Continuing Tales

Heart Over Mind

A Harry Potter Story
by Regann

Part 10 of 27

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Heart Over Mind

As any student will attest, Christmas holidays rarely last as long as one might wish. Sooner than she'd expected, Hermione found herself escorting her grandparents to Heathrow for their flight to Venice and then traveling to Ireland for a new term at Trinity. She had been a little worried about the return; not that she felt her safety was in question, but she was uncertain of what to expect from her new friends and classmates. Unlike Harry or Ron, Maureen and Elena had never dealt with the constant stress of Dark vs. Light throughout their formative educational years and so Hermione feared that they would treat her differently, either in order to protect her or avoid her. Luckily, neither unhappy extreme was with what she was greeted on her return to Aldersgate, although the always emotive Maureen hugged her so tightly that she had to protest on pain of suffocation.

"I'm just so happy to see you again!" she exclaimed good-naturedly as she released her.

"I'm happy to see all of you too," Hermione laughed, setting the valise she carried at her feet on the hardwood floor of the old apartment building's foyer. She glanced uneasily up the stairs. "Care to walk with me up to my room?"

"Actually," Elena grinned, fiddling with the end of her long dark braid. "That is why we are here. To show you to your new room."

"New room?"

Maureen nodded enthusiastically, picking up the valise as she took a few steps toward the staircase. "Dr. Sedgefield made some arrangements," she explained over her shoulder. "You're now up on the seventh floor."

"But -- what about..."

"She asked for volunteers to trade rooms with you," Elena supplied matter-of-factly, although her eyes glowed with quiet sympathy. "So you wouldn't have to stay in there."

"Oh." Hermione was happier than she cared to admit, not having to force herself to cross the threshold of her own dormitory room and relive those still-fresh memories. "Well, now I'm on the same floor as you two."

"Er..actually no," the American girl commented, seemingly apologetic. "You're not the only one who's done some re-arrangin'." She took another few steps, then turned to see that neither of her friends had followed her. "Come on!" she urged, stamping her foot in emphasis before sweeping up the stairs.

In the wake of Maureen's departure, Hermione looked to Elena for answers. "You moved rooms as well?"

She nodded. "We're on the fifth floor now."

"Oh," she murmured, her eyes widening as she understood. "You didn't have to do that, you know."

"Not a problem, Hermione," the other young woman assured her. "I mean, what are friends for?"

Life at Trinity quickly lapsed into its usual frantic pace when classes began the next day, although the three friends -- Wyatt was busy with the guided coursework for his degree -- still spent that night in what Maureen called "slumber-party mode" in Hermione's single occupancy room. They discussed their holidays, their new classes, and many inane oddities which only seemed funny in the very early hours of the morning. What Hermione found most amusing was Maureen's argument with another vacationing witch in Crete, an arrogant Englishwoman, which almost landed the pair of them in Muggle jail in small mountain village.

After Maureen had related the story, Elena rolled her eyes. "Now she's banned not only from Zaros, but from three neighboring villages as well."

"What can I say? Tales of my exploits spread far and wide," she grinned.

By the second full day of attending her demanding classes, Hermione was relieved that she had settled so easily into her old routines with little reminder of the dark events which had marked her last day at the end of the fall term. Her friends treated her no differently and her other classmates seemed unaffected by the happenings, treating her no differently -- aside from the few whispered comments. The gossip, however, was something to which she had become accustomed from being Harry Potter's friend; it took little effort for Hermione to ignore it. She was, however, premature in her estimation that life would proceed as normal for her, evidence of which surfaced the first Friday after term began when a mysterious visitor awaited her at Aldersgate as she arrived home from classes late that afternoon.

From the night of the Deatheater attack, Hermione remembered little of an Auror Shannon other than the fact that he disliked cats in general and Crookshanks in particular. Although she knew that she had seen him several times that night, his general appearance was a hazy blur in her memory, generic and misleading. Like many of that night's events, they were all melded together in a flash of color and movement, one indistinct from the next. So, she was very surprised when she was greeted by Craig Shannon, a burly young man with striking blue eyes and a rugged face, one not handsome but pleasant to look at, at least in Maureen's whispered opinion.

