**I do not own the characters; I just borrow them for a while and let them run loose in my imagination. All reverence and credit belong to JKR for the creation of these characters, the plot and story here though are all mine. A special thank you to Claudia for helping me with some translations, I used her only for the last ones, the others are my own bastardization of the language, my apologies if they are insufferable. This is a one shot, I will consider a follow up if there is enough interest or feedback, as it stands it leaves it to your imagination.
They were well into the war. Dumbledore had fallen and many believed all had been lost. Her heart had felt as though it had been torn from her chest when she heard Harry tell her that Snape had been the one to cast the killing curse. She didn't want to believe it. She knew there had to be more. Harry swore he had seen it and that Snape had done it. For the first time in her entire friendship with Harry, she doubted his motives. She could not understand how he did not think that it was strange that someone Dumbledore had trusted so much had betrayed him so easily.
He had been a miserable soul to them, he had teased her and made their lives hell, but he had also worked to protect them more than anyone else and her heart silently broke at the loss of him. Harry could not reconcile this with his hatred for the man. No one knew of Hermione's friendship with the potion's master- turned death eater- turned spy, no one knew how she had worked in the hospital wing using her time turner to learn how to heal. She had been there to care for him when he came in hurt from another bout with the Death Eaters. She had grown close to him; he had let his guard down. With no on to confide in, he must have known it would be his last hope to have a piece of something, something that was his only. As he lay in the Shrieking Shack she could not stop herself from running to his side, holding his hand as she had so many nights. She cradled his head in her lap, the blood drenching her jeans. Her hand worked to cover Harry's on Snape's neck.
She tried to cast the charms she had learned, but he held up a hand passed Harry his memories and turned to Hermione,
"Typical Gryffindor, only you would cry for a Slytherin like me"
She had slowed the bleeding but Nagini was a horcrux, she was also a magical snake, there was no surviving her venom. No amount of magic, no amount of potions. It was only a matter of time.
"I cry for you, Sir" Her hand wiped the tears from his face and she leaned to give him a soft kiss. He allowed it, he was dying she knew he would not otherwise allow it. He breathed his last breath as into their kiss as he whispered her name "Hermione". She had held him there, her tears mixed with his. She would not be pried away from his body. She would not leave him here like discarded rubbish. He was her friend. She loved him. He deserved better. As the last vestiges of life drained from him body and the cold hand of death took his soul, Hermione felt her own soul die a little. She sat on the dirty floor of the shack for longer than she could remember. His lifeless body was pried from her trembling hands and everything faded into black.
Snape's death had helped Harry get a foothold on Voldemort but he had been too weak to defeat him. His death however had another effect on Hermione however; she would never be the same. There had been a hole in her heart where he was and she feared she would never be able to fill it. They had talked so much about the future, of what she would do the plans he had, never did he plan ahead. At times she felt he was only indulging her, as he really felt there was no future for him.
His sacrifice was for not as Voldemort managed to escape with those followers that did not fall at the battle at Hogwarts, however Severus Snape had fallen. His throat slashed, his body shattered, beaten and bloodied he managed to give Harry the memories needed to help him defeat the Dark Lord. Harry however had been unable to follow through on the plan as set in motion by Dumbledore. There were those that blamed Harry. Hermione had been a loyal friend for seven years. She had seen his internal and external struggle with being the boy who didn't die. A celebrity even before stepping off the train he was treated differently by all who came in contact with him, it did not make things easy for her and Ron. It wasn't easy for any of the students of Hogwarts that had to live in his every growing and perpetual shadow. She did love and cherish him, but then again she knew the tormented soul, the tortured mind and psyche who wanted to be recognized for something more than what his mother had done. His personal misery mirrored that of Draco Malfoy. They had saved him in the room of requirement. She knew it was because Harry saw a kindred spirit in Draco. He knew what it was like to live in the shadow of a parent. To be judged by their standards. To struggle almost from birth against exacting standards and pureblood prejudices regardless of his own feelings. Hermione at times felt sorry for Draco, he was destined to be like his parents regardless of what he really wanted, he didn't matter, and he was just a tool to achieve an end. Hermione was thankful that she had not grown up in the wizarding world. She had as normal a childhood as one can imagine except for the incessant teasing and bullying. By the time her letter to Hogwarts came she had been close to asking her mother to send her to live with her aunt in France just to get away from the neighborhood taunts about her bushy hair and deformed teeth. She often wondered why her mother being a dentist had never sought to correct this issue. Deep down, she quietly thanked Draco and Professor Snape every day for that incident in class. It allowed her to get her teeth corrected magically by Madame Pomfrey. Her hair on the other hand still had its days where it threatened to get away from her but overall she was happy with her appearance and had grown into her own body. She was still very lonely. She knew where she needed to be. Hogwarts was where she would find peace, solace and maybe start to heal.
The school was slowly being magically repaired. It had been a year since the battle. Those remaining members of the staff as well as members of the ministry and the order have been put to task to repairing the castle to its prior condition, maybe with some additional updates to some of the classrooms. She had decided against leaving like the remaining students had. Ron had decided it would be best to go with Charlie to Romania. She had wished that they could have made whatever it is that they had work but that had ended her fifth year when she started working for Poppy in the hospital. Ron was a very special friend. He had always been so precious to her, like a brother she never had and his family had been absolutely wonderful. But she had outgrown Ron as she had most of her friends; these battles every year, these tests of their courage and strength were more than someone her age should have to live through. At times she had thought about not returning to Hogwarts after summer breaks but she could not stay away, her heart was in that castle, lurking in the dungeons. Once she had breached the student/professor line and had become true friends with Professor Snape, she knew she needed to return no matter what. She remained friends with Ginny and Molly had said she could come and stay at the burrow anytime. Ginny and Luna would continue studying their seventh year and Hermione would stay on as an apprentice with Poppy and as an assistant to Headmistress McGonagall. This way she could do her NEWT testing simultaneously as she helped rebuild Hogwarts. She knew this was where she belonged. She had been offered scholarships to some high profile wizarding uni's as well as some Muggle universities both there and in America, but her lessons would instead be done in the evenings from home. At 18 going on 19 the road ahead of her was rife with possibilities, even if it had been paved with the occasional heartache and pain. Life had not been easy for many of them in the castle but she was resolved to make things better for the children that did return and she wanted to be ready should Voldemort strike again.
She had a bone to pick with the snake faced prick and she was going to make sure he paid for everything and everyone he had hurt and killed. Especially for killing Severus Snape, she would make sure he rotted in a grave somewhere. There was an air of reverence for those that had fallen and fear of the next time that Voldemort would attack. His numbers had been severely diminished and with the destruction of all but one of the Horcruxes he was weakened, it would take him time to recover. Hopefully in that time Harry and the remaining order members could find a way to get around the idea that Harry would have to die in order to vanquish Voldemort. Hermione was not going to sit around waiting; she was going to be ready to do what she had to do to make sure he would never try to rise again.
Most of what used to be Gryffindor tower was destroyed during the battle; most students that were returning were being housed in the older Slytherin tower as most of them were not returning. She was being housed in her own private room to help to watch over those students housed there. At any other time housing Slytherins and Gryffindors in the same tower would most likely lead to trouble, however the war had changed the ways a lot of the children and even how many of the adults treated one another. Those Slytherins that were returning were on the side of good and wanted very much to fight against Voldemort.
Upon entering her assigned room she noted the cobwebs and dust that lined much of the furniture. Hermione thought for a moment that she may have taken a wrong turn on one of the staircases. She was not that familiar with the Slytherin tower so it was all possible she could have gotten lost. Stepping out of the room she looked over the stairs and then saw that she was in fact in the room that McGonagall had directed her to occupy. As she settled into her old room she threw up a couple of cleansing spells, the room was awfully dusty to be a room that was just recently occupied by the Head Girl of Slytherin. Immediately she noticed that the spells were not going to cut it, this place needed some real elbow grease and in the spirit of her mom and aunts, she pulled up her sleeves and dove right in. Looking around she saw she had a lot of work to do to make the room even slightly hospitable. Deciding against using the house elves, the memory of Dobby's death was too fresh in her mind; she began to go about cleaning the room herself.
Opening the heavy dark green drapes she let the light of day scare away any little bugs or insects that may have been crawling around the room. Crookshanks would deal with any mice or other creepy crawlies that may have come in from the outside while the castle had been abandoned after the latest battle. Living most of her life as a Muggle she had become very handy at housework. Her mother had shown her how to clean and mend while her dad had been quick to show her how to change the oil in her car should she ever have the need, he wanted her to be self-reliant. She missed her parents; thinking of them left an ever growing hole in her chest. Soon, when this was all over she would go find them, return their memories, all would be right. It had to be, right? She voiced the question to no one in particular. She shook of the thought and threw herself into her work. Conjuring a mop, a bucket, and a rag and she began to clean away years of muck and grime that had grown like barnacles on much of the furniture of the room. After most of the dirt had been cleaned away she saw that the furniture itself was rather elegant. The bed was a four poster of dark mahogany wood. Most of the pieces were of the same color and seemed to have been an entire set. There was a beautiful dressing table in front of the bed, its mirror covered in a dirty white sheet. She pulled it free, the dust and the assorted collection of cobwebs and filth hovered around her.
A small sound of a sob caught her attention. She looked around for the source. She wondered if Crookshanks had hurt himself. When she heard it again she began to desperately look around the room. Finally giving up the idea of finding this phantom sound, she took her rag to clean the grime off the mirror.
