Continuing Tales

Just Let it Happen

A Harry Potter Story
by La. Bel. LM

Part 24 of 35

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Just Let It Happen

First period. Potions.

He wasn't there.

Hermione had never in her life thought she would be unhappier to see a person than she was to see Professor McGonagall that morning. The minute her straight-backed Gryffindor Head entered the room, Hermione felt a vicious shock of horror drop into the pit of her stomach — like a heap of heavy, slow burning coals, pressing against her abdomen, scalding her insides. She knew her reaction was over dramatic, her sense of immediate doom not entirely justified, and yet no matter how Hermione tried, she could not banish it. All she could think about was that their dinner the previous night might have been the last time she would ever see Snape alive.

Again, Hermione felt a touch of revulsion towards herself for thinking such drastically negative thoughts... But, she thought, people often have a tendency to exaggerate things when a loved one's involved. And there certainly was a loved one involved. Wasn't there? Hermione had never told him as much (and in all honesty, she was not quite sure she would ever be able to tell him as much), but she was smitten to the bone with her Professor. And she quite got the feeling that he felt the same way.

"Are you alright, Hermione?"

Harry nudged her, and, startled, Hermione looked at him. A moment later she managed to give him a small nod, while at the same time feeling as though she very well might throw up into his cauldron. Unsurprisingly, Harry did not seem convinced by her answer. Something on Hermione's face must have shown how little she wanted to discuss it, however, so Harry did not ask again.

McGonagall began the lesson by conjuring up Snape's notes onto the chalkboard and telling everyone to keep quiet as they began their work.

Hermione felt herself go through the actions of Potions making as though in a daze, all of her thoughts and energy focused elsewhere. At the end of the lesson, she had no idea what potion she had ended up making. It certainly wasn't the one assigned to them for that period. Even Ron noticed the ungodly purple hue of what was supposed to be a syrupy silver concoction.

"What the bloody hell is that?" he asked incredulously. "Did you do something wrong? And why're you so pale? You'd think there was a Dementor in here."

Hermione shrugged in answer to all three questions and simply bottled up her purple goop. Then she took it to the front of the class where she handed it silently over to McGonagall – who raised her eyebrows, but otherwise did not comment on either Hermione's severely botched assignment or her bizarre behavior.

Hermione left the room feeling like the living dead, sandwiched as always between Harry and Ron, unable to speak a word to them of what was stampeding through her terror-stricken mind.

He'll be fine, he'll be fine, he'll be fine, she kept telling herself. Nothing could block out those images of Snape's death that burned so stubbornly in the front of her mind: how it would happen, how she would find out, who would tell her, how they would tell her, what she would say, how she would act, what she would do...

It was too much. Hermione skipped lunch and instead spent that time in the Room of Requirement, throwing ceramic dishes against the walls and obliterating pieces of wooden furniture with her wand. Somehow, that room always did manage to figure out exactly what she needed most – and what she needed most, was to blow off some steam, tire herself out so that she wouldn't have the energy to work herself into a frayed bundle of nerves.

The exertion helped quite a bit – maniacal though it was – which meant that Hermione entered into her afternoon class with higher spirits and slightly more color in her cheeks (though, this was due more, perhaps, to the exercise than to a change in nerves). She was not entirely back to normal, but that portion of her brain that was continuously screaming for her to go find Snape and haunt his footsteps, annihilating anything dark and evil that might try to spring at him from shadowed alleyways, was smaller now, and pushed farther around to the back of her head. The importance of her studies somehow managed to nose their way in. She was more determined than ever not to make any more mistakes on her next assignment.

