DISCLAIMER – I took my ebony wand and gave it a flick and said Accio Robert Patterson and Daniel Radcliff. Suffice to say that didn't work. I tried again and said Accio, the rights to Harry Potter. That didn't work either. So that means that I do not own anything except the plot of this story.
DISCLAIMER 2 – Some of the characters will be OOC. This is because I do not feel that I should stick to what Rowling's did. If I wanted to be sued, I would plagiarize her work. So the character attitudes will be to MY liking.
PLEASE – Do not flame me because you do not like the story. I humbly ask that if this story is not your cup of tea to switch to coffee or soda. Flaming me due to slash, stats, or other wise things you don't like will not do any good. Also, I humbly ask that if you do pass an insult to do it at me and not my readers. It is unfair to those that are actually enjoying the story to be bashed because you don't like it. Thanks for your consideration.
Chapter 1 – Discoveries
"Miss Granger," said a soft silky voice from the shadows of the hall. "I need your assistance if you would be so cooperative."
"Professor Snape," said Hermione jumping and holding her chest. "You startled me. What can I do for you Sir?"
"I apologize for startling you," said Severus smoothly. "I am brewing a special potion and I am in need of the assistance of two students who I feel could appreciate and use the extra credit. I was hoping that you would help me locate Mr. Potter and the two of you would join me this evening in the lab to brew this potion."
"I wasn't aware that Harry was that good at brewing potions Sir," she admitted freely. "He has had nothing but trouble in your class since the first day. I don't wish to speak badly of him, but he can use all the extra credit he can get."
"He is better than we give him credit for," said Severus grudgingly. "If it weren't for my snakes constantly sabotaging his cauldron, and for the fact that Mr. Weasley never leaves him alone, he would be right up there with you in the top of the class. He has a natural talent for it. I have been working with him one on one since the beginning of the year and he is actually very well advanced in the art."
"Wow," said Hermione happily. "I am happy that Harry has been working with you on the side to improve his grades. I would be delighted to look for Harry for you. I was seriously astonished that he was not interested in Quidditch this year. He just doesn't seem to have the desire to play this year. I guess with what Professor Umbridge has been doing to him so far this year it doesn't surprise me after all. She is rather harsh on him."
"I have been assisting Mr. Potter in all of his classes," said Severus hesitantly, not sure of how much to tell the girl. "He and I got to talking one evening, and it came out why he doesn't do his best in class. Now, if you will run along and get him, we can meet in my lab."
"Give me about ten minutes," she said happily. "We will meet you there. I have a good idea of where he is. Lately he has taken to sitting in front of the fire in the common room and studying."
Severus nodded to her and turned to head down to his lab. In doing so, he bumped into Minerva.
"I couldn't help over hear what you said to Miss Granger," she remarked kindly. "I want to personally thank you for the help that you are giving to Harry. When he came back to school this year, I could just feel that he was still hurting from the incident in the graveyard at the end of last year. He must really trust you to be able to talk to you about what is bothering him."
"I found out by accident what is going on with Mr. Potter," said Severus smoothly. "Once I get the full story behind what is going on, I can better give you an idea of how to help me help him. There is more to this than meets the eye and I am determined to get to the bottom of it."
"Count me in," said a girlish voice from the shadows of the adjoining hall. "I have been watching Mr. Potter closely all term. He is hurting and I would like to help him as well. I am hard on him, yes. However, I feel that he isn't living up to his full potential. I would like to see him be the best that he can be. With encouragement, he can take the top spot in this school with his academics."
"Dolores?" asked Minerva shocked. "I thought you hated the boy."
"Quite the opposite Minerva," said Dolores simply. "I am here as a favor to Madam Bones to keep an eye on Mr. Potter. I personally have no problems with the boy and he is a hard worker."
"What do you mean?" asked Severus quickly. "Why would Amelia ask you to do that?"
"After what happened last year with Mr. Potter, we felt that he needed more of a looking out after," said the short woman. "Something is going on behind the scenes at the Ministry as well as here in Hogwarts. Madam Bones has asked me to see to it that Harry Potter has the best safety possible. So when Cornelius asked me to be the new DADA professor, it fit in with the plan that I already was trying to make. Now, I believe that you have a potion that you are going to help them with. You should hurry before they wonder what is going on. We can talk more at a later time, when we have a better idea of who we can trust and who we can't."