At first she was a bit too distracted with the work at hand to concentrate on the phantom noise that she had not noticed for almost a full minute that as the mirror became dirt free she became witness to something very odd.
She had no reflection.
She could see the room behind her, but she was not in the mirror.
She did however see in the mirror a boy, sitting off to the corner. She turned to see if the boy was in her room, if he had somehow gotten lost in the hustle of the new construction and house allocation.
The boy however was not on her side of the mirror.
She heard the whimper again.
She turned her head and looked again into the mirror. 'It can't be' she thought.
She leaned in closer and touched the glass again. There was nothing odd about it. To her hands it felt like a mirror. She thought about waving her wand, running some diagnostic charms or spells, something that would force the object to reveal its true nature but she feared for the boy in the mirror.
From what she could see he was maybe the same age as her or a couple of years younger than her, no more. His head was down but she could see that he had dark hair. He was at the far corner of the reflection and she had to crane her head to see him.
"Hello" she spoke. She wondered if she heard him, maybe he can hear her.
There was another sniffle that stopped immediately at the sound of her voice.
"Who is there?" the boy spoke. His voice was deep, but it cracked slightly.
"Hi, my name is Hermione, Hermione Granger, I am student advisor and apprentice at Hogwarts, who are you?"
"What are you doing in my mirror?" he asked his voice tense and slightly agitated.
"I'm sorry, but I believe you are in my mirror" Hermione answered. He still had not lifted his head enough where she could make out who he was. Maybe it was fifth or sixth year that Ginny or Luna put up to playing a little joke on her.
"I think not Miss Granger, you are in my room and in my mirror and I would appreciate it if you would leave!" before she could fully take in the gravity of his voice and the way her name dripped off his tongue a flash of green light hit the mirror from his side. It did nothing to her but it seemed to make the caster very annoyed.
"Seems that didn't work for you huh kid?" she grinned at bit and let out a small laugh. "That's okay, maybe you just need to work on your technique."
"Dammit!" he growled. Drawing himself up to full height, which was still a lot taller than Hermione was or that she imagined he would be, he moved from out of the shadow of the corner, running his hands over his bedraggled robes and smoothed down his hair.
It was as if a spell had hit her.
Right in the chest
It was Severus Snape, a teenaged Severus Snape that strode purposely towards her reflection and sneered from the other side of the magical mirror. Her heart clenched and she fought the onslaught of tears that were going to flow from her eyes if she gave them half a thought.
"You know if you stand like that you will get flies in your mouth, it also is not a very dignified look Miss Granger" he smugly laughed at his observation of her current state of awe.
"Prof…" Before she spoke she thought back to a program she would watch with her father as a child. There was something about time travel and how you should not give information to those in the past for it could forever alter the future or some nonsense like that. She recalls she tried her best while using the Time Turner during third year; however she limited her conversations to mostly Harry and Ron and they were both at times dumber than a bag of rocks.
"So what's your name?" she jutted her chin slightly to show him she wasn't backing down but surprised by hearing the flirtatious tone in her voice.
"My name is Severus Tobias Snape and I am way beyond being called a lad, Miss Granger"
"Well Severus" she smiled at the use of his name, the real Professor Snape would never approve of her using his given name.
"You may call me Mister Snape"
"No I think not, I will call you Severus because you are much too bossy and young to be called Mister as I fear your head may become too big for your own good!"
He crossed his arms and sneered at her with a raised eyebrow. Even a younger version of the petulant potions master still seemed to be intent on intimidating her.
"Were you crying Severus?" she asked noticing that his eyes were very blood shot.
"I do not cry Miss Granger"
"Please call me Hermione; I am sure you don't call your contemporaries by their surnames do you?" She still didn't know what was going on but it seemed that this particular mirror was more of a portal that allowed them to see through time at each other, by the looks of it, Snape was likely in his sixth or seventh year. She wondered again if it might be a trick but this was far too elaborate for it to be glamour or a joke.
"I would not know about that…" his voice trailed off a bit and he looked away.
"You don't know about what? Calling me Hermione or your friends by their given names?"
He still didn't answer, this confirmed her suspicion. He had been the lonely child that Harry had seen in his memories. He didn't have any friends, which is why he couldn't answer the question. There had only been Lily and his love for her had been like that of a brother, much like her relationship with Ron and Harry.
"Don't worry about it Severus, you can call me by my given name" she did the best she could to make her voice sound happy, she knew even a teenaged Snape would not want to be pitied.
He looked back at her from over his shoulder; he offered nothing more than a sneer and a bit of a guffaw at her presumption that he had no friends. His chest clenched a bit, she seemed to not be afraid to speak exactly what she was thinking, and it reminded him of someone else he knows.
"I only call my friends by their given names Miss Granger" he barked back.
"Then we can be friends Severus, tell me how did you manage to enchant this mirror? It seems to be very powerful magic for someone who doesn't look like more than a fifth year?" she teased; she knew he was at least a seventh year.
"I will have you know you insufferable chit that I am a seventh year!"
"Tsk, tsk Severus, that's not very nice" she seemed to be teasing him a bit more but knew that he was miserable just a few minutes ago and now he seemed more at ease now that he was concentrating on arguing with her. She always did have a way of getting under his skin, she was happy to be able to do it to him again, she really missed him, even if this was just a spell, she was going to enjoy spending time with him.
"So that makes you what? 18? 19? You are not awfully tall for a seventh year."
"I will have you know that I am 18 and that I am the tallest in my house." He rose up taller, his back ramrod straight as he was intent on demonstrating just how tall he really was. She was surprised to see some color back in his face that had been pale just a few moments earlier. "Oh yeah now I see it." She made a show that she as really looking at him; she let her eyes rake up and down the younger version of her potions master. He had not yet fully grown into himself but the potential was there, his nose was very prominent in his face. It seems he still needed to grow into his face as well. The dark strands of hair were an unhealthy color and texture and he looked like he might not have showered in a few days. His robes were in a bad way and the dark circles under his eyes told her more than she could have dragged out of him by asking. If this had been a trick mirror planted by one of her friends they would never had made him look so pitiful. She really felt bad for him but she hid it well.
This must be a trick by James and Sirius. It must be. He paced the room as the girl on the other side of his dressing table mirror stared back at him. Her eyes were a wide brown, they were quite unnerving. She was not afraid to speak to him. She also did not seem disgusted as many of the girls at Hogwarts were. Even those in his own house shied away from him, taunted and mocked him. She seemed insistent on speaking to him; this must be a trick to lull him into a false sense of security. He would not be fooled. He would not be made the fool by the marauders yet again. They had made his life at Hogwarts a living nightmare. James had taken his only friend away and he had been relegated to the daily taunts and tricks they played to amuse their feeble minds. Once Lucius had left after first year, he had been left at their mercy with no one to look after him. He had gone to Dumbledore but as always the old man was more concerned with the marauders than he was about the greasy Slytherin. After being ignored enough times he gave up trying to report the attacks, he was more concerned with finding ways to avoid them and survive until he could get out of Hogwarts and go out on his own. Lucius sent him an owl saying he had met up with some people that were looking to make a big change in the wizarding world and they wanted his knowledge in Potions and the Dark Arts to help them get there. First however there was the question of this apparition in his room.
She was insufferable with her questions and her insistent badgering. The thought of a girl in his room could have been a pleasant notion, however this was no mere girl, and she was making things very hard for him. She had invaded his sanctuary and he would not have it. She was not beautiful, but she was shapely and had long flowing chocolate colored curls that begged to pulled and wrapped around long fingers.
He didn't know where those thoughts were coming from but he knew that he needed to figure what was going out before he made an even bigger fool of himself.
He began to cast spells to have the magic that was at work here reveal itself. It was no good, there was nothing there. If it was, it was something much more sophisticated than he was familiar with. He thought about going through his mother's old books on Dark Magic and trying to find what was afoot when her voice broke through his musings.
"I don't think that's going to work Severus" her voice was crisp, no sarcasm or spite detected from his end. He took a moment to watch her again. She was cleaning the room, his room, from her end.
Had she not heard of House Elves?
She was a sight to see, she wore muggle clothes and had a rag wrapped around her head to keep the curls from falling into her face as she dusted over the posters of the bed. Regardless of her current state of dishevelment she was aesthetically pleasing. Her shapely curves moved fluidly as she dipped and bent to complete the tasks at hand. Her face was flushed as a slight sheen of perspiration had gathered on her face from her exertions. It gave her a very rosy and appealing color, one his face would never manage to replicate. He shook her appearance from his thoughts.
She isn't real, she cannot be.
He decided he needed to investigate further.
"So Miss Granger, tell me again what you are going in my room?"
She stopped her work and looked back at him. She walked towards the mirror, pulling the sleeves of her jumper up to her elbows she wiped at her brow and looked at him.
Those eyes certainly look real enough.
"I am not in your room, you are in mine." With that simple statement and a bright smile she returned to the task at hand.
"I am not finished speaking with you witch, kindly return so that I may ask you another question!" he demanded feeling a slight heat rising in his face.
The way she caressed his name gave him a slight shiver. Oh this illusion was good; it must somehow be infused with some kind of lust charm. He coughed a little; he wanted to draw her attention away from his face. He stalked back to the end of his bed and sat. He was far away to see her where he could adjust the erection that was straining against his trousers without being seen and not close enough to have her scrutinize him as he fought with these very strange feelings.
