DISCLAIMER: I do not own Harry Potter.
Thanks for the wonderful reviews! I truly appreciate them. I always have something to look forward to every day. :)
Have you guys read "Delilah's Black Book of Poems" by Dark Whisper?
It's one of my favourites. Please find it online!
July 26, 1969
(twenty-six years ago)
Severus was patiently waiting for Hermione in the park. Since meeting her yesterday, he couldn't get her off his mind. When he went to bed last night, he felt excited, knowing that she was expecting to see him again and when he woke up this morning, it was Hermione Puckle who he thought of. He dutifully helped his mother with the chores until after lunch, before sneaking one of her books called "Hogwarts: A History". To the eyes of the Muggles, it was just an ordinary and blank journal, that's why his father didn't snatch it away from him when he arrived one night and saw him clutching the book. He only murmured something about 'rubbish diary writing'.
Severus wanted to share his knowledge about Hogwarts to Hermione, hoping that she would spend more time with him and they'd be friends.
"Lily, stop that nonsense this instant!"
Severus turned his head and saw the two familiar girls who weren't interested in befriending someone like him - thin as a skeleton, especially in his hand-me-down clothes. They were wearing beautiful summer dresses and their hair was both in braids.
So that green-eyed girl's name is Lily. How common, he mused.
"Tuney, I can do magic!" Lily said excitedly as she made a flower in her hand float in the air.
"There's no such thing as magic! It's all in your head!" said the older of the two girls - Tuney, who had blonde hair and a long neck that reminded Severus of a horse.
Lily paid her sister no mind. She walked to the swing, near the spot where Severus was sitting. He was partly hidden behind a tree, but when Lily went to the swing, she noticed him. The good-looking redhead girl momentarily stopped and stared at her with fear in her bright green eyes. Severus didn't move, but instead, clutched his book to his chest.
He jerked his head and saw Hermione and her sister, Mona, walking towards him. They were both wearing simple, shirts and trousers. Mona's straight hair was neatly held by a headband and Hermione's curls were wild as they were yesterday.
Hermione saw Lily and she froze. "Oh, Lily! You're here," she said matter-of-factly.
What? Do they know each other?
"You're friends with him?" asked Lily's sister who stepped forward and pointed at him rudely.
"That not nice, Petunia," chided Hermione's sister, Mona.
"Whatever," said Petunia dismissively. "He lives in a terraced house near the closed factories, by the dirty river."
"And your point is?" asked Mona in a bored tone. Severus wanted to smirk at that, but he stopped himself.
Petunia gave him a dirty look. "Come on, Lily. We're leaving." She pulled Lily by the wrist and they walked away.
"I hope they didn't bother you, Severus," said the older girl gently.
He stood up and shook his head. "I tried talking to Lily once, but her sister's not nice." Yes, he tried to talk to Lily the first time he saw her do magic, but she looked afraid of him. "So, do you know them?"
Hermione and Mona nodded. "The Evans sisters. Lily's my classmate at Parkland Primary, just there on the other side of the river."
"And Petunia's in my year," Mona informed him. "But don't mind her. She's rude to everyone, sometimes even to her own sister."
"Mona," Hermione said with protest.
Mona rolled her eyes. "Fine. Petunia Evans is nice sometimes. And her sister is such a beautiful darling, defending you from the bullies all the time."
"Stop that, Mona," Hermione scolded her sister and hit her playfully.
So that Lily is not nice towards Hermione, he sneered inwardly.
Hermione noticed the book he was still clutching to his chest. "Oh, you're reading a history book!"
Severus smiled when she recognized the book. Mona looked at them in confusion. "This was my mother's. It's mine now," he told her with a smile.
"A journal?" asked Mona.
He gave Mona a friendly smile. "People who can't do magic - we call them Muggles - won't recognize this as a book."
"So, Hermione knows it's a history book because..."
"I can do magic!" she beamed.
