Disclaimer: I own nothing and I'm still as broke as before.

This is loosely a SeverusxHermione drabble. Sorry, this isn't really a canon fic. Please don't send me reviews telling me how I didn't follow the story blah blah blah, because you'll just be wasting your time and mine. I chose to write the fic this way. This fic is officially complete, but I'm not averse to the idea of continuing it if I get enough responses asking me to do so. That being said, I hope you enjoy and please review!

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Hermione Granger was hastily making her way through the dungeons. As loathe as she was to admit it, they creeped her out. She practically ran through them during her patrols, and tonight was no exception. She rounded the corner and that's when she heard hushed whispers coming from the potions classroom. She crept quietly towards the door thinking she was about to catch a couple of students out after curfew. Suddenly, Professor Snape's voice boomed into the hallway, nearly making her scream out loud.

"Albus! Have you gone mad?!"

Hermione had never heard Professor Snape yell before. Sure, he got angry and lashed out at them, but it was always in his calm, silky voice. She crept into the shadows a little closer to the door, intent on finding out what they were arguing about. She just hoped to hell she didn't get caught in the process.

"Now, now my dear boy there's no need to get angry," Albus responded calmly.

"I'm not angry, I'm livid! You don't honestly expect me to deliver the brains behind their mission straight into the arms of that madman! Albus, I know what he is capable of. Once he's realized that trying to torture Miss Granger for information is futile, he'll either kill her or try to use her as bait for Potter. You know as well as I do that Miss Granger is far too loyal to her friends and our cause to ever give in to the Dark Lord. She'd accept death first."

Hermione stood wide-eyed in the hallway gaping like a fish. It wasn't because she might be handed over to Voldemort on a silver platter, but because Professor Snape had complimented her- twice.

"Severus, I know I have asked much of you over the years. The scars all over your body from Tom are a testament to that fact. But you promised me that you would protect Harry, because of your love for his mother. Are you turning your back on that commitment?"

Hermione's eyes hardened as she watched the door. The Headmaster wasn't being very fair.

"I have sacrificed my entire miserable life to this cause Albus, so don't you dare speak to me of commitment," he growled. "I will not sacrifice her life for the cause as well. All of these children are being thrust into the middle of a war they barely understand. I will not end Miss Granger's life for her before she even has a chance to live it. Find another way, Albus. You're a master of manipulation, so that should be an easy enough task for you," he finished venomously.

"Yes... yes, perhaps there is another way, but Severus if there isn't..."

"You will find another solution. This discussion is over," Snape replied, his voice still hard with anger.

Albus sighed. "Very well, I'll leave you now," he said, shuffling slowly towards the door.

Hermione quickly moved back down the hallway, pretending she was just now making her way in their direction. Albus turned and saw her approaching.

"Ah, Miss Granger, still making your rounds?"

She smiled, and she hoped it was as innocent as it was convincing. "Yes Headmaster, I'm almost finished." He gave her a smile in return and she swore his eyes were twinkling. It was then that she noticed Professor Snape standing in the doorway.

"Good evening, Professor," she said softly.

"Miss Granger," Snape replied, his voice taking on a bored tone, as it usually did when he spoke to her. The Headmaster watched their awkward interaction with keen interest and bit back his urge to chuckle.

"Miss Granger, I believe Severus has already checked the dungeons so why don't you head back to Gryffindor Tower?"

"Yes, Sir. Goodnight...to both of you."

"Goodnight, Miss Granger," both men said in unison. She gave them a small smile before walking down the corridor and eventually disappearing from sight.

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Time passed almost in slow motion it seemed. Though he never changed his attitude towards her publicly, Hermione never forgot the conversation she overheard between Professor Snape and the Headmaster. She knew beneath that cold, snarky exterior there was a giving, honorable man. She had to fight hard to hold her tongue when her peers would speak ill of him. Then came that fateful day when he lived up to everyone's less than stellar expectations of him; the day he murdered their beloved Headmaster.

