Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the associated merchandise, storylines and settings.

Author's Note: Once again I am VERY sorry for my ridiculously prolonged update but I'm working on three other fanfictions at the moment and haven't been here for three weeks or so. Hope you enjoy this latest chapter.

Chapter eight

Hermione fell as she landed in Snape's memory once more. Standing up, she noticed she was in a long dark room, a green-tinted fire alight to her left. There were black leather sofa's in front of it and a painting above depicted Salazar Slytherin in Hogwarts uniform, his wand producing a green snake and a twisted smile on his lips. She was in the Slytherin Common Room. Wondering what she was doing there, she heard footsteps behind her as someone came down the stone steps from one of the dorms. Recognising him from his previous memory, she scowled as a young Snape entered the common room nervously. She noticed his hair was wet, as if he had just taken a shower and he smelled faintly of aftershave. Checking himself in the mirror, he cast a charm to dry his hair and then having second thoughts, placed a de-greasing charm on it too. He exited, and Hermione followed, wondering what could be the occasion. They walked through the corridors and out into the grounds. The sun was setting, casting a golden glow across the emerald grass. Snape walked over to the Lake and turned abruptly round a corner. He stopped abruptly, causing Hermione to walk through him. Snape ducked back round the corner and began pacing, muttering wildly to himself. Hermione did a double-take and saw that Lily Evans was sitting on a bench round the corner, reading a thick textbook.

"Lily I was wondering if maybe you'd…no, no she'd never buy that." He pulled out a Lily from under his cloak and offered it to the air, "Lily I bought this flower for you because, it's a Lily and your name is Lily and – no Severus that's just weird. Lily - "

"Sevvy? What are you doing here?" Both Snape and Hermione span around. Lily was standing there in all her ginger beauty and Hermione heard a little sigh from Snape.

"Lily I - " Lily moved forwards and took the flower.

"Sevvy is this for me?" She beamed. Snape looked at his feet, blushing.

"Lily I was wondering if maybe you'd like to come to the 7th year's dance with me?"

"Sure Sevvy, thanks!" She hugged him and ran off into the castle. Snape was smiling happily and he walked back into the castle.

Once again Hermione was flying through the air and she landed in another memory. She was back in the Slytherin Dungeon but in the boy's dorm now. Snape was in the same outfit he had worn that night of her own 7th year's dance and was checking himself in the mirror.

"Sevvy, you look good," he assured himself shakily. And he did, but Hermione refused to admit it. He pulled out his wand and conjured a Lily, placing it in his button hole. Smoothing his waistcoat he walked out of the Dungeon and into the Great Hall. Seeing as he was a Slytherin and Lily a Gryffindor he couldn't meet her wherever the Gryffindors lived so he'd said he'd meet her by the doors. Soon students began piling in, all with dates and as the minutes passed Snape seemed to be growing more and more agitated. Laughter was coming from the Entrance Hall and both Snape and Hermione turned, recognising the laughter to be from the Marauders. First in was Sirius with the Asian girl Hermione had seen him with in the other memory, then a very tired looking Lupin and the blonde haired girl and finally James and…

"Lily?" Snape seemed both shocked, hurt, angry, and many other emotions Hermione could not decipher.

"Oh Sevvy hi! You look great…didn't you get my owl? James asked me to the dance just after you did and I thought you wouldn't mind so…" the sentence was unfinished but the message was clear. Snape had been ditched at the last minute and was now dateless and humiliated. As the group moved away and disappeared into the mull of students Hermione watched as Snape clenched his jaw, tears welling in his eyes.

"But you promised Lily…you promised…" he whispered.

Another memory. Snape was back in the Boys Dorm standing on a chair. This seemed to be on the same night as he was still in his dress robes. He looked defeated…crumpled. There were tear tracks on his cheeks and there was a knife with fresh blood gracing it's blade lying on the floor. Snape's sleeves were rolled up and Hermione saw with horror and pain that Snape's arms were covered in deep cuts, the blood staining the ends of his shirt. She could envision well enough Snape crying, holding the knife shakily, drawing it across his arm, watching the scarlet run down to the floor…She shook her head and drew her attention back to Snape who was now levitating his school tie in the air…it was a noose…she screamed but knew he could not hear her. She watched helplessly in horrified fascination as he put his head in the noose…and kicked away the chair… once more Hermione felt a heavy hand on her shoulder and once more she felt the familiar jerking sensation behind her navel as she was lifted out of the pensive, Snape still dangling, the colour draining from his face.

Hermione stood, facing present-day Snape, the tears running freely down her cheeks. Without hesitating she ran forward and wrapped her arms tightly around him, sobbing violently. He leant his head on the top of hers and held her tight, rubbing her back comfortingly.

"Please…p-please forgive me…I d-didn't know…I'm s-so s-sorry…" She looked up into his eyes. Her were full of tears, his were empty…broken. He spoke, his own voice wavering with fear, sadness, but understanding. He buried his face in her hair, whispering reassurance to both her and himself…

"I know…I know,"