Hermione was ranting to the portrait of Albus Dumbledore, shortly after the war ended. It was a terrible time, there was very little food, since the Death Eaters had destroyed the markets. Winning the war meant they lost too much.
“You stupid old man, is THIS your greater good? Minerva is never going to recover, Molly is never going to recover, Teddy is an orphan; it wasn’t worth it. None of it was worth it! If I had to guess, this is what you and Grindelwald had planned the entire time! If you couldn’t make the Wizarding World in Britain do what you wanted, then you HAD to destroy it!”
The other portraits in the headmaster’s office were throwing whatever they had in their paintings at the sobbing, painted old man.
“No, no, Miss Granger, I never meant for this to happen. Behind this portrait, there should be a small crack. Get the Elder Wand from Mr. Potter and tap it. There is an item there, as well as a few potions. Take all of it to Severus in the Shrieking Shack, the elves have him in stasis, and make your wish. You can change it all, I promise!” The last word was a shriek, since Phineas Nigellus hit him with the Black Family Grimoire that set the old wizard’s hair on fire for having dared touch it.
Harry threw the Invisibility Cloak off of himself from the corner where he was sitting, and handed the Elder Wand to Hermione.
Hermione nodded, then stared when Harry visibly choked. “Harr-”
He waved her off. “No worries, Death. I understand you are always the Master. As soon as Hermione taps that crack the demented old man said for her to do, I relinquish all of these items back to you. I have no need to hide from you, I have no fear of dying!”
A large spectral shape holding a scythe appeared. “Well met, youngster, well met. You may keep the cloak as a souvenir, but although it will hide you and your descendants from others, it will not hide you from me!” With that the spectre turned to Hermione and somehow appeared to be gazing expectantly.
Hermione gulped, moved the portrait of Dumbledore, and tapped the crack she found in the wall with the Elder Wand, then held it out shakily.
Death took it, as well as the Resurrection Stone, which Harry had found in his pocket, and after tapping the cloak with one bony finger, disappeared.
Harry and Hermione turned to the wall and saw that the crack had turned into a drawer. They pulled the drawer out and found a star-shaped gem encased in something resembling plastic, but obviously not.
Harry grabbed her hand, and said, “C’mon, we don’t know how long Snape can stay in stasis. Maybe we should take Madame Pomfrey with us?”
“I’m already here, Mr. Potter. One of the portraits sent for me,” Poppy said.
“I am coming as well,” said Minerva McGonagall. “Albus has a lot to answer for, hopefully this helps.”
As they were arriving at the Shrieking Shack, Hermione turned to Minerva. “Do you know what this is?”
“I have no idea, dear. Maybe Albus figured out a way to make a stable time-turner,” she responded.
Poppy ran up to Severus and held her hand out for the potions Harry and Hermione were holding. She began waving her wand and pouring potions into him.
Hermione, not knowing what else to do, put the odd trinket into Severus’s hand, and putting her hand around it, said, “Oh, Professor Snape! How I wish things were different.”
At that exact moment, Severus Snape was regaining consciousness and seeing Hermione’s kind eyes staring at him, with Harry, Poppy and Minerva nearby wished to himself, “If only this affection was real, and this was my family.”
Both those wishes touched the trinket at the same time, making it light up and blinding all of the people in the Shrieking Shack with the brightness of the light emanating from it.
None of them had heard what was said as they were leaving the headmaster’s office.
“A wishing star!” exclaimed Phineas Nigellus Black. “I haven’t seen one of those in ages. Those are sort of like Hands of Glory. You get what you wished for, but it may not be exactly the way you think it will happen.” He disappeared so he could hear what happened.
“Sounds perfectly Dumbledorian,” Dilys Derwent replied.
“There is nothing wrong with a Wishing Star,” said Albus Dumbledore. “Both Severus and Hermione are very logical people.”
Phineas Nigellus Black laughed upon hearing that as he returned to his portrait in the office. “Well, Albus, I do truly wonder what will happen. Severus appears to have made his wish silently, and Miss Granger said ‘Oh, Professor Snape! How I wish things were different.”
Albus blanched. With something as open-ended as that wish, anything could happen…. That was his final thought as he faded into non-existence.
