A Rose By Any Other Name.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter etc belongs to JKR, who apparently earns £77 per minute for just thinking of the idea, so I'm sure she won't mind little me and my story.
A/N: This is an edit of an old and unfinished story. It is now AU, as Albus is alive in my version. I wrote this a couple of years ago and many people enjoyed it, and had some changes for me to do, so now I'm going to try to finish it. I apologise for being so slow!
This story is set before/during their seventh year; it has some dark themes and will eventually focus on a HG/SS relationship. If you have problems with any of what I have just said, please don't read this, I don't have time for flamers. For the rest of you, enjoy!
Hermione never thought her life would end like this. Somehow, she had imagined dying heroically by Harry's side during a battle with Voldemort, or as an old woman eating far too much chocolate. Stupid really, considering what her life had been like before Hogwarts.
Sitting in a darkened room with only her own thoughts for company, Hermione was worried. She was becoming progressively colder and she thought that her vision was blurring around the edges.
She whispered into the darkness half to herself, half in the vain hope that someone would hear her. From the deathly silence that was in the room, she knew that no one would. It was the kind of silence that only arrives once something terrible has happened, something so bad that even sound itself leaves afterwards, leaving a deafening silence.
The only trouble was that she had no idea what had happened. She knew that things at home had been building up to something like this, but having not experienced anything on quite this scale before; she was at a loss with how to cope with it.
Looking bad now, as she had nothing else to do before help hopefully arrived, it had all occurred so fast. It was a blur. A series of clear images all smudging into one big black, blue and purple mess - just like her body.
At this thought, she looked down into the darkness and saw her own fingers wiggling back at her. Her wand arm wasn't broken then, that was a relief. Her legs were hurting like mad, and she had a headache that even magic wouldn't cure, but she was alive for now. She started to cry. Pathetic. She thought. I can't even stay sane.
Hermione knew that her parents had been having problems. Everyone did, right? No one's perfect. It had been this way ever since she could remember. Her parents would argue over the smallest thing. At first, it was over stupid things like who was going to cook dinner, then it escalated into full blow glass-throwing arguments about her dad's drinking. She despised drinking. Sometimes, he would leave for days.
After a while he started to turn on her, as though not satisfied with leaving his wife a quivering wreck, he would yell at a small eight year old Hermione for the most insignificant thing. Then he had started to hit.
Her life was only bits and pieces, she was sure she should be able to remember more of her childhood than she actually did. Most of the people she knew had anecdotes of their young lives, funny moments that happened, but her memory was a blank, pure and simple, and it scared her. All she could remember were the moments most similar to the situation she was in now, where she would end up a bloody and battered mess.
She remembered the relief she had felt when she received her Hogwarts letter. It was not only her saviour from such a life; it was an explanation, an excuse for the strange occurrences throughout her life. Most importantly, she thought as she was older, it explained her father….and at that thought, blackness hit her once again.
Only a few hours before, she had been sitting in her room re-reading 'Hogwarts a History; an updated Version', thinking how the next year at her beloved Hogwarts would be her last. For the past hour she had blocked out her parents yells, but they had now escalated to such a pitch that such skills were impossible to keep up.
Now however, she was worried. Now there was silence.
She went out of her room, waiting by the doorway as she had done when she was five. When the silence continued, she made her way down the stairs as quietly as she could but with the dreaded feeling that he knew she was coming anyway.
Silently, she opened the door to the front room ever so slightly and unfortunately recognised the sound she was hearing as it is one that one never forgets. When you have heard your fathers' fist pummelling relentlessly into your mothers defenceless flesh, you will never forget it. It was a sound that would reside in Hermione's soul forever. She whimpered slightly.
Managing to look beyond her parents, she saw that the curtains were drawn but that the lights were on. Briefly aware that their neighbours in their small cul-de-sac could most probably see and hear what was happening thanks to the shadow-parents on the curtains and the window being open, Hermione decided to try to help.
Now she opened the door fully, prepared to fight once and for all with her father, damning the consequences. However, as she looked into the darkened room, the scene was more horrific than the shouting had implied.
Now, her mother was half-lying on the sofa in a precarious position, half kneeling on the floor, with her back twisted at a strange angle in order to lean on the sofa for some kind of support. She was attempting to grab the lamp from the side table, keeping one eye on her assaulter, whilst he, her husband, was repeatedly punching, slapping, scratching her face and any other crevice of flesh he could get his hands on.
The look of pure and utter hatred on her father's face disturbed Hermione, even though she had seen it many times before aimed in her direction. This time it seemed different. Looking back, there had always been a sense of regret in her father's eyes. Now they were devoid of all life.
Suddenly and without thinking, Hermione crept behind her parents, neither one seeing her, and picked up the deep blue vase from the sideboard and slammed it down onto her fathers head, hoping in a fleeting moment to draw blood, until she realised that she was thinking like her father.
