|Memories of War
Author: Hypnobarb PM
The end of the war changed everything. Friends were lost, rebuilding began, and love was found. This is a post Deathly Hallows story, featuring HGSS pairing.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Hermione G. & Severus S. - Chapters: 6 - Words: 24,740 - Reviews: 204 - Favs: 101 - Follows: 211 - Updated: 04-14-09 - Published: 07-28-07 - id: 3687254
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It's true that I haven't updated this story since 2007. I put it on hold to work on Looking for Magic. There are reasons why I am back working on Memories of War and have put Looking for Magic on hold. I have explained this on my profile page. Thank you all for your patience and support. If you haven't already read it, you might want to take a look at Obsession, a one-shot set in the Memories of War universe.
Thank you to the kind and generous Annie Talbot for helping me whip this chapter into shape. She's one of the adminstrators at On-Line Wizarding Library and has mentored more authors than I have fingers and toes.
"Permanent Transfiguration of objects readily occurs when the source object and the destination object are of similar materials. For example, one can change an oak chair into an oak table and it will remain that way until Transfigured back. An oak chair can be Transfigured into a walnut table and will remain that way until Transfigured back. An oak chair can be Transfigured into a steel chair and can remain that way for months, but it will ultimately transform itself back into its original material unless special charms are used. The next section we are going to study will add permanence to your Transfigurations of non-living objects into dramatically different materials."
Hermione stood at the front of the class. Fifth year Transfiguration class was moving into the kind of Transfiguration generally used by wizarding architects in making permanent changes to buildings. Before they were done, the class would incorporate basic Arithmancy and complex charms into Transfiguration.
There was a noise at the back of the classroom. It appeared that Mr. Flynn was attempting to entertain Miss Wickham by levitating Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans one at a time into her mouth. One of the beans dropped and hit the wood floor with a surprisingly loud ping.
"Mr. Flynn, that will be twenty points from Hufflepuff. Miss Wickham, that will be twenty points from Ravenclaw. I believe both of you plan to write essays for me on the proper time and place for courting behaviors?"
Flynn turned bright red and Wickham chewed furiously to dispose of the evidence. Hermione turned her back to the class for a moment to walk back up to the podium. It also served to hide the amused grin on her face.
"Baron?" called Hermione as she stood outside of the entranceway to the Slytherin common room. It was in an alcove in the dungeons beside the statue of Merriwyn the Giddy.
"Hello, Professor Granger," said Merriwyn. Her voice was surprisingly high pitched and squeaky for a marble statue. Hermione had always thought marble statues should have deeper voices.
"Good afternoon, Merriwyn," replied Hermione. "I'm looking for the Baron. Have you seen him recently?"
"He left a message that he would meet you in your quarters," said Merriwyn. "He was summoned to roust Peeves out of the library before Madame Pince keels over and becomes a ghost herself."
"I hope the Baron is successful with Peeves," said Hermione, shaking her head. "He'd better not damage anything in library or I'll take after him, too."
"So disrespectful, he is," agreed Merriwyn.
Hermione turned back down the hallway and hurried in the general direction of Gryffindor Tower. Bill and Fleur's apartment was located just outside of the tower with the entrance behind a tapestry of St. George slaying the dragon. She knocked on the door, waiting until a rather tense looking Fleur answered and invited her in.
Gone was the fashion-plated, flirtatious Fleur who dated the dashingly handsome Bill Weasley. In her place was a harried looking mother of a little boy who was incapable of walking.
Young Fred Weasley had two speeds - running and running as fast as his chubby little legs would carry him. Fleur and Bill had to charm the furniture and walls with cushioning charms to keep little Fred from continually running into things and banging up his head. He was also very fond of climbing and could wiggle his way up onto the back of the sofa or a chair with lightning speed.
No one was ever able to explain how he got up to the third shelf of the bookcase where Bill found him sitting, merrily ripping pages out of a Latin dictionary.
As soon as Hermione walked into the sitting room, she was tackled about the legs by a very excited little boy, calling, 'Mee Mee'. She wasn't sure how she had become 'Mee Mee', but if Minerva could be called 'Lala'….
Hermione caught Fred under his arms and hoisted him up. He greeted her with a very sloppy baby kiss. That was his latest trick. Everyone who got within reaching distance of Fred was getting slobber kisses. Even Crookshanks had learned to keep his distance.
