60 Consequences of Meddling With Time – 9,859

Disclaimer: Not mine. I just borrowed them for a while. I promise to put them back when I'm done. Also, no money made either—just for fun. For the most part, this chapter covers from the time Harry leaves the Ravenclaw Tower through the time when Harry faced Voldemort. The bits I have in this chapter are woven in and around what is going on in the book. Everything happens as it did in the booksexceptthose parts where I've made slight changes to canon because Severus did what he did—because Hermione did what she did. Any snippets of dialogue that I have borrowed are marked with an asterisk, and are used without permission from Mrs. Rowling's book. I truly hope she doesn't mind.

I want to give a great big thank you hug to my alpha reader, Arabellabloodgood, Proulxes for the bit of Brit-picking, and to DuchessOfArcadia for combing through this and helping me clean up my many mistakes. I really appreciate it more than you can possibly know.


He can be defeated. We have to stick together and look for opportunities as they present themselves, undermining him as best as we can from within.

Severus Snape 1997

Hermione had no idea what to do. Try as she might, Severus wasn't improving as far as she could tell. He was breathing, thank God, but he was ghastly pale and still sweating profusely. She cast a Refreshment Charm on him and his clothes, hoping it would make him comfortable and dug in her bag for a blanket or throw, finding her long belted cardigan instead. She applied a Warming Charm on it and used it to cover his body.

She tipped the Blood Replenishing Potion to his lips again, pouring a little more into his mouth and using the Swallowing-Inducement Charm to make him swallow, but there was so much blood in his mouth and throat that she was worried that he wasn't getting enough. "Try, Severus, please try," she coaxed him, forcing him to swallow another mouthful of Blood-Coagulant Potion, hoping that would help.

She felt for his pulse. It was rapid, but it was really weak, and he was still sweating profusely. She cast another Refreshment Charm on him.

She looked around at the room and peered at the front door—or where the front door used to be. The door of the shack was gone; Voldemort must have blasted it off its hinges, breaking it in half as he did, judging by the debris strewn about. They were too exposed. She needed to move Severus in case anyone came looking for him, somewhere she could defend easily, and where she could move him to without jarring him too much. She decided that upstairs would be good for now. She Summoned a broken chair to her wandlessly and managed to transfigure the ladder-style back into something she could use, creating an inflexible ladder-like frame that she could possibly use to maneuver by herself.

She folded his clothes back in place to cover his body, and he seized her wrist in a weak grasp. "Why are you still here?" he asked, sounding slightly woozy as if drunk.

Just hearing the sound of his voice made her heart race, hoping it was a good sign. "I'm here to try and save you," she replied, somewhat breathlessly.

"You shouldn't be here, you should be in the castle," he croaked out, his speech gravely and slurred.

"I am, in a way, but I came here to help you," she said. She could feel his arm shake from the strain, but he wouldn't let go. "Please, Severus, I want you to live," she choked out, prying his hand off as he tried to turn his head. "Severus, please, relax! You'll make the wounds bleed."

His hand fell with a thud on the floor. "I'm done for. Go back to the castle, Hermione. Be with Potter. Live your life."

"No, you're going to live, I know it," she said as she placed her cardigan back over him, hoping she was right. "I saw you, Severus, you were standing by my side when You-Know-Who was defeated, and so I know you'll get better."

"Are you sure?" he asked as she moved him carefully over onto the frame with a Levitation Charm as gently as she could.

"Yes, very sure," she said and used the belt tie of her cardigan as a belt to hold him in place. "That's why I came back to save you," she replied. "I found the potions in your office and the Time-Turner."

"Behind, Dumbledore's frame," he said resignedly. "Did the portrait send you?"

"No, not really. Now let me concentrate so I don't drop you," she said and levitated the frame off the ground.

She managed to maintain her charm while floating him carefully up the stairs, being sure his body stayed as level as she could manage. She had a bit of trouble halfway up when the stairway doubled back. Severus hissed sharply when she accidently bumped the frame into the wall. "I'm sorry," she said, adjusting the strength of her charm.

"It's the Mark; he's Summoning his Death Eaters," he said.

He's summoning everyone?—he's in the forest! She was running out of time. She tried to hurry up the remaining stairs, and she cringed at his soft grunts and sharp hisses each time she jostled or bumped against the wall.

She was as sweaty as he was by the time she reached the one room which still had the remnants of a four-poster bed. She set him down carefully and transfigured the frame into a soft padding. "How do I stop the bleeding? I can't heal you if I can't stop the bleeding!" she said as she leaned over to check his wound, to make sure the jostling around hadn't made it worse, and noticed that something fell out of his pocket. She picked it up, examining the bezel set bloodstone pendant on his pocket watch chain. Curious, she read the words engraved in the thick silver setting, surprised by the oddity of the words. Flint. Everyone, meet behind Hagrid's hut.

A message? It looked familiar, and Hermione thought she remembered seeing Severus use this to send messages to the men that showed up at her camp by western shore of Derwent Water lake. Flint—everyone. Everyone who?

"Shhanare," he garbled softly, but she was momentarily distracted by the words lettering on the pendant changed to, Snape. Darias, where are you?

Hermione's mouth opened. Messages, they are sending messages! Hoping it worked like the Protean Charm on her DA Galleon, she used her wand try to activate the charms on the pendant. It didn't work. She tried again. Nothing.

"Leave me the Time-Turner and go back," he said weakly, more an order than a request.

"No, I'm not leaving you," she said, trying again. She felt like a stone weight dropped in her gut as she read, Macrae. Everyone, dad said Snape's dead, heard from Malfoy.

"No, he's alive. Help," she pleaded, tapping the stone with her wand. She couldn't make it work.

"Peripherīa," Severus managed to say. "My wand. You have to use—"

"Oh. Okay," she said, setting down her wand. She'd always seen him pull it from his left sleeve and found it in a magical pocket on the inside of the cuff. She thought very clearly what message she wanted to send and said, "Peripherīa," as she tapped his wand to the pendant. She was thrilled when the words, Severus. Everyone, alive, I need help, appeared. She waited for a response, but none appeared. She tried again, hoping for an answer. Severus. Everyone, help, in Shriekin Shack, Severus needs help.

The sender's name automatically appears as does who you want to contact. Well, Severus'… she amended to herself as she looked at his wand in her hand. The wand's owner… Interesting. Obviously a small problematic flaw, but a nice touch, she thought, wishing she'd known how to do that for the DA gallons though. Mute point now.

