A/N: While I have written a few fan fictions, this is my first HG/SS fiction. I want to thank all of the wonderful authors at this site who made the pairing come across as anything but squicky! So here goes my first shot at this. I hope you enjoy. Any feed back you could provide would be helpful in my endeavor. I HAVE EDITED HOPEFULLY IT IS EASIER TO READ. I THINK I CORRECTED ALL OF THE MISSING PUNCTUATION AND RUN ON SENTENCES, BUT IF I DIDN'T LET ME KNOW! THANKS FOR READING.

My future seems like one big past slipknot (duality)

Most evenings, Severus Snape sat alone in his dungeon home. There was nothing to comfort him save the crackling embers of the fire and his own rambling thoughts. He sat alone shrouded in the darkness that had been his life since he was old enough to understand his heart would never be given the gift of love. He understood, however, that love would lead him to the light that everyone else so freely enjoyed. All his attempts to escape the darkness had been marred by his overwhelming desire to loathe himself. Even now when he was free of his loyalties to the Dark and the Light he would still not free himself from his self imposed prison; one that used to be necessary for survival. But those who ruined the lives of innocents do not deserve to walk in the light. i No one could love me. There is nothing to love. I have raped, killed, tortured, and maimed all for the good of the cause. The bloody cause cost me my life. I have destroyed too much to deserve something so common. /i

Severus forced himself to live in his dungeon, secluding himself from everything and everyone when Albus did not expressly demand his presence. Albus knew he refused to leave the dungeon of his own accord so he ordered Severus to walk amongst the living at least three times a day, much to Severus' heated protests to the contrary. Severus hated being forced to attend meals in the Great Hall, with good reason: everywhere he looked love was staring him square in the eyes.

Severus was sitting in his usual place at the Head Table blatantly ignoring his colleagues and mashing his food to bits. Albus was trying to engage Severus in conversation about the article that he had recently published in i Ars Alchemica /i , but Severus would have none of it. He grunted at the appropriate times, nodding his head occasionally, only looking up from his plate to scowl at Harry Bloody Potter, The-Man-Who-Saved-The-World-With-All-Kinds-Of-Help-And-Took-All-The-Bloody-Credit. However, that was not why Severus was scowling at Harry. Severus was scowling because that insipid twit got to have that Weasley chit hanging off of his every word and any appendage she could get her hands on, while Severus got to sit at the High Table with most of the people joining him moving as far away from him as possible. It was as though he were a leper of some sort. Severus just hated to admit that Harry Potter deserved to be happy.

Severus forced himself to draw his eyes away from Harry and he scanned the rest of Gryffindor table, so many young faces were missing, but the ones that remained were paired off; the couples rushing to capture what ever happiness life had in store for them after the horror had gone not even two months ago. His eyes danced across the table in order to glean more images to torment himself with, and then his eyes landed on the one person sitting alone at the table. She was off to the side with only her plate for company; she had no meddling old man to try to draw her out. Severus had watched her fall into herself more and more since the weeks before the final battle when she was informed that the Death Eaters killed her parents and that he was there. Hermione Granger was no longer the same annoying know it all he had come to know and secretly admire. No. She was bordering on empty. Severus could see that. His eyes lingered there for a moment longer and a strange sensation came into his chest.

Before he knew what he was doing, Severus walked over to the Gryffindor table; silence washed over the Great Hall as he approached Hermione and placed a hand on her shoulder. He bent down and whispered in her ear, "Ms. Granger, a word in my chambers after dinner." Then, with a swish of his robes, made a grand exit from the Great Hall. He didn't give Hermione a second to dispute him or try to find a way out of this meeting. Severus did not need to turn around to see that damned infernal twinkle in Alubs' eye to know that he was playing into some sort of grand plan; but he didn't care. At that moment Severus Snape decided he might have found a reason to escape from his own prison.

Severus took his usual seat in front of the fire and waited for the knock at the door. Five minutes after dinner had ended in the Great Hall the knock came. He quickly closed off the Floo to his room before moving across the room to answer the door.

