Every Rose Has Its Thorns

AN: I'm going back to my HP fanfic roots -- this is a new, multi-chapter fanfic in the vein of Every Time We Touch, which I had considered my opus. However, this story is SSxHG, and it won't have the same sort of action as ETWT (the battles, not the lemonade stand --if ya aren't mature enough to read this, then don't). I'm not sure what exactly the 'hook' is going to be yet (I'm considering a few), so we'll see where this takes us.

Also, this is AU (mostly) from the time Severus Snape 'killed' Dumbledore.

That said, this may be a long trip. You keep the reviews coming, and I'll keep the chapters coming. Petty as it is, I want reviews for posts. Per usual, first reviewer gets then next chapter dedication.


Chapter 1: My Lips Are Sealed

Our Lips Are Sealed, the Go-Gos

Can you hear them
They talk about us
Telling lies
Well that's no surprise

Can you see them
See right through them
They have no shield
No secrets to reveal

It doesn't matter what they say
In the jealous games people play
Our lips are sealed

Careless talk
Through paper walls
We can't stop them
Only laugh at them

Spreading rumors
So far from true
Dragged up from the underworld
Just like some precious pearl

It doesn't matter what they say
In the jealous games people play
Our lips are sealed
Pay no mind to what they say
It doesn't matter anyway
Our lips are sealed

"G-gods," Hermione breathed, seeing the husk that was Albus Dumbledore's body falling over the side of the high tower.

Hermione rushed up the stairs, her ears keened for sounds that would tell her the Deatheaters were near. She cast a Foes No Know charm, to hide herself from the Deatheaters. She'd come up with the charm after the disastrous events at the Ministry at the end of their fifth year. Harry had blown up on her when she shared it, angry that they hadn't had it before they charged the Ministry. Hermione still grieved for Sirius, though like Harry, she found it hard to believe that something as simple as a stunner and a mirror frame could fell the infamous Sirius Black.

Hermione still had to keep very quiet, as the charm would only make her invisible; one stray cough or sob and she was toasted. She finally heard the footsteps of the Deatheaters. McNair was leading the charge back down the stairs.

"Come on, now. Lucius should be here by now. He'll have what we need to escape," McNair hissed, touching his wand to his Dark Mark before pointing his wand out the window. The omen appeared in the sky, and while McNair meant for it to bring Deatheaters, Hermione knew it meant that reinforcements from the Order could then bring the Ministry's Auror corps in.

"Bad boy, naughty boy," Bellatrix Lestrange purred at her nephew, Draco Malfoy. "Mummy's not around, and Daddy's never saved you. Auntie Bella's going to punish you right for the Dark Lord. Maybe he'll even give you a real mark this time."

Bellatrix's hand hovered over Draco's brow, and Hermione would later swear that she'd seen the ferret shrink back against their Potions Master, Severus Snape. Hermione bit her lip and held her breath, hoping that fear didn't have a smell, for if it did, that famous nose would pick up on it. The Potions Master's hand flew to Draco's should under the cloak of black robes, and for a moment Hermione felt his eyes rest on her, and he jerked his head in an imperceptible nod towards the top of the tower.

"Bella, you'll leave Draco to me. As his parents have not yet deigned to arrive, as his . . . godfather. . . I am responsible for him, not you. You will not touch my -- godson," Snape ground out. Snape shoved Bellatrix off of Draco and pushed her towards the bottom of the stairs, dragging Draco with him. Hermione wanted to go up to the top of the tower, but instead, curiosity got the better of her, and she waited to see and hear what would happen.

The group and its stowaway took the last few steps to the door of the tower. At the bottom, Snape stopped.

"This is as far as I can go at this moment," Snape said, his voice harsh. "I must make sure that old pot is dead, and I shall endeavor to incapacitate or capture Harry Potter for our Lord. Bella, go to Lucius and ensure that he can get everyone else out of here. McNair, take Draco and deal with the Aurors."

Hhmmm, Hermione thought. Even now, he's protecting Draco. I'm sure I'll deal with him at the top of the tower.

Hermione turned and padded silently but quickly up the stairs. She was halfway to the top when she felt it hit her.


The binding spell hit Hermione mid-step and she landed hard on her bum, forcing her breath out in a loud huff. Her concentration gone, the Foe No Know charm dissipated, and Hermione was stuck in a dark stairwell facing Severus Snape. She held her breath and his gaze, waiting for the death she was sure would come.

"Silencio," Snape hissed, and something akin to a bubble of silence settled over the stairwell. He leaned down into Hermione's face, examining her as if she were some potions experiment. "You bloody chit of a Know-It-All. Do you have any idea what you've jeopardized by coming here tonight?

