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FIC: The Price of War (G)

Title: The Price of War
Type: Fic
Prompter: of_anoesis
Creator: blueartemis07
Beta(s): muse_amusant
Rating: G
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): A/U.
(Highlight to View) Prompt: Thanks to his war pension, Snape doesn't need his curio shop to be a success, which is just as well, as he seems determined to scare all his customers away. To increase the time he can spend ignoring potential clients, he advertises for an assistant. Sadly, only the only applicant is worse than any customer. It's Miss Hermione Granger (SS/HG by preference).
Summary: No one seems to remember Hermione Granger, and only Severus Snape seems to care why.



"If you don't like the price I've set, don't come back! I don't haggle!" Severus Snape's deep voice rang through the air, following the witch scurrying out of the shoppe on the corner of Diagon Alley, furthest from Weasley Wizarding Wheezes.

Hermione almost ran into the woman as she headed toward Curious Curios, Snape's shop, holding a copy of the Daily Prophet in her hands.

"I wouldn't go in there if I were you, dearie. The man is a menace, war hero or not," the witch said.

"He offered for an assistant in the paper," Hermione replied, showing the woman the paper.

"Good luck, dearie. You'll need it!" exclaimed the woman, glancing over her shoulder as though she was afraid Snape would appear in the doorway to hex her.

Hermione shook her head. She wasn't exactly certain why the name Snape drew her, but it did, and it was better than having to remind the healers what her name was every single time they came to visit her. She had finally convinced them that she wouldn't harm anyone. They asked her to demonstrate good knowledge of witchcraft and wizardry and required her to pass her NEWTs before she was discharged. Had anyone looked, they would have seen the great book in Hogwarts update itself to show that Hermione Granger passed her NEWTs in Potions, Charms, Arithmancy, Runes, Herbology, Astrology and Transfigurations with O's. She got an E in Defense.

With her success in mind, she braced herself and walked through the door of the shop.

"I told you I don't bar—. What are you doing here?" The proprietor of the shop eyed her with distaste.

"You must be Mr. Snape. I'm Hermione Granger. I've come to apply to be your assistant!" she told him cheerily.

"I know exactly who you are, Miss Granger. What manner of joke is this?" Snape stepped forward, using his height to attempt to menace the young woman in front of him.

"Really? No one else seems to know who I am. How is it that you do, sir?" Hermione cocked her head and looked at him through wide brown eyes.

"That is a curious question, Miss Granger, appropriate for the shop. I shall hire you for the present. But make my custom worse, and I will fire you instantly!" Snape stopped the dramatics when he realized that Hermione had stopped listening at the word hire and had stepped past him to look around the shop.

Severus watched her walk from display to display to see what he had on offer for sale.

"Is this everything, sir? Or do you have more in the back?" She asked, looking back over her shoulder at him.

"No, there is quite a bit more in the back that needs cataloging, curse-breaking, dark arts detection, many challenging items. Do you think you are up to it?"

"I did very well on my NEWTs. The hospital made me take them before I was released. You can check with Hogwarts," she said.

"I will have to prior to allowing you into the back, Miss Granger. There is a small flat above the shoppe you may have as part of your salary," he replied.

"Yes, I would like to see that, please." She looked at him, smiling as she spoke.

****

Hermione moved into the flat that same evening, getting a raised eyebrow when she told Snape she had everything she needed in the small beaded bag.

****

She quickly became a beloved part of the scene on Diagon Alley, even if most people only remembered her as "Snape's brave shopgirl".

Hermione came to love her life, the quiet evenings before the fire, when she could convince Severus to come up for dinner, even if he often would take over the cooking, casting aspersions on her ability, the days when she helped him in the potions lab, or even just playing with charms to restock the store.

"Hermione, don't!" came the order one day, when she was looking over a new acquisition.

"Why? I cast every spell I know, there isn't any particularly malevolent spell on this," she replied.

"It came from an old pureblood family. I would need to disengage the anti-Muggleborn spells," he said. "I can't retrain another assistant. It wouldn't be efficient."

He didn't understand why Hermione beamed at him, that day, but he did quirk his lips in reply.

"Teach me the spell to detect that as well, then," she said.

****

Some people had no problem remembering Hermione Granger. They would comment on her hair or her eyes, and she enjoyed the interactions with the ordinary folks who came into the shop for whatever oddity they were looking for. But then there were those who couldn't remember her at all. The Weasleys were notorious for coming into Snape's shop just to annoy him. They would ask how he managed to hire an assistant every single time. But they weren't the only ones. Every time someone new forgot her name, Severus would surreptitiously cast a diagnostic spell over them.

"So, what have you learned about my problem, Severus?" Hermione asked one day as they were closing up.

He opened his mouth to speak, then closed it, then opened it again.

"Fish imitations don't answer my question," she said, smiling.

"What would make you believe I had an answer to that asinine question?"

Hermione smiled at Severus knowingly. "You forget how long I was in the hospital. Diagnostic charms are something I can detect easily."

