Chapter 1: Saved

She had already seen far too many deaths that day. She didn't know why she was even mourning the murder of a Death Eater, but the idea of losing yet another person she had seen almost every day since walking into gates of Hogwarts for the first time was simply more than she could handle. Handing Harry the vial with shaking hands, her overactive brain was already knitting spells together into a plan.

As Harry ran to the pensieve in Dumbledore's old office and Ron rushed back to check on the rest of the Weasley clan, she knelt next to her dying potions professor and began murmuring spells as she pointed her wand at wound after wound. Sangre conglacio, the bleeding stopped mid-drip. Venenum dismoveo, the snake's venom began rolling out of the wounds and absorbing into his already blood-stained robes. Dolor suadet, she dared to glance in his eyes to see if he was still with her. Deep brown. For a fraction of a second she froze, never having been close enough to him to see the actual color of his dark eyes. Pleading. Looking into his eyes she heard his pleas as clearly as if he had spoken out loud. Don't let me die. Not here on the cold boathouse floor. Don't let me die here. Alone. She kept working as fast as she dared, but did not break eye contact again. Whether or not her fledgling knowledge of magical emergency medicine was up to the task, he would not fade away without someone by his side.

She was confident the venom was out now. While she sealed shut his wounds, she frantically searched her mind for what to do next. Anywhere near Hogwarts was out of the question. You-know-who was convinced that it was necessary for Snape to die in order the Elder wand to be truly loyal to him and would stop at nothing to gain the allegiance of the Elder wand. If he even suspected Snape was still alive he would immediately find him. On the other hand, the tattooed snake's tongue poking out from under his torn and bloody sleeve reminded Hermione that he was still a Death Eater. She couldn't just let him go free. She needed somewhere she could protect from the inside and lock from the outside. 12 Grimmauld Place would work, but the Order would not appreciate her housing a Death Eater in their secret headquarters, especially without explaining why.

Why was she risking her life for this man? Hermione knew enough from her months hiding in secret and hunting horcruxes to trust her instincts and let her mind sweep this salient issue under the rug until she had time to take it out and examine it properly. The Forrest of Dean? They had already spent months hiding out in remote locations throughout England, but she didn't have the time to set up an entire site the way they had been doing. She heard a noise from outside the boathouse and without thinking further grabbed onto his slumped over shoulders and disapparated.

Looking up at the flowered wallpaper, she cringed momentarily at the snide comments the Snape of her memories would have made at the decorations in her childhood bedroom. Turning back to her fragile passenger she ensured Snape had survived the journey. Checking for a pulse and finding none, she panicked briefly before realizing she had frozen his blood to prevent the now-removed poison from working its way to his heart. Looking desperately into his eyes for some kind of affirmation that she wasn't making a fatal mistake. She wasn't sure if she saw an imperceptible nod or if it was just her imagination, but she took a deep breath and released the spell holding back his bloodflow. She watched in his eyes as her spell took its effect. Fear, pain, apprehension, then relief. His breathing began to get deeper and her fingers, still on his wrist, received affirmation that his heart was not only still beating but getting stronger. She sat next to him, holding his wrist with one hand, absentmindedly straightening his robes with her other, and never breaking eye contact as his body (and the lingering effects of her spells) began to repair the still-visible gashes from the snake.

After what felt to her like a few minutes, he drifted off into what she hoped would be a dreamless sleep. She looked up at the clock and realized she had been sitting there for over half an hour. Her mindset switched from nurse to auror as she quickly began placing enchantments on her house. Protego maxima, muffliato, fianto duri, to keep Voldemort out, others to keep Snape in. While she was worried about what would happen if Voldemort found out his murder had been thwarted, she was equally worried about what would happen if she had just saved a Death Eater only to have him return to the fray and claim more innocent lives. When she was sure both of these unacceptable outcomes were impossible, or at least as close to it as she could assure, she took a brief second to scribble a note and suspend it in midair over Snape's unconscious form as he slept.

She took one last second to make sure he was still breathing steadily. Looking down at the man she had seen every day for the last seven years, she couldn't help but notice that he looked different somehow. She wasn't sure if it was being this close to him, the near death experience he had just barely survived, or something she couldn't describe, but he looked different. Peaceful, the wrinkles by his eyes that had been created by the fear of the attack had receded. She gently brushed his long black hair out of his eyes and noticed the constant distain in his expression that had caused such unease in his students all but disappeared in unconsciousness, leaving him approachable, almost handsome.

Hearing herself think of Severus Snape as handsome, Hermione mentally shook herself and quickly stood up. People were dying at the hands of an army of death eaters and she was… going back to Hogwarts. Brushing off the tear she hadn't even noticed was on her cheek, she quickly dissapparated back to as close to the Hogwarts grounds as she could.