Disclaimer: See chapter one if it is so necessary.

When they reached the great hall, Harry and Ron were glaring daggers at Severus who only glared back. Hermione tugged at his sleeve.

"Sev . . . Please stop glaring at them like that, it makes me want to go over there and-" He interrupted her by leading her up to the staff table. It was still May. The students that normally inhabited the castle were all sent home last year, for the school had closed its doors to all students. Only for a year or two though. Dumbledore's heart was far too big to close it forever.

"Good morning, Severus, Hermione." Minerva said, looking at Severus with a look that said clearer than words 'Touch her and die, Snape.' Severus sent a look her way that said 'I would never, McGonagall.'

They ate in silence, Severus and Hermione eating as fast as they could without looking conspicuous. They both knew that Harry and Ron were looking at them so as to make sure that they weren't just dreaming the two of them entering the hall together. Unhappily for both of them, they obviously weren't.

Severus and Hermione left the hall together to go and finish Hermione's rooms. After they started the painting again Severus stated in a would-be-calm voice:

"You know, if its possible, I believe that Potter and Weasleys hate for me has increased."

"Sev . . . Don't say that . . . They'll cool down, and if they don't, I'll go enchant them so that they will."

"My god, they'll be the coldest souls in Scotland." He said jokingly.

"Whatever, Snape." She said playfully.

"Don't you take that tone of voice with me Miss Granger." He said, a voice of mock threatening purring in his throat.

"And what will you do about it, Professor?" She asked tauntingly.

"This." He said simply and performed one of the charms that got to Hermione most; The Tickling Charm.

"Severus . . . Must we really bring Minerva into this? Stop it!" She said laughing way to hard than is good for a nineteen year old girl.

"Bring me into what?" said a sharp voice from the door.

Severus paused in his tickling for a moment and Hermione took the chance to roll away from him.

"Severus was only tickling me Minerva, I was teasing him you see, and he got fed up with it." Hermione said in a falsely innocent voice.

"Alright. Are you alright though dear?" Minerva asked Hermione.

"Yes, I'll be fine." She answered.

"Are you sure, Hermione?" Minerva persisted.

"If she says she's fine than she's obviously fine Minerva!" Severus snapped.

"I wasn't asking you Severus." Minerva replied, acid dripping off her voice.

"Oh yes. This is *just* what I need. My two favorite people in the world attempting to kill each other by glaring." Hermione said in mock happiness.

"Sorry Mione dear," Severus said apologetically, "I was only saying."

" 'Only saying' indeed!" Minerva huffed, "I'm sorry Hermione, but just out of curiosity, how is it that you can keep him under control?" She said.

"Charms, hexes. You know, all the things that a young student would want to do to him." Hermione laughed at the look that spasmed across Minerva's face. "Not seriously Minerva. Honestly, I really don't know how." She said after a moment of hysterics.

"Good. Severus, any hexes that go on in this room come straight to me. Nice painting, by the way." She said, indicating the large green spot on Severus' robes.

"Very funny Minerva." Severus said sarcastically.

"I know, wasn't it?" She said over her shoulder as she left.

"Well, that went well, didn't it?" Hermione said after Minerva was well up the corridor.

"Far better than I expected it would go." He responded. They continued painting the room in silence. When they walked back into the starry living room Hermione gasped.

"Hedwig!" She screeched, rushing over to the large snowy owl. Severus recognized it immediately as Potters owl. Hermione took the note from Hedwig and the bird flew out the door that Minerva had left open.

Dear Hermione, Ron and I are very sorry about the conversation that we had yesterday. We kinda overheard the staff talking about you and hung by to listen. They seem to think that half of your family is dead and we wanted to make sure if it was true or not and whether or not you knew. Sorry to bother you. Say hello to Snape for us. Harry and Ron.

The last bit "Say hello to Snape for us" seemed to be written in a tense writing as all the lines were almost completely straight.

"Sev . . . They know . . . I forgot to tell them . . . Shit." She said between deep steadying breaths.

"What do they know? Hermione. What?"

"My family. The staff was talking and they listened. Do you happen to have an owl?" She added.

"Yeah. Hold on dear. I'll go fetch her for you."