"Goodness, Fred. You are getting so big," said Hermione as she bounced him up and down a few times, accompanied by his excited giggles. She smiled and looked at him fondly. She looked sympathetically at Fleur. "You look worn out." She didn't feel it necessary to add that she had what looked like food stains on front of the t-shirt she wore.
"I think zat my son has already learned to Apparate," she replied. "I put him in his crib for a nap, turned my back, and here he is." Fleur pushed a hank of her blonde hair back off her forehead. "I am going to charm restraints into ze crib if he does not settle down."
"You are the little climber, aren't you?" laughed Hermione. "Shall I put him back down for you?"
"Go right ahead," said Fleur as she flopped gracelessly down onto the sofa. "I would be infinitely grateful if you could get him to stay in zere."
Hermione carried Fred back into his bedroom. She went to put him down in his crib when he said "No, no, no. Up!"
She couldn't help but chuckle. "You are as hard-headed and as full of mischief as your Uncle Fred ever was."
Hermione picked up Fred's favorite stuffed toy niffler, the one she knew he liked to sleep with. She sat down with him in the rocking chair. He hugged the niffler and sucked on his thumb as Hermione rocked him. She noticed Fleur peeking in on the two of them. About fifteen minutes later, Fred was asleep. Hermione carried him over to his crib and tucked him in.
"You are a life saver, Hermione," said Fleur. "I was considering running away from home when you got here."
"I don't see where you get the energy to keep up with him," said Hermione.
"Zat is exactly it. I don't have ze energy to keep up with him," she groaned. "Baby Weasleys should come with warning labels."
"I have no idea where Molly ever had it in her to raise all those boys, especially the twins."
"If it were me, I would drink. Thank goodness Bill has no illusions about ze size of our family," retorted Fleur as the two of them sat down on the sofa. "Did you receive ze wedding invitation?"
"Yes," replied Hermione. "I'm glad Percy and his family are getting along again."
"And are you going to bring a date?"
"That would be awkward," said Hermione shaking her head. "I'm Ron's widow as far as Molly and Arthur are concerned. It might upset Molly, and I don't want to ruin the day for her."
"You live like a nun,"
"Well, look around, Fleur," laughed Hermione. "You got the last good one."
"I did, didn't I?" said Fleur, joining in with the laughter. "What about Oliver Wood?"
"We went out twice and he sold the story of our two dates to Witch Weekly," replied Hermione, very annoyed. "At least he didn't imply we were intimate. That time I went out with that attaché from the German Ministry of Magic, he bragged that we were, and I can guarantee he didn't get past a grope before I ended the date. Right now, with everything else I'm doing, I just don't want to be bothered with any nonsense."
"Once your book comes out, it won't be any easier, Hermione," said Fleur, shaking her blonde hair. "Ze men won't get any less complicated to figure out."
"It would be a lot easier if I didn't have the press hounding me and anyone I date for the sordid details," she groaned. "Or that people didn't expect Saint Hermione to live in perpetual mourning for a boyfriend who died when I was nineteen. Two dates with Oliver, an article in Witch Weekly, and I was bombarded with howlers at breakfast. I didn't have sex with him, I had drinks and dinner, and got accused of being unfaithful to the memory of a boy I wasn't even married to."
Hermione got up and paced with frustration. "I can't date anyone I didn't know before 1998 without wondering if he's a gold digger or a groupie."
"You really are living like a nun, aren't you?" asked Fleur, curious.
Before Hermione could answer, there was a clatter at the doorway as Bill stumbled over Fred's building blocks. He made a surprisingly graceful recovery and strode across the room.
"Hello, ladies," he said as he gave Fleur a quick kiss on the temple and scanned the floor for more blocks and one toddler. "Freddie down for a nap?"
"If he wasn't, he would have tackled you by now," teased Hermione.
"Your son is going to turn my hair white," complained Fleur.
"On you, it would look good," said Bill, flirting. "So, Mee Mee, did you get your wedding invitation?"
"Yes, I did."
"And did you note the date of the wedding is set for two weeks after the big premiere of your book?"
"Oh, yes. He certainly would," retorted Bill. "This is Percy we're talking about."
"But Bill, he couldn't have known about the big party the publisher is putting on for the release of the book before he set the wedding date. Only my publisher would have that information."
"And you think that Minister Shacklebolt's Personal Assistant couldn't have found that out?"
There's something about the way that Fleur says 'shit' in her French accent that makes it sound so funny.