The heavy pot Hermione had been holding fell to the floor with an almighty crash, scattering fertilizer everywhere, along with all of her carefully cocooned Draginolaseeds which immediately burst from their pods and rolled full-tilt for the Greenhouse door. After a moment of hesitation, Hermione ran after them. Professor Sprout sprung to her aid as well, and between the two of them, they managed to nab most of the seeds before they could escape. Professor Sprout grudgingly docked three House points from Hermione for her blunder, whispering under her breath that Hermione would probably make them up in her next class anyway. This may have been true, except Hermione barely had enough time left in the period to redo everything, which might mean further points off if she didn't get her act together. Five seconds ago, this would have bothered her. As it were, at that very moment, she was far too busy being terrified out of her mind. Only, this was not the same terror that had enveloped her before (regarding Snape). This terror involved the same man, and yet was directed towards an entirely different, though still completely horrifying, situation.

Hermione returned warily to her chair (with the Draginolaseeds squeaking indignantly and wriggling around in the newly repaired, but otherwise empty, flower pot) and sat down next to Seamus Finnigan… who had been telling their table a uniquely interesting story.

"I swear it, honest – at that dancing horse place in Hogsmeade."

"Snape? OUR nasty old Professor Snape?"

"YES! At a restaurant, snogging some woman, I'm telling you. My cousin Marla waitresses there sometimes and she saw the whole bloody thing."

Hermione's lungs had ceased to function. The pot in her hands squeaked ominously in her tight grip, threatening to shatter all over again.

"How old was she? The girl with Snape."

"Young, I think – in her early twenties maybe."

"Atta boy!"


"Oh gross!"

"What? He's a man isn't he?"

"We all have urges, Lavender."

"Piss off, Seamus."

Ever so slowly, Hermione felt her throbbing heart recede down her throat and settle back into her chest again, quivering and shaking with the after-effects of adrenaline. They didn't know. They didn't know the identity of the girl Snape had been with at the restaurant.

But ooooh, that had been close.

If Seamus's cousin had recognized Hermione in any way (Lord knows the Daily Prophet had printed enough pictures of her), she and Snape could have been in serious trouble — not the least of which would have been a sacking for Snape and expulsion for her.

In fact, instead of instant humiliation or fierce suspicion, Hermione seemed to have inadvertently managed to make Snape somewhat of a… what did Dean say?


It was ridiculous, this spot he had chosen. A Muggle pub – cold, dank, unfriendly, cliché as all hell. Severus felt insulted.

Apparently this masked man of mystery was unaware that dingy Muggle pubs were regular haunts for Death Eaters in search of… well, most things (gullible strangers, victims, traitors to the Dark Lord, etc.). On the other hand, this man was a Death Eater himself, and would undoubtedly take this into account. Word was at last starting to spread around the Wizarding world about the Dark Lord's return, so Severus supposed that it would be less likely now for any Death Eaters to go poking around willy nilly through the dark pockets of London. They were more likely to be seen or apprehended in such obvious attraction traps for dark wizards in search of their weekly entertainment.

Perhaps this bar was not such a poor choice after all, Severus thought. That is, assuming that this meeting was not a set-up, and there weren't twelve fully armed Death Eaters waiting around the corner to do him in. The fact that this did not seem like an altogether unfathomable possibility obviously did nothing to settle his nerves.

Severus sat down at a small table pushed up against the back wall, and waited. He waited a long time. Then, just as his unease was beginning to become unbearable, a cloaked figure fell into the empty seat opposite him.

Severus tightened his grip on the wand he was currently holding beneath the table.

"Didn't mean to be so late," the man said gruffly. "Been having trouble getting around these days."

Severus frowned. The man's voice sounded strangely familiar. "Fascinating though that is," he drawled dutifully, "I'm afraid I must ask why—"

The man looked up, the dim light from the overhead lamp caught his face, and Severus lost whatever thought had previously been running through his head. His unfinished question died in his mouth, immediately forgotten.

Severus swallowed dryly and gave a slow, halting nod of recognition.

"Travers," he said. "What may I do for you?"

She awoke the next morning knowing something had happened. No one had told her, of course, but somehow she just… had that feeling. And obviously she didn't know whathad happened, nor why she felt so strongly that something was not right, yet, as the dull gray light of morning crept through her curtains, Hermione gave an anxious shiver of trepidation.

