I Don't Remember

Hysteria

Severus

The whole world seemed... off.

Not off in any kind of 'magical spell permiating my vision' sense, but still off. The bright lights of the Great Hall amist the dancers themselves seemed to dance, and mixed with the laughter and tinkling of glasses I was finding myself getting very dizzy very fast.

I completely ignored the idea this could just be my nerves. Instead, I blamed the firewhiskey in my hand.

Taking another long gulp that was quickly sending my unexperianced liver into confused hysteria, I looked around the room. Faces and colors were a blur, but I wasn't interested in that. I knew if I saw her I'd know it, and she had yet to appear. I reflected. At first, I had felt a certain anxiousness at expecting to see her immediately and facing whatever issues needed resolving. Now, there was a chance she had decided to forego coming to this fantasia of festivities, to which I was here for basically no reason (knowing full well I had to be here by order of the Headmistress). I accepted this revalation with my usual realism. I was cool. I was calm. I was in desperate need of another drink.

Trying to make the sudden movement toward the refreshment table as nonchallant as possible, I was paused by a movement by the door. For a moment, I thought I was halucinating, and was ready to swear off illicet beverages for the rest of my days. Then I realized I wasn't alone in seeing the figure, and swore under my breath. Seeing I had no chance to flee, I opted for forming my face into a pleasent smile.

"Lucius. What an unexpected pleasure."

He seemed to start, as though surprised I had noticed him among the crowd, a move that struck me as unduly transparant. Even without the falseness of his smile, the icy glare I had felt the moment he walked in, and the sheer obvious nature of his visit on this day of all days, his wardrobe was no less than outragious. I had always seen him in black, or perhaps silver. Tonight he was wearing the most outlandish dress robes ever crafted, woven to look like he was covered in peacock feathers. He could not have been more obvious if he had decided to go in the rough covered only by a sign insulting the heads of government by name and sexual preference.

"Severus! You're here? Ah but of course you are; you're supposed to be Headmaster next year." He spoke unessesarily loudly, looking out of the corners of his eyes to make sure he was being heard. "So pleased to hear about your promotion, have I said that yet? And what about your previous position, any ideas for whom that's going to fall to?"

I recognized his game, still hating to take the bait. "Lucius you know I can't discuss any information like that right now." Almost sighing I added. "Perhaps we could take this outside." I made a casual motion towards the door, checking my wand was hidden in my sleeve in the same moment.

"Ah yes, very good Severus." He smiled and lowered his head, leading the way with his cane. I followed, thinking quickly. If there was to be a battle, then I was well within my rights to take him out here and now on the grounds of being a Hogwarts teacher. Of course, I could also knock him out and then let Hagrid take revenge on the murderer. There was no saying I couldn't have a turn myself of course...

I blinked and found myself outside in the gardens, where a few party-goers were enjoying themselves beneath the fairy lamps that lit the expanses of green. Lucius was stopped beneath one such light, a blue glow that made him look almost skelatol. I met his eyes evenly.

"Lucius, let's stop this charade. Why have you come? This night? Of all nights?"

"Why, to see you off. Tonight's your last night as "Potions Master" after all, isn't it? End of school year, and all that? Oh, and to watch you lose both your new job before you sit in the desk and that mudblood whore before you ever touched her tainted flesh."

A lifetime of insults hurled at me, and I was nearly floored by how straightforward his sentence had been. "What are you talking about?"

He paced in front of me, keeping his eyes on mine. "I had a talk with Molly Weasley the other day. About my concerns that a certain young girl was being taking advantage of by an older man, a young girl who knew nothing of love and a man's notice, who burried herself in books and work and had been through so very much. It didn't take much to convince the bumbling troll to have a talk with the girl's parents for me. And it won't take much after that to assure that you will be crushed, reduced to a poverty-stricken has-been with nothing but your fading years to keep you company."

I stared, my mind too shocked to quite comprehend what he had said. "You... Why do you insist on doing this?"

"You don't know?" I took in the question, and found my only response was to shake my head. He tilted his head back, his silvery hair a funeral shrowed. "You've known me all these years, and you don't know?" His voice squeaked slightly, and I slipped my fingers around my wand, just in case I was bearing witness to Lucius Malfoy finally becoming a madman. "Power. Fame. Fortune. That was my life, my wants, my... needs." His tone lowered an octave and his eyes dropped, then snapped back to me. "Everything I learned while I was raised showed me the way to these things was the pureness of a bloodline, the knowledge and acceptance of power for power's sake, and the willingness to do anything for it. Everyone is blind. You're blind." His eyes flashed again dangerously, obvious enough that it caused a few people to stare though they couldn't hear our words. "We were friends, and you betrayed us. I thought I could forgive you, I thought you'd understand..." His voice sounded like a whine now. "You... you with that... Evans girl... And now this Granger... You're a pox on wizarding kind." He finished, spitting the words. "I can't stand you."

