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Chapter 8 : Petrified
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A/N: takes place between “Cornelius Fudge” and “Dobby’s Reward” in The Chamber of Secrets.
Even Draco Malfoy noticed that professor Snape was ornery lately. He was yelling at everyone in class, not just Potter anymore. He had been getting steadily worse all month and no one could escape his wrath. No one, Draco noticed, except for Hermione Granger, which struck him as odd. Beyond odd.
Snape was still in the castle one morning, despite the quidditch match taking place outside. To be honest, he had never truly liked the game. He was walking out of the great hall after a second helping of french toast, when McGonogall ran past him, nearly knocking him over.
“What’s happened?” Severus asked her.
“There’s been another attack.” She said, not stopping to look at him. “I’m getting the students inside.”
“Do you need any help?”
“No, no.” Minerva said hastily, walking out the front doors.
Severus hung a right and made his way to the hospital wing to see for himself what was happening. As he walked through the doors, he first saw a ravenclaw girl, who he couldn’t remember the name of.
Then, his eyes fell on Hermione.
His Daughter, his Hermione was petrified.
Severus left the hospital wing before anyone could notice him. He rushed down the stairs to his office, hiding his face. He locked the door, then leaned over his desk and broke down.
Nothing made sense. Hermione was a half-blood. Or, a quarter wizarding blood, at least. Why had she been attacked? Sure, everyone thought she was a muggle born, but was that enough? Wouldn’t the monster know what it was sent to kill?
Fear began to grow in Severus’ chest as he leaned over his desk, crying. He knew who had opened the chamber last time. Was it possible it was him again? The whispers had been traveling through the professors for months.
Still, to think he could know that Hermione was his, that he who must not be named would go after a child instead of going for Severus himself. And why? Simply because Snape had lied to the dark lord about his daughter? Or was it everything else he had done for Dumbledor? Surely, he couldn’t know everything Severus had been up to since his death, or before it.
No, it was impossible to think of that. Why should anyone be able to tell who Hermione is? Thank god she hadn’t told anyone.
“It’s all a mistake.” Severus said to himself, standing up from his desk.
He wiped his eyes and thought, “Now, keeping her safe: keeping Hermione’s identity safe, is the first priority.”
Severus waited until the end of his patrol shift at one am before he saw Hermione again. He crept into the hospital wing and sat in the dark net to her bed. She didn’t look frightened, or confused. Hermione was always so brave, so level headed. He brushed her frozen hand with his.
“Who’s in here?” Madame Pomfrey whispered. She was standing outside of her office with a small candle.
Severus stood from out of the shadows and approached her. “Sorry to frighten you, Dumbledor wanted me to check that everything was fine in here.”
“Oh, Severus, thank you. If you’ll be here for a while, I’ve got some potions I should organize in the back.”
“That’s not a problem, I’ll stay for an hour or so.”
Severus waited until Madame Pomfrey had gone back into her office before sitting back down at Hermione’s side and taking her hand once more.
Hermione was unpetrified by the feast for the last day of school. She smiled and ran toward Harry and Ron, finally out of the hospital. Of course, Hermione hadn’t been able to tell how long she had been petrified. Once she was revived, it felt like only a moment had passed. But madam pomfrey caught her up on everything that had happened, from Hagrid, to Ginny, to Ron and Harry entering the Chamber of Secrets.
As she hugged Harry, she looked over his shoulder and smiled at her father. Madam Pomfrey had also told her how Professor Snape had been on patrol duty most nights in the hospital wing.
It was already the end of the year and she felt like she had missed everything. She sat through the feast happy to be back, but she couldn’t help thinking that she would soon be back home, away from Hogwarts, and her two best friends, and her father. Ron was going off to Egypt with his family, and there was never much of a chance of seeing Harry throughout the summer. She enjoyed herself as much as she could in the great hall, then followed behind Ron and Harry as they left. She turned on her way out and looked at Snape. He was smiling at her.
As the Hogwarts Express got ready to leave, Hermione veered away from Ron and Harry,mumbling something about speaking to Neville. When out of sight, she slunk behind a wall where Snape was waiting.
“I thought you were going to leave without saying goodbye.” Severus said, pulling Hermione into a hug.
“Sorry, it took a little to sneak away.”
“Yes,” the smile fell from Snape’s lips. He was silent for a moment, then said nervously,
“What are you doing this summer?”
“Mom and Dad and I-my step-dad, I mean-we’re going to France for nearly all of the summer. I have cousins there.”
“Oh. I’ll see you at the beginning of next term then.” Severus faked a smile.
The train whistle blew.
“You had better get going.” Severus said. He pulled his daughter in for one more hug before she left.
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