"Miss Granger?" he greeted her questionably once she was within a few paces of the stone porch where he waited, seated on the top step.

Arms full of books and disagreeable hair tangled around her face from the wind, she nodded suspiciously in response and watched as he swiftly rose to assist her, taking the books from her as he spoke. "I'm not sure if you remember me," he began. "I'm Craig Shannon -- an Auror under Angus O'Malley. We met just before Christmas."

"Yes, I remember," she returned coolly, although grateful that he now hefted her stack of textbooks. "You called my cat a monster."

He laughed at that, his booming chuckle a remarkably soothing sound. "That I did, m'am," he acknowledged. "But I'm hopin' that you won't hold that against me -- since you're going to be seeing me quite often in the future."

"Am I now?" she volleyed archly. "And exactly why is that?"

If he noticed her sharp tone, he ignored it, answering her amicably. "That's what I'd like to explain to you. May I come in?"

Sighing, she nodded, holding the door so he could enter, her books still in his arms.

The explanation which Craig gave her was simple and honest, a fact for which she was appreciative. Never did he try to sidestep the circumstances for either of them as he told her of his new 'assignment.'

"Someone is worried about you," he informed her. "I 'spect it's Albus Dumbledore, since he's Angus's friend and all. Anyway, it's been decided that someone needs to keep an eye on you. It seems I've got the job."

They were seated in her spacious room, Hermione on the edge of the bed and Auror Shannon in the desk chair, which was slightly too small for his large, muscular frame. "You mean that I've got myself a babysitter?" she asked incredulously, anger piqued at the thought.

"No," he hastened to answer. "More of a friend-on-force. It'll be my duty to come and check on you, about once a week. Nothing more. Just a few minutes of your time, to satisfy Angus that you're still well and in good health."

"How did you get stuck with it?"

He chuckled once more. "I'm the youngest in the department and I spend most of my time acting as Angus's personal page and servant anyway. Seems fitting, don't ya think?"

On that initial meeting, she agreed to meet him exactly one week later, at Aldersgate after her last class of the day, much as they had on the initial afternoon. He readily agreed before hurrying off to report to O'Malley, bidding her farewell at the apartment's front door.

At first, Hermione had been incensed at the idea of having someone to constantly watch over her, even if it was only a cautionary check-in once a week. Eventually, however, she realized that it was only a reflection of Dumbledore's concern for her and slowly buried the anger which she'd felt.

As Craig had told her, his visits were only supposed to last a few minutes, just long enough to assure him that she was well and in no immediate danger. As it happened however, the young student had missed lunch in order to study for an exam on the day of their first planned meeting, which meant that she was ravenous by the time she was released from her last class. When she met Craig as they had arranged, Hermione was desperate for food -- so much so that she felt little hesitation in suggesting that they adjourn to a near-by restaurant for their dialogue on her safety and well-being. Surprised but not badly so, Shannon agreed to share a meal with her, an acceptance which began the tradition which persisted throughout the next several weeks. Instead of meeting at Aldersgate on Friday afternoons, their 'usual' place became a café-styled eatery for wizards wedged near Trinity's Science and Research Halls, a cozy establishment which was always guaranteed to be warm and inviting.

While she never quite considered Craig to be a friend, Hermione knew that she enjoyed their appointments; the young Auror was friendly, polite and intelligent which made conversation animated and him a nice dinner companion on nights which she would have otherwise spent alone. Over the first few weeks, she slowly gleaned information about him from their conversations. He was 23 years old and had been particularly talented in Charms while in school. He'd traveled briefly before going into Auror training, and his family was very proud of his choice of profession, although his mother worried constantly. He had an owl, hated cats but loved the outdoors and playing Quidditch, like most wizards; his great-grandmother had been Muggleborn.

