Continuing Tales

Just Let it Happen

A Harry Potter Story
by La. Bel. LM

Part 18 of 35

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Just Let It Happen

Hermione crept stealthily around the side of the cottage, pressed so tightly against the wall that the stone dug painfully into her shoulder. She had to get to the window, to see what was happening, assess her next step.

Hermione gave a slight jump of surprise every time a spell flew particularly close to the glass and illuminated the courtyard with a colorful flash. All too often that color was green, and Hermione's heart began to ache as she found herself faced with a terrible thought. All it took was one — just one — spell to hit its mark and Severus Snape would be gone forever.

Hermione shook her head. Can't think about that now, she argued firmly. Got to find a way inside.

A few more hops, and at last she reached the edge of the window, allowing her to see inside, albeit just barely. Only half of the room was visible, but Snape happened to be included in that half. He was backed up against the far corner, ducked behind his favorite armchair with his wand arm throwing spells so quickly, Hermione had a hard time distinguishing where one spell ended and another began. There was a large gash just above Snape's left eyebrow that was bleeding freely and partially blinded him with a steady, red stream. There were also dozens of holes all over his shirt and jeans where he had clearly made some very close encounters with unknown but dangerous curses.

From what Hermione could tell, there were at least three Death Eaters down — either dead or unconscious she didn't know (nor did she care to know). One was slumped over the back of the couch nearest the window, and his squat, hulky form reminded Hermione very strongly of Crabbe. All she could see of the other two Death Eaters were a pair of unmoving legs sticking out from beneath an ottoman, and then a cloaked, crumpled heap by the fireplace.

Streaks of green light continued to zip about the room. Hermione felt her little rabbit heart patter a frantic tandem against her chest as she watched Snape just barely manage to avoid each curse in time.

At last, Snape shot his arm out from behind the armchair and aimed a well-placed flick of his wand, which, from what Hermione could hear (with her newly sensitive ears), seemed to have caused one of the Death Eater's robes to burst into flames. Immediately another cloaked figure came into view, wand out and cocked ominously, but Snape was ready for that one too. He waved his arm again and sent a small china vase soaring across the room where it shattered spectacularly on the back of the Death Eater's head. Without wasting another second, Snape then followed up with a thick jet of red light that blasted directly into the masked face, and then the man (or woman) crumpled to the ground.

Before Hermione could even begin to process this victory, two more Death Eaters appeared out of nowhere to take their fallen teammate's place, and Snape once again found himself crouched tightly against the back of the chair. Yet another two cloaked figures came into view as well and Hermione felt the pit of her stomach give a horrible, nasty lurch. There were four of them now, steadily advancing on Snape.

And Snape was getting tired.

Hermione could see the sweat matting his dark hair to his forehead, the blood that was now caked to the side of his face, and the way that every swish of his wand seemed to be getting slower, and slower, and—

Suddenly, Hermione heard the sitting room doors burst open, followed by a multitude of footsteps — which she could only assume belonged to the Death Eaters from the upper floor. Then someone spoke.

"Don't kill him, yet," sounded a deep, chilling voice.

Hermione felt her very whiskers curl with fright. It was Frend.

All of the Death Eaters currently advancing on Snape turned to look at the new arrivals, and Snape, like any self-respecting Slytherin, used this distraction to his full advantage by taking down two more robed figures with expertly aimed jets of red light.

"That's enough, Severus," Frend snapped as the remaining Death Eaters backed a few steps away from Snape's hiding place, glancing nervously around the room as though just noticing how many unmoving bodies there actually were. "You know you can't win. All you're doing now is delaying the inevitable."

Hermione watched as Snape slumped against the back of the chair, breathing heavily, his brow furrowed and his left eye sealed shut with dried blood. His wand arm fell to his side, shaking with exhaustion.

Hermione's entire body ached for him, ached to help him, but all she could do was sit against the wall, paralyzed by fear.

As another second ticked by, and Hermione continued to watch as Snape sat there, leaning against the chair, trembling and sweating, in pain, in peril, she remembered what he had told her all those long weeks ago in the dungeons bellow the church. She concentrated, steeled herself, and then reached very carefully within herself and found her resolve, her secret stash of courage.

Can I even do magic in Animagus form? Hermione thought as she clenched the wand even tighter in her mouth. She was probably leaving teeth marks. I need to open the window. I need to get inside. I need a spell to get inside, but how do I cast it?

