A/N: Hey everyone. Just a bit of a preface -- I'm thinking this little series is going to be about 100 drabbles of 100 words each, no more, maybe less. Each drabble will be a progression of sorts into the rehabilitation of Snape after the events of Deathly Hallows, where certain events at the end of the book (ahem, ahem) have never happened. Since I am a hopeless/hopeful Snape/Hermione 'shipper, it should be obvious from the start where this story will go.

Hope you enjoy.

His neck was on fire, but only where the snake bite had punctured it. The rest felt strangely cold, despite the fact it was covered in his own slick blood.

The venom coursing through his veins would not have a chance to kill him – he would bleed to death first. He had always known he was going to die, but had expected it would be with a little more fanfare than this.

He wondered if he was done now; if he had finally won the right to remember the woman he'd tried so hard to forget.

"Forgive me…" he thinks.

The last thing he sees is her green eyes, in the face of his most hated enemy. It tears at him, as it always has, to wonder if things would have been different if he hadn't joined the Death Eaters in a fit of jealousy and anger. Could she have forgiven him? Would she have realized how much he loved her, and returned that love? Would her son have also been his?

The thought makes his dying heart stutter. What would a child of his and Lily's making look like? He imagines a son with Lily's eyes. Always, her eyes.

He barely has the strength to pull his memories for Potter and is unsure if the boy will even bother to look at them. He knows that, were it was his most hated enemy dying on the floor he would be too busy gloating. But Potter – he's not like that, is he? He's her son, more than James'. He wants to tell the boy, to explain and perhaps to apologize, but there isn't enough time. Instead, he gazes into the eyes of the only woman he every really loved, and wishes there was a way to start all over again.

"Anytime now," he thinks to himself. "I'm ready – I've done everything I could. I can't do anymore." He thinks of his students and imagines how happy they will be when they hear he is dead. "No happier than I will be to never have to teach them again," he mutters in his head. But he wonders if that's really true. Some of his students—not many, but a few…one…had been worth teaching.

An image of bushy hair and a waving hand races across his memory. He regrets that he won't be alive to see what she would make of herself.

Potter is long gone, but he is still alive. He wonders how that could be, considering the amount of blood he's lost and the fact that his heart is barely beating. He hasn't been able to blink for hours, and his eyes feel dry and gritty. The air is stale, redolent with the coppery scent of his own blood. He wonders if he is somehow trapped, if being stuck halfway between life and death is just another torment in the long string of torments that have made up his life. He wonders if someone will come to collect his body.

The sound of a door creaking open eventually breaks the silence, but he can't see who has entered the room -- his eyes are too full of grit.

"Oh, sir," a voice murmurs. Granger. "Look what he's done to you!" Hermione is kneeling in front of him. A gentle hand reaches out to push his lank hair from his face, its touch soft and fleeting.

"Whoa, look at all that blood," a second person has entered the room. "Thought you needed a heart to bleed."

"I thought you needed a brain to talk," the first person retorts hotly. "Honestly, Ron!"

"This is a punishment worse than death', he thinks to himself as Hermione and Ron bicker above him. He's pleased they're there, of course – it means Potter must have told them where his body was. And the fact that they're both still alive probably means Voldemort has finally been defeated. He wonders if Harry somehow managed to survive. Since he doesn't believe in miracles, he finds the idea highly unlikely. His father had been fond of telling him 'only the good die young'. Considering he himself was still alive and suffering, whilst Harry was probably dead, proved that old adage.

'…can't believe he's still alive!'

'…loss of blood, almost impossible…'

'…dore's orders – he's a hero, and I shan't let him be sent to Azka…'

'…soup, sir. I know it hurts, but just try, please.'

The voices blend together in his head. His brain feels clouded and his entire body hurts when anyone touches it. Rationally, he knows this is a reaction to the snake venom and loss of blood, but he just wants it all to stop. Death should be the end of pain, and he has been denied even that.

He thrashes and murmur's Lily's name in his stupor.

She comes to him in his dreams, wipes his brow, holds his hand. "It's okay now," she whispers, "Voldemort is dead, and everyone knows everything you did. Harry has told them all."

" 's'it really you?" he manages to slur out. "D'you forgive me?"

"We all forgive you," she replies. "Harry couldn't have defeated Voldemort without you. But do you forgive us? It hasn't been easy for you."

