Continuing Tales

Thirty-One Days

A Harry Potter Story
by keelhaulrose

Part 20 of 29

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Thirty-One Days

"Hermione!" he cried, hitting the gargoyle with his fist and leaving a smear of blood on the stone. He cried her name again, but it came out with a sob. She was gone. She was so desperate to get away from him, she had tripped him and held him up with her stone tapestry. How could she? She left without a proper good-bye, just a coerced promise to save his life. How could she be telling him she loved him one minute, and forcing him away from her the next? Anger flowed through him, and he aimed a hex at the gargoyle, blasting off one of its ears.

"What did I do?" it asked, shocked.

"Let me through!" he demanded. "I need to talk to her."

"She's gone," it replied coldly.

"She just went through!"

"She was already leaving before she even got to the room."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean? Where is Dumbledore?"

"Right here," a voice sounded behind him, and he turned quickly to come face-to-face with the headmaster.

"Where is she?" he demanded again.

"Back where she came from," he replied.

"How? You were supposed to help her leave!"

"And so I did. Before she even got here, she had been given the means to return."

"What the hell does that mean?"

"It means that Miss Puckle is no longer in this castle, and no longer available to those of us who she left behind."

"Where is she now?" he asked through clenched teeth. "I want to talk to her."

"I am afraid that would be impossible, Mr. Snape."

"What the hell is going on?" he demanded in a shout. "What the hell are the two of you hiding?"

"I do not know what Miss Puckle told you, however I'm sure she told you more than I know and as much as she was willing or able to tell you. I am also sure that, at some point today, she begged you to do something for her. Perhaps even made you swear to do something. I would hope you'd be willing to consider everything she has said and asked you to do."

"Why should I? Why should I do what she asks if she was willing to give me nothing in return?" he hissed.

Dumbledore smiled sadly. "Perhaps it will take time to realize what she has done for you by leaving today. Goodnight, Mr. Snape."

Severus glared at him as he fixed the irritated-looking gargoyle and disappeared behind it. Growling, he turned and stormed down the hallway. He turned the corner to go to the staircase, and ran into someone.

"Severus," Lily whispered, tears brimming in her eyes. "I saw what happened."

"Move, Evans," he ordered, fire flashing in his eyes.

"She shouldn't have done that. She should have known how much she meant to you, and stayed."

"I can't catch a break in that aspect, then, can I?" he hissed.

She looked taken aback. Without another word she stepped aside and let him pass.

Severus stormed down to the dungeons. Anyone he passed quickly moved out of his way, afraid to provoke him. No insults towards him would fly that night, or for days after, as he finally looked as though he had been pushed over the edge. Instead of heading to the Slytherin common room, where he would no doubt find a sympathetic ear willing to verbally bash Hermione until he felt even a little bit better, he swept past the hidden door, heading instead to his private lab. It was exactly as they had left it. Even her backpack still lay on the ground, though anything personal had been removed from it. The backpack was the first thing he destroyed, twisting in a sudden flash of flames until it, and everything in it, was reduced to ash and scrap on the floor. The bed, still disheveled from their tryst earlier, was the next thing to go, breaking into shards with several swipes of his wand, every hex that passed through his mind was thrown at the poor thing, until it was an unrecognizable pile on the floor. When spells didn't seem an adequate enough outlet for his hurt and anger, he resorted to throwing whatever he could get his hands on; flasks, ingredients, and equipment smashed against the same walls as his screams echoed around the room.

When he had exhausted himself, he fell to the floor, curling into a ball. He cared for her. Hell, he was starting to love her, and she abandoned him; rebuked his every attempt to stay with her. She had turned him away. What had he done so wrong? Why had she, like so many others, turned him away? What did she gain by lying to him? By saying she loved him and breaking him? And, on top of that, the first time Lily talked to him in months was to express sympathy for something she had also done!

Anger took hold of him. Happiness was apparently not something that he was destined for. He was doomed to experience pain at every turn. There had only been one group who had been there for him. One place where his skills would be an asset; a place where he could belong.

He cleaned the mess in the room as he composed himself. By the time he left the room, he was standing tall, eyes forward, face the blank mask he had perfected over the years. He returned to the Slytherin common room and quickly spotted who he was looking for. Lucius was sitting by the fireplace, reading a book, with Narcissa and Bellatrix playing a game of chess next to him. He took a deep breath before taking a seat across from Lucius.

"I heard Puckle left," Bellatrix said with a sneer.

"She had to go," he replied without a hint of emotion in his voice.

"Filthy blood-traitor. You're better off without her."

He didn't reply, just looked at Lucius.

"Is there something I can help you with, Severus?" Malfoy asked in a low voice.

"Yes. I want to know what it would take for me to become a Death Eater," he replied, just loud enough for the small group to hear.