She looked up at him. "I think I called your Slytherins with your pendant," she stated, hoping she was right and that Darias was who she thought it was and not a Death Eater.

"Be ready," he croaked out, his speech gravely and slurred.

Hermione put his wand back into his sleeve pocket, and picked up her own. She turned to face the door, determined to defend Severus if need be. She wondered where Harry was and mentally prayed that the people who might respond to her message were friendly.

After what seemed ages, but probably was only a few minutes, she could hear people moving about downstairs, searching, but no voices. She prayed they were the right sort. "They're coming," she breathed when she heard the stairs creak from the weight of a person's footsteps.

The first person to enter the room was none other than Darias Kennecott, wand drawn and obviously ready for a trap. She recognized him immediately as one of the Slytherin prefects from her first five years of school. Hermione maintained her stance, ready to defend herself and Severus as he moved into the room, his hazel eyes flitting between her and the bed where Severus lay. Almost immediately afterward, two more wizards she recognized entered, Hartshorne and Thortenson, two of the men who'd watched over her when Harry had been ill. "He was bit," she said when none of them spoke and watched in relief as they all lowered their wands. "I did everything I could, but I'm not a Healer, and I'm not sure—"

"So he really is alive?" Kennecott interrupted her.

"I'll send a message to Serena and see if she can bring Mary Nolan or Catherin MacTirdelvach," Hartshorne said, before she could answer properly, pulling out a bloodstone stone pendant from under his shirt that matched Severus' as both Kennecott and Thortenson moved to stand on either side of the doorway.

Hermione tried to steady her breathing, watching all three wizards with some trepidation. "Why did you move him?" Kennecott asked.

"In case one of them tried to come find his body," she said. "I—I thought it safer."

He nodded. "Do you remember me?" Kennecott asked, and she nodded. "Relax, I'm not going to hurt you."

"It's been a really tough night," she stated. She hadn't realized how tense she was until she tried to relax her shoulders.

Hermione heard scurrying around downstairs and watched as Hartshorne sent another message through the pendant. Immediately after, she heard footsteps hurrying up the stairs. Serena Wilkes burst though the doorway, followed by a witch wearing Healer trainee's robes. Hermione remembered Miss Wilkes, who'd been Slytherin's female prefect with Kennecott. The other woman had to be Catherin MacTirdelvach. Hermione thought she'd recognized her as having been a year older than her at Hogwarts.

"What happened to him?" MacTirdelvach asked, rushing to Severus' side.

"He was bit on the neck by You-Know-Who's snake," Hermione said, remembering in time not to use Voldemort's name. "But his frockcoat seemed to have protected him, however I think a fang punctured his skin where his carotid artery is."

Hermione clung to the bedpost as MacTirdelvach swept her wand over his neck and shoulders while Wilkes turned to Kennecott and clutched his arm, looking worried. Hermione noticed Wilkes' wedding ring and wondered what her name was now.

"He's alive and stable. I think that the envenomation was mild to moderate, but one of the fangs did nick his carotid," MacTirdelvach pronounced and turned to Hermione. "What have you given him?"

Hermione looked at her and rattled off the list. MacTirdelvach nodded several times, muttering, "Good" every once and a while as she did some more diagnostic charms. "Severe tissue damaged on the throat, evidence of vomiting, low blood pressure, but no evidence of convulsions yet."

MacTirdelvach looked up. "If he took the antivenin and Nerve-Regeneration Potion as you've said," Hermione saw Severus make a slight move of his head and a guttural sound, "then this should work." She turned back to Severus, aimed her wand at his neck and said, "Sanare arteriae," in a melodious voice to heal the artery, then added, "Sanare tela in faucibus," 'heal the tissues in the throat', in the same way, doing the second spell three times.

"He was working with Altheda Crawford to try and recreate her thrice-great-grandmother's Dread Malady Concoction," Ms. Wilkes stated.

"There is one labeled Altheda's Potion in his potions kit," Hermione said, pulling the traveling case from her beaded bag. She set it on the bed and began riffling through the bottles, jars and tins. This might come in handy, she thought, putting the Girding Potion and Muscle-Strengthening Elixir on the bed, but MacTirdelvach picked them up and read the labels out loud.

"Whoa, hold on, Girding Potion? You're getting ahead of yourself," Hartshorne stated. "He's not going to need that—he needs to recover first."

"Look, I know this will sound crazy," Hermione said as she looked up at the people gathered together by the doorway. "But you have to face him, You-Know-Who—all of you—on the front bailey to the school. All of you have to be there—in force. I know that you have about thirty in your group and some of you are in the castle already."

"How did you know?" Thortenson asked as Hartshorne stammered, "How the fuck do you know that?"

"It's hard to explain, but I swear it to you, it will crack Vol—" they all cringed, "er, sorry, You-Know-Who's resolve. Seeing you on our side, standing up against him—it will anger him. He won't believe it—he won't be able to accept that so many of you have stood against him. He had high hopes for you, the sons of his followers, right? If he's mad enough, he'll make mistakes, and seeing you on our side will be demoralizing."

"She's right," Severus said, his voice finally losing the wet garbled sound, but not yet normal. "You have to go."

Hartshorne looked at his pendant as the other two men pulled theirs out. "Potter is dead," Hartshorne stated as he looked up, and Hermione was shocked to see fear in his eyes. "The Dark Lord is saying Potter is dead."

"No, Harry's faking it! Mrs. Malfoy lied—" Hermione turned to Severus. "Severus, he's not dead—Harry's not dead—just knocked out or something. I came back for you. You know what that means! You were by my side. You kissed my hand, and Vol—er, sorry, I keep forgetting, You-Know-Who—he saw you, he was furious—he called you a blood traitor."

"You're sure?" Severus asked, trying to move, but MacTirdelvach tried to gently hold him down. "Unhand me," Severus snapped. "I want to sit up."

"Don't, it's too soon," MacTirdelvach beseeched him, trying to hold him still, but Hermione said, "I was there. You were there. I have the device and I used it to come back here, back now. I can't go; I have to stay behind, because I'm already there. But you have to go—you have to be there."

"Let me up," Severus demanded, rolling to his side to get up. "MacTirdelvach, this is war. And she's right, we have to be there." He looked at Hermione. "I need Altheda's Dread Malady Concoction and the Girding Potion."

