A/N: Well, here we are my friends. I have come to a plateau of sorts with IWFYID, and we have reached the end of this particular road. For now. I made a lot of mistakes with this story, but a lot of good things came of it too. I learned what it's like to find a delightful readerbase, and have enjoyed getting reviews (good and bad) and seeing readers' desire to see how the story ends. Presently, this is the end of what I have written for this story, and all I plan on writing for this version. Sometime in the future, I will be enacting an overhaul on IWFYID, and rewriting it. Until that day, I will be working on some other projects, and look forward to retracing Hermione and Severus' journey through IWFYID in a different manner. You all have been wonderful with your reader alerts and favorites, and I hope all of you will stick around for my newer stories and the eventual rewrite of I Will Follow You Into the Dark. Thank you so very much for this journey, and the amazing experience.
Finally I'd like to say thank you to my sounding board Rinny009, my net sister TycheSong, and my wonderful beta LDaemon. Without you, this wouldn't have been possible.
This is not the end, my friends. Merely the closing of a chapter.
Jean was pacing restlessly outside of Professor Snape's classroom, wringing her hands. Professor Snape (both the one from her dreams and her chemistry professor) would say that she was tittering and for her to stop her foolish displays of nervousness. Her bravado had seemed plausible in her pajamas. Now, with the threat of facing him bearing down upon her, her little mirror pep talk didn't seem so impressive after all.
Only twenty minutes remained until class started. Five minutes before her classmates, wary of Professor Snape's volatile temper and decidedly vile punishment assignments, would begin arriving.
Jean stared at the door, dimly realizing she had gained a slight tremor during her musings. With shaking hands she attempted to calm herself by running her hands through her hair, though she did nothing more than get her fingers hopelessly tangled in her curls.
Professor Snape was her Severus. Of that she was sure. Before last night's dream, she already knew she loved him. After last night's dream, she was weighed down by the knowledge that they had kissed, hopefully more than once.
She had kissed him. And he had reciprocated!
Dread settled over her. Love was all fine and dandy, but how did one go about approaching one's professor with declarations of love? This was a bad idea. He'd get sacked if anyone ever found out. And what of John? What would she tell him?
"Oh, I'm sorry John. You see, I lost my memory. Funny thing, that. I spent two years getting high and shooting up heroin. I seem to have forgotten that little bit of information when you introduced me to your impressionable son. And to top it all off, I seem to be in love with Professor Snape. You know the 'git' you hate?" She muttered out the explanation to an empty hallway, pivoting to pace again.
Instead of stepping into empty space, Jean ran into something warm and solid. Putting her hands up in defense, she felt the scratch of wool against her fingers.
Stumbling backwards, Jean paled as a highly amused Professor Snape caught her elbow and steadied her.
"Miss Russell. You certainly are early for class," he said with a smirk, his eyes glinting with dark humor.
Jean's brow furrowed as she wracked her mind for an intelligent answer.
"Nifflers," she spluttered, then shook her head wildly, confused. "What...I don't..."
Professor Snape must have sensed her dilemma for he led her into the classroom and pressed her into a seat, returning to lock the door behind him. That tingle she felt during his office visit returned, lifting the hairs on the back of her neck and arms.
"What do you do?" She blurted. "When you shut the door? It makes me feel strange."
The professor raised an elegant eyebrow, peering at her closely.
"What was that you said in the hallway, Miss Russell?" He asked instead, cleanly diverting the conversation to another more important topic.
Jean knew what he was asking about. Knew that it would be a question about the memory loss, the heroin, or her proclamation of love. He had definitely been within earshot, and he had proven in class time and again that he had impeccable hearing. Perhaps it was from years of stalking the hallways at that peculiar school, chasing after 'dunderheads'.
Whatever it was, Jean was confident that Professor Snape had heard, though she quickly resolved not to give him the satisfaction. Not until she was ready.
