Remember These Days
Disclaimer: All the characters here are the property of J.K Rowling
A/N: Yeah, It's bee quite a while since I've written well… anything. A lot of stuff happened to me in the last six months regarding school and all that type of stuff and it left me with neither the desire nor the time to write. I think all of that is starting to clear up so… yeah. Here you go.
She wandered around her little cottage. Four Small rooms, each as cluttered as the next. Books, papers and journals heaped on every available surface. Chaotic would have been the best word to describe the place, rather messy a bit more accurate. 'I really need to clean,' she thought. She dismissed the idea as quickly as it came to her. It wasn't as though anyone would be visiting, no one ever did. It would have been easy to do it. One wave of the wand and all the books could soar back to their places on the neat, orderly shelves that ringed the room. One incantation and all the paper and journals would organize themselves and pile tidily onto her desk. But she didn't have the energy for any of that. Not anymore. She wondered why she even stayed among this world. The wonder and amazement of the miraculous abilities had eons ago worn off. Even her tolerance for the small tricks and useful shortcuts had lapsed. To be honest, she hated it. Everything that the society had come to stand for. Decadence and sloth, Rome at the brink of the fall. But she could never go back to the life she had left as a child. The life she had loved before she ever discovered the allure of this one. Not even her parents would have her back after everything that had been said and done. Those bridges were far too long and terribly burnt to even consider going back. So she resigned to remain here, outside it all.
The end of the war had been utterly marvelous. Light emerged again from the dark oppression, good triumphed over evil, as it always should, and the free people of the world rejoiced. She had been at the center of it. The genius, the mastermind, truly the brightest witch of her age. Everyone reveled in her brilliance and bravery. She and her friends became legends in the span of a day. But soon the balls and parties wore thin, the fawning yes-men and adoring crowds, an annoyance. The others agreed with her. The time to celebrate their victories had passes; the time for vengeance had come. The hunt for the deatheaters was terrible indeed. They were far from the only ones searching out the followers of the vanquished dark lord, but they were certainly the most feared. Many a begging, repentant form found his justice at the hands of the three pitiless hunters. No one ever kept a record of how many crimes were committed in the name of justice and truth. And soon, at least for her, this too reached its end point. The anger and rage and mourning for all those who had been lost had been spilled and spent over the dozens of official and unofficial trials and punishments. There came a day when it was all just too much.
And that's when it happened. They found him. The one they had searched for above all others. The one they had wanted for so long. She made her decision to leave the mess when the news came. She told the boys it would be her last hunt. They could continue with her blessing and support but she would not be with them. Too much of her life had been spent on the enemy and his followers and now she had the chance to do all the things that had been delayed because of him, all the things she had dreamed of before the fall. They took her pronouncement with kindness and encouragement, as she had expected her best friends to. She knew she needed to be with them on this of all trips. She couldn't let them take it too far. This criminal needed to return in one piece. He needed to see a trial; a fair, legal, public trial. Everyone needed to see him found guilty and punished. Too many people had been affected by his crimes and betrayals for private justice. She knew this particular betrayal had been the culmination of years of hatred and animosity for her friend. He took the entire situation as a personal attack and a conformation of everything he had feared and dreaded. In one act, so many had been stripped of their childish illusions of safety and innocence that everyone should have the satisfaction of seeing him pay.
They found him in the deepest dungeons of a ruined castle. The total irony of the situation was far from lost on her. He was seated in a large wing-back chair before a sputtering fire when they stormed in. He made no move for his wand which lay on a small table in plain sight. He simply acknowledged their presence and went back to his glass of whisky. His once overwhelming aura had seemed to shrink away in the years since she'd seen him last. He seemed little more than a frail, unhealthy looking man now. He offered no resistance when they took him. The boys restrained themselves and were reasonably gentle as they took him and apperated away. She wandered around the large cell. It was obvious he had been living in this space for some time. There were few furnishings, a chair and table, desk and a bed in the corner. Books were scattered about every available surface. She thought it actually reminded her a bit of her small, cluttered apartment. She was looking through the stack of papers on the desk when she saw it. A small, black, stone bowl sat almost innocently on the blotter. She may have even passed over it were it not for its swirling silver contents.
