PROLOGUE

"You'll never stop taking notes, will you?" Harry said with a crooked smile as he came upon Hermione, stacks of parchment in front of her as she sat next to Dumbledore's Pensieve..

"No, I suppose not," Hermione replied, smiling up at him, her brown eyes sparkling.

She glanced down at the parchments in her lap, scanning the first page and then flipping it over to read the back. After a few seconds, she sighed and looked up at him again.

"But it's not like school, Harry," Hermione said. "I'm not studying for a test. I'm studying for . . . oh, it just seems so much different, so much more real."

She lay the side of her head on his shoulder.

"I wish it were just another exam," Hermione said softly. "I can't find any memories about horcruxes. I'm hitting a brick wall."

Harry gave her a sympathetic frown and walked over to her, placing a reassuring hand around her shoulders. Hermione squeezed him tightly and let go, and Harry put his head between his knees, tired and worried. She sat up and inched over to the Pensieve.

"I keep waiting to see something that makes all the pieces fall into place," Hermione said, mostly to herself.

"Yea, I know the feeling," Harry said, absently gazing around the room. "Hey, why don't you try looking for Snape's memories? He put a few into the pensieve when we were working on Occlumency. Maybe he heard something from Voldemort about the horcruxes."

Hermione nodded reluctantly and stood up in front of the swirling basin, and Harry got up and stood next to her.

"What are we missing?" she asked. "What did Dumbledore intend for us to find?"

He glanced over at her and nodded slightly. They both dipped their faces into the silvery mist and Harry felt himself twirling away into a memory. He landed softly next to Hermione and looked around to find himself at Hogwarts. He turned and saw Professor Snape, or a young version of him, stalking down the hallway, obviously angry at something. Harry and Hermione trotted to catch up with Snape but paused when they heard a voice echoing down the hall.

"Sev! Please, stop!" called a melodic female voice.

Snape stopped and whirled around on his heel, and Harry turned to see an auburn haired girl, tall and pretty, chasing after him.

"I can't believe you're going with him," Snape said sharply to the young woman, who looked hurt.

"Severus, I know we usually go to Hogsmeade together, but I just thought a change might be interesting," she said pleadingly.

"So you decided to go on a date with a Gryffindor?" Snape spat back.

"Well now that we're talking about Gryffindors," she responded furiously, "let's talk about Lily Evans!"

Harry's breath caught in his throat. His heart seemed to freeze. What were they doing talking about my mother? he wondered.

Snape had turned paler than he already was.

"Yes, let's talk about her shall we?" yelled the girl, her face twisted into an angry sneer. "I'm not the only one in Slytherin who fancies a Gryffindor. But at least mine fancies me back!!"

The auburn haired girl turned and stormed away. Harry was still frozen to the spot, unable to stop staring at the young version of Snape; the version of Snape who apparently had feelings for his mother.

"Curse James Potter," Snape muttered under his breath as he stalked down the hall. "Curse Potter and Black. And curse Lily Evans!"

And with that, Hermione and Harry were whisked back into the library and standing in front of the pensieve. Neither of them spoke for a long time. Harry's mind was racing; he had no idea what to think. Finally, Hermione's voice broke the silence.

"Well, I guess we can understand why Snape put that memory in the pensieve," Hermione said softly. "Wouldn't have been good if you had found that memory while you were practicing your Occlumency."

"Snape and my mother," Harry said to himself. "Snape and my mother."

"Harry, I don't know what to say," Hermione said cautiously, placing a hand on his shoulder.

"I don't want to talk about it," Harry said sourly and left the room.