Part VI – Remembering and Forgetting
Each morning after Hermione woke she would dress and then walk through the woods, find the path to the waterfall, cross over to the other side, with a single mission in mind. To find him, to find Severus Snape.
Everyday she found herself here on the other side with him, spending time with him. Sometimes she would help him collect 'his specimens' and sometimes they would merely talk and argue about magic and theories. Sometimes she spent only an hour or two with him; sometimes she spent the majority of her day here. She came to Camp Donne this summer to learn, have freedom from the fear of impending war, and to find herself. Yet instead, in the two weeks that she had been here she found him.
Something strange was happening to Hermione. For the first time in her young life, she felt a sort of awareness, an awakening. It was almost as if every molecule of her body was being rearranged and then put back together again. And it was all because last spring she decided to make a potion that no one else made, and then she walked through a waterfall. It was as her Professor, the elder Professor Snape said, 'fate was a fickle thing', for fate led her to his place and time, and she didn't know what to do now that her time here was almost over.
Her two weeks would be over in two days and she didn't know what that meant to their relationship. Every time she tried to talk to him about it, he would deftly change the subject, which meant that he either didn't know either, or didn't care.
She cared more than she could fathom and now that it was almost over she didn't know how she was going to go back to her normal life. How was she going to go back to seeing the adult 'Snape' everyday, after this? She was always very careful not to reveal anything of the future to him, and he was just as careful not to tell her too much about his past, or his present, such as it was, which she found odd and telling.
Still, she would have to say that she had learned more about magic, potions, plants and herself, this week from being with the teenage Severus than she would have learned if she had attended all of her lectures and planned activities that the camp offered.
He rarely show any blatantly romantic overtures toward her beyond the first kiss they shared, yet a mere touch of his hand on hers as they reached for the same plant, or the brush of his shoulder next to hers as they would cross a treacherous potion of a stream together, would send shivers down her spine. She got butterflies in her stomach whenever he was near. The awkwardness that surrounded him she found endearing, and whenever he blushed or stepped away from her, she found utterly charming.
She was falling in love with him. It was that simple. She always thought she loved Ronald. She used to have those sorts of feelings whenever he was near, but she hadn't felt them for him in a very long time. But now, with the young Severus Snape, she couldn't help but to feel them again, yet more intensely than before, and it was wrong.
She knew it was wrong.
It was wrong because she was going to have to leave this place, this time, this anomaly and travel back to her time in a mere two days and leave him behind. When she went back to school in the fall she would see him again, but he would be the adult Snape – Professor Snape – who never really cared for her.
It was enough to make her cry.
Therefore, on her second to last day at camp she made the now familiar trek toward the falls with a note in her hand, a note that told him goodbye, a note that explained to him how much he meant to her. A note that said she loved him. A note that told him that even though they would both remember this summer, although through different eyes and times, it would mean more to her than she would ever be able to express.
It said goodbye to him in a way that she would never be able to say in person.
She knew it was better this way. It was better to do this indirectly because only yesterday he had asked her a few oblique questions about her time and about himself as an adult. She evaded the questions, of course, but she couldn't evade the heartbreak that was sure to ensue if she continued to see him like this.
This had to end.
Note in hand, she came out under the waterfall to his side, his time, his reality, wearing her one and only white cotton dress, to find that he was not yet there. Good, it would be easier that way, even though deep down inside she had hoped he might be there.
She walked over toward the river where their first meeting took place and gazed out upon the rushing dark water and she felt a numbness creep up her body. It started in her toes and spread throughout each limb, then into her chest and head. She didn't know how she would carry on without him. She didn't know how she would say goodbye. She didn't know how she would see him in the future, and remember the past without her heart breaking.
Turning, she walked over to the cove of trees where he usually set up his campfire for his potions and she placed the small white envelope on the ground, then she turned to leave. Walking back toward the clearing to the path that led to the waterfall she heard him.
"Where are you going?"
That familiar baritone reverberated throughout her body and she stopped, but she couldn't turn around. She would, however, answer him. "I'm leaving."
"So I see. May I ask why? You still have two days left of camp; at least, that was my impression."
She turned slowly and saw that he had her note held fast in his right fist, crumpled tightly, not yet read.
"I might leave early," she lied.
