Saving You Saved Me

In a seventh year where Dumbeldore was never cursed and Snape never took the unbreakable vow, Hermionie struggles with the pressures of the events around her and what must be done. An unlikely savior becomes the eventual friend who gets her through.

No HG/SS Romance until the end, years after canon. Non-DH/HBP compliant

It was stormy that night.

Of course, the Scottish highlands rarely had the best of weather but that night was especially tumultuous. Rain came in sheets that blasted at the castle walls and lightening split the dense inky darkness with sudden white cracks, creating a marbling effect momentarily against the total blackness.

Though normally not an impulsive man, while patrolling Severus had been taken by the sudden desire to experience the chaos of the storm. Allowing for the impulse, he directed his feet to the astronomy tower. Immediately upon opening the door he was hit by the torrent. Undeterred he walked straight to one of the edges, arms held out, welcoming the brute force of the storm to test itself against him. His robes billowed around him from the power of the wind. His hair whipped around his face like it had a life of its own and he was soaked within seconds. He closed his eyes and reveled in it, his silhouette just as black as the darkness of the storm and just as powerful, at one with it in will and temperament. For once he felt alive… and free.

This was his guilty pleasure, coming out on nights like this. In the torrent of the storm, he could let himself loose within nature and just be. He wasn't sure how long he stood there basking in the raw force, before lowering his arms and stepping back from the edge. Once he did, the illusion of barely controlled power left his figure. He once again he became the bitter potions professor enslaved to two masters.

Only after he taking a steadying breath and closing his eyes briefly against the return of his burdens did Severus look around and notice he wasn't alone. Since they were on the opposite side of the tower he hadn't noticed the edge of a silhouette in the dark, but a small movement caught his eye now. They obviously had not noticed him in the dark of the storm or had been caught by surprise and were trying to avoid detection. He thought the later more likely since he had not heard a single sound besides the storm since he came up, and he had been up here for quite some time. No doubt some couple from one of the upper years. He smirked at the thought of the steep number of points he could dock for being caught cavorting this far past curfew. Hopefully they were from Gryffindor, though some Ravenclaws would be nearly as satisfying.

Silently, he stalked towards them. He was slightly surprised to note as he got closer that it was only one person, and they weren't at all trying to hide. They were standing directly between the two posts, robes and hair flailing as wildly as his had been, but from their stiff stance they didn't seem to be gaining enjoyment from the experience. Severus' glee quickly turned to alarm when he drew close enough to see that the person was holding one foot over the abyss beyond the tower ledge. Abandoning all subtlety he crossed the last few feet, the heels of his boots making clear sounds of impact against the stone even over the thunder of the storm. Further alarmed by the person's lack of reaction, he only stopped when he came almost next to her and saw who it was. The shock then froze him in place, stealing the air from his lungs.

Hermione Granger stood only inches away from falling into nothingness, wearing a look on her face he knew all too well. Severus had seen it too many times on the faces of comrades, of those whose family had been killed, in the bathroom mirror. It was the look of ultimate despair, of numbness, of just wanting it all to be over. Hermione Granger was contemplating killing herself.

Severus felt sudden panic. The girl might be an insufferable-know-it-all and a Gryffindor but he didn't want her to die. Later he would justify that Potter would be hopeless without her, but at the moment all he could think of was the brightest witch of her age might erase herself in the inky blackness….. and she was far too good to die that way. Whatever the reason, his reaction was almost violent as Severus grabbed her arm and jerked her back, placing himself between Granger and the edge. Certainly, his tone was hardly reassuring as he yelled at her.

"What in Merlin's name do you think you are doing Miss Granger?!"

She blinked at him and he had to repeat himself. It was several moments before she ducked her head and whispered, "I don't know sir."

"You don't know?!" He wasn't sure when his shock had turned to anger, but it was in full swing now, "I should assign you a month's worth of detentions for even considering what you just did Granger! Look at me when I'm talking to you!" He jerked her chin up and instantly regretted it.

Her eyes were bright with unshed tears, which now spilled over when they met his eyes. Before he knew it she was sobbing.

"It's all my fault. It's all my fault!" she kept saying over and over.

Severus realized he needed to try to be gentle although he could see this was going to extremely try his patience and being gentle came to him about as naturally as cycling to a goldfish. He really didn't want the girl dead and she needed help. Unfortunately the fickle bitch of his life dictated that he be the only one around to provide said help and he wasn't going to leave her alone in this state because heaven knew what she'd do.