The three professors all nodded to themselves before they went their different directions. Dolores went to her office to look over and grade some essays. Severus headed to his lab to meet with Potter and Granger. Minerva stayed in the hall for a moment. She looked at the photos that were on the wall and spoke in a crisp voice.
"I am utilizing my position as Deputy Head Mistress of this school," she said. "I am ordering the portraits in the school to stop spying on Harry Potter and to not tell the Head Master anything about him. If you must due to the magic involved, then I ask that you give as little information as possible unless he is in some sort of danger. Something in what Dolores says makes sense. Something is not sitting well here in the castle and Harry must be kept safe at all costs."
"As you wish," the photos in the area murmured in reply. "Lord Potter must be protected and it is our solemn duty to protect him."
"What do you mean?" Minerva asked in shock. "Do you know something that is going on with him that I should be aware of?"
"Just know that the Head Master plays games with his students," said the photo of a young witch sitting in a field of poppies. "We only tell Dumbledore what we have to and nothing more. There is much that Mr. Potter does that is kept from everyone. When we have Mr. Potter's permission, we will divulge it to you Deputy Head Mistress. If I were you, I would keep an eye on the youngest of the Weasley brood. They are NOT what they appear to be and I am afraid that Lord Potter will get hurt at the rate that they are going."
"That is all that I ask Dorothy," said Minerva walking away. "Thank you all for your help. I will keep your words in mind. I shall, of course, ask Severus to help out with keeping an eye on the youngest Weasleys."
When Severus got to the lab, Harry and Hermione were already sitting there waiting with eager expressions on their faces. They were talking quietly to one another while waiting.
"I didn't know that Professor Snape was helping you Harry," said Hermione. "It is so nice of him to do it. How did this come about?"
"Hermione," said Harry slowly and carefully. "There are three students in Hogwarts that I would trust with my life. Neville, Luna, and you are the three people that have never let me down and have always been there for me. Dumbledore wanted Severus to teach me Occlumency."
"That is the ability to shield the mind from attack," said Hermione nodding. "It helps against people who use Legilimency."
"Exactly," said Harry while Severus stood in the shadows and listened. "However, it does more than that. It also helps you center yourself. You can also use it to organize your thoughts. Professor Snape has been helping me with it as he is a Master Legilimens."
"That is very impressive," said Hermione smiling. "So how did the two of you become on such good terms?"
"On my first couple of lessons, he was able to see what kind of home life I have Mione," said Harry with tears in his eyes. "He has been helping me deal with those demons. I am only going to say this once. He is a good man and a great teacher. I just wish we could have started this friendship four years ago. He is helping me in each and every subject. I even started learning Arithmancy and Runes. By the end of the year, I should be able to take my OWLS in the subjects. I didn't realize that Arithmancy was so easy. I have always been good in math and this is right up my ally. So far I am working at a second year level."
"Harry that is wonderful," she exclaimed. "We are not quite at Halloween yet. At the rate you are going, you will be at third year level by Christmas or better. I am delighted that you are taking those classes. If you need any help please don't hesitate to ask me."
"That's what Severus says," Harry grinned with pleasure. "I really like the subject. I have spoken with Professor McGonagall, and she knows that I have taken on two more subjects. I could really use your help with runes though. I am not getting it quite as easily as I am Arithmancy. I am almost done with the first year of the subject, but I still have some work to do. So any help that you could give would be a blessing."
"I am glad that you asked Harry," said Hermione wrapping her arms around his neck. "I will be there for you until the very end. I will always be there."
With that, she tilted her head and placed a gentle kiss on Harry's lips. At first Harry was surprised at the touch. Gradually he relaxed and enjoyed his first kiss. Severus stood and stared from the shadows. His mouth was hanging open in shock. Not due to the actions of the teens, but from what he was witnessing during the action. As they relaxed into their kiss, a silver and gold glow appeared around the teens and enveloped them in the bright lights. When the two broke apart, he stepped out of the shadows and got their attention.
