Continuing Tales

Thirty-One Days

A Harry Potter Story
by keelhaulrose

Part 25 of 29

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Thirty-One Days

She stared in shock at the spot where Voldemort's crumpled, broken body lay. For a long moment, the silence was deafening. The crowd was trying to decide if they could believe their eyes; if it really was all over; if they had really won.

And then the silence broke as the crowd rose up in celebration as one. The celebration would be short-lived; there were bodies to attend to, wounds to heal, and deaths to mourn. Soon the realization that some of the most important people in their lives that now lay dead would hit, but for that moment celebrations were in order, the cheers were cathartic, with the relief sweeping over them like a wave. But it didn't overtake Hermione, a fresh surge of adrenaline coursed through her as she knew it was now time for her to go do what she needed to do.

"Hermione," Harry rushed to her, wrapping his arms around her, but the hug was shorter than he expected as she pushed hard on his chest to break free.

"I'm sorry, Harry, I have to go!" she breathed, looking into his face as the terror and excitement of what lay ahead for her took over.

"Hermione!" he called after her, grabbing her sleeve, but she broke free. She pelted through the revelers, pushing a few out of the way, before making her way out of the Great Hall. The courtyard was covered in rubble, and her trainer slipped a few times as she vaulted over some of the larger pieces, trying to ignore the bodies as she passed.

"Hermione!" She heard Harry calling her name as she made it through the gate at the far end of the courtyard. He must have been held up by well-wishers, and she wasn't willing to stop. Instead, she ran through the grounds, passing a fallen giant and several dead Acromantula. She tripped on a Death Eater's mask, but she didn't stop to look to see whose it was. She just kept running, her lungs straining, until the Whomping Willow came into view. She pointed her wand, casting a silent immobilizing charm, and ran under the still branches, kicking the knot to open the secret passage and jumping in. Severus was where she left him, looking paler than she remembered, his bandages blood stained and his body immobile. She stopped dead for a split second, terrified that she might be too late. Cautiously, she approached him, fingers reaching for his wrist. It took some pressing, but she felt the soft push of his pulse against her fingertips, and there was an almost imperceptible rasping sound as he sucked in a breath.

"Oh, thank Merlin," she sighed in relief, but knew things weren't over yet. She placed more bandages on top of the old ones, poured another phial of blood replenishing potion down his throat, and ignored the bright red blossoms that erupted on the fresh bandages as the potion worked.

She put another blanket on him, tucking it tightly under him, and kissed his forehead again. "I'm going to get you out of here," she whispered. "It's over. We won. Voldemort is dead." She hoped he had heard, and it would give him something to hold on to as she carefully moved the stretcher out of the hidden passageway.

"Hermione!" Harry was close as she started moving towards the castle, levitating the stretcher in front of her, but not daring to run. "What's going on? Is that Snape?"

"Yes," she said, as he started jogging next to her.

"He's alive?"

"Only just."

"How did you get all the way to the Shrieking Shack? You just went down there!"

"It's a very long story, Harry, and I promise I'll tell you everything as soon as I know he's being taken care of."

"What can I do?" he asked without hesitation.

"Come with me, I might need your help."

The trip back up to the castle seemed to take years, but eventually they were walking back in the main entrance, following the sound of McGonagall's authoritative voice towards where Healers from St. Mungos had set up a triage center and were tending to people's wounds.

"Potter! Granger!" McGonagall barked as soon as she caught sight of them. "What were you thinking, running out of here like that as soon as things were over? You had us all worried things weren't..." she trailed off as she saw the stretcher, and a bit of color drained from her face. "Is that Severus?" she asked quietly.

"Yes," Hermione said quickly. "He needs to go to the hospital."

She looked conflicted.

"Professor, he was on our side," Harry said quickly. "I wouldn't have been able to defeat Voldemort if it weren't for him."

"Oh, all right," she sighed before turning to the nearest Healers. "Devins! Crawford! We have an urgent case here."

The two Healers came over, and looked down in surprise at the stretcher.

"What happened?" Devins asked.

