Summary: The impossible is deemed possible. Dumbledore lives! Severus Snape, a victim of his past, consumed by guilt, doesn't know this and takes his life into his own hands.
The events of HP: HBP were just HORRIBLE! I have therefore found it necessary to write a b-class depressing fic on Snape (because that was just…. Deplorable.) Snape, two years after Harry Potter has defeated Voldemort, finds Hermione Granger and tells her the truth about the death of Albus Dumbledore. This is a standalone and has nothing to do with any of my other Snape/Hermione fics.
Warnings: Suicide, ex-teacher/ex-student love, bad language
AN: I do NOT accept the events of HBP, they were awful! I won't accept it! My uncle isn't a murderer!
Disclaimer: HP doesn't belong to me, but I wouldn't mind having Hermione to myself for a night. Oh the things I could do to her….. (Waggles eyebrow)
Hermione Granger sat in her flat, drinking a cup of tea. She was getting ready to go to bed when the knock came at the door. She was hesitant to answer it. Even though Harry had defeated Voldemort, his supporters still sought revenge. She cautiously unlocked the door and peered out. The sight her eye beheld was an awful one. She recognized the man instantly, and this was not a good thing. The man who stood on her doorstep was Severus Snape, ex-potions professor, murderer of Albus Dumbledore, and her secret crush since her first day at Hogwarts.
"What are you doing here?" she hissed.
She heard a thunk at the other side of her door, but no reply. She peered through the crack again and saw that Snape had collapsed on her doormat. He was bleeding profusely from slits in his wrists and cuts all over his arms.
Against her better judgment, Hermione unlatched the door and pulled it wide. She stared down at the crumpled form of her ex-professor and prodded him experimentally. He didn't budge. She grabbed him under the armpits and struggled to drag him into her apartment, slamming the door with her foot. He moaned pitiably in his unconscious state and Hermione jumped out of the way.
The Gryffindor ran into her bedroom and fumbled in her drawer for a moment, looking for the .45 Ron had bought her for protection in addition to her wand. She loaded it with a clip, cocked it, and ran back into the living room. Snape was still on the floor, but now he was awake. His eyes were shiny, glazed with pain, but whether that pain was physical or mental… she did not know; he focused long enough to realize what she was pointing at him. He let out a bitter laugh and fought to sit up.
"Go on. Shoot. Please. Do it. Shoot me." he begged, spreading his arms to give her a better target. "You'd be doing me a favour."
The gun in her hand quivered, but something in his voice made her stop. She let the gun drop to her side.
"What are you doing here? What do you want?" she growled, inching toward the phone.
"Call the Ministry, by all means. There's nothing more anyone can do to me." he muttered acrimoniously.
She stopped, her hand over the receiver.
"I could have Harry over here in a heartbeat. He lives just down the hall."
"Does he? Oh, perhaps I should have crawled there instead…"
"Why would you do that? He wants you dead."
He hauled himself upright, teetering precariously, then fell onto Hermione's couch, breathing heavily.
"Professor…" she said uneasily.
"Just… just… listen…. Please…. I'll be gone soon… just listen…." He panted.
She bit her lip uncertainly, but nodded and sat down in a chair across from Snape.
"I assume you want to tell me it wasn't your fault."
"It was. It was all my fault." he muttered. "Still is. Could have killed the Dark Lord… Could have ended it…"
Hermione frowned, edging away from her ex-professor.
"I told him." Snape said after a while. "I told him what I had done. Told him that I had made an Unbreakable. Begged him to kill me, so I couldn't kill him. But he wouldn't…" Tears were rapidly blurring Snape's eyes, and Hermione shifted uncomfortably. "I begged. For some reason he thought… I don't know what he thought… Maybe he thought I was stronger…"
His voice was harsh, nothing like the smooth, velvet voice that had drawn her in and never let her go. Hermione looked down at Snape's hands, folded in his lap. His wrists were still bleeding profusely, but he looked like he couldn't care less.
"Sir… why don't I bind those wounds?" she asked uncertainly.
He snorted bitterly, holding up his pale wrists and gazing at them dully.
"Won't help… I used my wand to cut them, right before I snapped it." he muttered listlessly.
Snape stood up, swaying dangerously.
"Tell Potter… Tell Potter I'm dead. Tell him… the Aurors found me." he murmured, his wrists dangling at his sides, blood dripping from them and onto the hardwood floor.
Though Hermione knew he had killed Dumbledore and continued to fight with Voldemort, she couldn't help but feel her stomach tie up in knots as she realized Snape was dying. Dumbledore had returned, yes, death could not keep a powerful wizard such as him. But Snape had been the cause of many sleepless nights. Perhaps it would be kindest to let him die…
"I-I'll go." the tall man said, heading for the door. "I need a nice dark corner where I can die."
And the terrifying truth of the matter was, he was blandly and utterly serious.
"No!" Hermione protested. "Stay… please. I-"
"You what, Miss Granger?" the old greasy git was re-emerging. "You don't want me to stay. Save you asinine platitudes for someone who deserves it."
