A/N: Welcome to my new story! :D As you can see, it's a Snamione! And I'll go ahead and spoil you - it's a soul mate au! Get excited, y'all! Updates will happen about weekly, though certainly no promises. Thank you so much for reading! *hearts*
"I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times… In life after life, in age after age, forever." - Rabindranath Tagore
Hermione Granger, just three weeks from twelve years old, sits in the broad and well-cushioned window seat of her bedroom, staring out over her backyard. The leaves are turning, and the occasional early starter drifts to the ground though most are still clinging in the hopes of summer lasting just a little longer. Her new trunk sits beside the door, packed full of books and robes and potion ingredients purchased earlier in the week.
For an entire year, she has been waiting for this day, the day that she will leave for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Freshly turned eleven-year-old Hermione kneeled on the chair, leaning over the table to blow out the candles decorating her space-themed cake.
Every year was a new theme based on her favorite subject of the moment, and this year was space – with blue and purple swirled frosting, dotted with star-shaped candies and the entire solar system suspended above the cake, perched on clear plastic sticks.
While her parents were dentists, they were also a bit older than her peers' parents and doted upon their only child. Birthdays were special, they always said, and that deserves special treatment: her choice of dinner and themed cake were always part of the celebrations.
So, this year was space-themed, and the candles were left smoking in the wake of her excitement to slice into the cake.
Just as her mum had finished picking the candles and planets from the icing, prepared to slice it up, the doorbell rang.
"Who could that be?" Richard Granger looked over his shoulder in surprise, while Mary Granger looked over to her husband.
"We weren't expecting anyone else. Go and see, Richard; it may be one of the neighbors."
Hermione looked from her mother to her father expectantly, waiting for him to go and check. She had been ruthlessly drilled by her parents to never open the door on her own, but that didn't stop her from hopping to her feet and trotting along just behind her father to the door in curiosity.
Richard swung the door open, a smile affixed on his face – just before he froze in surprise at the visitor in front of them.
A woman around her parents' age stood just on the other side of their front door, which wasn't all that unusual. Many of their neighbors were her parent's age, or older, and often stopped by to chat with the little family and dote upon their precocious child, passing her a sweetie or shiny coin on those occasions.
What was unusual was the woman's appearance. Hair pulled back from her face and neatly twisted in a sleek chignon, cat's eye glasses perched on her nose; the most spectacular thing was her dress. A shimmering black dress – robe – encased the woman from head to toe. And when she spoke, the thick Scottish burr screamed, "not from here."
Hermione stood gaping up at the sternly attractive woman, while her father looked confused. "Sorry; can we help you?"
"Yes, actually. I am Professor Minerva McGonagall. You must be Mr. Granger…" Her ordinary brown eyes shifted to the bushy-haired girl behind him, and the first glimmer of a smile appeared on her face. "And you must be Miss Granger."
Almost exactly one full year previously, Professor Minerva McGonagall had shown up at her family's door, the bearer of outrageous, frightening, and brilliant news: Hermione was a witch, and suddenly so many things had made sense, and just as suddenly, she had literally thousands of questions.
Luckily, the professor had come prepared with a half dozen books that introduced Hermione to various aspects of the wizarding world. A few history books, including one specifically about the Hogwarts Castle and was one of her favorites, as well as a mix of other introductory texts. It was fascinating and enthralling, and Hermione could be found reading any one of the books, again and again, at any given time through the following year.
Her absolute favorite book was rather thin and small compared to the others, a rather general comparison of topics that were believed to be legends in the Muggle world, and are true in the wizarding world, and one she read over and over; particularly the one short chapter on soul mates.
While quite rare, the book explained, soul mates were not unheard of in the wizarding community; typically, upon a witch or wizard reaching their majority at seventeen, a small increase in power was to be expected. In those with a soul mate, the power fluctuation was often accompanied by dreams and, in many instances, the sensation of another heart beat, either felt or heard, especially in proximity, until the bond was acknowledged by both affected parties. Often reports varied from soul mate to soul mate, and as such a rare occurrence, there was simply not enough information for the general populace beyond the myths and legends that had appeared over time. Though many couples had been speculated about, the last confirmed soul mate bond had been an unnamed couple many generations past, married into the Greengrass family.
The best was when the professor visited again a month later and stayed for tea and a long discussion of what Hermione had learnt from the books. Hermione was upset to learn that she probably wouldn't see Professor McGonagall again until the school year began the next September but was then relieved to learn that she would still be visited by other faculty members from the school.
