It had been eleven years since I had left Hogwarts to find my parents in Australia. They'd been fairly understanding about it all, especially once they'd learned everything was over and we were all safe. Over the years, I'd tried to explain who Lord Voldemort was and how he was almost a reincarnate of Hitler, but they hadn't really understood. They knew I was concerned about it and tried to cooperate.
I was reluctant to leave my parents alone—despite their assurances—, but they didn't really mind that I was 28 and still living with them. We had a large house and I worked nights. To be honest, we barely interacted.
"Hermione, could you go to the store on your way home? I'd ask your father, but he'd dreadful at remembering." I finished buttoning my coat as I turned back to the house and my mother standing in the doorway.
"Of course. What is it you need?" I asked, walking back to her.
"I made a list. It's not much and I promise to pay you back."
"No, Mum. You don't have to. I'm not paying you rent or anything. I don't mind."
"Well, we'll work it out when I wake up, okay?" I smiled.
I looked over her list as I got in my car. The essentials: toothpaste, fruit, bread… I rolled down my window and called for her before she could go back inside. "What's this at the bottom?"
"Oh, it's just a new vitamin supplement I found. It has a bunch of herbs in it. I'm sure you could make it for me, but with the economy…"
"Okay, I'll look."
"Thank you, dear."
I spent the forty-five minutes on the work analyzing what could be in the vitamins my mother wanted me to get. I didn't know if I could replicate it. The only person I'd ever seen do anything like it was Professor Snape. I sighed at a stop light and rubbed my eyes. Ot for the first time, I wondered if any of us could have saved him if we'd have tried. We'd only gone back for his body which was missing. Our best guess was the Death Eaters had taken him.
As I passed the street my father's dentistry resided on, I almost slammed on my breaks. One of the men entering the dentistry bore a strange resemblance to Severus Snape. I took a second look, but he'd already entered the building and was out of sight. It must have just been my imagination portraying those qualities onto a man slightly similar. After all, hadn't I been thinking about him at the time.
I rode the rest of the way to work in silence, reassuring myself with thoughts of hallucinations.
I yanked my bag out of the back of my car and ran through the employee entrance in the back of the bar. I had yet to put my work uniform on and I was already late.
"Mia! Why aren't you dressed yet? We've got a big crowd that just came in. Bachelor party for some group out in Westminster. I asked you to come in early today so we could prepare!" my boss, Clio, yelled as I tried to pass her on my way into the bathroom.
"Yes, I know. I'm sorry. I take full responsibility. My mum had t—"
"I don't want to hear it right now. It if doesn't have to do with my bar, put it on the bac-burner and we'll talk about it later," she said, returning to her office. I sighed and closed the door to the bathroom behind me.
After settling down everything with my parents memories, and liquidating most of our British assets, my parents and I moved to America. Colorado to be precise. Home of wonderful skiing and people who get insulted if you don't return their 'good morning' greetings, even if they're complete strangers. My mother retired and Father and I got jobs fairly easily, despite the condition of the economy. I'd gotten a degree in Archiving and Curating, but it seemed nobody needs someone to catalogue now that everything is electronic, so I'd accepted a position in waitressing. Bartending was the next step and I was soon working 14 hour shifts (5 to 7) and making close to $1,000 a week.
The bachelor party Clio was frazzled about took only fifty minutes to get booted out. They'd caused enough damage to the building, suing was practically a visible thought bubble floating above Clio's perfectly sculpted hair. Mike, the bouncer, had a difficult time getting them out the door. Once they'd left, the large room seemed strangely empty.
"Hey, Mia," Mike said when he came back in. I could barely hear him over the pounding music. "There's a guy out here who wants to talk to you bad."
"It's okay, Mike. Just tell him to go home." We'd had guys like that before. The ones who ask what time the shift ends or who miraculously fall in love once you hand them one beer.
"No. It's not like that. He asked for you by first name. Your full name. He's in pretty bad shape. You ought to at least come look." I sighed and dropped my rag onto the bar. There was a small lull in the dinner hour; after the meal, but before happy hour.
Just as I got near the front entrance, Mike let go of the door and ran out. Startled, I followed him. He was struggling to hold a man upright on the sidewalk. The light hit the man's face from the streetlamp. I gasped.
"Professor?" I ran to his side and had Mike lay him down.
"Is he going to be alright?" Mike asked, leaning back.
I saw the blood and had to force my hand away from the wand in my pocket.
"Yes, he'll be fine. I'll walk him to my car and be right back in. I'll take care of it." Mike nodded and left.
"Oh, Snape. What happened to you?" I pulled his hand and the cloth away from his neck and wrinkled my nose in displeasure. Blood trickled down my fingers so I reapplied pressure with the bloody rag he held. "C'mon, Professor. We'll get to my car and I'll take care of you there. One, two, three, heave…"
We made slow progress, but we managed. I did as much wandless magic I could on his neck to stabilize him and stop the bleeding. He passed out after he sat down in the passenger seat. Once I knew he would be alright for a few more minutes, I ran back in through the back exit.