"It won't help," MacTirdelvach stated emphatically as Hermione handed him the Girding Potion. "If you were well, it would strengthen you for a week, but in your weakened state it will not be effective. Your nerves are still impaired from the venom—the regenerative potions haven't completely healed you yet."

"No, with the Strengthening Potion, it will bolster my endurance enough," Severus said as Hermione searched through his kit for the concoction. "I was there, you heard her. It will work." Severus uncorked the vial and swallowed the foul smelling potion in two gulps. "Gah," he said, making a sour face as MacTirdelvach handed him the Muscle-Strengthen Potion.

"You were where—on the front bailey to the school? She's talking nonsense," Thortenson said, pointing at Hermione as he moved toward to the bed. "The Dark Lord is still in the forest, he hasn't even approached the school yet."

"No, she's not talking nonsense—and she's right, we have to be there." Severus uncorked the second vial and drank three large gulps as Hermione finally found the small green bottle with Altheda's name on the label.

"Enough, more is not always better," MacTirdelvach admonished him as Hermione handed the green bottle to Severus, taking the vial that contained the Muscle-Strengthen Potion from him. He drank two large gulps of the potion and wiped his mouth on his sleeve.

"How do you feel?" Hermione asked.

"Like shite," Severus said briskly. "Now help me up."

Thortenson and Hermione helped him to his feet while MacTirdelvach shook her head. "I have to stay here. I am already up there," Hermione repeated softly, but Severus shook his head.

He reached out a hand and cupped Hermione's face. It felt clammy and ice cold. "No, Hermione, you can't stay here, it's not safe. You have to come to the castle and hide somewhere safe."

"Like the library" she agreed.

Severus shrugged. "Or your common room."

"I can't—a giant destroyed half of the tower wall. I'll be all right, I'll find somewhere safe to hole up." She looked at the others. "Everyone on our side will be on the front steps or in the bailey—facing his army. The fighting will move into the castle and throughout the ground floor and Great Hall. Harry faces him in the Great Hall. You have to be there—on the steps and then in the Great Hall—all of you."

"Aren't you fighting? I thought you were one of those brave Gryffindor types," Kennecott said, still not understanding that Hermione was in two places as it was, not that she'd explained it to them.

"I promise you I'll be standing in the bailey with Ron and Neville, and then again in the Great Hall—beside Ron and Severus," she started to say and faltered. "We have to go, we're wasting time."

"So how do we get into the castle?" Darias asked. "The tunnel to the dungeons has collapsed and all the others we know of are either blocked or have Dementors in them."

"Through the tunnel to the Whomping Willow," she said, then faltered when Severus shook his head.

"You'll be too exposed from willow all the way up to the castle. Pomona has a private entrance by Greenhouse three; it leads to corridor between the room Professor Sprout uses for her exams and the Transfiguration classroom," Severus stated. "Give me more Blood-Replenishing Potion."

"Are you strong enough for this?" Hermione asked, handing him the bottle, realizing it was only half full. But as much as he'd taken so far, the bottle must have been charmed to hold a whole caldron of potion.

"I will be in a few hours," he said with a smirk.

"You don't have a few hours!" Hermione exclaimed, alarmed.

"I'll be fine. The potions are working," he said, his voice scratchy and rough as if in still in pain. "Hartshorne, have everyone on the outside converge on the greenhouses."

Hartshorne tapped his pendant with his wand.

"Where will you be?" Severus asked.

"I'm all over the place," she admitted. "It might be best if I remain here."

"No. You're coming to the castle. You have my pendant?" he asked and she nodded. "It will act like a Portkey if you tap the back with your wand. It should work."

Kennecott nodded. "But she's not Marked, she'll be trapped in the house."

"So far everyone has been able to separate to the periphery of the main group, but they can't leave—too many loyalists," Hartshorne said. "They will try to edge their way once the fighting commences and take out who they can inconspicuously."

"Then have them do what they can. But if Miss Granger is right, once the battle begins, they must be seen among the others defending the castle, fighting on Potter's side." Severus stood, up, surprisingly steady on his feet. "Are you ready?" he asked Hermione.

"Yes," she said, trying to smile reassuringly for him. "When this is over…"

"Shhh," he said, placing a finger on her lips. "We'll cross that bridge when the war is over."

"Very funny, ha, ha," she chided him. "Seamus blew up the bridges and killed three trolls and two giants in the process." She clasped his hand. "Stand with me at the end."

"Like you said, my being there by your side will unhinge the Dark Lord," he said softly. "I'll be by your side." She took his arm, draping it over her shoulder to help him down the stairs. What she hadn't expected was the immediate sensation of Side-Along Apparition the moment his arm tightened around her shoulders. They arrived outside somewhere, but before she could take stock of where they were, Severus said, "Hold onto me," softly and pulled her to him tightly. "I know how much you hate flying, but I need you to trust me."

She saw three jets of black smoke shoot out toward the castle the same time her feet lurched from the ground. She could still feel Severus' arm around her, feel her arms holding onto his body, but she could only see dark smoke with glimpses of Severus' face as she shot toward the castle. It was terrifying, worse than being on a broom, but she managed to keep her mouth closed and not scream. She could see the ground rushing by under her at a dizzying speed and the castle grew closer at an alarming rate. She saw the greenhouses, watched as she barreled toward them, and just before they would have smacked into greenhouse four, they swerved over it and landed in a poof of smoke that condensed into Severus' form, or into his roes to be more exact, next to greenhouse three. They held onto each other until they both felt steady on their legs.

"So where is this entrance?" Thortenson asked.

"This way," Severus said, leading them past the entrance of greenhouse two and over to the wall of the castle. He made a swirl of his wand, muttering something under his breath and a passageway appeared. "Seems the castle still recognizes my authority," he said smugly. They hurried though the passage, turning left and ran across the courtyard, and through the hall that led to the stone bridge to the west wind of the castle. Suddenly Severus' body jerked as his left arm seemed to be trapped in a force field.

"Hand him the pendant, Hermione," Kennecott shouted, coming to a stop. She did and Severus' arm was immediately released.

"Here take mine," Ms. Wilkes said, handing Hermione hers. "I won't need it, I'm not Marked." She turned to Kennecott, "If anything happens, I'll be at the house."

