[ Printer Friendly Version ] [ Report Abuse ]
Chapter 17 : xvii.
| ||Rating: Mature||Chapter Reviews: 4|
Background: Font color:
After the Halloween party, Hermione vowed to herself that she would do everything in her power to make sure Severus survives the night of the battle. She wasn't sure if being in 1976 and being his friend, or whatever she was turning into, would be enough, so she had come up with a backup plan.
Wednesday evening she was sat by herself in the library researching antivenins, determined to be as prepared as possible. Normally Severus would have been with her, but she was grateful for the detention he had earned himself, due to another spat with Sirius in the Charms class Gryffindor and Slytherin had together. She didn't want to lie to him about what she was doing. Not yet at least.
Her eyes grew heavy while she copied down different ingredients and methods she had found, hoping she could brew something that would prove useful against Nagini’s venom, if things would come to that after her presence in the past. Some of the items would prove difficult for her to get ahold of, unless she spoke to Slughorn and perhaps hinted at an interest in a Potion’s apprenticeship, and could lead him to believe she'd be working on the potion for her application into the program. She didn't fancy the idea of stealing, as she did in her second year to make the Polyjuice Potion, since these now were completely different circumstances.
Deciding to call it a night, Hermione packed up for the evening and began her way back towards Ravenclaw Tower. As she travelled the nearly empty corridors, her thoughts drifted back to the end of the party the other evening. She knew that Severus had been upset over how she'd run off when they'd been so close to a kiss, but she eventually had him back in higher spirits by the time the night was finished.
She had that swooping sensation in her stomach when she thought of the way he had taken her hand, slowly brought it to his lips and pressed a soft kiss to the back of it, in front of the entrance to her Common Room before saying goodnight. The fact that he'd insisted on walking her all the way there also touched her heart. He was proving to be much sweeter than she'd ever anticipated.
A shiver ran through her as she walked, due to the chill in the late autumn air. The nights had become much colder as of late, and she cursed her foolishness in not taking her heavier cloak with her to the library.
When she turned a corner, she swore under her breath. Sirius and James were walking towards her, most likely heading to Gryffindor after Sirius’ detention.
“Alright there, Devereux?” Sirius called down to her as they approached.
Hermione told herself to stay calm and try to have a brief and pleasant exchange with him for once.
“Black. Potter. How are you?” she said politely.
“Hey, Devereux,” James said with a genuine smile.
Even though she knew he could be a prat at times, Hermione honestly liked James Potter. Not that she'd ever admit that to Severus. But James had never been anything but nice to her, so she had no reason to dislike him. That and he so resembled her best friend, it felt like home looking at him at times.
James looked down towards her bag and let out laugh. “Library again?”
Hermione nodded. “Just finishing up some Potions work.” Which wasn't technically a lie.
Sirius snorted and stepped in a little closer than she would have preferred.
“You, Remus, Bones, Evans. You're all way too uptight,” he mockingly scolded.
James slapped Sirius, for what Hermione assumed, was due to the insult about Lily.
“Oi!” he yelled. “On my birthday, Prongs?”
Hermione had completely forgotten the date, but she hadn't felt too badly. It wasn't as if she was supposed to know when Sirius Black’s Birthday was.
“Many happy returns,” she told him.
Sirius flashed his teeth at her and winked. “Thanks, beautiful.”
“Well, don't let me keep either of you. I'm sure you must have plans for this evening, considering…” She gestured at Sirius, and attempted to step her way between the two boys.
She nearly growled when Sirius blocked her way while shaking his head.
“Ah come on, Devereux. Don't leave yet,” he pouted. “I've wanted to ask you something anyway.”
Hermione closed her eyes and let out a deep sigh. So much for a brief pleasant exchange she thought bitterly.
“What?” she asked through her teeth.
Sirius barked out a laugh which sounded so much like his older self, it brought Hermione up short.
“Don't be like that. Besides, you have to be nice to the birthday boy. It's a rule.”
She couldn't help it and laughed. “Oh? Do I?” She challenged with a quirked eyebrow.
James quickly coughed to cover up his laugh.
“You're losing your touch, mate.”
“Piss off, James,” Sirius retorted playfully.
It was like watching Fred and George, she sadly noted. Knowing that three out of those four would be dead when she returned home caused a small lump to form in her throat.
“What did you want, Sirius?” she asked, wanting to leave badly.
