Too Much of Heaven

Rating: R (for character death)

Summary: (Alternate Title: David Kills of his favorite character in HP 199 different ways!) Snape has narrowly escaped the Avada Kedavra, due to the fact that You-Know-Who has learned of Snape's betrayal. Instead of instant death, Voldemort has sentenced Snape to die slowly. (Sorry people, I have a death-scene complex. Don't blame me. Blame my parents.) Naturally, and due to the fact that I have a ginormous crush on Hermione and love SS/HG fics, Hermione comes along and… well you get the picture, yeah?

Disclaimer: I own nutzing! The song title belongs to Eiffel 65, the uber-coolest Italian techno band more popularly known for their song "Blue". Give us a shout out if you know who they are! And, of course, Snapey and Hermy belongy to-y JK Rowlingy.

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Severus Snape sat by himself in the dark. The dark was… forgiving… comfortable… In the dark he could forget everything he had ever done wrong, every murder he had seen, every rape he had been forced to witness. In the dark he could be a normal man, full of passion and dreams and love… Oh how he wished for love! Thirty-seven years and he had never really been in love. Thirty-seven years… His time was running out.

The Mark burned into his skin twinged painfully and he clutched his forearm, biting back a moan of pain. Voldemort wanted him. Snape knew that if he went back to the Dark Lord, he'd be killed. Voldemort no doubt wanted him dead. He himself had revealed his true alliance, in protecting the youngest Weasly; Ginny.

As he sat in the dark hallway, leaning against the cold stone wall of Hogwarts, nothing could have prepared him for events to come. The rough stone scraped at his back through his t-shirt, it brought him back to reality. How like stone he was; cold and unyielding. Unable to open his heart to anyone.

As a teenager he had lost himself in books, both Muggle and Wizard alike. He had written his own stories and lived life vicariously through the characters created in his short novels. In his stories he had been loved. He had been lover and hero, wounded antihero and villain alike. He had been content to do so. At least until now.

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Hermione stalked through the hallways of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, searching for rule-breaking students. Two years out of school and here she was, still patrolling the corridors as if she were still Head Girl.

Her wand glowed softly gold, giving her just enough light to see by, but not so much as to disturb the people in the portraits that decorated every inch of wall space. Her wand illuminated the hall in front of her and she could see a figure; crouched against a wall.

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Light shone in his eyes, he winced and hid his face in his arms, hiding from the light. His heart told him it was only a student, or perhaps Dumbledore coming to look for him; but something inside him wanted only to run, to escape in case it was Voldemort, coming to take him back.

Fighting the impulse to run, he looked up; into the face of a startled Hermione Granger.

"Miss Granger." he croaked.

She looked frightened. He must look an awful sight, he thought wryly, it's not everyone one comes across a recently tortured professor.

"P-Professor?" she trembled.

Hermione's body shook with nerves while Snape tried to control his rising panic.

"Was there something you needed, Miss Granger?" he asked as calmly as he could.

She didn't speak, taking in his haggard appearance. Snape's hair was tangled and matted, his shirt and trousers torn, his face cut up and bleeding.

"No? Very well then. Off with you then." he said in as authorative a voice as he could manage at the moment.

Another wave of pain swept through his body as Voldemort again called him to his side. Snape could feel Voldemort's irritation, the Dark Lord did not like to be ignored. The Potions Master shuddered violently.

"P-professor are you a-alright?" Hermione asked nervously, shifting from foot to foot.

Snape bit his lip again and lied through his tightly clenched teeth.

"I'm fine, Miss Granger. Now if you wouldn't mind-"

"Sir, with all due respect, I think I should get Dumble-"

"No! He doesn't need to know! He's got enough to worry about without me adding my menial problems to his workload!" Snape cried, surging upward and bracing himself against the wall.

Hermione reeled back a step, startled by her former professor's outburst. Snape let out a strangled cry and his body collapsed into a heap on the floor where he remained panting heavily and clutching at his left forearm.

Hermione Transfigured a scrap of paper into a lantern and lit it with shaking hands. She pocketed her wand and knelt beside Severus, concern etched onto her young face. The formerly bushy haired girl lay a tentative hand on her Professor's shoulder; even through the material of his t-shirt, she could feel his skin burning with fever. He shivered at her touch and she automatically performed a Warming Charm, which enfolded them like a blanket.

"L-leave me… I d-don't n-need anyone t-to watch me d-die." he shuddered, trying to push her away.

Her resolve hardening, she pulled Snape into her arms and placed a hand on his abdomen to assess the damage.

"You're very ill…" she murmured worriedly.

"I t-think I already knew th-that." he retorted.

"Do you know what's happening to you?" she asked.

His head moved once in ascension and she didn't press him any further.

"Voldemort… H-he knows… about me I mean." Snape whispered. "He'll kill me before the end of the night."

"How can he? He's not here, is he?" she said, suddenly alarmed.

"No… this is though."

