Authors note: Sorry about the lack of update for a while on this story, AGAIN. I've been pretty busy (refer to authors note in 'The Letters That Love Never Knew' latest chapter) and I've had a rather severe writer's block, concerning this story. Hence why this next chapter is so short. Anyway, hope you enjoy :) - Bee x
Hermione was, in a word, mortified. Singing was her refuge, and one of her big secrets. Nobody within the castle, as far as she knew, knew about her singing. At least, that had been the case, till now. Everything had changed and Hermione didn't know f she'd ever be able to sing at the Astronomy Tower again. The humiliation and embarrassment at being caught was enough on its own to act as a deterrent. What really sealed the deal was that Professor Snape now knew exactly where to go if he wanted to take points off of Gryffindor, and he had the reasons for it. So, either Hermione stopped singing or she found a new place to sing, somehow. She knew she would not stop singing. Her singing was what kept her going; it kept her soul alive and gave her heart some peace. It was peace that she could not find in this world fraught with dangers and death around every corner. If ever she needed proof of the state of the world, there were many sources available. Viktor's sister was a prime example, she knew this first hand now.
At the thought of his sister Hermione felt tears well up in her eyes. Poor Marina. Hermione didn't know how it would feel, she could not comprehend the pain of losing the person she felt such great love for, her romantic partner. She had no romantic partner, and she couldn't foresee one in the future. All of the boy's around her, they were just that; boys. They were not mature enough for her tastes, and none of them had the same appreciation for knowledge as she did. Nobody that she knew could match her, at least, no one within her reach. Hermione sighed heavily as she trudged along the corridors leading to Gryffindor Tower. Her progress was slow, but she wasn't exactly in any rush to reach her dormitory. Her peace had been interrupted and as she walked, Hermione found that she could not stop thinking of Professor Severus Snape.
She had no idea exactly how long he had been standing there, or even what he had thought of finding her singing. However, it must have been something mighty. She must have touched him in some way she did not know. He had not punished her for being out of bed after hours. He had no criticized or demeaned her. He had actually complimented her, and he had let her go off on her own. It was not like him, or at least, it was not like what she knew of him. As she walked, and her mind whirled with her thoughts, she questioned if she really knew anything of the dark man. They all complained about his unfair ways but at least he was only unfair, not downright cruel. He was a spy who worked tirelessly to try and do right, and make sure that the Light won. She did not know his reasons, and to be frank she didn't really care. The reason was irrelevant, only the action mattered. He had chosen to do this, at great personal risk, he had chosen to fight for all that was good and right in the world. It was a decision Hermione would forever respect him for.
She sighed and paused in her step just in front of a window. She looked out at the grounds, bathed in moonlight. It was a beautiful sight, much as it had been in the Astronomy Tower. She had thought of love and loss when she had looked out from the Astronomy Tower. Now, as she looked out, she thought of Severus Snape.
"It is a wonderful sight" Hermione heard a voice and immediately whirled round, gulping when she caught sight of the voice's owner, approaching her with a jovial bounce in his step. Albus Dumbledore came to a stop just beside Hermione and smiled down at the young witch, his blue eyes twinkling as they always seemed to.
"I'm sorry Sir. I was just on my way to-" Hermione was cut short in her explaination by a question from Dumbledore.
"You are normally still in the Astronomy Tower Miss Granger" He said, his manner not accusatory or angry, merely curious. If Hermione hadn't spent the past few years of her life under the watchful eyes of the Headmaster she may have been slightly worried that he had known her secret. That was not the case though, and she was used to the Headmaster knowing practically everything going on within his school. Hermione sighed and nodded her head.
"I would have been Sir. If Professor Snape hadn't found me" Hermione said, not even aware that her voice was tinged with caring when she spoke her Potions Master's name. Albus Dumbledore, never one to miss a trick, noticed though and the twinkle in his eyes intensified slightly.
"Ah yes Severus. Probably out on a late night walk as normal. I hope he wasn't too hard on you" Albus said, fixing Hermione with a gaze that demanded the truth.
"No, he wasn't. That's what's so odd" Hermione said, her curiosity piqued once more now that she spoke of it. It was not behaviour that Professor Snape would normally exhibit. Dumbledore's response was to smile and pat Hermione on the shoulder before looking out the window.
"Severus will surprise you Miss Granger. He is a remarkable man, much the same as you" Dumbledore remarked, looking briefly to Hermione with an affectionate smile. For her part, Hermione was growing more and more confused and curious by the second. Nothing seemed right this night, and she had to wonder if it weren't all a dream. Or a fantasy a small voice in her head piped up. Hermione immediately squashed it down.
"Frogive me Sir, but exactly how are Professor Snape and I anything like each other?" Hermione questioned, particularly confused on that point. Dumbledore smiled before speaking again.
"You are both incredibly intelligent, brilliant individuals. You have both shown maturity well beyond your years as teenagers. You both have wisdom and astonishing power's of reasoning. Both of you have been through things you never should have at such a young, tender age. Socially, you have very few friends and even then those friends rely on you for your intellect, and. You both have secrets, and are both private people" Dumbledore finished, looking to Hermione for confirmation. Hermione sighed heavily and bowed her head, admitting defeat. She had never thought of it that way before. Now that she did though, there were a large number of similarities between her and the snarky potion's professor.
"You have a great capacity to love Miss Granger, as does Severus. I wish for your happiness, and I wish so desperately for his. That man has been alone and without love for so many years. It is sad to see, and it should not be" Dumbledore said, his voice filled with the sadness his words spoke of. It was sad, that Hermione would admit willingly and freely. Dumbledore sighed heavily and stepped away from the window, looking for a few, brief moments looking every hour his age.
"Enough of an old man's foolish word's though. I'm sure you must be exhausted" The twinkle was back in Dumbledore's eyes and the smile on his face. Hermione smiled meekly in reply and nodded her head, recognizing a dismissal when she heard one.
"Goodnight Professor" Hermione said before turning and continuing on her way to Gryffindor Tower. She was at the end of the corridor before she heard Dumbledore speak. She paused and turned back to him.
"Oh and Miss Granger? Do remember what I said. Goodnight" He called out to her before turning and heading on his own way. Hermione nodded and turned back around, suddenly feeling rather tired. She needed her bed, and her mind needed some rest before beginning to properly process everything. One thing she knew though, was that she was going to help Severus Snape find some contentment or peace in this world, even if only for a few, fleeting moments. If she had to sing in front of him again, then she would even go so far as to do that. The man deserved so much, and nobody seemed willing to provide. Well, she would.
With this resolve strong in her mind, Hermione went to bed. On the other side of the castle Severus Snape had just returned home and, just as Hermione's thoughts were focused on him, his were focused on her. In the tower where he resided, Albus Dumbledore went to his bed with a smile. His plan was well on the way to being completed. By the end of the school year, Hermione Granger and Severus Snape would be together. Of that, he was sure.