Hermione Granger slowly woke from the strangest dream. As she tried to pull together the pieces of it they drifted away from her like morning wisps. Shaking her head she lazily went through her morning calendar. She had double potions followed by a break, then lunch with Ron and Harry, then Arithmancy...
"Oh, I have to remember to ask professor Vector..." she started.
"Shhh!" a voice whispered from beyond her sealed bed curtains.
Hermione jumped. As Head Girl she had a room of her own, one that was heavily warded by herself, and one where no others should be. She grabbed her wand and snapped the drapery back. She saw three other curtained beds around her and heard various people shifting in their bedcovers.
"Hello?" She asked, tentatively.
"Shhhh Mione, I need some more sleep or I'll never get through Divination," a voice warned her.
Hermione looked around the room. It was Gryffindor, judging by the colours but the voice wasn't familiar. And how did she fall asleep in someone else's rooms?
A curtain snapped open and a young woman groggily threw her feet over the side of the bed and, half asleep, walked toward the door.
"Morning Mione," she muttered with a yawn as she passed an awestruck Hermione. It was a girl Hermione had never seen before in her life.
"Excuse me..." Hermione called after her but she was gone before she heard the confused young woman.
Just then another curtain snapped open and a cheerful face greeted her. "It's December! That means only 3 weeks until the break and I can see Filippe again!"
"Hi, uh..." Hermione muttered as she looked at the other stranger. "My room is..."
"I know, I spoke with Glynnis last night and she promises to clean up, TODAY, right Glynnis?" the young woman called to the still curtained bed.
A muffled moan came from inside the curtains.
"Glynnis!" the smiling girl called to her again.
"Okay, I promise, I promise!" Someone moaned from inside the bed.
"I'm sorry there seems to be a misunderstanding," Hermione began as she got off her bed and approached the young woman who was speaking to her.
"No misunderstanding Hermione!" the young woman laughed. "Glynnis got your message loud and clear last night. Didn't you Glynnis?"
"Feck off Matilda!" Glynnis yelled.
"No, what I mean to say is..."
"No hot water, again," the half asleep woman said as she walked back into the room.
"Aww Shite!" Glynnis said as she pushed back the curtains and stomped on the floor. "I can't go to class with this ink in my hair!"
Just then Hermione looked at Glynnis and noticed that all the tips of her blonde hair were a black ink colour.
"Thank Hermione for that one," the half- asleep girl giggled.
"Thanks Mione," Glynnis said with a slight snap to her voice.
"I told you to shower last night," the half-asleep girl said as she pulled out clothes from her trunk.
"Thanks for the advice Lavinia," Glynnis said as she stuck out her tongue. "I'm going to see if Lily will let me use her Head Girl bath and..."
"Head Girl!" Hermione snapped.
"It's been months Hermione, you'd think you'd be over it my now," Matilda said softly as she pulled on a stripped sweater over her skirt.
"Who's the Head Girl?" Hermione asked as she approached Matilda.
"Lily Evans, you know that and you still can't believe it," Matilda said as she patted her shoulder. "You better get ready or you'll miss breakfast and be late for Divination."
"I don't take Divination!" Hermione snapped.
"Just keep telling yourself that," Glynnis said as she patted Hermione on the shoulder. "Maybe wishes will come true."
She walked past Hermione and out the door.
Matilda picked up her satchel and, throwing it over her shoulder whipped past Hermione calling "Don't be late!" over her shoulder.
"You better hurry Hermione, Proudfoote is trying to get the full-time position that Dumbledore announced and you know how she is about lates," Lavinia said as she madly threw clothes from her trunk onto her bed.
"We're in 7th year?" Hermione asked. "And Lily Evans is Head Girl and James Potter is Head Boy?"
"Yeah, and you're still sleeping maybe?" Lavinia smiled at her good-naturedly as she pulled on odd clothes and grabbed her robe. "There's no place like home, Dorothy."
"Only muggle-borns know that," Hermione smiled at the girl.
"Which is why everyone looks at us strangely when we say it," Lavinia smiled at her as she shoved her feet into shoes. "Now, get a move on!"
She swatted Hermione on the ass and trotted from the room sorting out her book bag as she went.
Hermione took a moment to look around the room and take in her environment. There was a wizarding calendar on the far wall turned to December 1977. The clothes Lavinia had left all over her bed were retro in nature. Lily Evans was head girl and James Potter, head boy.
"I've gone back in time," Hermione said softly as she sat heavily on her bed.
Having had no luck visiting Professor Dumbledore in his office, Hermione made her way to Divination. She was perturbed when he didn't answer his door and, when she inquired, was told he was out of school for the day.
She found herself looking around in awe of her surroundings. Everyone sported retro 70's hairdos, some of which worked and some that didn't. But, despite the clothes and hair, students in robes, surprisingly, looked not much different than in 1997. She had actually had an interesting time in the morning coming across clothes she was unfamiliar with but despite time travel her hair was just as problematic. She hoped Dumbledore could explain why she was here in 1977 and how she could return to 1997. She also hoped he could explain why everyone seemed to know her as if she always existed here.
"If you can't be quiet there is no way you'll be able to find your inner eye," a young woman in long colourful robes said in a dreamy voice as she circled the class.
"Um, Ma'am," Hermione said softly as she stood at the door hoping to disturb the class as little as possible.
"Hermione Granger, late again I see?" the woman, Professor Proudfoote said as she circled to face the young student. "While some people seem to make a habit of coming late to this class, I would hope they wouldn't disturb those who arrived on time."
"Sorry Ma'am I..."
"Miss Mackabee has also not graced us with her presence today, so you'll need to be paired with Mr. Snape while Ms. Willows gets over her unfortunate hex from yesterday."
Hermione's head shot toward the young gangly man who was sitting to her left on a velour pouf and looking extremely uncomfortable. Professor Severus Snape, as his younger self. She couldn't help but gawk as she made her way over to the table he sat at.
"Severus," she said as she sat on a pouf across from him.
"Hermione," he countered with a nod.
"Close your eyes and as you hold your partner's hands clear your mind of all impediments," Professor Proudfoote said in a soothing voice.
It was then that Hermione looked around and saw that everyone was holding hands across the table. She then noted that Severus Snape had his hands extended toward her, palms up, waiting for her to join him. She placed her hands against the warm palms of her future potions professor.
"Now feel the other person," Professor Proudfoote started and was greeted with giggles. "Feel their energy as it flows from their body to yours..."
Hermione shifted uncomfortably and peeked out of one eye to see that Snape was not moving and seemed to be focused. The class continued to giggle.
"As their life force enters you, look with your inner eye into their heart..."
"What heart?" someone at the front of the room snickered.
"Witches and wizards, please!" Professor Proudfoote snapped. "You need focus to do this activity! The next outburst will deserve a detention and 20 points lost."
"As you look into their heart, I want you to see their greatest fear, the thing that they most would be scared of..." she droned on.
Hermione heard someone huff loudly at the table next to her. She peeked and saw that it was Matilda's partner, a boy with Ravenclaw robes.
"Once you have a clear picture of that scary place, write down your findings in your journal" Professor Proudfoote directed them.
She felt Snape's hands drop from hers and when she looked at him he was leaning over his journal scribbling madly. It surprised her that he took the subject so seriously.
Hermione pulled out a journal from her satchel and wrote a fear she knew about Snape. He feared being rejected. She knew this from Harry's venture into Snape's mind during Occulemency class. She also could divine from the way he treated his students that he put up a harsh front to avoid being rejected by them. Reject others before they reject you seemed to be his motto.
"Once you are done writing, I want you to share your findings with your partner and observe how accurate or inaccurate they may be," Professor Proudfoote explained.
Hermione watched as Snape continued to write madly across from her. She looked at the one word she'd written on the page before her and bit her bottom lip wondering if she hadn't done enough. Just as she was about the start writing again she looked up to see Professor Proudfoote staring down at Snape with an inexplicable expression.
"You are always so intuitive Severus," she said kindly.
"Thank you Professor," Severus said politely as he covered his page protectively with his hand.
Hermione looked between teacher and student and felt some sort of static in the air. Severus broke their bond first and then Professor Proudfoote seemed to move onto another pair.
She spent most of the class watching Snape as he delved into her heart and mind and then madly wrote notes afterwards. The sharing part was simple and they spoke of nothing outside of the class instruction. At the end of class she was packing up her bag when Matilda tapped her on the shoulder.
"I'm going up to the tower to see if Glynnis got that ink out of her hair yet," she smiled. "She didn't even make it to any of this class."
"Uh, okay?" Hermione asked.
"I'll meet you in Charms in 15," Matilda said quietly before she flew out of the class.
"Are you sure you can't stay, Severus?" Professor Proudfoote asked silkily. "I could write you a note for..."
"No, I'm sorry professor," Snape said as he quickly packed up his bag. "We have a test in Arithmancy today."
"Oh, pity," she said as she rolled a strand of hair between her fingers.
Hermione looked at the pair and then noticed she was the only other person in the room. And, it seemed, Professor Snape was romantically involved with the Divination Professor.
"How about tonight after supper? I can show you my latest crystal ball...it's from Russia and..."
"Again, I'm sorry professor but I promised my potions partner we'd work on our project tonight and..."
"Put them off Severus," she snapped slightly.
"I, uh..." Severus stammered and shifted his feet uncomfortably.
It was in that moment that Hermione realized the relationship may only be one-sided.
"I'll see you tonight in the library Severus for our potions project?" Hermione asked innocently.
Snape turned and looked at her surprised.
"I can't afford to lose the marks," Hermione said as she looked at him pointedly, hoping she was helping the situation and not making a fool of herself.
"Uh, yeah, in the library after dinner, right?" Severus asked, relieved.
"I'll see you then," Hermione said with a tight-lipped smile as she saw the gratitude in his eyes.