Finally, knowing that there wasn't much else to do but try, Hermione closed her eyes, gave her head a funny little flick, and then thought a spell as hard as she could at the window.

At first nothing happened; her wand simply emitted a few, feeble blue sparks and nothing more. A split second later, the large window gave a long, high-pitched, ominous squeak, and then shattered into a million little pieces.

Brilliant, Hermione, she thought fearfully as everyone within the sitting room became very, very quiet.

She heard the sound of approaching footsteps, glass crunching beneath booted heels. She had to exercise every ounce of self-restraint to keep from bolting as fast as she could in the opposite direction. Her little rabbit paws were twitching and quivering, but she stood firm, unsure of what to do, yet knowing that running away was not the answer. The footsteps continued to draw closer, and Hermione found herself wondering if she had enough time to transform back into herself and ambush whoever was approaching. But before she could reach a decision, the Death Eater currently sprawled over the couch nearest to her gave a huge groan and sat up, rubbing his head.

There was a slight pause, and then, "Was that you, Crabbe?" said someone from out of Hermione's line of vision. It sounded like Lucius Malfoy. "You blundering oaf, watch what you're doing!" he hissed. "Unless you want to bring the whole damned house down on our heads."

The still fully masked Crabbe looked around slowly as though trying very, very hard to understand exactly what had just happened. He turned his head towards the shattered window, and Hermione pressed herself tighter against the side of the house, hardly daring to breathe.

"Hm," he grumbled darkly, still rubbing his head. "Foot must've slipped, I s'pose."

As Crabbe Sr. pulled himself ungracefully to his feet, Hermione chanced a glance in Snape's direction, her heart leaping into her throat as she saw that he was now looking directly at her.

…Or was he?

In usual Snape fashion, his face betrayed nothing. Hermione had the feeling that he had not seen her, but was instead paying attention to the recently opened window. Was he thinking about escape?

Yes, Hermione urged him silently. Please, Professor, don't be brave, don't take a stand — just run away. Please, just run away.

As though he could hear her very thoughts, Snape shifted his weight, tucking his legs beneath him into a crouch as though preparing to spring forward. But just when it seemed he was about to go for it, a blast of orange light exploded into the armchair in front of him and sent it hurtling out the window, where it whizzed mere inches from Hermione's trembling pink nose.

Hermione could barely see anything through all the smoke from the explosion. She heard a few yells — one of them unmistakably Snape's — and then another muffled crash as what sounded like a body thudded hard to the floor.

Finally, the smoke cleared, and the first thing that Hermione saw was Snape lying face down on the singed carpet, his arms and legs bound cruelly behind him with thick ropes.

The second thing she saw was the hulking form of Turnus Frend, standing just beside Snape's body. His tall frame looked bigger and broader than ever in the flickering light of the fireplace as he loomed over his captive. His wand was out and pointed directly at the back of Snape's head.

"Alright," Frend barked. "Enough of that rubbish." He glanced briefly over his shoulder. "You can all come out now, little girls. Professor isn't a threat anymore."

There was an explosion of indignant responses from the Death Eaters, but Frend cut them off sharply.

"Where are Black and the girl—Did they Portkey out?"

"Yes," came a gruff reply.

"Fine. The Dark Lord is already waiting for them at their destination. Once he finishes them off, he will join us here."

Snape snapped his head up, his face pinched and white, and let out a very low, strangled sound of distress.

Hermione gave out her own nervous squeak as well. Oh no – Sirius!

Frend merely laughed. "Frightened for your girlfriend, Professor?" He gave the back of Snape's head a cruel prod with his wand. "Well, perhaps you should have been smarter, perhaps you should pay more attention to the pets you allow into your home."

Hermione's thoughts were doing somersaults in her head. Pets? What does that mean? The only animal we... we ever… Oh, he couldn't be. Hermione looked through the window, but she wasn't seeing the sitting room — instead she was remembering a particular pair of unsettling blue eyes. Ones that were sharp and icy, cold, bottomless, empty. How could she not have recognized them? Turnus Frend had been the owl the entire time. It didn't seem possible.

Snape seemed to be doing his own bit of thinking as well. His body was very still, so still in fact that he looked as though he were frozen in time. His breathing was calm again and his good eye was open and alert. "Explain," he growled into the carpet.