He nodded and kissed her cheek. "Be safe."

"Watch your back," she said, the urgent plea. "All of you, be careful and alert and watch your backs."

"Go," Hermione said, looking at Severus with longing. "I will meld when this is over. I should be either in the library or in your office with Harry, I'm not sure which me is stronger. Normally, I'd go back to where I was, but I'd changed the setting in the library so I'd have more time. I was then… but I started in your office."

"I'll find you," he promised. "Stay safe."

"Be careful," she implored as she handed him the potion bottles they'd used to strengthen him. He was still so sweaty and pale, but he seemed determinedly ready for what lay ahead.

"I'll be vigilant," Severus said with a smirk, pocketing the vials.

She watched him go and tried not to worry. When Severus and his three friends disappeared from sight, she turned and walked as quickly as her legs would carry her to the library, since she couldn't be in his office if that was where she and Harry went right after the fighting ended. Her feet felt heavy as she trudged up the stairs and even the oak door to the library seemed to take more effort to open than normal. Hermione grabbed a book at random from the shelf as she walked to one of her favorite reading chairs at the end of the aisle. She plopped down into one of two comfortable reading armchairs, one of several pairs that stood in the intermittent gaps between the bookshelves that lined the wall. It was as safe as she could think of; none of the shelves around her actually faced her, and so if they fell for any reason, none would land on her.

She curled her feel under her as she snuggled into the soft brown chair and closed her eyes. It had been such a long day, two days actually. She mentally added up the hours. She'd been going nonstop from the moment she, Harry and Ron had left to break into Gringotts, and yet that morning seemed to have been so long ago, although in real time it had been what, from nine o'clock to four in the morning, only for her it was much longer than merely nineteen hours of fighting, running, and fighting again. But then she'd doubled her time at Hogwarts, adding another three or four hours to her already exhausting day and still had several more to go.

She stifled a yawn and laid her head back on the back of the chair, staring up at the ceiling, admiring the heavy wood beams and smooth stone. Please be careful. I don't want to lose you.

She exhaled heavily and closed her eyes for a moment, praying that Severus would be all right. "He'll find me. He'll come here to look for me and we'll…"

She never finished the thought


Hermione opened her eyes as the odd feeling in her gut began to grow stronger. The Meld! "No," she gasped. Her time was done—she'd caught up with herself. She hadn't realized she'd fallen asleep in the comfortable armchair and now, she could feel the pull. She knew what was happening—it was her time, she was going to meld. She remembered what it had been like to feel the pull, not too dissimilar to that of using a Portkey. Her body was going to merge, just as it had almost every day her third year when she'd used the Time-Turner. Her body would realign, but her memories would flood her, crashing in on her like waves, and she'd have to write them all down, everything that had happened to her over the last twelve hours, and sort it out so it made sense. That's how she'd handled it before. Except this time, I've been doing that all along this jump, keeping track of where I am and what I've done so I wouldn't run into myself. Only she had, once, in passing. She'd spotted herself on the stairs. Which made me want to risk leaving the castle to retrieve my wand.

She looked at her watch and cursed herself when she remembered that it had stopped working. Where am I? In Severus' office! The war is over. Voldemort had been defeated. She felt a moment of panic. Unless I've altered things somehow? She searched her memories, trying to determine if she'd altered the outcome, but there was a growing void-being-filled sensation within her middle, not the sensation of being pulled as she'd expected, but a feeling as if her other self was being pulled into her. So the meld will happen here, not where I left from. Not where I started. Why? I left from Severus' office! But she'd reset the Time-Turner here, in the library, to give herself more time to research how to cure Severus from a snake bite after talking to Seamus, Neville, Dean and Colin. She'd gone back from here and she was here now—the stronger point or because it was the last place I'd bounced back from?

Already, conflicting memories were flooding in on her, and she focused, tried to sort them out with what she remembered.

She'd explained the Melding to Harry and had told him that she'd be in the office with him. Ron, Luna and Nott had been there. Why Nott had been concerned for her was a mystery, but he'd arrived with Luna. She remembered that. She fought the disorientation of the flashes of memories and the new aches and pains she'd been ignoring. So far she could remember most of it, and managed to keep up with the jumbled thoughts as they assailed her. She mentally tracked out where she'd been and when, this time accepting the conflicted memories not fighting to assimilate them, but readily knowing logically that she had, in fact, been both places. That's not how it had gone when she'd been in her third year; the conflicting memories had confused and baffled her. She felt nauseous as the memories clashed, but not disoriented like before, not confused, only perplexed as she rationalized and layered the thoughts and images. She sat up, one foot on the floor, hand gripping the armrests to go find parchment, quill and ink.

She felt a sharp cramp, which had not happened the times she'd used the Time-Turner in her third year. That was not how it happened before, she thought as another cramp hit. After the meld, she had read over her writing as she drank a cup of chamomile tea laced with a mild sedative so she her mind would let her rest. But this time it was different, this time she remembered everything, this time the meld hurt.

When the melding ended, and her whirling thoughts had settled, Hermione searched through Severus' potion kit for a pain potion to relieve her cramps, finding one that looked like a potion Madam Pomfrey had given her once before. Hermione slumped back in the armchair to wait for Severus to find her. But as the clock struck the hour, she realized he should have found her by now.

So where is Severus? The hospital? No she wouldn't believe that. He had recovered enough to fight. But MacTirdelvach said that the Girding Potion would only last hours not a week. The last thing she'd said was that she'd be in the library. The fighting had been over for hours… Harry snapped the wand after we'd talked about its ownership, then I read the diary. She felt around in her beaded bag. She still had the diary. And the Time-Turner. And the small glass bottle that had contained his antivenin. She remembered repairing it, although couldn't place exactly when she'd done it. It didn't matter; it was repaired and apparently unbroken. She put the precious vial back into her bag.

She listened carefully, but heard only silence, and her heavy breathing and the beating of her heart. It worried her. Her memories of what had happened in the Great Hall when Harry defeated Voldemort were vivid, not at all confused. She'd seen Severus fighting before Harry faced Voldemort in that last one-on-one stance, he'd been at her side when Harry confronted Voldemort in their face-to-face show-down, and she definitely remembered seeing Voldemort die, but she hadn't seen Severus in the Great Hall once things had calmed down afterwards. Where would Severus go? Where would he go… where would he go? Not the hospital wing… not his office, Harry's there.

