Continuing Tales

Thirty-One Days

A Harry Potter Story
by keelhaulrose

Part 18 of 29

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Thirty-One Days

"Are you sure about that?" she asked, staring into the simmering cauldron and looking nervous. She and Severus had been working for two hours on the Ashwinder antivenin, and it was at a particularly difficult stage that required cooling the cauldron and the antivenin, as ashwinder venom needed heat to work. Severus was arguing for a quick-cooling charm, despite the book from the library saying it must be carefully cooled over half an hour.

"Yes, I'm sure it'll work better than cooling it slowly."

"But how good are you at antivenins? You said you never really studied them much before."

"I said I never really brewed them before, not studied them. I didn't want to brew them. Most every venom in our world has had an antivenin already made, and the process has very little room for exploration."

"Then why the bloody hell are you trying to explore? Why can't we just follow the book?"

"Because that's boring."

"Boring isn't necessarily a bad thing."

"There's a ninety percent chance this will help, and make the whole batch more potent."

"And what's the ten percent chance?"

"The whole lot blows up."

"Why the hell am I doing this again?"

"Fine. I'll do it. But if you don't want it to get on you, you'll have to leave, because if it blows up it's going to cover this whole area."

She moved aside, but stayed close enough she could watch. Severus poked the cauldron first, and it frosted over. He then quickly cast the charm on the antivenin, which had started bubbling furiously as it fought the sudden cold. It bubbled for about five seconds, then went calm.

"Occam's Razor, Hermione," he smiled. "The antivenin for this has to be cooled slowly because of the finicky nature of the venom, but most potion makers don't like using magic, so they're bound by flames and ice to cool it down. Magic makes it so much simpler, but it has to be used quickly."

"Do we still have to wait the half hour?"

"Wouldn't hurt," he murmured, stepping towards her, and running his fingers over her jumper.

She smirked. Since their first time together Severus was not shy about asking for more, and they had delayed working on the antivenin another two days in favor of spending private time together. But her time was getting short, and she wanted to make sure they got the antivenin done, and had showed up that day wearing her frumpiest jumper and slacks, but it didn't seem to be slowing Severus much. "Why do I think you don't have a game of Wizard's Chess in mind?"

"Because you're too observational to think that," he murmured, kissing her neck.

She sighed and leaned into him, wrapping her hands into his shirt and holding him to her. She thought of putting up a playful protest, but he knew she had no fight in her, and even if she did put up a fight he remembered exactly how to touch her to make her change her mind.

"Shall I conjure up the bed?" she groaned as he sucked and nipped at a particularly sensitive spot below her ear.

"Not this time," he breathed, and a shiver of excitement passed down her spine. She let him walk her backwards until she was pressed into the table, then she slid onto the table and started working at the buttons of his shirt. He pulled her jumper off as his shirt slid to the floor, and he smiled as he realized she hadn't worn a bra underneath.

"You're making it easy for me today?" he smiled.

"After you covered my last one in frog spawn..."

"An unfortunate accident, I assure you."

"Bollocks, Severus. You said you'd clean it for me, and I haven't seen it since."

"Can you blame me for wanting a souvenir?"

"I would have thought you'd prefer the memories," she whispered against his jaw as she trailed kisses along it, unfastening his pants as she did.

"I much prefer the memories," he smiled, hands coming up to cup her breasts. She purred her approval as his fingers started rolling her peaks. One time, during fifth year, Lavender and Pavarti had mused aloud if a Potion Master, with their known attention to details and superb fine-motor skills would make for a good lover, and lamented the only one they knew was Professor Snape. If only they knew.

Vaguely she was aware that he was pushing her backwards until her back met the rough, cool wood of the table. He slowly kissed down her body, paying extra attention to her breasts, and he slipped the pants from her. She moaned in protest as she felt him step away, but she was sure he was only pushing his shorts off, and was expecting the now-familiar feeling of his cock filling her, but was surprised when, instead of stepping up to her, he kneeled down in front of her. She opened her mouth to protest, but his tongue touching her folds rendered her mind blissfully blank. He moved cautiously, exploring which motions made her whimper in need or push her hips up, hoping for more. Quickly her body began to tighten as he brought her close to an orgasm. His hands hooked around her legs, holding them firmly open as she tried to clamp them shut, not sure she could take much more direct attention to her nub. Her back arched, her breath catching, as her body tightened before blissful release rushed over her as his name escaped her lips. She panted as she came down, and felt his body covering hers, his lips meeting her. She could taste herself on him, and though the thought had been repulsive to her before, now she threw herself into the kiss, wrapping her arms around him to anchor him to her.

