The Boogie-Man Curse

Original Prompt: Hermione has been cursed. Rather than harm her physically, her attacker went after her mind. She's now paranoid and terrified of everything, and refuses to leave her home. Since the curse is dark in nature, Snape is sent in to figure out a counter-curse. For reasons he can't figure out, Hermione only feels safe with him. Can Snape remove the curse? Who cursed Hermione and why? H/C and romance with a happy ending, please.

Author Note: Written originally for the 2010/2011 SS/HG Exchange, for one of my favourite authors and a wonderful friend - SSHG316 - Shug. :) I have taken the essence of your prompt and fiddled with it-a bit. I hope you enjoy the story that resulted, even if it has deviated just a smidge from teh story you perhaps were thinking of. Many thanks to fabulous Scattered Logic who listened to my numerous excuses and who betaed thsi story so quickly for me.

The Background

Sensation, it was that initial cacophony of sensation. The sights, sounds and smells, well, one smell in particular overpowering her all at once.


Sickly sweet, pervasive and out of place in the midst of so much bloodshed. But there it was, tickling at her nose and overlying even the cloying tangy odour of burnt flesh and congealing blood. But why honeysuckle and why now? Perhaps she was dying and instead of the alluring aroma of freshly baked bread, Hermione was left with this heavy perfume invading her nostrils. In fact, it really smelt as though someone had vomited honeysuckle in her immediate vicinity, though why defied logic. The giggle of fear and nervousness, as though she had other things to be going on with other than the visual spectre of honeysuckle blossoms being expelled in the thousands from some unwitting person's mouth. Oh, well, it was infinitely better than slugs Hermione had to suppose. But, there was something else, something she had ignored and fought, even with it overhanging her logical self.

Fear, blinding fear, and it was fast giving way to absolute panic. She was trapped, hearing strange voices around her yelling and shouting curses. If she didn't get down, they'd get her too. Why and with what she didn't know, but she had to escape, get out, or hide. Yes, hiding sounded good. And so she rolled herself into a tight ball and sought to make herself as small as possible. It was then that she heard it - laughter - so out of place in this setting, and it was particularly jarring. Unwilling to see who was so amused by her cowering, Hermione found that it was beyond her ability to unravel herself from her tight bundle of limbs and take a peek. In fact, it seemed imperative to get away, to hide, to find a safe hole to crawl into. But where to? The castle behind if not in ruins, was damaged at some point, the crumbling and explosive sound of rock shearing away with the force of the curses hurled its way was quite apparent to her raw nerves. Apparate? No, no that was unwise and she thought quite possibly suicidal, though why that thought occurred was just added to the tangle of emotions she was rapidly losing ground to. Unwittingly, Hermione repeated her mantra of hiding over and over again, edging herself into hysteria. Rubbing her nose vigorously as if that alone would push the smell of honeysuckle away and centre her thoughts, Hermione was so startled she shrieked when the hand lightly touched her shoulder...