"What is your fault?" he tried in his best attempt at a understanding tone. He ruefully noted that it mostly sounded like he had a cold. He patted the girl's shoulder awkwardly in what he hoped was a comforting gesture.

"Madeye is dead because of me!" She said in a yelling outburst. Severus was stunned momentarily by the reality of someone shouting at him instead of the other way around. He had a split second thought of thanks to the fates that at least this wasn't over a hormonal crush, before staring at her blankly wondering how she possibly could have reached that conclusion.. His minute of uncertainty was enough that she threw her arms around him in what would be a more suicidal move than the tower edge under normal circumstances. He stiffened, but only offered token resistance, idly noting that he really must not want Granger dead. He resisted the urge to roll his eyes and mentally asked God to save him from teenage dramatics as the sobbing into his robes began. Eventually he managed to puzzle out words between the broken sobs.

"I saw her raise her wand to curse him! I could have stopped her, but I froze! If I hadn't been so stupid Moody would still be here."

To his surprise, Severus' first reaction was to pity her. Of course she would freeze, killing wasn't inherently in Granger and she was so bloody young. It wasn't the first time Severus had thought about the fact that many of the students involved were far too young for what they were doing, but it was the first time he thought about it with compassion for them instead of as a liability. This sobbing girl was far too young to even realize that short of killing Bellatrix she couldn't have stopped her, much less have the capacity to consciously commit murder. Yet, she still blamed herself. He knew something about what that level of guilt was like. Without even being aware of it, far gentler tones came naturally this time.

"Granger, it is not your fault. It is too easy to hesitate in combat, especially for someone who has had so little experience in it. Even if you had acted, Bellatrix is a powerful witch and it is doubtful anything you could have done would have stopped her." He paused, noting how odd it felt not to use a scathing tone with the girl. It was the best he could do. Unfortunately she started to panic more.

"But what if it's Ron or Harry next time?! What if I freeze? What if I can't do anything?! I keep thinking that I can't watch them die."

She was getting hysterical. He sighed, not believing that he had to listen to her worry over the two dunderheads now.

"Miss Granger!" My usual tone made her quiet. "I know how it feels to blame yourself for deaths you could do nothing to prevent."

She hiccupped pathetically, making him cringe, "You do?" He noticed the tears hadn't slowed in the slightest.

"More than you can imagine. Miss Granger, It. Was. Not. Your. Fault." His severe voice accented every word. "I have every faith you will be able to protect the two imbeciles who couldn't tie their shoes without you when the time comes."

For some reason those words finally calmed her. Severus rolled his eyes, it figured that being his usual bastard self would have worked. She shivered then, which made him aware she still hadn't let him go.

He sneered, "Miss Granger I suggest you let me go before I accuse you of inappropriate conduct. Now get inside before you catch pneumonia."

He grabbed her elbow and dragged her inside the doorway. He verbally casted a drying charm on them before silently casting a warming charm on her. It wouldn't do for the chit to fall ill and that small part of him was still concerned by how pale and pathetic she looked. It was that part of him he would blame for his next bit of mercy.

"I should deduct points for being out after curfew, putting yourself in danger, and imposing yourself on me. I should also report you to Madam Pomfrey and Professor McGonagall."

Her eyes filled with tears again and she hung her head. "Yes sir."

"However, I will not." Her head shot up in surprise. "On the condition that I never find you in a similar situation again."

She nodded, but that wasn't good enough.

"Do you understand me Miss Granger?"

"Yes sir. I give my word." He raised an eyebrow in mockery. "And I don't go back on my word!"

He was still doubtful but accepted it. Without another word he escorted her to the Head's tower, making sure she entered and placing another warming charm on her before she disappeared.

…..

He didn't make it obvious, but was easier on her in class after that. Potter and Weasley received more of his malice as a result but she was relatively untouched by his ire. Though there was no other indication that night had occurred he knew she understood from the look on her face the couple of times he otherwise would have taken points.

He never would have thought anything could have made him not want to deflate the obnoxious girl's ego, but anytime he went to do so he remembered her look of utter despair that night and couldn't bring himself to do so.

It was two weeks after incident on the astronomy tower that he heard a knock at his door.

He frowned. It was late, far too late for it to be a student. Worried there was an attack on the school, he unsheathed his wand and pulled the door open roughly.

