Disclaimer :

Harry Potter belongs to J. K. Rowling.

I am making no profit.

Nor am I claiming creation or ownership of anything Harry Potter related.

All of it is J. K. Rowling's, or Bloomsbury Books, or the WB's, or whomever's.

It's not mine.


Warning: I wrote this story long before I was canon literate.

I will be re-working this fic, now that I know a tiny bit more. However, the basics will remain the same even after I re-work it. I will just be re-working details. It has received so many encouraging reviews that I will keep it posted in this rough form in the meantime.

(At this point only chapter one is a final draft.)

Author Notes

The focus of my Harry Potter fan fiction a romantic relationship between:

The Potions Master, Professor Severus Snape, and Hermione Granger.

Please note that the age of consent where they live is sixteen (16).

However, in my stories the younger (Hermione Granger) of the two, is over the age of eighteen (18) BEFORE any romantic relationship develops.

Remember, not only is she a birth year older then her classmates; she gained years, and expirience, with her use of a Time-Turner as well.

In my stories, (I am only speaking about my fan fiction and it's characters) the Potions Master, Professor Severus Snape and Hermione Granger are completely equal in their relationship, on all levels; emotional, intellectual, etceteras. Severus' emotional development is a bit delayed, no doubt because of his past. Whereas, Hermione is very advanced for her age. You will find that in my stories, she is no longer a student of his, prior to the development of their relationship. When she was his student, Professor Snape hardly noticed anything about her, other then her incessent hand raising. He was never a mentor to her, they were not friends, or close in any way when she was young. They never knew anything about each other, except for the fact that the other existed and was an annoyance.

There is no harm being done to either party in their relationship, on any level including; psychological, emotional, and physical.

(Nor is their relationship harming anyone else.)

Far fetched?
However, that is why they call it fan fiction.

With that said, if you are still interested, please read on!

Albus's Scheme Chapter One
Welcome To The Order

The Order of The Phoenix was meeting at number twelve, Grimmauld Place. Most of the members were in attendance. They sat in the kitchen discussing a particular summer resident, Hermione Granger.

"Miss Granger will be eighteen in September. That's only three-and-a-half months away," Albus Dumbledore began. "She technically still has one year at Hogwarts, but, as we all know, she has already finished her seventh year curriculum on her own. She could have passed her N.E.W.T.s two years ago, and she would have beaten most of our scores. None of this is debatable. What I have called you here to discuss is her level of maturity. She has changed considerably over the last year. Because of this change, I am considering inducting her into the Order tonight. I would like input from those who have worked closest with Miss Granger. Minerva, as her Head of House, what do you think?" Albus asked.

"I believe, Albus," Minerva answered, "that Miss Granger has always been intellectually advanced and mature beyond her years. As her intelligence is not an issue, I can add that her current level of maturity is on par with most of us in this room. She may even be more mature than a few Order members." Minerva smiled mischievously. "She has always been quite studious. She only engaged in rule-breaking activities when she felt it would be for the good of all. Invariably, she has been proved right in her assessments. She has always refrained from indulging in the adolescent shenanigans of her peers. She carries herself with grace, and has become quite the self-possessed young woman. She knows her own mind. She thinks before she acts. If she doesn't know the answer to something, rare though that occasion is, she doesn't hesitate to admit her lack of knowledge and seek the answer. I would recommend that she be allowed to become a full member of the Order. I think she will do brilliantly," Minerva McGonagall pronounced.

"Thank you, Minerva. Hagrid, what do you think?" Albus asked as he smiled at the half-giant.

"Yeh can' miss tha‚ our little Hermione's all grown up. Has been fer some time. I wouldn' want teh see her hurt, but from wha‚ I've seen, she can handle herself, there's no doubt abou‚ it. I've never seen a witch so quick teh think an‚ act, an' have it always turn out right. She can take care o‚ herself. I've never seen anyone so good with spells. Yes, sir, she's got wha‚ it takes an' then some," Hagrid assessed.

"Wonderful, Hagrid, wonderful," the Headmaster encouraged. "Finally, I would value your opinion of Miss Granger, Severus," Albus asked the surly Order member, who was clearly wishing to be somewhere, anywhere, of more importance.

