all evening?” Severus raised an eyebrow while gesturing to the seat across from him.
Hermione mentally collected herself, walked over to the table Severus occupied and sat down in the chair he had just pointed at.
“Please, call me Hermione,” she told him for what she figured was the fifth time since the two had begun – somewhat – speaking.
Severus rolled his eyes as he let out a quiet snort. “Fine,” he exhaled. “Hermione. Better?”
She smiled widely and tried to ignore the fluttering sensation that erupted in her stomach at the sound of him saying her name for the first time. “Loads,” she answered brightly.
Hermione removed her school bag from her shoulder and dropped it on the table with a loud thump. Severus’ eyes widened a fraction as he looked at her overstuffed bag. She seemed to have continued her habit of carrying all of her school books with her at one time, as opposed to just the ones she needed at that moment. Although to Hermione, every book was one that she may possibly have needed.
“What’s on the agenda this evening? Would you like to work on the paper for Slughorn, or perhaps our assignment for Crabtree?” Hermione asked tentatively as she pulled a few books, parchment, several quills and a bottle of ink from her bag.
Severus placed his index finger along his bottom lip, looking thoughtful. “Potions, I think.”
Hermione reached for her copy of Advanced Potions Making. “Potions it is then.”
Without asking, Hermione shoved some of Severus’ belongings aside, nearly causing two of his books to fall off of the small table. She had not noticed and therefore received a start at Severus’ low growl of annoyance.
“Something wrong?” she asked in a tired voice. She was in no mood for his rapidly changing mood swings when he was the one who had invited her to study with him that evening.
Severus opened his mouth to answer but seemed to change his mind at the last moment. Instead, he sighed loudly while shaking his head.
“Good,” Hermione said. “Now we’re supposed to be outlining, in detail, the steps and procedures in-“ she began in a tone more suitable for a Hogwarts Professor than a student of the school.
“Stop,” Severus interrupted her.
“Pardon?” Hermione’s eyebrows rose.
Hermione watched in surprised as Severus reached across the table and closed her book. He had been lucky he didn’t pull back a bloody stump. In her time, everyone had known better than to reach for, or touch one of Hermione’s books when she was in study mode.
“What are you doing? I thought we were-“
“I wanted to talk to you,” Severus interrupted her once more.
Severus would not meet her eye line, yet the expression on his face was very serious. Hermione squirmed uncomfortably in her seat. What on earth had he wanted to speak with her about?
“Oh?” she responded lamely. “About what, exactly?”
She watched Severus shift in his chair and glance out the window to their left. It looked as if he was choosing his words very carefully.
After a few uncomfortable moments, Severus finally looked Hermione in the eye. For the first time, he had not glared or looked hostile. If anything, he appeared more apprehensive and confused than anything else.
“Why have you continuously rejected Black?” he asked bluntly, his mouth curling in disgust at the mention of Sirius.
Out of all the things Hermione thought he was planning to ask her, that had not even come close to crossing her mind. She was completely taken off guard and, as had become more commonplace for her in his company, was rendered speechless.
“I – Why have? I’m – I’m sorry?” she sputtered, undeniably confused as to why he would want to know.
“Girls in this school repeatedly fawn over the disgusting git,” he continued as if Hermione had not spoken. “Yet you have not seemed even remotely interested. Why is that?” he asked quietly, almost like he was asking rhetorically.
Hermione had a choice to make in that moment. She could tell the truth, that she thought Sirius was harmless - annoying perhaps - but was not romantically interested in him whatsoever. However, if she complimented him, even in the slightest, she could have run the risk of turning Severus away from her completely. If she wanted to keep Severus around – to gain his trust, and more importantly his friendship, she knew she had to speak poorly of him. No matter how much she truly did care for Sirius Black.
Not breaking eye contact, Hermione sat up straight and answered. “I find him to be insufferable, arrogant and a bit of a prat, to be honest.” She noticed Severus’ lips turn up a fraction. “I prefer to spend my time in the company of people who are intelligent and sincere. Not bone-headed and cruel.”
Severus’ eyebrows knitted together as he appeared to be considering her response. Hermione felt terribly for what she had just said, but she knew it would help her in the long run.
After a few more moments, Severus nodded stoically. “Right,” was all he said. He sat back in his chair and Hermione would have sworn she saw him actually smile for a second.
Hermione’s curiosity had gotten the best of her. “Why?” she asked in earnest. “Why would that even matter?”
“It doesn’t,” he answered quickly.
