Author's Note:

I just wanted to say thank you to all the readers that have stuck with the story, I hope you all continue to read and enjoy.

Disclaimer:

If you recognize it, I don't own it.

FAMILY MURDERED- DARK MAGIC SUSPECTED

The headline surrounded Severus, all the students in the Great Hall held a copy of the newspaper in hand. The picture showed a, now infamous image Severus knew, of a Auror throwing up in the bushes outside the family's manor. The crime scene even too grisly for his professionalism.

"It was him wasn't it?" Winona said. For once her shrill voice wasn't loud enough to wake the dead.

Severus merely nodded, knowing he couldn't find the words to reply. Lucius had mentioned long ago that the Potter family had rejected the Dark Lord's invitation into his ranks and that their esteemed leader had not taken it well.

The murder of Potter's parents had never come to Severus' mind. He thought the Dark Lord would have forgotten about the rejection long ago, moved on to families with deeper pockets and greater potential, like the Lestranges. It seems however that no sly of the Dark Lord's pride would go unpunished.

"Where do you think Potter is?" Goldstein asked Severus, leaning over to whisper it.

The Great Hall was silent for once and no one had the gall to speak louder than a whisper. Goldstein motioned with his head to the Gryffindor table across the hall. Surely enough there was a section of missing seats in the center of the table. Potter and Black were both missing. Lupin had arrived to breakfast late, bringing along with him Pettigrew. For once the overly rambitious table stood somber.

"McGonagall likely removed him from the castle when word came in early this morning," he answered.

The sound of the Great Hall's doors opening caught the student body's attention. All the students turned back towards the doors to see Dumbledore walking in with Lily on his heels. The red headed girls looked obviously distraught and took a seat beside Pettigrew while Dumbledore preceded to the empty Head table.

Severus watched Lily sit down, seeing how Pettigrew reached over to hold her hand on the table top. He found himself annoyed at the contact. He knew it was one of pure comfort, Lily was unfortunately too attached to Potter to ever have romantic contact with anyone else. The small act still unnerved him though. In another world- at another time- he had and would have been the one to comfort her.

"Good morning, students. I see that a majority of you have learned about the tragedy that has affected one of your fellow students. I have barely learnt about this myself when I arrived back at the castle this morning. I hope that you all will send your condolences to Mr. Potter and Mr. Black upon their return," Dumbledore spoke from the podium in front of the head table.

At the mention of Black, Severus looked down the table at where the younger Black sat. Regulus was staring at his plate, the folded newspaper beside it. He looked in deep contemplation.

"The world is no longer the place we thought it was. There are people in this world who will do unexpected atrocities to you and those you love. Know that Hogwarts will continue to be a safe place for you and it is a priority of myself and the rest of the staff to protect you," Dumbledore continued.

Severus nearly snorted, the sound coming out as more of cough since he was able to stop himself. A similar sound echoed from the Ravenclaw table. He looked towards it, along with a few other curious students to see Granger sitting straight in her seat. The students around her mirrored the somber feeling that hung in the air. She on the other hand, looked at their esteemed headmaster with nothing short of a glare.

Her eyes were red rimmed he could tell from where he sat, she had obviously been crying. Despite this somewhat unprecedented reaction to the death of Potter's parents, who she was distant with, she looked angry and rebellious in the moment.

Severus found himself fascinated by Granger's reaction. Not only did it appear as if she was mourning the loss of people she never even knew, but she seemed almost hostile towards the headmaster and his speech.

"Understand, that the Ministry is doing all they can to find the culprits of this crime. Justice will be served to those that took the life of Mr. and Mrs. Potter," Dumbledore continued.

The sound of heels on the stone floor once again got everyone's attention. Severus watched as Hermione Granger stood up in the middle of Dumbledore's speech with her bag in hand. All the students watched her with a mixture of horror and shock, as she glared up at the Headmaster with a pointed look and then turned on her heel to leave the Great Hall.

It wasn't just a dramatic exit Granger was trying to make Severus knew, it was a statement. She had wanted to make a point to their headmaster that much was obvious. For the first time Severus wondered if Granger might be of use to him and the circle, after all any enemy of Dumbledore was a friend of the Dark Lord.

