Author’s Notes: Thank you so much to the wonderful Phoenix, beta extraordinaire! I wouldn’t be able to do this without her. You rock!
Thank you to my lovely reviewers: AJR, Killer Kadoogan, and sbrande. Sbrande: I have this story everywhere I can think to put it. LOL! The Petulant Poetess, Ashwinder, OWL, HP Fandom, Freedom of Speech Fan Fiction, and AFF (when it works). I also have a story posted on The Potions Master and on Occlumency. You should submit yours to TPP. I believe it would go over well!
Disclaimer: Not mine! Making no money!
It All Comes Down To Time
Dawn saw Hermione creeping out of the common room before any of her housemates awoke. Her head was still aching from thinking about the fates that awaited the five young people. James and Lily only had three years left to live thanks to the betrayal of their friend, Peter Pettigrew. She wondered if he was already working for Voldemort. Sirius was going to be in Azkaban three years from now for Peter’s crimes, where he would spend twelve years before escaping, living free for only two years in another kind of prison before being killed at the Ministry of Magic. Remus was the only one who didn’t have a wholly terrible fate awaiting him. Yes, he was going to lose his friends, and he was a werewolf, but he would be alive and eventually happy with Tonks. Knowing their futures would simply cause friendships with them to be too painful.
She worked her way down to the corridor in front of the Great Hall. Lost in thought and not paying attention to where she was going, she collided with someone. She ended up sprawled on top of that someone. She looked down into Severus’ eyes. Why me? was her only thought. She scrambled up in humiliation and watched him extricate himself from the floor.
“Do I have a sign that says, ‘Please run into me’, on my person?” he asked snidely.
With as much dignity as she could muster, she said, “I have only run into you twice and each time was quite by accident.” She smoothed her uniform primly.
“Indeed,” he replied.
He sounds just the same. That silky, sexy voice and his expressions are exactly the same, she thought. She surprised herself by saying out loud, “Maybe I’m seeking you out subconsciously.” Mortified, she said, “Oh, God, did I just say that out loud?”
Severus was too shocked to comment. His mouth gaped open as if he would speak, but no sound came out.
Hermione giggled a bit insanely and said, “You look like a fish with your mouth hanging open like that. Do close it before something flies in.”
He found his voice. “What?” he asked.
“I’m sorry. It’s just something one of my professors used to say. He always was one for clever comments.”
“Sounds like my kind of person,” he said wryly.
“You don’t know the half of it,” she muttered. More loudly she said, “I’m sorry I ran into you again. I didn’t think anyone else would be coming to breakfast so early.”
“I usually come before anyone else. I don’t have much desire to associate with anyone.”
“That sounds lonely,” Hermione said quietly. “It sounds a lot like why I am here so early.”
Severus looked at her, seeming to notice the Gryffindor colors on her for the first time. “You are a Gryffindor,” he sneered nastily as he stepped back.
Hermione looked at him feeling hurt. He has been almost nice to her until he realized she was in Gryffindor. “I don’t see why that matters,” she said softly. “Just because I am in Gryffindor does not mean I can’t be friends with someone in Slytherin.”
“I don’t need friends,” he snapped. “Especially not some pathetic, lonely Gryffindor.” He whirled around and walked into the Great Hall quickly, leaving Hermione staring after him sadly.
She was startled to hear her name called out and turned around. She was shocked to see Sirius walking towards her. She would have thought he was the type to sleep in as late as possible.
“Good morning, Sirius,” she said.
“Morning,” he said cheerfully. “Was Snivellus bothering you?”
She knew exactly who he was talking about but caught herself before saying anything. She shouldn’t know his nickname. “Snivellus?” she asked.
“Yeah, Snape. Was he bothering you? I’ll hex him into next week if you want me to.”
“No, you will not,” Hermione said angrily. “He was not bothering me. I ran into him and we had a short conversation. That’s it. You shouldn’t call him Snivellus. That’s a horrible nickname.”
