Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Crystal Angel I made up, it seems like a good name for a drug the forlorn would take. ::shrugs::. Inspiration came from two movies (both excellent, go watch them). Requiem for a Dream and White Oleander. I don't know if I'm going to write a second chapter. All depends.
She had changed in her fifth year. Not truly physically, she matured in that aspect the minimum any girl would. But emotionally - she was not the girl he had seen nearly everyday.
Hardships, emotional hardships. They did not mount to the ones running in is head, but to her they were demons, carrying with them their own sins, sucking burdens so big, no book could hold their weight in volume, no chapter covered her, calmed her.
She sat in his office now, sitting in front of the fire. Orange flames sent colors of a sunset across pale skin, lips that were the carriers of deep blood red Muggle goo; they illuminated chocolate eyes, hidden behind layers of black eye color, lined in black. He guessed that she wore it because some immature dick said something about her appearance to her face, or worse, she had overheard.
He stood in the doorframe away from her, watching her profile lighten up in flames from the fireplace. It was the beginning of her sixth year, and he remembered the transition he had seen towards the end of her fifth year was only the beginning. He found her in the library so late at night, she was bound to be there, but not so late into the night, when the doors were locked up, and the over lookers sleeping. He came to her slowly, ready to frighten in his normal, evil way. Throw a smart remark; give a terrible detention (which even then, she'd be taking notes, not wanting to miss a lesson she would never be taught in class). But as he closed the distance between himself and the book that her painted face was buried into, his anger lessened, and a pity took over. In small amounts, but it quickly gained the fore burner, and he stood there for a moment, just watching.
He had noticed this transition along with the rest of the school, not as openly concerned, but with an air of wonder. He doubted she turned "gothic", but - saw the dark as a cover, as did he, a shield from the terrible remarks thrown at her, the people who left her, and the people who never gave her a chance now.
"What are you doing here, Ms. Granger?" his voice barked into the library, burning out in the flames of the fireplace roaring behind her.
Without looking up from her book, she answered in a tone that came with the transition: "Couldn't sleep." came a flat, to the point tone.
He stiffened up and came closer to her. "It is hours after curfew." he said in his icy whisper, walking slowly to her table.
"So?" she questioned, turning a page in the book.
Outraged, he lifted a hand to the spine of the book, and yanked it down, leaning in closely, he fiercely scolded, "I am your Professor, Ms. Granger. I will not tolerate being spoken to like that." her dark eyes flickered up to his face, and he saw a mist in them behind the curtain of frizzy brown hair that swept her face.
"Professor." she said in an ordered, blunt tone. "I prefer being here, then in that Common Room, being ignored - and then if someone must say something to me, it's to make some incredibly rude or false accusation on my being!" her voice rose in intensity as she spoke, her eyes flaring in rage, she ran a hand through her hair, and continued looking him in the eyes. "I'm not going back."
The two friends she had had, Potter and Weasley, started this whole mess. Towards the end of their fifth year, they ran off with different girls, shoving her to the backburner, letting her burn. Then the taunts continued - no doubt from his own house- but became more Inter-House related. People seemed sick of her bossy nature, her depth of knowledge, but never wanting to make their beliefs public - for she was the girl "Harry Potter" befriended - until she had no one to back her up, and it came down like brimstone.
Pity again took the fore burner, as well as a terrible dread in his stomach, reaching to his heart of this girl's future. "You remind me of myself when I was your age." he said without thinking, sliding himself into a chair across from her. Taking in her shocked eyes, he continued. "Always the keeper of knowledge, always the know-it-all. Books are friends, people…too ignorant and stupid to speak of or to. People, always looking on the outside, and never realizing what they could gain by just knowing you - but not that you would let them, of course." his eyes were focused to her side, staring into the cold stone of the mantel.
She moved, and he heard her voice. "Professor Snape," she started, "why aren't you just going to deduct points from the house, and give me a detention?" she questioned. Almost as if she were afraid to hear anything but from him.
His eyes darted back to her. "Because I can't." he answered, she leaned forward, mimicking his position, arms on the tables, hands intertwined.
