Sweet Surrender by witch
Summary: Post HBP. A struggle of wills begins when Snape requires “special” assistance from Hermione Granger. Each is attracted to the other but knows the other hates them – or do they? A tale filled with angst and seduction.
Published: 05 April 2006
Updated: 18 April 2006
Chapter 1296790933: Sweet Surrender
Chapter 1296790934: Confession of Fate
Chapter 1296790935: Disbelieving Realizations
Chapter 1296790936: Devastating Plans
Chapter 1296790937: Redemption
Chapter 1296790940: The Historic Wedding
Chapter 1296790941: New Apartments
Chapter 1296790942: Going Public
Chapter 1296790943: Provoking the Unknown
Chapter 1296790944: First Stirrings
Chapter 1296790945: Memories
Chapter 1296790946: First Surrender
Chapter 1296790947: Slow Realisations
Chapter 1296790948: The Wind of Change
Chapter 1296790949: Eternal Ponderings
Chapter 1296790950: Useless to Deny
Chapter 1296790951: It\'s All About Time
Chapter 1296791020: Fate is There to Mock
Chapter 1296790933: Sweet SurrenderDisclaimer: Nothing of what you recognise throughout this story is mine.
My bank account is proof enough!
I would like to thank my beta Kris for her constant encouragement and help.
Remember: REVIEWS keep my writing spirit up. So do not hesitate in leaving me your opinions. I enjoy reading everything, whether negative or positive.
Chapter 1: The Return
\"I personally think that we’ve made the right choice by coming back to Hogwarts, Harry,” said Hermione once the last first year student had been sorted.
Harry cast a doubtful glance at Hermione but the forever open Ron Weasley simply uttered a loud snort of disbelief at her comment. Hermione, however, much to her credit, as always ignored him. It was not the first, and as she feared not the last, time the three of them had had this argument. It had continued all summer at the Burrow once she and Harry moved in to spend the rest of the holidays with the Weasley family.
“Look at it this way, Harry” continued whispering Hermione as if no noise interrupted her before. “Where would you have lived if you had gone in search of the Horcruxes? You just recently turned seventeen and what about your education? I know how eager you are to become an Auror, Harry, but even the Boy Who Lived wouldn’t be taken without the required N.E.W.T’s!”
“Don’t you think I know, Hermione? But what about the payment, revenge?!” nearly shouted Harry, which made a few heads turn towards their direction.
Hermione gave Harry a look filled with frustration and anger.
“I fear your mania for justice and revenge will be the end of you some day,” said she simply.
Harry finally lowered his voice and feverishly whispered back;
“That slimy son of a bitch by the name of Snape murdered Dumbledore, Hermione. I was in the room at that time, don’t forget, and I will never forgive myself for not stopping him. Dumbledore died right in front of my eyes. First Sirius, then him...”
Hermione did not answer and only heavily sighed. She witnessed what hardness developed in Harry after Sirius’ death. There was a time when she thought that Harry would somehow overcome the death of his godfather but what came next was too much to bear. The old man, Headmaster of Hogwarts and unofficially Harry’s loved guardian was killed by no one else but the man who he alone trusted and believed in. The betrayal was fatal and merciless that destroyed one of the last hopes to get rid of Voldemort once and forever.
“Don’t blame yourself, Harry. You know well enough that it was Dumbledore who kept you from acting and risking your life. You have to accept that it is Snape and Snape alone who is responsible for Dumbledore’s death,” said Ron for at least once agreeing with Hermione’s thoughts since June.
“Ron is right, Harry. Your most important goal now is to finish your last year at Hogwarts and pass your exams. You will know when the time comes for further action,” said Hermione and started piling her plate with the food that had suddenly appeared before them, signaling the start of the feast.
But before Harry could moodily put anything into his mouth, the doors of the Hall opened with a loud bang and every face in the room turned to look at the newcomer. The silence that followed was deafening, but Harry did not notice even that fact. His eyes revealed to him the thing that his mind could not accept. When it did however, he found himself on his feet and filled with a fury that he had never known he possessed, the fury that could murder.
“YOU! I AM GOING TO KILL YOU, BASTARD!”
At the entrance of the Hall stood Severus Snape.
