Hermione and Snape wake up in a room with no doors, no windows, no escape and a horrible past just waiting to surface.
Black. Just black. Everywhere black.
There was a nagging feeling that there should be more, something was missing.
'Granger,' a rough voiced filled her ears, invading her head; her peace.
That was not what was missing.
'Open your eyes.'
That was it.
She tried to peel them open, but they refused.
She continued to try and was suddenly swarmed with colour. It was as though she using her eyes for the first time.
The images were blurry, nothing making sense. She could tell there was a definite figure in front of her though. The outline shaky.
'It will clear up in a few moments,' the voice was too familiar not to recognize it.
She tried sitting up and the world came crashing down on her.
'Slowly,' the voice growled. It seemed even more familiar with impatience lacing the word.
The figure moved out of her sight, just as her vision began to clear. Looking around she saw that she was in a small room; the only objects were two single beds against each wall.
She was occupying one.
'Granger, what do you remember?' the voice came from the corner.
Focusing her eyes she found her ex-Potions Master scowling at her. Something about that look made her blood coil. Anger. But why she was unsure.
She opened her mouth to speak and a raspy sound followed, 'I don't know…going to sleep.'
With a curt nod he turned to the wall. He looked as though he was analysing the surface.
'It's a wall, four of them tend to make up a room,' she teased.
Quicker than she thought he could move, he was standing a foot from her, 'I am very much aware that it is a wall, Miss Granger, and what the basic fundamentals that create a room. Which is why I am trying to find something misplaced on the wall, as I would very much like not to remain here with you for any amount of time than that which is extremely required,' her growled and was back by the wall before she could respond.
Confused she looked over the room and realised what he had immediately noticed.
There was no door. No window. No escape.
A flicker of recognition hit her. That scowl. He blamed her for their current situation.
Anger fuelling her, she got to her feet and all but ran the five steps needed to be by the side of the insufferable man.
'How dare you blame me, I had nothing to do with this and you know it,' she yelled, a bit louder than was necessary.
He blatantly ignored her.
'So very mature Severus,' she scoffed, crossing her arms and glaring at him.
'You are in no position to ever lecture me in maturity Granger,' he snapped, his eyes fierce.
Gaining the reaction she had wanted she smirked. He was so predictable and he didn't even know it. She was even more please with herself for making him forget the miss and not reprimanding her for using his first name.
He frowned as her face, which was not the reaction he'd been expecting. But he had come used to not to expect the expected with this certain witch. This annoyed him most of about her. He liked being prepared; knowing exactly what he was going to say next, but that never seemed to work with her.
'So have you worked out how we are going to escape this room?' she asked turning herself to examine the surface of the wall.
'No,' he said raising an eyebrow.
'Well, there has to be a way, we got in here didn't we?' she said more to herself than to anyone in particular.
'You are forgetting where we live,' the Potions Master drawled.
'London?' she was confused, he waited for realisation to hit her.
When it did her face was worth the wait. Her mouth fell into an 'O", her eyes widen, the deepest crimson flooded her cheeks.
Regaining herself, she continued as though it never took place. He liked that, 'Who would and could then portkey us to an inescapable room without us knowing it,' she thought aloud.
He had to bite back his snaky retort when her thoughts continued, his breathing momentarily hitching in his throat by her words.
'More importantly who could do this without you knowing,' she started pacing thoughts crossing her face like flash cards, 'I mean that would be feat indeed, to first get past your extremely powerful wards to your private chambers. The only people I know that are capable of doing that are Dumbledore, Voldemort and you, and two of them of dead. Then to sneak into your bedroom and not wake you, well I know from personal experience is not…'
'Granger is this rambling of yours leading anywhere except to state the obvious?' he interpreted not wanting to digress into old but still sore wounds.
Seeing his discomfort she ignored the deliberate change of subject as a defensive manoeuvre.
'No I guess you're right.'
He turned back to the wall, hiding the emotions his face. He was trying to school back behind the hardened mask; she had some how found a way to crack.
But he'd never, now, admit or show his feelings to her. He owed her nothing. Nothing.
'And that's the way I like it,' he told himself as he grazed his fingers across the surface of the wall. Trying to ignore the deep sigh from behind his shoulders and the loud creak of the bed.
He knew there was nothing there, but he couldn't face her yet. He wasn't that strong.
He could face Voldemort with the constant risk of being killed any minute, for any infraction.
He could face the Wizarding Community when they had all believed he'd killed Albus Dumbledore.
Merlin, he could face anything at the moment, except the twenty-three year old witch sitting mere feet away.
'If only you knew,' he thought to himself.
This was ridiculous; he was acting like Potter, moping in a corner. Pathetic.
A whisper brought his attention back to the room. Reluctantly he turned to face her.
She was slouched forward on the bed, her head in her hands. He couldn't believe it had been four months since he'd seen her sitting in this exact position on his sofa. Before…before she…before she le…
'You don' know how many time I had to talk myself into thinking what I did was the right thing, that it was for the best,' she whispered, 'seeing you know…'
No. She wasn't doing this now. He wouldn't allow it.
'Don't Miss Granger.'
Her eyes glared up at him. Anyone who didn't know her would have misinterpreted it as anger, but he knew better.
He knew just like everyone else, just like him, she had her defensive mechanisms and this was hers.
Behind the murderous gaze, he could see the etches of profound hurt and sadness, that only he could place there having had years of practice.
He knew how much it hurt her, every time he called her Miss Granger as though she was just another student.