"And why not?" she asked. 'This girl…only questions and answers come from her…can't anyone notice how she is willing to take whatever you give her?' he thought as he looked for a way to answer her question.
How crazy this was going to sound! "Because I am worried about you." he saw a flash of shock go through her eyes.
"I can take care of myself." she said, leaning back in her chair. He noticed her reaching for the book, but he got it faster and kept it by him, she crossed her arms with exhaustion of this conversation.
"I realize that." he said, flipping through the book. "You know…I must have read every book in here at least twice." he said in a memorable tone and her eyebrows shot up in a look of quiet admiration.
"And this one," he fingered the copy he held in his hands, "is an excellent book." He handed it back to her, and she held it in her arms as if it were her life - which - he thought - it probably was.
A weird silence settled, and they sat there, unbelieving of how they were acting. The fire crackled, in the distance an animal sounded.
Then Hermione's voice came out, and it cracked a bit as she questioned. "You…you are worried about me?" Her eyes misting more, as if this touched her deep down in her heart.
"Let's go to my office." he suggested after a nod. "I would hate for someone to see us…" and he was shocked at her grin to this statement.
"That sounds good." she said, gathering her belongings and making way to the door leading to the hallway.
And so here they were, when they arrived, he told her to sit, he preferred to stand, and there was silence, while the girl was making herself get used to this awkward situation.
"Would you care for anything to drink?" he asked, getting himself a glass of whiskey.
"No, no thank you." she quietly said. Silence again. And then she spoke again. "Why do you worry about me?" she asked, still staring into the flames, and he wondered if she had a secret desire to be engulfed in them.
He sighed and took a sip from the glass, letting the alcohol burn him before he answered: "Because you remind me of myself at your age." The answer was repeated for a reason, but her response was a mild shock to him.
"I won't join Voldemort." she said thickly, looking to him. Her answer made him stop for a moment, and it took him a minute to recover.
"That's what I said, until given the chance." he stated, eyes staring into the distance, glass rolling in his hands.
"Why did you join him?" she asked. And he bit his lip. He was ashamed at what he had done, feared his life over it. But all in all - he figured he deserved to die for what he did.
"Because he promised me a life of importance." he said sadly as he sat down in an armchair adjacent to the couch in which she sat. Staring into the fire, he continued, "He admired my intelligence, he called on me personally. He relished in my talents." he dared to sound proud. "But all he gave me was a life filled with pain, and horror, grief. I was his slave. I bowed and sunk like the rest. And there came a point where a curtain was almost lifted from my eyes - and I saw the dead before me. And I saw the absurdity of it all." he took another drink from the glass, and closed his eyes as it burned. "I do not think," he said, with his eyes still closed, "that you will go to Him for your status of importance. I just worry you'll do something that later in life you will regret. Ms. Granger, I've lived where you are. The world hates you - and they don't bother to hide it. I've seen you change from a nice, curious, open in her talents schoolgirl, into a dark, introverted, hidden schoolgirl. You are still curious, and willing to learn, but you don't show your talents. And God help me, but I miss that eager girl, and so does every other Professor here." he confessed to her. He liked to see her hand in the air, and wished he could help her along, but roles had to be played. If she were in Slytherin, no doubt in his mind that the couch she was sitting on now would be a second bed, after long nights of debate and study.
"But I do care, just nobody else does!" he heard her say. He looked up and saw her looking towards him. Black tears fell down her face, smearing what must have taken detail and time to apply. Black tears gathered on her chin, and fell in between her breasts that were gathered up in a low cut sweater she had squeezed herself into. She wasn't in school robes, but instead Muggle clothing, which was a black low cut V-neck sweater, and black pants.
A feeling rose into Snape's mind, a feeling he tried to push from his mind and his heart ever since the day in her fifth year, when she walked in one-week introvert, and the makeup. First it started small, a bit of black eyeliner, maybe some red gloss - nothing like the blood red lips, black-eyed girl sitting next to him. The feeling of want grew within him as she grew into her role. This was beauty to him, along with her knowledge, and he couldn't stand the thought of thinking of his student like this. He pushed the feelings deeper down, but now - with her so close, and so vulnerable to him, they came back, and at full speed. It was a selfish desire, because she was so miserable in her role, and he gained absolute wonder from it. She hid behind the curtain of hair, and layers of makeup, and he loved it.