"Albus, this is futile. You will do whatever you have already decided, without our... valuable input," Severus Snape said sarcastically.

"Indulge me, Severus, I'd like to know what you think of Miss Granger's performance this year," Albus insisted, his tone allowing no room for argument.

Grudgingly, Professor Snape answered. "In my class, Miss Granger's deportment began to improve prior to the beginning of last year. She neither causes nor engages in disruption. She keeps to herself and completes her tasks perfectly. Her written work is exemplary, yet concise. She gets her point across clearly and succinctly. She no longer displays a need to prove herself by incessantly responding to questions in class, or adding extra feet of parchment to assignments. Instead, she proves her sharp intellect appropriately." Here Snape paused, allowing his classic disdainful sneer to assert itself on his face. "Now, Albus, are we to be burdened with her insufferable presence during Order meetings, as well as in our classrooms?" Snape asked.

"Unless there are any objections?" Albus asked the room at large.

"Albus! She is too young to be allowed -" Molly Weasley began, only to be cut off by Nymphadora Tonks.

"Molly, she's of age," Tonks said gently.

"Don't mind Molly, she told me just last week that I'm too young for the Order assignments I'm given." Remus Lupin smiled.

"If there are no objections, other than Molly's usual?" Albus said, his blue eyes sparkling indulgently at the Weasley Mother-To-All. When no more objections were forthcoming, he said, "Well, then, if someone will go and ask Miss Granger to join us?"

"I'll get her, something tells me she's in the library," Remus said. As he stood and opened the door, Ron, Ginny, and Harry fell into the room.

"You know you can't hear through the new charm with those either, don't you?" Tonks asked laughing at the groups cheesy spy equipment.

"Well, it was worth a try, wasn't it?" Ron asked, as he pulled himself up from the floor.

"Upstairs, all of you!" Molly ordered. "All three of you can spend an entire week at The Burrow with me, doing yard work. We'll start the day after tomorrow." Her punishment was met with groans and grumblings as the three made their way upstairs.

Hermione Granger was sitting in the library of number twelve, reading her new book: Counter-Curses For Obscure Dark Spells.. To anyone who looked at her, it was obvious that not only had her attitude matured, but her clothes sense had, as well. She was wearing a demure deep-purple dress, made of a subtle flowing fabric. The dress ended at her ankles, and its sleeves belled at the wrists. For the last year, she'd been wearing only understated, yet striking dresses and robes made of deep jewel-toned fabrics. In the Muggle world her style would be considered artsy, in the Wizarding world it was considered quite tasteful. Even when she was required to be in uniform, she charmed her outer uniform robe, which she wore longer than the norm, to remain closed all the way down, effectively hiding everything but her collar and tie. She wore her hair in a perpetual bun, not having the heart to cut it, or the desire to fight it into order and wear it loose. She wouldn't waste her valuable time fussing over herself. She did not attempt to enhance her physical appearance in any way. Her tastes just came naturally along with her newfound self-assurance.

"Reading anything good?" Remus asked her by way of greeting.

"Oh, hello," Hermione replied with a smile. "Just a book on Dark counter-curses I bought recently. Is the meeting over so soon?" she asked.

"Actually, no, Albus sent me in here to bring you to it. He would like you to join us," Remus said. He tried to cover a knowing smirk.

"Why would the Headmaster want me to come to tonight's meeting?" Hermione questioned suspiciously.

"He has an invitation for you. Please come with me," Remus said, as he led a perplexed Hermione down to the kitchen.

Hermione walked into the kitchen with Remus. As soon as they were inside, locking and silencing charms were placed on the door.

"Thank you for joining us, Miss Granger," Albus welcomed her. "I'll do something unexpected and get right to the point. We have met tonight to invite you to become a full member of the Order of the Phoenix."

After a stunned pause in which Hermione's face gave no impression of her thoughts or feelings, she said, "This is ... most unexpected."

"Well, as to that, we all feel that you are more than qualified. You met the age requirements some time ago, and your skills and intelligence will be quite an asset for us," Albus explained. His wise blue eyes searched hers.

"I welcome the opportunity to assist in any way that I can," Hermione answered.