Severus sat down heavily. He had grown fond of the young woman who was nothing like he remembered her being. She was thoughtful, ignored his worst excesses of temper and seemed to genuinely like him.

"Miss Gran— Hermione, I don't want to speculate. I have grown accustomed to having you around and am thinking of pursuing a courtship. But I cannot, in good conscience, don't smile, I do have one, do so without finding out what happened and what I believe we can do to correct it." He leaned back, holding his breath for her reply.

"I don't remember much myself, Severus. I remember looking around the Great Hall, seeing the dead laid out, the Weasley family in a corner, huddled together, mourning, Harry Potter had headed upstairs to rest, and I seemed to have no purpose. I headed out toward the Shrieking Shack, but I don't know why. After that, I woke up in the hospital, and no one seemed to know me. I knew my name, and remembered that I was a Muggle-born who had fought in the war, but nothing else. Can you help me?" She looked frightened. Her life was comfortable, peaceful in a way she knew deep down she'd never had, and she wasn't certain that she did want to return to whatever life it was that had forgotten her.

Severus was pensive at her admission. The Malfoys had never told him who had saved him, only that they had found him being healed by a person unknown who had collapsed. He was starting to believe that wasn't all of the story.

****

"I don't remember who it was, Severus, I swear!" Draco was sweating. Being at the end of Severus's wand was never good for anyone's health.

"I want to see, Draco!"

Draco weighed the possibilities, then nodded heavily. He took a deep breath and looked at the man across from him right in the eyes.

Severus followed the disjointed memories, some of them shrouded in what seemed to be some sort of fog. But Severus knew Draco well, and found his way to the memory he wanted.

A woman's voice echoed in the air. "Memoriam redeat!"

The three Malfoys looked around, but that spell wasn't going to hurt anyone. They hoped that Severus wasn't dead.

"Look, Narcissa, someone has tended to him," Lucius said.

"And done it well. But I do hope we aren't seen," she replied.

Just then an old floor board creaked, and they both whirled around. Upon seeing that someone was trying to reach Draco's wand, they both cast spells.

"Obliviate!"

"Repello!"

The two spells hit the cloaked person. She fell to the floor, an odd reaction.

Draco watched the entire thing with shocked disinterest, and deep in his innermost thoughts he realized he should have known who the unknown witch was, her hood had fallen back and revealed wildly curly hair, but he just couldn't remember.

****

"Hermione, do you remember what you cast on your parents? You told me you cast a memory spell on them, and don't look at me like that. They were definitely targets. You saved them," he said upon returning from his errand at the Malfoys.

"Obliviscatur," she replied.

"Forget all," he murmured under his breath. "Reinforced by an Obliviate and a Repello. What are the odds?"

He had forgotten who he was talking to. Hermione made a mental note of the three spells involved.

"I shall return, Hermione. I'm going to Hogwarts," Severus declared when he observed how quiet she had gotten.

"Yes, yes. Have fun. Say hi to the professors to me. I must have known them once."

****

"Those three spells, Severus? They could be disastrous," Flitwick exclaimed, almost falling off of his chair in his distress.

"Why?"

"The person casting the Obliviscatur would have to be thinking of something or someone very intently for the spell to work as intended. Reinforced by the Obliviate and the Repello, it could very easily cause that person or item to be forgotten entirely and for it to be reciprocal with those who forgot them," he said.

"That would explain the dilemma," Severus said. Hermione would have been thinking of herself.

"You mean your mysterious shop girl?" asked Minerva, who had been listening intently.

"For bloody sake's woman, she isn't a mystery. She was your current favorite lioness during the Potter years!" he yelled.

"Then it is truly a pity she has been forgotten," said Sinistra.

Severus heaved an exasperated sigh. "Would it be reversible?"

Flitwick thought carefully. "I can't see how, unless someone could remember the original person or item. And even then, I don't know if it would ever work completely."

Severus gathered the recommended texts out of the library and headed home.

****

"I made my parents forget me, and whoever hit me with the Obliviate and Repello made everyone forget me, and me forget those who mattered to me," she said.

Severus was startled out of his thoughts by the blunt statement the next morning.

"Whatever happened to good morning?" he said.

"Nothing. But this is my life now," Hermione said. "I forgot everyone who mattered to me, and they forgot me. So, what I have now is what I have. I can't say I miss it, because other than feeling like I had good friends, I don't remember."

"I could give you a potion that would ease the effects," he said. He had researched and realized that her memory spell on him to return the floating wisps had protected him from the effect the other spells had on the rest of the wizarding world.

"But would it work entirely? It's been three years. Everyone has moved on, I'm certain of it. So, would my reappearance cause distress? Break up a relationship? Make some people remember and others not? I don't think I want to," she replied.

"In that case, would you like to go out for dinner?" he asked, relieved. He would have made her the potion, but he would always fear she would leave him. This way, he knew she wouldn't.

"I would love to," she said, slipping her hand into his.
Tags: 2014 winter fanwork, fic
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