"Miss Granger," he said softly. "I think you might want to go and get Professors McGonagall, Flitwick, and Umbridge. I think they need to know something very important. If they can find Professor Sprout as well, it might not be a bad thing."
Hermione looked at Severus strangely for a moment and then left to do his bidding. As she passed by him, he handed her a hall pass. She looked once more at Harry and left the room. Harry sat there and stared softly into space for a few moments. He had a soft smile on his face and his eyes were alight with happiness. It was something that Severus never saw in his eyes before. Harry snapped out of his gaze and looked into the eyes of a smiling Severus Snape.
"Well," said Severus with a chuckle. "When the others get here, I feel that you are in for a big surprise Mr. Potter. The information that I am about to impart to you and a select few will blow your mind."
"I think Hermione has already blown it Sir," said Harry turning red from embarrassment. "That was my first kiss and something just sparked. I think she likes me more than just as a friend."
"Oh, I have no doubt of that," remarked Severus with a grin. "You must bear with me until the others arrive. I want the opinion of the others before I clarify what I think has just happened to you."
"What do you mean?" asked Harry alarmed. "Did something bad just happen to me?"
"Relax Harry," soothed Severus. "I think something remarkably good has just happened to you for the first time in your life. However, I would like the opinion of my colleagues before I commit to anything."
At that moment, a red faced Hermione entered the room followed by Minerva, Filius, Dolores, and Pomona. Severus looked at the others before he approached a cabinet and pulled out a pensieve. He placed his wand to his temple and pulled out a memory and placed it into the bowl. He swirled the memory in the bowl and then walked to the lab table.
"I think that we all need to view this," said Severus. "From there, I am sure that the two teens will have questions and I would like the assistance of you all to help explain what I think and believe happened."
With that Severus gestured to the other professors and the two students to precede him into the memory. When they came out of the memory, Harry and Hermione were too embarrassed to speak.
"I think it would be best to explain to these two what that one kiss has done to them," said Severus. "Filius, would you care to explain? You are the Charms Master after all."
"If my knowledge is correct," replied Filius in an awed voice. "I would say that Mr. Potter and Miss Granger have just soul bonded."
"That is what I was thinking," said Severus. "What say you, Minerva?"
"I think it is best to agree with Filius," she said. "I have never seen a bond that color before. What do you think it means?"
"Before we get into that part of the discussion as we can only speculate, I have a question for Dolores," he said turning to the Ministry official. "Can we keep this quiet in the Ministry of Magic for a bit? I think we need to get Mr. Potter and Miss Granger to Gringotts as soon as possible."
"Give me five minutes," said Dolores. "I can have it locked and sealed in that time. May I use your fireplace?"
Severus nodded his head and she rushed over to take care of business.
"We have no real concrete proof as to what two colored bonds mean," said Filius to Harry and Hermione. "Usually a soul bond is sealed in a golden glow. I have never heard of one that had a silver glow as well. The only ones that can really give us a full insight to this information are the goblins. They are the masters when it comes to this sort of thing."
"What does that mean for us?" asked Hermione nervously. "Did we do something wrong?"
"Sweet Merlin no," exclaimed Pomona smiling brightly at them. "A soul bond is one of the most special things that can happen between two people. Our only concern is the two opposing but corresponding colors of the bond. We do not understand the significance of the silver glow."
"I noticed more than gold and silver," said Harry suddenly as Dolores wandered back to the group. "I know this sounds kind of crazy, but I swear I saw the four house colors of Ruby, Onyx, Sapphire, and Emerald."
"Interesting," said Severus as he headed back to the pensieve. "I think that we might have to view it a second time. Do you mind?"
Both Harry and Hermione stood up from their stool and joined them. The professors and students proceeded to enter the memory again. Harry was pointing things out.
"Can you freeze it here?" he asked.
Filius lifted his wand and froze the memory for them. Harry walked over to the two figures.
"If you look right here," said Harry pointing with his finger. "Right above this silver and gold glow, the gem colors of the four houses are seen."
"He is absolutely right," said Minerva looking closer. "It is like there are gemstones floating in this bonding. We really need to speak with the goblins about this."
