Continuing Tales

One Day Like This

A Harry Potter Story
by Hannah_1888

Part 13 of 23

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Still It was a grey and cloudy day, and Hermione pulled her coat a little tighter against the breeze as she collected plants down by the lake. That was when the letter arrived. An owl swooped down with a screech and dropped the envelope at her feet. Putting down the basket she held, Hermione picked up with the missive with something approaching dread. The coat of arms of St. Mungo's was on the seal, and her stomach lurched uncomfortably.

Clearly, there was nothing else for it—she couldn't stand staring at it all day. Hermione tore open the envelope and ripped out the letter from within. Her eyes rapidly scanned the page, and it took several moments before she became fully cognizant of what was before her.

She had the job; she actually had the job. 'Bloody hell,' she whispered to herself.

Hermione slowly folded up the letter. She was finally going to restart her career; she was going to get back out there! Picking up the basket, she turned to head back to the castle and belatedly realised that something was missing.

She didn't feel ecstatic.

There was no urge to dash inside with glee and tell everyone her news. Granted, she was happy and pleased, but the feelings were unusually subdued. This was the culmination of several months of hard work, and she was feeling rather blasé.

Disgustingly blasé, really.

It would be fine if she could say that her nonchalance stemmed from the fact that she'd never once considered the prospect that they wouldn't offer her the job. But her ego wasn't that overblown; it wasn't that straightforward.

Hermione began making her way through the undergrowth. She knew the truth of the matter. It was all down to him, of course. For one thing, she would no longer see him on a regular basis; in fact, who knew when she would ever see him again? Part of her rebelled at the fact that her happiness was subject to another, especially one who didn't even realise it. Still, she was quite sure she would have ended up missing him, irrespective of the extraneous feelings she'd developed—it was just that now it was worse.

And there was really nothing to be done about it. There was no point getting het up or inconsolable over it. Realistically speaking, it was just something she would have to simply 'get over.' It wasn't as if she loved him.

Hermione paused mid-stride. Did she...? No, she didn't love him—she just wouldn't mind having a chance to go down that road with him. A smile of resignation crept over her face—what a hole she'd dug herself into!

She just prayed it wouldn't get any deeper.

It was as she was crossing the Entrance Hall that she heard him call her name. The Potions master appeared from the steps leading to the dungeons, and immediately he approached her. He started peering into the basket balancing on her arm.

'Weed, weed...' he muttered irritably, picking up grass reeds and dropping them onto the floor.

Hermione snatched the basket away. 'I know they're weeds! Don't worry; everything you asked for is in there!'


'I wasn't just picking stuff for you, you know.' She knelt down and retrieved the "weeds" off the floor.

'What on earth do you want with a pile of—?’

'Severus!' the voice of the Headmistress rang out. 'Have you organised that staff meeting for tomorrow?'

'It was the highlight of my day, Minerva.'

McGonagall nodded with wry approval.

Hermione put her hand in her robe pocket and pulled out her letter. Seeing as they were both there... 'I, ah, start at St. Mungo's on the first of July,' she stated.

McGonagall gasped, smiled widely. 'Well done, my dear!'

Hermione smiled. 'There is a condition—I have to pass my apprenticeship with a merit or more.'

'Oh dear,' Snape commented. 'Do you have a Plan B?'

Before Hermione could respond, McGonagall had intervened. 'You are going to pass with flying colours, Hermione; ignore him.'

'I always do.' Hermione quirked her lips, but when she glanced at Snape there was no hint of amusement upon his face. Indeed, he was looking at her rather gravely, and Hermione felt the humour die in her throat.

She looked away, suddenly feeling uncomfortable. 'I should, um...' She lifted the basket in explanation, and with a quick smile, hastened down into the dungeons.

At least she knew where she was with a basketful of plants.


It was not long after she'd received the job offer from St. Mungo's that Hermione handed in her completed research project. There had been a few days remaining before the official deadline, but if she were honest, she'd been happy to see the back of it. She felt sure it was completed to the best of her ability, and she was fed up of worrying herself over it.

She could hardly believe how quickly the time had gone, but she had only one week left at Hogwarts and still she wasn't filled with anticipation and excitement! She had a great new career to embark upon, yet all she wanted to do was go and sit in the dungeons. She should be full of butterflies, but she just was not. She wanted to hex some sense into herself.