"Why are you cleaning the room yourself, are there no house elves there?" he finally decided to speak. He found no use in remaining quiet especially when she was looking at him so forlorn.
"Well I have never really taken to the idea of using something that is akin to a slave. So if I can do it myself, why use magic. I learned to cook, clean, change the oil on my dad's car at a very early age, so cleaning a room in the Slytherin tower should be a walk in the park."
"Are you a Muggle?" he could not keep the momentary contempt from his voice, nor could he hide the sneer on his face.
"Yes I am Severus, as I know you are half Muggle too"
"HOW DARE YOU!" He had risen to full height and stalked over to the mirror.
"There is nothing to be ashamed of Severus; I know that your father was a Muggle. My parents are Muggle, they are dentists, and you know what those are right? They fix people's teeth. I am sure they would have loved to have a wand to make their jobs easier" she seemed to be rambling.
He stood mouth agape almost the same expression as hers when she first saw him.
"Severus? Mouth. Flies."
He quickly closed his mouth and began to pace around his room in a more frantic manner. He cast a cover spell and the mirror was covered in black silk to block him from her prying eyes. He could nonetheless still hear her.
"Well, that is just rude. I will be here when you decide you are over whatever is bothering you. I really want to be your friend Severus. There comes a time in your life you need to trust someone. It can really change your life. Just think about it!"
How did she know about my father? No one knew this about him; it was his most closely guarded secret. He had worked so hard to keep it from being known, only Lucius knew.
He needed to research. He needed to find out what this thing was. He had to go to the library. Grabbing his parchment and quill he headed out robs trying their very best to billow behind him.
That was awfully rude but she had developed a bit of a thick skin around Severus Snape in the last almost seven years. He could be a right bastard when he wanted to be but he was also courageous, brave, ridiculously smart and oh well who was she kidding she had been head over heels for him. She had been since the day she saw him lay Lockhart on his arse. It had been brilliant. He was confident and not afraid of anyone. She was surprised he had been sorted to Slytherin; she always thought his traits were more of a Gryffindor.
Maybe she shouldn't have mentioned his father. He seemed to be a bit sensitive about it typical Slytherin, so concerned about lineage. They should work at embracing their differences and appreciating each other all the more. Well Rome wasn't conquered in a day and she knew she had her work cut out for her. If this mirror was an enchantment, a spell, a portal or whatever, she needed to find out and the first place to go would be the library. She searched the drawers of her new room and found some parchment; she would make notes as to any mention of mirrors besides the mirror of erised. This must be something similar, it had to be. This couldn't be the real Snape. The Gods couldn't be this cruel to her. One thing is to see the desire in one's heart. Another thing is to interact with it.
Walking to the library she eyed Crookshanks stalking the halls with Mrs. Norris in tow. Those two were sure to find trouble around any corner and darkened corridor. The happy life of cats she thought and smiled. They had it easy, little did they know about what was happening around them, however her faithful familiar did know when she needed to cry and had been there for her to offer a little strength in these difficult times. The nights were the hardest for her. At night the nightmares came, the pain wreaking havoc on her soul, the loss of someone that could have been so much more. Night after night, Crookshanks had absorbed the brunt of her tears, the stifled sobs, the screams of agony. The dreams were interlaced, the times with Severus in the hospital wing, in his laboratory, the time in the manor, and her torture at the hands of Bellatrix. Those wounds were so fresh; Hermione felt they would never heal. The loss of Severus however hurt more than anything else. She hadn't told him, she hadn't the chance.
Reaching the darkened corridor leading to the library she noticed it had gotten dark. Time had passed so quickly that day she had spent the better part of her first day back cleaning and chatting with Mirror Severus. That is what she would call him. He couldn't be her Severus.
But what if it was?
She shook the thought from her mind. Wishful thinking never did her any good; nothing ever came easy to her. She had to get herself almost killed by a fully grown mountain troll in order to make some friends. When she stopped and thought about it, she was lucky she had made friends with Harry and Ron, even if they did get into their fair share of trouble. She could only imagine having been friendless and alone. Hermione would not feel sorry for herself, she had learned early on that she would have an uphill battle, making friends wasn't easy. She knew that it must have been hard for Severus. He had been alone. Lily had been his only friend until their fallout. If this was really her Severus in the past she would do everything she could to make sure he knew how much she cared for him, how much he meant to everyone and maybe that could change the course of the world as she knew it now. Maybe it wouldn't bring him back, but she would at least make sure he knew he wasn't alone.
Pulling from the shelves in the restricted area some old texts she sat to the back at a large table. She settled into her favorite chair, it was a very comfortable chair that had managed to be there for her for many years. On this same chair she had researched poly juice potions, she had researched the philosopher's stone and Nicolas Flammel and in this very chair she would research her Mirror Severus.
She set the parchment down and before she could even begin to scribble her notes short strokes began to appear on her parchment pages. She recognized the spiky handwriting anywhere.
Girl appears to be in the mirror, not unlike Mirror of Erised, however she is able to interact with me.
Oh. My. Goddess!
Hermione waited to see if he would continue to write.
Seems the mirror works to give someone what they want; however in this case I did not consciously want her in particular. However I do know just one thing that I really want and it is not to be alone. Note: Mirror may be working with some elemental or emotional magic.
"How could it be elemental magic?" she whispered. Yes of course, she had been working in the room, using water to clean, the dirt on the mirror she had used her hands to remove it, she had breathed on the mirror, and maybe she had somehow tapped into its power. Dirt=earth, breath=air, water. She couldn't believe he was that smart even at that age. The words began to appear again on the parchment.
I cast fire at the mirror. What had she done on her end?
Hermione knew she could not write and have him see it. She looked through the pages of the tome in front of her and saw small scribbling on the margins of some of the books dealing with elemental magic. She could see he had been looking through the same books and smiled. He had underlined some passages and placed notations. She made quick to copy them as well as her own impressions on a separate piece of parchment not wanting to disrupt his page as words continued to appear.
I will need to speak to her again. Tome on emotional magic indicates touching an object can activate and transmit thought or feeling. Maybe if I touch at the same time as she touches it I could see if it in fact was real and not a hallucination or a trick on the part of Sirius and James. Cannot imagine it is working in conjunction with her magic, she could not possibly want me.
Note: rework wards on rooms.
A sob escaped Hermione before she covered her mouth. It was so sad to imagine that no one would want him. Of course he would think it's a trick, with all those jerks put him through. She had almost forgotten the horror stories she had heard from Harry. Most of which and a lot more had been confirmed by Poppy as they drank into the night after the last battle when they eulogized Severus over a couple of bottles of Firewhiskey. Poppy had cried just as much if not more than Hermione did. She had cared for him for almost twenty years. She had fought with the headmaster to stop the Marauders from bullying Severus but nothing could be done. The marauders were above reproach in the eyes of many. Suddenly it hit her.
She picked up her parchments and headed to the one place she knew she would find the finest minds in Wizarding Speaking the password 'Honeydukes' she passed the gargoyle that guarded the headmaster's office and found the portrait of Dumbledore and the one of Severus. He was not at his and she wondered with a heavy heart if he had wandered into the dungeons when he felt her cross the wards to the office.
"Miss Granger, what brings you here this evening?" the soft voice of her former headmaster was as welcoming as always.
"Please Hermione; call me Albus, no need for such formality child"
"Thank you sir, I just wanted to ask you a few questions, are you up for it?" she asked but her eyes kept darting to the empty portrait reserved for Professor Snape, her eyes almost willing him to appear.
"He is not here now child, often we portraits will go elsewhere to occupy our time" he spoke softly answering her unspoken query.
"Sir, I need to ask you about a certain type of mirror. You see we are being housed in the old Slytherin tower and I was given a room that I thought might have been the room of the last head girl but it is in fact an old room that hasn't been occupied in many years. The mirror on the dressing table sir does not show me a reflection"
"I know it doesn't Hermione, nor will it ever"
"So you do know of what mirror I speak of Headmaster?"
"Yes I do Hermione and I would suggest that you go about threading lightly with it, for it can be a very dangerous magical object if used incorrectly, but if used wisely, it can prove very effective."
"I fear that I do not understand Sir, at times you speak in riddles"
"Hermione, what is it that you see in the mirror? Everyone sees something different."
She could feel the heat creeping into her cheeks. She dipped her head a little to hide this. Hermione felt silly, this was just a painting anyway not the real headmaster, why should she feel embarrassed.
"I see Severus headmaster, a teenaged Severus"
"Oh…I see" Hermione could have sworn she saw a slight twinkle in his cerulean eyes.
"I don't only see him Headmaster, I spoke to him and he spoke to me as well."
Suddenly she had the attention of every single portrait in the office as they all began to murmur and whisper amongst themselves. The whispers got louder and harder to understand when suddenly she heard a very familiar and loud roaring voice.
"SILENCE!" Professor Snape's portrait shouted to the room as he took his place behind the painted potions table in his portrait. He looked as regal as she had always remembered, his robes billowing as always, his legendary sneer and eyebrow gracing the face she had so long ago set about admiring.
The lump in throat was almost too much, her mouth open she stared in awe as he stirred the cauldron in his painting. Without so much as looking up he spoke.
"Miss Granger. Flies. Mouth"
The room spun and went black.
Severus hurried back to his room before he was seen wandering around the corridors by Filch or one of the Prefects. He had missed dinner while researching the insufferable girl in his mirror and now his stomach threatened to give his position away. He wondered aloud if one of the house elves would bring him something to eat in his room, but before he could reach the kitchens he was stopped by Sirius Black.