The binding spell kept Hermione's mouth shut, and she refused to think about his question, her only defense against Snape's Legilimency.

"So Potter did share his little lessons with you, hmm?" Snape barked out a laugh. "Cat got your tongue?" he breathed the question into her ear, and Hermione felt the binding spell loosening its hold. She shivered at his closeness, and hated herself for it.

She spat at him, refusing to speak.

"Miss Granger, I can reach into your mind and take the answers I need, but it is only my respect for your intellect and my sheer exhaustion that keeps me from doing that. You will comply, or I will force my way inside you."

Hermione's eyes widened, and the images in her head had nothing to do with Legilimency and Occlumency. Her face burned, and Snape sighed in disgust.

"Thank the gods that you are so young your primal instincts cloud you mind so. If you are ever captured by Voldemort, all he has to do is look at you with any heat and he won't be able to glean anything of use from you, save your depraved fantasies."

"If you are going to kill me, I suggest you do it now," Hermione said, her mind desperately fighting to find out how he'd seen her. He must have smelled her fear, or her bloody shampoo or something she'd put on today, not knowing how it would end.

"But how shall I kill you, Miss Granger, and why? You have such interesting thoughts; perhaps I could fuck you to death," Snape said, his mouth still near her ear. Usually, he'd be reserved and nasty, not sensual and nasty. But his patience was worn thin, and he was angry at her; thus, he used her basest reactions against her.

Hermione snorted, her Gryffindor arrogance coming through. She stiffened her back and glared at him haughtily. Snape glared back at her, then snorted.

"Please, Miss Granger. If I were going to kill you, you would be dead right now. And it would have been quick, and pleasurable for neither of us," Snape sighed in disgust. "Get up, we must get back to the top of the tower, and now."

"What? But you -- I can smell the killing curse on you," Hermione said, surprising herself. She really could smell the stink of the curse on him, but it was different than the stink she'd smelled on other Deatheaters. "You cast the curse, but it didn't connect. What are you, Snape?"

The Potions Master rolled his eyes and grabbed Hermione's arm.

"I'm not telling you anything until we get to the top of the tower. Not that you'll get to remember any of it," he remarked, yanking Hermione up the stairs so quickly she stumbled. Grunting, Snape heaved Hermione over his shoulder and carried her, fireman-style, up the stairs and kicked the door open.

"You! You killed him!" Harry Potter got to his feet, tears streaming down his face, wand drawn. "Avad--"

"Impedimenta," Snape casually hexed Harry, stopping him mid-spell. The boy wizard hit his head on the stone roof, knocking himself unconscious on impact. "Finally, you've done something right, boy. I know you're up there," he turned his face to the sky. "Might as well come back down here. We haven't much time. Fawkes is on his way."

Snape dumped Hermione unceremoniously on the ground, but carefully enough so she could find her feet instead of landing on her bum. She brushed herself off and reached for her wand to find it wasn't in her pocket. Snape brandished it before he pocketed it himself.

"Let you hex me? When I have so much to do? No. You've gotten yourself into something you don't understand. Unfortunately, I find myself exhausted and I will need your help. Lay your hand on my shoulder; I am going to draw a bit of power from you," Snape said, his eyes mostly devoid of emotion and color. The only mark of his exhaustion was the pinched look around his eyes. "Get on with it, girl, or I'll kill the boy and leave you to wallow in your own damned guilt!"

Hermione was forced into action, for Harry's sake, if not her own. She clamped her hand down on Snape's sinewy shoulder, surprised to find anything there but bone and cold. She was careful in her grip as she saw his face spasm with pain at the contact.

"Sorry, Sir," Hermione said reflexively. Snape snorted, and Hermione felt her face flush. Whatever they were doing, it was a matter of life and death, and she was apologizing.

"Relax your body, close your eyes and visualize yourself pouring water from your hand onto my shoulder, preferably my bare one. Keep pouring until I tell you to stop. You may open your eyes once you have the image in your brain, but immediately close them if you feel it slipping," Snape said, raising his own ebony wand. "Begin."

Hermione nodded, though he wasn't looking at her and therefore couldn't see her acquiescence. He must have felt her nod, though, because he began his incantations.

"Accio corpus," Snape began. Hermione was afraid to look, but found that her eyes opened of their own accord. She saw the body of Albus Dumbledore floating carefully up and over the edge of the tower, closer and closer. Snape gently let the body rest on the stones before he turned to Harry's still form. "Levitatus a corpus," and Harry's body floated to land next to Dumbledore's, their hands and arms barely touching, but it must have been enough.