"Well then, it's official." Albus twinkled.

"Yes." Hermione smiled.

Kingsley Shacklebolt rose and approached Hermione. He extended his hand and regally intoned, "Welcome to the Order, Miss Granger."

"Such formality is unnecessary!" Albus decreed. "First names, if you please, we are all equals here."

Kingsley bowed lightly. "Welcome, Hermione."

"Thank you, Kingsley," she answered. There was no trace of awkwardness in her response.

Everyone extended words of welcome, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Minerva hugged the stuffing out of Hermione, while tearing up.

Severus merely nodded and said, "Do try not to get yourself killed."

"Severus!" Minerva chastised, "Don't frighten the poor girl."

"If she is a member of The Order she is hardly a poor girl, is she, Minerva?" Severus countered scathingly. "As much as I am sure this is a proud moment for you, Minerva, she needs to be aware of the reality of the situation. This is not an academic prize she has won. It is a dangerous undertaking, with every potential for fatality." Severus glared.

"Yes, well, as to that reality," Albus took over, "Hermione, we have some business to take care of, and then we will celebrate. Each new member of the Order is taken under the wing of an established member. As a sort of orientation, you could say ˆ"

Snorting, Tonks cut in, "Mine was more like Muggle armed forces training. But then, Mad-Eye oriented me, so what could I expect?"

"Well, yes, training, as it were," Albus agreed. "Your strengths need to be assessed and any deficiencies need to be worked on. You may choose which Order member you would like to orient with. Everyone is available, except myself, of course. Your orientation will begin tomorrow and conclude at the autumnal equinox. If, as I suspect, you choose a teacher to orient you," Albus paused to glance knowingly between Minerva and Hermione, "that teacher's classes will be covered by Remus for the month of September. So, do not hesitate if you wish to choose a teacher. Who would you like, Hermione?"

"May I ask a question of the available members before I decide?" Hermione asked politely.

"Of course, my dear," Albus indulged.

Hermione walked to a position where she could clearly see every seated member of the Order. "If I may, I will direct this one question to everyone except Professor Snape." Albus's blue eyes twinkled in amusement at Hermione's audacity. In sharp contrast, Professor Snape's black eyes narrowed in suspicion and glittered dangerously. The rest of the Order members looked a bit surprised, but interested in what she would ask.

"To save time, I will ask you all at once, and you need only speak if you know the answer." Hermione paused and looked at each Order member. When she spoke it was in a quiet voice that carried, nonetheless. "Who can tell me exactly what Voldemort does with those he captures, and what is the best course of action for the victim to take in order to survive or escape the situation?"

An agonising minute ticked slowly by, and Minerva finally spoke, "I would assume the He Who Must Not Be Named would -"

Hermione interrupted as she did not want to waste time. As politely as possible, she said, "I'm sorry to interrupt, but I'm not looking for assumptions. I need facts. Do you actually know, Minerva?"

"Well, no, I can't know, obviously."

"Thank you, Minerva." Hermione said. More time passed in silence. Hermione's voice finally broke the unnatural quiet. "Anyone?"

When no one answered, she turned to Severus. "Professor Snape," her uncertain hesitance went unnoticed, "I have a yes or no question for you."

He inclined his head slightly in acknowledgement.

Hermione gathered her courage and looked directly into his eyes, and asked, "Do you know the answer to the question I asked everyone else?"

He returned her gaze as he answered, "Yes, Miss Granger, I do."

Continuing to stare intently into Severus's eyes, Hermione spoke to Albus. "It would seem that there is some reason that this information has not been passed on, and I respect that decision. However, I do believe Professor Snape's additional knowledge is a very valuable asset, even if he's not able to share it. I sincerely regret adding to his burden, but I choose Professor Snape." Hermione paused thoughtfully, then added into the stunned silence, "Perhaps, I could slightly lighten the additional burden I'm placing on Professor Snape by assisting him with his preparations for next year's first- through sixth-year Potions classes? Under his direct instruction, of course."