Hermione scowled at Bill. "So, you think that Percy deliberately set the date for the wedding two weeks after the release of my book so he could get more attention for his wedding because I'm going to be there?"
"Sounds just like my brother to me," said Bill.
"Sounds just a little desperate to me," retorted Hermione.
"And your point would be?" questioned Bill, quirking a scarred eyebrow. "And onto question two. Who are you bringing as your date?"
"Oh, Bill. You know it would hurt your mother if I brought a date," moaned Hermione. "She'd see it as disloyalty to Ron's memory. I don't want to hurt her on what should be a happy occasion."
"Hermione, there's never going to be a right time for you to let my mother see that you have moved on with your life," said Bill, shaking his head. "You weren't Ron's wife; she hasn't the right to make you his widow. And even if you were, it's been four years and you're twenty-three years old. Don't bury yourself with him. I honestly don't think he would want you to do that."
Guilt and a desire to be free warred in Hermione's head. Her two friends could see the indecision on her face.
"Why don't you let me fix you up with someone?" offered Bill. "I've got some interesting friends from when I worked at Gringott's. I promise, no goblins."
"It's just a date, Hermione," said Fleur encouragingly. "Bill and I will get together with Molly and Arthur ahead of time and tell zem you are bringing a date. It will let Molly get her emotional reaction done first so she can move on, too."
"I'll think about it," responded Hermione. "I promise, I really will." She looked at her pocket watch. "I have to get going."
"I've got the report from St. Mungo's for you to give Snape," said Bill. "His refinements on the potion are helping, especially for the women. Who knew that working out potioning issues with near-werewolf syndrome and menstrual cycle in women who normally have PMS could be so complicated?"
Bill took a file folder off his desk and handed it to Hermione.
"Given that the women were getting so aggressive, sooner or later someone was going to get hurt," said Hermione. "As soon as he realized that, he made it a priority to come up with a women's formulation."
"Damn Greyback set werebeing relations back a hundred years," muttered Bill.
Hermione gave Bill a quick hug and was waved off by Fleur, who didn't want to get food stains on Hermione.
"Give him our best and let him know we'd like to see him at Christmas. If he comes, we'll leave Mum and Dad's early," said Bill. "We want him to feel welcome."
"I will let him know."
Catching up with the Baron had taken some extra time. Peeves had invaded the periodicals stacks and was flinging journals all over the library. Madame Pince hyperventilated and had to be given a calming draught.
The Baron grabbed Peeves by the scruff of the neck and tossed him into an unused portion of the dungeons with orders to stay there until the Baron told him he could come out. Professor Slughorn didn't appreciate it, because Peeves would come his way as soon as he was turned loose. Peeves just didn't fear Professor Slughorn the way he had Professor Snape.
The Baron was pleased to have a quiet interlude after all the excitement. He hovered six inches above a chair in Hermione's sitting room while she took his dictation. For a man who had been dead for over four hundred years, he had a lively interest in the current political situation. Hermione had written editorial letters on his behalf to both the Daily Prophet, and the Wizarding World Times. After the Baron was done, he told her he would meet her at the door and escort her to the gates.
Hermione packed the rucksack with potions ingredients and books and put the mail and periodicals into the tote bag. It would be cold in the mountains, so Hermione dressed in wool slacks and a heavy jumper over a turtleneck top. She pulled on her boots and down coat and headed for the gates. The Baron walked her to the perimeter of the wards as he always did and bade her give the good professor his best.
Hermione arrived at Severus' cabin a little before noon. She knew her arrival would trigger the wards and Severus would be waiting for her. If there was snow, he would usually meet her halfway. Today, there was only an inch of snow on the ground. She trudged her way up the familiar path to the cabin. She hoped today's lunch would be spaghetti.
Severus opened the door to the cabin before she had a chance to knock. He was holding a wet flannel to his right eye.
"You arrived just in time," grumbled Severus. "How are your healing charms?"
"Good enough for first aid," replied Hermione, craning her neck and attempting to peer around the flannel. "What happened?"
"I was out in the greenhouse tending to the mandrakes and one pitched a stone at me. I believe I shall have a black eye."
Hermione set her totes down in the entryway and took off her coat, hanging it on the clothes tree.
"Well, let's go into the kitchen and have a look," she said.
Hermione took Severus' elbow and walked him into the kitchen. She sat him down on a chair and he took the flannel away from his eye. It was reddened and swollen and looked like a prime candidate for a shiner. Hermione took her wand and cast a quick diagnostic spell.