Part of Hermione's mind told her to say something, to stop what must assuredly be a dark ritual. But her mouth wouldn't open, and a strange warmth filled her, a feeling of safety and confidence, which was strangely flowing from Snape into her, using her hand on his shoulder as a pathway.

"Good. Miss Granger, I need more power to finish this. Please place your other hand on my other shoulder, and reinforce the image, this time making it so you are pouring with both hands over my torso. Bare would be best. And concentrate -- don't let your flights of fancy from earlier get in the way."

Hermione blushed because that was exactly what she envisioned when he made his new request. The severity of the situation alone gave her the strength to concentrate. She noticed a strange form floating above them, a cloud-like mass that seemed to twinkle at her, especially when her mind threw images at her distinctly in opposition to what Snape had directed.

"What is that feather-brained familiar of yours, Albus?" Snape hissed, turning his gaze to the skies. Hermione looked up as well; the bird was streaking in from the south, a flash like a meteor. "Finally. Fawkes! To me!"

The phoenix swooped down, hovering above Hermione and Snape for a moment before it came to a rest at the heads of Harry and Dumbledore. The bird gave a shrill cry, its gaze boring into that of the power-sharing duo of wizard and witch.

"You remember when to do this, Fawkes? He hits the body, and you drop a tear where their bodies touch. If your tear touches either one first, we will have committed a sin against nature herself. And I'll count on you to pay her price," Snape said in chopped tones. Hermione was pouring as much of her power out of herself and into him, but if they didn't do this soon, they wouldn't have enough power between the two of them to keep their own hearts beating.

The phoenix gave an annoyed cry, and Hermione realized why Dumbledore had such affection for Snape. He and the bird were quite alike. Snape jerked his head in agreement, and addressed Hermione.

"Hold on tight, and keep pouring that power into me. Focus on what is before you. Do not be afraid, because even if it kills me, you will survive this. I promise you that, Hermione," Snape said, and Hermione thought she heard him choke a bit. But that was done and the rite was before them. "Vive!"

The mass above their heads swooped down and into Albus Dumbledore's mouth. Immediately, Fawkes arched his head over the Headmaster's arm and Harry's arm, where they met. Immediately, both chests started to rise and fall in a slow rhythm. Snape would have fallen to his knees, had it not been for Hermione being there to hold him up.

"Dorme," Snape gasped, his wand pointed at Harry. The boy's breathing fell into the slow rhythm of sleep. "There. He'll sleep till morning. Dammit, wake up, you old coot."

Snape kicked Dumbledore's foot, and the aged wizard opened first one eye, then the other, glaring at Snape. His gaze burned hotter when he saw Hermione.

"What took you so long?" Albus growled, shoving his half-moon glasses down on his nose, narrowing his eyes.

"I had a stowaway," Snape said, gesturing to Hermione, who was still supporting him.

"Sir, you're alive," Hermione breathed.

"So observant, Miss Granger. And you are now a liability. Someone will be up here soon. Bring him to the Room of Requirement, Miss Granger. We have much to discuss," Dumbledore said, rising to his feet. He nodded to Fawkes, who darted up into the sky and away from the tower.

"Sir, what about Harry?" Hermione asked, worry in her voice.

"He will be fine. We, however, cannot risk discovery. Now move," with that, all semblances of the former kindly Headmaster disappeared. In his place stood the powerful wizard Hermione had imagined as the leader of the Order of the Phoenix in the Marauders' day.

Hermione cast one last glance at Harry's still form before she carefully helped her Potions Master down the stairs and through secret passages that would lead to the Room of Requirement.


Can you see them
See right through them
They have no shield
No secrets to reveal

It doesn't matter what they say
In the jealous games people play
Our lips are sealed

Careless talk
Through paper walls
We can't stop them
Only laugh at them

Spreading rumors
So far from true
Dragged up from the underworld
Just like some precious pearl

It doesn't matter what they say
In the jealous games people play
Our lips are sealed
Pay no mind to what they say
It doesn't matter anyway
Our lips are sealed

There's a weapon
We must use
In our defense

When you look at them
Look right through them
That's when they'll disappear
That's when you'll be feared

Hush, my darling
Don't you cry
Quiet, angel
Forget their lies

The RoR had made itself into an image of what could be described as nothing less than a mixture of Dumbledore's office and Order headquarters. A fire blazed in the hearth, but Hermione felt quite cold. Snape was sitting in a chair very near to the fire, his eyes resting on her; it appeared that he felt cold from the inside out as well. Dumbledore was pacing.

"Miss Granger, you have put us in a dire situation. If you had only seen the night's events, you could be obliviated. However, as you have not only witnessed but participated, we can't run the risk of some future examination or use of a pensieve revealing what you've seen," Dumbledore said. Once the words were out, he seemed to relax a bit, taking a chair near Snape. "I'm sure you have a multitude of questions?"

