Disclaimer: I am J.K. Rowling and therefore I own everything! Severus, Hermione, Dumbledore, Hogwarts, everything! This is actually the end of the seventh book and the eight book which no one except I know is going to exist, so that means I deserve reviews, lots of reviews. 'Specially since all the lawyers are glaring at me now and a really mean and nasty police man is dragging me out the door to a courtroom where J.K. Rowling is going to sue me for saying this. *Sigh* I own nothing, yet, except for the plot. But mark my words, I will own something soon, if not sooner! *Evil Laughter*

PROLOGUE

It loomed over the house, as if daring everyone to challenge it's meaning. Perhaps it was best that they had lived in a remote place, there were no neighbors for over a mile so there had been no muggle minds to erase. But then again, if they had lived in a city they might have been spared. That, however was probably untrue.

The group entered the house, knowing full well what to expect. And true to the mark's meaning, they found what was almost a comforting familiarity, to find that the meaning had not changed to something worse. It was not a good thing to one girl who was away in her final year at school, though.

On the ground lay two, unmoving bodies. Their eyes were open, looking almost afraid and yet almost relieved as well. A note rested on top of the man's back.

What do you think, my daughter? Less foolish muggles in the world, and now I can take you back. I will not be stopped. It read.

"Poor Miss Granger," One man said gruffly, his magical eye not detecting any remaining death eaters.

"What are you going to do, Albus?" A long, thing woman asked, changing out of her cat form. The rest of the group, consisting of a ragged-looking man, a large dog, and a pink-haired woman, looked intently at the old wizard. He sighed.

"For now I think I shall have to assign Miss Granger a guardian," He said, running a hand through his silvery beard. "I will think of what to do next later."

"Who do you have in mind?" The ragged-looking man asked.

"Severus," The old man replied.

"What?" Every gasped, completely flabbergasted.

"Yes, Severus should be perfect," He said more to himself than anyone. He glanced at the two dead muggles. "I trust you can handle this, Moody." The old man said.

"Of course," Came the quick reply. "Especially with young Tonks, Lupin and Black (A/N: who is my favorite character, so he isn't dead anymore) to help."

"Very well," The old man said. "Minerva and I must get back to the school. Miss Granger and Severus should be notified immediately." With that they disappeared.

CHAPTER 1: A Startling Request

Hermione Granger walked hurriedly through the halls. She had received a summon to Professor Dumbledore's office, it had said to be there as soon as possible. So here she was, almost running through the halls, wondering what the headmaster could want with her, when she suddenly rammed into something.

"Ten points from Gryffindor," A smooth, low voice said crisply. "For running in the hallway and hitting a teacher in the middle of the night." Hermione looked up into the eyes of Professor Severus Snape.

"Sorry professor," She said, looking away. "I'm supposed to go to the headmaster's office immediately."

"In trouble again, Miss Granger?" Snape asked rhetorically. She ground her teeth together.

"Odd, though," He continued almost thoughtfully.

"What, may I ask, is so odd?" Hermione asked.

"You see I was also just summoned to Dumbledore's office," Snape explained. "Not that it's any of your business."

"Come along you two," Professor McGonagall said briskly as she walked up from behind them. "Albus is waiting." Without another word the three walked up to the statue that guarded Dumbledore's office.

"Fizzing Whizbees," McGonagall said. The gargoyle sprung away and stairs appeared. As they began their ascent the gargoyle closed behind them so curious students couldn't follow. Hermione noticed that the transfiguration teacher kept shooting looks of pity at her, but she was completely baffled as to why. Every so often the woman would look at Snape and shake her head sadly.

"I would appreciate it, Minerva," Snape finally snapped. "If you would either tell us what is wrong or keep your pitiful gestures to yourself." McGonagall scowled but stopped. The stairs ended and they stepped onto to a hard wooden floor. Pictures of previous headmasters smiled sadly or tisked in a comforting manor as Snape and Hermione passed them.

"Severus, Hermione," Dumbledore said warmly, rising from behind his desk. "I'm glad you could come. I've something of the utmost importance to discuss with you."

"What is it?" Snape asked impatiently. "I'm sure I have better things to do. So it would be appreciated if you would hurry." The headmaster sighed and sat back down.

"Have a seat," He said. "You may go now, Minerva." She nodded and left. Hermione hesitantly sat while Snape continued to stand, looking increasingly annoyed.

"Last night there was an attack on a muggle family," Dumbledore said heavily. "The man and woman were killed." Hermione gasped, why was the headmaster telling her this? Beside her, Severus raised an eyebrow as if to ask the same thing. Their reactions did not go unnoticed by the old man.

"The reason I'm telling you this, Hermione," Dumbledore said slowly. "It was your parents who were killed."

"Wha-what?" Hermione stammered, gripping the arms of the chairs. Tears came to her eyes. She forced them not to fall. She would not cry, especially not in front of Snape. "Are, are you sure?" Dumbledore nodded.

"As sorry as I'm sure everyone is for Miss Granger here," Snape said coldly. "I fail to see why you requested I be here when you told her." A faint twinkle came back into the headmaster's eyes.

"Hermione, as it is, will need a guardian," Dumbledore said calmly.

"But," She started to protest. Her parents might have been killed, but she was legally an adult and definitely did not need a guardian. The headmaster raised a hand to silence her.

"Here me out," He said. "Voldemort killed your parents, it is only logical that he will try and go after you. It is for your protection that you be placed in the care of a powerful wizard. This is where you come in, Severus."

"If your about to say what I think your about to say," The potion's master hissed. "Then the answer is no."

"Severus will be your guardian until I see fit that you have no more need of one," Dumbledore continued as if no one had spoken.