Her words ease his pain and a strange warmth seems to spread through his body. He grips her hand, tries to smile, murmurs her name. He wonders why her eyes are brown.

When next he wakes up, Hermione is there. Her bushy mass of hair covers her face and he can tell she is sleeping, sitting there in the chair next to his bed. He studies her sleepily, and can't even muster any anger when he realizes he must be her new pet cause – like the house elves with SPEW.

He doesn't think his image will be all that easy to rehabilitate, and wonders why he should even have to try. It was supposed to end with his death, but since it's obvious he's still alive he wonders what he'll do now.

Hermione brings him tea and tells him what's going on outside his sickroom. He has other visitors – Potter for one – but Hermione's the only one he really enjoys. Not that Potter's visits aren't interesting, because they are – especially if one enjoys awkward conversation, long conversational pauses, and tentative building of strained relationships.

It's easier with Hermione. The girl has an exceptionally sharp mind; her conversation is always stimulating and intelligent. Her tongue can be quite sharp when it needs to be, and he enjoys her rapier wit. He even finds himself laughing at some of the things she tells him.

"You're looking much better," she greets him as she walks through the door. "Poppy thinks you might be able to return to your own quarters soon."

"When?" he growls in response. His throat is still sore, but he feels himself getting stronger every day.

"Maybe by the end of the week. I brought you the paper, and in case you want to read something not actually written by a bunch of moronic gossips, I also brought you the latest addition of Potions Monthly. They're claiming you as one of their own now, since you're a hero and not evil anymore."

His robes are crisp and black, and he's glad to be back in them. His fingers trail over the material, enjoying the feel of something that's not sick-room flannel. Hermione grins when he approaches the table she is sitting at.

"Poppy's let you out early," she states.

"Obvious," he snarks back. "May I join you?"

She nods acquiescence, and he looks at Harry and Ron as he pulls out a chair and sits.

"Harry, Ron," he mutters.

Harry half-smiles, "Sir." He's pretty sure Hermione kicks Ron from under the table, because the red-headed idiot jumps and mumbles a half-hearted "Sir."

"I still don't trust him," Ron's voice is petulant. Snape buries himself deeper in the shadows.

"I don't understand why not," Hermione sounds cross. "He's been completely exonerated, Ron. Even Harry trusts him!"

"I don't like the way he looks at you," Ron replies. "You're not his friend. He shouldn't treat you like one."

"I am his friend," she replies firmly. "I admire him immensely and I enjoy spending time with him. He's very interesting."

"I don't want you seeing him anymore."

"Too bad," Hermione replies tartly.

Hidden deep in the shadows, Snape feels an unexpected warmth towards the girl.

"He's completely impossible," she fumes a couple of days later. "Over-sensitive, hyper-critical…. redhead!"

Snape arches a brow at her. "I assume you're referring to a Weasley."

"Ron!" she confirms. "He thinks he owns me! He doesn't want me talking to…doesn't want me to have certain friends."

"Meaning me," Snape responds. "I completely understand if our friendship must end. I probably am bad for your reputation." He sighs morosely and smirks inside when she faces him, eyes blazing.

"No one – not even Ronald Weasley – is going to dictate to me. Sod my reputation, Sir. You can't get rid of me that easily."

He watches her and hopes no one knows. There's a certain gravitas about her; her presence soothes. While her friends spin wildly around her she remains calm and serene, like the eye of a hurricane. He finds that she is the only one he truly feels at peace with. Lately, he's been wondering what it would take to get her to brush his forehead with her gentle fingers, to hold his hand as she had when he had been so dreadfully ill. In his delirium, he had thought Lily had returned to him – now he understands it was always Hermione.

fin, part 1

Touched by An Angel

Jimmy Rankin

I've been touched by an angel, that's one thing for sure

I felt the flutter of her wings on my skin

I fell harder than ever before

From higher than I've ever been

I'm dragging my heart around

It's lonely here on the ground

And nothing can knock my down

Like the touch of an angel

I've been touched by an angel, Swear to God that's the truth

She showed my heaven one night

Angels can fly, she's living proof

I watched her with my own two eyes

I'm dragging my heart around.

It's lonely here on the ground

And nothing can knock my down

Like the touch of something that you want to hold

Something that you want too much

Just when it starts to get close

It's too far away to touch

I'm dragging my heart around

It's lonely here on the ground

And nothing can knock me down

Like the touch of an angel

The touch of an angel

The touch of an angel