Disclaimer: Not mine.

A/N: Random litlte bit I found on my computer. Post HBP, if you can't figure it out.

"I believe you, Professor."

"Just like you, Miss Granger. To try and stay level headed while Potter and Weasley jump to conclusions. I applaud your sincere efforts," he drawled.

"Professor Snape, I believe you."

"Yes, and Santa Clause really exists. Certainly you can do better than that, Miss Granger. I expected so much more from you. And yet, you've disappointed me... again. I suppose I should have seen it coming."

"With all due respect sir, will you please be quiet and listen to me!" She was beginning to lose patience with him.

"Don't snap at me, miss, or you shall deeply regret it," he threatened.

"What are you going to do, deduct house points? Listen, your life is at stake and I'm here to help you. Now will you please stop playing with me and listen."

He glared at her. "How dare you, you insolent -"

"Do you value your life? What's left of it, that is? Because I'm willing to tell you, right now, how you can save it."

"There is nothing left to save! Can't you see what I am? A horrible, cruel old man that deserves nothing better than death. I'm sorry you have wasted your precious time and energy coming here." He fell silent after that, startled at his own words. She seemed to be as well, and remained silent too for a few moments.

"I cannot believe I even thought you would listen to me. Fine then, die. See if anyone cares. See if you get anything more than a blank headstone because no one cares enough. You have one person rooting for you right now. One person trying to save you, and you will have nothing to do with it. So you know what, I give up. Go ahead and die. I don't care." She turned away from and began to walk in the direction of the door, tears starting to obscure her vision.

Standing there, he was stunned into silence, something very rare for him. Extremely rare, and it had once happened due to another Gryffindor. What was it with them and their goddamned pity? For him, no less. "Miss Granger!" he called out. "Miss Granger, what is it you want to tell me!"

She stopped in her tracks, but did not face him. "It doesn't matter anymore, because you don't care. There's nothing left to save, as you said." She continued walking.

He strode quickly across the dingy room, reaching out a hand and grabbing her arm. "Perhaps I spoke too quickly."

She scoffed at him. "Please, sir, remove your hand from my arm. I have better things to do."

"Would you face me, you -"

She whirled around. "What am I, sir? A bookworm? A know it all? Oh wait, I know. An insolent little know it all. That seems to be your favorite, doesn't it?" she spat.

"There is war at hand and you're thinking about things that happened years ago?" he questioned rather loudly.

"Me? What about you? All you ever did was torture anyone and everyone that breathed wrong! And Harry... just because his father was a jerk to you -"

"You have no idea what James Potter and his little friends did to me. Don't you dare point the finger at me to tell me I'm the one who was in the wrong. Don't you dare, Miss Granger!"

"Harry never did anything to you! If anything, he gave you the chance to live a few more years by surviving You Know Who's killing curse. You should be grateful that he ever breathed air on this earth!"

He glared at her, surprised again at her behavior. "If I may ask, what the hell has come over you?"

She nearly growled at him in frustration. "What has come over me? Look at you. Even crueler than I remember. And turning down the chance to save your hide! What kind of person does that? None that I can think of, except maybe the insane."

"Then why don't you just tell me, since you seem to care so much."

"That's not the point! There's always been someone there who cares for you, and all the time, you betray them and turn them away, scoffing at their offers of help. Professor Dumbledore trusted you, and I believe that he bound you to kill him if Malfoy didn't pull through. But now... he gave his life so you could live and you betray him by turning it down." Her hands were clenched into fists at her sides, blood pounding through her. "He gave his life!"

He stared at her, trying to quell the raging ocean of emotions storming through him. There was something about her that he'd always admired, though he tried his best to hide it, even from himself. Especially from himself, because what he saw was... was deplorable, to say the least. To even fathom beginning to perhaps love a Gryffindor was as a good as suicide in his eyes. In every aspect of the word. And every common belief of it as well. Cowardly. Submission. Retreat. Defeat.

The tears were rolling down her cheeks, but she didn't acknowledge them, just stared back at her once professor. What else should she do? Leave him there? She knew she couldn't. No matter what she said, she couldn't leave him to die at the hands of the Death Eaters. They would torture him and though she knew he was strong, no one could last for long. And to make it worse, they would probably make it worse, seeing as they had found out he was a traitor to them. Even if he had killed Dumbledore...

"What would you like me to do, Miss Granger?" he asked her quietly.

Taking a shuddering breath, she replied, "The Death Eaters are gathering not far from here and they are planning on going through the Muggle town down the road. They plan to kill anyone who opposes them and torture everyone else. And..."

"And what, Miss Granger?"

"They plan to kill you when they find you."

Glancing towards the window, he said, "You mean if they find me."

She looked at him, trying to read his face, something that was near impossible, unless he was angry, than it showed plainly across his pale features. "You mean...?"

"Yes, I shall take your information and use it to save my life."

"But I thought that you didn't think your life was worth saving?"

She thought she saw a flicker of a smile dance across his lips, but quickly dismissed as a trick of the light, or her mind. "Sometimes war changes a man to believe that perhaps, somewhere out there, there is someone who cares enough to save his from the clutches of sure death. And war always teaches man to hold on to that belief for all he his worth, and for all who care for him are worth."

Was this Severus Snape she was hearing? The Severus Snape who gave detentions for the barest of offenses and criticized what he considered the futile attempts of his students at potions? Maybe it was, she thought as his face loosened slightly and she could see more than cold despair in his eyes. She couldn't tell exactly what it was she was seeing, but it filled her with hope, nonetheless.

All of a sudden, she was overcome with the urge to throw her arms around this man before her. Just because he looked like someone who hadn't had a hug since he was a child and to be honest, a man who was in desperate need of human contact that didn't hurt. So she did just that, throwing her arms around his slim form, enveloping him and his robes and anything she could reach, in her grasp.

At first, he stood, stunned, before slowly lifting his arms to gently pat her back. Then, he slowly drew her closer, hugging her to him, enjoying the feeling of love and care portrayed through such a simple act. And he vowed to himself, in that moment, to never betray her again, because she was right. And, he thought with a small jolt of surprise, he loved her.

He loved her.