Continuing Tales

One Day Like This

A Harry Potter Story
by Hannah_1888

Part 14 of 23

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Still After that rather unbelievable day of discovery and defiance, Hermione hardly knew what to do with herself. How could she turn her mind to anything productive whilst trying to deal with those revelations? So, for a lack of anything better to do, she took to walking. Since early morning, she'd wandered aimlessly around the grounds, low in spirits, but enjoying the sunshine and one of her few chances left to take pleasure in the castle. The lake looked inviting, and Hermione went down to the shore and looked out over the expanse of water. She sighed contemplatively; it was wonderfully calm and still, and she wished her mind was as serene. She should be looking forward to the prospect of her new job—her life was getting back on track a year after that incident in Diagon Alley, yet she was full of disappointment.

She was beginning to consider that Snape had maybe had a point all along—she shouldn't have confronted him about her feelings. Things would likely become extremely complicated because of it. Prior to all this, she'd imagined they might remain friends of a sort once she'd left, but now, even that was looking unlikely.

He had had the advantage all along. Why hadn't she realised the truth of the matter as well? In her defence, he was hard to read, and whatever feelings he had for her were clearly reluctant, but still... And was that why he had become oddly distant in recent weeks? Perhaps she'd surmised wrongly before. It wasn't just to protect himself from her, but her from him as well.

No matter; she didn't want protection, or need it.

Hermione sat down on a large rock and bent down to pick up a few smooth pebbles. It was going to be so much more difficult to leave knowing that her feelings were not completely unrequited; already, she wanted him more because of it. Hope could be a debilitating thing, she decided ruefully.

Curling her forefinger around the pebble, she brought her arm back and threw it across the water, watching as it skimmed daintily across the surface. This was how she occupied herself for several moments, until the sound of footsteps surprised her, and the current pebble she was aiming at the surface landed with a messy splash into the water.

'Only two bounces, Miss Granger? This is disappointing.'

Hermione frowned, not really pleased that he had found her. But nonetheless, she was rather intrigued that he had actively sought her out. She'd expected him to sustain a wide berth around her until she left.

'What can I do for you, Professor?' Inwardly, she marvelled at the absurdity of all—she couldn't even address him by his name.

He stepped closer, practically snarling at her. 'What the hell is this?'

Somewhat taken aback, she looked to find him brandishing a roll of parchment. She didn't need to look twice—it was the evaluation form she'd filled in for Ministry. 'Did I fill it in wrong?' she asked blandly, picking up another stone.

'I should say you most certainly did!' he hissed.

Hermione swung her legs gently against the rock. 'I think I know how to fill a form in.' She could hear him unravelling the parchment, but she kept her gaze elsewhere.

'Imagine my surprise, nay, horror, when I saw what you wrote in the comments section.'

'Those forms are confidential—you shouldn't have read it.'

'Oh, excuse me, was that why you left it open, unsealed, and in full view on my desk? So, I wouldn't see it?'

Hermione shrugged. 'I fail to see what the issue is. I had some extra comments to make, and I made them. Can't you take a bit of praise?'

'Miss Granger, you have used the term "wonderful" in the same sentence as my name! Are you insane? They'll never believe you wrote it—they'll think I did!'

'Don't be silly,' she scoffed impatiently, 'as if anyone would you believe you to be that narcissistic. It's got my signature on it—they'll know it's not forged.'

'You will change it immediately!' he demanded.

'Why? It's what I think.' She could feel him glaring at her, and she resisted the urge to fidget.

'It's suspicious, is what it is!' he thundered.

Hermione sighed in frustration.

'Perhaps you want them to question the professionalism of your apprenticeship? You don't mind the credibility of your work being scrutinised? I'm sure St. Mungo's would love to find out that we are under investigation as to our conduct!'

She snapped her head towards him. 'Is that what this is all about? You are afraid that doubt will be cast over my apprenticeship if we were to become involved? Nothing has gone on, so they wouldn't—'

'It is not an invalid issue,' he interrupted. 'Mark me, they would investigate, and even if they found no evidence, the damage would have already been done. People are always eager to think the worst of me, if not you.' He paused for a moment, as if weighing up his next words. 'Do you remember that letter on my desk that I accused you of reading?'