Three months after the professor's second visit, just after New Year's of 1991, two figures appeared at the door of the Granger home. The first, tall and stately with long white hair and an even longer beard, was the headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore. Hermione recognized him from Hogwarts, a History as soon as the door opened and could barely control her glee. The other man, while vastly younger, was nearly as tall and much thinner, with slick black hair and a rather large nose, and was introduced to the Granger family as Professor Severus Snape, and he was to be her Potions professor.
The two men stayed for tea, although Professor Snape refused anything to eat or drink in a deep, rather soft voice. While Professor Dumbledore sat with Hermione and her parents, the four of them chatting about what to expect at the school, the black-clad Potions professor stood behind Dumbledore's chair, arms clasped behind his back and dark eyes fastened in the direction of the bureau full of Mary Granger's wedding china.
When they were about to depart, Dumbledore was escorted by her father to the front door, while her mother was carrying the tea service into the kitchen. Hermione glanced over, her eyes widening in surprise when she found herself being watched by Professor Snape. His otherwise expressionless mask was gone, leaving behind a vaguely bewildered look that made her want to break out into giggles. Biting down on her lower lip to hold them back, having an idea that that particular reaction with that particular man might not be such a good idea, she returned his look with a searching one of her own.
"Severus?" Professor Dumbledore's voice from the entryway wiped the expression from Professor Snape's face and he turned on his heel to leave the room.
Hermione popped up from her seat suddenly, the words tripping from her tongue. "Thank you for your visit, sir."
The dark man froze, before glancing over his shoulder at her with a tense nod. Still without a word, he turned back and left the room, and Hermione sank into her seat again with a soft exhale.
Later, at the dinner table, her parents were chatting about the professors' visit and Mary paused for a long moment, her fork idly spinning in her mashed potatoes. "And that Professor Snape. He was an intense young man."
Richard glanced over to his wife with a solemn look on his face. "He certainly was. And Professor Dumbledore mentioned he'd been teaching at the school for ten years now? He must have a passion for his subject, to have begun teaching so young."
Hermione's eyes flicked back and forth between her parents as they conversed before she spoke up quietly. "He seemed… sad."
Her parents paused, glancing at one another and then to their only child, each with a softened smile on their face. Her mother spoke first, reaching over the table to pat her hand. "I dare say I agree with you, love. But don't go saying such things to the other students, once school begins."
"I know, mum. It wouldn't be kind to either myself or Professor Snape." Hermione smiled at her parents, though deep inside she knew she would make a special effort to be the best student possible for the taciturn professor.
There was a lull as Hermione applied herself to her food and her parents exchanged another glance before Richard cleared his throat. "How about Professor Dumbledore's waistcoat? I didn't know that shade of purple was possible."
While Professor Snape never made another appearance, Professor Dumbledore visited once more on his own; there were also visits from the Herbology Professor Pomona Sprout – a rather plump and enthusiastic woman who was a few years younger than Professor McGonagall and right near her parent's age – as well as one more from Professor Sprout, this time accompanied by Professor Aurora Sinistra. The dark skinned woman was quiet, offering only a few words of conversation during their tea, before departing with a rather bland, "See you in class."
Professor McGonagall surprised her two months before classes began when she showed up at the Granger home to take the family to Diagon Alley in order to purchase her supplies. Hermione kept her wand clutched in her hand the entire time – the first stop on the trip having been Ollivander's – and kept it within sight at all times, even after arriving home. She was quite afraid that if she lost it, despite not being an irresponsible child, she wouldn't be allowed to go to Hogwarts and be with the others like her. She devoured every book they had purchased, memorizing them and practicing the spells until she knew that none of her teachers would be disappointed in her.
Hermione blinks as she's drawn from her thoughts, turning her head at the sound of the door opening to see her father leaning into the bedroom with a tense smile.
"Ready to go, sweetheart?"
She smiles, hopping up and smoothing her skirt with a nod. "Definitely ready. Let's go, daddy." Hermione slips her hand into her father's as he hefts the trunk – while thanking goodness for magic and the built-in lightening charm – and they make their way downstairs.
Passing through the divider at King's Cross is easy enough while following Professor McGonagall's instructions, and Hermione soon finds herself hugging her parents tightly in farewell.
Richard Granger squeezes her tight enough that she squeaks, kissing her bushy hair and telling her to stay safe and to study hard. Mary smiles, hugging her daughter's cheeks and wiping tears from their faces. "You're going to have such fun, love, and you're going to make so many friends!"
Before she knows it, Hermione is boarding the train and speeding away to Hogwarts.