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Healing wounds

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It was a normal day at Hogsmeade. Wizards and witches were walking along the crowded roads. It was almost midsummer and many were enjoying their holidays there. Hermione had just arrived there from a well earned holiday. She had finished her studies to become a healer. Everyone had expected for her to become an auror but she was tired of violence and death and wanted to help people instead.

She had been top student in her school and got countless of job offers even before she graduated. She had not replied to any of them. She wasn’t sure where she wanted to work. She wanted to do research along her work, wanted to create better potions and spells. Most of the offerings didn’t give that opportunity except two. One was in France and the other in Scotland. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to move out of the country and away from her dear friends.

She took her take-away salad to a nearby park and sat on a bench to eat it. The park was full of people who were enjoying the beautiful weather. She saw several cute couples cuddling on the grass and smiled sadly. She had dated one student from the school for two years but they had broke up when she found out he had cheated her the whole time. The scumbag had accused her of all their problems. She had walked out of his apartment without saying a word.

Her thoughts were interrupted when small gray owl flew next to her and hooed softly to her.

”Oh hello there! You’ve got me a letter?” Hermione asked smiling.

The owl hooed and moved it’s leg towards her. She took the letter from it and it flew away. She smiled when she saw Mcgonagall’s handwriting on top of the letter. She had been in contact with her regularly after the war. She opened the letter and frowned when she saw it was some sort of a formal letter.

Miss Hermione Granger.
I am contacting you in a matter of business. Our beloved school nurse Poppy Pomfrey has decided to take position in Germany where her husband lives so we have an open position here at Hogwarts. I know you have finished your studies with great success so I am offering the position to you.

Madam Pomfrey has promised to guide you first months if you decide to accept the job.

We wait for your response as soon as possible. We sincerely hope for you to join us here at Hogwarts.

Yours sincerely
Minerva Mcgonagall
Headmaster

It was a rare moment for Hermione. She was speechless. She read the letter several times to understand what it really meant. Her dream job was about to be hers.

She folded the letter carefully and put it in her bag. She’d write an answer in the evening so she could calm herself. She was so excited she hoped her cellphone would work in Hogsmeade so she could call her parents. She wanted to tell about it to Harry and Ron and she was happy they were going to meet the next day. She could wait until then.

She was so deeply in her thoughts that she didn’t notice how time passed and the air was getting chiller. By the time she snapped out of her thoughts she had planned almost everything in her head. She was almost ready to go to Hogwarts. She stretched her back and rose up to walk to the Three Broomsticks.

She entered the pub and was greeted warmly by madam Rosmerta and few other familiar people. She felt a geltle tug in her head and looked around to find out who had tried to enter her head. She saw no-one who seemed obvious so she put on harder shields in her head to make sure whoever tried to legilimen her, did not succeed. She was used to these kind of things. It was the unpleasant side of being a war hero. There were those who tried to earn from gossips about her life.

She walked to the counter and ordered a warm butterbeer. She took her drink and went to a corner table to have privacy to write the most important letter of her life. She sipped her beer and begun writing the letter. After a while she had a feeling someone was watching her. She looked around and to see if someone was actually watching her. Her eyes locked to pair of dark piercing eyes.

Severus Snape. Years had treated him well. His before so greasy and dirty hair was now well cut and shining clean. He had gotten few pounds of weight and it made him look good. She saw the scars on his neck that remainded her how close it had been that he almost died back there. Luckily he had some sort of immunity against poisons from years of being a potions master. He had been barely alive when Harry had gone back to him and took him to the hospital. They used all their knowledge to remove the venom from him and it had taken months before he got out of the hospital.

Harry had made clear to everyone what he did during the war and when he finally made out of the hospital, he was given the honor of being one of the heroes of the war. Needless to say he was not impressed of the title and wanted to be left alone. Mcgonagall asked him to return back to Hogwarts and to everyones surprise he accepted the position as the potions master and not the dark arts teacher everyone thought he wanted to be.

She realized he was actually staring at her and she didn’t know why. He nodded at her almost smiling, lifted his drink to salute and turned back to his papers. had he just flirted with her?

She knew she had changed a lot since she was at school but she never imagined she’d change that much her old teacher wouldn’t remember her.

**

Severus noticed the woman instantly she walked in the bar. She was beautiful. He noticed how she turned several heads in the bar and some greeted her like an old friend. She clearly was not some random passer by and he was surprised he hadn’t seen her before though she seemed familiar. He tried carefully to see inside her head and was extremely surprised to find out her mind was heavily shielded. And he was even more surprised when she frowned and begun to search the room with her eyes. Had she noticed he tried to enter her mind? He never got caught doing it. Never. Who was she?

He hid in the shadows to avoid her search. He had chosen the seat just so he could stay unnoticed. He didn’t wish for anyone to join him and bore with their stupidity. After the war the boy had created a picture of him being a hero and after that people had started to think he was a good guy and tried to talk to him. Being a war hero did not make him any more sociable than before so he avoided being recognized.

Everyone thought he was greaseheaded, skeletal skinny man so he tried to eat more and kept his hair clean. It made a huge difference so he was not as easily recognized but suddenly he noticed how some women had tried to flirt with him. He had never even thought that he could be with anyone than Lily but after going out with some women he found out he could keep his feelings with her and his body with them. It suited him and he made it clear to the women how things were.

The woman walked to sit by herself and begun writing a letter. She was so focused on writing that he could exaamine her more closely. She had beautiful long and brown hair that had a hint of red. He couldn’t see her figure perfectly because of her gown but as she had walked past him it seemed that she had an amazing body under that loose cloth.

She glanced up from her letter and loiked straight into his eyes. Only decades of training kept him from showing how the woman affected him. He knew her from somewhere. He lifted his glass to her to greet her and returned to read his papers. He didn’t read anything but tried to search his memory where he had seen her. She must have been one of the nurses who treated him back at St.Mungo’s.

He wanted to know more about the woman so he gathered his papers and went to madam Rosmerta.

”You know the woman sitting next to that pilar over there?” He asked her.

He saw a strange look on her face when she looked at where he pointed.

”Oh you mean that brown haired lady over there? She’s….”

”Madam! I need you back here!” Someone shouted from the backroom.

”Oh I’m sorry dear, I need to go back there.” Rosmerta said and left to backroom.

Severus was pissed. He was about to use legilimen to her but he was interrupted and the chance was gone. A young barmaid smiled at him and asked if he wanted anything.

”Take one firewhisky to that woman next to pilar.” He asked and put some sickles on the counter.

”Yes sir. Shall I say it was from you?” She asked smiling.

He hesitated a while. ”Yes. Tell it’s from me.” He said and walked out from the bar. He glanced one final time at the woman. He would definitely find out who she was and meet her again.

**

”There you go miss.”

Hermione winced and looked up. Lisset, Rosmerta’s youngest daughter gave her a shot of firewhiskey.

”But I haven’t ordered anything.” She said to her.

”Nope, you didn’t. This is from Snape.” She said grinning. ”Mom said she asked who you are but she couldn’t answer him and he just decided to buy you a drink. I think he’s attracted to you” She continued grinning.

Hermione stared at her mouth open. He really didn’t know who she was. She remembered how she had a crush on him whem she was on third grade. But that crush had been short after they begun to believe he was the bad guy. She had always admired his talents and intelligence. And now when she was an adult she thought she would love to spend time with him. They were going to be golleagues. She smiled at that thought. Maybe… Just maybe she could attract his interests if he didn’t know who she was.

”Uhh.. Thanks. He might regret it later.” She said grinning. ”Please keep this to yourselves. I believe he would not like if this spreads.”

”Our lips are sealed.” Lisset nodded smiling.

Lisset went back to her work and Hermione was left alone with her thoughts. Her life had turned upside down in one day. She was going to work in her dream job and Severus Snape had just offered her a drink. He was interested in her. And they were going to work together. If everything went well they could… What? She had no idea. But if she messed things now he would make her life at Hogwarts a living hell.

What was she going to do?

Chapter Text

She drank her beer slowly and tried to focus on the letter. Her mind was a mess but she set her brains to work mode and put aside everything else than the letter.

Dear Mcgonagall

I am pleased to inform you that I will gladly accept the position as Hogwarts’ healer. Please inform madam Pomfrey that I will travel there two weeks before school begins so she can begin to guide me.

Please inform me if there’s something I need to do or bring with me when I come there.

Yours sincerely
Hermione Granger

She put the letter in envelope and sealed it. She would send it next morning.

She saw the firewhiskey on the table and her thoughts were back on Severus. A part of her wanted to see what would he do before he knew who she was. She knew that the moment he figured it out his attitude would change totally. After he left St.Mungo’s he was not exactly happy how Harry had dealt the situation. He did not hate him or Hermione and Ron but he thought they were still children even they grew up and fought against Voldemort.

She had not met him after Shrieking Shack. She had to leave to make sure her parents had arrived safely to Australia. When she returned, the trials were over and Severus had recovered from the venom and left to Hogwarts. He refuced to meet anyone besides Mcgonagall for months. Harry had tried to meet him but he had refused to meet even him so Hermione had not even tried to meet him.

Snapping out of her memories she took the whiskey and drank it before she gathered her belongings and left to her hotel.

She didn’t sleep well the next night. She woke up several times to nightmares that had haunted her for years. Except this time she saw the moment when they found Severus laying on the floor bleeding to death. In her dreams she tried to stop the bleeding but didn’t success at it. When the sun begun to rise she rose to make strong coffee to make it through the day. She was so tired but she had so much to do that day and she was going to meet some of her friends from school.

She took the letter to post office and a beautiful white owl took it to Mcgonagall. She smiled as she watched the owl leave towards her future home. When the owl disappeared behind the buildings, she went out and headed towards Madam Puddifoot's to meet her friends. She looked at her watch and noticed it was very early and her friends would arrive in two hours. She would spend that time to write letters to Harry and Ron.

**

Severus couldn’t get that woman out of his head. There was something about her that drew his attention and it irritated him. He wasn’t usually the one who approached a woman (or anyone else for that matter) but this time he really wanted to get to know her better. He still didn’t know who she was and if she was still at Hogsmeade but somehow he was going to find out her whereabouts and contact her.

He glanced at the photo frame on the wall. Lily was always the first thing he thought about when he woke up but that morning his thoughts were on that woman. It irritated him even more and he was mad it was summer and he couldn’t even torture students. At least that would distract his thoughts from that woman. Lily was the only one who had understood him and loved him. She was the only one in his heart. Always.

He stirred his gauldron three times counterclockwise and once clockwise. The liquid turned dark green with golden glow.

”Accio salamander’s tail.” He said calmly keeping his hand ready to take potion.

He frowned when the potion didn’t fly to his hand. Irritated he walked to the closet to see what was the problem and noticed he was out of it. He cursed and cast stasis spell on the potion so it wouldn’t overcook while he was at the apothecary.

At the Hogsmeade he walked fast towards the apothecary glaring all who seemed to want to talk to him. It was an effective way to make people change their minds about how good idea it was to bother him with chattering. One witch even changed to walk on the other side of the road which made him smirk.

At the apothecary he bought the salamander tail powder and few other ingredients that he had noticed was about to run out. When he went to pay, he saw a black sealed bottle on the top shelf behind the counter. It got his attention somehow. The label said ”virgin blood”.

”That dark bottle over that shelf. Where did you get that?” He asked the apothecary pointing at the bottle. He knew it was forbidden to sell that product. It was a highly valuable ingredient but after ministry found out some sellers begun to obtain it the wrong way they decided to ban to sell it. If one got caught selling it, he or she would end up in Azkaban for a long time.

”Oh… You see it? Well that’s unexpected. No-one is supposed to see it. It’s very old, from time before the First Wizarding War. It’s been heavily warded and for decades no-one has been able to see it.” The man explained.

Severus frowned and turned to look at the man.

”It seems there is some higher power here. The wards were supposed to last for as long as required terms were fulfilled. The ingredient is yours. Use it well.” The man said and took the bottle from the shelf and handed it towards him.

Severus hesitated. It was an extremely valuable ingredient but he was suspicious. Why would the apothecary give such a valuable item for free?

”Why? You could make a fortune with that in black market. Why are you giving it to me?” He demanded to know.

The man smiled. ”Always so suspicious mr.Snape. After all this time you've been my customer and this little trust. Ok, ok. I know anyone with your past would be as suspicious as you are. Ok, so... I am obliged to give it to person who sees it. Almost forgot it even existed until you asked about it. But I know it’s not good enough for you and I understand it. Here, smell this.” He said and took a potion under his desk.

He smelled it carefully and noticed it was a truth serum. The man nodded and took a sip from it.

”Now, ask from me why I am giving it to you.” He requested.

”Well. Why are you giving this blood to me?”

”Decades ago I made a promise to one unknown woman to keep this blood until someone was able to see through it’s wards. The reason is unknown.” The man replied like a machine.

Severus took the bottle from his hand and examined it closely. He didn’t notice anything unusual about it but it unnerved him that there was something about it that tied him to something. He wanted the ingredient to examine it’s possibilities but on the other hand he wanted nothing to do with it.

”Who was the woman?” He asked.

The man shrugged. ”It was a very young woman but I cannot tell who she was. Never saw her again. I tried to say no to her but she was very persuasive.”

Severus nodded. He would have to find out about it himself. He put the bottle in his pocket, paid the rest of his items and left the store. He walked through the street and passed Puddifoot’s where he noticed a familiar face. The woman was sitting alone on a table writing a letter and sipping her tee.

She had tied her hair to a bun but few locks were loose so she pushed them aside absently while writing. He stepped closer and saw she had a beautiful even handwriting. She had faded ink stains on her hands that she had tried to wipe out so the letter wouldn’t get stained. He wanted to talk to her, ask who she was, but he didn’t want to seem too pushy. Before he managed to decide what to do, the woman paused writing and looked up to look him straight in the eyes. Where had he seen those brown eyes before?

**

Hermione had written almost seven pages of letters and her hand was getting tired. She glanced at her watch and saw it was almost time for her friends to show up. She loked up from her letter and her eyes locked into deep black eyes. They watched each other without saying a word for a long time. He frowned and looked at her like he was searching for something.

”Uh.. Hello?” Hermione managed to say.

”Good afternoon.” He replied politely.

His low voice gave her chills. It was the most beautiful voice she’d ever heard and all those years apart and she could still hear it in her dreams. Gods that voice was pure sex She smiled at him despite the storm inside her head.

”Do you mind if I join you for a moment?” She heard him ask.

”I… That would be nice but…” She managed to say before Rose and Alisa interrupted her.

”Hey Miney! It’s been a long time!” Rose said to her and hugged her from behind.

Severus looked uncomfortable, nodded to her and walked away. He was gone before she could shout after him and Hermione had to let him go. She tried to concentrate to her friends cheerful chatteting. She was glad for the interrupt. She wasn’t prepared for him to come and talk to her.

She would have to think how to play her cards so he wouldn’t find out who she was just yet. She wanted to get to know him better before his prejudices about her ruined everything. She wanted for him to know her better for who she was now.

Chapter Text

”Who was that man you were talking to when we arrived? He seemed familiar.” Alisa asked her after they had talked a while.

”An old teacher of mine. Severus Snape.” Hermione explained.

”You mean that Severus Snape?” Rose asked stunned. ”That man who everyone thought was with you know who?”

Hermione sighed. After all this time and after his reputation was clean, people still remembered him from all the bad stuff. ”Well yes, but remember he was the one who made it possible for us to win. He was tecnically dead for a moment. He has a difficult past but he has a good side too.”

Both women looked at her strangly. ”You sound like you like him. Is there something between you two?” Alisa teased her.

Hermione blushed slightly. Her friends knew her too well. ”Well… To be honest, I had a crush on him when I was at school. Before everyone thought he’d done all those bad things.” She told them. ”I saw him yesterday and it seems he doesn’t recognize me. And now I’m not sure what to do. I would like to know him better but I know the second he realized who I am he dislikes me.” She sighed.

”How could he hate you? The way he looked at us when we disturbed your conversation was icy. He was pissed for interruption. He wanted to talk to you.” Rose laughed.

Hermione grinned. ”Well he did want to sit with me. But it's better this way so I can come up with a plan. Wouldn’t want to make him angry for we are going to be golleagues.” She told them smiling expectantly.

”What? When? Where?” Both women asked excitedly.

”Just received a letter and Mcgognall is offering me a position in Hogwarts.”

”That’s awesome Mione! Isn’t that what you hoped for?”

She smiled happily. ”My dream came true. Never could have guessed I’d have such luck”

Alisa rolled her eyes. ”Yeah, luck. Had nothing to do with the fact that you graduated with best scores ever?”

Hermione laughed warmly. She was proud of her success in school and so was her friends. For her they were like Harry and Ron but in healer school. They accepted her for who she was, she helped them with their schoolwork and they did everything together.

She was in contact with Harry and Ron regularly but both men had lives of their own. Ron and Rose had dated for a while but Ron’s quidditch career kept him too busy for dating so they broke up after some months. Harry was busy with his family and job at auror department. They met every time they managed to match schedules.

She spent several hours with her friends until they had to leave. She went to bookstore to buy few necessary books so she could prepare for her job.

”Excuse me, do you have a book called advanced studies of future healing potions?” She asked from the shopkeeper when she arrived at the store.

The shopkeeper was putting books to the shelves and couldn’t turn to look at her.

”That book is only for licensed healers with permission to do research. May I ask who’s asking for it?” The man asked.

”Hermione Granger, and I have the required documents to prove I’m qualified to do this kind of research.” She replied.

The man stood up quickly and turned around. ”Miss Granger, it’s a pleasure to see you back at London. I take you have finished your studies then?” He asked smiling.

Hermione smiled too. She used to be his regular customer but her studies and internships took her all over Britain.

”Yes I finished them. And now it seems I’m going to become the healer of Hogwarts so I need some material to do research along my job.”

He smiled at that. ”Always so eager to know more. No wonder they want you back there.”

She got the books she needed and walked out with them. She was beyond excited and forgot to look ahead when she walked back to her hotel room. She bumped into someone and her books fell from her hands.

”Oh sorry, I didn’t watch where I was going.” She apologied and squat down to gather them.

”That’s quite allright. No harm done.” Low vibrating voice told her.

Hermione didn’t have to look up to know who was standing in front of her. She was not prepared to meet him yet but there was no escape. She took her books and stood up to face him. He was looking at her with neutral expression.

”We were interrupted earlier. I would like to buy you a drink at the Three Broomsticks if you’d like, miss…?” He asked.

