Disclaimer: I do not own, or claim to own, any characters in this story. I am just… moving the furniture around a little.
Chapter One: Setting the Stage
Time passed quickly after the down fall of Tom Riddle. The wizarding world was regrouping from the loss of the last twenty years. Flowers placed on graves have long since crumbled, but those whom have seen death still wear the veil of mourning, trying to forget the name Voldemort. But, for Hermione Granger – it was impossible to forget. Her teen years had encompassed fighting the dark lord along side her friends Ron Weasley and the infamous Harry Potter. The past decade was a blur of struggles and loss, the best times and worst times in her life were with-in the wizarding school, Hogwarts. Yet, Hermione still had time to earn some of the highest marks ever known to Hogwarts.
It was no wonder that the cleverest witch of the time became the new potions teacher at Hogwarts. Minerva McGonagall offered the freshly graduated Hermione Granger the position that Severus Snape held before his untimely demise. Minerva recognized Hermione's thirst for knowledge, and offered Hermione a home in Hogwarts as well as the opportunity to further her inquisitive nature. More than willing to oblige her former transfiguration teacher, Hermione accepted the position: after all – the position needed to be filled, and Hermione had nothing else to tie her back.
Her relationship with Ron Weasley was doomed from her first year at Hogwarts. Ron was not an intellectual, nor could understand Hermione's passion for knowledge. Little over a month after the downfall of Tom Riddle, Hermione and Ron decided that it would be best to remain best friends, rather than continue on with a strained relationship. The two resumed their status as best friends, and attributed their failed relationship to the fact that they were in mortal danger and still virgins. Their relationship kept them sane when their futures were uncertain; when both of them believed that all they had was the 'here and now' they had no future with marriage or children to worry about. With Voldemort's defeat, Hermione and Ron suddenly were thrust into normality, and their conflicting interests ended up winning over their emotions. It was just not meant to be.
This is where our story begins, with a newly appointed Potions's Mistress, riding on the Hogwarts Express.
'I wonder if I look half as bad as Professor Lupin looked, when he was sitting on this exact spot.' Hermione sat quietly on the Hogwarts express, remembering her first meeting with her former defense against the dark arts teacher. She remembered his haggard appearance, with his thread bare robes. She let her hair slide across her face as she peered out her window, trying to stifle the tears already forming.
'If the students see me blubbering before my first class, I will be an absolute failure. Oh Remus. Tonks. George. Sirius. Dumbledore. Snape," she bit her lip at the last name that crossed her mind.
'Even though I never liked the man very much I damn well respected him. Severus…' Severus Snape was her potions teacher for nearly her whole education. She rarely doubted that her professor was anything but on their side. When Voldemort took over the ministry of magic, and Hogwarts, Severus was the newly appointed Headmaster of the school. Even though Harry saw him kill Dumbledore, Hermione knew that there must have been more to the situation then what met the eye. If Severus wanted Harry dead, he would have simply let Lupin disembowel him in his third year when Harry first met his godfather, and the person that was responsible for disclosing his parent's location - Peter Pettigrew.
Lupin was so overcome with the discovery that his long lost best-friend, Sirius, was innocent of murder and the betrayal of Harry's parents, that he had forgotten what phase of the moon it was that night. As luck would have it, Lupin managed to mangle any of his students that night, and it was largely to the fact that Severus Snape had shielded his students before subjecting them to the mercy of a werewolf. Ever since that day, Hermione constantly saw more and more redeeming qualities in her potions professor, and had a profound wish to thank him after the fall of Voldemort. But, her chance was snatched away the same night that Voldemort met his mortality. With a sigh, Hermione gathered up her final image of him in her mind,
'I wish I could have at least saved you,' wiping an angry tear from her eye, she felt the final lurch of the Hogwarts express. Ignoring the fact that she was in her compartment by herself, she smugly smiled to herself and said,
"Home at last."