"Wait! I wanted to talk with you about gathering ingredients," he called to her as he threw his satchel over his shoulder.
"Uh, sure," Hermione said as she waited for him to join her.
"I'll see you next class Professor Proudfoote," Severus said politely as they turned at the exit door.
"Have a good evening Severus and I'm sure I'll see you before then," Professor Proudfoote grinned at him. "Good day Miss Granger."
"Good day, Professor Proudfoote," Hermione said back as she looked carefully at the young teacher.
Once they rounded the corner and were two halls away Severus finally spoke.
"Thank you for that," he said as he leaned in to her ear. It was as if he was scared Professor Proudfoote could still hear them somehow.
"You, uh...you looked uncomfortable," Hermione whispered back.
"She's been trying to get in my pants all term and I running out of excuses to not be alone with her," Severus said quietly as he looked over his shoulder.
"Why don't you say something to Dumbledore?" Hermione asked as she too looked around wondering who they were hiding from as they walked.
"I can take care of the situation myself," Severus said full of pride.
"Oh yeah, that was working so well back there," Hermione noted. Then was surprised at how easily she spoke to her severe professor.
"I was going to come up with something," he said forcefully.
"As you stammered and shifted?" She asked, jokingly. "She's really got it for you, huh?"
"She's only 3 years older than us and she seems to have set her sights on me for some unknown reason," he said disdainfully as they approached the Great Hall.
"Why do you think you?" Hermione asked, genuinely interested. "And really, can't you just say you're not interested?"
"First of all, I need my Divination grade to be high to get into Oxford," he said as he stopped mid stride and held onto her arm to halt her as well. "And secondly, I think...I think she picked me because our families vacationed together this summer and there was and incident..."
"What incident?" She asked, interested. She half wondered if this look at Snape as a young man with teen issues would change her general opinion of him or give her some glimpse of why he became so hateful.
"Some mermaids took her clothes and..."
"Wait, how would mermaids have access to her clothes?" Hermione stopped him.
Severus sighed and shifted his feet and then looked around. "Our families are friends, and even though she's my professor, I have to live with the consequences of my actions even after I leave Hogwarts. I can't tell on her to Dumbledore despite my discomfort."
"You still haven't said what the incident was," Hermione reminded him.
"A bunch of us were skinny dipping, it was a group thing in the middle of the night and when the mermaids stole her clothes I offered my shirt for her to wear. She took it as a chivalrous act and has been smitten with me since. It made the remainder of the vacation quite uncomfortable."
"But nothing...?" Hermione found herself asking. She hadn't ever seen this side to her professor.
"Gods no!" Severus said loud enough to turn heads. He pulled Hermione over to a spot closer to the wall. "Don't breathe a word of this in the Gryffindor Common room or anywhere else. I appreciate your help but wouldn't think twice about a well-placed hex if word of this got out!"
Hermione sighed. That was the man she knew.
"I wouldn't think of it," she said with a grin. "And you're welcome."
She walked away from him and didn't look back.
Hermione Granger rolled onto her side and shifted under the covers as the chill crept across her face. She had had no luck speaking with Dumbledore yesterday, but was told he would be back today at some point. Groggily she thought about her encounter with Snape and how different yet similar he appeared. Why she decided to involve herself in his issue with Professor Proudfoote was beyond her reasoning. She decided to chalk it up to Gryffindor courage.
She had spent last night in the company of her three roommates Glynnis, Matilda and Lavinia and had gleaned a wealth of information from them. She, apparently, had always been at Hogwarts and they had been roommates since the start. She was from muggleborn parents who, from the looks of them in the one photo she discovered, looked remarkably like her parents. Not exactly, but close. Her parents names also seemed to be Rose and Martin, not the same as her real parents.
House rivalry was strong amongst the boys, but not taken nearly as seriously by the girls. All of her roommates had friends or boyfriends in other houses and there seemed to be no issue with that. She had met Lily Evans and James Potter briefly in the hall and had noticed Sirrius and Remus across the room in two of her classes but had not spoken with them as yet. Minerva McGonagall was teaching Transfiguration, Professor Slughorn Potions, Professor Sprout Herbology and Madam Pomfey was in the Clinic but all her other teachers were different. A girl names Aurora Lowe in her Charms class had a remarkable resemblance to Madam Sinistra but she wasn't sure of her teacher's first name.
Hermione flicked her curtains open expecting to be greeted by the sights and sounds of her roommates and found herself in her Head Girl bedroom. She looked around, puzzled. Was it all a dream? If it was, if was the most realistic dream she had ever experienced. Wiping her eyes with her fists she noted that nothing changed. She pinched herself hard.
"Ow!" she yelled into the empty room.
Then, her door slammed open and Ginny Weasley stomped through it.
"The boys have done something to our pipes again!" She yelled as she pointed toward the door. "There's no hot water, again."
"Ginny!" Hermione said as she jumped from her bed and gave her friend a hug. Ginny was one of the few people who Hermione granted complete access to her rooms and wards.
"What's up with you?" Ginny asked, looking at her strangely.
"I...I had the weirdest dream last night and well...I'm sorry," Hermione shook her head clear. "What was that about the pipes?"
"The boys must have spelled them again because they are all laughing in their dorm and we have no hot water," Ginny explained.
"Give me a minute and I'll sort it out," Hermione smiled at her friend as she donned her robes.
"Thanks, Mione," Ginny said nicely as she walked back out the door.
Hermione took one last look around her room and then left to sort out the water situation.
"It was very realistic," Hermione said to Harry as they walked into the potions classroom for their double lesson.
"Sounds like it," he grinned at her. "How's my parents seem?"
Hermione wrapped her arm around his shoulder and gave him a squeeze. "Happy."
Harry smiled shyly at her. "Even if it was just a dream it's good to know that they..."
"Books out!" Snape snapped from the front of the room. "Turn to page 362 and someone tell me why today of all days we should be brewing this potion."
Hermione and Harry shuffled quickly to their table and flipped open their books.
"At least your dream Snape is nicer than the real one," Harry muttered to Hermione a little too loudly. All the students around them turned with shocked expressions to look at Hermione.
She turned pitch red and stammered to them all, "it's not what you think."
"What's not what we think Miss Granger?" Snape asked as he walked toward her desk.
"Uh, nothing, sir," she said as her face grew more red.
"Then perhaps you have the answer to my question?" He asked with a raised eyebrow.
She looked at her book and saw that they were brewing a solstice potion and for the life of her she didn't know what the answer to his question was.
"No?" He asked snidely.
"Uh, I'm sorry sir; I don't know what you..."
"Anyone else?" Snape asked as he turned away from her.
The class was silent.
"Perhaps if you Miss Granger had done your preparation and merely looked at a calendar this morning you would not look like an idiot now," he said as he walked back toward the front of the room.
"How long does it say the potion must brew for, Miss Granger?"
"Uh, 3 weeks sir," Hermione answered as her face grew more red and she started to tremble slightly.
"And with today being December first and the solstice taking place...Mr. Malfoy?"
"Three weeks from now, sir. So brewing has to take place today if the potion is to be viable," Draco said smugly as he smiled at the professor.
"Exactly," Snape said as he smiled at Draco. "20 points to Slytherin."
"Thank you, sir," Draco said.
"And a 40 point loss to Gryffindor for Miss Granger's ineptitude," Snape said as he turned on a projector.
"The winter solstice potion..." he started to lecture.
"What a prat," Harry hissed next to her.
Hermione just buried her face in her textbook and waited for her heart to stop hammering in her chest. She couldn't believe that in her dream she was nice to him.
Hermione laid in bed chastising herself. Yesterday Professor Snape had made her look like a fool in class. It didn't matter that every other day of the week she had the correct answer for him, no, what only mattered was that she didn't have the answer yesterday. He was an infuriating man!
Hermione sat up and snapped back her curtains, what she needed was a...
"What the hell?" Hermione asked as she looked around at the other curtained beds.
Three other Gryffindor beds were surrounding her. She opened and closed her eyes multiple times and they didn't disappear. She pinched herself hard
"Ow!" She snapped before she rubbed her arm gently.
"Shit!" She heard a deep voice say from behind one of the curtains.
She turned to the sound, saw rustling and whispering behind the drapes.
Matilda snapped back her curtains and skipped over to the calendar to mark off December the 1st. "Only 20 days until school is done and then I have Fillippe for 3 glorious weeks!"
When she turned she saw the awkward rustling behind the one bed and Hermione saw anger rise up in the young woman. She marched over to the bed and snapped back the curtain. Inside Sirrius Black and Glynnis were haphazardly donning clothes.
"Glynnis!" Matilda yelled.
"Shhh! You'll wake up the whole bloody dorm!" Glynnis said as she pulled a shirt over her torso.
"Sirrius, you will be expelled if they find you in here again!" Matilda warned him. "Hermione, tell him!"
Hermione had been anchored to one spot the entire time, not believing the sight before her. She couldn't speak.
"He wasn't going to stay but we fell asleep," Glynnis explained as she got out of bed and pulled on a pair of pyjama pants over her underwear.
"Ladies," Sirrius said gallantly as he pulled on a pair of pants under the covers and stood to do up the snaps. He was extremely handsome and well built Hermione noted.
"That better not be who I think it is!" Lavinia yelled as she pulled open her own curtains. "Glynnis you promised!"
"It just sort of..." Glynnis said as she looked at Lavinia innocently.
"He won't commit to you! Just last week he was all over Ramona Puce and the week before that..."
"I'm still in the room you know?" Sirrius noted with disdain. "At least wait until I leave before you..."
"Get out!" Matilda said as she charmed a pillow to hit him on the side of his head. "And don't come back!"
"It's been lovely," Sirrius said as he kissed Glynnis quickly. "But I sense a hex coming and...Lavinia put down that wand!"
"You have until the count of three and than I'm practicing some new spells that may or may not involve crabs," she warned him as she raised her wand.