Shit. So there it was. She could lie her name or tell the truth. Both would probably end up badly.

”Her… Jean. My name is Jean. And I believe it’s my turn to buy you a drink. But I need to take these books back to my hotel before that. I’ll meet you there in thirty minutes?” She said. She was going to tell him the truth but somehow her first name stuck to her throat. Technically she did not lie but she doubted he saw it that way when he found out.

”You are not asking my name?” He asked.

She smiled. ”It is not hard to recognize you mr. Snape.”

”You can call me Severus. Ok I’ll meet you in half an hour.” He said.

She nodded and walked off. Her legs were shaking and she was flustered. She needed to think of a plan to make it through the evening with him. She knew she was playing with fire when she hid her identity from an old spy but she really wanted him to get to know her better without her or their past and prejudices. In any case she was probably going to pay for her treachery.

At her room she put the books carefully to the bed and went to bathroom. She washed her face with cold water and wished she had time to take a long relaxing shower before she had to meet him. Sighing she walked to a closet and took a jacket from there in case evening was cold. Taking a deep breath she put her shoes on and left out of the room to meet Severus.

**

Everything had went even better as Severus had planned. He had hoped he would meet the woman, Jean, at the Three Broomsticks so he could introduce himself and talk to her. He wasn’t surprised she knew him already but something bothered him still. He was sure he’d seen her before.

He sat on a corner table to wait for her. It didn’t take long before he saw her coming in the bar. She was greeted warmly by the staff so she knew them. He studied her as she ordered two butterbeers and talked cheerfully with the owner’s daughter. Her hips swang from side to side and Severus couldn’t help but stare those perfect curves.

She smiled nervously when she walked to him and sat down. He wanted to use legilimen on her but he didn’t want to get caught doing it so he had to forget that desire. She handed one beer to him and sipped her own.

”So, Jean, Tell me about yourself. You seem so familiar I have a feeling we’ve met before.” He begun.

She seemed uncomfortable and he was irritated he couldn’t find out why.

”Well, I graduated a while ago from healer’s institute. Now I’m spending some time on holiday. Last year was hard because I wanted to study extra courses and I promised to myself I would relax some time before I accept a job from anywhere.” She told him.

He frowned a little. She clearly left a lot out of the story and it bothered him. He tried to remind himself they’ve just met so she didn’t propably trust him enough to tell more.

”Where are you planning to work?”

He noticed she smiled a little before answering.

”Well I got multiple job offers after I graduated but I’m not sure which one to choose. I want to do research while I work so that leaves most of the places out.” She kept a little pause before she continued. ”You know, there was two options what I thought I could study. If things had gone differently I might have become a potions master like you. But in the end I decided that I wanted to focus on healing. And there I could combine helping and potions.”

Severus was surprised. She didn’t seem like a plain healer. Her occlumency skill was too good for a common witch. It required an excellent skill to notice when he used legilimency. She had a secret and he wanted to know what it was.

She was careful so he tried to be subtle. ”You seem to know a lot about me. Have we met before?”

She seemed to think about it. ”Can’t say for sure if we’ve met but it’s hard to miss your name in healer school when you’ve invented some of the advanced potions we studied. And the war and the trials after it.”

Her explanation was logical. He was widely known in wizarding world because of the war and his part in it. He had had to sit with countless people to tell his story (part of his deal to let him out of all charges) so they could write history books about the war.

”So I’ve told a lot about me but you haven’t said a word about yourself. I don’t believe in papers for they dig up all the bad stuff about people but never tell the good things they do. So, tell me about yourself.” Jean requested.

He didn’t like to talk about himself. He wanted to know more about her and why she interested him so much but he knew he would have to give something in return. He told about himself leaving a lot out. He told how he returned to his old position after getting out of St.Mungo’s and his life in Hogwarts.

”Does it still hurt?” He heard her ask and noticed she stared at his throat.

Normally he would have ignored her question but he noticed there was professional interest in her question rather than curiosity and it made him answer her.

”Yes. They got the venom out of my body but they couldn’t get out all the tiny pieces that were left from it’s teeth to the scar tissue. They burn all the time if I don’t add a salve that dulls the pain” He explained her.

They continued to talk and Severus noticed it was easy to talk with her. She was clever and interested in same things as he was. But still there was something that bothered him. She was a little more relaxed than before but he noticed she was still very reserved and seemed to hide something.

She looked at her watch and he knew she was going to leave even before she said it.

”I need to leave now. I’m leaving early tomorrow morning so I need to pack.” She said.

He nodded and stood up when she did.

”Will we meet again?” He asked her.

Again, she hesitated a moment. ”I… I could send you a letter perhaps?” She said with a questioning tone.

He took a step closer and looked deep in her eyes. ”Not enough. We both know there’s… chemistry beween us. You can’t deny it.” He murmured. Her scent was wonderful and she was clearly flustered. Her pupils were dialeted and she breathed heavily.

”Uh… I… I’ll contact you.” She mumbled. ”Thank you for a nice evening.” She continued and rushed away.

Severus looked after her and frowned. Chemistry was a lame word to describe what was between them. He wanted to meet her again and make her realize they wanted each other. She avoided him and it suited him. He didn’t want anything serious with her but they could have fun for a while and he might even enjoy her company more than just in bed.

Back at Hogwarts he continued to finish the potion. His thoughts were with Jean and he was frustrated. Evening with her did not go as he had planned. He hadn’t managed to find out what she was hiding and he didn’t know if she was going to contact him. It irritated him how she was in his mind all the time and he didn’t know why. He had wanted women before and Jean was beautiful but this time there was something different about the feeling and it irritated him when he couldn’t define what it was.

He didn’t want to think about her anymore so he glanced at the painting on the wall and smiled. It was a genuine smile reserved only for Lily. Seeing her calmed him and when he remembered their time together he managed to forget everything else in the world. He didn’t need anything else.

Chapter Text

Weeks passed and it was time for her to travel to Hogwarts. She hadn’t enjoyed her remaining holiday. It was nerve wrecking for her to know she was running out of time and she had not figured out how to handle the situation. She hadn’t sent him a letter for she didn’t know what to say to him. She wanted to continue their conversation but she couldn’t lie to him anymore.

She had packed her belongings already and waited for Minerva to activate the portkey. She felt a familiar pull behind her navel and the quill in her hand ported her to Hogwart’s gates. Hagrid was there waiting for her and greeted her by giving her a bear hug.

”Glad to see ya miss Granger. ” He mumbled with voice full of affection.

Hermione laughed. ”Hermione, told you to call me Hermione. And it’s wonderful to see you again Hagrid!” She answered and hugged him back tightly.

He let her down and took her belongings to one hand. Hermione could lift half of that stuff with both of her hands and she giggled when she saw how easily he carried everything with ease. She followed him when he walked towards the main building.

She looked around her and saw everything was just as it had always been. Everything had been repaired and it seemed like the war never happened. She was happy to see Hogwarts back to it’s former glory and she was happy to be back. It was like coming back to home after years.

”They’ve done great job repairing everything.” She said to Hagrid.

The man looked around them like he’d never looked at it before.

”Yeah. Guess they have. It’s been like this for so long that I don’t remember how it looked when things were bad.”

She looked at him and saw there was something different about him. He looked like he was a little confused.

No-one knew what happened to him when he was captive but she had heard he was never the same when he returned. The war had changed him like it had changed all of them. They all had their scars. Her scars were both physical and mental and still after years they haunted her.

She had terrible scars on her skin. They ran all over her torso and she hated them. Bellatrix had used some magical knife to make sure she would be scarred for the rest of her life. She had tried to make them disappear when she was at school but her efforts were in vain. She refused to take her shirt off in front of anyone. She didn’t want anyone to see her ugly scars. When she went to shower she refused to look at them herself so she just washed herself fast. She couldn’t enjoy baths like she had done before. She was a mess.

They entered the main hall and Hermione saw Minerva walking down the stairs towards them. She smiled and took few quick steps towards her. They hugged for a long time not saying anything. Hagrid told them he would take her belongings to her rooms and walked off.

”It is so nice to see you Hermione! I’ve missed you. Come, I’ve made some tea for us. I want to hear everything you’ve done these past years.” Minerva told her.

She smiled. ”I am so glad to be back here. It’s like coming back home.” She said and followed Minerva to her chambers.

It was so strange to walk up those spiral staircases knowing Dumbledore would not be up there. They entered the familiar room up the stairs and Hermione smiled when she noticed it looked almost the same like it had been when Dumbledore was there.

She winced when she heard familiar voice. ”Oh, miss Granger. We’ve been expecting you. So nice to have you back at Hogwarts.” She heard Dumbledore say.

She turned to look at the picture on the wall and smiled. He looked exactly how she remembered him. His eyes twingling and that all-knowing smile on his face.

”It’s so nice to see you Headmaster.” She said. She didn’t know how to address him properly but she thought it would be proper to call him that.

”Albus, my dear girl. I’m not the headmaster anymore.” He said still smiling.

Hermione felt sad. She had been so sad when he had died and after years it seemed so surreal that he was gone.

”No need for unhappy face my dear. We all did what was necessary and for me it meant my death. It all happened for a reason.” He told her gently.

She thought about his words. They all had played their parts in the war. It had cost so much for all of them, everyone who had participated in it. Looking at Albus’ picture on the wall remainded how much they had lost. It was harder to return back at Hogwarts that she had thought. She nodded at him not knowing what to say.

Minerva came back to the room carrying two cups of tea. ”Oh Albus. Isn’t it nice we got Hermione with us here? She will be such an excellent healer for us.” She asked smiling.

Albus winked at Hermione. ”Couldn’t think of a better person for it. I believe Severus is also pleased to get her top student back at Hogwatrs. I believe you will like to work with him with your research.”

Hermione froze. Did he know something? He always knew things he shouldn’t have known. She looked at him stunned. He had a knowing grin on his face but he said nothing.

Minerva didn’t notice how Hermione had reacted to Albus’ words. She handed the teacup to her. ”Oh, right. He’ll be surprised to find out you have returned.”

Hermione tried to sound calm. ”Ahh.. I don’t know about pleased. He didn’t like me much back then.”

”Oh but that was years ago. You’ve grown into a smart young woman. I believe he will like to work with you after he gets used to the idea.” Minerva said smiling.

Hermione blushed a little and avoided her gaze. He will not be happy to see her. She was sure of it.

”So… Is he here? Umm.. Are the other professors here already?” She asked wanting to know if there was possibility to meet him before anyone managed to say something. She wanted to try to make things right even she knew it was for vain.

Minerva sipped her tee. ”Some of the professors returned already. You’ll be happy to see some of your old professors. Some of them have retired and some, of course, needed to be replaced after the war. Severus has been away for few weeks and I don’t except him to return before the students come.”

There goes that plan…

They talked about everything. Her life after the war, the new Hogwarts and of course, Harry and Ron. She told about her and their lives and abput her studies. They spent few hours catching up and hermione started to get tired. She tried to hide yawn but Minerva noticed it.

”Oh my dear. I’ve kept you here too long. You must be tired. I’ll take you to your rooms so you can rest and settle down.” She said to Hermione.

Hermione was secretly pleased. She needed the rest and wanted to get to work the next day. Her rooms were near hospital wing on the first floor. There was a nice sized living room, bedroom and a bathroom. It looked like the rooms had been unused for some time.

Minerva stepped in behind her. ”I thought you wanted to make it comfy for yourself so i told the house elves only to clean it up and put on a fire.” She said to her. ”Rest well. Madam Pomfrey want’s you to start day after tomorrow.”

Hermione turned to look at her. ”Oh I thought I’d start tomorrow.”

Minerva laughed. ”Always so eager. No my dear. You need to settle down at least tomorrow. I’ll leave you now and we’ll meet tomorrow at breakfast.”

Minerva left and Hermione sat on a couch. She was tired but she was so nervous she needed to do something. She took her wand and started to cast transfiguration charms on the furniture and walls. She didn’t want to make it too modern but her taste had a twist from her muggle roots.

She let the old stone floor be as it was, but the walls she turned into calm green color. She turned the couch into black more modern fabric couch. The bedroom got the same treatment. Luckily the room was big enough so she could turn the bed into bigger one. She was a restless sleeper so she needed more space than that old single bed.

She went to bathroom and grimanced when she saw the bathtub. She was going to change it too but changed her mind. Perhaps she could take a bubble bath so she wouldn’t have to see the scars.

She stepped back to the living room and smiled. It looked perfect. Something old and something new. She didn’t even notice she had used all green and black wen she redecorated the rooms.

Afterwards she was so tired that she went straight to bed and fell asleep immediately.

In the morning she woke up well rested. She blinked few times and smiled when she realized where she was. It was still umbelievable she was there. She stood up and went to bathroom. Her mood darkened immediately when she took her clothes off and went to shower. Like always, she washed herself as soon as possible, unable to enjoy the warmth of the shower. Afterwards she dried herself quickly and put her clothes on.

She woke up too early to go to breakfast so she went out to enjoy the beautiful weather. She walked along corridors and met some of the old professors of hers. She was almost late for breakfast when she finally returned inside. Minerva was already waiting for her with some of the staff members. Most of them were familiar to her but there were few unfamiliar faces.

”Good morning Hermione, I hope you slept well. Here, let me introduce you to some of our new staff members. Here is professor Dalia, our professor of muggle studies. And professor Sander teaches dark arts. Believe or not but he’s been in that position for five years now. Professors, meet Hermione Granger.” Minerva said.

Hermione greeted both of them. Professor Dalia was a young, beautiful and small woman who had long light brown hair and kind blue eyes. She had a feeling she would get along with her nicely. Professor Sander had stood up when she entered the room and greeted her politely. He was a little taller than her and very good-looking man. She guessed he was around thirty years old.

She sat next to Dalia and the woman started to talk to her immediately.

”I was so excited to know we got you to our staff. You are first true muggle born staff member in Hogwarts. And of course I’m honored to meet a war hero.” She babbled.

Hermione smiled at her eagerness. ”It is nice to meet you too. You can always ask me if there’s something you need to know about muggles.” She said to her.

She noticed how professor Sander glanced at her now and then and it made her feel uncomfortable. In different circumstances she couldhave been flattered to notice his interest in her but her thoughts were somewhere else. Somewhere below them where Severus was going to be in few weeks.

Breakfast was soon over and Hermione decided to go to library to get some books so she could start her research immediately. She was so happy to be back between those shelves and she trailed her hand through the books while she walked past them. She ended up in restricted books section and immediately she felt like a student again. She felt like she was doing something forbidden when she touched those books.

”Ahem. Those books are only for… Oh miss Granger! I didn’t almost recognize you.” Madam Pince said.

”Good day madam Pince. I believe I have the permission to enter this section now though it still feels like I’m a student doing something forbidden here.” She said smiling. Madam Pinch tolerated her better than most because of her love to the books.

”Yes, of course.” She replied plainly.

Hermione wanted to stay in good terms with her so she asked for her advice even she knew what she needed.

”Hey, can you help me? I need information for permanent scars hexes and poisons” She asked her.

She frowned and didn’t move to help her. ”Why on earth would you need such book?”

Hermione sighed. She didn’t want to tell too many people about her research but in the future she might need madam Pinch’s help. ”I’m doing a research for healing permanent wounds and I need to study for it.”

”And you are studying that for...?” She asked.

”The reasons are my own. But as a future healer of Hogwarts I want to do some reaearch along my work.” She replied.

That seemed to satisfy her and she handed her few books of the subject.

”I want them back in the same condition.”

She smiled at her. ”You know me. I could never do anything bad to any books.”

Madan Pinch nodded and went away. Hermione carried the books back to her quarters and started to read. She spent the next hours laying on her sofa and making notes to her papers. In the evening she went back to the great hall for dinner.

In the evening she went to bed smiling. She was so happy to be there and she couldn’t wait tomorrow morning when she could finally start working.

**

Severus was actually glad to be back at Hogwarts. The school would start the next day and he got to torture students to make his bad mood go away. He had spent past few weeks at Spinner’s end and tried to forget Jean, who had not contacted him. He had been frustrated but he didn’t want to contact her either.

It bugged him how she managed to stay in his thoughts for so long. He’d met beautiful women before and none of those had managed to gain his attention like she had. He almost hoped he had not met her at all.

In the morning he heard the familiar sounds of students coming to school and he decided to head to the great hall early. There were most of the staff already sitting in their seats. He took his place in the high table and tried to ignore everyone around him. He disliked these grand feasts and wanted the normal school year to begin as soon as possible. He tried to avoid conversation but something got his attention. Had he heard Granger’s name?

He looked around him to find out what was that all about but he didn’t notice anything. McGonagall started to speak and everyone went quiet.

”Welcome to Hogwarts everyone! I am glad to see so mane new faces along all the familiar faces. A new school year is here and there will be some changes.” She started.

There were always some changes. Severus thought.

”First of all there is a new subject to study this year. It is for the sixth year and above students and we will inform you more later.” Minerva said. ”And I am sad to inform you that our beloved madam Pomfrey has decided to take position from Germany.” She continued.

Severus was surprised. He had not known she was leaving. He looked at her and noticed a familiar woman sitting next to her. It was Her! She looked nervously around her and when she saw him her face went white. She was clearly not happy to see him. No. She seemed extremely nervous to see him. No wonder she had not contacted him. He nodded at her and she blushed. He had to fight not to smirk at her.

He would have to think how to deal the situation. He had thought about having fun with her for a while but working with her made things more complicated.

Minerva continued her speech and he decided to think about that later.

”… But we are glad to inform you that we have a new healer to replace her. I am pleased to introduce you our new healer: miss Hermione Granger.”

WHAT?

**

Hermione waved and smiled at the students who clapped and whistled at her. She felt a shiver run through her spine and she turned her head to look at him

His expression was beyond angry. Her smile faded and she froze under his stare. It was even worse than she had ever thought it would be. His eyes were cold as ice and his face was completely expressionless. If a stare could kill...

Oh shit.

Chapter Text

Hermione was so terrified that she didn’t pay any attention to the feast. She just sat there hoping it would be over soon and she could return to her rooms. She felt his burning stare long after she sat down. She wanted to leave and hide from him and hope he would just forget what had happened. Hell would freeze before something like that happened…

The feast was finally over and Hermione stood up fast to leave. She was almost at the door when she heard Minerva shout after her. She knew why she had called her before she turned around. She stopped, closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She was not ready to face him yet.

She turned around and walked to Minerva. She didn’t even glance the man standing next to her but she felt his burning stare. She believed she was red as a lobster which made things even harder.

