Hermione sobbed for hours and just as she finally cried herself to sleep, she was woken up by the sound of screaming coming from downstairs.
"Hermione! Please come down here and talk to me! You bloody well know I can't go up there! If you don't come down... I'm going to... I'm going to keep screaming until the whole house is awake!" Sirius was bellowing. It was two in the morning.
Lily sat up in bed. "Hermione," she began groggily. "Just go down and speak with him. You know he won't stop until you go down there."
Stubborn as always, Hermione answered, "No. Let him shout himself hoarse. I don't care who he wakes up."
Huffing impatiently, Lily pleaded, "Please? You know I love you both, but I could really use a good night's sleep. If not for him, for me, will you please go down there?"
Hermione remained silent, determined to not even look at Sirius tonight.
"Hermione. Pretty please?" Lily continued to beg. "He really didn't mean for it to happen. We heard about it all night. Honestly, he's sorry."
"SORRY!?" Hermione shrieked. "He's sorry?" she hissed. "He's sorry that the first girl he's alone with since we've been together, he ends up snogging? You're damn right, he's sorry! A sorry excuse of a man!" she yelled.
"Hermione, listen. It's not like-"
"A SORRY EXCUSE OF A MAN?! THAT'S WHAT YOU THINK OF ME!?" Sirius thundered. Apparently he heard Hermione shouting.
"Oh in the name of Merlin's balls. Hermione! Go speak with him!" yelled Lily, finally losing her temper.
She couldn't help it, Hermione broke out laughing. "Merlin's balls? Wow, Lils. You really must be angry. Fine, fine. I'll go speak with the wanker."
"Thank you." Lily rolled back on her side trying to fall back to sleep.
She swung her legs over the side of her bed, grabbed her house coat, stood up and put in on.
"HERMIONE! PLEASE COME DOWN HERE! WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THIS!!" he roared.
"If I don't murder him tonight, I swear I never will," she mumbled to herself.
"If you don't get down there in two seconds and stop him from screaming, I'm going to murder you both," came quietly from Lily's bed.
Hermione rolled her eyes while chucking softly at Lily. "I'm going, I'm going. Don't get your knickers in a twist."
She crossed the room and made her way to the door with her heart thumping madly. Of course she was angry, but she was also humiliated. He had made Hermione feel the same as dozens of girls before her. Everyone had told her that she was different, that he was different with her, but tonight she wasn't so sure. She began to wonder, if he did this while she was out of his sight for seconds, what would he do when she is gone for years?
Taking a deep breath, she opened the door and began to walk down the stairs.
"HERMIO -" Sirius started to scream again. He caught sight of her walking down the stairs and said, "Oh... Hi," awkwardly while running his hand through his hair.
Hermione stared at him in disbelief. "Hi?" she snapped. "After what you've done to me tonight and you say hi?"
Sirius opened his mouth, but no sound came out. She walked right past him, over to the couch near the fire and sat down crossing her arms and legs so tightly, it would be a miracle if she didn't stick that way.
"Please, love. Hear me out," he began as he walked over and sat next to her on the couch. He put his hand on her knee; Hermione flinched and stood up quickly.
"Don't touch me!" she spat as she moved away and sat on one of the armchairs.
Sirius' expression was heartbreaking. He looked like he had been slapped. Hermione had to remind herself not to falter, to keep her nerve. He did not speak, only continued to stare at her with his eyes beginning to water. Nonchalantly he rubbed both of his hands from his cheeks, up over his eyes and through his hair trying to wipe the tears that were beginning to form. Hermione was losing patience rapidly.
"Well?" she pressed while tapping her foot on the ground.
"I'm so sor-" he tried.
Hermione shook her head violently while she felt all of her hurt, rage, and betrayal she felt from Sirius' actions finally explode out of her. "DON'T tell me you're sorry, Sirius! The last thing I want to hear from you right now is how sorry you are. What I want to know is why? Why did you not stop her? I saw you. I SAW you! You didn't try to stop her. Not until Peter yelled and you saw me. What would have happened if we weren't there?"