"Why should I?" Frend replied, smiling. He was clearly enjoying having one of the Wizarding World's most dangerous men at his mercy.

Snape offered no reply. He simply lay there, bound and helpless, yet with a stony calm that Hermione couldn't help but admire.

Frend began to circle Snape, much like a vulture spying its next meal. "Suppose I tell you," he hissed, his dark eyebrows raised, his wide mouth still twisted into a sardonic smile. "Suppose I tell you just how stupid you — AH!" Frend cut himself off with a hiss, and, along with every other occupant in the room, slapped a hand to his right forearm.

Snape, unable to perform this action, merely jerked and scrunched up his face into a clear expression of discomfort.

"The signal," Frend snapped, turning to face the mass of robed figures behind him. "The Dark Lord must be facing resistance."

"Who should go to his aid?" said a tall figure in the back, turning his masked face nervously from side to side.

"All of you," Frend replied instantly. "All of you must go."

"What about…" One of the Death Eaters in the front row gestured feebly to the two unconscious heaps on either side of the sitting room (the most recent two Death Eaters Snape had downed had already been revived by their fellows).

"Leave them," Frend snapped. "Rosier's dead." He indicated the pair of legs sticking out from beneath the ottoman. "And Travers is…" Frend walked over and nudged the bundle of robes by the fireplace with his toe. "…incapacitated, to say the least. In any case, they can't help. So go! All of you!"

The man whose voice sounded like Lucius Malfoy stepped forward. "And who will remain with Snape? You? I think we all should have the chance to take our turn at—"

"The Dark Lord would only call if the situation were truly perilous, Malfoy." Frend sneered and gestured to Snape's prostrate form. "Clearly I have the situation under control — so, yes, I will stay. After what I've been through in the past few weeks, I think I deserve it. Besides, you couldn't bring him down with eight of you all together. I shudder to think what would happen if just one of you were left alone with him."

Lucius Malfoy made no move to go, his wand still raised, furious at being ordered around. A moment later, a smaller robed figure pushed through the others and put a hand on Mr. Malfoy's arm.

"Leave it, Lucius," the figure pleaded, tugging on his sleeve. It was Mrs. Malfoy.

"Foreign scum," Mr. Malfoy eventually growled, but lowered his wand and turned away. "Let's go, then!" he snapped viciously at those surrounding him as he stormed out the door. "We must answer our Master's call."

Within seconds, all of the robed figures — save the bodies of Rosier and Travers — filed out of the room, and soon Hermione looked up to see several dark figures zoom by overhead, whether on broomsticks or not, she couldn't tell. Then she turned her full attention back to the sitting room.

"Where was I?" Frend purred.

"Revealing the wonders of your master plan, I believe," Snape snarled from the floor.

Frend chuckled. "If I were you, Professor, I would be a little more grateful."

"And how the bloody hell do you figure that?"

"Because I could just let you sit here, wondering how I did it all — hating yourself for not being clever enough to figure it out." Frend crouched down so that he could look Snape in the eyes. "But then I wouldn't get to see your face when I told you who was really responsible for giving you away."

Hermione's breathing all but stopped entirely and she stretched out her long ears as far as she could, focusing every inch of her attention on Frend's next words.

Snape merely stared back impassively. "Well?" he growled simply.

Frend stood upright again, taking a moment to roll his wand lazily between his fingers. "Do you know — it was actually by chance that I even found you at all. There I was, sitting in my office, wondering if I would ever hear from you again, when who should appear but my informant at the Ministry — yes, I have my own informants. At first I thought he had merely come to tell me of his failure — after all, you do disappear so well, Severus, and I was all ready to deal out the appropriate punishment…Then he told me something that I did not expect.

"He knew where you were, Professor. Exactly where you were — down to the very square-foot. Do you know how he knew this?"

"I haven't a clue," Snape deadpanned. Hermione could see his hands moving almost imperceptibly behind his back. He was trying to free the ropes.

Keep him talking, Hermione urged silently. Keep him distracted — you can do it. If only Snape were closer to the window, she might be able to sneak up and gnaw off the ropes herself. Maybe she could cast a disillusion charm. The room was dark enough — perhaps her shadow would go unnoticed. Convinced now that it was probably the best plan she was going to get, Hermione crept slowly backwards along the wall, out of sight of the window. She was just about to transform back into herself in order to perform the disillusion spell, when Frend said something that made her stop instantly in her tracks.

