Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Harry Potter Characters, however much I wish

Big thanks to my Beta Kelly, aka: Lupinsstar who along with swearing that's she's going to update her fic's, has helped with this one. MWAH Kel! Merci!

Healing the Wounds

Severus Snape sat in his quarters on a lonely Christmas Eve. He sat in a dark burgundy chair beside a roaring fire, and had taken to swirling a glass vintage red wine around in its glass, resisting the urge to finish the glass and the bottle as promptly as possible. Contraire to popular opinion, Severus Snape was an agreeable man who was contented easily; and while he sat in thought, deep in the dungeons of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry his mind pondered the activities his students would no doubly be participating in.

The Slytherin's he decided; would have sat around the large fire in their common room with a bottle of Odgens Firewhiskey while discussing their plans for the New Year. In a civilised manner, the Slytherin's would all tell of their woes and fears regarding the current political climate and express their feelings on the matter.

The Hufflepuff's, in his opinion; would either be sharing a quiet convosation with friends, or be tucked away in bed, waiting for the presents which wouldn't come.

The Ravenclaws would no doubly be having a debate of some sorts, or a study group, or planning their futures and parts in the war. Under no illusions were the Ravenclaws and they kept apart from the school, their ambition clouding their judgement till then.

The Gryffindor's, Snape concluded; would be having a great party with alcohol and practical jokes and merriment. The least subdued house, they would be rampaging around the school like a herd of hippogriffs in good spirits and merriments. And it sickened him.

As his glass swirled for what must have been the hundredth time, a small knock on the door of his chambers was heard. He turned his head slowly and grunted; 'Go away,' for he felt opposed towards any type of company or disruption. A small voice followed another, more persistent knock, 'Professor Snape?'

Standing at once, indignant that this miscreant could ruin his evening he stalked to the door and opened it roughly, only to be hit in the face by what would have been a third knock to the door.

'Oh, Professor Snape!' came the high pitched voice again, 'I'm dreadfully sorry Professor, I was only going to knock again, I hadn't realised that you were going to answer the door…' She trailed off, smiling impishly and biting her lip in apology.

'Miss Granger, only you would disturb a Professor on Christmas Eve at this hour and then proceed to attack the said professor with your relentless knocking on my door,' he said exasperatedly.

'Professor I know it's a bit late but I just found this text in the library and thought it could be of some help to the project you are working on,' she said, her eyes glowing with excitement as she uncovered the battered book from under her thick robes.

'Miss Granger, I am at a loss to how you know about this project and why an earth you were reading a book of this nature on Christmas Eve rather than celebrating the occasion with your schoolfellows.'

Immediately her head dropped, her shoulders sagged and she made to stow the book away while answering, 'Professor Dumbledore informed us of this project sir, I wanted to help and found this book in the Library and Sir, with all due respects; There is nothing to celebrate.'

At this, Severus Snape was rather shocked, this girl was top of their year and head girl to boot, she was the best friend of Harry Potter and they were working tirelessly in the war against Voldemort. 'Nothing at all Miss Granger? There is nothing you can be thankful of this year? Nothing you can celebrate?'

She looked up at him, her eyes no longer glowing, but rimmed with tears and she shook her head. 'Every time I feel happy sir, I feel a pang of guilt. My parents died because of my part in this war and I feel it would do them a dishonour to laugh and be merry while there is so much in this war that needs to be done.'

Bowing his head, the potions master closed his eyes briefly and exhaled. He could identify with his pupil, as it was exactly what he had felt after joining the light side. Looking up he searched her face and bit his lip, 'I see Miss Granger,' he told her quietly, 'and therefore it is out of guilt for your parents deaths that you work so tirelessly and have come to disturb me on Christmas Eve to aid me with my project?'

Eyes brimming with tears that she refused to let fall, she nodded mutely. Taking one look at the forlorn girl grieving on his doorstep, and another at the warm fire in his rooms with two cosy armchairs and a bottle of wine, Severus Snape did the impossible and opened his door to the distraught head girl, inclined his head to the fireplace, 'Miss Granger, please come in.'

She fled from the cold, echoing halls into his rooms and stood beside the fire silently staring at the dancing flames. He noticed she was wrapped in many layers of robes and held herself like he had once done when young. At the time he had just taken the mark and was shut in his bed, with the hangings spelled shut and he had cried. 'Miss Granger, please sit down, is there anything you would like to drink?'

She sniffled and shrugged off the blood red outer robe she wore, to reveal a thinner black robe and sank into the armchair. Looking up at him with hesitance and precaution in her wide, hazel eyes, she replied meekly, 'A cup of Tea couldn't go amiss, sir.'

Instantly, an old fashioned metal kettle appeared and Snape placed it in the fire, he magicked a mug and saucer out of the air and summoned a small bottle of milk. He set upon the task and made the tea in an old muggle fashion; first he transfigured an empty wine bottle into a tea-strainer and watched as he strained the tea into the cup by pouring the boiling water over it. She observed, transfixed, as he carefully added a dash of milk to the mixture and stirred it as he did his potions, while banishing the used equipment. Handing her the cup of tea, she nodded in thanks and asked him why he made the tea like that, and did not simply conjure a cup of tea ready made.

'Magic has its own ways of forming things,' he informed her mildly, 'and sometimes an old Muggle way is incomparably better than the magical solution. Making tea can be calming and soothing, if not for me then for you, as you seem to have cheered since watching me tackle the task of making tea,' he explained, a smile gracing his face.

