Author Note – I hope you enjoy the story. I have not abandoned my other stories but I needed to get this out my head first – Muses go where they wish after all.
EDIT - changed the date of Grace's arrival to match up with a couple of things.
'Aah Severus, please come in.'
Severus held back a sigh a Dumbledore's cheerful greeting. 'You wished to see me Headmaster?' He asked with cool politeness as he sat in the chair opposite the genial old man.
'Yes, yes. Sherbet Lemon?' Snape just raised his eyebrow at the offered sweet. 'No? Hmm, well back to business then. Late last night something most unusual happened.'
Severus heard the story telling edge enter Dumbledore's voice and resigned himself to a long convoluted explanation of his summons.
'I was sat here, minding my own business,' Severus held back a snort.'…when suddenly there was a flash and someone appeared in my office. She was unconscious at first but quickly came round…'
'Excuse me Headmaster, but if there was an intruder why was nobody made aware of it?' Severus ignored the fact that he had quite rudely interrupted Dumbledore mid-sentence.
'Because she wasn't an intruder as such, my dear boy, after questioning her I discovered her to be a traveller.'
'A traveller? From where?'
'From when and where may be more accurate.' Dumbledore picked up another sweet and popped it into his mouth before continuing. 'From what she said she is from both the future and from another reality.'
Severus stared at the wizard opposite him and wondered if his employer had finally lost his mind. 'And you believed her when she said this? You just accepted her story?'
'I saw the truth in her eyes Severus. I am not so old that I cannot see the truth.' Dumbledore looked at him with that infernal twinkle in his eyes and Severus wondered if he used a charm to do that. 'She was most unsettled to find herself in my office. I actually had quite a job convincing her she wasn't dreaming.' Dumbledore gave chuckle and took another sweet.
'Dreaming, why would she think that?'
'Well it seems as though in the world she comes from our world is nothing but a story, an imaginary world in a book.'
Severus felt his mask slip as his eyebrows lifted in surprise. 'Books?'
Dumbledore chuckled again. 'Indeed, that was my reaction as well. A most intriguing situation at any rate.'
Severus pulled his mind from the startling possibilities this indicated and focused on the Headmaster again. 'Are you sure this woman can be trusted Headmaster? She may simply be spinning a tale to gain entry to Hogwarts.'
'I am convinced. She knew things about me that only two other people know. One cannot be reached by anyone and the other would not share anything.' To Severus it seemed as though Dumbledore was lost in his memories for a moment before smiling at the Potions Master again. 'However, I knew others may need more persuasion so she has given permission for you to look into her mind. Within reason.'
'She volunteered to do that?' Perhaps she was not a complete fraud after all. 'When will this take place then?'
'She should be here any moment.' Just then there was a light tap at the door and Severus marvelled at Dumbledore's uncanny ability to predict things. 'Ah here she is now. Come in.'
Hovering outside the door to Dumbledore's office Grace heard a low hum of voices and figured Snape must inside already. How the hell had she ended up here? She was quite literally inside the world of her favourite books! The only thing she could come up with was that she had finally snapped and was actually in a loony bin.
Taking a last deep breath Grace raised her hand and knocked on the door.
Opening the door Grace walked inside and felt the borrowed robes waft around her ankles. She had her own newly laundered clothes underneath but the robes were odd to wear. Like she had an open dressing gown on over the top of her clothes.
Taking in the magnificent office she'd appeared in again, Grace smiled at Dumbledore. Grace giggled mentally, Dumbledore! 'Headmaster, nice to see you again.'
'Grace, come in and sit down dear. I hope the night in the hospital wing wasn't too uncomfortable.'
'No, not at all. It was a good precaution, after all it's not every day you travel between realities.' Madam Pomfrey had been surprised at the Headmaster's arrival with her last night but her medical training had quickly taken over. The only thing the nurse could find wrong with her was a mild state of exhaustion. This wasn't surprising considering…Grace pulled herself from that train of thought and turned to the second person in the room. So far everything and everyone she'd seen had been a sort of blend between what you imagine from the books and what was shown in the movies. Professor Snape seemed to be almost completely like his actor counterpart though, down to the suspicious scowl on his face.
'Professor Snape, pleased to meet you.' Grace smiled cheerfully at the dour man sat in the chair next to her.
Snape curled his lip slightly but shook her offered hand. 'A pleasure I'm sure.'
Wow he really had the sardonic tone down to a T. 'So are you ready Professor, I assume the Headmaster has filled you in.'
'I have indeed. Sherbet Lemon Grace?'
Grace grinned at Dumbledore and took one of the sweets, truth be told they were one of her favourites. Sucking on the sweet she turned back to Snape. 'Go ahead, Professor, but I'll warn you now don't go looking for more than I offer you.'