Hermione give him similar information about her life, telling him of her passion for mediwizardry, her own Muggle heritage and her obvious affection for Crookshanks, "the cleverest cat familiar" she'd ever known of. Sometimes, they seriously discussed the news splashed across magical newspapers or in letters from friends. At others, they laughed about old anecdotes from their school days, or exchanged the latest bad jokes which were circulating -- Hermione found it hilarious that Aurors were notorious for a 'wand-and-broom' brand of joke-telling. Without realizing it, the student began to look forward to those dinners with Craig. Never, however, did she stop to analyze their relationship as anything but two persons meeting by O'Malley's declaration and Dumbledore's design.

It wasn't until he appeared unexpectedly one Monday afternoon that she even speculated that there could be more between them other than a friendly rapport and a professional obligation.

"What are you doing here?" was the first thing that came to mind for her to say when she saw Craig waiting for her in front of the Aldersgate dormitory, lounging against the building as if it were normal for him to be there again so soon. Dressed casually in Muggle clothing, he was even more pleasant to look at than he did in his usual robes, she noticed.

He grinned at her outburst, shrugging. "Waiting for you, of course. What did you think?"

"Yes, but it's Monday," Hermione pointed out, confused. Then, she suddenly furrowed her brow. "Is something wrong?"

"No, it's nothing like that," he assured her, taking a few steps toward her as he did so.

"Then why are you here?"

A hesitance coming over at him which was at odds with his typical demeanor, Craig nervously glanced over at Maureen and Elena, who had been walking with Hermione from classes. While the Greek girl looked politely disinterested, Maureen was unabashedly listening to the conversation, obviously and shamelessly curious. The young Auror cleared his throat nervously. "It's a bit...confidential," he explained haltingly. "Something I rather say in a less public setting."

"Well, if you two would excuse us..." Elena tactfully smiled and grabbed hold of Maureen's arm, leading them into the apartment building. "It was nice to see you again, Mr. Shannon."

"Please, call me Craig," he returned jovially.

"Hermione, if you need us, we'll be up in Sarah's room, studying. Okaaaaay?" Maureen added before she was dragged inside by her best friend.

The witch immediately turned her eyes back to her unexpected visitor as soon as the door shut behind her friends. "So, what is it?" she inquired anxiously.

"I told you already, it's nothing bad," he repeated, almost amused by her presupposition. "Not err'thing that has to do with me is bad, y'know. But if ye feel that way, perhaps I should just forget out this."

"Craig!" she admonished. "Just say what you came to say and get on with it."

He nodded, then flashed her a brilliant smile. "Have you plans for this evening?"

Hermione was perplexed by the question, shifting her weight from foot to foot as she considered her answer. "Just some studying. And dinner, of course."

"Then will you have dinner with me?"

She couldn't help herself -- Hermione burst into laughter, earning her dark look from the obviously confused young man.

"That's not the reaction I expected."

"Is that what you wanted to ask me, all this time?" she asked once she'd caught her breath. When he nodded mutely, she giggled. "Craig, we have dinner every week. If you wanted company, why didn't you just say so?"

"That's not what I meant," he explained, gently laying his hand on her arm in the barest of touches. Suddenly, he seemed very serious. "When I asked you to dinner, I meant something different than Friday nights." When she still looked baffled, he added. "I meant it as a date, Hermione."

When the word date finally penetrated through her brain, her eyes widened as she look up at the young man. "Oh....."

Shaking his head, Craig chuckled at her astounded expression as he shook his head. "For a smart girl, Miss Granger, you're a bit dense, sometimes."

"I just never thought..." she foundered to hide her painfully apparent surprise. "I wasn't expecting you to say that!"

Again, he shook his head, shoulders still shaking slightly with self-deprecating laughter. "Well?"

"Well what?" she asked unthinkingly, but was soon reminded by the glare her comment earned her. "Oh, well...."

"It isn't that difficult a question. A yes or no will suffice."

