Summary: Hermione spends her summer afternoons with Severus as he recovers from Nagini's bite.
Rating: Mature for adult content in future chapters.
Parings: Severus Snape/Hermione Granger
Warning: Ron bashing. Domestic violence. Please, if this disturbs you, do not read this story.
Timeframe: Post DH
A/N: Obviously, this is another EWE story. It will also be HEA. **This is a Time Turner story.**
Disclaimer: All things Harry Potter are the express property of J. K. Rowling. I adore these characters, but I don't own them.
And yup, I know I should be writing the next chapter of Once, Now and Forevermore. It's coming very soon, I promise...and thanks for reading.
The Second Wizarding War had left most numb, and, depending on who you were, that deadened, detached feeling had been birthed by either loss or regret.
Hermione Granger actually knew a little of both. Some of the people she loved the most in the world were gone; a shadow of loss pursued her relentlessly, taking the form of Fred or Tonks or Remus, depending on the day. Hermione was well acquainted with regret, too: she had mistrusted and vilified the one man who had silently protected all of them—her former professor, Severus Snape. What good was being lauded as the brightest witch of her age if she hadn't been able to figure out what side Professor Snape had truly been on? She should have been smarter, she should have reasoned it out. But fate had been kind, if one could call it that: Professor Snape had lived, miraculously, and Hermione would have a chance to make it up to him. Or at the very least, apologize.
As for the loss, she would just have to cope with it, somehow. Just like everyone else.
There was one light visible in the grey blanketing her life, though: Ron had finally, finally kissed her. After years of waiting to be noticed that she was a girl by one of her best friends, he had finally pulled her into his arms. Hey, maybe it hadn't been the romantic moment Hermione had dreamed of, but it worked. In that instant, Hermione had believed that their relationship would blossom into everything her young heart longed for.
But, just like her beliefs about Professor Snape, she'd been wrong about that, too.
Since what had become known as the Battle of Hogwarts, Ron was no longer, well, Ron. Now that the war was over and Voldemort's horcruxes had been destroyed, Ron floundered. It was as if without the goal of finding and demolishing them, he had no direction, and the dark personality brought out by Slytherin's cursed locket surfaced again—this time, with a vengeance.
Ron's new purpose in life seemed to be reminding his housemates that those who had been loyal to Voldemort should not be forgiven by the Ministry. There must be some punishment, some reparation, he pressed. How many times could he mention that no Malfoys had died in the war? How could that be fair, he argued, when they had lost Fred? Hermione had no answer for this, of course, but she knew that it was Ron's way of dealing with his grief. That, and drinking. With only glimpses of the brave and sure Ron she thought she knew, she was beginning to flounder. Something had to change.
Packages from the grocer in hand, Hermione ascended the steps to the home they all stubbornly continued to share. Perhaps in their shared loss, the four simply didn't know how to move on yet. And with Ron in a black mood more often than not, she never knew what she would find when she cleared the threshold of the front door.
"Hey, Hermione," Harry said from the kitchen table, looking up from the Daily Prophet as Hermione walked into the kitchen of twelve, Grimmauld Place.
"Hey, Harry," she said with a bright smile, laying her parcels on the counter.
"I keep meaning to tell you, Snape is awake."
"Really?" she said, turning towards Harry.
"Yeah, I just went to see him in the infirmary," he said.
"I…I should visit him too. How is he?"
"He's…I dunno…different, Hermione," said Harry with an odd note in his voice.
"He's…relaxed? No, that's the wrong word. Agreeable? More approachable? I'm not sure. I think you just have to go see him for yourself," responded her closest friend, leaving her wondering what he'd been unable to articulate.
"Okay. I'll go. Maybe later today."
A large crash—followed a few seconds later by a dull thud—interrupted Harry's thought.
They looked up at the ceiling in unison as if it would reveal what had happened, then caught each other's eyes. Ron. Harry folded the paper and set it down on the table. Harry sighed. "I'll get him."
"Do you want any help? If he's passed out…"
"No, it's all right," he said dejectedly and left the kitchen to climb the stairs.
That afternoon, Hermione Apparated to just outside the Hogwarts main gate and made her way through the ruined building to the infirmary in search of her former professor. It was as if the castle had received its own wounds from the war. Each broken stone, each toppled wall taunted her with a question: who died here? It was comforting to see Ministry wizards and witches already clearing the rubble in the corridor leading to the infirmary. She hoped the reconstruction would heal both the structure itself and those who had witnessed its destruction.
Hermione turned the corner into the vast room, noting it was less than half full now. She stopped a healer she didn't recognize and asked, "Excuse me? Can you please tell me where I might find Professor Snape?"
Hermione was directed to a room in the back of the long, main ward. She supposed being a famous war hero earned one a private room for recovery. Entering with a soft knock, she saw Professor Snape lying flat on a bed, his neck wrapped in bandages that appeared to have been newly changed. His black eyes were open.
