Author Note – Deviates from canon between 5th-6th year
Back Story – after telling Dumbledore of her plans Hermione decides to obliviate parents during summer, Dumbledore allows her to stay at Hogwarts so she can come to terms with it without the Weasleys (Molly) crowding her.
UPDATE - 02/11/14 - Sorted some spelling and grammar.
I Wanna Be The One
For all the steps you'll take
And all you'll overcome
I wanna be the one to put it in a song
Take every single tear
For all the world to hear
I wanna be the one to put it in a song
Hermione sat in the library and looked over yet another book on memory charms. She knew she'd done the right thing Obliviating her parents and sending them away. It was best to do it now before things got too bad and she couldn't do it anymore. Professor Dumbledore had tried to convince her otherwise but Hermione couldn't, wouldn't, risk her parents' lives. Voldemort was still lying low but that wouldn't last much longer.
Hermione sighed and put the book away. It didn't have anything new. She was just covering her bases. After sending her parents away Hermione had moved into Hogwarts after the Dumbledore offered her the chance for peace and quiet. Hermione was just grateful for the chance to avoid her friends and their pitying looks, not to mention avoiding Mrs Weasley's mothering – there was no way she could handle that at the moment.
The only useful thing Hermione had found in the library, in her two weeks of being here, was an almost forgotten Arabic charm that protected her against memory charms(it gave her a migraine after each use). It would prevent anyone from obliviating her and maybe making her forget where she'd sent her parents. The charm had to be reapplied once a month but that was a hassle Hermione was more than willing to put up with.
Giving up on the library for once Hermione realised it was nearly lunch time. Hesitating for only a moment she decided to go see the Headmaster. Dumbledore had extended an open invitation to have lunch with him any time she wished to. So far Hermione had held back from doing so, but today she could do with the unique brand of humour the old man would offer her. It would take her mind off her parents at least temporarily.
After a few minutes Hermione arrived at the gargoyle that guarded the Headmaster's office. The statue stepped aside without waiting for a password and Hermione figured Dumbledore had told it to do that. Reaching the top of the stairs Hermione stopped when she heard voices inside. Not wanting to intrude Hermione went to leave but then she heard something that made her stop and listen.
'It carries a curse, surely you realised that. Why even touch it?' That was Professor Snape…he sounded both worried and angry.
'I…was a fool. Sorely tempted…' That was Dumbledore…but he didn't sound good, it was almost like he was struggling to talk.
Hermione leaned closer to hear better.
'Tempted by what?' The Headmaster didn't answer Professor Snape's curious question. 'It is a miracle you managed to return here!' Snape sounded livid. 'That ring carried a curse of extraordinary power, to contain it is all we can hope for. I have trapped the curse in one hand for the time being…'
There was a moment of silence and Hermione wondered what kind of curse Dumbledore had triggered.
'You've done well Severus,' Dumbledore's voice seemed a lot stronger. 'How long do you think I have?'
Hermione held her breath. This couldn't be happening. Dumbledore couldn't be dying!
'I cannot tell, maybe a year. There is no halting such a spell forever. It will spread eventually. It is the sort of curse that strengthens over time.'
Hermione lost track of the conversation as she tried to hold back her panic. Dumbledore would be dead within the year! That couldn't be happening, they needed him! The whole wizarding world needed him.
' – Malfoy boy murder me.'
Hermione quickly focused back on the conversation. Malfoy was going to what?
'The Dark Lord does not expect Draco to succeed. This is merely a punishment for Lucius' recent failures. Slow torture for Draco's parents as they watch him fail and pay the price.'
It sounded as though Snape was scowling, but Hermione didn't blame him. She knew Voldemort was cruel but this…she never thought she'd feel sorry for the Malfoys.
'In short the boy has had a death sentence pronounced upon him as surely as I have. Now I should have thought the natural successor to the job, once Draco fails, is yourself?'
'That I think is the Dark Lord's plan.' Snape sounded as though this had been pulled from him most reluctantly.