Some part of Hermione wanted to answer 'no' and leave their relationship exactly as it had been for the past few weeks. She liked the dinners she shared with the young Auror and enjoyed the ease of them; she wanted nothing to happen which might ruined that. On the other hand...she wanted to say yes as well. After all, what was wrong with wanting to have dinner with a handsome, intelligent young man and calling it a date?

"Any time now."

"Oh...I...yes." Hermione finally answered, cheeks flushing slightly.

Craig's strong face broke out into an even more brilliant grin. "That's great."

She quickly scrambled up the stairs of the building. "I've just got to drop these books and let my friends know that I'm leaving. I'll be right back."

As Hermione closed the door behind her, she stubbornly ignored a slight twinge form somewhere deep in her heart.


Just as her spontaneous offer for dinner had started a tradition in she and Craig's relationship, her acceptance of his date had altered the dynamics once again. Instead of only seeing him for their regular Friday night 'meetings,' Hermione also saw him several times during the other days of the week, their casual outings ranging dinner to plays to Sunday trips to the park. He had even begun to join them for the Maureen-hosted Karaoke night which the American took great joy in having. As if in answer to the girl's almost-forgotten declaration, her mother had bought her for Christmas a small, portable version of the Karaoke machine which ran on the same magic as the WNN radio. The technology for it, Hermione had been amused to learn, had been developed by industrious Japanese wizards who had imported their product to the United States. And with the machine, Maureen had brought back from America a number of faux-CDs filled with her favorite songs, thus inflicting on her horrible voice and rhythm-less dancing on everyone in the Aldersgate dormitory.

When she had the chance to pause and reflect on her busy life, Hermione had to admit that she was happy, happier than she had ever expected to be with her two best friends far away and a wizarding war slowly escalating to a higher pitch with every passing day. She enjoyed her classes, adored her new friends and loved every minute she spent with Craig, with the notable exception of his Quidditch speech which he teasingly gave whenever she drifted away in her attention. Theirs was an easy relationship, affectionate but not overly emotional or any more serious than goodnight kisses and a few sessions which escalated into something far beyond kissing, but never called upon Hermione to use any of the charms or potions she'd memorized from her Sex Education class. On that fact, the witch was pleasantly surprised with Craig's gentlemanly attitude in allowing her to decide the pace of their physical involvement without any complaint about the slow pace she chose. She was content on all fronts and, except for the never-subsiding worry she carried for her friends and family in England, her life was devoid of much complication.

Much, being a very relative term.

Because every so often, there was something of a twinge in her heart again, a sort of emotional equivalent of a wince, the kind of small smart of pain one might have when accidentally brushing against a healing bruise. It wasn't sharp or unbearable; it was...a twinge.

Hermione was thoroughly disgusted with that accursed twinge because she knew just what caused it.


The fact that the twinge was caused by guilt made her even more irritable. The fact that the guilt was caused by certain feelings her heart harbored with which she did not entirely agree made her furious. Guilt! Over...Snape! It was enough to drive her mad, especially since it was so frustrating. She knew intellectually that her actions were blameless in the matter. It wasn't as if she had any sort of real relationship with him, so there was no crime to her relationship with Craig. Even Dumbledore, she reminded herself, had told her not to cloister herself away and never to allow herself to be confined by the results of the terrible hayam potions lesson.

Unfortunately, she had little sway over her heart and the twinge continued to prick at her conscience. It usually happened in very quiet moments like in the mornings as she readied for classes when she'd catch a shimmer of refracted rainbow dancing across the floor and she'd glance up to see Mnemosyne looking down at her from a high shelf. Or sometimes, the twinge hit her during Potions class as she and Sarah, her highly competent lab partner, were gathering ingredients and she'd hear his rich voice echoing in the back of her mind, repeating the names of the herbs as she read them from the board.

The twinge was strongest, however, when she saw his unmistakable handwriting on a letter and it pained her a little more sharply with every word she read.

Damn bloody twinge. Damn bloody letters. Damn bloody Snape.