There was a flash of light, which caught Aberforth’s eye. He saw that Ariana was running up to try to separate the three of them and he threw himself at her, knocking Albus into the path of Gellert’s spell. When Gellert saw that he had felled his lover, he turned on Aberforth, ready to blame him, when Ariana suddenly sent a burst of accidental magic his way, knocking him into a tree, impaling him on a broken branch.
Her eyes went wide when she saw what she had done. “Abe--”
“Don’t worry, Ari! If your magic is back, then we will just need to train you up. Those two got what they deserved. That branch wouldn’t have been broken if they weren’t fighting with me. Albus never did understand that people matter,” he said, almost under his breath.
There was no Grindelwald war. Ariana, smart as any Dumbledore had any right to be, but with a more compassionate nature, became a healer. The damage the boys had done to her as a child meant she would never have children of her own, so she decided to take on the head Healer position at Hogwarts. She ran the entire hospital wing, and also provided classes to the senior students who thought they might want to become healers.
Because there was no Grindelwald war, and Albus Dumbledore didn’t put his stamp on the Wizengamot and every facet of British Wizarding life, things played out a bit differently.
Tom Riddle was part of the “magical reunification” plan started by Armando Dippet prior to the beginning of the Muggle Second World War. He was placed with the Blacks. Unfortunately for him, he had decided he was going to poison Orion, in order to marry Walburga, when he was discovered by Kreacher. No one is quite certain what happened to him. Then again, no one is quite sure how new House Elves come to be, either.
Considering no one was assigned to a house until they were old enough to make a Quidditch team, all the first years were housed together. By the third time Severus Snape ended up in the hospital wing due to “tripping” Ariana Dumbledore had enough. She stormed into the first year dorm, just in time to see Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew whispering to James Potter, who looked at Lily Evans, who narrowed her eyes at him. He shook his head, and moved over to sit closer to Remus Lupin and Snaggleknife the goblin.
“You are already whipped, Potter! You are almost as bad as Snivelous!” Black singsonged.
James Potter shrugged. His Aunt Dorea said that Sirius was almost as mad as Bella. He liked him, but sometimes he went too far.
Ariana was almost in time to stop the spell that was hurled at the unsuspecting boy who was studying quietly by the fire.
There was a flash of light, and Severus Snape disappeared.
“What did you do, you horrid boy?” Ariana yelled as she grabbed Sirius by the ear.
“Nothing! Pete said the spell!” yelled Sirius.
“No, I didn’t! That is Black Magic, I couldn’t have!” yelled Peter, assuming that everyone would understand that he could not safely cast another pureblood’s family magic.
The entire sordid story came out in the Headmistress’s office. Griselda Marchbank was all for a solid education, but she did not hold with bullies.
Sirius Black tried very hard to say it was family magic and he wasn’t allowed to say anything. Peter Pettigrew just shook his head. Healer Dumbledore refused to accept this, and went back to the common room. There, Lily Evans was in tears, her best friend was gone. James Potter, Remus Lupin, and Snaggleknife were trying to comfort her.
“Does anyone know what happened?” she asked.
Snaggleknife replied, quickly putting the lie to Black's claims. “Yes, I could hear him. The Black heir used a bit of old family magic he'd boasted about. It's a spell meant to banish squibs, Healer. But Severus is far from a squib, so I don’t know why it would have worked.”
James Potter took a deep breath. He had been badly shaken by the proof that the Black madness was a real thing. “I do. He told me it would just send Snape home, claiming it would send a wizard where he was wanted or prove he's a squib. But my Aunt Dorea told me to be careful around Black family spells.”
Lily hugged him and sobbed even harder.
“Child, why are you crying?” asked Healer Dumbledore.
“Sev won’t have gone home. His mum might love him, but his dad doesn’t like that he has magic. I don’t think the magic would know where to send him!” Lily cried out, then sobbed some more.
Upon further questioning it transpired that young Black had used something taught to him by his older cousin Bellatrix. It was indeed a Black Family spell that would send an unwanted child into the ether. The family had employed it for centuries to eliminate their squibs.
Sirius was quite certain that nothing would happen to Snape other than being sent home. But he really had the hope he’d disappear into the ether like the squibs.
