A/N: Hey, this is my first fanfic, but I've written original stuff before. English isn't my first language, so if you see any mistakes I overlooked, please let me know. Feel free to give criticism, it's appreciated! I really hope you enjoy this, I'll try and update as often as I can. Let me know what you think! :) xxx
Hermione couldn't sleep. Not only tonight, but not ever. Since the war, nightmares haunted her at intervals so regular she could have set her clock to them. Yet they had her so utterly terrified, that she found herself trembling when she was on the verge of falling asleep, simply because she was afraid of whatever nightmare's turn it was to invade her mind that day. Thus it was no surprise that she found herself pacing in her private quarters at Hogwarts once again.
When McGonagall first told her, that she was going to have her own chambers upon returning to the school she had made a fuss about how she didn't want to be treated different than anyone else. Now she was glad that the Headmistress hadn't listened to her. She was here to finish her studies, to everyone's surprise, seeing that the rest of the Golden Trio had already started their training at the ministry to become professional aurors and most had expected to do the same.
Harry didn't want to return to Hogwarts straight away, because the memories of those people they had lost were still too fresh in mind for him. Hermione found it sad that the first place he had ever considered a home had been dirtied by those memories. It also made her angry that he allowed Voldemort to affect his happiness, even after the Dark Lord had been defeated once and for all, because she knew how much he yearned to return to the castle. As for Ron… well first of all he was only glad to avoid the pressure of actually sitting his N.E.W.T.'s , secondly he didn't want to walk past the spot where his brother left his life on a daily basis, something Hermione found to be at least kind of reasonable and then there was their relationship that was currently in a hiatus after a heated argument just before she returned to Hogwarts. Apparently it was enough of a reason for him not to want to be around her.
She sighed when she thought about said argument and pushed her curls out of her face. She didn't even want to think about it.
There was not much else to think about though, as she found herself unable to study day and night like she used to considering the constant exhaustion that came from insomnia.
It wasn't like she hadn't tried to sleep. One of her reasons for coming back to Hogwarts was the idea of facing some of her worse nightmares. It hadn't really worked, but at least it hadn't made them worse either. She had tried Dreamless Sleep Potion, but after only two nights she started to become immune to it and the side effects of the potion only made her dreams become more twisted.
She checked the time and sighed. 3:31 in the morning. And nothing to do.
Remembering the few times she had brewed the Sleeping Potion for herself a thought suddenly popped into her mind. Brewing had had a strange calming effect on her, and seeing that for once in her life, she couldn't find it in her to concentrate on a book as means of distraction she might as well give it a go.
The tiniest of smiles crossed her face when she thought of Ron and Harry's faces should they ever find out that instead of sneaking into the library at night she was going to the potions lab. Surprisingly she found there were only minimal wards on the classroom and she wondered if Snape had become sluggish. After all, surviving a snakebite hadn't changed him all that much.
With mage lights hovering over her she started to gather the ingredients needed for a simple healing draught. It was just difficult enough to keep her hands and mind occupied in her sleep deprived state.
She felt herself relax slowly as she chopped the ingredients with almost too much care. Twenty minutes later she started to add them to the iron cauldron in front of her. An expression of satisfaction unconsciously spread across her face as the mixture started bubbling.
She was so caught up in her work that she didn't notice the dark presence by the door of the potions lab. Severus Snape had been in the habit of brewing by night for years and never once had someone dared to occupy his laboratory at that time. Not that anyone ever used it outside of class anyway. Not until now, that was.
The wards had been so minimalistic because he needed to consult one of his more valuable books for the potion he was about to prepare. As he had placed a charm on said book so it couldn't just be conjured he had to go back to his chambers. It annoyed him that he actually had to check a book to brew a potion, but he wasn't going to chance a potion going wrong in the middle of the night. Or ever, for that matter. Thus he was surprised that his annoyance didn't increase upon finding his lab occupied by none other than Hermione Granger.
He remembered seeing her brew a Sleeping Draught and presumed that she had come down here to make some more to help her insomnia. Of course he was aware of her problem. The symptoms were only too obvious to him, as he had suffered from the same problem for years. He had already begun contemplating how to stop the witch from ingesting any more of the highly addictive potion when he noticed how she relaxed and watched in awe as her face grew as peaceful as it hadn't been in weeks.
Just then his nostrils flared as the unmistakable smell of a simple healing potion wafted to where he was standing. His frown that long since had become chronic, deepened. Could it be…? Was it possible that the Gryffindor know-it-all was brewing for pleasure? He had noticed her to be unusually quiet in class recently, always intent on getting her potions right and not being distracted by anyone. Could it be that she was actually enjoying brewing? Did it have the same calming effect on her as it did on him?
Refusing to indulge in such disturbing thoughts, he decided to not disrupt her, but ventured of to an old potions laboratory that he used when he grew sick of the sight of his classroom.
As the days flew past Hermione fell into the habit of brewing some potion every night before she felt calm enough to try and get a few hours of rest.
She had noticed Ginny's glare during the meals, as her friend looked more exhausted every day. It went so far that McGonnegal ordered her to the headmistresses office to enquire if she was alright. From that day on she had taken to charm the rings under her eyes, hoping that they wouldn't be as obvious.
Snape had also been constantly watching her, not only during the day but also at night. Much to his own disliking he found himself to worry more about her each day, and wondered how it was that he suddenly cared so much for the little know-it-all.