But as she sat there, and he watched her cry, watching as black lines crept down her face, the feeling of just wanting to hold her, make everything alright came into his soul. He hoped if he could show her a light, she would stay as she was, with him.
He got up and sat next to her on the couch, and he felt her shudder. "What did they do to you?" he asked in a way that voiced his disgust and hatred for the ones he called "they", as he lifted fingers to stroke back her hair to behind her ear, and then stroking her face with his thumb. She looked at him without moving her head, and he continued, "What did the world do to you?"
"It's stupid…" she said, flicking her eyes to the ground. "Stupid teenage mess." she cried.
"No - you're stronger than that…stronger than the ones who cannot see you for who you are." Snape said, and her eyes shut at this comment. "It's deeper than that…isn't it?" She let out a quiet wail and leaned into him, and he put his arms around her small frame, felt her cry into his body. "Tell me…please…" he said. He was beside himself at this point; a moment he had wanted for so long was coming true. He knew she never told anyone her sorrows, and even he was the last person she would run to.
"The world…I hate the world." she cried. "Harry and Ron, leaving me alone. I was already starting to go down, and then they just left me, left me. Didn't even say goodbye to me, either. And I hear people talking about how terrible I am, or how ugly I am, how bitchy I am. Oh…God. It's miserable." She rested her color-streaked head on his chest. And he lifted a hand to run through her hair.
"Yes…the world is a miserable place, a terrible place. They don't deserve you, Hermione…nobody at Hogwarts has the privilege of deserving you." he said, knowing that this was all in vain, starting Monday everything would be the same.
"Even you?" she asked, not looking at him. Again, her response shocked him, and his body jumped when she spoke the words. His hand stopped in her hair, and he looked down at her.
"Even me." he sadly admitted. "But do tell me…Hogwarts surely cannot be your world. Something else would have to change you…" he probed.
Hermione let out a shudder of breath. "My life at school is bad, and at home it is worse. My parents do not accept me for who I am. They consider me a freak, luckily they put enough money in my wizard account, and I had a Muggle job, because towards the middle of the summer, they had enough of me…and threw me out. Claiming I was a abnormality, Satan re-incarnated." he shut his eyes and held her closer, and felt her arms going around his waist. She cried the next bit, "Professor…I found a group of kids who were also kicked out of their homes, not for being a witch, but for drugs, and pregnancies, and homosexuality, you know - all the things Muggle parents kick their kids out for. They changed me…" she shuddered, and he had terrible visions of what she had to do with these kids.
"You weren't out selling yourself…where you?" he asked worriedly. She was quiet for a long while. "Hermione, answer me." he said. And just got sobs in return. "Oh God…no…Hermione…" he groaned in an inward pain.
"Sometimes…when I knew I wouldn't have enough to get me here. Professor - do you realize how much it costs to come here? My job at the local super-market wouldn't have cut it…even with my parent's money. They refused to spend anymore." she cried and then pulled away from him, balling up on the other side of the couch.
He should have known…why did he stop himself from coming to her earlier when the transition started? He should have known.
"Professor…I'm so alone…all the time. Nobody cares anymore. I don't care anymore. I see Ron, and I just want to die. I see them both, and they're so happy without me, and I wonder what I did wrong…" she cried.
"You did nothing wrong…" he said from the other side of the couch. "It's their own stupidity that won't allow them to see past their bimbos for girlfriends and see the real beauty in front of their own eyes." They caught each other's eyes for a moment. "Hermione…" he said, coming near to her again. "People like us…the intellectuals, the odd ones, the ones that have half a brain more than the others and actually use it. The ones who care about the details, and care about the results. People like us - we're meant to be alone. We are meant to be lonely. We are meant to be in these ruts. Because the world doesn't deserve people like us, Hermione. They don't deserve to know us, to converse with us. They're too stupid for their own good, and it only leads to trouble on our part." his eyes burned into her soul.