Hermione put her hands over her mouth. Any moment she would wake up in the Gryffindor tower and find that the day hadn't started yet. This was a nightmare, it had to be.
'Lord Voldemort foresees a moment in the near future when he will not need a spy at Hogwarts?'
'He believes the school will soon be in his grasp, yes.'
'And if it does fall into his grasp, I have your word that you will do all in your power to protect the students of Hogwarts?'
Shouldn't the Headmaster be sharing this with the whole Order, not just Snape?
'Good.' Dumbledore said happily.
Snape must have nodded then. Hermione felt her heart ache at the burdens the Potions teacher had upon him. She didn't think she could have played his role for as long as he had. How could Dumbledore place even more on him?
' – only one thing to be done if we are to save him from Lord Voldemort's wrath.'
Hermione realised she had missed some of the conversation again. They were back to Draco.
'Are you intending to let him kill you?' Snape said with a sardonic edge to his voice.
Dumbledore actually chuckled slightly. 'Certainly not. You must kill me.'
Hermione gasped forgetting that she was eavesdropping.
Suddenly the office door was thrown open and a furious Snape was staring down at her. Behind him, Dumbledore was stood behind his desk.
'Granger, what do you think you are doing?'
Hermione knew this wasn't the time to state the obvious and kept quiet.
'Let her in Severus.'
Hermione cringed as Snape opened the door further to let her past. She crept by the dark haired tower of fury and went to stand in front of the Headmaster. Hermione didn't look up from her feet.
'Hermione…how much did you overhear?'
Hermione gulped at the calm tone. 'A-all of it Sir.'
'Interfering know it all, we'll have to wipe her memory.' Even without looking Hermione could tell he was scowling down at her.
'I'm afraid Professor Snape is right, it is too dangerous for yourself if you know this information.'
Hermione mustered her courage and spoke up. 'But Sir you can't – '
'Miss Granger, you have no say in the matter. Keep quiet.' Snape said with a snarl.
Hermione looked up for the first time. There was no need for him to talk to her like that! 'What I meant Sir is that you actually can't obliviate my memories.'
'What do you mean Hermione?' Dumbledore asked her quietly.
Hermione looked away from the irate beside her. 'I found an old charm in the library that protects against memory charms. It's semi-permanent Headmaster, and I only cast it yesterday. It won't wear off for a month.'
Dumbledore frowned and Snape started pacing.
'Stupid Gryffindor, why on earth would you do that?'
Hermione, for the first time, ignored her teacher and focused and Dumbledore. 'I did it to protect the information about my parents Sir.'
Hermione saw understanding fill the sparkling blue eyes in front of her. 'Ah, of course.' Dumbledore sat down again.
'Of course? Of course!' Snape said as he spun back towards the table. 'The idiot girl could ruin everything Dumbledore.'
Hermione flinched away from Snape slightly. Perhaps after all these years he had soaked up the volatile nature of some of his potions?
The Headmaster didn't say anything, he just looked between the two of them. Then his templed his fingers together and Hermione had to fight down the urge to vomit when she saw his hand. It looked dead.
'We will just have to change our plans slightly.'
'Our plans,' Snape scoffed quietly and turned back towards the window. 'You mean your plans Dumbledore. While you change things around do you want time to compose an epitaph or should I just kill you now?'
Hermione gasped again. Although Snape's tone was mocking, Hermione thought she could hear and bitter undertone. How could Dumbledore ask him to do that? Hermione felt her eyes harden when she looked back at the Headmaster who was watching her curiously.
After everyone Snape must have already done, everything he'd given up and overcome, Dumbledore still asked more of him? It wasn't right.
Hermione saw a slight smile appear on the Headmaster's face as he looked into her eyes. What the hell did he have to be happy about? He was dying and wanted his most loyal supporter to kill him!
'I think that Hermione has presented us with an opportunity. Take a seat please.' Hermione sat down and beside her Snape flung himself into the other seat. 'Now, Hermione, before we continue I want your word that will not mention any of this to a single person. Nor anything else we discuss.'