'Why? Do you have something to hide?' Severus glared slightly at the woman before him. She was younger then he'd expected perhaps twenty two or three.
Grace seemed to find his hostility amusing as her smile just grew slightly. 'Not at all, well in a way. I have…experiences in my past that I've forced out of my mind.'
Severus' curiosity was stirred by this. 'Experiences?'
His question seemed to annoy her as her grin finally disappeared. 'Let me make this clear, Professor. Some things in my life pushed me to the edge of my sanity and to be blunt I'm still wondering if I haven't actually lost the plot. So do not go past any walls you may find, I am not making them purposefully it is an instinctive action.'
Severus looked at the Headmaster who shook his head slightly. 'Very well Miss…' He stopped when he realised Dumbledore hadn't addressed her by her last name.
'Hamilton, Grace Hamilton.'
'Miss Hamilton. I shall not go past any walls I may find.' Severus had been about to agree anyway before Dumbledore had spoken. Severus pulled out his wand and pointed it the young woman. 'You may find yourself instinctively wanting to fight my presence in your mind, try to resist that urge.' When she nodded in understanding Severus continued. 'Legilimens.'
He was inside her mind and could sense Miss Hamilton's slight discomfort at his presence but she made no attempt to expel him.
Slowly she showed him images of her life. Severus saw flashes and moments of her from childhood the flashes got longer as she got older. When the images reached her twelfth year they suddenly became tinged with grief. He was curious about the change but she did not show him the reason for it.
Instead she showed him different aspects of her world as she got older. Innocuous things that had little meaning and did nothing to convince him of her being innocent of subterfuge. Severus felt a ripple of amusement go through her mind and the images started to change. She was now showing him memories of reading different books although he never saw the titles. Different passages were focused on and he saw many names he recognised. Then he saw his own name and realised the passage was about him and Lily as children, and then about his turning to Dumbledore for help.
Severus went to pull out of her mind but she held him there and moved on with images of her life again. It went through her teenage years until she started looking as she did now. Purple hair and all. Severus saw her with people that must have been her family.
Then grief became part of her memories again this time much stronger, but she skimmed over that until she came to a memory which the grief was still present but muted. Grace was sat curled up in a chair looking outside. There was a book open on her knee but she seemed to have forgotten it was there. Inside her memory Severus looked around the room she was in, there was a pile of unopened mail on a table, an unmade bed and piles of books everywhere.
Grace had immersed him in the memory with a skill that astounded him. He was able to hear everything. After a moment there was a knock at the bedroom door and it opened, but the young woman didn't move. An older woman in her fifties came into the room and sighed when she saw where its occupant was sat.
'Grace, I brought your mail up.' There was no response. 'And some breakfast.'
Grace still didn't respond, but shifted in her seat and glanced at the woman.
'I'll just put it on the table then.' The woman put the tray she was holding onto the table, shoving aside the unopened mail as she did. The woman sighed again and muttered to herself. 'I don't know why I keep doing this.'
Evidently Grace had been listening. 'Because you're a good person Dawn.'
The woman – Dawn spun to face Grace, who was looking out the window again. 'You spoke!'
'You're a good person Dawn.' Grace repeated. 'You shouldn't be wasting your time with me.'
Dawn walked over to Grace and touched her shoulder but the younger woman flinched away.
'I'll see you tomorrow Dawn.'
The memory changed and the room was the same but Grace was now wearing the same clothes she had on now. Grace was sat in the chair again but was reading the book this time, when suddenly a low hum started throughout the room making her look up. A bright blue slowly filled room and Grace stood dropping the book she held. The light suddenly swarmed towards her and as it did Severus found himself pushed from her mind.
Blinking a few times Severus regained his composure and returned his gaze to the woman before him. 'Those last two memories…'
'The last one was when I came here. The previous one was about eight months ago.' Miss Hamilton shifted and looked away from him towards the Headmaster. 'I believe I have convinced Professor Snape sir. You said we would discuss possible options for me this morning as well.'
'Yes I did. Now you already said that you've no wish to return from where you came, so we must build a life for you here.' Dumbledore leaned forward and looked closely at Grace. 'The best option may be for you to remain here. I have already thought of a plan I believe will work. I wonder Miss Hamilton, how much do you know about the various subjects taught here at Hogwarts?'
Albus eyed the intriguing woman before him and waited for her reply.
'Well sir that's the thing, since I've been here I started to know things that weren't in the books I read and I don't understand how.'
