A/N: This is JK Rowling's world. All characters belong to her and all mistakes are my own. Be gentle in your comments. This is my first SS/HG pairing and it's all in pure fun. Keep in mind that this takes place after the war, and I stick to canon when it's convenient. I have a blatant disregard for the way Severus Snape was treated in the book and I just want to give him a little happiness. Enjoy!
The five years following the night of the final battle left Severus Snape even more reclusive, callous, and bitter than all the years leading up to it. He had expected death to come to him on that night, and as far as he was concerned, he had put his affairs in order by paying his debts to Lily Potter, as well as to Albus Dumbledore. Just after Nagini's fangs had expunged the last of her venom into his blood stream, the free and easy feeling that was supposed to accompany death had begun to wash over him, and he had hoped to finally find peace from a life of living in the shadows of his past when he crossed over to the other side. However, that time never came.
Miss Hermione Granger had seen to it that peace should never enter his life. She had stormed into the desolate, creaking room, and blasted Nagini into splattering bloody bits all over the walls. She then proceeded to administer a vile tasting potion that he believed to be a failed attempt of antivenin. He was certain that her brew had not been for human consumption and was more poisonous than helpful, especially since it required the skill level of an advanced Potions Master to brew it. The delicate and time consuming process involved in creating an antivenin strong enough to supersede the dark power of Nagini's venom was far beyond her skill level and even he would have had to research the ingredients. Had he known at the time that he had underestimated the know-it-all's abilities to brew the damn potion, he would have never freely gifted his most precious and private of memories to Lily Potter's son.
It took two weeks for Snape to wake up from the coma that had been induced by Nagini's venom. He roused with a splitting headache made worse by the flash of a camera that blinded him. Once he was able to focus, an inquisition of paparazzi from all corners of the magical world filled the room, headed up by Rita Skeeter of the Daily Prophet. Her magic quill hovered just over her shoulder, and it obnoxiously scrawled every word she said, but he could not understand any of it with all of the others shouting questions at him at the same time.
The noise was deafening, and the unwelcome voice of Hermione Granger could be heard above it as she swept into the room, shouting orders, and throwing spells. Her voice was shrill and angry, and she blasted the ceiling, knocking a dusting of white powdery plaster onto the heads of the intruders. Startled at the sudden racket, they all became silent at once, and looked in her direction to see who had cast the explosive spell.
She screamed at them. "What do you think you're doing? Get out of here! All of you! Get Out! Now!"
They didn't move and she threw another spell to the ceiling, this time louder, and knocking larger crumbs and chunks from the plaster. In a matter of a few seconds, the room was empty and she warded the door with the strongest spells she knew, unable to look at the angry wizard behind her. Excited and dreading facing him, she busied herself by casting a Scourgify spell to clean up the mess she had made to prolong having to turn around.
In the meantime, Snape had picked up the complimentary copy of the Daily Prophet that lay within arm's reach on the night stand. He looked at the date and realized he had missed the past two weeks of what should have been his death by sleeping soundly in a hospital bed. Directly underneath the mast head of the newspaper was the headline 'Always'. His professional teaching picture appeared on one side and Lily Evans in her seventh year was on the other. He was relieved to see that his printed image was one from when he was much younger. He could do nothing but stare at her youthful smirking countenance. He had avoided looking at her picture or dwelling on what could have been ever since he learned of her death and he had forgotten how beautiful and vibrant she used to be when they were friends.
His throat burned with regret and melancholy tears, an emotion he rarely ever felt, but rage replaced his reverie when he skimmed the article and realized that Rita Skeeter had detailed every single second of the memory he had gifted Potter. She had embellished his relationship with Lily Evans with possible pregnancy and questions as to the real paternity of the Boy Who Lived. His heart rate increased with every word he read, and by the end of the article, he was fuming mad. While he had been sleeping, the entire Wizarding world had been exposed to a twisted version of his most private and intimate memories.