Not saying a word, he held out his free hand. She looked down at his long, elegant fingers… fingers that had brushed back strands of her hair, touched her cheek, and held her hand countless other times throughout the last two weeks. Without another thought she placed her hand inside his. His hand was warm as it encased hers. He turned and started walking. She looked down at the forest floor, glancing at the dappled rays of sunshine coming through the boughs of the tree limbs, painting shadows and lights on the ground. Concentrating on the path, and on the heat of his hand on hers, and on his breathing, she continued walking. She didn't know where he was taking her, but still she followed him, her fingers cold although the air was humid and warm.
They walked across the wooden bridge, stopping on the largest boulder that overlooked the edge of the rolling river, and just for one moment her heart stopped, and she forgot that she had come to tell him goodbye.
He dropped her hand and turned to face her. "You know, it's dawned on me that we've never really discussed the ramifications of all of this." He was so close to her that she could reach out and touch him if she wanted to – and she did want to – yet she kept her hands to herself.
He apparently decided that HE would touch her instead. With a steady hand he reached up and skimmed his fingers down her face to her jaw, then feathery soft down her arm, reaching again to capture her hand.
"I thought of all of that. It's in my note. I'll go back and take the antidote to the potion, the one you told me about, and you should do the same, although I'm not certain if taking the antidote before you take the potion, which in essences is that you'll be doing, will work or not," she rambled onward, staring into his copper-brown gaze, feeling woozy and lightheaded from his nearness and his touch.
He took the hand that was in his, while stuffing the note that was in his other hand in his jeans pocket, and then he opened her fingers with his free hand, while cradling her hand gently in his. Her eyes never left his face, and she noticed a satisfying smile upon his lips as he placed a small round stone, bright blue, highly polished, in the middle of her hand.
"This is to remember me by," he said, while his eyes roamed her face.
She shook her head even as she withdrew her hand. "No. Didn't you hear me? Read my note. We must forget each other, not remember each other. The only thing we should ever remember about each other is that I'm your student and you're my professor. I don't want to forget you, but we must. It's for the best."
Reaching back for her hand slowly, almost hesitantly, he took her hand again, placed the stone in her palm, and closed her hand around it. "To remember me, even if you forget." Then he smiled a sad, vulnerable smile.
The heaviness that had been in her heart eased away at that response, replaced with hope and warmth, even as she turned away to wipe a tear from her eye. "I wish I had something to give to you," she said suddenly, realizing that she didn't. "I want to leave you something to show you how much these last two weeks have meant to me, how much you've meant to me. I've fallen… I've… Well… I love you, Severus Snape."
He seemed overwhelmed by her admission, his mouth open, and his eyes wide. Then, smiling, he said, "You don't need to give me anything other than that, because with those words, you've given me more than you've ever realize. I love you, too." He started to rip open the envelope in his grasp.
"Please," she begged, "read that later, after I've left."
He nodded and stuffed it back in his pocket. "Yes. Well, if we are meant to forget each other, then we must make sure we take the antidote to the Invidia Encontra potion. Do you recall the ingredients? Will you be able to brew it on your own? Shall I make some for you before you leave?"
She smiled. "You doubt my ability to make such a simple potion?"
"Well…" He smiled. "If I say yes, you are sure to thrash me solidly, so no, I doubt nothing."
"That's right," she said, trying hard to smile, even though there was a giant lump in her throat.
"Take the antidote as soon as you get home," he urged. "You should forget about this as soon as you're able." He kicked at a rock on the large boulder with the toe of his trainer and it went into the river.
"I shall." She held out her hand. "Well, goodbye, Severus. It was so very nice to really get to know you." She started to walk across the large boulder when he said, "Wait!"
Instead of waiting, she let out a sigh, and then she stopped by the edge of the boulder, and did something she never intended to do. She pulled her white cotton dress right over her head. The dress lay in a puddle by her feet and she was completely naked underneath except for a pair of knickers. She pulled her knickers down and kicked off her sandals and then paused for only a moment before she dove off the side of the boulder into the river before her.
Holding her breath as long as she could she swam underwater, kicking down, down, down, until she felt as if her lungs were about to burst. Only when she began to see little stars in her eyes and her chest began to burn did she kick off the mud floor of the bottom of the river back up to the top of the water.
