A/N: Hi, It's been a while since I last updated, but I refuse to abandon this story. Sorry about the delay. Review and enjoy!



Chapter 9

He snapped back into reality to the sight of a fragile looking girl in oversized pajamas trying to act bravely.

"Miss Granger…" Severus Snape looked at the girl again, noticing the silent tears streaming down her already flushed cheeks.

"You cannot behave in such an unbecoming-" He stopped, his resolve was wavering. Don't go soft now. He silently scolded himself. It was difficult, however, to stay

stern, when a student so young an fragile was trying to take on a task that was to big for her alone.

"Please," He started, "Don't cry".

This seemed to be too much for her to handle, Hermione began sobbing, she covered her face and headed for the door. Severus, however, blocked her way with his

arm, and all to soon Hermione found herself in a sort of embrace with the dreaded Potions Master.

Hermione's eyes widened. She abruptly stopped crying. Was this real? He was very real. Hermione could certainly see that. She couldn't help but noticing the

comforting warmth of his arms. But he's the bat of the dungeons. Her internal voice reminded her. He can't be warm, he's cold, a cold hearted bastar- She cut

herself off, analyzing the situation. FirstIy, she chided herself just because he's cold-hearted doesn't mean that he's physically cold.

The situation was all too strange. The Professor had said that he wanted to help her. But why? It was her own fault that she was in this situation, she was useless,

rubbish, no one would want her now. And the Professor himself? Why was he being so… nice. And why was she hugging him?

Hermione abruptly pulled away. She wiped the tears from her face. "I..Thank you for your concern, but," She turned to look at him. He seemed to have been

stunned. He was goggling. The sight of him was just so, Hermione stumbled to place the word, funny. She giggled. He moved slightly, and looked at her with an

astonished expression, this was enough to send her over the edge. She began laughing-actually laughing for the first time in what seemed like ages.

His face turned stony and Severus Snape looked at her with an evaluating expression. At this point, the hilarity reached its peak, and Hermione sunk to her knees,

laughing hard.

"Miss Granger," he began, a bit taken aback, "Might I ask what you find so amusing?"

"I'm sorry," she said, still shaking with mirth, "It's just that-" she doubled over, gasping.

"I've just never seen you look quite so," she paused for air "astonished before." And with that, she continued giggling.

He, on the other hand, eyeing like she was some sort of creature that he had never seen before. Well, in fact, she really was. Never in all his years at Hogwarts had

he encountered anything quite like her. Most of the students were scared stiff of him- he had thought that she still was until a few moments ago. And now? There

she was in a heap on his bedchamber floor laughing. Well, he supposed that laughing was better than crying.

"Miss Granger," he started "you cannot honestly expect to do this on your own…" he trailed off.

She lifted her head up, taking deep breaths. Her giggling subsided. He was right of course. It hadn't taken much effort from him to discover her secret. How long

would it be until others noticed that there was off with her too? As much as she hated to admit it, Professor Snape now knew her secret and there was no way

that he would ever forget it. The burden lessened, she almost swear that she felt a little bit lighter. He could help her, Hermione was sure of it.

"Alright," she agreed "You may help me hide this, but only if we keep this between the two of us."

The Professor gave a curt nod. That settled that. He would help the Granger girl hide her what should he call it-condition. He noticed the time, it was nearly four in

the morning and they both had class tomorrow.

"You may leave now," he moved himself so that he was no longer blocking the door, "Meet me at 8-o-clock in my office tomorrow evening."

He approached her cautiously. "I take it that you know how to cast a disillusionment charm on yourself. Cast it and return to your chambers immediately, and do get some sleep."

She nodded and opened the door, just before she had closed it behind her she popped her head back in again.

"Thanks, Severus." she said.

The look of horror on his face kept her giggling until she fell asleep.