Sirrius bolted from their room and slammed the door behind him.
"Glynnis, how could you?" Lavinia asked disappointed. "He's just using you for sex and toying with your emotions."
She walked out of the room without a backward glance.
"We were sleeping only a few feet away," Matilda said as she grabbed a towel. "It's just plain rude."
She too walked from the room and Glynnis sat dejectedly on her bed and starred at Hermione.
"Not you too?" Glynnis said to Hermione.
"I...I don't know what to think," Hermione said as she turned toward her trunk and pulled out some clothes. She wasn't really talking about Glynnis' situation per say but it applied anyways.
Glynnis flopped back on her bed and sighed.
"The Headmaster is tied up in meetings today, but he does have an opening tomorrow morning at 10 am," the matronly ghost said to Hermione as she floated in front of his door.
"It is of the utmost urgency," Hermione pleaded. "Isn't there any way...?"
"You are lucky there was a cancellation," the ghost said as she snapped a book shut. "Normally it's a one week waiting period. Can this not be dealt with by your Head of House?"
"I don't...I think I should see Dumbledore first," Hermione stammered.
"I will see you tomorrow morning then," the secretary ghost said before she turned from Hermione and floated back through a wall.
Hermione sighed heavily and stood staring at the wall for quite some time.
"It can't be that bad, it's only 8 am," a familiar voice said from behind her.
She closed her eyes. The last person she wanted to encounter was Severus Snape. After the way he had treated her...yesterday? Or twenty years from now...whatever, she was not pleased to be around him.
He walked around so he was between her and the wall she was starring at and she found herself looking at his chest. He leaned down and looked her in the eye. "Is everything okay?"
The look of concern and honesty on her professor's young face was highly disconcerting. So much so that she burst into tears, an act she would never have wanted to do in front of him.
"Hermione?" He asked, surprised as he rubbed her shoulder. "What's the matter?"
His voice was gentle and soft, not at all like she was used to. It was hard to reconcile this Snape with the one who called her an idiot in class.
She took two gasping breaths in an attempt to bring her breathing under control but found herself crying even harder. She wasn't dreaming, she was back in 1977 and nothing made sense. She knew that Dumbledore would figure it out but, somehow, she had to wait until tomorrow and get through today.
It was then that she noticed that Snape had guided her to a nearby bench and was asking her to sit with him.
"It can't be that bad," he said softly as he placed a comforting arm around her shoulder. "You're pretty smart so it's not grades. You have loads of friends and seem to enjoy them. Is it your family, has an owl arrived with bad news?"
She shook her head in the negative. He was being decent, despite his future self's inadequacies she felt drawn to him.
"I...I am just worried about NEWTS and I got word about the standards for a school I was considering and..." she lied through her teeth.
"You want Dumbledore's advice?" He asked, somewhat relieved it wasn't more serious.
"Yes," she sighed. "He'll know what I should do."
"He will," Snape agreed as he reached for a cloth in his pocket and handed it to her.
"Thank you," she said as she took it. "I feel like an idiot, crying like this."
She then stiffened at her own use of term he had just used to describe her in the future.
"Hermione, you are the farthest thing from an idiot I could ever imagine," he smiled gently at her.
She smiled back at the compliment.
A crowd of boys was passing them in the hall and Hermione ducked her head lower so others wouldn't notice her tears.
"Make her cry by looking at her Snivellus?" a voice teased.
Hermione's head snapped up and she saw James Potter laugh at his own comment.
"Feck off Potter," Snape said as he sat up straight, shoulders back.
"A gob like his, I'd cry too!" James joked as the group walked around the corner.
"Arse wipe," Snape mumbled under his breath as he shifted uncomfortably next to her and dropped his arm back to his side.
"He teases you a lot?" Hermione asked.
"It makes him feel like a big man to treat others so poorly," Snape noted as he looked beyond her. "He doesn't get to me though."
"He doesn't does he?" She asked as she looked at the pained expression on Snape's face.
Severus then stood abruptly and nodded toward her. "I trust you are fine and can make it to class?"
"Uh, yes, thank you," she said noting the change in tone.
"Dumbledore will help you," Snape said assuredly. "Trust him."
"I will," Hermione agreed before she watched him walk away.
Hermione woke with a start as she heard the wards in her room open and someone shuffle inside and lean against the door. She hazily wondered it Glynnis had stayed with Sirrius last night.
"Mione you gotta help me," Ron's voice called to her. Her eyes widened and she flipped open her curtains to find herself back in her Head Girls Room. Ron was standing just inside her door pulling up his pants and trying to put on a shoe at the same time.
"Ronald, what are you doing?" She snapped.
"McGonagall decided to do another surprise inspection first thing and I fell asleep in Lavender's bed and..."
"Ron!" She gasped.
"Mione, it'll never happen again, if you can just help me get out of this bind..." Ron was pleading as she hopped on one foot trying to tie his shoe.
"So getting caught in my room and getting me in trouble as well was your bright solution?" Hermione said as she got out of bed and fastened a robe around herself.
"Come on Mione, there's got to be a..." Ron started but was interrupted by Professor McGonagall walking into Hermione's room.
"Miss Granger, I am shocked!" She gasped as she looked at Ron's dishevelled appearance and her bathrobe.
"Professor, I can explain!" Hermione said loudly.
"I would be interested in the explanation. You are Head Girl and the standards that are expected of you are..."
"Minerva?" A deep voice called.
Hermione winced. It was Professor Snape.
"Come in Severus, everyone is decent...now," she stressed.
Hermione saw her wards shimmer before Professor Snape walked inside and looked at the scene before him.
"Ah," he said with a sneer as he looked pointedly at Hermione and Ron. "I was going to report that only the Weasley boy was missing from the boys dorms but I see you have located him."
"It's not what it looks like Professor," Hermione pleaded to McGonagall.
"It looks like I now know why our Head Girl's performance in Potions has been suffering," Snape said as he paced her room. "Her attentions have been elsewhere and her sleep...interrupted."
"Professor!" Hermione gasped. "We are not sleeping together!"
"The evidence would suggest otherwise, Miss Granger," he said with an air of disgust before he snapped at Ron. "Do up your pants, boy!"
Ron's hands immediately went to his zipper which he did up quickly and with a red face.
"Professor McGonagall, Professor Snape, Hermione didn't do anything wrong. I was..."
"We don't need the details Mr. Weasley," Minerva said sharply. "I would like to see you both in detention this evening. I have some cupboards that need sorted and perhaps that will tire you out."
"Professor, please listen to Hermione," Ron pleaded.
"After the evening meal, in my classroom," she said before she looked at Ron. "It's now time for you to leave Mr. Weasley."
Ron looked at Hermione apologetically before he shuffled from the room.
"I'll alter Miss Granger's wards so this cannot happen again, Minerva," Snape said as he pulled out his wand.
"Thank you Severus," Minerva McGonagall said before she left. "I'm very disappointed Hermione."
Hermione sat back on her bed, dejected. The imposing black figure by her door started to mutter incantations for wards that weren't necessary. When she saw Ron again she was going to throttle him!
It was then that Hermione realized that she was back in 1997. Perhaps in this time she could speak with Dumbledore and get things sorted. With renewed vigour she grabbed some clothes from her trunk and started to walk away when she noticed something sticking out from the covers of her bed.
"I know you are of age Miss Granger, but your position as Head Girl should be held to the highest level of propriety," Snape started to lecture her as she looked at the handkerchief. On it was embroidered the initials STS- Severus had given it to her twenty years ago.
"Are you listening to me, girl?" He snapped at her. "With NEWTS coming, now is not the time to be distracted by a paramour!"
Her head snapped up at his vicious comment. She felt so much anger in that moment. It was unfair. She hadn't done anything wrong but everyone refused to listen to her. She now had detention and would be vilified by all the other professors for acting like a hormonal teenager. Add to that the fact that she seemed to be travelling back and forth 20 years through time each night after her head his the pillow and it was easy to conclude that Hermione had heard enough. And now he, had the audacity to tell her how important NEWTs were!
She picked up the handkerchief intending on showing it to Dumbledore and started to march past him to get dressed in the loo.
"What's the matter with you?!" He snapped as he grabbed her arm and halted her forward motion.
She pulled her arm from his grasp and looked at his pinched face and hateful eyes and couldn't believe he was the boy who comforted her when she cried.
"I should give this back to you," she snapped as she placed the handkerchief in his hand.
He looked at her surprised when he noted the embroidery in the corner.
"Where did you get this?" He snapped at her. She could see him trembling slightly and wasn't sure whether it was in anger or upset.
"You lent it to me," she said callously. "I thought you might want it back."
She walked away from him and left him standing gap mouthed in her doorway.
"Impossible!" He snapped as he walked through the hallway. Students jumped out of his way and gasped at his outburst.
Severus Snape quickly made his way to his rooms and slammed the door shut.
"It was just a dream," he muttered to himself. "There's no way...it's a prank of some kind..."
He had dreamt about Miss Granger two nights in a row. On the first night she was his partner in Divination and had rescued him from Proudfoote the insufferable family friend and teacher who was always trying to bed him. In the second dream she had been crying and he had comforted her and offered her a cloth for her face. The one he was now holding in his hand. In both dreams they were classmates and everything about his last year at Hogwarts had been accurate except for her presence. That was new. He had assumed it was just stress manifesting itself in his dreams, but what if it wasn't? How could she be there and here? She wasn't alive when he was a student and, try as he might, he had no other memories of her time as his classmate besides the ones from his dreams. It didn't make sense. Not at all.
Severus Snape shook his head and looked at a clock. He needed to teach two classes and then he could find the girl and see Dumbledore. The old man might commit him just yet.