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Chapter 1296790934: Confession of FateNothing to say really. Just keep reading!
I can promise you one thing: the story gets more interesting as it goes on!
Chapter 2: Confession of Fate
The Great Hall stayed utterly silent and still even after Harry\'s outburst with the only exception that every jaw stayed open as both students and teachers alike looked from Harry and back to Snape. As it happened, Professor McGonagall, now the new Headmistress of Hogwarts, was the first person to get her senses back. With an air of authority she rose from her seat in the centre of the teachers’ table and furiously bellowed at Snape;
“How dare you-,” she was suddenly interrupted by a shriek that came from Hermione Granger. It appeared that Potter had had enough and with a speed that might have turned his Firebolt green with envy shot towards Snape. The ex-professor, who appeared to be in a visibly disheveled state and until now did not utter a sound, was taken by surprise. The next moment he found himself lying on the cold stone floor after Harry hit him in the face with deadly precision. It seemed that in a blinding fury Harry forgot the existence of a wand and magic and instead let out all the energy he kept bottled up till now through the means of the Muggle version of a duel.
He managed to hit Snape one more time before Professor McGonagall produced her wand and pointed it at Harry.
“Clearafendo!” she shouted.
As a result, Harry was thrown about a foot into the air, neatly landed onto the floor and skidded a few feet between the tables before coming to a halt. He stayed lying like that for a few more minutes, vainly trying to calm down but it did not help much. He still wanted to beat the son-of-a-slimy-viper to death.
With some effort, he finally raised himself from the floor and came face to face with a furious Professor McGonagall and with the faces matching hers behind her back. While Harry was overcoming the dizziness after his impressive fly, McGonagall had time to appear in the middle of the Great Hall with all the teachers trailing after her.
This time however, her fury was not directed at Harry.
“I demand all students to leave the Great Hall immediately. Prefects, would you be so kind as to escort the first years of your houses to their Common Rooms,” addressed the Headmistress to everyone present.
After seeing the identical expression on every teacher’s face the students eagerly responded to her order and in no time the Great Hall was left almost empty. Ron and Hermione visibly hesitated before the doors and stared at the still standing Harry whose eyes saw only the dirty cloaked man on the floor.
“There is no need to leave, Miss Granger and Mr. Weasley,” said McGonagall noticing their unwillingness to leave their friend alone. “To tell you the truth, I would prefer if both of you and Potter would stay here. I guess we have a matter to discuss and you have a lot to do with it.”
Hermione nodded at this and followed everyone’s example to look at the man still lying on the floor.
In her eyes he hadn’t changed much from the last time she saw him over three months ago. The same long hair the colour of a raven’s wing, white skin that had produced a lot of absurd suggestions in school that he was a vampire and the infamous hooked nose that possessed the habit of putting itself into other people’s business. He was still as tall and lean as before but much to Hermione’s confusion there was something that was not right with her former Professor.
At last Severus Snape spoke for the first time since he opened the Great Hall’s doors.
“A very warm welcome, Minerva, indeed it is.”
Even his contrasting velvety rasping voice and sarcastic tone stayed the same. Hermione could not see how he possessed the ability to stay so composed when she noted that blood issued from the cut in his brow and nose that had visibly swollen. Harry must have broken his nose.
“You get the welcome you deserve, Severus, but I am delighted to inform you that it has not yet finished. I bet that Azkaban would even throw a party for you,” answered McGonagall unsmiling.
“I WON’T LET HIM GO TO AZKABAN! KILL HIM NOW AND YOU WILL BE DOING ALL OF US A FAVOUR!”
McGonagall only calmly looked back at Harry with a sad understanding in her eyes. The loss of Dumbledore had hurt her badly and she had an idea how Harry must have suffered after his death. But she could not let the killings continue, and the last thing they all needed was another murder in Hogwarts.
“No, Harry, neither you nor I, nor any of us will kill him. I think we have had enough killings for the past time. The murderer must get what he deserves and that is to live the rest if his miserable life without a hope for redemption and constant consciousness that his actions forever broke his life,” said the Headmistress and turned to Hagrid who was the closest teacher standing beside her.
