Plot, new characters, new magical terms and abilities etc. are my intellectual property. If you want to borrow then please kindly ask. JK Rowling's characters and Wizarding Universe are all uniquely hers.

Summary: It's 6 years Post Book 7 & most of our favourites live on.

Hermione's determination to create spells lands her and Snape in an alternate universe, one unknown by the Ministry of Magic & Muggles alike. How will they get back to all that they know? – SS/OC pairing!

Notes:

Alternate Universe (literally), Fantasy, Drama, Angst. This is a story I've had in mind for years. It was inspired by the "Dead Realm" and "Haunted" Series of Photomanipulations by J-Master on deviantArt.

Alternate Universe

by NativeMoon

Chapter 2: Strange Brew

Snape made no comment as he walked around Hermione's Laboratory several months later. There was only the scratching of his quill-tipped pen in a black notebook after he examined the projects on each table. As each of the Master Candidates had been required to submit an introductory research paper after the first month, there were no questions to be asked. Or so she thought.

He stood behind the table nearest her and Hermione could swear for a moment that the normally unreadable Potions Master frowned.

'Tell me Miss Granger, after so much fuss about Spell Creation and needing to break the rules why are you approaching your Time studies with typical Ministerial restraint?' Snape said, breaking the tension-filled silence at last.

'I uh…Sir?'

'Bell Jars containing Time Essence & looping Spells – no different to the work of the average Unspeakable in The Department of Mysteries as you ought to recall from the battle you took part in there during your Fifth Year. If your life's ambition is securing a role with that tedious group I'm sure Minister Shacklebolt will grant you a post.'

There was no further comment as Snape tucked the notebook and pen in his Master's Robes and swept from the room.

xxXXOOXXxx

'I DON'T BELIEVE HIM!' Hermione roared later that week as she stomped into the Weasley kitchen with Ginny on her heels. She hadn't stopped going off at Snape's latest injustice since she was let into the house.

'What's the Greasy Git done to you this time?' Ginny's brother Ron asked with a smirk.

'It's not funny Ronald!' Hermione snapped. 'First he gets on my case because I wasn't sticking to the official Ministry Guidelines for admission into the Master's Certification Programme and now he's being a pain in the arse because I am!'

'Uh 'Mione – I'm not trying to be funny or anything, but you did what you had to do to get in, like Snape said. But there's nothing in the rules to stop you from being…creative…with all this now that you're there, which seems to be what he's thinking,' her best friend, Ginny's husband Harry Potter said carefully as he literally moved himself further along the table from her while still seated to avoid being hit with something.

'You have to admit Snape's got a point,' Ron said, looking at Harry in faint disbelief before returning his attention to their closest friend. 'Capturing Time in Bell Jars and testing boring old spells in them is exactly what the Unspeakables in the Time Room do in the Department of Mysteries, which of course we aren't supposed to know anything about mind you. Anyway – what's the point of sitting there all day every day watching each spell and variation endlessly repeat itself? Imagine all the things they could be doing and experimenting with, plus on a larger scale with all that space instead of…'

'…that's it!' Hermione cried as she jumped up. 'Ronald you are a bloody GENIUS!'

'Well… you know. Uh – what did I say?' Ron asked as he watched Hermione race out the front door.

'No idea mate, but whatever it was it must have been good,' Harry commented. 'It's not like her to pass up on a decent home-cooked meal!'

'Again!' Ginny added.

xxXXOOXXxx

'You require a larger laboratory space in addition to the generously apportioned one which every Master's Candidate is assigned,' Snape said very slowly as he circled Hermione in his office at Hogwarts later that evening.

'Yes, Sir.'

'One that is on par with a certain room with a certain archway in it (which you are technically supposed to be ignorant of).'

'Yes, Sir.'

'And your need is so urgent and so very important that you could not wait until your review session next week.'

'Well… Yes! Sir!'

'Is there anything else you require whilst we are on the subject of substandard Ministry accommodation?'

'I need a Time-Turner…well seven of them really but if I have to make do with just one then I will.'

A strange noise came from Snape's mouth. Hermione didn't know what it was meant to be but whatever it was scared her a bit.

'Dearie me, Miss Granger – you seem to have missed the memo that went around at the time of you unauthorised shenanigans…Every Time-Turner in the Department of Mysteries was destroyed thanks to the ridiculous arrogance of you and your friends in taking on elite Death Eaters during your bedtime eight years ago. I could not give you a single one, let alone the seven you think you're entitled to, even if I cared to!'

'A memo?'

'Still not up to your usual standard I see. Sarcasm, Miss Granger.'

'Oh, right. Well… the Ministry absolutely doesn't have any and hasn't seen fit to re-develop them? Great, just great.'

'The Ministry is still trying to rebuild everything the Dark Lord and his sycophants destroyed in the last war, and this school is no exception. Ours were the only Wizarding Institutions impacted unlike collaborators and competitors on the Continent and across the world. Time-Turners have not been and are still not a priority for the Ministry and I daresay they are not likely to be for some time. You will of course recall that they have always been locked away and allowed to be used only with special dispensation. Even if we still had a few it your request might not be approved.'

'Professor McGonagall told you about how I was allowed to have one in my Third Year?!'

'No, as it happens. As Headmaster, the school's secrets became mine to guard upon conferral of this office. Yours is but one I have kept and will continue to keep beyond my death.'

'Oh…sorry Sir.'

Snape took a deep breath and stared out of the nearest window.

'Sometimes we are forced to create what we need out of sheer necessity, Miss Granger. It is how many functional objects came into being which Wizardingkind now takes for granted. Our wands are a prime example of the old Muggle axiom "necessity is the mother of invention".'