Miss Granger was standing there as if it was completely normal for students be knocking on his door eleven o'clock at night on a Saturday. He doubted she could see his face anymore then he could see beyond that mane of hers but donned his best scowl anyways.

"What, Miss Granger, do you think you are doing?!"

She attacked him! Or at least that was the best term he had for it. The force of her colliding with his body had been enough to send him back from the doorway. He could feel her sobbing already. With an exasperated sigh he closed the door behind her, arm reaching around Granger and her death grip on his torso while touching her as little as possible.

"Surely Potter or Weasley would be more appropriate?"

He barely managed to make out parts of speech past her sobs. "They don't understand! I didn't detect the poison in time. I should have! I read that book just last month on detecting poison. If Neville and Harry hadn't switched glasses…." Severus vaguely remembered hearing Longbottom had been poisoned but didn't know the particulars. He had assumed the boy had done it to himself. "They don't understand." Her voice had faded to a pitiful whisper.

He sighed. He supposed Potter and Weasley couldn't understand. The two were practically allergic to the idea of culpability, even when it was truly and completely their fault.

Severus did understand her feelings though. Maybe that's why he hadn't cursed her to kingdom come yet although he was resisting the urge to put her in a full body-bind. He put his full effort into not leaning away from her, though his annoyance leaked into his voice.

"Once again Granger, it is not your fault."

The sobs started quieting then, though it at least felt like a long time before they subsided completely. In an odd and twisted way, he supposed it made sense that she would derive some comfort knowing one person understood how she felt. Why did it have to be him though? The hugging thing was truly inappropriate and ridiculous. Even when she finally stopped crying, she still hadn't let him go. He might have cursed her then, were he still not slightly worried about her tower tendency. So Severus offered the one comfort he was comfortable with and might get her off of him.

"Miss Granger would you like a cup of tea?" She looked up at him in surprise and nodded mutely. He pried her hands off him deftly before whirling around and opening the door to his personal chamber.

"Granger, it goes without saying that this situation is not occurring. You will have never seen my personal rooms and spent the night in your room studying."

She nodded before replying in just as much a matter-of-fact tone, "If this is not happening anyways, it's Hermione. I am crying after all." With that she swept past him.

He followed, not sure if he liked this turn of events at all. He tried not to think about it as he bustled about the kitchenette making tea. They had their teas in near-companionable silence once it was kettle was ready. With their odd understanding it wasn't as awkward as it should have been. Severus glanced down at his watch and cursed. It was already one in the morning and he had to play mental chess with King Snake tomorrow.

"Miss Granger, I must insist on you returning to your rooms…"

Her head shot up, her expression full of fear, causing him to stop. Pinching the bridge of his nose he wondered for a moment just how much he didn't want her to do something stupid. Was it that much? He muttered "bloody Gryffindors" under his breath, regretting already what he was about to do.

"Unless you wish to stay here on the couch. I, however, must retire. I have errands I must attend to in a few hours."

He stood up. When it was clear she wasn't going to rise he let out a frustrated growl and summoned pillows and blankets for her.

When he awoke the next morning soon after dawn she was already gone.

…..

The pattern repeated itself three times over the next two months. Anytime he suggested she seek help elsewhere, anywhere else really, she panicked. Usually it resulted in sobs and near-begging, with her repeating only he understood. Despite multiple threats to do so, he didn't report her behavior to anyone else. He let her continue to come to him, ostensibly since it didn't affect their behavior any other time and he was afraid how she would react otherwise. He didn't admit even to himself that it was nice to be needed by someone.

….

He wasn't sure how many shots of whiskey he had consumed, but it was enough that his senses were dulled and he felt numb. Just as well really, that was the idea. At some point he had dropped the wards and left the door open, not caring if he was leaving himself open to attack. Some part of him hoped someone would come and finally finish him off and, though he would never admit it, he was hoping he wouldn't be alone soon. Surely the wolf's death would upset her... yet again, maybe she would blame him too. Potter's yelling and cursing had made his opinion clear enough after all and she was Potter's best friend…. He knocked another shot back, ignoring the blood on the edge of the glass from a cut he hadn't bothered healing.

"Professor?"

He turned slowly towards the door though he had recognized her voice, even this inebriated. She stood there, worry etched into her face. He became very aware of how obvious the now half-empty bottle of whiskey was on the sideboard and the two tumblers next to it, the first with half the top broken off. He had broken it in his haste to get a drink earlier. He hoped she at least didn't notice the shattered glass near the fireplace where he had thrown a third while still in the process of screaming himself hoarse.