She felt sick. She had wanted to kill her father.
She dropped the vase in disgust and shrank by a few inches in horror of herself. She wanted to cry, she wanted to scream.
Suddenly she was aware that the vase had not had the desired affect and whilst her father had indeed been stopped, he was now getting back up and this time he was aiming for her. She vaguely heard words coming from his mouth, about her magic, her disgusting and unnatural talents, how she should have been kicked out all those years ago.
She could hear her mother crying, begging him to stop.
As though to spite his wife, he grabbed her by the t-shirt and hurled her against the wall. Hermione had no idea why he was doing this, why he was being so violent. What had happened tonight? What had been said? Why was he this angry?
She thought she heard the faint sound of a rib breaking, but it didn't hurt. Not that much. She was numb. She was on the floor.
Sobbing uncontrollably, Anne Granger begged her husband to leave their daughter alone, to come after her. Anne looked at Hermione, pleading, disturbed at the blank and expressionless face that stared into nothingness, as if Hermione's spirit had left her body, somehow trying to distance herself from the pain her body was enduring.
This look of nothingness concerned Anne more than anything else. She realised that her husband had finally broken their daughter's spirit and Anne realised that she wanted to die, she could not live with the guilt of that knowledge, that because of her cowardice, her daughter would suffer more than broken bones.
In the last moments, she saw her daughter being beaten by her own flesh and blood and she was helpless to stop it. Hermione didn't plead, she didn't beg, she didn't even look him in the eye and Anne was crying now, more than she had ever done before. Not because she was in pain – part of her knew that this was it for her – but because she had done this to Hermione.
The repetitious nature of his punches eventually numbed to a dull pain surrounding Hermione's entire body. As she slumped down the wall half conscious, she saw through bleary eyes her father turn to her sobbing mother. With an innate response, she attempted a last-ditch rescue mission. Wandless magic.
It was every Witch and Wizard's natural gift to be able to do some sort of weak wandless magic. After all, wands hadn't been around forever – despite what Olivander may claim. In their primitive existence with muggle, it was what had separated them.
And this was why Hermione's father hated her. He hated all magic-folk. They were abnormal, a minority, something that should be stopped.
Her right arm seemed to lift itself up and without thinking, she somehow knew what to do, as though her body was taking over. A faint green light emanated from her hand, and hit her father on the back. He collapsed onto her mother, who screamed and pushed him onto the floor.
Staring in shock at her father's body, she realised that she had just tried to kill him. Years of torment, anguish and pain were not an excuse to try and kill someone.
Struggling with the pain and the sound of her mother's hysteria, she made her way slowly to her father. He was not dead. He had a pulse, weak though it was. Relief and frustration entered her mind in an abrupt haze. Why wasn't he dead? No one could survive it. The spell must have worked as a comatose, instead of a killer. Her relief was short-lived as she heard an ambulance winding its way to somewhere. Her curiosity drew her towards the window. Half way there, she passed out.
Severus Snape was awoken at some un-godly hour in the morning by an irate Minerva McGonagall.
At another time of the day, the sight of the normally 'prim and proper' Minerva McGonagall with every single hair out of place, with a haggard expression about her features would have been extremely amusing.
There was only one problem; it was two in the morning.
"Severus. There's a problem - "
"I surmised that much Minerva. It's hardly likely you'd be in my chambers in your nightwear otherwise..."
"Shut up Severus!"
He raised an eyebrow but kept otherwise silent.
"The Ministry of Magic has detected under age magic. There have been signs of dark magic at the Granger household. Apparently, someone attempted to perform the 'Kedevra Curse'. We need you to go and see if there are any Death Eaters present. Now, I realise that you haven't been called for a long time, since Voldemort's death, but some of the renegade Death Eaters are attempting to reform. We thought we had all of them, but obviously not..."
It was obvious to Severus that Minerva was strained. Speaking so fast that it was a miracle Severus caught any of what she said was a hint of that. Not only was Miss Granger her prized pupil, but he had a feeling that she had placed some, if not all, of her maternal instincts into helping the shy muggle-born girl flourish in a world that wasn't her own.
"Give me 5 minutes."
He walked quickly towards the gates of Hogwarts, so that he could apparate to the Granger residence. As he walked, he hoped that Miss Granger was all right. She may be an insufferable little know-it-all, but even she doesn't deserve this. He quickened his pace slightly as the gates became larger, and apparated.
He appeared just down the road from her address, in case any unsuspecting muggles were around - despite the early hour of the morning. As he walked towards her house, he saw that the door was slightly ajar. He sped up, went through the small squeaky gate and hesitantly opened the door.
There was no reply.
He went down the small hallway and to the left. The kitchen. He noted that it was quite neat, not including the piled up dishes set up to dry.