She promised herself she wouldn't not cry, but traitorous tears began to fall. Always she would curse her tear ducts for being directly connected with her anger. Still, she would try to keep her composure as best as she could. If her tears wanted to fall silently, she would let them, but she would not break down. She was not giving him the satisfaction. Hermione watched Sirius put his head down while he stared at his trainers. She began to count in her head. It wasn't until she reached ninety-eight did he finally speak.
"I don't know what you want me to say," he began quietly. "I mean. I don't know what happened, Hermione. One moment she was standing there telling me how breaking it off was a mistake and how she never stopped having feelings for me. The next moment, she glanced over my shoulder, grabbed my face and attacked me. I - I was just completely taken off guard, Hermione. It wasn't that I was snogging her back, it was -"
Hermione exhaled loudly. "Certainly looked like you were from where I was standing," she said crossly.
He continued on as if she did not interrupt him. "just that I was caught by surprise. You have to believe me, love!"
Honestly, deep down, she did believe him. The rational part of her brain knew he was telling her the truth. The emotional part of her was not buying it. Stubbornly she sat in silence, not even looking in his direction, but keeping her eyes on the flames in the fireplace.
"Hermione, please. I love you! I would never do anything to fuck up what we have! After everything that we've been through, after everything that I know, after all that has happened, how could you think I would ever do something like that to you on purpose? You have to know that I didn't do anything wrong here! It's not like I went off with her planning on that happening. I just thought I would give the psycho a chance to speak with me. We didn't exactly end on good terms, so I thought I would just give her the opportunity to speak her piece," he said passionately.
Still she did not make a sound or even glance in his direction. Tears were still quietly streaming down her face while her watery eyes were reflecting in the firelight.
"Love, please. Please look at me or say something. Anything. Please!" he begged.
Slowly Hermione stood up, still not looking at Sirius. Keeping her back to him, she spoke in a whisper.
"I'm going to bed, Sirius. Please do not try to stop me and please do not shout up the stairs again."
"No. No Sirius. I just need to get away from you right now. Goodnight," she said and walked quickly away and up the stairs.
As she reached her door, she heard Sirius yell, "Fucking hell!" while immediately after, hearing the loud thud of his fist coming into contact with a wall.
For a moment she thought about going back down to him, but changed her mind right after. She needed to sleep. Sleep and try to forget what she saw earlier this evening.
Hermione woke the following morning with a pounding headache. The now added stress of Marlene McKinnon was almost pushing her to the breaking point. She honestly did not know how much more she could handle. Looking out of her window, she noticed that it was still very early. The sky had that grey, pre dawn look to it, fog rolling softly over the grounds and the sound of birds chirping their morning songs. Now that she was awake, she knew she would never fall back to sleep with the racket the birds were making. With a stretch and a yawn, she threw her covers off, swung her legs over the side of the bed and stood up. She grabbed her basket of toiletries and headed into the bathroom for a shower to start her day.
While she stood in the shower, letting the hot water run on her face, she allowed herself to break down. So many scenes were flashing before her eyes while she cried uncontrollably. Sirius lip-locked with Marlene. Peter laying bleeding in Hogsmeade. Fred dead on the ground. Herself, Ron and Harry in battle. The look on James' and Lily's faces while watching their future son fight his way through Death Eaters and monsters alike. Bellatrix pinning her down while carving Mudblood into her arm. The feeling of fire spreading throughout her body after Dumbledore force fed her that potion. Snape cornering her outside of the Room of Requirement. Lucius pointing his wand on her before everything went dark. Dumbledore's rapidly paced aging. Sirius snogging Marlene again... Over and over everything replayed in her mind like some sort of perverse slide show. She had been through so much in such a short period of time. It was a wonder she was not completely mental. She knew she would be an integral part of the first war, this time around, and did not know if she had it in her. How much more am I supposed to take before I completely shatter? she thought desperately.