Sirius lost the playful look he was wearing. He ran his eyes over her and shook his head. “Are you honestly involved with that git?”
Hermione’s nostrils flared. She took a deep breath to calm herself. What business was it of his anyhow?
“So what if I am?” she responded with a question of her own.
“Well…” he lowered and raised his hand out in front of her. “Look at you. And then, look at him. You could do better.”
She gripped her wand so tightly that it actually hurt, as she tried to control the urge to hex him right then and there.
A bitter laugh came from her lips. “Do you mean you?” she hissed.
Sirius’ gaze touched on her wand hand before averting back to her eyes. She watched his cheeks darken.
“Well yeah, or erm, no. I mean -- anyone really,” he stuttered.
Hermione brought herself up to full height, and spoke loudly and forcefully.
“First of all, that is incredibly rude. And second of all, I do not see how it is a matter of your concern, Sirius Black. Who I choose to spend my time with is up to me, and me alone. And truth be told, Severus has proven to be twice the person you have shown yourself to be.”
Sirius was rendered speechless, yet James felt the need to interfere.
“Hermione,” he began gently. “You don't know what he's done, or who he hangs ‘round with.”
Of course she was more than aware of the types of people Severus knew, but that hadn't meant that he liked those people. Hermione viewed those relationships as more of a matter of convenience; a way for him to live unbothered in Slytherin. The more she had come to know Severus, the more she had realized he was nothing like those people who were, or would become Death Eaters.
“He associates himself with me, James. Do you believe I am a bad person?” she challenged.
“Of course not,” James immediately assured her. “Remus has said nothing but good things about you, so I know you're a good person. I know we’re not close, but a friend of Remus’ is a friend of mine, and we don't want to see anything happen to you.”
Hermione had to admire the loyalty James had for his friends. Yet it saddened her that said loyalty would be what eventually ended his life. As she looked at the concerned face of her best friend, just with the wrong colored eyes, Hermione felt her anger deflate.
“Look. I appreciate your concern, but honestly, it's misplaced. I'm fully capable of handling myself,” she said in a softer tone than she'd previously used.
Sirius and James went to argue, but Hermione put her hand up to stop them.
“Sirius, James, I'm exhausted, so if you two don't mind, I'm going back to my Common Room now.”
Her face was set, and clearly they both realized they ought not to argue. Reluctantly they both wished her a goodnight and finally allowed her to leave.
By the time she arrived back to her dormitory, she was dead on her feet. She barely even remembered getting changed for bed, or speaking to Amelia. Hermione had fallen asleep the moment her head hit the pillow.
4th November 1976
“And don't forget I want two rolls of parchment on the antidotal properties of Unicorn Horns by Tuesday,” Slughorn yelled out over the commotion of students leaving class Thursday afternoon.
“Ready?” Severus asked when the classroom was nearly empty.
Hermione dawdled for a moment. “You go on,” she said. “I need to speak with Professor Slughorn for a moment.” She watched his face fall. “I won't be long, if you wanted to wait outside,” she added.
“Alright. I'll just be outside the door,” he told her, eyeing her suspiciously.
It was a first since they'd began walking to classes together that she had done this. Any other time she remained behind to speak with their professor, she did so with Severus there. Hermione assumed he figured she was hiding something, from his tone of voice, but she couldn't let it worry her. She was attempting to save his life, after all.
After Severus left the classroom, Slughorn looked up and realized Hermione remained behind. He smiled kindly at her.
“Miss Devereux. What can I do for you, my dear?”
“Sir, I was doing some thinking, and I think I would like to continue with my potions education after my time at Hogwarts is finished,” she lied.
Slughorn looked beyond pleased with the news. He clapped his hands together and let out a laugh.
“Well that is wonderful news, just wonderful! I know just the person for you to do an apprenticeship with, as I'm assuming that is the reason for you telling me this,” he said.
He was playing right into her hands, just as she knew he would.
“That would be very kind of you, sir.” She smiled and tried to appear humble.
“Of course, you would have to brew a sufficient enough potion to prove your dedication, Miss Devereux.” He leaned forward to whisper, “Yet, both you and I know that would not be a problem for a student as gifted as yourself.”
This was proving to be far easier than she had hoped. She felt as if she could burst out laughing from the pure joy at any second.
