Author's Note: The idea for this fic came from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte; however that's the only thing that comes from that book-you don't need to have read Jane Eyre to read this story, and there are no spoilers for that book. But, there may be minor Order of the Phoenix spoilers in this story.
Also, please let me know what you think. Both positive and negative reviews are welcome!
Disclaimer: I am not J.K. Rowling and I do not own the Harry Potter series. I wish I did, though. ^_^
Escape from the Darkness: Chapter 1
Severus strode down the corridor, his black robes swishing around him. Several students shrank back against the walls in fear of getting into his way. He had dismissed his class, the third year Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs, immediately upon receiving the headmaster's note. He gave the password, then waited impatiently for the gargoyle to move so that he could ascend the stairs.
"Albus, what have you heard?" he asked frantically. His worries diminished when he saw a smile form on the headmaster's face.
"She has woken up," Albus Dumbledore said happily. "The doctor who owled me said that there would be no permanent damage."
Sighing with relief, Severus sank down into an armchair. The past few months for him had consisted of nothing but waiting. However, all of that ended today. She was awake…and she would live.
Selene Snape was now his only living relative. True, he hadn't exactly been close to her father, his older brother, but the attack on their family that had taken place four months earlier had still been shocking to him. She and her parents had been subjected to the Cruciatus curse. Severus wasn't sure why they had been singled out, but he knew that his brother had been a long time supporter of the Dark Lord. Recently, Voldemort had ordered the Death Eaters to torture those who had betrayed him.
Severus knew that his own loyalty might be questioned at any time. He could be dead tomorrow for all he knew. However, he had been excellent at concealing the truth from the Dark Lord for years. He only hoped that his identity as a spy for the Order of the Phoenix would remain hidden.
Focusing his eyes on the headmaster, he asked the question that he had been dreading, one that he in fact already knew the answer to. "Albus, what will happen to her now?"
"Well, Severus, as the girl's only living relative, you are now in charge of her upbringing until she becomes an adult." Albus paused briefly. "I'm assuming you plan to continue her education here at Hogwarts, since she was only at Beauxbatons for three months before she was attacked." Severus nodded.
"However, there is one matter that we must attend to," the headmaster continued. "She has missed the last few months of her first year and therefore needs somebody to help her catch up so that she may begin her second year with the same skills as the rest of her class."
"Albus, you know I have no time for that. The summer is the only part of the year I have off, and I have several vital potions that I must work on," Severus said with irritation dripping from his voice. "Let the little girl start as a first year."
"No, Severus, you misunderstand me." A twinkle formed in his eye. "I was planning on having one of the older students tutor her, perhaps Miss Hermione Granger?"
"Granger?" Severus scowled. "She's bossy and she thinks she knows everything. I hardly think that she would have the patience for this. Aren't there any others, maybe one of the Slytherins? Or at least a Ravenclaw?"
"No, Severus. Miss Granger is our new Head Girl, and is one of the brightest witches to grace Hogwarts in years. She would be perfect."
Severus made a noise between a snort and a growl. Did Albus actually think Selene, a Snape, would get along with a Gryffindor? Especially her? The girl was absolutely exasperating. Not only was she a know-it-all, but she was also best friends with Potter and Weasley, two of the biggest troublemakers in their year.
Oh well, she probably won't even last a week. Then Albus will be forced to admit that he was wrong. Severus cared for Albus like a father, but he hated it when the old man was right about something he disagreed with.
"Very well, Albus."
"Excellent, Severus. I'll start making arrangements immediately." The headmaster seemed cheerful that Severus had accepted his idea, although halfheartedly. Severus left the office with a sneer on his face.
Hermione Granger stared at the lake, watching it glisten in the sun. The day before, it had been filled with students swimming, all of whom had left on Hogwarts Express this morning. Hermione had hugged Ron, Harry, and Ginny, promising to owl them often over the summer. None of them could believe she was actually going to be tutoring Snape's niece. She could barely believe it herself. But Headmaster Dumbledore had been quite persistent. And it's not like I have anywhere else to go.