By the time she showered and dressed, the sun was out and shining, for once. It was only six-thirty in the morning on a Sunday, obviously she would be the only person awake. She thought she would take a walk around the castle; possibly out around the grounds to try and clear her head. Maybe she would go visit with Hagrid. Now that they would be working together soon, possibly she should try to get to know him during this time period. Honestly she slightly did regret not doing that sooner. Putting her cloak on, she made her way quietly down the stairs. As she walked down she was holding her breath, hoping no one was down there. She reached the bottom step, craned her head around and saw that she was completely and entirely alone. Finally, a bit of luck.
The castle always seemed so much larger when the halls were empty of students and staff. Nearly-Headless Nick floated past her, while tipping his head as if it were a hat and saying a polite, "Good morning" to her. Other than that, she had run into no one. Without meaning to, as if on autopilot, Hermione ended up at the entrance of the Great Hall. She stood there for a moment, dawdling, and decided she was not quite hungry yet. Turning right around, she made her way to the entrance hall and out the door into the grounds. It was one of those rare beautiful days. The sun was shining, only a few white fluffy clouds in the sky, not much wind and not too cold. Her feet began to carry her towards Hagrid's hut and as she approached, she noticed there was no smoke emitting from his chimney and the windows were without light. He must be having a bit of a lie in this morning. Oh well... Another time, I suppose, she thought. Looking into The Forbidden Forest, she realized she had not been in there at all since she had come back in time. Cautiously, she peered over her shoulder, checking to see if anyone were around. Determining that the coast was clear, she marched right into the trees of the forest.
Walking in, it was exactly as she had remembered it. Nothing much had changed between now and the time she will arrive at Hogwarts for the first time. The ground was still completely covered with dried leaves and twigs, the trees completely blocked the sky and sun which chose to shine brightly today, sounds of scurrying animals were all around her and the feel of magic within the forest gave her goose-pimples on her arms. Looking behind her, she could still see Hagrid's hut. Hermione needed to escape the confines of the castle completely today, and walked further in still. She came to a clearing in the trees. The same clearing they had studied Unicorns with Professor Grubbly-Plank their fourth year. Looking around, she noticed she was not alone.
She jumped in alarm as she saw the back of a black cloak, crouched down on the ground while feeding a beautiful golden Unicorn foul. The quick, startled intake of her breath caused the cloaked stranger to turn around. It was Snape... drawing her wand to defend herself if need be, she watched Snape sigh, shake his head and turn back to the Unicorn. Almost as if Hermione was not there.
"Easy, Winters," he said with his back still turned. "I do not wish to fight. I merely sought time away from the castle."
"Easy, Winters," he said with his back still turned. "I do not wish to fight. I merely sought time away from the castle."
Obviously she did not trust him, but she did slightly lower her wand while still keeping a firm grasp on it. Although, if he did want to fight her, he wouldn't have turned his back to her; leaving himself completely defenseless against her at the moment.
"Why are you here? Surely Black cannot survive without you in his sights at all times," he asked sarcastically.
Hermione felt a light jolt in her stomach hearing Sirius' name.
"I, myself, felt the need to stray from the castle this morning," she answered.
Snape nodded while a quiet, "Hmm" came from him.
She was honestly quite amazed that he was here, alone, early in the morning and feeding a young Unicorn. Surely there must be some good in him, even now, if the foal was allowing him near it. True, the babies were more trusting than the adults, but still... They had a way of staying away from danger. From evil. Maybe Snape was never evil. Maybe he was just a lost and lonely boy, desperate to fit in. Regardless. What he had done to Peter was inexcusable. Evil? No. Trouble? Yes.
"Why did you do it?" Snape asked her suddenly.
For the life of her, she could not figure out what he was speaking of.
"Do what?" she inquired.
"Dumbledore. You... After what I did to Pettigrew. You told Dumbledore that you were not sure I knew what that spell may have done. Which is true, of course. I knew it would hurt him. I wanted to hurt him; to hurt all of you filthy Gryffindors. But not kill. And... I could have killed him," he explained.
Hermione looked at him. It was there again, that look of remorse. By all rights, she should blast him with every jinx and hex she could think of right now. Now that they were alone with no one here to stop her. She knew that's what she could do, but not what she should do. Would it be possible to gain Severus Snape as their spy again? Even without the looming threat over his beloved Lily Evans? Maybe there was one more task that she should accomplish before taking on Voldemort with her friends. While she was thinking all of this, Snape was looking at her, waiting for an answer to his question.
