1 Disclaimer: Don't own anything, not making any money, no infringement intended. I just love these characters too much to leave them alone.

1.1 Rating: R for language

Summary: Hermione finds comfort from an unexpected source after Ron breaks up with her. Takes place 7th year, two months before the Trio graduate from Hogwarts. Warning: This fic is not complimentary to Ron (or Parvati). Severus/Hermione.


3 Rebound

by Auror Borealis

Hermione gazed at the canopy of stars that stretched from horizon to horizon, the dots of light dancing and blurry through the tears which refused to cease filling her eyes. She leaned back against the wall that rose behind the highest row of seats in Hogwarts' Quidditch stadium, hardly able to believe that it was over.

Hermione had great respect for rules, and she never broke them unless she really had no choice. Tonight, however, she hadn't even hesitated before taking a school broom and disappearing into the darkness. She had flown for over an hour, circling the school, the forest, and the lake aimlessly before seeking refuge in the bleachers. She didn't care if she was given detention, and she cared even less if her self-indulgence cost Gryffindor house points. Nothing mattered, because Ron didn't love her.

He had the decency to break the news to her privately, at least. Knowing Ron as she did, she wouldn't have been too surprised had he announced the split in the Great Hall at dinner, to prevent her from making a scene. Even as she thought this, she knew it to be unfair – he wouldn't really do that – but she was feeling far from charitable with her ex- boyfriend. Ex-boyfriend. The tears welled up afresh. Would it never stop? she wondered miserably. She'd been crying for what seemed like hours. Her eyes burned, her head ached, and her throat felt raw and swollen.

He had asked her to take a walk with him, after dinner. They walked along the lake for a while, and when Hermione tried to take his hand, he gently pulled it away. Even after they sat down on the grassy shore, crickets chirping in the early April twilight, he remained silent. She knew something was bothering him, but she expected something relating to Quidditch, classes, anything but this.

He had stood and paced a few moments, then dropped to his knees beside her.

"I don't know how to say this," he said.

"Well, just say it, then," she said with more asperity than she'd intended. She was growing tired of this uncomfortable silence.

Ron took a deep breath. "Hermione, I'm really sorry…"

Hermione knew suddenly what he was going to say. In that moment, awareness came from out of nowhere, making sense of his distant behavior not only that evening, but as it had been growing these last weeks. Please, Ron, don't say it, she pleaded silently. Say anything else, but not that.

He took her hand. "You're a really great person, Hermione."

The kiss of death. What would he say next, 'we'll still be friends'?

"I hope we can always be good friends."

Bastard. What lovely euphemisms for 'I don't love you anymore, if I ever did, and there's someone else I'd rather be with'. She knew with the same certainty she'd experienced a moment ago that there was someone else. I'll kill her, whoever it is, she thought.

"You're breaking up with me, aren't you?" The tears had already started. Her fleeting hope that she would leave this relationship with her pride, if not her heart, intact, dissolved.

"Please believe me, Herm, I never meant to hurt you. Oh, god, Hermione, please don't cry!" He tried to pull her into his arms.

Hermione scrambled to her feet, avoiding his touch. "Who is it?" she demanded, looking down at him, the tears scalding her face.

Ron looked out over the lake. "Who is what?"

"Don't lie to me. Don't even think about it. You're terrible at it. Who is she, and how long has it been going on?"

Ron sighed. "Please believe me, Hermione, I really didn't mean for it to happen."

"You bastard, WHO IS SHE?"

Ron flinched. Hermione wasn't much for swearing, so when she did it packed an extra emotional punch.


Hermione swayed where she stood, and Ron stepped forward, ready to catch her if she fainted. She took a wobbly step backwards.

"Don't touch me!" she screamed at him. "Parvati is my friend, you asshole! How could you do this to me?" Hermione couldn't help herself; she dealt him a resounding slap across his face. He raised his hand to his face, stunned, as she turned and bolted across the grass towards the castle. He started after her, yelling her name, but she turned and withdrew her wand from the sleeve of her robe, and pointed it at him.

