Chapter 3

~Looking Past The Present~

"OW!" he heard as his face was splattered with slimy pieces of his former master.

Still aghast at what he had seen, he found himself unable to move.

Was that…?

A groan broke the quiet. "My arm, I've cut it, badly."

The familiar voice shook him from his stunned state.

"Hermione?" he asked, moving towards the groans. "Hermione, what in the Devil is going on here?"

"Severus, I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to frighten you. Oh Merlin, please help me."

Snape cast a floating Lumos, and seeing her prone figure, curled and clutching her arm, hurried to kneel beside her. Taking her arm in his hand, he saw the gash trailing from her wrist to her elbow, a red river of blood flowed from it, pooling on the stones beneath her.

"It's deep, Hermione. Stay still."

She clutched at his robe and shut her eyes against the pain. "Please hurry, Severus."

Withdrawing a small bag from the inside pocket of his cloak, he pulled out several small vials using their contents to clean the wound, which seemed to be filled with slimy, orange matter.

"Hermione, what was that?" he asked as he worked.

"What?"

"The face. The Dark Lord! Was it an apparition, a spell? What in Dante's nine Hells was it?"

She breathed sharply as he dabbed at the cut. "It was a Jack-O-Lantern, Severus. And obviously, a great folly on my part."

"A Jack-… Hermione?"

"Yes, I know. I know… please, it hurts!"

"Shh, yes. I know. Quiet now," he said as he placed his wand above the cut. He began to chant, a gentle, lilting incantation, Vulnera Sanetur, softly, almost like a song.

Her wound began to close and her face flooded with relief. Her eyes opened to see his staring back at her, his mouth still singing the haunting, unearthly chant. He finished the spell, and the quiet of the room, lit only by the fading lumos overtook them. Neither moved. His hand still clutched her arm, his fingers softly rubbing the spot where she had been so badly injured. Neither was able to break the gaze held between them.

"Thank you," she said, after a few moments had passed.

Rising, and offering her his hand, they both stood. Outside, the cloud cover had started to disperse, allowing a few cold rays of the brilliant moon to shine through the small window.

Her hand was still wrapped in his.

"Severus, forgive me, please. I wasn't expecting anyone. I didn't know anyone else even knew of this room. I never would have-"

"You're forgiven, Hermione," he said, making no effort to untangle his hand from hers.

"Oh," she said, a little startled at his interruption, "thank you."

"Why exactly were you carving… him?"

She sighed and turned away from him, walking to the window where a sliver of silver light lit her face, highlighting the softness of her features.

"You'll think me stupid."

"I've learned stupidity is not a characteristic to be associated with you."

She smiled, still gazing out the window.

"Foolish then. That, I know you've considered me from time to time."

"Perhaps. Regardless of your estimable mind and prowess in matters of logic, you are still a Gryffindor, Miss Granger. "

Again, he'd wrought a smile. "Oh, Severus, you do know how to flatter a girl."

He laughed softly. "So I've been told."

"I've been having dreams lately," she said, "nightmares really, constantly. I don't know what's brought them on, but it's him, his face, staring at me, full of hate and calling me a worthless Mudblood before he… I always wake up before the spell hits me, but just seeing the flash of green. It's enough to leave me in tears for hours. I thought if maybe I could make a joke of him, it might settle my subconscious mind, or whatever's causing these terrible dreams. I thought a Jack-O-Lantern would be harmless enough. Obviously, I was mistaken."

He walked to her and placed a hand on her back, turning her to face him.

"I see, taming the Boggart, in a sense. You should have told me. I could have given you something, a weeks worth of dreamless sleep would have done you no harm."

"No, I suppose it wouldn't have," she said softly. "Oh dear, you've still got a bit of pumpkin on your face." She reached up to brush it away, letting her hand trail slowly down his cheek, watching her fingers as they mapped the contours of his jaw, his neck, and his collarbone until it rested on his chest. "

"I'll brew you some," he said quietly, finding his own hand had moved to cover hers.

"That would be… very kind."

She laid her head upon his chest and his arms moved to hold her.

"Did I hit you with my spell? Is that what cut you?"

"Honestly, I'm not sure. I was still holding my knife when it happened. It could have been the spell; it could have been the blade. It doesn't matter."

"I suppose not, but I don't like the idea of hurting you."

"Well, if it was the spell, it was in exchange for a terrible fright. We'll have to call it square," she said as she snuggled into his chest.

"Hmm."

"Severus?" she said, her voice muffled by the soft fabric of his robes. "Why is this called 'The Viewing Room'?"

He pulled back and looked at her in surprise. "You mean you don't know?"

"No. I happened upon the place one day while walking about and reading. In a moment of extreme coincidence, the phrase I had uttered was apparently the key to the door. It appeared; I entered. I found nothing but a nice spot that offered a bit of solitude. I've researched it but found nothing, and as far as a view, well, the window's nice, but it doesn't seem in any way extraordinary."

"Hermione, I'm astounded! The window, yes, it looks nondescript, but it is anything but that. Come, look!"

They walked back to the window and saw nothing more than what one sees from any window of Hogwarts in Autumn, rolling hills, mist covered ground, a pallid, luminous moon.

"What would you like to see?" he asked.

"I… what do you mean?"

"I mean Hermione, that in this window, is all the history of Hogwarts."


AN: I'm almost done writing and hope to have the finished story up tomorrow. As I said earlier, I've been away for a while so, I am curious... in general, has readership dropped on this particular ship or is this offering not of much interest? Thanks, please R&R