Snape arose with the same feeling he got whenever he slept. He was worried that he had been unguarded for so long. He headed to his on-suite bathroom and let the warm shower hit him. It woke him up completely. Dressing in a clean set of black robes, black shirt and black boots and he headed down for breakfast. Although he knew he would not eat. It was Dumbledore's orders that he attend meal times to avoid suspicion. He walked through the empty dungeons making no effort to be quiet. The students should be up and ready he thought. He was feeling refreshed so his mood should be good but for some reason it wasn't. something didn't feel right.
Hermione awoke to a dull light shining through the window. She turned to face the clock. Half past seven. Might as well get up she thought. She collected her things and headed down to the prefects bathroom. Once she was washed and dressed she headed back to her dorm to pack her things for the upcoming day. She packed her charms and defence against the dark arts book, her muggle studies paper and the duplicate of Harry's invisibility cloak. Just in case! She walked down to the great hall with Lavender and Pavarti who were making plans for the upcoming holidays. It was weeks away Hermione thought. She found the hall buzzing with students all talking and excited. She looked around for Harry and Ron but they were no where to be seen. She sat down next to Neville who was engrossed in his herbology book. Hermione respected Nevilles effort. He was working his hardest on the one subject he was good at. He could actually make a career in medicine if he really tried. The owls swooped in with the daily mail and papers. Everyone's buzz changed. Hermione looked at Nevilles paper. There on the front page was the attack on Hogsmead that she witnessed only a day ago. In a smaller title it said "Severus Snape, friend or foe"
"Neville do you mind if I read this?" he looked up at her.
"oh hi Hermione, sure take it" and he turned his head back into his book.
Hermione was half reading the article when she was joined by Harry and Ron.
"that greasy haired, big nosed git" Ron muttered.
"Always knew he was bad, now Dumbledore will have to get rid of him" Harry added. His tone very tense.
Hermione turned to the two boys.
"don't be so ridiculous. You know nothing that Reta Skeeta post's is true. You of all people Harry know how that feels"
"but Hermione there's a picture of him there in Hogsmead. it's a little funny that the day he decides to take a leisurely stroll there's an attack from the death eaters. I bet you ten gallons no a hundred gallons that he was in on it"
"don't be so cruel" she said and turned to read the article again.
Luna joined them. "good luck for quiddict later Harry" she said in her calm voice.
"quiddict?" Hermione asked the two boys.
"Yeah Gryffindor versus Hufflepuff. First game of the season." Ron said. He was quiddict mad and his enthusiasm usually showed this but his voice was off.
"Hermione you really have been doing too much work for them damn elves, you have no idea what's going on in the real world" she gave him a slight smile.
"so how did try outs go?" she asked Ron. He turned his head to Harry and his ears went pink.
"errr not so well, didn't make the team" he muttered.
"that's not my fault Ron" Harry shouted and stormed off.
Hermione was slightly taken aback. Ron dismissed his friends behaviour.
"its ok, him and Ginny aren't talking so try outs were even more difficult"
"oh" she said. They began discussing there days lessons. Hermione gave a slight ward glance towards Snape. There in front of him sat a plate of muffins and cookies with a note that he screwed up next to it. His eyes were piercing and he was staring rather confusingly at her. So she quickly turned her head away,
"he doesn't look in a good mood today, better watch it in your detention tonight" Ron said before getting up. Hermione remained seated. She was waiting to see when Snape would leave. He was usually the first teacher to leave but today he sat there absently looking down at the table. Dumbledores smiling eyes never let on what Hermione knew. Professor Flitwick passed her. "don't be late miss granger"
"yes sir, just finishing my pumpkin juice" and he smiled and waved as he headed out the doors.
As she stored Nevilles paper in her bag and began clearing her things. Snape got up and walked through the hall. The remaining students heads turned and whispered after him. Never in his sight though. He did not look happy. As he passed her, he dropped the screwed up paper onto the floor at her feet and continued to walk away. She picked up the note. For some reason her stomach had butterflies. She was excited that he had chosen to give her a secret note. When she opened up the paper she read it
"to the master of potions, I have made you some treats, enjoy. Miss Hermione Granger" she couldn't help but laugh. Dobby's way of helping was by sending him muffins. She was a little relieved as dobby's help usually got Harry into more trouble than it was worth. She stuffed the note in her bag and headed to charms.
She was learning a new charm today and she actually enjoyed her lesson. Professor Flitwick praised her for her good work and that she had mastered the charm before the rest of the class. She skipped from her charms lesson down to her defence against the dark arts. She took her place next to Harry and Ron.
