"The Return of Thyme"
The hospital wing was already filling up by the time Hermione got there.
"Where have you been?" a dozen different people shouted at her, and she winced as she stepped out of the way. Everyone who saw Severus Snape floating behind her gasped.
"He can be healed," she said firmly, and there was a burst of movement. They were all intent on helping the almost-dead war hero, the spy they had lost faith in, the man who supposedly loved Lily Potter all this time.
Because no one had remembered Hermione back then, she didn't show up in the memories; therefore, Harry only saw the two. And, therefore, made the incorrect assumption that it was always his mother to whom the professor was speaking. After all, with no one else there (that he could see), he had to be talking to Harry's mother. That was just logical, wasn't it?
"So you returned to the Shrieking Shack," Harry said, bewildered, as Hermione set the spy onto a now-clear infirmary bed. She just nodded, and tipped some potion into his mouth; just a few drops. She re-corked the vial, and slid it back into her pocket. Last of all, she cast a Stasis charm over him.
"Harry," she finally said, turning to The-Boy-Who-Lived, "make up for these years of mistrust, and guard him. Don't let anyone lift this charm; and if they do, or if it starts to fade, re-apply it. I'll be back."
"I have to go, but I'll be back," she repeated. "Oh, and have you got the Marauder's Map?"
He wordlessly handed it over, and she thanked him. She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, and then ran from the room, activating the map as she went.
The sprint to the headmaster's office seemed to take forever, even though it was only a matter of minutes. She ignored the battle-torn walls of the school; ignored the people who were still wandering around, looking lost. Instead, she concentrated solely on the map, and getting to Professor Snape's secret potions stores.
She had returned to the Shrieking Shack at the first possible opportunity, heart in her mouth. Even if he couldn't be saved, she could still have a chance to say goodbye to him, couldn't she?
The blood had been a horrific sight; but the tiniest movement of his left hand was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. Launching herself to the floor beside him, she took his hand, and felt for a pulse. Noth… wait. There it was. So faint, it might not have been there. It might even have been her own rapid pulse straining at her fingers, trying to give him life. But she was proven right when she heard a small sigh escape his lips.
"S-severus?" she whispered, lowering her head to his. The tips of her tresses traced lines in the blood on the floor, but she just had to listen.
"P-pocket," he murmured, and then he gave a weak cough. "Administer… gradually."
She fumbled in his pockets, and found an undamaged vial of pale violet potion. She removed the cork, and tilted his head back. A few drops later, and he closed his lips. Nodding, she tucked the potion into her own pocket, and Levitated him off the floor. He passed out, which frightened her almost beyond belief; but it was just as well, since he would no doubt have felt extremely ill had he been conscious while she all but flew to the hospital wing.
At one point, he regained consciousness as they neared the infirmary. Hermione slowed to a stop, and listened again.
"Stores… office… under Pensieve… password… Batman riddle…" He smirked gently, and then blacked out again.
The Marauder's Map gave her the password to the office ("Amelia"; tears fell onto her cheeks), and it was less than twenty seconds later that she was looking underneath the Pensieve, letting her instincts guide her.
"Riddle me this, riddle me that," she began, "who's amazed by the big, black bat?"
A few days later, Professor Snape finally awoke. He tilted his head to the right, and looked straight into Hermione's eyes. A surprised beam broke out on her face, and she clutched his hand tightly.
"If it isn't Florence… Thyme," he said. "Well, her daughter, at least."
"Hello," she whispered. "Welcome back to the land of the living."
"Thank you," he replied dryly. "I didn't particularly enjoy my visit to the other place."
"Good," she said, nodding as happy tears fell from her eyelashes. "Then maybe you won't go there again for a long, long time."
"If you're going to be mine, then I'll have every reason to stay, won't I?"
"You will. Oh, you certainly will," she affirmed, and she rubbed her cheek against his hand.
"What're you doing, Hermione?"
She turned her head from where it rested, smiling serenely at Ron, who was bright red with fury, and Harry standing behind him.