"One more step, you bloody bastard, and I'll levitate you to the middle of the lake and let you drop. Don't think for a moment that I won't," she added, as he took a hesitant step forward. She turned again and ran, not looking back. She ran blindly, wanting desperately to find somewhere to lick her wounds. She couldn't go up to Gryffindor, not now. Maybe not ever. That BITCH! she screamed silently. That fucking, no good slut. She didn't know what she was going to do, only that the idea of sharing a dormitory with Parvati was now hell on earth. She ran for the broomshed and took an old Cleansweep, still hearing Ron call her name as she kicked off and fled, airborne, into the night.

Hours later, Hermione reluctantly left her aerie and returned the Cleansweep to the broomshed. Her steps dragged as she walked into the castle, wondering where she would sleep that night. Nothing short of a direct order from Professor McGonagall would make her return to her own bed tonight, not if it meant having to face her former friend, and perhaps her former boyfriend in the common room. She had asked herself over and over again how the other girl could have betrayed her friendship like this, but came up with no answers. She began to toy with the idea of taking the train from Hogsmeade to King's Cross in the morning, but dismissed it right away. She had only two months to go until graduation, and she couldn't throw away seven years of schooling because her boyfriend was a two-timing slimeball.

She walked through the silent corridors, expecting to see either Filch or Mrs. Norris at any moment, but for once, neither was in evidence. Some time after midnight, she turned her steps towards the dungeons, thinking to find sanctuary in a deserted classroom down there. She had to sleep somewhere, and not only did the dungeons fit her mood better than anywhere else in the castle, but they were also the place she was least likely to be sought, should anyone go looking for her. She hated knowing that Harry and Ginny were both worried about her, but she just couldn't go back up there. Not now.

She was startled by the light that flickered to life through the open door of the Potions classroom as she passed it, and a surprised yelp escaped her. She moved away as quickly as she could, but the light wavered and grew brighter. In seconds, Professor Severus Snape stood in the doorway, his wand lighting the gloom. His face seemed especially harsh in the glow that emanated from it as his eyes sought the source of the sound. Hermione knew that there was no chance that he would not see her, so she stopped where she was, awaiting her fate.

"Ah, Miss Granger. Lovely night for a stroll in the dungeons, is it not? I would think that seven years of classes in these precincts would have removed the fascination with what must seem an exotic location to a Gryffindor, but I must confess myself mistaken." He stood aside from the door and, with a mocking bow, gestured to her to precede him inside. Moving numbly, she did so, and watched as he swept past her, seating himself at his desk. She moved to stand in front of it, not speaking.

"Look at me," Snape demanded. She lifted her chin and gazed at him.

The ravages of the evening were still very much in evidence on Hermione's face. Snape felt a pang of sympathy for such distress, but did not allow it to show.

"You will explain yourself, Miss Granger." His voice was hard.

Hermione didn't think she could speak without starting to cry again, but when she tried it, she found that she had cried herself out for the time being. Her mind reached for some plausible explanation for her presence here tonight, but there was none. And she found that she still didn't care about detention, or house points, or anything. Screw Ron, and Gryffindor with him, she thought.

"My boyfriend broke up with me this evening, sir. He dumped me for – for a girl in my dormitory." It turned out the tears hadn't gone after all. "I can't go back up there, sir. Not tonight." She gasped at the force of the sobs that began to wrack her all over again. This final indignity, bawling her eyes out in front of Professor Snape, was something she would not soon forgive Ron for.

Snape regarded her for long moments, his face giving her no clue as to his thoughts. He was mentally cursing himself for having been curious about the noise outside his door, a noise he would not have heard had he tried harder to sleep, and not gone for a late night perusal of his classroom stores instead. Now here he was, confronted with a sobbing Hermione Granger, and there was really only one thing to do with the girl. He sighed inaudibly and got to his feet, his long black dressing gown swirling around his slippered feet as he motioned for her to follow him. Tears tracking down her face, she obeyed.

End of Part 1