"What was going on? And why did Professor Snape knock Harry out? Surely he would have helped, given the choice," Hermione said, trying to understand.

"Ah, some I'm Professor again, am I, Miss Granger?" Snape snorted. Hermione glared at him.

"I needed Harry's help, and I couldn't run the risk of him turning me down because he was angry with me," Dumbledore said. Apparently both he and Hermione were going to ignore Snape's little outburst.

"I would have done it, if Harry had refused," Hermione insisted, forgetting that she'd done something just as important.

"But you aren't my grandchild, are you, Hermione?" Dumbledore asked softly.

Hermione gasped, her hand flying up to grasp Snape's shoulder, as if for support. He ignored her, outwardly, but her touch made his heart race just a bit.

"To make a long story short, James was my son. His mother and I fostered him to the Potters, who'd just had another stillborn son, a common tragedy among the purer families. They raised him, not even knowing he wasn't theirs, thanks to a few obliviated and fabricated memories. Why do you think James and Harry got away with so much?

"Tonight, I needed a blood relative to tether my soul to my body while I waited for the cement, if you will, of Fawkes's tears, which enabled me to return to myself."

"But," Hermione said, her moral compass going haywire. "That's --"

"Against nature, I know. Which is why Severus and I have already made oaths never to do such a thing ever again. I will require you to take such an oath before you leave this night, as well as your oath never to speak of this to anyone else, save Severus and myself," Dumbledore said, a hint of sadness in his voice. "I am sorry, Hermione, but you must never speak of this to Harry, or Ron, or anyone else, even once Harry has slain Voldemort."

"I do so vow," Hermione said softly. Her hand still rested on Snape's shoulder, and the force of the oath shook her so she fell across his lap.

"What did I tell you about those thought from earlier?" Snape said gruffly, helping Hermione right herself. Dumbledore nodded as the oath settled on the three of them. Hermione got to her feet and moved to leave, but Dumbledore stopped her.

"If you need to speak to anyone about this, make your way back here, to this very room. It will provide safe communications among the three of us. You will act as a conduit of sorts between us and the Order. I promise you, Hermione, we would not put you in such danger if things were different."

Snape levered himself out of his chair, turning to Albus.

"We need to get moving, Albus, or we will be found out before any of this was even worth it," Snape hissed. He reached into his pocket and retrieved Hermione's wand. "Take this and leave, now."

"Severus. Go to your rooms and cast the charm so we can apparate from here. Now," Dumbledore said, and for a moment, Hermione saw the belligerent, rebellious youth Snape had been. His eyes were black, but glittering with the thrill of a new adventure and the coming glory. Snape left, and Hermione was left with the Headmaster. "Hermione, Minerva must carry on in my stead. She will lead this school, and the Order. You will be. . . Severus to her. She knows of what has transpired tonight, though she doesn't remember knowing it. She will remember, and you will be there to help her while I am away.

"I will reward you for this service. I believe you remember this?" Dumbledore pulled out the time turner Hermione had known well. "Take this. With this, you will be able to meet with me. I am a certified Potions Master, and due to the fact that Severus obviously will not be teaching here for a while, and you already fear for your graduation and future, I will instruct you. Hopefully, this separation from Hogwart's won't last too long."


"Hermione, we may need your skills. Severus will be busy playing Voldemort's toady, and I honestly have no idea who will be instructing here. I can instruct you, and you can brew for Poppy, the Order, and me. By the time we are back, you will have completed Potions courses not only for graduation, but also for your Journeyman's certificate of Potions, having apprenticed yourself to me."

Hermione's head was spinning. Her friend was the grandson of perhaps the greatest wizard to have lived, her evil Potions Master was good, she was getting another time-turner, she would graduate light-years ahead of her fellows in Potions, and she would be . . . an agent, not unlike Severus Snape.

"I call it a reward, but it really isn't, save the fact that you'll save time after graduation. This is an order, Hermione," Dumbledore said, dropping the time-turner into Hermione's open hand. She hadn't even realized she'd put her hand out. "Done. And done."

"Thank you, Sir. I'll take care of Harry," Hermione promised.

Albus smiled. "I know, and don't forget Ronald. He needs you, too, to help him grow up. Alas, time grows short, and you'll be missed. Remember: you can speak to no-one about this."

Hermione gave her leader a brave smile.

"My lips are sealed, Sir."


AN: Yeah, this is a bit strange (plot and song together), and it already appears that this story has a mind of its own. Oh, well. It is gonna be a long, fun ride.

Reviews will get you the next chapter. . .