Wiat! Kennecott, Thortenson and Hartshorne were all Marked! Each of them had to clasp their pendants to pass though those barriers. They would leave. They wouldn't wait around and risk being arrested for being Marked. She pulled out Ms. Wilkes bloodstone pendant. It's a Portkey. She tapped her wand to the back, but nothing happened. She tried again. Nothing. Shite. It won't recognize my wand! Like Severus'—I had to use his wand to make his work. Didn't she know that? Apparently not. Damn. She put the pendant in her bag.

Where would he go… where would he go? The shack? It seemed illogical, but it was worth a shot. Besides, no one was coming here to find her. Hermione focused on her destination, not far from Toopsy had taken her, determined to go where the hawthorns and goat willow could hide her from being seen and turned on the spot. It worked. She arrived tangled within the brush. She transformed into her otter form and scrambled out from the bushes with relative ease.

Hermione approached the house, moving carefully and keeping tightly against the wall as she headed toward the front of the house. She was thankful there were no noises… none that she could detect. She changed back to her human form as she entered the house and was shocked by what she saw, or didn't see. There wasn't any blood. Although the floors were filthy, the layer of dust on the floor was gone and there was no blood, no blood anywhere. She fought back the panic that threatened to rise. However, she felt a very strong sense of déjà vu. She turned to look at the crate that hid the entrance to the tunnel where she and Harry had watched as Severus had been attacked by the snake. I came back and I gave him the potions he needed to survive. I knelt right there and administered them to him myself. She looked down at the legs of her jeans. They were filthy: stained with Merlin knows what from the sewer and dirt, there was dark, muddy brown stains of Severus' blood from the knees down, and smeared handprints with dried blood on her thighs from when she'd wiped her hands on them.

If she closed her eyes, she could remember all of it as if it were a nightmare. She clearly remembered hearing the things Voldemort had said to Severus, and Severus' scream of pain when Nagini bit him. She felt nauseous again as the two perspectives she'd witnessed this clashed again. She'd been here, kneeling behind the crate and just beyond the doorway that led to the kitchen out of sight.

She wondered where Harry was; he'd promised he'd be here, waiting for her if she didn't come back to the office. She moved to the stairs and listened but heard nothing, but then cast a revealing charm in case. Nothing. I told him I'd be in the library then… and that I'd started this time loop in his office. Hermione nearly stumbled. Could he have gone to his office after all? Hermione paused, staring at the old relic of a house. Most of her memories were the same, but this, this made her want to scream in frustration.

She slipped through the opening to the tunnel that ran all the way to the school grounds, careful not to bang her head along the way. She stuck her hand out and pressed the knot on the Whomping Willow, only to see that the tree was badly damaged; three of its huge branches had broken off. The tree itself stood quietly, it's branches sagging as if weeping in pain; but on the broken limbs, the smaller branches on them still flailing about wildly.

She saw Harry running down the slope toward her, dodging debris as he went. She started moving toward him, eager to find out what had happened.

"Why weren't you there?" she asked when he was within shouting distance.

He closed the gap between them and stopped short, grasping her arms, gasping for air. "You'd just left, Hermione," he managed between breaths.

She turned to look at the tree and back at him.

"We were talking in Snape's office and then you vanished. You have the Time-Turner, right?" he asked, breathing easier now.

"I was in the office…? But I left from the Shrieking Shack—I mean the library—but neither of you came there so I came here," she said, utterly confused. "You promised to meet me…" Suddenly she knew why. "It worked?"

"Define it and I'll tell you," he said with a happy grin.

"Voldemort's gone," she said, and he nodded. "So you won." He nodded again. "Fred?"

"He's fine. He was sent to St. Mungo's."


"He's fine, Hermione. He went to the common room to see if you'd show up there. Nott went to the library."

"I didn't see him. Severus is he…?" she started to ask, but he shook his head.

"I have no idea."

"But he's alive! Oh, Harry, it worked! He was standing right beside me in the Great Hall," she said, hoping he'd confirm her statement.

"I know, I saw him, he was there. He looked horrible, but he was standing right next to you," he said, still grinning. "That's how I knew I would win. If he was alive and standing next to you, then I knew that you had to have been successful when you went back to get him. But I haven't seen him since then. I thought he'd be with you."

She looked at him, still confused, although she distinctly remembered seeing Severus pass in front of her and Ron during the fighting. She pulled the bloodstone pendant from her pocket. Severus, where are you, she thought desperately and she said, "Peripherīa," tapping the stone with her wand. It didn't work. She did it again and again until Harry clamped a hand on her wrist.

Hermione gasped. "I can't use my wand. You have to use—fuck." She looked up at him. "Where's Nott… Where are the Slytherins that fought on our side?"

"They were rounded up in the Great Hall and are being questioned in the classrooms on the ground floor," Harry started to explain and Hermione took off running up to the castle. "Hermione, wait!"

She didn't stop. He caught up to her by the time she reached the stairs. "Show me where!" she demanded, and he pointed. She rushed over to the room and thrust open the door with a bang, startling everyone inside. "They—you can't arrest them! They are on our side!" she shouted as the group of Slytherins turned to look at her, gaping at her in astonishment.

"Hermione, calm down," Harry sputtered as Kingsley and two Aurors rose to their feet.

Hermione scanned their faces, Draco and Nott were at the tables, Nott in front of Kingsley and Draco and Vaisey sat in front of the Aurors. She recognized Boughton, Brambila, Candice, and Tracy form her year, and Eddart Terrance and Jessica Arenas, prefects from the year before hers, and of course Vaisey, McGariety and Caldwalter who were Terrance's friends in his year, but not the other eight.

"I'm aware of that, Miss Granger. We are only taking their statements so we can file a report as to the full extent of their collaboration of our efforts," Kingsley stated authoritatively.

She looked around. All the Slytherins in the room were students, the five that were with her and Severus in the shack were not here. She walked over to Nott. "He and Draco," she rudely pointed at Nott, "saved my life. Nott saved me in the Room of Requirement from Fiendfyre. I owe him my life. Draco was there, too, on our side, and he tried to stop Crabbe and Goyle from killing Harry. He—both of them fought alongside me in the corridors. Not against—with me. Draco even shielded me from unfriendly spells a couple of times." Kingsley's quill recorded her words. "I can't say for the others, but I can say this," she pulled out the pendant and held it up, "if you find one of these on them, they are on our side."

