A/N: I am not quite sure where this story is going, it's is the first HP fanfic I've written in almost two years, it might be just two chapters or might be a complete story, I really don't know. Please don't expect anything but I will try my best to keep writing. Whilst this story is not DH compliant, many things that happened in the DH have happened in this fic. The main differences are that Snape survived and that Hermione's parents are dead. Hope you enjoy it.

Andrea xxx

Hermione sighed once more as she bent down to clean the underside of the last desk. She had been cleaning the undersides of the desks in the Potions classroom for the past three hours and her back was aching. She groaned as she got rid of some chewing gums that some idiotic, in her opinion, students had left there. One more hand movement and they were gone. She stood up at looked satisfactorily over the room. Professor Snape was sitting on the chair behind his desk, grading papers. She watched as he scribbled away furiously with that red quill of his. She felt a twinge of sympathy as she imagined what grade that particular student had received. As she looked down at herself and then back to Snape at his desk, she realized how out of place she felt. She found herself once more contemplating why she was still at Hogwarts.

Voldemort had been defeated six months earlier in a big battle at Hogwarts. Many people, on both sides, had died. Out of the people that had died from the side of the light, Tonks, Lupin and Neville were the people Hermione missed the most. She felt her heart hurt at the thought of them. However, there were also many muggles that had died, including Hermione's parents. There had been a death eater raid on her house in the beginning of last spring and by the time the Order had been alerted, her parents were already dead. Whilst this news had been devastating for Hermione, who at the time was chasing horcruxes with Harry and Ron, she had remained calm, strangely so in fact. Harry and Ron had been walking on eggshells around her, wondering why she hadn't broken down. They felt that she had been acting a bit too professional, almost as if she were emotionally detached. She had just shrugged at their comments and told them that she mourned in her own way. That, she knew, they could not argue with.

However, once the war was over, Hermione had felt that she could escape no longer and so she had taken off for a month without telling anyone where she was going, only leaving Harry and Ron a note telling them not to worry and not to look for her. The death of her parents had left her with more money than she needed, not that they had been very rich, but they had had enough money saved up to last her for many years to come. And so she had decided to spend some of that money on travelling to her parents' favourite village in the south of France, √ąze. She had spent many summers there as a child and found the village, which was located in the mountains, very beautiful. There, and in the nearby city of Nice, she had recovered, slowly. The first week had been fine, but nine days into her trip she had decided to go to a restaurant that she always went to with her parents, and meeting the people who worked there, who knew her by name, had simply been too much. She had spent the next five days locked up in her hotel room, only leaving the room once a day to get something to eat. When she had left the room after five days, she had felt strangely relieved. She had spent the next week visiting all her parents' favourite places, walking, quite literally, in their footsteps. The remainder of her trip was spent in Nice, mainly on the beach. In the evenings she would sometimes have dinner at one of the restaurants in the Old Town of Nice, but mostly she would just buy a snack on the street and eat it whilst walking. She developed a fondness for fine white wine, her favourite being Chevalier-Montrachet, which she would love to drink every day were it not so expensive. She did, however, bring a case of it back to the United Kingdom with her when she returned. Everyone had welcomed her back with open arms and she, along with Harry and Ron, had been awarded an Order of Merlin First Class during a ceremony in the end of July. She had then spent the following weeks cleaning out her childhood home and sorting out her affairs, after which she sold the house and bought herself a small flat in Edinburgh.

Many people had been very hurt during the war but all of them had recovered by now. Snape was perhaps the one who had been wounded most gravely. Hermione had seen with her own eyes how he had been killed, or so she had thought, by Nagini and she was still in the dark as to how he had survived. He had yet to tell anyone. He had been in a coma for weeks but then, all of a sudden; he had woken up in the beginning of August, completely healthy. It was obvious that he felt much better now that the war was over. He had put on some weight, which had smoothed out some of the lines in his face as well as made him look healthier, as he had been underweight before. Snape, along with all the teachers, with the exception of Professor Slughorn, had returned to Hogwarts after the war. Whilst he was still his usual grumpy self, he did not play favourites with the Slytherins as much as he did before, something the other Houses were quite happy about. The reason Snape had returned was a mystery to Hermione, as she truly believed that he hated his job. Her being in his classroom right now, at half past ten in the evening, proved that, in her opinion.

