"Move along now. Last person out will be scrubbing soot off the darkened ceilings with a toothbrush. Potter!"
Green eyes met his black orbs.
"Where is Miss Know it all?" An added sneer to punctuate his question, just in case.
"I think she hasn't come back from sending Neville to the infirmary, sir."
A small breath of relief. But he had to be sure. And all Professors had to check that their levels were evacuated in the event of an emergency. Long strides quickening as smoke from the fire wafted through the cracks under the dungeon door. He threw open the doors of every room, every supply closet. That was when he bumped into Neville.
"What are you doing here, Longbottom?"
"Filch sent us back, Sir. Said there was an emergency?"
"Where's Granger?" And he had to struggle to keep his timbre voice steady.
"She was right behind me but now I can't find her."
He motioned towards the steps leading up.
"The fire is in the dungeons. Go on, get out of here."
Now he was sure she was still on this level. The air was starting to get stifling hot and it was getting harder to breathe. He started to cough as the smoke entered his lungs. Still he searched on. He would not leave her behind.
Just behind a suit of armor, he saw her. His steps quickened to almost a run, without him being aware of it. His heart clenched painfully.
She turned at the sound of her name but before she could say anything, Snape had engulfed her in his arms, holding her head tight against his chest.
Hermione saw Snape rushing towards her and her first instinct was to step back. It was not everyday your Professor charged towards you. Then he did something strange and so out of character, she was stunned into silence. And his face ~
Harry had shown her Snape's memory after Voldemort's defeat. When a younger Snape had entered the Potters' house, trepidation and vulnerability etched in his features. That was what Snape looked like a few moments ago as he strode towards her.
He was still cradling her head against his chest, stroking her hair. His broad shoulders covered hers, creating a small haven and strangely, she felt comforted and safe..in his arms. He had taken her right hand and placed it against his chest where his heart laid beneath. Then Snape's chest seemed to hitch, his shoulders heaving and she heard his whispered words near her ear...
I thought...I thought you had...
He didn't finish his train of thought. She pulled back to look at him, although he was reluctant to surrender the embrace and she saw his eyes were red and watery. A single tear tracked down his left cheek. Hermione had never seen his face so full of emotions. There was a desperation in it and something else..Something she had only seen in his memories for Lily.
She reached a tentative hand up, wiping his tear away. Her touch on his face seemed to jolt him back to reality. His face hardened, she could actually see the muscles tensing as Snape composed himself and shielded his emotions from her.
He pushed her away so suddenly, she almost fell.
"Tardy as usual, Granger." And his nasal voice was back to its old sarcastic tone. Only the drying tear on his cheek betrayed what had just happened.
"50 points from Griffindor for wasting a teacher's time during an emergency. Now get moving before both of us burn to death."
And without even waiting for her, Snape turned and walked away.
**I'd continue this, if someone would suggest me some plots**