"Hermione Granger," Frend's slippery voice sounded through the night. "A Miss Hermione Jean Granger's wand had been used, several times… and not on Hogwarts Grounds. I couldn't believe my ears — a wand slip, Severus? You? I had thought that surely setting up radar on your wands would be a waste of time, that surely you would have warned that Muggle filth to take proper precautions, and that surely by the time I arrived where you were hiding, you would have realized her mistake and been long gone…"

Hermione's mind raced and raced to figure out what Frend was talking about. When had she used her wand? Had someone else used it? Had Sirius used it? The only time she could remember even holding her wand was when… Hermione stifled a gasp. That night. That night she had the nightmare about Snape being tortured. That night she had thought that Voldemort was in the house.

Hermione's eyes widened. She had used her wand against Snape's door. He had erected some sort of wandless wards that kept her out (perhaps much like the invisible walls in the dungeons below the church), but she had used her wand — without even giving it a second thought.

Even in rabbit form Hermione could feel her eyes prick with tears. How could she have been so stupid?

For a moment, Hermione was glad she was out of sight of the window, so that she couldn't see the look on Snape's face. But Frend could, and judging by the delight in his voice, he was enjoying it.

"I suppose she didn't tell you, then, did she? Naughty girl, lying to you like that. But, honestly, Sev, she's a Mudblood — you should've known better."

I didn't lie! Hermione screamed in her head. I didn't tell you because I didn't know!

There was a long pause. Snape did not respond.

So Frend continued. "Even then, I thought it was a waste of time, I thought that you would be gone… but I was wrong. I went to the location my informant had given me, and I found this cottage. It was unplottable, of course, but your girlfriend's little slip gave me exact coordinates, so it didn't even matter — what a waste! I found you in seconds! However, once I was here, I discovered that there were wards, powerful wards, against enemies. Perhaps even you were unaware of their complexity. In any case, I could not come within fifty yards of the place. But I was determined to get inside. I could have called for the others, but what good would they have done me? None of them have an Animagus form, and they would only draw attention, only get in the way. Now that I had found you, I couldn't bear it if you caught on and escaped again. So I waited.

"I was just about to give up when I saw that you were receiving owls. Mail, Severus! The Daily Prophet, for Merlin's sake! It was then that I realized I could trick the house into letting me in. With a newspaper in hand, I would no longer appear to be a suspicious enemy, but a delivery bird. Then the blizzard came, and I almost failed, unsure if a Prophet owl would even fly in such weather. But once again, I got lucky. The bird came. I killed it, took its paper, and then just… soared right through those worthless wards as easy as you please."

"So what stopped you, then?" Snape said suddenly, his voice sounding strange, angry. "If you were already in the house, what stopped you from attacking!"

"Oh, Severus," Frend tutted in response. "You must have gathered by now that I never do anything until I know that I will get something out of it first. I had to make sure that you cared for the girl. I had to make sure that she would be a weakness for you. I picked up a hint of it the first moment I saw you two together — but I must admit, Severus, you are a devilish hard bugger to read, and I wanted to be absolutely certain that she was a liability for you. So, as disgusting as it was, I cozzied up to that Muggle-born rat, hoping that if she thought fondly of me, the wards would not recognize my true intentions and expel me from the house — after all, I was a delivery bird no longer. Once I was inside, I found those wards much easier to figure out, and day by day, I began to disable them."

Frend paused. The next time he spoke his voice was noticeably more irritated. "But you and that brat played one hell of a game with each other, I must say. Her feelings for you, Professor, were undeniable — she was always looking after you with that nauseating expression on her face, like a love-sick puppy. But you betrayed very little. I had the idea that she meant something to you — but I was not sure if that something was strong enough to undo you. Then, one day, what did I find in her room but a letter… from you. She kept it under her pillow — isn't that sweet? I'm sure you already know what it says, so I won't bore you with the details. Needless to say, I had found my proof. I knew you cared for her, she for you, and I was all ready to present this evidence to our — to my — Master and claim my just reward. Only, quite unexpectedly, I found out something else… Did you know that your dratted little apprentice was brewing, Severus?"

Hermione gulped.