Hermione looked at Albus as he began to answer, "Yes, that's fine, Hermione, Severus is a wise choice. I am very impressed by your insight, my dear. There is one other thing we need to address. I cannot bend my rule of not allowing students to become active members of the Order. Therefore, I have someone meeting us at Hogwarts to administer your N.E.W.T.s this evening, so you will no longer actually be a student. I may expect you to sit in on classes next year, posing as a student to keep your new role with the Order secret. If we do take that route and pretend you are still a student next year, we will find a plausible reason for you to start in October instead of with the rest of the school. If we do this, you will not be graded, as you will already have finished your coursework and taken your N.E.W.T.s. I am not sure if this will be necessary, but we do need to consider the possibility." Albus paused to glance from Hermione to Severus. "Nevertheless," Albus went on, "I think you can help Severus with preparations for all his classes, including his seventh-years. I would have been concerned, but with your help there should be plenty of time for Severus's class preparations when your orientation is complete. With both of you working on it, the last eight days of September should be ample time. After all, how much do classes vary from year to year? Now, let's all enjoy the delicious food Molly has prepared for us," Albus finished. He placed a firm hand on Severus's shoulder to prevent his escape.

Hermione approached Severus and Albus. "What time will my orientation begin?" she asked.

"I would think you could start tomorrow morning at ten o'clock, I'd say. Give yourself some time to adjust," Albus answered.

"That will be fine. I have a ... meeting ... scheduled for tomorrow morning. However, I am sure I can move it to nine; I'd like to get it over with, anyway. I will be ready by ten," Hermione agreed.

"I will meet you in the library tomorrow at ten then, Miss Gran -"

"Hermione," Albus interjected in correction.

"Ah, yes, Hermione," Severus corrected himself with a condescending sneer in his voice. "I will see you at ten tomorrow morning in the library. Headmaster, if you would permit me to depart?" Severus said curtly.

"No, please wait, Severus. There is another thing I need to tell you. Hermione, you will no longer room with Ginny. You now have a private room on the uppermost floor. I have already had your things moved." Albus smiled at her. "And Severus, I expect you to stay here while you are orienting Hermione. So, my answer is no, you may not leave. Your room here is the one next to Hermione's. It is to be your home until October, when Hermione's orientation is complete. I am sorry, Severus, but you two will have to share a bath. There are only the two rooms and one bath on that floor. It's less than four months, Severus, I am sure you will survive away from your dungeons for that long."

"Albus... I am not a ˆ" Severus began in a deadly tone, only to be interrupted by Albus.

"The lack of isolation will do wonders for you, my boy. Everyone will be happy to have your presence in the house," Albus stated with finality.

Six o'clock the next morning found Severus Snape and Hermione Granger sitting alone together in the kitchen of number twelve, Grimmauld Place. No one else staying in the house had risen yet. She had been there first, sipping tea and reading when he entered.

Severus covered his surprise at seeing her up so early and greeted her with a cool, "Miss Granger."

"Professor Snape," she answered with equanimity.

Soon they were seated across from one another at the scrubbed kitchen table, drinking tea and reading.

Twenty minutes of silent reading passed in the blink of an eye. Severus Snape approached the library. It was early yet, but he had decided that he would read while he waited for Miss Granger to return from her mysterious meeting. As he approached the door, he realised that the room was already occupied. He could clearly hear Miss Granger's voice.

"I'm sorry." Hermione's voice sounded regretful as she spoke.

"Please, Hermione, is it because I pressured you last weekend. Damn it, Hermione, you know I want to marry you. How many times have I asked you to marry me? Save your bloody self for the right time, or even save yourself for your wedding night. Just let it be me you give yourself to. Look, I'm sorry. I see now that the timing just wasn't right. I'm truly sorry I tried to take advantage of our situation. I'm sorry that I tried to take advantage of you," a male voice pleaded with Hermione.

"No, it's not that, you did stop when I asked ... eventually. It's okay, really. I just want my first time to be ... well, last weekend wasn't right for me. Truthfully, it wasn't the timing. I'm way past the time: last weekend would have been fine; or last year; or the year before; or..." Hermione paused in thought, "...it's not the time that wasn't right. It's not that I intend to wait for marriage, either. I'm sorry, but to tell you the truth, it's just that you aren't right for me. Not in that way. We just aren't working. You're a fine friend. You're intelligent, learned, experienced, everything I want in a man, really. There's just something missing," Hermione said, soothingly.