I stared at him, shaking with contained emotion. I could have responded a million ways, but only one thing seemed the most pertinent.

"We have never been friends." I glared with death in my eyes. "We never will be. And you will not tear me away from my life, or my love."

"I already did." Lucius's smile was a grimace. "Look behind you, Severus. I'd say I did my job perfectly."

I turned, and saw in the lamp lights Mr. and Mrs. Granger, deep in conversation with Molly Weasley. Every once in a while they would turn to look at me, and in the darkness dotted with colors, it was impossible to tell how they meant these puctuations of movement. They suddenly stopped talking and started walking toward me in a group.

"You see, Severus?" I turned my head back around to look at Lucius, the madness passing from his face but still twinkling in his eyes. "Too easy."

"Ah, Professor Snape!" The joyous greeting from Mr. Granger was accompanied by a strong pat on the shoulder, the other arm lightly around his wife. Both were cradling glasses of punch and looking like they had never had a better time in their lives. "Haven't heard anything but good things from you by Professer Weasley here. We'd read in letters from our daughter that you'd really taken her under your wing this year, but we understand now you have become close friends."

"We just wanted to say thank you." his wife cut in, her face full of gratitude mixed with a little uncertainty and pain. "No one here knows better than you the challenges she faced the past few years, and we also know it's not normal of you to look past all that for someone, and we both feel like we owe you more than words can say."

I stopped her here, holding up and then out my hand. "Please, nothing more is needed. Your daugher is one of a kind, and it truly hasn't been one sided. She's helped me find more of myself this past year as well, and I can honestly say it has been a pleasure to know her."

"Thank you Professor for the kind words." They both smiled, and Mr. Granger hugged his wife a little tighter before taking a sip. "Hermione should be down soon, she's taking a bit of time getting ready; important night and all. We're going to go back inside now, though, and continue our tour of the refreshment table." Laughing, they went back inside, but not before I noticed Molly giving me a wink and joining their jokes. I turned back to Lucius, who looked as though he had been thoroughly punched in the gut by a mountain giant.

"Did you really think," I began again, taking care to make sure my voice audible only to him, "that friendship was so easily cast aside? Had you really thought people could be toyed with like that?" He didn't answer, but made a kind of struggling sound. I stepped in until I saw my own eyes reflected in his; I wanted to make sure there was no doubt in his mind what lay in them. "Let me tell you something, Lucius. This isn't your world anymore. The world you knew died when Voldemort did and people realized they didn't have to live in ignorance and fear. You don't hold the strings you used to. You can't just play these little behind the scenes games with people and their minds and watch as everything works out for you. It won't. All the money in Gringotts can't get you that, and the new world's problems don't disappear if you give them bribes, anyway. I certainly won't. So you have a choice. Either accept your new demoted status and go back home to your hopefully loving family, or stay here and rot in your own hell." My voice shaking with fury and the satisfaction that only truly speaking ungaurded can bring, I turned and walked swiftly away from him.

I intended to only walk away from him, but I ended up walking away from the castle and everything else. I found myself at the lake, starring at the soft ripples caused by the giant squid's wafting movements. At that moment, I felt... lost. Not in a bad way, or even in a literal way, but the pureness of being at a place in my life that was entirely of my own choosing, that could go in any direction, seemed both a weight and a relief at the same time. I focused only on the water, letting the feeling of it mix with this emotion and wash over me. I let my breath go.

Suddenly everything rushed to my head. Maybe it had been put of by the adrenaline, but now five glasses of fire whiskey slammed my head like a brick. I remembered the dancing lights in the ballroom and how disoriented I'd been- clearly that wasn't as over as I thought it was.

The lake and things around it were immediately a lot more hilarious that I normally recalled them to be. I tried to take a step and stumbled. Oh no, this won't do at all, I thought as I tried to steady myself. If I hurry I can make it to Madame Pomphrey and get a hangover remedy...

Behind me I heard the grass crunch and I turned to see a vision wearing a piece of the sky. I realized it to be my own sweet love, hair streaming down her back and making her way towards the ball. I made to go to her. "Hermione!"

She stopped, noticed me, and then took step again this time faster.