~~*~~

He came back in with a large magnificent Eagle owl resting on his arm. "Her name is Nemesis." He said, handing the great bird over to Hermione.

"Destiny, fate. Great meanings for a bird like her. She's beautiful Sev. Where did you find her?" She said all this while Nemesis sat on her arm and clicked her beak.

"My mother gave her to me in my third year, here at Hogwarts. I've had her ever since." He said, a touch of sadness entering his voice.

"What happened to her. Your mother I mean. Not Nemesis. Obviously no- " He silenced her with beginning his story.

"My mother died in my fourth year. I didn't find out till the summer. Father said in a letter that she had gone to work with Voldemort. It was a lie. My father hadn't even written the letter. She had died in a raid of our house by the Ministry of Magic. Arours had swamped the house and my father had taken my brother and sister into a hidden cellar. They were young, my siblings. They cried for my mother like they knew what would happen. My Father didn't know at the time that she wasn't there and put a Silencing charm over the cellar. My mother died in the raid. The Arours killed her quickly and moved to the cellar. They had known it was there. They killed my brother and sister and threw my Father in Azkaban. He died sometime in my seventh year. I am one of the few Snapes left." He said the last part bitterly and turned his back to Hermione, not really wanting to see her expression.

Her head had snapped up and she had finished her note to Harry and Ron apologizing for not telling them about everything. "Sev . . . Is there anything I can do?" She said after a moments pause. (A/N: Sorry that was a bit long and I read it over and it sounds like ramblings. Sorry. Tell me if it doesn't make sense.)

"No." He said bitterly. "I'm sorry Hermione. I shouldn't have laid ancient history upon you."

"Its alright Sev. Can you help me tie this to Nemesis' leg please?" she asked.

"Sure. Hold on a sec." He wiped his eyes not really realizing that there had been warm tears running down his cheeks.

While they fumbled with tying the note to Nemesis' leg Hermione glanced up into Severus' eyes finding them fixed upon her. She looked away quickly, embarrassed. Her cheeks flushed a brilliant pink as their hands met as Nemesis took off and flew through the door. She looked down at their entwined hands and blushed even deeper. She attempted to pull away and succeeded only when she had hit him with her one free hand. She didn't hit him hard though. Just hard enough to make him let go.

"I told you you would know when I was ready." She said softly.

"I think your ready now." He said just as softly.

"I don't." She stated.

He took a step back to give her some space. "I'm sorry. I . . . I just thought you might be ready now." He muttered.

"Sev. I'll tell you when. In some way or other, I'll tell you. I don't want to ruin our friendship just yet." She said soothingly.

"Alright." He said, leading her to the kitchen to make some tea.

~~*~~

When they got back to the living room they found Nemesis perched on an armchair, looking at them like a captive eagle instead of the owl she was.

Hermione took the note from the bird and read it. The note confirmed that it was all right and she needn't fret.

Severus walked slowly from the couch to the hallway thinking deeply, he did not even notice when Hermione threw a light Impedimenta Curse at him. Only did he notice that there was another living being in the world when another well-placed Impedimenta hit him square in the back.

After she had muttered the counter-curse he turned to her, "What?" He asked.

"Your pacing like a caged lion, and its really, REALLY aggravating!" She stressed the word 'lion'.

"You said before that we are friends. Did you mean it? Or were you just saying that to make me shut up?" He said the last bit looking straight into her eyes and she knew she would have to tell the truth.

"Of course I meant it Sev!" She exclaimed.

"Good. Now lets put the finishing touches on you room."

~~*~~

While they moved the bed back into Hermione's room (with magic of course, no point in huffing and puffing if you don't have to) they avoided each other's eyes. They were both painfully aware that their 'friendship' as Hermione had put it, was reaching a dangerous point. Most people go through something in a co-ed relationship. There's always a point that at least one of the people is thinking of how to turn friendship into something more.

This time though, they both were.

They finished the work sometime after three bookshelves were moved in, a desk, and a nightstand. Not to mention the bed they had moved in before and a magicked-in window seat that had a perfect view of the smooth lake.

Hermione plopped herself down on the bed and Severus perched uncomfortably on the window seat. Normally, if there were a window in the dungeons, it would show no sky, but large amounts of what one could only describe as, crap. Now though it showed the lake.