Hermione stood before the entrance to Dumbledore's office five minutes before their meeting was to begin. Yesterday had not gone as planned. Dumbledore had been in Wizengammot meetings all day with top officials and was not to be disturbed. So here she was, 20 years back in time again because she couldn't have a meeting with him yesterday 20 years in the future. All this time shifting was making her head spin.
Besides all the time travel, word had spread quickly throughout Hogwarts that Ron had spent the night in her room. Smelling a love triangle 100 metres away, every student and teacher in the school was talking about them. And Ron, in his desire to apologize to Hermione for getting her caught up in all this, merely appeared to most to be a love-sick boy trying to woo her back. He and Lavender eventually saw Professor McGonagall and sorted the entire situation out, taking away her detention in the process. But the Scarlet woman label was going to stick until word of the real situation got out.
One bright spot in her day had been when an owl arrived this morning with a note excusing her from Professor McGonagall's extra study group for transfiguration so she could attend her meeting with Dumbledore. At least today she'd get some help. It had been nice to see a pre-war McGonagall though. She was more at ease with her students, laughing easily and smiling readily. Hermione realized when she looked at her teacher how much the war with Voldemort had changed people.
"The Headmaster will see you now," the ghost secretary said in a clipped voice.
"Thank you," Hermione said as she walked through the door that swung open and up a steep flight of stairs. When she got there, Dumbledore's office looked pretty much the same as she knew it to be. Sure there were different books strewn all over the tables and odd little machines around the room, but essentially it looked the same.
"Ah, Miss Granger, what can I do for you?" Dumbledore asked kindly.
"Uh, well sir..." Hermione stammered, not sure how to ask the question without sounding daft. "Have you met me before?"
"I'm sorry?" He asked, surprised.
"Uh, you see sir, I'm not from this time," she started and realized how ridiculous she sounded. "I am actually your student in 1997 but it's 1977 and I keep going back and forth in time each night when I go to sleep. One day I wake up here and the next in 1997. For instance today is December the 3rd but when I go to sleep tonight I'll wake up in my time on December 3rd as well."
"Interesting," he said as he rubbed his chin.
"I know it sounds crazy and I'm normally quite level-headed but..."
"You'd be surprised Miss Granger at what I don't find to be crazy," he said thoughtfully. "So you are from 1997? How do you know that?"
"How do I know? Well, I...I just am. My whole life takes place then. I'm currently a 7th year Head Girl and here...here I'm in 7th year but not Head Girl and..."
"No, I mean, how do you know here is not reality as much as there?" he asked as he leaned forward in his chair.
"Excuse me, sir?"
"There are wizarding theories that state it is possible to co-exist in two timeframes," he said. "But you say you just arrived in 1977 recently?"
"On December 1st," she nodded. "But sir, everyone here says they've known me since first year. I have no memories of my life here, in this time, before the 1st."
"Interesting," he said again. "Have you bumped your head recently?"
"No," she said, frustrated. "Are you proposing I'm unconscious?"
"No," he said as he looked at her kindly. "I'm proposing you have some sort of memory loss from this time."
"But sir, I..."
"And this happens each night when you go to sleep?" He asked. "How about when you nap?"
"I haven't...I haven't ever tried to nap sir," she said, not realizing where he was going.
"Have you spoken about this with me in 1997?" He asked interested.
"No, you were away and then in meetings not to be disturbed and..."
"Tomorrow, when you go back to 1997, please make sure you see me and discuss this, I'd be interested to know what I think," he said as he rose from his chair.
"Sir, are you poking fun at me?" Hermione asked, confused.
"Absolutely not," he said as he walked toward her. "But I need some time to think about this. Are you encountering anyone else here, besides myself who is at Hogwarts in the future?"
"Uh, Professor McGonagall, Professor Sprout, Remus Lupin, Severus Snape and possibly Aurora Lowe...I think she's my Professor Sinistra..." Hermione mused. "Is Madam Pomfey the mediwitch?"
"Yes," Dumbledore replied. "I don't want you to tell them, or anyone else for that matter about your knowledge of the future. Do you think you can manage to do that for the time being?"
"Uh, sure, but how do I get back to 1997?" She asked.
"As you always have, when you sleep, child," he said with a smile. "Come back and see me at the same time tomorrow, which for you I guess is two days from now, and we'll see what my future self says about all this."
"Sir, you seem to be taking this quite well," Hermione said as he walked her to the door.
"You don't get to be my age Miss Granger if you get spooked by something like this," he said as he opened the door. "I know this must be very disconcerting but please take the time to enjoy yourself in 1977 because the next time you sleep you might not be back."
"Are you going to place a spell?" She asked, interested in his solution.
"No, my child, I'm merely proposing that as quickly as this started it could also stop," he said with a tap on the shoulder.
She smiled at him with a confused look. "Thank you professor."
"I'll make sure you're in the books for tomorrow Miss Granger and we'll get to the bottom of this," he said softly.
"Hot chocolate?" Severus Snape asked Hermione as he sat down next to her.
"Oh, uh, thanks," she smiled at him as she took the steaming cup into her hands.
They were sitting at a Quidditch match, Ravenclaw vs. Hufflepuff and the Ravenclaws were getting trounced. Severus had just appeared from nowhere.
"I saw your friends leave and I thought I'd join you," he said conversationally.
"Yeah, they figured it was a done deal," she said, wondering in that moment she had decided to stay and watch a sport she really didn't enjoy.
"I don't see you at the matches often," he said as he looked out over the field.
"Where do you see me?" She asked, genuinely interested.
Severus chuckled. "In the halls, in the library, in class, sometimes in the gardens."
"What's so funny?" She asked with a smirk.
"I had to admit how often I've noticed you," he said as he turned to look at her face.
Her cheeks coloured when she realized he was looking at her with an amorous glint in his eye.
"I guess you do notice me a lot," she said as she swallowed hard.
"You're hard not to notice," he said quickly before he turned back to the match and took a drink from his cup.
She looked back toward the field as well and shifted uncomfortably. Her potions professor was flirting with her.
"So, how are things going with Professor Proudfoote?" She asked, trying to change the topic.
"I got a note today from her, wanting to see me here at the match," he said as he followed the game with his eyes.
"So where is she?" Hermione asked as she looked around.
"In the other stands," he said as he nodded towards her.
Hermione looked over and saw her professor looking at them pointedly.
"She's looking at you," Hermione said quietly as she sat back to avoid the glare.
"I sat with my Slytherin friends instead and then I came and sat with you," he said as his head darted to the side following a rogue blugger toward a player. "Ow!"
"That one probably hurt," Hermione agreed as she saw the player try and right themself.
"I took one like that in my match last week, I had a goose egg on my knee for days afterwards," he said with a wince.
"I didn't know," she said.
"You don't come to many matches," he said as he raised his cup to drink again.
"When's your next match? I'll come," Hermione said.
"It's Monday night," he said as he turned to look at her, curious. "It's one of our only night games in the season."
"Sounds like fun," she smiled at him. "And you play...?"
"Beater," Severus said with a smile. "You don't know much about me, do you?"
"I...uh..." Hermione stammered. "I know you have great hexing skills."
"Potter tell you that?" He asked with disdain.
"No, I just know from what people say, you're good at the Dark Arts," she stammered trying to remember information about Snape. "Pretty good at potions too."
"Potions are easy," he said as he sat back a bit. "The dark arts are more of a challenge."
"But you're going to school for potions?" She asked.
"It was an easy choice," he said as he followed the snitch with his eyes and the two players chasing it. "It's my highest grade, it has a good career outcome, and...I do like creating my own potions."
The crowd stood and followed the two seekers as they raced toward the snitch. The Hufflepuff player snatched it in mid-air and held it up high. The crowd cheered and Severus pumped his fist.
"You'd think it was your house?" Hermione smiled at him as he clapped and cheered.
He had to lean in and speak closely to her ear so he could be heard over the crowd. "No, I just know that the Hufflepuff team has a Beater with the early signs of the flu, by the time the game comes on Monday she'll probably be out of commission."
She felt her heart flutter as his warm breath touched her cheek but couldn't help smile at his ulterior motives. "You're horrible."
"What?" He asked with a smile.
"You're horrible," she said into his ear as she leaned close.
He turned and looked at her face. They were centimetres apart. She could feel his breath on her skin and saw his eyes bore into hers. "But you like me that way."
Her eyes widened. She was caught off guard by his comment; it was so much like his older self. He stayed close to her for a beat longer and then pulled back to whistle over the crowd. Hermione felt dizzy and couldn't hear anything but the sound of her own heartbeat in her ears. What was happening with Snape?
Hermione approached the Headmaster's office with the express goal of seeing his 1997 self today. She was a woman on a mission and she had been thinking of ways to finally get his attention today when the door in front of her opened of its own volition.
She looked at it quizzically and decided to bolt for the inside before the door mysteriously shut again. As she ran up the stairs she hoped that he wasn't in the middle of a top-secret meeting where some Auror would be forced to obliviate her. As she got to the top of the stairs she heard the distinct voice of her potions master.
"...possibly keep her in St Mungos under sedation until this mess is cleaned up. Albus this must stop!" Snape yelled.
"Ahh, and here is the lady of the hour as we speak," Albus said as he noticed her at the edge of the room. "Miss Granger, I sense your life has, most recently, become quite interesting."
"That is putting it mildly, sir," Hermione smiled at the older man as she approached his desk. "Professor Snape."
"Miss Granger," Snape laid into her. "Please explain to us what you, and possibly your nit-wit friends, have done now. Your appearance in 1977 is highly problematic."
"Sir, I haven't done anything," Hermione said honestly. "I just woke up on December 1st in 1977 at Hogwarts. Then I go to bed at night and wake up on December 1st in 1997 at Hogwarts. I'm living each day twice, once here and once there."
"Fascinating," Dumbledore mused as he sat in his chair.
"Dangerous is what it is," Snape said sharply. "You must stop this behaviour immediately Miss Granger or we will be forced to..."