"S-sir," Hermione said timidly. "Do I really have to, does it have to be Professor Snape?"

"Do you have a problem with that?" Dumbledore asked good-natured tone.

"No," Hermione said quickly, not wanting to offend anyone. "But wouldn't he be, to, er, busy?" The headmaster chuckled.

"I'm sure Severus could find enough time to look after you," He assured the girl.

"I refuse to look after a child!" Snape growled. Hermione glared at him.

"I am not a child!" She retorted hotly.

"Really," Snape sneered.

"Really," She snapped.

"Excuse me," Dumbledore interrupted politely. "But perhaps you should do something a bit more constructive with your voices, like deciding when you want to bring Hermione's things down to your quarters, Severus." Snape was fuming.

"The girl is not going to stay with me!" He said fiercely.

"I don't want to stay with him!" She said loudly.

"This is not a choice on either of your parts," Dumbledore said severely. "When the school year ends in a week, Hermione will be staying in the castle with Severus. I suggest your work things out soon. You may leave now." They both gaped at Dumbledore for a few minutes. Then they both stormed out. The headmaster chuckled.

"They don't realize how similar they are," He said to himself. "Ah well, they'll find out sooner or later." He looked down at the note on his desk, which he had taken from the Granger's house. The words my daughter' jumped out at him.

"I think the final battle will be coming soon," The old wizard whispered. "Very soon."

* * * * * * *

Outside the office, Severus and Hermione were glaring at each other in hopes that the other would drop dead on the spot.

"What was Dumbledore thinking?" They both thought. "A whole summer, maybe longer, with him/her! What did I do to deserve this?"

"Come down to my office tomorrow after dinner," Snape said finally. "We'll discuss where you're to sleep and such then.

"Fine," Hermione said shortly. Then they both strode off in opposite directions.

* * * * * * *

Hermione stormed off to the Gryffindor common room where Ron and Harry where deeply involved in a serious discussion about what they were going to do with their lives when they left Hogwarts a week from now. Not. They were in fact looking over a magazine they had subscribed to a while back called "Couldn't be a Witchitch with out Quidditch", which, to be honest, almost offended the young witch at it's complete lack of any thought at all. So deeply immersed in it were the two wizards that they failed to see their friend looking down at them, steaming with anger, also missing the part when she finally remembered her parents had been killed and slowly calmed down. And finally they were oblivious to the fact that tears began to make their way down Hermione's face silently and her running back out of the common room into the deserted halls, a look of pain and loneliness she was certain that she would bare all summer.

* * * * * * * * * *

Severus had had every intention of going to his own quarters in the bowels of the school, connecting to the dungeons in which many students were tortured, (excuse me, I mean educated') in the fine art of potion brewing. But no sooner had he gotten down there that he felt that he needed to be somewhere else. So, still simmering, he stormed off, cursing under his breath. Whatever was out there had better show up soon, or he would personally blast them if they took their time and made him miss a valuable night of sleep.

He made his way around the castle, not seeing anything odd. Sighing, he decided he was just becoming paranoid. Not that that was odd in the least with all he had to do. Shaking his head he decided to look at the Astronomy tower and then go back to bed. So, cape billowing, he stalked off toward the tower.

* * * * * * *

As Severus walked up the final stairs in the tower he heard nothing and saw nothing. Taking a quick look he turned to go when something caught his eyes. Huddled in a corner was something. It appeared to be shaking. Wand out, Snape moved forward. When he was just a foot in front of it, it raised its head and he saw it wasn't an it at all.

It was Hermione Granger.

"Miss Granger," Severus said, half between relief it wasn't something really nasty and anger that it was her again. "May I ask what you are doing up here?" She didn't give a reply.

"Miss Granger," He began again, but then cut himself off. She was crying. Hermione looked away, ashamed at letting him see her like this.

Snape was at a loss for words. Here was Hermione Granger, top student since Dumbledore himself, tougher than nails because she stuck by Harry Potter, crying in a corner of the Astronomy tower. He wasn't quite sure what to do.

"Miss Granger," He said finally, he tone surprisingly soft. "You should go to bed." Trembling, she stood up shakily. Then before either of them knew what was happening she collapsed against him and sobbed into his shoulder. For a moment Severus didn't move. Then he placed his arms around her and just let her cry.

* * * * * * *

Okay, I have a question for all you readers. I am planning on making two sequals to this story (yes, thinking a tad far ahead, but that's besidest the point) and for one I need it to be a Harry/? romance, but I HAVE NO IDEA WHO TO PUT HIM WITH!!!! So, this is where you come in. Please tell me who I should put him with, but first you need to know who he can not go with.

1. Hermione, obviously, she with Severus

2. Ginny, she is going to end up with Draco so she's out of the question.

3. Padma Patil, she and Ron get married and have a kid.

4. Minerva McGonagall, she's way to old for Harry and besides she's with Dumbledore.

5. Tonks, she end up with Lupin (if I don't kill them first)

6. The other Patil twin (who's name is currently eluding me) had moved to Canada, so she's out of the question.

Now, if you can think of someone else in the book who Harry could go with and give me a good reason as to why, then please, do. It will be greatly appreciated. If you can't think of someone from the book, make someone up. Give me the name, hair and eye color, skin color (white, black, tan, if she's an alien, then green or something), favorite food, color, etc. List of any friends, name of parents, what her wands made of (this is vital information, though I could make some of it up.) And anything else you can think of.

Well, this is officially my first attempt at a Harry Potter fanfic. I read too many Hermione/Severus get together fics and I couldn't resist. They're so cute together, ne? ~Remo