Author's Notes: This is my second attempt at an SS/HG fic. My first was only a one-shot called So Like A Rose (you can find it on my author page). It's written from Hermione's POV, my first attempt at first person POV in any piece of fiction so I hope it's acceptable. I tried to keep them both in character, I had and still have a habit of letting Snape go a little soft. Please R/R. Oh right, I don't own the characters, JK Rowling does.
I couldn't tell you how or why it started. Hell, I still haven't been able to figure that one out for myself. But the when, ah yes, the when, I can tell you that much.
It was the summer between my sixth and seventh years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I was sixteen, and very nearly seventeen at that. Voldemort had steadily risen in power. Not equal to that of his former reign, I grant you, but enough to cause panic. This was due in great part to the Ministry's abysmal handling of the situation. Death Eater raids were on the rise and Headmaster Dumbledore thought it best that I spend the whole of the summer holiday at 12 Grimmauld Place while my parents were safely hidden away with cousins in America.
This would seem to be an ideal situation, especially for someone like me. You see,
Grimmauld Place had a magnificent library. It certainly did not rival Hogwarts'
impressive collection, but the rare texts stored in that room were more than adequate to keep me happy for the summer. They certainly surpassed the basic medical dictionaries and dentistry text books my parents had.
Of course, there was one small, greasy catch. Severus Snape, the great bat that he was, proclaimed the library as his domain and all who enter did so at their own peril. After Sirius Black's untimely demise, Snape took to swooping about the place as if it were his own. As much as I stood up to Harry and Ron where Snape was concerned, I can also say, with absolutely no guilt, that he could be a right bastard if he wanted to be.
"Miss Granger, if you do not remove yourself from my presence immediately, I shall find some reason to give you detention come September and have you disemboweling foul creatures until your fingers bleed." Snape was, as ever, seated in the worn leather wingback chair by the fireplace.
"Sir, I mean no disrespect, but this library is here for everyone's use." I, for some reason still unbeknownst to me, tried to reason with the most unreasonable man on the face of the planet.
"Most of the books in this room are not even fit for Dumbledore's eyes, much less your own," he answered with his trademark sneer.
I nearly said something I would have very much regretted regarding Snape's less than stellar past, but found my presence of mind just as I was drawing my breath. "I know which books not to touch," I said. Even with my presence of mind, I still ended up saying the wrong thing. I should really learn never to use the phrase 'I know' in the presence of Severus Snape. It always ends badly after that.
"Oh yes, I'd forgotten." Snape's sneer had gotten so pronounced by this point that his face looked more like a mask than something human facial muscles were capable of. "Hogwarts' resident insufferable know-it-all," he was spitting properly, now. "How silly of me to think that I might know what's best for you. By all means, go right ahead, let one of the more unforgiving tomes bite your hand off."
It really was no use arguing with him. I always lost on the few occasions I actually thought it worthwhile to stand up to him. Most of the time I gave him a timid 'yes Professor' and let him have the satisfaction of having cowed me yet again. So why,
you might ask, did I not back down on this rather ordinary day? I haven't the faintest bloody clue.
"Professor, I didn't mean to imply that I…" I stopped this line of reasoning as soon as I saw his expression change from annoyance to anger. His anger only frustrated me, so I settled for folding my arms over my chest and tried to look as menacing as
possible. I, obviously, was no match for the master for he drew himself up out of the chair and mirrored my pose, which with his horror-inspiring portrait, looked rather juvenile in comparison. I came off more like a petulant child whereas he came off as, well, Snape.
"If you think staring me down will do you any good, I am very sorry to tell you Miss Granger, that this will end in my favor," he said quietly. He stood eerily still as we locked eyes. Once we did, I found I could not look away. It wasn't for any silly romantic reason; I saw neither a torrent of emotion beneath the surface, nor flecks of any colour besides the deepest, darkest black imaginable. Instead, and this was probably more unnerving than anything I could have found, I saw absolutely nothing. I could not even discern the pupil from the iris.
His eyes narrowed suddenly and I gasped and jumped back. Apparently he had grown tired of my scrutiny, but upon seeing my retreat, a smirk overtook his features. The bastard thought he had won! 'I'll show him,' I thought in a rather uncharacteristic show of bravado considering the man I was addressing.
"I really would like to get back to my reading, Professor," I drawled in a stupid decision to adopt the bored tone more often heard from Snape. He raised an eyebrow at my gall and I could tell something I wasn't going to like was about to be expelled from his pursed lips.
I can only thank the gods that Mad-Eye Moody chose that moment to come through the door, looking rather mutinous to boot.