”Hermione, come meet Severus. I believe you two have lots to talk about.” Minerva said cheerfully to her.

Oh she bet they would have an interesting conversation. She forced herself to face him and looked him to his eyes. She shivered when she saw the hatred in those black opals.

”Good afternoon.” Hermione managed to say quietly.

”Good afternoon to you too Miss Granger.” Severus replied with icy tone.

Minerva looked at them frowning. She didn’t understand the icy tone Severus was using on Hermione and her discomfort. ”Oh no need to be so formal. You are going to work closely together. Sorry, I need to go to talk to Dalia.” She said and rushed off leaving them to stare each other.

Hermione couldn’t move or say anything. His stare had nailed her to the floor and her lips refuced to move.

”I…” Hermione begun.

Severus turned around without saying a word and walked away before she managed to form a full sentence. She stared at his back mouth open stunned at his behavior. Though it didn’t surprise her he behaved like he did. He left the hall from backdoor and when he was out of sight Hermione snapped out of her trance.

She sighed and tuned to walk to her rooms. She should not have been surprised how he reacted but she was terribly sad. She knew there was little she could do to make things right after what she had done. She walked to her room and fell to her sofa. She wanted to cry but tears refuced to come. She knew she needed to get herself together before going to hospital wing. Madam Pomfrey would notice immediately if there was sonething wrong and she didn’t want to tell anyone what had happened between her and Severus.

She hoped she had something to do to make that bad mood go away. She had an hour before madam Pomfrey expected her to go to hospital wing. She decided to go to run around the nearby lake.

She ran as fast as she could so her body was aching and she felt tastr of blood in her mouth. She was exhausted when she returned to her room and her clothet were soaked from sweat. She sweared her stupidity for she needed to take a shower before going to hospital wing.

She winced when she took her clothes off and cursed when she saw blood on her shirt. Not again! Not now! She looked at het stomach and saw that some of the scars were open and blood ran across her torso. She really had hoped her wounds would not open anymore but now it seemmed her nightmare was about to vegin again.

She went to shower and screamed in pain when water washed over the scars. She washer herself quickly and went out of the shower. She put towel around her and went to one of her bags and dug out jar of salve. She always carried it with her knowing her wounds would open now and then and it was the only think that kept her bleeding to death.

She rubbed the salve in the wounds and felt instant relief when the wounds started to heal. Pain started to dull and trails of blood became smaller. Soon the scars were pale and the pain was gone, for now.

She noticed she was late so she ran to the hospital wing where madam Pomfrey was already waiting for her.

”I’m sorry, I was running around the lake and didn’t realize it took so long.” She said apologetically.

Madam pomfrey waved her hand dissmissively. ”Oh don’t worry about it. There arent any patients here yet. Though it’s only a matter of time before they start to hurt themselves and others.” She said sighing.

Hermione grinned. She remembered how she, Harry and Ron were countless times there getting something patched.

They started their daily routine and it didn’t take long before two students came in and one of them was holding his head.

”Baxter accidently lifted his textbook instead of that feather and dropped it to Peter’s head.” Boy explained.

Hermione gestured Peter to sit on a bed and examined his head. She was excited to get to real work. She treated the boy, who had blushed when he saw her. She will propably be some boys crush like Severus had been hers…

Day passed fast and Hermione treated several minor injuries during the day. She never realized how busy days were at Hogwarts when she was student there.

In the evening she was very tired for she had done very much research every time she had free time. She was determined to find a cure for her wounds that she drove herself to the limit. She’d read all the books she could find about permanent wound curses and she was frustrated because there was not a single solution.

Her own salve seemed to be the most advanced treatment to them so she knew the only solution was to make the salve better. It had taken years from her to develop the salve as it was and it helped only for a short time. Every time she did something that stressed her body the wounds would open again like they did that morning.

She went to supper when it was almost over hoping Severus had eaten already and she didn’t have to meet him.

**

Severus was so pissed he torture his students harder than usual. Gryffindors had minus seventy points after the first day was over.

He couldn’t believe miss Granger had managed to deceive him that well. He would have never guessed someone could change that much. How on earth that annoying know-it-all could turn into smart beautiful woman like her.

He had been furious when he heard Minerva announce her name and the feeling had not faded. She would regret her decision to make him look like a total fool.

He decided to go to supper later so he wouldn’t have to see her. He was too angry to think straight and he needed time to think how to make her squirm. He knew he could make her extremely uncomfortable just by glaring at her but that was not nearly enough. He would make her life so miserable she would reconsider her choise to work at Hogwarts.

When he entered the great hall he was pleased to notice she wasn’t there. He sat on his seat and started to eat. He had just started to eat and almost bit his tongue when he saw her coming into the great hall. She searched the table with her gaze and when she noticed him, she blushed and looked away. She walked to sit as far from him as possible. He noticed she squirmed a little and brushed her stomach with her hand when she walked past him.

He ate his food as fast as possible and left back to the dungeons. He needed to do some brewing before night so he went straight to his chambers. Something bothered him but he couldn’t figure out what. He had been pleased to notice how embarrassed she had been but there was something else about her. He snorted. Why the hell does he bother to think about her?

**

Hermione was very tired when she went back to her room. She was very stressed and it made her scars even worse. She noticed blood on her shirt when she took her black robes off. Sighing she lifted her shirt and winced when she noticed that the shirt had sticked to her scars. She went to bathroom and soaked the shirt to make it easier to pull it off.

Blood trailed down her stomach from wounds that had opened and she cursed. She went to get the salve and put it to the scars. Soothin cool feeling spread to her stomach and she sighed in relief.

It would propably take weeks to heal her wounds so they wouldn’t bleed daily. She had managed to make them better for months but now her idiot idea to run like that made them worse again. She cleaned her shirt with her wand and put on her nightgown.

The next morning she woke up feeling like shit. Night had been terrible and she had nightmares of Bellatrix. She woke up several times screaming and covered in sweat. She would need dreamless sleep potion if that continued but the problem was that she didn’t have that potion or ingredients to make it. And the last thing she wanted to do was to ask anything from Severus until she made peace with him.

She didn’t see him at breakfast which was a felief. It was uncomfortable to be near him when she knew he was so angry with her. The day went fast and she was happy to work so she wouldn’t think about him. During the last classes someone rushed in and madam Pomfrey was somewhere so she went to look what was wrong.

She winced when she saw Severus walking towards her dragging a sobbing young girl with him. He glanced at her and looked around, clearly looking for madam Pomfrey.

”Where is madam?” He asked.

Hermione shivered when she heard his low voice.

”She’s taking care of some personal business. I’m here to replace her. What happened?” She asked trying to push her feelings to backround and act professional.

He frowned but didn’t argue.

”This imbecil decided to put elderflower before frog’s eyes and exploded her potion. She has few bad burns on her hands.”

Hermione gestured him to take the girl to nearest bed. She was crying in pain and Hermione knew instantly her own salve would help her best. She went to her bag and took a jar from there and went back to the girl. She took a little amount of the salve from the jar and put it on her hands. Burn marks healed immediately and she saw Severus looking at the salve with interest. He saw her looking at him and his eyes went cold again. He turned around and walked away.

Hermione walked after him. ”Severus… I..” She said and he stopped and turned around.

”It’s Professor Snape to you miss Granger.” He crowled making Hermione wince.

Hermione wanted to apologize. She wanted to make things better. But the loath filled look made her speechless. She sighed sadly.

”I know it doesn’t make it undone but I’m sorry. I’m truly sorry.” She said quietly, turned around and went back to the girl. She heard how he walked through the door and closed it after him. Well.. At least he didn’t slam it close…

She had talked to him. It was a beginning. Sort of…

Chapter Text

Few days passed and Hermione didn’t see even a glimpse of him. She had hoped that her apology would have helped the situation even a little but it seemed it had no effect. He clearly avoided her.

She enjoyed working and all her spare time she spent making research of making the salve better. Hogwarts had the best library she knew but she had not found a solution to her problem. She knew the only way to go on with her research was to make new salves but she needed a place and the infredients to do that. She couldn’t brew in her the hospital wing and she lacked all the basic items to brew anything.

Her only option was to gain access to his laboratory. And it seemed that was not going to happen any time soon. Her wounds were getting worse and she needed to treat them few times a day. There was another problem: Her supply of the salve was not endless and she really needed to make more at some point.

The best solution she came up with, was to get basic brewing set and the key ingredients to make the basic salve in her rooms. She hoped that would help her situation until she figured out how to appease Severus.

It was Friday and she had some free time before she needed to go to hospital wing. She looked at her watch and thought she had enough time to visit Hogsmead to get the supplies. She put on her black robes to make sure no-one saw if her wounds started to bleed again.

**

Severus was walking along the road in Hogsmead. It was a quiet day in the town and there were only few people around. He was glad for it, so he didn’t have to glare them all the time so they would leave him alone. He had been on a trip to get decent amount of basic supplies to school. Idiot kids spent too much supplies when they brew their so-called potions

He was walking towards the school when he saw miss Granger walking towards him. He saw she hadn’t noticed him so he turned around and walked around the corner of a nearby house. He had no interest of meeting her or talking to her, and he knew she would try to speak to him if she saw him. Had she actually thought that an apology would make any difference?

She walked fast past him but stopped suddenly and held her stomach with one hand. Severus was sure he saw some blood on her hand when she turned it around to look at it. Had she hurt herself? She seemed angry and just wiped her hand to her gown and continued walking. Perhaps he was wrong. No sane person would just go on like nothing happened if they bled that much.

When he was sure she was out of sight he continued walking back to Hogwarts. Something bothered him about miss Granger but he angrily put that thought away. He did not want to think about her.

**

Hermione had managed to get everything she needed. She was exhausted when she got back to her rooms. If she didn’t get her wounds under control she would have a serious problem. She had lost a lot of blood past days and she tried to replace the loss with iron pills. But it wasn’t enough. She would soon need to replace lost blood with blood replacement potion and she didn’t have it. She seriously thought of sending an owl to her healer friend who worked at St.Mungo’s to send her the potion.

She knew Severus had the potion but she couldn’t just go and ask for it. She had not told anyone about her scars and she wanted them to remain secret. Nothing was going to jeopardize her place at Hogwarts.

She put a large amount of salve to her body and cleaned her shirt. She did it like anyone would brush their teeth every evening. It had become a routine for her and it was very frustrating. She had really thought that this nightmare was over.

She placed the cauldron in her bathroom and started to make the salve. She hoped she was ready within a week since her remaining jars of salve were running out very fast.

She added the basic ingredients to the cauldron and stirred. First time in days she felt calm. She loved making potions since it needed so much her attention she didn’t have time to think about anything else. She cut lavender roots into five millimeter pieces and added them in one by one. She put a stasis spell on the gauldron and left to hospital wing.

Madame Pomfrey was waiting for her already and they had their hands full treating seven ravenclaws who had some sort of stomach flu.

”Hermione, we need more antivomiting potion here. Can you go and ask for it from professor Snape?”

No. ”Of course. I’ll be back soon.”

Hermione walked to the dungeons slowly. She wanted to be anywhere else but there. She didn’t know if he could act professional and not let their quarrel affect to work.

When she reached his door she hesitated a moment before she knocked. She heard irritated voice call in and she opened door. Severus was sitting on his chair and marked some parchments. He glanced at her and returned to his task ignoring her completely. She stood there not knowing what to say and felt like she was fourteen years old waiting for detention.

”Was there something you wanted or did you just want to disturb my work miss Granger?”

So much for a civilized communication.

”Madam pomfrey sent me to ask for antivomiting potion. We have several students who needs it and our supplies ran out.” She said trying to sound calm and professional.

He didn’t lift his gaze from the parchment or stop making markings. It was like she didn’t excist. She felt like an idiot standing there waiting for him to reply.

”I said that…” She begun again.

”I heard you the first time miss Granger.” He interrupted her.

She counted to ten in her mind to calm down but it didn’t help. She was angry at his childish behavior and decided to put an end to it.

”Ok, look. We are going to work together for a long time and…”

He put the quill down and turned to stare at her. He began to interrupt her but she started to speak louder.

”Do not interrupt me! As I was about to say.. What happened before I came here can’t influence our work. I have patients to treat and I really need your help. Like I said, I’m sorry for what I did.” She kept a small pause to take a breath. ”And, if I remember correctly it was you who offered me that drink. It was you who seeked my company and it was you who invited me out. All I did was that I told my middle name to you so you wouldn’t judge me by what I was years ago and get you to know me without our past. And I truly wanted to get acquainted with you as a woman and not as a child you hated years back.” She almost shouted and left without the potion.

She walked quickly back to hospital wing before she realized she totally forgot the potion. She felt pain in her middle and went quickly to bathroom. The stress and fast walking had caused her wounds to open again and they bled badly. She cried in pain when she pulled her gown off and lifted her shirt. There were several new wounds open and saw the situation was bad. She really needed the blood replacement potion soon.

She needed to write to her friend immediately

Chapter Text

Severus stared after her and he was totally speechless. The last thing he expected was for her to yell at him like she had. He was mad she had interrupted him and threw all that to his face. He stubbornly refused to think about what she had just said to him, even he knew she had a point.

He went to his supply room took few bottles of antivomit potion, and went after her. He was a professional and would not let that woman affect his work. Madam Pomfrey had requested the potion so he would take it to her personally and show her he didn’t care about her little speech. Madam Pomfrey was treating a young boy, who was crying and vomiting at the same time. He handed the potions to her.

”Oh, miss Granger said she couldn’t find you. So good for you to bring these to me. I am in trouble with these kids. Hopefully these kids are the last who fall ill.” Madam said sighing.

”Let’s hope so.” He replied.

He looked around to see if miss Granger was there but she was nowhere to be seen. She had propably heard him coming and avoided him. Madam Pomfrey noticed he searched for something and guessed it was her.

”Miss Granger had to go to rest. She said she didn’t feel good so I sent her to her rooms. She looked quite pale.” She told him.

He nodded. ”Do you need anything else?” He asked.

”Well now that you asked. I’m running out of dreamless sleep potion, so if you would be so kind and brew some more for me. It would help a lot.”

”I will start to brew it this evening.” He told her.

Madam started to give potion to the kids so Severus decided to leave. It bothered him that she had used an excuse to leave from work so she wouldn’t meet him. Being ill so suddenly was highly unlikely so he was certain it was just an excuse.

Or was it? Something bothered him. He remembered how she had held her stomach before, and he was still quite sure he’d seen blood on her hand. And now that he thought about it, he had noticed she had become quite pale in the past days.

Well, her wellbeing was not his concern… He went back to his classroom and continued to check the essays. He tried to concentrate on the task but her words popped back to his head. He had to admit she was right. He had seeked her company and asked her out. She had done nothing to try to get his attention. On the contrary she had seemed very reserved when he had approahed her. But she could not deny that she had lied to him.

It was true though. He would have never approached her if he had known who she was. He had enjoyed her company and hoped she would have contacted him afterwards, but he would have sneered at her like he did to everyone else, if he had known who she was.

He put the quill down and stopped to pretend to work. She had been his student. He could never think her as a woman like he had back then. Or that’s what he kept telling himself

**

Hermione wrote letter with shivering hand. She felt very weak and knew she needed the blood replacement potion immediately. She had to use most of her remaining salve to make the bleeding stop and in the meantime she had lost significant amount of blood. She would have disapparated to St.Mungo’s but she was too weak to do it.

She gave the letter to her owl and he flew away with it. She walked carefully to her bed trying not to strain her body too much. She went under the covers and slept almost immediately.

She woke up several hours later and just remained in the bed, tried to eat and drink something and slept again. She had never been in such bad situation with her scars, and she didn’t know what had caused them to get so bad this time. She knew that the only way to keep the scars from opening again was to stay immobile and rest as much as possible.

The next morning she informed madam Pomfrey she was too ill to go to work that day and remained in bed for the day. She felt a little better so she got up and added the next ingredients to the cauldron and stirred it seven times counterclockwise. It turned light blue and started to smell like lavender. She put the stasis spell back on it and went back to sleep. Only few more days and she could use it. It wouldn’t be as effective as it would if she let it brew for several days longer. But she could take part of it for urgent use and let the rest of it brew for longer.

She slept for the rest of the day waking up only to eat something or use bathroom. She informed madam Pomfrey that she had a very bad flu and needed to rest for couple of days.

**

Severus frowned when he went to supper. It was the second supper after she had rushed off the dungeons and she was not there. He hadn’t seen her for couple of days and he wanted to know where she was. Madam Pomfrey had told she had a flu but Severus had a feeling it was not true. He knew her well enough to know that she didn’t skip work for something like flu. Something was wrong. It shouldn’t have bothered him but he just knew she was up to something.

After supper he casually walked by her rooms. Lavender? Was she brewing something in her rooms? He would have never guessed she was stupid enough to brew potions in her rooms. There needed to be proper environment to do that and he guessed her rooms were not suitable for that.

He tried to listen if she was in her rooms but it was totally quiet there. Almost too quiet. He was about to knock her door when he realised what he was doing. It was not his business. She was not his concern! He turned around and started to walk back to the dungeons. He was so occupied with his thoughts that he didn’t even notice few gryffindors hiding from him. The students watched in awe how he just walked past them without saying a word when they were out of their house so late.

Back at the dungeons he started to gather ingredients for the sleepless dream potion. Brewing was something that kept him distracted, even it was so simple and familiar for him that he didn’t need to put much thought to it. He casually stirred the cauldron and added ingredients enjoying to look how the potion got it’s purple color gradually.

He managed not to think about her for few hours when he was making the potion. But when he was finished for the day, his thoughts returned to her immediately. It bothered him thay he didn’t know what was going on, and the scent of brewing coming from her rooms made him even more suspicious. He needed to know what was going on.

He cast a stasis spell to the cauldon and headed back to her rooms. It was very late so the hallways were empty. He heard noices from nearby hallway so he headed there and found a snuggling couple behind a curtain. They looked terrified when they saw who had found them.

”Miss Terrins, mr Keefe, you have attended this school long enough to know not to be out of your house this late.” He remarked.

”I… We were just… uhh…” Mr Keefe stuttered.

He raised an eyebrow. ”Yes…?”

The two of them looked at each other trying to find an excuse but failed at it terribly.

”Twenty points from Ravenclaw and Gryffindor. And detention tomorrow evening at seven a clock.”

The desperate looks on their faces made him smirk. ”Now, both of you, get out of my sight before I decide to take even more points from you. If i catch you a second time it will be minus fifty points and detention for a week.”

