Continuing Tales

One Day Like This

A Harry Potter Story
by Hannah_1888

Part 15 of 23

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Still After leaving Hogwarts, Hermione had a month to fill before she started at her job at St. Mungo's. In the meantime, while she looked for her own flat, she was staying at Grimmauld Place with Harry and Ginny. Both of whom were more than happy for her to stay as long as she wanted, but Hermione knew that she would be encroaching upon their life as a married couple, and besides, she'd become used to having her own space at Hogwarts.

For the most part, she had the house to herself during the day, and while she appreciated having a bit of time to herself, at the same time, she became frustrated with being at a loose end. Without any occupation, her thoughts would drift in awkward directions. Usually, they were heading up north to a certain castle in Scotland. It wasn't that she could not sleep or eat, or anything as dramatic as that, it was just as if she were carrying a heavy weight around in her chest all the time. A weight that wanted to know what he was doing or thinking... And then she'd get angry with herself for being so ridiculous, because it had only been a week or so since she'd left him.

Several times, she'd thought about picking up her quill and writing to him, but each time she did, she hesitated. She had no idea what to write apart from the usual pleasantries, which she knew he would have no time for. He despised small talk. And, besides, there was something highly dissatisfactory about writing—she wanted actually see him. It was hard enough to know what he was thinking when one spoke to him face-to-face, so Merlin help her try to decipher a letter! But whatever happened, Hermione knew that the first move would no doubt be down to her. She couldn't imagine him having a sudden change of heart and rushing down to London to tell her that everything was fine. Merlin, no.

If a letter was not the way to go, then she had another option. In two weeks' time, her results from her apprenticeship would be finalised, and she would need to go to Hogwarts in order to receive them. It was, perhaps, a risky strategy leaving it a fortnight before seeing him again. He might even in that short time have become used to her being gone. Or he might discover that it really was an infatuation that was running its course. Regardless, it was a risk she would have to take—she was sure he would not appreciate stalker-like behaviour, after all.


'Bloody cow!'

Hermione raised her eyes from her book. 'I beg your pardon?'

Ron flopped down onto the sofa, holding a copy of Witch Weekly. 'Lavender is seeing someone else—the Seeker from the Cannons.'

'Oh... Sorry.' Hermione rolled her eyes internally; were they really going to discuss this?

'It's not that; I mean, I don't mind that she's found someone else. It's just that she said some things about me in an interview, well, not by name, but it was obvious she was referring to me. According to her, I'm boring and unexciting.'

Hermione sighed. 'Let me have a look.'

Ron hesitated before handing over the magazine. Hermione flipped the pages open until she arrived at a glamorous photo of Lavender splashed in the middle of the double-page spread. There were also two candid ones of her walking with a man Hermione could not have identified even if her life had depended upon it. She scanned the page until she came to the part where Lavender began talking about her relationships.

'I'm just looking for some passion and some excitement in a relationship. Things can get so boring so quickly, I've found, but I'll never get bored with Gavin.'

Hermione handed the magazine back to him with distaste. 'She could be talking about anyone.'

'Of course it's about me!'

'Does is matter what Lavender thinks? She's all mouth and no substance, after all!' She stilled; Ron had actually liked Lavender, so maybe she should have checked her unabashed dislike for propriety's sake.

Ron merely shrugged. 'Yes, I suppose, but still... I'm not boring, am I?'


'And I'm not unexciting in—'

'Ron!' Hermione interrupted briskly. 'Please, don't go there.'

'Sorry,' he said sheepishly.

Hermione sighed. 'Just ignore it, and don't think about retaliating! That's just what she wants.' She'd found that one out the hard way. Hermione still had flashbacks to that night, and it still annoyed her.

Ron huffed and threw the magazine irritably onto the coffee table. 'Yeah, maybe...' he acknowledged.

Hermione watched him for a moment. She'd often wondered if he'd ever realised that Lavender's assets were magically enhanced, but she could never bring herself to ask. It was just too funny. She bit her lip and hid her face in her book.

It wouldn't do to suddenly start giggling out loud.


In the days leading up to her results being published, Hermione became increasingly restless. The days seemed to slow down inexorably, and she couldn't stop herself from fretting about what she would say the Potions master when she saw him. Should she confront him again? Or should she act casual? Or should she just play it by ear? Why was there no book for this kind of situation?

More significantly, it would be different, she realised. He was no longer her professor, teacher, mentor, or whatever. He was just Severus Snape, and she was just Hermione Granger.

Could it be any simpler?

Considering past experience, then yes, it probably could. She had a feeling that no longer being his apprentice was going to make little difference in terms of his standpoint. She supposed he would still champion the other factors that put them on a more unequal footing—age, experience, to name but two. He could not see a way past them.

So, what could she say to him when she saw him? Despite regularly wracking her brains over the problem for some time since leaving Hogwarts, Hermione could not say she was any closer to a solution. Really, it was all down to him and his willingness to change his mind.