"Just checking to make sure you don't have any significant injuries to your eye or the eye socket." Hermione looked carefully at the shining runes forming around Severus' face and smiled. "Very good, just bruising."
Severus looked up at her, a decidedly grumpy look on his face.
"Dratted mandrake was faster than I was. I really dislike them when they are at the teenager phase. All poor attitude combined with good coordination, not unlike many of their human counterparts." Severus was in a cranky mood.
"You're just out of practice in dealing with teenagers," observed Hermione. "Do you prefer a charm or bruise ointment?"
"Both, if you please," he asked.
Hermione said a few words and did a bit of wand waving. Most of the redness and puffiness disappeared. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Hermione did another diagnostic spell.
"I thought so," she murmured.
"You thought what?" asked Severus.
"You need eyeglasses for close work." Hermione smiled down at him and she touched his eyebrow. "How does that feel?"
"Better. To think I used to be Crucioed by Voldemort and just got up, shook it off, and Apparated back to Hogwarts."
"Why do I have doubts that it was ever as simple as you describe?" teased Hermione. "Is the bruise ointment in the medicine chest in the bathroom?"
"Yes," he replied.
Hermione went to the bathroom and opened the medicine chest. Rummaging a bit through tooth powder, pain relieving potions, and headache remedies, she found the bruise ointment and went back to the kitchen.
She stood in front of Severus and uncapped the jar. She reached under his chin and gently tilted his head back. He closed his eyes as she touched him. Hermione gently stroked the bruise ointment on his eyebrow; part of the lid, and under the eye. After a moment's hesitation, she finished it off by giving him a quick kiss on the forehead. Startled, Severus opened his eyes and looked at her questioningly.
"To speed up the healing," she smiled. "I had it on good authority from my mother that it always works."
"Hmph," he replied, gruffly. "Far be it from me to debate the teachings of your mother."
"Which brings us back to the question of your needing glasses," lectured Hermione. "Maybe that's why the mandrake was able to nail you if you aren't seeing clearly close up."
"IhaveapairofglassesIjustwasn'twearingthem," said Severus doing his best to change the subject.
"Why ever not?"
"I do not like them," he retorted. "I only wear them when I read."
"Where are they?" asked Hermione. She started looking around, feeling her inherent nosiness taking over.
"That is none of your concern," snapped Severus.
"You did all that reading and editing for me on Memories of War. I hate to think you gave yourself eye strain because you are too stubborn to wear the eyeglasses you need." Hermione kept looking. She spotted an eyeglass case on the desk. It was long and narrow. She kept the smile off her face when she realized why Severus didn't wear them today. He didn't want her to see him wearing them. He certainly didn't want to look like Albus Dumbledore.
"You bought reading glasses off of the rack at the pharmacy in town, didn't you? Since you won't go to a wizarding healer, then go to a Muggle optometrist. Get a full sized frame rather than those half glasses. If you don't need them for distance, they can make the lenses with plain glass and a bifocal for reading and close-up work. I'll show you."
Hermione got up and went to fetch her tote bag. She fished around in it for a minute and pulled out an eyeglass case. Taking out the eyeglasses, she put them on and showed Severus. The glasses had a gold tone wire frame and an oval shape. "See what I mean? You can't even tell where the bifocal is and it looks a lot better than the half moon glasses."
She took them off and handed them to Severus to look at. "I got them two months ago when I found I was getting headaches from reading. Now I don't and I don't have to walk around when I teach with those half glasses sliding down my nose all the time. The key is to go to a Muggle optometrist rather than buying something off the rack at a store. You'll get a good eye examination and they'll fit them to you. You'll be much more satisfied with what you get."
Severus held her eyeglasses at different angles to look at them. He peered through them and looked at her questioningly.
"I know they're a women's style, but I'm not a Transfigurations Mistress for nothing. Go ahead and put them on," Hermione instructed. Severus complied and Hermione went to work. In moments, the frames and lenses were larger and more squared. Another wand wave and the frames turned a silver colour. They definitely looked masculine. She reached into the tote bag and pulled out a powder compact. She enlarged it and held the mirror in front of him. He turned his head and looked at his reflection.
"This is…. better," he murmured.
"Can you read with them?" Hermione asked. She rummaged into her tote bag again and pulled out a package wrapped in green silk. "Try this," she said as she handed it to him.
