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Summary: Prisoners of Azkaban, Probationary Diaries August 2009, Prisoners #19-09-1979 and #09-01-1960. Hermione Granger's and Severus Snape's diaries in August 2009. A series of ficlets. A somewhat dark AU. HBP and DH disregarded.

Prisoners of Azkaban, Probationary Diaries August 2009, Prisoners #19-09-1979 and #09-01-1960



I still remember the last time I touched a book. A parchment. A quill.

Even after more than eleven years I still remember.

After more than 135 months.
After 587 weeks.
After 4109 days.

…I can't calculate the hours in my mind, but they have been long and dark and cold since then.

Since May 1, 1998.

Severus presented me with a bouquet at breakfast that morning: rowan, whitethorn, furze, a sprig of juniper. He didn't tell me what it was; he liked to challenge his little know-it-all. And he knew that nothing soothed me as quiet hours in the library.

We were all on edge—living on our nerves, tight-rope acrobats over frayed nets of fragile friendships, our safety net a web of spider's silk, sticky with suspicion, woven above a vast abyss threatening to swallow us whole.

And the whole world with us.

My radials and spirals have turned into squares and lines.

Thirteen rough-tough squares to the window. Seven uneven squares to the door.

No bears, though; just thirteen squares to a dead wall, seven squares to a locked door, thirteen squares to a barred window, and seven squares to a narrow cot.

And lurking between those squares and lines: memories.

The scent of new parchment in the library. Severus' aftershave—the spicy-sour tang of freshly mown grass, of herbs and flowers and morning dew, all just a kiss away. Harry in the Shrieking Shack. The choking smell of life-blood spilling from his torn throat, the glittering scent of silver memories pouring from his mouth, eyes, nose, ears…the stink of his bowels, released in death. Ron crumpled, discarded, just an afterthought, even in death.

And that last list I made, of hawthorn, rowan, furze, and juniper.

Of my Beltane's bouquet and what it meant.

Hawthorn—the wishing-tree, the crown of thorns that Jesus bore, and the torches that light the nuptial chambers of the wizarding world since Roman times.

Rowan—bright orange berries, life in the death of winter, its wood for protection and good fortune and a peaceful death.

Furze—"When gorse is out of bloom, kissing's out of season", or so the saying goes; painful, then, that he gave me a twig with but one closed bud, and no blooms at all. Beneficial against snake-bite and scarlet fever. A symbol also for new love and fiery passion.

Juniper—its oil used for mummification in ancient Egypt, its wood burnt to cleanse foul air and protect against Evil, its berries consumed to get rid of unwanted bastards.

A message of death and despair, of life and of love.

Had we been victorious, had Voldemort been vanquished, Severus Snape would have waited for me, would have waited to be crowned May Lord to my May Lady.

Thirteen squares for the length of my cell.
Seven for the width.

Invisible letters fill each square. Names of the fallen, one per square. Thirteen by seven, seven by thirteen. And I pace, pace, pace.

It is July 31, 2009, in Azkaban.


A/N: Many thanks to Aranel Took for brainstorming and beta-reading. The information about the properties of the various bushes, shrubs, and trees mentioned in this chapter hails from the-tree. org. uk and from bardwood. com.

The allusion to bears in connection with lines and squares refers to the poem "Lines and Squares" by Alan Alexander Milne. With that I have finally filled in a prompt Dickgloucester gave me for my ElJay Drabbling last Christmas. (I hope you like it, Dicky!)