BY : Kvarta
Category: Harry Potter > Het - Male/Female > Snape/Hermione
Dragon prints: 8403
Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction using characters from the Harry Potter world, which is trademarked by J. K. Rowling. This story is purely for entertainment purposes, no money is being made from it.

I am over worked, sleep deprived and my brain is a mush - but I have this story swimming around for two days now.
I have no idea how long it will be - probably not too long, and I have no idea in what direction it will go.

As per usual, I'll add the characters and tags as I go.

He was five years old, his earliest memory, as far as he could remember. Everything is dark. Damp smell of mould and dust is choking him, but he is quiet. He resists the urge to sneeze, the same way he is resisting the urge to whimper. Shouting, man’s voice is shouting. Woman’s voice is weak, pleading. Screams, the woman is screaming in pain. He gathered his knees under his chin and wrapped his hands around them. He is shivering, partially from fear, partly from the cold dirt beneath him. One drop of water fell down his neck and gliding slowly down his back. It is wet here but no one will remember to look for him under the sink in a kitchen cabinet. The woman screamed again and he covered his ears, abandoning the knees and a bit of warmth he gained from hugging himself. Closing his eyes tightly, so tightly that his eyeballs started to hurt he wished he is far away. Heavy footsteps. Door slammed. The woman is crying. He is waiting, time passes by and nothing more happened, the only sound is made by a woman, crying. He crawled from his hideout. Through the kitchen door, he could see her, lying on the floor next to the rickety coffee table, curled in a ball, sobbing. He approached carefully and kneeled next to her, petting her black shiny hair, whispering


Pain! Seering, bone melting pain yanked him from memory. This is hell, he is not a believer, but this must be hell, his personal hell. To be dragged to that memory, only to be rescued from it into the blackness full of pain. He wishes to scream, maybe he is screaming but there is no sound. He can feel every part of his body burning. Something soft is on his forehead, or at least where his forehead should be. Something bitter. You can’t feel taste if you are dead, can you? Why bitter? He hates bitter. Ah yes, this is hell. Darkness.

Pain. The hits fall on him like rain. He is on the floor, curled up, knees pressed to the forehead, hands wrapped around the head. He is seven. Taste of copper in his mouth. He knows how copper tastes, he has a habit of holding one small copper coin in his mouth, instead of the candy, to deceive the hunger. Now, he doesn’t have the coin, blood tastes like copper coin too. His own blood, running to his mouth and on the floor from his broken nose. Fist and boots do not choose, they land blows where they can, but he is silent. He was silent when his nose cracked. He was silent when his ribs cracked. He was silent when his hand started to hurt, but he didn’t change his position, he didn’t remove it from his head.

“You miserable” the fist “good for nothing” a boot “ugly” boot again “excuse” fists, five consecutive hits “of a son!” two kicks with a boot “You never” the fist then the boot “should have born!” kick in the back and pain shooting white in front of his closed eyes “Cry now!!!”  

Another kick on his back, he bit his lip to prevent sound, it hurts and he knows by the way it hurts he’s going to pee blood again. He won’t make a sound, sound means more hits, more kicks. He won’t abandon his position, abandoning position means kicks in the stomach, they hurt more. He won’t move his hands, moving his hands means blows to the head, it is hard to do chores when you see double. He is not stupid. Finally, the man is tired. All stops.

“I’ll be in the pub.” Heavy footsteps, door slams.

Soft hand and sobbing voice

“Get up honey, he’s gone. Get up, we have to go to the doctor.”

He opens his eyes slowly unrolling, the floor is covered with blood, blood still running from his nose. His face is wet, stained with tears. He gazes at crying face of his mother and crawls few paces back, taking the tattered, now thorn book from the ground where it fell from his arms. He folds the book and pressing it against his chest with the hand that doesn’t hurt so much.

“Can you stand up? We have to go to the doctor.” His mother’s voice is timid and quiet, he looked at the blood on the floor

“Cween the bwood wfst, give me to cween the bwood wfst or we will wit you too.”

The air is hard to breathe, it burns, he can’t move, his hand is blue and swollen, his nose is swollen and he can barely see. His back hurts. Everything hurts.

