Continuing Tales

Thirty-One Days

A Harry Potter Story
by keelhaulrose

Part 24 of 29

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Thirty-One Days

There was a loud explosion nearby and dust trailed lazily down from the ceiling, coating everything in the office, but the sound had brought her back to reality. The battle was happening. How long had she been crying in that room? There was no time to think, this was the time for her to act. She opened the door, crept down the staircase, and looked out into the hallway. It was clear, and she ran down a couple flights of stairs, coming out on the first floor. There were fighters to her right, but no one had turned down her way yet. She would have to move cautiously. She thought quickly, at this point she and Ron were either on their way from the Chamber of Secrets, or heading to the Room of Requirement. Moaning Myrtle's bathroom was to her left, which was the quicker way, but she couldn't risk being seen by herself. So she turned right. Just as she was about to get to junction, she saw a figure in black in front of her, and she immediately shot a spell that way and the figure crumpled. She turned to see who it had been fighting, and saw Neville looking at her.

"Hermione?" he asked, looking confused. "What are you doing here? I thought you were with Ron?"

"I was," she said. "I mean… it's… I heard the fighting and thought I should get here."

"Not that I'm not glad you came, but isn't there something you guys really have to get done?"

"There's more than one," she admitted.

"What happened to your cheek? You had a pretty good cut on it earlier."

"Healing spell," she replied quickly.

"What's going on, Hermione?" he asked, looking concerned.

A spell shot over their heads, and they both ducked and turned towards its origin. Kingsley Shacklebolt was battling two hooded figured and getting backed into a corner.

"Come on," Neville said, standing, and starting towards the fight.

"I can't," she said, looking the other way down the hallway. "There's something I have to do."

"Hermione?" he called after her, but she turned heel and bolted. There was a tapestry that led back to the main route to the dungeons that Gryffindor students would often duck through, and she did so without a second thought. The further she got into the castle, the more deadened the sound of the battle became, and by the time she reached the door to the Potions classroom, she could only hear her own heavy breathing. She wrenched open the door and made a beeline towards the last table. Ducking underneath and reaching the much neglected cabinet, she touched her wand to it and whispered "Runespoor". To her relief it swung open.

Inside were several wax-sealed bottles with a silver potion inside, along with a flask of a yellowish green substance that was bubbling ominously. The substance was labeled 'Nagini', the potion 'antivenin'. She opened her bag and shoved all the bottles inside, but reminded herself to not use too much as antivenins often became toxic themselves in too high of a dose. Severus didn't leave any instructions, so she was going to have to make a guess and hope it was right. She was about to close the cabinet again when she caught sight of something shoved all the way in the back. Curious, she reached in and grabbed it, pulling out a large, dusty, faded envelope. She opened it carefully and tipped it. The first thing to slide out was a stack of old photographs. The top one was a photo of a young redheaded girl. It must have been taken shortly after she came to Hogwarts as she didn't look much older than a first or second year. She was smiling and surrounded by a few friends. Hermione was sure it was not Severus who took this picture, and there was a good chance Lily never knew he had somehow acquired it. The second was another picture of Lily, this time sitting in front of a Christmas tree, a few years later, possibly their last Christmas as friends. The third was shocking: a picture of herself the night of the Yule Ball, dressed up and looking impeccable, entering the ball clutching tightly to Viktor's arm. The final was most intriguing. Narcissa and Lucius were cuddling on the couch in the Slytherin common room, sipping drinks and obviously enjoying being the most important couple in Slytherin. She recognized it as the party she had attended, and wondered why Severus had bothered to keep such a photo from his school years when something in the background caught her eye. Seemingly oblivious to their surroundings, she and Severus were standing by the fireplace. Hermione watched herself reach up to touch his face. He responded by catching her lips for just a second. Then they both went back to their conversation. Hermione hadn't remembered a camera there, though possibly a flash, but she was sure that Lucius and Narcissa were not the reason why Severus kept this picture.

She stared at the picture for a long moment then carefully put the stack in her bag, pressed between the pages of Hogwarts: A History to keep it from getting bent. There was one more thing in the envelope, a couple pages of folded parchment. She carefully unfolded them, and immediately recognized the handwriting as Severus'.

The Last Will and Testament of Severus Tobias Snape

I, Severus Tobias Snape, upon my likely death, do hereby decree that the following be done with my remains and possessions:

The executor of my estate is hereby named to be Hermione Jean Granger. She is free to make whatever changes she sees fit to this will.

In the event that Miss Granger is also dead, I assign executorship to any Goblin available at Gringotts, and decree that the points below be followed exactly.

Cremate my body and dispose of it in the Forbidden Forrest. Or wherever Miss Granger deems fit, as the thought of dumping me in the Forrest is probably ghastly to her. No theatrics, please, Miss Granger.

My home in Spinners End can be burned, blown up, Vanished, I do not care, it is barely fit for human habitation, and I would wish it upon no one. I have moved anything of value from it, so destroy it at once.