Cowering before him, Hermione grasped the bed rail upon her approach, and she had to work hard to contain the joy she felt seeing him awake. She had been afraid that her potion had not worked effectively and she was worried that he would never awaken. It had only been an hour earlier that she had held his hand and whispered an apology to his sleeping form for having to leave him if only for a few moments.
Her voice was raspy when she spoke. "It's good to see you awake, Professor. I-I'm sorry about the reporters. I had a meeting with Professor McGonagall and they came in…"
He interrupted her with a grave tone. "I have no need for your presence in my hospital room, Miss Granger. I suggest you take your leave at once before I hex you into the next millennium."
She had not left the hospital since the night she brought him in. Her meeting with McGonagall had taken place in the cafeteria, despite her protests, but she went at the insistence of the Headmistress. The older witch had come to St. Mungo's to bring Hermione fresh robes and to beg her to go home to her flat for a proper night's rest. Hermione thanked her, but she had been anxious to return to Professor Snape's side just in case he should wake. She had secretly wanted hers to be the first face he saw, and she now cursed herself for leaving his side and for not being there to keep the reporters away. Rita Skeeter must have paid a lot of money to an attendant to let them in, she thought. Nevertheless, she would hear the full brunt of his anger if she didn't leave as he wished, but she needed a better reason than the one he was not giving before she could walk out the door.
Crossing his arms in front of him, his voice was intimidating enough to undermine the ridiculous hospital gown he was wearing. "Why are you still here gaping at me like a confused first year? Are you here to berate and humiliate me now that you have taken an omnipotent role in my existence? I assure you, Miss Granger that you cannot do anything to me that has not been done already."
She was exhausted and she had not anticipated the moment to play out as it was. Her lack of sleep did not allow for generous patience, and hers was wearing thin. What the hell was he talking about? He is now the most powerful wizard alive and he is angry with me for keeping him alive?
Crossing her arms defensively in front of her, she spoke with mustered patience. "I'm sorry, sir. I have no idea what you are talking about, but I cannot leave. Due to the lack of available medical personnel, I was given a temporary certificate to be your Medi-Witch so the others could tend to the wounded brought from the final battle. So…I believe you are stuck with me."
She did not add the fact that the other medical staff refused to treat him and she had volunteered because she cared about his wellbeing. She had stood vigil over him every slow ticking second that turned into minutes that stretched into the hours that had became weeks. She had been there to wipe the sweat from his brow when the poison caused him to convulse and she had successfully fought a small army of reporters for two solid weeks until today. She had administered his potions and draughts, testing each one for perfect quality, sometimes brewing them herself for the sake of having something to take her mind away from worrying about him. He had no idea and would never remember the devotion she had shown. She had not taken an active role in his recovery because she felt sorry for him as the papers said, but she had actually thought she could love him enough to save him. It was a notion she was quickly regretting, and she immediately cursed herself for thinking a strong wizard such as Severus Snape could ever want an insufferable know it all with bushy hair.
He hated her for keeping him alive and he believed she had only done it to torture him with the humiliation he knew was forthcoming. Whatever her reasons for thinking he wanted to live were irrelevant and he had no intention of finding out. He simply wanted to no longer be among the living. He could only glare at her with seething hatred. The more she spoke, the more he wanted to kill her, and he would no longer accept her medical attention now that he was lucid.
He threw the newspaper in her direction, but it flew apart, and the sections scattered across the floor. "Miss Granger." He hissed through gritted teeth. "Did it ever occur to your brilliant mind that I was prepared to die?"
The front page landed across her feet and displayed the pictures of Severus Snape and Lily Evans across her trainers. Fighting back stinging tears, she squeaked, "Professor, I don't understand. The war is over. The antivenin worked. You're alive!"
As soon as the words rolled from her tongue, it hit her that she had never taken into consideration the idea that he had wanted to die on that night. She knew that he had the ability to brew the necessary antivenin for his own protection, but she never questioned the fact that he had not administered it to himself. She had been the one to quickly pour it into his mouth when he had been unconscious.
