AN:/ This SS/HG story is set after the End of OOTP and goes from there, see the summary for warnings

SPecific warnings will be Posted at the head of relevant chapters

there will be non/con in this but not SS/HG .

Disclaimer: I own nothing!

The silent girl that returned was not the same as the one who had left, any idiot could see that and Severus Snape was no idiot , the same could not be said however for another member of staff that clucked around her like a mother hen.

He regarded the girl quietly , as she recoiled from the touch of her head of house who had attempted to wrap her in a motherly embrace when she entered the main doors of the castle , despite being flanked by two aurors, one of whom Severus recognised as one of the dark lords newest recruits.

Keeping his silence he watched the aurors remove the magic suppression cuffs from her wrists and saw her flinch once again when said auror grabbed her arm to do so , her whole body trembling like a colt ready to bolt , though she didn't outwardly react as the cuffs were removed , didn't speak or move or even attempt to raise her gaze from the floor where it had been fixated since she arrived , though all he could see was her bushy mane, more of a rats nest than usual ,the master legillimens could feel the fear coming off her in waves, it was a palpable thing almost tangible in the air around him and it made his stomach roll for her .

Despite outward appearances he did not detest her, in fact he had admired her from afar for her intelligence and loyalty ,especially as she had matured into a poised young woman and grown out of the hand waving though he was not the type of man to sing the praises of any student , it had pained him to be unable to offer credit where it was due , in nearly two decades of teaching a castle full of dunderheads, her sharp intelligence was breath of fresh air in an otherwise stagnant dungeon, to have a student worth teaching was a welcome change for a man such as him that praised it above all else.

Another thing he had noted was she never followed with her peers in insulting him, she always seemed to hold him in the highest respect offered from one scholar to another, in fact he had noted with a small amount of pleasure her constant defence of him to the others and refusal to partake in the insults about his person that all her classmates banded about, even her wit was almost a match for his though with his precarious position , he was unable to be open about any of this.

The aurors left quickly , claiming paperwork that needed to be attended to , one could not meet Severus's eye as he turned tail and fled , no doubt ashamed at the state of the girl in his charge that he was returning , while the familiar man had the audacity to aim a smug wink at him as he left.

Her sneered in disdain at the man's back as he turned away , while his stomach rolled at the though of what was yet to come. It seems the dark lord already had more players in place within the ministry than he had originally anticipated, this unnerved him greatly as the dark lord was not someone that should be underestimated and did not bode well for the future.

There was a strange silence in the entry hall as the assembled staff waited for the girl to make a move , or acknowledge her head of house or the headmaster who stood solemnly beside her and had yet to speak.

A few more moments passed and it became clear to Severus that this girl was not going to react or make the first move, this shivering and broken thing wearing a torn overall covered in accumulated grime, and other things he did not want to think about (and was pretty sure other staff had not even considered) was not the same Hermione Granger that all the other staff expected her to be.

Finally her head of house pulled herself out of her stupor and attempted to embrace her again , and freed from the magical suppression cuffs and the meat headed auror bodyguard, she reacted... though not in the way the other staff had expected.

With a whimper she threw herself backwards as quick as she was able away from her head of house until her back hit the wall behind her still not raising her eyes from the floor, he noted her movements were not as fluid as they should be and didn't want to dwell on what was causing her broken movements.

"Hermione..." McGonnagall said forlornly as the girl seemed to be attempting to blend into the wall and get as far from the approaching woman as possible and the other members of staff began whispering sadly to each other.

Realising this was going to get nowhere good fast , he approached from the shadows.

"If the fact that girl is trembling like a leaf isn't clear enough for you, let me make it so...I don't think Miss Granger appreciates your attempts to Mollycoddle her Minerva , nor do I think a hug from her head of house is going to make the girl feel better in this circumstance and I believe you should desist before you frighten her any further"

The girl in question froze at his voice , though still did not look up .

"But Severus..." "No Minerva, you are ill equipped to deal with this , your typical gryffindor actions and attitude are going to end up making things worse than they already are... and as for the rest of you shows over, do you not have jobs to do ?"

The assembled staff looked as if they were about to argue , but a murderous glare from him had them all dissipating pretty quickly until only himself , Minerva and the headmaster remained.

He turned to the two senior members of staff who were still staring balefully at the girl who was still frozen in place , though no longer trembling , he wondered if they even realised she was listening to every word , though how much she was actually taking in he was unsure.

"What are you suggesting Severus ?" Albus asked him , and he noted the ever present twinkle was missing as the headmaster stared at him he looked every one of his hundred plus years.

Instead of answering the headmaster he took a step forward until he was in front of the girl , though a few steps away . Even closer up she looked worse than he thought and he had to use all of his self control not to crinkle his lip at the smell coming off her, but he had still yet to see her face.

"Miss Granger , Please look at me so I may I speak to you" He was clear and firm with his wording though not harsh, he made it a request and not an order and he did not shout or put any undue inflection into his words and he waited for her to respond.

She had tensed when he first spoke but otherwise not reacted, and as a few moments past she seemed to take a few deep breaths as if to steel her nerves , and then raised her head slowly to his face. Though he held back any other outward reaction , he couldn't help a sharp inhale as two blackened and bruised amber eyes met his black ones.

A loud gasp from behind him came from her head of house "Merciful Merlin" , and upon hearing the expletive the girl once again dropped her gaze and backed up shivering.

Trying not to swear at the idiocy of the woman behind him , seemingly intent on undoing any and all progress he made, he turned his imploring gaze on Dumbledore who took the hint and ushered the woman out of the room until he was finally alone with the girl once again.

He stood silently and made no move to approach her and slowly her gaze returned to his.

he sighed gently as he eyes once again met his... "What am I going to do with you Miss Granger" he said softly , and cursed the other inept members of staff for leaving him the only one capable of picking up the pieces of this broken girl.

Typical of the dunderheaded staff to think that one like her could walk out of over a month long stint in azkaban the same girl she walked in.

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