“That's actually why I'm here, Professor.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”
“Sir, if you would be so amendable, I was wondering if you could possibly sign a slip for me to use some of the books in the Restricted Section, as there is a potion I was already thinking of brewing.”
“Of course, of course! Anything I can do to help!” He promised.
Hermione couldn't stop the smile that formed on her lips.
“Thank you, sir. And if there are any ingredients that may prove difficult for me to find, would I be able to possibly gain your assistance in that matter?” She asked, then held her breath.
Slughorn didn't answer immediately, as he seemed to be mulling it over. Hermione knew that she was not the first student to take advantage of his desire to help promising students, to further his own station in the world. She wondered if he was recalling the last time he'd broken the rules to do so.
“When the time comes, we’ll see what would be appropriate for you to use,” he said in a rare serious tone of voice.
Hermione wasn't expecting a full out yes, but at least it hadn't been a no. And she was sure, when the time did come, that he would be more than willing to provide what she needed.
“Thank you, sir. Your generosity is greatly appreciated,” she told him, laying the charm on thick.
Slughorn quickly returned to his jovial self, as he waved her off.
“It's no matter at all, my dear. No matter.”
He then scribbled out a permission slip for her to use the Restricted Section, and sent it straight into her hands.
“Was there anything else for today, Miss Devereux?”
Knowing that her class was the last of the day for him, Hermione figured he was itching to retire to his rooms with a large brandy, as he normally spent his evenings.
“No, sir. That was all. And thank you again.”
With a new bounce in her step, Hermione turned and left the classroom. True to his word, Severus was in the hall waiting when she came out.
“What was that about?” he asked.
Hermione showed him the slip she had just received from Slughorn.
“I need to use the Restricted Section for something potions related,” she admitted.
Severus looked down at her with a furrowed brow.
“For what? We’re not doing anything in class that would require it.”
Should she lie to him, she wondered. Perhaps she should tell him the half-truth. That she planned to work on antivenins, and maybe even possibly ask for his help. If it was Severus she was attempting to save, it would make sense for him to learn how to make one as well. If all went well, maybe she could even convince him to keep a vial on his persons at all times. For the first time since she'd been there, she began to feel true hope. Maybe she'd be able to do this after all.
“I want to brew a powerful antivenin for entry into a Potions apprenticeship,” she said.
Severus’ eyebrows raised in response. He looked truly impressed.
“Would you possibly like to help me?” she asked.
She watched the twitch of his lip when he glanced at her from the side of his eye. If he agreed to help, it would mean that the two of them would spend even more time together than they already had been. She hoped that would convince him to say yes. It made the idea more appealing to her than it already was, if she were being entirely truthful.
“That could prove to be beneficial. Yes. Yes, I'd be happy to,” he agreed.
Hermione almost felt like she could have skipped the rest of the way down the corridor.
6th November 1976
Saturday morning found Hermione knocking on the wooden door which led to Dumbledore’s office. There was something she needed from him, and she desperately hoped that he had it at this time.
“Come in,” Dumbledore's voice called out.
When Hermione stepped into the office, her eyes immediately fixed themselves behind Dumbledore. Her heart dropped when she did not see what she was looking for. However, she didn't give up hope yet. Perhaps it was somewhere else.
Dumbledore put down the quill he had been writing with and smiled warmly at Hermione.
“Miss Granger? What an unexpected and lovely surprise,” he greeted her.
Hermione took a timid step forward.
“I'm sorry for coming unannounced, sir. But I was hoping to speak with you, if you had the time.”
Dumbledore glanced at her over the top of his glasses, again giving her that uncomfortable feeling as if he were looking right through her.
“It just so happens that I have a few moments to spare,” he said, then pointed towards the armchairs in front of his desk. “Please, have a seat. Hopefully I can address any issues that may be causing you concern.”
Hermione sat down and placed her hands on her thighs, not quite sure how to ask without giving away too much of the future.
“Sir, I know this might sound odd, but I was wondering if you have any pets?”
Dumbledore steepled his fingers together, then laughed softly.
“Yes, a strange question indeed, yet I'm sure there is some importance to it,” he mused aloud. Hermione nodded.
“I do, Miss Granger, which I am sure you were aware of, yet not sure if I had acquired such a rare creature at this point in time.”
She felt the tension slowly leave her shoulders. He did have Fawkes, just as she hoped he would.