“No, it’s an accurate nickname. He used to cry all the time. Anyway, he is not the kind of person you want to be around. He’s into the Dark Arts. You need to be careful around him,” Sirius said. “I wouldn’t want you to be hurt.” He smiled teasingly at her, taking a step closer to her and invading her personal space.
Hermione would have been thrilled to have such a handsome boy flirting with her under normal circumstances, but this was Sirius. She knew him as an adult and as a man who had spent a dozen years in Azkaban. He was reckless and not exceptionally reliable.
“Well, I think I can look out for myself, thanks,” Hermione replied taking a step back.
Sirius took another step forward and caught her hand. “It never hurts to have someone watching your back,” he said in what she assumed was supposed to be a seductive voice.
Hermione panicked as she realized that Sirius was about to kiss her. She was profoundly relieved when Remus, James, Peter, and Lily rounded the corner.
“Oy, Sirius! What has gotten into you getting up so early?” James called.
Sirius grinned at her as he stepped back. “We’ll finish this conversation later,” he promised quietly. “I was rescuing Hermione from Snivellus,” he said.
“Sirius, please don’t call him Snivellus,” Lily said forcefully. “You know I don’t like it when you all pick fun at people.” She smacked his arm as he walked by her.
“You were not rescuing me. It wasn’t a situation I needed rescuing from,” Hermione said heatedly. “You didn’t even show up until he was walking away.
“Good morning, Hermione,” Lily said, cutting off a response from Sirius. “Are you going to breakfast?”
“Good morning. Yes, I was about to when Sirius showed up.” She forced herself not to glare at him. He was already getting on her nerves by assuming that she wanted him to kiss her. He was very arrogant to think that she would kiss him less than twenty-four hours after they had met.
Lily took her arm and led her into the Great Hall behind the whispering Marauders. It was beginning to fill up as they entered. Hermione still had no difficulties picking Severus out at the Slytherin table. He was sitting alone with a book open next to his plate. She was dismayed to see that Sirius was headed in his direction.
She saw Severus tense up when he noticed Sirius’ approach. He closed his book and crammed it into his bag.
Hermione looked toward the table where the professors sat, but was horrified to see that their attention was riveted on the suddenly shouting James.
“Oy, Gryffindor,” he yelled, jumping up on the bench at his table. “Who’s going to win the Quidditch Cup this year?”
“Gryffindor,” Peter screamed, as if on cue.
“Oh dear,” Lily said, starting towards James. Remus stood behind Peter watching helplessly.
James began yelling some more about the Quidditch game, keeping the attention on himself. Hermione turned her attention back to Severus and Sirius.
Before Severus could stand up, Sirius closed in on him and smacked the back of his head. Hermione was close enough to hear their conversation, even with the wild cheering that James was eliciting from the Gryffindor table.
“You think you’re good enough to talk to a Gryffindor girl, Snivellus?” Sirius spat.
Severus looked toward the Head Table as if seeking help. He turned back to Sirius when he noticed that the professors’ attentions were on James.
“Get away from me,” Severus said, trying to push his way past Sirius.
“Don’t touch me, you greasy git,” Sirius growled. He pushed Severus back into his seat and lowered his face level with Severus’. “Where do you think you’re going? I’m not done with you.”
Severus’ face contorted angrily, and he dropped his bag as his hand snaked down to draw his wand.
“Ah, ah,” Sirius said as he brought his elbow up, hard. His elbow smashed into Severus nose, which exploded with blood on impact. “Don’t you dare foul anymore Gryffindors with your presence,” Sirius said, smiling nastily.
He turned and winked at Hermione as he joined the wildly shouting James. Hermione glared at him and looked back at Severus who had picked up his fallen bag. He stared at her momentarily, his hand covering his bleeding nose, before he walked briskly out of the Great Hall.