What a difference nigh on a year could make! She'd never have imagined such a development occurring in the past, but what could she do? She liked him, and it was a fact she could not change. She was going to miss him, but she would have to get on with it. It was best to be pragmatic—she felt none of the insufferable indignation and dejection she'd felt when she'd first discovered her feelings for Ron. This time was different; she'd never allowed herself to imagine anything between her and her former professor. What was it he had once said? To never have expectations was to never be disappointed.

Perhaps he had been right.

She might secretly hope that he felt something for her, but, really, she expected nothing of him—he'd never given her a reason to get her hopes up. It was unfortunate, perhaps, that she would come to care for someone who would not feel the same, but, and this was the most confusing part, she found she was glad that she had come to see him in the light she had.

Hermione often thought of that conversation they'd had on the night of the Ministry celebration—she couldn't forget it. She'd wanted to prove to him that things didn't have to be so negative, and now... well, now she could.

She could... tell him that she cared about him, prove to him that not everyone was out to capture fifteen minutes of fame—she had no ulterior motive.

She might possibly make a fool of herself and embarrass him, as well as herself, but she wanted him to know. He deserved to know—he had done a lot for her over the years, and she could do this much for him.

Even if he laughed at her, she would make him believe her.

Maybe it would restore his faith in himself. She'd never met anyone who viewed themselves so negatively before.

Hermione could not say her actions were as entirely selfless as they might appear. But the only other option was to leave without telling him, and that would mean wondering for all time about what could have happened. Would it be easier for her to move on if she knew for certain that her feelings were unrequited? Because, deep down lurked the possibility that he might, inexplicably, feel the same. It was something she secretly hoped for, but at the same time something she determinedly kept at bay.

Coming to such a decision was all well and good, but acting it out was another thing entirely. How does one go about revealing such a personal thing? Especially to a man who would likely scorn such sentiment? Each time she saw him, she waited for an opportunity to present itself—it never did. Why should it? It was not as if they ever indulged in deep conversations about feelings, or love, or relationships.

Hermione knocked on the door to his office and let herself in. He was probably sick of the sight of her after the amount of time she kept wandering in over the last several days.

'What are you doing down here, Miss Granger? I told you, I cannot give you any information about your marks yet.'

She smiled ruefully. 'No, I know. I was just bored...'

Snape twirled the quill in his hand. 'So you thought it would be acceptable to come and annoy me?'

She ignored him. 'What are you doing?'

'Marking exam papers; I don't seem to have anyone else to foist them onto anymore.'

'I won't miss that,' Hermione commented dryly. Actually, part of her would, she realised—she was pathetic.

She moved around the room in a pensive fashion, picking up certain familiar objects. She'd even miss the pickled creatures. Not just pathetic, it seemed she was insane, too. Her meanderings took her near to his desk, and a noise of irritation sounded. 'Miss Granger, I cannot concentrate with you hovering about like some lost lamb.'

Hermione blinked. 'Sorry,' she said quietly, looking at him contemplatively. After talking herself into mustering the courage to tell him, she realised she just wasn't brave enough. 'I'll leave you to it.'

She was halfway to the door when his voice stopped her. 'Is something wrong?'

'No, I... I'm just feeling a bit reflective, I suppose.'

'One would never believe that you had just completed a significantly hard year of work.' He raised an eyebrow.

'A bit gloomy, am I?' She smiled briefly.

'Indeed; that's what spending so much time in these dungeons does to you—it'll do you good to get out of here.' He glanced briefly around the dim office, and there was a hint of a frown in his eyes.

'Don't say that,' she admonished quietly. His expression flickered at that, and she could tell she had his full attention. Hermione suddenly realised that maybe this was the best opportunity she was likely to get—she should just go for it. She didn't have much to lose, in any case. The words stuck in her throat, but eventually she got them out. 'Maybe I don't want to get out of here...'

'Hogwarts does tend to have that effect—'

'It's not the castle,' she said significantly.

Snape stared at her for several moments, before lowering his quill, and his gaze, to the desk.

Hermione took a deep breath. 'I want to tell you something.' She moved forward till she was standing in front of his desk. Already she could feel her cheeks heating up. 'It's difficult for me to say, but I think I'll regret it if I leave without saying it, I—'

'Don't...' he interceded softly.

'What?' she asked, completely confused.

'Don't say it.'

She laughed nervously, and he looked at her. Hermione stared back, incredulity rose in her throat, and it was reflected in her voice. 'You know what I want to say?'

He remained impassive, but then he looked away.

'Do you?' she pressed.