She almost laughed out loud. Of course it mattered! If it truly had not, then he wouldn’t have asked her to begin with. She cocked an eyebrow at him as she bit her bottom lip.
“What?” he almost growled at her as she continued watching him.
Hermione cracked a small smile. “Nothing,” she answered innocently and reopened her Potion’s book.
She pretended to read for a few minutes, but could feel Severus’ eyes still on her. The longer she ignored him, the more irritated he seemed to become. She heard him huff impatiently several times, all the while still staring a hole through her.
“Fine!” he finally said, causing Hermione to jump.
Gently she closed her book and looked up at his frustrated face in silent amusement.
“Yes?” she asked sweetly.
His pale face started to gain some color; she chuckled silently to herself. Truth be told, she was quite enjoying herself in that moment.
“Black and Potter like to have a laugh; usually at my expense,” he began to explain in a venom filled voice. Hermione’s smile quickly left her face. She had seen it firsthand. “I wasn’t sure – I just didn’t know,” he looked down at the table. “Just forget it, Devereux.”
Hermione almost corrected him again, but decided against it.
A part of her figured that Severus, at one point or another, was probably just as guilty as James or Sirius when it came to starting fights. But she had to admit, it was a bit unfair. Severus only had himself, whereas with the others… there were at most four, at the very least two against one, when it came to their ongoing rivalry. As she watched his face screw up in anger and a touch of sadness, she found herself feeling exceptionally sorry for him.
“I’m sorry,” she told him sincerely.
His head snapped up immediately. “I don’t want your pity,” he spat. She flinched.
Hermione sighed. “Let’s just get on with our coursework. That’s why we’re here, right?”
After their brief conversation, the two sat and worked on their essays in almost complete silence. The only sounds were their quills scratching across the parchment, and the occasional cough or sniffle. For two hours they sat and worked. What started out as an uncomfortable silence eventually melted into a mutually compatible one. Hermione quite liked his company. Severus seemed to be surprisingly similar to Hermione. He worked quickly and diligently, and didn’t feel the need to fill their silence with mindless prattle.
Hermione peered at him a few times throughout the evening, watching him intently. She began to notice little things about him. Like the way his nose scrunched up after he wrote something he seemed not to be happy with; he would scratch out the last thing he had written directly after. His hair never stayed tucked behind his ear for long, he had to push it out of his face almost every few minutes. She smiled when she noticed he had a habit of biting his quills, just like she had, and wondered if he went through loads of them each week, like she did.
At the end of their study session, or perhaps it caused the end of their evening, Severus looked up and caught Hermione looking at him. His eyes widened, then he quickly masked his surprise with a sneer.
“Need something, Devereux?” he asked sardonically.
She hadn’t even realized that she was staring at him at that point, and knocked her bottle of ink over. “No! No, thank you,” she said as she swished her wand and siphoned the ink from the table, and a few of her books.
Severus shook his head and started to pack up. “I think that should do for tonight.”
Hermione mentally kicked herself for letting him catch her.
“You’re right,” she lied. Honestly, she wanted more time with him. But she knew she should not push her luck and try to convince him to stay a little longer. She felt it had gone well that evening; possibly he would ask her to study again some time.
It was almost as if Severus had read her thoughts. He stood up, placed the strap of his bag on his shoulder and cleared his throat. “That was not nearly as painful as I assumed it would be.”
A real charmer, this one, she thought with a snort. “I suppose you're right,” she said with a small amount of acid in her voice. Severus seemed as if he tried to hide a smirk at her tone.
“Perhaps we could meet again tomorrow evening? Same time?” he asked much to Hermione’s astonishment.
She blinked a few times and nodded. “I would like that,” she smiled.
Severus stood up just a bit straighter at her response. “Tomorrow then.”
He shocked her once more when he waited for her to collect her belongings and walked out of the library with her. When they reached the corridor, they both stopped and stood awkwardly, each not really knowing how to part from one another.
“Well, erm…” Hermione started.
“Enjoy the rest of your evening,” Severus said in the kindest tone she’d heard from him thus far. Unexplainably, her heart felt like it skipped a beat. What was going on with her? It must had been the shock of him sounding so, so… nice. Something she had never heard from him before.
She felt her face burn softly as a light blush rose up her cheeks. “Yeah. You as well.”
Severus dawdled for another second, looked as if he was going to say something else, then quickly turned and rushed down the hall. As Hermione watched him leave, she stood there feeling increasingly more confused by the strange reactions he seemed to be bringing out in her.
Her feeling of confusion quickly left her and was replaced with pure irritation at the voice that spoke up loudly from behind her.