The doors shut behind her and Dumbledore continued to prattle on about the justice awaiting the culprits. Severus didn't pay attention. It had only been two days since he had seen her crying in the owlery about being unable to return home, Lucius had yet to reply to his letter. Considering the news he suspected the man had been too busy to reply to it yet. Granger was not from America, could not return to her home, and held a dislike for Dumbledore.

More so than that, she excelled in all her classes and had shown distaste towards a majority of the Marauders. Perhaps he had been going about her wrong all along. It was highly possible that she was already a part of the circle. It was an explanation that sent chills through his spine. Could Hermione Granger, the newest teacher's pet, be apart of the Dark Lord's circle?

He would find out. He was more sure of it now than ever.

Dumbledore's speech thankfully came to an end, and the student slowly began to shuffle towards their classes. Severus knew that he wouldn't have any classes with the Ravenclaw until the next week, so he would need to find some other way to talk to her. Perhaps he could find some clues as to where her loyalties lay in the upcoming war if he got to talk to her alone.

The library would be his best bet during lunch, he had heard her friends complain enough about how secluded she made herself by going there a majority of the week. If he timed himself correctly he could manage to 'accidentally' bump into her while she was there. Then, he could start a conversation worthwhile in the scheme of things.

Afterwards, he would draft another letter to Lucius. See if his information about Dumbledore had come to use and what exactly had happened with the Potters. He doubted their death was nothing more than dramatics. There had to be some meaning behind the act, and he hoped that by understanding it he could work towards pleasing the Dark Lord.

"Poor Lily, it must be terrible not being able to help the person you love! James must be ruined,"

"Lily looks so sad. Do you think she ever got to meet them...before they...you know?"

"I wonder why Remus and Peter skipped classes today, but she didn't,"

The whispers followed him wherever he went. Lily Evans was the subject of conversation for every group of students, as they saw her walking through the halls.

Severus had to agree with them that Lily, understandably, looked sad. Her dead like appearance sent an uneasy feel through the halls when she walked by to her classes. Severus himself felt the chill that she brought with her into their shared Herbology class.

No one spoke to the girl, she kept herself at a distance from the rest of the students. Severus had to wonder if her obvious grief was for the parents of her beloved or for the bastard himself. No doubt he and Black were in a hurricane of rage and grief.

He knew what the loss of a parent would feel like, his father had passed only two years before. Fortunately, his father's passing was one of almost celebratory news. There would be no more holidays of drunken fits of rage at home, only that of his cold mother. She would not scream and threaten abuses at him, instead she would sit in silence never looking over him.

He wondered what Potter's parents had been like, if they worth all the grief that their loss had caused or if they, like his parents, had deserved the death that had awaited them.

"You think they would mind their own bloody business,"

Severus nearly jumped out his skin at Granger's voice when she popped up beside him in the hall. Her harsh tone was directed towards the whispering students that still followed Lily down the hall.

"You should know by now that the youth of our generation have little else to do but gossip about matters that aren't their business," Severus said.

Granger's hand on her bag's strap tightened. He could see the redness of her palm around the tight grip. He suspected she had been doing the twitch all day long. After all, if it was the gossip that bothered her, there was no escape from it today.

"You think they would find some way to better themselves instead!" Granger lips were turned down into a deep frown.

"I think you overestimate the self-control and awareness of our peers," Severus replied.

"Someone should really tell them something! This is ridiculous," Granger mumbled.

Severus scoffed, already preparing to head to class. The girl was naive if she thought that anyone would ever speak up to the students about their insensitive behaviour. He bit back any comment he would have made telling her as much. If she thought the issue warranted meddling then it would be up to her to take a stance. He had learnt his lesson long ago, it is better to keep your mouth shut.

After all, that is what everyone did about actions taken against him.

He walked away from Granger without a goodbye. His patience was thin on this day. It was obvious the Dark Lord was once again stepping up his actions against the general wizarding populace. For months Severus had watched the papers with rapt attention, only finding slim traces of the Death Eaters actions in the paper.