"I apologize, Professor. I constantly tell John to be respectful, but I'm afraid he's a boor and doesn't know how to be," she said sweetly, smiling at him with a trace of nervousness.
Professor Snape chuckled darkly, nodded in approval. "There is no accounting for tastes, Miss Russell. I can only hope that your tastes...refine, and you find yourself in better company."
Jean blushed, lowering her gaze to the desk. "May I speak frankly, sir?"
"I don't see how I could possibly stop you," Professor Snape quipped good naturedly, and had she looked up she would have seen his eyes glittering with amusement.
"I...think we need to talk, sir," she murmured, wringing her hands. "About a lot of things."
"The least of which being Mr. Aldean's feelings about me," he replied. She looked up at him, her smile slightly hesitant. Their moment was ruined when a student tentatively knocked on the door, fearing the wrath of the cruel chemistry professor.
Professor Snape placed a finger under her chin, tilting her head back a bit further so their eyes met. He bent at the waist, pressing a kiss to her forehead before moving past her.
Jean sat fairly shell shocked, grateful that her professor had kept her in mind and pushed her into her usual front row seat as he opened the door and let the rest of the class in.
John promptly slid into the seat next to her, leaning over so his mouth nearly brushed her ear. "We need to talk!" He hissed.
Drawing back, Jean's brow furrowed. "What are you talking about?"
"Last night! Or did you forget? You left me and Harry to go off and do some research for the git!" He grumbled, gesturing towards of the front of the classroom, where Professor Snape usually resided before class.
Jean saw him before John did, and couldn't help but smirk as Professor Snape moved behind John with silent grace, his gaze predatory as he crossed his arms.
"I'm afraid that the 'git' would like to know if you'd like to share yours and Miss Russell's discussion with the rest of the class?"
John flushed scarlet, scowling as he shook his head. "No, sir."
Professor Snape turned to Jean, a smirk lifting the corner of his mouth.
"And you, Miss Russell. Would you like to share with the class what Mr. Aldean was so eagerly whispering in your ear?"
Jean shook her head, struggling not to laugh. "No, sir. Though I would like to sit through today's class without any distractions," she murmured, sending John a glare that would have rivaled Professor Snape's on one of his bad days.
Huffing, the older man edged away from her, his expression dour as he unpacked his backpack.
"Very well, then. Take care to ensure that you remain quiet through the rest of my class, Mr. Aldean. That goes for the rest of you," Professor Snape barked, pivoting smartly then making his way to the front of the classroom.
The lecture had ended, and Jean's head was so abuzz with new information that she nearly missed Professor Snape calling out to her.
"Miss Russell," he murmured, collecting his notes from the lectern. "If you would be so kind as to join me in my office?" His tone, while quiet, left no room for argument. She realized that John would be upset, and she gleaned an almost perverse pleasure from the thought.
Looking up from packing her backpack, Jean's brow furrowed for a moment as the professor's entreaty took hold. Eyes widening in comprehension, Jean nodded fervently.
"Of course, sir."
John glared at her as she left her desk to trail after Professor Snape. Jean glanced over her shoulder at him, frowning before following Professor Snape to his office.
He guided her into the rickety chair in front of his desk as he settled into his own, waiting for her to initiate the conversation. Jean fidgeted instead of talking, wringing her hands in her lap as she willed her courage to show its face. What happened to all that mirror bravery the night before?
"Miss Russell," he drawled, and she could tell his was somewhat irritated by the downward quirk of his mouth, and the slight furrowing of his eyebrows. "You had suggested we 'talk', and here we are. If you would like to see yourself elsewhere or within Mr. Aldean's oh-so-loving embrace, let me know, and I will be more than happy to have you out of my office, and no longer wasting my time."
Jean flinched, and realized it was now or never. He was angry, and she may not be afforded this opportunity ever again.
"Professor Snape...Severus Snape, whoever you are," she began, throwing her hands up. "You heard me out in the hallway. I don't have any memory beyond the past two years. I can't tell you how old I really am, my bloodtype, or even who my parents are."