They exited the memory and Severus placed the memory in a glass phial. From there, he pocketed it for safe keeping.
"Amelia will meet you in Diagon Alley tomorrow at ten in the morning," said Dolores. "Severus, Minerva, Mr. Potter, and Miss Granger are to use the floo here, and get out of the castle that way. Between Professors Flitwick, Sprout, and me, we can keep Dumbledore from putting his crooked nose in this. It is, after all, none of his business."
"Very well," said Severus. "I want you both dressed in dress robes tomorrow. We will be going to a very important meeting with the goblins and we want you to look your best. Harry, I will cast a charm on your hair that might or might not work to get it to lie flat."
"I wouldn't bet on it Professor," laughed Harry. "I think this mop is more of a curse than a head of hair."
The rest of the group all laughed at his joke. It was good to hear Harry laugh at something so trivial and to be so relaxed. It made all of the assembled professors relax even if for just a short period of time.
"Why don't the two of you go back to your dorm," said Minerva handing them a pass. "We can just move this potions lesson to another night."
"I think that is a good suggestion," said Severus with a nod. "Just be cautious and don't repeat anything that you have seen or heard this evening to anyone."
"Use caution around Ronald and Ginevra Weasley," said Minerva suddenly. "I don't have all of the facts right now, but I have it on good authority that they can not be trusted. If you must speak to one another, use a Silencing Spell. This must be kept private until we get back from Gringotts. Also, it would not hurt to cast Protection Charms on your belongings and around your beds."
"We understand Professors," said Harry smiling. "Thank you all for your help and we will see you all in the morning."
With that, the two teens left the lab and headed back to the Gryffindor common room. When they got there, they cast a Muffliato and started to discuss what they learned.
"I don't know a whole lot about soul bonds," admitted Hermione with a sigh. "From what I do know, nothing can break them. They are above marriage and such. Anyone trying to break a soul bond will either lose their magic or at worst, they will lose their life."
"That is about all I know of them as well," admitted Harry. "I was studying in the library the other day and came across them. Not much was written because they are so rare."
"Something is bothering you," intoned Hermione looking at him suspiciously. "Are you upset that you are bonded to me and not to Cho or Ginny?'
"That isn't it at all," blurted out Harry looking scandalized. "I am quite happy to be in a soul bond with someone that I trust. I have had feelings for you that I didn't understand for quite some time now. I am glad that I have at least one person that will love me always and not just my fame and money."
"I will," declared Hermione sincerely. "I have never cared about your fame or money. If that isn't what is bothering you, then what is?"
"It's what Professor McGonagall said," admitted Harry looking down. "The part about not trusting Ron and Ginny is confusing me. I wonder what she meant. Are they doing something that they shouldn't be doing? Is there another plot to try and take what rightfully belongs to me?"
"That does seem quite odd," admitted Hermione looking around the room. "I have been thinking about a few things for quite some time now. I want to think some more on them. If I can't come up with any conclusion, I will bring it to the attention of the Professors tomorrow and see if my feelings are accurate or just my imagination. I know it sounds like I am withholding information, and I know you hate that, but I want to be sure before I outright accuse anyone of anything. I don't want to heap on more trouble than we already have."
"I understand completely," said Harry with a small laugh. "I am going to head to bed now. For once, I have all of my homework, not only caught up, but I am slightly ahead with everything. Maybe tomorrow we can work on Runes together if we have time. From what I am to understand, I am passing Runes with an EE, but I would love to obtain an O."
"I would like that too," said Hermione standing and kissing him gently on the lips. "I love you Harry and I will be by your side for the rest of your life."
"I love you too Hermione," said Harry blushing slightly. "Thank you for being so wonderful. I will see you in the morning."
"Are we going to let others know we are now a couple?" she asked before he got to the step.
"I think we should wait and see what the Professors say first," he replied thoughtfully. "I am not opposed to it, but they may have a good reason for us to keep it under cover for now. As you said, we don't want more trouble than we already have for now."
"Good thinking," said Hermione. "I will see you in the morning."