Darkness again. He is almost grateful for it. His body still hurts, but it is different kind of pain, one that runs through his veins like liquid fire. Is there no respite for him? Not even after his death? He paid his dues, he died for the brat. Isn’t it the time that he is forgiven? To give him just a little bit of rest? If he is alive he would beg, he would scream, he would plead for just a moment of rest, pride be damned. Bitterness. He feels like choking, but you can’t choke if you are dead. Hell, he is in hell for what he’s done. Darkness.

Huge hands around his neck. He can’t breathe. His head is bobbing like a head of the rag-doll. His feet twitch in an attempt to find the purchase on the ground. The world fades around him. Darkness. A tickle of magic, warm and friendly, his mother.

“Shhhhhhhhhhh, don’t tell him.” she whispers and hides her wand “Next year, you will be in school, far away from here.”

“What about you?” he rasps, his throat hurts like hell

“I choose my life.” She replies, her eyes are soft and dead at the same time “Go on, go outside, better not be home when he returns.”

He nodded, took the oversized old coat from the rack and slipped through the door. He walks fast, casting glances left and right, he walks to the river bank and sits under the tree, obscured by the bushes. The air stinks, water is murky and stinky. It is peaceful here.

“I got my letter today!” bright happy female voice

“Me too.” His voice still rasps but he smiles, two bright green eyes and a lock of red hair came to his view, she sat next to him

“Did he beat you up again?” her voice and her face are worried, he shook his head

“He choked me, just a little.”

“I have a sandwich, want to share?” she asks and he shook his head again.

He is hungry, but his throat still hurt and he is embarrassed. He is ashamed that she knows how he lives, how poor and insignificant he is. Seh packed the sandwich in her pocket and sit a bit closer, silent just watching a dirty water with him. A moment of peace, a moment of happiness, a moment of belonging.

Darkness, the pain lessened. Soft female voice talking, to him! He can’t hear the words, but the voice is so calming. Hand, silky skin, hand smells like chamomile and rose water, wiping his cheeks. Was he crying? Can you even cry when you are dead? Lily… Did she finally forgive him? Maybe now his torment will end.

~ S ~ S ~ S ~

Hermione sighed and leaned back in the chair, her eyes still watching wearily at the patient. Her fingers are still wet from his tears, and she gazes at her hand in wonder. She still can’t wrap her head around the fact how human he is right now. If she died a few months back she never would be able to say that he is human.

Her professor, the hero. The man made of spite and cutting remarks. She would never think that anything could touch him. He always seemed so stoic to her. So strong. Never in her life, she thought she will see him weak, human.

But ever since the war, he was just a shell of former self. His body too skinny to fight on its own. He looked so fragile in white sheets. His head a black smear on her white pillow. His hands, calloused and streaked with blue-green veins. Under the thin covers, she can see his ribs, lining out sharply. Her father used to say “only skin holds his bones” if they would see a stray skinny dog, she thought that when she saw him the first time in a hospital bed.

And like the war wasn’t enough, she will have his screams to haunt her for the rest of her days. Rasp and thorn like his unhealed neck. He screamed and screamed, for days, months. And then he started to cry, his lips forming words without sound. Soon screams and crying begun to alter.

He wasn’t the acerbic spiteful teacher, he was just the tormented soul. She sighed again. Matron came to the small improvised room, one bed and one bedside table and one chair, separate from the rest of the beds with the white screen and permanent sound barrier along with few heavy wards.

“How is our patient today?”

“He was crying again, and trying to speak.”

“Nightmares are a good sign.” Matron nodded “It means he is waking up.”

“When?” she raised her eyes full of hope

“It is hard to say. He is lucky to be alive.” Matron placed a tray with vials on the table “Are you sure you can administer the potions today?”

“Absolutely positive.” She nodded

“I’ll leave you to it then. I do hope he will appreciate all you do for him.”

“I don’t do this for gratitude, we owe him so much.” She whispered, Matron, nodded and left her.

Hermione took a small towel, soaks it in the water and wipes his face tenderly. His skin is clammy, soaked with sweat, and oily. His head reminded her of a skull with skin too thin and overly stretched over bones. She wished he wakes up, even if he would blither he, just so he could start eating and gaining weight. To her, he looked like death itself, he certainly was lingering on the death’s door. 

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