“Merlin’s pearly white pants! Devereux?! What the hell were you doing with Snape?” Sirius asked in disgust.
Hermione pinched the bridge of her nose as she turned around slowly to face him.
Sirius stood in the center of the hallway looking past her, towards Severus. His eyes were as wide as saucers as he came nearer.
“Homework,” Hermione answered shortly and pursed her lips. “You know, those assignments the professors ask us to complete in the evenings? The same ones you seem to hastily scribble out during the beginning of each lesson.”
Hermione had once heard that James and Sirius were two of the cleverest students in their year. But from what she had seen so far, she wasn’t exactly sure how they achieved that reputation. She wasn’t even quite sure how they ever had their work finished at all. She rarely saw them in the library, and when she actually did, they were never doing work. Almost always she saw them wandering the halls; goofing off or messing with the Slytherins.
Sirius barked out a loud laugh. “Pssh! Life’s too short to worry about doing homework at night, Devereux.”
Hermione scoffed at Sirius’ words and began to walk away from him. Sirius ran to catch up to her.
“But seriously. Why Snape?”
Hermione ignored him and hoped he would leave her alone if she refused to speak to him. She had a part to play while she was there, and it now included pretending to hate Sirius Black.
Sirius didn’t seem deterred by Hermione’s cold shoulder. “Don’t you usually study with Remus and Bones? I assumed you had good taste,” he continued to ramble on. Hermione did not respond, save for an annoyed snort. “He’s a complete git, Devereux. Ask Lily Evans, they used to-“
Hermione was at her limit. She stopped suddenly and rounded on him. “That’s enough, Black!” she shouted. Sirius looked hurt, his lip jutted out in a small pout.
“No. You have no right to tell me who I can or cannot be friends with, because,” she hissed. “We. Are. Not. Friends!”
Of course, Hermione was laying it on pretty thick. She wasn't nearly as irritated with Sirius as she pretended to be. Not that she didn't find his pestering slightly annoying, but she certainly would not have been as cruel under normal circumstances.
Until she stormed off, leaving a bewildered Sirius behind, she had not noticed there was a small audience during that exchange.
When she looked down the hall, she noticed Severus peeking around the corner. The satisfied look in his eyes was noticeable, even from the distance between them both. Then, almost as if he Disapperated, Severus was gone.
14th October 1976
Slowly things began to change between Hermione and Severus. During their classes on Monday, Severus nodded to her and even said hello in the ones they shared together. The few times she glanced at him in the Great Hall, he hadn’t given her any dirty looks. Amelia even seemed to notice during lunch.
“Hermione,” she whispered the third time Hermione looked towards the Slytherin table.
“Hmm?” she responded distractedly. She was busy staring at Severus long fingers as they gracefully held a quill, which he used to write in the margins of his Potions textbook. It was something he had done a lot.
“You’re staring again,” Amelia pointed out unnecessarily.
Hermione was well aware of what she was doing, but still did not like that she had been caught. She looked away quickly and began to push around the food on her plate with her fork.
After that, Hermione worked very hard to keep herself from looking over at the boy who intrigued her more than any other she had met before.
Later on, once again, she met Severus in the library at eight in the evening. Neither one of them discussed what Hermione knew Severus had seen transpire between she and Sirius the evening before. But something had become different between them; it was obvious.
Severus was starting to become completely separate from Professor Snape in her mind. She had come to think of them as two different people. One was a mean, cranky teacher, who bullied her and her friends relentlessly the entirety of her Hogwarts education. But also a man who had become a hero. Severus, on the other hand, was a peer and an equal. A boy whom Hermione found herself becoming more and more determined to know everything about. Something about him had begun to stir something inside of her that she had not felt before in her life, and it scared and confused her.
The way he spoke so confidently, when discussing their studies; how he would get the most passionate sparkle in his eyes when discussing the theories behind different spells or potions; the way he seemed as determined as she had been to find the answers to questions others would not even think of asking; the way he wasn’t afraid to challenge her and truly make her stretch her knowledge to the limits. He was one of the most fascinating people she had ever known.
The next few days went on pretty much the same way. He even had started to wait for her after Potions, where they would walk to the first floor corridor together before going their separate ways. They didn’t say much to one another. Severus at times would make a small compliment regarding an impressive technique she used in either potions, or most especially Defense Against the Dark Arts.
Severus had pleasantly surprised Hermione Wednesday afternoon, when he made a comment about her, as he put it, “Impressive wandwork.”