Her voice shook him from his thoughts. "Dumbledore mentioned you were on the raid with Lupin."

"Did he also mention that as his partner it was my responsibility to watch his back and get him back safe? Or did your precious Potter make you aware of that fact?!" He spat.

Her face softened, ignoring the comment about Potter. "Dumbledore said you did the best you could and suffered injuries trying to save him."

His recently mended arm managed to get past the haze of alcohol to painfully remind him it had been burned and broken an hour ago. Worse was the psychological pain clawing up his chest into his throat and trying to break into his normally organized mind. He wanted to scream that it wasn't good enough, that Lupin had had a loving wife at home expecting a son while he had nothing. He should have jumped in front of that curse. His life was measured in weeks at best anyways.

Finally something made it past the choking sensation and he responded hoarsely, "Lupin was a good man. I may not have liked him due to past history but he did not deserve…." He wasn't sure why he was saying this. The alcohol must have prized open the cracks in his armor. "The curse was aimed at me. Tonks should not be mourning a husband right now. It should have been me. If Dolohov wasn't such an imbecile…."

He knew she understood what he wasn't saying, that it should have been him because no one would care if he didn't come back.

"Professor…." She took a few timid steps towards him. Then her eyes took on that determined Gryffindor gleam he normally hated but got lost in now as she rapidly crossed the room and enveloped him in a tight hug. "I understand how you feel Professor but it is not your fault." As she said it she tightened her grip still further around him like she could hold him together.

She said it with such conviction that it broke something inside Severus. For the first time ever he returned her embrace, holding her just as tightly as she was holding him. Part of his mind wanted to scream that she wasn't there, that she couldn't understand his guilt, his responsibility. Instead, he let himself accept comfort from someone else for the first time since his adolescence. Certainly no one had ever been there for the horrors of his adult life. That it was his student, his most annoying student at that, didn't matter. Reality had warped and he knew she actually understood. Just like he understood she needed to let out her grief when she started crying after he put his arms around her. He didn't cry but he knew she understood he was grieving too.

Severus wasn't sure how it had happened, but they had ended up on the couch embracing and fallen asleep there. He blamed the alcohol.

She had awoken before him luckily, he wasn't sure what he would have done otherwise. With his hangover it took him a minute to realize she was repairing his glass tumblers. He watched her for a moment stupidly before she noticed he was awake. Once she did, she silently strode over and picked up the hand he had managed to slice open last night. Curious, he let her.

A simple healing charm later his hand was good as new. Meeting his eyes she gave him a nod and left without a word.

He watched her leave, slightly baffled by the turn his life had taken.

….

It happened once every two to three weeks although their behavior outside of his rooms remained exactly the same. They never discussed it but Severus modified the wards to accept her without his assistance. It was the first time in his life anyone had been able to gain direct access besides himself.

She always spent the night on the couch and about half the time Severus fell asleep there as well. He knew it was strange and inappropriate, but the possibility of dying every day made such things seem unimportant. Apparently, she felt the same way. They both just needed comfort from someone who understood and both knew it. It helped more than he cared to admit.

Months passed and the war raged on.

…..

In May, three months before they planned to fight and two weeks before graduation, was the night everything changed.

They were sitting on the couch staring into the fire, an arms wrapped around each other like normal. The initial panic had subsided and they were in their quiet period of comfort. They rarely spoke so it slightly startled him when Hermione suddenly whispered without any obvious prompting,

"I don't know what I'd do without you."

He stiffened instantly, surprised by her words and a little horrified. She was his student, how inappropriate this entire scenario was crashing into him like a freight train. More importantly he had allowed her to become dependent on him when he wasn't going to be around much longer to be dependent on.

"Miss Granger…."

"Professor, we've discussed this, in this situation I'm Hermione."

He decided it wasn't worth arguing over and frankly didn't want to look at that too closely with this new awareness and moved on. "Hermione, surely you realize I won't be alive much longer?"

Her head shot up and she looked at him in absolute horror, quickly followed by panic. Her eyes grew wide and her breath became short. He poured her another cup of tea and waited for her to calm herself down, a little thrown off by how routine and easy this was now. The tears rushing to her eyes threw him further off balance. Despite their closeness it still surprised him how much the idea affected her, for so long he had been used to the idea that no one would morn his death. Trying to be logical, he justified to himself that it should not have shocked her. He didn't even realize his voice was the gentle one he had learned to use with her but no one else had heard since his adolescence when he started speaking.