“Hagrid, will you do us a favour and send an owl to the Minister with the news of an unexpected capture of another Death Eater and the murderer of Albus Dumbledore by the name of Severus Snape. The Ministry would be more than delighted to question him on certain topics,” she said emotionlessly ignoring Potter’s grimace of protest.
“I would be honoured to do jus’ that, Professor,” bellowed the half-giant and with a look of disgust at Snape turned towards the doors. He was about to cross the threshold when the voice of Severus Snape stopped him in his tracks.
“On your place, Professor Hagrid,” said he with sarcasm, never excepting the idea that Hagrid was chosen to become a teacher in Hogwarts almost four years ago. “I wouldn’t do such a thing as send an owl anywhere, lastly to the Ministry.”
Hagrid angrily turned back to face the man he once trusted.
“Nobody asked fer yer opinion, Snape. Jus’ lie where yeh are an’ accep’ the payment fer yer dark deeds. I jus’ hope that yeh follow the same path that yer Dark Lord does once he would be captured and destroyed forever,” he said with an anger that neither Harry, Ron or Hermione ever witnessed in their dear friend Hagrid. The image was both disturbing and scary.
Snape did not seem to notice Hagrid’s anger and humorlessly smiled back. For the first time since she met Snape six years ago, Hermione saw a sad expression cross his black eyes.
“You do not understand.”
Snape’s comment seemed to set Harry off into a frenzy again.
“DO NOT UNDERSTAND? WHAT DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND AFTER YOU KILLED DUMBLEDORE RIGHT BEFORE MY EYES IN THE TOWER?! YOU SICK, FUCKING OVERGROWN BAT!!” he roared.
This time it was Hermione who stopped Harry from flying onto Snape with his fists again and, as a result of their collision, both of them fell onto the ground. Now the three of them, Snape, Hermione and Harry were lying on the ground and neither of them happy about the situation.
“That is enough, Potter! Hagrid, please resume your route to the school owlery if you will,” sternly ordered Professor McGonagall shooting a disapproved glance into Harry’s direction.
“I am telling you again! You-do-not-understand!” forcefully repeated Snape locking glances with the eyes full of hatred belonging to McGonagall.
“Well, I presume sentenced men are allowed to say their last word before the judges. If you want, Severus, blabber to us whatever you want for there is not one person in here that cares about your opinions and well being!”
Another sad shadow crossed Snape’s eyes as he looked at all the people present. At last he turned back to McGonagall and unblinkingly stared into her eyes for a whole minute before answering with a heavy sigh.
“You have to see, Minerva, that I am well aware that you and your company would stick me into Azkaban with no sense of regret or hesitation but, before you do it you have to understand that my sentence would not redeem or even avenge Albus’ death.”
McGonagall grimaced at the familiarity that the murderer talked about his victim, but decided to swallow her fury for now and tensely with indifference asked;
“And pray, why is that?”
Nobody present at this scene even guessed that the confession that followed would be the start of the events that would decide the fate of both the Wizard and the Muggle world.
“Because it was not I who killed Albus Dumbledore.”
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Chapter 1296790935: Disbelieving RealizationsChapter 3: Disbelieving Realizations
Hermione had lost count of how many silent fits took place this evening but this one definitely won the first prize.
As she looked around herself she saw each person wearing a different expression; Harry was going from white to red with his trembling hands revealing his state, Professor McGonagall had, on the contrary, turned a shade of purple after hearing such a blunt lie escape Snape’s mouth and Hagrid wore a mask of deep disgust on his bearded face. Hermione knew that if Hagrid lost his temper, these moments were Snape’s last.
Without really thinking what she was doing Hermione blurted the first thing that came into her head.
“Before one of us kills you, Mr. Snape, do me a favour and tell me why you are so possessed to constantly save your own skin with such imbecilic lies?”
Snape’s much recognizable old smirk came back as his eyes coldly looked up at her.
“I see that the seventh year does not have a chance in the world of changing your ‘know-it-all’ persona, Miss Granger. Trust me, if you really had known everything there is to know you would not have been able to live the tale by now,” he hissed.
Professor McGonagall interrupted Hermione’s and Snape’s furious staring duel before everything got out of control.
