A/N-First Sev/mione fic! Please read and review!
What on earth is the matter?
Hermione stumbled blindly, her vision blurred as tears welled up, queuing up to cascade down her blotchy face. Lavender's laugh still raging in her ears, that annoying girl's high pitched voice as she dragged Ron by the hand, pulling him to a more 'intimate' setting.
It was infuriating, how something so insubstantial had reduced her to such a weak, irrational state. She could already tell that they wouldn't last; Ronald Weasley depended on others for any and all decisions in his life, and a clingy, airheaded girl simply would not suit him for any long-term commitment.
Though his knowledge did not stop the situation from hurting her now. She had a crush on the Weasley, nothing more, and it was more that she had had a crush on him before, and was now sticking with it, than her having deeper feelings for him. It was just difficult to accept that someone else had much of her role as his friend (plus much, much more) and the person who had taken it was a ridiculous bimbo, who could barely get herself dressed in anything other than underwear.
The tears were more of shock than anything else, and yet she could not stop them. The Gryffindor did not like losing control, and the sensation of weeping, losing all proper thought, alarmed her greatly.
The girl did not even watch were she was going as she wondered, not bothering even to focus the smudgy images that entered her brain, and it wasn't until she found herself rubbing her arms for warmth that Hermione noticed that she had ended up in the dungeons, rather close to the classroom in which she had potions. The hallway at the end lead back to the great hall, and so she continued on forwards, moving on until she hit something rather solid.
Blinking rapidly, she cleared her eyes, but all that could be seen was black. No longer shivering, she realised that she had run into something warm, and she belatedly noted that hands had shot automatically to her shoulders upon impact, steadying her. A person, tall and dressed in black, in the dungeons.
"Miss Granger?" A familiar, dangerously silky voice murmured. She tensed, then moved backwards so quickly that she would have fallen, had he not kept his hands where they were.
"I-I-I'm so s-sorry Pro-Professor Snape!" She stuttered, panicked. There could not have been a worse person to run into, especially as it was Slytherin territory, and well past curfew.
When, only a second later, he did not respond, she chanced a look up, and Severus Snape caught sight of the Gryffindor-know-it-all, in all her depressed glory. Fantastic. The man looked momentarily confused, and he had every right to be. She had no reason to be there, none at all, and to top it off, she knew she was blushing.
If she were honest, the mere sound of his drawl had lulled her to sleep since fifth year, and not quite in the same way as professor Binns managed on days where even she could not muster up the effort to keep concentrating.
It was so smooth, and precise, and generally told her information; she knew she had a fascination with knowledge, and anyone with it was just a tiny bit more attractive than the rest. This allure was one of the few things that had convinced her that her crush on Ron Weasley would never really develop. Too bad her rational side had taken a dive into the stupid.
"You should watch where you are going, Granger! That is what eyes are for!" His glare lessened slightly at the sight of her tear-stained features, and he lowered his voice a little.
"Pray, tell. What on earth is the matter?" His face pinched slightly, but Hermione did not dare to interpret it as concern. Severus Snape did not do concern for others, a fact she believed, no matter how many times she told both Harry and Ron that he was indeed human.
"Just a momentary lapse in judgment, Professor Snape. I'm so sorry I ran into you."
"Yes, well. We all have those, once in a while."
His lips crooked upwards in what had to be a smile, an she stared in disbelief.
"Sir, no offense, but are you smiling?!" Her usual accusatory tone of voice was back, as he had aimed to achieve.
"That's been known to happen once in a while as well." She smiled back, her eyes clearing a little.
His hands slipped around her into an actual hug, squeezing gently.
She responded tentatively, her arms unsure as they touched his back.
"You shouldn't cry, Miss Granger. Lavender Brown can barely write her own name. You have no cause to be at all jealous of her."
"How did you-?" She gasped. Was it that obvious? Did everyone know?
"You were watching them, and I was watching you." He spoke matter-of-factly, and it took a moment for her to process it.
"Oh!" She exclaimed suddenly, earning a slight, short chuckle from the man.
"Quite. If you could find your way back to Gryffindor, Miss Granger, then I will not have to remove house points."
She nodded emphatically, her hair bouncing around her.
She walked around him, up the stairs, and then ran the rest of the way. A chuckle followed after her, an amused sound that suggested that Severus Snape had followed after her.
He had only said a few lines, but he was suddenly far better than Ron Weasley had ever appeared. And she nearly forgot all about Lavender Brown. Nearly.
There was nothing really the matter anymore. Whilst he hadn't really said much at all, it was the contrast with his usual character that did it. A few nice words from a usually harsh man meant the world. More than a declaration of love from the bubbliest man alive. Far, Far more.
It meant everything.