The kids stumbled away to different directions and Severus continued to miss Granger’s rooms. The scent was still there so he knew she was still brewing something. He knocked at the door but heard nothing from the inside. He waited for a moment but nothing happened so he carefully tried if the door was open. To his surprise it opened and there were no wards. Sloppy, miss Granger. Very sloppy.

He stepped in to the dark room. It took a while for his eyes to adjust to the low light. He looked around the room and was amazed how it looked. There was clearly something from muggle world combined with their world and the result was actually very good.

He heard familiar bubbling from the bathroom and went to look what was she doing in there. He saw a basic brewing set in the bathtub and there was some sort of potion brewing. She wasn’t there and he didn’t hear anything so he put the light on and gasped. There were several clothes soaked in blood and the bathroom looked like a slaughterhouse. What happened to her?

He tried to identify the potion but he had never seen anything like it before. The scent was familiar somehow but he couldn’t remember where he’d smelled it before. It looked like stable so he decided to leave it as it was and deal with it later, if necessary.

He heard a quiet voice from her bedroom so he went quietly towards it. The door was ajar so he just pushed it a little more open so he could see what was inside. He held his wand ready in case there was something dangerous.

All he saw, was small figure laying on the bed and there was dried blood on the covers. What the hell was going on?

”Miss Granger?”

She moved in her sleep but didn’t wake up.

He raised his voice a little. ”Miss Granger, can you hear me?”

She winced and woke up looking very confused. She blinked few times and looked around her. She was clearly very surprised to find him in her bedroom. He was himself surprised to realize he had come there in the first place

”Severus, I… Sorry, professor Snape, what are you doing in my rooms?” She asked confused.

He had no answer for that and he felt like she had cornered him.

”You know miss Granger, it is not a very good idea to brew potions in your rooms.” He said when he didn’t come up with anything else to say.

She looked at him frowning and clearly trying to clear her head.

”Yeah I know that. But it’s probably not like you would let me use your laboratory, do you? And you didn’t answer my question. What are you doing here?” She asked again.

”I am here to find out why the hallway smelled like someone had grown a lavender field in there. And when I saw all that blood in your bathroom I naturally became cautious.”

She nodded at that. ”Sorry about that. I will put on some wards to prevent the scent from going out of the bathroom. Now if you will excuse me I need to clean up that mess in the bathroom.” She said and stared at him expectantly.

Did she think he would leave it there?

”Miss Granger, you really think I would just walk away after seeing that slaughterhouse you call bathroom?” He asked her.

”Yes.”

”You are mistaken. What is going on?”

She sighed. ”Look, I know it looks bad but… It’s just none of your business. I’ll take care of that mess and return back to work when I have rested for few days.”

He was clearly not getting an answer from her and he became frustrated and irritated so he decided to leave the matter for now. He turned around without saying a word and walked away.

”We are not done.” He said to her from the door and stepped outside closing the door behind him.

She had been pale as snow and looked so weak it made Severus uncomfortable. He shouldn’t have cared less but he did. He had to admit to himself he was not completely indifferent towards her and it made him nervous. He walked outside instead of the dungeons hoping fresh air would clear his head.

Miss Granger had messed his life completely since he had a bad luck to set his eyes on her. She disturbed his thoughts even he had decided he would not think about her. He would find out what she was hiding and then stop think about her.

**

Hermione had a storm inside her. She had managed to stay calm when he had been there but she felt how the wounds bled and was afraid he would notice it. Luckily he left and she went to bathroom right after he had closed the door.

She was so embarrassed he had seen that mess in her bathroom. Slaughterhouse. That description was pretty accurate… She cleaned up the bathroom with few flicks of her wand and added some ingredients to the cauldron and healed her wounds. She added wards to the bathroom and to her front door so that there wouldn’t be any more uninvited guests. Afterwards she was so tired she just collapsed to her bed and fell asleep immediately.

In the morning Hermione was too weak to get up from her bed. She heard how her owl flew in through an open window and dropped small potion to her lap. He held a letter in his mouth and he placed it next to the bottle. Hermione thanked him quietly and he flew away through the same window.

Hermione took the bottle and opened it. It smelled terrible and she knew it was the blood replacement potion. She drank it quickly and felt instantly better. She felt how strength returned to her body and she became more spry. She took the letter and begun to read it.

Hi Hermione!

Sorry to hear you are feeling so bad again. I’m sending a bottle with your owl to you so you can take it immediately. You need to make huge amount of that salve of yours so you don’t run out of it anymore. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help with.

Best wishes
Alyssa

Hermione was so grateful to her friend. She had propably saved her life with that little bottle of potion. She knew it didn’t help for long but she hoped it helped enough for her to finish the salve.

She got off from the bed and went to bathroom to make sure her potion was ok. She was feeling so good after the blood potion that she decided to go to work. She had to show him that there was nothing wrong with her so he didn’t need to push his nose into her personal life. He had decided to keep her out of his life so why should she let him know anything about hers?

She went to the great hall to get breakfast and was relieved to see Severus was not there. She went to sit next to Dalia, who greeted her cheerfully. She took some food on her plate and started to eat with great appetite.

”Nice to see you are feeling better.” She told her.

Hermione smiled at her. She really liked Dalia. ”Thank you. Feeling a lot better already.”

Dalia glanced at her smiling. ”You know, professor Sander really missed you. He asked madam Pomfrey several times about you.”

Hermione looked at her to see if she was serious and glanced at professor Sander, who was sitting on another table. He nodded to greet her and smiled. Hermione was uncomfortable. Despite the situation with Severus, she was still interested in him and didn’t want to give false hopes to professor Sander. She nodded back politely and looked away hoping he would notice she didn’t share interest.

”He’s just not my type. And right now I’m not looking for a relationship.” She told Dalia.

They ate their breakfast talking about work and muggles, and just when she had finished eating she saw Severus entering the room. His eyes bored to her and she tried her best to ignore his stare. Dalia noticed his stare and her discomfort.

”What’s between you two?”

”Past.” Hermione replied hoping she wouldn’t ask more. ”I’m sorry, I need to go to work. I’ll see you at supper.” She mumbled and left the table. She felt his stare on her back when she walked out of the room through the main doors but luckily he didn’t follow her.

Madam Pomfrey was surprised when she entered the hospital wing.

”Are you sure you’re ready to work yet? You still seem a bit pale.” Madam asked.

Hermione nodded. ”Yes, I need to do something or I’ll become crazy. I promise to work lightly.” She told her.

Madam shrugged and continued her work. Hermione went to check their potion storage and make an inventory. It was perfect thing to do, for it took her thoughts off Severus and was light enough so she wouldn’t hurt herself doing it. She was so concentrated to her work that she didn’t notice she was being supervised. She winced when she turned around and saw Severus had appeared to the storage door and was looking at her exploratory. So much for him letting her alone…

Chapter Text

And now she thinks avoiding him would make him forget? Severus thought when he watched her walking off the room. She looked much better than she had previous night but she was still pale as snow and she seemed to move very carefully. He was about to follow her when he noticed professor Dalia looking at him curiously. Shit.

He sat down to his seat and took some food. It tasted like sawdust in his mouth and he had lost his appetite, but he didn’t want to raise any suspicions so he kept eating like nothing had happened. He ate slowly to make it seem like he was in no hurry to go anywhere even he wanted to rush after her and confront her about that mess in her bathroom.

After he saw Dalia walking away from the room he put the fork down and stopped pretending to eat. He stood up and headed straight to hospital wing. Madam Pomfrey greeted him warmly when he entered the room. It was good he visited hospital wing now and then so it didn’t seem suspicious when he went there.

”I’m looking for miss Granger, is she here?” He asked casually.

Madam pointed at the back of the room. ”I think she went to make an inventory. You’ll find her in the storage room.”

He walked silently to the storage’s door and saw her crouched next to one shelf and making notes. She stood up slowly holding her stomach, looking like she tried to protect it. Yeah, nothing was wrong… She was surprised to see him at the door.

”A word, miss Granger.”

”I… I’m a little busy here.” She suttered.

”Are you now? Are the potions going somewhere?”

She shrugged but didn’t answer.

”So. Care to tell me what’s going on?”

”I was doing a research and it was the only place I came up with.” She told him.

”And the blood?”

She sighed. ”I cut my hand when I cut the ingredients.”

He saw she was lying and he started to lose his patience.

”Miss Granger. Do you really think I believe a word you’re saying.”

She squirmed under his stare but still refused to answer. It irritated him that he couldn’t just dig the truth out of her head with legilimen.

”Look. It’s personal. I really don’t want to talk about it. I promise I come up with another solution to do research after I finish that potion. And I thought you wanted nothing to do with me.” She blurted.

He stared at her frowning. It wasn’t really his problem. He shouldn’t have cared less.

”As you wish. Don’t come crying to me when you explode your bathroom.” He said impolitely and left the room. Madam Pomfrey looked at him confused when he stormed out of the hospital wing.

**

Madam Pomfrey came to see her after Severus had left.

”Is everything all right? Professor Snape seemed upset when he left here.”

Hermione tried to hold tears and continued to make the inventory to avoid looking at madam.

”It’s fine. We have a little misunderstanding, nothing serious.” She replied hoping her voice wouldn’t thremble.

”Well, it seems it was something to him. He stormed out like he was chased by bullwasps.”

She bet he did. He had been angry at her because she refused to tell him everything. It surprised her he cared enough to ask what was going on. She had really thought he wanted nothing to do with her so it confused her that he had come to her several times now to find out what was wrong with her. He seemed to be worried about her and Hermione was confused. She glanced at madam and saw she was clearly expecting an explanation.

”Umm.. To be honest it’s our past that’s between us. It’s complicated but we’re trying to deal with it.”

Madam Pomfrey nodded. ”I understand. A lot happened between you back there.” She said and went back to her own work.

Hermione was thankful madam had understood her meaning little wrong. She sighed and contined to work to focus on something else than him but her thoughts were on the previous days. He seemed to care of her wellbeing. Why else had he come to look for her from her room and now? He was acting very confusing way and Hermione didn’t know what to think about him.

She had buried all hopes he would ever want to have anything to do with her. He had been so furious about her lie and Hermione believed he was very unforgiving. She had no idea what was going on.

The other problem was her scars. She didn’t want anyone to know about them or see them. That had been a huge problem in her past relationship for she didn’t let him see her without her shirt on. Ever. And her scars had been in a good shape back then.

**

In the evening she went to eat with Dalia again. She really enjoyed spending time with her and they got along well. She was in a good mood for her wounds had not opened that day. Perhaps they were getting better…

”Hermione, so nice to see you are feeling well.” Minerva said as she came to sit with them.

”Yeah, I’m so happy to be able to work again. I hate being sick.” Hermione stated.

Minerva laughed at that. ”You never change.”

”So have you liked it here Hermione? It’s been some time now so do you think you’ll enjoy working here?” Minerva asked.

”Oh, I definitely love being here. Madam Pomfrey has been very nice and she’s taught me a lot.”

”What about your research? Have you begun and asked Severus if there’s something he could help you with?”

Hermione almost bit her tongue and felt hiw blush rose to her cheeks. She glanced at Dalia and saw she was looking at her curiously. She thought of an answer but her mind was a completely blank. What could she say? That she couldn’t continue her research without a place to do it? And she couldn’t ask anything from Severus. No. Not that. She noticed Minerva was looking at her expectantly and Dalia seemed amused.

”Uhh.. Well I’ve read a lot of books about it and planning on making test brewing at some point.” She replied.

”That sound’s good. I believe Severus will gladly help you with you research. He’s created some good potions himself.”

Yeah, he would be thrilled to help her…

”Well, we’ll see then. I must finish my books first.”

Luckily that seemed to satisfy Minerva and she didn’t ask more. Hermione tried to keep up with the conversation with them but her mind was elsewhere, again. Minerva finished her meal fast and left back to her office. When she was out of hearing range Dalia turned to look at her properly.

”So. What’s the deal between you and professor Snape?” She blurted.

Hermione almost bit her tongue again. ”What do you mean?”

She gave ger a meaningful look. ”Don’t give me that innocent look. You should have seen how he looked after you when you stormed out from the breakfast.”

She had felt his burning stare at her back but she had thought it had been just a feeling. But she would have never guessed he would let anyone notice anything.

”We have some disagreements and talking about them haven’t made things any easier.” Hermione explained.

”I am not as easily distracted as the headmistress. There’s something between you two.”

Hermione sighed. She was too observative. ”Ok, I must admit there was something but that’s in the past. And I truly hope you don’t talk about this to anyone. I’m sure he wouldn’t appreciate it.”

Dalia nodded. ”Of course not. Wouldn’t want to make him angry.”

”I can tell you, it’s not nice to be on his blacklist.” Hermione said grinning. She was actually happy she had someone to talk about things, even she left most out of the story. She really missed Harry and Ron and their time together at Hogwarts. She decided to write them right after supper.

They finished their food and left the main hall. Hermione headed to her rooms to write the letters. She took a cup of tea and sat comfortably on the couch.

Dear Harry!

First weeks are behind at Hogwarts and I love being here. Everyone’s been so nice to me that it feels like home already. I’ve started to do research already and read tons of books. The next thing to do is to make test brewing.

She kept a pause at writing. She didn’t know what to tell Harry about Severus. She knew Harry was very keen on him these days and wanted to hear from him.

There’s just one problem. I met Severus at Hogsmead before I came here and we had a little misunderstanding and now he’s angry at me. I’m trying to find out a way to make things better but no luck yet. You know how unforgiving he can be…

But that’s all about me. Tell me how are you doing? Is everything ok with you and Ginny? I miss you all so much!

Hermione

Her letter to Ron was a little shorter. She left Severus out of his letter and asked more about his life. She had plenty of time before she needed to go to sleep so she decided to continue writing and write letter to Rose. Alisa was ouy of the country for several months so she didn’t want to make any owl take that long distance.

Hello Rose!

It’s been a while so I wanted to know how are you?

I’ve been few weeks at Hogwarts and already feeling that this was the best thing that’s happened to me. Working here is interesting and I feel like I’m home. There are nice people around me that make me feel accepted. Well almost everyone.

You remember that man who you saw when we were at Hogsmead. Well that thing backfired severely. I went to have a drink with him and he totally didn’t recognize me. I wanted him to know me as I am now so I didn’t tell him my real name. Idiot move from my behalf. You can only imagine how angry he was at me when he found out.

All this stress has caused my scars to open again and I’m struggling with them. I’m doing my salve at my bathroom and totally forgot to put scent wards on. And guess who noticed? And to make it even worse, there were some of my clothes soaked with blood which caused him to come to my bedroom and almost saw the scars. Luckily I was under the covers so he didn’t notice.

I’m hoping to get the salve finished in few days so I can leave all this behind. I hope I can find a way to do research somewhere in here so I could get rid of these scars for good.

Hoping to hear soon from you! Miss you!

Hermione

After she had finished the letters she went to bathroom to add shark’s teeth to the potion. It turned into white liquid and became thicker. She smiled relieved. She could use it tomorrow if she needed and it became stronger in couple of days.

She took a book and went to bed with it. It didn’t take long before she was tired enough to sleep so she put the book on the night table and slept.

She woke up several hours later in agony. She screamed in pain and crawled out of the bed. Her shirt was completely bloody and she was cold. She knew she had lost a lot of blood based on how she felt. She rushed to bathroom and took a spoon of the salve and quickly cooled it. She pulled her shirt upwards and applied the salve to the wounds. She started to panic when it only barely covered them and they still bleeded. She needed something or she wouldn’t survive ’til morning

She pulled her cloak on and sneaked out of her rooms. She headed silently towards the dungeons. They had sneaked in Severus’ storage when they were young so it shouldn’t be hard for her to do it now. She couldn’t go to hospital wing because madam was there and she would suspect something immediately. Hermione was afraid they wouldn’t let her continue her work if they knew how bad shape she was.

She managed to get down to the dungeons unnoticed. She had to stop few times to lean to a wall and rest. She tried to listen through his door if he was there but she heard nothing. She didn’t feel any wards on the door so she tried to open it. It opened and she sneaked in and went straight to the storage room. She used her wand to make small light so she could read the covers on the bottles. He had a very nice handwriting

All the bottles seemed to be just ingredients and none of them were helpful to her. She was feeling nauseous and dizzy but she kept searching with pure willpower.

**

Severus heard immediately when someone sneaked in the classroom. Only few people knew his personal quarters were attached to the classroom so he could keep eye on the ingredients. There had been only few idiots who had tried to steal anything from his storage and even fewer had succeeded.

He walked silently towards the storage to catch the idiots in the right moment. He smiled wickedly and enjoyed beforehand the moment when he saw the terrified looks on their faces. He stopped to the door and saw a small figure going through his selves with a tiny light.

”Lumos.” He said loudly and smirked when the figure winced visibly.

His amusement faded when he saw miss Granger standing in front of him pale as a snow and she looked terrible. She turned around quickly and her cloak slided off her shoulders. His gaze lowered to her abdomen and he gasped. She was holding her hand on it and her grey shirt was covered in blood. He saw instantly that whayever was going on, the situation was bad. She must have been desperate to come to his storage to look for something that would help.

She shivered and he saw she was struggling to stay concious but she was losing the battle. He took a step towards her when her feet started to give away under her.

”Shit!” He cursed when she collapsed towards him. What the hell was he supposed to do with her?

Chapter Text

Hermione woke up feeling strange. She tried her stomach gently, opened her eyes in surprise and looked down to find out someone had wrapped bandages on around her abdomen. She was very confused for she didn’t remember going to hospital wing or st. Mungo’s. She frowned trying to remember last night but she had only a faint memory of waking up in the middle of the night and how she had tried to tend her wounds. She remembered how she had panicked when she had realized how bad the situation had been, but after that her memories faded. Hopefully she wouldn’t lose her job…

She looked around the room she was in and noticed she wasn’t in the hospital. Hospitals were usually painted in light green or some other calming colors and her room stone walls with green and brown furnitures. She blinked several times to clear her vision and rolled to her side to crawl closer to the edge of the bed so she could get up and find out where she was.

”So… You’re finally awake, miss Granger.” She heard all too familiar voice say. No… Anyone but him

She turned her head towards the voice and saw Severus sitting on an nearby armchair reading a book. How had she missed him when she had studied the room? He didn’t look at her and kept reading his book when she tried to rise to sit on the bed.

”Wouldn’t do that if I were you. The wounds are barely closed and moving like that will make them open again.” He said casually still reading his book. He was too calm.