"Hello Ms. Granger. Please come in," he said as he pulled the door open for her to pass. He tried to maintain an indifferent tone, but his concern was apparent in his voice. This caused Hermione to look him straight in the eyes; it was the first time she had done so since she found out her parents had been killed.

"Hello Professor Snape," she said as she walked past him and made her way into his chambers. She didn't sit down right away. Instead she made her way around the room looking for something. Severus didn't say a word. He just watched her look around, her hands gliding across the shining surfaces of the mahogany furniture that decorated the room or the ancient tomes that lined the bookshelves. He was only mildly surprised when she stopped in front of the liquor cabinet and poured herself a shot of firewhiskey, "You don't mind do you Professor?" she asked as she slammed the shot back. "If we are going to discuss my parents I am going to need something to take the edge off."

"It is customary to wait for a response to the question before following through with the action, but no I don't mind. Would you mind pouring me a drink as well, since you are in the area?" He again tried to sound coolly detached from the situation, but again he couldn't force himself to feign indifference where she was concerned.

" I don't blame you Severus," Hermione said quietly as she poured two more shots of the vile liquid into crystal shot glasses.

" Are we on a first name basis now?"

"Seeing as you were there to witness my family decimated and stood by my side during battle, I think we can be on a first name basis. Besides, you are no longer my Professor, the school year officially ended five minutes ago." She replied sarcastically.

"Very well, Hermione," he paused, "what do you mean you don't blame me?"

"There was nothing you could do to stop it from happening. I knew the risks and I am the one who chose to keep them blissfully ignorant of the happenings of the wizarding world for fear of being forced to leave. So I am the one who is responsible for their deaths. I accept responsibility for that and Draco Malfoy's current situation, I was the cause that as well."

"I will find a way to reverse that. He will not be rooming with Gilderoy Lockheart much longer. We can reverse the effects of Cruciatus. That is why I asked you here. I want you to stay here and help me research."

"What about University?"

"Professor Dumbledore took the liberty of contacting the University and asking if they would accept your work with me for credit. They went so far as to say if you are instrumental in the discovery of a cure then your Mistress titles in any subject used in the cure would be yours."

Hermione's heart leapt at the chance. She wasn't really all that enthusiastic about leaving the only home she had left. And then she would be working with Severus Snape. He may have forgotten how close they had become during the time leading up to just after the final battle; however, she hadn't. He must have thought that she despised him for what happened with her parents; but she didn't. But she knew he must hate her for what she did to Draco. After all he was the closest person Severus had to a family member. "I will do it, but only if you promise to stop ignoring me like you have been for the past two months. I can't suffer through this alone anymore."

"What about Potter and Weasley?" Severus asked with a mild trace of surprise in his voice. He would have thought that those two would have at least had the common decency to ensure that the key member of their Dream Team was emotionally provided for, but then again what could he expect from two dunderheads?

"I can't trouble them. They are happy, and Harry is the only one who would really understand. I cannot make myself go to him, he is too happy now."

"Silly girl, you matter too!" He nearly shouted at her.

"So do you Severus." Her voice was barely a whisper, but there was conviction in her voice none the less.

Severus didn't say a word. He just sat there and stared at her in silence finally remembering the glass of liquid relaxation in his hand and slammed back the firewhiskey savoring the brining sensation in his esophagus. She was right. He wanted to release himself from the darkness but he was terrified about what would happen once he stepped into the light. While he was lost in thought he didn't notice Hermione walking up to him and lowering herself on to the wide arm of his favorite black leather chair. He didn't notice her lean in and inhale his aroma, musk and something she couldn't recognize. He only noticed her when her rose petal soft lips pressed against the smooth pale flesh of his forehead and her nimble fingers brushed a stray silky strand from his onyx eyes. "We are in this together Severus." It was all she whispered before she got up and left his chambers to spend her last night in the Head Girl room situated outside of Gryffindor tower. Severus found himself alone with only the embers of the fire to keep him company and thoroughly and utterly confused. This was going to be a long apprenticeship.

A/N: Ok let me know what you think, please constructive criticism only, I want to improve my writing so any feedback will help. Thanks for taking the time to read.