He poured himself another glass of wine and sat back in his armchair, closing his eyes in a weak attempt to escape his life. His breathing slowed as his eyes flickered open and he observed her nursing her tea. One hand held the handle and the other the brim of the cup and he inquired as to why she held the cup so. 'It's hot,' she explained, 'At home I was always taught…'

He nodded in understanding as she broke off and furiously blinked away the tears that threatened her face. She drank her tea quietly and thought of her housemates as she had left them. Harry had been lying on the rug in the common room, staring at the fire, crying. Ron had sat on an armchair beside him with his eyes closed and in a state of meditation. The younger years had put themselves to bed early and everyone else was sat together in a corner of the common room, away from Harry and Ron. The common room had been silent, the elder students crying and holding each other, the younger hidden from the war they would have to soon face. She, herself had sat beside Ronald with the large book she had brought to Professor Snape. In truth, she had found the book earlier in the week, but hadn't been able to find the right excuse to show her professor. She had sat in the common room with the book her lap, closed and had been leaning against Ron's shoulder. She had hummed softly to herself, an old muggle lullaby and felt uncomfortable breaking the silence. She had run out of the room terrified, for her friends were distraught and she could not help them, and oh how it scared her.

When she had stopped running she had realised that her feet had bought her to the Library. Looking down at the book she clasped in her hands she ran to the dungeons, straight to her professor, her eyes alight in relief. And then he had let her in, invited her into his quarters when she was distressed, and she appreciated it.

Comfortably they sat watching the flames of his fire parade around the fireplace and rise up through the chimney. When she finished the tea she closed her eyes briefly and opened them again to find Professor Snape staring gently at her.

He blinked and shook his head abruptly, speaking quietly 'Now, Miss Granger, I believe you had found something in that's book of your which might help me?'

Her eyes opened and she could have smacked her head, 'Of course Professor see I found this charm which is used to help keep the heat on potions in proportion with the ingredients. It would help with the potion you are creating because I know the base of the potion needs to be kept at the same temperature until adding the moonflower and then the heat would need to rise dramatically. This would raise the heat without you having to adjust the heat manually and therefore leave you free to stir in the moonflower to the point that it no longer acts as a catalyst and then with the powdered Bicorns Horn it would create the potion perfectly.'

She stopped speaking and bit her lip, the Professors head was bowed and he had not reacted to her findings at all. She turned to the correct page in the text she had found and began to read aloud, 'The Tempus Keep Charm was created by Professor Emmet Brown, a renowned researcher into the effects of time-travel and how time can be manipulated for other uses. The charm acts as an anti-catalyst for the base of the potion. It keeps the potion at a steady state while adjusting to each ingredient input into a potion. The phrase 'Tempus Status' needs to be cast on the base of a potion; before brewing continues.'

Looking up at her Professor, whose eyes were bulging wide in shock. He smiled and shook his head in satisfaction, '100 points to Gryffindor, Miss Granger. You are by far the most competent potions student I have had in years, and right now I could hug you.'

Hermione smiled sheepishly, 'I thought it might help…'

She grinned and asked him about his method on the base, and he was off. They chatted amiably and enthusiastically for a while, she challenged him on points he made and wouldn't accept defeat until he explained them properly to which she just nodded and noted down on some conjured parchment.

She was absently curling her hair in her fingers and biting the end of her quill while he finished explaining the finer points of the properties of the base when suddenly a clock chimed once, and loudly. 'My goodness,' she exclaimed, 'it's so late, or early! I best get back.'

He studied her tightly for a second and nodded sharply but frowned and then shook his head. 'Miss Granger there is a war in motion and you are in Slytherin territory, I will not deny that some of my students are no doubtly marked by their parents beliefs and, while it may be improper I must insist you do not stray into the halls and,' he paused in decision, 'stay here.'

'What? Oh Professor I couldn't possibly…'

He gave her a look which was half a smirk and chided her, 'Scared of what your friends will say?'

Looking at him, calculating the pros and con's she grinned back and apologised. 'I guess you are right Professor, I wouldn't want to miss the casting of the charm on the base.'

He looked at her sternly and said flatly, 'Miss Granger even if you were to die I am positive you would remain as a ghost purely in intent of watching over this potion, I have no objections with you assisting me with this at all, for you have just provided a vital answer.

She giggled at this; she wouldn't want to miss it for sure. She began to pull her robe back over her to settle down Snape stood up hurriedly and summoned her book and robe. He looked at the armchair and said repulsed, 'Miss Granger you cannot sleep there.'

'But then where am I to sleep?'

Exasperated,he told her bluntly, 'In my bed Miss Granger.'

Her face was aghast, surely he didn't mean? But what if he did? What would she do?

Rolling his eyes at her apparent thoughts he chuckled, 'Miss Granger I assure you I will not be in the room at the same time.'

Amused at the relief evident on her face he led her into his bedroom and conjured some pyjamas, which lay folded on the bed. 'If you need me, I shall be on the couch.' Nodding curtly he left her to change and he retired to his living room. The embers had died in the fire and the wine bottle was lying empty on the side table.

Hermione changed into the pale pink pyjamas Snape had conjured for her and snug herself into the white cotton sheets. His room was not green as thought, but a dark blue, and his covers were navy with silver embroidery woven into the stitches. She lay her head back on the pillow and breathed in the scent of her Professor. He smelt of spice, ginger and lemon. It was refreshingly soothing and within minutes she was asleep. Her thoughts were not of Christmas, for she had completely forgotten the holiday while in her professors company, but of potions, charms, and a dark, cloaked man with understanding. She slept innocently with her long tangled hair strewn across her face and arm sprawled across the bed, and that was exactly how he had found her in the morning.

A/N: Did anyone get my Professor Emmet Brown, big time-traveller research bit? Cookies for those who understand my jaunt into the world of another film…hehehe