"Where you off to Snivelus?" he laughed.
"Nowhere of importance to you Black"
"Well you see I am a Prefect and I demand to know why you are sneaking around the corridors at this late hour"
"You are not a Prefect, Black, you just like to think you are there is a difference"
"Mind your tongue Snivelus or I will have to do it for you!" Sirius spit out the words, it was not an attractive look for him Severus thought. How much longer would he have to put up with these dunderheads?
"Leave me be Black, I am not in the mood for your drivel this night"
Severus turned to walk away when he felt the unmistakable surge of magic and turned just in time to deflect a wordless hex being sent his way.
"Protego!" Severus shouted out just in time to stop all his robes from being burnt.
"Ooooh someone has been practicing his wand work, huh Snivelus?" Sirius taunted him and laughed as he walked passing by Severus shoving him to the floor for effect before he called out to James who was passing by the far corridor. "Hey wait up James, I got Snivelus good this time" Their laughter got louder before fading into the school.
Severus cursed the moment he decided to leave his rooms. If it wasn't for that damned mirror he would have stayed there and would still have a good robe. Since his parents had died, he only had a very little savings in his account at Gringotts, not nearly enough for a new set of robes. This would be the third set those idiots ruined. He would have to transfigure some new ones or spend the night mending it, well what was left of it. Pulling at the singed ends of his robes he rose slowly and walked back to his rooms his appetite all but forgotten.
Once in his room he looked over to the covered mirror and thought it might be best to remove the cloth to see if she was still there. A quick flick of his wand and the mirror was free from obstruction. He lit the scones in his room with his wand and settled in for the night when he saw that she was not on the other side. He could not see his reflection, but he could see her room. Well technically it was his room but on the other side. He could see her things strewn about. She really was a bit messy but the room did look just as clean as he kept his now. She did not look like she had completely moved in; maybe Severus could convince her that it was a bad idea to stay there. Maybe he could try and haunt her out of his rooms? This way he would be able to sulk in peace.
He doubted that. She seemed to like a challenge. Maybe he should just not engage her. Ignore her. Maybe she will get the idea and the magic will fade.
Good luck with that Severus, you have never been known to have any luck with anything, this should be no different.
He removed his burnt robes thanking the gods that it was the weekend and he would have two days to himself to sulk and repair his robes. It would also give him two days of investigating the girl in the mirror. While at the library Severus had looked through old yearbooks of Hogwarts students and could not find anyone with that name anywhere. To be honest, Severus could not think of anyplace accept an old work by a Muggle writer that referenced that name.
Lying down in his bed, he began to write in his journal, he continued to write down his interactions with the marauders and what his new ideas for potions were. He also read some of the notes he had written about the mirror. No sooner than he started to scribble about the mirror did he feel a surge of energy, the other side of the mirror sprung to life. He could see that some people were in the room and that Mirror girl was being carried by none other than Hagrid. Professor McGonagall was there as well, she was looking very tired and to be honest much older, then again so did Hagrid. As though he were carrying a delicate flower Hagrid deposited Mirror girl onto the bed and turned to ask something to Professor McGonagall before turning to get something that was propped up against the doorframe. It was a large portrait but Severus could not make out of who it was. Hagrid placed it off to the right of the bed behind the wardrobe where Severus could not see it at all. He moved around a bit but it was useless.
"Professor McGonagall, what happened to her?"
Professor McGonagall turned and spoke to Madame Pomfrey who had just walked in, it seemed that she had not heard him. He cleared his throat and spoke louder.
Still no answer, the two women spoke over the third that lay asleep in the center of the bed. Brushing the hair from Mirror girl's face with the tenderness of a mother Professor McGonagall spoke something to the portrait on the wall and left the room with Madame Pomfrey, leaving just a small lighted candle on the nightstand.
He wondered why he could not hear him. He had been able to hear Hermione fine earlier today. Could it be that the mirror would only respond to her voice? Then how could he see them? No, if his fire helped activate the magic then he would of course have power to dictate what it would show him as well, wouldn't he?
He watched her sleeping, her chest rising and falling. She seemed more tolerable in this state. Thankfully he would not have to put up with her incessant questions and annoyances. However, he hated to admit it, it had been nice to have someone to talk to, even argue briefly who seemed to know enough not to outright insult him. He was not dense enough not to recognize some light teasing and she had certainly done that. He smiled and wondered what had happened that she had been carried in; he secretly hoped she was okay.
Sighing heavily, he turned to go to his bed when he heard a deep voice speak from Hermione's side.
"It would do you well to rest boy, she will not wake until morning"
"What happened to her, who are you?" Severus insisted, doing his best to peer around the wardrobe through the mirror, it was impossible, it was as if charmed to keep him from seeing the wall there.
"Never mind that, she will rest and I am sure she will be up to her normal Gryffindor annoyances as soon as she is up. Better get your rest because as soon as this one gets going, you won't have much time to rest."
"A Gryffindor, I should have known, insufferable and headstrong" he paced lightly in front of the mirror, his eyes surveying her sleeping form.
"Sir, who are you? And if she is a Gryffindor what is she doing in my- I mean a Slytherin bed chamber?"
There was no answer, Severus resigned himself to his bed, glancing a few more times towards Mirror girl…Hermione…and wondered what she wanted from him.
Better yet what did he want with her?
There were strong magiks working here and he would reluctantly need her help to figure out what was going on.
A Slytherin and a Gryffindor working together
"That can only lead to disaster" he whispered as he put out the light in the room and drifted off to sleep.
She woke feeling somewhat sore. Yesterday had been a very confusing and exhausting. She wanted to think that it had all been one strange dream and nothing more. However as soon as she noticed the deep green color of her duvet she knew she was not in her old room. She lifted her head cautiously, the goose egg on the back had gone down considerably but it still felt like if she had gotten stepped on by a troll.
A quick trip to the loo was definitely in order before she would do anything, Mirror Severus could wait.
Exiting the en suite loo she noticed that the covering of the mirror was gone and she could see into Mirror Severus' room and he wasn't there.
"Thank Goddess, I can change in peace" she wanted to speak to him about his notes and about what the headmaster had told him but she needed her morning routine to be as uneventful as possible.
"Miss Granger" The silken voice she had become so accustomed to came, not from the mirror but from the far right wall of her room. She felt her legs weaken and she leaned onto the side of the bed.
So much for uneventful
"What are you doing here Professor? Your portrait should be in the headmaster's office and not here in my room"
"Keep your shirt on Miss Granger, or put it on for that matter."
She hurried to cover herself. The raised eyebrow did something to her; she felt the blush creep even further over her skin.
"Funny, I almost forgot how charming you were, Sir."
"I am sure I never appeared anything even remotely resembling charming Miss Granger, I meant to keep your shirt on because we are not alone" with this he nodded his head in the direction of the mirror as Mirror Severus was making his way into the room after having showered.
"Mouth. Miss Granger"
She really had to get this mouth gaping thing under control. Mirror Severus had just a green towel tied around his waist and most of him was still glistening with water. His long hair finger combed back away from his face and she could see that he was definitely not a fifth year.
"It is really rude to stare you know" the portrait spoke over her shoulder, her gaze still transfixed on the younger, Mirror version of her potion's master. Tall, dark and lean was definitely a deadly combination. His skin was almost translucent. His body was lean and his chest well defined for his age, a light smattering of black hairs covered some of his chest and a happy trail descended beneath the towel. Hermione found her mouth water slightly at the scene before her.
"Merlin's balls woman, get your hormones under control, there is much that needs to be done." Portrait Snape snarled at her as he turned and stalked back to the potion in his portrait.
"Oh shut up!"
It seemed that Mirror Severus had not noticed her yet until she spoke, looking up almost sheepishly at first, then corner of his mouth curled up a bit.
"You know it's rude to stare, but I cannot say that I am not flattered Miss Granger" He smirked at her.
"Okay you know we are going to have to establish some ground rules here Severus, you cannot just stalk around looking all glistening and wet and stuff and not expect someone not to notice."
"Wet and stuff?" he raised that trademarked eyebrow and she actually felt her knee weaken a bit, "Do you always have such a profound command of the English language?"
"You know what I mean" she stammered as she began looking around for something to cover the mirror with so she could change.
Once covered she called out to him, "We need to talk."
How it is that he could make even two words sound so sarcastic, she could almost see the look on his face. "How is it that you were so sarcastic even at a young age?" she whispered to Portrait Snape
"It's a gift" Portrait Snape answered not giving her a second glance.
"You know I should be the one offended, you were the one that was gaping like a fish out of water Miss Granger, by all means, I do not mind if the mirror remains uncovered, a little tit for tat as you say." Mirror Snape called to her from behind the covering.
"Younger you is a real piece of work you know that?!" she whispered at Portrait Snape, her cheeks a bit flushed at the idea.
"It does not seem to bother you too much" Portrait Snape responded his eyebrow threatening to reach his hairline.
"Arrggg" her frustration was evident. These two were going to be the death of her.
Throwing on a clean jumper and jeans she stalked over to the mirror and took the sheet down.
Mirror Severus was still shirtless however he had managed to put on some trousers. She let her eyes rake up and down his lean chest before coughing loudly to get his attention. He seemed to be busied trying to repair his robes.
"What happened to your robes?" not that they looked that much worse than they had the day before but she could see they were clearly singed in a couple of places.
"Well some Gryffindors were quick to remind me that I should not be out after hours" he spit the words out as if it was her fault.