Severus smiled at her, one of his rare warm smiles, as he realized what he was holding. He carefully untied the silver ribbon and the silk fell to the floor. There on the green leather cover were the words engraved in gold.
Memories of War
The Grindelwald War
By Hermione J. Granger, T.M.
"I can read this quite clearly," said Severus. He opened the book and began to page through. He found the dedications page.
For those who did not come home from war
The look on his face told Hermione that Severus understood the layers of meanings in those words.
"You wouldn't let me list you in the acknowledgements," said Hermione softly.
He shook his head at her, as if he did not trust himself to respond. Severus turned a few more pages.
"I shall enjoy reading this again, from cover to cover. An advance copy, I presume?"
"There are a few going out to historians and book critics for commentary. The publisher says I can expect reviews to come out the day of publication." Hermione grimaced. "I think it's the price of fame and all that."
"The book has a good deal of merit, whether you are personally famous or not," he replied.
Severus closed the book and took off the eyeglasses and handed them back to Hermione. "I will take your advice and seek out a Muggle optometrist. I would prefer comfortable eyeglasses to the ones I have now."
Hermione accepted her eyeglasses back and reversed her Transfiguration. She put her eyeglasses on and sat at the table across from Severus.
"I believe I promised you lunch," he said, rising from the chair. "I have fresh salmon, new potatoes, and fresh green beans just picked this morning in the greenhouse, before I was rudely interrupted by the mandrakes."
Severus opened a cold storage cabinet, pulled out bowls of small red potatoes and green beans. The latter was poured into a steamer and the former into a pot with water. Hermione enjoyed the now familiar sight of Severus puttering in his kitchen, most of his cooking done in the Muggle style. He did use a bit of magic to melt the butter before mixing in the fresh dill.
Hermione launched into her regular routine of filling Severus in on the lives of people he knew.
"Hestia Jones is going to buy Sirius Black's home at Grimmauld Place," she said.
"I am surprised anyone from the Order would want to buy that mouldering wreck," he commented.
"She and her husband have taken to buying mouldering wrecks and rehabilitating them," she explained. "They sell them to wizarding families and make a profit."
"They have taken on quite a project," said Severus, one eyebrow raised. "The Dark magic and overall negativity in that house will take a lot of work to remove or neutralize." He looked at her curiously. "Who owns the house, now?"
"Ginny Weasley," replied Hermione. "She doesn't want the house and it has sat empty ever since the Order stopped using it."
"Potter left it to her in his will?" asked Severus.
Hermione was going into territory still painful after four years.
"Yes," she said. "Well, not exactly in his will since he didn't have one. He told me what he wanted and I put the memory in a Pensieve for the Wizengamot. They accepted it in lieu of a will."
"When did he tell you?" asked Severus quietly.
"A few days before that last confrontation," answered Hermione, looking away.
Severus lifted his hand. Hermione could see that he was stopping himself from touching the purpled scar that showed on his neck above the collar of his shirt. He was hesitating and then said something that surprised her.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
Hermione paused, conflicted. Severus was the one most likely to understand. But would he? Would anyone? She wasn't ready to find out.
"Perhaps some time," she answered. "Not today." She cleared her throat and changed the subject. "Percy Weasley is getting married. He and Penelope Clearwater will be getting married two weeks after the book comes out."
"Ah. So the Assistant to the Minister of Magic has set his wedding day to get the most attention possible?" Severus accepted her change of subject.
"Do you think so?" asked Hermione. "Bill and Fleur think that, too."
"Certainly," commented Severus, taking the beans out of the steamer and putting them in a magically warmed dish. Hermione took dishes out of the cupboard and began setting the table.
"Mr. Weasley is ambitious to the point I wonder how it is he was not placed in Slytherin," remarked Severus. "He would like publicity and inviting you is an obvious way to get it. Inviting you for a date two weeks after the celebrated release of your awaited book guarantees there will be media coverage of the wedding."
"I'll never understand it," sighed Hermione. "Let them worship Harry and Ron all they want. I just wish they'd forget about me."
"It is more likely hell will freeze over first," replied Severus with a smirk.
"Speaking of Percy, I was considering using the wedding invitation to put a little pressure on him to get me in to see Draco," she said thoughtfully. "It might be just the leverage I need to get in the door."
"Excellent idea," commented Severus, handing Hermione the bowl of potatoes, glistening with a mixture of melted butter, lemon juice, and parsley. "I do not trust the jailors at Azkaban, having firsthand experience of them myself. Draco's letters are censored and so he would not dare express any complaints. If you can get a face-to-face meeting, you can better assess the conditions he is living in."