Hermione blushed. He had seen her scars. He had… what? What had he done? She laid back to the bed too embarrassed to look at him anymore.

”Where am I?”

”In my bed.” He replied dryly.

”… What?”

”Well you were bleeding all over my storage. I could not carry all the way to hospital when you had lost that much blood. The best option was to bring you here.”

”So I came to ask help from you?” She asked.

”Oh no. You thought it was a great idea that you could sneak into my storage and find something from there instead. Like I would keep such potions where all the students could find them.”

Hermione was embarrassed. She could only imagine the situation when he found her poking around his shelves covered in blood.

”I am so sorry. I cannot tell how embarrassed I am right now. You must think I am a total idiot.” She said apologetically.

He didn’t answer which made her feel even worse. Of all the people in the world it had to be him who had to help her, and on top of all, he had to bring her to his own bed. Why had he brought her there? He could have called madam Pomfrey or St Mungo’s…

”I should go back to my rooms. I don’t want to bother you more.”

”Whatever you wish. However, let me remark that you’ll bleed to death before you get out of the dungeons if you walk away from here in that condition.”

She lifted her shirt and one bandage and saw her abdomen was in very bad condition for scars were barely covered in scar tissue. Which pointed her to the fact that he had managed to make the bleeding stop and she was feeling a lot better.

”I… How did you make the bleeding stop?” She asked him.

That made him put his book down and look at her. ”It never came to your mind to ask if I knew anything about your scars?”

Hermione looked at him questioningly. ”What do you mean?”

He sighed. ”For such a smart woman you seem to forget two major facts. I am a potions master, I have lots of knowledge about healing potions. And I was a death eater. I saw what Bellatrix did when Voldemort let her play with muggles.”

Hermione was speechless. It had never came to her mind that he could have some knowledge of her problem.

She was thrilled. ”So… You know something about these?”

”Yes and no. I know that she used some curse to make the scars keep opening constantly to make sure people suffered a long time and died in the end. Which makes me wonder: How have you survived this long? There is no known cure to these.”

”A lot of blood replacement potions along the years. And I’ve creates a salve that heals them almost instantly. Only problem is that it doesn’t heal them permanently and they keep opening again and again.”

”Is that what you used to that boy with the burns?”

”Yes. Unfortuntely I ran out of it. The situation is worse than it has been in years.” She kept a small pause. ”Uhh.. For how long was I out?”

”Almost a day. I’ve informed madam Pomfrey and the headmaster you have a situation and you won’t be able to work for a couple of days.”

Hermione just nodded. She couldn’t help but wonder why he was so nice to her, why he let her use his bed when he could just take her to the hospital wing. He seemed more interested about her situation than angry for her having his bed.

”Can I ask a favor? The salve should be ready for use now, though it’s not as effective as it could be. Can you get it from my bathroom?”

”Of course.” He replied, sgood up and walked out of the room.

**

Severus walked towards her room calmly. It was so late that students were in their houses and the hallways were empty. He walked silently, listening if there were some unfortunate pupils who thought they could break the rules without consequences.

His practiced ears heard a small noise from a corridor nearby. He sneaked quietly closer and heard a small whisper and saw two figures leaning on the door and kissing. He took one louder step so they could hear him, and and smirked when they winced and paled under his stare.

”Mr.Keefe. I thought I made myself clear the last time. Fifty points from Gryffindor and a detention for a week. And miss… Fraix it was not you I caught last time with mr.Keefe, was it?”

The girl glanced at the boy angrily. He saw she was not pleased with the information andthe boy managed to look embarassed.

”No. Professor Snape, I was not with him.”

”Then it’s ten points from Ravenclaw and detention tomorrow evening. And if I find you off your house a second time, you’ll have the same punishment as mr.Keefe. Now, both of you, out of my sight before I take more points from you.”

He saw how the girl gave mr.Keefe very disappointe glance before she turned around and walked away. The boy was about to say something to him but instead he just shrugged and left. He stood there until both of them disappeared from his sight and continued to walk to her rooms.

He didn’t notice any wards on the door so he stepped in and went straight to the bathroom. He didn’t smell lavender this time and he sensed several subtle wards in the room. The potion looked very thick and had changed to lighter, almost white color and it bubbled slowly in the pot.

He took a small jar from his pocket and took a small amount of the liquid in it with his wand and stared how it settled smoothly in the jar. He frowned and poked the salve with his finger and spread it on his other arm where he had some small cuts. He felt nice cool effect and tingling and watched in awe how the cuts healed and he saw how even the older scars begun to vanish. She was a genius.

He made sure the potion was in stable condition and returned to Hermione. She was sleeping again and looked calm and painless. He frowned when he realized she looked like she belonged there, the thought irritated him and he noted that last few days he hadn’t even thought about Lily. It made him angry at himself that he had let miss Granger distract his thoughts, made him forget Lily.

”Miss Granger, are you awake?”

She moved a little and opened her eyes and smiled when she saw him and he just gave the jar to her without saying a word.

”Thank you so much! With this I can heal them enough to move around for couple of days until the jar is finished. And you can get rid of me so you can sleep at your own bed again.” She said still smiling.

He just nodded and left the room. He knew she wanted to tend her wounds alone and he needed time to clear his thoughts from her. He took Lily’s photo and looked at it so he would get her picture back to his head instead of that distraction who lay on his bed. To his irritation looking at her photo made him feel only shadow of those feelings he had always felt when he thought about her.

He glanced at his bedroom door frowning. First time in his life something had managed to distract him from Lily and he didn’t know how to think about it. He wasn’t ready to let her go – she had been part of his life almost his entire life and it was hard to let go. What the hell would he do?

**

Something had happend when he was getting that jar for her. He was suddenly so distant again and seemed almost irritared. She shrugged and opened the jar to smell it. It was almost as effective as it would be when completely finished. She rose to sit on the bed and opened the wrappings around her abdonen. No wonder she had been in so bad shape… There were several new scars that seemed to be quite deep, and the old ones were all open.

She put almost all the salve from the jar to the wounds and smiled relieved when it worked. The scars closed leaving red marks which proved the salve wasn’t finish yet, for the finished one managed to vanish the scars almost completely.

She felt so much better already so she took the wrappings off and lowered her shirt back down. She took few tentative steps next to the bed and felt good enough so she could return to her rooms. She walked out of the bedroom and saw Severus waiting for her in his living room. It was a very nice looking room and she noticed there was similarities in his and her own rooms.

Severus looked very strange when he looked at her. It was like he was struggling with himself and Hermione felt it was something to do with her but she guessed it would be better not to ask anyhting.

”Uhh, Thank you so much, I feel so much better now so I go back to my rooms. I really appreciate your help.” She said and walked towards the door she assumed was the exit.

”Miss Granger. After you recover better, come to meet me. We need to discuss how to go on from here.”

Hermione stopped and turned around. ”What do you mean?”

”Well, it is obvious your research isn’t ready yet with that salve of yours, so we need to discuss about the details how we will continue your researsh.”
Hermione stared at him mouth open. ”You mean…? You mean you’ll help me?”

”Obviously.”

Hermione walked to him fast and almost hugged him but she saw how he stiffened so she slowed down and offered her hand instead. He took her hand politely and she shook it smiling.

”Thank you so much!”

Hermione ler his hand go, gave him one last smile and walked out of his chambers. She was feeling so much better and it was not only because her wounds were in better shape. Perhaps there was some hope after all...

Chapter Text

The next morning Hermione woke up feeling even better. There was blood on her shirt but it was only a small amount and there were only few small open wounds. She went to bathroom, took a small amount of the salve from the pot and put it on the scars. She smiled when open scars closed and the older ones became much more pale. Her abdomen looked almost as good as before she came to Hogwarts.

Severus had probably given her blood replacement potion when she blacked out which made her feel good enough to go to breakfast. She went to main hall and saw there were only several people eating breakfast. She looked at her watch and saw it was very early and most of the people were probably still sleeping. She sat down on her place and took some food to eat. She saw how few people gave her curious looks but she decided to ignore them the best she could.

She ate quickly and and headed towards the headmistresses quarters. The halls were almost empty and there were only few tired looking students walking towards the main hall.

”Jellybean.” She said to the statue when she arrived at Minerva’s quarters (She continued Albus’ tradition with the passwords). The gargoyle stepped aside and she walked up the stairs to the headmistresses office. Minerva was not at her office and Hermione turned to leave but a familiar voice stopped her.

”Ah. Miss Granger. Nice to see you. Please fo sit down, Minerva will return soon.” Albus told her.

”Oh, I was just… Nevermind.” She said and sat down facing Albus’ painting.

She felt like a schoolgirl again when Albus looked at her smiling knowingly like he knew all her secrets.

”So, you seem feeling better already. Are your scars any better?”

Hermione looked at him stunned. How the hell did he know about her scars?

”Uh... How do you know…? I mean they are better already.”

”Miss Granger. Even I’m dead I still know everything that goes on around here. It is good you chose to tell Minerva about them. She will definitely support you.”

Hermione bit her lip. She was very nervous but she knew it was the right thing to do. It made it easier when Albus comforted her and told her everything was going to be allright.

”And a second thing. You really should accept his offer to help you. There must be a reason why he offered his help even he doesn’t admit it to himself.”

Hermione gasped and looked at Albus stunned. She was about to ask what he meant when Minerva walked to the room and interrupted their conversation.

”Oh Hermione. So nice to see you’re feeling better. Want some tea?” Minerva asked and poured two cups from a pot that was on her desk.

”Yes, please.” Hermione replied when she recovered from the shock Albus gave her.

”So, what brings you here? Is something wrong?” Minerva asked when she sat down behind her desk and took a sip from her cup.

Hermione sighed. ”I am here to confess something. I… I have a medical condition. Something that has caused problems to me these past weeks. I assure that it’s not going to affect my work now when I have medicine for it again.” She blurted quickly so she wouldn’t chicken out.

Minerva looked at her gently. ”I knew there was something going on when Severus came to tell me you’re not well. What is going on?”

”It’s something that happened to me when Bellatrix tortured me. She used some kind of curse on the knife that she used to torture me and cut multiple cuts to my abdomen. The curse makes the scars to open again and again.” She explained. It was easier to talk now when she saw Minerva was not disappointed in her. ”I developed a salve that keeps them closed but I ran out of it and lost quite a lot of blood. But I’m better now.”

Minerva looked concerned and frowned. ”My dear. Is there anything I can do to help you?”

”You have done more than enough for letting me work here. I can improve my salve and hopefully find a cure to these wounds. This will not affect my job since I have the salve now and I make sure I don’t run out again.” Hermione assured her.

”Oh don’t you worry such things. Please tell me if there’s anything I can do.” Minerva said smiling.

They talked and drank tea until professor Dalia came to ask for Minerva and Hermione rose to leave. Minerva walked off with Dalia and Hermione followed after them. She was about to exit the room when she heard Albus call for her.

”Miss Granger. I wanted to repeat what I said to you earlier. Severus has a difficult past and I’m surprised to find out he has a soft spot for you.”

Hermione didn’t even bother to ask how Albus knew so much already. ”He… I was… He had to help me, because he was the one who found me when I collapsed. That’s all. I’m sure he was not happy about it.”

Albus smiled knowingly. ”Do you think he would take you to his guarters if he didn’t want to do it? Are we talking about the same Severus here?”

Hermione blushed. She had to admit it had bothered her why he had brought her to his bed instead of hospital wing or her own room. He could have cast a spell on her so he could levitate her safely elsewhere.

”He was just being nice.” She replied even she knew how stupid it sounded. Severus and nice didn’t fit in the same sentence. She saw amusement in Albus’s eyes and knew he was thinking the same thing.

”Well, either way. I strongly suggest you accept his offer. It will be beneficial for both of you.” He said and nodded before he left his frame.

Hermione left the room and went to the hospital wing. She was very eager to work so she could distract her thoughts from Severus. She needed time to think about everything before deciding what to do. She knew it was sensible thing to accept his offer, but she was afraid she would ruin that truce that had developed between them in the past couple of days.

She sighed hard before she entered the hospital and pushed all other thoughts from her mind. She needed to focus on learning everything from madam Pomfrey before she left, so everything else needed to be pushed to background.

**

She was so busy with work for several days that she had managed to forget everything else. Madame had not asked anything from her absence and Hermione was grateful for it. She was not eager to tell about her condition to anyone else.

They went through Pomfrey’s notes about students who needed special care during their time at scool. There were several patients that Hermione wanted to see. She had studied countless muggle medicine books and knew she could help them with muggle treatment.

”Madam, do you think I could use my knowledge of muggle healthcare with these patients? I believe I might be able to help them.”

Madam looked at her surprised. ”Well. If you get approval from their parents, I don’t see why not. You really think muggles could do something we couldn’t?”

Hermione smiled. She had heard those suspicions countless times before. Wizarding world still believed muggles were totally useless without magic, even they had managed to achieve so much without it. Wizards have not gone in space or figured out human DNA like muggles had, though wizards were not interested in those things.

”They have done countless of researches about them and I think their knowledge about them might help.”

Madam thought her words for a while and nodded. ”Guess you may be right. You can send owls to their parents if you want.”

Hermione was excited. She may be able to prove that modern medicine can be useful in wizarding world.

They continued with the files until it was time to go to dinner. Madam walked with her to the main hall and they talked about muggle medicine. Madam seemed very interested in the subject and agreed that there might be advantages of combining those two.

They entered the main hall and Hermione noticed immediately that Severus was there also. She had almost forgot his existince when she was occupied with her work. Now when she saw him she felt the familiar knot in her stomach. He had not noticed her yet and Hermione had time to examine him when he turned to look at her. He frowned a little but apart from that, there was no emotions on his face. Hermione didn’t know if he regretted his offer or not.

She walked to her seat and took some food. She felt his stare but tried to ignore it. She wanted to go and tell him that she was willing to accept his offer, but it was so difficult to just go and talk to him. Her previous expereiences from school didn’t exactly encourage her to just go and talk with him.

She focused on the food in front of her and ate slowly hoping he would be gone when she finished her meal. When she finally looked up, she noticed her hopes were in vain. Severus had been enjoying his meal with same as she had, and Hermione knew instantly he was doing it with purpose. Sighing she stood up and walked away from the tables. After few steps she heard footsteps next to her and a quick glance revealed that Severus was walking besides her.

”Seems you’re feeling better already.”

Hermione kept stady pace walking out of the hall. ”Well, yes. The salve is now ready and I can keep those under control.”

”You seemed to feel better few days ago. So you’ve decided you don’t need my help?”

Hermione stopped and turned tu look at him.

”No!” She blurted. ”I mean. I was going to come and tell you that I… will gladly accept your offer. If you still offer your help.”

He looked at her with strange expression. ”So, what kept you from giving me this information before?”

Hermione squirmed. What was she gonna tell him? That she felt like a schoolgirl when she thought of talking to him.

”To be honest I wasn’t sure if you were serious with your offer.” She explained. ”I have been nothing but a trouble to you, so it was a difficult to believe you would want to help me.”

He gave her a strange look before he managed to put his typical blank expression on.

”So it seems we are going to work together from now on. Come with me, I’ll show you where you can work on with your research.” He said and walked past her.

Hermione stared after him a while before she understood his words and ran after him. She was really going work with him!

Chapter Text

Hermione followed Severus to the dungeons. They walked side by side and Hermione felt awkward because she couldn’t figure out anything to say to him. She glanced at him sideways and it seemed it didn’t bother him that there was nothing to say.

They walked towards his classroom and Hermione wondered what they were doing there. She didn’t remember any other rooms in that hallway.

”Uh, Professor. Where are we going? I don’t do my research in the classroom do I?”

He snorted. ”That would not be the best idea. I can imagine how some imbecile manages to destroy your research material by being too nosy. No, you are not going to work there.”

”But… There aren’t any other rooms back there.”

”There weren’t.” He answered when they reached a door that Hermione was certain didn’t exist there before. Severus opened the door and they walked into a well-equipped brewing room.

”But, how…?”

”I don’t want students snooping around these rooms here. They are like the room of requirement except they appear always as empty rooms. I use them when I need more room for brewing.”

”So, can students access this room now?”

”We are going to put on some wards to prevent it. And I will make sure to inform the students not to go in there.”

Hermione could imagine the threats he would give the students if they tried to enter the room. It made her smile to think he would do something like that for her. She examined the room and found out there was everything she could imagine she would need to do his research. Severus had done an excellent work with the room and she couldn’t help wonder about what Albus told her of him having soft spot for her.

There was even a small fireplace with two green armchairs in front of it. She was so excited, that without thinking she turned around and hugged him. She was that kind of person who hugged others often so she did it subconsciously.

”Thank you so much!”

She took a step back quickly when she noticed how stiff he had gone. Whoops.

”Uhh.. Sorry. I got a little too excited with all this.”

To her surprise he didn’t look angry, he was uncomfortable, but not angry. He didn’t look at her and walked past her.

”So… Here’s all the basic equipment and ingredients you need. You can bring all your research material and books here. No one will touch them so your research is safe.” He said.

He was like she had not interrupted his personal space at all and it confused her. She expected him to snap at her but he acted like it actually didn’t bother him that much.

”I will bring all of my stuff here. Do you mind if I add few tables there? There’s so much paper that I need a little more room.”

She didn’t hear a word but noticed a subtle hand movent, and suddenly two large tables appeared just where she had just pointed. She had heard his talent of wordless and wandless magic, but to see it with her own eyes amazed her. He was a magnificent wizard.

”If there’s anything else you need, just come and ask. The room is yours, so you can do here whatever you want. I need to go to my classroom. There are few students waiting for detention.”

She smiled at that. There was a time when she had purposely done something to get into detention so she could spend time with him. Her idea had been stupid, for he had put her into small storage room by herself to scrub cauldrons, and left her alone there for hours. She had been so frustrated she couldn’t do something she could do with him, that she had cheated and cleaned them with her wand.

”Thank you so much once again. I will start bringing my stuff here right away.” She replied.

He just nodded and left the room without saying anything else. He walked past her and she enjoyed his scent that was left in the air.

**

Severus went to his classroom to wait for the students to arrive. He sat by his desk and leaned back in her chair. He took a deep breath and let the stiffness leave his muscles. He had been so surprised when she hugged him that he didn’t have time to react before she pulled away. How would have he reacted?

Before he would have definitely pushed her away and snarled at her. But he wasn’t sure if he wanted to do that anymore. It had felt good when her soft breasts pressed against her chest, too good. His body had reacted immediately and it was lucky he had tight pants so she couldn’t notice the bulge on his groin.