"They set your robes on fire?"
Holding up the robe so she could clearly see the burnt holes she had to stifle a bit of a smile "I am sure it won't be the last time someone sets you on fire"
"I am sure it won't be Miss Granger but I do find myself in a predicament, I must work to either repair these or transfigure some new ones.
"Well what's the problem, are you not skilled at all things?" she tried to sound as condescending as he did but he had a lot more practice than she did.
"I am ashamed to admit that I am not as skilled in transfiguration as I should be, then again Professor McGonagall insisted I continued my potions work instead of pursuing further transfiguration training.
"That's too bad; I am really good at Transfigurations."
"Why doesn't that surprise me Miss Granger with all those books strewn about your room I am sure you have developed a skill at many things"
"You would be right, you see I could just wave my wand and say stolas sarcirent and…" but before she could finish talking the robes on Severus' bed were repaired.
"How did you do that witch?"
"I-I-I don't know it's not supposed to work like that, at least I don't think so, it's not possible is it?"
She turned back but saw the portrait was missing his inhabitant.
"I demand you tell me what is going on Granger, this is not in the least bit amusing."
He held up the robes that looked almost new and stormed over to the mirror. He was breathing heavily and Hermione found herself actually stepping back. It was still Snape, a younger version, but the dark intensity was there. If her magic could breach this 'mirror', who was to say his couldn't reach her?
"You need to start talking witch; I want to know what is going on." His voice was steady but his eyes told another tale. They were dark and intense and threatened to devour her whole if she didn't answer him.
Gryffindor courage aside, the sight was a mixture of thrilling and scary.
Before she could speak though, her resident Portrait spoke up.
"You will mind the tone of your voice Master Snape."
"Miss Granger, would you be so kind to tell me who your resident portrait is so that I may properly address them?" Mirror Severus asked, his voice dripping with forced sweetness so as to offset the reprimand
"That is none of your concern Slytherin, just know, that I am and will be deducting house points should you continue to speak in that manner to Miss Granger, Gryffindor or not, she is to be treated with respect!"
"Yes Sir" Mirror Severus bowed his head slightly.
"And put a shirt on for Merlin's sake" Portrait Snape snapped before addressing Hermione.
"Miss Granger, a word…please?"
Without looking back to Mirror Severus she went to stand close to Professor Snape's portrait.
"Miss Granger, do not accustom yourself to think that I will be coming to your aide, however I will give you this bit of advice. I was always a stubborn and proud and Slytherin to the bone. You will be wise to remember this. Do not keep anything from him except my identity. He cannot know that I am no longer…" his voice drifted off momentarily when he heard her breath catch.
"I miss you" she whispered touching her hand to his form. Bowing her head, she could feel the tears threatening to spill over. She had never voiced it aloud before. She knew he would reprimand her to hell and back for her weakness, for being a Gryffindor and wearing her emotions on her sleeve. But he surprised her.
"I know Hermione, I miss you as well" and with that he left the portrait.
She couldn't keep from crying. She ran into the loo before Mirror Severus could see her and she cried for a long time. She didn't cry for anyone else but him this time. She cried that she had not told him how much he meant to her. That those stolen glances in potion's class were sweet torture and that when he stood in front of her to safeguard her from Professor Lupin her heart had swollen tenfold. She cried that she had not had the courage or the strength to save him.
Once she was ready to face the younger version of her potions master, she walked and stood in front of the mirror. Her eyes puffy and red, she stood determined to tell him as much as she could. Maybe two heads are better than one. They were the smartest witch and wizard of their respective times, maybe they could figure out how they were able to reach through time and space and interact.
"Are you okay Miss Granger?" the softness of his voice surprised her.
"I will be okay Severus, thank you for asking, please call me Hermione"
"As long as that prat of a portrait doesn't yell at me I will be glad to call you Hermione-Hermione"
The mention of Professor Snape made her mouth quirk up in a smile, if you only knew.
"Let's get comfortable we have a lot to speak about" she motioned that they should sit.
"Firstly, you know my name and you know that I am in what is a facsimile of your room correct?" she asked as she arranged the parchments and notes from yesterday around her on the bed.
"Yes, however I do not understand why when I saw Professor McGonagall and Hagrid last night they could not hear me or would not answer me when I inquired after you"
"Wait…when did you see them? You asked about me?" she smiled at the innocence of his statement.
"Well yes Mis-Hermione, I saw you were bought in by Hagrid in a state of unconsciousness and wondered what had befallen you." He spoke very much like the potions master she had grown to admire, his voice taking on his trademark lecture mode but without the harshness that usually accompanied it.
"That was really sweet of you Severus" she smiled, she could not hide the blush that painted her cheeks.
"Well of course I needed to know I could not have you be dead and have to stare at a rotting corpse now could I?"
And back to bastard Snape.
"Lovely…" she grimaced the sarcasm was not lost on him.
"What I did wonder why did Professor McGonagall look so tired, I do not want to say she looked aged but she did not look the same as when I had seen her earlier in the day"
"That is why I am asking you to sit Severus, what I have to tell you might be a bit difficult to understand or even accept"
"Go on woman, I hate riddles and you are trying my infinitesimal patience"
"Severus, what year is it?"
"Woman you know very well what year it is, its 1978"
She must have lost whatever was left of her mind if she didn't know what year it was. Maybe that goose egg she had on her head did more damage than she let on to him.
He watched her with renewed interest, watching her reaction to his revelation of the year.
What was she getting on about?
"Severus, it may be 1978 on your side, but here it is 1998."
"What? That isn't possible witch, magic cannot work this way, and even time turners are only capable of working for a few hours at best."
"What proof do you have that it is 1998?"
She walked to the mirror and held up the Daily Prophet, she was sure to have picked a part of the wizarding paper that didn't give too much away.
"That can be magically altered and you know this"
"Check for yourself, you saw my magic worked on your end, check for yourself"
"Manifesto" he called out the spell without his wand and Hermione gasped at the display. He felt a sense of pride at her reaction, he straighten even a bit more. He didn't know why he wanted her to be impressed by his display.
"Do not look so surprised Hermione, I have many hidden talents" he could not help teasing her, it was just too easy.
"I'm not impressed, you're just showing off"
She was lying, he could see it all over her face, and if he had his wand he would risk trying to read her mind.
The paper did nothing, it was not cursed, spelled, hexed or anything of the like, the only slight magic was that which made the pictures move.
"Are you telling me Hermione, that you are twenty years in the future?"
"Yes Severus. You are not in my room; I am occupying your old room it seems in the Slytherin tower"
"Why would a Gryffindor be in the Slytherin tower?"
She remembered Professor Snape and Professor Dumbledore's words and began to tell him as much as she could about Tom Riddle and how he rises to become the most powerful and dark wizard that has ever been seen. She told him that there was a first war in which Tom Riddle or Voldemort as he was now called and his followers 'Death Eaters' hunted and killed people throughout the wizarding world.
"What does this have to do with me? Certainly this has not happened I am not aware of anyone by that name."
"Severus, not only do you eventually know them, you join them"
"That is preposterous!"
"You are recruited by Lucius Malfoy; you do know him don't you?"
She let the words hang there as the words sunk in and he ran an elegant hand down his face. She imagined he was willing himself to believe her words. He walked over to some parchments on his nightstand and turned to look at her.
"Let us see how well your theory of us sharing the same space twenty years apart" he took a small folded parchment and placed it in the far corner of the drawer of his nightstand. Severus turned and looked at her.
Hermione understood and walked over to the nightstand, she ran her hand to the back where she had seen him place the parchment and her fingers moved tentatively over the rough edge of the time worn parchment.
She pulled it out and held it up for him to see it. She opened it and read the small note from Lucius telling him about some people that were interested in meeting him after graduation and how his work in potions and dark magic will be greatly admired.
"Oh my goddess Severus, they have already made contact"
"So it seems Hermione"
"We need to plan, you can help stop this, and you can be a hero Severus"
"Me? A Hero? You must have me confused with someone who cares Miss Granger, this opportunity with these people promises to give me the respect and honor that I deserve."
"No Severus, you will suffer at their hands, you will suffer so much pain that there is only one way I can show you."
She prepared her barriers, she would not let him see more than he should, but he should see the times that he was brought into the hospital wing writing in pain from a recent meeting with the Dark Lord, the results of countless curses racking his body. She had used the time turner more than during her third year, she had used it in her fifth year, it let her work in the hospital wing with Poppy to learn as much about healing as she could it would be the only way she would be prepared. She had wanted to be a mediwitch; she knew that there were not nearly as many healers as there needed to be. The recent battle at Hogwarts had showed her that they were in little supply. She can still recall the nights she worked with Poppy to heal his wounds, to stop his pain, to hold his hand as he writhed and burned with a fever. She pushed all those memories to the front of her mind and jutted her chin out.
"Cast the spell Severus, look for yourself"
He lifted an eyebrow wondering if she was really suggesting what he thought she was but her stance and face left nothing to question.
Lifting his wand he pointed at her and spoke, "Legilimens!"
The images flooded his mind with such a force, these memories were traveling through time and space and they were laced with her magic, with her emotion. She wanted to share this just as much as he wanted to know what she had to share with him. The first thing that flooded his senses was just how much she cared for him—how much she loved…and missed him? He wondered why but before he could contemplate on that she showed him the inside of the hospital wing at Hogwarts and there on a bed was a darken figure. The figure writhed in pain, his limbs rigid, he was seizing. Hermione stood over him, held his hand and whispered words of encouragement. She cast spells along with Poppy to ease the effects of whatever curse had befallen him. It must have been something strong Severus thought he imagined it might be an unforgiveable curse as those are the ones that cause the most pain. When Hermione finally revealed to him who it was that was on the bed, whose hand it was she clutched and whose brow it was she wiped. It was him!