She dressed quickly, with a slight tremble in her hands. As she did so, Hermione tried to think on whom she should approach first. Snape would clearly be the ideal person, and if he were back in the castle (as he should be by now), she intended to go to him immediately after his morning class. But the trouble of the matter was… Hermione had the mysteriously ultimate feeling that Snape was not where he was supposed to be.

Which brought her back to the problem at hand: whom could she ask for news? Dumbledore? She was so frightened of him these days. Dumbledore had warned Snape about the possible problems of Death Eaters thinking that he and Hermione were somehow involved (and therefore targeting Hermione in order to get important or influential secrets out of Snape). Snape had assured Dumbledore that nothing was going on – and at that time, there hadn't been – but even though Dumbledore had believed him, Hermione did not want to give her Headmaster any new reasons to doubt that statement.

Could she ask Hagrid maybe? Would he even know? It was difficult to locate him sometimes and she didn't want to waste the time looking. Even if she did find him, he had never been exactly eager to reveal information. He also might question why Hermione was so curious about the fate of such an ill-loved professor – and that was definitely not something Hermione had any intention of discussing.

McGonagall seemed like the safest bet. She was the most likely to know something – though, she was also one of the most close-lipped people Hermione had ever met. About most things. Sometimes Hermione found it quite easy to cajole the truth from her (but only if the situation were adequately urgent). It would all depend. Anyway, she might as well try. If Snape was not at breakfast, McGonagall was the first person Hermione would go to.

Hermione quickly finished zipping up her skirt and exited the room. There were a few students milling around the common room when she reached the bottom of the stairs, all preparing to go to breakfast. Harry and Ron were among them, and it took only one look at their faces for Hermione to realize that she was not the only one who had woken this morning with a sense of foreboding.

None of them said anything as Hermione joined them in front of the fireplace. None of them had anything to say. They all knew just as much as the other and it was a waste of breath to attempt to pretend any different.

Together they climbed through the portrait hole and winded their way down through the castle to breakfast. Hermione's eyes roved anxiously over the staff table the moment they entered. Her heart plummeted within seconds.

Where was he?

The rest of Hogwarts's staff had already assembled and were going through the motions of eating – though it was impossible not to notice the alarmingly dispirited fashion in which they were doing so.

Despite Hermione's intention to do otherwise, the three of them sped down the length of the Gryffindor table and made straight for Dumbledore. He saw them as they approached and shook his head. They approached anyway.

"I will make an announcement to the school momentarily, once everyone has arrived," he said before Hermione had barely opened her mouth. "No sooner."


"Take your seat, Mr. Potter," interrupted McGonagall sharply.

"But, Professor Sn—"

"And you, Miss Granger. For heaven's sake – how do you suppose this looks?"

Hermione realized instantly. They were not supposed to know about anything — good or bad — that might have happened last night. The Order meeting they had attended nearly two weeks ago was never supposed to have taken place. "Let's go," she said to Harry and Ron, turning around and walking away from the staff table as quickly, yet casually, as she could manage.

Harry and Ron followed rather hesitantly in her wake.

"Why did you do that?" asked Ron in a tense whisper as they took their seats. He looked ready to leap right back out of his seat again and run to the staff table waving his arms and yelling for answers.

Surprisingly, Harry answered.

"It looks suspicious, Ron."

Ron gave him a rather blank look. "What – talking to teachers?"

"Yes," answered Hermione. "Especially right before Dumbledore makes… whatever announcement he's about to make." She leaned in closer as two Gryffindor third years slid into seats nearby. "You know how we always manage to catch ourselves up in every disaster that blows our way. People tend to associate us with anything news-worthy right off the bat. We don't need to give them extra evidence to link us with last night. We're getting into really dangerous stuff here."

"OK..." said Ron, still sounding hesitant.