"He was attacked by Voldemort's snake," Hermione managed between pants. "Most of the damage has been centralized to his neck and upper torso. I've given him three phials of antivenin, two of blood replenishing, and a revival potion. I've put three sets of bandages on, he keeps bleeding through. I've got more antivenin here," she added, reaching into her bag and shoving several of the phials at him. "I did my best to close the wounds, but they won't close all the way. Tell the Healer-in-Charge that it is like what happened to Arthur Weasley three Christmases ago."

"Yes, Miss Granger."

"Can I... Can I go with him?"

"I'm sorry, Miss Granger. Right now there's a massive influx of new patients, and we can only take those who need medical help we can't perform here. Considering you have no real standing with him..."

"As he trusted me to make all medical decisions for him, I would think he wouldn't mind me being updated on his progress," she tried to sound authoritative, and hoped his desire to get out of there took over any fight he was willing to have over this.


Annoyed, she pulled out the piece of paper and passed it in front of the stunned-looking Harry. The Healer glanced at it and handed it back to her. "Fine. We'll notify you as to his condition, and when or if you can visit him."

"Thank you," she called after them as they hurried the stretcher through the crowd of people in the Great Hall, made it to the fireplace, and disappeared in a flash of green.

Hermione took a few steps backwards and sunk onto a bench. She put her head between her knees and caught her breath.

"Come on," Harry said softly as she sat back up. "We need to find Ron and have a talk."

She nodded, and let him cover her with the Invisibility Cloak. They made their way carefully to the where the Weasleys stood, still surrounding Fred's body, and gently coaxed Ron away from his family. They moved through the castle, occasionally having to climb over rubble, through dark hallways filled with dust and debris where the only sound was the soft echoes of their shoes as they hit the floor. There was no longer a guard for the Headmaster's office, and as they ascended, they could feel the fatigue of the day growing in their bones and radiating through their bodies. By the time they opened the door, Hermione felt as though she could lay down on the first flat surface she saw and sleep for a month.

And then she heard the applause, which hit her like a close-by thunderclap. Every portrait was present, and each one was cheering loudly and clapping wildly. The sound started to dull in her ears and she sunk onto the desk trying to steady herself. She heard Harry talking to Dumbledore, and nodded when she was thanked and congratulated. But her mind was in London, in the Dai Llewellyn ward, wondering if they were doing their best to save Severus' life, or if they figured he was a Death Eater, and not worth saving.

"They're working hard on him, dear," she heard a female voice saying next to her, and she looked over to see Dilys Derwent smiling warmly at her.

"How does it look?" she asked, desperate for information.

"It's not pretty, but you did a fantastic job for him before he got there. I would think he has good odds, if he wants to make it through, though he'll probably be out of it for at least a week or two."

"Thank you so much," she whispered. Behind her Harry was asking the portraits to clear out and spread the news, he wanted to talk to Hermione and Ron alone. The portraits did so, and a moment later, they found themselves alone. Harry immediately pulled them to him for a tight hug.

"Thank you," he said, squeezing them even tighter. "I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you two."

"I'm just shocked we all got through this, mate," Ron half-smiled.

"It is a small miracle."

"What made you go into that forest?"

Harry told them about Snape's memories, and about discovering he was a Horcrux.

"Let me guess, Hermione, you knew?"

"I had an idea," she admitted. "But I only knew for sure while you were learning yourself. I came up here to find you, and saw you were in the Pensieve. I talked to Dumbledore about my suspicions, and he confirmed them, and then convinced me not to go with you when you went into the forest."

"You were here?"

"Yes. I came up to stop you from doing something stupid and noble. Dumbledore stopped me."

"But you were gone by the time I got out. I couldn't be in those memories that long."

She sighed. "Yes, I was gone."


"It's kind of a long story."

As if it had been sent, a House-elf appeared with large, steaming mugs of hot cocoa, and a plate of sandwiches. It deposited the bounty on the Headmaster's desk and bowed deeply before disappearing again.

"I guess that's Dumbledore telling me to get on with it," she muttered, taking a sandwich and a mug as Harry and Ron stuffed as much as they could in their mouths. "I was in Hogwarts, twenty two years ago, trying to save Sev... Snape's life."

"What?" the boys asked in unison, food still visible in Ron's mouth.

"Dumbledore sent me back," she said, reaching into her bag and pulling out the box and the envelope containing Snape's will and the picture of them together at the party. She placed them on the desk between them.