Perhaps the Dark Lord had finally decided to stop hiding from the rest of the world. Tensions had been high for the past few weeks, the ministry and its officials were obviously caught in a hard place. Severus had heard the people in shops whisper about war, war against a seemingly unknown dark force. Yet, the ministry refused to advertise these fears in the paper.

As he walked to his Ancient Runes class, he wondered how unprepared the world was for what was to come. The Potter's murder would not be the last to show up in the papers now. No one that denied to support the rising cause would be safe now. Severus for one was glad that he had actively joined the circle, he had nothing to fear.

When he walked into the classroom he was surprised to find Remus Lupin in the class, standing behind the desk of Lily. No matter how uncomfortable Severus found the werewolf's presence, he couldn't help but notice how frail he looked that day. Much like Lily he stared around the classroom with a blank look that spoke volumes of how close the Marauder clan had been to thier leader's parents.

Severus forced himself to not look back at them when he sat down, and he continued to force himself to stare at the Professor when the class started. Merlin knew he was finding it harder to think about Lily's face as he sat there, let alone know that he would see it the moment he turned around.

He had not murdered the Potter's, he had not gone with the Death Eaters or the Dark Lord himself to murder them. He had not even know of their impending deaths. Yet, once he was initiated into the circle of Death Eater's he would. Severus would know of the death of his peers and their families. He would even be asked to commit some of the deadly acts himself.

His hatred for his Hogwarts peer's were strong. They had made days at the school feel like torture. How many times had he thought about hurting them and making them feel as he had felt? Remembering the look on Lupin's face however he wondered if his schoolboy fantasies were just that...fantasies.

He forced the thought from his head. He should hold no sympathy for Potter, or his friends, or anyone who stood against his soon to be leader. They, much like what was said of him, had brought it on themselves.

Severus stayed in the library after classes and throughout dinner. He didn't want to face Lily, Lupin, and Pettigrew. His time in the library was silent, no students wanting to miss their meal. The silence was a sanctuary in comparison to what he expected the Great Hall would be like now. Full of whispers and gossips no doubt.

His silence was interrupted by the sound of voices in the corridor outside of the library.

"HEADMASTER I WAS SPEAKING TO YOU!" The english accented, again, voice of Granger echoed off the library walls.

Severus sat up straighter in the chair he had been sitting in, closing the book he had balanced in his lap. Memories of Granger's act of rebellion during the breakfast speech resurfaced.

"Miss Granger, I apologize, I thought I made it clear that our conversation had come to an end," Dumbledore's voice was a forced rasp, Severus noted.

"Sir, I have to disagree. You knew, sir. You knew that the Potters-" Granger began.

"We have already spoken about this, Miss Granger. I see no point in repeating the same points to you," Dumbledore's tone was firm.

Severus stood up, leaving his book on the chair. He walked silently toward the front of the library, to be able to hear the argument better. Madame Pince had gone Merlin knew where, so the library was empty except for him.

The closer he got to the entrance of the library, the more he heard. The sound of footsteps walking further away from the library could be heard. There was also the swish of a robe against the corridor floors. The Headmaster was obviously walking away from Granger, Severus noted.

"Their blood is on your hands, Headmaster. You knew! You knew, yet you did nothing. I realize I was wrong in confiding in you. Perhaps from now on, I will take matters into my own hands," Granger's voice was now more confident.

The footsteps stopped. Severus stood in attentive silence, waiting for the older man's reply.

"Miss Granger, I hope you realize what you are implying. The damage that you could bring," the Headmaster said after a moment's pause.

A third set of footsteps echoed in the corridor. Severus recognized the shuffle of flat shoes, as Madame Pince. The librarian had chosen the most inopportune time to return. Before the footsteps got close enough to bring him cause to return to his previous reading position, he heard Granger's reply.

"You forget, sir, that damage has long since been done,"

Author's Note:

I don't know how I feel about this chapter, but I can promise more interaction between Snape and Hermione in the next though. I love all the comments you all give, so please keep them coming.

Question:

How did you get into Harry Potter?

I admit I got into it late, the Half Blood Prince movie was barely coming out. I had always thought Harry Potter was stupid until I spent a summer with my aunt in wisconsin. All I had were my cousin's Harry Potter books to read. I became a young girl obsessed. It also led to me discovering fanfiction.