AN: Thank you for all the reviews and interest so far x Again, I must remind you that this story would not be possible without the wonderful imagination of JK Rowling.
The story starts now. I hope nothing said in here confuses you. I am a huge Doctor Who fan - so I am used to convoluted Time Paradox stories.
Again I must thank Vino Amore for tidying up and adding a few bits x
The Second Chance Enchantment
The Lions Den
HOGWARTS: OCTOBER 3RD 1996
Next thing he knew he was back where he had been before, where Lily had told him where they stood now in their relationship. I.E. Over. The fact that she was prepared to still offer her body to him for one night, for old times sake, was an offer he had to refuse. That would not be fair to either of them. Ah well, he shrugged, at least I can find my way to the Dungeons from here. Get some sleep!
"Hello?" a voice he did not recognise greeted from behind him. "Prof..." he turned around and saw a wild haired, otherwise neatly presented, Gryffindor Witch stand in open-mouthed shock. Clutching onto two slim volumes. Quill's supporting her ill contained plait. The satchel settling across her chest and lying on her hip. Slight. Soft cheeks. Pride sparkled within. Severus never believed in love at first sight but this Witch could easily prove him wrong. "Sorry, I thought you were someone else, can I help you?"
Beautiful, he immediately liked her. Would be hers by a snap of her light fair fingers. So glorious. Severus felt his breath hitch in his throat. "I don't believe I've seen you around before?" he asked. Surely he would have remembered a lovely Witch like her. "I'm Severus Snape."
Silently, the girl nodded still almost dumbstruck by the young Wizard in front of her. Snap out of it, Granger, she scolded within. Then she gathered her wits together and blinked: "Hermione Granger," she offered her hand and then quickly withdrew it when she saw the Slytherin emblem on the not-quite stranger's robes. An unruly lock of hair fell down her forehead and Severus itched to move it, but Hermione managed to sweep it to the side whilst observing him. "Granger, if you prefer."
"Why did you take your hand away?" he asked with a scowl. The one he would sport permanently when looking at her.
"You're a Slytherin," she said. "Sorry, I'm a Muggleborn," she shook her head – she could not have heard correctly. For one silly moment she thought he said, Severus Snape. With that admission Severus watched in horror as she was making her way to leave. The young Witch was breathtakingly stunning. He wasn't about to let her go. Not now, not ever.
"So?" the young man said harsher than he intended to. Slowly, she stopped, turned around and tilted her head. Curious eyes appraised him. Offering his hand back he waited with painful anticipation. He watched her smile – dimples, how adorable. She offered her hand again. After a firm shake he drew her hand up. Suavely he kissed the back of her knuckles and gauged her reaction. "You're pretty when you blush, has anyone told you that?"
Coughing with shy embarrassment Hermione shook her head. "All right, Malfoy," she withdrew her hand coldly, "if this is some path..."
"Malfoy's here?" the supposed Snape said whipping his head around in horror and jumped in front of her with his wand out.
"You're in Slytherin," she pointed out, "of course Malfoy's here," the girl said. "Okay," she took hold of his arm and he turned around. "For the sake of argument, let's just agree you are Prof... Severus Snape," she smiled again. Sweet Circe, Severus moaned. Please let her not have a boyfriend. "Let's take you to Headmaster Dumbledore," her voice softened. Gorgeous.
"Terrific," the boy groaned out sarcastically.
"He's a brilliant man," the girl bristled.
"He is," Severus said in agreement. Such a passionate young woman. Something of Lily. Could this be a relation of hers in some way? "I do not dispute that but he is a cunning and interfering devil."
Delightfully, the girl chuckled lighting up those whiskey coloured eyes: "That's putting it politely," she said as she took his hand and threaded her fingers through his. The warm feeling spread all around his body. "So, you claim you are Prof... Severus Snape," she tilted her head and worried her lower lip as they made their way through a short cut.
Moments later they stood outside the Headmaster's office. Ignoring the surly Gargoyle Guard. Staring intently into each other's equally intelligent gaze. A shift happened to Hermione's stomach as the Whitby Jet eyes she admired so much pierced into hers. All Severus could do was blush as she took hold of his other hand in hers.
"Yes?" the Gargoyle snapped. "We haven't got all day."
"Parma Violets!" Hermione said. "His latest favourite," she confided to the boy who said he was Severus Snape.
"Why do you keep hold of my hand?" Severus asked bemused.
"I do not want you lost," she replied gently.
"I know where the Headmaster's office is – I do go to this school. I believe you will find I am about to go for my N.E.W.T.S."
"I am in my Sixth year but it's October," Severus sighed at her admission and groaned as he realised he may have to do all his studying again. Though how did he get flung back in time to the start of the year? That still did not account for not ever seeing this vision that stood half a foot shorter than him. So little yet she could make her presence known quite easily if she wanted to. Still, if it meant he could spend time in this Witch's company. A Witch that held a similar aura to Lily. Then so be it. "Though I am sure I still would have known if..."