"No one is forcing anything here Severus," Albus said as he gestured toward the two chairs in front of his desk. "Lemon drop?"
"Wait, sir, you are aware of my life in 1977?" Hermione asked as she turned to look at her Potions professor.
"What I am aware of is none of your..." Snape began.
"To answer your question Miss Granger," Dumbledore interrupted him. "We are both aware of our interactions with you in 1977. I didn't know about your...travels until this morning but apparently Severus was made aware of them yesterday and, let's be honest Severus, everything since the first."
Snape nodded curtly as he sat stiffly in a chair.
"I have a full memory of our meeting in 1977 where you came to see me and told me about your time travel. I was interested in knowing what my future self would say about all this. I have no other memories of you from that time though which is...highly unusual."
"I thought you were placating me, sir," Hermione said to him as she sat down.
"Oh no, I completely believed you," he said honestly. "I had no reason not to."
"Thank you, sir," Hermione smiled at him, happy she was being taken seriously in both timelines.
"I trust you have told no one here about your travels?" Dumbledore asked.
"I, uh...told Harry about the first time, but I thought it was a dream." Hermione admitted. "I haven't said anything to anyone since I realized what was actually happening."
"Good, let's keep it that way, shall we?" Dumbledore smiled. "Besides me and Severus is there anyone else you have interacted with as yet?"
"That's here now?" Hermione asked. "Uh, Professor McGonagall so far has taught me in one class."
"I expect I should inform Minerva then," Dumbledore said as he rubbed his beard. "I won't say anything to the others until your 1977 self interacts with them though. And, hopefully, your time travel won't last much longer."
"Here's hoping," Severus mumbled.
"But it appears Severus is a more regular part of your days at Hogwarts in 1977," he said as he smiled at her. "He's been involved in this since the 1st, is that not right Severus?"
"Yes, and I would like Miss Granger to refrain from interacting with my 7th year self if she continues to return there."
"Severus, now that's..." Dumbledore began.
"You seek me out sir," Hermione said as she turned to face him. "I merely helped you with Professor Proudfoote that one..."
"Please, can we skip over the gossipy bits?" Snape asked frustrated.
"Unfortunate incident that was," Dumbledore interrupted. "I had no idea she was trying to take advantage of her position until today. I'm quite glad I didn't offer her the permanent job."
Snape cleared his throat and shifted in his chair. He was obviously embarrassed that he had to share that bit of history this morning with the Headmaster.
"My point, sir," Hermione said with some snap. "Is that the other two days I have been there, you are the one who came to me, not the reverse."
"Fascinating," Dumbledore said as he leaned back in his chair and triangled his two hands in thought. "Severus, your 17 year old self is quite intrigued by Miss Granger and, who wouldn't be at that age?"
"I was a 17 year old boy Albus, I was intrigued by any girl," Snape admitted.
"No, not that I recall," Abus said as he smiled at Severus. "You were no Sirrius Black toying with women's hearts. You really only showed interest in Lily Evans for a time and then..."
"I would prefer not to discuss that," Snape said as he launched himself from his chair and walked toward a window.
"Sorry, getting a little off track," Dumbledore admitted. "Professor Snape informs me that you were able to take an object back and forth through time with you?"
"Yes, I must have had a handkerchief he loaned me still on my person and when I woke here, in 1997, it was still with me. It had Professor Snape's monogram on it and, as he's never loaned me a handkerchief before, I had to conclude it was the one from 1977."
"And you recall giving this to her, Severus?" Dumbledore asked the man at the window.
"Yes," he said as he continued to look outside. "She was blubbering about NEWTS, now I realize her time travel was causing the breakdown."
"Sir, do you just have the new memories of me or...?" Hermione asked, interested.
"Severus and I have both received these memories through our dreams," Dumbledore explained. "Which is why he wasn't aware of your actual time travel until you gave him back his cloth."
Hermione shifted uncomfortably in her chair. Professor Snape had merely thought he was dreaming about her. That, would have made him very uncomfortable, indeed.
"I don't make it a habit to dream about my students Miss Granger," Snape said with his back to her. "So I ask you to refrain from involving yourself with me in 1977 so the dreams can stop. It is improper."
"Now Severus, you know as much as I that you have no control over..."
"But she does!" He said as he spun to face them. "All she has to do is stay away from me, and then I won't be dreaming about my interactions with a female student."
"In 1977," Hermione reminded him. "It's not as if I'm your student then."
"Yes, but you are now," he said as he walked toward her. "Then and now might as well be the same time. That is when I am having to deal with it, in the present."
"I think," Dumbledore said, trying to calm his friend. "That what we should really be interested in is whether the things that Miss Granger does in the past have an affect on the present. We must be careful with time."
"I have been thinking about that a lot sir," Hermione said as she turned from her professor. "Is there some way to test...?"
"I was thinking that we need to devise a small, almost insignificant test, one that would show a result today without altering something major." Dumbledore agreed.
"Was there something that happened in 1977 that I could change and we could see if..." Hermione started.
"You're playing with fire, Albus," Snape warned.
"Let me have some time to think about this Miss Granger," Albus said as he stood. "Right now, you and Professor Snape need to get to Potions class, I believe."
He walked them both to the door. "Both of you need to come and see me tomorrow morning and by then I'm sure we'll have figured something out. Until then Miss Granger, continue in 1977 as usual. Which means Severus; she will remain your friend for now."
Hermione saw her potions professor wince at Dumbledore's instruction.
"Sir, your 1977 self wanted me to discuss this with you and..." Hermione started as they reached the stairs.
"Tell him that the map he's looking for is between the mattresses on his bed," Albus said with a smile. "I had been looking for the damn thing for years at that point."
"Thank you, sir," she said with a smile before she descended the stairs.
"Oh, and Miss Granger, don't try anything on your own, please," Dumbledore warned her.
"I won't sir," she said as she continued down the stairs.
"Give the girl a break, Severus," Dumbledore cautioned him. "She is one of the most responsible pupils in this school and can be trusted here and in 1977."
"Forgive me if I don't share your faith in her," Severus said as he walked toward the stairs.
"Perhaps it's your faith in a 17 year old Severus Snape that you actually doubt," Dumbledore said to him before he turned to re-enter his office.
That night Hermione Granger stayed in the library until closing looking at old yearbooks for her 1977 classmates. She had not appeared in any of the yearbooks so far, but wasn't sure if that could change at any time. She had learned some information about her roommates Lavinia, Glynnis and Matilda. Part of her was tempted to look up more recent information about them, how they fared in the war and life afterwards but decided that too much knowledge might be a bad thing.
"Are you ever going back to the Common Room?" Harry asked as he stood next to her. "Why are you interested in those old yearbooks?"
"Uh, History of Magic project," she lied.
Harry flipped though the one on the table until he came to a picture of his parents as Head Girl and Boy standing with their arms around each other. He smiled.
"You know those memories of Snape's I saw?" he asked her.
"Uh, which...?" Hermione started.
"Of my dad teasing him and him calling my mum a mudblood," Harry said as he gently touched their faces on the page. "I think I didn't have the full story."
"How so?" Hermione asked.
"I mean, everyone loved my dad. Loved Sirrius too. I'm thinking that Snape provoked some of those attacks I saw, and calling my mum a mudblood, well he was a right git even then, wasn't he?"
"I don't..." she stammered.
"After seeing those memories of his," Harry said as he slowly closed the book. "I sort of doubted what kind of person my dad was for a long time. But, the more I think about it, the more I think that Snape was probably a right asshole and my dad was merely reacting to him."
"Uh, maybe," Hermione said softly.
"It doesn't make sense otherwise," Harry said as he adjusted his satchel. "I mean Snape's the bad guy in that situation, possibly in every situation past and present."
Hermione gave her friend a tight-lipped smile. She didn't know what to say to him. Everything she'd seen in the past had pointed to the fact that James Potter was a bully and Sirrius Black was a cad. But she couldn't tell him that because of her promise to Dumbledore and because it would break his heart.
"Let's head back, shall we?" She said as she stacked the books and waved her wand to re-shelve them.
"Yeah," he said with a yawn. "I'm beat."
Hermione grabbed her bag and walked with her friend out the door, knowing that when she woke up she'd be in 1977 again.
Hermione walked away from her Headmaster's office feeling some hope for the first time since she'd arrived in 1977. Dumbledore had heard what his future self had said to her and she had also told him about the lost map between his mattresses which caused him to laugh uncontrollably. He told her that he had been doing some research and gave her some names that he wanted her to pass along to his future self in hopes, the two of them together, could figure this out for her. The whole process of dealing with two Dumbledores was somewhat mind-blowing to her.
"Come on Hermione!" Matilda called ahead of her. "We've been waiting for you!"
"Oh, sorry, the errand took longer than expected," she apologized as she met up with her roommates.
"Stop looking at him," Lavinia cautioned Glynnis.
Hermione's eyes followed Glynnis' sight line and fell on Sirrius Black kissing the neck of a Ravenclaw beauty.
"Ramona fecking Puce," Glynnis said as Sirrius and the girl walked out of the entry hall and into the front courtyard.
"Glynnis, you knew this would happen," Lavinia reminded her. "He'll shag any girl that comes along."
"Thanks for that," Glynnis snapped.
"You know what I mean," Lavinia said with her arm around Glynnis' shoulder. "He's just out for a good time and he doesn't care who he hurts along the way."
"It doesn't make it hurt less," Glynnis said as she kicked at the steps.
"Come on!" Matilda called. "We have presents to buy and times wasting."
"I'll buy you a butterbeer," Hermione offered to Glynnis.
"Thanks, Mione," Glynnis said softly
"He'd just a bloke and there are loads more around here that will treat you better," Lavinia said as they started to walk down the path. "We'll find you a better fella, won't we ladies?"
"I want him," Glynnis said softly as she looked ahead at Sirrius. "He's not like you think."