He was expelled. As was Peter who had egged him on. James Potter became the hero of the first year class, for telling the truth.
“You were right, Miss Evans,” said Healer Dumbledore. “He’s not home. I do hope he ends up somewhere pleasant.”
Severus Snape had been sitting quietly studying for Charms class next to his best friend, Lily. There were some other kids around, also studying. He had heard Sirius Black muttering behind him and that sycophant Pettigrew giggling like a much younger girl, when all of a sudden everything went bright white. The light made him close his eyes.
When he opened his eyes, he was still on the couch in the first year common room. But instead of Lily sitting next to him, it was a girl with kind brown eyes, and the biggest bushiest head of hair he’d ever seen. And on the other side, was, no, um, “Where AM I?”
“Who are you?” asked the girl with the hair. “You weren’t here a second ago!”
The boy with Lily’s eyes and Potter’s face, suddenly opened his eyes wide. “You’re Severus Snape! You were my mum’s best friend, and you disappeared her first year! Let me get Healer Dumbledore and Headmistress McGonagall!”
Severus watched him get up and run out the door of the room. “His mum?” He turned to the girl. “Do you know his mum’s name?”
“Yes, I do. His mum is Lily Potter! She works for the Ministry. She’s the head of the Office of Muggleborn Integration,” she answered. “I’m Hermione Granger,” she said, “I hope we can be friends.”
Severus stared at her. “Why would you want to be friends with me?”
“You ended up somewhere you didn’t recognize, and you are still handling that book very carefully. I like people who like books,” she said.
Severus quirked his lips up a little. “OK, I guess.”
Hermione beamed at him.
The door opened, and in rushed the unidentified Potter, Healer Dumbldore, an unknown healer, and Headmistress McGonagall.
“Oh, my goodness, Severus Snape, as I live and breathe!” Healer Dumbledore exclaimed. “Well, I certainly wanted you here, but I don’t know why it happened to be now.”
“I do,” said the unknown healer quietly. “Hello, Severus. I’m your Aunt Poppy. I’m the assistant to Healer Dumbledore, and I would love to have you stay with me when you aren’t in school.”
“I don’t have an Aunt Poppy,” he said.
She sat down in front of him. “It is a very long tale, child, but I truly am. Would you like to come with us to the Hospital Wing so we can check you over, and I shall explain everything to you,” she said.
He nodded carefully after staring at the witch sitting in front of him.
Hermione was bouncing in her seat in excitement, clasping and unclasping her hands, wanting to say something, but knowing she shouldn’t.
Severus looked at her. “Could Hermione come with? I don’t know anyone else, and she offered to be my friend,” he said.
All the women smiled.
“Yes, of course, child. It is always good to have a confidant,” the Headmistress said. “Now, come along, the both of you.” she turned to the unnamed Potter. “Mr. Potter, don’t look so disappointed. Write a letter to your mother, and tell her to send me a Patronus when she’s ready to come through the Floo.”
The unnamed Potter nodded, glad to have something to do.
“Oh, Mr. Potter? Be certain to tell her I was quite pleased with your actions today,” McGonagall said.
The unnamed Potter smiled, and suddenly, he looked far more like Lily than before.
“You have her smile,” Severus said.
“You mean her eyes,” Potter replied.
“Well, yes, her eyes, too, but those are obvious. You have her smile. Not Potter’s. Hers.” Severus insisted.
Potter smiled again. “I’m Harry, by the way. And thanks. No one has ever said that to me before. It’s always the eyes.”
“People like to state the obvious,” Severus said, and then turning, realized he had become the center of attention and put his head down and followed the troop of women out, cocking his head to the side and slowly taking the small hand Hermione held out to him.
Severus sat on a bed in the hospital wing with Hermione sitting in a chair next to him, still holding his hand.
“All, right, my sweet boy, you need to let go of her hand so I can check you over,” Healer Dumbledore said.
Severus startled. “I-I’m sorry, I didn’t even notice.”
“It’s all right, Severus. That’s what friends do, right?” Hermione asked.
“I think so, yes,” he responded.
She beamed at him again.
“You don’t have many friends?” he asked.
“No, they don’t like me being pushy about learning,” she said.
“So, let them fail. You don’t have to save everyone, especially from themselves,” he said.