They reached the door where Albus Wulfric blah blah blah Dumbledore resided. "Yes, Miss Granger and... well I never!" the Headmaster blinked, staggered and swayed back to his seat.
That was something Severus thought he would never see. The Headmaster capitulating from bemused astonishment. "Headmaster," the girl said in a no-nonsense tone that amused the boy greatly. "This young Wizard claims to be Severus Snape – but I think it's Draco Malfoy playing a trick with some really clever glamour's."
Draco Malfoy? The young man scowled. No, surely she meant Lucius. There was no such person as Draco Malfoy. "Miss Granger," the Headmaster offered a seat then picked up a bowl of round purple sweets: "Parma Violets?"
Eagerly the Witch grabbed a handful: "Don't mind if I do," she grinned mischievously. Then with another little tinge to her cheeks she turned to her companion: "Sorry, it's just that my parents are dentists and I only get to eat sweets at school."
"Is that why your smile is so lovely?"
Oh dear lords of all Elves, she sighed. "See what I mean, Headmaster."
"No, Miss Granger, do you not see?" the Headmaster sighed – his periwinkle eyes sparkling with a playfulness that made Hermione beam.
With narrowed eyes, Hermione appraised the profile of the boy next to her. The one who had not let go of her hand, like she had not released his. Draco Malfoy would not be able to play this up for such a long period of time.
"I do not understand," she furrowed her brow and chewed her lower lip. Was this the one Lily said I should be with? Severus wondered. "How could he be..." she circled her free hand the same way Lily did moments before.
"This is, indeed, Severus Snape," the Headmaster said, "a flesh and blood young Wizard version of Severus Snape."
"What do you mean young Wizard version?" the boy said taking a proffered Parma Violet from Hermione and sucking it in his mouth. "I will always be a Wizard," his eyes widened. "Won't I? Where am I?"
"Hogwarts, dear fellow," the Headmaster chuckled. "Still Hogwarts."
"The way Hermione is gawping, she looks like the Bloody Baron shot right through her."
"We will have to tell him, Sir," Hermione said shaking her head. The gawping comment made her believe this was, indeed, a 17 year old less bitter version of Professor Snape. What is he going to say when face... no, he cannot face himself. "If only to prevent mishaps."
"Wise words, Miss Granger," Dumbledore sighed. "You, of all people, should understand the delicacy of the situation."
"Yes, Sir," her voice was so warm Severus wanted to hear it forever. "I think I had better inform him."
"I am all ears," Severus said turning in his seat to face the gorgeous Gryffindor next to him. All eyes. All yours. "What is it?"
"Well," she darted an uncertain look towards the Headmaster who urged her to continue with a nod. "I almost called you Professor because, you see, you are a Professor here, now."
"WHAT?" the boy roared but with happiness rather than anger. "Excellent, what do I teach?" he was eager.
"It used to be Potions but now it's D. ."
"Wicked!" the young Snape grinned from ear to ear. "My favourite subjects apart from Ancient Runes."
"Really?" the girl squealed. "I adore Ancient Runes!"
"M-m-maybe we can work together sometime."
"Ah!" Dumbledore lifted up the hand to make the two youngsters turn around and look at him – both modifying their expressions from eager beavers to profound respect. "That may not be possible," the Headmaster sighed. Oh Gods, this was not going to be easy. "We have to reassert the timeline and send young Severus back to where he came from."
"Back, what do you mean reasserting timelines?"
"You, dear boy, have somehow landed in the future. Two decades have passed."
"Sorry, Prof... Severus," Hermione took his hand in hers and squeezed it to reassure him. "But this is 1996," she sighed. Grabbing the Daily Prophet and tapping the date: "October 3rd 1996," as if to clarify.
"How did I get here?" Severus scratched his head with his free hand.
"What did you do to get here, dear chap?"
"I don't know," Severus said taking out a notebook that Hermione narrowed her eyes at. The very same that Harry was now harbouring protectively around his chest. Ron told her he reads it constantly. It was Snapes... but... "I had just finished hiding from the Marauders," he sheepishly looked at Hermione, "four boys who insist on making my life miserable," he said. A lump formed in Hermione's throat. Maybe it was six of one half a dozen of the other. "I came out of my hiding place and Li..." he broke into tears, "sorry, Hermione," he tried to hide them but Hermione tilted his chin up and made him look in her eyes.
"Never be afraid to cry," she sighed as she whipped out a handkerchief with her wand and knelt down below him tenderly dabbing the tears away. The way Lily used to. "My father says a real man is not afraid of tears."
Smiling through his sadness he vowed, in his heart, to take her back with him. Only he could have this Witch. If he could no longer have Lily, he would have this one. Damn the rules! Their auras, the core was so similar. She had to be the right one for him. This was a Gryffindor Muggleborn who had purposefully respected the no touching rule when she saw the Snake on his robes. A Muggleborn who was now touching him with such warmth he could melt.