"I don't want to be alone. I want to be a part of something. I want to be loved again." she said as he brought his hand to her face, wiping away the wet black streaks running down, but couldn't get the dried up tears that had settled in their places.
He sat there for a moment, pondering. Finally, he said, "Hermione, if I give you something…will you swear you won't release it out into the open?" he asked, hoping with a wish and a prayer he was trusting the right girl. Her eyes got wide at the endless possibilities of what he could give her. Slowly she shook her head 'yes', and verbally answered.
He got up from the couch, and over to his desk, and dug around in a drawer, until he came back with a phial of crystal clear liquid, it looked like baby oil, swirling around in the phial. He got to his knees in front of her tucked frame, and held it in his forefinger and his thumb. Looking through it, and seeing her eye magnified hundreds of times in the liquid, and she looked into it - and saw the same.
"Crystal Angel…" he breathed. He heard her breath shudder from the other side of the phial. "That's the street name for it, anyways. It's a hundred times more powerful than any Muggle drug you'll ever try. It's happiness in a bottle…it's rapture for your worries and your regrets. The sky opens and all you see is the blinding sun pouring into your pupils, burning them to a point beyond pain, and you fall…fall into the colors of a sunset, flying past you at speeds unimaginable." he said with a dreamy look in his eyes. Her hand rose to the phial, and grasped it with her grasp, holding it close.
"How much?" she asked, the same dreamy look in her eyes at the advantage of being happy and fuzzy warm again. Falling into the sun, she looked at the phial as if this were her savior in a bottle, her fix to all problems. She took her eyes off the phial for a second to look at Snape. "How much?" she asked again.
His hands on her knees, he followed the phial up into the air with his eyes as her hands guided it there. "It's on the house, but only drink half…I want to fly and fall with you…" he breathed, his hand reaching up for the phial, and bringing it to their level again, his nail broke the seal over it, and he guided her hand to her lips, and watched in a lustful, dreamy way as she tilted back the substance into her mouth.
She felt the oily substance enter her mouth, and felt it's warmth and saltiness that was like a lover coming into her mouth, pushing it down, she felt warm fingers trickle around her body, and if she pictured hard enough, she could feel loving arms wrap around her body, holding her, warming her, loving her, protecting her. She opened her eyes when she felt Snape's hand pull away from her mouth, she watched him drink quickly the remanding liquid, and watched as his face melted into a forgive-able bliss, eyes higher and darker than she had ever seen him. Boring her eyes into his, she watched as the long black tunnels got longer and longer, and a light in the end shone on, a tiny pinprick of light in the back of his tunneled eyes.
She felt herself go up into bliss just the same, and felt herself collapse under the colors of the sun into his arms, and it felt like home, the feeling of his warmth against her, his hands on her. They lay on the floor, flying in the passing colors, bodies sensitive more now than ever before, everything felt good, everything felt all right. They were higher than heaven, and no one was going to bring them down.
Running hands through her hair, which now felt like thin strands of electrified silk weaving in and out of his fingers, Snape never knew how much he had missed. He loved this liquid, and when by himself he could sit there - running for hours, chasing the Angel that haunted his chemically induced visions. But, never had he caught the Angel he chased. Only when Hermione fell into his arms did he know he had caught her.
They were on the verge of falling, the sunset's colors slowing down, and she shuttered for more on his body, and before he fell, he grasped her hair, and said, looking up - watching a spider on the dungeon ceiling crawling towards it's prey: "Stay with me…and you'll never be lonely again."
Her body shuttered, and crawled closer to him, as if trying to crawl into his body, her breathing became faster as he watched the spider wrap it's prey in fine thread, over and over again, watching the victim shake and jerk, trying to get free, until suddenly it stopped moving, and the prey was completely covered. Snape watched as the spider crawled on top of the newly wrapped meal, and he was certain it was sucking blood and soul out of the dead creature when Hermione moaned on top of him, both falling into darkness that was the aftermath, "Yes…yes…"