Disclaimer: All characters belong to JK Rowling and sadly, I am not she. If I was, Severus would be alive, Lily would not have been the love of his life and Hermione would have been and they would have had tonnes of kids which would then lead onto a Severus/Hermione mini series!lol

Only the plot belongs to me.

Note: writing in italics below are internal thoughts of the characters/letter content.

Please review: it is appreciated. I'd appreciate more in the way of reviews so I know if you guys like what I am doing, or indeed if you have any ideas that you would like me to consider writing into the plot. Not compliant at all to the books, so please don't feel the need to point it out. You're reading a Severus/Hermione ship…that is not in any way compliant to begin with so if you don't like the things I invent or twist within the story to suit my plot, please move on to some other story. I appreciate constructive criticism not people nit picking over miniscule or silly things. I am only human after all.

As with all my fics this will be rated M – just a wee warning in advance.

She was so beautiful and maddening and so brilliant and so difficult. She was bright, bubbly and enthusiastic. She was stubborn, bossy and a Gryffindor…and to make matters worse, she was his apprentice and he loved her so.

Severus Snape sighed in defeat. He knew he was a lovesick fool entertaining fantasies of this particular young woman returning his feelings. It made him seriously annoyed. He was a grumpy man by nature and more often than not, a pessimist.

As if she'd ever want me. Foolish old man! He thought to himself, shaking his head sadly.

He had mellowed somewhat over the past few years since the demise of the Dark Lord and was widely seen as being less of a git than he had been in the past (but a git nonetheless).

Shortly after the Final Battle, Severus agreed to assist with the rebuilding of the school and to return to his old post of Potions Master for one year only. He had stressed to the Headmistress that he would not be staying any longer than that. That was now five years ago.

As much as he loved to slag off his job and complain about his dunderhead students, he loved being back in Hogwarts. The presence of his apprentice everyday too…made his enjoyment even more so.

When Minerva first approached him, she had offered him that Defence against the Dark Arts position but he felt that he would be more suited to teach potions now. After all, he had only wanted to teach DADA during the war to allow the children to be better prepared for the Final Battle when it came. The dangers of the magical world were now rather tame in comparison to the previous 30 years or so, the threat of attack from anti-muggle witches and wizards was very unlikely and thus he returned to his old post as greasy bat of the dungeons. Severus Snape - the Potion Master.

As he sat musing by the fire, he thought over the conversation he'd had with Minerva just a few months before. The newly appointed Headmistress suggested, and by suggested she demanded, that Severus was to take on an apprentice. Now, this Severus could have accepted easily enough had he been allowed to select the apprentice himself. But no, Minerva in her infinite wisdom had cheerfully told him she had already hired one for him.

The apprentice was none other than the illustrious Hermione Granger.

She was book smart and had completed her degree two years earlier than she should have. He would be a fool if he said she was not bright enough for the job, he knew she was but the fact that he had fallen in love with her made his life all the more…uncomfortable.

He could recall the exact moment he fell in love with her; he had been on his way down to see Voldemort at the Shrieking Shack during the Final Battle when he turned and caught sight of the bushy-haired girl in battle. She looked absolutely beautiful, like some sort of warrior goddess. Her hair was a dishevelled as always, but the fire and haze of the battle amongst them created a sort of gold glow all around her, she look positively angelic. She was duelling like a pro, her hexes flowed with finesse and confidence and he felt so proud of her at that one moment. She glanced at him as the Deatheater she was duelling finally fell; her brown, expressive eyes flashed at his and she nodded her head to him in silent recognition.

"This is for your own good, Professor." She shouted over the battlefield as she began to sprint towards him, dodging rogue spells and hexes as she went.

She raised her arm and cast a 'Petrificus Totalus' at him before he even had time to register what had happened.

She smiled at him kindly and knelt beside his motionless form, "Forgive me…Severus. He will kill you otherwise and I cannot allow that to happen."

He could do nothing but stare up at her with furious eyes, berating himself mentally for letting a pretty face put him off his A-game.

"You'll understand why I did this Severus. Forgive me."

She smiled at him gently and cast a disillusionment spell over his body and ran off, wand at the ready for further battle.

It was not until later that day once the battle had been won when she had returned with Minerva to retrieve him, that he learned that Voldemort had planned on killing him at the Shrieking Shack. He had no idea how she had known what the Dark Lord had planned for his fate and he did not ask her either. All he knew was that he was grateful that she had commandeered him; she had ultimately saved his life that day. For this reason alone, he never scolded Hermione for her actions that day and she certainly never mentioned it to him ever again after that day.