"That can be confiscated and used by anyone," one of the Aurors said.

Hermione made a rueful smirk. "No it can't. This one belongs to Serena Wilkes, er, she's married; I don't know her married name."

"Kennecott," Nott interjected.

"Kennecott? Thanks." She looked at the Auror. "This one is hers, and I can't use it. I tried, and it won't work for me. I was able to use Severus' in the Shrieking Shack, but he let me use his wand. They have to use a password and their own wands to be able to send messages to each other. It's not just a Protean Charm—it's more complicated than that and layered with other spells." She turned to Nott. "Where is Severus? If this were to work, where would it take me?"

"I can't tell you," he said, standing up. "It's under the Fidelus Charm and its unplotable, Wizard Repelling Charms to name a few."

"Please, I have no right to ask," Hermione said, fighting back tears of grief, fear and fatigue. "Please take me to him. I have to see him, I need to know. Please, Nott."

He pulled out his pendant. "I'm not sure if this will work, some of ours aren't Portkeys," he said.

Hermione moved closer to him, placing her hand on his arm. "Please, I beg you—"

Nott touched his wand to the back and it began to glow. "Give me your hand," he said. Across the table, Kingsley stood, reaching out to try and stop him from leaving. She only had seconds to grasp his hand holding the pendant, hoping she'd made contact, before she felt the tug from behind her navel.

She arrived in front of a pair of hydrangea bushes and an empty expanse of turf grass overlooking the ocean. "Do you trust me?" Nott asked.

"With my life," she said, looking around nervously.

Nott took her hand. "Close your eyes and follow me."

She did. "Damn, Granger, you're trusting," he said, and pulled her forward.

"If you'd wanted to kill me you've had plenty of opportunities," she countered as she followed him along a path that felt like paving stones. He knocked on a door.

"What…?" Mrs. Kennecott asked. "Come in."

Hermione entered the sitting room. She turned, seeing another witch, Mary Nolan if her memory served, eyeing her suspiciously. "Please, Mrs. Kennecott, is Severus here?"

"Yes, upstairs on your right," she said, pointing at the stairs.

Hermione thanked her and walked cautiously up the stairs. For some reason she felt apprehensive about what she'd see. She opened the bedroom door and saw Severus lying on a bed. He looked just like he had when she'd tried to heal him, pale and sweating, although he was breathing easier. "Severus?" she asked but he didn't move. She crossed the room and sat down on the wingback armchair by his bed. "Severus?" She reached out and touched his hand. It was still cold and clammy. She curled her fingers around it, and tried to warm it up between her own hands. "Severus?"

"He's sleeping," Mary Nolan said, entering the room. "I don't know if you remember me? I'm Mary Nolan."

"Hermione Granger," she replied. "I do remember you; we crossed paths in the library all the time." The woman had been another that had been nice to her, well, hadn't called her a Mudblood when in private, and hadn't said anything rude or snide to her in passing in the corridors. "How is he?"

"Sleeping, for now. He was lucky, the evenomation wasn't bad as Catherin had originally thought, and he apparently knew in advance to take his antivenin and Nerve-Regeneration Potion as well as one with willow tree bark extract infused with turmeric and garlic."

"And unicorn heart," she said, remembering a discussion from long ago. "I was with him when he created it."

Miss Nolan nodded and stepped out of the room. "How is she?" Hermione heard someone say as she closed the door.

"She's fine," Mary said as she closed the door.


Mary went back to check on Headmaster Snape. Miss Granger hadn't moved. Well moved much. She was still slumped over asleep on the side of his bed with her head on her arm, her hand still clutching Professor Snape's. It boggled the mind, Hermione Granger and Severus Snape. When Mary had been in here two hours ago, she'd tried to wake Miss Granger, to have her lie down in the other guest room, but the girl had emitted a very strong defensive shock, even though she'd been half asleep. So Serena had suggested leaving her there as she was.

Nott told her that she'd pleaded to be brought to here to see him. She'd stood up for Nott and Draco to the Aurors, defended the others in their group, and now here the girl was at Headmaster Snape's bedside. She stubbornly refused to leave his side, although Mary had been successful dousing her with the needed potions and helped her change into cleaner clothes.

Catherin had told her that Miss Granger had administered all the potions Professor Snape had needed as if she were a trained Healer. Everything necessary except having healed his nicked carotid and damaged throat tissues. But that would explain why she'd overdosed the Headmaster with Blood-Replenishing Potion. But Mary couldn't blame the girl, she wasn't a Healer.

Catherin had healed Professor Snape's neck and the wound had stopped bleeding, but the problem remained that his body was still producing more new blood. So, the poor man had to be bled every three to four hours or he might suffer a heart attack or heart failure or stroke, might hemorrhage or have an aneurysm from extreme high blood pressure, all of which could be deadly. Hence the use of their use of a magical stasis-coma to keep his heart rate and blood pressure low.

Mary cast the diagnosis charms, pleased by her findings. Professor Snape was all right, his prognosis was favorable, his blood pressure high, but not life-threatening so, and he was stable. Their only other concern was nerve damage, but so far indications showed it would be mild, maybe even temporary. She cast her spells on Miss Granger and frowned at the indecisive findings. Mary placed the old bloodletting bowl under Headmaster Snape's arm and used her wand to reopen the wound on his forearm.

"How is he," Serena asked.

"He's doing all right. I'm only going to take half a pint," Mary said. "It's her I'm concerned with."

"How so?" Serena asked, looking at the pair.

"I can't put a finger on it, but she's magically depleted and her elemental levels are off balance," Mary said. Some of the results of her scans matched magical depletion and overexertion, but there was evidence that she hadn't been getting enough basic nutritional needs, which accounted for the weight loss and low body temperature, but her hypothalamus was overly active as well. She didn't know what it meant, but if the girl was sleeping this soundly, she obviously needed the rest. "Do you mind if I transfigure your chair? She should be lying down properly."

"No, go ahead," Serena said. "Just make sure I can put it back to normal later. It was my grandmother's."

"Would you levitate her while I do it," Mary asked. She hadn't mastered the skills to do both at the same time, so it would take two wands. Serena nodded and followed her to the other side of the bed.