She bent over to pick up the paper while trying to not feel the scorn emanating from her tattered former Potions Professor. Lily's beautiful, unforgotten green eyes seemed to mock him in the picture, hating appearing on the front page with him. Although she was dead, Lily's expressions in her picture made her feelings quite clear that she never reciprocated the love that Severus Snape had held for her, and Hermione's heart sank.
Not only had she violated the private life he had always required, but she had helped Harry to give the memory to the Ministry. Harry agreed that Snape should be honored as a hero and not scorned as an evil Death Eater, but someone in the Ministry leaked the information to the Daily Prophet and they printed every single detail of Snape's most precious and private of thoughts. She understood the humiliation he felt when he saw his life laid out for everyone to violate, only to have it made worse by the spite in Lily Potter's image. Hermione's eyes darted to his, and she was crushed with guilt when she unexpectedly glimpsed into the despondent soul of a lost human being that lay beneath the façade of a curtain of black hair and intensifying anger. He had every right to hate her and at that moment she even hated herself.
"I-I'm sorry, Professor," she whispered, sadly laying the paper on the bed next to him. She was defeated. The only thing left to do for him was to give him what he wanted and leave his sight and never return. She grimaced when she saw the dark detestation in his midnight eyes and she turned to leave, defeated and worried that she would not find another Medi-Witch to replace her.
As soon as she reached the door, it was flung open from the outside, and two Aurors she did not know pushed her back into the room with their wands pointed at her face, startling her out of her sadness. The taller one seized her wand and held his pointed toward her forehead while the other one made his way over to Snape.
He pointed his wand at Snape's chest and spoke authoritatively. "Severus Snape, you are hereby arrested for the crimes of a Death Eater and the murder of Albus Dumbledore by order of the Ministry of Magic."
"No!" Hermione insisted. "He just woke from a coma and he's in no shape to leave the hospital!"
The one pointing his wand at her replied, "He looks fine to me."
"I want to see your credentials!" Hermione protested with a shrill and authoritative voice. "I've never seen you before and I don't know who you are! Prove to me that you are who you say!"
Dragging his wand from her temple to her chin very slowly, his mouth turned into a devious smirk. "And exactly who do you think you are, Miss?"
Crossing her arms defensively, she replied smugly, "I happen to be his Medi-Witch and so far you have shown me no credentials!"
"You be careful, there, Miss. Or we will have to arrest you for obstruction of justice." Pulling a wallet from inside his jacket, he flipped it open to show her the plastic folder holding his credentials.
"Is it possible to Apperate to Azkaban from inside this room?" Snape asked the arresting Auror with convincing indifference.
The Auror was amused with the Potions Master's cool, and he smiled when he replied, "Fraid not."
Snape threw back the covers and slowly stood, wobbly at first, but more concerned with keeping the back of the hospital gown closed. Holding the back of the gown together with his left hand, he used the other to balance himself as he shuffled toward the door. He stopped in front of Hermione and glared at her through his curtain of oily hair.
Through gritted teeth, he hissed, "Your services are no longer required, Miss Granger, and you are to never come near me again!"
She could only look away from him. The hurt and anger in his voice made her wish the floor would open up and swallow her whole. She ignored the Auror whose wand was aimed directly at her head and walked away to retrieve Snape's heavy outer cloak from the tiny closet behind her. She approached him from behind and placed the long black shroud on his shoulders just before he exited the room, and she immediately saw some of his dignity return after he pulled it around him to better cover his attire.
Entering the hallway, he was blinded by the strobe lights of numerous cameras snapping unbecoming pictures of him being shackled and taken to Azkaban. Most embarrassing of all was that he was unable to hide the tiny purple flowers that decorated the teal background of the hospital gown. The filaments of his raven black hair covered all of his face except his protruding nose, which looked more like a beak than a body organ.
The only audible words he said was "Well, hell."
He was quoted in the Daily Prophet the next day along with a full length frontal view of him in bare feet, giving him the appeal of an indigent homeless man.