"Hermione, wait, please!"

"Why should I?" she called back, her voice like music.

"Because I simply have to talk to you!" I stumbled forward, the ground rising and falling with my footfalls, her shining face the only clear thing. She seemed confused as I made my way toward her, probably due to the bobbing way I walked. Suddenly she was right next to me, her face twisting with unappreciation for the smell on my breath.

"Professor, you're drunk."

"Drunk like a fox." I gazed at her beauty, at the moon falling on her hair and the silken lines her movements made in her dress. How had I never noticed this before? A warm feeling in my abdomen spread through me. In some far off corner of my brain, I hoped it was love and not a need to go to the bathroom.

"I thought you didn't drink."

"So did I, but I may keep it up if it causes me to feel this way all the time." I wrapped my arms around myself, holding her hands on my shoulders as she fought to hold me still.

"What way?" her voice sounded patchy, like she was struggling. "Insane and clueless?"

"No," I cried, joyous. "Utterly at the mercy of your charms."

She let me go with a scoff, and I felt the grass hit my knees. "You really are drunk."

"Yes," I said, wobbling to my feet. "But that doesn't change how I feel about you."

"Entirely the problem, Professor." She was growing further away, and without depth perception it was impossible to tell how far. Still, I risked further conversation.

"Hermione please come back. I'm apparently unable to chase you and besides the lake is beautiful tonight."

She did turn then, her hair streaming behind her. "Haven't we been through enough recently?"

"No, not nearly. I have to tell you... I love you Hermione."

She froze for one moment, and in my state I swore I saw her shell crack for an instant before slamming back shut. "I'm not here to be patronized."

"I'm not trying to patronize you!" I shook my head to clear it, forcefully ignoring the swimming feeling it brought to the surface, and plowed forth with words. "I love you. I'm sorry I froze when you... I've felt like I've been going insane for weeks, smelling your hair, your memory, every time I breathed in Amortentia, and to hear you say you loved me too, I didn't know how to react."

"Well, I wish you had said something like this at the time." she huffed, and I heard the tears in her voice. "Because perhaps now I might be a bit more inclined to stay near you." She turned to rush off again.

"Hermione! Please...! I know I did something that will hearafter be classified as utterly stupid, but I did it with best intentions. I didn't want to hurt you, but of all the options going through my head at the time, it was the one I thought would do the least damage."

She didn't say anything, instead standing there with her arms wrapped around herself looking at the ground. Watching her look so small and so lovely in the moonlight sobered me up faster than any potion cure. I walked over to her in long strides, and gently took her face in my hand.

"Please I... Isn't there anything I can do to prove myself?" I finally asked.

"I don't know Severus." I smiled at her use of my name. "I want to believe you, I really do... I just don't know."

"Why don't you know?"

"This sounds wonderful.... but you're always trying to protect me." She pulled away, staying in my arms but looking down. For all I know this is just one more attempt at trying not to hurt me. It seems like the kind of thing you'd do... So much that I'm honestly having trouble knowing if it's real."

"So, all I have to do then is to do something completely off the wall for me, and it will prove my sincerity?"

She didn't say anything. I didn't wait for her answer. Instead I used the moment to sprint toward the water still holding her, and upon hearing the first few splashes from my boots on waves, I dove in. The cold water hit my face, and obliterated the doubts lingering in my mind. I broke the surface, freezing, to hear Hermione's gasp and splashes as she rushed to me.

"Severus our clothes are ruined! Why would you do this?"

I kicked lightly, treading water. "I'm crazy for you, Hermione. If you won't believe me, then I shall act as crazy as I feel. Believe me or not, but here it is. I love you. And I am even willing to severely damage my best clothes to prove it. Do you still love me?"

I watched as her face broke into a million pieces, and she cried and laughed all at the same time. I held my arms open as she jumped into them. I laughed, and held her, moving the wet hair from her face to look her in the eyes. Then, she kissed me.

The accumluation of so much emotion and need for this would have caused me to drown, literally, if I wasn't at that point able to touch the bottom. Instead it swept me away, as I tasted the water droplets on her lips with mine and then the soft sweetness of her mouth.

Then, we both heard a noise, and looked up.

The noise had been a rather pointed and loud clearing of one Mrs. Granger's throat. Apparently the sounds we'd been making had been loud enough to attract attention and, unluckily, Mr. and Mrs. Granger had been curious enough to check.

Hermione squeaked."Mum? Dad?"

Parental gaze settled firmly on us.

"Professor Snape... A word?"



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