She and Snape still corresponded by owl, although the letters had slowly become less formal and more teasing, although the tone remained biting and the sarcasm heavily administered. The first letter of the new term was his, a mocking thank-you for his Christmas present in which he stubbornly refused to comment on his opinion of the wine.

Wines, he had written, like many great things defy mere description. I cannot in this mundane space adequately explain my experience with the vino santo, stuffed between lines of false courtesy and alchemical theory. It would be profane to do so.

Ah, but Professor, she had returned, you offer great injustice to your own preferred profession by such a remark. Or, is "stuffing" a discussion of wine between the odious tasks of dusting and scrubbing somehow less profane than the same between less heady subjects in a letter? For I remember a spirited monologue on your part about the Chianti sent to you by your cousin to be wedged so.

Marcus's Chianti, he wrote back, as you may recall, was so odious in its own right that it should have been used as a cleaning solvent and not an aperitif. Good wine deserves a better stage than either scenario -- cleaning or false courtesy .

So, you admit that it was good?

The letters' topics were not narrowly confined to wine, alchemical theory and false courtesy, either, but a whole range of subjects, much in the way their discussions at Christmas had been. Hermione felt herself much more able to express herself freely and personally than she had during the fall term, as if she had finally integrated her whole personality into her responses, somehow freed by the frank conversations they'd shared.

The only topic which they never discussed was the war, and all things which connected to it, including Hermione's brush with the Death Eaters. Including Craig.

Despite her emotional upheaval, Hermione's second term at Trinity went smoothly in all other aspects, her course load at the perfect but sometimes elusive balance between difficult and interesting. The only real problem she faced academically was the fact that she had one more required standard-level course to complete before she could move ahead to the higher level classes. That hurtle happened to be Divination.

Yes, the dreaded D-word, the class-which-should-be-banished. It had never mattered to Hermione how many successful diviners she'd studied in History of Magic, nor the legitimacy most other granted the imprecise science, there was something about Divination which was too hokey for her. The word itself still conjured up images of "gypsies" in bad wigs and big hoop-earrings at carnivals or a Caribbean woman in traditional African robes flipping tarot cards on television behind a flashing telephone number. It was contrived and worth little as a course of study from her perspective.

It was unfortunate that the professors at Trinity did not share her estimation of the subject. So, on top of her exam schedule and the mountain of term essays she was required to finish, Hermione spent a great deal of time trying to maneuver herself out of a semester's worth of university-level Divination.

Although she did enjoyed exams -- it was twisted, but she really did -- Hermione was as susceptible as all her classmates to the nervous and short tempers which usually accompanied them in that excruciating week during which exams were sat for and lengthy compositions were due. With her added tasks of trying to escape Divination Basics for her next term, the girl was relieved that she still remembered her mother's full name, let alone anything pedantic.

Carolina Viviana Appolonia Scias...


As had happened much too often in the past week, Hermione had drifted off into her own thoughts even as Craig sat next to her, lazily watching her daydream as if it were something fascinating to watch. Chagrined, she shifted against the rough bark of the tree against which she leaned so that she was almost eye-to-eye with him. "I'm sorry, Craig. What were you saying?"

"Well, about three seconds ago, I was talking about my predictions for the next World Cup," he teased, noticing the way she flinched at the use of the 'predictions.' "Before that, though, I was asking about your plans for the summer."

"Oh." Such an intelligent answer, she chastised herself, although she was still discomfited by the import which the seemingly innocuous question carried. She knew that Craig was really wondering if she had any plans over the summer which might involve him.

She felt that twinge again.


"Well...I do have some plans," she answered, desperately wanting to evade the emotional discussion which she knew was inevitable. That damned twinge had gotten too painful to bear and since summer would find him in Ireland and she not...

"I'm going to spend a few weeks with my parents," she revealed, keeping her eyes calmly focused on the green blur of the manicured park landscape directly in front of her. "Then, my friend is graduating from Hogwarts, so I'll be going there for that...and then, I've got some independent coursework to finish before the Fall."