Severus nodded and handed her the book. "Do you want to read it?"
"Sure!" She happily accepted the book. "I'll read it later."
They made themselves comfortable on the grass. Severus happily answered Hermione's questions about magic and Mona would comment from time to time, but nothing not nice.
Soon, it was time for the Puckle sisters to go home. "You should come for tea, Severus," Hermione encouraged. "It'll be a long walk, but we can have lemonade or tea and biscuits."
Severus looked at Hermione hesitantly. He never had any true friends. He was never invited to someone else's house, either. "Are you sure it'll be all right with your parents?"
Hermione grinned, flashing her two large front teeth. "Of course! Mum and Dad were really happy - "
"Curious," informed Mona.
"Happy that I have a friend and curious as to who he is," Hermione playfully hit Mona's arm.
Severus looked confused.
"Hey, that's the second time you've hit me!" Mona told Hermione.
Hermione bit her lip and looked down on her shoes. "I don't have friends at school."
That surprised him. Hermione was nicer than the Evans sisters combined and while she wasn't wearing a dress, her clothes looked good and new. Why wouldn't people want to be friends with her?
"Children at school often make fun of Hermione," Mona told him. "She's more interested in books than playing with the other children."
Severus bit his lip. "I don't have friends at my school, too, because I can't play baseball or soccer... And they don't like someone like me who wears hand-me-downs. "
"Then, I'll be your friend," declared Hermione with a genuine smile.
Severus' smile widened, unashamed of his crooked teeth. "Thank you. I appreciate it."
July 26, 1995
After a very engaging lunch with Eileen and Leo, Hermione, Severus, and Professor Dumbledore went back to the study to continue viewing the memories.
This time, Hermione found herself in Professor Snape's memory, dating '19 July 1996'.
Severus Snape was sitting on a wingback chair in the headmaster's office, inspecting Albus Dumbledore's hand.
Hermione gasped. "What happened to your hand, Headmaster?"
"I have no idea, Miss Granger," replied the headmaster somberly.
"You went to an abandoned shack where the Dark Lord murdered his uncle, found an expensive looking ring and wore it without thinking?" drawled Severus. "Where did your brilliant mind go, Dumbledore?"
"Severus, the ring was cursed," replied the headmaster calmly.
"And you should've known better!" said Severus angrily, dropping the headmaster's blackened hand and paced back and forth in front of the fireplace. "How could you be so careless, Dumbledore?"
"Severus, I am not afraid to die. How long do you reckon I have?"
Severus looked at Albus with disbelief. "A year, old man! You're going to make it easy for the Dark Lord, as he's already plotting your murder."
Hermione found herself crying while watching the scene, but she did it as silently as possible. She felt a hand on her back. She didn't look up to see that it was Severus. She could smell him. Hermione wiped her tears and gave Severus a nod, silently conveying that she was fine.
"You mentioned that Draco was to be Marked before the summer is over," Albus said casually.
Severus stopped pacing and faced the headmaster. "Indeed."
"Tom wants the boy to kill me as a punishment for Lucius's failure to retrieve the prophecy from Harry."
Severus nodded once again. "The Dark Lord is expecting Draco to fail."
"You should be the one to kill me, Severus."
"Are you out of your mind, old man? What's going on with that brilliant mind of yours?" Severus shouted.
"Albus, don't you dare!" Visiting-Severus said angrily.
"Severus, don't fret," the headmaster replied calmly.
"The boy's soul will be tainted if he kills me," said Albus.
"And what about my soul, Dumbledore?" demanded Severus.
"Severus, you are much older, much experienced than Draco Malfoy. The boy can still be saved. If you were to kill me, Tom will be pleased. When he takes over Hogwarts and the Ministry, he will name you the headmaster. You can do everything in your power to keep the children safe."
"You cannot ask me to kill you!"
"Tom - Lord Voldemort will trust you more and will never have an inkling about your loyalties. You can continue helping Harry win this war."