He took her hand and pressed it against the Dark Mark on the inside of his forearm. The Mark was icy in comparison to the scalding skin around it. Snape let out another soft moan, his body tensed as another wave passed through him.

Hermione's stomach knotted, she hated not being able to help people who were in pain. She tried a few simple healing spells, but none worked. Unsure of what else to try, she held her Professor close, wanting to comfort him but not knowing how.

"I hate him!" she exclaims suddenly, clutching him tighter.

Her professor stared at her with a mixture of confusion and respect.

"I do too. But there's nothing- arrrgh!" he groaned as the Dark Lord called him again.

Hermione watched her Professor getting paler and paler, his short fingernails scrabbled at the tattoo on his arm, eventually drawing blood in his attempt to alleviate the pain. Hermione stayed his hand and touched his face gently.

"He's calling you, isn't he?" she said softly.

Snape bit his lip against the pain and nodded. Then suddenly he bolted upright and swore violently.

"No! I won't let you! You won't hurt her!" he raged, eyes wild. "He's here," he pointed at his head. "He won't hurt you! I won't let him!"

Hermione tried desperately to calm him but got nowhere fast. Unbeknownst to her, a plan was hatching in Snape's mind. A deadly plan. He spoke suddenly, very calmly, almost too calmly.

"Miss Granger. I wonder if you might help me with something."

"What? What can I do for you?"

He swallowed hard.

"In my office… In my office there is a cupboard behind the desk… I-" he choked. "There is a small bottle toward the back. It's square and about yay big. It's filled with a black liquid. Can you bring it to me?"

"What is it?" she asked suspiciously.

"Something of my own devising… Something I never thought I'd need. But now… I can use it against Voldemort." he panted. "Please child. Do this for me?"

She nibbled on her lip ambivalently but, in the end, repented. She returned ten minutes later with the bottle in her hand and a confused expression on her angelic face. Snape held out his hand and she placed it on his palm. They gazed at each other for a moment.

"What is it?" she inquired again.

"It's something that could kill Voldemort and free the wizarding world." he said vaguely.

Very suddenly, Snape grabbed Hermione and kissed her full on the mouth. Hermione could taste tears on her lips, she fought him a moment before melting into the kiss. The kiss went on and on, her hand tangled in his dark hair. When they finally drew away, they were both breathless. Snape was shaking violently with the effort of staying up right. He stared at Hermione with desperation in his eyes, then uncorked the little bottle and drained it in one swallow. For a moment here was nothing, no reaction, then Snape bent double as purple electricity seemed to race over his skin, he collapsed into his knees. Hermione reached out to him and he jerked away quickly.

"No! Don't touch me!" he growled.

"I-I'm sorry sir. I thought-"

"You'd be killed instantly." he panted.

"What!" Hermione gasped. "Professor, what-"

"Oh for gods sake. I'm not your professor anymore." he hissed, annoyed.

"Severus what was in that potion?" she asked as calmly as she could.

Snape grinned inanely for a moment.

"If Voldemort touches me. He'll die."

"That's it? All he has to do is touch you?"

"And we both die. Goodbye Miss Granger."

"No, Professor-!"

"Tell the headmaster I'm sorry."

With those words, Severus Snape disappeared; leaving Hermione in the realization that she would never see him again. To most this was a blessing, but to her…

She remembered reading of such potions in her DADA book. A potion which would destroy one human being if anyone came in contact with the drinker's skin. The only problem being the sacrifice on the drinker's part. Snape would die, one way or the other, within the hour. Hermione let out a low moan and sank to her knees on the stone floor of Hogwarts Castle.

After what felt like an eternity, she struggled to her feet, gathered up the discarded bottle and cloak, and stumbled numbly to the Headmaster's office.

"Sh-sherbert L-Lemon." she wept to the two gargoyles guarding the entrance to Dumbledore's quarters.

Dumbledore was just about to open the door and met Hermione as she was walking in.

"My dear child! Whatever is the matter!" he exclaimed, drawing her into his arms.

"He's gone! He's gone to kill Voldemort!" she moaned.

"Who? Harry?"

"No, P-Professor Snape!"

Dumbledore sank into an overstuffed armchair, his face going as white as his beard.

"Severus…" he whispered in anguish. "We would have found a way…"

Argus Filch suddenly came in, tears in his bulging eyes, clutching Mrs Norris tightly to his thin chest.

"H-Headmaster! I-It's over! You-Know-Who is dead! The Ministry's just sent out the word!" the man sobbed semi-incoherently.

Hermione dissolved into tears on the floor and Dumbledore tried not to break down himself. He embraced Filch lightly and tremblingly made his way into the halls. He touched his throat with his wand and said the charm that would amplify his voice throughout the castle.

"Attention all students and teachers. I-I-I… I bring good news!" he said, trying to sound cheerful. "At last, the Dark Lord has been destroyed. I-" Dumbledore wiped away tears from under his glasses. "Let us all share in this glorious day. Voldemort it finally gone."