"How? A Time-Turner? I thought they only go one way," Ron asked after swallowing.

"It's some kind of magic that I'm sure Dumbledore invented and I'm the only other person who has witnessed it working. As soon as I opened the little box, I was taken back, dropped into this office without a clue as to what I was to be doing, and had to work things out from there."

"And you were doing it to save Snape?"

She carefully told them about her conversation with Dumbledore's portrait, and why she had chosen to accept the mission. She gave them a quick outline of her plan, how she had planned to befriend Severus, make him feel as though being a Death Eater wasn't his only option, and try to push him to realize he needed to make an antidote for Nagini and keep some for himself without telling him exactly what was in store for him.

"So you had to go all the way back to when Snape was a teenager at Hogwarts to do this? Why not go right before Dad was attacked? That way the antidote would have been ready, and he still would have been able to save some for himself."

"Do you honestly think he would have taken me seriously at that point? I had to do it when he was still young, before he became a Death Eater caught up in everything Voldemort had told him, and before he had truly given up. And I had to go back to that time for myself. Because I wouldn't have ever tried to befriend a young Death Eater, nor would I ever try to befriend Severus when he was my Professor. It had to be when he was young and I could relate to him. The time frame was as much for my benefit as his."

"But you didn't do what you wanted," he pointed out. "Snape still became a Death Eater."

"He was always going to be a Death Eater. I knew because he already had been. I didn't understand at the time I went back that I wasn't going to be able to change anything I remembered about him. It had to happen to get me to the point of going back. Had anything happened differently, I wouldn't have gone back, and Severus would be dead in that shack right now."

"But you have a Time-Turner!" he shouted, pointing excitedly. "We could go back and save Fred!"

"Ron," she whispered, tears misting her eyes. "He's gone."

"But why can't we? Why can't we just flip that a few times, and save him?"

"We were there. How are we supposed to save him without seeing him, and if we did save him, what motivation would we have for going back?"

"But we saw Snape die..." he protested quietly.

"No. We saw him attacked. He wasn't dead. If he had been killed even I wouldn't have been able to save him. As soon as we walked out, I was working on him. Any more of a delay and he wouldn't have made it. Fred... it was different with Fred. He went quickly."

"But we could try," he whispered, choking back a sob.

"I'm sorry, but it wouldn't do any good. We watched him die. We know he's gone. I want to go back. It hurts like hell that we can't. If we could, think of the lives we could save. Lupin and Tonks. Colin Creevy. So many died today. I want nothing more than to use the Time-Turner to save them all, but we can't. They're gone. They're taking their next adventure. Severus wasn't gone yet. It was the only way I could save him."

"And you needed that month in the past to do it? Was it really that important to befriend him?" Harry asked in a soft voice.

She caught his gaze for a moment before saying, "Yes. It was. He wouldn't trust anyone but a friend. And he wouldn't be motivated to save his own life if he thought everyone was going to treat him as a pariah or worse if he lived. He needed to know there was someone who cared about him and wanted to be around him if he survived, otherwise he had no reason to do what he did in preparation for his attack."

"So, you're Snape's friend now?" Ron asked, sounding disgusted.

She took a deep breath, trying to find the right words to tell them gently and minimize what she knew was going to be their horrified reactions. "Things may have changed since he survived, I intend to give him the choice when he's better, especially now that we're done with this blasted war, but before he went in that shack we were more than friends."

"What?" they shouted in unison.

"I would think that even you two would understand what I meant by that."

It was almost comical, the way they looked at each other in mirroring looks of shock and disbelief. In unison, their eyes returned to her, and she had to draw herself up to keep herself from running under their gazes, which were becoming increasingly angry.

"No," Ron was the first to find his voice again, and he repeated the word several times with different infections, each punctuated with a vigorous head shake.

"How..." Harry started, but the color was rapidly draining from his face, and the boy who had not an hour before vanquished Voldemort seemed too afraid to ask the whole of the question. Finally he managed to force the words from his mouth, though it was nothing more than a shaky whisper. "How much more than friends were you?"

She raised her eyebrows and bit her lip in response, and watched as Harry's color was replaced by a rather unflattering shade of green.