It seemed the only thing she could do was reassure him of her sincerity of feeling by being quietly persistent. But, as a small voice reminded her, she could not be persistent forever. She would have to give up at some point.

It was just a case of being able to recognise when that point arose.


'Hope it goes well for you, Hermione! Let us know as soon as possible, all right?'

'Of course, thanks, Gin.'

'Now, Hermione, I know how stressed you get about your work, but just don't get too upset if you don't do as expected. This is Snape we're talking about here, after all.' Ron looked at her with a patronising expression.

Hermione merely looked at him dumbly.

'Ron!' Harry was laughing and shaking his head ruefully.

'What?' Ron asked defensively. 'It's true! When did he ever give anyone top marks! All I can say is thank Merlin he was not responsible for marking my Potions O.W.L.! And, you do get disappointed when you fall short of your own expectations!'

'I will not be getting upset, Ronald, and for your information, Severus wasn't the only marking my work.' Hermione left the room, but managed to catch Ron's whispered 'Severus?' to Harry as she went.

She gave a mental shrug at her slip of the tongue; oh well, it was good to keep them on their toes. Besides, she had more to worry about today than what Harry or Ron was thinking.

Hermione Apparated to Hogwarts, and paused outside the gates for a moment to calm her nerves. It didn't work—she still ended up entering the grounds feeling faintly sick, and to her chagrin, the path up to the front of the castle appeared to have doubled in length since the last time she'd walked it. Finally reaching the Entrance Hall, she stood still and breathed calmly. Should she go down to the dungeons, or up to McGonagall's office? She wasn't sure...

'I wonder what you are doing here?' a voice rang out teasingly, and Hermione looked up to see the Headmistress standing at the top of the marble staircase.

Hermione swallowed down her remaining nerves, and managed a weak reciprocating smile. 'Hello, Professor.'

'I have the letter here.' McGonagall descended the steps and produced a large cream envelope from within her robes.

Immediately, Hermione felt her heart begin to beat hard within her chest as McGonagall proffered the envelope towards her. She took it and ran her hand over the parchment.

'Go on, then,' urged the older woman expectantly.

Hermione blinked. 'Oh, um, where is Professor Snape? Surely, he would like to be—'

'Severus? He's, ah, not here today.' McGonagall eyed Hermione with particular interest.

The butterflies that had fluttered in Hermione's stomach all morning suddenly ceased, sinking into a feeling of dismay. 'He's not? What... Has he gone home?'

'No, he left early this morning for the Forbidden Forest—something about mushrooms...'

'He's gone to get… mushrooms?' Hermione couldn't believe her ears.

'Well, he did not call them mushrooms, of course, but fungi are all the same to me. In any case, he said it was urgent he get them today.'

A likely story, Hermione decided. 'I just thought... It doesn't matter.'

She couldn't believe he wasn't here to give her results. Feeling deflated, Hermione took the envelope, marvelling at what a sad state of affairs it had come to that she actually had to summon enthusiasm.

With a deep breath, she ripped it open.


Hermione cleared her throat. 'I passed—I got a distinction.' A genuinely relieved and happy smile spread across her face.

McGonagall laughed happily. 'Excellent! I'm so proud of you!'

'Thank you, Professor.'

'Severus will be pleased, too, I'm sure.'

Hermione made sure her smile didn't slip. 'I hope so.'

Was he avoiding her on purpose? The thought annoyed her so much that, after she had bid goodbye to McGonagall, she realised she had half a mind to hunt him down, forest or no forest. There were a few things she wanted to say to him! Staring in the direction of the entrance to the forest, she considered for a moment. He'd left early—how long did it take to collect mushrooms? Not long, surely.

Moving closer towards the trees, Hermione sat down on a wide tree stump and stared at the certificate she still clutched in her hands. It was real disappointment she felt that he wasn't here. He must have known her results would be published today!

On the other hand, it was, perhaps, a bit self-absorbed of her to think he was avoiding her. Maybe he really did need mushrooms.

Of course he didn't!

How long had she been anticipating this moment? And the git had the cheek to do a disappearing act! She half-wished she'd never kissed him, at least then she wouldn't have been able to replay it in her mind over and over. She knew she shouldn't—it was useless, not to mention pathetic; it had only been a peck, after all. If he was avoiding her, no doubt it was because of how they'd left things. He probably thought she would try and accost him again. Hermione clenched her jaw. Why did she bother troubling herself over all this? She actually had no concrete sign that he felt anything for her. All she could do was read between admittedly blurry lines.

'Hermione, are you all right?' Minerva McGonagall was standing behind her. 'I couldn't help but notice you from my window...'

Hermione felt a flush of embarrassment rise in her cheeks. 'I was just... I thought I might catch Professor Snape returning...'

McGonagall nodded and took a place on the stump next to Hermione. She inhaled deeply before speaking. 'I don't think he's in the forest, my dear,' she said sympathetically. 'If he's avoiding something, then he will make sure he avoids it completely.'

'Oh.' Her cheeks burned further. So, he could be anywhere, then.