'Falsely accused,' Hermione muttered bitterly.

'Well, perhaps you might like to know what it was about—I'm sure you'll think twice about associating yourself with me then!'

'I already know.' The words were out of her mouth before she could censor herself.

The only sound for a while was his breathing, and she braced herself. 'You know,' he stated with forced calm. 'So you did read it.'

'For the last time, I did not read it!' Hermione wished she'd just let him tell her on his own. 'Professor McGonagall told me,' she explained hurriedly.

He gave a short laugh of incredulity. 'She told you; of course, silly me for thinking anyone can respect my wishes!'

'She just wanted to defend your behaviour towards me, and I never told anyone about it. As you can plainly see, it did not put me off, either.'

He said nothing, and when she ventured to look at him, he had turned away from her slightly.

'Look, I didn't write those comments for the benefit of the Ministry—I would have immediately sealed it if I had. I'll change it, don't worry.' Hermione considered her next words carefully. 'I just thought, you won't let me tell you how I feel, well, maybe I should write it down instead.'

His reply was some time in coming, but when it did, her stomach sank. 'This is folly, Miss Granger.'

'Yes, so you keep saying.' She swallowed back her bitterness and got to her feet. 'You know, I'd rather you just come out and say if you don't feel the same way. I wonder if this is all just some misguided attempt to avoid hurting my feelings.'

She was beginning to doubt he felt anything for her.

'It would be better if it was,' he admitted softly.

Hermione snorted; that made her feel loads better. 'You won't even try...'

'There is no point...'

'You don't know that it wouldn't work.'

'I'm not willing to take that chance, Miss Granger. Tell me, do you still talk with Mr. Weasley?'

Hermione was confused. 'Sort of.'

Snape chuckled dryly. 'Exactly—"sort of".'

'But, we will be friends properly, again, someday,' she assured him confidently.

'Do you know why that is? It's because you have years of friendship to fall back on. What do we have? A few months of bickering over a cauldron? I told you, I'd rather things stay as they are, but already I see that this will not be so. I told you once I had no use for the softer emotions, and I stand by that. I say quite unaffectedly that I do not have many friends, and I don't need to remind you of how I spoiled the most significant relationship in my life by clouding the issue with feelings.' He picked up a stone and threw it soaring across the surface of the lake. 'Jealousy, obsession, misery—that's where it'll end up, and I want no part of it.'

'It doesn't have to be like that...' He said nothing, and Hermione sighed, beginning to realise that she was repeatedly banging her head against a brick wall. 'Does my friendship really mean that much to you?'

He nodded.

'Well, if you want me to forget this, then I suppose I'll just have try to.' What else could she do? Right now, she had no idea.

'It is for the best.'

Hermione could only look at him for a moment. 'How can you be so detached? So unaffected... I wonder if I—' She put out her hand to touch him, but he immediately stepped out of reach, and her hand fell uselessly back to her side.

'My life is here at Hogwarts.' He nodded towards the horizon. 'Yours is out there somewhere.'

Hermione followed his gaze and frustratingly wished that it was only physical distance that stood between them. Suddenly, she couldn't bear to stand there with him any longer. 'I'll edit the form and have it on your desk by this afternoon.' That said, she turned and walked back towards the castle. It all seemed such a waste to her, but clearly he would not be moved. She felt there was more to be said, but she didn't know where to start, and he was obviously not going to listen.

Once back inside, Hermione made a decision—this would be her last night in the castle. She'd planned to stay until the end of the week and leave after the Leaving Feast, but there really wasn't any need for her to stay that long.

There was nothing to hang around for, especially not now.


'Thanks for everything, Professor.' Hermione stepped forward and embraced the older woman.

'Oh, now, you are very welcome, my dear.' McGonagall smiled sincerely at her. 'It was a pleasure having you back here.'

'It feels weird to be leaving all over again—I'll miss the castle.'

McGonagall glanced around their surroundings. 'It has that effect, doesn't it?' She placed a hand on Hermione's shoulder. 'I wish you every success at St. Mungo's, and of course, you'll keep in touch?'

Hermione nodded. 'I'd like that very much.'

After leaving the Headmistress, she headed in the direction of the dungeons. As much as she would prefer to take the easy option, she knew she could not leave without saying goodbye. She hesitated several times before mustering the courage to knock on his door.