"Turn around," he ordered against her lips.

She let go of him and slid to the floor, quickly spinning and gripping the edge of the table. He pressed her shoulders down so she was bent slightly, and, leaving one hand on her left shoulder, reached between them to guide him into her. Having him enter from behind was a new, intense sensation, and her head fell back as she bucked back into him, desperate for more. He kissed her shoulders as they finally found a rhythm. One of his hands came around to play with her breasts, and she arched backward to kiss him. As his movements became more frantic he pushed her gently forward, and she put her hands on the table to steady herself. Two fo his long fingers began to circle her nub, and she felt her body began to tighten again. Her fingers began to scratch against the wood and she pushed back against him, begging aloud for release. When she tightened around him they finished together, and she braced herself against the table, waiting for the world to become steady again.

"We'll have to try that again," she smiled as she turned to look at him, and he returned her smile with one of his own.

"Maybe in a little bit, love. I do believe we've managed to pass the required thirty minutes."

"We get to test it?" she asked, excited.

He nodded, and they got dressed quickly. It was only when Severus got out a small dish for testing that she realized something.

"We need blood for testing," she frowned.

"Yes," he nodded.

"We don't have blood."

"Not yet," he said, producing a knife.

"No!" she shouted, leaping forward to grab it from him, memories of him lying on the floor in a pool of blood flooding her vision. She yelped as her hand wrapped around the blade, digging deep into her palm.

"What the hell were you thinking?" he hissed, looking at her injury in horror.

"I didn't want you to hurt yourself," she whispered with a wince, then she reached for the dish, holding her palm over it, allowing blood to drop in until the bottom was covered. He was staring at the dish intently, and suddenly reached out, grabbing it from her.

"Enough," he growled, turning her hand over and healing the wound. He stared at the angry pink mark for a long moment.

"Everything alright?" she whispered.

"Don't do that again. It's just a little blood. I may get a scar from it, but that's not a big deal."

"It is to me," she looked up at him. She knew he would be bearing scars in the future, she had seen a few on his arms when he would roll them up for a demonstration, and he had one angry-looking one that ran up the back of his neck she had only seen once, though she doubted that was all he had. She was well aware of the rumors that Voldemort was as kind to his supporters as he was to his enemies.

"I don't like seeing you bleed, Hermione, and you have done a fair amount of it since you got here."

"I don't mind a few scars. Someone I know thinks they are signs of bravery."

"Or foolishness," he murmured, retrieving a bottle of Essence of Dittany and a cloth, and starting to dab it on her hand.

"You're a brave man, Severus."

"Why? Because I was willing to give up a bit of blood for the sake of testing our antivenin?"

"No. It's so much more than that."

"Are you sure you've never had head trauma?"


"Perhaps you've had it, and just don't remember. That would be the nature of head trauma," he smirked, putting a few drops of ashwinder venom into the blood. There was an immediate reaction, a hissing noise, and the blood began to bubble, then congeal and blacken. Severus ladled a small amount of antivenin into the dish, and the reaction stopped and the blood smoothed back into a liquid.

"That looks successful," he said, holding the dish to the light for a better look, not noticing Hermione's horrified look. The reaction had been so quick, so violent, and had caused her to wince in pain just looking at it. She knew Severus had been bitten several times, and lived for a couple minutes after the attack. How much pain had he been in, and why had he appeared so calm as death rushed for him? Her body began shaking, and she fought tears long enough to escape to the bathroom, where she collapsed on the floor, drawing her knees to herself, and wondering how, in five days, she would be able to save his life if nothing she was doing already was working.


That Saturday she found herself standing outside the Slytherin common room. Severus had invited her to a party they were throwing, saying it was something they did once a month or so as a way to unwind. Very few outsiders ever warranted an invitation, he told her as though she should take her invitation as a great honor. She had debated turning him down, but with her departure looming that Monday evening she only had two nights left with him, and didn't want to give up a single minute. So she borrowed a black dress and shoes, let Selena pin her hair up in a nice hairstyle, and donned a simple golden necklace of her mothers that she always carried with her. Several times during her journey to the dungeon the impulse to turn and run washed over her, but she fought the urge and made it to the secret entrance at exactly eight. Less than a minute later the door appeared, and Severus stepped out, wearing the nicer robes he had worn into Hogsmeade, his hair in a leather holder instead of the normal cloth one he had been using. All doubts left her as his eyes ran over her several times, a smile breaking across his face.