She couldn't help but be drawn to the pensive. She looked into its depths and felt the small pull. Darkness surrounded her. In the distance she could see the lights of Hogwarts castle, now dim for so many years, blazing against the dark night sky. It was warm and balmy despite the late hour and she recognized the familiar feelings, sounds and smells of the Scottish midsummer.
"Don't be so cruel about the boy, Severus." A voice spoke from the clearing several feet away. She moved slowly toward the small area. The moonlight broke through the trees and illuminated the two figures. Dumbledore looked regal and peaceful sitting on the old, fallen tree.
The dark form paced the clearing. "He is a worthless little bastard. Tell me why it wouldn't be better to let him fail and create his own end."
"He shouldn't be punished for his father's sins. You know that. There is still hope for him."
"Are speaking of the same Draco Malfoy? Because the young man I have seen grow has the potential to be worse than his father. Twice the anger and hate without half the intelligence and tact. He is lost. There are others that can still be saved. Forget this one."
"And who would you suggest we concentrate our resources on, Severus? Would you so easily discount so many of your own house?"
"Yes and so should you, Albus."
"That's so very Slytherin of you."
"I shall accept that as a compliment." Snape sat on the log beside the headmaster. "Even if you do sound like a bleeding Hufflepuff tonight."
The Headmaster laughed and rested his hand on Snape's arm. "And I shall take that as a compliment as well."
Snape sighed and shook his head. "Is the boy really so important, Albus? I mean honestly aren't there other ways?"
"No, Severus, I'm afraid there aren't. You can't keep judging him by Lucius' crimes."
"Give him the time and he'll commit crimes of his own. And Lucius' will pale in comparison." He stood and began to pace again.
Dumbledore's face became serious again. "You know she will come to you. She trusts you as much as she trusts anyone."
"Please don't ask me to do this, Albus. Please." Snape's voice took on a desperate tone.
"It is necessary, Severus. You must vow to me now."
"No, Albus, Please." He sounded miserable and pathetic as he stood before the old man. "Do you have any idea what you're asking me to do?"
Dumbledore stood and rested his hands on the younger man's shoulders. "Yes, my boy, I'm afraid I do. It's time." Dumbledore waved his hand and Arthur Weasly stepped out of the shadows. His eyes were blood shot and it was obvious he had been crying. Snape had fallen to his knees on the ground before the headmaster. "Say it, Severus, and Arthur will seal the unbreakable vow."
He sighed shakily and began. "I, Severus Snape, vow that I will…" his voice faltered, "that I will aid Draco Malfoy in the task he has been assigned by the dark lord. Up to… up to and including killing… Killing Albus Dumbledore." He collapsed into sobs on the ground. Arthur whispered the words through his own tears and the vow was sealed.
The scene began to fade and swirl and soon she found herself now at the edges of the forbidden forest. The air was cooler and she could feel the crunch of frosty grass beneath her feet.
"It was too close. It must end now." Snape was pacing again before Dumbledore.
"Don't be so dramatic, Severus." Dumbledore seemed agitated. He looked, now, more like she remembered him looking in those final months. Slightly worn and decidedly tired, holding his injured arm close to his body. His voice was condescending as he addressed Snape and he seemed agitated with the whole situation.
"For god's sake, Albus, Miss Bell almost died today. She is still at St. Mungo's. Doesn't any of this matter to you? How many students are going to have to get hurt for you to notice that this has gone too far?"
"She will be fine. The best mediwizards in the world are caring for her. That's what matters. You can't back out of you vow now. Too much rests upon it."
Snape looked at the old man disgusted. "You're really insane aren't you?"
"You made an unbreakable vow to me, Severus. When the time comes you must finish it." He closed the distance between them. "I know I have asked too much of you with this. But please, Severus, you must finish it."
"I wish I could hate you. You know I can't and that's what makes this all so terrible."
"I know, Severus, I know. And I honestly wish I could make you if it would ease your pain."
The pair split apart when they heard Hagrid's voice coming from the lawn.
The trees pushed apart and the half giant came into the tiny clearing "I 'erd voices an' I came ta see…"
"It's all quite alright, Hagrid." Dumbledore cut him off. "Professor Snape and I were just having a small discussion." He took his arm and led him back toward the castle. "Why don't we have a cup of tea and discuss those manticores you requested."