"You mean he isn't shagging about 7 different girls right now?" Lavinia asked.
"And cheating on his tests?" Matilda asked.
"And being a right bully?" Hermione asked.
"Okay, I get your points, all of them," Glynnis said as they continued to walk along. "But when it's just the two of us it's…it's different."
"And that's how he gets in your knickers," Lavinia said quite assuredly
"I haven't let Fillippe in my knickers and we've been together for almost two years, it can be done," Matilda nodded he head. "You just do other things instead."
"Like give him blow jobs," Glynnis said as she looked ahead at the couple. "That's just like sex Matilda, no matter how you slice it."
"No, sex is penetration," Matilda explained as if she was teaching a class. "It's not sex if he doesn't penetrate you."
"So he gets all the fun, and what do you get out of it?" Glynnis asked. "Hand holding? A Snuggle? He's playing you too."
"He is not, Fillippe loves me," Matilda said, slightly hurt. "Just because you haven't found love yet, doesn't mean others haven't."
"Okay, that's enough shite about Sirrius for one day, I think," Lavinia said as she looked at her friends. "You've been hanging out with Severus a lot lately, Mione."
"Uh, yeah, I guess," Hermione said as she tried to think of another subject. "Remus said you two were all cozy at the Quidditch match yesterday. That's why you wanted to stay?"
"No, I just wanted to see the end of the match, really," Hermione said as she looked at them. "He came over with a hot chocolate and we watched the end together."
"And he walked you back to the common room…" Matilda said with a smile.
"What happened at the portrait?" Glynnis asked, excited.
"Am I being spied on? How do you all know this?" Hermione asked, shocked.
"Well, ever since the Lily fiasco no one thought he would look sideways at another Gryffindor never mind a…muggle born." Glynnis said.
"And now that you and he have been spotted around together in the last few days…well, let's just say it's causing quite the stir." Lavina explained.
"How so?" Hermione asked.
"Everyone thought he was prejudiced because although he and Lily were friends for years he called her a mudblood in front of everyone, you were there," Matilda explained. "It was horrible."
"I remember," Hermione lied.
"So why are you hanging out with him?" Glynnis asked interested. "He might call you one too."
"He won't," Hermione said with assurance. "I think it came out unexpectedly and…"
"See, I'm not the only one who makes excuses for a boy I like!" Glynnis said triumphantly.
"I didn't say I like him!" Hermione scoffed.
"We know you do," Matilda smiled at her. "You haven't ever looked sideways at a boy until now. We actually thought you might be…you know."
"What?" Hermione asked.
"Interested in women, which is totally okay," Lavinia said quickly. "If you are, I mean."
"I'm not, but thanks for the endorsement," Hermione smiled at them.
"He is cute in a rogue sort of way," Glynnis said. "Not handsome, but sort of sexy."
"Glynnis!" Hermione said as she swatted at her arm.
"James and Sirrius are horrible to him though," Matilda said. "I don't know the history, but he must have done something awful to them to start it all."
"I think it was his friendship with Lily," Lavinia explained as they walked. "James was trying to get into her knickers for years and she'd have nothing to do with him. Then suddenly Severus calls her a mudblood and she runs right into James' arms."
"And now you hardly see one without the other," Glynnis explained as she pointed to a group way up the path. Lily and James were walking holding hands while Peter, Sirrius and Remus threw snowballs at each other and some Ravenclaw girls.
"True," said Hermione as she looked on at them. "Remus seems nice though."
"He's odd," Lavinia said. "He gets all twitchy sometimes and I swear he knows who's coming in the portrait hole before anyone else. It's like he senses them or something."
"Maybe he's got the inner eye, as Proudfoote would say," Matilda joked.
"Professor Proudfoote," Hermione corrected her.
"She's barely out of Hogwarts herself!" Lavinia said incensed. "I hope she doesn't get the position, there's something off about her."
"I agree," Hermione said, thinking about her sexual advances towards Severus.
"So what are you getting Fillippe for Christmas?" Lavinia asked Matilda.
"Herself," Glynnis said as she ran ahead slightly. "Naked with nothing on but a red bow!"
"Glynnis!" Matilda yelled as she ran after the girl gathering snow to throw at her.
"I love Christmas time," Lavinia said as she wrapped an arm around Hermione's shoulder. "It brings out the idiot in us all!"
With that the pulled open the neck of Hermione's coat and shoved snow down her back.
"Ahhh!" Hermione yelped as the cold hit her skin. "You're dead!"
She raced after Lavinia gathering snow as she went.
On Thursday, Hermione Granger made her way down to the dungeons with Harry for double potions. She had spent a lovely day with her roommates in Hogsmeade buying presents for parents she didn't know. In that time, she had realized how much she missed female companionship. Hanging out with Harry and Ron all the time was fun, but there were subjects that only girls could discuss with each other. She was eager to get as much female companionship out of 1977 that she could.
And, she figured her potions professor would be happy about the fact that he hadn't dreamed about her last night. Not once yesterday did she encounter Severus. Hermione wasn't even sure if he went into Hogsmeade at all.
"Get in unless you want to be marked as late," Snape called from his classroom door to the group she was walking with.
"There's still 3 minutes before class starts," Harry whispered in her ear.
"What was that Mr. Potter?" Snape asked.
"Glad to be back in class, sir," Harry said with a smirk.
"I thought so," Snape said as he narrowed his eyes at the boy.
"A word after class Miss Granger?" Snape asked as she passed him.
"Of course, sir," Hermione said as she ducked into the room.
Class went as usual but Snape seemed to be in a more foul mood than normal.
'I guess' thought Hermione, 'even when he's not dreaming about a student, he's still a right git.'
Everyone prepared their potions under the watchful eye of the professor and, at the end of class as everyone was leaving the room, Hermione approached his desk.
"Sir, you wanted to speak with me?" She asked.
Severus Snape looked up from his pile of parchments and noted that Potter was waiting for her at the back of the room. "You may go Potter, this does not concern you."
"Mione?" Harry asked.
"I'll see you at lunch Harry," she said as she turned to look at him.
"Run along," Snape said as he motioned with his hand.
Hermione watched her friend leave and then, when the door shut, turned to face her professor.
"Sir?" She asked.
"You were back in 1977 again yesterday, I presume?" He asked as he stood up and walked around his desk towards her.
"Yes, I was in Hogsmeade with my roommates," Hermione said as she watched him approach. "I thought you would be happy we didn't encounter each other."
"Some of us didn't make it to Hogsmeade on that day," he said as he leaned his hip against the desk and looked at her.
"You didn't choose to go?" She asked as she crossed her arms over her chest.
"I did, in the original history of my life, go into Hogsmeade on that day and purchase gifts for my family, but in what is now becoming the new history of my life, I didn't quite make it," he said.
"I'm sorry sir, I don't quite..."
"I spent it in the infirmary Miss Granger, not as I originally did," he said as he leaned forward slightly.
"Why were you in the infirmary, sir?" She asked, surprised.
"Because one Sirrius Black took it upon himself, with the help of James Potter no doubt, to warn me to stay away from you with a well placed hex," Snape said as he took off his robe.
"You were hexed? Why? I don't think I've even had a conversation with Sirrius..." she said as she watched him start to undo the buttons on is coat.
"Well, your Gryffindor knights in shining armour decided to teach this 7th year Slytherin a lesson so I would stay away from you," he said as he removed his coat and started to unbutton his shirt.
"Sir?" Hermione asked as her eyes widened when she saw chest hair appear.
"Don't get your knickers in a knot Miss Granger, I'm merely showing you the result of that hex in 1977," he said as he pulled his collar to the side and showed her a skin discoloration on his left shoulder.
Hermione took a step forward and leaned in to look at it closely. "It looks like...it looks like a lion...stomping on a snake."
"That is precisely what it is," he said as he shrugged his shirt back on. "Black hit me with a welt hex that Madam Pomfey treated, but inside the hex he buried this lovely piece of body art that, when left for a period of 6 hours, is impossible to remove. It wasn't until the welts were fully healed later that night that I noticed the artistic scar."
"Oh, sir," she said as she covered her mouth with her hand, upset.
"Exactly what I thought when I woke this morning to discover something on my body that wasn't there yesterday," he said as he pulled on his jacket.
Hermione shook her head in disbelief.
"So you see Miss Granger, your actions in 1977 do have an effect on life today. I am now burdened with a horrible house rivalry scar for the rest of my days," he said as he fastened the buttons on his jacket.
"But why would Sirrius care?" Hermione asked. "I don't..."
"He and Potter took it upon themselves to defend all Gryffindor girls against those they felt were unworthy," Snape said as he donned his robe again. "It was meant as a warning, for me to know my place."
"But I still don't..."
"It goes back before your involvement, back to Lily Evans," he said as he leaned his hip against the desk again. "They didn't like me to begin with, and when they saw me hanging out with another Gryffindor muggle born, well, I guess it was too close to my history with Lily."
"I take it your friendship with Lily has ended by 7th year, sir?" She asked boldly.
"It ended the year prior, then she started with Potter, and well, you know the rest," he said as he stood upright and looked at her carefully. "I have a few ideas about what you should do, and I would like your input."
Hermione nodded for him to continue.
"The first option is you can ignore me," he said as he picked at a piece of lint on his robe. "I will eventually get the hint, and stay away from you keeping myself out of any further skirmishes that could affect me today."
She nodded her head. It wasn't the option she liked but she wanted to hear everything he had to say.
"The second option is we continue as usual, as friends and deal with whatever comes our way," Snape said as he looked at her. "I would be more prepared for another attack and, when they see I'm not going anywhere, they may just find another cause."
She gave him a tight-lipped smile. It was nice to think they could still remain friends.
"The third option is the most dangerous, and probably the most foolhardy," he began. "You could convince me to launch a counter-attack to get back at the pillock. This option gives me a sense of vindication but opens up the door for further future problems."