"L-Lily," he stammered, "I tried to make it up to her after something I did to her that was enormously dunderheaded of me."
"All right," Hermione smirked, "now I know you are the younger version of Severus Snape."
What was in that sentence that made her now believe him? Shrugging his shoulders he glanced down at the Witch still kneeling before him gazing up at him: "You might want to sit down," he said, "I am sure that I am not exactly flattering from that angle."
Laughter. She giggled so sweetly. "No?" she said in the form of a teasing question, "unless you hadn't noticed, I am not exactly Play Wizard of the Month Double Page Spread, myself."
"Who says you're not?"
"The older you for a start!"
"Do I really grow old and senile?"
"Not senile and not old, yet."
Merlin on a Thestral this Severus was adorable, Hermione sighed. Why couldn't other Wizards talk to her like this? "Your eyesight is as effective as ever."
"Idiotic then," he smiled through coy dark lashes.
Shaking her head Hermione wondered if it was entirely inappropriate to sit on his lap and crush her lips to his in passions embrace in front of the Headmaster. Ultimately, she decided, not to give in to temptation.
"We're digressing," she tried to sound business like again but her throat was too constricted now for anything but a sensual whisper. "How did you manage to get here?"
"After Lily and I made a tentative pact I began wondering around the darker elements of the school as I love to do, it keeps me lost in my own world and the Slytherin Common Room is not exactly fairy lights and Christmas."
Another dark chuckle came from the lovely golden Witch beside him: "I gather it can't be."
All the Headmaster did was just observe these two. He had known it all along that Severus did not hate the young Witch. Every time Professor Snape had to patch her up he treated her kindlier than anyone else.
"Well," he opened the book to a page towards the end. "In the depths of velvet blackness I found these marks," he proffered the book to her and she traced the markings exactly the way he did. Through dark eyelashes he saw how her breath hitched. Whiskey eyes glowing. Lips parted as she studied the markings. "I thought I'd translate and see what it did."
"Some would say that was idiotic," Hermione said.
"The older you."
"I don't think I like the older me he sounds horrible."
Shaking her head clear of the laugh rising within, Hermione remembered the Back to the Future films she watched constantly. Wearing out at least five VHS tapes!
"What do we do, Headmaster?" she asked as he was finally allowed to peruse the markings.
"Alas," he said, "there is nothing we can do."
"This is out of my hands completely."
Yes, he has not changed – the young Severus sighed: "What is it, Sir?" Hermione's voice held an impatient edge to it.
"These runes were carved by Salazar Slytherin himself," the Headmaster said, "after he made a fatal error," he glanced between the two youths before him. This was going to be a headache and in a year he could not take it. Still, Miss Granger was a Witch that offered the right sort of gung-ho spirit. "There is no modern translation but the best way to describe the runic cantrip is," the students were on the edge of their seats. "The Second Chance Enchantment."
The atmosphere was palpable – Hermione could almost taste it. Something about the air crackled. Cogs turned in her head as she wondered what Salazar Slytherin did that was so awful he felt he needed another chance to get things right.
"But," Hermione finally found her voice, "how does that make you travel through time."
"It does not, per se," the Headmaster said. "It just takes you to the place where the incantation means you to be to gain your second chance."
"What happens if you fail your second chance?" Severus asked.
Albus cocked his wizened head to the side observing the younger Severus before him: "This is Slytherin we're talking about here," he said carefully.
Shivering Hermione remembered the Basilisk: "Nothing good then?" she said turning to Severus with sympathy. Then annoyance. "Why did you not take the markings to Dumbledore then, before you..."
Severus shrugged his shoulders: "Normally, I would have been cautious," he said gazing up at a now standing tall Gryffindor blazing with fury. Magnificent in her concern. "I just wanted out of there. Away from the bullies. Away from heartbreak and away from pain!"
Immediately, Hermione softened towards him and wrapped her arms around his neck, as her heart broke for him. "I'm sorry," she shuddered against his body.
Severus stood up and hugged her in return revelling in this kind-hearted Witch's embrace. Burying his long fingers in her masses of wild hair. Nice to know that he was not the only one with rebellious follicles.
"It's not your fault, why are you sorry?"
"I just... feel..."
"Miss Granger is a genuine personality, Mr Snape," Dumbledore did not feel as if he should ever have uttered that again but he was now forced to. "Now how are we..."
"I have an idea," Hermione said.
"Proceed," the Headmaster said waving his hand to Hermione allowing her the floor. Not that Severus minded, he could look in those lovely eyes forever, hear her enthusiastic tone for eternity: "You are entitled."
"We can Sort him," she said looking at the hat wondering how it could be persuaded to get into Gryffindor. "Then we can say that he was forbidden to come to Hogwarts because of his strict religious Parents who refused to believe in his powers – so he had to be surreptitiously taught by visiting tutors," Severus was listening rapt in attention as this girl was weaving a tale worthy for a Slytherin. Please, he sighed, let her not have met Lucius Malfoy. "Then his parents die – car crash – and he was finally free to come to Hogwarts."
