Chapter Two: Severus Begins Plotting

Just to spite Minerva, Severus deliberately waited an extra ten minutes before appearing in the Hospital Wing. Filius and Pomona had retreated back to the relative safety of their quarters, leaving him only to face Poppy and Minerva, the latter of whom was glaring at him.

Poppy, as usual, was fussing over her patient. The girl was conscious, sporting a black eye and glare and several bandages.

"Leave me alone!" The girl exclaimed just as he walked in.

"Now Ms. Granger, I have to make sure your wounds have properly healed. It wouldn't do to have you leave only for you to be brought back because the wounds reopened." The nurse said forcefully, waving her wand in complicated patterns around the girl.

"Ah, Severus, there you are." Minerva greeted him, drawing the attention of the other two. Oh, he thought with amusement, Tabby is not a happy kitty.

"Professor Snape?" The know-it-all, instead of looking frightened and disgusted as she should have been, looked thrilled to see her Potions Professor. "You're taking me?"

"Indeed, Ms. Granger, I have been sentenced to your presence." He said, gesturing vaguely. "Why else would I be here. Do not worry; you shall only have to suffer me for a week."

She hopped up, almost eagerly, and hurried to his side. "Great, sounds great, let's go." She said.

"Hold it." Poppy blocked them before either could turn. "Severus, you are to make sure she rests for the next day or so. Watch those wounds carefully and if you have any problems you Floo me immediately. We will bring her back if we must."

"Yes Madame." He said, surprised when he heard the Gryffindor girl beside him mutter rebelliously, "Oh, don't worry, I definitely won't be coming back."

Really? He pondered. What on earth could have upset the bookworm so? He had expected she would be angry, but nearly so much. He didn't see any tears at all, which he thought much more likely of the relatively quiet child.

"I do know my way around an infirmary," Severus said, shaking his thoughts away. He had a week to find his answers, after all. "Send Albus through to my Manor as soon as he is back. Until then," he added, turning. "Let us go, Ms. Granger."

They quickly flooed through to a rather large office, set up in various shades of blue. "Welcome, Ms. Granger, to Snape Manor." Severus said, watching her as she took a minute to look around. "Sit." He added, when her eyes came to rest on a replica of his desk from his office back at school. He took a seat behind the desk as she sat on the chair before it. "I would like you to attempt to explain to me what just happened." He said, gesturing to her to begin.

"Professor, this is not necessary." Severus found himself surprised by her opening gambit.

"What exactly do you mean, Ms. Granger?" He questioned. "How am to help you if you do not explain the situation to me?"

"That's exactly it, Professor." The small chit of a girl said happily. "I don't need your help. I tried to explain this to Professor McGonagall, but you know how she is. If you can just drop me off back in London, I will be out of your hair and you can go back to…er, enjoying your summer."

She stumbled over the last bit, unsure of what exactly to say, he saw with amusement. "I can assure you, Ms. Granger," he said casually, "Your presence in no way will detract from my summer fun. So, gather up that Gryffindor courage and explain why I was so rudely kicked out of Hogwarts."

"But Profess-"

"Ms. Granger, this has grown tiresome. I am forced to be in this manor for a week whether or not I release you and I have decided you will suffer here alongside me. Now you might as well tell me what's going on." He said, pounding the desk before him to stop any further protests.

She closed her mouth without the protest, but in no way looked frightened. She glared rebelliously for a moment and then gave a sigh. "Fine." She said. "I want you to release me so that I can go and hunt down Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange."

Usually this was where the other professors had stopped her. Snape didn't even seem surprised by the statement. He merely folded his arms and asked, "How exactly do you plan to do so?"

It took her a moment to realize that this was Snape and why in Merlin's name would he try to stop her from doing something stupid? "Well, I've spent quite a bit of time in Diagon Alley this summer," she said. "At several of the used book stores, I've found some quite impressive books."

"Specifics, Ms. Granger." Severus said, suddenly interested. He himself had found many rare bargains and could only imagine what the inquisitive bookworm might have found. Merlin help them all if she came across a few of the more interesting books that she could have come upon. "What did you find?"

"Well, I found a copy of Most Potente Potions, a first edition." She said, allowing a thrill of joy course her body for a moment. "That was the best find. But more importantly, I found a copy of an Auror training manual. There are various tracking spells I learned in there, more so than the Four Directions Spell, as well as an invisibility spell, so when I get expelled for using magic outside of school they won't be able to find me and snap my wand. Not til I'm finished, of course." She added, waving a hand. "But by then it won't matter."

Her tone, so determined, mixed with dead brown eyes actually gave the Slytherin pause. The girl wasn't displaying the disgusting Gryffindor tactics so common among her kind. She had crossed over, through the foolishness. She was serious.

Of course, he hurried to assure himself, she wasn't too far gone. She was still depressingly Gryffindorish—obviously determined to go out in a blaze of glory.