"I don't know, Snape. I saw your face after you had done it. You tried very hard not to show it, but it was there. Shock at what you have done, and regret for doing it. It was gone as quickly as it had appeared, but I saw it. It was there," she answered honestly.
"I didn't need your help," he spat at her.
"I wasn't trying to help you. I was telling the truth. Dumbledore asked me what had happened, and I told him. Simple as that. Do you really think I wanted to stick up for you after what you had just done to one of my closest friends," she hissed.
Snape's face had returned to the sneering, contemptuous, uncaring mask which she had known so well.
"Dumbledore would have taken my word for it, regardless. The old fool. Always so willing to see the good in everyone. Always so trusting," he snapped.
"But maybe, deep down, there is good to see," she suggested.
His eyes widened while he shook his head. "You know nothing of what I am, Winters," he told her.
"I might know more than you think," she whispered.
Suddenly his eyes were piercing into hers. Visions of war, time-turners, an older Snape teaching Potions, Hogwarts in the future, Lupin and Sirius as men and she and Harry staring at the destroyed cottage in Godric's Hollow flashed before her eyes. Hermione, knowing what was happening yelled, "No!" while shutting her mind. Snape's eyes glistened in understanding.
"You! You're from the future!" he marveled.
Panicking, she wasn't sure, at all, of what to do. "Severus, please! You mustn't tell anyone!" she begged.
He laughed at her, "And why would I do that?" he spat.
Hermione thought desperately. What could she possibly tell him that would make him keep quiet. Then, she knew. The one thing that would make him care above all others.
"Because Lily will die!" she blurted out.
That sentence wiped the triumphant look right of off Snape's pale face.
"What?" he choked out.
"Lily. She will die. That is part of the reason I am here, Snape. I am here to save Lily's life. If you tell anyone of what you have seen, or what you know, and anything happens to me... She will die, I assure you," she explained.
"Why should I believe that? And what makes you think I care either way if Lily Evans lives or dies?" he sneered.
Hermione shook her head slowly. "You know that you would care. You care more about her than anything or anyone in your entire life. I know that you do. Still don't believe me? Look into my mind again. I will show you I speak the truth."
Snape looked suspiciously at her while she stood there, looking him directly in the eye. He was a good enough Legilimens at this point in his life, that he would be able to tell if she were lying with her thoughts. Boring his eyes into hers once more, he began to see her thoughts
Hermione and Lily were laying on their stomachs in their dorm. Lily was asking questions of the unborn son she will never come to know while Hermione showed her pictures of Harry. The scene changed. Snape sounding like a wounded animal while he and Dumbledore were discussing Lily's death. The scene changed again. Harry and Hermione were standing in front of a grave in Godric's Hollow. The inscription on the tombstone read:
The Last Enemy That Shall Be Destroyed Is Death
Lily Potter James Potter
Born 30 January 1960 Born 27 March 1960
Died 31 October 1981 Died 31 October 1981
Hermione was brought out of her memories and back into the forest by Snape roaring, "ENOUGH!" as he fell to his knees.
"See?" Hermione said, exceptionally glad Harry had shown Ron, and her, Snape's memories. Satisfied that she was able to show him how much he truly suffered upon hearing the news of Lily's death.
Snape was panting and tears were threatening to brim over. He sat down on the ground while staring at a tree in front of him, not quite seeing it.
"If word gets out of who I am, or why I am here and I am prevented from accomplishing what I was sent here to do... That will happen again. She will die. And you will too, Snape. Violently, I might add. I'm just... I'm here to make the future a brighter place for us all. Please... I know you don't owe me anything. But - But for Lily. For her? Please, Severus. Keep my secret," she begged.