"You look enchanting," he said softly, holding a hand out to her.

"Thank you. You look good as well," she replied, taking his hand and letting him lead her through the passageway.

"Only because I'm standing next to you. Lucius wants to meet you."

"We've met," she pointed out.

"He said you would say that, and he would like me to point out that it was only in passing, and long before you became 'entangled' with one of his house, and he wants to get to know the girl who has ..." he trailed off.

"What have I done?"

"Won the heart of one of our own."

"Have I won your heart, Severus?"

He looked at her, but didn't reply.

They entered the common room to a few sideways glances, and Hermione saw students whisper to each other as they placed her. The girls were all dressed to impress, wearing tight, revealing clothes and elegant jewelry. The men were wearing their finest as well, sipping a variety of drinks from crystal goblets and telling stories that involved as many famous names as possible. The closer she got to the fireplace the more important the people seemed to get- first years were mostly regulated to the far points of the room, the Death Eater elite occupying the couches around the fire. Most prominent was Lucius, who had staked his claim to the whole of one couch, Narcissa wrapped around him wearing a gown of Slytherin green.

"Miss Puckle," he turned the Malfoy charm as she approached, standing and kissing each of her cheeks, and Narcissa jumped up to do the same. "You clean up well, I see."

"Thank you," she replied, forcing the sarcasm from the reply. "You look beautiful, Narcissa."

"Thank you," she smiled. "It's just a little old thing, my new one didn't make it here in time."

Hermione eyed the impeccable dress and wondered if she had worn it more than once.

"I know a little about you, so let me enlighten our friends," he motioned around the group which included Bellatrix, her future husband Rodolphus, and Regulus Black, the youngest one that close to the fireplace, along with a few she didn't recognize, though their clothes all betrayed the money their families had. She and Severus stood by the fireplace, Severus placing an arm around her and looked around as though he were daring any of the men looking at her to try to make a play for her.

"Miss Puckle," Lucius said with a tip of his head and a smile, "Comes to us from Beauxbatons. Her mother is one of the Delacours..."

A murmur of approval passed around the group.

"She is quite skilled with magic, if you haven't heard the stories flying around. She bested Severus in Defense, if my source is correct."

"We don't know who would have won if Professor Daube hadn't stopped us short," she interjected.

"Don't sell yourself short, Miss Puckle. Few of us would want to take Severus on. He is quite quick and skilled when it comes to fighting."

"Comes from all those times he tangled with my idiot brother," Regulus smirked. "Dear Sirius is quite upset he's lost her to Severus."

"That's obvious," she shook her head.

"Well, besides knowing that you have an ambition to become a curse-breaker, the skills to pursue that route, and the brains to choose a Slytherin over a fool hearty Gryffindor I really don't know much about you, my dear," Lucius inclined his head towards her, giving her the chance to speak, but Bellatrix started talking before Hermione could.

"Mother married a Muggle, did she?"

"Yes, she did," Hermione nodded.

"I wasn't aware Beauxbatons had a deficiency of respectable wizards."

"She met him while she was living in London."

"Plenty of men in Diagon Alley."

"Pardon me for not being born and helping her choose her who she fell for," she snapped.

"Bellatrix, dear," Lucius cut in. "Play nice, would you?"

"Sorry," Bellatrix shot her a smile that said she clearly wasn't apologizing.

"Tell us, Hermione, what is it that you like to do on your own time?"

"Read, mostly. I love reading about magic as much as I can, not just how to cast spells, but the theory as to how they work, the way each spell was developed, and the history of it's use. And, of course, it hasn't hurt to be able to recall random facts at times."

"A thirst for knowledge. It's no wonder Severus chose you."

She felt her face fall at the implication that the relationship was purely for Severus, but she forced it back into a smile as she clutched Severus' arm and replied, "I am quite lucky to have him."

Severus straightened up a little higher.

The night went on with introductions, and some dull talk about different gossip stories in the news. A few times a camera would flash nearby. Hermione had a few drinks, chatted a little, and started to wonder what the protocol was for leaving so she could get some time alone with Severus when Lucius turned back to her.

"Your family, Hermione. How do they feel about your mother's marriage?"

