"Pansy, you're crazy. Severus isn't an Animagus," Hermione said, staring at the dog with apprehension. Darcy was staring at Pansy with a look akin to annoyance then he turned and trotted out the door, appearing once more and holding a pencil; he disappeared out the door again and returned with a scrap of paper.
Sitting down, he bent his head, pressed the tip of the pencil to the paper and began to write with his paws holding the paper down and the pencil in his mouth. Hermione crept back until she found her pajama pants and slid them on, feeling very naked and violated.
"Animagus or Muggle dogs can't write, Hermione," Pansy pointed out with a smug look. Darcy dropped the pencil, carefully picked up the paper with his teeth, and padded to Hermione, shaking the paper at her.
I am Severus Snape.
"Why didn't you tell me?" she asked quietly.
"Hermione, he couldn't," Pansy said softly.
"You've been him the entire time…I told you—" Hermione stopped, feeling the blood in her veins turn icy as she realized everything she'd told him. "Get out," she told him, her voice soft. "Please…just get out, Severus."
He gave her a look that she couldn't decipher before he slunk away, low to the ground and she tried not to cry until he was gone. "I told him I was in love with Severus, I told him everything that you know about me!"
There was a loud crashing and then Crookshanks came sprinting into the room, yowling. She stared at the door, feeling her entire body prickle and her muscles grew weak as she noticed the quiet presence—a quiet, male presence. She got to her feet and peeked out the door, heart beating frantically in her chest as she saw a glimpse of him, pulling on a black button-up, the myriad of deep, angry-looking scars on his back making her cringe.
"Sev—Snape?" Hermione called out. He paused for a moment, his entire body tensed up before he continued dressing, pulling on a black sweater and adjusting the collar. "I'm sorry for misleading you, Miss Granger. I had no intention of invading your privacy…"
He wouldn't look at her, like she was suddenly ugly to him now that she knew the truth; he pulled his hair away from his face and his piercing eyes met hers. How could she have not seen it?
"I will not bother you with my presence anymore. Goodbye…Hermione." He met her eyes and they looked cold, his hands tensed and balled in fists. With a crack like thunder, he Apparated away and Hermione was left alone in her living room, Crookshanks sitting at the spot where Severus had lain, bony and cold from the snow; the cat's yellow eyes stared at her sadly and if he could've spoken, he would've said, "I miss him."
He landed in his home, a quiet apartment near Muggle London. At once, the stillness hit him like a wave and the air smelt like death, cold and bleak and lifeless, not at all like her house, of warmth and life and cozy. He stared at the clean, modern but dark interior and felt the pit in his stomach coil tighter.
He hung his cloak on the peg by the door and unlaced his boots. "Sheila," he said in surprise when his familiar appeared, a lean, striped cat with a burn on her left eye and a crumpled leg, in the doorway, her mismatched eyes watching him. "I'm home." She padded closer and than lunged, seeming to be very happy that he was home, as thought to say, "I missed you very much, Severus."
He smiled softly, stroking the soft fur and scratching her under the chin. She purred like a motorboat and he held her in his arms, scratching under her chin as he kicked off his shoes and headed down to his room.
"I know, Sheila." She batted his hair away like a kitten and then squirmed out of his arms, racing around the room with her tail in the air. He smiled softly as he slipped off his sweater and was in the midst of unbuttoning his shirt but froze when he felt several sharp tugs in his arms.
He looked down and traced the faded scars. She seemed to ask, "What's wrong, Severus?" He sighed and flopped back on the bed, lifting up his left arm and glaring at the ugly, black Mark. He draped it over his closed eyes and drifted off to sleep, halfway dressed, his mind on Hermione.
Staring blankly at the picture. She'd been doing that for days straight in her free time. Instead of drawing or playing her guitar, she sat at her coffee table with the fire roaring and stared blankly at that damned photo.
I'm sorry for misleading you, Miss Granger.
I never meant to invade your privacy.
She sighed and slowly rose from the chair, cradling the empty baseball mug her father had given her for her nineteenth birthday. "I miss him," she said to the air. The dust was still as it passed through a slant of sunlight and she stared at it.
Crookshanks butted against her legs and she stumbled, the cup dropping from her hands. She watched the shards space apart in her hands, pieces of a gift from her father, pieces of that smiling baseball player, shards of the bubblegum bubble.
She began to cry and fell to the floor, her chest aching, a dull pain that hadn't left since he stepped out of her life, an ache that filled her days with dread of sleeping because the dreams were there, always there, where they kissed and held each other and he smiled—he looked so beautiful when he did—
Crookshanks nudged her legs and pawed them but her mind was reeling, images of them—him—Severus Snape, of Darcy, of his dark eyes—flickering back and forth. First he was Severus Snape, looking quiet and pale and gentle at his trial, gauze around his neck as they told him he should've been sentenced to Azkaban, his facade of calm remaining…then it was Darcy, the lanky mutt she found outside her apartment, his dark eyes staring up at her in that moment she pried apart the bushes…
They had the same eyes. How had she not noticed?