They were doing a mock exam so the class was silent and the essay paper lay in front of each of them. Harry and Ron gave the same grimace they always did. Hermione got stuck and in actually enjoyed the paper.
"times up, hand you papers in and leave quietly" their professors voice called.
"so how did you do?" she asked the two boys.
"alright" they said together. They headed down to the great hall for lunch. The students were once again buzzing. Shouting for which team they wanted to win the match. Lunch passed very quickly. Surprisingly Hermione's day was going okay. She enjoyed spending time with Harry and Ron.
She headed down to her last lesson of the day. Muggle studies. Being muggle born Hermione didn't even need to study this but she found interesting. She spent the lesson explaining what professions muggle people did and how muggle schools were different to Hogwarts. The bells chimes. It was five o clock. As her fellow students made there way down to the quiddict pitch she headed for the dungeons. Detention time she thought. One night with Snape surely couldn't be so bad. She entered her potions class. Snape was sat behind his desk marking papers.
"Miss Granger you are exactly two minutes late" her face dropped.
"sorry sir" she took a seat at the other side of his desk.
"we are not staying Miss Granger so do not unpack your things"
"sir" she looked up at him.
"I am the fortunate one to be on gate duty tonight so you will accompany me"
She smiled at him
"you will not enjoy it" he said in his brisk tone. He got up and began walking. She followed him. His cloak swishing against the corridor floor. Their footsteps echoed through the castle. They reached the castle doors and when Snape opened them they were greeted with howling wind and pouring rain. In the distance they could hear the cheers and shouts coming from the pitch. Hermione gazed up, she could make out the tiny figures darting through the sky. Snape turned away from the pitch and headed towards to front of the school. The ground was slippery and Hermione near fell a few times. Snapes footsteps gripped to the ground. They passed the darkened lake and water crashed against the rocks. Snape stopped for just a second, took in a deep breath and continued walking. Hermione had a slight smile on her face and she watched the man in front of her. They had nearly reached the gate. The wind roared again and Hermione pulled her cloak around her. Snape didn't seem bothered by the poring rain. As they reached the gate a small hut appeared. Snape approached the door and used his wand as a key. The door swung open. Hermione followed him inside.
He lit a tiny lantern. She expected to see more in the room but it was nearly empty. A two seated couch lay in the centre facing the window. There was a small stove in the corner and a large fire place. A rug lay at her feet. He took off his now soaked cloak and hung it on a hook next to the door. He lit the fire. Hermione had no idea what to do.
"do you know how to close a door girl?" she jumped and quickly shut the door.
She walked over to the seat and sat down. Snape however did not. He stood at the window watching.
"Agnes" he called out. A small house elf appeared.
"yes what can Agnes do for the master of potions"
"please fetch me a chair will you?" he asked. Hermione was surprised at how kind his tone was. I guess he's not all bad then. Snape turned to Hermione who was still shaking for the cold.
"and a blanket for miss Granger"
"yes sir" and away the elf went. It was only seconds later when a small wooden chair appeared in the room with a blanket folded neatly on top of it. Snape tossed the blanket over to Hermione.
" thank you sir" she said.
"I don't think professor Dumbledore would be very pleased with me if one of his favourite students was to die of pneumonia" Hermione was still grateful and pulled the blanket round her.
He moved the chair to the window and stared outside.
"sir can I ask since when has this hut been here?" he waited a moment before answering her.
"that is none of your concern Miss Granger but the hut that we are in is invisible to everyone who does not know it is here."
"clever" she replied and the room fell silent again.
"now tell me Miss Granger why you sent me muffins this morning? Were you trying to worm your way out of detention" Hermione's cheeks blushed pink.
"well you see sir, I umm was talking to a friend about my worries and he suggested muffins I guess" Hermione thought it was best to leave out the fact that it was a house elf's idea. She did not want Snape to punish Dobby.
"you worry that I do not eat enough muffins Miss Granger? Surely there are more important things happening in your world than how many cakes I eat?" he asked with a slight smirk on his face.
"well sir it wasn't how many cakes you were eating as such, but the fact that you don't appear to eat much at all" he was surprised by her honest answer, and for a split moment he felt a warm feeling wash through his body. Someone actually cared for him. Someone who he went out of his way to be horrible too.
"Well Miss Granger"
"fine Hermione then, I can assure that I can take care of myself and that you need not send me any more cakes" he turned away to face the window again.
The silence filled the air. An hour or so passed by. The quiddict match was still going on as the distant noise could just be heard. Snape had not said anything to her and had not turned his head from the window.
"Sir, would you mind if I worked on one of my essays?"
He turned to face her.