“I-I never thought of that,” Hermione said.
By that point, Ariana had finished her scan. “Well, child, you have dissipating temporal magic, but other than that, you are fine. We are actually in the same week you were in when you disappeared all those years ago, so you will just continue as you were,” she said.
“Healer Dumbledore, where is my mum?” Severus asked.
“I’m sorry, sweet boy. She passed a couple years after you disappeared.”
“How did my mum die?”
“She and Tobias were out walking when a person driving a car hit them,” Poppy said. “I was told it was quick.”
“Oh,” Severus said, and put his head down. Then he looked up. “She must not have wanted me as much as you do, ma’am. Or I would have gone home.”
“You know, Severus, maybe the magic knew she didn’t have long to live, and thought this was better. Every time Eileen wrote, and she did, addressing envelopes quite creatively, you were all she talked about,” Poppy responded.
Again, Severus’s lips quirked upward. “Thank you, ma’am. That makes me feel a lot better.”
Hermione had tears running down her cheeks, and without realizing had reached out and held on to his hand.
“It appears we have decided what to do for you academically, which is to continue on as you were,” said Professor McGonagall. “Now, I think you may want to speak to Healer Pomfrey alone about your home life, so, along you go, Miss Granger. Severus will be returned to your common room shortly.”
Hermione nodded, then started toward the door, then stopped, turned around, ran back to the bed and gave Severus a quick kiss on the cheek.
He blushed as she ran out.
“I think you made quite the impression, Mr. Snape. That bodes well for your future here,” the headmistress said.
She nodded to the Healers and left.
Poppy sat in the chair Hermione had vacated. “Severus, I have a story to tell you. I know you are familiar with Healer Dumbledore, so she can stay if you wish. She already knows my story,” she said.
“All right then,” Poppy took a deep breath, then continued speaking. “Eileen was a fair bit younger than I. Shortly before she left home to run off with Tobias, my dear husband Pomeroy - now sadly departed - and I lost our only child to Squib Pox. My parents, never the most tolerant of people, couldn’t bear the shame of a so... demonstratively confirmed squib in their family and disowned us. In turn I, I still think rather understandably, resented their lack of support and was frankly only too happy to be quit of them.
“Eileen, dear thing, unfortunately found herself caught in between and now the sole repository for all their hopes and dreams for the future of the Prince line... As you might imagine, they were now even less willing to accept a Muggle into the family than ever, and having seen how they treated me... She had no wish to subject herself to the same treatment, and so she and Tobias eloped.”
“But she never mentioned a sister...”
“She wouldn't have been able to, child. Not after a pureblood family disowns one of their own. She’d have been held by the family geas not to speak of me. But now you, you are the only Prince left, and you were willing to hear me out. Please know that I would be more than happy to adopt you as my own, Severus. If you wish, you could keep your name, or become a Prince or a Pomfrey or--”
She was cut off as Severus almost flung himself into her arms.
“You REALLY want me?”
“More than anything, child, more than anything.”
“Then I want to be your son. Was your husband a good person?”
“Yes, dear, he always said if you showed up, you’d be ours,” she said.
“Can we do the whole adoption? I want to be a Pomfrey, like you,” he said.
Poppy smiled, “Absolutely, sweetheart. We will have to get everything ready, most likely for the solstice.”
The solstice came, and the formal magical adoption was made at the standing stones in a clearing in the Fantastical Forest. *It wasn’t forbidden, since Hagrid’s acromantula was discovered under his bed by a few enterprising House Elves, who had heard from their friends in Indonesia that they tasted like crab… Hagrid left school crying after he lost Aragog. He never did return.*
Lily and James Potter were there to stand in as his godparents. They saw Hermione bouncing on her toes at the edge of the circle. Of course, considering her hair was crackling along with her excitement, she was hard to miss.
“He looks at her like he used to look at you,” James whispered to his wife.
“Yes, but she looks at him like you used to look at me,” she said. “I’m glad, too. They are a good match.”
Third year, Severus punched Ron Weasley in the nose when he declared Hermione was a horror and would never be asked out to Hogsmead. Then he promptly asked Hermione to go to Hogsmead with him.
It was Hermione who punched Ron in the nose when he amended his insult to “Well, slimy snakes don’t count.”
