A/N: Just editing.
Disclaimer: Just borrowing the brilliance of JK Rowling.
Chapter 9: Confessions
Severus left her sitting on a garden bench after he kissed her! She could still feel the warm sensation on her lips. She touched them in awe and was left to ponder his parting words. "The decision lies in your hands, Hermione." He had even called her by her given name. What did he mean? Did he want to peruse a relationship with her? He had initiated the kiss…But what about Remus? There was a problem with that. If Remus liked her and she started seeing Severus…
Hermione could take it anymore. She went down to her room and packed a bag. She was going to pay a visit to the only person who she could think of who was close to Severus, Draco Malfoy.
She stepped into the fireplace and yelled. "Malfoy Manor!". With a swish of green flames she was whisked away.
Hermione came tumbling out onto a dark green carpet. She got up and dusted herself off when she heard the familiar drawl.
"If it isn't Granger. Now there's something you don't see everyday."
"Malfoy. I need to talk to you."
He rolled his eyes. "Well, obviously. I didn't think you came all this way just to look at me…then again I know quite a few who would." He smirked.
She punched him lightly and smiled. Just then a girl walked into the room. "-Draco I thought I heard you talking to someone, w-." Hermione looked up. It was none other than Pansy Parkinson.
"Granger. What are you doing here?"
"Hello, Pansy. I need to talk to Draco for a minute." Hermione grabbed Draco's sleeve and pushed him into the nearest room. She warded the door and put a silencing spell on the room.
"Geez Hermione. Why are you so anxious?"
"Severus kissed me." She blurted out.
"…He what?…Hey, you just called him Severus."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Draco! That's not the point! The thing is…"
He listened patiently as she explained the whole story. "…So now what do I do? Does Severus seriously like me? Do I have to choose between one of them?"
Draco sighed. "Yes, I think your going to have to. Just keep in mind that Snape will not take it lightly if you choose Lupin. I would suspect that the werewolf would eventually come to terms with it, and want to remain friends. It's hard to tell. But I will let you know this. My godfather is a very proud and private man. If he really did kiss you and he said those words, then he's dead serious. He was raised the old fashioned way. He will court you. I know as a teacher he can be a bastard, but he was taught to be a gentleman."
The whole time Hermione remained quiet. "Thanks Draco. I'll leave you to it then…"
As she turned to leave he stopped her with a hand on her shoulder. "Hey. I'll be here for you no matter what. Okay?"
She gave him a warm hug before leaving.
Hermione got back and went straight to her bedroom in their shared chambers. She flopped down on the bed and sighed. This was going to hard enough as it was. They lived together and worked together everyday. Hermione knew that both Severus and Remus were sincere. Both were her friends as well, which made the situation all the more complicated. To top it off, both men were so competitive and held such deep grudges that she knew remaining 'just friends' with both of them would eventually lead to an all-out brawl. Besides, she hadn't been in the dating world for a while. It wouldn't hurt to give it another go. She just hoped that whoever she chose the other would write her out of their lives completely.
So, Hermione did what she did best. She got up and went to her desk. On one piece of parchment she wrote Severus at the top. On another she wrote Remus. For each person she made two columns. Pros and cons.
Pros: baritone voice, tall, dark mysterious type, sexy smirk, intense/sincere, smart conversations, loves books, witty.
Cons: not always friendly, not very emotional, possessive(?), jealous type
Pros: always happy, warm, inviting, laughs, sincere, loves books
Cons: might get clingy, jealous type, not as intellectual as Severus, doesn't like potions
When she was done she read over each list, and deciding that they were good she went to bed. Sleeping on such an important decision is always a good idea.
Hermione tossed and turned that night. She was having a nightmare of the final battle.
She was on the field and she was looking for someone, but she couldn't find them. Spells and curses were flying left and right. It was dark and raining, along with lightening and thunder. Suddenly she saw them. Their face was too far away and shrouded in the blackness, but she could tell he was struggling to stay alive. Hermione was yards away and she kept trying to run to him. The ground was muddy and she kept slipping in the same spot over and over. No matter how hard she tried to run she never got anywhere. Hermione and her mysterious man were both helpless. She could only watch in horror and anguish as a jet of green light appeared out of nowhere and headed straight for him. She screamed right before the curse hit him,
and awoke with a start and the end of a scream on her lips. A strong pair of arms were wrapped around her and she was leaning against a warm, muscled chest. The voice in her ear was muttering soft words of comfort. She buried her face into his chest and drew shaky breaths.
When she had calmed down she looked up to see the obsidian eyes of Severus Snape staring down at her. His hand came up and brushed away the tears that had escaped her notice.
"Shhh, don't cry. It was just a dream. You can go back to sleep." He moved to let go of her, but her fists automatically clung tighter, burying her face into the front of his robes. From her tense frame he could tell she was trying to suppress her sobs.
Severus sighed. He wasn't surprised. Even he still got night terrors from his years in the Dark Lord's service. The only thing he could think of was to stay until she fell asleep again. Good grief. When had he gone so soft?
He lay down next her and she snuggled into him with her face pressed against his chest. They both slept soundly for the rest of the night.
Hermione woke to the sound of silence. She glanced at the clock. It was only 7:00am. The other side of the bed was cold. It was like he had never been there.
Maybe it was a dream. Maybe he really didn't come in here at all. What does that mean then? Why did I dream of Severus Snape?
Stumbling out of bed she went to take her morning shower and wash all of the confusion down the drain. Afterwards she made her way down to the great hall for breakfast. When she walked in the whole staff table, except for Dumbledore and McGonagall, were silent.
I guess everyone remembers the ball quite clearly.
