**Introductory Note!** This is going to be about as sappy as I can get, though I'm not exactly sure just how sappy that is at this point. Be warned! Snape is somewhat OOC, and the situation is highly improbable. If this doesn't bother you, then enjoy! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Remus, Severus, I need both of you to come with me to my office immediately," Dumbledore's eyes weren't twinkling today. Something was very, very wrong. When Severus looked at him questioningly, Dumbledore sighed and said, "There's been an accident--three of them." He murmured a password and the gargoyle sprang out of the way obediently. Once inside, Dumbledore instructed them to sit without any of his usual attempts to feed them candy. Snape and Lupin looked at each other, for once allied through mutual concern. Dumbledore already had their attention, so he cleared his throat and began.

"Last night, just one day into summer vacation, three of our students suffered great misfortunes. Harry Potter's home was attacked by Death Eaters, his muggle family killed. The only thing that saved him was his imprisonment in the cupboard under the stairs--no Death Eater would search for the Boy Who Lived in such a humble place. The Dursleys had been starving him as well, so the boy is in very poor health. Poppy is taking care of him, however, and though he is weak, he'll be ready to leave the infirmary by tomorrow."

Snape and Lupin looked at each other nervously, both obviously concerned for the boy. It was Snape who came to his senses first. "What were the other two... accidents?"

"The only reason we found out that Harry was still alive at all was young Draco's willingness to betray his father, who has now disowned him. Draco received quite a beating for reaching out to us, and is also in the infirmary at this point, as is the last student we need to discuss. Fortunately, all students will recover physically, but that doesn't change the fact that they are targets. The last student, unfortunately, was hit by the killing curse. She managed to shield herself from its full effects, but I still have no idea how she managed it. She is waking up right at this moment."

Snape didn't want to ask who this was, but he did anyway. Any student hit with the killing curse was bound to be in terrible condition, alive or not. "Who was she? What is the name of this student?" Dumbledore smiled sadly. "Hermione Granger." Snape sighed, shocking himself with his concern for the girl, but telling himself it was simply because of her prowess as a student. He looked back at Dumbledore, whose eyes were starting to get their twinkle back. "What are we going to do about them? There aren't enough staff members left here to constantly protect all three students. Besides, Voldemort is going to look for them here, meaning that there would always be a threat were they to remain at Hogwarts."

"Ah, Severus, why am I not surprised? You are one step ahead, as always. I was considering leaving Hogwarts in Hagrid's care and taking young Malfoy into my own hands for the summer--he is in the most danger of all of them. Remus, I'd like you to care for Harry, and I'm sure Sirius would be delighted to help. Severus, I know you don't like to be disturbed during the summer months, but I need you to care for Miss Granger. Her family is dead and there is nowhere safe for her to go. Besides, Voldemort may take an interest once he hears of her ability to block the killing curse. Nurture her powers if she is up to studying again before the year starts. You're the only one with a work ethic to match hers, once she's started. And I have a feeling that work will drown her sorrows." Snape shook his head, and was about to protest, but Dumbledore jumped in for him.

"Severus, I know you can do this. And I need you to. Miss Granger needs you to, as well, though she might not know it yet. Please." Snape sighed and nodded, resigned to his fate. Dumbledore smiled, a real smile. "I think you two might get on better than you think." His eyes twinkled momentarily, but then faded once more. "Remus, can you take Harry?" Remus nodded enthusiastically. "I'd absolutely love to, Albus. Both Sirius and I are delighted, I assure you."

"Excellent. I know the students might prefer to be together, but they will be looked for together. If we separate them, we maximize their chances for survival." All three men nodded, and were soon having tea. Suddenly Dumbledore looked up at his closed door.

"Poppy! Children! Do come in!" Remus and Severus looked at each other and shrugged. Dumbledore's uncanny ability to predict things had long since stopped surprising them. Poppy Pomfrey burst in, dragging three bedraggled but shockingly well-looking students behind her. All looked very tired, very sad, and very old, but they were also all in one piece. It hurt Snape to think that what had remained of their innocence at the end of sixth year was already gone, one day into the summer after it. Hermione still looked intelligent and alert, but there was an emptiness in her eyes that made even the imperturbable Snape want to hold her.

"Harry, Draco, Hermione," Dumbledore sighed. "I offer you my deepest sympathies, and I hope that you will speak to one of us should you need assistance coping with your loss. Unfortunately, I will have to bar you from attending the funerals of the deceased--Miss Granger especially, because she is presumed dead by Voldemort and his allies. We will allow them to believe this until next year, when school will make it necessary for her to return to the land of the living. I know you may not all appreciate this, but what we will do with you this summer is for your own protection. Harry, you will go to stay with Sirius and Remus." Harry's face lit up for the first time since the attacks.

"Draco, you will come to stay with me." Draco smiled and thanked the Headmaster for his hospitality, and asked if he might be able to see Harry and Hermione at some point during the break. Everyone regarded this statement with some surprise, including Draco. Hermione smiled and threw her arms around her former enemy. Soon she had pulled Harry in as well, and their friendship was solidified. Dumbledore smiled and said that could be arranged.

"Hermione," he smiled. "You will be staying with Professor Snape this summer. I trust you will enjoy his company." Hermione kept her face blank and thanked Severus coldly. Harry looked a little green, and Draco looked like he pitied the girl. Snape couldn't help but feel a little hurt, although he couldn't blame them for their horror. He'd have to be especially nice to her--not only because of her parents but because he wasn't going to be unhappy in his own house. Sarcastic? Yes, but angry and crotchety? No. Besides, it wasn't like he had to keep up his facade in front of just one student, and if any student was trustworthy, it was Miss Granger. He suspected that she didn't require any babysitting. Yes, Miss Granger would get to know a different Severus Snape this summer--he'd see to that. Yet Snape had to wonder: What was it about this girl that made him want to win her over in the first place?