Title: Lucidi l'anima antiqua (Shine the ancient blood)

Rating: PG-13 for now

Summary: An ancient prophesy tells of a savior in whose blood flows the blood of the four Hogwarts founders. A savior from whose tainted soul will rise an unimaginable power, greater than the world has ever known. Hermione Granger finds that key to defeating Voldemort does not lie with the famous Harry Potter, but within Professor Severus Snape.

Author's Note: Here goes nothing!!! I have been a reader of Snape/Hermione fics for a long time, but I have never had the courage to write one before. However, this was one plot bunny that refused to hop away, and so I have succumbed to it. This is going to be a novel-length fic, even if not a single person reviews it. For my own sanity, I think I'll that I'll have to write all of it. But, I would dearly love it if anyone could find it in their hearts to review this for me!!!! Please, please, please, please, please review!! Oh, and I promise that things are going to get very interesting. I have read and been influenced by many fics, but the most noticeable ones are Pawn to Queen, Falling Further In, and Letter From Exile One Merciful Morning. So if there are any resemblance's, you know where they came from!!! Alright, now on with the show!!!

As Hermione Granger shuffled down the halls of Hogwarts, she wrapped herself tightly into her nightrobe. The corridors were distinctly chilly, despite the fact that it was barely into October, and for some reason the cold was seeping into her very bones. A simple warming charm would have fixed the problem, but snuggling deeper into her warm woolen robe was far pleasurable. It made her feel cozy and safe, and reminded her of nights spent in front of the fire, drinking hot chocolate with her grandmother and listening to lengthy stories about the family's ancient Greek ancestors. Not the most exciting of memories, to be sure, but it was comforting to remember the good, honest simplicity of the life she had once had. At times like these, a normal muggle existence seemed almost preferable. Almost, but not quite.

Despite all the recent havoc and tension in the magical world, Hermione could truly not imagine being anything other than a witch. It was her calling, and as much as she loved her muggle family, there was still nowhere else in the world that she would rather be. Where but Hogwarts could she learn the secrets of Arthimancy, the tricks to Charm-casting, the precise concentration required for Transfiguration? Where but Hogwarts could she be taught and nurtured by some of the best witches and wizards of the age? And most importantly, where but Hogwarts could she find such loyal, accepting friends as those she currently possessed? Hermione knew without a doubt that she was blessed with the two most extraordinary best friends a girl could ever dream of having. Ron, Harry, and herself balanced each other perfectly, each of them an equally important member of the Golden Trio. Ron was the humor, Harry was the valor, and Hermoine was the brains; and without fail, it always required the three of them to survive through whatever perilous situations they encountered

There was a time, especially during fourth year, that Hermoine feared the boys would forget how vital each of their abilities were, and would let jealousy and self-pity tear their friendship apart. Indeed, that whole business with the Triwizard Tournament had been torture. She had precariously balanced both boys friendship, and feverishly prayed that one of them would stop being a stubborn ass and just apologize. Hermione valued her friends above almost anything; they helped her to stay grounded and forced her to develop social skills, in which she had been sorely lacking as a first year. Harry and Ron might not enrich her mind, but they most certainly kept her head in the world "beyond the library". To have them fight like that, over such a stupid mix of jealousy and misunderstanding, viscously tore at her emotions, and when they finally made-up, Hermione cried enough to fill the bloody Pacific ocean.

That had not been the last time those two would clash, but nothing else ever again came close to severing their friendship. Harry and Ron had too much in common, from their love for all things quidditch to their vehement hatred of all things Slytherin, to ever really stop being friends. And as for Hermione, she was simply to stubborn to let any disagreement among them fester enough to become a problem. However, though she tried to remain in blissful ignorance, the fact that Ron obviously wanted more than her friendship was becoming more and more apparent.

The past year had been especially difficult, what with the Ministry of Magic's decree that all schools should be closed due a safety risk from "rising dark forces" (to this day, Fudge still refused to believe in Voldemort's return), and Hermione's consequent stay at the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. For their safety, her parents had been advised to take a long holiday and stay away for the length of school year, while Hermione would be kept close to Dumbledore and the other Phoenix's for protection. At first this arrangement was very agreeable, for she was able to stay close to her friends and up-to-date on the current situation. But quite soon, Hermione began to miss school dreadfully. That year was meant to be her seventh and final year at Hogwarts, and she was to have been Head Girl. To have to wait two whole years before taking the N.E.W.T.'s was also very upsetting, because all of her summer studying and preparation had gone to waste. She longed for something to study, for some way she could help the Order, but each time her assistance was denied. Thus, Hermione was forced into more and more contact with Ron and Harry, who were also staying at the headquarters and who for the most part couldn't be happier about the lack of school. Of course, they both loathed the loss of inter-house quidditch, but other than that the one-year hiatus from homework and detention seemed like a god-send, especially to Ron. Without separate classes and different dormitories as a barrier, he had taken every opportunity to spend time with Hermione, and to not-so-subtly hint at their chances for romance.