The scene faded away and she soon found herself sprawled on the floor of the small cell. Tears streamed down her face as she looked up at the bowl.
"Oh no." she jumped up and grabbed the pensive before apperating away.
The entry hall of the ministry of magic was far quieter than usual. She ignored the yells from the portraits she passed about her running and made for the stairwell. She took the steps two at a time and soon reached the sub basement court room. The aurors at the door admitted her without question and she began to push her way through the crowd. It seemed as if the entire ministry had come to view the trial and the usually cramped, dark room seemed even more oppressive than ever. She reached the railing of the viewing area barely in time.
Snape stood alone at the center of the room. The aurors surrounding him eyed him with distrust that seemed out of place directed at the wandless man who could barely stand up. Her friends sat a small table off to the side wide, proud smiles spread across their faces. Minerva McGonagall sat at her place at the head of the Wizenmagmot.
"Well, Severus Snape if you have nothing to offer in your defense." She paused in the speech. "I'm afraid I shall have to pass judgment."
"No!" She jumped the rail and entered the court room itself. "I have evidence which exonerates him."
"Hermione, what the hell are you doing?" Harry and Ron stood up sharply from their seats.
"I found a pensive at his residence. It possesses memories which exonerates him based on past precedent that wizards acting under the orders of the order of the phoenix or its leaders were found to be righteous in the acts they preformed. This included murder, rape, torture and the repeated use of all three unforgivable curses."
A murmur rose up form the judging wizards and they began to whisper amongst themselves. McGonagall's eyes, however, never left her. "We shall accept this new evidence."
A great cry rose up from the crowd. Harry grabbed her arm and spun her around "What are you doing, 'Mione. We have him. Don't ruin this."
She pulled away and glared at him as she crossed the room to the projector. The gigantic projector had been created during the war to show the memories of those who had been accused and those who testified against them, largely eliminating the need for veritaserium. She pulled the tiny threads of memory from the bowl and played them one by one. A deep silence settled over all present after seeing the memories of the vow Snape made to Dumbledore.
"Those are lies. He didn't… he couldn't have."
"And how do you suggest he fooled the pensive, Mr. Potter?" McGonagall looked down at him through her small glasses.
"I… I don't know. But he did. Slughorn did it. I saw that. He must have done it too."
"It's true." A small voice in the crowd spoke up. Molly Weasley spitted forward and handed a small bottle to Hermione. "Arthur gave this to me before he died. He told me to bring it foreword if Severus ever came to trial. I'm only happy I got here in time."
She gently emptied the contents of the bottle into the projector. The first scene was seen again. This time form the perspective of the man who administered the vow. As the screen flickered off the courtroom was in silence. The memories of the now dead order were something that must be believed and his wife was far above reproach.
"Well," McGonagall began, "given this new evidence the council will withdraw for its deliberations." The Wizenmagmot filed out and nervous whispers sprung up around the room.
"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" Harry grabbed Hermione's arm and spun her to face him. "You can't do this to me, Hermione. You can't."
She pulled away from him. Over his shoulder she could see Ron hanging back, afraid to challenge his mother. "You would send an innocent man to the Dementor's Kiss to appease your need for vengeance."
"It's Snape! He's not innocent. He never was innocent. He is a deatheater and the man that murdered Dumbledore."
"He had no choice, Harry."
"He could have just died. He could have just died and saved us all the…"
"If he had died one of the others up there would have done it, Harry. Nothing would have changed."
"Yeah, it would have." She hadn't even noticed Ron approach. "You… I never told you I was there, Harry. At the end, in the chamber." He hung his head.
"Don't you dare, Ronald." Harry's eyes took on a dangerous glint.
"I have to. You can't even see what you're doing anymore, Harry." He reached up to his head and withdrew the memory. "I can't… I can't say it so just look."