Severus's reminiscing was interrupted by a knock on his study door, only one person would have the gall to interrupt his solace; Granger.

His brow creased in annoyance and frustration, just because he was in love with her it did not mean that he was any less of a bastard to her. He had a reputation to uphold after all and he could not, under any circumstances allow her to deduce that he was madly in love with her. She would surely laugh at him and mock him if she ever knew his true feelings towards her.

Oh well, time to put my game face on. It would be nice if I could have one day when I did not have to be such a shit to her. He thought before he swung his door open rather violently.

Keeping his eyes closed in exasperation and nerves at the thought of laying eyes on her, he spoke in cold tones; "Yes Miss Granger, what the hell do you want?"

"Oh now Sevie-poo, as if it would be the itty bitty mudblood at your door!"

Severus felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on edge at the sound of that particular voice.

He opened his eyes slowly and winced at the person in front of him, "Bellatrix…."

"Petrificus Totalus!" She bellowed at him, catching him completely off guard.

She knelt down by his side, grinning wickedly; "Now, Sevie-poo, drink up."

She took out a small vial full of a murky dark liquid and forced it down his throat, she was careful to massage his throat to stop him from choking before she leant down further to whisper in his ear.

"Do you recognise the potion Severus? It is none other than the Draught of Living Death…let's see if your darling, filthy muggle-born can save you before it's too late. You see I've been watching you for a while now. You and her. I can see how you look at her, your pet apprentice. You always did have a particular taste for brainy mudbloods did you not? It is time you suffered for your betrayal of the Dark Lord. You traitorous bastard."

She stood and clapped in girlish glee as she saw his eyes begin to flutter close. Before she left, kicked him swiftly in the ribs for good measure. His ears were full of maniacal laughter before his whole world went black.

"Sleep tight Sevie-poo!" She cackled before turning on her heel and skipped down the hallways and out of the castle, shattering all the windows as she walked past.

"You'll regret the day you betrayed the Dark Lord Severus Snape…you and that filthy mudblood of yours." She muttered to herself before she left the school grounds with a pop of apparition.

Hermione awoke from her brief nap with a horrible feeling of dread in her stomach. She had a horrid dream that Severus was in trouble. Her dreams were never clear, always hazy.

She had not had a dream like this for many years, in fact the last had been the night before the Final Battle. In her vision, she had seen Severus standing with Voldemort talking and then the dream switched to Severus laying on the ground in a puddle of his own blood…Voldemort standing over him laughing like a maniac.

She had taken the dream as a warning and acted accordingly to protect him. Her actions had ultimately saved Severus's life in the process.

Now, she had had another dream concerning him. This time he was standing looking out of his door, before he fell onto the ground rigidly. Something was being poured into his mouth against his will. Hermione saw his eyelids close solidly.

Something is not right. That dream…something is wrong…I need to check everything is ok…I need to know he is ok… She thought as she stood from her chair.

"Severus…something's wrong with Severus!" She said out loud as she bolted from her room down to his quarters.

She seemed to have a six sense about that sort of thing, especially when it came to Severus Snape. He was after all, the man she loved.

Her heart caught in her throat when she came to his doorway and found his body laying unconscious on the floor.

She scrambled to him and tried endlessly to 'enervate' him along with other various spells and charms but to no avail. Panic overtook her and she began shaking violently.

"My love…I will find a way to wake you…I promise. And when I do, I will tell you exactly how I feel about you…I cannot lose you. I will find a way…you have my word." she sobbed in his robes until she was grabbed away by Remus Lupin.

"Come Hermione, come on sweetheart…let Poppy look him over." He grasped her to his chest and lead her out of the room, leaving Poppy and Minerva to look over Severus.

"I cannot lose him Remus…I can't. Merlin, help me…" She sobbed.

Remus only hoped that there was an innocent explanation for Severus's condition but he could sense that it was not. He could smell the sinister atmosphere, he could smell her. It was a stench that made his stomach turn violently, the smell of his departed wife's murderer and aunt…Bellatrix Le Strange.

"Merlin, help us all…" He mumbled to himself.

a/n: well folks, here is the first installment of my next project. Be warned this will be a rather lengthy one so I hope you will all keep up with my updates. Hope to update a few times a week and chapters will be more lengthy than this...I just wanted to give you guys a taster of the story to come...hope you like it so far. Review and take care, Jenni.