"Clio!" I screamed as I ran into the building.
"Back here," she responded from the kitchen. "I heard you had an injured friend outside. Michael thinks he needs medical attention so you can have the night off. I'll pay you for what you've done and I won't take it out of your vacation time."
"Oh, thank you. I may be able to retire later."
"Oh, don't worry about it. Take care of him, dear. Now go." She gave me a small push towards the door. I ran back out to my car.
Snape was awake, but silent when I returned. He seemed to be baring through the pain well.
"Okay, sir, I'm going to take you to the hospital. You're going to have to tel—"
"No hospital," he rasped. "Do not take me to a hospital."
"But, sir, you're bleeding! I'm sure you could die from this."
"No hospitals, Miss Granger. It's not a debate." He inhaled quickly at the end of his sentence and he seemed to be wavering on the edge of consciousness for a moment. "Just take me to your home. I'll be fine there." I sighed.
He fell asleep after the first fifteen minutes of the drive and the bleeding had stopped. He still looked terrible though. Bloody, mostly. I wondered how he could have survived. He seemed to have the same wound from all those years ago. And he'd found me in America. It's not as if I was hiding, but I hadn't exactly put up a flashing sign above me house. I woke him when we got home and helped him up the front steps, despite his protests. Neither of my parents were home. Probably out to dinner.
I lay him on the couch and turned up the heater a little before taking his bloody cloth and throwing it in my kitchen sink.
"Okay, so what's wrong? What's injured?" I asked.
"Only my neck. Everything else is just bruises."
"Are you sure?"
"Of course I'm sure, woman."
"Fine, Let's get you undressed and in the shower before you ruin my mum's nicest furniture." He glared at me, but stood anyway, however shaky. I helped him up the stairs and into the bathroom.
"I refuse to undress in front of you, Miss Granger. My dignity may be shattered, but it's wreckage still remains imbedded in my darkened soul."
"Fine. I'll find you some clothes. I'll be back. Leave your clothes on the floor and I'll wash them for you. I left him to figure the shower knobs out.
My father had button-up shirts that he never wore. Mostly dark colors. He preferred to wear white or light blue to work. He thought it was more professional. I took three pairs of black dress pants and three black shirts. I put two sets of clothes on my bed on my way back to the bathroom. I knocked on the door.
"Come in, Miss Granger," Snape said.
"Your clothes are on the counter. I'm starting your laundry when you get out."
"Do not leave, Miss Granger. I may require assistance in a minute." I smirked and leaned against the towel rack.
"You need my help, Professor? I can't imagine that." He growled.
"Yes, I need your help. I can't use my right arm."
"Oh, well. I'm sure it must be difficult for you."
"Well, since you asked so politely, I supposed. Here, put these back on." I threw his trousers over the shower curtain. They disappeared a moment later. I pulled off my work shirt and retied the cloth belt on the skirt I was wearing. "Are you okay?"
"I am ready."
"Okay. I'm going in."
The first thing I noticed when I pushed the curtain aside was the water. It was pink. And not with bubble bath soap.
"Oh, God. You're bleeding again?"
"No. It's just residual."
"Are you sure?" I moved his head until the water was running over the wounds in his neck. They weren't deep, but perhaps two feet long for each cut. "Is this where his snake…" He nodded.
"If you don't mind, the water stings."
"Sorry. Let's get you clean, I suppose."
I avoided using the soap on his neck. I would clean them later. My mum had bought me a stool for my shower when I twisted my ankle at work about a year before and I made him sit on it when I washed the blood from his hair. He cried out in agony when the shampoo ran over the wounds.
Once we were done, I left him alone to rinse off and towel-dry. I sat on my bed while I waited and nearly fell asleep. Snape woke me up when he came in.
"You took your school pride with you, I see," he said, grimacing as he looked around my bedroom. "Gold and red bed sheets, curtains, pillows. I suppose the pink carpet could even be described as a faded red."
"And you're the same snarky old teacher. We all retain our personalities, Professor."
"Yes, we do." He looked at me for a moment. "I require rest."
"You're standing next to a perfectly good bed."
"Yes, but you're lying on it." I laughed.
"Well, it's this or the bed where my parents could have, conceivably, nightly bouts of sex while I'm gone."
He refrained from shuddering. Barely. "Are you implying you never have sex on your own bed?"
"Yes. I don't want memories, either good or bad, to resurface while I'm sleeping. I have enough of that already."
"Dreamless Sleep Potion."
"I don't trust anyone enough to make it for me and I don't have a well-ventilated area to make it in," I said, watching as he clambered into bed. He was having a difficult time not jostling his neck or arm. "Do you need any help, Professor?"
"No. And I'm not longer a teacher. You may still refer to me as 'sir', though."
"Not likely. Well, you don't have a concussion, so sleeping is okay, but don't be surprised if I wake you up every two hours to be sure."
"Try it, Granger," he said, narrowing his eyes.
"Don't tempt me, Snape," I murmured as I settled down on the other end of the bed. "Wake me if you need anything."