My library, notes, and personal potions stores and ingredients are all to be taken by Miss Granger. Should she not find need for any of these things, she may return them to Hogwarts.

Any personal effects in good repair may be donated; all others will be disposed of.

My Gringotts vault will be transferred to that of Miss Granger in its entirety. In the event that she does not have a personal vault yet, my vault will become her vault, and she can do with its contents as she pleases.

I do hereby swear that the above are my final wishes, and that I make this will of strong and competent mind. A copy of this will has been filed with Gringotts.

So proclaimed this 19th day of September, 1993.


Severus Tobias Snape



Director of Final Affairs

Gringotts, London

Attached to the will was another piece of paper, also signed and stamped to be official and that contained only one sentence:

In the event of my incapacitation, I hearby grant Hermione Jean Granger the power to make all medical decisions for me.

Below the formalities he had scrawled, clearly with a different sized quill in an ink that didn't look as old as the will.

Personal addendum: If you are reading this copy, you are most likely Miss Granger. If not, please make sure she gets this message; if she's still alive. I would not be surprised if no one had the intelligence to figure out how to open a cabinet door for two hundred years or so.

I apologize for not being able to fulfill my promise made so many years ago. I did try, but sometimes promises must be broken. I did not forget. Thank you.

Hermione swiped at the tears threatening to fall from her eyes. "Not today, Severus," she said, shoving the will into her bag, warding it, and running from the dungeon. She placed a Disillusionment charm on herself as she ran; there would be no way for her to get out of the castle without being spotted otherwise. The battle was raging, but she only paused long enough to shoot a few spells before emerging onto the grounds and running for the gate. It had been broken open by trolls, so she didn't even have to slow down. Her lungs were straining in protest as she ran along the lane to Hogsmeade. She lifted the charm as she came upon the village. The Caterwalling Charm was sounding loudly, but no Death Eaters came. The Dementors had all gone to the castle in search of easy prey. People were streaming out of their homes and shops, wearing their night clothes. Most started towards the castle, several others turned towards the other side of the town to help with the growing number of scared and confused looking students who were congregating in large groups and watching the spells flying through the air in the distance in wide-eyed awe.

Still under the Disillusionment charm, she turned down the narrow lane leading to the Shrieking Shack. The chaos had emptied the street, so no one could see the rustle of leaves as she ducked into some of the overgrown brush. She made sure there was no one watching her as she made to enter the shack, with wand aloft. Expecting a strike at any moment, she crept through the decrepit lower level, finding the stairs that still had, she realized with a pang of sadness, a faded paw-print pressed into the inch or so of dust. She cast a silencing spell on the stairs, not trusting them to not creak as she ascended, and about halfway up she froze in place. Voldemort was sweeping about the room above her, Nagini floating in a protective bubble never more than arm's length from him.

"And I do not need to seek Potter," Voldemort was hissing, his voice sounding halfway between English and Parsel-tongue. "Before the night is out, Potter will come to find me."

Voldemort paused, staring at the wand in his hand, looking concerned. "Go and fetch Snape," he ordered, and suddenly Lucius Malfoy took a step forward, coming into view. He looked awful, terrified, and exhausted, but she felt it was less than he deserved.

"Snape, m-my Lord?" Malfoy asked in a trembling whisper.

"Snape. Now. I need him. There is a –service- I require from him. Go."

Lucius stumbled from the room, and Hermione pressed herself against the rail as he leaned against the wall in support as he tripped down the stairs. She thought he felt him bump into her backside, but if he had, there was no indication he noticed it. He moved shakily towards the front door, and seconds later, there was the sound of him Disapparating away.

"It is the only way, Nagini," Voldemort mused aloud, and he sunk onto a chair.

Hermione stayed, crouched on the stairs despite her legs starting to protest. Her mind raced as Voldemort mused in Parseltongue mere feet from her. She didn't recognize the protective bubble Nagini was in, and even if she did, she didn't dare attack it. Unless she knew exactly how to destroy the bubble and kill the snake with the same spell it wouldn't be worth it, and even if she did, she'd have Voldemort to contend with. Getting into a fight with him would be impossible to win, and would get her killed before she did what she was crouching in that dingy, run-down shack to do.

Too soon there was the sound of someone Apparating outside, and her stomach dropped as she realized who it must be. The door opened, and Severus managed to make it to the bottom of the stairs without making a sound. He paused, looking down, as if he knew what was waiting for him. He ascended the stairs slowly, eyes still downcast, until he came to the stair she was standing on. She realized then that she had forgotten to destroy her footprints in the heavy dust, and Severus would easily have spotted where she was standing due to the number of footprints. As slowly as she could, she stood straight, trying not to make a sound. He looked upwards, eyes following her body as if he could see her. She involuntarily drew in a breath as his dark orbs, that she remembered so clearly, paused on where her face would be as her body was half-turned to watch him. His head turned to watch the spot until he was past her. It was held high and resolute as he entered the room where the Dark Lord stood in wait.