"How are we to bypass the fact that the older me will know it is him he is teaching?" Severus pointed out the flaw.
"Simple," she shrugged. "We tell him what has happened."
"That is not a good idea," he sighed.
"No, don't you see, it's beautifully intriguing," the light danced in her eyes as her mouth parted with excitement: "My mum has often bemoaned the fact that she will never get the chance to meet her teenage self and give herself a slap in the head for making the mistakes she made, though she would not go into the mistakes. The Second Chance Runes are going to do just that," she rushed to Severus gushing over him. It did wonders for his confidence: "We tell the older you what is going on – he can teach you all you need to know – perhaps the Headmaster can help you with your N.E.W.T.S for the curriculum as it was then so when you get back to the exact time and place you won't have missed out," then she grabbed his hands and walked him around the Office. I will follow you, he sighed. I need not be physically led. "This is wonderful," she laughed, "I can help by bringing the text books from the Library as I noticed you only have your notebook," Severus mind was blurring with only the vision of her being enthusiastic in other matters. "I can also collate parchments and quills. Potions you need no help in as you're bloody brilliant at them."
"Wow," he let out a breath.
"I was wrong."
Suddenly Hermione stiffened, oh dear she was too happy. She knew he hated people being joyful around him. "In what way?"
"Now you're positively wonderful!"
If Hermione was the swooning type she would have collapsed in Severus' arms right about now. Why could he not stay like this? If he was still this kind after his heartbreak then how did he grow so bitter? "Thank you," she blushed in a quiet voice. "Um," she shook her lovely mane of hair. "Anyway," she coughed, "if anyone sees you, which I hope no one does," she realised she had said the wrong thing because the light fell from his eyes. "No," she gasped horrified. "I said that because that would provoke awkward questions for you," she sighed. Please don't be mad at me, her honest eyes widened. Eventually, the gleam crept back into the pupils. "Just say you are Septimus Snape."
"Septimus?" Severus scowled folding his arms. Causing Hermione to giggle. "Now what is funny?"
"That part of you has not changed," she said. "You still thunderously scowl and fold your arms like that."
Immediately, the young Severus dropped his arms and tried to put a less frustrated expression on his face. "So, why Septimus?"
"Septimus Severus – ancient Roman Emperor. Died in Yorkshire. Repented of his crimes against Christianity."
"Genius!" Severus hugged Hermione. "Has anyone told you that?"
"Often and not you!"
"I sound like a right bastard."
Behind them Albus chuckled: "That is the general consensus of all the students you teach, Mr Snape."
"Add me to the list!"
Giggling Hermione looked at the young Severus: "Obviously, due to the fact that it is you and people are not that idiotic," she rolled her eyes, "you can say you're like a third or fourth cousin removed or something. Obscure, but still believable," she worried her lower lip, "enough, at least, to show the genetics through to such an extent."
"That may work," he said, "but where can I stay?"
"Here," the Headmaster offered.
"No offence, but your predilection does not make me comfortable with that proposition."
"Predi... Oh," Hermione swung to glance at her Headmaster. "I see."
Albus waved it off unconcerned. Severus was a true friend of his and knew the youth in front of him meant nothing judgemental by his attitude.
"But what if I get put in Slytherin. Won't that be awkward?"
"The Second Chance Spell," Hermione said confidently, "it may put you in Ravenclaw!"
"You're not in Ravenclaw, though you should be."
Blushing again Hermione gazed into the young Severus' eyes: "I was almost put in Ravenclaw but the Hat settled on Gryffindor."
"Dunderheaded piece of cloth!"
"Stop it," she stifled a chortle, "you're sounding like a parody of yourself."
The Headmaster sighed – this could only end badly if he did not cut in right now. But this was Mr Snape. He had not yet had the final pieces of his heart shattered. This Snape still held out hope. He would have to tell Miss Granger not to give him any false hopes.
"So," she sighed, "we should probably get Professor Snape up here now, Headmaster – this won't work without his co-operation."
"I'll co-operate!" young Severus said puffing out his chest.
"Hmm, wait until you meet you."
The Headmaster chortled, he supposed this was a different sort of magic to the Time Turner and Miss Granger was right. There was no point in delaying the inevitable. That map may give them away any moment and before long young Potter and Weasley would find their friend hugging the younger version of their least favourite individual. Walking to the fire place he took a pot from the mantel piece.
"Let's hide," Hermione said as an extra spurt of childish playfulness took over her. Yes, Severus smiled in return. He had a lovely smile, Hermione sighed. Grabbing his hand again she ran around the back of the Headmaster's desk and crouched down with Severus.
"You're fit, you know that?" he whispered.
Lowering her eyes Hermione edged closer to Severus. "Despite how mean you are to me in the future, remember that I respect you."