"I see," he nodded, his voice grave against her ears. Worried, she couldn't stop herself from stealing a glance at his profile and noticing the uncharacteristically serious look on his face. As the silence stretched out between them, she shifted her seating position, as if the ground had suddenly become too hard for her to bear. "Can I ask you a question, Hermione?"

"Of course," she nodded instantly. Truth was something she could certainly handle, at least when it came to Craig.

"Is there someone else?"

" -- just what are you implying!?" she sputtered, now staring at him with a half-enraged, half-shocked expression.

Although he was visibly upset, he managed a weak grin at the look he saw on her face. "Don't get your knickers in a twist, old girl," he chuckled. "I didn't think you were two-timing me like that. I just meant...was there someone else back home, waiting for you?"

"I...uh....well..." Sometimes, truth wasn't as simple as Hermione would have liked. Sighing, she steeled herself to give as near as the truth as she could manage. "Sort of, I guess."

Craig raised an eyebrow at that. "Care to explain?"

"Well..." She crossed her arms and frowned thoughtfully. "Do you want the simple truth or the very complicated truth?"

"I'll go for the complicated," he drawled as he settled himself against her, as if readying for a long chat. "Seeing as how I know how you love to talk."

Sparing him a cursory indignant glare, Hermione brushed her hands idly against her jeans in a motion of preparation. "There is someone... "back home" ... in the sense that I had -- feelings? -- for someone before I came to Trinity."

"Someone from your old school?"

"Yes," she answered, grateful that his question was so easily answered honestly. "But he never -- will -- feel? -- the same way as I, do. So, I had hoped to move on and get over it all. I'm sorry," she added as an afterthought. "I didn't mean to do this to you."

She expected ome kind of strong emotion from him after her confession but received a shrug of his shoulders against her leg and a sigh. "For a smart girl, Miss Granger, you're a bit dense, sometimes."

"I beg your pardon?"

Craig pulled himself up until he was looking directly at her. "I can tell you've haven't dated much before."


He laughed again, shaking his head. "Hermione, it was pretty obvious from the onset of this thing of ours that you weren't...emotionally invested, I guess. I mean, I expected it to change...I hoped it would change, but...I'm not an idiot."

"Oh." Right articulate of you, Hermione, she growled at herself mentally, although she wasn't certain how to respond to Craig's comment.

"So..." he looked away from her and fastened his very blue eyes on the same hedgerow she had. "I guess this is goodbye -- romantically speaking, of course."

"Yes," she agreed, seeing surprisingly lighter now that the decision had been reached. She noticed crossly that she felt no twinge of guilt for her treatment of Craig. "Does that mean you'll still be on baby-sitting duty next term?"

"I don't know," he returned truthfully. "But, even if I'm not, you're still my friend. This partin' of the ways isn't going to change that. Even if you are a shameless flirtin' tease to do me so wrong all this time."

Nothing could have stopped it; Hermione threw her head back and laughed, Craig joining in with his own raucous chuckle so loudly that passers-by gave them strange looks until they quieted to a low roar.

"You're a decent guy, Craig," she observed sincerely between giggles as she rose to her feet to brush off the dirt which clung to the fabric of her jeans.

"I know," he told her smugly as he looked up at her, running a hand through his hair in an unknowingly perfect mimic of Draco Malfoy. "Too bad you're too daft to notice."


Nostalgia swept over Hermione as she stood with most of the Weasleys and Harry as they milled around the Great Hall after Ginny's graduation. Although she had returned since her own graduation, Hermione had had little time or presence of mind to appreciate the atmosphere of Hogwarts during her stay over the Christmas holiday. As much as she had come to like Trinity and Ireland, her heart still belonged to the ancient boarding school first and foremost.

It had been three weeks since her talk with Craig and a fortnight since she had concluded her exams before traveling home to visit her mother and father. Her marks on her exams had been close to flawless and she had come to an agreement with her mentor over the nasty Divination fiasco. She departed from Trinity with nothing but fond memories of the term and the young man she left behind, very much in contrast to the way she'd felt at the end of her fall term.

