Chapter 1: Halloween discovery
It was a joyful evening at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry on October 31st. Halloween decorations were all over the castle, Jack'O' lanterns were lighting the corridors and the Great Hall. The house tables were full with food and different desserts, fireworks were ignited in the middle of the Hall and no one had any objection.
Yes, the war was looming over them, but the children were entitled to a bit of fun. Laughter, jokes, even games were played between them. Even the staff members were enjoying themselves…well, all but one. No one knew why, but every Halloween, Severus Snape was sat in his seat, sulking. His piercing and disapproving eyes swept over the room, eyeing each table, stopping on the Gryffindors. Well, mostly three of them…or just one.
The trio was seated as usual together, laughing at something Weasley had said. It seemed that even young Potter was oblivious to what the date meant…what it meant to Severus, really.
He had taught the trio for five years, and he couldn't for the life of him understand how their friendship had come to be.
Weasley was an utter idiot, compared maybe only to Longbottom.
Potter was average, good at charms, DADA and Quidditch.
And then there was Granger. Hermione Granger had potential. Even the evil greasy dungeon bat had to admit it. Yes she was a bookworm, but the books could offer only so much. She was brilliant in potions, accurate in transfiguration, tough in DADA…well, good in anything she was determined enough to do. She was a difficult person to describe. She had shown Gryffindor courage and Hufflepuff loyalty when following Potter, Ravenclaw wit when dealing with problems and riddles, and Slytherin cunning when dealing with a certain pink toad. Indeed…she was a puzzle, and a difficult one at that.
And Severus Snape did love puzzles.
He had always wondered what was in that brilliant head of hers, that she had an organized mind should have been an understatement. The girl not only kept track of her studies, but also half of the Gryffindors' as well as a few Hufflepuff's, and she was still at the top of the school.
In many points of view…she was much like him. Well…except the helpful part. He was a Slytherin after all.
Severus's eyes returned towards the rest of the Hall. He always hated this kind of celebrations, not only Halloween, but every damned celebration. He just couldn't wait patiently enough for them to end.
It was an hour later that he found himself bored out of his mind, and more than ready to end the evening, when he caught sight of an owl sweeping through the window and towards the Gryffindor table.
Curiosity got the better of him and he settled back in his chair. That was his biggest problem. Although, he knew he had no chance of reading the said letter, often enough, he could understand what it was about only by the person's facial expression. Legillimency was forbidden upon students, so he had to settle with that.
Severus had expected some kind of love letter, or maybe a letter from her parents, but what he saw on the girl's face startled him.
Pure horror, fear, anger and desire to kill.
Severus sat there, watching her. Although she had been laughing with her friends, they seemed oblivious to the quickly changing mood of the young know-it-all.
Still with his eyes on the girl, he almost jumped out of his seat when lightning struck the sky, followed by the sound of thunder. He frowned. Today had been as clear as a summer day, and abnormally warm. A storm wasn't that strange, but the lack of clouds was.
His eyes returned to the girl, only to see her walking towards the entrance hall. Severus silently got up and followed. Sticking to the shadows, he saw the girl walk towards the heavy oak doors and slip outside. This was his chance. There were only a few minutes to curfew, and she was heading outside…clearly an opportunity to interrogate her…and dock some points. Joy.
Somehow, he thought, the ceiling in the Great Hall, for once, wasn't showing what the sky really looked like. When he slipped through the doors to follow the girl, he found himself unable to continue. It was like the muggle 4th of July celebration. There were no clouds, no rain, but the skies were tearing apart. Lightning after lightning seared the dark abyss, lighting the grounds as bright as the sun.
This was not normal. Not normal at all, and very dangerous.
Severus swore loudly and quickly followed the foolish Gryffindor that was heading towards the Quidditch Pitch, apparently ignoring her surroundings.
Severus was running, but the chit had a good way ahead of him. At one moment, he stopped abruptly when he saw her robes discarded a few feet in front of him. Remembering her reaction to the letter she had received, Severus had only one thought in his head. Suicide.
Would she be that foolish? Whatever the letter contained, it had upset her greatly. But she was too smart, too calculated, too brilliant to do that. Right?
Drawing his wand, he entered the pitch determined to curse the girl if she was doing something stupid. What he did stumble upon, was nowhere near to what he expected.
Hermione Granger was standing in the middle of the Quidditch Pitch, in her school uniform, sleeves rolled up to her elbows, hands gathered in fists at her side, head lowered, looking down.
He was about to shout at her to come back to the castle, when she threw her hands towards the sky, palms up, as if to catch something, her mouth moving with a chant he didn't recognize. What she was saying, he couldn't understand. He knew his fair share of languages, but the one she was speaking was foreign to him.
He was startled out of his observation when a lightning bolt shot straight towards her. Horror filled his heart for the first time in many years. He was her professor, sworn to protect her as a student, and he was there watching, unable to move. Any movement would have been in vain anyway, at the speed it was moving. Amazement quickly took the place of horror when the energy bolt gathered in a ball between her hands.
He could still see her lips moving, and her eyes starting to glow a golden light. Severus was unable to look away from the witch. He didn't know what she was doing, but he looked in awe as the energy ball started floating upwards and stretching. Just like a force field, it started stretching until Hogwarts' grounds were completely covered.
It was obvious that it was some kind of protection. But the key question was…what for? What did she fear? How was she doing it?
Severus wanted to step towards her when he thought she was finished, but stopped once again when her hands shot towards the direction of the Black Lake. The dark liquid floated towards her, forming yet another ball, this time enveloping her. Minutes later, he saw the ball disintegrating and coating the ground. Again, covering every inch of Hogwarts property, no doubt.
Her magic was extremely advanced for a sixth-year, he had to give her that. If he was correct, she was controlling the elements, and Elemental Magic was difficult even for the great Albus Dumbledore.
Moments later, he saw her drop to one knee. He wanted to move towards her again, but thought better of it and waited. This was extremely ancient and powerful magic, and he needed to see what she was capable of.
The earth started shaking, making it difficult to stand without leaning for support. Lifting his eyes towards her, he saw her in the same position, still chanting. When the shaking stopped, he saw the earth starting to rise, forming a column underneath her feet, lifting her to the sky.
Looking up, Severus saw her standing up, arms crossed over her chest, left fist to the right shoulder and right fist to the left shoulder. Red glowing light engulfed her and in moments a pair of magnificent black wings stretched and lifted towards the sky. Her appearance started to get blurry and fell off of her like droplets of water, revealing pale skin, raven waist-length, straight hair and red glowing eyes.
Her wings flapped once and she was hovering in the air. Her hands started moving sideways, and a powerful wind started gathering around her, moments later to spread as the lightning bolt had.
Finally, she descended on the earth column and it started lowering itself back to the ground. When she was finally down, with a few mumbled words, she was looking as she was before, and she collapsed.
Severus was looking at her wide-eyed.
If he was correct in his assumptions, and he could bet his life he was, there was only one thing that could explain what he had just seen. Only one thing powerful enough to conjure and control the elements the way she had.
He could hear his own voice, in awe, and just above a whisper…''Avenging Angel of Hell…''
Severus was rarely surprised, or rendered breathless, but she had done it in just a few minutes. Hermione Granger was a very, very rare and powerful magical creature. A magical creature that was usually a myth. A magical creature that hadn't been seen in centuries. Hundreds of years, maybe even thousands of years. Not even the founders had seen one.
Severus had only one book that described these creatures, but he had read it so long ago, it was difficult to remember their exact attributes.
Shaking his head sharply, Severus quietly and slowly advanced on the unconscious girl. Hermione seemed so vulnerable now, laying on the ground, her chocolate curls now tangled and muddy around her face, eyes closed, lips slightly parted…exhausted.
Crouching down beside her, he slowly moved a curl from her face, whispering her name. It seemed that whispering was the only thing he could do, his voice having left him the moment he had seen the first sign of magic. And of course, as expected, she gave no sign of consciousness.
Effortlessly, he picked the girl up and started towards the castle. Severus wasn't quite sure what to do. Taking her to Poppy meant that there was the risk of the whole castle knowing by morning, Dumbledore was still at the party and McGonagall was bound to blame him for the girl's unconscious state, and not believe his story. Well, that left only one option really. With the dungeons empty and his private hidden entrance, Hermione Granger would be safe in his quarters.
As predicted, not even Filch was in the dungeons. With a whispered password, Severus silently entered his private chambers. With the first step inside, the fire roared to life in the fireplace and candles were lighted.
Gingerly lowering the girl on the couch in his sitting room, he kneeled beside her and just watched her.
For years he's ignored her incessant hand waving in class, had insulted her, degraded her work, never deeming her worthy of his praising…and yet in the last thirty minutes the same girl had showed incredible magical power. Power he'd thought he'd never see in his life.
Watching her tired face, realization hit him harder than had ever. Power. Power the Dark Lord would surely want to acquire if he knew existed. Well, the fewer that knew, the better the secret was kept. At least his lips were sealed.
There was one thing that bothered him though. There had been something in that letter the girl had received that caused her to act as she did.
As slowly and gentle as he could, Severus searched her pockets for the said piece of parchment. A few fruitless moments later, he found it in her inner pocket. Pulling it out and readjusting her robes, he sat up and seated himself on the armchair, eyes still on the girl.
Cautiously, he flipped the crumbled piece of parchment in his hand and lowered his eyes to see two words written in what appeared to be a rushed manner.
No signature, no nothing. The important thing was that the girl knew who it was from and to whom it referred to. From Severus's point of view, there was only one He, and if He knew, it was bad. Could it be someone else? And if it was, why were they after her?
Questions swirled through his head, questions to which he did not have answers. But the unconscious girl did. His fingers were itching to grab his wand and wake the girl and demand answers, or even use Legilimency, but his mind was aware of the fact that if she wanted, she could easily curse him well into the next millennium.
All he had to do was wait. And waiting annoyed him greatly. He barely had the patience to wait for his potions to shimmer. This time though, he had to pull himself together and be patient if he wanted answers. He just hoped that the girl would give them to him.
Cold. That was the first thing that Hermione felt when she started to wake. Her body was trembling with the biting cold. She knew of course the reason for it. She'd never used so much power in her spells, and she'd never used almost all of them at the same time. That was the result. Cold, sharp, biting, freezing cold.
Unable to stop herself, her teeth started chattering, and her body to spasm. She wanted to shout for someone to help her, but she knew where she had been at the time, and that thanks to her Notice-me-not charm, no one had seen her slip outside. That's why, when she felt the hot, burning hand on her forehead she jerked away snapping her eyes open. Doing so, she was startled to recognize the black orbs of her potions master. She could see his mouth moving, but she couldn't make out the words. Looking back in his eyes, she saw concern, fear…and something else. But what?
Did it matter at the moment? She had to tell him to help her…she needed warmth…quick.
Hermione was about to open her mouth to say something when she felt her body convulse and her eyes roll back in her head as blackness engulfed her.
Severus had found the book he was looking for, and the specific page as well.
'The Avenging Angel of Hell
This creature is said to be the second in power after the Master of Hell himself. They are extremely rare, and come only when there is a specific threat. Although the name, the Avenging Angel is meant to relieve the world of said threat. Usually the threat is a demon escaped from the depths of Hell and the Angel has to retrieve it.
It is said that when a demon disobeys it's master and escapes in the human world, a young witch or wizard is chosen and bestowed with the powers of the Avenging Angel. It is said that the witch/wizard is chosen by specific qualities. Sharp minded, quick thinking, powerful, pure heart and many others.
Their powers are limited knowledge to the wizarding world, but some of them are known, such as elemental magic, wandless magic, mind control, empathic powers, excellent in Occulmency and Legilimency.
No one knows exactly how they are chosen, or how they truly look like since they change appearance, as no one has ever had the chance to explore and learn about the said species…'
Severus closed the book with a sharp move, disgusted with the way they were describing it…like an animal, an untamed beast of some sort. Throwing the book to the floor with a loud thud, he turned his eyes to the flicking fire.
He didn't know how long he stared at the licking flames, but he turned his head sharply towards the couch when the subject of his thoughts started whimpering. He could see the crease between her eyebrows, but he was more alarmed about her skin color. She was slowly turning blue, as if she were in an extremely cold place. Flicking his wand, he increased the flames in the fireplace and moved closer to the girl. When her teeth started chattering, he fell to his knees and drew even closer to her.
''Miss Granger can you hear me?'' He asked placing a hand on her forehead.
Her eyes snapped open and she jerked away from his touch. His body stiffened and he bit back a gasp as crimson eyes stared back at him. The contrast of her alabaster skin and the red eyes frightened him. If he didn't know any better, he would have sworn he had a vampire in front of him.
''Miss Granger…can you hear me? What do you feel?''
Severus could see her curious eyes looking at his mouth, as if trying to read his lips, and then move back to his eyes. He saw her opening her mouth to speak, but never managed to say anything. Her body started convulsing violently and her eyes rolled back in her head.
Moving quickly, he forced her mouth open and caught her tongue so she wouldn't swallow it.
''Dobby…'' he shouted, and the small elf popped in the room, his eyes growing even bigger than they usually were at seeing Hermione shaking.
''Fill the tub with hot water, quickly. And you are not to speak to anyone about this.''
The elf bobbed his head and scurried towards the bathroom.
He knew he had no time, and his wand was out of reach, still holding her tongue, with his free hand he started ripping the clothes off of her. At this moment it didn't matter that he was her teacher, or that she was his female student, her life was in danger. Severus didn't know what had caused her body temperature to fall so low, but he did know the consequences.
Leaving her in her undergarments, he hooked his arm around her waist and carried her to the bathroom.