"Professor Snape…?" she asked softly as she entered the room.
He turned his dark eyes on her, but otherwise didn't move. "Miss Granger. A pleasure to see you," he said without a trace of irony. A pleasure to see me?
"How are you feeling, sir?"
"As well as to be expected, I suppose. Looking forward to recuperating in my own home," he said evenly. "Please, sit down," he continued, waving his hand in the direction of a nearby wooden chair.
She sat. "How long before they allow you to leave, Professor?"
"Uncertain. Madam Pomfrey can be rather…conservative in her assessments," he said wryly. "What brings you to Hogwarts, Miss Granger?"
She paused, collecting herself in the stiff chair. "Sir, if I may, I am here to…express my regret for doubting your loyalty."
"If you had never doubted me, I wouldn't have been doing my job well enough," he said with a self-satisfied smirk that threatened to turn into a small smile.
"Fair enough. I did want to apologize, however."
"It is not necessary," he said, closing his eyes momentarily. Apparently, even her short visit was tiring him out.
Well, he didn't throw me out. And not even a single acid remark. "Would you…may I…visit you again, Professor?" she asked, standing up from the wooden chair. On impulse, she added, "I could read to you as you recover, if you like."
He paused, apparently considering her offer. "That would be…appreciated. I have nothing to read. That, in and of itself, may very well kill me."
"Perhaps you have discovered their aim," she joked.
He chuckled. "Perhaps, Miss Granger. Perhaps."
She closed the door to his private room, surprised at how easily they conversed. Actually, I could get used to a pleasant Professor Snape.
The next afternoon, after hastily grabbing the Daily Prophet and a couple of volumes from the Grimmauld library, Hermione ventured to the infirmary once again. "Hello, Professor," she said, entering his room with a soft knock. He was lying on the bed, much as the day before.
"Miss Granger," he said in greeting.
"How are you today, sir?"
"Still the subject of Madam Pomfrey's machinations, I'm afraid," he said.
"Ah. I have suffered those myself, sir." She paused. "May I?" Hermione asked, indicating the chair near his bed.
"I didn't know what you enjoy reading, so I brought several choices," she said, settling herself down on the stiff chair.
"Indeed," he said with an amused look, watching as she unpacked the hardcovers and placed them on the nightstand one by one. "I can hardly imagine you toting innumerable books around," he said sarcastically.
She smiled at his jibe. "I see you have procured a book for yourself. Perhaps it's not as bad here as you are making it out to be," she said, indicating a small, green, leather-bound volume on the bed with his hand covering most of it.
He chuckled. "I assure you, I was more than generous in my assessment."
"I could read from that one if you like, sir. You know, it resembles one I have in my library. It's one of my favorite Muggle novels. I'm not exactly sure where it is right now though…" she said, allowing her words to trail off as she pictured the condition of her room at Grimmauld Place.
"Perhaps not this one today," he said evenly, bringing her back to the conversation while gripping the book harder with his left hand. He locked his infinitely black eyes with hers, and then his gaze swept down her face, stopping at her bottom lip. He frowned slightly, then said, "So, what have you brought with you?"
"Well, sir, a couple of Muggle novels, today's Daily Prophet, and two volumes from the Grimmauld Place library—Potions for Play and the 1379 edition of Wizards of Renown."
He barked a laugh. "You're going to read Potions for Play to me? Why, Miss Granger, I thought better of you," he quipped, reaching to the side to retrieve it from the bedside table. "That experience alone might be worth me remaining in the infirmary."
She smiled in confusion. "Professor, consider me quite ashamed of the choices presented. I am at the mercy of the library at Grimmauld and my meager purse, neither of which are anywhere near full at present."
"Then is it correct to assume that you haven't opened Potions for Play?" he asked, turning the leather bound book in his hand.
"No, sir, I have not. I assumed it was a children's book…?"
He smiled wickedly, handing it back to her. "Allow me to relinquish this copy back to you for your…entertainment at some later date."
What on earth is he on about? "Thank you, sir." She paused. "Shall we start with today's Daily Prophet, then?" she asked, placing the potions book back in her bag.
"That would be…acceptable," he said, visibly suppressing a smile.
Hermione read the first two pages of the Daily Prophet in their entirety when she noticed his eyes were no longer open. "Perhaps we should call it a day, sir. May I…return tomorrow?" she asked softly.
"I would enjoy that immensely," he said, his eyes still shut. "Miss Granger, before you take your leave, I must ask something of you," he continued, opening his eyes.
"I would be happy to do anything I can to help you, Professor," she responded.
"I would like you to create a journal for me—one chronicling my recuperation. It…may assist me in…creating antivenins," he said slowly.
"I would like you to record your visits here, including specific dates and precise times, with your observations, of course."
"I can do that, Professor."
"Thank you. I'm certain the journal will prove…useful…in the future," he said with a strange look at her, and then closed his dark eyes once more.