“Why was he angry at you this time?” Severus asked.
“I wouldn’t let him copy my Potions essay,” she said.
“You haven’t let him copy an essay, well, ever.”
“I know, and he still gets angry when I don’t, which I don’t understand at all. We aren’t even in the same house!”
A messy head of hair came into view and an arm got slung over Severus’s shoulders. “But you help me, Hermione, that is why he doesn’t get it.”
“You’re my friend and Sev’s godbrother, Harry! And you ask for help, not to copy. It isn’t the same at all!”
Fifth year there was a Yule Ball. They had fallen out of favor, mainly because only the purebloods had the proper training up through Headmaster Dippet’s time. But with all the integration classes and culture training, they decided to reinstate them.
“Hermione, would you do me the honor of being my date to the Yule Ball?” asked Severus the day it was announced, while walking her to the Ravenclaw table.
“I would love to, Sev!”
No one noticed the exchange, because those two were always together. So it sort of went against all reason when the week before the ball, Ron Weasley stormed up to Hermione and yelled, “Hey, you are a girl, even if all you like are books. I’ll take you to the ball, yeah? Just fix up that mop of hair.”
This time, it was Neville who punched him.
“Wha’d ya do that for?” Ron asked belligerently.
“To rescue a fellow Gryffindor. But I won’t do it again you unappreciative git,” Neville responded.
“Rescue me from what?”
“Being hexed by Severus Snape and Harry Potter, you blind imbecile. Hermione and Severus are dating, and have been since third year. Harry is Sev’s godbrother. He considers them both family, and what you did was a huge insult. Come to think of it, you better hope he doesn’t tell his dad, or your dad might be in trouble at work,” Neville said.
That got through to Ron, because he did not want to get his father in trouble.
Ron caught up to the group at The Three Broomsticks. “Uh, can I talk to you all?”
Harry looked at the other two who had narrowed their eyes, but not made any other movement. “Fine, Ron, but this better be worth it. Or I will help them hex you into next week.”
“Look, my brothers have been taking the piss from me regarding Hermione since first year, when I was upset in Charms class. They said I must really like her if I was that nasty. So, I thought, since I didn’t have a date, I’d date her. I never even noticed that she and Snape were dating,” he said.
Hermione huffed and left the table.
“Weasley,” Severus said.
“Not that I think that Hermione would stoop so low, but you ASK a witch to be your date, you don’t inform her. And regarding her hair, why don’t you ask Harry what the legends of curly haired witches are? You really need to grow up, Weasley. Or you will never find yourself a witch to date,” Severus said, then got up to follow his date.
Ron turned to Harry. “I stuck my foot in it, didn’t I?”
“Yeah, I hate to think of what might have happened to you if Nev hadn’t punched you. You aren’t that bad a guy, but really, you do need to grow up. The bumbling act isn’t cute.”
“You try being the youngest of six brothers and then having the baby be a sister. Makes you feel unwanted,” Ron said.
“Unwanted? Your mother gives you everything. To the point you don’t even think you need to ask for things! You aren’t unwanted, you’re a spoiled rotten brat!” Harry stormed off. The term unwanted reminded him of Severus’s past and just made him angry
Seventh year, Hermione and Severus were Head Boy and Girl, to no one’s surprise.
Severus was taken on by Horace Slughorn as his apprentice, with a bet made in the Potions Guild that he would finish his Mastery faster and younger than anyone anywhere.
Unfortunately, that resulted in a few potions accidents. Hermione, working on her Charms Mastery, had placed a protective Charm on him, and although it had activated a few times, none of the accidents were enough for her to have it become an industry standard.
One day, shortly after Severus had proposed to Hermione, again, to no one’s surprise, he was working on his cure for werewolves. He was rather fond of Harry’s godfather, and wanted to be able to help him. Unfortunately, the plants he was using had miniscule insect eggs on them, and it contaminated the potion, making it explode. The shrapnel from the cauldron would have killed him, if it hadn’t been for Hermione’s charm.
Severus woke up in the Hospital Wing, surrounded by his mother, the Headmistress, Healer Dumbledore and Harry Potter, and smiled. “It’s good to be wanted, isn’t it?”