Under the Rain


Story Summary:
Post war, Hermione is dealing with the deaths of her friends. Severus Snape is dealing with his life. Two crumbling houses, an over-grown garden, and a meddling Minerva will bring the two battered characters together ? eventually.

Chapter 01


Under the Rain

Chapter One: A Living Death

It was raining again. In the dark confines of the narrow bedroom, the sound of the rain hitting the lone window was enough to jolt the man inside out of a fitful sleep. An emaciated hand reached instinctively for the wand under his pillow, and it was only when a hoarsely whispered "Lumos" lit the room that he relaxed. A careful flick checked the wards surrounding the house, and satisfied with their integrity he arose from his bed.

Those who had known him during his time at Hogwarts would no longer recognize him. His previously long, if somewhat greasy hair was clipped to mere centimeters in length, and his face was deeply lined. He had lost weight, and the effort it took for him to rise out of the bed had winded him, forcing the formerly powerful man to lean against his dressing table, gasping for breath. He was pathetic looking, and aware of that fact. With Dumbledore gone, he received no visitors, and went out of the house only a few times a year. At first, after the war ended, he had received some acclaim - and suspicion, as well. The Ministry was split over sending him to Azkaban or tossing him a medal. Somewhere in the argument, he'd simply slipped away, alone with his memories and the marks on his flesh. Isolating himself in a small Victorian house in a run-down, mixed Muggle and Wizarding section of London, Severus Snape had become a man balancing on the brink of lifelessness.

The war had ended and all around him, people had begun building lives. None of these involved him, and anyone who tried was simply ignored. He'd received occasional notes from the Hogwarts staff for about a year, each note catching him up on this or that person's plans and achievements. Who was in St. Mungo's, who had managed not to go insane - and even those who had managed to go on to the beginnings of normal, healthy lives. The notes often expressed the desire, however hidden, that he return to the school to teach. Minerva, acting as Headmistress, had even sent him an application for the Defense job. He hadn't taken the bait... hadn't even read the note until after the term was well underway.

After all, he was a man who enjoyed his silence, just as he was a man who would do little more than pollute society.

With a mighty effort, Snape made his way out of his bedroom, using the loo and hobbling down the stairs. Cold coffee from the pot on the counter and a handful of cold cereal served as his meal, despite the lack of hunger he felt. It wouldn't do any good to die, even as it didn't do any good to live. The rain was beating steadily upon the roof and windows of his house, and the back garden, surrounded by high stone walls and sheltered by ancient, enormous trees looked as though it was considering transformation into a pond.

Another house backed his, their gardens connected by a small, rusty iron gate. Vegetation of the magical variety had grown up on either side of the gate, turning it into a solid mass of green. The house stood empty, and even more run-down than his own. Broken windows, rotting shingles and roofing - the building itself lacked even a front door. The state of the once-grand house was only tolerated because of the Muggle-repelling charms which surrounded the place. It seemed that he was the only inhabitant that noticed the house at all.