She then showed him the memories of more times she had cared for him. Nights he had been cut and scared by hexes and curses. Each scar she mended, she asked him why he was doing what he was doing.
'Because I could not save them when I should have, I was not braver when I needed to be, I lacked the courage of a Gryffindor, your courage." He tried to smile through gritted teeth as the pain of the wounds was too much to match his feigned mirth. He clutched her hand like a lifeline; she returned the grip with the same strength and intensity.
'Oh sir if you only knew how brave you really are, you are the bravest man I know.'
He raised a hand to wipe a tear from her cheek, "Typical Gryffindor, only you would cry for a Slytherin!"
'I cry for you Sir' she raised his hand to her lips as the pain became too much and he fell into unconsciousness.
More scenes like that played out before him, he tried to dig deeper but she had her mind ready, the walls put up there were worthy of his regard. He wondered if he had taught it to her, his older self. But why, why would he have allowed himself to get close to a Gryffindor again, especially after what happened with Lily?
Maybe it was because of her he thought; maybe it was because of the friendship he had shared with Lily that he gave this girl a chance. When he saw he could not get anything else from her he pulled out. It was too much, too much pain. Not only did she care about him, it seemed he cared about her too.
He pulled back to see she had tears streaming down her face.
"I think that is enough for tonight don't you Miss Granger" she heard the soft baritone of Professor Snape from his portrait.
"Yes I think we need a break, think about what you saw Severus and we will speak tomorrow"
She covered the mirror with the sheet again before she completely lost it in front of him. She did not care that Professor Snape saw her. His was the face that she missed and loved. He had seen her sorrow, wiped her tears, he knew was she was suffering.
"Hermione" Professor Snape's voice was soft. It always sounded as though he were caressing her name with his mouth.
"Hermione cast a silencing spell, please"
She bought her wand up and through a haze of tears she cast a silencing spell to the room.
"Hermione, I want you to look at me please"
She could not deny him that, she did her best to look at his eyes, it was painful to see him there and not be able to hold his hand to feel his closeness.
"I know this is hard for you Hermione. This is extremely hard for me as well, it is torture to see you and not be able to…" his voice drifted off.
"Tell me please" she whispered. "There is no reason to hide anymore, no secrets"
"Oh Hermione, if you only knew how much you meant to me in those last couple of years. You were my rock. The only thing that kept me grounded. Your friendship was something I could rely on. In the dark abyss that my life had become, you were a lone beacon of hope. I had often wondered how my life would have changed if I had met you in school as a young man. How we might have explored the mysteries of magic and traveled the world. Instead I was forced to be a spy, to prostate my body and my soul to two masters, none of which showed me even an iota of the care you did in that brief time. Alas, we were separated by time. Two souls born in different times, destined to meet but to never be together. You know that in your heart that even if I would have survived there would have been so much to overcome. We would never have been able to have much more than we already have, what did I have to offer you? I was an old battered and damaged soul, an anchor to weigh you down as you try and set off to your life. Dragging the past behind you is never good Hermione; it did not do me any good. Now, enough of this sentimentality, Hermione you know that things can always change; you heard what Dumbledore told you. You have told and shown my younger self a lot tonight. Since I am still here in this portrait, nothing has changed. You must speak to him again."
"Do you think it's possible?" she asked. His confession had been hard to hear, never had he been so eloquent, so full of emotion. He had told her stories of his childhood as they bonded over his care, but this was different. He was telling her that he wished he had known her when he was her age, and now here she was with the opportunity.
"Do you think there is a way to help you defeat Voldemort now? Before he has a chance to rise?"
"It is quite possible Hermione, however I did not have two friends as dumb yet brave as you had. Although it is difficult to admit it now, I recognize that Potter and Weasley are infinitely devoted to you and each other and I am sure you can count on them to aide you. I fear it will be hard for my younger self to accomplish it alone, even with your help from this end. There is someone else I think deserves another chance Hermione, I think you know who."
"Yes, I think he should be involved in whatever the three of you decide to do. He should be given a chance to change his destiny as well."
"Hermione, I have told you that you may call me Severus when it is just us, so much formality makes me uncomfortable. Especially after all we shared, you were more than my healer, you were my friend, my only friend"
"Oh Severus stop, you will make me cry again"
"Only for you Sir"
"Do you think there is a way I can use a time turner?"
"No Hermione, you know that they only work in small intervals, this is for this same reason, you cannot have someone traipsing through time and mucking things up. However this particular traipsing would stand to change a lot of lives."
"I need to find a way to go back Severus; I need to find a way to help you, speak to the portraits sir, see what they have to say, you are in good company, I am sure if you all put your heads together you can find a way. Maybe the mirror is the key?"
"I fear you might be right Hermione, I believe this mirror, however it has been enchanted, it may hold a key. I will retire now to my other portrait in the headmaster's office and speak with the others; maybe we can find out something. If this mirror is not dark magic then I believe we could find a way to use it."
"Do you think you will listen to me? Do you think I have a chance to help you? You know how you were then; you said you were hungry for power, for respect."
"Hermione, do you know why I went with Lucius? Why I let him recruit me to follow the Dark Lord? It was because I was alone. There where you see me I was alone, Lucius was the only thing close to a friend besides Lily, he was only there my first year at Hogwarts, and Lily on the other hand never forgave my arrogance and ended our friendship. I held a torch for her for many years it was because I was so alone. I bare my soul to you because I am fighting to try and save the lives of those that died and also because you made me realize that I don't want to die. I dream now of what could have been, what life would have been had the gods put you in my life, it was one of the reasons I envied Potter."
"Good night Si-Severus"
It had been too long of a day, too many emotions bought to the surface, relieved in flesh and blood. She had felt the pangs and pain of her loss again so strongly. He could almost still smell the blood that soaked her hands and clothes as Severus had taken his last breaths. She let her head fall to the pillow, not bothering to lift the silencing spell or removing the sheet from the mirror. She needed a night alone with her dreams, a place where she still could hold his hand and talk about potions and history. Where they could travel to Egypt or cross the Andes, for now it was there in her dreams that she was happy.
She knew who she would have to go see first. After speaking to Severus' portrait last night she knew what she had to do but she had to talk to Harry. It was not her place to go back. It was not her decision alone to make. She knew where her heart was but she also knew that this was bigger than her. It seemed it made sense to do what she had planned, but it still needed to be said aloud. As she walked the path up to Grimmauld Place she felt a sense of foreboding. Nothing good ever came of visiting this place. So many meetings, so many disagreements, so many secrets were housed in this place. She still could not understand how Harry could live there. The insufferable portraits and especially the house elf with a death wish. She knocked on his door and waited, she knew he was there; the normal wards were up, well normal for them. What greeted her was not normal at all.
Since Harry had been unable to kill Voldemort, he had begun to drink heavily. Not even Ginny could help him and slowly they had drifted apart. The place was rife with empty bottles of Firewhiskey and take away containers. There was a smell of stale alcohol making the place smell like a dirty pub on a Friday night. His face held about three days' worth of shadow and his hair was even wilder than hers. She ventured a guess he hadn't had a shower in days and by the smell of his breath she knew he hadn't had much else to drink instead of whiskey.
'Mione, so good of you to grace me with your presence, is there an Order meeting today I was not aware of?' His voice was a little bit of sarcasm and a whole lot of self-pity. She wondered when it was the last time he had gotten any real sleep. "Hello Harry" she said her voice no higher than a whisper.
'What no hug for the Boy-Who-Lived-To-Do-Nothing-But-Putter-Around-Piss ed all day?' He got closer trying to pull her closer. He needed human contact, she could tell the desperation in his voice, in his hands as he tried to cling to her. She gave in and wrapped him in those hugs she had gotten to use to giving him those many times she saw him after a long period of time. She offered him her strength her warmth, her love. He was her best friend and if she could give some of herself to make him whole, she would. She inhaled him, his essence, his fear, his self-loathing and it almost made her choke. "Time to sober you up Harry, we have a lot to talk about."
"S-sure Mione" he slurred, slumping on to the settee.
"The dirty blood summoned Kreacher?"
"You…oh forget it you know I tried to save you guys once upon a time, I cannot believe after all we have done you still continue to try and disrespect me, you give house elves like Dobby a bad name" she barked at the creature. He seemed undisturbed.
"You will respect Mione Kreacher, she is my best friend" Harry managed between sips of his tumbler.
"Kreacher, I need you to get a sobering potion from the stores that Master Snape left in his room here, also a phial of Pepper Up."
"Yes Mistress Mione" Kreacher said through gritted teeth as though the words were painful to him.
"Is your floo working Harry?"
"Sure Mione, why who do you want to Floo?"
"We need to have Ron and Draco here for what I need to talk to you about"
"Draco? What in the bloody hell would I want to see that blond headed git?"
Harry looked like a petulant child as he slumped further into his chair.
"Stop it Harry, we have a lot to do. But first, for the love of Merlin, you need a shower"
"Are you offering?" he asked waggling his eyebrows.
"Sure Harry, come on" she made her voice husky and saw the look of flirtation on his face turned to shock as he heard Hermione's response.
"I was kidding Mione, you know I love you like a sister right?" Even through the haze of alcohol he didn't forget that this was Hermione.