'I wasn't going to say anything, but has something happened between you and Severus?'

Hermione wasn't sure what to say. 'Things have become a little complicated—put it that way.'

'I see... Anything I should be particularly concerned about?'

'Oh, no, not at all; I've just discovered that he is one extremely stubborn man.'

The older woman nodded in agreement. 'I'm afraid he is not a man that does anything by halves. He stands by his convictions. I had a feeling something was going on, though; indeed, I must say that he has seemed a bit out of sorts, lately.'

'Has he?' Hermione was suddenly very alert.

'I am not one to profess to understand the machinations of his mind, but, yes, he has not seemed himself.'

Hermione didn't say anything—she didn't know what to say.

'I don't know what to tell you, Hermione. I could tell you to be patient with him, but even then...'

'I know... I could be wasting my time,' she admitted quietly. 'I've already tried talking to him, but he is resolute.'

'He always has been, ever since I've known him,' agreed McGonagall.

'What, um… what was he like as a student?' Hermione ventured cautiously. She knew hardly anything about him in that respect. 'I don't mean to pry, of course, I just...' She shrugged.

'Oh, well, I should say he was a very quiet boy—not necessarily shy, just reserved, even then,' commented McGonagall briskly. 'Definitely one of the most talented students I ever taught. He rarely volunteered in lessons, yet he always knew the answers when I called on him—indeed, I don't think I ever caught him out! You know, he used to sit there with such a… bored expression on his face, as if he'd rather be elsewhere—as if he didn't have anything worthwhile to learn from me. I was quite offended! Some might put it down to arrogance, but I think he just didn't want to draw attention to himself.' She smiled wistfully. 'I can't believe how long ago it was, now. He was a brilliant student, much like you yourself were; it was just a… bigger burden for Severus… on top of everything else.'

Hermione nodded silently in understanding.

'As much as he tried to blend in, he still stood out. Notwithstanding his friendship with a Muggle-born Gryffindor, and his intellect, he was always rather striking in his appearance with that long, black hair of his… listen to me, Severus would have a fit if he could hear me talking like this!'

They both smiled for a moment.

'He's a difficult man to get to know, Hermione. If I've learnt anything over recent times, it's that in all the years I've been acquainted with Severus, seven years as his teacher and eighteen as a colleague, I've never really known him. I liked to think I did, but all that's since come out about him after the war—I had no idea. He played his part so well… he should have become one of those Muggle actors.'

McGonagall's words did not inspire Hermione with confidence. Maybe he had been right when he said she knew nothing about him. 'He certainly managed to fool us all—I still find it difficult to fathom, at times.'

'Oh, I couldn't believe it, at first. I was convinced he'd betrayed us, and then, when I found out, I felt awful. It was selfish perhaps to be preoccupied with my own guilt, but I'm afraid I was not very good to him that year when he was Headmaster—none of us were.'

Hermione tentatively laid a hand on the arm of the older woman. 'You weren't to know… no one was. That was the whole point, I suppose…'

They were both quiet for a moment. Hermione was unwilling to leave, as she knew this was her last proper chance to see him, but... she couldn't sit there all day. Part of her wondered if she really even wanted to. Why should she be the one to lay herself open all the time? A voice in her head reminded her that it was because she knew he wouldn't. He'd never even explicitly said that he liked her—all she had to go on was the odd look, or action, and it wasn't much, really. Was it enough to justify all of this perseverance? She had to face up to the prospect that she could be wasting her time.

It was bitterness on her part, but she had to regain her self-respect somewhere along the line. Especially as it seemed increasingly like she was chasing shadows. She was going to get nowhere.

'I had best be getting back, Professor—everyone's expecting to hear my results. Thanks for everything, again.' She managed a smile for the older woman.

'Would you like me to speak to him...?'

Hermione paused for a moment. 'No, he probably wouldn't appreciate it—he'll probably be angry that I discussed it with you in the first place. I'll give it some time and some thought—maybe I'll write to him soon or something.' She really didn't know what she would do.

She walked towards the Apparition point, and shut the gates behind her. Looking around at her surroundings, she heaved a large sigh. So, there it was; she was thwarted again.

Hermione turned her attention to her certificate, and her gaze was drawn to his signature on the bottom of the page. Her resentment suddenly gave way to an irritating feeling of affection. Already, she was beginning to excuse his behaviour, and it was galling. Why should she excuse it? He talked about friendship, and he couldn't even make an effort for this.

Maybe, he just didn't care enough.

Whatever it was, she had to put it out of her mind for now. She'd passed her apprenticeship with flying colours, and she could hardly go home with such news looking like a miserable old cow! She hadn't had much to celebrate in a long while, and she would make the most of it while she could. She should make the most of it—she'd worked hard, and the culmination of it was in her hands, taking her into an exciting new job in two weeks' time.

Besides, there was always time for her to be a miserable old cow tomorrow.

One Day Like This

A Harry Potter Story
by Hannah_1888

Part 15 of 23

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