Bellatrix cackled, and Narcissa shot him a warm smile. But his eyes were on Lucius as his friend's mouth twisted into a wicked smile.

Lucius nodded. "Walk with me," he said, standing and moving gracefully to the portrait door.


"Are you sure you want to do this?" Lucius asked as they got off the train that had taken them away from Hogwarts for the winter holidays. It was the first time Severus had left Hogwarts for a holiday since he had arrived, but he had no plans of returning to Spinners' End. Instead, he was sending his luggage with Lucius, save for a single, small bag containing a change of clothes, some money, and a few other basic toiletries. He was already wearing some Muggle clothes, and had booked a night at the Leaky Cauldron.

"I do. It shouldn't take me longer than a day or two."

"Okay. When you're done, just take the Knight Bus to the Manor. I'll let Father know you're coming. He'll be pleased to hear of your decision. He's heard of your skills, and he's in touch with the Dark Lord about you and a number of others in Hogwarts, who are sympathetic to the cause."

"I'll see you there," he nodded.

Upon leaving Kings Cross, he made his way to the inn, and checked into his room, and over dinner, made his plan for the next day. After breakfast, he wandered to the nearest library, and made his way to the information desk.

"Can I help you, young man?" the plump, pleasant-looking woman behind the desk smiled at him.

"I'm looking for an obituary. The man I'm looking for died on either the sixth or seventh of November."

"Do you know his name?"


She helped him pull the correct newspapers, but even looking a week and a half later there was no mention of a Puckle who died in that time frame or a week before or after, nor anyone with a family member with the listed last name of Puckle, or a mention of a granddaughter named Hermione.

"I'm sorry, dear," the librarian sighed as they put the papers away. "Is there anything else I could help you with?"

"Yes. Could I get a phone book, please?"

"Of course, dear," she smiled, retrieving the book. He took it to a private table, and wrote down the listings of all the Puckles in London, four in all. He thanked the librarian one more time, and started out for the first address. It took most of the day to visit the first two addresses on his list, and both of them were almost immediately crossed off as he looked at the occupants. The third address was in a nice neighborhood, quiet, nothing like where most witches and wizards chose to live. He nearly didn't make the four-block journey from the nearest tube station, but he hadn't gone this far not to be thorough. When he arrived at the address, it was obvious there was something going on, several cars were parked in front, and he could hear music and laughter. Slowly, he approached the front door, trying to peek into the windows, but they were all obscured with lace curtains and holiday decorations. Hoping no one would hear him, he rapped softly on the door. A moment later it opened, and he sucked in a breath. The woman standing in front of him was a few years older, but she had Hermione's face, soft lips, and curly hair. She smiled warmly, and the similarities between her and Hermione hit him in the gut.

"Hullo. Can I help you?" she asked.

"I'm looking for Hermione," he said softly.

The woman's face fell into confusion. "Hermione?" she repeated.


"That's a pretty name, but there's no one here named Hermione."

"Do you know her?"

"No, I don't. I'm sorry, Mister..."

"Snape. Severus Snape."

"I'm Jean Granger. I'm sorry, Mr. Snape. I don't know anyone by that name. Harold? Anita?" she called into the house. The voices quieted.

"Yes?" asked a man as he and a woman appeared around the corner. Severus stared at the man this time; he shared his eyes and nose with Hermione.

"This young man is looking for someone named Hermione. Do you know anyone by that name?"

"No," they replied in unison.

"I'll ask around," the woman said, disappearing around the corner.

"This is Mister Snape," Jean said. "Did someone tell you there was a Hermione here?"

"Not here, exactly, just that there was a Hermione Puckle, and they gave me a message for her," Snape replied.

"No luck," the other woman announced, coming back into the room.

"Thank you for your time," he grumbled, turning to leave.

"Good luck, Mister Snape," Jean called after him, closing the door.

Severus crumpled his list of addresses and shoved it as far into his pocket as he could. He was sure he had just met Hermione's relatives, but Hermione had done a thorough job covering her tracks. Someone had wiped their memories of her, maybe it was her mother, maybe she did it herself, but he was sure that no one in that house knew anything about the magical world. When Hermione said she was going to disappear, she wasn't lying. She didn't want to be found, and it was hopeless for him to even try. Frustrated, he threw out his wand arm, and watched as the violently purple bus came to collect him for his trip to Malfoy Manor.


He slammed the door to his room with such force that the house shook, then barricaded it against rebuttal from his father with several charms, including one he was sure his mother didn't know in case Tobias forced her to try to get to her son. There was a new welt across his cheek, but that was nothing compared to the bruises and lacerations he had left on his father during their fist-fight. He had made it most of the summer without getting Tobias too angry, despite his father's goading. He was of-age now in the wizarding world, and Tobias wanted him to leave. But he had nowhere to go, and his mother insisted he stay until he returned to Hogwarts, with Severus' happy promise it would be the last time he returned to the home. But Tobias wasn't as dumb as he seemed, and knew if Severus used his wand against him, he would have reason to kick him out, and Eileen would be too afraid to stop him. And so Tobias tried to goad Severus into a fight all summer, trying to see what pushed him over the edge, and caused him to finally snap. It was the phrase: "If the little shit ever got some whore to shag him, maybe he wouldn't be such a stuck-up arse," that finally got him, but Severus didn't use his wand. He leapt across the table and hit his father with a right hook.