“Enough! I think we have witnessed and heard enough to ensure we will all have nightmares tonight, so I suggest we part for the day. It is widely known that important matters are better discussed in the morning,” she said and turned to look at the three youngest people in the room.
“And you are to go immediately into your Common Room. As far as it concerns everyone else, nothing has happened after the Great Hall was emptied. I would expect you to keep your mouths tightly shut on this subject unless one of us would open it. Understood?”
Hermione and her two friends had no choice but nod their heads.
But just as they were about to exit the doors, Harry wheeled around and forcibly demanded;
“And may I ask where he will be until morning, Professor?”
“And this, Mr. Potter, is none of your business,” replied McGonagall sternly but seeing that Harry was far from accepting her answer added, “But I assure you that for the rest of the night Mr. Snape will be in no condition to cause a problem to anyone.”
At last the trio departed for Gryffindor Tower but Hermione could not stop herself and looked over her shoulder a second before the Great Hall’s doors closed behind them.
The image of the blood covered Snape, half lying on the floor in his unusually dirty black robes and wearing a deranged, hopeless expression as he faced all the professors of Hogwarts, would probably stand in front of Hermione’s eyes for a long time.
And for some unknown reason, Hermione’s heart painfully shrank at this image of a fallen dark wizard.
The next day the whole school’s only preoccupation was the talk about the sudden and unexpected appearance of the former Head of Slytherin. Hermione witnessed that the constant open gossiping did not lighten Harry’s mood in any way. Ron wasn’t overly happy either with that and when at break he overhead some first years blabbering in the corridor suggesting that perhaps Snape was He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named in his new disguise, Hermione truly thought that Ron would produce an ’Avada Kedavra’ curse on them. But he instead spend a full half an hour shouting at them during which he took a hundred points from Ravenclaw and gave both children detentions.
It was pointless to say that by the end of Ron’s tirade the two eleven year old boys were as white as first snow and close to fainting from fear. As a result, a muttering Ron was forced to carry both of their limp bodies to Madame Pomfrey.
“What do you think?”
Harry’s voice interrupted Hermione’s desperate concentration. Even though it was the first day of school, she already had plenty of homework to do and the last thing she needed now was to be tortured with yet another interrogation.
“Where do you think Snape is held? Or perhaps he is already in Azkaban?” repeated Harry impatiently, oblivious to the anger that was starting to rise in Hermione.
“I do not know and do not care, Harry. You may study calmly now for if McGonagall got her hands onto Snape, you can count that he has already paid for all of his life’s sins,” muttered Hermione darkly, desperately wanting Harry to leave her and this subject alone.
Right on cue, as if just waiting for a dramatic entrance, the Portrait of the Fat Lady opened and the usually stern looking Professor McGonagall entered the Gryffindor Common Room. Hermione did not fail to notice the way the older woman’s thin lips kept twitching due to some deep emotion.
All at once, Hermione’s hopes of finishing her essay evaporated to dust when McGonagall purposefully strode towards the table which Hermione and Harry presently occupied. Unlike Harry who jumped up the same moment Professor entered the room, Hermione was not that eager to hear what would become of her ex-potions teacher.
The realisation that she wished him to be punished as minimally as possible did not raise her spirits in the slightest.
“Mr. Potter, Miss Granger, I believe it would be best if you follow me. There is something that I guess will be of interest for you to hear from Prof-, I mean Mr. Snape,” she said openly for there was not one more soul in the whole Common Room to overhear her.
Harry’s face was already full of disdain and he opened his mouth to object when the Headmistress interrupted his upcoming words.
“I do not give a Warlock’s ass what you personally want, Mr. Potter! As long as I hold a position higher than your own I expect you to follow my requests, especially one as important as this. I do not believe I remember Sirius ever praising your hasty decisions that more than once got not only you into trouble but brought harm to the people close to you.”
Minerva McGonagall earnestly did not wish to remind Harry of the fateful day during which his decision brought him to the Ministry of Magic’s Quarters. It was there where his godfather Sirius was killed.
Her sadistically provocative technique, however, was fruitful for Harry snapped his mouth shut and looked at her in silence with raw pain filling his eyes. It was a difficult image to look at but, the circumstances forced her to use any methods possible to bring him and Hermione to Severus Snape.
