Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognize. Whatever you do recognize belongs to the wonderful J.K. Rowling. Please don't sue.

Summary: When Voldemort begins to target Hermione, Severus steps in to protect her.

Will love blossom or will the war separate them? R/R

Author's Note: I think I covered all warnings except Severus being OOC. If you haven't figured out that in most of my stories he's OOC then that's not my problem. No Flames please.

Potions and Killing Curses

Chapter 3

Hermione sat on her balcony at Snape Manor. It had been four months since she had moved into the manor with Severus. She remembered how furious Sirius and her friends, Harry and Ron, had been. When Harry and Ron found out, they flooed to 12 Grimmauld Place and demanded she change her mind. When she refused, they left. A few days after she had arrived at the manor, they sent her a letter apologizing and asking that she keep in touch and be careful.

"Does, Miss, need anything?" Celest asked.

"No thanks, Celest. Do you know when Professor Snape will return?" Hermione replied.

"Master says not till this weekend," Celest answered.

"Oh. Thank you," Hermione said sadly.

"Miss misses the Master I thinks," Celest stated with a small grin.

Hermione just looked at the house elf. From the moment she had entered the luxurious four story, thirty-six room home, she had fallen in love with it. Along with the head house elf, Celest.

"Am I that obvious?" Hermione sighed as she sat on the wooden bench.

"Only because I know what to looks for," Celest answered.

"I'm not even sure when I started thinking of him in a way other than my Professor. I got used to him being around, and now the manor seems so empty without him," Hermione said.

"Master has only been gone for a week. He should be backs tomorrow night," Celest replied gently.

"Thanks, Celest. I feel much better," Hermione smiled.

Celest gave her a bright smile then disappeared with a 'POP' . She turned and re-entered her bedroom. She grabbed the file that held her and Severus' notes for the new potion and headed downstairs to the study.

'What am I feeling towards the Professor? Could it be that I'm falling in love with him?' She thought as she entered the study.

As she began reading through the notes, her mind wondered back to the day she agreed to move into Snape Manor with Severus.

*Begin Flashback*

Hermione just sat in her chair. She couldn't believe what Albus had just asked her.

"Wh…what did you just say, sir?" Hermione stuttered.

"I said, would you like to join the Order of the Phoenix," He repeated with a chuckle.

"Yes!" She exclaimed.

"Of course, you will have to graduate. I know this is short notice, but I can have the board who administers the N.E.W.T's give you your tests at Hogwarts starting the day after tomorrow," Albus explained.

"Of course, sir. I'm ready," Hermione said.

Albus nodded. Everyone gathered around her and began to congratulate her. Not just on joining the Order, but for the potion as well. She looked across the room and her eyes locked with Severus'. He just smiled slightly and nodded at her. She returned the smile.

"Congratulations, Hermione. I'm just sorry you have to live with Snivillus," Sirius said.

"He's not that bad, Sirius. Thanks to him, I found everything I needed to create the potion," Hermione sighed.

"You don't know him the way I do. Trust me, he'll just stab you in the back once he gets what he wants," Sirius insisted.

"You're wrong, Sirius," Hermione stated as she spun on her heal and walked upstairs to her room.

A few moments later there was a knock on the door. She just stared at it a second then looked out her window. She heard the door open and close. She spun around to tell whoever it was to leave. There stood Severus.

"Ohh. Professor, I thought you were Sirius," she said.

"Is everything all right Miss Granger?" Severus asked.

"It's just something Sirius said. He was saying that you would just stab me in the back once you got what you wanted or something like that," she answered.

"Miss Granger, I assure you, I would never betray you. Ever," he said.

*End Flashback*

Hermione let out a sigh and closed the file. She couldn't concentrate, so she did what she'd always done whenever she couldn't focus. She headed for the kitchen to cook.

"Hello, miss!" the house elves greeted happily.

The elves had learned that Hermione loved to cook when she had the time. After a few days at the manor, they grew used to her being in the kitchen.

"Hello," Hermione said.

The elves watched as she began pulling out bowls, measuring cups and spoons, and different ingredients. As Hermione began mixing things, the elves returned to their work as well.

************************************************** **********************

Back at Hogwarts, Severus sat at his desk observing his 7th year potions class. By some miracle, Harry and Ron had managed to get enough O.W.L's to remain in his class. His eyes lingered on the desk directly in front of him. Her desk.

'She would be sitting right there brewing yet another flawless potion,' he thought.

They realized that the potion she had created couldn't be brewed until November and wouldn't be finished until just before Christmas. A few of the ingredients wouldn't be available until the end of October.

"You have five minutes to finish you potions then begin cleaning up your areas," Severus instructed.

Harry and Ron had been livid when they found out that Hermione would be living with Severus. They still didn't trust him, despite him being in the Order of the Phoenix.

"I want a two foot essay on the effect the four phases have on the ingredients of the potion you brewed today, with emphasis on the moon flower. Class dismissed," Severus ordered.

He got to his feet, gathered the papers from his desk, and started to head for his study when Harry and Ron stopped him.

"Yes, Potter?" Severus asked.

"Sir, how's Hermione?" Harry questioned.

"Miss Granger is perfectly fine. My head house elf has been writing me daily. I assure you, your friend is safe," Severus answered.

"Fine," Harry said.

Severus nodded and watched as the two young wizards exited the classroom. He turned and entered his study. This was his last class of the day. Luckily he had no classes the next day.

'Perhaps, I could speak to Albus and return to the manor tonight,' he thought as he sat behind his desk.

Just then, his fireplace roared to life and Lucius Malfoy came walking out of the green flames, an evil scowl plastered on his pale face. Severus groaned mentally as he waited for the other man to speak.

"Where the hell is she?" Lucius demanded.

"Where is who, Lucius?" Severus replied as he neatly placed the papers in the top drawer and locked it.

"You know damn well who I mean! The mudblood! My son informed me that she wasn't on the train and hasn't been in classes all week!" Lucius yelled as he slammed his hands, palms down, on the desk.

"How should I know. I'm not the girl's keeper. Plus, the old man hasn't said anything about her whereabouts," Severus said calmly as he leaned back in his chair.

"You're hiding something, old friend," Lucius snarled.

"I'm hiding nothing. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go meet with that old man that runs this place," Severus said as he got to his feet.

"I'll figure out what you're hiding old friend, and when I do, I will expose you as the traitor I know you are," Lucius growled.

Severus merely stared back at him. Lucius spun on his heel, threw some floo powder into the fireplace, and left. Severus let out a weary sigh, then quickly headed for Albus's office.

"What should we do?" Albus asked.

"Let me return to the Manor tonight. Rather right now. I need to make sure the Manor is completely protected. I'm not about to let anything happen to her," Severus answered as he paced the office.

Albus sat behind his desk and watched his Potion's Master. Suddenly, everything made sense. Severus' behavior after the Death Eater meeting, his suggestion for her to move into Snape Manor, and now this event with Lucius.

"Severus, are you by any chance in love with Hermione?" Albus asked.

Severus stopped pacing and faced his mentor and friend. He let out a heavy sigh and nodded. Albus smiled and nodded in understanding.

"Have you told her?" Albus questioned.

"No. She could never love me in return. I just want her safe Albus. That's all I want and care about," Severus answered as he plopped down into a chair.

"You need to tell her, my boy. She deserves to know and make a decision for herself about her feelings towards someone," Albus said.

"What if she hates me or wants nothing to do with me?" Severus asked.

"I don't know what to say, but think about this. If she hated you, would she currently be staying at your home?" Albus replied.

Severus fell silent. Albus had a point. Perhaps, there was a chance for him and Hermione to move on as a couple.