'The man in there wants to marry her?' Severus pondered from his place by the closed door. 'I am not eavesdropping on her private conversation I am merely waiting,' he told himself. 'Who am I trying to convince? I am the head of Slytherin; of course I am eavesdropping. If I must work with her in the Order I need to know all I can about her,' he thought.

"What's missing, Hermione? What? I'll get it, we'll make it work," the man urged. A hint of desperation creeping into his voice.

"No, we can't. It's either there or it isn't. It just isn't," Hermione stated firmly.

"Is it my age?" the man asked sadly.

"No! Of course not," Hermione said, a smile in her voice. "You know your age, and the maturity that comes with your age, is one of the things that attracted me to you in the first place. That and your mind. I've dated plenty of people around my age, and not one of them could hold my interest."

'True enough,' Severus thought from his place by the library door. 'Although not this last year, she has not dated anyone from school this last year. But before that she dated her contemporaries. Actually, the staff gossip was that she went on one date and never accepted a second with, if I remember; Krum, Weasley, Potter, Finnigan, Thomas, Longbottom,' Severus allowed himself to shudder in disgust at the thought of her intellect with Longbottom, 'Goldstein, Macmillan ˆ ' Severus's musings were interrupted as the man in the room spoke again.

"You know we're compatible: we both love to learn; we both love to read; we both love to ˆ "

"It's not a question of compatibility. We are compatible, and compatibility is primary. It's just... there needs to be something more. Something that we're missing," Hermione explained in a patient voice.

"I don't understand, Hermione," the man whinged.

Hermione answered in a wistful tone, "When I accidentally touch your hand I don't forget to breathe, time doesn't stop, the rest of the world doesn't melt away. I don't find myself preoccupied with thoughts of you all morning after an accidental touch of my hand on yours, thinking of nothing but the overwhelming desire to undo all your buttons and touch more of your skin, to listen to your intelligent, seductive voice forever..." she trailed off.

'What!' Severus Snape had stopped listening after she had said ''an accidental touch of my hand on yours''. His brain was trying to process that statement and apply it to his unacknowledged feelings. 'This morning in the kitchen ... our hands touched in just that way, and I felt ... I felt ... something, entirely unexpected. Something foreign, unimaginable. Something impossible. I felt the world melt away. But she certainly could not feel like that about me. No, obviously not. Touching my unworthy hand would not make the world melt away for one such as she. No. She arranged this meeting with whoever he is yesterday. She would have thought out her speech prior to this morning. It has nothing to do with her hand touching mine. She could never experience those feelings she described, with me. Disgusting. You have reached new heights of pathetic, Snape, hoping she would think of you in that manner,' his inner voice taunted. Its demeaning taunts were interrupted as an interesting question filtered through the door.

"Hermione, have you found someone else?" the man asked resignedly.

"I am not seeing anyone else. But I still must insist that we stop seeing each other as anything more than friends," Hermione said in a gentle tone.

"Yes, well; if that's how you feel, Hermione," the man said in a clipped tone.

"I'm sorry, Jeremy, but I don't think it's fair to you, or ˆ "

"So you've said. Goodbye, Hermione," he spat, fury evident in his tone.

Severus backed quickly down the hall so it would seem he was just approaching. It did seem just like that, as the man opened the library door.

"Snape?" Jeremy greeted in surprise.

Severus instantly recognised the short, nauseatingly handsome wizard. The wizard's normally sparkling sky-blue eyes were now flashing with an intense anger born of rejection. His golden-brown hair styled in a retro sixties look, was flying about his head as he moved.

'Jeremy Pryce, the proprietor of the Knockturn Alley Booksellers, has repeatedly asked Miss Granger to marry him? He was a Dark wizard. True, he is a now technically in the Order, although Albus never forces him to attend meetings; but, he is older than I am. And I just heard her end a romantic relationship with him? Well, well, I wonder if he's hurt. Let's see,' Severus thought.

Aloud he said, "Pryce." Then he added cordially, "How are you... old man?"

He successfully baited the older wizard. Jeremy Pryce's eyes blazed at Severus's choice of words. He mumbled a response as the two wizards passed each other.