The new Headmistress of Hogwarts, Professor McGonagall, had contacted all the recent seventh years and offered them a chance to return to Hogwarts and take their NEWTs. Out of all the students who had received the offer, Hermione was the only one who had taken her up on it. She had tried for hours to persuade Ron and Harry to come back with her but they had refused, claiming that since they had already received, without even applying, unconditional offers at the Auror Academy there was no reason for them to, as they put it, "be bored to death" with studies. Apparently all other fellow students in their year had felt the same.

Hermione had not told anyone the real reason for her return to Hogwarts, instead simply pretending to be her old bookworm self who loved studying. Whilst she was still fond of learning, she saw no point in her studying a year before taking her NEWTs. Especially since she was confident that she could already pass them in her sleep. No, that was not the reason why she had returned. In fact, the cause of her return was fear and insecurity. Now that Voldemort was dead, along with her parents, the people she had focused on for the last years were gone and so she found herself with nothing to do. To Hermione, it was as though here reason and purpose of living had disappeared. She did not feel like going to university, even though she was sure she could have taken her NEWTs over the summer had she only asked, nor did she know what kind of career she wanted. And being the efficient and energetic person that she was, she did not feel like sitting around, waiting for something to happen. Hermione felt lost, something she did not want to admit to anyone, and so she decided to take McGonagall up on her offer, feeling that it couldn't hurt to have NEWTs.

This had meant that Hermione had returned to Hogwarts as a rather special student as she was no longer completely a student, yet she was not a member of the faculty. She still wore the school uniform, attended classes with the year below and during meals she sat at the Gryffindor table. The fact that she no longer had any prefect duties, as well as the fact that Voldemort no longer occupied her mind, had meant that she had found that she had a lot of spare time on her hands. Harry and Ron being gone also meant that she did not have to watch them to make sure that they did not do anything reckless, and she did no longer have to spend time writing their essays or, which was more time consuming, explain the school work to them. Whilst most of the seventh years took three or four NEWTs, Hermione, being the dedicated student that she was, had decided to take five. However, seeing as she was already far ahead in her studies, this was not a challenge, and thus she had found herself with too much time on her hands. McGonagall had therefore offered Hermione a job as a teaching assistant in Transfigurations, which meant that Hermione would assist with the first, second and third years' classes, as well as assisting her Head of House with grading and lesson planning. Whilst Hermione enjoyed these lessons and was very grateful for the opportunity to try out teaching, she had come to learn that it was not for her. She simply felt that it was a waste of time explaining things to students who did not even want to learn. This had made her wonder, once again, why Snape had come back to teach. She had tried to ask him about it once, during the first week of term, but he had just snapped and told her to "get the hell out of" his office. She had been more than a little angry but had figured that it wasn't the right time for the confrontation that was bound to happen between them. And so the first two months at Hogwarts had passed quite smoothly.

Hermione did, however, keep raising her hand in Potions class, knowing that that alone was enough to make Snape annoyed. She also continued to help her friends during class, something that Snape did not take kindly to. It was this that had landed her in the current situation. The same morning, during Potions class, she had stopped Ginny from adding an ingredient at the wrong moment, which would have ruined the potion completely, had Hermione not stepped in. Snape had, of course, been furious with her for helping Ginny and the fact that Hermione had talked back, arguing that she had prevented the destruction of expensive ingredients, had not helped her situation, which had deteriorated from ten deducted House points to a detention, to be served the same day, which of course happened to be a Friday night. Hermione, needless to say, had been angry beyond words but she had at least managed to get a grip of herself so that she did not land herself in several detentions, one was bad enough.

Once she had arrived at his classroom at seven o'clock sharp, he had swiftly told her that she was to clean the undersides of all the desks, without the use of magic. Hermione, having had enough time to collect herself, had simply nodded and got to work. Snape had seemed somewhat surprised when she had showed no reluctance but he had quickly got his facial expression together and sat down behind his desk and started grading. Once in a while he had looked up at her to make sure she wasn't using any magic and more than once had his gaze lingered on here for longer than was normal.

Hermione vanished the sponge and water bucket and washed her hands in a sink. She then raised her hands straight over her head, stretching her back and arms at the same time.

"What, pray tell, are you doing, Miss Granger?" Snape asked in his usual curt tone. He put down his quill and focused all his attention on her.

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