Hermione Granger held the thick, tattered, book close to her chest as she made her way through the halls of Hogwarts. The halls were nearly empty and the bushy-haired witch was very glad for it. She couldn't believe that it had actually come. This book, should others find out about it, would be priceless. It was priceless. She could only imagine what people would pay to read it, to publish it. Well, that was never going to happen. At least not as long as she had anything to do with it. She'd had to pull a few strings just to get the journal to begin with. Her pulling of strings had consisted of an in-person plea to Kingsley Shacklebolt, Minister of Magic.

Using her substantial intellect, Hermione had come up with a grandiose speech about how the publishing of this journal would irrevocably ruin the reputation of a man who didn't deserve it. She could only imagine the stories and articles that would spring from the minds of people who only wanted to profit from his pain. That wasn't going to happen. Ever. She was going to see to it. Really, she was sure that the batting of her eye lashes and the 'pretty, pretty, please' had more to do with why the journal was in her possession than anything. That, and the fact that Kingsley Shacklebolt wanted her.

Well, not in that way. Since Voldemort had been defeated, several months ago, all she'd heard was offer after offer after offer and she had declined them all. She didn't want to be an Auror, she didn't want to head any departments, she didn't want to be an assistant, she wanted to pass her NEWTS and graduate from Hogwarts. So here she was, nineteen, and still a student at Hogwarts. She'd never quite expected to be this old and still wandering these halls. It was strange to be here without Ron and Harry but she was surviving.

Finally Hermione made it up to her room. She wasn't Head Girl, that title was held by Ginny Weasley, but Ginny had been nice enough to allow Hermione to have the room. Hermione couldn't even begin to explain how happy she was to have her own room. Since she'd come back to Hogwarts she had yearned for seclusion in a way that she never had before. She felt so much removed from all of the other students that sometimes she found it hard to be around them. Mainly, because this wasn't the way it was supposed to be.

Ron was supposed to be here, and Harry too. It was strange not having Dumbledore as the Headmaster. Everything and everyone felt out of place, she even missed Colin Creevey and the camera that seemed to be attached to him at all times. What still, to this day, surprised her most, was that, besides Harry and Ron, the person she missed the most, was Severus Snape.

It had hit her the first week she'd been back at Hogwarts, nearly two months ago. Everything about her day had felt strange and she'd realized that his absence was felt... in fact it was truly missed. After Snape's death she didn't really think she'd miss him. All of the years of painting him as the enemy in her head were hard to let go of. It was still difficult to see him as a hero. Frankly, she didn't want to see him as either, she wanted to see him for who he was. Which was why she was holding onto his journal for dear life.

Severus Snape was a mystery to her and one that she was determined to figure out. When Harry had first told her about the discovery of his journal she had yearned to read it. She didn't want just a copy, she didn't want to read it after someone had published it, she wanted to read it straight through, in his handwriting, learning every detail about him. Why? Because he was the one person that, no matter how hard she tried, even after his death, she couldn't figure out.

Hermione sat down on her bed with a sigh. She was so glad that classes were over for the week and that she had a whole weekend to herself. She had minimal homework, as she'd gotten a good chunk of it finished when she'd been in the library earlier, this was definitely going to be an interesting weekend, she was going to spend all of it reading.

She looked down at the book and ran her fingers over the worn, leather, cover. She could tell that at some point the leather had been stamped with some sort of design but it was so old that she couldn't discern what it was. The journal had so many pages that she wasn't sure she was going to be able to read it all in one weekend. It looked like there were at least a thousand. The part of her mind that loved to read sighed in pleasure with the thought of it.

Most of the parchment was yellow and old, but the pages towards the back of the book looked newer, as if he had added new parchment as he had run out. Hermione delayed opening the book, for a moment having second thoughts. This was like looking into his head, invading his mind, his thoughts, his dreams, his desires. She told herself that he was dead and that there was no harm in it. After all, he wouldn't mind.

She was sure that if he was alive he most definitely would.