"Because you're a clever, intelligent, highly knowledgeable being. All I ever want is to impress you," she confessed. "I never succeed."
"I am an utter prat, aren't I?"
"No," she hissed quickly. "Just, there are extenuating circumstances..." she started but could not finish as Dumbledore glared at the desk and both felt it.
"Professor Snape," he shoved his head in the fireplace.
Eventually, Professor Snape's voice was heard. "Yes, Headmaster?"
"I sound like that?" the boy mouthed. Hermione nodded urging him to remain quiet.
"Can you come through please, a rather unusual situation has arisen, brought to my attention by Miss Granger."
"I am not in the mood for entertaining silly girls notions."
"You respect that?" the boy frowned.
"Professor, you do not have to pretend around me, you know."
Now it was Hermione's turn to furrow her brow. "What did that mean?" the boy Severus mouthed. Shrugging Hermione waited for the response.
"Fine," his voice had softened. "I am sorry, Headmaster. You know why I feel … odd about her."
"Deja-Vu," the Headmaster sighed, "well, this may be why."
"It is more than deja-vu, Headmaster."
"Just step through, young man!"
"So I am grumpy and stubborn?" Young Severus whispered tickling Hermione's ear. Deliciously so, she shivered with joy. Even his young voice was almost sinful.
They both heard the thud of heavy boots and black robes. The young Severus peered around and gulped: "He's scary," he mouthed.
"That's the point," Hermione mouthed back.
The Headmaster turned to the desk. "Miss Granger, you can come out now."
"Good luck," young Severus said squeezing her shoulder.
"Thanks," she murmured back.
"What is this all about, Miss Granger?" Professor Snape huffed out folding his arms, a move that normally silenced her but instead it made her giggle.
"Sorry, Sir, I will try and keep a straight face."
"I have not got all night and neither have you. I am sure Weasley's homework needs correcting at some point."
Flushing Hermione muttered something under her breath about how Weasley can do his own bloody homework. Looking her Professor directly in the eye as a way to stabilise her need to collapse in a euphoric hysteria.
"Um, I was doing my rounds and I came across what I thought was you, and well," she indicated to the back of the desk. "Come on, you're going to have face yourself at some point."
"What do you mean face myself, Miss Granger, what nonsense have those twins been testing on you?"
Slowly, the young Severus walked sheepishly around the desk latching onto Hermione's hand straight away trying not to look at what he becomes. With a gasp the young man ducked behind Hermione.
"Very funny, you and Potter..."
Potter? She knew a Potter? "No, Sir, this is you. Younger you."
Younger Severus gulped and stayed behind Hermione. "Show him the notebook, Sev – er, Snape," she said. It was hard not to call him by his first name when the Professor version of him was feet away. "Give it to me," she snatched it out of the youth's quivering hands. Then gave it to the Professor. "There," she said. "The date of the last note, you were thorough."
"Yes, Sir," she said meekly. The younger Severus stepped shyly around but still glued to Hermione's side.
Was I really … no, he thought, a young me would latch on to someone like Miss Granger, it's probably why I find her infuriating now. "Do you remember stumbling across those runes, Sir?"
"Like it was yesterday," the older Snape sighed nostalgically. The book was a little dog eared but there were still empty pages. "So, what are you suggesting?"
"According to the Headmaster those runes were carved into a now disused and decrepit part of the school, the young you was hiding from... well..." she wisely chose not to elaborate. "He – You – Copied the runes and rather foolhardily Gryffindor like, did the spell and hey presto," she felt silly for saying that but she felt like lightening the mood. "Here," she indicated the younger him, "you are," she rolled her eyes as the dour Professor dared not raise a smirk whereas the younger him was just looking at the Witch in wondrous amazement. "The Headmaster said that Salazar himself carved those runes into the school because of something awful he did and the loose translation is The Second Chance Enchantment."
The Professor version of Snape arched an eyebrow. All right, he would go with this. "So, we just find the counter charm and send young me back," he said.
"No," Hermione continued, the Headmaster seemed gratified that she was taking the floor. As if this was suddenly her responsibility. "It does not work like that, you see," she sighed, "younger you can only be sent back if you play out the Second Chance Enchantment – we," she indicated the four of them with an airy gesture, "will have to research the consequences if it fails so we can prevent any fatal consequences to the timeline."
"What do you suggest young me should do in the meantime, Miss Granger?" his tone was snippy but not his usual sigh of annoyance.
"Get him sorted," she shrugged her shoulders, "we have worked out a backstory between us of overtly religious Muggle parents, so younger you will have to be a mudblood..."
"WHO CALLED YOU THAT?" roared the younger Severus jerking her around violently. "WHO?"
"Calm down," Hermione said in a soothing tone, "it's a term – I'm used to it."
"Not the point," younger him hissed, "you shouldn't have to get used to it!"