They had developed a working business acquaintanceship over the past twenty-one years. Jeremy Pryce had opened his shop when Severus was seventeen. Severus had been one of his very first customers.

As Severus approached the library, Hermione stood aside in the doorway to allow him to pass her. As he entered the room, she followed him.

"Your meeting was with Jeremy Pryce?" Severus asked with a derisive sneer. He managed to sound completely devoid of any knowledge of the content of her meeting.

"Yes. We had some things to ... finish," Hermione answered.

"Such as?" Severus prompted disdainfully.

"That, sir, is not your concern," she said. She was quite flustered by his questioning.

"Then it was nothing pertaining to Order business?" Severus pressed.

"I would have said if it were," Hermione snapped.

"Ah, I see," was Severus's noncommittal answer. "I do believe congratulations are in order. You won't have your official results yet, but I have been told that you excelled on your N.E.W.T.s last night."

"I disliked taking them with no advance warning, but it was for a good cause." Hermione smiled. Her mood lightened by the change in subject.

"Hmm, along those lines, I regret that I must inform you of Albus's most recent... clever idea," Severus intoned with extreme sarcasm. "It would seem he got the idea at the meeting yesterday. Something about Muggles and Nymphadora Tonks. He has seen fit to include me in this new scheme." He paused and regarded Hermione. "I believe I have you to thank for that," he said with liberal sarcasm.

After a moment, he went on. "We are to be Albus's test subjects. He wishes to determine if this scheme will be a beneficial exercise when orienting new Order members. He is going to have us captured and taken to parts unknown. Aurors posing as Death Eaters will be our captors, and if we escape them they will be pursuing us. At that point, we are to evade them. We are to find a way to incapacitate them. Then we will rid ourselves of them by sending them home with one of the Portkeys we will be given for that eventuality. The Portkeys will be keyed directly to the Auror-Death-Eaters so that we cannot utilise them. The Portkeys are our means of dispatching them. In lieu of how we would handle the situation, were they actual Death Eaters. Once we have rid ourselves of the Auror-Death-Eaters, we are to then make our way safely back here on our own."

"You... you're kidding, right?" she asked.

Severus favoured Hermione with his most disdainful look. "Albus has given us your orientation time in which to accomplish this task. Moody's contribution was to give Albus the idea that we are to be taken by surprise. We will not be given any advance notice. This fiasco will commence anytime after midnight tonight," Severus said with a deep scowl.

"Is there anything else you can tell me about this... this ˆ "

"Not really. Albus thinks it should all be unknown to us, as an actual Death Eater capture would be. Although I do know that the Auror-Death-Eaters will be using real methods and curses. Nothing Unforgivable, I'm sure, but unpleasant enough to make the experience realistic," Severus said. He pinched the bridge of his nose and frowned. "You will have the rest of today to get your affairs in order."

"I don't like the sound of that," she said, half jokingly.

"Perhaps my choice of words could have been better. You may have the rest of today to tie up any loose ends and spend time with your friends." He sneered in distaste at the thought of her friends. "We may be gone for quite some time. This debacle could commence a month from now, or one minute past midnight tonight. We won't know. Albus will retrieve us if we have not made it back here by the autumnal equinox, as per your orientation schedule. Actually, Miss Granger, I am at a loss as to what else to say. No one else has ever had to endure an orientation of this nature." He paused in thought for a few moments. "I suppose it is inevitable that I will see you at lunch," he said by way of dismissal. His eyes were closed in pain, as he continued to pinch the bridge of his nose.

"I'm sorry I got you into this, Professor," she said sincerely.

"It is not your doing; it is Albus's idea. As much as this is inconvenient for me, your method of selecting me to oversee your orientation was perceptive, indeed. Especially given the time you had to think of it. Go now. You don't have much time left for yourself," he said.

"Yes, but first I'll be right back," she told him.

He opened his eyes and looked at her. "Whatever for?"

"I'm bringing you a headache potion. You look like you could use it." She smiled as she rose and left to do just that, leaving behind a stunned, and somewhat suspicious, Severus Snape.

This chapter has been brilliantly beta-read by Nakhash Mekashefah.

Thank you Nakhash!