Hermione ran after him. “Severus,” she called as she exited the Hall, where Dumbledore had just reached James. “Severus, wait!” He ignored her, and she was forced to run until she had reached his side. “Severus, please wait.”
He finally stopped and turned to her. His nose was still bleeding, so Hermione pulled out her wand and took a piece of paper from her bag. She transfigured the paper into a handkerchief and held it out to Severus. He stared warily before accepting it and holding it over his nose.
“Hold out your hand,” Hermione said. Seeing the distrustful look she said, “Please, Severus. I’m not going to do anything to you.”
He finally held his hand out to her and she cast a strong Scourgify on it. The blood disappeared and she pointed to the hand holding the tissue on his nose. He sighed and brought his clean hand to the tissue. He held the other hand out and she cast another quick Scourgify.
“Severus, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know he would do that to you,” she said softly.
“Why are you being so nice to me? I’m sure that they told you what a horrible person I am,” Severus said, sounding slightly muffled due to the tissue and the smashed nose.
“They can say what they want to, but that doesn’t make it true,” Hermione replied. She knew that Severus was fascinated by the Dark Arts, but chose to believe that it wasn’t as bad as Sirius had led her to believe. But he joined Voldemort, a voice at the back of her mind said. She pushed to voice back as Severus responded.
“They’re right, I’m not a nice person,” he said shortly.
“You may not be nice, but that doesn’t give them the right to treat you they way they do,” she said taking a step toward him. “I am so sorry that he did this to you over me.”
Severus took a step back and said, “If it wasn’t you, they would have just found another reason.”
“Are you going to see the Headmaster?” Hermione asked.
“You’ll soon learn that there are those whose behavior is overlooked by the Headmaster,” he said hatefully as he walked away and disappeared around a corner.
Hermione sighed as she walked back to the Great Hall.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Severus’ interactions with Hermione had left his heart pounding. He was drawn to her, especially since she seemed to be taking his side over Black. He was sure that would change, given time. No one cares about you, you ugly greasy git, he thought.
He entered the Hospital Wing and knocked on Madam Pomfrey’s office door. It opened after a moment.
“What happened, Mister Snape?” she asked in concern as she led him to a chair in her office.
He narrowed his eyes and spat, “Oh, just another accident.”
A look of hurt flashed across her face momentarily. The look disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. She pulled out her wand and waved it, whispering several healing spells. She pulled the handkerchief away and waved her wand, cleaning the blood from his face.
“Severus,” she said, uncharacteristically using his first name. “I am not so clueless as to think that everything that happens to you is an accident. But, if the Headmaster tells me that it was, I can’t do much about it. I can only take care of you to the best of my abilities.”
Severus’ eyes misted over, and he angrily wiped them away with his sleeve. “I know, Madam Pomfrey. Thank you for taking care of my nose.”
She nodded as he stood and walked out.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Hermione entered the Great Hall just in time to see James being given a detention with Filch. She sat down near the smug looking Marauders and Lily.
“Did you get him?” James asked.
“I got him good. The greasy git left with a bleeding nose,” Sirius boasted.
Hermione expected Remus or Lily to say something, but to her surprise, they just sat there. Granted, they didn’t look pleased, but neither of them said anything about what had been done to Severus. Peter just hung raptly on their every word.
“Hah! I knew our plan would work. One night of detention with Filch was worth it. Nasty piece of work had that coming.”
Hermione’s appetite left her suddenly, and she stood up giving Sirius and James hateful looks. She exited the Great Hall, heading for the Library. When she walked in, the first thing she noticed was Severus sitting at a table. He looked up as she entered. He frowned slightly and put the book he had been reading in his bag and stood up.
He brushed past Hermione without a word as he exited the Library. She sighed, sat down at a table near the front, and opened her Potions book. She wanted to be prepared for the lesson. She absently pulled out some parchment and began taking notes. She wasn’t sure how much time had passed when Lily sat down next to her.
