I Don't Remember

A Day Off

Hermione

The days passed slowly after that. Mornings were spent in class, where the professors in charge drilled it into our heads that N.E.W.T.s was mere weeks away, and we'd have to be sure we had everything mastered. Nights were spent either in my room or in the Great Hall, where I traded skills and tips with students from different houses. At various times I would overhear grumbles from fellow classmates about how they expected us to have everything memorized, and if we'd even need half these spells later. I only half-heard these. My mind was on my work, and if it deviated at all, then I would feel a pang of sadness as these snips of conversation reminded me of Harry and Ron and what I was missing. At times like this, I would think of my promise to McGonagall to relax, and remind myself that I had people I could count on here, even if they weren't in class with me.

On Friday morning at the end of our Easter Break (which hadn't been much of a break as each teacher had given everyone extremely long homework assignments to do) an owl dropped a letter onto the table in front of me as I ate breakfast. I opened it to read in the Headmistress's neat script:

Miss Granger,

It has been arranged for you and Severus Snape to meet early in the morning, tomorrow, for a full day in Hogsmeade Village. You are to be gone no less than four hours. You are permitted to spend no less than 10 galleons on food and various en-sundry items. The money has already been sent to Professor Snape.

Don't be back early.

Minerva McGonagall

"That..." I said aloud in a matter-of-fact tone, "was the oddest letter I've ever read."

"What's the weirdest letter ever?" Dennis asked.

"Hmmm?" I hadn't realized I'd said anything aloud. "Oh, a letter my parents sent me... Our lawnmower went on the fritz."

"What's so weird about that?" Dennis asked.

"Well," I replied, thinking quickly. "it ended up running over all the cabbages and vegetables growing in the near-by gardens... So they made a giant salad to share among neighborhood."

"That is weird!" Dennis exclaimed.

"Yes... Well, I've got to go Dennis. Good day."

I stood up after his fond farewell and set off out the door. Tomorrow morning? The whole day? This seemed a bit extravagant, but considering the news I was to give, I imagined the extra time would be spent coming to terms. Knowing Snape as I did, his first reaction to dealing with distress would likely be storming out of whatever room he was in, going to the person responsible, and lashing out with low words of fury. Job offered or no, I didn't think the news of McGonagall resigning (especially given how likely the cause were health reasons) would be taken well.

I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn't notice a door opening to my right, and thus almost bumped right into Professor Snape coming out of the door to his classroom. He happened to look up before I did, and managed to step out of the way. The movement and small gasp of surprise caused me to snap out of it quickly, and simultaneously trip on the end of my robes and fall to the floor.

"Miss Granger?" Snape's surprised voice came from above me. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine, Professor." I said, rising slowly to my feet and rubbing my backside.

"Well I was aware of your physical well-being; you didn't land on anything particularly vital, and you didn't scream when you hit the ground. I was commenting on your dignity after your rather egregious calamity."

I winced. "Do you have to put it like that?"

"How else should I describe nearly walking straight into me and then falling on your back?"

"You could instead help me off the floor."

He was quiet for a moment. I wondered if the thought had even occurred to him.

"Yes," he said softly. "I could do that."

He bent slightly and offered me a hand. I took it and let him pull me up. Dusting myself off, I noticed his other hand held a few pieces of parchment.

"What do you have there, Professor?" I asked.

He raised an eyebrow. "Comfortable with easy conversation, Miss Granger?"

I folded my arms. "You've already asked me to trust you. I told you I would. If you still want it then please realize that I've just made a fool of myself and don't need your cynicism at the moment."

"I apologize." He looked honestly sorry in his own way, and I unfolded my arms. Inclining his head to me he said, "I have here a letter from McGonagall, among other things, and the letter states I am to meet you tomorrow morning for a day in Hogsmeade. She tells me that I have been working too hard, which I don't believe, and that you have been working too hard, which is entirely possible, and it would be good for our moral if we took a day off before everything picks back up in a few days. I'm not certain as to whether or not the best thing to do before a long work load is to relax, but I'm in no position to deny the Headmistress. So, a chance meeting though this is, it seems as good a time as any to work out when we are meeting 'early tomorrow morning'."

I thought a moment. "Seven, you think?"

"Would you prefer we eat in the village, or I have the houselves make us something to bring with us?"

"Eat in the village please." I answered with such emotion and so swiftly that he again raised his eyebrow. I blushed slightly; Snape had no clue of my strong feelings about house-elf rights, and I assumed my answer had been rather odd to him. A few moments passed, and he shrugged his shoulders, making no comment about it.

"That's fine; I've had food at a small inn called The Golden Owl; their drinks aren't always as good as the Three Broomsticks, but I find the food and butterbeer can rival most of what our castle turns out."

"I'll leave it to you, then. See you tomorrow."

He bowed slightly. "Good day, Miss Granger."

He turned and went down the hall the way I'd come. I watched him go for a few moments before remembering I had to get to the library to finish my work. Hurriedly I went into my rooms, grabbed my bag, and ran out the door. I ended up running back twice, first for forgetting to put books in my bag and second for forgetting to grab my bag after actually packing it. The behavior continued the rest of the day. I couldn't seem to concentrate on anything, especially, and strangely, my work. I managed to get five feet of scroll for charms class, and another three and a half for History of Magic, but I only barely made the two feet requirement for Transfiguration and it took me a lot longer to master turning dust into a chair than it had for previous level spells. I felt beyond relieved when that night I went over the list of homework and knew I'd finished everything expected of me on Easter Break.

I rose the next morning without needing an alarm. I was showered and dry before it was six-thirty. After brushing my hair in a futile effort to make it flat (only resulting in it yet more frizziness), I went to my small closet. I had only a handful of clothes to wear, but I didn't really mind as I usually didn't need much beyond school robes. Today I grabbed a tan and gold shirt with half sleeves that was light and loose, and a pair of navy blue cotton trousers that flared slightly at the ends; I hated jeans. Checking myself to make sure I'd be cool enough outside and warm enough indoors, I set out enough cat food for Crookshanks to last until evening and then set out the door.

I arrived in the dungeons a bit early, and knocked on the door. Professor Snape appeared, wearing his usual long sleeved shirt with vest that went seamlessly into his teachers robes. I starred at him for about ten seconds before shaking my head.

"No... No, that won't do at all."

He raised his eyebrow at me. "I don't know what you're referring to Miss Granger, but surely it can't be my choice of dress."

"Pardon my blunt language, Professor, but I refuse to go anywhere with you until you have changed clothes."

He crossed his arms in front of me, bringing his long cloak with him. "And why is that?"

I held my ground. "The first reason is because we are going to be walking about outside in the heat and humidity, and that is far too heavy for you to be wearing."

He scoffed. "I thank you for your note of worry on my behalf, but I am a full fledged wizard and capable of enchanting my clothes so they are well suited for any temperature I may endure."

I ignored this. "The second reason is because McGonagall is having us do this as friends. Today you are Severus Snape, not the Potions Master, and as that is your usual uniform I insist you change."

He looked livid. "You can't be serious."

I narrowed my eyes.

Eventually he broke. "Fine." he said with a sigh that sounded more like outrage then resentment. He turned around and veritably slammed the door in my face.

"And it'd better be short sleeved!" I screamed at it.

About three minutes later the door opened; probably due to the fact he'd just magicked himself into a different outfit. I examined him. He had chosen a short sleeved button down shirt of a dark Slytherin green, left untucked from black trousers that seemed to shimmer rather than shadow (obviously from some spell woven into them). The effect was that I almost forgot who was standing in front of me... Except that his hair was still raven black and shoulder length, his arms still folded tight across his chest, and a scowl still firmly on his face. Still, I felt better about the whole event.

"It will work." I eventually begrudged.

"I feel stupid."

"You aren't." I said.

"I look stupid."

"You don't. Now, come on." I turned around to go.

"Wait a moment!" He called, his voice sounding annoyed. He grabbed the door and closed it, more gently this time, and warded it before slipping his wand somewhere I couldn't see. Walking to the door, he motioned me out of it.

Quickly we walked down the halls. It felt odd, walking next to Snape this time; the only thing billowing out when he walked was his hair, which I noticed never seemed to get in his eyes. I made a note to find out which, if any, spell he used to achieve that.

"Look," I started. He didn't slow down. "I know you don't like going out without your armor, but hopefully we can put this behind us."

He stopped so quickly I almost ran into him again. "Is that what you think I did?" He asked me.

I blinked my surprise. "Honestly... yes."

"I can keep my armor up no matter what clothes I am wearing, Miss Granger. What I am feeling has little to do with my clothes."

Okay then. I guess I ask the obvious question now. "What does it have to do with?"

He sighed. "This feels very, very odd to me, going out with you."

I smiled, somewhat relieved. "Don't let it. We've been to Hogsmeade together before."

"I was dressed in uniform before."

"I thought you said it wasn't your clothes making you nervous?"

He opened his mouth to argue, then closed his eyes and smiled. "Fair point. Very well, let's continue."

We walked a bit easier the rest of the way. When we had reached the path instead of going immediately toward the carriage I showed him the spell I'd used to make my shoes act like roller skates. He'd never done so before, but got the hang of it quickly, and in a short while we were racing each other down the way to Hogsmeade, laughing in the crisp morning air. By the time the spell wore off and we were stepping into the village, the sun had risen and it was warming up quickly.

He scanned the buildings as we arrived, pointing to a place down to the right of where the station was. "The small building there is The Golden Owl."

"Why did you stay there?" I asked him.

"I was waiting for the ingredients for large amounts of Veritaserum to be sent in from the Ministry. " he explained as we walked. "The law surrounding the making of that potion prevent an exchange like that from taking place except by Ministry Official and special arrangement, but still such things are rare. The Golden Owl was my home for the three days it took the official to remember our appointment."

"I see. Do they know you here then?"

He shook his head. "As a Hogwarts teacher I am given discount, but I prefer to keep a low profile."

I nodded. The next few minutes saw us seated at a table in a comparatively small but busy room. A buxom waitress wearing the most convincing medieval peasant dress I'd ever seen and covered in freckles took our order. Snape ordered for us, having the house special of large sausages and a plate of buns along with our usual drinks. I tried not to grin as he did his best to avert his eyes from her chest, which due to his height was right in his face. After she'd brought us our drinks and left until the food arrived, he leaned in close.

"Usually I am against the breaking of such protocol, but today I implore you to refer to me by my first name."

"Why, sir?" I whispered.

"Simply because I think it would be more of a scene for you to refer to me as Professor and have someone get the wrong idea than to keep up with titles when no one is around to hear them."

"Ah." I thought a moment. "What if someone from the school should show up?"

He shook his head and smiled sardonically. "Hermione," he said, "do you really think anyone would recognize me dressed like this?"

I had to admit he was right. In this light, without his robes, he was not Professor Snape. He was Severus, normal person with a highly respectable job. But, I thought again, Severus is a very recognizable name...

The food arrived. We thanked her for her service, receiving a wink and a quick exit. I took a bite; very good.

"Whats your middle name?" I asked.

He raised an eyebrow. I wondered if he'd be doing that to me all day."No comment on the food first?"

"The food is excellent. I was just thinking, if someone hears me call you by your name, they may know who you are."

He nodded. "Tobias."

"Okay. I will call you that when we aren't indoors. And you call me Jean."

"A good idea." He took a bite of sausage. "You seem to have a lot of those. Gryffindor's bravery, Ravenclaw's brains, Hufflepuff's understanding. Any of Slytherin's cunning?"

I laughed nervously. "I hope so." He stared at me. "I was actually supposed to tell you something today."

He looked curious. "And what is that?"

I poked my plate with my fork. "I'm not sure I'm ready."

"Hermione." he said, his voice sounding as severe as it ever did calling out Granger in class. "something you should probably understand about the male gender is if you say there's something you want to tell them, and then you say you're not going to tell them, it annoys the heck out of us. This goes doubly for me."

I sighed, deciding I'd try it another way. I began gently. "Well... You and I have been seeing a lot more of each other."

His expression didn't change much. "Go on."

"You've been doing a lot more around the castle, being in charge of study hall when the houses get together for group note comparing. Every time we see each other, we genuinely have a kind word to say to one another."

He started to shift in his seat a bit. "Yes, I would agree."

"And it's very nice seeing you so often."

"I... would agree to that."

"Did you ever wonder why we're spending all this time together?"

He swallowed. "I have thought about it yes."

"Have you ever thought that you were getting this extra responsibility because you were getting groomed for a higher position?"

He blinked. Then he blinked again. "No, not at all. I had assumed it had to do with the free time I was getting over other teachers, due to my work load being reduced from cauldrons recently unable to melt." He studied my face. "Why?"

I played with my fingers. "Well... Professor McGonagall wanted me to tell you that she's resigning, and having you be Headmaster again."

He stared at me for five minutes. The waitress came by and refilled our drinks, and he still didn't say anything. Finally he answered.

"What?"

"Professor McGonagall-"

"I heard you!" he interrupted, being a bit louder than he should have, because a few people looked over. However, they shrugged and went back to what they'd been doing. Severus lifted his arms like he was going to rub his head, then mid motion stopped and rested them on the table, his fingers flexing. He looked like he didn't know what to do first. Luckily when he spoke again his tone was more controlled, or at least lower.

"You mean to tell me this whole thing was arranged, by McGonagall, for the sole purpose of informing me that she no longer feels up to the job of being Headmaster, and you decide the best way to tell me is in the middle of breakfast?"

"I thought it would give you plenty of time to come to terms with it." I said, attempting to reason my thoughts.

"You didn't even give me any hint of what was coming!" he exclaimed.

"I thought I was!" I protested.

"You started it off with 'we've been seeing a lot more of each other due to you being around often'. You call that using Slytherin cunning?"

"No, I call that trying to break the news gently."

He shook his head back and forth. "I would hate to see you being blunt."

A few moments of silence, where he clenched his hands tight. Finally I ventured a try. "You did see me being blunt, when I told you I wouldn't leave the castle until you changed clothes."

He didn't respond. At first I thought I had only made things worse, before I heard his quiet laugh. Slowly his body relaxed. He took a deep breath, then looked at me. "Hermione, you didn't tell me gently, no matter how hard you may have been trying to be. However, I appreciate the effort." Another deep breath, not as long this time, and he continued. "Apparently I'm supposed to use this day to get over this news. I suggest that since I picked the first spot, you pick the next. However, I insist that before we do anything else, I take you to a bookstore."

My eyes lit up. "A bookstore?"

"I am told by multiple sources you love books, and I feel that, today, I should buy you one. Any book you want; I have a rather large amount of coin to spend today, and we have to use at least 10 galleons of it."

"That would be excellent!" I cried. Attracting the attention of neighbors myself, I lowered my voice. "Thank you. You know, it is rather nice to spend time with you outside of school like this."

He smiled. "I agree."

Time went by easier after that. The trip to the bookstore turned into a visit to the Apothecary where I looked at all the strange and exotic potion ingredients while he named each one off, what they were used for, and at least five potions each I had never heard of that they were essential in. Next we went to Honeydukes Sweet Shoppe, where Snape got me a box of sugar quills when I asked, a bag of lemon drops for himself when I pressed, and then we sat on a bench next to each other outside the store, eating out treats and laughing about times passed. I found that, while he didn't have many truly good memories from his past, that certain points had been bright.

"They all became Death Eaters," he explained about his friends. "but, they were my friends through all that. We would stay up late, practicing magic and telling each other about the great things we planned to do in the world. It seems like, only later, that things became dark. Most of us wanted the ages of persecution to end, and we kept our hopes up by sharing tales of grandeur, and the thought that the next generation could grow up without having to be in hiding."

"Do you think that's still possible now?" I asked him, sucking on the end of the quill.

"No," he answered, his eyes looking far away. "But, I don't hate the truth anymore. Our worlds are separate for a reason. I think most of us were as afraid of them as they were of us. It didn't have to do with the fear of death so much as fear of being hated for what we were; exactly what we were doing to them, ironically. But, I see people like you, and I know that it's not important if we're wizards and witches in the open or not, because there are people like your parents who accept it and are proud of you for it."

"They are proud of me." I answered. "And, they aren't jealous of my magic. They just take it as a part of me, one more thing that makes me clever."

"I would like to meet them someday." he said.

"You were trying to get permission to invite them to my surprise party." I reminded him.

"Ah yes." he said dreamily. "I'd forgotten."

"So you weren't trying?" I said, worried.

"No, no..." he shook his head. "I meant, right now, I'd forgotten about almost everything."

"Oh." I looked back at the other side of the road, where people were walking along their paths. "I suppose that doesn't happen often."

"No." he answered. "It's... remarkable."

I nodded. Arching my back to pop it, I closed the box. "We should stop eating these if we're going to have room for dinner."

"I concur." He pulled the strings of his bag closed and hooked them to his belt. "Where do you want to go?"

"The Three Broomsticks?" I asked.

"If the lady requests." He motioned the way, we started walking. It was only a few rather lazy steps to the doors, which he opened for me as we went inside. It was walking up to a table that I finally noticed what had been so obvious all day.

"You're wearing short sleeves."

He looked at me sideways. "I take back what I said about you having Ravenclaw's brains."

"No, I mean, your arms."

"Yes, I am a human, and possess them." He grinned, then dropped the sarcastic tone. "What about my arms?"

"Your Dark Mark is gone!"

From where I was standing, I could clearly see all of each of his arms. Both sides of each arm was the same pale tone the rest of him seemed to be; a fairness to rival the one I'd cultivated spending long hours in the library. What I noticed was the lack on either arm the black coiling snack that had been there before. I looked at his face to see he was grinning his obvious grin.

"You knew it was gone! How long has it been like this?"

"Since almost a week after I started teaching."

"Why haven't you told anyone?"

He shrugged. "Who's to tell? I don't have many truly personal contacts, and I don't enjoy starting conversations with, 'you remember the brand Lord Voldemort put on my skin all those years ago?'"

"All right, I'll give you that one. But, this is wonderful! You must be very happy!"

"I am, Jean." he smiled. "It honestly feels fantastic. And I'm also happy to share this with you."

I smiled. "Let me go get the food. They have roasted duck here that I would very much like to try."

He nodded. I went off for about ten minutes, and then returned carrying the tray myself with two plates of food on it to see Severus staring at nothing. I put the tray down and he looked up smiling. After we'd begun eating, he started the conversation again.

"It's been some time since I ate dinner away from Hogwarts."

"How much time do you spend there?" I asked, cutting my food.

"Nearly the whole year." he responded, sipping in between sentences. "A lot of it is spend preparing for the coming year, and making sure O.W.L.s or N.E.W.T.s are sent off as needed."

I nodded, but it felt like a lot to me. "When do you get a break?"

"I could theoretically take one any time I wished, as long as I had a replacement lined up." he answered, slicing a piece of duck from the breast. "However I have found little reason in the past to do so."

"Will you take one this year?"

He chewed his food, but I could tell by his look he was thinking. "I suppose I may, but it depends on a few things."

"What things?" I asked.

He smiled secretly. "Now, that I will not tell you."

I scoffed. "Why not?"

He smiled, shaking his head at his plate while he cut himself another piece. "Because I will not always be Tobias and you will not always be Jean."

I understood immediately. "You mean because we're going to have to go back being friends while being student and teacher tomorrow."

He pointed his fork at me. "You have it."

I thought about this for a while, sipping my drink. "Will you let me know after graduation then?"

He tilted his head slightly, tapping a finger on his fork. "Yes, I would allow that."

"Well all right then."

He shook his head at me again.

After we'd cleared our plates and drained about five glasses each of butterbeer, I found myself walking out of the Three Broomsticks and down the road, heading for Hogwarts castle. It was only now, very full on lots of food and a long, good day, that I wished we'd taken a carriage.

"Severus?" I asked him, venturing using his real name since we weren't quite in Hogsmeade, and just the two of us.

"Yes Hermione?" I heard him say lazily.

"Would you carry me back to the doors to Hogwarts?"

"Absolutely not." I was almost amazed at how fast his voice regained it's fierceness. Almost.

"Please? I'm tired after all the sweets and food."

"That is no fault of mine."

"Just to the gates?"

"Halfway to the gates," he conceded. "and piggy-back only."

"Agreed." I yawned. He bent down and I jumped onto his back, wrapping my arms carefully around his shoulders and not his neck so I wouldn't choke him. He raised himself up and hooked his hands under my knees, then started walking.

I admit I'd expected him to slow his pace, or else otherwise show trouble with my weight. But his steps didn't change at all, nor the easy rhythm of his breathing. Obviously he was much stronger than he seemed. I leaned onto his back, feeling very relaxed and rather happy. He smelled like herbs and various flowers. I was reminded of something I'd smelled before, but I couldn't put my finger on it.

"Oh, that reminds me," I said aloud. "Severus, can I ask you a question?"

"You may." came his voice in a good-humored tone.

"How do you keep your hair our of your eyes so easily?"

"Permanent Non-Sticking Charm." he responded. "It can even be soaking wet in the rain and it's out of my eyes."

"Do you have to re-apply it ever?" I asked.

"No, but if you're planning on using it yourself, you might have to, as your hair is a different texture than mine."

I nodded. "Thank you. I am."

"Any time."