"Surely you realize my position with the Dark Lord is such that I will not be allowed to live once all is revealed."

It was the first time in his life he felt a slight twinge of regret for that.

Her eyes searched his desperately for some reassurance he could not give, "But surely there are measures you can take….."

He bitterly laughed. "This is the Dark Lord Hermione, if he wants you dead you might as well be."

His tone made it clear without saying it that he didn't mind dying. She nearly flinched and the tears returned to her eyes, though they were silent and controlled now. The pause in conversation made him think things through. The events of the past months had led to him having some affection for the girl. If the situation was different he might have even called them friends. He could not go to his grave if he knew it might lead to hers.

"Miss Granger…. Hermione," he amended before she could protest, "promise me that no matter what should happen to Potter, Mr. Weasley, or myself" It felt fundamentally strange to add his name to that list but he couldn't deny it anymore, "you will not harm yourself or give up. You will keep fighting with all the strength and determination I know you possess."

His tone was deadly serious and he realized how important that promise was to him. She was too good for the darkness of the war or despair to take her. He wouldn't allow it. He knew her well enough now to know if she gave him her word she would honor it. She looked at him evaluating for a moment.

"Alight. On one condition," He raised an eyebrow to continue, bewildered to realize he'd do almost anything she'd ask for that simple promise, "You try to live."

He was thunderstruck by her request and finding his throat suddenly choked, only nodded. It was enough. Both of them knew that they might as well entered into an unbreakable vow. They both were true to their word once it was given to a fault. It wasn't long after that Severus got Hermione a blanket and excused himself in his usual manner.

He couldn't sleep though and in his room he debated with himself for two hours over a glass of scotch he only half drank. Eventually, he set it down and returned to his sitting room. There he watched Hermione sleeping for a few moments before making up his mind.

Suddenly moving briskly and purposefully, he strode to his desk and quickly made a list of the most likely ways the Dark Lord would attempt to kill him and their possible counter measures. He would start working on the anti-venom tomorrow. Voldemort was far too fond of that snake of his and quite likely to use it should the opportunity arise. If Severus was going to try to live past the final battle he best have an antidote.

After all, Severus Snape was a man of his word and he had promised Hermione.

…..

At her graduation he clapped when she walked up, her eyes shining with pride and that same fierce determination she had had when she demanded he save his own life. Pride wouldn't allow him to let anyone else see but he made sure she saw. He had never felt so emotional watching a student collect their honors before. She had earned them and a thousand things more in her time here. He was more than a little surprised when she came to his rooms that night, though there was no evidence of tears this time when he opened the door.

Her voice was cautious. "Professor….."

"Hermione." He said, cutting her off. "You're here at my private chambers and no longer my student, it's Severus."

She froze before giving him a timid smile. "Severus, then."

Neither commented on how much thing meant things had changed as she led him to the sofa and they stared into the fire together.

…..

For the next three months when not training students staying to fight, spying, planning with Dumbledore, overseeing preparations, or with Hermione, Severus was strategizing for his own survival.

He wove counter curses of immense power into his clothing. He developed anti-venom tablets that he also provided to the Order and the Golden trio quietly. Dumbledore noticed this much at least and was surprised by his new efforts but said nothing. Severus learned strong healing spells he could perform on himself. He took to carrying a first-aid kit like the world had never seen before and a wide variety of poison antidotes. He created an illegal portkey to get him safely away when triggered. He created an aura spell that would inform anyone who cast a simple diagnostic spell on him what the last five spells cast upon his body were. In short, Severus did everything he could to ensure his survival, save from an Avadra Kevadra. For that he could only hope Voldemort's flair for the dramatic prevailed over practicality.

His and Hermione's frequent meetings had changed slightly, though he couldn't say how. If they held on a littler tighter, talked more, and he used her first name now without prompting it wasn't all that great a change, was it? Nothing else had changed. Their promise was never spoken of again. When he gave her the tablets, an identical portkey, and taught her most of the spells she never commented on why he was developing all of this now. He was only glad Albus and Hermione would benefit from all the infernal research. It gave him some gratification for all the work he was doing. When he practiced the spells for himself it was completely different. Most of the time he wondered why he was bothering. He didn't mind dying and the students certainly wouldn't miss the greasy git of the dungeons. Why bother…?

Except that he had promised Hermione and he was a man of his word.