She kept her head down and walked to her seat, which just so happened to be right between Minerva and Severus. Most of the staff glared at her for sitting anywhere but beside Remus. Hermione grimaced inwardly.
They probably all think I'm a heartless woman for not sitting next to the man who professed his love for me…but they don't know that not one, but two men confessed to me last night.
"Good morning, Hermione. I trust you slept well?"
This brought her back to reality and she answered with only a slight glance towards the Potions Master, "Yes, thank you, Minerva. By the way, I was wondering if you were busy this afternoon. I'd like to catch up over a pot of tea."
Minerva gave her a wink. "How does one o' clock in my quarters sound?" In a lower voice she muttered. "I want to hear all the details."
Hermione giggled quietly despite herself. Minerva smiled and left the great hall. She chanced a glance behind her to see Severus scowling after her.
"She's about as bad as Albus." He growled.
"Oh, come now, no one is worse than Albus. That man is a natural born gossiper. He would fit right in with all the old ladies. In fact Albus is and old lady. That's probably why they hang out together so much, they gossip like hens."
At that statement Severus' lip quirked up a little in the smallest trace of a smile. He gave a slight tilt of the head. "I trust I'll be seeing you soon. Until then, Hermione." With that he stood and swept out of the Great Hall.
Hermione had a hard time focusing on her class today. She snapped at the students more than usual, hoping they wouldn't notice that she wasn't all there that day.
It wasn't just Hermione that was having trouble teaching. Severus was also suffering from his lack of focus. He had only five minutes before his first class. Sitting down at his desk he let out a frustrated sigh. Today was a bad day for a practical lesson. If he couldn't keep his focus it would end in disaster. It would be safer giving them chapters from the book.
It's not like they couldn't do with some torturous note taking, with a nice lengthy essay to go with it. Severus smirked. At least one thing was going his way today.
Up stairs in the DADA classroom, yet another teacher was fuming. Remus Lupin was known to be a patient man, but he was not to be tested today. He was enraged that Hermione didn't even acknowledge him this morning. Instead she sat next to Snape!
Why would she ever choose that greasy bat over him? He was a kind, caring Gryffindor. He had been her friend longer. They both loved books and would totally have lived in a library…Then again, Snape was a nerd too. But he's a stinkin' Slytherin!
His third year class didn't know what hit them. Professor Lupin was down right nasty. He had stormed into the room and had yelled at them to sit down and shut up.
Xavier Lucas, always the irrational mumbled under his breath, "He's like Snape on a good day. What's wrong with him?"
Unluckily for him, even though Remus what short on temper he was not hard of hearing.
"Mr. Lucas, detention with Mr. Filch tonight 7:00pm sharp." He stood at the front of the room with his arms crossed. "Anyone else have anything they would like to add to his comment? No? The you will all turn to chapter 8 in you textbooks and take notes on the section. I want a three foot essay by next class on the theory and usefulness of nonverbal spells. There will be no need to talk."
Lunch was no better. In fact Hermione made it even more intense than breakfast. She didn't go at all. She had decided to stay in her quarters to keep the tension down. Instead both men glared daggers at the other all through lunch, silently asking what the other did to Hermione. Professor McGonagall had had enough. The staff was suffering, the three of them were suffering and the students were suffering. And personally she was afraid her head was going to explode. She asked Severus and Remus to come to her office after dinner. Fortunately, neither of them knew the other would be there. A stern talking to and a reminder of their professional responsibilities ought to convince them to stand down.
Severus got there first and was seated comfortably in a chair when Minerva and Remus walked in. He jumped up and scowled. "What is that mangy old wolf doing in here? Minerva what are you trying to do? We aren't going to be able to get along."
"You two are going to stop this once and for all. You are driving everyone crazy. Why do you think I gave permission for Hermione to eat in her rooms today? She needs time to think without you two at each other's throats."
"Well she's not making it any easier for us!" Remus exclaimed.
"Listen up, both of you. She cares for both of you a great deal. The only difference is one as a best friend and the other as something more. No one can make that decision for her and you both will respect her decision. She will always want both of you in her life. Besides it's not like she's the last woman on the planet. Do I make myself clear?"
"Yes, Minerva." Remus mumbled.
Snape only gave her a nod.
In her rooms Hermione was turning in early. All the worrying, pacing, and thinking have given her a slight headache. While watching the fire she slipped into a light doze. Another nightmare invade her dreams.
She was in total darkness, and her body was frozen. The empty chamber echoed with the torturous sound of Bellatrix Lestrange's maniacal laugh. The voice that brought back flashes of scars and silver daggers against her throat. The laugh that meant certain death, and dying alone. Then, out of the corner of her eye she caught the welcoming figure of Remus Lupin. She cried out in delight that someone was there to save her. But to her disbelief, he continued on, only turning his head slightly like there was a bug in his ear. His retreating form faded away and there was simply darkness once more.
Panic began to overwhelm her and she struggled to free herself, but to no avail. It was then she noticed a mass in the corner. A Death Eater approached, his gleaming mask illuminating her tearstained face. Soon the mask was right in front of her. And as the hood fell off, she closed her eyes, ready for whatever may come. When nothing happened, Hermione hesitantly opened her eyes, and there stood Severus Snape. He gave her a quirk of his mouth and gently touched her hand. Breaking her state of paralysis, he grabbed her hand and they ran through the shadows.
Hermione awoke from her dream and dragged herself to bed before Severus got home. Lying in bed trying to go back to sleep the dream washed over her. Here was her answer, plain and clear as black on white. Severus Snape was her choice. He was the one who had saved her. He was the one she had unconsciously decided to trust.
Sometimes the first step is confessing to ourselves.