"You didn't!" Ron shouted, and Hermione looked around to make sure the outburst didn't bring a curious portrait in to overhear things.

"Yes, we did," she replied as evenly as she could. "I had not intended it to become anything more than just friends, however things progressed into something more, well, one might call it romantic for Severus, and as it progressed, we did what many teenagers do at that stage of their relationship. Had the situation not been that I was forced to go back shortly after things became that physical there's a good chance things would have really grown between us. As it is, I reckon that our physical closeness made him remember me when I returned to Hogwarts, and once I did, he realized why I had returned in the first place. He's smart enough to have figured out that I was back on some kind of mission, and that involved getting close to him for some reason, and that there would be no need if things in the near future were not in a state of war. I'm sure as soon as he knew that it was really me who was back in time and not my Mum or some other relation, he knew there was a good chance his death was approaching, and he made preparations. I know I gave him enough hints about the manner of his death, otherwise he wouldn't have left me so much of the antivenin..."

"Shut it!" Ron interrupted, looking overwhelmed. "Could you just give short answers for a bit so we can digest this?"

"I'm sorry," she whispered, and she hoped he realized she meant it in more ways than one.

"Do you..." Harry asked in a shaky voice, the color draining from his face. He took a deep breath, and started again in a whisper, "Do you love him?"

"I do, but not as deeply as I could," she nodded slowly. "At least, not yet. I'm being cautious. He may want nothing to do with me after this."

"But you think you will?"

"If he'll let me, probably."

"Do you think he'll give you a chance?"

"People say and do a lot of things when they think they're not going to make it the night, but he certainly seemed to be leaning in that direction."

"I need to get out of here," Ron muttered, standing up and striding out of the room.

"Ron," she cried, jumping up, but Harry grabbed her sleeve.

"Let him go," he said, shaking his head. "This is a lot for us to take in, and he's probably going to be upset about it for a while."

She looked as if she still wanted to run after him, but decided to sit back down instead.

"He's fancied you for a long time."

"I fancied him, too, Harry," she replied, gripping her cocoa so she had something to calm her hands. "Even when I went back I fancied him. I realized when I was back there that he's not what I need, and I'm not what he needs."

"I'm not disagreeing with you there," he said with a half-hearted attempt at a smile. "I was worried what would happen once you two finally got along with things. It seemed like a few times a year you'd row and stop talking to each other for days or weeks. What if you two were a strong couple for a while, and then something happened and you broke up? You're both my best mates, I don't know how I'd manage a break-up or divorce between you two. At least now I know who to go comfort in the event of a breakup. Snape may be a hero, but he's still a gigantic git."

She laughed. "Some things never change."

He smiled, but his face quickly fell. "When you were back did you see...?" he trailed off, looking nervous.

"Yes. I spoke to both your mother and your father," she replied, placing a supportive hand on his arm. "I could give you the memories, once I know the spell."

"The only thing I've got to see of them is through Snape's memories, and it wasn't very flattering to my father. Was he really as bad as Snape made him out to be?"

"No," she said quickly, shaking her head. She moved closer to him, and placed her hands on his arms, looking him in the eye. "I was back there to make friends with Snape, so I'll admit I was not overly friendly with them, the Marauders in particular. But Sirius seemed to have a bit of a thing for me..."

"Really?" he asked, looking bemused.

"I think at first I was a novelty, someone who was there for a short time, and therefore not someone he'd have to make any kind of commitment to. But I think it quickly turned into a contest of sorts. I was showing an interest in Severus, and Sirius was trying his hardest to steal me away from him. Snape didn't trump up their rivalry, it really was that bad, and I don't think Sirius had much interest in me in particular, just me as Severus'. Had I turned him down and stayed away from Severus, I might have piqued his interest because I turned him down, but it would have gotten boring and he would have given it up quickly. He just didn't want Severus to have something he had even a passing interest in, so he tried his hardest to steal me."

"Too bad for him you are not easily swayed when you set your mind to something. But my Mum and Dad?"