So he tried.

Pain is wasn't a blanket or a wave. It was an unstoppable force, like gravity. At least it was at these levels.

Voldemort had used the damn snake. On his jugular.

Probably the only reason he wasn't already dead was the anti-venom tablets had went to work immediately. The lack of paralysis meant he could put pressure on the wound until Voldemort had left and he could trigger the portkey. Had he been capable of doing so, he would have laughed at the look of surprise on Lucius' face the second before he vanished.

Now, he was in a safe location. Of course, that wouldn't make a difference if he bled out. So he kept his wand pointing at his neck. Again and again he non-verbally cast the healing spells that hopefully were closing his throat. He couldn't even see if it was working, only the black spots slowly creeping into the edge of his vision that promised painless rest. He wanted to float away to beckoning unconsciousness.

But he had promised Hermione, so he fought it and kept trying.

…..

Severus walked across the spent battlefield. His throat was still tender, and needed to be looked at by a proper healer, but he had needed to be here first. He needed to see that it was over. He needed to see she had survived. He was still somewhat shocked how much that meant to him.

He had arrived just in time to see Potter dispatch the Dark Lord. In fact, he thought his jaunty little wave to the shocked snake face might have given Potter the split second he needed. It was a nice thought.

It would prove there was a purpose to him still being alive. A purpose beyond her….. who he still hadn't seen and was beginning to worry for. The crowd had dispersed finally and she was still nowhere to be seen.

Just as panic threatened to overwhelm him, he saw her. She had a cut on her cheek and her hair was more of a frizzy monstrosity than usual but she was alive and whole. She was standing away from the others, worry etched on her face as her eyes searched. He wasn't sure if it was intuition or the tiniest flare of hope that told him who she was searching for.

She was the reason he was there after all.

His suspicions were confirmed when she saw him and for that moment the usual rules of their friendship didn't matter anymore. Without further ado she ran to him and threw her arms around him. He did not hesitate to hold her just as tightly in sheer relief it was over and they were both alive.

For a moment, he saw the shocked faces of Potter, Dumbledore, Minerva, Weasley, mother hen Weasley…. Before he closed his eyes against them. Just for this moment he would enjoy receiving a hug from someone who was truly glad he was alive and damn anything else.

His one true friend, though they had never acknowledged it out loud. The reason he was alive.

Sometime later, after Hermione had made him be seen by a healer and wandered back to her other two friends, Minerva and Albus approached him. Minerva was scowling while Albus was grinning at him like Severus had finally agreed to play Father Christmas this year. Severus rolled his eyes and mentally braced himself.

Minerva started in on him first. "Miss Granger's reaction to you was rather unusual Severus."

Severus shrugged non-committedly. If Minerva was going to ask ridiculous questions he wasn't going to help her get there. She prompted only when it became clear he wasn't going to respond.

"Care to explain that?" While Minerva couldn't outstare a cat, she spent enough time being one that she was still quite good at it and he relented after some moments.

"We became…. friends" he assumed Hermione wouldn't mind the term after everything they had been through, "this last school year after I was able to give her some advice."

Minerva looked more affronted, and Severus could almost imagine her taking Hermione to task for having the audacity to ask someone other than her head of house for advice. Her stare towards him sharpened even more. Since Severus didn't really have friends it was little wonder. "That didn't look like how one would greet a casual friend," she pressed pointedly.

"It is after said friend nearly died in the battle of the age!" Severus snapped, losing patience with being the mouse to Minerva's cat. "Nothing inappropriate has occurred between us since that is what you're too prudish to ask Minerva. Your precious star hasn't been tainted."

"Which is good since she is a student…." Minerva started to argue.

"Oh, Minerva didn't mean that my boy." Dumbledore interjected with all his good cheer despite the obvious. "We all know you are an honorable man Severus. Besides," Albus' eyes twinkled in the way Severus always took as a danger sign, "Miss Granger is no longer his student Minerva." Severus blinked in astonishment at the blatant approval he would have never sought even if he had a reason to ask for it.

The old man walked away, leaving a speechless Minerva trailing him and an equally speechless Snape sitting there.

….

Author's Note: Long-time reader, but this is one of my first posts. I welcome feedback but flames for the sake of flames will be ignored. I know it's an unusual pairing with a big age difference. It's also a fanfiction and written the way it is for that reason. If anyone spots grammar or story issues please let me know so I can fix it.

I hoped you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading!