I Don't Remember



I sat in Minerva's office. The past 2 months had relatively flown by, but much seemed to have happened. All the cauldrons, both stock and student owned, had been soaked and tested positive. Lots of parents had sent letters of thanks that they didn't have to buy replacements. My classes had gone exemplararily after that; knowing that their failures wouldn't be physically evident to every other student in the room had been a confidence boost I hadn't foreseen.

"So things are going well?" Minerva inquired over pouring tea. I motioned mine over and added sugar.

"In the first year classes the fumes of their Forgetfulness Potions are so strong I had to have everyone wear a breathing mask from the infirmary because they were forgetting to keep secrets."

She smiled, then looked concerned. "Where there any problems caused?"

"Luckily the listeners forgot them as soon as they were said, but I didn't want to take any more chances." I sipped my tea. "But the strength is what I'm referring to. And its all over the board. I'm entirely certain there was nothing in the potion we soaked them in to improve concoctions brewed in them. It seems to be a case of confidence restored."

She took a long drink of her tea. "We've had offers from companies who want to use what you've made on their cauldrons, and others who simply want to sell it, as is, in shops. What do you think?"

I thought for a minute, running my finger along the handle of the cup. "I think allowing those who want to sell it as is would be the best idea, or even stocking it ourselves, to ensure no one gets a monopoly on something so many seem to want."

She nodded. "I'll see to it." She took a bite of a small sandwich and offered me one. I declined for right now. "And how are things going with you personally?"

"I'm doing fine." I looked at her sharply. "Why do you ask?"

"You hadn't been to Hogsmeade in some time, even for the days off the staff spends."

I sighed, relieved.

"What were you expecting?" she asked.

"Things had been going so well, with classes and what not, I admit I have been expecting this serendipity to end."

She smiled softly, then reached for a cane near-by to stand. I stared. "I thought you'd stopped using a walking stick?"

She slowly walked over to a window. "I'd put it off as long as I could, Severus. I had to, when you were Headmaster during... Oh I'll just say it, Voldemort's time, but things are changing. I'm getting old, Severus."

I stood and walked to her, my tea forgotten. "You're worrying me, Minerva."

"Don't let it worry you, Severus. I'm not going anywhere just yet, but I need this again, I think. Or at least, I need this far more often than I did coming back from St. Mungo's after that..." she spat it out "Umbridge woman had those four stun me." She turned toward me, a soft smile on her face that didn't reach her eyes. "Sorry if this feels like that shoe-dropping you were afraid of."

I reached out and touched her hand, a lump in my throat and a pang in my chest. My voice felt thick with pain. "I thought... I was supposed to have more time."

My sentence was disjointed and without much context, but she seemed to understand. "You have more time to live your life, but the rest of us are still marching along where we were. Nothing can rewind all of time."

I knew this; I'd given lectures on this to students who thought a Time-Turner and 5 minutes would be enough to get their homework done. Yet it felt so much more grievous coming from her. I tried to say something, anything, but words weren't coming.

She patted my shoulder. "You should get going, Severus. It's early now, but you have to get going if you want to have your lessons for the fifth years ready."

I nodded. "Yes" my voice sounded like a vice was on it. I tried again. "Yes." Much better. "I'll be going." I felt my legs moving out of the room. At the last moment I turned to bow my farewell, then closed the door.

Once clear of the spiral staircase, the long hallway looked so empty and alone. I walked down it, trying and slowly succeeding in pushing my worries and emotional injuries deep inside, where I could ignore them. These days, it didn't even leave a burning regret; it was natural. It was practiced. It was... A student?

I stopped, listening to the footsteps coming closer. I wondered vaguely if I should exit the area quickly, lest I become the unwilling witness of an early Sunday rendezvous between young loves. Then the young novice turned the corner, and I stopped for a different reason.

Hermione Granger was walking down the hall, her nose buried in a book. That was normal; I'd seen her navigate through the halls between classes reading while students walked every which way around her, so walking in an empty corridor was nothing new. Her face looked tear stained. And she was walking purposefully, as though she was actually headed somewhere and the book was a distraction. I stepped in front of her.

"Excuse me-"

"Leave me alone!" She stopped reading and almost threw the book at me before noticing who I was. Her eyes grew wide, and looked red. "Umm, I mean... Sorry Professor. I haven't been sleeping well recently, I didn't mean to yell at you."

Her head was tilted down, and she was mumbling this last. I tried to bend to see her face, but she was hiding it from me. "Miss Granger, look at me."

"I'd rather not sir."

"Look at me or I'll take fifty points from Gryffindor."

"You wouldn't do that!" She exclaimed, but kept her face down to do so.

"You know I would. I once took points from Gryffindor for Malfoy's gang putting a spell on your teeth. And gave detention."

"I'd hoped you wouldn't bring that up again." She sighed, then slowly raised her head. Just as I thought, she'd been crying. Up close, though, I could tell her face had been swollen, and was now just slightly puffy. It seemed she'd given herself a cure. I gently touched the area, and she flinched.

I stood straight and stared at her for a minute, then pulled out my wand, uttering a quick examination spell. A black eye, half healed, and bruised bones on her back. It explained why she was reading as she walked; it must really hurt to do that right now.

"What happened?"

"I had hoped to just talk to the Headmistress about that."

I knelt slightly to look at her evenly. I let my gaze go stern. "Miss Granger, I asked you a question."

She half sobbed, half laughed. "You always approach things with the same 'ripping it out at the roots' approach, don't you sir?"

I almost smiled. "And I never apologize for it. Now, did you get in a fight?"

"Not exactly." I waved up a bench along one wall, and motioned for her to sit. She took the offer. "I was doing four feet of parchment on my thoughts of using Arithmancy to be a more exact branch of Divination, when some people started talking about you."

I stood up very straight. "What did they say?"

She laughed stiffly. "It's funny... They weren't saying anything bad, they were sort of complimenting you. At least, your looks. Your attitude... They were insulting that." As she spoke I pulled out my wand and muttered more spells, mending her face and back in a few short flicks.

"They were saying you were rude, inconsiderate, and mean. And they made fun of the way you pace. And at first, it wasn't that annoying, because... It was true, you were all of those things. In plenty. To just about everyone. And for no reason."

"Glad to hear I have your vote of confidence." I said as I put my wand away.

She laughed slightly, then bent to make sure her back was better. "Were, Professor. You're not now... Not to me. And when I said as much, it was first thought of as a joke, and then when they realized I was serious it kinda turned heated as they called me a teacher's pet, and teacher's girlfriend, and I called them slackers and judgmental idiots. Then someone threw a punch, and I suck a defending punches... I just felt that going to the Headmistress and seeing if she could give me private quarters, I wouldn't be any more trouble... The Room of Requirement, maybe?"

I sat down next to her, resting my hands on my knees. "I don't think the Room of Requirement would work, it's important we have that room free for anything."

She looked at me intently. "But the danger has passed, right? There wouldn't be any dire reason for it to be kept free."

"It's there for new students as well, Miss Granger. If someone gets lost in the corridor, then that room would point them the way."

She looked distraught. I sighed. "Let's go see the Headmistress."

A few hours later it was all worked out. Spare rooms next to my office had been magically sound insulated, furnished with items, and would now serve as Miss Granger's living quarters until the end of semester.

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