He turned around to face Hermione and there was no mistaking the look in his black eyes.

'I don't know if…'

'Do it or don't; it is entirely up to you. I am not the one in need of this object.'

'Right Sir…'

'And Miss Granger?'

'Yes, Headmaster?'

'The next time you dare to intrude in my work here as Headmaster for something so trivial; that will be your final day in the Master's Programme.'

xxXXOOXXxx

'So – he didn't throw you out of his office Friday night?' Harry asked Hermione the following Wednesday over coffee in the Ministry cafeteria. It was the only time they could meet that was mutually convenient. Fortunately there weren't many people about so early in the morning and they were guaranteed privacy.

'No – he actually heard me out,' she replied quietly, still puzzled.

'…and at the end of it he said to not bother him at Hogwarts again – for something so "trivial"…'

'Yes.'

'And he pretty much gave you carte blanche to create a you-know-what.'

'Yeah… strange, isn't it?'

'I must be missing something because I'm not seeing what the problem is here; you're getting what you wanted Hermione. Again.'

'I got more than I asked for Harry – a lot more,' Hermione said quietly, moving closer as she opened the Morning Prophet across most of the small table.

Harry moved closer and feigned interest in the latest Wicked Whispers gossip column about the lifestyles of rich and famous in their community. As has been the case since the end of the War, Snape was a hot topic of speculation. Not even his sexuality was spared. Harry winced at the latest slander and looked over at his breakfast companion.

'Oh really? Well, what's he done then?'

'He got me access to the Department of Mysteries,' Hermione whispered as she held her coffee cup up as though taking a sip. 'ALL of it. Including you-know-which-creepy-room and the research library. Even though he technically helps all the Candidates & gets additional Master's Credits (it's not like he actually needs them), he can choose one of us to work with him as an Apprentice and it becomes a joint project recognised by the Ministry as one with "Special Significance to the Wizarding Community." That's the excuse he's using at any rate. I've been down there in the new lab all by myself so far.'

There was only the slightest intake of breath before Harry let it out with a whispered "Bloody Hell".

'The tide must have really turned for him to be able to make that happen and so fast,' he said quietly at last. 'DoM access… The easiest way to create one is to get the details on how they were made – and DoM is the only place where you can easily find that. The Ministry already gave you access before, in a way, just by letting you have you-know-what. You showed them what you were made of and you proved that you could be trusted. And they know all about what happened in our Fifth Year. We know what's down there and we've kept our mouths shut all these years. There hasn't been so much as a whisper about it, not even in The Prophet. Granting you access makes sense for your project though, when you think about it – and it is Kingsley who has the final word now as the Minister of Magic, even over any objections from the Wizengamot. So yeah – what Snape's done for you makes perfectly good – and fair – sense.'

'It does – and it frightens me. Even I didn't think of that and it's bloody genius!'

'So he obviously respects your abilities after all this time even if he doesn't like you very much,' Harry said slowly. 'You've arrived, girl!'

'He loathes the ground I walk on, Harry.'

'He used to hate me too but that's all water under the bridge now.'

'Really now? After everything your parents and Sirius and Lupin…sorry, it's not my place to comment on any of that.'

'Why should you be any different to everyone else who keeps offering me their opinions? Look: Headmaster Snape isn't ready to talk to me about the memories he let me have for Dumbledore's Pensieve when he thought he was a dead man. And he's still very angry that people actually know about all that even though it exonerated him. It's nobody else's business, but I've forgiven him. He's the bravest man I've ever known and that's saying something considering how I used to blindly worship the ground my father walked on. I have nothing but respect for the Headmaster now that I know everything he kept secret for all those years and why. I understand why he ended up like he is even if I don't like how he ran his classroom. A few changes in his circumstances growing up and he'd have been a completely different person…and we'd probably all be Voldemort's slaves right now, those of us "lucky" to be alive anyway. Everything happened the way it was meant to: that's my theory anyway and I'm sticking to it.'

'That's a very spiritual way of looking at it Harry. He's got more lives than a cat, that one; albeit very complicated ones.'

'Lucky for us, eh? I better get going. We're going to be taking some doors later. The last ones, it looks like.'

'The Malfoys included in that?'

'No,' Harry said bitterly. 'They've all gotten a full pardon for "defecting" just before the end of the last war.'

'"Defecting"?!' Hermione whispered shrilly. 'It's not like they rebelled and joined our side! They ran off the first chance they got along with a lot of You-Know-Who's other followers when you "came back to life" – as it were!'

'That's what I said, but what do I know. I'm just a Senior Auror, specially trained in the detection and capture of Dark Wizards. But remember that Narcissa Malfoy lied to You-Know-Who about me being dead during the battle at Hogwarts and got away with it. Pretty impressive since Snape once said to me that You-Know-Who almost always knew when he was being lied to. She could have given me up right there on the spot while I was playing dead but she didn't. It was for purely selfish reasons but the Ministry thinks that's worthy of pardoning her Death Eater husband and precious Death Eater son too since they ran with her.'

'You're one who defeated You-Know-Who!'

'With Headmaster Snape's help every step of the way and yours and Ron's – and Narcissa's too in a strange sort of way even if I do still think she's an elitist cow,' Harry said rising. 'I need to get going but good luck with Snape and keep me posted…He's obviously trying to get you to think without doing the work for you.'

'I can't believe I'm the one complaining about the Greasy Git and you're being so – charitable.'

'Look – the man still doesn't have the best social skills in the world but he is being fair with you. You know what he's up against Hermione, better than anyone else in the Programme. This is make-or-break for him along with his job at Hogwarts. Don't cause problems where there doesn't need to be any.'