"Severus?" Hermione asked, she had been calling his name softly for quite some time now.

"Hmm?" He said, obviously not paying attention.

"Are you alright?" She asked tentatively.

"What? Of course. I'm always alright." He responded.

"Sure you are." She said in a disbelieving tone. "You should get some sleep. It's almost midnight." She commented, after giving him a long searching stare, rather like the one he had given Robert.

"You're right, as always." He muttered something Hermione couldn't here properly but it sounded like "bloody know-it-all".

They went their separate ways and off along to sleep. Severus had a very strange dream indeed.

**Fade into dream, In Severus' head**

"Hermione?" called his dream-self cautiously.

"Severus, is that you?" The answer came, but it sounded muffled.

"Yes. Where are you Hermione?" He called, more loudly this time.

" 'Come hither, I am here!'" She quoted.

"Now's not the time to show off Mione." He said. He couldn't see anything and was very, VERY worried about it.

"Oh, but why not?" A seductive voice whispered in his ear.

"Because . . . Umm . . ." He was very aware that she was very close by, but he still couldn't see her.

There was a rush of air as something whooshed past his ear.

"Hermione, what are you doing?" He asked, not really sure of where she was.

"Oh . . . I dunno . . . Can't you guess?" She said. He could tell that she was either right on top of him, or extremely close.

He didn't get a chance to answer though as he could suddenly see her and it wasn't Hermione at all. The Dark Lord Voldemort, powers intact, and a wand pointing at him muttered the one, fatal word that sent shivers down Severus' spine just seeing those words come out of his mouth.

"CRUCIO!" He woke up screaming.

**Fade out, Severus' bedroom**

The walls loomed over him as he screamed for mercy, the dream curse still pulsing through his blood.

Hermione had heard the screams from her room and had come running across the hall to him. He wouldn't stop screaming so she cast Stupefy upon him and he fell silent.

"Enervate!" She whispered and Severus sat straight up in bed.

"I have to talk to Albus. Immediately." He said.

"Hold on then Sev." She whispered and pulled a velvet pouch from the mantle piece and withdrew some deep purple powder and threw it into the flames. Soon enough, the Headmasters head emerged.

"What is it Severus?" He said.

"I have had another dream Albus." Severus began. "The Dark Lord knows I am a spy, he mocked me, sent the Cruciatus upon me, and I woke up screaming. He knows though. He wouldn't of sent this dream if he didn't know." He extended his left forearm and examined the large black tattoo there. A skull with a snake protruding from its mouth. It glowed a deep entrancing red.

"Yes . . . It was sent to only me. Damn." He cursed.

"Severus. I must order you not to attend any of the next Death Eater revels. I know it is a sure sign to Voldemort that we know that he knows, but, I must insist." Albus Dumbledore's head ordered Severus. "Now get some sleep, the both of you." He said, acknowledging Hermione for the first time.

"Goodnight Headmaster." Hermione said quietly.

"Goodnight Hermione. Goodnight Severus." He said, then his head disappeared.

"You didn't tell him all of it. I can tell." She said.

"You're correct. But don't think for a moment that I'll tell you either."

"I didn't expect you to." She said over her shoulder as she left.

"Really . . . You wouldn't want to know either . . ." He whispered, climbing back into his bed, rolling over and falling asleep. This sleep was unperturbed.

~~*~~

Hermione slept more fitfully after listening to the silence for about twenty minutes. She swore that if she listened hard enough that she could hear Severus' soft breathing across the hall. She sighed contentedly. She was glad that she had a home.

"HERMIONE GRANGER!" An infuriated cry rang from Sev's rooms.

"What?" she called groggily.

"COME HERE NOW!" Snape yelled. It seemed she called him Snape when he yelled.

"I'm coming . . ." She mumbled.

"ACCIO HERMIONE!" He yelled. He obviously wasn't waiting around. After her feet had returned to the ground, she could see exactly why he was yelling.

Sitting in the middle of the green and silver rug that covered most of the floor in Severus' rooms sat a . . .

A/N: Hehehe. Cliffhanger. First one. I'm so proud of myself. Not really actually. Anyway . . . Review and the next chapter might magically appear. *hint hint*

SHOUTOUTS: Thank you to Bunny who was my first ever reviewer. And thank you to ________!