"Congratulations!" she squealed among the other half-dozen remarks which flew at Ginny as she appeared from within the mass of bodies, a huge grin on her face as she accepted hug after hug from her family and friends. "I knew you could do it!" Hermione told her as she threw her arms around the young girl.

"It's so hard to believe, I'm finished!" Ginny laughed giddily as she pulled away. "It still seems a bit unreal."

"Give it time," Ron advised, slapping her affectionately on the back. "You'll get used to it."

Abandoning her friend to the merciless teasing of her brothers, Hermione waded through the crowds, slowly moving away from the tell-tale cluster of redheads. Noticing a flash of tartan amidst the robes, she pushed her way to Professor McGonagall's side.

"Hermione," exclaimed the professor, smiling as her protégé reached her. "I knew I'd see you eventually, although in this crowd..."

She nodded amiably. "Yes, it does seem larger than last year's. I didn't realize that there were so many more students a year below me."

"The classes seem to get larger every year," McGonagall offered, looking around. "Let's hope that there aren't any reasons for that to change in the future." As if to hurry past the implications of that comment, McGonagall continued, "How was your time with your parents?"

"Fine," answered she, smiling. "My mother wanted me to stay at home a bit more this summer, but she finally stopped protesting about two days after I came home."

"I hope that you're prepared for the challenges ahead of you," the professor told her, trying gamely to use her no-nonsense classroom voice, although there was a hint of a smile on her face.

"Of course, Professor," Hermione told her mock-seriously. She held up her wrist to display the gold bracelet with the tiny star charms. "Very prepared."

"I see," the older woman returned. "That's good to hear. I worried that university life had spoiled you."

At that, Hermione laughed. "Never," she assured her.

Scanning the crowds, McGonagall did offer something related to a satisfied half-smile when she espied one of her fellow instructors scowling menacingly at everyone within a meter radius of where he stood. "It looks as if Severus still hasn't managed to disappear from the festivities. And he looks very...displeased...with that fact."

Following the professor's line of vision, Hermione turned to see Snape, just as she remembered him with his dark robes and even darker expression. His posture was stiff and tense, as if he waited for something horrible to happen at each turn of a body in the throng of graduates and well-wishers. As she watched him glare at a passing student, she felt that twinge that had bothered her all semester spring to life again only to take on the form of a pang, the sort usually found in badly written Harlequin romance novels.

Damn bloody pang.

"I think you find his....displeasure...very funny," the young woman accused her former instructor playfully.

"As a matter of fact, I do," McGonagall told her, mirth dancing in her eyes as they shared an amused chuckle.

Her own eyes bright with mischief, Hermione excused herself and strode purposely toward the source of their amusement who still stood against the wall, casting longing glances toward the entrance hall which offered escape from the celebration. Once at his side, she promptly spoke. "Good afternoon, Professor."

He glanced at her quickly, then sighed dramatically. "Miss Granger," he drawled. "I should have known. Wherever Potter and Weasely are, you are certain to be close at hand." He nodded in the direction of the hard-to-miss patch of red-haired heads marred by one unruly dark mop of hair.

She raised an eyebrow at his tortured expression. "Don't look so pained," she advised. "Or I might be persuaded to bring Harry over here for a chat. I know how much you'd enjoy that."

"Hmmm," he returned, his deep voice betraying no more emotion than his stoic face. When she made no move to leave him, he rolled his eyes. "Was there something you wanted or have you simply tired with bothering everyone else?"

"As a matter of fact, I was wondering if you had any plans for the summer," she told him, trying to hide her growing amusement behind a façade of cheerfulness. Although his manner was as harsh as it had always been, something inside her made impossible for her to take it personally.

"And what would my plans have to do with you, Miss Granger?"

"I thought that they might be similar," she espoused breezily. "And I was hoping that I could schedule a appropriate time and place for what promises to be an almost spiritual pontification on that vino santo."