She nodded in agreement.
"Now, which of these options do you think you should act on?" He asked as he crossed his arms over his chest.
She thought for a few moments and then raised her head to look at him square in the eye.
"None of them, sir," she said assuredly.
"None?" he asked as he raised an eyebrow.
"Well, the first option isn't possible because you are very persistent and I don't see you just dropping the attack, now or at seventeen," she said.
"Probably true," he was forced to agree.
"The second option again, is reliant on the fact that Sirrius and James will back off, which you and I both know they won't," she said as she took a step toward him.
He nodded in agreement.
"You will just end up with more of these," she said as she lightly touched his shoulder where the scar was, "or worse."
He looked at her hand touching him and nodded.
"And the third option, well, it's just foolhardy," she said with a smile. "You'll end up seriously injured or they will, and that will have huge historical ramifications."
He looked up into her eyes and sighed slightly. He knew she was right but he wanted some sort of vengeance.
"I have a fourth option," she said with a smile. "One that will give you some measure of equality, and not put you in further danger."
"What might that be?" He asked.
"Sirrius liked to let everyone believe that he was some rogue leader that went against his family," Hermione said. "But he relied on Black money to support him in school. So as much as he hated his family, he needed them. How else could he afford fine clothes and ski trips?"
"True," Snape said as he watched her mind work.
"I also know that Sirrius is sleeping with about 7 girls at Hogwarts, some of which are muggle born," Hermione said with a grin. "How do you think the noble house of Black would feel if they knew the possibility was out there that they could have a mudblood da..."
"Don't use that word," Snape interrupted her.
"I'm just saying..." she started.
"Muggle born Miss Granger, you and I both know the term the noble house of Black would employ," he said softly.
Hermione looked at him confused. He had once called Lily that same word in anger. Was it that one act that caused him to change his usage or had it always been that way?
"What I'm suggesting is blackmail," Hermione said with a smile. "He and James stay away from you and I won't let the noble house of black know his dirty little secret. They hate muggle borns so much I'm sure they would cut off his income from the estate. And then where would Sirrius be?"
"He would rather die then lose his ample income," Snape agreed.
"So there's no worry about future problems because we know he'll go for it," Hermione said with an air of satisfaction.
He tapped his fingers on the desk and looked at her thoughtfully. "Remind me to never get on your bad side, Miss Granger."
"Who says you aren't already there?" She asked with a smirk.
He replied with a small smile. "Okay, we'll do it your way, but if this goes downhill fast, you and I will figure out some other options, agreed?"
"Agreed," she said with a nod.
"Enjoy tomorrow Miss Granger," he said as he walked back around his desk and sat down.
"I will sir," she said before she grabbed her bag and left.
Hermione Granger walked toward her charms class with an air of satisfaction. At lunch today she had asked to see Sirrius privately in her bedroom. She knew the offer, for what he thought would be a snog or a shag, would be too tempting for him to resist. And resist he didn't. Sirrius showed up with his best moves in place, ready to charm the pants off her (literally) until he was hit with blackmail. He was incensed. At first he resisted, saying his family would never believe her, then he was angry that she dare do this to him, finally he was defeated, knowing she would follow through if he and the other Marauders didn't leave Severus alone. Part of her was tempted to include Glynnis in her deal, but Hermione didn't want to get herself involved in that love polygon lest she make the wrong choice for Glynnis. In the end, Sirrius had promised to leave Severus alone, and to get the other Marauders to do the same. Their blackmail deal would remain a secret to preserve his reputation.
"Hermione, I was wondering if you were ill," Severus said as he came up behind her and fell into step as she walked.
"Why?" She asked, happy to see him in one piece.
"Uh, you weren't at breakfast or lunch today," he said as his cheeks reddened. "I just assumed..."
"Oh, I grabbed a croissant on my way to class this morning and...and I had to run to my room at lunch," she said as she looked at him carefully. She noticed a healing welt right near the collar of his shirt. "You weren't in Hogsmeade yesterday."
He involuntarily scratched at his left shoulder and looked into the distance, "No, I uh...I had some homework to catch up on."
She then noticed a rather large welt healing near his wrist as he touched his shoulder. The skin up his arm was blotchy and red.
She stopped in her tracks and looked around the hallway. He had a fine sheen of sweat on his forehead and he looked more tired than usual. He should still be in the infirmary.
She looked around and saw the last student walking into their Charms class and the door shutting behind them.
"We better go so we're not late," he said as he looked at her strangely.
She grabbed him by his arm and walked him past the classroom and down a set of stairs.
"Hermione, we just passed..." he said as he was led away.
"I know, just come with me," she said as she led him down another set of stairs.
"Why are we going to the dungeons?" He asked with exhausted breath as they went down yet another set of stairs.
It was when she heard the wheeze in his voice that she was sure she was doing the right thing.
"You're not going to class," she said over her shoulder as she guided him down the hall toward the Slytherin Common Room.
"What?!" He asked as he tried to pull away from her. Her grip tightened.
"Severus you are sick and you need to rest," she said as she stopped them before the portrait entryway.
"I'm fine, why would you think I was sick?" He asked as he wiped the sweat from his forehead.
She looked at him in the eyes. "I know what they did to you Sunday, the welts."
He took a step back from her and his face paled. "I, uh...they caught me..."
"I know that they caught you off guard and warned you against coming near me again," she said as she stepped toward him. "I also know that you are still recovering and shouldn't be walking about yet."
"I know what I'm capable of," he said, indignant.
"Please, Severus, I don't want you to get worse," she said imploringly.
"I don't need you to take care of me!" He snapped at her. "They don't decide who I can and can't speak to."
"I know that," she said softly as she stepped closer. "You won't stop being my friend. You're anything but a coward."
He looked at the ground shyly.
"Now will you go inside and rest for the day? Be honest."
He licked the ground and looked up briefly at her. "Maybe for an hour, but I need to go to..."
"For the rest of the day?" She asked. There was no mistaking her tone.
He didn't answer her, because he wouldn't lie.
"Fine," she said determined. "Cast disillusionment on me or I'll do it myself."
"Why?" He asked, surprised by her request.
"Because I'm going with you and unless you want rumours to fly by dinner time, you'll disillusion me," she said as she crossed her arms over her chest.
"You know, my reputation could use..." he started with a sly smile.
"Just disillusion me!" She said with a stomp of her foot.
"Okay!" He said as he put his hands up in surrender. He cast the spell and she disappeared before his eyes. "Come on."
He solved the puzzle at the portrait and the door swung open. She held onto the back of his robes and followed him inside. Two Slytherins were playing exploding snap in the corner and another was reading a book by the fire.
"Sev! You wanna play?" One boy called to him.
"No, thanks." Severus replied. "I'm not feeling well. I'm going to lay down."
They walked through a hallway and toward another doorway. Then, they walked down a long hall to a room on the end and Severus opened it and quickly shut the door behind them.
"Do you want to remain disillusioned or...?"
"Finite Incantum," Hermione said softly when she noticed no one else was around. She took a moment to look around the room. Two beds were neatly made with areas around them that were clean and two beds looked like a bomb went off there.
"Uh, Avery and Fletcher are not the neatest of roommates," Severus said as he picked up a girly magazine near one of their beds and shoved it under some clothes.
"That's okay, Glynnis is a complete slob," Hermione smiled at him. "So go and get changed and I'll wait here."
"They all have classes for the afternoon and shouldn't come in but...I really don't want to leave you alone here." Severus said as he dropped his bag near a neat bed.
"Okay, I'll um...turn around while you change, just let me know when you are done," she said as she turned to face a wall with a poster of a Quidditch team on it.
"Hermione, this isn't necessary, I will stay in bed if it means that much to you," he said softly across the room.
"Good." She said with a smile. "I'll stay until the end of Charms and then go on to my other classes."
"Fine," he said as he rustled through his trunk trying to find a pair of sleeping trousers and a long sleeve shirt that would cover his ugly welts. He stripped down and changed quickly, feeling ridiculous standing there in his pyjamas while she was fully dressed.
"You can turn around," he said as he pulled at the sleeve of his shirt to cover his wrist.
"Get in bed," she said forcefully.
"I feel like a child," he said disdainfully. "Either that or a character from one of those ridiculous magazines Avery reads. You won't take advantage of me, will you?"
She laughed at his joke and pulled up a chair next to his bed. Severus cast a Silencio spell on the room and placed a light ward on the door to warn them if anyone came in then he got into bed.
"I feel ridiculous," he said as he adjusted his pillow.
"I want to tell you something and I don't want you to get mad," she said as she sat down in a chair.
"What?" He asked, worry in his voice.
"I spoke with Sirrius today about what he did to you," she said as she watched his face knot up into anger.
"Hermione! I can fight my own..."
"Just hear me out!" She snapped at him. "This has to do with you as much as me."
"I was the one he attacked! I can defend myself without..." he snapped back at her.
"No Severus, he attacked both of us, but you're the only one with the scars," she said forcefully.
"Hermione, what did you do?" He asked dejectedly.
Just then the wards let off a low humming noise. Hermione and Severus looked at each other in fear. He waved for her to jump onto his bed and when she sat on his feet he closed the curtains around them then turned and cast disillusionment on her again.
"Sev? You in here?" A boy's voice asked from just inside the doorway.
"Yeah, I'm sleeping Mugungus," Severus said as he felt Hermione shift on his feet. "I still feel horrible."
"Those damn Marauders," Mugungus said as he swept open Severus' bed curtains.
"Yeah," Severus said as he was blinded by light.
"I wish you'd let us..." Mugungus began.
"No, I'll take care of it, thanks," Severus said as he looked at his roommate. "What are you doing here?"
"Told Proudfoote that I left my homework in my room and she actually made me come and get it!" Mugungus said indignant. "I didn't do it, of course so...maybe I'll just stay here with you."
