Author: little beloved PM
Hermione Granger is charged with the task of preparing Severus Snape's memories for trial.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Humor - Severus S. & Hermione G. - Chapters: 6 - Words: 12,456 - Reviews: 59 - Favs: 53 - Follows: 36 - Updated: 02-21-13 - Published: 02-04-13 - Status: Complete - id: 8978677
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Dear Reader. Along with all my other stories, 'Affected Recollections' was, for a variety of reasons, withdrawn from the internet back in 2010. Now, along with Denial, it is back. I have only done minor editing to what is a minor story, complete in six short chapters. It was originally written in 2008 as part of the SS/HG exchange. I hope you enjoy it, be it for the first time, or all over again. And thank you, every one of you, for the marvellous welcome I've received on my return to the fandom. I couldn't ask for a better, more encouraging group of gals.
Hermione Granger took a deep breath as she stepped over the threshold of Azkaban prison. She'd been here twice before during the course of her studies, and despite the fact that the Dementors no longer guarded the wizarding reformatory, she'd always felt as though misery and despair had seeped into the very marrow of her bones each time she'd visited. Today was no different: even though the sun shone and the surrounding sea was calm and blue, she couldn't help but feel that a cloud of unhappiness hung over the jagged island that was home to Azkaban.
"Wand," said the fat, balding little wizard who sat behind the security desk.
Hermione reached beneath her robes and extracted her wand, handing it to the security guard with a frown. "I may need my wand in order to carry out my work."
The rotund man shrugged. "Rules is rules," he muttered, tossing her wand into a drawer beneath his desk. "What if the prisoner got it from you, eh? Right mess we'd all be in then, miss." He pushed a clipboard across the desk towards her. "Sign."
Hermione picked up the quill and scribbled her name.
"Who you seeing, anyway?" he asked.
She pushed the authorisation sheet back towards him and pointed at the name she'd written next to her own.
The security guard chuckled. "Good luck with that one."
She turned from him with an irritated flick of her curls and headed towards the low security zone, glancing down at the permit in her hand: Cell 157, it read. When she reached the door, she handed the permit to another, altogether more kindly-looking security guard, who read it with a crooked smile. He chortled as he fumbled for the key.
"You are aware that he's a miserable, bad-tempered old git, ain't you, love?"
"Yes," she said with a sigh. "I was unfortunate enough to have him as a teacher for six years."
"Ah, he's not nearly as bad as everyone makes out. Quite a sense of humour sometimes, and he's bloody good at those Muggle puzzles. He's kept me amused many a cold night!"
Hermione arched an eyebrow. "Are we talking about the same man? And what puzzles?"
"You know," the guard said, slipping the key into the lock, "them Sudoku things with the numbers, and the word ones ... Crackwords."
"Aye, them's the one!"
"I see," Hermione murmured, thinking there'd obviously been some sort of mistake.
"In you go, love. And good luck to you! You just knock when you're done."
Hermione gingerly entered the cell and heard the door close behind her. The keys rattles in the lock, and she was trapped inside the room with her new client.
He was seated by the barred window, and she stared at the dark, familiar figure. He wore no shackles on his ankles, and he was dressed in simple robes of grey rather than the usual grey and white striped prison garb. She'd expected to find him bearded and bedraggled; gaunt and sickly. But he was none of those things. In fact, he looked altogether healthier than he had at Hogwarts. Severus Snape would never be a handsome man, but he looked altogether better than the stern Potions master of her schooldays.
She watched him for a moment, her pulse rapid, her mind groping feebly for the introductory speech she'd rehearsed over and over in her head, but before she could speak, he raised his black eyes from the book he'd been reading, and they widened in horrified recognition.
"Albert?" he shouted, his eyes never leaving her face. "Albert!"
She could hear the speedy footsteps of the security guard outside the door and the rattle of keys. "Sir, Professor Snape, if you would just give me a moment to explain, I—" she began.
"Silence, Miss Granger," he hissed. "Albert?"
The kindly security guard flung open the door. "Whatever's the matter?" he asked with a scowl.
"Please escort this child from my room," Severus said.
"Child?" Hermione spat, her eyes wild.
"Get her out of here, now!"
Albert and Hermione exchanged a bewildered glance.
"But she's got a permit to see you, Severus. I can't just evict her!"
"Permit? What permit?"
Albert snatched the parchment from Hermione and held it up. "Signed by the Minister himself, giving her permission to interview you for two hours every day for the next three months."
"What?" Severus snarled. "What's going on? Surely they haven't sent a mere child to act as my legal counsel?"
"I've nothing to do with your legal counsel: I'm here on official Ministry business," Hermione explained.
Severus glared at her.
She glared right back.
Albert the security guard rolled his eyes. "The girl's here to help you, Severus, you silly bugger. You be nice to the lass, or you can forget that crackword I promised you!"
"Crossword," Hermione and Severus said in unison.
"Whatever it's called! Anyway," Albert continued, retreating through the door, "you'd think you'd be happy to have a nice, pretty visitor after all this time."
Severus grunted, and Hermione watched the guard close the door behind him. She turned to face her former professor.
"Might I have a seat?" she asked.
He ignored her question and stared, his brow furrowed, his arms crossed. "Do you still go by Miss Granger?" he asked, his eyes flicking to her left hand.
"Yes, I do," she said defiantly, taking the empty seat opposite him.