"Professor Snape is finally awake, Ron," she said.
"Finally?" the potions master asked. "How long have I been unconscious?"
"Three days, seven hours, and… twelve minutes," Hermione said, checking the time on her watch.
"Clearly you dosed me correctly, and with the right potions," he said, raising his eyebrows. She smiled at him again, nodding, gently running her fingers over the back of his hand. Neither of them noticed, but Harry and Ron did.
"What's going on, Hermione?" Harry blurted out. "You're… you're holding his hand! You're stroking it!"
"Don't tell us you fancy him," Ron said, and he punctuated his remark with a laugh.
"Well, I used to," she said, not even blushing.
"Oh, good," Ron said, looking slightly queasy, but relieved nonetheless. Professor Snape smirked, knowing what was coming. "Just as long as you don't anymore. We can get past your former… crush on… on him."
"'Get past'?" she asked, a hard edge to her voice. Harry winced. He could see the warning signs.
"Yeah," the redhead reassured her. "After all, you don't have a crush on him, anymore?"
"No, I don't."
"I love him."
"Yeah… huh? What?"
Everyone in the hospital wing—those who were conscious—had heard; and there were jaws dropping open all over the place.
"What?" Harry asked, quietly echoing Ron. "Hermione? Just… please. Explain."
Hermione sighed, and looked at the man whose hand she was still holding. "Should I tell them?"
"That would be the intelligent thing to do," he replied, arching an eyebrow as he said it. She nodded, smiling at him yet again.
"Sit down," she told her two best friends. "This will take a bit of telling."
"Will it just?" Professor McGonagall asked. It was then that Hermione realised the extent of her audience. She sighed, and decided to make the most of this, and just get the story out to a crowd of people at once. The fewer times that she had to repeat herself, the easier it would be for both of them. She nodded, and waited until everyone was paying attention.
"Once upon a time…"
Severus Snape had a long recovery ahead of him. It wasn't just the near-fatal snakebite that he had to get over, but also the years of various tortures, the physical results of stress and worry, plus the psychological and emotional effects of having killed his mentor. He was no longer the headmaster of Hogwarts, nor a teacher. Instead, he took lodgings in Hogsmeade, where he was allowed to convalesce within easy distance of the school. A couple of months later, it was all set up, Floo network connected between the hired cottage and the school's infirmary.
Hermione went back to Hogwarts to complete her seventh year, declining the position of Head Girl, as she wanted to help her fiancé recover. Yes, fiancé. After she had finished telling their story, with interjections from the professor, he had taken her hand in his again, and proposed. She had accepted immediately, and threw herself on him. Of course, that caused him pain; and though he hadn't even winced, she knew it had hurt him, and couldn't apologise enough.
In a moment of unbelievable romanticism, he—very publicly—declared that her acceptance of his proposal more than made up for any pain she had caused him.
Several of the females in the room sighed at that, including Hermione.
Just six months after her return to Hogwarts, Hermione, at Professor Snape's advice, asked to sit her NEWTs. Professors McGonagall and Flitwick—co-heads of Hogwarts, for the time being—agreed, knowing that she was perfectly capable of passing them.
Thus, by December 1998, Hermione Granger had graduated with honours from Hogwarts, in a blessedly private ceremony, followed by another private ceremony.
You see, she became Mrs. Severus Snape on the sixth of December.
I don't think we need anything more than that for this story. No need to get repetitive by having a nice little 'and they had X number of children, and lived happily ever after, and I'm just doing a rush ending here' kind of thing in the last chapter.
The words from the trailer are: "Once upon a time there was a clever girl and a bitter man who loved nothing more than patronising her, much to her despair. But then one day she received a special gift from one who had long-since been dead so that the past and future could be told as one".
I may not have followed this exactly; but I didn't have the luxury of the author's story notes, nor their memory of the original plot.
(I must admit, I'm quite proud of "the tips of her tresses traced lines". Anyone else think that was good?)