Her heart thumped so loudly in her ears that she couldn't hear what was being said, but she couldn't help staring at Severus. And she realized something. Whenever Voldemort's back was turned his finger would jerk, pointing from where she was to a spot on the other side of the landing. He was positioning her, telling her to move out of the line of fire. Carefully, she crept up the rest of the stairs, hardly daring to breathe and obliterating her footprints as she went. She pressed herself as far into the rickety bannister as she dared, hoping that if Voldemort came her way, he wouldn't bump into her. She froze, transfixed at the interaction for what felt like hours, when Voldemort raised his wand, and she knew it was about to happen. Severus raised his wand as well, but she noticed the tip wasn't trained on the Dark Lord, or the snake. It was pointed just behind Voldemort, at her, poised to prevent her from doing something to give herself away.

Voldemort brought down his wand, and the bubble containing Nagini inched forward. Remembering what was going to happen, and not wanting to witness it again, she screwed her eyes shut, and bit her lips together to prevent herself from making a noise. She cringed as she heard Severus yell, heard Voldemort hiss, and heard the snake strike.

"I regret it," Voldemort's cold, lying voice cut through the air. There was the thud of Severus' body hitting the floor, and a second later, Voldemort came within inches of her as he swept from the room, Nagini trailing behind him.

Steeling herself for the sight she was about to see for the second time, she entered the room, moving along the walls, behind the chair where Voldemort had sat, coming to a stop behind herself as Harry was bent over Severus.

"Take… it… Take… it…" Severus managed to gurgle out.

Hermione watched herself conjure up a flask with a shaking wand and hand it to Harry, who lifted Severus' memories into it.

"Look… at… me…" he demanded, and Hermione watched as he gazed into Lily's eyes once more. Then he did something she didn't notice before, might never have noticed had she not been watching so closely and intently, her eyes not obstructed by tears as they had been the first time she witnessed this scene. Severus' eyes appeared to slide out of focus, but she realized they were not un-focusing, but rather re-focusing on a figure… her figure, the one standing right in front of her. He studied her face one last time before he went limp.

She kept her eyes on him as she, Harry, and Ron left back through the secret passageway. The moment they disappeared, she rushed forward, feeling the Disillusionment charm lift itself as her body prepared to use as much of her magic as it could to save Severus' life. First, she pressed her fingers to the pulse-point on his wrist. It was faint, but there, and there was a soft gurgling sound as he struggled for a breath. Somehow she managed to find the antivenin in her bag, and she poured two phials worth into his mouth then wrapped her arms around his shoulders, feeling his blood soaking her shirt, as she lifted him up to force the antivenin down his throat. Some trickled out the wound in the side of his neck, so she put in one more phials' worth. Then she drew her wand, repeating the sing-song chant Severus had taught her a long time ago to close her fanged geranium wound. The wounds started to close, but there got to be a point where they refused to heal any more. She fetched the Essence of Dittany from her bag and started dabbing it onto him, but even then, the wounds were still oozing blood slowly. She wrapped each of the wounds as tightly as she dared, considering they were mostly on his neck and upper torso. When he was bandaged, she conjured up a stretcher, moved his body onto it, and covered him with the blanket she had huddled under on so many cold nights while she was on guard duty.

"Sorry, Severus, but I don't trust you to survive," she murmured, pulling another couple phials of potion from her bag. The first was a pain potion, which she gave a couple minutes to take hold before she gave him a blood-replenishing potion, which caused bright crimson spots to appear on the bandages. She pressed her fingers to his pulse-point again. It was still weak, but markedly stronger than the last time. Finally, she gave him a revival potion. Seconds after taking this, he stirred feebly, a string of incoherent words liberally interspaced with curses flowing from his lips before he turned his head again and seemed to pass out from the pain.

"Close enough," she muttered as she found his pulse to be even stronger. She carefully maneuvered the stretcher down into the passageway, and half-ran behind it as she made her way back towards the castle. The trip through the passage seemed to take ten times longer than she remembered, but finally she was ascending towards the Whomping Willow. She cast a warming charm on the area around the exit, praying it would hold until she returned. She gave Severus one more phial of antivenin then secured the stretcher to the wall.

"I have to get back," she told him as she made sure he was covered and added some bandages to the top of a few that had soaked through. "They're going to notice I disappeared if I don't. But I will return for you. I promise. If you could talk right now, I'm sure you'd say something snarky about how you doubt I have the abilities to stay alive that long. You just better hope I do, because I think I've done enough to keep you alive for several hours, which isn't going to be pleasant, but even more so if I don't come back, so if you're in there, just remember that you didn't want to die in here before, so it would be really sticking it to Sirius if you didn't die in here now," she added, hoping he heard it and it gave him the motivation to hold on if she had a long time before she could return.

Finally she found herself with nothing left to do but leave and try to get back quickly. She placed her hand on his, squeezing the thin fingers tightly. "I love you. I'll be back," she promised, and she kissed his forehead and moved quickly through the exit, sparing one glance back as the base of the tree snapped shut.

Thirty-One Days

A Harry Potter Story
by keelhaulrose

Part 24 of 29

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