With one last smile to each other, the two teens headed up to their respected dorms. Harry had a small smile on his face as he entered the room that he shared with Neville, Seamus, Ron, and Dean. The other boys looked at him oddly, but for once, no one said anything. Harry got dressed in his night clothes and climbed into bed with the book on potions he was reading. Dean and Seamus looked at each other in confusion and then shrugged. Harry was definantly acting different this year.
"Harry," called Ron. "When are you going to come back to the Quidditch team? We have no chance of winning without you. I can't believe that you quit just because Snape is making you do extra potions."
Harry looked over at Ron and gave him a cold stare. Ron was oblivious to anything except a promise that he would come back. This annoyed Harry to no end.
"I have decided that my studies are more important to me than a game," said Harry to the astonishment of the room. "I just don't have the time to train and keep up with the work load that all of the professors are giving us. With me now taking two more subjects as well as advanced potions, I just don't have the time. Maybe next year I will rejoin the team. After all, next year, we sit in only the classes that we are going for a NEWT in."
"This is just insane," said Ron angrily. "Why would you add to your studying? This is our OWL year and we have enough to do already. I can't believe that you would betray Gryffindor that way."
"I have not betrayed anyone," snapped Harry starting to get angry. "I have spoken with Professor McGonagall and we have decided that I will take a year off. The world doesn't revolve around Quidditch, you know. There are some things that are more important than a stupid game. I want to pass my classes and be able to make something of myself after we leave Hogwarts."
"I can't believe you," said Ron furiously ignoring Harry's logic. "That has got to be the worst thing you have ever said. How can you NOT care about Quidditch?"
"Leave him alone Ron," said Neville. "You are a fine one to talk. You are a prefect and on the team and you are putting the game over your own studies and duties. Haven't you noticed that Hermione is not letting you copy from her anymore? If you keep going the way that you are going, then you will fail and have to repeat the fifth year. If Harry doesn't want to play, then he doesn't have to play. I am a Gryffindor and I don't feel as if he betrayed me in the least."
"What would you know?" snarled Ron looking at Neville with disgust. "You are not much better off than a squib. You have no understanding about these things so just sod off. You can't even fly on a broom without falling off and hurting yourself."
Harry jumped out of his bed, causing his book to go flying. He had his wand out and was pointing it at Ron. The magic started to crackle in the air around him.
"You will not insult a member of this house again," snapped Harry angrily. "Neville is NOT a squib. He is a good wizard. It is because of people like you, which are the reason that he doesn't do better in his classes. If you would just look at yourself, you would notice that he is doing better in his grades than you are so far this year. You are nothing but a selfish git and you deserve to be punched in the face for that obscenely large mouth of yours that keeps on spouting off garbage."
"Harry," said Neville calmly. "He isn't worth it. Just let it go. It's just words. They can't hurt me. Please don't do anything that you will regret. I don't want you to get into trouble over this."
"Harry, listen to Neville," piped up Dean approaching him slowly. "You know how Ron is. He never thinks before he speaks. He is always insulting people. Please don't do something that you will regret."
Harry was glaring hard at Ron. The magic was still crackling in the room with his unleashed anger. None of the others heard the door open nor did they see Professor McGonagall come into the room followed closely by Hermione.
"Mr. Potter," she said in a business like tone trying to get his attention. "I am going to ask you to please lower your wand. I need you to control your emotions and your magic."
"I am sick and tired of him," said Harry pointing at Ron. "He insults Malfoy. He insults Luna. He insults Hermione. He even insults Neville. I don't care what he says about me, but I am tired of him walking around here acting like he is the best that Gryffindor has to offer. To me he is nothing and I am tired of letting him think he is. He is spoiled and thinks that everything should just be handed to him because he is my friend. I am tired of that."
"What has transpired here?" asked Minerva as Harry lowered his wand and attempted to get his magic under control. "Why is Mr. Potter so upset with Mr. Weasley?"
"Ron called me a squib," said Neville unabashed. "He does it often. This evening started with Harry coming to bed and starting to read. Ron sort of went off on him for quitting the Quidditch team this year. He even called Harry a traitor."