His bathroom was one of the biggest in the castle, hardly rivaled by the prefects bathroom. That is where he realized what he was about to do. His bathtub, if it could be called that, was in fact a small pool. If he left her alone in there, there was the chance of drowning. With the girl still shaking in his arms, he took a deep breath and dived in the hot water, clothes and all.
Her body stiffened when it came in contact with the water, she stopped her trembling but she was as stiff as a board. Severus cautiously released her tongue and started massaging her muscles. Slowly, one by one, her limbs started relaxing and her breathing evened. He didn't know how long her body needed to stay in the water, but he didn't leave her. Sitting on the underwater bench, with Hermione in his lap, he started discarding his robes, leaving himself only in his black trousers and the white shirt.
Sitting there, without anything to do but wait, his eyes drifted from her face to her body. He'd always seen Miss Granger as his brightest student, always trying to cast her back a step so she could take another two forward, but he'd never regarded her as a woman. And in his arms, he definitely had a woman. No longer did she have the abomination she had called a hair for so many years, her teeth had been fixed thanks to Malfoy's curse, her features had lost the baby roundness, revealing high cheekbones, plumb, curved lips, long, dark eyelashes, smooth long neck, soft but firm skin, delicate hands, elegant legs, toned stomach…Merlin, he was ogling his student.
But as improper as it was, he had to admit…she felt good in his arms.
Severus closed his eyes and sighed. If he wanted answers, he had to wake her up. It was getting late and she was bound to be missed by her friends and roommates. Threading his fingers through her soft curls, he lifted her head just a little.
''Miss Granger, can you hear me?'' She didn't answer, but mumbled something he couldn't understand.
''Miss Granger, you need to wake up,'' he tried again. This time she did answer.
''Five more minutes, mum…''
Stifling a chuckle, he tried to think ways to wake her up. It was obvious she wasn't a morning person, and he knew the feeling. Remembering her third year and what her Bogart had been, he grinned evilly and raised his voice just a little higher.
''Miss Granger you failed your potions exam.''
Hermione's eyes shot open and her hand grabbed his collar. Losing his balance, he fell face forward in the water, on top of her. As quickly as he could, he pushed himself up, bringing her with him. Severus was conscious of the fact that she was almost naked, save the bra and her knickers, and that his hands were on her back, he looked her straight in the eyes. Her hand was still fisted in his shirt, and her legs had somehow ended up around his hips, but she was oblivious to her position. She pulled him close, nose almost touching his, and she started shouting.
''YOU BASTARD. I STUDIED TOO MUCH TO FAIL. IF YOU FAIL ME I'll KILL YOU WITH MY BARE HANDS!''
Her face was slightly pink, and her eyes were blazing with anger. When she started yelling it startled him, but when she finished he couldn't stop himself. He threw his head back and laughed.
Hermione Granger had managed to amaze him yet again. Severus knew she was a bookworm and very studious, but he never thought she'd bolt right up from unconsciousness if threatened with the failure of her tests.
He was still grinning when he looked back at her. Anyone could clearly see that she was still angry, and very much ignored where she was and with whom she was.
''Miss Granger how are you feeling?''
She opened her mouth to say something but stopped. As if slapped, her eyes widened and her cheeks reddened.
''P…Professor? Where am I? How did I get here?''
''If you'd allow me a few minutes to get out of the water and bring you a bathrobe, I'll explain everything.''
''Oh…I'm so sorry professor…'' she said, quickly disentangling herself from him and trying to cover herself.
Biting his cheek not to laugh again, Severus waved her apology with a gesture of his hand and climbed out of the pool. He took his forest green bathrobe, laid it on the edge for her to reach and exited the bathroom.
Closing the door behind him, he leaned against it, closed his eyes and drew a few deep breaths. 'Definitely a woman.' he thought. Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, he crossed the room and grabbed his wand. Muttering a quick drying charm on himself, and a few Reparo's for her clothes, Severus set on making tea.
It was quite easy to have the elves bring some, but he enjoyed making it, and he needed something to do to banish any image of her from his mind.
He was pouring the tea in the cups when Granger finally emerged from the bathroom. Severus had to remind himself to breathe when he saw her. Her skin was slightly pink and was almost glowing, she had dried her hair, and it hung now in soft ringlets around her face and shoulders, her once dark brown eyes, or crimson, were now a soft golden color and her lips were a delicious cherry-red, clashing beautifully with the green robe.
''Tea, Miss Granger?'' he asked, quickly averting his eyes and clearing his throat.
''Yes please,'' she answered, sitting on the couch and bringing her feet underneath herself.
Severus handed her a cup, receiving a soft 'Thank you' and seated himself at the other end of the couch.
''Now, Miss Granger, what do you have to say for yourself?''