It was not as though Hermione didn't love Ron, or even that she didn't find him attractive. She did, and she knew that there were a lot of girls in their year who were dying to catch his interest. Ron had filled out in sixth year, and his boyish looks had made him one of Hogwarts main heartthrobs. But to Hermione, he was just Ron Weasley; one of her best friends and more like a brother than any of her real brothers ever had been. He was funny and goofy and made her laugh at herself, but he was never someone she would consider dating. Hermione wanted someone she could have an intellectual conversation with, someone who would see her love for learning as her best asset, not as a useful perk. She wanted someone with a sense of humor, but also someone rational, who knew when to take things seriously and when to joke. But what she truly wanted, more than anything else, was a strong, secure love, one that was realistic and steady and comforting. Hermione had enough danger in her life to know that any type of sensational, all-consuming love was neither sensible nor practical. She firmly believed love should be a help, not a hindrance. With such high expectations, it was no wonder that Hermione did not have a boyfriend.

And now here she was, back at Hogwarts to finish her seventh year. With absolutely no dark activity whatsoever from the previous year, the Ministry had decided to put school back in session. It was a decision based on very stupid reasoning, but then, Corneilus Fudge was the Minister of Magic. He was the one person you could count on to always make a wise decision at the completely wrong time. The apparent halt of dark happenings was reminiscent of Hitler's "Sitzkrieg", and anyone with half a brain could see that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was simply biding his time. The students at Hogwarts were in more danger than ever, but Hermione felt confident in Dumbledore's ability to keep them safe.

Hermione felt like she shared a bit of that responsibility, as well. She had be renamed Head Girl upon the students return to school, and she faithfully adhered to her subsequent duties. Her watchful eyes kept a look-out for trouble, and she had once again become a stickler for rules. One of her most important duties was an after-curfew sweep, in which she assisted the staff in their search for students out of bed. Hermione and Richard Sales, the Head Boy from Ravenclaw, were told to make a customary run of the school each night before turning in, and to report any misbehavior to whatever staff member was available.

Tonight was a night like any other, as Hermione continued on her way down the halls. She had only once stumbled upon a student out of bed, and that had been a vomiting third year on his way to the Infirmary. Her sweep of the halls was generally very late at night, because in true Hermione fashion she spent most of her evening studying. While rather uneventful, Hermione liked this solitary walk through the castle more than any other part of her day. Howarts was beautiful at night, with the paintings and armor sighing softly in their sleep and the torch-lit hallways bathed in a soft glow. The peacefulness allowed her thoughts to drift, and helped her over-active mind to slow down and prepare for sleep.

Just as she was about to call it a night and return to her warm quarters (Head Boy and Girl received private rooms), Hermione's ears caught a faint strain of music coming from a two or three hallways down. The melody was almost indistinguishable, and Hermione wondered how long it had been playing without her notice. Intrigued, she crept quietly towards the hallway, as the music became louder and more distinct. It was piano music, that became clear, and the song had a haunting tone. After a few minuets, Hermione recognized it as the Phantom of the Opera, although it sounded far more forlorn that she had ever heard it played.

Upon reaching the hallway, she peered around the corner, and glimpsed light shining through a crack in one of the doors. She stepped closer still, and gently pushed the door open enough for her to look inside. A man cloaked in black sat in front of a grand pianoforte, and his hands flew over the keys with unquestionable skill and grace. Dark black hair framed his face, and his posture spoke of both pride and sorrow. He was engrossed in his playing, seeming more like a part of the instrument instead of the one conducting it.

A wave of familiarity coursed through Hermione, but for the life of her she could not place the man. She seemed to know him, and yet his identity was lost to her at present. In fact, her entire ability to think at all was lost to her. For something queer had overtaken her, and she was unable to feel anything more than the music flowing through her ears, sweeping her away into an endless sea of feeling. She slumped against the wall, and watched for what felt like hours.

The music began to build, and the man's movements became more frantic. Loud bursts of deep tones rippled through the room, as Hermione's emotions escalated. Sorrow and joy, agony and ecstasy, power and loneliness, they coursed through her being, leaving her breathless and desperate for more. The music had enveloped her, had tangled her in a web of magic sensation, until nothing else existed but the feeling of it all. And oh the Power!!!

Her body was trembling now, and her hands shook violently. Hermione felt as though she would explode, that her body simply could not contain all the power that was budding inside her. Something in the back of her mind screamed for her to stop, to run away, to end to whirlwind and put her feet back on the ground. Yet still she reached out, still she grasped for more. If this was to be her end, then so be it, for what better way to die than in such glorious rapture?

As the music reached its climax, Hermione saw a brilliant light flash before her dazed eyes, and luminous stars filled her vision. For a moment, she was suspended, utterly ensconced in a world of astonishing brightness. Then, the image of the man at the piano invaded her mind, but she saw him no longer as a man. He had the shape of a human, but he was not one. He was divine, all powerful, crafted from golden lightningrods woven together, forming the source of the light and power which so dazzled her. And then the image was gone, and he was once again a man. Simply a man, dressed in plain black clothes and with plain features. His hands, long and strong and white, played the keys of the piano methodically. The harshness of reality hit hard, as Hermione finally recognized his face.

And then she was falling into a pit of darkness from which there was no escape.