Something which might have been amusement flickered in his eyes as he answered. "Pity, because unless your plans involve Hogwarts and dedicated research, then I doubt that our paths will cross for such an opportunity."

"Actually, that works out quite well, seeing as how I'm spending my summer here."


His surprise was evident in the exclamation which drew the attention of several people within earshot.

"I knew you'd be pleased," she grinned at him, obviously amused. "You see, I've arranged with Professor Dumbledore to stay here and work on an independent study. I also have to finish some work with Professor McGonagall."


"It will be wonderful," she promised him teasingly. "And now I hope that you will find time in your schedule for that discussion about the wine. I know that it will be difficult to admit that you're wrong,'ll be an enlightening experience in the end. Especially for you."

"Miss Granger..." he began warningly, shooting her a dark glare that she hadn't seen since she had been a student.

"Miss Granger!" Dumbledore's timely appearance spared her from whatever waspish comment which Snape had planned to make. He smiled at both the Potions Master and the young woman before motioning toward a spot of bright red hair in the sea of people. "I do believe that the Weasleys are preparing to leave. Perhaps you'd like to go say your goodbyes?"

"Yes, I think I shall," she nodded, glancing over at the family gathered near the doors of the Great Hall. "I'll talk to you later about my project, Professor?"

"Of course," he agreed. "Tomorrow."

With a parting glance over her shoulder, she melted into the crowds, wading through the celebrants to reach Harry and the Weasleys.

"Having a nice time, Severus?" Dumbledore inquired in his characteristic much-too-innocent tone of voice which made Snape scowl even more.

"No," he answered honestly. "I can't imagine why you expressed the hopes that I'd remain here for the duration."

"No one has ever been irrevocably damaged by attending a graduation," the headmaster assured him. "I daresay you'll survive."

Snape didn't answer, knowing that it would do him little good to argue with the elder wizard. Instead he ran his eyes over the crowds, sneering at any student who dared turn a timid eye to where he stood. Without any provocation, his gaze was drawn to where Hermione was speaking animatedly with her friends, waving her arms in sync with whatever words she spoke to emphasize her message. With every toss of her head, her voluminous hair fell in erratic torrents around her, into her face and tangling around her waving limbs. There was some humorous and captivating in the methodic cycle of head toss, tangle, and the inevitable disentangle which would invariably be followed by another head toss, and Snape found himself watching as she repeated the steps once again.

"-- and it will be interesting to have Miss Granger spending the summer here with us," Dumbledore was saying as Snape broke away from his observations. "I know that I'll enjoy slipping into the role of mentor once again, if only for a few months."

Snape raised an eyebrow at the headmaster's comment as he doggedly fixed his attention onto the older wizard. "And exactly what is Miss Granger studying for this independent study which requires your services as a mentor?"

"Divination," he replied. "It seems as if she's made an agreement with her mentor at Trinity which will allow her to substitute a full length study overseen by a reputable instructor -- which qualifies me, I think -- for the usual requirement of taking a basic-level Divination class. Quite clever of her, wasn't it?"

"Why isn't Sibyl overseeing her project?"

"Alas, she and Professor Trelawny have differing philosophies when it comes to Divination," Dumbledore explained, eyes twinkling. "So I was honored to offer my services. I doubt much will be required of me since she's such a capable student."

"I see," Snape said, a downturn of his already grimly-set mouth displaying his further displeasure. "Capable isn't the word, Albus."

Dumbledore laughed jovially, his whole frame shaking from the action. "You shouldn't speak so highly of her, Severus," he deadpanned once he had ceased laughing. After a moment he added, "It might give someone the impression that you actually care."

By that time, however, Snape's attention had once again focused itself on observing Hermione as she bid farewell to the Weasleys and anyone watching him would have recognized the glower on his face as he watched his former student swamped with attention from her two oldest friends as the glare he had specially reserved for particularly distasteful things like melting cauldrons and corrosive potions accidents.

Heart Over Mind

A Harry Potter Story
by Regann

Part 10 of 27

<< Previous     Home     Next >>