“Hermione,” Lily said. “I’m sorry about the way the guys acted. I don’t like it either.”
“Why didn’t you say anything? What they did was so wrong!” Hermione was near tears. She had known that school was hard for Severus, but had never understood the extent of what he had gone through. Even after Harry had told them what he saw in the Pensieve, she had wondered about the whole story.
“I know what they did was wrong. But you have to remember, Severus is not innocent, either. He has stuck first a fair number of times,” Lily explained.
“Well, breaking his nose is not the solution to their ongoing war,” Hermione sniffed.
“You’re right,” Lily said quietly. “Come on, we’re going to be late for class.”
Hermione put her Potions text and the notes she had begun taking into her bag and followed Lily, acting like she didn’t know where the Potions class was. They rushed through that halls and made it to class with only moments to spare.
“Good morning, Miss Evans,” a jolly voice boomed. “And you must be Miss Colonus. Welcome to Advanced Potions. I am Professor Slughorn.”
Lily sat down next to a blonde girl with a round face as Hermione watched the large man waddle towards her with an outstretched hand. She held out her hand and was shaken vigorously by her round Professor.
“The Headmaster tells me you are quite adept in the art of potion-making. You’ll make a fine addition to my class,” he said. “Please, take a seat.” He indicated towards the only available seat in the classroom. A seat which happened to be at the table where Severus sat.
She made her way to his table receiving many pitying looks. It seemed that he didn’t have any friends; even the Slytherins in the room avoided him. She felt bad for him. He was no more liked as a student than he was as a professor.
He hardly spared her a glance as she sat down next to him. He studiously ignored her as class began. When Professor Slughorn announced that the day’s potion would be a team effort, Severus spared her a venomous look.
“Just stay out of my way, and I’ll make sure the potion is done correctly,” he said rudely.
“Oh you will, will you?” Hermione retorted hotly. “Perhaps you should stay out of my way. I am quite good in this subject.”
They glared openly at each other until Professor Slughorn said, “Go on, Mister Snape, Miss Colonus. Get started. You don’t have all day.”
They passed the rest of the time absorbed in their work, speaking only when it was necessary to complete their assignment correctly. By the end of class, they were the only team with a perfect potion.
“Well done Mister Snape and Miss Colonus! Ten points each,” Professor Slughorn beamed. “I want a one foot parchment on this potion for next class,” he said as everyone began gathering their belongings.
Hermione smiled broadly and turned to Severus as she packed her bag. “Severus, that was brilliant!”
He stilled for a moment before leaving without the slightest acknowledgement of her words. Hermione watched his retreating back, incensed. He was unapproachable and infuriating, even as a teenager.
“Hey, Hermione,” she heard. She groaned inwardly.
“Hey, Sirius,” she replied, standing up and swinging her bag onto her shoulder. The muffled ‘oof’ behind her made her smile. She wiped the grin from her face and turned around. “Oh, I’m sorry. Did I hit you?” she asked with mock concern.
“Yeah! What do you have in that bag, bricks?” he asked rubbing his arm. Without waiting for a response, he continued. “Lily has to see Professor Slughorn and asked me to take you to our next class.”
Hermione looked around only to see Lily walking out the door with James. Lily glanced back and shrugged her shoulders apologetically, seeing Hermione looking at her.
“Yes, James looks so much like Professor Slughorn. I can see how you would confuse them,” she said dryly.
Sirius laughed and offered her his arm. “Shall we to Transfiguration?” he asked.
Without taking the proffered arm, Hermione said, “Thanks, but I think I can get there without hanging on you.”
Sirius grinned. “Hard to get. Remus likes that in a lady.”
Hermione sighed and said a silent prayer for the strength to deal with Sirius. She pinched the bridge of her nose and said, “Can we just go?”
They barely made it to class on time because Sirius kept on stopping to ‘explain’ things to Hermione. She got the feeling that he was hoping to be late so that he could be alone with her again.