Albus smiled as a theory was confirmed. 'I wondered if that might happen. I believe that whatever magic brought you here is…filling in the blanks so to speak. So I have a proposition for you.' Albus paused slightly and saw Severus twitch slightly. The young lad had no patience for his dramatic flares. 'How would you like to teach here at Hogwarts?'
Albus chuckled at the gobsmacked expression on Grace's face. Severus' was only slightly more restrained.
'What? But you have all the positions filled…don't you?' Grace squinted at him as though to check if he was losing the plot, Severus quit often looked him the same way strangely enough.
'All except Muggle Studies. I believe you would be an excellent choice for the Professor for that class.' The young woman just stared at him. Evidently he had surprised her. 'Well Miss Hamilton?'
'I – um…okay…yeah sure.' She finally started smiling again. 'Why not it's about time you hired someone who knows the muggle world.' Grace suddenly stopped looking shocked at herself. 'I didn't mean to say that sir…I just…'
Albus chuckled again and saved her. 'It's quite alright, though you may be referring to choices I haven't made yet.' Albus toyed briefly with the idea of asking her about…but no. He shouldn't know the future and from what he had guessed of her character, Miss Hamilton was unlikely to tell him anyway. 'Now Severus, I'd like you to accompany Miss Hamilton to Diagon Alley to get any provisions she might need.'
Severus scowled slightly. 'Would Minerva or Pomona perhaps not be a better choice?'
Albus smiled happily at the reticent young man. 'No I think not. You are much closer in age to the young lady and besides didn't you say you needed to go to Diagon Alley anyway?'
Severus glared at him again, but nodded. 'Very well. If Miss Hamilton has no objections I will accompany her.'
'I don't mind. It will be fun.' Grace seemed enthusiastic at the opportunity to go to Diagon Alley. Perhaps her happy demeanour would rub off on Severus a bit, cheer him up some. Albus glanced at his Potions Master. Or perhaps it would need more than a shopping trip. Hmm…
'Very well then I shall give you a letter to take to Gringotts asking them to open an account for you and transfer some funds into it.'
'Sir I couldn't – '
'Miss Hamilton, in this world you don't even exist, how do you propose to buy anything if you have no money. If you like you could consider it a loan, but I may very well forget I gave you the money, I'm an old man my memory isn't what it used to be.'
Severus actually snorted at this and Grace openly laughed obviously aware of his particular brand of humour.
'Have it your way then old man, I won't pay you back.' Grace rolled her eyes and laughed again.
Albus was pleased to see that the laughter reached her eyes this time. When she had arrived last night she'd had a dead look in her eyes that made him wonder how much she had suffered in her short life.
Grace left Dumbledore's office still smiling and glanced at the silent man next to her. 'When will you be able to go to Diagon Alley Professor?'
Snape didn't even glance at her when he replied. 'If you follow me to my office we can floo directly to Gringotts.'
Grace nodded agreeably, it wasn't like she had anything better to do. 'That would be fine, thank you for agreeing to take me.'
'As the Headmaster said I was planning on going anyway.'
He really did seem to have a permanent sneer on his face. Although his nose wasn't quite as 'hooked' as described in the books and walking next to him Grace could tell that his hair wasn't actually greasy it just looked that way. Maybe it was the potion fumes.
'You are aware that it's impolite to stare aren't you?'
Grace grinned at Snape not the least bit bothered he'd caught her staring at him. 'Yes I am. I was just comparing you to how you're described in the books I read. I must say I don't think they were entirely accurate, or perhaps it was just slightly biased considering the point of view.'
'Although your way of speaking was accurately described.' Grace watched Snape as she said this and saw one of his eyebrows twitch.
Grace couldn't help but smile. She wondered if she could maybe soften his rough edges a little purely by grating against him so much he had no choice but to be nicer. 'By the way, what year is it? I forgot to ask Dumbledore last night.'
'It is the fifth of July, nineteen ninety one.'
Grace stopped suddenly when she heard that. 'Did you say ninety one?'
Snape was a few steps ahead of her and turned back at her question. 'Yes, why?'
She wondered how much of an effect she would have on things. Although Harry and the others wouldn't be offered the Muggle Studies course until their third year, and only Hermione would take it. But then again she had no idea what third year electives the twins were taking, perhaps they would be in her class. Percy might be taking Muggle Studies though.
'Miss Hamilton?' Grace snapped out of her internal rant and found Snape looking at her sharply. 'Why is this year important?'
Grace grinned and caught up to him. 'Things are going to get interesting is all.' She started walking again forcing him to keep pace with her. 'Everything starts this year.'
Author Note – Let me know what you think. I already have about ten chapters written so if you like it there won't be too much of a delay getting the next part.
Remember – Every 50th review gets a sneak peak of the next chapter!