He cast another charm to silence the pounding on the door and demands for him to show himself. He'd wait until later, when Tobias was too drunk to put up a decent fight, to dare venture out again. One more week and he'd be on the train back to Hogwarts. He'd have to find somewhere to live once he graduated, but he wasn't too concerned with that. Right now his only concern was surviving the final week. Just seven more days...

As his heart stopped hammering and he started to calm down, he groaned. Why had he been so riled up about that phrase? The insult to himself wasn't a problem, Tobias had called him ten times worse over the course of the years without riling him to the point of a fight, but it was the 'whore' bit that had gotten under his skin. Little did his father know that he had been shagged, several times, had nearly given his heart to the girl he had been with, only to get it torn out. So why did he care if his father disparaged Hermione? She had fucked him then left without a second thought as to anyone's feelings but her own. Isn't that what a whore does? Though, a small voice reminded him, he had been her first. And Merlin knew Black was an easier, and better looking, target if all she had been looking for was a shagging partner. And she had told him she loved him...

"No," he growled out loud, shaking his head. She left him. She hurt him. She knew what she was doing. And she did it anyways. Hermione was no longer worthy of his emotions or his energy, and he vowed to think of her as little as possible.

Voices floated up through his open window from the street outside the house. Another groan escaped him as he recognized Lily as one of the speakers.

"He seems... nice, Tuney," she said unconvincingly.

"He's better than that Potter boy you brought around," Petunia snapped.

"Vernon and James are quite different. You have your cup of tea, I have mine."

"He's not good for you, Lily."

"Why do you think that?"

"Because... he's reckless. And arrogant..."

"He's also kind, caring, and very devoted to me. James is just what I wanted."

Severus watched them from the window, stomach sinking farther.

"I guess it could be worse. At least he's not panting after you anymore," Petunia jabbed a bony finger at Severus' house.

Lily paused, looking over the house, though she seemed to be avoiding his window deliberately. "Severus wasn't so bad. He just needs the right woman and some sympathy."

"He needs a bloody leash."

"Tuney!" she sighed, but there was a smile on her face.

"Just don't go making a rash decision and getting yourself in too deep."

"When you're in a position like we are, sometimes a rash decision is just what someone needs."

Petunia caught her sister looking at Severus' house.

"Please don't tell me you still talk to him."

"No," she said emphatically.

"Good. That's for the best."

"Yes, it is," Lily said, turning and walking away. Severus watched them as they disappeared down the next street. Lily didn't tell Petunia why they weren't speaking. She even defended him in a way. He had lost her, but perhaps she wasn't as mad at him as she had let on. And the very thought brought the first genuine smile he had on his face for months.


"Recruitment," the Dark Lord hissed, tapping his fingers together and looking irritated. "I am delighted to hear that we now have Barty Crouch's son among our ranks." He nodded to the excited looking young man down the table, two seats away from Severus. "How are our other efforts going?"

"I'd like to report that Igor Karkaroff is quickly warming up to our cause," Abraxas Malfoy sneered. "If we get him, we'll have easy access to Durmstrang, though we'll have to tread quietly. They're still wary after Grindelwald."

"It is a step in the right direction. We need old families. Sympathetic families. Any ideas?"

"What about the Delacours in France?" Severus asked.

Abraxas laughed. "The Delacours have been interbreeding with Veela. They're hostile, quick-tempered, and sympathetic to the other blood-traitors and half-breeds."

"Someone told me they would be sympathetic."

"Someone would be lying to you, then."

Snape crossed his arms and scowled at the table. He knew what he heard from Hermione. The point of her running was because she feared her pure-blood-and-proud family, thought they'd be willing to kill the family member that had disgraced them by running off with a Muggle and produced a half-Blood child. Had she told him a single truth during her time at Hogwarts? What was her purpose? What did she gain by telling him so many lies, and how did she use him? And how had she disappeared off the face of the planet, not to be seen nor heard of for over two years?

"Do not fret, Severus. You will soon be able to prove your worth," Voldemort smiled.

"Anything, my Lord," Severus nodded, looking up at him.

"You are still good at Potions, correct?"

"Better than Slughorn himself, from what I've heard," Lucius chimed in.

"I have a job offer you may be interested in." The smile on Voldemort's face was wicked. "How do you feel about teaching?"

Thirty-One Days

A Harry Potter Story
by keelhaulrose

Part 20 of 29

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