As soon as he saw her his expression clouded over.

Hermione sighed heavily. 'Don't worry, I'm not going to say anything about... that. I've just come to say goodbye—I'm going home.'

'I see.'

She tried to decipher if he was bothered by this fact, but his expression remained inscrutable. She ploughed on. 'Regardless of anything else that has passed between us, I just wanted to say thanks for your time and expertise this year—I've actually enjoyed it,' said Hermione, keeping her voice even.

'You're welcome,' he replied stiffly, and she could tell from the way his hand fiddled with his quill that this was one of the rare moments where he was discomfited. She regretted, really, that it had come to this. It was all so formal and uncomfortable—things had changed. 'Well, then, goodbye, and take care, sir—'

'Severus,' he interrupted quickly, possibly surprising the both of them.

Hermione stared at him, managing a smile that she hoped did not appear as pained as it felt. 'Hermione, then.'

If 'Severus' was all he was willing to give her right now, then it would have to be enough.

He nodded. 'Goodbye, Hermione.'

She'd only taken a few steps, however, when she stopped. It was not enough, really; in fact, it was nowhere near enough. There was something else she wanted before she could leave. He was watching her intently as she approached him once more, but this time, she moved around his desk to where he sat.

She registered the slight widening of his eyes, but determinedly ignored it. 'There is something I want, which I hope you will not also begrudge me.' Bringing her hand lightly to his cheek, she quickly leant down to press her lips to his. It was only brief, but Hermione closed her eyes and committed to memory all the feelings she felt at the contact. Sighing, she pulled back and stared into his stunned eyes. 'There, and now I have it.'

Hermione let her hand drop from his face, wishing that she could let it linger, but she knew she was pushing it. It was time to go before he started admonishing her for her impetuosity. She'd moved only half a step away, however, when she felt a hand grasp at the back of her robes. Throat closing with anticipation, she hardly dared to breathe as she wondered what it was that had compelled him to stop her. A myriad of scenarios flashed through her mind, and she turned around slowly.

He was staring at her, but Hermione could tell that whatever instinct had made him grab her, he'd already suppressed it. Perhaps she'd hesitated for too long, but his expression was darkening, and he looked away.

'What?' she encouraged quietly, fervently hoping that something would be forthcoming from him. Had she unconsciously hoped that her leaving would impel him to act?

He shook his head. 'Nothing...' His voice held only a fraction of hesitation. 'It doesn't matter.'

'Severus, please...'

'Farewell, Hermione.'

His hair hid his expression, but Hermione could tell he was distinctly unsettled. She could hardly bear to move from the spot where she stood. She didn’t know when to admit defeat, but she at least knew when to retreat. Hermione squeezed his shoulder gently and left the classroom, her fingers lightly touching at her lips.

She really wanted to say more to him but felt that maybe it was now time for them both to regroup. Some time away from the castle might give her the perspective she needed. Though, he had made it significantly more difficult for her after that display. What would it be like if he didn't repress his emotions? What would happen if he allowed himself to take a chance?

Crossing the grounds, she turned her head and gazed at the castle for a moment. This time the small smile that played about her lips was entirely genuine. She recalled all those months ago when she'd first decided to come to Hogwarts, and the apprehension she'd felt about such an opportunity. Despite the subtle ache of her heart, she couldn't regret her time in the castle as an apprentice. She'd come to care for a man whom she couldn't have, even though he begrudgingly felt the same. The only obstacle in the way was the man himself—she wondered how many had been in that situation before? But she did not feel hopelessly dejected or depressed, as one might have expected—she did not resent her feelings. Maybe, she would come to feel differently about it in time, but right now she was determined to care about him, even if from afar.

Ever since that night of the Ministry dinner, she'd wanted to disprove the reasons for his negative outlook, and she resolved that one way or another, she would see him happy.

Resuming her path to the gates, Hermione did not look back again.

She drew comfort from the fact that, deep down, she was convinced that this would not be the last time her path crossed with Severus Snape. Not if she had anything to do with it.

She had time, and she could be patient, if need be.

One Day Like This

A Harry Potter Story
by Hannah_1888

Part 14 of 23

<< Previous     Home     Next >>