"No!" Severus said quickly. "Another student tried that last week and she had him shining her orbs with a toothbrush for 2 weeks."
"Really?" Mugungus said. "Shit, I better just go back then and face the music. She can't give me a detention like that if I go back."
"No, she can't, smart idea," Severus said with relief.
"Okay, see you later!" Mugungus said before he left the room.
"Oh gods that was close," Severus said relieved as he felt Hermione shift again on his feet. "You really should go."
"Okay, but let me tell you what I did first," Hermione said as she settled in at the foot of his bed and extended her legs up one side.
"Disillusion yourself first," Severus said as he sat up.
"Finite Incanteum," Hermione said softly.
Severus looked at her uncomfortable at the bottom of his bed and pulled one of his pillows out from under his head and passed it to her.
"Thanks," she said as she settled in at the foot of his bed, her legs on one side of his body.
"So..." she began. Hermione told him the entire story of Sirrius and how she had blackmailed him. He was polite enough to not interrupt but at the end of the story seemed in awe of what she had done.
"He won't bother you again, nor will any of the other Marauders for that matter," she said. "And you can't retaliate or the whole deal is void."
He looked at her thoughtfully for a moment. "You did all this for me?"
"Yes," she said without hesitation.
He rubbed his chin thoughtfully for a moment. "You know, I was surprised you wanted to be my friend."
She just looked at him and said nothing.
"And now you do this as well, after I...after Lily," he said as he stumbled over his words.
"Did you mean it? What you said to her?" She asked softly.
"No," he answered honestly. "But I really don't want to talk about it."
"Okay," she said quietly.
He yawned and she saw his eyes close briefly.
"I better go," she said as she went to rise from his bed.
He grabbed her wrist to prevent her from moving. "Thank you." He said honestly as he looked into her eyes.
She looked down at where he held her arm and smiled. "That's what friends are for."
He smiled weakly at her and dropped her arm. He cast a disillusionment charm over her again and she picked up her bag to leave. Hesitating at the door a moment, she walked back to his bed and touched the top of his head with her hand, leaned down and kissed his forehead lightly.
"Feel better," she said softly.
He smiled up at her and his ears went red. "Thanks, Hermione."
She quietly left his room and waited for a few minutes at the portrait for a Slytherin to enter before she snuck out into the hallway
Days passed and Hermione Granger found herself living in both 1997 and 1977 with no hint of a solution. Before she knew it, it was December 9th 1997 and she had just left another uneventful meeting with Dumbledore. Both Dumbledore's had been passing information and suggestions about what could possibly resolve her time travel dilemma through her, but, as far as she could tell, it would be a while before there were any actual workable options.
In 1977 she had become quite close to her roommates and Severus. He had healed from his welts, missed a key Quidditch match, which put him in a foul mood for a day, and generally spent every other waking moment either with her or looking for her. She found that she quite liked his company and the attention he bestowed on her, attention she was not used to getting from boys. He told her about his crummy childhood, they discussed school, talked about world events, went for walks, and found themselves free from attacks from the Marauders who gave them a wide berth. Things had also started to get physical ever since she kissed him on the forehead when he was ill. It wasn't much, an arm around he shoulder here, a hug there, but things were changing between them.
None of her 1977 counterparts had any indication of her time travel and continued on as usual. Her roommates and she spent late nights up talking and Hermione learned a lot about them and their lives. Lavinia was muggle born like she was, and from Dover. She placed school above all else, was not romantically involved with anyone, and seemed to have strong opinions about all matters. Matilda was a pureblood and quite sheltered and naive. She loved her boyfriend Fillippe, did alright in school, and came from a rich family who had summer homes and ski chalets. Glynnis was a half blood from Manchester who placed her love and social life ahead of all else. Her family didn't seem to have a lot of money and she always seemed to be lashing out about something while still seeking approval.
In 1997 things had begun to change as well. Hermione found herself doing a lot of research into the events of the 1970's in the magical and muggle worlds. Topics would come up with her friends and teachers that she found herself less than knowledgeable about and that bothered her. Ron and Harry had been virtually the same. She spent time with them listening to Quidditch information, theories about the Dark Arts, and girls. She was getting top grades and all of her teachers were talking with her about future options. She found it hard to look toward the future with 1977 still very much part of her present. Professor McGonagall and Professor Sprout had been made aware of her travel in time as she had attended their classes in 1977 and they needed to be made aware of the situation. Everyone had been quite concerned about the affects of time travel on their current time since Severus had shown them all the mark on his shoulder.
Severus in 1997 was another problem entirely. He no longer requested that she stay away from his 1977 self but each day when she returned to 1997 he requested a meeting with her where they went over the events of their interactions and he either berated her choices or offered suggestions for the next day. She understood that this was him trying to capture some measure of control over his life and she gave him a lot of latitude. He was uncomfortable with the physical nature of their interactions and could see, like she could, that his 1977 self was enamoured with her. She had tried to do things to appease his 1997 self but also didn't want to hurt the 1977 Severus she had grown to have feelings for.
"Mione, did you get question 48?" Harry asked suddenly, startling her out of her reverie as she approached her potions class.
"Uh, yeah," she stumbled to remember the question. "You need to mash the root or else the potion will be ineffective."
"Thanks Mione!" He said as he kissed her cheek and strode ahead of her to write down the answer before class began.
"How cozy," came a silky voice behind her.
She turned to see her Professor, Severus Snape looking at her and nodding towards Harry.
"Excuse me, sir?" She asked, unsure of his statement.
"I had no idea that you and the Potter boy were anything but friends," he said as he crossed his arms over his chest.
"We are just friends," she said confused.
"Indeed," was his only response before he swept away from her giving the class an instruction to start brewing a binding potion while he went around to check homework.
Hermione shook her head. Her 1997 Severus was starting to act oddly toward her.
She set about brewing her potion and tried to focus on the task at hand. When professor Snape went around the room to check homework, he paused at her station and watched her stir.
"Hermione, you need to be more gentle with your turns," he said as he wrapped his hand around hers and stirred with her.
She looked up at him in shock. Not only did her professor not touch people, but he also didn't call them by their first name. The people around her had also noticed his behaviour.
"Uh, thank you professor," she stammered as she felt his warm hand around hers and the heat radiating off his hip as he stood close at her side.
It was the word 'professor' that must have caused him to snap out of whatever world he was on because he dropped her hand swiftly and started to walk away.
"Hopefully you haven't spoiled it, Granger," he snapped sharply.
She nodded and tried to prevent the flush from rising up her cheeks. She didn't do a very good job.
"A word," Professor Snape said to her as he fell into step next to her in the hallway later that day.
He passed her and walked toward the owlry without even looking back to see if she was coming. When she went to climb the steps to the owlry a strong hand grabbed her arm and stopped her assent.
"Not up there, here," he said as he nodded his head to an area off to the side.
"Sir?" She asked as she wrapped her cloak around herself against the chill. They were standing on top of one of the castle wings and the wind seemed to whip right across the area.
"I apologize for my behaviour today, in class," he said as he looked at her briefly and then turned to look out over the lake.
"It's okay sir," she said walking up next to him to get a better look at his face. "I almost call you Severus every time I open my mouth."
"I should have better...control," he said with a sneer.
"Everyone makes mistakes," she said as she touched his arm. Surprisingly, he did not pull away.
"I work as a spy for years..." he muttered under his breath.
She merely nodded as he berated himself. Her hand dropped to her side and she looked out over the lake with him in silence.
"Maybe we've been wrong to not have you distance yourself from me in 1977," he said as he looked out over the water.
"I don't really feel like hurting you, sir," she said.
"And you don't think that your abrupt departure from that world won't hurt me, when we find a solution?" He asked, almost tiredly.
"We don't know that I will depart, sir," she said as she looked up at his stoic face. "I, somehow, existed there before now...who's to say that there isn't another me to take..."
"Because I'm never that lucky, Hermione," he said quietly. "We will find a solution to this dilemma and you will leave that time. Perhaps you just disappear and all memories of you as well, perhaps you just suddenly are not there and we look for you, or perhaps the 1977 Dumbledore comes up with an elaborate story of a family tragedy, a move, or a school switch that will make you unreachable."
"Perhaps," she said sadly.
They stood in silence for a quarter of an hour before he spoke again.
"I think you should be taken out of my class," he said as he finally turned to look at her. "My slip up today is a direct result of the feelings that I am starting to have for you, in 1977."
She looked up at him, surprised by his admission.
"I will give you an independent study project that will take you out of my classroom and we can therefore avoid any more uncomfortable mishaps like the one today." He said as he looked at her carefully for a reaction. "We will meet regularly where you can update me on your progress and I can offer you guidance for further study."
"But my NEWTs, Severus," she said as she looked at him worried.
"We both know you could pass your Potions NEWT with impeccable marks months ago Hermione," he said as he looked at her softly. "What I am offering you is a chance to go beyond NEWTs while still studying here. If you wish to continue your studies in potions, it will prove to be a valuable course of study."
She looked at him thoughtfully for a moment, considering the offer. As much as she didn't want to leave the class, an independent project would give her more experience in the field and having him touch her and call her Hermione in class had got the attention of quite a few students...
"I can agree to that," she said thoughtfully.
"Good," he said as he turned to face her. "Come and see me tomorrow before the dinner hour and we will discuss your course of study."
She nodded her head in agreement.
"You should go downstairs, Hermione," he said as he watched her pull her robe around herself even more. "Your cheeks will get wind-burn up here."
She smiled at him and started to walk away. When she turned to look back, she saw a solitary figure still looking out over the lake, utterly alone.
"Severus!" she called to him over the wind.
He turned to look at her, puzzled she was still there.
"It's not just you who has feelings in 1977," she said as her face turned red.
He nodded to acknowledge what she had said and a faint glimmer passed over his face before he turned to look back at the lake.