Hermione sat stunned upon hearing the news from Harry. Her logical side kicked into overdrive. She replayed the conversation over again in her mind. "Find another solution, Albus," he had said. Her brow furrowed in concentration. Could this be the solution the Headmaster had come to? It made perfect sense once she really thought about it. Though Snape failed to deliver the mudblood, he killed the one wizard Voldemort feared. Certainly that would put him back in Voldemort's favor, right? If that is indeed the case, then it seems the Headmaster found an alternative way to make Professor Snape do something else he'd rather not do. Hermione glowered at the thought. She had always thought that Albus Dumbledore stood for everything good and right in the world. But she had seen the manipulative side of him that most aren't aware exists. She knew it would only be a matter of time before open war was upon them. She hoped that wherever Professor Snape had fled to, that he was safe.

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Harry, Hermione, and Ron raced to the Shrieking Shack and hid in the shadows once they realized that Voldemort was speaking to Snape. Before they had time to register what was happening, Snape was attacked by Nagini. Hermione is about to run towards Snape but is stopped by both Ron and Harry. Once Voldemort leaves, all three of them rush to Snape's side. He gives Harry his memories as Hermione unconsciously strokes his shoulder, trying to offer him some comfort in his final moments. She doesn't take her eyes from Snape's form the entire time they're walking out of the shack towards the battlefield. After many strange turns, Voldemort is finally defeated. Harry pulls his two closest friends aside and tells them what he saw in Snape's memories. Hermione's heart ached for the man that had protected them so fiercely over the years. It was only when she was finally alone that she allowed herself to mourn him.

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Hermione stood in front of Severus Snape's grave and stared blankly at the inscription. She then knelt down and placed two black glass stirring rods with green tribal serpents engraved on them by the headstone.

"You don't strike me as the flowers type, Sir," she said quietly with a weak smile. She reached up and brushed his headstone and then hiccuped a sob. When she lifted her head, her face was wet with tears. She hastily wiped them away."I'm sorry. I told myself I wouldn't turn into an emotional, blubbering idiot." Sniffling, she reached into the pocket of her robes and pulled out a stereo, enlarging it to normal size and placing it on the ground in front of her. After a brief, sardonic smile she cleared her throat. "Yes. The know-it-all figured out a way to make Muggle electronic devices work at Hogwarts." There was a pregnant pause in which Hermione stared despondently at his headstone. "You'll have to forgive me. Surrounding myself with books my entire life has made me a bit of an emotional cripple. I'm not sure how to express myself to you but I heard this song on the radio and it reminded me of you. I hope you like it, or at the very least can tolerate my maudlin moment." She pressed play and the song rang out through the empty graveyard.

Shadows set the mood
Innocence left the room
And all I know to do
Is shed a tear for you

Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Please don't be ashamed whether you win or lose
I just want you to know
That I'm proud of you
Don't be afraid when your fight is through
I just need you to know
That I'm here with you

I can't watch you choose
To pour salt in your wounds
Now all I know to do
Is say a prayer for you

Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Please don't be ashamed whether you win or lose
I just want you to know
That I'm proud of you
Don't be afraid when your fight is through
I just need you to know
That I'm here with you

She wept through the whole song, thinking how more than ever, she wished he was here to sneer at her emotional display, or berate her with one of his cutting remarks. It didn't seem fair to her that after all he had done, he died alone in that dilapidated old shack. He should be here with the rest of them, celebrating the end of that madman. The song ended and she wiped her face again.

"I think this is the most I've cried in my entire life," she muttered. Steeling herself, she looked to the sky. "I actually came here to thank you. You see, that night I was doing my patrol in the dungeons, I overheard you and the Headmaster arguing. I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate you defending me. My only regret is that I never got the chance to say all of this to your face." She heaved a frustrated sigh. "It's so hard to put my feelings into words. I guess I'll just keep it short and simple. Thank you Professor Snape, for everything." She mustered up enough energy for one last smile and shrunk her stereo, placing it back in the pocket of her robes. Standing slowly, she turned and walked away.

"You're welcome Miss Granger," Snape whispered to her retreating back, before moving back into the shadows where he had watched her the entire time.