He smirked. "I recall reading you'd become engaged to Ronald Weasley, yet three weeks ago it was announced he'd married Lavender Brown. Why the change of heart? You grew tired of living with a Neanderthal? Or had he, perhaps, had enough of being constantly bettered by a mere slip of a girl?"
Hermione's cheeks grew warm. "I'm not here to discuss my ex-boyfriends, Professor Snape; I'm here on important Ministry business."
"So you've said. Well then, out with it. I haven't got all day: There are pressing matters such as crosswords to attend to, not to mention my customary two hours of staring through the bars of my window, yearning for freedom and a dungeon full of young minds to hone," he said, his voice heavy with sarcasm.
Hermione regarded him for a moment, feeling out of her depth. Taking a deep breath, she launched into the speech she'd prepared. "I've been charged by the Ministry with the task of preparing your memories for trial. You face the Wizengamot in three months' time, and your legal team have sought permission to use a number of the memories you ... gave ... to Harry Potter on the night of the final battle."
She had expected him to react in anger, or to at least betray a certain amount of discomfort, but instead he looked amused.
"As memories can be modified by the witch or wizard in whom they reside, or even forcibly implanted by a second party," she continued, "I've been given the task of verifying the authenticity of the memories that have already been harvested from you. In addition to this, both your Defence team and the Prosecution have requested access to a number of other memories. You would, of course, be within your rights to refuse, but should you acquiesce, I'm fully qualified in memory collection and verification."
His expression of amusement became a sneer. "Qualified in memory collection and verification? I would have thought you'd apply your knowledge to something a little more worthy, Miss Granger. Tell me, how does one become qualified in memory collection?"
Hermione sighed. He was not going to make this easy. "I've spent the last three years training to become an Unspeakable at the Department of Mysteries. I graduated last month, and I'm currently researching memory, loss of memory, and memory modification."
"How fascinating," he drawled, smirking. "I'm moved that the Ministry decided to place my freedom in the hands of a child who has only just graduated. What are you, Miss Granger? Twenty-one?"
"Twenty-three. Hardly a child."
"Hardly an adult," he returned.
"I'm a year older than you were when you began teaching at Hogwarts."
"That's immaterial," he muttered, waving his hand. He gazed at her for a moment. "Have you viewed my memories?"
"Yes, I have," she replied.
"Seeing as you're so highly qualified on the subject of memories, Miss Granger, I'd be most interested to know what you made of them."
She reached beneath her robes for her beaded bag. She placed it on the table in front of him, and after rummaging around for a few seconds, she extracted a long, wooden box. Placing her bag beneath the folds of her cloak once more, she opened the box and turned it so that he could view the contents.
"You'll see that there are twenty numbered phials in total, each one containing an individual memory that you passed to us ... to Harry ... on the night you were ... attacked," she explained, her eyes moving to his scarred neck.
He nodded and gestured for her to continue.
"I've inspected the memories numerous times, and while some of them I've confirmed as bona fide," she said, pointing to the memories that were labelled with white tags, "a little over half of them have confused me."
Severus gave a wry laugh. "Those would be the ones labelled in red? How characteristically organised of you, Miss Granger."
She stared at him for a moment, wondering what was going on. She'd expected him to rant and rave. Having known him in her youth, she'd been prepared for him to be incensed by the fact that she'd viewed such intimate, touching memories. On one occasion, when she'd entered her Pensieve and had watched him kneeling on the floor of Sirius' bedroom, Lily's letter in his hand and tears streaming down his face, she'd been moved to tears herself. But now he sat before her, not betraying any emotion at all. There was a mystery here, and she was determined to get to the bottom of it.
"I've seen modified memories, Professor Snape. They are generally ridiculous in their quality: They're usually misty, difficult to view, and when sound or voice is involved, it's unnaturally amplified. The memories labelled in red haven't been modified, but they're not right, regardless. I'm sure that they were not forcibly implanted, as such memories always progress as if in slow motion, and are usually tinged with a strange, greyish light. But I can hardly explain what it is about some of your memories. They're slightly faint, and it's as if ... I don't know ... as if they're edged in silver or something. Like a Christmas card."
He raised an eyebrow. "Edged in silver like a Christmas card?" He chuckled. "Well, Miss Granger, I'd assume that after three hard years of study at the Department of Mysteries you've reached a conclusion?"
She felt her cheeks grow warm again. "The memories in question are all connected with Lily Evans. I wondered if it meant, perhaps, that those memories caused you pain. That they stood out because they were imbued with such emotion."
He gave her a shark-like grin. "Aw ... Did Miss Granger come here expecting to find a heart-broken, romantic hero? Well, let me shatter your illusions, young lady. First, I'm sorry to say your training has obviously been a complete waste of time. Second, you'll find no sorrow-filled Romeo in this room. The memories you've labelled in red are neither imbued with emotion nor modified. They are completely, one-hundred per-cent, fabricated. Albus Dumbledore and I dreamt them up between us, Miss Granger."
She gasped, and her hand flew to her mouth in shock. Severus smiled across the table at her, and she thought he looked like some large, grey-clad feline that was about to pounce.
"The false memories are of unusually excellent quality, if I may say so myself, due to my skills as both Occlumens and Legilimens. The truth is: I never really knew Lily Evans; I never liked her; and I certainly never loved her."