Snape looked at the girl who was begging him to remain silent and honestly could not help admiring her bravery. Thinking that was obviously what had gotten her into Gryffindor. He also couldn't help but admire her cunning. It was enough to earn her a place in Slytherin as well. And, if he were being completely honest with himself, the girl was brilliant. More intelligent than most of the Ravenclaws he knows. A small smirk appeared on his face as he caught himself thinking he did not envy the Sorting Hat while trying to sort this girl. He was torn. Torn between telling his Master valuable information that could help him become unstoppable, but also between losing Lily. Even if Lily would end up marrying Potter, he would still rather her be alive to do so. To live and enjoy her life.
Hermione was looking at Snape. He looked like a young man who was having a severe inner struggle. She cocked her head to the side, curious at the smirk that appeared out of nowhere; wondering what that had been all about. She watched him shake his head, grab fist fulls of hair, mutter silently to himself and pull apart dead leaves on the ground. Her gut was telling her to remain silent while he worked this out, so she did.
Finally he turned his head back up and looked at her. "Fine," he said quietly. "I will keep your secret. I give you my word that I will not tell a soul for as long as I am alive. If it helps keep her - Lily - alive... I will not utter a syllable of your true identity." he told her while placing his face in the palms of his hands.
She was still not sure if she trusted him or not. There was only one way to be entirely certain. To be absolutely sure he would not go back on his word.
"I'm still not sure if your word is enough, Snape," she admitted.
His head snapped back up at her, his eyes cold.
"What else do you want from me, Winters?" he demanded.
"I need you to make an Unbreakable Vow," she said simply.
"What?!" he yelled.
"It's either that, or I wipe your memory clear right now," she replied.
Honestly she could have done that from the beginning, but there was another one of her gut feelings that was telling her it was better this way.
Snape did not answer her immediately. He thought it over for quite some time. But his will for Lily to live seemed to strongly outweighed his own will to live.
"Alright," he answered roughly "I'll do it."
Hermione and Snape grasped hands while Hermione took out her wand. As she spoke misty, glistening, silver strings wrapped their way up and around both of their arms
"Severus Snape. Do you give your word that you will never breathe a word of my true identity?"
"And do you swear that, even under torture, you will never reveal who I truly am, or where I have come from?"
"Also, do you promise that you will never convey the information in any way? Be it through thought, writing, magic or speech?"
"And do you swear you will do everything, to the best of your power, to keep myself, Lily Evans and my friends from harm by your Death Eater friends and Voldemort"
He flinched slightly while hearing Voldemort's name, thought for moment and finally answered.
The strings of sliver tightened at his last words. They became tighter and tighter until they were digging into their very skin. The silver disappeared into each of their arms and the feeling of your arm falling asleep remained for a few moments afterwards. Without intending it on happening, Hermione had just secured Snape as their spy once more.
"Thank you," she said sincerely.
"I did not do this for you. I have only done this for Lily," he told her.
"I know," she replied gently. "But thank you all the same." As she truned to leave, she looked back over her shoulder with a smirk. "And the name is Granger, by the way."
Hermione was on her way back up to her common room. She had left Snape in the forest, it was clear he needed some time alone. It was later in the morning now and most of the students were sleepily making their way to the Great Hall for breakfast. When she reached the Portrait, it swung open. She was standing face to face with Sirius who had a letter in his hand and tears in his eyes. Immediately, as if forgetting everything that had happened the night before, he took her in his arms.
"What happened, Sirius?" she asked, shocked.
"I received a letter this morning. My... My Uncle Alphard died," he told her in a thick voice.
Her heart broke for him, he was so upset. Not being able to stay mad at him, she squeezed him tightly. "Oh love. I'm so terribly sorry."
Hugging her back, he said in her ear, "I am too. I'm really going to miss him. He was one of the only members of my family who wasn't terrible. He wasn't obsessed with being a Pureblood like the rest of them. And he's left me everything. All of his gold, his flat in London... Everything."
"Merlin..." she whispered.
He pushed back from her, while keeping his hands firmly on her shoulders. Looking her in the eyes with a mad passion he blurted out, "Live with me! After we leave school this summer, come live with me."
She was truly stunned. Honestly she did not know what she was going to do, or where she was going to go, after they had left school. It was something she did not give any thought to yet, and just now realized how foolish that had been.
