DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Author Note: Many thanks to Shiv5468 and Ann_MCN for betaing this story for me. My brief for the SSHG_Exchange (Summer 2006) was to write a story involving either a Time-Turner or a young Snape. I'd like to think I've accomplished both! :)

Part III – Reconciliation

"OOF!"

"Steady, Miss Granger. Are you alright?"

"Yes, Professor Snape, thank you."

"Quite alright, but I suggest you aim your wand away from me and point it towards the enemy forces in front of us."

"Of course, Professor. My apologies for tripping you. I didn't expect that body to fall in front of me. I'm sure if you explain it, he'll realise he was in the way."

"Flippancy has no place in any fight, Miss Granger. That could have been you. Surely you realise that?"

"Yes, Professor, but sometimes levity works far better than trying to fight the panic. We're outnumbered and everything seems like a confused jumble, doesn't it?"

"Yes, yes it does, but sometimes confusion can work as an advantage."

"How so?"

"Well, Miss Granger, much though I'd like to debate this topic with you, I would prefer to leave it until after Mr Potter has finished off the Dark Lord."

"Oh, of course. Until later then, Professor."

I saluted him then with my wand and fanned out from his right hand side. He nodded his head forward once, then immediately fanned out from my left. We formed a line, covering each other and ensuring each other's safety in those confused hours. It was a sweeping manoeuvre we'd practised with the D.A. I was so scared that day, scared that I'd die, or that Voldemort would win and that Professor Snape was being used as expendable bait by the Order. I suppose he was the ultimate bait in a way. The man who'd been a spy for so long that he'd managed to outwit a monster. Professor Dumbledore had trusted him for so long that it seemed inconceivable that what Harry witnessed in the Astronomy Tower at the end of our sixth year, was possible. It was possible and it did happen, but I still can't quite believe it. Professor McGonagall knew about it all, and though she was upset at the Headmaster's death, she really didn't seem all that surprised when she told the school in a special assembly the next day.

It's all history now, but in those quiet reflective times, it would be wonderful to find out that it was all an elaborate hoax and that Professor Dumbledore was hiding safely out of sight. I know he isn't, really I do, but time in the magical world has a fluidity that can be manipulated quite easily. It's never right; I know that, but still, to repair a rift or heal a hurt would be theoretically worthwhile. It's the other bits that potentially do the damage.

I found Snape later. He was lying down shading his eyes and I thought him dead as well until his chest heaved and he started coughing. The fighting was all over by then and Voldemort was dead. I'd lost sight of Professor Snape towards the end. I sighted Harry and Ron and hurried over to them, so that we could fight our way towards Voldemort. Harry killed him then, but not before losing his wand arm. to a vicious slicing hex. Both Harry and Ron should be at St Mungo's by now, but as I only have a few scratches and bruises, the Aurors wouldn't let me go.

"Are you alright, Professor?"

"Just dandy, Miss Granger. I do thoroughly enjoy being hexed repeatedly by my old i'comrades.'/i"

"Why didn't they kill you?"

"They tried once they realised that they were being picked off with a Sniper Hex, but by then I'd managed to wrestle my wand back from one of them. Unfortunately, by the time I'd manage to concentrate sufficiently, they were all dead at my feet."

"Who saved you?"

"Bloody Longbottom, that's who. It's embarrassing to think he saved his nemesis from torture and death, though I did wonder if he was going to kill me for old time's sake."

"I'd have saved you if I'd been close, Professor."

"You already have saved me, Miss Granger."

"How?"

"Do you ever dream, Miss Granger? Do you dream about the past as though it were more than something made up on a whim? Do you ever dream that you've lived several variations of your life, or that you've changed some of the more unpalatable aspects each time?"

"Sometimes, but they're dreams...and nightmares I don't like very much. Why do you ask?"

"Would it disturb you to know that I once had a teacher who ridiculed me and belittled me so much, that I took pointers from her and then perpetuated the cycle by ridiculing and verbally eviscerating several of my own students in retaliation? I enjoyed the power of it. It really was quite addictive. It wasn't until I was on Death Row at Azkaban that that same teacher threw me a lifeline. She offered me a chance to change my past, but I didn't learn the lesson that first time. I've never thought myself a slow learner, but I fell into the same trap as she had. I enjoyed myself far too much and ruined her life as she had ruined mine. I tried not to make the same mistake the second time."

"So, it's real...I mean, it really did happen? I did wonder if I was losing my mind for a while there."

"No more than I. Miss Granger, no more than I."

"So, Professor, where do we go from here?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean exactly what I asked. Where do we go from here, now that we understand what we both know about each other? We've lived and learnt a lot in a relatively short space of time after all."

"What do you think should happen, Miss Granger?"

"I don't know, but wouldn't it be interesting to find out?"

"Yes, I suppose it would be interesting to find out what might happen in our current future, but only if you stop calling me i'Professor.'/i"

"What should I call you then? Somehow, I don't think you'd answer to istupid boy./i"

"No more than you'd answer to istupid know-it-all./i"

"Well, as you've not been my Professor for more than two years and I haven't been your student for the same length of time...why don't we start afresh?"

"As long as it doesn't involve a Time-Turner, I'd be happy to start afresh, Hermione."

"As would I, Severus, as would I."

~*~

The End