Hermione hesitated, if Harry and Ron found out she kept this from them…but it seemed as though Dumbledore wanted to include her in something. Surely that was more important?
'Yes Sir, I give you my word.'
'A likely story,' Snape muttered.
Hermione snapped. 'Oh so it's alright when give your word to do something impossible – to kill him. But when I agree to just keep a secret it's not enough? Talk about being a hypocrite.' Hermione faced forward again and crossed her arms.
'Severus, I am willing to accept Hermione's word on this.' Hermione looked up in surprise. 'I believe she is more mature than her peers in many ways. Besides it may do you some good to have someone other than myself to discuss these things with…after I'm gone.'
Hermione, still slightly angry at Snape's dismissal of her promise, snorted. 'You mean after he'd forced to kill you and quite possibly turn everyone against him.' Hermione slouched in her chair. 'And I thought you were the good guy.'
From the corner of her eye Hermione saw Snape stare at her in shock. Dumbledore just looked amused.
'Why do you say that Hermione?' He asked with a gleam in his eyes.
Hermione wished she'd kept her mouth shut now, but she wasn't in Gryffindor for nothing. 'Well, it's just that Professor Snape had already given up so much and now you're asking him to kill the only person that has always believed in him. Even the other Order members don't trust him completely. It's not fair.' Hermione paused and kept her gaze on the floor. 'Well I suppose I trust him, I mean I've always been the one that had to try and talk Harry and Ron out of their suspicions.'
Snape looked as though a train could run over him and he wouldn't notice. He was just staring at her in shock. Hermione quickly looked away from him and towards the other man. She thought there was a hint of satisfaction in his eyes as though he approved of what she had said.
Dumbledore sat back in his chair and looked though his desk drawers and then held out a packet to her. 'Sherbet Lemon Hermione?' Hermione just shook her head. 'Well, I think I've found a way to incorporate Hermione into our – my plans. From now on I think you should also tell her everything you would tell me.' Dumbledore smiled at her. Perhaps you can offer a new perspective on things. I also want you to give Hermione Occlumency lessons.'
Snape went from staring at her in shock to glaring at Dumbledore in rage. 'You want to include her? In everything?'
Despite being pleased at the Headmaster's declaration, Hermione actually thought the same as Professor Snape. 'Sir, Professor Snape has a point, how can I offer perspective when I don't know the details of the war so far…and the first war for that matter, not to mention Professor Snape's own role…' Hermione could feel her mind start to race the it usually did when she was gripped with an new idea or project. 'Plus if I'm disappearing every so often I'll need some excuse to tell others, I can't exactly say 'Oh I'm off to learn Occlumency and get updated on Voldemort's inner workings…I need to write this all down…' the last was more to herself than the two men.
Dumbledore chuckled. 'I can see your enthusiasm already. To address your concerns – I think while the castle is relatively empty Severus can update you on this war and give you more details on the first. Your cover…can be an independent potions project, no one will question your extra studying. As for Severus' role…the Professor will tell you exactly why he came to be a spy – '
'I'll do no such bloody thing Albus!' Snape stood up and roared at Dumbledore making Hermione jump in fright.
Dumbledore ignored the outburst and popped another sweet in his mouth. 'It is necessary for her to understand your position better Severus, you will tell her. She has already given her word to not repeat anything.'
Hermione glanced at Snape's furious expression. 'Er…Headmaster maybe we should just…'
'No Hermione. Professor Snape will explain everything.' Dumbledore didn't look at her as he said this. Instead he looked at Snape with a steely edge to his voice.
Snape seemed to realise Dumbledore wouldn't take no for an answer and strode to the door. 'Come to my office immediately after lunch Miss Granger.' The incensed man disappeared.
Hermione looked back at the Headmaster who was watching her again. 'Sir, I don't want to add to Professor Snape's…er stress, perhaps…'
Dumbledore shook his head. 'No Hermione. You were right that it isn't fair for me to ask him to do as I have. It is necessary though and he will need someone to help him afterwards.'
Hermione nodded and looked at the floor again. She should really have just left and not eavesdropped.