"Wh-what?" she stuttered.
"Live with me," he said simply.
She didn't answer. She just looked at him like he was insane.
"Listen, Hermione. Please don't still be mad at me. I truly did not wish for that to happen. You know I didn't. I love you and only you! Please, after we leave school, come live with me?" he begged.
Slowly, Hermione smiled at him.
"You complete idiot. Fine. I forgive you. And yes, I will come live with you when we get out of here," she told him happily.
"Brilliant!" he exclaimed while picking her up and kissing her roughly.
"I love you," he said when he put her down.
"And for some reason, unbeknownst to me, I love you too. You prat," she teased.
"Har har, Hermione."
"Did you eat yet?" she asked him.
He shook his head and told her, "No."
Together they walked down to the Great Hall to have breakfast with their friends. At some point, she must pull Lily aside and tell her of what just happened in the Forbidden Forest this morning. She did not feel comfortable discussing it with any of the boys. Except, perhaps, Lupin. If there was one boy, out of her friends, who could remain calm in a situation, it would be Remus Lupin.
After breakfast the group were lounging about outside, enjoying the sun which was still shining. A rare treat. Lupin was reading a book, Lily and Hermione were discussing different spells they wanted to practice, James and Sirius were plotting pranks to pull on the Prewett brothers and Peter was doodling idly on some parchment. Hermione was only half participating in her conversation with Lily. She wasn't offering much, just agreeing with whatever Lily was saying.
"Hermione? Is something the matter today? You seem awfully... distracted. You and Sirius did work everything out, right?" Lily asked her.
Debating on whether she should just lie and say everything was fine or not, Hermione decided on telling Lily the truth. Well, as much of the truth as she could tell her in present company.
"Actually, I am a little distracted. It's nothing to do with Sirius. It's something entirely different. Something I need to speak with you about. But not now. Later, alright? And I have to discuss this with Remus, at some point, as well," she told her.
Lily cocked an eyebrow at her. Obviously she was wondering what Hermione needed to discuss with only herself and Lupin. What she possibly wanted to keep from James, Sirius and Peter.
"Alright, Hermione. Later we'll talk," Lily responded.
Hermione sat back on her elbows while stretching her legs out in front of her. She was staring out at the lake, again, thinking of her encounter with Snape this morning. Eventually she would have to tell the other three, but for now, she felt it would be best to only let Lily and Lupin in on her newest secret. As she was watching the Giant Squid pop his head up out of the water, she heard Sirius with a mischievous tone in his voice, which never was a good sign.
"Oi, Prongs. Look over there. It's greasy little Snivelly and he's all alone," he said while watching Snape take a seat next to the lake while beginning to work on some homework.
"He looks awfully lonely, Padfoot. Maybe we should go keep him company," James answered.
Hermione was not going to have it. She was not going to risk Sirius and James making Snape angry enough to spitefully blurt out what he knows and die from it.
"No!" she said firmly.
The two boys whipped their heads around and looked at Hermione as if she were losing it.
"What?" Sirius asked her.
"Yeah, what's up with you, 'Mione? It's only Snape. Do you not remember what he did to our dear friend Peter here?" James reminded her.
Lupin looked up from his book while Lily was shooting a very ugly look at her boyfriend.
"Of course I remember, you prats. But attacking him, unprovoked, is not doing anyone any good. He's not hurting anyone over there. Just leave him be," Hermione demanded.
"But-" Sirius began, but was silenced by one look from Hermione.
"Hermione!" James whined.
Lupin softly closed his book and gave Hermione an approving smile which Hermione returned.
"Give it a rest you two. Hermione's right. He's not bothering anyone. Don't go starting trouble just for something to do," Lupin scolded.
James and Sirius looked at Peter.
"Wormtail, mate, help us out here. Obviously you're on our side, right?" James pleaded.
Peter shook his head. "No. Actually, I'm not. They're right. We need to stop this juvenile attacking of Slytherins - yes even Snape - only because we're bored. It's not solving anything. We have more important things we need to be focusing on at the moment."
James huffed angrily.