"Did you know what she was brewing? Well I did… to a point, anyway. And I was very curious. I decided to wait a bit longer — to see where this potion went, and if it might prove useful to me. Admittedly, she got quite far, for a Mudblood, and I was starting to feel hopeful. But then Sirius Black found out about your perverted romance and had to wreck it all! He threatened to go to Dumbledore, and I couldn't have that. So then—"

"I know what you did then, you slimy bast—"


Hermione leapt nearly a foot in the air as Frend shouted the spell and Snape's clipped yelp of pain echoed out into the night.

"How does it feel, Severus?" Frend crowed over Snape's screams. "Knowing what a blundering idiot you saved — what a lying, dim-witted little Mudblood you sacrificed your entire identity for! All this because of a simple wand slip, it's embarrassing! Crucio!"

As Frend continued to heap abuse, both verbal and physical, upon Snape, Hermione tried in vain to block out the screams and concentrate instead on the task at hand. Now that Snape was undoubtedly writhing on the floor in pain, she knew that there was no way she would be able to gnaw his ropes free without Frend noticing — disillusion charm or not. Then again, now that Frend was by himself and there were no other Death Eaters to get in the way (assuming that Travers remained 'incapacitated'), was it too much to hope that perhaps she could take him by surprise? She didn't even have to go through the window — now that everyone was gone, she could go around the house and in through the front door.

Hermione winced as Snape let out another muffled cry.

Well, whatever she was going to do, she needed to do it fast. Not only to spare Snape Frend's cruel torture, but also because — Merlin forbid! — Voldemort himself could show up at any minute. And if he did show up, that meant that Sirius was dead — and possibly others whom she cared for as well, if Voldemort and his followers were facing "resistance."

One step at a time, Hermione told herself, stubbornly blocking out all thoughts about the battle she knew must be going on somewhere in Hogsmeade at that very moment.

Still in Animagus from, Hermione then turned and sprinted as fast as she could around the outside of the cottage and up the front steps. As silent as a shadow, she flew through the open door, down a dark hallway, and then another. She skidded to a halt just outside the double doors of the sitting room, which, unfortunately, were only slightly cracked. A quickly as she dared, Hermione nosed her way through the small opening, praying that the hinges wouldn't creak and give her away — though, between Frend's taunting and Snape's outcries of pain (which tugged viciously at her heartstrings), she probably could have flung the doors wide open and no one would have heard.

"Can you believe the Granger bitch broke my leg?" Frend was saying now, bent low over Snape's writhing body so he could dig the point of his wand into his ribcage. "The Dark Lord wouldn't let me put it right for two days as punishment for letting you escape. You couldn't fathom the pain."

Hermione scampered quickly from the doorway and dove back behind a small sofa. She had to pass very close to Rosier's body on the way, and she nearly fainted when she saw that his eyes were open and looking directly at her. But they were glazed and empty. He's dead, she reassured herself. Though it wasn't much of a reassurance. She couldn't help but wonder if it was Snape who had killed him, or a wayward spell from one of his own comrades. She didn't really care to know.


Hermione gritted her teeth and peeked out to see Snape jerking back and forth on the rug, his hands and legs still tied, Frend still jabbing him viciously with his wand.

She needed to act fast. She needed to act now.

Taking a deep, shuddering breath, Hermione ducked back into her hiding place and tried as hard as she possibly could to focus on her transformation. If she was going to attack Frend, she would need every advantage she could get — and that meant a hand to hold her wand and a voice to say her spells.

It took a much longer time than she would have hoped to block out the screaming. After much frustration and wrestling with her nerves, Hermione eventually managed to reach the state of calm that she needed in order to transform back into her rightful form. She became herself again.

"So… do they… tease you?"

Both Frend and Hermione seemed to be equally surprised that Snape was in any condition to talk.

Frend recovered his surprise quickly. "What do you mean?" he asked, most of the amusement gone from his voice. "Tease me about what?"

Snape paused a moment to regain his breath before speaking. "About getting your arse kicked by a little girl."

An explosion of conflicting emotions ignited instantly within Hermione. One was sheer pleasure at hearing the pride in Snape's voice, but the other was anger at him for provoking Frend when he was clearly in no position to do so. Severus, you idiot, Hermione thought, closing her eyes in anticipation of Frend's inevitable outburst.

She did not have to wait long.

There was a loud grunt and sharp crack as Frend's foot connected solidly with the front of Snape's face. Blood gushed instantly from his nose and pooled on the carpet beneath his head as Frend made a loud noise of outrage.