The attacks by Voldemort's followers had increased greatly over the past year, especially on Muggleborn witches and wizards, and their families. Also, many Death Eaters had escaped from Azkaban. As a result, Dumbledore had recommended that all Muggleborns stay with other wizarding families or at Hogwarts for their own safety, and that of their families. Many of the staff members were also staying for the summer.
Hermione had originally been planning to spend the summer with the Weasleys, but wasn't looking forward to it. She missed her parents desperately and thought that being with Ron and his parents the whole summer would only cause her to become more depressed. And she loved Hogwarts; it was practically her home. Because of all this, she had accepted the offer that Dumbledore had given her two months earlier.
If only she didn't have to see Snape! Not that she hated the man, or even disliked him. Ever since she found out about his work with the Order, she had respected him greatly. Many lives had been saved because of him, and acting as a spy against Voldemort was an enormous sacrifice on his part. But despite all that, he was still the greasy Potions Master who had done everything in his power to make the last six years difficult for Hermione and her friends.
Hermione looked at her watch realizing that Selene Snape would be arriving any minute. More than anything, she hoped the girl wasn't like her uncle. I suppose I'll soon find out, Hermione thought, as she began walking in the direction of the castle.
Selene Snape had a sullen expression on her face as she stepped out of the carriage. She had stringy black hair, dark eyes, and dull pale skin. She looked sickly, which Hermione reasoned was probably from being in St. Mungo's since January. Hermione stood back as Professors Snape, Dumbledore, and McGonagall greeted Selene.
"Miss Snape, I'd like to introduce you to Miss Granger," Dumbledore said.
"Please, call me Hermione," she said with a smile, hoping the dour expression would disappear. She was not disappointed.
"It's nice to meet you," Selene said quietly. Hermione was relieved to see a sincere smile, rather than the smirks she always saw on Snape's face. Hermione chatted with her as they followed the three professors to the Great Hall. She found out that Selene was eleven, but would be twelve in two weeks, had grown up in Normandy, and had been sent to Beauxbatons for schooling. The girl seemed exceedingly shy, only speaking when spoken to.
Hermione could only hope that she was a good student, who would be willing to learn. For several years, Hermione had been interested in becoming a teacher, and she had hoped that this experience would help her figure out if she would be able to do it. She had been tutoring Gryffindors during her entire time at Hogwarts, but had no experience with students from Slytherin. And there was no doubt in her mind that Selene would be sorted into Slytherin. She fit the profile perfectly—a pureblood witch from a family with a history of service to Voldemort. However, at the moment she certainly didn't seem like a Slytherin, but who knew what would happen when the school term began and she was surrounded by others in her house?
Don't be stupid, Hermione thought to herself. I should know better than anyone not to judge somebody by their background. She was constantly belittled by Draco Malfoy and his cronies for being Muggleborn. However, her test scores were much better than any of theirs, and she had received the highest number of O.W.L.s in their year.
They reached the Great Hall, which had been completely cleared out except for one table in the center of the room. The tapestries from all four houses still hung from the ceiling, and there were pictures on the walls, but Hermione was surprised by how empty it seemed. Probably because I know that there are very few other students here. A small lump formed in her throat as she realized that this would be the first time she was at Hogwarts without Harry and Ron. She hoped that teaching Selene Snape, in addition to having access to all of the books in the library, would keep her from feeling too lonely and depressed.
They sat at the table and were soon joined by several other professors and students that were staying at Hogwarts over the summer. To Hermione's relief, Professor Trelawney was not there. Out of all the teachers at Hogwarts, Sibyll Trelawney was the only one (aside from a few of the Defense Against the Dark Arts professors she'd had) that she truly had no respect for. She looked at the professors surrounding her, all of them talking happily about their lives.
Well, almost all of them. Professor Snape was eating quietly, ignoring all attempts at conversation by the other staff members. Only when his eyes met hers did Hermione realize she had been staring at him. She looked down at her plate, feeling her cheeks grow slightly pink.
Ignoring her reaction to Snape, Hermione turned to Selene and began asking her about her favorite subjects, and her study habits. Hermione knew that it was probably boring for the other girl to talk about, but she wanted to know anything that could possibly help her to teach her pupil.
She did not notice that Severus Snape's eyes were on her the entire time.