Hermione ran from room to room in the old dilapidated house, trying to flee the half man-half snake that followed her. She had to find Severus, but each room was empty: old faded wall paper that had been scratched and torn by some creature's claws, old dusty floorboards that bared marks of claws or impressions of footprints, most of them not human, broken remains of furniture and boarded up windows. Some rooms had wet muddy carpets that her feet sunk into, others had large pools of blood and some rooms had blood splatter everywhere and bloody hand prints. She heard the sibilant hissing following after her, "Wheresss are youss?" and the snarls and snapping of the werewolf haunting the house, and the ever present sound of a snake slithering behind her. She turned and ran for the room on the right, only to see the end of the monster's tail in the other doorway. "Comess out, comess out, wherever you are."

She had to find Severus, needed to desperately, but although she managed to avoid the werewolf, the half man-half snake was always where she needed to go as if anticipating, waiting, following. If she went back, she'd be trapped in there, his red eyes glinting, and fanged teeth and flat slit-like nostrils and pale greyish white scaly skin. She knew where Severus was, but she couldn't get to him—couldn't find a way. She had to escape—had to rescue Severus. "Hermione," the half man-half snake called out to her.

A gentle hand touched Hermione's leg, awoke with a start and heard Harry's voice saying, "Hermione."

She glanced about, not sure where she was, trying to get her bearings. "Hermione, it's okay, you were dreaming," Harry was saying.

She glanced over at the bed, breathing a little easier at the sight of the man lying peacefully under the covers.

"You have to eat something, and then you can go back to sleep," Harry was saying.

She pushed the blanket off her and looked at what appeared to be the wings and armrests of a upholstered chair on her cot, and realized that her 'cot' was an elongated wingback chair that had been stretched out into a cot so she'd be lying out flat. "Is he…?"

"He's alive," Harry said softly. "Healer Hargett and Healer trainee MacTirdelvach were here a little while ago. They still have to bleed him occasionally, but he's recovering."

"How long was I out?" she asked, as she stretched, easing her aching muscles.

"Almost two and a half days," Harry was saying, "It's three o'clock."

Suddenly what he'd said before that registered in her sleep addled mind. "Bleed him? Why?" she asked, swinging her legs over so she could face Severus properly and look at him. "That's barbaric!" Wait, magical Healers… There could be a reason. "What's wrong?" Severus looked better. His color was not as ashen, and he wasn't sweating profusely. She touched his arm. It was warmer and not as clammy anymore.

"It's not that you did anything wrong, it probably saved his life, but you gave him too much Blood-Replenishing Potion, so his body is still making new blood," Harry explained as she tried to feel for his pulse.

Hermione immediately let go of his wrist and covered her mouth, gasping, "I gave him too much!"

"Hermione, no, he was bleeding. His carotid had been cut, so you did what had to be done. It's one of the times when overdosing saves the person's life. But the potion is still, well, doing what it's supposed to do. That's what Healer Hargett told me while Healer trainee MacTirdlevach examined him. He's going to be fine. He might have some nerve damage, but they think it will be temporary. She said something about the conductivity of his nerves have to be restored and they are monitoring his blood pressure and respiratory rates. See the orbs on the wall."

She looked up to where he was pointing. There was a red, blue and green orb floating above his bed against the wall, and a tube that was mostly full. The red one was beating steadily, the blue quite a bit slower, and the green one was steady.

"The red one is his pulse, the blue is his respiration and… I forget what the green one is," he said, pointing to each one. "The tube is his magical absorption rate and indicates his magical saturation level. They have the same ones on the wall there for you."

She turned to look at the ones over her reclining armchair. Hers were pulsing quicker than his, but she could almost feel the red and blue one since they matched her heart rate and breathing rate. As she calmed, so did the rhythm of the orbs. Her magical depletion indicator tube was only half full.

"They tried to move you, but you resisted; actually you made involuntary magical bursts, so they let you stay here."

"Why isn't he in St. Mungo's?" Hermione asked softly.

"It's full. The census status is overcrowded, and the Healers are begging for anyone with any Healing training at all to come help with the sick and wounded from the war. Mrs. Weasely, Charlie and Fleur are all volunteering, as are Luna, Padma and Parvati. The Ministry has been releasing all the people that the Muggle-born Registration Committee sent to Azkaban, and many of them need medical treatment, so the hospital is sending home individuals that basically only require rest as long as they have someone who can administer them their potions. Ginny's home taking care of Percy and Fred. Mrs. Kennecott and her friend Winnifred Hartshorne agreed to look after the Professor, and since you've refused to leave his beside, even when unconscious, they are looking after you as well."

"So Severus is all right," she said, her relief sweeping over her like a wave. "He's okay."

Harry laid a hand on her back and nodded. "He just needs rest."

"Which is quite difficult to do, Mr. Potter, with you yammering all the time," Severus growled out, his voice still sounding quite ruff and strangled.

"Severus, you're awake!" she said, delighted to hear his voice, even if it was so hoarse.

"Between Potter and Kingsley, I hardly get a moment's rest," Severus growled out, but he sounded as if his throat was still hurting him.

"Does it hurt to speak?" she asked, then quickly amended, "No, don't talk, that was a idiotic question. Of course it would hurt to talk." She turned to Harry. "Why was Kingsley here?"

"He's heading up Professor Snape's investigation," Harry said, for once saying Severus' name respectively. "He needed the names of all the Death Eaters, er, sorry, the members of The Circle. Turns out he and Darias Kennecott had a circle of friends who opposed Voldemort."

"Hermione," Severus said softly.

Hermione was stunned that he used her given name in front of Harry. "Yes."

"Why don't I let you two talk," Harry said with a smirk. "Mrs. Weasley sent over some of her cream of mushroom soup and homemade bread."

"Merlin's pants, mushroom soup?" Hermione groaned with a look that relayed her feelings of, "She really shouldn't have."

"Actually its pretty good. It has onions and some type of... stuff. It's good. You should have seen Ron's face," he said and laughed. He looked at Severus. "Please make her eat something, Headmaster, won't you?"

"Of course," Severus replied, his eyes never leaving Hermione's face.

"It worked," she said, reaching out to touch the beloved stubbled cheek.

"It was a huge risk," he said, his voice raspy.

"Do you want some water?" she asked, looking at the decanter on his bedside table. The water looked like it had lemon in it, and there was a few mint leaves floating on the surface.