"What does this have to do with Miss Lovegood or Miss Granger?" asked Minerva slightly confused. "For that matter, what does this have to do with Mr. Malfoy?"
"Ron is constantly insulting Hermione because she does better than him in classes," said Harry calmly looking at Hermione. "If it weren't for her, he would fail all of his classes. He is constantly calling Luna, Looney Lovegood. It is insulting in the way that her dorm mates steal her things and pick on her. Now we have this git adding insult to injury. The only thing different between him and Malfoy is their house emblem. I am sick of him insulting others because they don't see things the way that he does. It is MY business as to why I quit the team this year. I don't need him to start on me for it. If you and I agreed that I was doing a good thing, then why does he feel he has to belittle me for wanting to improve my studies? There is NO law stating that I HAVE to play quidditch."
"Mr. Weasley," snapped Minerva turning towards him. "You better have a good reason for verbally attacking another student. I want an explanation right now as to why you are badgering Mr. Potter and others in this house as well as Miss Lovegood."
"He is a traitor," said Ron savagely forgetting that he was talking to his Head of House. "He left the team and without him, we will lose the House Cup to those slimy Slytherins. He doesn't care about anyone but himself. He is selfish. He gets all the gold, fame, and people bowing to him while the rest of us have to work for it. I have been his friend for over four years and I never get credit for anything."
"One hundred points from Gryffindor," said Minerva angrily. "You will also be serving detention with me for a week. I will not listen to you abuse Mr. Potter for something that is beyond his control. If I hear of one more word out of your mouth about this, you can expect to be suspended at best. From now on, you are on your own for your studies. You will not ask anyone to help you. If you do not do well, then you will be stripped of privileges. This will include your prefect status and your place on the Quidditch Team. As far as Mr. Potter having money and fame, that is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. How he got that fame and money is not something that anyone should be proud of."
"You can't do that," said Ron angrily at her. "I earned that prefect badge. You can't take it from me."
"No you didn't," said Minerva coldly looking at him with disgust. "The only reason you got the badge in the first place was because the Head Master felt that Mr. Potter had too much on his plate to deal with. Had we gone with my decision, Mr. Potter would have been the prefect and NOT you. You have two minutes to get into your bed. If I hear one more word from you, you will be in serious trouble. As it is I am barely containing my anger from expelling you for your seriously bad attitude."
Harry climbed into his bed after picking up his fallen book. The rest of the boys were also getting into their beds. Ron debated for a moment before he too climbed into his bed and shut the curtains with a snap.
"Ten points to you Mr. Potter for maintaining control and not attacking him," said Minerva kindly. "Another ten will be awarded for studying when I know for a fact that you have all of your work done. Good night boys."
With that, she flicked her wand and the lights went out. She turned on her heel and left the room. Ron could be heard muttering behind his curtains. Harry cast the Privacy and Protective Charms around his bed and turned over to sleep. It was apparent to him that Hermione went and retrieved the Professor. It was also apparent that Ron no longer considered him a friend.
"Thank you Miss Granger, for alerting me of what was going on," said Minerva kindly. "Ten points to Gryffindor for that. How did you know that Mr. Potter was upset?"
"I think it might have something to do with our bond," said Hermione carefully, but honestly. "Since the bond happened, I have been getting glimpses of Harry's emotions. He has been happy and content since our kiss. I was about to close my eyes when I felt him get angry. It was lucky for me that you were in the common room when it happened. I didn't have to go far to find you."
"I agree with you," Minerva said. "Has Mr. Potter ever displayed that much magical power before?"
"Not like that," admitted Hermione. "I have seen him angry before, but that was amazing. I knew he was powerful, but I didn't realize that he was THAT powerful."
"Hmm," said Minerva. "Well for now, just keep an eye on him. If he has any more troubles, just come and get either me or Professor Snape. We must keep this away from unfriendly ears."
Hermione nodded before she headed back up to her dorm room. She got into bed and within moments she fell asleep. In his own bed, Harry felt the tranquility that was emanating from Hermione. He smiled at the feeling of peace and he too fell asleep.
AUTHOR'S NOTE – I will end my first chapter right here. Let me know what you think. Thanks to my loyal fans.