Glancing at the Professor version reaction he seemed to be almost as furious with her for using the word on herself. Now she had a headache but she had to carry on. "Anyway," she continued as if nothing happened, "younger you will have to be a Muggleborn – I hope he won't be seen by anyone else," she said, "but in case you feel he should be mingling, the younger you name is Septimus," she continued, floundering a little because she was not used to saying this much in front of the Professor. "He is your third or fourth cousin removed – you can decide on the obscurity of the connection but he has to be a Snape – I refuse to pull a glamour. A few little lies as long as we are all in agreement and can stick to them should be fine."
"You forget, Miss Granger, you are not that good a liar."
"If the story is collaborated by the four of us, it need not be a lie, Sir," she volleyed back.
Now the Professor stumbled backward. Never had she almost floored him with a good come back: "Very well," he said, "how do we account for younger me magical schooling?"
"Surreptitiously privately tutored, under the guise of Muggle After School activities."
Was that a quirk of the lips in a smile: "What else have you managed to come up with in such a short space of time?" he sneered.
"Hey, what has she ever done to make you hate her?" the younger him scowled back.
The Headmaster just sat behind his desk popping Parma Violets in his mouth enjoying the show.
"Constantly being a thorn in my side for one."
"Yes because you always push people away that you should like and go to those who secretly despise you! Do you really think Lucius Malfoy and Narcissa Black actually like you?"
Hermione shook her head in warning to the younger Severus: "Careful," she warned. "The older you won't be above punishing you."
"Great, so I turn out like my darling daddy!"
"I am nothing like my – our – father!" older Snape growled.
Yikes, Hermione turned to look at the Headmaster. What she was witnessing was so surreal and yet so profound she felt at once awkward and privileged. "Back on track," she rolled her eyes trying to stop the older Professor creating a paradox by killing his younger self. "I thought that the Headmaster could privately tutor the younger you in the N.E.W.T.S that he should be taking – you can teach him other things he will need to know. I will bring up the appropriate text books from the library and bring up writing tools."
The older Snape turned slowly to the young Witch. "Now who is the thorough one," he said. "I assume he is to stay in the house that he is sorted in."
"Um," Hermione chewed her lower lip hopping from foot to foot. "Well, that may not be a good idea. I wonder if," she glanced at the Headmaster, "are there any private rooms he can stay in?"
"No," the younger Severus said. "I'll take my chances with the sorting."
"Um," Hermione worried her lower lip.
"I think that's cute when you do that." Oh great, she glared at the ground. "What year are you in, again?"
"Sixth Year," she whispered.
"Shame," he said tucking hair behind her ear.
"That's enough," the Professor felt distinctly uncomfortable watching his younger self flirt with Miss Granger. Not that, in another life, he would not have done the same thing at some more appropriate time. "Headmaster?"
"Yes," the Headmaster brought the Hat down who seemed to have let out a sigh.
"Oh," it said when it was placed on younger Severus' head, "you again. Yes," it murmured. "Though you are, essentially, a Slytherin I would … yes. Definitely more courage than before. More sadness. There is something there... keen intellect, may do well in Ravenclaw but," the hat mused – Hermione watched gripping onto her skirt in fistfuls bringing the hemline up her thigh and the older Professor watched the younger Severus arch an eyebrow at how lovely her legs were. "I see something else," the hat said, "I see I was wrong – that you should have been," Hermione had not felt this sick since she was, herself, sorted. "Now you can be..." with her heart thudding in her chest she did not realise her skirt was near her knickers. Professor Snape tapped her hands away and Hermione blushed and said sorry. "GRYFFINDOR!" the Hat hollered.
"Got the back story covered for Potter and Weasley, have you?" the Professor sneered.
Shrugging Hermione said: "I do not presume on what the ethics are in Slytherin, Sir, but in Gryffindor we look after each other."
"Septimus Snape," Headmaster Dumbledore sighed. The Professor version directed a cold glittering gaze at Albus. The old coot was enjoying what mayhem this would cause. "Welcome to Hogwarts."
"Come on," she grabbed his hand, "you best get rid of the Slytherin robes, Septimus," she sighed.
"Oh," the younger Severus said as he unclipped the outer robe from his throat, took the tie and then the jumper off. Hermione stared at the wiry frame of the young man before her. Aware she was ogling her, well, her Professor she stopped looking at his chest and into his eyes: "good idea, Hermione."
"Here," she said, "Headmaster," she nodded. "Professor."
When the youths left the Professor turned to the Headmaster: "You are thoroughly enjoying this, aren't you?"
"Dear boy," the old man said, "just imagine when Harry writes to Remus telling him a boy of your description has suddenly turned up in Gryffindor – surely you can see the humour in that?"
"Well," Severus mouth twisted in a rather satisfied grin, "putting it like that I suppose it is rather amusing," he then schooled his expression back to seriousness: "Did you see the way the younger me was ogling her like she was a piece of meat."