He stood up and moved away from the desk. 'Please, just leave it be.'

She closed her mouth, which had opened in surprise. 'You do, don't you? You know that I...?' Her mouth became dry with dread. 'Why shouldn't I say anything?'

How did he know?

'Because once it is said, it cannot be unsaid. I've not any wish to hear it.'

Hermione breathed shallowly, and her heart thumped painfully in her chest. 'Well, I'm sorry my feelings are so offensive to you.' Merlin, she hadn't expected this! 'It's okay, you know, I'm not expecting anything from you. You said yourself you have no interest in former-students, or Weasley cast-offs.'

He looked at her then, no doubt surprised that she'd remembered such a throwaway remark. How could she have forgotten it, though? It had plagued her ever since.

'So, why are you here, then?'

'You implied before that you did not deserve happiness, or... lo...' She couldn't bring herself to say 'love', so she carried on hurriedly. 'And I just wanted you to know that you do inspire... that is to say, I... care about you—yes, I am going to say it,' she stated boldly when he closed his eyes, 'you can't stop me.'

He stepped closer to her, and his voice was bitter. 'I should be grateful, to you, then—thankful for your consideration?'

Hermione could hardly believe her ears. 'No! That's ridiculous!'

'Is it? I fail to see what else you hope to gain from this demonstration. Makes you feel good, does it? Your good deed for the year done.'

Hermione closed her eyes in frustration. 'Why is nothing ever simple with you? I'll admit, my motives were not entirely selfless—haven't you ever wanted to just get something off your chest before? But, Merlin, you make it sound like I want you to be indebted to me or something! For some inexplicable reason, I acquired feelings for you, and that is that!'

The more she spoke, the more his face became pale. I just want you to be happy, she thought helplessly.

'This is nonsense,' he said dismissively, his expression stoic.

Hermione looked away and shrugged sadly. 'Perhaps it is.'

What a disaster. She'd never expected him to dismiss her completely out of hand. Full of embarrassment, she moved as if to leave, but suddenly turned back to him. 'How did you know what I wanted to say? I didn't know myself until recently.'

He sat back down at his desk and began fiddling with a quill—he said nothing.

'Well, was it obvious?' she asked bitterly, feeling mortified that he had already known for some time. A terrible thought occurred to her, and she closed her eyes. 'Was this why you chucked me out of your office? To protect yourself against my predatory advances?'

'No,' he answered eventually. 'I had a suspicion—I can assure you, not many people treat me the way you do. Though, admittedly, I preferred to think that I was mistaken.' He rubbed a hand tiredly over his hair. 'But the look on your face just now said it all. I would hesitate to agree with you on how strong you believe your... feelings to be.'

'You would, would you?' Hermione accused with impatience.

'Indeed. We have spent a lot of time together this year. It is perhaps not unlikely that you believe yourself to have formed an attachment, though I find it difficult to believe. I assure you, you will soon forget about it.'

It wasn't often that he could not meet her gaze—in fact, it was pretty damn rare—but now he refused to look at her, giving her pause. Hermione took a step forward and placed her palms onto the desk, leaning forward to bring her gaze level with his.

'That's what you've decided, is it?'

He raised his head and reared back slightly. 'Yes, it is.'

Hermione decided she might as well chance her arm. 'You know, what I don't understand is why you are making a big deal out of this. I mean, I was quite sure you would be indifferent about the whole thing—I was prepared for it. Yet, this complete objection? You say you believe I'll forget you once I've left, so why make a fuss? Why can't you stand to hear me talk? Why not just humour me, safe in the knowledge that I'll soon be gone; soon to get over you—my silly crush? Unless...' She stared at him—straight into those dark eyes. 'Unless you don't really want me to forget about you, unless you feel...'

She trailed off in surprise as his eyes flashed, and she slowly straightened her posture. 'Perhaps, you are not as indifferent about the matter as I would have thought.' She felt surprisingly calm.

He got up again and moved away from her, and that action alone proved to her she was on the right track.

'You're not, are you?' stated Hermione, shock beginning to creep into her system.

'Think what you like, it makes no difference to me.' He was defiant.

'Do you feel the same as me?' She held her breath.

He closed his eyes impatiently, and when he opened them, his look was as firm as ever. 'It doesn't matter what I feel or think—'

'Of course it does! I can't believe that you... why did you not say anything just now, or...'

'Miss Granger, I am not going to discuss it!'

'What—are you embarrassed or ashamed to care about me?'