He tapped his wand against his throat again and allowed himself to sag against the wall, grief overtaking him.

&&

Hermione was among the first that day to help restore Guilderfield Estate to its original state. It was the former meeting place of Voldemort and his Death Eaters. The mansion was utterly deserted. She wandered from room to cavernous room, searching for a sign. And then she found it- Voldemort's inner sanctum. Where the innermost circle of his followers would meet. Hermione pushed open the door, rays of light peeked through heavy velvet curtains. She strolled across the room and pulled them open. Sunlight played across the features of a man she knew all to well. Snape lay sprawled at Voldemort's feet. Voldemort himself sat in his overly ornate throne, dead and cold as a fish. The Dark Lord's head was slumped to his scrawny chest. It occurred to Hermione just how small Voldemort really was. He couldn't have been more than two inches taller than she was, his frame was delicate, his features; almost feminine; yet he was every bit the grotesque monster she imagined him to be. Hermione turned her back on his body and returned to Snape.

The silence pressed in around her, reminding her how similar the room was to a tomb; complete with bodies.

"Oh professor…" she murmured, tentatively touching Snape's cold cheek.

She took in his appearance, dried blood stained his upper lip just under his nose and the corners on his thin mouth. His hair too was matted with dried blood, she combed her lithe fingers through the tangles and brushed a few strands of hair out of his face. Then she called for the Unspeakable that had been assigned to this case. She watched as they took away both bodies, covering them with sheets, just as the Muggles did. She bowed her head to hide her emotions and spotted something shiny on the ground underneath where Snape's body had been. She picked it up and gasped, immediately; a picture filled her mind. It was black and white and grainy. Everything kept going out of focus.

"You will not harm a hair on her head." Snape's voice growled.

A high voice, evil sounding and vicious replied.

"Oh? And how do you intend on stopping me!"

"You'll see."

She could see Voldemort, laughing his high cold laugh, could see Snape's hand closing around the monster's throat and wrist and hanging on tightly.

"It's time for you to die Tom Riddle. Give in to it. Death has been waiting." Snape hissed.

She could see Voldemort struggling, feeling the effects of the fast acting poison as he grew more and more lethargic. By the time Voldemort's guards arrived, he was already dead. Hermione was looking down at Severus. The Potions Master had a peaceful smile on his face.

Then she was looking at herself, Snape had been thinking of her. She saw herself as a first year, eager to learn and refusing to back down. She saw herself growing up into a woman, saw the kiss they had shared before Snape resigned himself to his death for the cause.

"I love you Hermione Granger…" Severus Snape whispered with a smile on his face.

Blind eyes stared blankly, trying in vain to see what was not there, he weakly reached out to pull Hermione to him, but she was not there. His arm fell onto his stomach and he closed his eyes. He choked quietly, murmured: 'Hermione…' one last time, and his body died, sending his soul out into the great expanse of universe.

When Hermione came back to herself, her face was wet with tears. They dripped down her chin making her shirt soggy and warm. She bit her lip and looked down at the thing she had picked up. It was a simple shining crystal, she hesitantly placed it around her neck, enjoying the way it sparkled and shone. Hermione drew in a breath and strode out to face the crowd of reporters, investigators, and Ministry personnel.

Sunlight caught the crystal and made it dance with colours. Hermione drew strength from the memory of her Professor and friend and should-have-been-lover. She straightened up and turned to the crowd. The questions came at her like grenades, bombarding her with things she would not or could not answer. She glanced down at the crystal hanging between her breasts.

If you looked carefully, and the light caught it just right, you could almost see the face of a man who had been brilliant in life, and brave in his death. Hermione smiled at that thought, as long as she had that crystal, he would never be far from her. She wished she had been able to own up to her feelings during his life, but now she could carry on in his absence. Perhaps she would become the next Potions Mistress…

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And she did. At the beginning of Hermione's twenty-first year, she became the new Potion's Mistress. She swept into the dungeon, slamming the door behind her. Her black silk robes clung to her, her nails clacked together as she gazed levelly at her new class of first years. Already some of the Gryffindor's looked ready to cry, she smiled wanly to herself as she stalked down the rows.

"Now…" she started coolly. "You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion making." she glared at the students, some of them trembled visibly under the piercing Stare of Hermione Granger, Potions Mistress and Head of House of Slytherin. "As there is little foolish wand waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will ever really understand the beauty of a softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, bewitching the mind and ensnaring the senses…"

Hermione couldn't help that somewhere, a certain black haired Potions Master was doing back-flips in his grave. She smiled evilly again. She had loved Severus Snape, she had lost her chance, and now she would make certain that there was a piece of his memory still at Hogwarts. And she would be that memory.

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Author's plea: Didja like it? Please, please review! I have a weak spot for Brits. I wish I was one, on many an occasion I attempt to be one, but it never works out. SO please review and make a sad tranny happy!