A/N – This is a sort of follow on to my story Possessions. You don't really need to know what happened in it, though, to get this. Hope you enjoy.
Hannah's in a panic before she even knows where she is.
She can hear Pansy laughing at her and Draco still making snide remarks – she can see Susan looking at her with puzzlement and Ernie blushing furiously, looking slightly angry – she can feel the quick withdrawal of Leanne's arm from her shoulders in shock. She can sense all of that, but that's it, and that's fine because that's all that's important – but she can't take it anyway. She can't take it, and before she knows what is happening, she feels tears bud in her eyes and she bolts.
She doesn't want any of this. She never intended any of this. She never thought that any of this would happen, and now that it is, she doesn't even understand. Why is this happening?
And where is Luna? Off with Ron's sister and her other open-minded friends… and Hannah's here alone, and it isn't fair, because Luna kissed her and now it's Hannah who people are judging – laughing at – talking about – staring at, and Luna isn't here…
She doesn't have a proper idea of where she's running to. Somewhere safe, away from all them – yes, that's what she needs, but she can't even go to her usual refuge, her dorm. Where can she go? She thinks then of her teachers' constant assurances that people can come to them if they're upset, and she knows instantly that that's the safe place she has to get to – but who? Professor Lupin is ill again, Professor Sprout is busy with those First Years, Professor McGonagall will think she's being silly…
Of course, all these thoughts are going at the same speed as Hannah – fast – and they're just as muddled up and panicked. She doesn't really think through where she's going, the only person left, someone who she's always vaguely thought has a good heart underneath it all – and she's down in the dungeons before she knows why.
The crying has reached a whole new level by this point. It's not just crying now, it's sobbing – huge, heavy sobs running through her whole body and scaring her. She's terrified of meeting one of the larger Slytherins and humiliating herself.
It's ironic considering she's actually running to the largest Slytherin of all, but Hannah doesn't think about that as she raises her shivering hand and knocks weakly at Professor Snape's door.
A second later, the door swings violently open and Hannah vaguely registers Professor Snape's black robes in her eye line. He doesn't speak straightaway, and Hannah suspects, though she can't see him through her tears, that he's completely confused. She panics for a second that he's going to laugh at her or send her away… but then (and she's almost surprised at this) he steps silently aside to let her in.
She sits nervously down on the chair in front of his desk as he half-slams the door and goes to sit opposite her. This is weird, this isn't what Hannah would have thought she'd be doing – but it isn't that bad. It's certainly weird, though, and Hannah starts to feel more aware of her surroundings.
She jumps when Professor Snape's harsh voice comes down on her. "You're hysterical, Miss Abbott," he says coldly. "Control yourself if you expect any sympathy from me."
She nods hurriedly, trying to stop the tears. She's surprised, though, when she chances a glance up to him, that his face isn't completely empty of emotion – and she's surprised at the fact that there's the tiniest bit of worry there.
It's not only because it's Professor Snape that she's surprised he looks worried. That's a factor, of course – but Hannah knows that she's a bit of a cry baby. She's surprised that he's taking her seriously when he's seen her cry at least three times before – and now that she thinks about it, two of those times, he made some comment about it… and now he's worried?
He's doing his best to hide it, though, and Hannah isn't surprised. He probably doesn't want people to think of him as the nice guy, like Professor Lupin – the one people can go to without judgement – the gentle Potions professor. Still, it's not working – and Hannah can see that this isn't something he's used to.
Just as he's about to speak again, Hannah suddenly thinks of what it is that made her want to go and see Professor Snape in the first place. She remembers that time, in Potions, in First Year, when she had been ill, and had a really high temperature, but she had been too afraid to tell Professor Snape – and he had noticed and kept her after class, giving her medicine and generally not being a dick for a change.
That had been one of those moments – one of those moments when you suddenly understand something you didn't get before. She had never understood why Professor Snape had become a teacher if he didn't seem to like children that much – but that day, that day, that day, with all that care – she had understood, and she had always felt, after that, that Professor Snape must have a good heart underneath it all.
She takes a deep breath as he begins to speak. "Are you unwell, Miss Abbott?" he asks, more quietly. "Have you hurt yourself?"
Hannah – Miss Abbott, if that's how we're playing it – silently shakes her head, and though she knows she should elaborate, she can't really say anything for the moment.
Professor Snape sighs, and she automatically stiffens for a second. For while Professor Snape had been nice to her on occasion, he did spend most of his time being a complete bastard. Why had she come here, of all places? She had thought Professor McGonagall wouldn't take her seriously – so she had come to Professor Snape? That didn't make the slightest bit of sense, and Hannah was becoming more and more aware of that by the second.
But then Professor Snape says something that surprises her. "What has happened to upset you?" he asks, steadily, evenly, without even a hint of sarcasm.
Hannah sniffs, wiping her eyes with the tissue that Professor Snape hands her. She feels calmer now, even though she's only been her a few minutes. She's still shaking, certainly, and there are still tears that want to come, but Hannah's doing a better job of not holding them back now. It still hurts – and she's upset – but she's calmer now. She still doesn't speak though, but Professor Snape doesn't sigh this time.
"I can't help you if you don't tell me the problem," he says, still not warmly, still not kindly, still stiff and just the tiniest bit uncertain, but he still says it. He has still said something nice to Hannah, and it's a huge effort not to cry again.
She wipes her face a final time and looks up at Professor Snape. "I'm sorry to bother you, Professor," she begins, her voice shaky. She knows it's ridiculous to say that, but she can't help it. She's Hannah. She's infinitely polite. "It's just…"
Professor Snape, now watching her intently for an answer, sits down on the chair on the other side of the desk. "Go on," he says quietly.
A/N – I nearly died writing this. Literally nearly died of all the feelings.