Author's Note 2017: This fic is rough. It's long and drawn out; it's like a soap opera. It's funny and dramatic and serious and really quite dark at some points but it's rough. Take your time. Have fun. This is the first fanfic I ever wrote and definitely the longest anything I've ever written, and it got away from me, but I'm seeing it through.
If you don't like that, you really don't have to read it. That doesn't offend me in anyway. It just takes a second to X out.
Check out my other fics if you're interested in something with more substance.
Also, before you waste our time to say her name is ridiculous and you're hung up on it: that's the point. Pure bloods have wild names. Just go with it. Imagine "Hermione" in it's place if you need to.
Thanks to everyone who reads, follows, favorites, reviews and PMs. I appreciate all of it, all of you, more than you know.
The Snake Charmer
"No matter how far you have gone down the wrong road, turn back."
"Take time to consider what you're agreeing to, Miss. Granger," Professor Snape advised, his voice guarded and calm as he stood by the window. His eyes were fixed on something beyond the school grounds, and the young witch got the feeling he was avoiding looking at her in attempt to guard himself. "He may not be the Dark Lord you know of today, but he will still be powerful beyond his years. He would have already begun his transition into immortality. He will be the Dark Lord, despite his outer charm and allure."
He remained silent for a while, allowing her to soak in his words before turning towards her. Finding the determination he'd become accustomed to full in her eyes, he sat on the accent bench. The cushioning was uncomfortable, but went unnoticed by him, as the whole of the office was uncomfortable to him. "He won't care for another simpering, belle of a follower, but you mustn't make yourself into a threat, either."
At his pause, Dumbledore spoke up quietly, "I do believe we should trust her judgment, Severus. Hermione isn't the smartest witch of her age for no reason." He took the icy look the Potions Master gave him in stride. "She is aware of what she is agreeing to. We've spent the whole summer going over the case."
"The only reason Miss. Granger is aware of the lair she is walking into is because of the training she's had with myself. This is my last attempt to not sacrifice another innocent, Albus," Snape's voice rose slightly.
"Please, give us a little credit, Severus. We have been with you every step, after all. Not to mention the fact that we already know-," the headmaster was cut off by Hermione, who'd cleared her throat carefully.
"With all due respect, sir, I believe that Professor Snape's final guidance would be smarter. I hold you and Professor McGonagall's opinions and teachings in high regard, but he has been by the Dark Lord's side. If anyone can help me get through this, it's him," she smiled timidly at her professor, who watched her carefully.
The headmaster studied the pair before rising from the desk and nodding at them both, "Of course, Miss. Granger. I wish you strength and success in your mission, and I will see you when you when you return," he bowed out, silently disapparting.
Snape sighed, and gave Hermione an uncharacteristic look of humor, as he seemed to deflate before her eyes. It was an action she had become accustomed to, having spent nearly six hours a day with him all summer. "He has always been one for dramatics," he announced, clearing his face of emotion before continuing.
"I do trust your judgment, Miss. Granger. You've proven yourself thoroughly throughout not only your time here at Hogwarts but during our sessions as well. I am, simply put, worried for you. I'm not sure what you will come to mean to the Dark Lord. It's all very unclear." He spoke unguardedly.
She accepted his words as she would her parents'. Having grown to consider him two separate people, Severus and her Professor, her respect for him changed swiftly from that of someone you may not like very much to someone you turned to for comfort. Though she'd never admit that to him. For some reason, although he'd deemed her worthy enough to see another side of him, she felt he wouldn't be too keen on allowing her to speak of the difference with candor. The man she'd known that summer was borderline caring and charismatic, although still thoroughly severe in his lectures on the Dark Lord and his Knights.
She noticed him studying her, and blushed. "Professor, may I ask something about…what I'm about to do?"
"Well, I'm curious about the success of my actions. I understand the theory behind it, that anything I may do during my time in the past has already been done therefore will not impact the timeline, but it all seems so pointless. Was I unsuccessful? Am I in danger of him realizing who I am? Does it even matter for me to go back to his final year of Hogwarts?"
He remained silent for a second too long, leaving her feeling vulnerable and uncomfortable. She didn't fidget or show sign of being uncomfortable under his gaze, which pleased him. It wouldn't do to show distress in front of the Dark Lord, even if he would still be Tom Riddle. "As I said, it's all very unclear. However, it's important that you do this. Whatever you did, you impacted him enough to have him just as interested in getting you as he is Potter. He is even, seemingly, emotionally invested, as troublesome as that may be. When you return, you will know him more intimately than you do now, and hopefully more so than anyone, ever. If you are successful, you will know what it takes to win this war. Albus may believe that Harry is the only one to be able to end it, but Miss. Granger, what is that Muggle saying? Ah, yes, it takes a village. He wouldn't have survived first, or any, year if not for you."
"You, too, Professor," she said quickly, needing no time to soak in his words. Hermione had the ability to process thoughts as quickly as she heard them, resulting in little to no time needed to consider her reply. "Actually, you're more important than any of us. We wouldn't be-," she seemed to realize that he wouldn't care for her words of encouragement. "Thank you."
He smirked. "Do you have any other worries?"
"I won't be myself if I return, will I?" Her eyes widened with uncharacteristic innocence, and he realized that despite still being a Hogwarts student, the person before him was a young woman. It was a difficult realization, despite the fact that he'd known she was a legal witch for over a year now.
"You won't be the person you are right now. You will have to dabble, Miss. Granger," he didn't have to say 'in the dark arts' for her to understand, "maybe even embrace and kill. It doesn't make you a worse person. Remember that it's not the journey, but the destination. All is fair in love and war."
She bit her lip and asked, "What if I'm not as strong as I think I am?"
"You won't be alone when you return. You have your friends, Miss Granger. And I will be here to help you as well. I will understand," his eyes softened in sincerity.
"Thank you, Professor. Truly. I feel better knowing that you have helped me."
He kneeled before her, and took one of her hands. "You will be successful, Miss. Granger. You needn't worry about being seduced by the dark arts, being killed, or discovered. Dumbledore knows that you return, he would not allow you to go if he didn't." He stood up keeping her hand in his, "I believe, Hermione, that you are more prepared than you think. You know your story; you know what you're walking into. Trust yourself."
She got the feeling that he was leaving something very vital out, but decided not to comment on it as he pulled her up. He prepared her the way be believed he though would be beneficial; she wouldn't question what he was withholding.
Instead, she said, "I'm afraid that once I understand him, I won't hate him anymore."
He actually smiled, slipping her shrunken belongings into her left pocket and the letter to Dumbledore in her right. Reaching for the specially programmed time turner around her neck, he began to turn it. When she felt the sensation she would never grow accustomed to, (it was like having an itch she couldn't scratch all over her body, from the inside out,) she heard him speak. His voice sounded years away, and she supposed he was as she faded from Gryffindor's office.
"You will hate him, my lady; you will simply no longer fear him."