He moved slowly along the hallway, wand out, occasionally asking if anyone was there.
Then he smelt it.
Blood. In the air.
He opened another door, and surveyed his new dismal surroundings. The sofa was at a peculiar angle, the curtains were dishevelled...
And there was a dead woman lying on the floor.
As he walked towards the corpse, he heard a slight whimpering sound. He turned, and saw Hermione curled up, hands wrapped around her knees, head buried on them, and she was crying slightly.
"Miss Granger? What happened here?"
She moved her head, and slowly looked up and him, eyes glazed slightly. It took her a few moments to focus in on who he was and what he was doing here.
"P-professor? Why are you here?"
Relief flooded through her, and she experienced a feeling close to euphoria. Then she panicked. He has his wand out. Why does he have his wand out! It's pointing at mum - mum...she, she's dead! He killed her! And now, oh my god, he's going to kill me!"
Severus watched the miniscule flicks of emotion suddenly cross her face - confusion, joy, confusion, and fear. She backed away from him, eyes lit up like a small deer, about to run into headlights. Then he heard her speak:
"Please, don't kill me, don't hurt my like you did my..." It was merely a whisper, but he heard every word.
"Miss Granger - Hermione - I assure you, I'm not going to hurt you. I did not hurt your-" He hazarded a guess " mother. She was like this when I arrived." He didn't want to say that the woman was dead - and by the looks of it, had been for at least an hour.
He walked slowly towards her, and she screamed hoarsely. Obviously, she had already done enough of that to last her a lifetime. He looked down to where her eyes were now fixated, and saw that she was staring intently at his wand. He knelt down, and placed it on the ground. "See? I'm not going to hurt you."
She looked at him warily and nodded slowly. "Okay."
He walked carefully towards her, as if on eggshells, and knelt down beside her. "Are you hurt?"
She burst out crying, and leaped on him, practically strangling him with the force of her hug. He was somewhat surprised that she would want to hug him, but nevertheless, rocked her slowly back and forth - not really knowing what else to do. In between her bouts of hysterical crying, and gentle sobs, he managed to comprehend the gist of what had occurred that night.
He then heard a sound behind them. Someone was getting up. But her mother is dead. Who else is in the room? I've seen no one...her father...
"Aww, now isn't this sweet. My darling little daughter with her wizard boyfriend. I always knew that you were a little slag. 'Going to the library' my arse." The contemptuous sound that passed for a voice was coming from Peter Granger. Severus felt Hermione freeze at the sound of his voice, and then start to shake slightly. Severus got up quickly and turned around, to see Mr Granger with Severus' wand in his hand. He relaxed somewhat. He was a muggle with a wand, it was like giving a child a piece of string and telling them to poke someone with it.
"Well well, let's see what the muggle can do, now shall we? The tables have turned haven't they? Snape." Severus briefly wondered how the man knew his name, but then quickly dogged a pathetic attempt at a ricktasempra spell, surprised that he could even do magic. Apparently, Hermione had stopped telling her parents what spells she had learnt after her fourth year.
It was a fairly weak spell, with poor aim, so Severus managed to dodge it with no real effort. As the other man racked his brains for another spell to use, Severus did something that he hadn't done in a long time.
He punched him.
He kept punching until the man was on the floor, with a bloody nose. Peter got up, and yelled something, and punched him back. They fought for a few more minutes, until a flash of pale blue light emanated from the other side of the room. Both men stopped, and looked around. Hermione was standing, holding Snape's wand in the air. She then altered the trajectory of the wand, and aimed it squarely at her father.
"This spell may not have worked last time, but I promise you, it'll work now. You killed my mother. I feel as though I should repay the favour." Although her voice was laced with sarcasm, it was disturbingly calm.
"No Miss Granger, don't!"
Hermione blinked, and looked at Severus, who quickly turned and punched the other man one last time, as her father again fell, and lay there sprawled unceremoniously on the floor.
As Severus massaged his bruised knuckles, Hermione walked over to the body of her dead mother, and checked for a pulse in vain. She already knew that she was dead, but there was still a small glimmer of hope within Hermione that at least part of her world would still be in tact.
She felt Severus' hand upon her shoulder, as he delicately took back his now frazzled wand - it had been affected by other people using it - and whispered something incomprehensible in Latin towards her mother. Her mothers head began to glow a pale green, and the light transcended downwards, covering the other parts of her body systematically. Occasionally, another part of her body would glow an ominous colour, and Severus involuntarily took in a sharp breath.
"Your mother died of internal bleeding. I guess that she'd have been in no real pain as she would have been unconscious at the time of her death." This was a slight lie, as he surmised that she would've been in agony until the pain caused her to pass out. But Hermione didn't need to know that right now.
It'll be a miracle if she's sane after all this. It's too much. The children were all supposed to be safe after Voldemort's demise...but her father, he used magic...