His eyes followed hers, but he apparently couldn't move his head. "It will help, but it's not water," he said, his voice sounding so raw to her ears. "It's an elixir Miss MacTirdlevach created for me."

Hermione poured some in the cup and carefully tipped it up to his lips so he could drink it in small sips. His hand lifted when he'd had enough. "Small doses help best," he said, his voice better, but it still had a rough edge to it, not the velvety smooth tone she'd come to love.

"Do you still want me, Hermione?" he asked.

She cocked her head at the question.

His gaze was focused on her as he added, "Me. A relationship with me."

He sounded so unsure, and it tugged at her heart. "I, yes, I—do you still want me?" she asked.

"I've always wanted you," he said softly, the declaration astounding her. She was about to say, 'Always?' but he added, "I've waited nineteen years for you."

He's waited… all this time and he's… "Why didn't you ever let me know?" she asked, bewildered since they'd only had a few brief stolen moments of comfort the last few months, and while he'd admitted to caring about her before that, there were no commitments made, no promises for the future.

"I couldn't before, not when you'd been my student. How could I? It was inappropriate, and in truth, I never thought I'd survive the war," he said solemnly. His dark eyes stared at her, watching, and she could see flickers of uncertainty in them.

She thought about what he said. She remembered the memory of him tearing the photograph in Grimmauld Place in half, keeping the half that was of Lily Potter, Harry's mum. She didn't know exactly when that had happened, but he had been an adult. Then there was the way he'd held her body in his arms as he cried, wailing mournfully, the night she'd died. The anguish on his face both times and the tears he'd shed at in those memories still weighed heavily on her. "What about Lily, Harry's mum?" If he still harbored feelings for her, it would like be living with a ghost, one that never faded, would always be perfect. That would be a hard thing to live up to.

"What about her?" he asked, his eyes narrowing.

"I saw the memory… of you in the house in Godric's Hallow the night she died, and the one of you in Grimmauld Place," Hermione said softly, unable to look him in the eye least he see how much those two memories bothered her. "You were in love with her."

"Lily was my first real friend, and yes, I was heartbroken when she died," he said, his voice getting rougher. "More please," he said, pointing to the wall. Hermione gave him another sip of the elixir. "You have to understand, I knew she had been marked for death, and I'd tried to save her, but to no avail. Pettigrew had told the Dark Lord where she was." He indicated the elixir, and she helped him swallow another sip. He waved off the offer of a second. "I blamed myself for her death as much as I blamed Potter and Dumbledore," he said. Pausing. She offered to give him more, but he waved it off. "And yes, I thought I loved her, until a swotty, bossy third-year showed me what real caring was, what an unconditional friendship could be, with total trust and giving without asking or expecting something in return."

A small smile spread on her face at his comments as she looked down at their joined hands, and she felt her cheeks burn. "I'm sorry, if I—"

"Don't interrupt, this is hard enough," he snapped softly. "You amazed me. You always have."

"I'm not that extraordinary," she said modestly.

He indicated the elixir. "Don't sell yourself so short," he snapped before taking a sip. "You are quite exceptional." His eyes seemed to roam the room as he thought of what to say. So she waited in anticipation. He looked at her, then back at the window, and let out a deep course exhalation. "I see."

"See what?" she asked, knowing that she was still blushing at his compliments.

"Is there someone else?" he croaked out.

"No!" she drawled out, wondering how he could assume that. "Only you. I haven't—you think that Harry and I?"

His expression hardened at the mention of her friend's name. "No, you're wrong. We're only friends. He's like a brother to me, like the brother I never had. And with my family gone, my only family really. Well except for the Weasley's. Mr. Weasely told me that I'd always be family." She smiled at the memory: right after she'd told him that she'd erased her parent's memories and sent them to Australia.

"What about Mr. Ronald Weasely?" he asked.

Hermione cuffed a laugh, "Ron?" but Severus scowled. "Ron is a friend, just a friend, nothing more. Ginny is my best friend, beside Ron and Harry. Oh and Luna, surprisingly enough. I suppose most of the DA could be considered friends, although I'm not close to any of them either. Colin was… he's gone. Neville I suppose, we've always been friendly, and I got to know Dean fairly well—as a friend." She hoped that relieved any of his doubts. They sat in silence for a while.

"You never answered my question," he said and motioned for the elixir.

"Which one?" she asked, pouring a little more in the cup. She wondered how much of this he should be having. She'd hate to overdose him again with anything. She still felt guilty about overdosing him with the Blood-Replenishing Potion. She turned and held the cup to his lips, tipping it slowly so as not to douse him.

He took two sips, before waving her off. "Potter said that Kingsley and he are going to investigate my war crimes," he said, and she could hear the hurt and anger in his voice. "And I have no idea what the outcome shall be, but knowing Potter, he'll have his way." Hermione wondered when they'd spoken about this, but obviously they had. "And I know how you like taking on lost causes. More please."

She shook her head then realized he needed more. "I'm not a crusader."

"Really? So, S.P.E.W. was simply out of some sense of philanthropy?" he said snarkily. "And what about all of Potter's schemes and his misadventures? And Dumbledore's Army?"

She huffed at him. "It's what friends do—they help each other," she said. "And if Kingsley is going to try and clear your name, he can put me down on the list."

"Which brings me back to my question," he said softly, the uncertainty minutely reflected in his tone.

She waited, wondering what he was so unsure about. She could see the insecurity in his eyes, a vulnerability she'd never really seen before, well except when he'd been sixteen.

"If by some chance," he paused, and she offered him the elixir. He swallowed a small amount. "I'd like to. Court you."

"Yes!" Hermione lunged forward and hugged him. He grunted, and she immediately pulled back. "I'm sorry! Did I hurt you?"

"I find I don't mind," he said, his lips curving in a small lopsided smile. "We'll have to take things one day at a time."

She leaned back to look him in the face.

"I'm not off the hooks yet. I may still be sent to Azkaban, or even Kissed. I am—was a Death Eater."

"Operative word being was," she said, smiling, but deeply worried about whether he was right or not. "So, I suppose it's all right to kiss you?"

"Yes. Are you always going to be this demanding?" he asked.

"Yes," she replied as she lowered her head so she could press her lips to his.

"Good," he said as her lips hovered over his. "I'd hate to think you've changed."

~ Fin ~


Author's Notes:

You weren't worried were you?