It began to get dark. Severus whispered a few words, and his wand tip lit up from it's place sticking out of his pocket. The light was bright enough to see by, but wasn't blinding to our path.

"You're very good at magic." I mused.

"I am a teacher." he said in an obvious tone.

"Yes, but, you're good at more than just potions. Why do you teach potions?"

He paused in the way that I knew meant he was forming his sentences before he said them. "I have a special knack for potions that most people don't. Lots of people can be gifted at charms, or other kinds of spells. But only a few people can be gifted at potion work."

"Like being an Animagus?"

"I always enjoy how good you are at putting things together, Hermione."

I smiled into his back, then frowned. "Today was the first truly no down-side day I've had in a while. I'll miss it when you go back to calling me Miss Granger."

"I admit my disappointment at the prospect as well. But these things have to happen."

"Yes, you're right." I sighed. "You're right, Professor."

He was quiet for a while. "I can do you one last favor, though, if you like."

"What's that?" I asked him.

"Hold on tight, and pretend to be asleep when we stop."

A few more whispered words, and we were whizzing through the forest. I laughed, holding him tighter, as he skated in long strides down the smoothed path, much faster than he had before. The wind blew my hair out of my face, and for a few thought-free moments, I felt like I was flying. Only, this was much preferable to being on a Hippogriff or broom, because I trusted Severus's hold far more.

We started to slow down, and I heard Severus whisper to me, "Now, act asleep." I closed my eyes and slowed my breathing. I was so good I almost fell asleep, until I heard Filch's voice.

"Ah, Professor. Getting back late I see, but McGonagall informed me she'd requested you to. Is that Granger with you?"

"Indeed, Filch." Severus answered, his voice the cool, crisp voice I'd heard in almost every Potions lesson. "The day she had tired her, most likely brought on by the inane amount of work she puts on herself. I felt that, given the circumstance and requests from the Headmistress, the best choice of action was to see to it personally she was brought back safely, and so I carried her here."

"Right nice of you to do that, Professor." he said thickly. "I'd 'f just dragged the girl."

I felt him nod. "Good night, Mister Filch."

"G'night to you, Professor."

When the air had changed to one cooler, he spoke to me again. This time, he didn't whisper. "All right, you can relax now."

I lifted my head. "So the favor is you're carrying me into the castle?"

"I will carry you as far as your rooms, since they are so close to mine."

"A kinder thing has never been done for to anyone."

"I certainly hope not. I am dressed like a moron, and I am carrying a girl through the halls like an uncouth bum."

"Your outfit is perfectly fine, and you are doing no such thing. You're being a perfect gentleman right now. You always are."

"And you are too kind. In any case I thank you."

All too soon, we arrived at my door. He bent again, and I slipped down. I gave a big yawn and looked up.

"Easter tomorrow."

He nodded. "I'll be sleeping in, most likely. I'm not usually in bed by this time, but I'll be staying up later tonight."

"More work to do?" Another nod. "I'm sorry to keep you out then."

"Not at all." A moments pause, while he seemed to be gathering himself. "Thank you for giving me the news about McGonagall. I know she probably forced you into it, but I can tell how difficult it was for you. Please know, it meant a lot to me coming from you."

"I know it did. I'm glad I could help. I know you trust me."

"I do trust you." He laughed to himself. "And besides that, I really did have a good time today. I hope we can do it again soon."

"We can probably do so again after graduation, before we each start our new jobs."

"I don't want to count on that; there's no guarantee you'll want to see me after your N.E.W.T.s are over."

"Why do you say that?" I asked.

"I'll just say your Potions test will be very trying. Absolutely no hints, before you ask. I could not get away with giving that kind of information up."

I laughed, then smiled. "I wouldn't dream of asking. Well, I would, but..."

He shook his head slightly. "Good night, Miss Granger."

"Good night,Professor." I stepped close to him and gave him a hug. He tensed up again, then put his arms around me and I felt him gently squeeze. I let go, then he did.

"Thank you." I said.

"For what?"

"For hugging me back this time."

He looked at me, reminding me a bit of how Griphook had once looked at me. "You really are one of a kind, Hermione Jean Granger."

"So are you, Severus Tobias Snape."

He chucked to himself, then bowed low. "Until next time,then."

He turned and walked down to his rooms, the low light of the torches reflecting off him as he went. Before he walked in, he looked back, saw me standing there, and waved. I waved back, and together we walked into our chambers and closed the doors.



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