“Exactly, sir. What I was wondering was…” she bit her lip, somewhat afraid to ask what she'd come there to ask.
Dumbledore saw her hesitate, his eyes softened.
“Miss Granger, you are here for a reason. If there is anything I could assist with, please never fear to ask me,” he told her sincerely.
Hermione smiled. “Thank you, sir.”
“Now, what was it that you're so anxious to ask?”
“I need a vial of Phoenix tears, Professor,” she said without anymore hesitation.
The evening before, an idea struck her, as she was reading in the Restricted Section. There was a section of a book that dealt with petrifaction, which made her think of the Basilisk from her second year. The same one that bit Harry, who should have died, if not for the Phoenix’s tears. If they could cure Basilisk venom, surely they should be of some use against Nagini’s venom.
Dumbledore took his time before he responded. He stroked his beard as he studied the young woman in front of him. Hermione’s hands trembled ever so slightly, since so much was riding on his answer.
While she waited, everything seemed to slow down. His ticking instruments sounded entirely too loud, yet not loud enough to drown out the sound of her own pounding heart.
She remained holding eye contact with the headmaster, trying to see if she could read his decision before he voiced it out loud. A familiar twinkle lit in his eyes, and his lips spread into a smile.
“I shall see what I can do,” he said, yet did not elaborate any further.
It wasn't the exact answer she hoped for, but she would make due with it for now.
“Thank you, Professor Dumbledore.”
7th November 1976
On Sunday afternoon, Hermione and Severus were making use of the Potions classroom, which Slughorn had been all too happy to allow. Hermione had her notes opened as she lit a flame underneath her cauldron, as Severus crushed Jobberknoll parts.
Scribbling down a few new pieces of information, she didn't look up, but hummed quietly in response. She did stop writing, however, when his hand gently wrapped around hers, causing her to look up into his anxious face.
“What is it, Severus?”
Severus ran a hand through his hair. He stared at her with an almost pained expression, then shook his head slowly. A forced smile painted his lips.
“Nothing. Erm…never mind,” he said in a sand papery voice.
He returned to his crushing, yet Hermione kept her eyes locked on him. Whatever he wanted to ask seemed to be important, and she wanted to reassure him that he could speak with her about anything.
“Severus, please? What were you going to say?” she asked.
When he shook his head again, Hermione reached across the table and placed her hand on his forearm.
“You know you can always tell me what you're thinking, correct?”
He exhaled loudly and nodded. “I suppose,” said Severus uncertainly.
“Well you can,” she told him in a matter-of-fact tone.
As he glanced up at her, she saw the insecurity and doubt that clouded his eyes. Her chest ached as she wondered what else she could do to prove her loyalty to him. To make him understand that she would not betray him or cause him any harm.
“I overheard Black and Potter the other night,” he finally said.
Hermione felt the air deflate from her body. It now made sense as to why he’d been more quiet and distant the last few days. Of course he would have heard, she thought bitterly.
“Don't worry about that, Severus. Sirius is a prat. And it's not like what they said made any difference as to how I feel about you.”
She mentally winced after the words how I feel about you left her. Especially after the side of his mouth ticked upwards at her slip of the tongue.
When he looked at her then, he had a new found hope in his expression.
“That's the thing, Hermione. How -” he stopped and looked down, then began tugging at the cuff of his robes. “How do you feel about me?” he asked so softly, she barely made the words out.
This was it, she panicked. She felt as if they were balancing on a precipice. They've been dancing around the issue for weeks now, but she didn't feel as if they could avoid it any longer. It was painfully obvious that both of them had feelings for one another, and if she were to deny those feelings to him, she may potentially risk losing even a friendship with him. And that was just something she could not allow to happen.
A/N - Hello readers! I definitely didn't anticipate having this chapter finished so quickly, but I just couldn't stop writing. So I figured I might as well post it. I even have the beginning of chapter 18 started. :) I'm going to be a bit busy for the next week, since my fiancé and I will be off and plan to go somewhere for a day or two. So I don't think another update will come as quickly, but I'll try not to let it go for more than 2 weeks before I update again. As always, thank you all so much for your love and support! Every review, read and favorite truly makes my day and I honestly appreciate it so much! Sorry for the cliffhanger, especially when the next update might not be for another 2 weeks, but I hope you enjoyed the chapter regardless. Much love to you all! ♥
Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Other Similar Stories