She led him to the bathroom a bit reluctantly as she saw he might be having second thoughts. Once in she stripped him and dragged him into the cold shower. After muttering enough curses to shame an Azkaban prisoner he gave up and let her get him cleaned up. A few potions later they sat in front of the fire with a hot bowl of soup and an open floo connection she told Ron to get to Grimmauld place as soon as possible.
With another handful of floo powder she called out to Malfoy manor. She knew it was still in disrepair but wondered if the Malfoys were in fact hunkering down there since fleeing from the Dark Lord's side.
"Granger, what do you want?" she heard Draco's voice gruff and agitated from the other side of the connection.
"Come on through to where we are Draco, we need to speak to you. You owe us that much Draco."
He seemed to think about it as silence was all that Hermione and Harry could hear, fearing the connection had been lost she began to speak again, "Draco, please."
"Okay, give me a few minutes to…freshen up Granger."
"The connection will remain open for an hour, please hurry."
"Always so pushy Granger" and with that Draco moved away from the floo.
'So Hermione, you want to let me know why it is that you came, assaulted me with cold water and are now force feeding me soup?"
"You can thank me later Harry, let's wait until Ron and Draco are here as I do not want to have to tell this story twice and anyway I have to show you something as well."
Ron arrived to Grimmauld Place almost about the same time as Draco stepped through the floo. Ron was covered in soot and bruises. "Damn dragons got a hold of us during feeding time, it's good to see you Mione, especially looking as fit as ever"
She blushed a bit remembering the times they had spent together "Thanks Ron, come let me settle you in"
"Granger, Potter, Weaselby." Draco drawled as he stepped through the floo, his suite as immaculate as ever.
"Malfoy" Both Ron and Harry had spoken in unison.
It was as if they had not spent a moment apart, the three of them were thick as thieves. Yet this time there was another among them, someone to break up the trio. They caught up a bit about their day to day lives; Draco did not reveal much except to say that his family was in hiding. Soon Hermione wanted to get down to the reason she called them together.
"I need you three to come with me to Hogwarts tonight"
"Awwh Mione you know I hate going back there, especially after what happened" Ron lamented and picked at his food.
"You will not be disappointed and if I am right about this, we can change a lot of things."
At this their ears perked up. Draco had remained standing by the fireplace as if to make a quick escape if needed but at this revelation, he moved closer to where Harry and Ron were sitting.
"What are you on about Mione, nothing can be changed" Harry whined, looking lovingly at the empty bottles of Firewhiskey that Hermione had dumped in the sink while he ate.
"Let's go, it will be faster to floo to the headmaster's office, I had Minerva leave it open for us"
A few moments later they were walking into Professor McGonagall's office.
"Mister Potter, Mister Weasley and Mister Malfoy it is so good to see you" she spoke softly from behind her desk.
"Professor we meant to stay in touch but you know…" Ron rubbed the back of his neck as he immediately began to try and make excuses but he was quickly silenced by a wave of her hand dismissing him.
"Never you mind boy, I believe Hermione has more pressing issues."
"Come on guys lets go."
"Professor, could you make sure that my resident portrait is in the room waiting?"
"Yes of course, I believe that he is with Professor Dumbledore down by the portrait of the lake."
"Thank you Minerva."
"Think nothing of it Hermione."
"So they stuck you in the Slytherin tower huh?" Ron asked seemingly unable to comprehend how she could have been housed there.
"It's just a name Ron and you know what? A lot of Slytherins fought on our side and died trying to stop Voldemort, not every Slytherin is a bad guy", she looked at Draco as she said this, his face lowered as a quick blush colored his cheeks. Her voice had caught in her throat.
Ron knew she was talking about Professor Snape but it still didn't change the way he felt about their hated rivals. He thought she might have also wanted to include Draco in her statement but his change came a little too late in Ron's opinion.
Harry on the other hand had a more favorable opinion of Malfoy. "I am sure they did Hermione, I know it wasn't easy for a lot of them." His face flushed a bit as he looked almost tenderly at Draco. They had been hated rivals for so long but Harry could still remember the look of anguish on his face when he was faced with the task of killing Dumbledore. Draco could not do it, his hand wavered and his resolve broke. Harry had wanted to run to him, to give him his strength, to tell him everything would be okay but he found that doing so would surely mean his own death. He was ashamed that he had not been willing to sacrifice his own life to end all of this madness. He was also ashamed that he had kept his feelings for Malfoy so well hidden that even now he wondered what the young pureblood thought of him. Draco looked at him and Harry could almost make out a small smile at the corner of his mouth and it filled Harry with a joy he had not felt in such a long time.
The three followed Hermione in comparable silence as she led them all to her room in Slytherin tower.
"I have never seen this room Granger."
"I figured as much as it was in very bad shape when I got it. It took me almost a whole day to get it clean."
"Still trying to save the house elves huh?" Draco smirked and Harry let out a small laugh.
"Oh be quiet you two!" she smiled a bit more than she had expected to as their affronted faces. As they entered the room she looked over to see that the mirror still remained covered and that the Portrait Snape was not there.
The three entered and looked around throwing themselves down onto her bed they waited with bated breath to hear her speak. Before she could utter a syllable a familiar drawl emanated from the portrait on the wall.
"I suggest you remove your persons from Miss Granger's bed Potter, Weasley and Malfoy."
With speed she didn't know they possessed the three jumped up off her bed as if it had been lit on fire. She stifled the giggle that threatened to escape her throat. Severus' sneer did nothing to her, she knew how he was deep down and she could only smile at his attempt to scare the boys. Some things never changed.
"P-p-professor Snape…I didn't expect your portrait to be here." Harry spoke; he was flushed and excited all the same. This man had done so much for them that even now he was in awe of his sacrifice, all past animosity completely gone.
"Godfather, so good to see you again, even if it is like this." Draco's voice was soft, gone was the cold malice of old, all that was left was the child Severus had once known.
"Miss Granger, since we are done with the walk down memory lane, I suspect you have filled the three in on the situation?"
"No Sev-Professor." Hermione caught herself, the quick rise of his eyebrow stopped her almost before she could finish. The look conveyed all; he was not ready to share her with them. She felt she wasn't either.
"What's going on Mione?" Ron broke the silence as the three shuffled in their place waiting to find out just what was going on.
"You should just show them Miss Granger; I think these three will first need to see in order to believe."
"I believe you are correct Professor." With that Hermione turned and removed the black cloak that covered the mirror. The three stared at the mirror for a moment before they saw what Hermione had been seeing for a couple of days, they had no reflection.
"Hey, how are you doing that?" Ron waved his hand in front of his face, still no reflection was cast and he turned repeatedly to look back at the room then again to the mirror.
"The room is there but it isn't. How is this happening?" Draco spoke unable to keep the curiosity out of his voice.
"This mirror is serving like a portal at least that is what we think" Hermione gestured between her and the portrait of Snape.
"To where Hermione, if it's a portal it must lead somewhere, isn't that so?"
"Good question Potter, your answer is walking in the door as we speak. Look." Portrait Snape gestured to the room on the other side of the mirror.
With the very same long, purposeful strides they had become accustomed to seeing for the better part of their childhood the stranger on the other side of the mirror looked up to meet their open mouth stares.
"You've got to be fucking kidding me!"
"Language Mister Weasley." Portrait Snape reprimanded the ginger menace that at present was running a freckled hand through his slightly longer than normal hair.
"That's you Sir. I mean, that was you. You know what I mean."
"Yes Potter, your way with words is truly inspired."
"Stop Severus, they are confused and you aren't making it any better." Hermione had made her way over to the portrait and laid a small hand on the bottom of the frame. His eyes stared longingly at the delicate digits that seemed to caress the paint as if to calm him, as if he needed calming.
"Severus?" Draco wasn't sorted into Slytherin for nothing. He caught the use of the older man's given name and was not going to let it go.
"Draco, the use of my given name is a privilege I have granted to Miss Granger for personal reasons, I would expect you as a Slytherin, and as my godson to respect my wishes as they were in my life and leave it at that."
"Yes, Severus." Draco was smiling slyly now at Hermione, he knew something had been going on and before he could really take it in he thought of how painful it must have been for Granger to see him in this form. Before he could say anything though, another voice, previously unheard by any of them spoke.
"From the looks of it, it seems like you are having quite a gathering Miss Granger." She could hear Severus but he could not hear her.
She had not lifted the silencing spell that she had placed last night so he could only see them but he could not hear them. She gestured with her hand for him to give her a minute and she turned to the boys.
"Let me get to the point, we're going on a trip. At least I am hoping that you all will agree to come. There is a possibility that we may not come back and if we do, things may never be the same but if we are successful we can save a lot of lives." She looked to Harry and Ron; they had both lost so much. Ron was still hurting after the loss of his brother. Harry the loss of Dumbledore, Cedric, Remus, Sirius, his parents and countless others.
"I do not understand why I am here; it is my parents, my connections that did the damage. I should have been excluded; I do not deserve redemption in any form." Draco ran his delicate hand over his face, he didn't know why he was being included, it was wrong, he was the bad guy.
Portrait Severus spoke softly, as if Draco was the only one present. "Draco, you are here because just as I was led down the wrong path, so were you and your father. This is the opportunity to go and stop all this madness from happening. At least you can attempt to stem the tide. There is good in you Draco, I saw it as a small child, for too long you lived in the shadow of your parents and the prejudices that came with the name Malfoy. Now is the time to take your destiny into your own hands, make the best of it."