"Not funny now, is it!" There was another solid thud and answering grunt as Frend kicked Snape hard in the stomach.

Go! Hermione heard herself command through her shock. While he's distracted! This is it! You have to go!

And with that, Hermione stood from her hiding place as quickly and silently as she could. Taking a deep breath, she raised her wand, prepared the word she needed at the front of her mouth, and was just about to let it out, when Snape caught sight of her between Frend's legs… and gasped.

Snape realized his mistake instantly and schooled his expression, but the damage was done.

Frend turned around just as Hermione began the necessary wand movements. Right as she cried "STUPEFY!" Frend flicked his wand, and her spell died harmlessly in the air.

Frend laughed, utter shock apparent on his face. "What a surprising snake you are! Have you been hiding here this whole time, you filthy thing?"

"Stupif—" Hermione tried again, but Frend was far too quick.

"Incendio!" he hissed.

Hermione shrieked and ducked back down behind the sofa as an enormous fireball suddenly erupted out of the tip of Frend's wand. She was blown backwards from the impact as the couch burst into flames. But she scrambled back up again quicker than a flash. Without wasting a single moment, she tore off towards one of the two remaining armchairs for cover.

"Stupif — Immobulu — Expelliarm—" Hermione threw hex after hex over her shoulder as she ran, but each time the spell died in her mouth — Frend blocked everything, and did so with an effortless ease that sent thrills of fear through Hermione's body. She was hopelessly out-matched; it was clear that Frend was merely toying with her.

Meanwhile, Snape struggled harder than ever at his bindings. "Granger, you stupid twit!" he shouted over the noise of their battle. "Get out of here!"


Hermione leapt aside again as the chair she had just come to hide behind split completely in half with one almighty rip. Through a shower of feathers and little pieces of fabric, she took off again towards the other side of the room.

She was seized with an idea. Waving her wand wildly as she ran, Hermione pointed to one of the large bookcases on the wall and shouted "Accio bookshelf!" For once, Frend did not respond quickly enough. He turned around just as the thick plank of wood slammed into the side of his face with a loud, hideous crack, and then he crumpled to the ground, cradling his head.

"You're dead, Mudblood!" Frend growled into his palms.

Hermione was halfway across the room when her foot caught unexpectedly on something heavy and she tumbled to the floor. It was Travers's body. Now that she was up close, Hermione could see what had made him so incapacitated. His eyes were gone, as though they had been literally ripped from their sockets, and his whole face was bruised and bloody. Had a spell done that? Whose spell had it been? With another shriek of terror, Hermione wrenched herself away and scrambled back to her feet.

Frend was back on his feet as well.

Trying to ignore the image of Travers's mutilated face and of who might be responsible, Hermione ran as fast and as hard as she could for the chair. Just as she slid behind it on her knees, Frend finally regained his composure and shouted, "Avada Kedavra!"

The white-hot wind of the spell passed just inches from Hermione's face. The proximity of it sent painful shockwaves throughout her entire body, like a sonic blast that jarred the very marrow of her bones. She could hear a sharp ringing in her ears, and something warm and sticky began to dribble steadily down her chin.

Hermione reached up to find that her nose was bleeding, profusely. Her vision swam sickeningly as she looked down at her fingers coated in blood, and the thick red blotches already gathering on the carpet beneath her.

"You can't kill her, Frend!" Snape was yelling. "The Dark Lord forbids it!"

"Shut up!" Frend snarled back, his left hand still cradling the side of his swollen face.

Hermione's own head felt like it was about to split in two. Every joint in her body ached like it was on fire, as though the shockwave from the spell had made them swell almost to bursting. That had been close. Far too close. But it didn't matter, because any second Frend was going to say the curse again and there was no way that she was going to get away this time. She could barely even hold her wand anymore, let alone run about the room; her body was shaking so badly. Help me, Severus, Hermione wanted to cry, but she knew that he couldn't. She knew that he was just as trapped and hurt as she was.

"Reducto! Incarcerous!"

With a quick one-two, Frend obliterated the armchair in an explosion of springs and fabric, and shot thick ropes out of the tip of his wand.

Hermione grunted with pain as the ropes bound her hands and legs roughly behind her, causing her to fall face first onto the carpet.