“Ah, Miss Colonus, welcome,” Professor McGonagall greeted. Looking at Sirius, who was still standing next to Hermione, the Transfiguration teacher said, “Go sit, Mister Black.”
He winked at Hermione again and strolled to his seat. Hermione felt a migraine coming on. “Have a seat next to Mister Snape, dear,” Professor McGonagall said.
Just my luck, she thought as she looked at the empty seat next to Severus. He’s going to hate me even more when I get back home at this rate.”
By the time her first day of classes ended, Hermione felt as if she had run a marathon. Her head was pounding from dealing with Severus and Sirius all day. The two of them were enough to make anyone crazy. Severus wouldn’t talk to her unless he had to and Sirius wouldn’t stop talking to her. She entered the common room and collapsed onto the couch, rubbing her eyes. She heard the portrait open and Sirius’ laughter waft through. She grabbed her bag and sprinted up the stairs to her room, slamming the door behind her.
“Oh, thank God, he didn’t see me,” she breathed. Uncharacteristically, she tossed her full bag onto the floor next to her bed and collapsed, face first onto her bed. As she lay there, the door opened and closed softly.
“Hermione, are you okay?” she heard Lily ask.
“I’m fine,” she said without raising her head.
She raised her head and said more loudly, “I’m fine.” She sat up and looked at Lily, noticing that the blonde, round-faced girl she sat with at every class was with her.
“This is Alice,” she said. “She’s one of your roommates.”
Hermione felt a pang run through her heart as she realized this was Neville’s mother. She was so young and looked so carefree. She struggled to keep the flow of tears back as she thought of the fate that awaited her. “It’s nice to meet you, Alice,” she said thickly.
“Are you sure you’re okay, Hermione?” Lily asked.
“Yes, I’m fine. I think I just need a nap. My head is hurting. Probably from the fall I took,” she lied.
“Okay, I’ll wake you for dinner.”
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Hermione managed to make it halfway through dinner without loosing her temper with Sirius. He had been behaving will enough, for Sirus, when he began talking about Severus again.
“I got in a good hex on Snivellus right before dinner,” he said, laughing. “I hit him with a Bat-Bogey Hex. He never even saw me.”
James and Peter laughed, while, once again, Remus and Lily just sat there, looking uncomfortable.
“You should have seen him running,” Sirius continued with a snort. “He looked like a greasy bat!”
Hermione had had it with Sirius. She stood up and walked up to him, hissing, “You are a bully of the highest order. And to think that everyone likes you.”
She stormed out of the Great Hall and made it to the Astronomy Tower before breaking down into tears. She had been there for about fifteen minutes when she heard the sound of someone approaching.
She quickly wiped her eyes as Remus materialized out of the darkness.
“Are you okay, Hermione?” he asked gently.
“No! I miss my friends. I feel so alone here, even though I am surrounded by people. And Sirius is such a prat. Why does torturing people make him happy? And why don’t you ever do anything about it?” She looked at him reproachfully, almost feeling sorry as she saw a look of guilt flash through his eyes.
“Hermione, it’s a long story, and one you probably don’t want to hear. Suffice it to say that Severus is as much to blame as any of us for what goes on. He has started his fair share of the battles.” Remus looked extremely tired and more like the man she knew in that moment.
“Remus, he is one against four. You may not cast any hexes his direction, but you are as much to blame for what he goes through as anyone. You could help him, but you choose to let James and Sirius harass him. I have seen them cause him pain twice in the one day I have been around you all. From what I overheard in the hospital, he is constantly at the end of James and Sirius’ wands.” Hermione lectured him as she always did Harry and Ron when she didn’t agree with them.
“Hermione, you have only been here one day. Why are you getting so worked up over someone you don’t really know anything about? For all you know, he may deserve everything,” Remus said slowly.