Hermione blushed and flashed him a brilliant smile, all the while feeling those annoying butterflies in her stomach again. Much to Hermione’s astonishment, Severus’s lips turned up the tiniest amount and a touch of red filled his cheeks.
One thing she noticed over the course of the week, had been the obvious gawking she and Severus received from most of the student body. Of course she understood why. She was this new, brilliant, quiet student who had first made friends with one of the members of the infamous Marauders and Amelia Bones. All of a sudden, she was spending her time with the person whom was the Marauders favorite target. A loner from Slytherin who was heavily rumored to be immersed and infatuated with the Dark Arts. She assumed that most of the students wondered if Hermione herself was one of those blood purist, future Death Eaters. The thought almost made her laugh.
Thursday evening, Hermione and Severus continued their week of doing their homework together in the library. They hadn’t been there an hour before a small, mousy haired, third year Gryffindor trotted over to their table.
“Hermione Devereux?” he asked tentatively.
Hermione looked up from her work and offered the nervous little boy a warm smile. “Yes, that’s me.”
With a slightly shaky hand, he gave her a folded up piece of parchment. “Professor Dumbledore asked for me to give this to you.”
Hermione took the note from the boy and thanked him. Severus, she noticed, was shooting daggers at the poor kid. The Gryffindor shivered softly and quickly scurried away from the two older students.
“What does Professor Dumbledore want?” Severus asked while eyeing the paper with curiosity.
Hermione shrugged. “Not sure. Probably just wants to check up on me and see how I’m doing?” she answered uncertainly.
I was hoping that you would join me in my office this evening,
as there are some issues in which I wish to discuss with you.
Please, if you would be so kind, be at my office no later than
Pumpkin Pasties are quite wonderful this time of year, are they not?
Yours Most Sincerely,
After refolding the note from Professor Dumbledore, Hermione’s heart began to race. What issues had he needed to speak with her about? She also still felt uncomfortable referring to him as “Uncle Albus,” and seeing it written there gave her a sick feeling in her stomach.
She looked up and saw that Severus was staring intently at her; she quickly rearranged her face to a calm expression.
“Just like I thought,” she lied. “He wants to check in.”
Severus nodded. “Mmm,” he grunted and returned to writing his paper.
Hermione checked her watch. It was ten minutes until nine, which meant she had to leave if she did not want to risk being late. She started packing up her belongings.
“He wants to see you now?” Severus asked. She hadn’t realized he was watching her gather her things and she smiled when she saw that he was frowning.
“Yes. He wants me in his office by nine, which means I have exactly ten minutes to get there,” she said sadly.
She could not lie to herself, there was a large part of her that was happy seeing that Severus was sad to see her leave. Her heart felt like it skipped a beat at the disappointment in his eyes, that he did not even seem to be trying to hide.
“Right. Well… Tomorrow again?” he asked with just a touch of uncertainty to his voice.
Hermione smiled. “Of course, Severus.”
With a small wave, she slung her bag over her shoulder and said goodnight then quickly made her way out of the library. She jogged almost all of the way to Dumbledore’s office and arrived at the entrance out of breath and a bit sweaty. She huffed the password – Pumpkin Pasties, as she assumed from the out of place line in his letter – made her way up the spiral stairs and knocked softly on the large wooden doors.
“Enter,” Dumbledore called out.
Hermione walked into Dumbledore’s office and found the Headmaster seated behind his desk, smiling politely at her.
“Please,” he gestured at one of the armchairs in front of his desk. “Have a seat, Miss Granger.”
Hermione sat down and looked towards Professor Dumbledore expectantly. He sat with his hands folded on top of his desk, wearing that familiar twinkle in his clear, blue eyes.
Dumbledore lifted a small box off his desk. “Cockroach cluster?” he offered.
Hermione’s nose wrinkled, disgusted at the thought of that candy. “Oh. No thank you, sir.”
Setting the box back down, Dumbledore went straight into it. “I am sure you are wondering why you are here,” he stated pleasantly.
Hermione nodded, “Yes, sir.”
Dumbledore opened a drawer in which he pulled out the parchment Hermione had given him upon her arrival. “I wish to discuss with you how we are achieving your return to your original time line.”
Hermione’s heart felt as if it had stopped beating altogether.
A/N - I totally wasn't planning on updating again so soon, but I was just too excited about this chapter. This, for real this time, will be the last update until December. Hope you all enjoy! <3
Em!! My HPFFBFFSOULSISTERBRAINTWINFRAND!! Thank you again bunches for everything!! xoxox
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