His thoughts were interrupted when three frightened students came in carefully.

”Don’t just stand there. There are plenty of dirty cauldrons for you two. Miss Evans, you can grade these first year papers. I assume you know enough to grade them?”

The girl nodded shyly. ”Yes Professor Snape.”

He gave her a pile of papers and she went to her seat to read them. The two younger boys walked back in the storeroom rolling their eyes.

”I’m excepting shiny cauldrond by the end of this evening. And no cheating. Believe me I can tell if you have used any magic to clean them. You don’t want to irritate me any more, do you?”

The boys glanced at him quickly and nodded. He took a pile of fourth grade students papers and his infamous red quill. He managed to grade them without thinking anything else and his body calmed down slowly. Finally, after two hours, miss Evans gave him back her pile of essays and left. He went back to see if the boys had managed to do their tasks.

The idiots apparently thought he would be easily deceived and had cleaned some of the cauldrons with magic.

”Did you honestly think I wouldn’t notice? You imbeciles have not a slightest clue of brewing. Magic always leaves traces, and that’s bad when brewing certain potions. You are going to clean them again with this.” He said icily and handed them a jar of cleaning potion.

He smirked when the boys looked at him with extremely annoyed expressions. ”I expect you to be ready in one hour so you better get to work.” He said and left the room.

The potions the students made at Hogwarts wasn’t so vulerable to spells but obviously those idiots had not made their homeworks or they would have said something. He would make them write an essay of the potions that were vulnerable to spells so they would learn their lessons, he thought smirking.

He went back to his seat and took a book he was reading earlier. He didn’t have time to read the first word before he heard the classroom door open. He glanced up and saw miss Granger step in the classroom.

”Hey, do you mind if I take few ingredients to make few base potions?”

”Be my guest.”

He looked at her when she went to the storeroom. She didn’t stay there for long and soon she came back to the classroom smiling mischievously.

”Vulnerable potions eh?”

He tried to suppress a smirk but her amusement was catching.

”Should have done their homework better, don’t you think?”

”Definitely.” She replied dryly and left the classroom.

She seemed to have good sense of humor and he thought it might actually be nice to work with her.

**

Hermione went back to her research room. She had brought all her research material there and lit a fire to the fireplace. The room started to look cozy and she thought she would enjoy spending her free time there.

She was happy to notice Severus seemed to have forgiven her. He had given her everything she could have ever hoped for: a room for research and his help. And it seemed she might have a possibility to win his trust again and they might even become friends.

She started to brew few cauldrons of base potions so she could make few test brewings later. She lost the track of time and when she finally finished for the day, she noticed it was almost midnight. She cast stasis spells to the cauldrons and added few logs to the fireplace. The dungeons were a little too chilly for her so she was going to keep a fire there every time she was working.

She went out of the room and locked the door. She put on some wards to prevent nosy students from entering the room. Afterwards she walked to her rooms and went to shower. Her wounds had almost healed but she kept adding the salve on them once a day, so they wouldn’t open again. She was cautious to use it too much, for she didn’t know if it would lose it effectiveness over time.

**

In the morning she woke up well rested. She smiled happily when she remembered the previous day. She was almost afraid for how well things had turned into. She had everything she ever wanted and there was a light at the end on a tunnel to find a cure for her wounds.

She dressd up and went to eat breakfast. She had slept later than usual and the hall was full of students. She went to her seat and took something to eat. She had taken few bites of food when headmaster clinked her glass to get everyones attention.

”May I have your attention please. It’s been few weeks of school now and it’s time to make few announcements. First of all, It has come to my knowledge that some students has visited the dark forest recently. I strongly suggest not to do that again. There are beings in that forest that may want to harm you and we certainly don’t wish to inform your parents that something has happened to you.” She gave a stern look to students.

”The next announcement will be from professor Snape.” Minerva continued and Hermione looked at him surprised.

Severus stood up and the hall went entirely quiet. ”Most of you will notice that there is a new room across my classroom. Miss Granger is doing her research there and doesn’t want to be bothered. What she’s doing there, may some day save your or your beloved ones life. If someone thinks it is a good idea to snoop in that room and ruin her research, I will make sure his or hers remaining time in this school will be a living hell. You all know you do not want to end up in my blacklist so keep out of that room.”

The hall was completely silent and it was clear everyone had heard him even he spoke with low, quiet voice. She felt curious stares all around her and it made her uncomfortable. People was probably wondering why Severus had spoken for her.

”Seems you two managed to solve your disagreements?” Dalia said. She glanced at her and Dalia winked at her.

She blushed slightly. ”Well, yeah. He promised to help me with my research.”

”Yeah, right. Professor Snape is always so helpful and nice to everyone. I think he likes you.” Dalia said grinning.

”It’s nothing like that. It’s just professional between us. He’s the potions master and I’m the healer, who’s doing a research he’s interested in.” She tried to explain.

”Yeah, keep telling that to yourself. I know there’s more. But I’ll keep your secret.” She said smiling and left before Hermione had time to come up with an answer.

It was purely professional, wasn’t it? She had ruined everything before, so there was no chance there would be anything else between them anymore. Right…?

Chapter Text

Day at the hospital wing passed fast and Hermione eagerly waited for afternoon, when she could go to continue her research. It was a quiet day at the hospital and Hermione guessed she could leave early.

When she was finally able to leave work, she almost ran to the dungeons. She made sure her base potions were as they were supposed to be, and went to make some tea. She needed to go through her memos, so she could remember every little detail before she tried to make test brewings.

She put on a fire and sat comfortably in front of it with a cup of tea and her research notes. She read the papers and made notes silently, enjoying the heat that radiated from the fireplace. She couldn’t think of a better way to spend her evening and hoped she could do that forever.

A silent knock interrupted her reading and she lifted her gaze from her papers. ”Come in.” She invited.

Severus stepped in and her pulse quickened instantly. She would have never guessed he would come to the room unless she asked him to. He looked around and she saw approving look on his face when he looked at her well-organized papers and books.

”Good evening. I came to ask if you cast all the needed wards for the room already or did you need some help with them?” He asked and walked closer the fire.

”I think I managed to put all the necessary wards on, and I made them so you can enter here whenever you like.” She told him. ”Sit down please, there’s tea if you’d like.”

She was surprised when he went to take a cup of tea and sat next to her by the fire. She would have bet he would decline her offer, but instead he sat next to her drinking his tea and clearly enjoying the situation.

”Didn’t realize how cold it was down here until I spent some more time here.” She said to him when she flicked her wand and levitated few logs to the fire.

”You’ll get used to it after a while, and learn to put on some more clothes.” He replied dryly.

”Yeah, I should search my wool socks and bring them here.”

She took a sip from her tea and continued to read her notes. She had a trouble with them she couldn’t figure out and she got an idea.

”Uh, professor…?”

”Yes?”

”I know you are busy with schoolwork, but is there any chance you might read some of my notes? There’s something wrong but I just can’t find out what.”

”Sure, let me see.” He replied and she handed some of her notes to him.

They both read the notes in silence and Hermione noted that she really enjoyed his company, even he didn’t say a word. They shared common interest and neither of them had any urge to break the silence.

”I can see your reasoning with the ingredients but I’m not sure if you should try to use the black cactus. It has healing abilities but it can have bad effects when you put it together with certain ingredients.” He noted.

Hermione thought his words for a moment, trying to memorize everything about black cactus and why she had chosen it for her research. ”You may be right, but in the page seventeen you can read what happened when I combined it with lizard’s tongue. It was the first combination that closed the wounds.”

He turned pages and read carefully her notes about the combination. He frowned and asked for a quill. She looked at him when he made several notes that looked like calculations and strange formulas she’d never seen before.

”You are correct, that combination has pros and cons. It heals them but in the same time the cactus prevents them from healing properly.”

”Did you just calculate something? I have not seen those formulas before.” She asked and leaned closer to see his notes. She had almost forgotten how beautiful his handwriting was.

He pointed at his notes and explained. ”Yes, this is something I invented several years back when I created few potions. I have scored many ingredients based on their abilities, and when I use this formula, it gives me possible outcomes.” He gave her noted back to her and she looked at them astonished.

”Have you told anyone about this?”

”Of course I have. They are studying it’s possibilities. It works fine with well-known ingredients, but all ingredients have effects we don’t know yet so the formula is not waterproof. You should always use it with caution.”

Hermione nodded. She had known he was brilliant, but now she realized he might actually be genius.

”Thank you for sharing this. It’s amazing!” She complimented him.

”Always so eager to learn more.” He said and she was sure she saw one corner of his mouth pulling upwards.

”A leopard cannot change its spots.” She said smiling.

She went to make another pot of tea. Severus didn’t seem to have hurry anywhere, and he looked relaxed sitting by the fire with her notes. She still couldn’t believe the change in his behavior and it made her nervous for not knowing what had caused it. She went back to him with the tea pot and offered him some. He lifted his cup and she filled it with steaming liquid.

She filled her own cup too, and went back to her chair. They spent the rest of the evening studying her notes, him giving her notes and her writing them down.

Severus spent several hours with her until he told her he would go to sleep. Hermione put her papers down too and they left the room together. Hermione cast the wards on and Severus added some of his own. They said good night and Hermione left to her quarters, smiling all the way up.

**

Hermione couldn’t think of any better way to spend evening than to do research with him. Severus joined her the next evening and they continued to work like the did the previous evening. When it was almost midnight and Hermione begun to yawn constantly, she decided she needed to go to sleep, even she didn’t want the evening to end.

”I really need to go to sleep or I won’t get up tomorrow at all.” She said tiredly.

”Mmm-hmm.” He replied not lifting his gaze from her papers.

She looked at him smiling softly. He was so occupied with working that he was lost to the world. She stood up and walked to him and touched his shoulder gently. He lifted his gaze, surprised, and looked at her.

”I’m going to sleep. I didn’t remember to say this yesterday: Thank you professor, for everything.” She said softly and walked to the door.

”Severus.”

She stopped to her feet. Did she just hear when she thought she heard? She knew what she had heard but she couldn’t believe it. She didn’t want to irritate him by making him repeat his words, so she continued to walk to the door.

”Good night, Severus.” She said quietly when she stepped out of the room.

Her heart was poundind all the way to her quarters and she felt like she was walking on clouds. Not in a million years would she have imagined he would let her call him by his given name. She didn’t know what was going on, but she didn’t want to think about it too much. She would just enjoy the moment and see where it would lead.

**

She was nervous to go to breakfast in the morning. She spent extra time in front of a mirror combing her hair and making sure her makeup was ok. She didn’t know how he wanted to behave outside the research room: did he wish them to talk or not?

She was there earlier than usual but there were plenty of people having breakfast already. She went to sit by the main table and took a glass of orange juice and toast. It didn’t take long before Severus entered the hall. She glanced at him, and to her surprise, came to sit next to her.

”Good morning.” She said to him.

”Good morning.” He replied and took a large cup of tea.

Hermione wanted to talk to him but she was too flustered to figure out any subject. In the research room it was easy to talk about the research but outside the room she found it hard to talk to him.

”Are you planning to visit Hogsmeade tomorrow?” He asked her.

”Yes, I need to go buy few ingredients and see if I can find few books.”

”You have full access to my ingredients, are you sure you need something?”

Hermione had not even thought about that. ”I.. Well, to be honest I didn’t think about that option. If that’s the case, I don’t know what I need until I check your wares.”

”You can come there any time you like. I changed the wards so you can go to my personal wares. They are at the back of the storeroom behind that small door.”

”Thank you. I will visit there today to make a list. Madam Pomfrey has requested to stay a little bit longer, she’s having some problems moving to Germany. So I have spare time when she’s working at the hospital too. Minerva told me I could focus on my research for couple of months before Pomfrey leaves.”

”Sounds good.”

Hermione saw some students and teachers looking at them curiously and it made her unconfortable. She glanced at Severus and saw he was unbothered and drank his tea calmly. If it didn’t bother him, It really shouldn’t bother her…

”I need to go to work now. Try not to hex me when I come to poke around your storeroom.” She said trying to look serious.

The only reaction she got from him was a quick glance and a short nod, but she saw amusement in his eyes. She hid a grin and left before anyone started to suspect anything.

**

”Good morning madame.” She greeted Pomfrey when she entered the hospital wing.

”Good morning dear. There are some letters for you from the parents you contacted.”

Hermione was excited. She rushed to get the letters and opened one of them.

Miss Granger.

We have thought about your offer. Naturally we have our suspicions since muggles are not very capable in our eyes. We need to consult our own doctor about this before we make any decisions. We will be in touch later.

Please contact us when you have done more research.

Yours sincerely
Mr & Mrs Addison

The other letters were similar. Hermione sighed, frustrated. She knew how suspicious some wizards and witches were about muggles but she had hoped they would overcome their prejudices for the good of their children.

Madame looked at her curiously and she gave the letter to her. ”They didn’t accept my suggestion.”

Pomfrey walked to her and smiled sadly at her discouragement. ”I’m so sorry my dear. I was really hoping they would accept it so you could help these kids.”

They spent the day talking about muggle medicine and treating several patients. Pomfrey was truly sorry for Hermione and told her she would tell those parents to trust her if they contacted her. Hermione was touched by her words and thanked her eagerly. She waved her hand dissmissevly.

Several hours later she left to her quarters. She took a quick shower and tended her wounds before going to the dungeons. She was surprized to find Severus sitting by the fire already. He greeted her quietly without lifting his gaze from the book he was reading. She smiled softly at him and sat next to him.

”I got bad news today.” She told him.

”Hmm?”

”I asked some of the parents to let me try muggle medicine with some patients. They refuced my help.”

Severus put his book to his lap and looked at her. ”What were you planning to do?”

”I contacted an old friend, who’s a muggle and a doctor. He knows about us because his wife was a witch.” She explained. ”He promised to help me and I believe he would like to do research with me. But it looks like it ended before I could even try.”

He shook his head and looked slightly amused. ”You really like to keep yourself busy. You think you have time to do both?”

Hermione had to admit herself she hadn’t even thought about time. ”Well, madame is with me a while longer so I can focus on research. But perhaps it’s better I focus on this research before starting another project.” She told him smiling and went to look her potions.

He simply nodded and returned to his book. ”There’s tea, if you’d like.”

”Thanks, I’ll take a cup.”

He made a small gesture with his hand and the tea pot flew to fill her cup that was on a table next to her chair. She hid a smile when she walked to sit next to him. These little gestures he made, was something she would have never believed he would do for her.

Hermione made notes and Severus read his book about rare ingredients and gave her information from it. Again, the evening ended too soon and Hermione was sad she had to go to sleep. She hoped those evenings would last much longer so she could spend more time with him. It was Friday, and she would have to spend two evenings without his company.

”Do you have plans for weekend?” She asked him suddenly.

”Nothing special. Some essays to grade.”

She hesitated for a moment. She wanted to ask him to spend time with her but she wasn’t sure what to say.

”Did you have something in mind?” Severus asked. She glanced at him and saw he had put his book down and looked at her slightly frowning.

”I was planning on doing some test brews, and I was wondering if I could ask you to help me if I had problems.” She told him. ”I could help you grade those papers in return.” She added grinning.

”There’s an offer I cannot resist. My older students have been behaving way too well past week and I couldn’t give detention to anyone that could grade them.”

Hermione gave a laugh at that. ”You know I really liked those few detentions you gave me and made me grade those essays. It was always a good way to rehearse things from previous years.”

She saw him rolling his eyes. ”Should have known it wasn’t a punishment to you...”

Chapter Text

On Saturday morning, Hermione woke up early and went to the dungeons to check Severus' wares. She went in cautiously, not wanting to bother him so early in the morning.

She went to the back room and started to go through the ingredients. She knew he had a comprehensive set of ingredients but she would have never guessed it was so impressive. There were many ingredients she had never heard of and some she knew was extremely rare. He had sorted the ingredients in alphabetical order and some unstable ingredients were on separate shelves, far from other ingredients.

There was everything she believed she would need in her first test brews. She took a few ingredients she knew she needed but hesitated when she was about to take some more rare ingredients. She held her fingers on a vial of lizard tear extract. Was it ok for him that she used his wares?

"It won't bite you."

Hermione winced and almost dropped the vial. She turned around and saw Severus standing by the door and looking at her.

Hermione sighed. ”Old habits die hard. Still feeling I’m doing something wrong when poking through your wares.”

”If it bothered me, you would be hexed from head to toes right now.” He said dryly. ”Want some tea?”

”Sure. It was too early to go to breakfast and I wanted to see if you had everything I needed for today’s brewing.” She replied and followed him when he left the room.

She expected them to go to a research room, but to her surprise, he went into his quarters. He went to sit by a table where he had two steaming cups. Had he expected her? He gestured her to sit in front of him so she did, and took one steaming cup to her hands.

”So, what are you planning to try today?” He asked her.

"I thought I might try to make two tests today. I was planning on adding ash beetles wings after the first set of ingredients. Based on what we studied a few days ago, it should stabilize the effect of saliva root and make the potion more effective." She explained spinning a lock of hair in her fingers.

She took a sip of tea, which tasted wonderful, and continued her explanation. ”It’s a test I wanted to try, even I know that the wings may have unexpected effects with some other ingredients.”

Severus nodded. ”It is worth trying. Though I have my suspicions of the effects when combined with ginger root.”

”Yes, and that’s why I want to make another potion where I add three drops of mandrake root extract just before the last stirring. It could help with that, or make things worse.”

”Sounds good. When will we begin?”

Hermione tried to hide her enthusiasm for the day by taking a long sip from her cup. He would rather spend the day with her!

”Well, if you don’t have anything else planned for the morning, I would like to start as soon as possible. It takes hours to make those potions.”

”I have some papers waiting for marking, but that’s something we can do while waiting for the potions to brew.” He replied pointing at a pile of papers on a nearby table.

She didn’t want to admit how pleasing it sounded in her ears when he spoke of ’we’.

"Sounds perfect. If I didn't remember to say this earlier, thank you for your help. It's so much nicer to do something like this with someone else." She said and hesitated for a second. "It's nice to do this with you, Severus." She blurted before she lost her courage.

The only thing that revealed he had heard her words, was the small pause he had before he sipped his tea. She wanted to take those words back, even she meant every word. But she was not sure if he had forgiven her yet.

”Don’t look so scared, Hermione. I would not do this if I didn’t enjoy your company as well.” He replied calmly.