"My parents." Harry spoke. "Do you think I could save them?"
"It is possible Harry, however if we do not act now, this may not be an option. At this moment that Severus," she turned and pointed at the increasingly agitated younger version of the man she had grown to admire and love, "is poised to join the death eaters at the insistence of Lucius. It is best we move fast. Ron what do you think? Want to go on an adventure?"
Ron was caught off guard but quickly responded without thinking "Hell yeah, if it means I can save my brother, let's do it!"
"Good on you Weasley." Portrait Snape looked on at the youngest male Weasley with what could only be described as admiration at his bravado. He only wished he had shown the same sense of fortitude or courage when the chance had presented itself, he hoped now with them going, things would change.
"So is that a yes Harry? Draco?" Hermione looked to both men, they were men, no longer were they boys and awaited their answers. Harry looked over towards Draco who had his back slightly turned away from them and walked over to him. Harry placed his hand on his shoulder and could feel the sobs wracking the blond man's body. Draco raised a hand and placed it over Harry's. So much had changed in such a short time, these two rivals, now united in one goal.
"You aren't alone Draco. We're with you." Harry spoke softly, as if the words were only for the blond man in his grasp.
"I don't know why you're helping me but I am thankful nonetheless Potter."
"Please Draco, call me Harry, don't you think we are past this?" Green eyes pled with grey ones, one soul opening to the other.
"Harry…" The air between the two men was thick with unspoken words and guarded passion, Hermione felt as if she was intruding on an intimate and private moments. She looked away as if to not intrude further on the two.
"Well if you two are done, I think there are more pressing matters." Their former potion's professor snarled from behind his painted potion's workbench.
"Professor does this mean we may save you as well?" Ron has spoken directly at the potion's master.
"It is a possibility Ron." His use of the young man's name seemed to surprise no one especially with how he had spoken to Draco just a moment before. He had softened in the time since his death, some would say that a portrait held no feelings, they would be wrong. Hermione knew that whatever magic they weaved on these portraits it was unique to the subject; something of the man she loved was there, swirling in the colors. She could feel his magic as it reached out to her, it beckoned her closer to the frame, her hand softly caressing the billowing robes painted in all their wondrous glory.
"I have taken the liberty to pack some of the things we will need on our little trip, I hope that you all have your wands because that is all that we need now. If any of you chose not to go, I will Obliviate you before you leave this room. This mission is too important, I cannot risk anyone finding out." Her words were harsh but had its intended affects, the three nodded in agreement and turned to face the mirror once again.
"How is it going to work?" Harry asked as he ran his hand alongside the outside frame of the mirror, inspecting it from all angles. He wondered if it had a secret handle or compartment like the spy movies he had seen as a child. All the while the younger Severus stared in awe at what he was watching, still unable to hear what transpired.
"Dumbledore and I have determined that it requires a concentrated effort on the part of Miss Granger and me. Well that is, the younger version of me on the other side."
"Well, let us see what we can get to then, shall we?" Hermione asked as she cancelled the silencing spell.
"It's about time Granger. Do you want to tell me why I have these three prats staring at me as if I were on display at the London Zoo?" Mirror Severus was all swagger and cockiness, Hermione could not help feel a bit aroused by his manner. She wondered what he would be like in person, if he would radiate the same intensity that 'her' Severus had. His robes were impeccable now as she had transfigured them earlier and she saw he had taken care to make sure his hair was tied back neatly in a leather thong. He wasn't classically handsome but there was something primal and animal calling out to her and for a moment she feared it, but knew she had to go forward, there was not turning back.
"Severus, I think you know who these two are. My memories must have shown you who they are. Ron, Harry, this is Severus Snape. He is a seventh year Slytherin."
"Cheers mate." Her two friends looked a bit uncomfortable addressing the younger man. Draco however did not speak. The younger man in the mirror looked at the blond man and cocked his head to the side as if he recognized the boy.
"You look familiar, but not from Miss Granger's memories, could you step closer to the mirror?"
Draco came out from the shadow that was cast by the mirror and the mirror Severus gasped but quickly schooled his features.
"Hello Severus, it would seem you know my father, Lucius."
"You're Lucius' son?"
"Yes I am, I am also your godson."
"Well then, I am sure that is all the surprises you have in store for me Miss Granger, or is there something else?"
Hermione gestured to Harry to get closer to the mirror. This time the younger Severus drew his wand.
"No Severus, it's not James, look closer."
Severus did not lower his wand instead he came closer to the mirror and out from beyond the great expanse he saw the eyes of the girl that had been his only friend, his sister, his Lily in the face of his enemy.
"No it can't be."
The younger Severus began to pace the room, his long fingered hands buried into his dark hair releasing the long locks from their clasp at the base of his neck.
"Severus, look at me."
He turned to the soft voice of the girl in the mirror, this must be a sick joke he thought, there was no way that his friend had married an absolute git like James, and it wasn't possible, was it? It had to be, there was the proof, staring at him from beyond space and time.
"Severus, listen to me." It was Harry that spoke this time.
"Why should I listen to you Potter?" The words were not spoken; they were spit as if poison on his tongue.
"Because I know what my mother did to you and I also know what my father and his friends did and I am ashamed of their behavior. I am so very sorry that you had to suffer so much. I have seen what they have done to you and I want to make sure that it never happens again and that in some way my mother finds it in her heart to forgive you Severus. You deserve as much, please let us try."
His words were spoken with honesty and with none of the spite that Severus had heard James use so many times to address him. Severus watched as Lucius' son walked over to the boy and placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. Harry could not keep his own hand from coming up and covering Draco's, finding in the small gesture a brief amount of solace and strength.
"How do you think you can accomplish that?" Severus spoke solemnly, not believing really that anything can change. He had never been cut a break in his entire life, the only brief moment of happiness had come during his small interactions with the girl that now stood among the three interlopers on the other side of this enchanted mirror.
"Master Snape, you will listen to me and you will listen well." Portrait Snape was now addressing Mirror Severus and his tone resolute, sounding much like the potion's professor they had all grown to loathe.
"Yes Sir, only I wish I knew who I had the honor of addressing Sir." The Slytherin in him had to try and appeal to the still unseen man.
"You're Slytherin tactics will not work on me boy."
"It was worth trying."
Hermione giggled as she saw a very petulant looking Snape cross his arms, his mouth almost in a pout at his failure to smooth talk himself. He looked at her and she could briefly make out a dash of red on his cheeks.
"This mirror has somehow been activated as a result of the combined magic of both you and Miss Granger." Portrait Snape continued to address the younger Severus.
"I have compared your notes with mine Severus and I think if we both want it enough; we should be able to use the mirror as a door to the other side."
"You plan on me going there?"
"No, we plan on coming through. You saw what awaits you and this world. We intend on changing that, are you game?" Hermione jutted her chin forward, challenging the younger man to take a risk, to change his future.
The younger man cocked his head at the brazen girl before him. She was so beautiful when she was alight with passion. He wondered briefly if he could make her feel for him what his older version had, what he would have to do to win her.
"Okay then Granger, let's do it."
She could not keep the smile from spreading across her face. It was wide and full of joy, her eyes briefly filled with unshed tears of joy. She walked over to the portrait that Severus could still not see and he could see her whispering to its occupant, the look on her face was of pure joy and excitement.
Meanwhile the other three were busy looking at Severus. He felt a bit uncomfortable, on display for their glaring eyes. "Having a good look, boys?" he sneered, he did not like being studied. He turned away from the mirror wanting very much for Hermione to return.
"Sorry mate, it's just that this is really strange, I mean you are twenty years in the past!" The one he knew was named Ron spoke. Ron seemed dumbfounded that this was actually happening, but alas it was and it would be best that he got with the program, or so to speak.
"Stop gawking you ginger twit, whatever is happening is beyond our control, I am just as confused as you are."
"You confused? That is hard to believe" the ginger menace spoke, before Severus could respond Hermione was back, holding a small parchment in her hand. She placed the parchment in front of the mirror so that only Severus could see what was written on it.
He gasped at reading the words.
It was all true. Everything she had said, she was in the future, this was happening and if there was just a scrap of a chance that they could change all the things he had seen in her memories, what he just read now, he was going to do it.
"Are you ready?" Hermione's words broke his reverie and he just nodded.
"Fire the same spell you did when you first saw me and we will do the rest. Do you understand?"
Severus was still momentarily taken aback from what he had read.
Turning to the boys she briefly explained the spell each one must say at the same exact moment. "It is all about elemental magic, we must all recreate as best we can the conditions in which the mirror was activated. I will fire the same spell as Severus as we are the ones that activated the mirror, are we clear?"
Each nodded in assent.
"Wands at the ready boys" Hermione turned, fixed her enchanted bag to her hip and briefly looked back at the portrait of the man she loved. He inclined his head and held up a hand in a gesture of farewell. The tears in her eyes threatened to fall once again but steadying herself she turned to the mirror and faced the future.
In unison they all began to shout out.
And lastly Hermione looked at Severus and pointed her wand strong and with a fierce determination she shouted as she watched him mouth the words "O Ignis!"
The light that forced its way out of the mirror was blinding and the four friends huddled together, their arms linking, anchoring themselves to each other, the light began to encompass them and then suddenly they were gone.
The silence was deafening.
The mirror faded to black and alongside the wall near the door a portrait no longer hung in its previous place. Somewhere else in the castle another portrait no longer hung in its place of honor.