"Oh Severus, surely you cannot begrudge Miss Granger her admirers," the coot popped another violet in his mouth. Severus snatched some and crunched on a few. Lily used to love these, he once bought her a hamper filled with sweets for her birthday. "Did you notice she was flattered, dare I say it," the Headmaster smirked, "I would think those two would be quite the team."
"It is still me – highly inappropriate," he groused, "why did she have to come up with a plan? I could have done so."
"I thought she schemed rather well," Albus said. "I will have to inform Minerva of this rather unique turn of events but Miss Granger is quite sneaky when she wants to be."
I know, Professor Snape thought, were she a half-blood she'd almost certainly be put in Slytherin. "Admittedly, I am somewhat impressed with her cover story but is this a good idea in light of..."
"Yes," the Headmaster snapped. "It will show you what you are as the man I have always known you to be."
"But if I hurt Miss Granger it will be like Lily all over again."
"The Second Chance Enchantment may not work like that, Severus."
"Well," Hermione said, "are you ready for the Lions Den?"
"I find the analogy to Daniel rather fitting but then he was rescued by an angel, was he not?"
Gods, she thought, I find it hard not to moan in the presence of your older sarcastic self but when you're saying nice things to me... "Y-yes, I believe h-he was," standing outside the Portrait of the Fat Lady Hermione whispered: "Verity of thy troth."
"Enter!" the Fat Lady said then looked at the younger Snape. "You seem familiar?"
"I will fill you in later, dear Lady," Hermione said politely, "but it has been a long night."
"Yeah, it feels like it's been twenty years," young Severus groaned.
Hermione sniggered as they walked through the hole. Standing in the shadows Hermione laughed against his chest: "That was brilliant," she said. "Come on."
Like before, she led him up the stairs and taking a deep breath they took the final step into the Common Room. Both wondering what the reaction was going to be like.
"BLOODY HELL, YOU BROUGHT SNAPE HERE!" shouted Ron.
Severus cringed and hid behind Hermione. The boy Snape could only assume was Potter narrowed his Lily like eyes: "It just looks like him, Ron," he said though his tone was guarded. He was sitting there writing an essay.
"Remarkably like him," said a red haired girl. "Still, we have to be polite," she got up, "Ginny Weasley, who are you?"
"Septimus Snape," the boy replied with ease. Slytherin training. If the sweet Witch by his side was as bad a liar as the older him claimed, then perhaps it was best if he did the talking. "I am a Muggleborn, believe it or not, and I only found myself here this late in the game due to overly religious parents – lately they died in a car crash so I found myself free to finally be able to attend. I was port keyed here," a little embellishment Hermione filed away. "Though not straight to the Headmaster... Dumble..."
"Dumbledore," Hermione finished. "Yes, I came across him and, like you, – mistook him for Professor Snape but there are marked differences."
"Like what?" never had Severus been so annoyed by a red head. "Looks like him to me."
"That's because you're about as perceptive as a blind deer in headlights, Ron!" Hermione snapped. The younger Severus shoulders shook with laughter. "Anyway, it's not like you have to worry about sharing your dorm with him, he's a year above us."
"What about Professor Snape of the same name?" Seamus asked also slightly distrusting the new addition. "Does he know?"
"Yes, we hammered out the details with him – he is well aware his distant relation is in Gryffindor. I can assure you, he'll treat him as such."
"So much for blood being thicker than water," Dean laughed. "Well, whatever, as a fellow Muggleborn," the half-coloured youth stood up and shook Snape's hand: "Welcome to Gryffindor."
"Dean Thomas, so do you like Football?"
"Not particularly, I prefer singular activities like swimming – walking – that sort of thing."
"Swimming is cool I must admit," Dean said, "great for the muscles."
Hermione coughed: "Right, well," a Seventh Year Gryffindor boy stood up. "Names Gareth," the boy said winking at Hermione. Harry noticed that the younger Snape dug his hands into Hermione's. Hmm, that was odd. "We'll see if you can bunk up with us, eh? Or would you rather bunk up with Granger here?" the boy was Welsh. "Can't say I blame you if you did."
Another Seventh Year boy stood up. Handsome, blond, chiselled and glaring hatefully at the new boy's hand, that was now tightly intertwined in what he considered HIS girls hand.
"Cormac," he bowed a little stiffly.
Ron snarled and gripped onto his wand. "Oh Ron," Ginny sighed. "You cannot stop other boys from looking at her. She's going to be flirted with on every angle." She had even caught Malfoy giving Hermione the odd appreciative glance now and then. Though she was not going to say that to her brother.
"I would have been lost without her foresight, kind hearted nature, warm smile and lovely manner."
Harry shrugged his shoulders and walked up to him: "Well," he said, "that's Hermione for you but, just a warning, she can be scary sometimes."
"So," Snape shrugged. "She's like another girl I knew from my last school," not a lie. "How can I not be drawn to her?"