"Madam Malfoy hasn't had any luck in getting the Wizengamot to bend on their no visitors policy. I've spoken to her about it. Once I twist enough arms to get inside Azkaban, I have a list of things I want to do. I'm going to press to be allowed to bring him books. If it looks like his clothing is inadequate, I'll send him clothes," added Hermione as she accepted the platter of broiled salmon in dill sauce. She felt guilty as she looked at meal in front of her.
"I wish there was a way they'd allow me to bring him food. They won't allow Madam Malfoy to do anything for him. I think it's a leftover resentment from the way Lucius Malfoy used to be able to get special consideration when he was in Azkaban after the raid on the Ministry. Neither he nor Draco are getting any special consideration now."
"Whatever Draco needs, I will pay for," said Severus, taking the beans out of the steamer. "I know that the Ministry confiscated Malfoy Manor and much of their fortune for reparations to families who lost loved ones."
Hermione nodded. She understood Severus' need to provide something for Draco, given that he could not personally intervene in any way.
Severus came to the table, carrying a bottle of Chardonnay and two wine glasses. He magically removed the cork and poured a glass for each of them. Raising his glass, he offered a toast.
"To the author."
Hermione smiled at him and her whole face lit up. How far the two of them had come in four years. At the beginning he could barely restrain his hostility towards the sole survivor of the trio of students who had plagued him for six years at Hogwarts. Now, they could sit and have interesting conversations, enjoy a glass of wine, and share an excellent meal. Severus Snape had gone from semi-respected, semi-despised teacher and enemy Death Eater to a very good friend. For a moment, the feelings of affection were overwhelming. When had she come to rely on this man so much?
Hermione clinked her glass against his and took a sip.
They sat quietly companionable, enjoying their meal for a few minutes.
"Have you started on the next book, yet?" asked Severus.
"How did you guess?" chuckled Hermione.
"You enjoyed writing the first one so much, it does not require a Legilimens to figure it out." Severus refilled her glass. "My only uncertainty is if you are working on the Rasputin War or the First Voldemort War."
"I thought I would start on the First Voldemort War. I've established so many contacts through writing about the Grindelwald War who were also involved in the First Voldemort War. I think it's a natural progression from one to the next. There were very few people involved with Grindelwald who were also in on the Rasputin War; I'd be starting from scratch again."
"Very sensible," replied Severus.
Hermione looked at him probingly.
"Will you edit for me again? My book is so much better for your input. The idea of interviewing the ghosts added a lot to the book, especially when the Baron found out that Grindelwald's sister was haunting Mausburg Schloss. Your suggestions about combining chapters and telling the stories from both points of view really made the book."
"I would be pleased to edit your work for you. It is a fascinating project." Severus frowned. "You do understand that the pain from the first Voldemort War is recent enough that you might have some difficulty getting interviews with some people, to say nothing of the fact that most of the people involved on Voldemort's side are dead or in prison. The ones who are not will not admit to their involvement."
"I realise that," said Hermione. "It's one of the reasons I'd like access to Azkaban. Along with helping Draco, I might be able to interview Rudolphus Lestrange, Dolohov, and some of the others. They might be so grateful for someone to talk to, they'll open up."
"Dolohov is more likely to talk than Lestrange. Whatever you do, do not interview McNair without a guard present. The man is a sexual predator."
"I imagine a guard will be present at any interviews I conduct at Azkaban," assured Hermione. "It means I probably won't get any confessions from anyone about things we don't already know. As for the book, I thought a good strategy would be to get a description of an event from the point of view of someone from the Order. Then, I would go to Azkaban and get the point of view of a Death Eater involved at the time."
"That is a good strategy and might encourage disclosure." Severus swirled his wine in his glass. "I will begin outlining what I remember from those days. That should give you a structure to start from."
"Thank you, Severus," said Hermione, reaching over to touch his hand. "I know this isn't easy for you."
Severus' eyes were unreadable. "The time will come when I will wish to return to the wizarding world and live under my own name and face. To have my role in both Voldemort Wars better understood will make it more feasible for me to do so in peace." Severus took Hermione's small hand and wrapped his large one around it. "You understand the day will come when you will need to do the same. You will not find peace until you do."
I have changed the Baron's personal history considerably from how it is portrayed in Deathly Hallows. I think my version is much more interesting, as you'll see in future chapters.