Hermione: The Deciding Factor

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Rematerialized! Vanished! Disappeared! However you said it, Severus Snape was gone. The ministry of Magic tried to locate him...by owl by word of mouth, by magic to find him. The aurors were having no luck. He simply could not be found...anywhere!

Ministry officials were beside themselves to find the dark wizard. Not for punishment, although he had been a Death Eater. There was a small matter of monetary compensation owed to him. His home at Spinner's End had been destroyed, burned to the ground. All of his possessions destroyed as well! People were insane with repercussions and reprisal and revenge against Death Eaters, and any Death Eater would do. Severus Snape was no idiot. Always expecting the worst was just something he learned at a very early age. And Hermione Granger understood this.

"When all else fails, send Granger!" This was the rallying cry of the Ministry...but only lately. Kingsley Shacklebolt was loathe to send the newly authorised young woman out in the field. She hadn't had an assignment yet, at least not on her own. She had done quite well whilst paired with a seasoned veteran. But...well, everyone has to start at the beginning. And Granger seemed to have an innate sense of Severus Snape.

In order to enter the Auror Academy she had to be investigated quite thoroughly. Academics, personal background, fitness, magical prowess, common sense and one thing more...she had to undergo legilimency. And during her ligilimency readings it was revealed that Granger had a "thing" for Snape. Seemed to actually have an affinity for the man. The deciding factor, one might say. And since nearly every other auror could not really tolerate the wizard the assignment naturally fell onto the shoulders of the young witch.

"It would be an honour to bring Professor Snape in!" Hermione all but leapt from her chair in the office of Minister Shacklebolt. Her honey brown eyes sparkled with the delight she felt in her soul. It had been two years since she last saw the professor. And that last time liked to tear out her heart. Blood and death surrounded him in that miserable Shrieking Shack. She had mourned for him. Hurt and anger when no one understood why. Especially that prat Ron Weasley. And to believe she loved him? It was easy to distance herself from him. He had a new girlfriend in merely two days time. So much for wasting her time pining for him all through school!

Over the moon she was when she was told by Harry Potter that Severus Snape had not died in that shack. Prepared! Always prepared for the likelihood of Voldemort being evil, (sic!) Snape had taken precautions. Hadn't he said when addressing her first class that he could teach them how to..."put a stopper in death"? That speech was not a load of rubbish. He could and did put a stopper in death!, his own!

Kingsley Shacklebolt arranged his colourful dashiki around his large frame as he sat behind his desk in his office at the ministry. His smile was genuinely filled with affection for the young witch. She had proven her worth many times over during the Battle of Hogwarts. To recruit her for auror training was one of his main priorities. The witch smiled back at him from her chair across from him. She seemed almost too fragile to be an auror. Delicate and feminine, cocoa coloured, more hair than anything else. Pretty ivory skin with a hint of freckles, pert nose, rosebud pink lips. She really looked more like a china doll than an auror. But her magical ability was beyond exemplary as was her physical prowess. Quite a bit stronger than she looked.

Hermione's excitement almost crackled across the room to the minister. She eagerly leaned forward in her chair, energy racing through her. To imagine her first real assignment would be to find her professor! "You honour me, Sir! I never imagined...!"

"Save the thanking me for later," his dark face had grown serious. "You may be giddy now, but I assure you that if Severus Snape does not wish to be found he will not be." The minister folded his large hands on the desk, his dark eyes intent on Hermione's

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