Snape gave up and slumped to the floor, his back against the sofa.
"Sir, please…" she implored him. "Please don't do this."
Tired eyes cracked open to look her in the face.
"I'll be out of your way…"
"No, you can stay here… but I don't want you to die…." She said quickly.
"I killed Dumbledore! Your saviour and leader! Why wouldn't you want me to die!" he was crying now, completely frustrated by Hermione's lack of hatred towards him.
Hermione knelt beside him, taking his cold hands in her own.
"You don't know, do you?" she murmured.
"What? What don't I know? If it hadn't been for me Potter-"
"Dumbledore is alive." Hermione cut in.
Snape dissolved into anguished tears.
"How! I killed him myself! I cast the Avada Kedavra!" he sobbed.
"No one really understands how, but he lives. Professor… Let me call him. He can help you-"
It was Snape's turn to interrupt.
"No! No, he'll hate me. I was a coward… I should have died instead of… instead of…" he shuddered uncontrollably.
"I'll call him. He'll make everything better, I promise." she murmured soothingly.
She got up and stepped in front of her fireplace. Hermione took a pinch of Floo powder and threw it into the fire.
"Dumplingalle Manor!" she called loudly.
The green fire roared for a moment before Albus Dumbledore's head appeared in the middle of the fire.
"Headmaster!" she exclaimed. "Could you please Floo yourself over to my flat. There's someone… who needs to see you."
The crinkled old face smiled and nodded.
"I'll be over in a moment, I just need to tell Minerva where I'm going." he replied.
The head disappeared and a moment later, Dumbledore was standing in her living room, tall and imposing as ever.
"Now," he said, putting an arm around Hermione. "what is it that is so important?"
Hermione bit her lip again, then motioned to the slumped figure beside the couch. Dumbledore inhaled with shock, stepped back for a moment, then rushed to Snape's side.
"Severus! Oh my dear boy!" he whispered.
Snape started and looked into the shining eyes of Albus Dumbledore. He began crying at once.
"Albus! Albus I told you! I begged you to put me out of my misery! Y-Y-You c-can't be here! I killed you! I killed you!" he cried remorsefully.
Dumbledore moved to take the sobbing man in his arms, but Snape shrank from him.
"D-don't touch me. I c-can't. I can't… It's all my fault…"
The older man took him into a fatherly embrace.
"It's alright. It's alright, you warned me." Dumbledore murmured soothingly.
"I should have just killed myself before… then none of this would have happened. Albus… Albus I'm sorry…" his crying was becoming less audible.
Snape looked up at Dumbledore with hooded eyes, regret clear in the dark orbs.
"I'm sorry… I'm so sorry…" he whispered weakly. "So sorry…"
Hermione knelt beside Snape, across from Dumbledore. She took her ex-professor's hands between her own, they were icy; a testament to the fate which awaited him; Dumbledore gazed at her curiously. Hermione kissed Snape's fingertips, he had stopped crying and was watching her carefully. He shuddered violently, Dumbledore murmured soothing nonsense to him and stroked his tangled, black hair. Over the years, Severus Snape had become something of a son to Dumbledore. To see him like this… distraught and inconsolable… It hurt the old man deep in his soul.
"I-I'm sorry." Snape repeated.
"You have been forgiven, Severus." Dumbledore said softly. "I forgave you long ago."
Snape's eyes seemed to brighten momentarily.
"I h-had to protect Draco… he was just a boy… He didn't know...! I should have… I should have saved you…" Snape mumbled.
His body slumped against Dumbledore. Weakness was not something he was accustomed to and Snape fought to support himself, but found he could not.
"I'm sorry, Albus…" he repeated. "I had hoped-" he choked, his body convulsing in Dumbledore's arms. "I had hoped I would be able to get close enough to the Dark Lord to destroy him… but I failed."
Dumbledore and Hermione exchanged dark looks. Snape was fading, and fading fast. Severus swallowed thickly, he glanced up at Dumbledore, then at Hermione.
"I'm tired…" he murmured wearily. "So tired…"
"Severus, no…" Hermione begged, biting back the torrent of emotions churning within her like a turbulent ocean.
Snape inhaled sharply, his eyes widening for a moment before the light in them went out. With that final exhalation of breath went all of Hermione's hopes and dreams. All the time she had spent as a teenager agonizing over an ill requited love that to this day haunted her. For Dumbledore, a son was gone. Another soul lost to the War. Whether it be directly or indirectly, Voldemort had caused another death. Even from beyond the grave.
Hermione looked down at the face of her dead professor. It was deceptively calm. A half smile on his thin, cold lips. She could feel Dumbledore's grief, the silent sobs which racked his old shoulders. Hermione placed a hand on Dumbledore's arm, making him look her in the eye. Then, forcing herself to push back the flood of tears that threatened to overtake her, she spoke.
Hope you all enjoyed it! It was a wrench to write, I don't mind telling you. Renamed it three times before I thought if publishing, half the document got erased whilst I was attempting to save it and I had to start over. I hope it was angsty enough for you::ducks tomatoes: yeah, I know it sucked, but review anyway.