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Deslea R. Judd
Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters/Keywords: SSHG (Severus Snape/Hermione Granger)
Rating: PG. Pretty harmless.
Spoilers/Timeframe: The day after the Battle of Hogwarts. The whole series is fair game.
Summary: He was just her professor. She was just a schoolgirl with a crush. Then he saved the world.
Disclaimer: Characters not mine. Interpretation mine.
More fic: http://fiction.deslea.com
Feedback: Please. deslea at deslea dot com.
NOTE: There is a corresponding music video to this story, Black Is The Colour.
His grave is in Godric's Hollow.
She claimed his body from the makeshift morgue after the Battle of Hogwarts. McGonagall allowed it, and agreed to her demand for secrecy. Agreed a little too readily, in fact, but then, why shouldn't she? Hermione imagines that the Headmistress was a lot like her - bookish, insufferable, and lacking in friends and confidence. Had McGonagall had her own crush as a girl, on some brooding, intelligent, equally insufferable man?
It wasn't as though there was much competition, after all. Harry would probably have thought of it sooner or later, and demanded a grave at Hogwarts. She had made sure to beat him to it in the confusion the morning after the battle. Some instinct told her that whatever sanctuary he might have found at Hogwarts, it was the wrong place. Utterly wrong.
The problem, of course, was that there was no right place. That was the tragedy of Severus Snape. He was always a misfit. What had Harry called him? A lost boy? Godric's Hollow wasn't a great choice, either, but he was turning cold and grey before her eyes, and she had to find somewhere fast. At least this way he was close to Lily, even if that also meant being close to James. The groundskeeper had been sympathetic; Snape had visited Lily's grave. His annual visits under cover of darkness had not gone unnoticed.
When it was done and Snape was gone, replaced by a granite headstone and a mound of earth, the groundskeeper asked diffidently what he was to her. That was when her face crumpled and the tears finally streaked down her battleworn face, and he apologised and hurried away.
Since then, she has been sitting here, trying to figure it out.
In the natural order of things, he would have been her schoolgirl crush and nothing more. A safe object for her affections when she was neither a child nor a woman, to be discarded when she was ready for something more.
Only this schoolgirl crush became a war hero, tormented and dark and dangerous. That wasn't supposed to happen. He was meant to be her teacher, the safely unattainable authority figure, that's all. She wasn't meant to know his deepest conflicts. She wasn't meant to know what moved him. She was meant to have airbrushed fantasies about a smile meant only for her, a kiss that gave and never took, and perhaps a soft-focus interlude in a four-poster bed (under crisp white linen sheets, thank you very much). It was meant to be soft and sweet and all about her, dammit; that's what schoolgirl crushes are *for*. He was her last chance to be totally selfish before she had to grow up and give herself to another human being.
She wasn't meant to know him. And she sure as hell wasn't meant to love him. Not for real. She hadn't sought it and hadn't wanted it. She'd fought against it, fought against unwilling loyalty and faith in the face of all evidence. She'd nodded her head in all the right places; she hated him, she feared him, she despised him. Except she didn't, and it was despite, not because of her damnable crush.
And in the end, her secret loyalty had proven absolutely right. The truth of it, *his* truth told later by another, came not as a shock, but a relief. Like holding in a breath and letting it go at last.
She has been a student, and he, her teacher. She has been a warrior, and he, her hero. And now she is neither and she is alone.
She thought her vigil was to figure out what he was to her, but now she realises it was to figure out what she was to him. What she might be for herself in the lonely days ahead.
She pours over her memories of him, trying to piece it together. He was a man who disliked children and protected them ferociously. She remembers his hands on her, shielding her from a werewolf. Remembers him flying to the side of a dead boy after the Triwizard Tournament, when he might reasonably have been more concerned with his own safety. Remembers his pinched look of fear when Ginny was drawn into the Chamber of Secrets. It wasn't only to save the world from Voldemort, she thinks; Severus Snape was a man who saw worth in every life not yet lived.
Slowly, it dawns on her that she is the future. She is why he saved the world. She and everyone else who survived the battle.
Abruptly, she gets to her feet. Brushes the earth from her clothes.
"The answers aren't here, are they, Professor?" she says aloud. "They're with the living."
For once, Professor Snape doesn't have an answer. She doesn't mind.
She bends, and traces her fingertips over the mound of earth. She savours the moment. She doesn't think she will ever return here. She doesn't think he would want her to.
"Thank you," she whispers. "For being my teacher, and my hero. Even if you never wanted either of them."
She straightens. Blinks away stray tears.
She turns, and walks away without a backward glance.