"I don't care how you spend your time Miss Granger as long as it isn't wasting anymore of mine"
Hermione began working on her charms project. The small elf appeared again.
"your fire whiskey sir" Snape turned to look at Hermione.
"I will have it later, thank you Agnes, best not drink in front of students" and the elf disappeared.
Snape went to the stove and pulled out some muggle tea and hot chocolate.
"drink?" he asked abruptly.
"yes please" she said looking up from her paper which was almost full. He made her hot chocolate. He did not ask if she wanted sugar nor did he ask if she wanted milk. He walked over to her and handed her the drink. As she took it from his hands she noticed how cold he was. Yet he never seemed bothered by it.
"thank you" she said and she sipped the drink. He had made tea for himself. He took his place back at the window and rested his cup on the window sill. She went back to writing her paper. It wasn't long and she had fallen asleep. Her head resting on the pile of books that she had pulled from her bag.
Snape turned to look at her sleeping. For the first time he took in her perfection. She had fair skin. Rosey cheeks. A peaceful smile. Yet her eyes were surrounded with dark circles. What has she been doing lately that would make her look so tired? He wondered. He stared toward the gates. He could make out the usual smokey shapes attempting to break in. they get so far and then are bounced off the barrier. He watched the rain pour down. He sat in the chair and sipped his tea. He was a lot more comfortable now Hermione slept. The quiddict match must have finished as the noise had died down and far in the distance more lights were reflected from the castle. A few more hours passed by. He despised being on gate duty. It was boring. Although he enjoyed it more when he was alone. He turned to face Hermione. Her face looked scared. Her eyes squinted and her fists clenched.
"What could she possibly be dreaming about, that terrifies her so much?" he wondered. He turned back to his duty. Curiosity got the better of him.
"legilimens" and he entered her mind. He was a master of occulumency. Probably one of the few people in the whole castle who could do it without the person ever knowing. When he went into her mind he was horrified. He saw images of death eaters, dememtors. He knew the field he was in. the same one he used when voldemort penetrated his mind. He used the field as a false fear. He hid so much below the frozen surfaces. Many feared the dementors so that would not be an unusual fear. He then saw flashes of his childhood. He saw his father and mother. He saw a younger version of himself. He saw her Lily. That was enough. He withdrew from her mind. He felt the little colour he had in him leave. He felt the sweat trickle down from his forehead. He felt the pain of loosing Lily all over again. He felt the anger building up.
"Wake up Miss Granger" he shouted. She jumped at his loud voice.
"Get Out" he screamed at her.
"is everything alright professor?" he grabbed her by her arm and pulled her up. Threw his own wet cloak over her and pushed her out the door.
"Do not come near me again" he sneered. His voice dangerous and loud. His eyes dark, black, scared and angry. He could not be near her now.
frightened she grabbed his cloak partly covered herself with it and ran from the hut. She ran up the hill. When she was far away enough she stopped to take a breath. She wondered what the time was. The castle was dark. The quiddict was obviously over. It must be nearly midnight or even passed it. Then she thought of Snape. What had she done to make him so angry? Why did he throw her out like that, when he had shown her some care or at least curtsy. Thunder rolled in the sky above her and lightening struck the sky.
She continued her trail up to the castle.
Snape called the elf and drank the fire whiskey in one go. It calmed him and he took some deep breaths. He went over to the sofa, lay down and rubbed his head. How could he loose it like that? He was so controlled. He felt bad as the lightening lit the sky. Little Hermione was out in the castle grounds, wondering around. She will be fine he told himself. He packed her books into her bag and read through her essay. She really was very clever. He still could not believe that she knew his past. He dozed off on the sofa. He dreamt of the young girl getting lost in the forbidden forest.
As Hermione made her way up to the common room she ran right into Professor Mcgonagall.
"Miss Granger, what an earth are you doing running around the castle late at night. It is forbidden"
"I know, I have just finished my detention with Professor Snape"
"This late. Good heavens. What is that man playing at? Look at you, your soaking wet" Hermione just looked at her wet, dirty clothes.
"go get cleaned up and then head straight to bed"
"I'll be having words with Severus" she said. Hermione headed towards the prefects bathroom. She could hear the strong Scottish accent of her head of house muttering. She was obviously not happy.
Hermione got into the large tub. The warm water hit her frozen skin. The bubbles covering her entire body. She felt drained. She bathed in the water. The large bath was big enough to be a small swimming pool she thought. The warm water eased her aching legs. What a night she thought. She was glad when he body hit her warm bed. She dried her professors cloak curled up in it and fell asleep. She could smell a slight scent of Snape. The scent of Various potions. Mainly sandalwood and slight waft of aftershave.