Had this girl ended up in Ravenclaw, she might have been one of the few Claws he ever appreciated. He refused to appreciate her as a Gryffin though, so it was a moot point.

"Ms. Granger, I would appeal to your smarter side, for just a moment." He said. "Though I live with the sad knowledge that it will soon be taken completely over by your obsessive need to memorize each and every book you read," he mocked, conveniently forgetting that he himself did the same thing. "I know you Gryffindors find Slytherin tactics distasteful as well as dishonourable, but they are often much more appropriate. In this case, should you truly wish revenge, your take-charge attitude will only end in your death. I would suggest you use this enforced week of rest to put that mind to figuring out some sane, rational plan that would make some Slytherin proud."

"Or, you could just let me go and perform my stupid Gryffindor attack." Hermione offered, ignoring his kind advice. "Come on Professor. Just a quick trip to London and then you won't ever have to deal with me again."

Oh, what temptation. Severus refused to let himself be swayed though. "No, no, Ms. Granger. You've obviously not spent any long periods of time with the Headmaster. He would never let me forget this, should I follow your advice. I would have to deal with you each and every time I saw him. For the rest of my life. And that just will not do."

She stared at him in shock. He was serious, he really wasn't going to let her go. How to…

It came to her in a flash. Who did Snape hate beyond all reason?

"I'm Sirius Black's daughter!" She burst out.

They sat frozen for a moment. Severus swallowed with a little difficulty and then asked, "Excuse me?"

"You heard me." Hermione could fake bravado with the best of them. "So there. If my being Gryffindor isn't enough to get you to leave me alone, the man you hate most in the world is my sire."

Though she held her chin high, she could help but tremble a bit at the fury that entered his dark black eyes. Oh Merlin, maybe this had been a bad idea, she thought.

Severus forced himself not to overreact. "And who exactly told you this?" He asked, thinking back furiously. Though it was often wondered if Granger had slipped through the cracks of wizarding society by actually being the recipient of two Squibs repressed magic, no specific families had ever been managed.

The Black family did have almost as bad a problem with wild hair as the Potters, he thought idly, thinking of Bellatrix Lestrange nee Black.

"The Sorting Hat gave me a clue that I worked out." She said, confused by his calmness. Where was the anger? The throwing things? The "Get out of my house and never come back again!"?

"And you have seen fit to inform no one?" He asked.

"I don't see what difference it would make." She said, shrugging.

"You saw no…" He trailed off, biting back his retort. Muggle-born, he reminded himself. She was Muggle-born. Or, at least, Muggle-raised, he amended. She knew nothing of just how important heredity was to Pure-bloods. "You belong to Sirius Black." He said, staring hard at the girl. He saw nothing of Black in the child.

"Yes sir." She said. "You- you're not angry?"

"Ms. Granger, I don't think you understand my position." He said, still searching for a similarity. Well, she did have a penchant for horrible friends and had no problem breaking the rules. "I am responsible for your safety for this week. I will have to answer to both Dumbledore and McGonagall should anything happen to you. Who your father is, whatever revenge you are trying to get, is meaningless to me. It has no effect on your presence here. You will stay here."

Her face fell, startling him. "You thought revealing your paternity would change my mind?" He asked, smirking. "I assure you, it does not. It changes nothing." On the contrary, this was the answer he had been waiting for… If he could calm her down, he could use her to help him. "My opinion of you is set." Actually, it wasn't. He knew very little about the girl and already felt that was more than enough. But it seemed to calm her.

"Yes sir." She said, sighing. That had been her last resort. Obviously he was unhappy with the knowledge; his arms were still tightly clenched at his sides, but it didn't seem to be directed at her. He seemed mad at the mention of Sirius, but not of her, which was curious considering how he disliked Harry. Maybe it was because she was a girl. Or possibly because she looked nothing like Sirius.

"Good." He said, seeing the defeat in her eyes. For the night, her anger was gone. Well, perhaps not completely. "You had better get to sleep. I will escort to your room for the duration. You need to be well rested to best plot revenge." He knew from personal experience.

He stood, gesturing her out the door. He led her upstairs and down the hallway to a guest room beside his childhood room. Before she went in, she turned back to look at him. "Professor, you won't stop me?" She asked curiously. "I seemed to worry Professor McGonagall when I spoke of revenge."

"Oh, I would never discourage an attempt." He assured her. "Though not a foolish one."

"I'm not foolish." She vowed. "I'll make them pay."

She went into her room, waving to him. He made his way back down to his office with a smirk on his face. Oh, he had no doubt, should her anger continue to be stroked that she would carry through. As long as that bloody compassionate side of the Gryffindor gene-pool suddenly kick in.

He had no doubt the girl could be deadly. So, in the interests of keeping one of the few friends he had, he had better warn Lucius. Especially since he was going to help her.