“Because I would have been him if it weren’t for two of my friends. I am bookish and studious to a fault. I was the butt of everyone’s jokes for a while when I first began school. I don’t like seeing anyone going through what I went through. And what Severus went through is much worse than anything I ever had to endure.” Hermione’s tears started up again as she breathlessly finished. She hadn’t meant to say so much, but her aching heart cried for release. As irritated as she was with the teenaged Severus, she still had feelings for him. No, her subconscious voice said. You still have feelings for the man he becomes. You don’t even know the boy he is now. She ignored the voice as she had before.
“I didn’t know,” Remus said quietly. “I will try to discourage them from bothering Severus. Believe it or not, I know what it is like to be different.”
Hermione stated at him, knowing he was speaking of his lycanthropy. Wishing she could sooth the boy before her, whose haunted eyes were the same as the man’s she knew, she said, “Thank you, Remus. I appreciate it.”
“Let’s get back inside. It’s getting rather windy,” Remus said.
Hermione nodded. “Yes, it is.” She hadn’t noticed when the wind began to pick up, but it was blowing her hair wildly around her head now. She ran after Remus and entered the building, grateful to be inside. She reached up to feel her hair.
“Great,” she moaned. “I look like a Halloween monster now!” Her hair had frizzed up worse than it had in a long while. “Sleekeazy’s won’t be invented until next year,” she said mournfully.
“What?” Remus asked, looking at her oddly.
Hermione could have kicked herself for the slip. “Nothing,” she said a bit too quickly.
Remus stared at her for a moment before shrugging. “Let’s get back to the Common Room. We need to get to work on that Transfiguration assignment.”
Hermione nodded and walked down the hall toward Gryffindor Tower.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Severus slid out of his hiding place. He had gone to the Astronomy Tower to get away from everyone after finishing his meal. He had been laughed at by a large group of people when the Bat-Bogey Hex had hit him. He was humiliated, and even though he hadn’t seen Black, he was sure he had been behind the hex.
He had hidden, not wanting to be seen and was in the perfect place to over hear Hermione’s slip. Sleekeazy’s? he wondered. Not invented until next year? She is definitely not from the States.
He smiled as he wondered how this could be used to his advantage. He had been sorted into Slytherin for good reason. Abandoning his hiding place, he made his way to the Slytherin Common Room. Lost in thought, he almost did not see the approach of Sirius and James until they were upon him.
As luck would have it, they did not see him. He ducked behind a suit of armor just in time, his heart beating wildly. He began sweating profusely, scared nearly out of his mind at being caught alone. Not that anyone else ever helped him, but it did not bode well for him to be alone with them. Their curses lacked a certain punch when other’s were present that they did contain when no one was around to see.
“Well, I don’t know, James. Moony gets rather violent around this time of the year. The closer it gets to Halloween, you know,” Severus heard Sirius say.
Silently drawing his wand, Severus pointed it at them and whispered, “Sectumsempra,” twice in quick succession. He smiled broadly as the pair howled in agony clutching their bleeding calves.
He shot from his hiding place and ran around a corner, and then another, before they could make chase. He reached his Common Room and called out the password, scrambling through the entrance as quickly as he could. He stopped just inside the doorway and collected himself. He strolled inside, acting, for all the world, as if nothing was amiss.
He silently made his way to his room, not missing the looks of distaste he was shot by his housemates. Once he had reached the safety of his room, he sat on the bed and drew the drapes around himself tightly. Only then did he allow himself to breathe raggedly. His eyes burned with tears he was unable to stop. He buried his face into his pillow and sobbed bitterly. He hated himself more with each tear. This was what had earned him his horrid nickname in the first place. He punched his mattress as he fought for control. He had to learn to push his emotions into the back of his mind. He would never survive otherwise. He was finally able to get his breathing and tears under control and began thinking about Hermione.
Who are you really? Where did you really come from?
It All Comes Down To Time by JenKM1216