"Are you really related to scary as hell, Professor Snape," a boy with a Liverpudlian accent said. Snape turned around. "Neville Longbottom," he said.
Pureblood then. Seems like Pettigrew but the boy did have something of his own thoughts inside his head: "Sadly, yes. He's a right bastard isn't he?"
The whole common room relaxed around that one statement. So, young Severus surmised, this was what it was like being a Gryffindor. Just have to hate me and be popular. That's fine, he thought, I've been hating myself for years already so this should be easy. Hermione felt exhausted. How this was going to work in the long run, she had no idea. His reaction to her calling herself the nickname all Slytherin's used bothered her somewhat. Why was he so angry with her for that? The look in the older version's eyes seemed in warm agreement with his younger self.
Was she about to crack the enigma code of Professor Snape? When Lavender and Parvati got into their dorms both bounced on Hermione's bed: "Wow, he's so hot and a Seventh Year."
"He was being nice," Hermione blushed.
"Well," Lavender gushed, "if he was giving me those come hither gazes he was directing at you the whole time, I would have been in his bed tonight not my own."
"I agree," Parvati breathed. "Wow, he is one sexy Wizard isn't he?"
"Could say that," Hermione mumbled picking at her bed covers, "I was busy being jostled left, right and centre after he insulted his relative."
"But those eyes and that voice," Lavender persisted. "He could be Heathcliff to your Cathy."
"Mr Darcy to your Elizabeth Bennet."
"Romeo to my Juliet?" Hermione finished in fits of giggles with her girl friends, "come on guys, I just met him, and you're making out we made out instead of doing what we actually were doing," the two girls arched their eyebrows, "and that was talking to Professor Snape and Headmaster Dumbledore."
"Seriously, how did grumpy pants take it?"
"Um, rather well actually," Hermione said. "He did insult me and Septimus was rather indignant – really, it was like seeing Harry in action."
"THIS IS GOING TO ROCK!" Ginny yelled breezing in. Her enthusiastic bouncing made the other three lift up off the mattress a little. The red head flung herself on the covers. "Ron's no longer the only Gryffindor good at Wizards Chess and he and Harry are discussing... what?" she said looking at Hermione's deepening blush. "OH YOU DON'T?"
"No, I do not!"
"You do, you want to get in Septimus' pants don't you?"
"I think he wants to get in hers too!"
"You're awful you lot," Hermione groaned.
So far her sexual explorations have been with Viktor, who came before she had a chance too. With three muggles in the Summer holiday. One of the Weasley twins, also during the Summer holidays. And a casual flirtation with Kingsley Shacklebolt. Just that, she cringed, with Septimus she'd effectively be sleeping with her Professor. Yet, her head could find nothing wrong with that!
"You know what?" Ginny carried on.
"No, but I guess you're going to tell me."
"I cannot wait to see Malfoy's face when he sees you and Septy tonguing each other!"
Now, Hermione grinned. That is something I feel I can participate in. "Right girls, it's been a trying night for me – I want some, 'hey I may look average in the morning sleep', please."
"Sleeping with Septy may make you feel as beautiful as you are," Ginny said warmly. "He has a damn fine backside!"
"Must be all that swimming and walking he does," winked Parvati.
What the hell have I got myself into, Hermione thumped her head back on her pillow. Tomorrow morning could either go efficiently well or extremely badly. Depending on how the rest of the school are going to react, but she could always rely on Gryffindor pride. He'd already passed an unwritten test – so who knows. He may be a natural Muggleborn and Gryffindor after all.
That night her dreams were strange to say the least. They started out making shy, awkward, but still sinful love with Septimus, and it was wonderful. The way she felt with those firm hands on her waist massaging her skin. The way his lips felt. Those young, deeply earnest eyes, boring into her own as they began their journey to Passion in mutual desire. Then, in a rather horrifying but, still somewhat not unwelcome turn to the dream, she found herself suddenly flung on the back of her bed by an insistent Professor Snape who growled in her dream: "Prepare to finish what you've started, Hermione," he said.
Unfortunately, the Dream Hermione never got a chance to answer as the real one woke up shaking and sweating: "Wow," she shook her head, "playing with fire is not going to be easy!" it was still dark, the other two girls were peacefully sleeping. "Oh well, may as well read," she shrugged. As she picked up an Advanced Ancient Runes Text she saw an old dusty box wedged behind her bed and the wall: "Now," she mused, "I wonder who put that there?" Thinking nothing of it she began on one of her favourite subjects: "Ancient Runes, better start researching now before I lose my mind," and my heart... to a man she could never have. Bringing out her own personal notebook she did not allow anyone to see, she began jotting down notes from the book. Writing references in a different quill style and making sure she had some work to do tomorrow. "After all, surely, it is better for both ends of the time warp we're in if he is gone as quickly as he came," she sighed. "Certainly less hurtful to either of us."
Then she tried going back to sleep.
And people wondered why she was not a morning person!