Frend was on her in an instant, grabbing hold of her and dragging her cruelly across the room by her hair. He threw her against the smoking remains of the sofa.

"Wh-what are you going to—" Hermione began to stammer. Frend cut her off with a quick kick to the gut. Then he leaned down and maneuvered her ropes so that her legs were still tied but stuck straight out in front of her.

"Time for a little pay-back," he hissed, pointing his wand directly at Hermione's exposed left calf. Then, without any further warning, he hissed, "Osfrangio!" and Hermione screamed as she felt her shinbone shatter.

"You coward!" Snape spat savagely. "You bloody coward!"

Hermione's vision swam as the whole world seemed to lurch and heave beneath her. The pain was incredible, shooting up and down her leg in sharp, rhythmic spasms. Any second, she knew she was going to pass out. But one thing kept her hanging onto consciousness. One thing kept her clinging stubbornly on with tooth and nail. Her wand was still in her hand. Frend did not notice that she still had her weapon. Despite the blazing pain in her joints, Hermione tightened her slipping grip and prepared herself to keep fighting. She would not give up, even if it killed her. Even though it probably would kill her.

Perhaps this determination showed on her face, or perhaps it was simply by chance, but just then, Snape said the one thing that Frend needed to hear. "Tired of me already?" he mocked, with just the right mixture of challenge and sarcasm infused into his voice.

Frend rose to the bait. "I'll never tire of torturing you, fucking traitor!" he spat, at last turning back to his original captive.

Without losing a single moment, Hermione angled her wand, shut her eyes, and whispered a spell. Within seconds hot flames began to lick against the insides of her wrists and across her palms, but she didn't cry out. This had to be done. She would only get one chance at this, so she had to make it count. She had to do this right or both of them would be dead.

After what seemed like an eternity, but couldn't have been more than a few seconds, Hermione felt the charred ropes fall from her wrists and her arms swung free. Frend was bent over Snape once more and Hermione steeled her resolve, knowing that she was almost out of time. All at once she gathered up what was left of her waning strength, pulled herself half-upright onto the cushion of the couch, and cast a spell with all her might. "EXPELLIARM—"

Frend turned. "AVADA KEDAVRA!"

She wasn't quick enough.

Hermione gasped as her world was enveloped in a sharp, blinding green light. Everything seemed to be in slow-motion as her senses dimmed, her vision receded, her breath left her body, and she crumpled back to the ground, with Snape's wail of anguish echoing in her ears.

Then there was nothing.

Something very fragile within Severus Snape's heart burst apart in that moment as he watched Hermione Granger fall. What that fragile thing was, he did not know. All he knew was that it hurt. More than anything he could remember, because it was so sudden and unfair. How could anyone prepare for this? It left him utterly breathless, gasping for air, as though he had just been kicked very hard in the gut. He dimly noticed that tears were running down his cheeks, but he didn't care. "No," he breathed, unable to tear his gaze away from Hermione's still, vacant form. Her eyes were open and empty, staring at the ceiling with a sad, fathomless expression. So much life, and love—that intelligence and passion, that brilliant potential—all whisked away in the blink of an eye. Gone. Hermione Granger, everything she had ever learned and said, all the bright things she had yet to do... all gone.

"BASTARD!" Snape howled, writhing harder than ever against his bindings, gnashing his teeth, uncaring now whether he lived or died, uncaring about anything. This wasn't how it should be.

He knew despite himself that he had developed feelings for her, he just wasn't aware how deep those feelings ran. Now it was moments too late, and he could never let her know, tell her—that she had been right. That he was a fool. And he had let her slip through his fingers.

Frend, in response, merely split into an enormous grin, causing the swollen side of his face to bunch and deform, his left eye reduced to nothing more than a thin slit that glinted in the firelight. Then he looked down at his wand, as though in surprise, turning it over and over slowly between his fingers. "Funny," he remarked casually. "I only meant to stun her." He shrugged and nudged the girl's leg with his toe, just to make sure. "Oh well, I suppose these things do slip out."


With every struggle, Snape's ropes grew tighter, digging into the flesh of his wrists and sending spasms of pain up his arms. But that pain was nothing to the one lodged firmly within his chest. A gaping, horrible wound, as though something vital, something meant to be permanent, was now lost forever.

Just Let it Happen

A Harry Potter Story
by La. Bel. LM

Part 18 of 35

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