Professor Snape raised an eyebrow, leaning back in his chair as he digested the information.
"What does this have to do with me? Other than the fact that you may 'fancy' me," he sneered.
Jean shook her head, her curls flying with the force.
"You know damned well what it has to do with you! You know who I am, Professor Snape. You followed me here, for whatever reason. I know you have answers," she declared, her fists balling at her sides.
Professor Snape stroked his chin, deep in thought for several minutes. Jean squirmed in her seat, opening her mouth to speak when he cut her off.
"Miss Russell, are you sure you want to embark upon this path? You may not be able to live this kind of life any longer if I tell you the truth."
Biting her lip, Jean met his gaze, startled to find that he was leaning forward, hands gripping the arms of the chair.
"I'm sure, Professor Snape. I can't live like this anymore. My dreams are too vivid, and it's all just out of my grasp. I know there's something more, that I am something more, and I need your help."
The dour professor stood up, pacing the length of his small office. Jean was reminded of the powerful stride he exhibited in her dreams, and his tendency to 'billow' in any given situation. Suddenly he turned and walked behind his desk, planting his hands on the surface as he leaned towards her.
"What do you remember, if anything?" He asked, not sitting down.
Jean was unnerved, and was struck with the uncomfortable notion that he would leap over the desk and not think twice about hauling her up out of her chair and turning her out on her ear. When he did not move, she plucked at the hem of her jumper, swallowing hard.
"A castle. I remember a castle. It's strange, and wondrous, and I've seen the special room that we would meet in. I've seen halls and halls, with ghosts and wonders that I never thought could exist. I've seen friends, especially a boy with green eyes and black hair, and his red headed friend."
Professor Snape snorted at the last comment, and she guessed that he didn't think very highly of them.
"Yet most of all I remember you. You were the first one I ever remembered, Professor Snape."
She looked up at him from underneath her eyelashes, gathering her courage. "Severus. You are the one that I've always remembered. You were the most important."
He finally collapsed into his chair then, scrubbing a hand over his face with a low groan. The lines of his body were taught, and she could read the tension in his shoulders.
"You've been gone for three years, you know," he murmured, one hand still covering his eyes. "Three years that I've searched, since you saved my life, and told me you loved me." He fell silent after this, and she yearned to reach across the desk and envelop him in her arms.
"I still do," she said quietly, keeping her eyes on the floor. Now was as good a time as any. "Love you, I mean…I don't….you're just…" She growled in frustration, digging the heels of her hands against her eyes. "I don't care when you're being a git, or a right bastard. I remember you from Perry's, and how we'd talk over coffee or tea, and you were just…right."
He removed his hand, looking at her as he leaned forward. "Why did you stop working there?" He asked, his tone serious.
Jean shrugged, averting her gaze again. "You asked me about my future. I wanted a future with you, because you were Severus. My Severus. What if you didn't want me? Broken as I was, washed up. I'm not that girl from the castle. I'm Jean, and I didn't know if you wanted me or not."
"Well, Miss Russell," he murmured, his tone contemplative, "I can say with the utmost confidence that I would like to get to know you. I have searched too long to give you up because of a case of amnesia."
In one fluid motion he had stood up and circled the desk, holding out a long fingered hand. She stared at it for a moment, mesmerized by the pale skin that was abruptly hidden by the sleeve of his tweed jacket. Swallowing hard, Jean took his hand, a jolt of sensory memory warming her to her shoulder.
Severus gave a gentle tug and she was on her feet, enveloped in his embrace.
"Wherever this journey takes us, I shall be here for you," he murmured into her hair.
Wrapping her arms about her professor's slim waist, Jean felt a peace she hadn't previously experienced. Breathing in his scent, she hugged him tighter.
After all that time searching and making more mistakes than she could count, Jean was home.
Thank you so very, very much for reading.