She felt her stomach drop. She hoped blood purity wouldn't come up, but didn't expect otherwise knowing she was in the snake's den. She decided to try to keep as non-committal as possible, and hopefully the subject would die before she got worked up. "It depends on who you ask," she replied coldly.

"How do you feel about it?"

"I love my Mum and Dad very much," she replied sharply.

"Of course you do. But would you ever consider doing something similar?"

"I'll marry whomever I fall in love with, thank you very much."

"Even if they were a Muggle?" Bellatrix sneered.

"I am not particular. There are many Muggles who have done the world a great deal of good. Just because they aren't born without magic does not mean they aren't talented in other ways. Some of the best authors are Muggles, they produce some beautiful music..."

"Wizards can do the same," she said dismissively.

"And yet they haven't. There has yet to be a wizard playwright with the talent of Shakespeare or one who could put on a large-production musical. We do not have large groups of talented musicians who play together without magic, like Muggle orchestras do. Our medical community..."

"You will outlive them by decades because of your magic," she snapped, standing to face her, and Hermione trembled as she remembered being that close to an upset Bellatrix before. "You can do with one wave of your wand what it takes them hours to do. Their minds are weak, and their bodies are worse."

"They are not as different as you claim. They are humans, too, not some kind of animal, you daft cow..."

"Hermione," Severus grabbed her arm and pulled her back.

"It is blood-traitors like you who are soiling the purity of our world. You are diluting the magic out of our blood, and would have us all living like Muggle filth within just a few generations."

"Muggle blood is not dirty. Muggle-born witches and wizards can be just as intelligent and skilled as you. Perhaps even more so," she challenged, drawing herself up to full height. Bellatrix's hand twitched towards her wand, and Severus suddenly put himself between the two girls, grabbing Hermione's wrist to prevent her from going for her own wand.

"Stop, Hermione."

"Get her under control, Severus," Lucius hissed.

"I am not a bloody dog!" Hermione shouted. "I do not need, nor want, a fucking owner."

She twisted her arm, breaking free of him, and rushed through the crowd to the passage to leave. She had just gone through the wall when Severus caught up with her.

"Hermione..." he started, grabbing her wrist.

"Don't," she hissed, breaking free, but turning to look at him.

"You knew what they were like."

"That doesn't mean I have to listen to it, and it certainly doesn't mean I have to stand by as my family and I are insulted."

"My dorm mates..."

"Are all going to follow Voldemort," she spat. "And you're going to be dragged down with them."

"That's not necessarily true."

"Yes it is. I'm going to have to leave, and when I do, all you're going to have is them. And at some point you'll realize it's safer to join them than wait for me to finally get back. There's nothing I can do to stop it."

He was standing stick-straight, jaw set. "I'm glad you've made up my mind for me. It saves me the trouble."

"I know you, Severus! I know this is going to happen. What can I do to prevent it?"

"I wouldn't join knowing you love me," he said quietly. "I don't want to hurt you."

She felt tears sliding down her face. He was going to join the Death Eaters, she knew that. Which means at some point he stopped believing she loved him. That she hurt him.

"I do love you," she whispered.

"I shouldn't have invited you. I should have just met you in our room and stayed all night with you. I thought, maybe, they'd be civil about you, but I forgot what a spitfire you can be. Of course you're never let an insult slide, and you shouldn't have had to."

She stepped up to him, and kissed him gently before grabbing his hand to lead him towards their private room.


The next day, the day before she left, as she was walking up to Ravenclaw tower after spending the night with Severus she looked down a corridor and saw Dumbledore standing there, looking out a window that overlooked the greenhouses. She walked up to him, and saw fat snowflakes dancing slowly towards the ground.

"It's going to be a big storm. I expect things to get worse before they get better," he observed, glancing at the growing clouds.

"I have to go back, don't I? There's nothing you can do to stop it?" she asked softly.

"I do not know what got you here, so I wouldn't know how to stop you from going back," he replied, sympathy in his voice. "Do you not want to go back?"

"Of course I don't. I condemn a man to death when I go back."

"Are you so sure?"

"Yes. I haven't done what I came back here to do."

"At the risk of sounding like a broken record, are you so sure?" he asked, and, without waiting for a reply, he turned and walked away. "Sometimes the brightest times come after the storm, but you must allow the storm to come first," he mused loudly, before turning a corner and disappearing.

Feeling overwhelmed Hermione sat on the ground and cried.

Thirty-One Days

A Harry Potter Story
by keelhaulrose

Part 18 of 29

<< Previous     Home     Next >>