Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, not making any money off 'em.
Spoilers: As with everything I write, I'm assuming you've read all four published books. If you haven't, you're taking your chances here.
Summary: An object lesson in the hazards of Veritaserum. Snape/Hermione
Rating: R for language. May go up to NC-17 eventually, but no promises.
Tell Me Lies
by Auror Borealis
The common room was empty when Hermione walked cautiously through the portrait hole, or so it seemed until a voice spoke her name. Ginny Weasley sat up from where she'd been laying on the sofa before the fireplace.
"I need to talk to you," the younger girl said sleepily. Resigned, Hermione dropped into an adjacent armchair.
"I'm really sorry, Gin. I couldn't help it."
"I know you couldn't. I… I called you some terrible names, before I knew about the Veritaserum. I wanted to apologize."
"I guess Harry talked to you then?"
"You could say that," the younger girl said bitterly.
"We had a fight. I told him to, um… I told him to get lost, sort of. We ended up talking after dinner." Ginny's face was terribly pale, Hermione noted. "We broke up."
"Ginny, I'm so sorry." Hermione cursed herself and Sirius Black once more.
"Don't be. It's sort of a relief, actually. I was never going to mean as much to him as I wanted to, and it's better that we got it sorted out now than later."
"Are you all right?"
"I miss him, but… I'm ready to move on. I really am." Ginny's voice was determined, and not as heartbroken as Hermione had feared it would be.
"He's my best friend, but he is a prat where you're concerned. But for what it's worth, I think he really does love you."
"Pardon me if I don't think that's worth much at this point," Ginny replied acerbically. "But I didn't wait up to talk about me and Harry. How are you doing?"
"Let's see… I confessed my undying devotion to Professor Snape in front of my entire Defense class today, for starters," she said, watching Ginny's face for her reaction.
"I know. All of Hogwarts knows."
Hermione winced, but was not surprised.
"I alienated my two best friends, and I forced Sirius Black to reveal a few things about himself that I really wish I didn't know. I also called Professor Dumbledore a bastard to his face. All in all, it's been a busy day."
"I really wish I could have been there for that last part. Was he angry?"
"No, actually, he seemed amused. I don't think he's going to hold it against me. But Severus… Professor Snape…"
Ginny's face sobered.
"Hermione, I know I can't talk where judgment and men are concerned, but… Snape?"
Hermione nodded. She knew perfectly well that she was going to hear much worse tomorrow. Tonight, perhaps, if Parvati and Lavender were waiting up for her.
"Honestly, Gin, he's a good man. Not a nice one, but he's brave, and he's smart, and he's got the most incredible eyes. And his voice is heavenly, when it's not taking away points."
"I just can't imagine you secretly pining away for Snape."
"You needn't imagine it any more. I'll be doing my pining publicly from now on."
"Oh, Hermione…" Ginny rose to embrace her friend. "If anyone knows what that's like, it's me. I never, ever thought my feelings for Harry would fade. But I think they really have begun to, finally. And besides, you've been the model of restraint. I had no idea. I don't think anyone did. But when I think about that valentine I sent Harry in first year…" She broke off, shuddering. "If anyone gives you a hard time, I'll hex them, I promise."
Hermione hugged her back, hard.
"Thanks for not hating me, about Harry, I mean. I know you wanted to talk to him about things, but that can't be how you wanted it brought up."
"If I blame anyone, it'll be Professor Black. I'm not that fond of him anyway."
Hermione looked amazed at this.
"He's nice enough, but really, he's a hopeless prat sometimes. I'll never understand why Harry worships him like he does." She gave Hermione a push. "You look half dead. Go on up to bed now."
Hermione rose unsteadily. Ginny was right, she needed sleep desperately. The day had been draining. As awful as the day had been, her heart felt a little lighter as she climbed the steps to her dormitory. She'd managed to keep at least one friend.
"I just don't know why you never told me before this," Harry said, unable to meet Sirius' gaze. He was in Sirius' rooms well past curfew, but that didn't matter; his godfather would give him a pass that would keep him out of trouble until he returned to Gryffindor. "Did you think I'd have a problem with you being gay?"
"I hoped you wouldn't," Sirius replied. Remus watched them from a chair across the room, saying nothing. It was at his insistence that Sirius was finally bringing their relationship into the open, and Sirius had insisted in return that he remain to provide moral support. "I was mostly afraid it would lead to you finding out about what I did to Snape, and to Remus. I should have told you that a couple of years ago. I just couldn't bear the idea of you knowing that I did something like that."
Harry was silent for a few minutes. He couldn't honestly say it didn't matter; it did. He'd spent a couple of years despising Snape for holding a grudge against Sirius for a 'schoolboy prank.' Honesty made him admit that in Snape's place, he'd probably hate Sirius too. He looked helplessly at Remus for guidance.
"I've forgiven him, Harry, and I hope you will, too. Jealousy can make us do terrible things, and believe me, he's paid for it," the werewolf said gently. Harry swallowed, thinking about how jealousy had caused him to treat Ginny that very afternoon. With one possessive tantrum, he'd lost her. Well, he admitted to himself, one tantrum and years of indifference in varying degrees.
"How could you do that today, then?" he asked. "How could you use Hermione…" Anger washed over him at the thought of his friend. Sirius had done this, too.
Sirius' head dropped into his hands.
"I'm so sorry, Harry. I simply didn't think."
"Snape's right, isn't he?" Harry laughed harshly. "That should be the Gryffindor motto. 'I'm sorry, I didn't think.' But I guess it applies to me, too, doesn't it?" He sighed. "So now I understand why he still hates you. Why do you still hate him?"
"I held onto that hate in Azkaban. It's part of what kept me sane. It wasn't fair, but I needed it." His eyes pleaded for Harry to understand. "When I got out, it was too much a part of me to simply let it go."
"You're not in Azkaban anymore, Sirius," Remus finally said. "It's time to grow up."
"But, Remus… Snape…"
Lupin looked at him sternly.
"You're supposed to provide an example for Harry. Is this what you want him to learn?"
"No," the animagus said. "I'll talk to him tomorrow. About everything." He looked up to see Harry's earnest green gaze on him. The young man was smiling. To keep from disillusioning his godson, he decided, he'd make peace with Snape, or die trying. He could only hope that it would be a lovely funeral.