The journal was held closed with a leather strip, wrapped around it several times. Hermione unwrapped it, slowly, savoring the anticipation, wondering what secrets it held inside. She had never wanted to read something so badly, but she had been building herself up to this moment since she'd found out that this journal existed. She was finally going to discover why Snape did what he did. Why he had died to save them all yet at the same time made their lives miserable. She was going to find out the answers to questions she probably didn't even know she had.

Hermione opened up the book and read what was on the first page.

Severus Snape, the Half-blood Prince.

Hermione felt a strange little thrill flow through her as she read those words. The handwriting was sloppy, not very similar to the handwriting she had seen on countless essays. Harry hadn't read the whole journal but apparently it started in his second year at Hogwarts. He would've been only twelve or thirteen. Hermione turned the next page and began to read.

Lions. Of all things it had to be Lions. Not that it really matters because it's from her. I suppose it could be decorated with bunnies and I'd still carry it around. Just to be nice of course. This was the best Christmas present I got and she's not even here so that I can thank her. Stupid holidays.

Lily was the only one that bothered to get me anything. Mother sent me a card. I really hated waking up and seeing that one lone gift. But at least someone cares. I feel obligated to write in this. I know she'll ask if I have and I don't want to lie to her. So I'm sitting in my room, writing in this journal, that's decorated in Lions. I suppose it's because I'm supposed to be brave or something like that. Well, she's the Gryffindor, not me. Bravery isn't really my forte.

Lily should be back in a few days and I'm looking forward to seeing her. She didn't think that she was going to have a very good holiday but I hope she was wrong. It's all because of her sister. Stupid muggle. She has no right to make Lily feel the way that she does, I'm so glad that I wasn't muggle-born. I hope she liked my gift. It was so hard trying to decide what to get her. I suppose if she doesn't like the book I can always take it back. Wouldn't be that much trouble, besides, why should she like it? It's not like it's anything special. A boring, old, book of muggle stories. But I really hope she likes it. Even if she doesn't she'll probably be too polite to say so. I can't help but wonder what James got her. I'm determined not to ask because I've decided I don't care.

But I really do.

He's so much better at everything, at least compared to me. But I'm smarter, that's one thing he'll never be better at than me. I know that she likes him better though and I try not to let it bother me but it does. Potter and his stupid friends are never going to grow up and amount to anything. I on the other hand, I am going to be something. Something great, I can feel it. And then maybe Lily will notice me and like me better. I really hope so. I think I am done writing for now. They're serving breakfast in the Great Hall soon and I'm a little hungry. At least I wrote in this thing. It wasn't so bad. Maybe I'll write in it sometimes just to show Lily that I like it. I think that's a good idea.


Hermione smiled to herself. If was entirely strange for her to read all of this. When she'd read the part about 'Potter and his stupid friends are never going to grow up and amount to anything' she'd had to remind herself that it was written before she and Harry were even born and it hadn't been about them. Severus Snape seeking someone else's approval? That was a rarity in itself. And Lily Evans no less. Harry had told her that she and Snape had been friends during their childhood but Hermione was surprised to see how enamored he was with her. The fact that he was willing to carry around a journal covered in lions really said quite a bit.

She wondered if Harry had read that part and what he thought about Snape keeping the journal for all of these years because Lily had given it to him. It was pretty sweet. She felt bad that Snape had only got one present for Christmas, she'd never had to wake up to less than ten. It was something she had always kind of taken for granted, but she was glad that she had so many people that loved her. She wondered how many people had loved Snape. His funeral had been grand, but she wasn't sure that anyone had been there because they mourned him, and not just because they respected his sacrifice. She liked to think that there was one woman in that crowd, somewhere, that had loved him for him. She supposed that she'd find out eventually.

Hermione turned her attention back to the journal and continued reading.

Author's Note: Thank you for reading this short little story that just spontaneously jumped into my head. There will be a few more chapters, I'm not sure how many yet, but I hope it's enjoyable none-the-less. If this is your first time reading any of my Snape/Hermione fanfiction I suggest you take a look at Echoes of Darkness. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend! xoxox.