'Now I take it from the timing that you finally accepted my invitation for lunch?'
Hermione nodded again. 'Yes Sir,' she glanced at his hand, 'but if you're not – '
'Nonsense, now let's call for an elf and eat shall we?'
Over the next week Hermione spent most of her time ensconced in Snape's office, getting more information on both wars than she had ever expected. It seemed despite Snape's objections he was still going to do his job well.
Snape had been the one to bring up his own personal involvement in the wars. He had handed her a phial filled with something.
'These are memories…my memories. Take them to the Headmaster and he will let you use his pensive. After you have viewed them return them to me and do not discuss it. The subject will not be brought up again. Do you understand?'
Hermione had silently agreed and done as he had said. After she returned the memories to him Snape had dismissed her for the day. Hermione had retreated to the Gryffindor common room and sat in shock for some time.
Snape had been friends with Harry's Mum! It made a lot more sense now why Snape protected Harry despite him looking so much like James Potter. For one brief second Hermione wished she could reveal this to Harry, but she had sworn not to.
After everything he had suffered and been made to do Snape was still enough of a good man to risk his life for people who didn't even like him. All the steps he'd taken to preserve his status within the Death Eaters had done nothing but make him alone and miserable and yet he continued doing it even though it he had gained nothing but hatred and mistrust from the world.
Hermione sat through the night contemplating the man that was Severus Snape.
Hermione knew that Harry was now at the Weasleys' house but she knew that the Order had been told of what she had done to her parents and Hermione was reluctant to give up the peace and quiet of the castle for Mrs Weasley's mothering. It wasn't that she didn't appreciate how much the woman cared for her but…Hermione was worried that she would break down at the first thing Mrs Weasley did that reminded Hermione of her own Mum.
However there was now just one week left until the new school year began. Ginny had written to her a few times asking her to come and save her from Fleur, who was now engaged to Bill and staying at the Burrow. Harry had written saying he missed her and wanted to see her before term started. Mrs Weasley wrote short notes every other day saying she would love to have Hermione visit.
Last week Professor Dumbledore had given her a letter with her OWL results, ten outstanding's and an Exceeds Expectations in Defence. Hermione had been pleased but had spent a few hours curled on her bed crying and wishing her parents could have been there to share her success.
Today Hermione had finally relented and was going to the Burrow. Tomorrow they would all be going to Diagon Alley together and Hermione would be spending the last week at the Burrow. She was only going to take some clothes and a few books. There wasn't much point in taking everything with only to bring it back again next week.
Hermione stuffed her clothes, books and money bag into her suitcase and headed towards Professor McGonagall's office. She would be using the floo to get to the Burrow. Ten minutes later she was being squeezed to death by Ron's Mum.
'Oh, my dear, how are you doing? Oh you poor thing I can't imagine how you're feeling right now.'
Hermione refrained from saying she was feeling squashed and pulled out of the tight embrace. 'Thank you Mrs Weasley, I'm fine.'
There were thundering steps on the stairs and Hermione turned and was immediately embraced by her two best friends. 'Hey guys, good to see you.'
Ron and Harry both started talking at the same time about a variety of things. Hermione had expected Harry to be more withdrawn after Sirius' death but perhaps being at the Burrow had helped.
Ginny appeared and shoved the boys out the way. 'Alright guys let her breath, c'mon Hermione let's put your stuff in my room.'
Hermione gratefully followed the younger girl up the stairs and into the small room that had a camp bed in it.
Ginny shut the door as Hermione dropped onto the bed and sat looked around. Nothing had changed since the first time she had stayed in here. Pushing her suitcase under the bed Hermione felt the mattress dip slightly and turned to see Ginny sitting beside her, watching her.
'Are you okay?' Ginny asked kindly.
Hermione felt tears start to prick her eyes and shook her head. 'No, not really.' Hermione burst into tears and felt Ginny's arms go around her. As Hermione sobbed she couldn't help but think that it wasn't fair how much people lost in a war that was been fought over nothing more than bigotry.