"Your dad was there supporting Sirius every step of the way. He was funny and charming in his own way, and had it been anyone else I was sent there to help I think I would have felt easier spending more time with him, but to be honest nearly all our conversations were around the other Marauders. The one time we spoke alone, I berated him for something he had done to Severus, and he seemed genuinely remorseful for his actions, though not enough to apologize to Severus. He was a good man, Harry, and he reminded me of you. In fact, the first time I ever met him I called him Harry. I wasn't really thinking, I thought I had run into you."

A look of sadness crossed over his face.

"Your Mum and I only really talked once. She tried to warn me about Snape. I found out about their friendship..."

"I knew they were friends," he interrupted. "She never forgave him after he called her a Mudblood. How did that go, by the way, with that written on your arm?"

"I covered it was a Glamour Charm and told everyone I was half-blooded, related to Fleur."

"The whole wizarding world and you chose Fleur?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Beauxbatons is close enough that it would be plausible I grew up in Britain and went there. Everyone bought it, no one had any clue I'm Muggle-born, which probably saved me a lot of trouble."

"Who else was there?"

"Lucius, Narcissa, Bellatrix, Avery, Crabbe and Goyle senior..."

"And you didn't kill any of them?"

"You'd be visiting a much older version of myself in Azkaban if I had. They technically hadn't done anything wrong at that point, or at least, anything wrong that I would have known about."

"That had to be rough."

"You have no idea," she smiled cautiously.

"Did he really leave you everything in his will?"

"Yes," she said, sliding the contents of the envelope onto the desk. Harry picked up the will and scanned it.

"Promise?" he asked, reaching the end.

"That he would try to live."

"Only Snape would managed to leave an insult in his will," he said, placing the paper down, and picking up the pictures. The one she had left on top was the picture of them at the party, and Harry saw them without her having to point it out. He watched as they kissed twice. "I don't think I've ever seen him smile like that. I've seen him smile, but there was always something malicious behind it, something dark, like he wasn't truly happy. But the way he smiled at you in this picture... you meant a lot to him. Do you really think it's going to work now?"

"I hope. But it's up to him. The war is over. He's free. He may want to run as far as he can as fast as he can, and not look back. I may not be part of his plans for the future, if he had any."

"You know I'm not a fan of him, but I want you happy. And if it takes you being with Snape, you should fight for him."

"I will," she nodded. "If there wasn't some kind of feelings on my part I probably wouldn't have had the energy or the drive to save him. I'm feeling so physically, mentally, and magically drained right now, I don't think I'd be able to summon a toothpick."

"You are an amazing person, Hermione. Whoever you wind up with will be a lucky man."

"Thanks, Harry," she said, hugging him tightly. "You may want to look at the other pictures in that stack."

He flipped to the next one, which was the one of her at the Yule Ball. "You looked breathtaking there, Hermione. I think even Malfoy was watching you like he wanted to ask you to dance."

"Somehow I don't think it would have worked out," she chuckled as he flipped to the next one. His breath hitched for a moment, and he ran his fingers over the picture of his mother. She watched as he ran his fingers over her face, smiling sadly down at her.

"She was with me," he whispered. "In the forest, when I went to face Voldemort, and thought I was going to die. You know the stone was in the Snitch. I got it out, used it, and she came to me. With my dad, Sirius, and Lupin."

"They've always been with you, Harry."

"You knew I was a Horcrux. That's why you were up here?"


"You weren't going to let me go by myself, were you?"

She shook her head.

"I never wanted anyone to die for me, Hermione, but I'm really glad you were too concerned about saving Snape to come with me. I don't know if I would have had the strength to finish things without you."

"I'm just glad you're okay, Harry," she whispered, wrapping her arms around him. They hugged tightly for several minutes.

"What are we going to do now?" he asked as they broke apart.

"Right now?" she smiled. "I'm going to try to find Dylis Derwent, and see if she has any news. Then I want to go see if McGonagall or Madam Pomfrey could use me for anything. Severus taught me the charm that counters Sectumsempra, which closes all sorts of cuts. Then I need a rest."

"I'll follow you," he smiled, standing and offering her a hand. She stood and started out of the room. On the stairs down, she tripped, sliding down a few steps and hitting her head on the wall. She heard Harry calling her name as her vision first went fuzzy, then black.

Thirty-One Days

A Harry Potter Story
by keelhaulrose

Part 25 of 29

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