Just as she knew how much it hurt him every time she called him Severus as thou nothing had changed.
So they persisted in hurting each other.
'How many ways do I have to say it…?' she asked, defeat in her voice.
He couldn't do this, not when she was so lost, so tired, so unfamiliar. What had happened to the young woman who has moments ago been teasing him for staring at a wall?
'Always once more,' he muttered.
She looked as though she'd heard but wasn't sure she'd heard right. She didn't say anything.
She was about to give in and forget she'd even started this, when he spoke. Clearly void of all feeling, which only made it more obvious that he was trying to stop his emotions from showing.
'I can't do this anymore.'
She stood and made her way over to him. Not getting too close but close enough he see her fighting with herself not to close the gap, and just by knowing this it killed him inside. Knowing that she could do what she did when she still cared.
'Severus,' she choked.
'No don't, I can't take your explanation. I can't know there was a logical reason for doing what you did,' he bit.
He watched as she continued to fight, her head winning over her heart. Her body was visibly aching for his touch. He has noticed her go to step toward him, but she'd stopped herself. Was it for herself or was it for him?
Did she think he didn't want her to touch him?
Why wouldn't she think that? He'd been completely ignoring her for the past four months. Ridding his life of her. Every aspect. Gone.
He'd gotten rid of most of his furniture except that which held sentimental value, like his books; everyone she'd read.
'I've never been more scared to be alone.'
How dare she? The sear nerve of the little witch.
His anger finally got the better of him, as he closed the distance between them.
'What right do YOU have to say that?' he roared down at her.
Not wavering from his gaze, she breathed softly against his chest, 'None,' she whispered.
'Yes none, YOU LEFT ME REMEMBER!' there he'd finally said it. Finally after four months of trying to forget, trying to ignore. He'd finally said it.
She dropped her head; she muttered something he couldn't hear.
'Speak clearly,' he ordered.
Defiantly she looked him square in the eye, tears sliding down her cheeks, streaking her skin with a white trail, 'I did it all for you.'
He could of almost smiled at that, but he didn't, 'You're doing it all wrong, you need to keep practicing that innocent look in the mirror some more then maybe I'll believe you.'
Stung, she stepped back, 'How could you say something like that?'
'How could I...How could you leave after three years as though it meant nothing. I gave you my mother's ring and how do you repay me? You become Malfoy's dolly,' he spat, grabbing her left hand shoving the diamond engagement ring in her face that Draco had given her two months ago.
'I asked you if you wanted the ring back and you told me to keep it. You couldn't give another woman something so tainted with filth. Do you remember Severus?' she pulled hand from his and went for the collar of her shirt, pulling a silver chain out. Hanging from it was a platinum ring with an emerald set in the centre of the band.
She snapped the chain from her neck and shoved it into his still out-stretched hand, 'Here.'
He blinked at the ring, then back at the witch, who was staring at the ring in his hand. Fresh regret on her face, did she regret giving the ring back?
He knew this chain; it used to have her Grandmother's locket on it. It was the right length that whatever hung from it would lay directly over her heart.
He didn't understand, this didn't make any sense. He needed answers, 'I don't understand,' Smooth.
Her eyes slowly tore from the ring to his eyes, 'What don't you understand?'
'All of it...,' a question fighting the surface of his mask.
More confused, he frowned, 'Yes, what?'
'Yes I do. I never stop, I will never stop. Don't' ever think otherwise. You are the only man I've ever loved Severus, you have to know that.'
He looked back at the ring, 'I need that explanation now.'
She left his gaze for a second, 'Malfoy, Lucius Malfoy said he would testify against you if I didn't marry his son, saving him from a trip to Azkaban. The Ministry would never allow Harry Potter's best-friends fiancé go to Azkaban on Death Eater charges. I told him we were engaged, you'd proposed the night before; he told me you'd get a Demetor's Kiss long before I even got the chance to tell anyone. I couldn't that to you Severus, I believe him...I...,'she started to cry.
He went to her, wrapping his arms around her form, she was notably thinner than the time she'd been in his arms.
How could he have been so blind? He had been quick to believe to think that she'd never truly loved him, that she'd been using him. That he had missed her deteriorate before his eyes.
Leaning back he placed the chain in her hand, removing the diamond ring onto the floor he slide his mother's ring back on her finger. He knew he couldn't lose her again. He'd find a way to get her back, somehow.
He bent down to kiss her, when she placed her hands on his chest, holding his gaze.
She was trying to tell him something.
'Severus,' she whispered before kissing him hard and sharp.
His eyes flew open. He was back in his room.
His fingers traced his lips.
It had been a dream. No. he was unsure. His head was cloudy. She'd tried...
Something cold rubbed against his leg. He pulled out the silver chain.
'What had she been trying to tell him?'
She awoke with a start. A pair of grey eyes staring at her.
'Did it work? He will come for you?'
She nodded her head.
'Good, father will be pleased. The plan is going ahead as scheduled. Did he suspect anything?'
She shook her head.
'Was there any side effects?'
'Um yeah, at the beginning there was blurry vision and a headache,' she said finding her voice.
Leaning off the bed, he went over to a draw pulling out parchment and a quill.
She got up from the bed as well, she needed fresh air. She made her way to the balcony, twisting the emerald ring around her finger.
A voice came over her shoulder, 'Oh Hermione, I trust you didn't tell him anything.'
She turned back to her fiancé, 'Draco, I wouldn't dream of it.'