"I just hope Snape managed to learn something useful," replied Harry.

I just hope Snape managed to stay alive, Hermione added in her head. She looked back at the staff table and her eyes lingered on Snape's empty seat. She glanced at the other professors, and though it might have been her imagination, Hermione thought they too seemed wary and suspicious of their missing colleague.

Waiting for the rest of the Hogwarts students to arrive was nothing short of torture. Hermione spent that time trying to convince herself that if Snape had died, surely Dumbledore or McGonagall would have had the decency to say so – or at least imply as much.

Maybe he had been captured, she thought.

Well, and fine. She would just have to go rescue him again. She'd done it before. No big deal.

Except that it was a big deal, and she sincerely hoped that Snape had simply caught a bad case of the flu or something. Unlikely and ridiculous though that seemed.

At last Dumbledore stood, clearing his throat loudly over the clamor of voices and clinking silverware. It took several moments of everyone shushing each other before the room was at last silent.

"Good morning, students," Dumbledore began in a dulcet, somber tone.

Hermione's heart leapt into her throat. This did not sound promising.

"I fear that I must burden your morning with terrible news. And though I am certain that you will soon be reading of this news in tomorrow's papers, I thought it best that you learn the truth as soon as possible." There was an emphasis on the word 'truth' that did not go unnoticed by the majority of listeners. Dumbledore took a breath. "Last night, our dear Professor Snape was apprehended by Ministry officials for—"

"He was WHAT?" Without meaning to, Hermione suddenly found herself on her feet, attracting attention from more than just her fellow Gryffindors.

At the staff table, Professor Flitwick's mouth had fallen slightly open, Professor Sinistra was peppering an empty fork, and Professor McGonagall was looking at Hermione with a shrewd, reproachful expression on her face. Dumbledore simply looked shrewd.

"Please, allow me to finish, Miss Granger," he said, "and then you may be free to ask all the questions you feel are appropriate."

Embarrassed despite it all, Hermione sat down. Both Harry and Ron watched her with mirrored expressions of surprise (as did several other Gryffindors in the vicinity).

"As I was saying," Dumbledore continued. "Professor Snape was apprehended by Ministry officials last night at a Muggle pub in London. He is to be tried on the seventh of May for the murder of known Death Eater, Adrian Travers."

There was a collective gasp from everyone in the Great Hall — all except for Hermione, who had one hand clapped firmly to her mouth and the other gripping the underside of the bench to keep herself from springing unexpectedly to her feet again. Furious murmurs and exclamations of surprise erupted at every table.

As Dumbledore went on, quiet fell again almost instantly. "Though Professor Snape is regrettably unable to tell you himself the circumstances under which this unfortunate accident occurred, I can assure you that he used such measures purely out of self defense. Of course, you are free to come to your own conclusions and harbor your own opinions about this dreadful tragedy, but I implore you to withhold such decisions until all the facts have come to light. The papers you will receive in tomorrow's post are certainly within their rights to print whatever they would like, but I ask you not to take everything you read at face value."

The stares were unblinking, the silence was ringing and the overcast sky gave a distant rumble as Dumbledore paused slightly before speaking again.

"And finally," he said, with a hollow, dejected echo in his voice that revealed a surprising glimpse into his inner strife. "I would simply like to say that Professor Snape has my unwavering support, and though I cannot speak for any of you, I invite you to join me in giving our dear Potions Master the benefit of the doubt."

He put a hand on McGonagall's shoulder, whose head was bowed as she stared woodenly at the untouched food on her plate.

Dumbledore gave a sad smile. "Despite any past grudges or disagreements, I hope that all of us may keep Professor Snape in our thoughts and prayers as he faces what are sure to be some very long and difficult weeks ahead."

Lightning flashed, thunder rolled, and high above the vaulted ceiling, a storm was beginning to brew.

Just Let it Happen

A Harry Potter Story
by La. Bel. LM

Part 24 of 35

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