Hermione leaned over the swirling bowl. Soon she was sucked in and fell to the ground. She was in the Chamber of Secrets, where the final duel had taken place. She was in a balcony overlooking the large area. The red head silently crept toward the edge, wand ready as he watched the proceedings below. Voldemort stood at the center of the room, Harry was only a few feet away stalking in a circle around the dark lord. She could see Snape standing off to the side, Nagani wrapped around his shoulders. It was obviously a place of honor to hold his master's beloved snake. Harry and Voldemort were talking but from the distance she couldn't hear them. Harry kept looking toward the man and the snake that stood off to the side. She knew by the time the final battle came Nagini was the only horcuuxe they had not yet destroyed. Voldemort focused all of his attention on the boy who had once defeated him and kept his ramblings. Ron covered his mouth and gasped. Hermione followed Ron's gaze. Snape off to the side seemed to be inching something out of the sleeve of his robes. A glint in the candle light showed it to be a large knife. His eyes never left the dark lord as he lifted the knife.
"Now!" he yelled as he brought the dagger down through the snake's head.
Voldemort spun around and screamed and Harry cast his spell.
Hermione took a step back and looked down at the passive's surface then up at Harry. "You knew?" she whispered.
Molly rested her hand lightly on her arm. "What did you see, Hermione?"
"He knew Snape was on our side. Snape killed Nagini. He distracted Voldemort so Harry could kill him. Why didn't you ever say this?"
"It doesn't change anything. He's still a deatheater."
"No, it changes everything."
She was about to continue but the Wizenmagmot was filing silently in.
The courtroom fell silent as McGonagall stood. "Severus Snape, you have been accused of participating in deatheater activities, the use of the unforgivable curses, spying for Voldemort, and the murder of Albus Dumbledore as well as many others. Evidence has been presented testifying as to your position as a spy for the order of the phoenix and an unbreakable vow you made to Dumbledore himself. Given this evidence and based on past precedent as well as ministry edict 2754 the Wizenmagmot finds you not guilty of all charges. The ministry will remove all holds on your assets you are now free to go."
Those in the courtroom left silently. Molly stepped up to the man in the center of the room and whispered something to him. He walked out silently with her, only casting a small glance toward Hermione.
"I hope you're happy now." Harry glared in her face before he stormed out.
"He'll be ok in time." Ron offered quietly.
"No, I don't think he will."
The time after the trial was harder than ever for her. She was no longer the brilliant witch everyone adored. She was now the woman who set a deatheater free. Soon she could no longer face all the scrutiny and comments and she retreated into herself. She began to hate going out. Hate everything about the world outside. Ron would visit her for a while. But he got married and found a career and there was suddenly no time. She read most of the day away. She took her NEWTS just to say that she had. After time passed she almost became used to being alone. She shook her head and stopped reminiscing. She knew it did no good. Hermione jumped when there was a knock at her door.
She stood and crosses the room and cracked the door open slightly before opening it fully. "Professor, I… um…"
"Would you invite me in, it is bloody cold out here."
She moved out of the way and the black clad professor strode in. He had seemed to have regained much of his strength since she last saw him almost five years before. "Umm… Please have a seat." She gestured toward the small sitting area before the fire.
"That won't be necessary. I simply… I realized I never thanked you for what you did for me years ago."
"There really is no need for that. I couldn't let an innocent person go through that."
"No, Miss Granger, I'm afraid your friend Potter was right. I am far from innocent. Though I am grateful for your kindness regardless."
"Yes, well…" she walked around him and went about preparing herself a cup of tea.
"I was surprised to see you disappear after all that happened."
"I… I needed time away."
"Indeed. You may have heard I have been returned to my position at Hogwarts."
"I didn't even know they reopened the school."
"Yes, well, they did. And I… I was wondering." He sighed and ran a hand through his black hair. "Ever since…" he sighed again. "I need an apprentice." He blurted out.
"Why me?" she came back into the room. "I haven't studied anything for… since before the war ended."
"I would hardly call this collection not studying." He crossed the room and stood just before her. "Hermione, once long ago you were the best student I ever had. You gave me back my life. Please allow me to help you to reclaim yours."
She closed her eyes and for one brief second imagined herself back among the familiar halls. Her eyes opened and she looked back into the back eyes that bored into hers. "Yes," she answered slowly, "I believe I might."
For the first time in all the years she had known Severus Snape he smiled.
Comments, Criticisms, etc…