Breaking free to the air of the surface, the first thing she saw when she opened her eyes was Severus. He had jumped in and was swimming toward her. She swam toward the large stone boulder, anchoring herself to it with one arm, swallowing hard as she saw his jeans, t-shirt and trainers beside her clothing.
Suddenly feeling happy and light, she turned around as he came closer, his hands upon her waist. She laughed, through back her head, and decided that if she was going to forget loving him, then what did any of this matter anyway?
His black hair shimmered with wet, beads of water dancing upon his upper body, and she felt shy and aware that they were both naked, so she moved from his arms and swam away from him, knowing he would follow.
They swam around each other, pushing pulling, laughing, dunking, floating, gliding, floating. Both were breathless as they swam up the river toward the waterfall. Soon, they were under the mist, the falls beating gently down upon them. They hid in a little notch in the stones as the thunderous, rushing water beat all around them, spraying water everywhere, too loud for words, although words weren't necessary.
Underneath the falls he took her face in his hands, leaned closer, and parted her lips with his, drinking from the well of her mouth. Her arms went tighter around his arms, and she shook from fear, and from the cold icy spray of the water.
With open mouth kisses, he covered her face, neck and chest. Her hair. Her shoulders. His hands held her hands in his, and he began to swim toward the shore with her, pulling her, even as he continued his wild, passionate kisses.
She was never afraid. The entire time, she was never afraid. She was thankful for the feel of his body on hers, the way her breasts felt against his chest, and his thighs felt against her legs. The way his skin rubbed against hers. She wanted him. She wanted this. She wanted to remember him forever. Before she went back to the real world, she wanted to be with him and to remember him, like this… just like this.
After they made love, they lay on their dry cloths on top of the boulder, and she held the little blue stone in her hand. She finally spoke. "I still haven't given you anything to remember me by, not that it matters, if we're to take the antidote to forget."
He was holding her to his chest, with his body behind hers. She looked over her shoulder and she said, "We're going to take the antidote, aren't we?"
He sat up, took his wand out of his pocket that was in his jeans behind him and said, "Well, no, I don't think that's really necessary, do you?"
She suddenly grabbed her dress and placed it in front of her. "Whatever do you mean?"
He stood and pulled on his jeans, so she stood and pulled on her dress, even though she didn't understand. "I don't think there's any reason for me to forget. Do you? I mean, what harm is there for me to remember you? Remembering something from my past can't possibly change my future, can it? Likewise, from what you've told me, I must already remember this incident, for you told me that the adult me urged you to drink the potion you made, didn't he?"
"Ah…yes, but, it can still change the future, I'm sure it can," she began to argue. "We discussed this last week, when you told me about the antidote. We said we'd both take it."
"Well now I don't think either of us has to take it," he said, pulling her to him and holding her close.
With her cheek on his chest she whispered, "But even if you don't think it's harmful for you to remember this incident, it might be detrimental for me."
"On that I agree, but the antidote won't be necessary." He continued to hold her close, even as she started to cry. "I find that I don't want to forget you. It serves no purpose. You've helped me realize that the feelings of envy that I've felt almost all my life were worthless, and I don't want to feel them ever again. You've taught me that I was worth loving, Hermione Granger. I find that I don't want to forget that. I won't ever forget it. You, however, have to, I'm afraid." He took his wand and held it out in front of him and said, "Obliviate."
Hermione found herself beside a waterfall, her dress half unbuttoned, her hair a mess, the day half gone, and she had no clue how she had gotten there. In her fist she was holding a polished blue stone with no clue how it got there. It was raining, only slightly, but she felt cold and confused as she stood up to walked back to Camp Donne. Feeling weary and disoriented, she wasn't sure what was real and what was a dream. Although there were two days left of the camp, she left early, telling her parents she felt under the weather.
When fall came and school started back she found that she felt different about her Potion's Professor, and she didn't know why. She felt almost sympathetic toward him, and she also found that she began to dream about him, and began to have romantic notions of him, envisioning him as a young man. She also felt as if he 'acted' differently toward her, but she was never completely sure if she imagined it or not.
And for the rest of her life, every time it rained, she would think of Professor Snape, and she would remember the summer she went to Camp Donne and she would think of the two as one… and for some reason it always made her smile, even though it made her sad.