My first Harry Potter fic, so please be kind as it has not been beta'd and I am new to this glorious fandom.. Also, I apologize if it's slightly OOC, as I said, I'm new. Enjoy!

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"Miss Granger?" Hermione cringed at the sound of her name. She was crouched down in a dusty corner, crying and of all the people that could have found her, it had to be Professor Snape.

Hermione gulped, swallowing hard. She hadn't answered or dared to look up, the tear stains on her cheeks were humiliating enough as it was, she didn't need Snape mocking her for crying.

"Miss Granger," He said again carefully, moving closer to her, his beady eyes narrow and curious. Hermione swiped furiously at her tears, forcing herself to look up. Snape swallowed looking down at the girl before him. Her knees were huddled to her chest, her eyes puffy and red, she'd apparently been crying and her left arm was clutched protectively to her chest. Snape's eyes ran over her small form furiously and Hermione got the distinct impression he was battling with what to do with a weeping female.

The pair were motionless for a few seconds, just staring at each other; Hermione looking sad and pathetically up at her Professor and Snape looking almost pitifully down at his student. Suddenly a large hand shot out in front of her and Hermione almost gasped. Looking suspiciously at his oddly kind gesture for a second she reluctantly placed her right hand into his. With little effort Snape pulled her to her feet and gave a weak nod to her left arm which was still hugged tightly to her chest. Hermione lowered her arm from her chest and allowed Snape to pull the sleeve of her robe up.

I will not question my teachers' authority.

The angry, bloody words were carved into her smooth, pale skin at least fifteen times, a sure sign she'd come from detention with Umbridge. Though the sheer number of times the sentence marred her skin was a testament to how long she'd endured the torture before the meaning finally "sunk in".

Snape ran his long fingers over the words causing her to flinch. This was apparently the reason for her tears. Snape shot her an apologetic look and removed his hands.

"Follow me." He said swiftly, turning in a flash of black billowing robes before she could even respond. Not that she'd had much choice; his tone had left no room for disobedience.

Hermione practically ran to keep up with his long strides, her tear stained cheeks stinging in the wind. Soon enough they had reached a large oak door, behind which Hermione had never stepped foot, although, she was almost positive these were Snape's private chambers.

Muttering something she couldn't hear, Snape pushed through the door and raised an eyebrow when she merely stood frozen at the threshold.

"Are you waiting for an invitation?" Snape sneered, coldly.

Hermione's eyes were wide and curious as she shook her head and stepped into the surprisingly warm room. Snape was the epitome of cold and distant, and so Hermione had simply expected his living quarters to reflect that. How wrong she had been. While Snape closed the door and moved to a shelf to find something, she took the opportunity to look around. The walls of the room were all covered in thick multi-coloured books. There was a large lit fire place beside which sat two black Wingback leather chairs. To her left was a huge four-post bed, mahogany she thought, with silky forest sheets and dark, almost black pillowcases. To her right was a desk, also a dark wood, covered in rolls of parchment and the odd flask filled with a potion. Although there were no pictures on the walls, not unlike his dungeons, there were two photographs on the mantle above the fire. One of the photos of himself, Professor McGonagall, and Professor Dumbledore at what she assumed was an end of year party and the other of a young raven-haired boy and a small redheaded girl sitting near the Great Lake reading. It was odd to say the least, she's never really imagined Snape as anything but a forty year old man, in her mind he'd just fallen from the sky at that age and yet, she was almost positive the black haired boy in the picture was him.

"Sit down Miss Granger." He said not unkindly, nodding his head to one of the leather chair near the roaring fire. Hermione said nothing, but did as he asked. Her eyes wandered round the room a little more before Snape finally made his way over to the opposite chair, a small bottle of green liquid in his hand.

Hermione gulped, the reality of her situation suddenly sinking in as she locked eyes with her Professor.

"Your arm," Snape began and Hermione let out a shaky breath.

With cautious eyes she slowly held out her injured limb for him.

"Umbridge?" He questioned, though he really didn't need to. Hermione nodded, not willing to speak just yet. Snape shook his head and slowly grasped her hand in his, popping open the tiny bottle with the thumb of his other hand.

"It'll hurt, not for long, but it will sting." He said seriously.

"I know." She said softly, almost inaudibly. Snape frowned slightly before moving the bottle and pouring it onto her wounds. Hermione flinched and tried to pull away, but Snape held her arm tightly making sure it stayed still until the entire contents of the bottle had soaked into her skin. Within seconds the stinging stopped and the harsh bloodied letters faded into normal pale flesh.

"There." Snape said his voice final and if she wasn't mistaken, a little triumphant.

"Thank you." Hermione whispered running her fingers over her previously cut skin in something close to amazement. Snape merely smirked, placing the now empty bottle onto a small table beside him and summoning a pot of steaming tea out of thin air.

"Milk?" He asked.

"Yes, thank you." Hermione said in absolute awe of what was taking place. Not only had Snape, the cruel Bat of the dungeons, healed her injuries but now here he was, offering her tea. It was absurd. She smiled weakly as he handed her cup to her and slowly sat back sipping his own black tea.

Hermione took a few nervous sips before,

"Professor," He did not respond merely raised an eyebrow hinting for her to continue. "May I ask you something?" She frowned uncertainly.

"I suppose."

"Why, are you, I mean, you," She fumbled for words, something he'd never seen her do before, but she couldn't help it, the whole situation was just too bizarre.

"Why am I helping you?" He finished for her. Hermione nodded her warm eyes large and expectant. Snape sighed, placing his tea cup into its saucer on his lap. "Miss Granger, as cruel as you and your friends may think me, there are some things that even I am disgusted by. Torturing students, in this manner…" He indicated to her left arm. "...happens to be one of them."

Hermione's eyes widened, if that were at all possible and she almost gasped. She knew most of the teachers were horribly against Umbridge's form of punishment but she had not pegged Snape to be one of them.

"Careful Professor," She began and Snape met her gaze curiously. "Your humanity is showing." Before she could stop herself, the rather disrespectful words were out of her mouth. Snape quirked an eyebrow and half-smiled, half-chuckled.

Hermione's cheeks flushed bright pink, she'd never been so forward and, quiet frankly, rude to a teacher before.

"I assure you, Miss Granger, it was not my humanity, but rather an immense dislike for teary fifth years and pink that led me to helping you tonight." Hermione laughed out loud and Snape smirked.

"Well, nevertheless, thank you Professor." She smiled finishing off her tea. Snape nodded and swished his hand making the tea cups disappear.

Hermione sat awkwardly in her seat, wanting to leave yet not sure how to best excuse herself.

"You can go." Snape said warily as if sensing her thoughts. Hermione blushed.

"I was trying to think of a way to best show my gratitude and leave without being rude." She admitted sheepishly.

"Your gratitude will be shown in your silence on what took place here tonight and you can rest assured, I will not take it as rude if you leave now." Snape said coolly.

Hermione smiled and slowly got to her feet.

"Thank you, Sir." She said again before turning to leave.

"Miss Granger," He called out just as she pulled open the door. She spun, looking back at him.

"Try not to correct Umbridge again; I believe one of these awkward encounters will sufficient for both of our lifetimes."

"Goodnight, Professor," She said with a small smile, pulling the door closed behind her.

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End.

Hope you enjoyed, please review, it's the only way I can improve! Xx