"And what about Potter? What will happen to the boy?" he questioned.
"I will have a different task for Harry. Miss Granger and Mr. Weasley must stay with him, especially when I am gone. Harry will be needing his friends' moral support. Miss Granger will be there to figure things out and guide him in his battle with Tom."
"You are going to use them," Severus accused.
"We are at war, Severus. Harry will be needing his friends. Who else can put up with him, other than his two best friends?"
"You will use them as you used me. Like you used her," Severus spat bitterly.
Who's he talking about? Who else did Professor Dumbledore 'use'? Is it the witch he loved? Hermione thought
But Hermione didn't have much time to think because the scene changed. Severus was in an old, but a clean house, with Bellatrix Lestrange and a woman she'd seen before.
"Is that Draco Malfoy's mother?" she asked Severus who was still standing close to her.
Severus nodded. "Narcissa Malfoy, Bella's sister."
They watched Narcissa beg Severus to help Draco in fulfilling the task given by the Dark Lord. Hermione felt shivers down her spine when Bellatrix Lestrange taunted Severus, saying that he wasn't loyal to the Dark Lord. Hermione wanted to cry when Severus agreed to an Unbreakable Vow to prove his loyalty to the Dark Lord; that he will kill Albus Dumbledore when Draco failed.
She heard him inhale sharply. "Please, Albus," he said with a hint of annoyance. "Don't make me do it."
Professor Dumbledore nodded and focused on the next scene.
Severus and Professor Dumbledore were at the former's office. The younger wizard was applying salve on the old wizard's blackened hand.
"What have you been teaching Potter?" Severus asked quietly.
"Nothing that concerns you, Severus," came the dismissive reply.
Severus looked offended. He finished tending to the headmaster's hand and took a step back.
"I can't do this, Albus," Severus announced.
"Severus, you vowed to keep Harry safe," the old wizard reminded.
"Vowed?" asked Hermione, but none of the two wizards answered her.
"Then I have to know everything that concerns the boy. When you're gone, the task of keeping him safe and helping him will solely fall on me."
Albus Dumbledore nodded. "You are right, of course. Forgive me for not putting my secrets in one basket, my boy."
"Well?" He sounded impatient.
"When Lord Voldemort tried to kill Harry and the curse rebounded, I believe he accidentally transferred a part of his soul to the boy," Dumbledore began. "It could be the reason why Harry is a Parseltongue and Lord Voldemort could plant false thoughts in Harry's mind. Their minds are somehow linked."
"But you said, the Dark Lord accidentally transferred a part of his soul to the boy."
Albus nodded. "Harry is an accidental Horcrux and he must die in order to make Lord Voldemort mortal again."
"You've been raising him like a pig for slaughter?" roared Severus angrily.
Hermione hugged herself and inhaled deeply. She was now crying openly and she felt his hand again on her shoulder. Surprisingly, Severus pulled her to him and she leaned to him for support. She just could not take the thought of Harry dying.
"Severus, this is touching. Have you grown to care for the boy?"
"I spied for you, lied for you, and put my own life in danger because of you! Did everything I could to keep James Potter's brat safe!"
"Lily Potter was one of your friends."
"She was not. But my only best friend cared for the Potters and she will hate me if I don't keep my promise."
"Severus, are you telling me that you are doing this for her?"
Severus - both Visiting and Memory - looked like he was about to cry, Hermione noticed.
In response to the headmaster's question, Severus raised his wand. "Expecto Patronum!"
A silver smoke appeared from the tip of his wand, forming a four-legged animal.
Hermione held her breath when she saw a silver otter with a bushy tail and two large front teeth.
Hermione looked up, meeting Professor Dumbledore's eyes. But the Visiting Headmaster wasn't the one who called her name. It was Memory-Dumbledore.
"After all this time?" asked Albus with glassy eyes and a sad smile in his face.
"Always," he croaked and a single tear fell from his eyes.