"Lils?" he pleaded
Lily just shook her head and said, "No," shortly.
"Looks like we're outnumbered, mate," Sirius conceded.
"Take all the fun out of life, they do," James mumbled.
Before dinner, Lily and Hermione were up in their dorm doing a bit of homework.
"Alright. So Lily... I want to discuss this with you first. Before we tell Remus," Hermione said out of nowhere.
"So are you about to tell me what has you all out of sorts?" Lily asked.
Hermione nodded. "Listen to me. Seriously, I cannot have you mention anything to James. Not yet. I'm not even telling Sirius. They'll positively flip."
Lily sat up straighter while a wildly curious gleam began to shine in her eyes. "Wow, 'Mione. This sounds like it'll be extremely juicy.
Chuckling, Hermione told her, "You have no idea."
Just for an extra precaution, Hermione stood up, walked over to the door and said, "Muffilato." She then walked over to the window and cast the same charm. When she sat down on the bed, Lily was looking at her with wide eyes.
"What was that?" she cried out
"Oh, that?" Hermione replied airily, with a smug smile. "It's a charm that causes anyone who tries to listen not to be able to hear us. Their ears will go fuzzy. Can't be too careful," Hermione explained.
"Brilliant," Lily laughed.
"Right then, so. I... I know that you used to be close with Snape," she began by telling her.
Lily turned a little red and cast her eyes to the ground.
"I was," she admitted.
"I know, Lils. I also know why you no longer speak, so we don't need to get into that mess again," she said kindly.
"Thank you," Lily responded softly.
Hermione took her hand and placed it on top of Lily's.
"I just want you to know, before I get into what happened today, that Snape dedicated his life - after you passed away - to making sure Harry remained safe. Not for Harry's benefit, Merlin no, but for yours," she explained.
Lily looked stunned. "Why?" she inquired.
"Because he loves you, Lily," Hermione revealed.
Hermione remained quite silent, figuring Lily would need a moment to take that in. Lily shook her head, opened her mouth to speak, closed it and looked out the window. A look of utter confusion and shock covered her face.
"He.. He loves me? But - After... What he called me? And you're telling me he loves me?"
"Yes. He does. And, sadly, he always will," Hermione simply stated.
Hermione noticed a single tear fall from Lily's eye. "I always assumed. I just - I never knew," Lily admitted quietly.
Hermione gave Lily a sympathetic smile an continued on.
"I ran into him this morning. In the Forbidden Forest. I just needed to take a walk to clear my head and found myself in the Forest. While I made my way into a clearing, which is usually inhabited with Unicorns, he was there. He was crouched down feeding a tiny foal when he saw me."
Hermione explained the conversation between them, Snape using Legilimency against her, how he had turned spy before she was born and during her time, then finally... The Unbreakable Vow.
"He what?!" Lily exclaimed.
"Yes. He did, Lily. He made The Unbreakable Vow. He will truly, and honestly, never speak a word. That, and he will also do all he could to make sure we all remain safe. I think - I think I gained him as a spy for us. Again," she told her.
"You're right, Hermione. We need to tell Remus. And only Remus... for now," said Lily.
At that moment, a tawny owl was tapping at the window.
"Who could possibly be sending an owl now?" Lily wondered.
Hermione got up and walked to the window, opened it and took the letter from the owl's beak. The owl hooted softly, nibbled Hermione's finger and then flew away.
"It's Dumbledore's handwriting," Hermione said while looking at the envelope.
"What's it say?" Lily pressed.
Opening the letter, Hermione read it aloud.
I believe there are some topics which need to
be discussed, immediately. If you would please report to my
office tomorrow after dinner.
Yours Most Sincerely,
be discussed, immediately. If you would please report to my
office tomorrow after dinner.
Yours Most Sincerely,
Hermione's heart began beating furiously as she started at the words on the parchment. She could only think of one reason Dumbledore would be sending her an Owl. "He must know about Snape. Merlin knows how, but he does. I'm sure of it," Hermione whispered nervously.
A/N - The grave in Godric's Hollow is from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Page 328 - Chapter 16: Godric's Hollow
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