His words made her heart flutter. It had not been just her imagination. He seemed calm after the revel like it was the most normal thing in the world to admit… What? It wasn’t a love confession, and why should it be? They had just told each other that they liked to spend time together. So why the word love flashed into her mind now and then?

She pushed those thoughts out of her mind and tried to focus on the present. She needed all her concentration for the brewing so she could not think about what was going on between them.

”Yeah, I believe you wouldn’t. So, I’m ready with my tea so I’m going to make some preparations. Feel free to join me when you’re ready.” She said and put her cup back to the table.

”Fine. I’ll be there shortly.” He replied.

She went back to his storeroom and took everything she thought she would need. Her basket was full of different ingredients that she had carefully put there.

in the research room, she put all the ingredients on the table near the cauldrons. She arranged them at the correct order so she could just pick an ingredient after another in the correct order, without needing to think what ingredient she needed next.

After that, she went to her bag and pulled two carefully packed stirring rods out of their bags. They were very expensive rods and she had used a month's salary to get them. The first one was made of enchanted driftwood. It was perfect while brewing with certain ingredients. The second one was a crystal silver rod, which was used when needed higher temperatures while brewing.

She got everything ready just when Severus joined her. She suppressed her anxiety at the situation. Somehow it felt so intimate to be brewing her precious salve with him. She remembered the few times he'd brewed an example potion, and she remembered how she could have watched it forever. He made it look like an art when he prepared each ingredient to the potion.

"It seems you've made good preparations already. Nice change to these dunderheads who believe it's no different if mandrake root is cut half-inch pieces instead of quarter-inch pieces. And then they wonder why they end up blowing their cauldron to their faces.' He said rolling his eyes.

Hermione giggled, remembering poor Neville who had made exactly that mistake. Severus had chased him out of the classroom and gave him two nights detention for ruining three of his classmates' outfits, who were not wearing safety gowns.

"Oh, I remember that. Poor Neville was devastated after his favorite cloak was completely ruined." She said grinning.

She saw a small smirk on his face before he walked to the table to see all the ingredients.

”Enchanted driftwood and crystal silver, I must say I’m impressed. You don’t see these usually. You take brewing very seriously.” He said appreciatively.

"I am a fast learner. And after blowing up one cauldron at my apartment, when my old rod had absorbed some previous ingredients, I decided to invest in these." She explained.

Ne nodded and took the silver rod to his hands. He examined it, his long fingers tracing its surface carefully. She let him examine it and the table for a moment before interrupting him.

"If you think we're ready to start, we could add first ingredients to the cauldrons. I cast a magical wall between them so if something unexpected happened, it should not ruin another one."

He put the rod carefully back to the table and turned around to look at the cauldrons.

”Yes. I believe we are ready. Which one would you like to prepare?” He asked.

”I can take the right one where I add the mandrake root extract.”

They began working, adding ingredient after another. After the first set, they had two hours before they needed to add the ash beetle wings, so he went to get the papers and they sat to grade them with a pot of tea.

The second set went as easily as the first set, and their potions seemed stable. The third set would be the most critical, but it would take several hours before they could add them.

It was past noon when they finished the second set and Hermione heard her stomach growling. ”I don’t know about you, but I’m getting hungry. Want to go to have some dinner?”

Severus wiped his hands to a towel and nodded. They cast stasis spells to the cauldrons and left to the main hall. Hermione couldn’t help feeling a little anxious walking next to him towards the hall, where everyone would most definitely stare at them and make their assumptions about their relationship.

”Does it bother you?” He asked without looking at her.

She snapped out of her thoughts and glanced at him questioningly. ”What?”

”When people stare and make their assumptions about you.”

She blushed. Had he used legilimens on her? "No. I'm used to gossips and assumptions. Downside of being a war hero."

He smirked. ”Tell me about it.”

"I can't even imagine how bad it is to you. Your role in the war was… difficult. And people tend to choose to believe gossips instead of the facts."

They entered the hall before he answered her. It was exactly how she had imagined. There were several curious stares and a few stunned ones. It was probably the first time in Hogwarts' history that Severus Snape had opened a door to a woman and walked next to her to have dinner.

She suppressed a giggle when few students looked quickly away, terrified, and a glance at Severus' direction revealed the reason. His calm expression with raised eyebrow was even more effective than his anger, as he looked back at those few students who pointed at them and whispered to each other.

They sat next to each other at the teacher's table, where few other teachers were already eating. She greeted them politely (Severus didn't say a word), and took a plate full of food. Being born muggle, it never ceased to amaze her that they got to eat like this a few times a day and not having to pay for it.

She enjoyed her food and talked with the people around her. Even Severus joined the conversation now and then. She didn't remember him being as social before, though usually, she didn't sit next to him so she could not be sure if he talked that much with people he usually ate with.

When they had eaten, Hermione waited for a moment to let Severus leave first. But after a while, when he didn't seem to want to leave, she stood up and started to walk away. He stood up also and walked beside her. They walked through the whole hall side by side, and Hermione felt how eyes followed them until they left the hall. Had he done it on purpose? Did he want people to see them together?

Chapter Text

He would have never believed he would enjoy spending time with her so much. She was still a little reserved around him, outside the research room, and even he knew it was his fault, it bothered him. He wanted to know what was going on inside that little head of hers. He knew she enjoyed spending evenings with him, reading and having interesting conversations, and even the comfortable silence. She actually had told him out loud that she liked to spend time with him.

He was slightly amused how unsure she was when they went to the main hall to eat, glancing him as the walked side by side towards the hall. When they entered the hall, he felt everyone’s eyes on them. He knew what was in their minds even without legilimens, for he was not a social person and rarely ate with anyone. Hermione’s inquiry snapped him out of his thoughts and when he replied to her that it didn’t bother him to be stared at, he actually meant it.

He knew she had meant to ask him if it bothered to be seen with her. It was amazing how insecure she was even she was a gorgeous young witch. It should bother her more than him to be seen together but she seemed more concerned of his feelings.

He rarely enjoyed the meals in the main hall but it was customary to dine there. He sat by her and picked something to his plate. He made sure it was that kind of food he could chew enough that it would not hurt when he swallowed. Nagini’s bite left his neck scarred making swallowing unpleasant. He always wore scarves to hide his neck so people would not stare at his scars. He had tried to heal them but since it was something like Nagini that bit him, it was not an easy task.

He chewd his food carefully and listened to Hermione as she talked with the people around them. At some point he noticed that even he had joined the conversation several times. After they ate, Hermione took two cups and poured them some tea and gave him one cup. She did it subconsciously, putting herself a spoon of honey and pouring some cold water in his cup to make it cooler to drink. She must have observed that he always drank his tea a little cooler since hot liquid hurts his throat.

He also noticed the quick glances the other teachers gave her and then him. He kept his face straight when he saw professor Sander looking at Hermione frowning. It was clear they knew each other quite well since she knew how he drank his tea. He thanked her quietly and she gave him a quick smile. They finished their meal and he waited for her to stand up so he could follow her. He saw professor Sander looking at them frowning, and took few longer steps to walk closer to Hermione. He knew that the younger man was attracted to her and he didn’t like the idea of them seeing each other. He admitted grudgingly that it made him pissed to think her with any other man. Any other? She was not with him either…

They walked out of the hall and towards the dungeons. The hallway was empty. Students were spending the weekend in their dorms or at Hogsmeade. They were walking through the hallway when Hermione suddenly slowed her steps. He stopped and looked at her questioningly. She looked at him over her shoulder and she had a wondering look on her face.

”I… Do you mind to take a small walk outside? I could use some fresh air before we head back to dungeons.” She asked hesitantly.

She clearly did not mind to be seen with him around the school yard, even they both knew there would be gossips. People in Hogwarts loved to gossip. And he could only imagine the rumors that spread around the school when they saw them spending time together, even they were only working together.

Several years before the golden trio entered Hogwarts he had almost quit his position there. There was a female teacher who was for some strange reason interested in him and would not leave him alone. She had some sort of bad boy syndrome since his snarling and insults did not make her leave him alone. The woman was an imbecile and Severus had no idea what Albus had thought when he had hired her. Severus hated stupid people and she had been a pain in the ass. Luckily she had found some poor idiot of a man for herself and he lived abroad. She moved away and he had opened a bottle of fine wine to celebrate her departure. But the rumors at that time. They were insufferable. The assumptions of their relationship. Dolores had tried to pair them in christmas celebration making things even worse. The ”knowing” smiles at him made him mad. And months after she left, the compassionate gazes and whispers of his sorrow made him grit the crowns out of his teeth.

But the situation was different now. He didn’t mind the rumors or the curious gazes. If it was ok for her, it was ok for him.

”Lead the way.” He replied and gestured her to walk ahead.

She started to walk towards the main doors and he went right after her, not being able to resist the urge to stare at her swinging hips. She truly had an amazing body. He was so mesmerized of her hips that he walked into her when she suddenly stopped in front of the doors. She gasped in surprise and stumbled forward. Instingtly, he reached to her and pulled her to him before she fell.

She felt amazing against his body and he had a sudden urge to kiss her in the middle of the hallway. Hermione turned around to look at him looking surprised and started to speak, but when she saw the strange expression on his face she remained silent. She was standing still in his arms, her body pressed against his, but it didn’t seem to bother her. They looked each other, and the world disappeared around them. He pulled her closer and she raised her chin slowly.

Someone opened the front door, breaking the moment between them, and they pulled away quickly before the door opened completely. He saw she was flustered and out of breath but when Minerva walked in she braced up and greeted her warmly.

”Oh, Minerva! Good afternoon!” She said to Minerva.

Minerva looked at them and started to smile. ”Good afternoon to you two! Are you going to go enjoy that beautiful autumn weather too?”

”Yes, we just dined and I proposed to professor Snape that we take a short stroll before we continue our test brewings.” She explained.

What the hell got into him? He was not a teenage boy who snogged in the middle of hallway! And yet… He would do it without hesitation if there was another chance to do it. He had longed to kiss her for days now.

Minerva and Hermione talked a moment before Minerva was called to deal some school business, and they continued to walk out. She was unusually quiet, which normally would not bother him, but given what almost happened a moment ago, it unnerved him that she was quiet. He hoped that he could just enter her mind and see what she was thinking about.

They walked to the lake and Hermione stopped there and took a deep inhale.

”This was one of the places I missed the most while I was away. I used to sit here and study when it was too crowded at our dorm.” She said with a soft smile on her face.

No reaction at their moment? He thought. He had to admit himself that it bothered him. He knew he had hurt her in the beginning of the semester and there were still things between them. But based on the lack of emotion on after Minerva almost caught them, he was not sure if she had decided to friendzone him. (He would have never guessed he would use such trend word used by teenagers these days. Ever.)

Hermione interrupted his thoughts. ”You know. This is one of those places people rarely come, even it’s such lovely place. Which suits me nicely, since we were interrupted at so inappropriate time.”

He had always thought himself a fast thinker but she caught him by surprise, and before he managed to form a single thought in his mind she turned around to face him and leaned forward. She pressed her lips to his and time stopped.

It took a moment to realize that she actually kissed him. She must have noticed his confusion and before he had time to answer her kiss, she pulled away and looked at him apologetically.

”I…” She begun to babble but he interrupted her, before she overthinked his reaction, by pulling her to his arms and pressing his lips to hers and kissed her properly.

She circled her arms around his neck and deepened the kiss. Her arms squeezed his neck but he didn’t even notice if it hurt him. All he could feel that moment, was her soft lips pressed against his and her body wrapped around him. She tasted amazing, a hint of eucalyptus mixed with the tea she drank with her meal. She let out a small moan and opened her lips, giving Severus an opportunity to deepen the kiss even more. Their tongues danced together and Hermione made more of those little noices that made him crazy.

He had no idea how long they kissed. Eventually they needed air and pulled apart breathing heavily. He didn’t let go of her and she didn’t take her arms off his shoulders. She opened her eyes and looked him in the eyes smiling softly. She had never looked as beautiful as she did then: Out of breath, lips swollen from kissing and brown eyes shining.

Severus was a very cynical man. His life had never been a pleasant one, quite the opposite. He never understood when people talked about magical moments in their lives or in books. Magic was mundane thing in their world so what special was about a magical moment. Now he knew. The moment in the beach of the lake, a beautiful woman in his arms, smiling at him after they kissed. That was a magical moment.

”I must admit it miss Granger. You may have just made this place one of my favorites too…”

Chapter Text

After Minerva almost caught them in the middle of the hallway, all Hermione could think was how good it felt to be close to him. It was almost impossible to talk to Minerva without showing how flustered she was. It was a miracle she could speak to her without stuttering. She would remember absolutely nothing from the conversation afterwards.

 

As they walked towards the lake, Severus a few steps behind her, Hermione was thinking rapidly. What did just happen? They definitely had a moment. If Minerva had not interrupted them, they would have kissed. She was not sure how she should behave after that. Would Severus want to forget that moment? She did not want that. She couldn’t be near him without dreaming of kissing him. By the time they reached the lake, Hermione was a mess inside. Although she seemed calm, inside a storm was raging.

 

She didn’t think, she just acted without thinking of the consequences. She kissed him and felt how he immediately stilled.  At that moment nothing else mattered - all she could think of  was his lips against hers. This was the moment she had dreamt of for so long.

 

It would be the understatement of the year to say Hermione had butterflies in her stomach. It was more like she had Peeves on a rampage inside her. For a second, she thought she had made a terrible mistake by acting so impulsively and kissing him. She pulled away to see if he was angry and she immediately began to explain her actions. But he interrupted her before she managed to form a sentence.

 

He was an excellent kisser. Although they both were in the heat of the moment, he kissed her slowly and passionately. She let out a little moan as she felt his tongue brushing against hers. She hadn’t noticed she had circled her arms around his neck.  All she knew was that she just needed to be closer to him. She didn’t care if someone saw them there. All that mattered was that she was kissing him and how he held her in his embrace.

 

Finally needing to come up for air, they started to slow down. They pulled their lips apart but their bodies remained close. For the first time in her life (and probably every other human being on the planet), she saw a soft look on his face. There was no trace of sarcasm in his expression.

 

His words were like honey to her. Afraid her voice would betray her, she just smiled. He gave her a small kiss on her lips again before letting her go. Reclutantly, she let her arms fall from his shoulders.

 

”We should head back inside”, he told her quietly as he gestured towards the castle.

 

”You’re right. We’ve got a lot of work today.” She agreed. They walked slowly back towards the castle, prolonging the moment for a little longer.

 

They got few curious looks as they walked along the outside corridor. First Hermione thought it was because her hair was messy, or her lips swollen from kissing. But then she remembered that it was not a common thing to see Severus enjoying an afternoon walk, at least not with anyone else. She didn’t remember seeing him outside the dungeons very often, except when dining in the great hall or when he was on patrol in the corridors.

 

He opened the main door for her and she stepped inside, thanking him as she walked past him. The cool air in the castle hit her and Hermione shivered. Blast the castle was cold!

 

”Hey, I need to get a sweater from my room. I didn’t notice it was so chilly in here and I’m a little cold. Didn’t dress properly, it seems.” 

 

”Sure. I’ll meet you downstairs", he said and walked toward the dungeons, his robes fluttering behind him.

 

She went to her rooms and headed straight to her bathroom to check herself in the mirror. She looked exactly as she thought she would: lips swollen and eyes shining from excitement. She brushed her lips lightly and giggled like a little girl, still wondering how on earth she found the courage to kiss him first.

 

She brushed her hair quickly, washed her face with cold water and took a warm sweater with her. Severus was not in the research room when she got there so she put few logs in the fireplace before pulling her sweater on and going to check on their brewing. They looked stable and their colors were just as she expected them to be.

 

She put some water in the pot and heated it with a flick of wand. Her school friend had sent her some eastern white tea mix and she was eager to try it. The scent filled the room and it was amazing: hint of lemon, orange and some berries. Just as she was pouring tea to their cups, she heard the door open and saw Severus entering the room. Butterflies filled her belly and she almost overfilled her cup.

 

”Hey, just poured us some tea. It’s a little different from what you are used to but I got it from a friend and wanted to try it. It smells amazing", she told him.  She needed to say something to hide her bewilderment.

 

He gave her a small, knowing smile and came to her. He brushed her hair from her face and put his hand under her chin. ”Hermione, relax. Everything’s still ok, right?”,  he inquired looking her straight in the eyes.

 

”Yes. I just…”

 

He gave her a soft kiss to interrupt her and the butterflies in her stomach doubled. ”You’re overthinking things as always. It was a kiss, now we kissed again. Nothing’s changed… Well, something’s obviously changed but it’s not a bad thing, right?”

 

She sighed and smiled sheepisly. ”It’s just… I don’t want to ruin everything between us like I almost did earlier.”

 

”Nothing’s ruined. Stop overthinking”, he said and ran a thumb along her cheek. ”Now, I could have a cup of tea and we could check on those papers. And then we could check on your potions.”

 

With shivering hands, she took his cup and gave it to him and then went to her chair. He put his cup on a table after he tasted the tea, and pulled a small table between their chairs. He put a pile of exams (she had not even noticed he’d carried them when he came into the room) on the table and sat on his chair looking calm as ever. How does he do it? He’s so calm, like it’s the most normal thing in the world that they just kissed.

 

She decided to put her emotions in the background and focus on the papers. She took one paper and began to read it. After few paragraphs, she realized she didn’t have a quill so she couldn't   mark the papers. She was just about to stand up to get her quill when she noticed he was looking at her, handing her one of his quills.

 

”Oh, am I allowed to use one of your infamous red quills, professor?”,  she teased.

 

”Naturally. Your green ink quill would not send the same message as my infamous red one. Even though I do like the colour of your ink. Very un-Gryffindor of you Miss Granger", he teased.  She heard the humor in his voice, although his face was as blank as always.

 

She took the quill from him and grinned. She examined it carefully and saw it was an enchanted quill that never ran out of ink. ”So, do you have a gallon of ink somewhere in your classroom so you don’t run out? Or where is this ink coming from?”

 

”A gallon would run out in a month with these dunderheads”, he replied dryly and continued to mark his papers.

 

She saw a corner of his mouth pulling upwards. She smiled at him briefly and returned to her papers. She managed to correct several papers before her tea ran out.  She stood up and walked to the cauldrons.

 

”I believe it’s time to add the next set of ingredients. Then they need a day to brew before we add lavender to them. I need to stir it few times during the day.”

 

He followed her and looked inside the cauldrons. ”Yes, I think you are right.”