'No,' he said with a sigh.

'Well, then, I'm struggling to precisely understand what is going on here, s...' Merlin, she couldn't call him sir at a time like this! 'Why do you have such a problem with me speaking about this?'

He advanced on her slightly, and spoke fiercely. 'The whole thing is ludicrous, quite frankly! There is nothing to be gained here.'

'Of course there is!'

'No, there isn't. You don't seriously think there could be anything between us, do you?'

Hermione hated the look of condescension on his face. 'I know you have a problem with me being a former student, but—'

'The issue is not that. You are half my age, for Merlin's sake—as if that would work!'

'It's a significant age-gap, I agree, but not insurmountable and not even that big a deal!'

He shook his head. 'Miss Granger, I could stand here and give you reason after reason why it would not work, and I know that it wouldn't! No! Let me finish, because I am only going to say this once. I am not getting involved with anyone. I have consistently been dealt a bad hand when it comes to any kind of relationship—I have always come out the other side with nothing. Why should now be any different?' He sighed. 'Why should I dare to raise my expectations now?'

Hermione didn't know what to say.

'I would rather have your friendship than nothing at all.'

It was probably the most sincere she'd ever seen him, and it took the wind out of her sails quite unexpectedly.

'You see, now, why I didn't want you to say anything? Already it has changed things between us.' His expression became set with determination. 'I will not discuss this matter any further.'

'No, please, don't go—'

Before she could do anything, he'd left the room. Hermione put her head in her hands in complete disbelief.

He would be discussing it further; by Merlin he would.


It would be fair to say that all Hermione could think about for the rest of the day was that conversation, and she struggled to determine what exactly she should do. There was no way she was just going to leave it, but was there a way to convince him? If there was, she wasn't sure she would be able to pull it off. Not only that, he was comprehensively making sure he kept out of her way. She would have to seek him out herself, and the best chance of that was catching him when she knew he would definitely be in his office.

So, she waited until the clock approached seven o'clock, and then she descended to the dungeons, knowing that he would be finishing up his Head of House duties. She knocked on the door, not really knowing what she was going to say once she was in there. She felt sure, though, that she knew how the conversation would begin—he would tell her to leave or some such other dismissal.

He threw his quill down with some force when he saw her. 'I am not in the mood for this, Miss Granger. I told you earlier that this conversation was over!'

'Why should you decide when it's over?' she demanded.

'Because, evidently, you are labouring under some misjudgement that there is actually anything to say when there patently is not.'

'There is too much to say—you just don't want to admit it.'

He snorted in disagreement. 'And you know me so well, of course.'

'I think I do know you.' Her voice wasn't as confident as she would prefer.

'You do not.' He shook his head firmly. 'There is much you don't know about me.'

'Then let me get to know you.'

'There is no point.'

Hermione closed her eyes tiredly. 'Why?'

'Nothing good can come from it.'

'How do you know that?'

'It is common-sense,' he said flatly.

'Common-sense?' she spat, becoming frustrated. 'There is no logic to this! You won't even give it chance. Of course there is good to be gained from this! It could be great, it... You would really just dismiss such a possibility? You would pass up the chance to be happy?'

'Happiness.' he scoffed, 'You don't know what you are talking about.'

'You don't,' she accused. 'I can't believe you are being so stubborn about this! How can you be so close-minded and so negative?'

He pinned her with a piercing look, and Hermione felt her courage quail somewhat.

'I'll tell you why I'm being so cold about this,' he began quietly, but firmly. 'I'll tell you why I'm not being negative—I'm being realistic. I'll tell you why I can sweep this under the rug as no more than a mere trifle to be dealt with. The simple truth, Miss Granger, is that one does not miss what one has never had. One does not need what one has never had!'

Hermione suddenly couldn't look at him, and she sought desperately for something to say.

'I do not need this,' he clarified. 'Now I am telling you, this is all that needs to be said.'

Silence rang out about the office, and was only broken when Snape cleared his throat. 'Look... I need you to fill in your evaluation forms for the Ministry. If you could leave them on my desk once complete...' Then, with a swish of his robes, he was gone once more.

Hermione remained standing there, trying hard to digest everything he'd just said. For the first time, she fully considered the possibility that she was way out of her depth.

Despite her previous hope, the hole she'd dug for herself had just become a lot deeper.

Now, she just had to decide whether to get out or to keep digging.

One Day Like This

A Harry Potter Story
by Hannah_1888

Part 13 of 23

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