 

They prepared the next ingredients standing next to each other. She admired his precise movements as he cut ingredients into correct size pieces. He was working calmly, taking time to make every piece exactly the same size. It was a pleasure to see him work.

 

They added the ingredients to both cauldrons and stirred them seven times clockwise before casting stasis spells on them. It would be several hours before they needed their attention so they continued to mark his papers. They didn’t talk much, only few times when she needed to  ask his opinion of something a student had written. They stirred the cauldrons few times during the day and studied how the potions slowly changed color and scent. The day passed quickly, and after a final stirring, they finished the last papers.

 

It was getting late and Hermione was getting tired. ”Severus, I’m getting sleepy so I think I will go to bed. It’s quite late.”

 

”Hmm? Oh, right. I didn't notice it was getting so late. This is my last paper to grade and I’m ready just… now.” He replied and made several angry markings to the paper before putting it on the top of the pile. She went to give one final look on the cauldrons and headed towards the door. ”Goodnight, Severus. See you tomorrow.”

 

He walked to the door same time as she did, and stood in front of her preventing her from leaving the room. ”Aren’t we forgetting something?”, he asked, raising one eyebrow.

 

She looked at him questioningly, and when she realized what he meant, she blushed. She still couldn’t believe she had kissed him, and didn’t know how she should behave now.

 

”What? Hermione Granger speechless? ", he teased, pulling her closer and leaning down. Hermione closed her eyes automatically. Her heart fluttered when his lips touched hers. He kissed her gently, his lips brushing hers over and over again. His hand moved to her cheeks and his slender fingers caressed her temples gently.

 

”I believe this is a proper way to say goodnight from now on", he whispered as he pulled away.

 

”Mmhmm…”, she agreed, smiling.

 

He gave her another quick kiss once and opened the door for them. Her legs shook when she walked out of the room behind him and closed the door. She walked past him and told him softly good night before she headed to the stairs and back to her quarters.

 

**

 

It amused Severus greatly to tease her. Now that she made the first move, he could take the lead from there. He realized he liked to make her blush and smile, and she made it too easy for him. He would have never guessed he would enjoy such things, but after the war he realised how he had changed when there wasn’t a constant threat of exposure and death.

 

He showered and went to bed. It had been a long day , though he could have stayed with her for much longer. He needed to read something as he was too excited to sleep. The thought of her body pressed against his made his body ache. Only with steel self-discipline, he managed to control his body enough so she would not notice the bulge in his trousers.

 

He could not keep from thinking of how her soft breasts felt pressed against his chest and of her soft moans as they kissed. His body reacted to those thoughts immediately and he knew he needed to release the pressure before he could even think about sleeping.

 

He ran his hand over his abdomen and took his rock hard cock into his hand and squeezed.  It wouldn't take long to cum since he was so aroused just remembering their earlier encounters. He thought of her lips and how wonderful it was to kiss her. His mind ran scenarios of how amazing those lips would be feel around his cock. He ran his hand up and down faster and started to breath heavier. ”Oh fuck. Yes.” After a few more strokes, he came calling her name.

 

He breathed heavily for a while, before cleaning himself with his wand. He put the wand back on his nightstand and pulling bed covers over himself. It took only minutes before he was in a dreamless sleep.

 

**

 

Hermione could barely sleep that night. She rolled in her bed from side to side, unable to find a good position to sleep. Her heart was still pounding and she was way too excited to sleep. Every time she closed her eyes, she saw visions of him kissing and embracing her.

 

She had known for a long time that he had a capability to affect her like no man ever had. But she had totally underestimated the power of his influence on her. After the first kiss she had been so nervous that if he had not taken the lead, she would have never had courage to do it again.

 

She admired his capability to stay so calm. She had a hurricane inside her and he seemed so… serene. Actually, now as she thought about it, he was serene nowadays. Yes, he was strict towards the students and took house points as much as he always had. He preferred to be alone, though he did seem to like her company. But a certain malice was lacking that had been there before the war. And when they sat at their room, enjoying the tea and the warmth of the fire, he seemed calmer than ever.

 

But his calmness bothered her also. She was still so insecure after getting her fingers burnt with her previous boyfriend. She had thought he had genuinly liked her but she she realized later it had been the fame he was after. And the limitations of her body in intimate situations had been too much for him.

 

She had been with him when she was just developing the salve so her wounds limited their sexual life a lot. He did not understand why she always wanted to keep her tight top on and not let him touch on her stomach, even after she told him it was painful to her. After several tries he just dumped her with a letter, telling her he needed a proper woman in his bed.

 

She wanted to believe Severus was a man who didn’t play with her feelings. She hoped he shared at least some of her excitement.

 

She rolled in her bed from side to side, unable to find a comfortable position to fall asleep. She kicked her blanket off after her rolling caused her body temperature rise. Frustrated, she sat up and took a book from her nightstand. It was a rather boring book, so luckily it made her tired enough to fall asleep eventually.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Hermione woke up earlier than usual. She had several steamy hot dreams and woke up feeling frustrated and extremely aroused. In her dreams, Severus had done things to her that made her squirm. Flashes of those dreams made her smile dreamingly and she unconsciously lowered her hand into her knickers.

She was soaking wet already and when she brushed her clit with her fingers, she moaned loudly. She had never been as aroused in her life. She stroked her clit several times and shivered when she felt delightful waves through her body. She fastened her movements and started to pant. After few seconds she felt huge waves flow through her and she moaned loudly as she climaxed. She kept stroking herself through the orgasm and slowly stilled her movements. She had never come as fast and hard as she came now.

Keeping her eyes closed, she let her body calm down before she rose to take a shower and make herself ready for the day.

**

Severus was already eating breakfast when she entered the main hall. She went to sit next to him and took porridge to her plate.

”Good morning.” She said to him, trying to keep a straight face. She was relieved to know he could not read her thoughts and find out that she had masturbated thinking him just before.

”Good morning, Hermione. Slept well?” He asked, causing professor Sander bite his lip as he was just biting his bread. He cursed under his breath and touched his lip with his fingers.

Hermione glanced at Severus and saw a mischievous look in Severus’ eyes before he put back on his usual mask. Severus never had small talk at the teachers’ table. She glanced at professor Sander who looked at Severus and her frowning, as trying to figure out what was going on between them.

”I slept very well, thank you.” She replied politely, not showing any emotions. She blew at her porridge to make it cooler to eat and got amused look from Severus.

”You know, you are a witch. You could use a spell to make it cooler.” He teased her. The comment made several other teachers to look at them

”I could, but my wand is at my back pocket and I’m too lazy to stand up and get it. I’m in no rush so I can as well blow this few times to make it edible.” She explained before she blew again. He rolled his eyes and without looking at her, waved his hand over her plate and the porridge became cooler instantly.

They continued to eat their food without talking any more and left the table together. Hermione noticed that he walked closer to her than usual. She felt professor Sander’s stare on their back and suppressed a grin. Was Severus making a statement to the other man with his actions, or what the hell was going on?

When they reached their research room, Severus opened the door for her and she stepped in. Before she managed to go any further she heard the door close behind them and felt Severus’ hands on her shoulders. He turned her around and pressed his lips to hers slowly.

She smiled softly against his lips and kissed him back. She circled her arms around his waist and let his tongue enter her mouth. He kissed her gently several times before he let her go. She smiled at him and gave him a small kiss before she went past him and went to look at their brewings.

Her good mood went away fast. One of the potions looked like it was rotten.

”Severus. Something’s wrong with the potion.”

He came next to her and leaned closer to the cauldron. ”It is the one without madrake root extract?”

”Yes. You were correct with your assumption. The beetle wings don’t work with ginger root. At least without the mandrake extract. And now I’m worried how the potion with the extract will react with the rest of the ingredients.”

She sighed and went to take her notes. She added notes from their discovery and went to look at the rotten potion. The color was brownish-green and it smelled like rotten flesh. An utter failure. With a flick of her wand, she vanished the potion and took the cauldron to the nearby sink.

”At least you have the second potion. It looks stable enough so you can add lavender.”

”You’re right. I was just so hopeful with the one without mandrake.” She replied sadly.

She went to take dried lavender and measured the right amount of it before she added it to the cauldron. She stirred it three times clockwise and looked at it cautiously. The color changed sligtly and the potion got it’s typical scent of lavender.

”Now it needs to brew for two days before I add the next ingredient.”

Severus came next to her. ”I have an idea how we could spend that time.”

Instantly, there was an army of butterflies in her stomach and she struggled to stay calm. Was she ready for it yet? They had just kissed and now he wanted to…

Severus smirked like he knew what she was thinking. ”I could teach you how to cast wandlessly.”

He… What? Hermione didn’t know if she was relieved or disappointed.

”That… You would do that? Teach me how to do it?” She asked and he smiled at how her eyes lit up.

”Yes Hermione. I would not have proposed it if I didn’t wish to do it.”

She smiled softly at him. He truly was a totally different man when he didn’t have that sarcastic mask on that he had worn for decades in front of everyone.

He took her wand and put it in her pocket. Hermione looked at him surprised. ”Oh you mean now?”

”Did you have something else in mind?” He asked.

Hermione blushed when her thoughts went to forbidden direction. ”Uhh. No. I guess not. I just wasn’t prepared for it.”

”You don’t need to read the whole section of wandless magic in the library before we start.” He teased. He knew her too well. She had thought she would go find some books to study before he would teach her she she could be more prepared for it.

”You have all the knowledge you need. The only thing you need to do is to learn how the magic works in your body.” He told her and came to stand in front of her.

”You know that magic is inside you. It is part of you and it’s power is determined by how strong your spirit is. The wand is a tool to focus that magic.” He began to explain.

”Obviously the core of the wand powers up the magic. You have dragon heartstring inside your wand which makes it and your magic more powerful. But if wielded by someone weaker than you, the wand would be much weaker. So the power comes within you.” He continued and as he talked, he took her hands to his and lifted them up to their waistline.

”So. Instead of using the wand, you use your hands.”

Hermione looked at her hands and tried to imagine casting a spell without a wand. She had tried it in sixth grade with no success so she just thought it was not for her.

”Are you sure I can do it? I mean.. I tried it when I was younger but failed miserably.”

”Most kids try it. But children usually don’t have enough power and knowledge so they can’t do it. But I am certain you can do it.” He assured her.

”How?

”Turn around.” He commanded and gently tugged her shoulders to make her turn.

He stood right behind her and gestured her to raise her hand. She felt his breath on her neck and shivers ran through her spine. Did he really think she could concentrate when he was so close and she could feel his breath on her skin?

”Now. I want you to move that knife on that table.” Lift it in the air.”

She said the words and felt like an idiot when nothing happened.

”You are not concentrating enough. Again. And this time do it like you would do with your wand.” He instructed and his low voice made her squirm.

She tried again, but her lack of concentration ensured that she failed again.

”I… I can try to do it later. By myself.” She mumbled.

”No. I want to see you succeed once before I let you off the hook.”

How the hell could she make him understand that it was totally impossible for her to focus when he was so close to her?

”I.. I think I need a moment before I can do it. I mean. I think I need a cup of tea or something.” She muttered and tried to pull away.

She glanced at him when she turned around and saw him smirk before his typical mask was back on. Was he teasing her?

 

**

 

Severus smirked behind her. He knew exactly why she couldn’t focus and wanted to try by herself. He knew how she reacted when he was so close to her and he wanted to tease her. He saw how her heart beat fast and how her skin went to goosepumps when he spoke.

She turned around so quickly that he didn’t have time to put on his mask. He saw how she frowned and he tried to keep his face straight.

”Severus Snape. Are you teasing me?” She asked and poked him on the shoulder.

Chapter Text

A few days later  it was time to add the next ingredient to the potion. Everything had gone well during the past few days and the potion seemed stable. Everything was how it was supposed to be, but Hermione was nervous. Every time she had to add another set of ingredients, there was a possibility of disaster. She had exploded countless cauldrons when she developed the current salve and every failure affected her self confidence. She knew it was a part of research, but she hated to fail. And to possibly fail in front of Severus made it even worse.

 

”Relax Hermione. You either succeed or we start all over.” He calmed her.

 

”I know. But failing means so much more work. And it means I need to suffer from these scars for so much longer,” She huffed.

 

”We will find a cure for you. If it is not this one, it will be the next one. The point is not to give up.”

 

Hermione nodded and took the next ingredient from the table. Normally at that point the potion would turn thicker and start to smell stronger. They expected it to happen again but the reaction should be stronger.

 

She added the powder to the cauldron and took a step back. She took her wand and prepared herself for the worst. Seconds turned into minutes and still nothing happened. Hermione took a cautious step towards the cauldron and peered in

Something had happened. There was a thick clump on the bottom of the cauldron. She took her glass rod and carefully poked the clump. The wand sank into the clump and when she pulled it back, there was a string of the substance attached to it.

 

”I believe this was not our goal. It’s ruined.” She sighed sadly.

 

Severus came closer and poked the clump with his wand. ”Examinado substantus.” He whispered and a white string appeared from his wand and touched the clump.

 

Hermione saw several shades of green, blue and purple glowing on the surface of the string. She looked at Severus and saw he was extremely concentrated. Mutliple emotions flashed on his face while he studied the response his magic gave him.

 

”It is not harmful," he said as he finally pulled his wand away and the string faded.

 

”…But?" Hermione asked.

 

”It is impossible to say without trying.”

 

Hermione shivered and let out involuntary sigh. Severus looked at her frowning and saw she was extremely uncomfortable.

 

”Please don’t tell me you used yourself as a test subject?" he asked and pulled her chin up so she would look him straight into eyes.

 

”You are one of several people in the world who knows about my condition. Before I came here there were only few of them. So no. I did not have anyone to help me with testing.” She admitted.

 

”You should have at least tried them on those two dunderheads instead of yourself.”

 

”They don’t know.”

 

His eyebrows flew up in surprise. ”The golden duo do not know about your scars?”

 

”No. Everyone think that we are so close that we share everything but that is not true. Yes, I love them both very much, but they are not the kind of people I feel comfortable to share things like this.” She explained. ”We grew up together but after the war and school, we kind of separated. I still write to them and see them as often we all have time, but these past years we just didn’t have much free time.”

 

Hermione walked past him to wash the glass rod to get away from his intense stare.

 

”So yes, I tried them on myself with variable outcomes. And I can assure you not all of them were pleasant.” She ended her explanation with siur grimance.

 

All the memories from blisters and burns came rushing back. She had almost quit several times when she developed her salve when the wrong potions caused her more pain than she already had. Not to mention her desperate explanations to the school nurses why she had strange blisters and cuts all over her hands every now and then.

 

”You will not try these on yourself anymore, you hear me?” Severus stated. ”Ever. Again.”

 

”Fine with me. Though who will be the happy subject? Too bad Molly killed Bellatrix, I’d love to try these on her. I wouldn’t bother to fail few times if I had a chance to burn her skin off few times.”

 

”Burn off skin…?” Severus asked and gave her a stern look.

 

”Test number twenty-seven. Turned out luna moth wings have a burning effect if combined with shark tooth powder.” Hermione replied and subconciously rubbed her palm with her thumb.

 

He took her hand and looked at her palm. Hermione had healed all scars when she finished the current salve so there was nothing to see.

 

”If I had been your supervisor at that school…” He murmured.

 

”You what?” She grinned mischievously to lighten the mood. ”Given me a detention? Hmm… I think I would have liked that.” She continued with lower tone.

 

His eyebrows flew up. He lift his head, looked at her in the eyes and began smile a half smile. Damn he looked sexy when he smiled! He let her hand fall and took a step closer. ”I could give you detention retroactively.”

 

”Don’t you have enough students to scrub your cauldrons?” She teased.

 

”Plenty enough. I had other things in my mind…” He murmured and leaned to kiss her. Hermione sighed and leaned closer to deepen the kiss. At that moment she was unable to remember the just completed experiment and the result was waiting for testing.

 

All she could think of was his passionate kisses and his hands that started to caress her body. His light touch on her sides sent pleasurable jolts through her body and she yearned for more. Her own hands seemed to have a mind of their own as she became aware they had begun to caress his abdomen. Suddenly things were progressing a little too fast. Hermione wasn’t sure if she was ready to move on to next level with him just yet.

 

Severus noticed immediately her mood change. He stilled his movements and lightened the kiss. ”We are in no rush Hermione.”

 

”I.. I know. I just…” She begun to babble but Severus interrupted her by kissing her once more. ”You are not ready yet. I know. And I don’t expect anything. But don’t expect me to be able to keep my hands off you completely.”

 

”I don’t want you to keep your hands off me. Quite the opposite.  I’m just insecure because of my past,” She explained as she  subconciously brushed her abdomen.

 

”There’s nothing to be insecure about. We all have our scars, some more visible than others. But now we have other business that requires our attention. We need to test this experiment. I’ll contact my colleague. He has an excellent way to test potions,” Severus told her and turned back to look at the cauldron.

 

Hermiome smiled at his back. Who would have guessed he could be so compassionate and understanding.

 

”How soon can we begin testing?”

 

***

 

”What is it?” Hermione asked and poked the strange-looking clump.

 

”It is a fake skin. My colleague created these so people can test their potions. There are also different types of tissues to test drinkable potions and their effects.”

 

”Had I known about these…” Hermione sighed.

 

”I won’t even begin to scold you about the mistakes you made back then. It would take ages. Now we will make things as they are supposed to be made.”

 

Severus placed the fake skin on one table and flattened it on the surface. To Hermione it looked like skin-colored styling wax, but there was something strange about it. It seemed like it was actually alive.

 

”Now. This clump acts as real human skin. If you cut it, it will bleed and in time the wound will close.”

 

Hermione stroke the ”skin” in awe. How her life would have been easier if she had this back at school. It would have saved her from so much pain. It felt like  real skin though it was cooler than normal body temperature. 

 

”So. First we test your old salve to see what reaction it causes so we can compare it to the new solution,” Severus said and made one cut to the clump which started to bleed.

 

Hermione took her salve and applied it to the wound. They both watched carefully how the wound reacted and Hermione made notes. The fake skin reacted like her own skin so they assumed the results from the new experiment were reliable.

 

”Ok. Moment of truth. I’ll make a cut and you apply the new substance to it.”

 

With shivering hands Hermione took a small portion of the new salve onto a stirring rod and applied it to the cut. She held her breath as she watched how the wound closed even faster than the first one.

 

”It worked!” She gasped.

 

”So it seems,” Severus murmured.

 

Hermione let out excited squeek and turned to hug him tightly. ”Oh my god it really works!”