“All right, Professor, lead the bloody way to the damn man,” reluctantly agreed Harry with a grimace.
\"Severus, I would like you to tell Miss Granger and Mr. Potter here, everything that you have told me this morning,” said Professor McGonagall, positioning herself behind her desk.
The four of them; Harry, Hermione, Professor McGonagall and Severus Snape were the only ones that occupied the former room of Albus Dumbledore. As a new Headmistress, these headquarters rightfully belonged to Professor McGonagall now, but Hermione still couldn’t accept the fact that she would no longer see the long white bearded old man walking around this grand room anymore.
Her eyes reflexively moved to the wall where all the former Head’s of Hogwarts portraits hung. She couldn’t prevent her eyes from filling with tears when she looked at the last portrait which showed Professor Dumbledore calmly looking at the people below him. Even his usual twinkle in the eyes was the same behind his half-moon glasses.
He always looked as if he knew a secret that no one else did.
“I pointedly refuse to do that.”
Hermione tore her eyes from Dumbledore’s portrait and looked at Snape instead.
Today he looked as he did all the years since Hermione came to study in Hogwarts. His face was no longer covered in blood and his hooked nose was no longer broken. Even his usual black cloak and clothes were neat and clean. If Hermione did not know better, she would have thought that nothing had happened last June and Professor Snape was still the same dark mysterious man in whom only Dumbledore trusted.
Even Dumbledore was fooled in the end, the man whose only weakness was to see only the best in everyone around him.
“I do not ask for your opinion, Mr. Snape. Regarding the circumstances it is only in your best interests to reveal the truth to as many people as possible,” said the Headmistress closely watching the tall man pacing from one end of the chamber to another with his black cloak swishing behind him.
The fact that Snape wasn’t somehow tied or even under close guard made Harry speechless when he followed her into her study, and it took a lot of force from McGonagall’s side to calm the angry boy down before he finally agreed to sit and listen to what he was brought here for.
“And what, tell me, do I own this bunch,” furiously said Snape pointing his white hand towards the sitting Hermione and Harry, “to tell the things I know to them that only concern you and the Minister himself?!”
“You owe them the truth, Severus, at least for the fact that Potter was the one who witnessed his Professor killing the Headmaster. As a result, he is the most assured person that it was you who murdered Albus Dumbledore,” calmly replied McGonagall.
Hermione did not understand Professor McGonagall’s logic but kept her mouth shut. Instead of replying, Snape changed his focus to Hermione and now was pointing only at her.
“And what does Granger have to do with it?! I do not give a damn that she is one of Potter’s fans and constantly wants to become even a fatter walking encyclopedia than she is already!” he cried in frustration.
Hermione’s jaw dropped open at such an open offence. With burning humiliation she shouted the first offending thing her mind registered;
“I am not fat!”
It seemed that Professor McGonagall had had enough and with a slap upon her polished desk exclaimed;
“Just do what you are told, Severus, and this meeting will end more quickly!”
And with a totally unexpected half-smile added;
“And you will soon find out what Miss Granger has to do with all of this.”
Snape did not seem to like her mysterious smile but decided to swallow his pride. The time was growing shorter with every wasted minute and with a swish of his cloak he turned so that all three of his audience could see him better.
But before he could open his mouth, Professor McGonagall, uneasily shifted in her seat and with an expression that Hermione could not interpret said;
“But without the unneeded details, please, Severus.”
Snape only shortly inclined his dark-haired head in agreement.
“As you are already aware, the day that Professor Dumbledore died a group of Death Eaters attacked the castle with the help of Draco Malfoy. The fight broke out and even though there were no major losses, some people were injured.”
“We are aware of that fact, thank you,” sarcastically commented the fuming Harry.
Snape made it seem as if he did not hear the interruption and continued;
“If I could, I would have prevented the death of the Headmaster, but unfortunately I was immobilized and taken as a captive by the Death Eaters. Mr. Malfoy not only made sure to kill the Headmaster but made it appear as if it was I who killed him.”
“Immobilized?” now interrupted Hermione. “There just wasn’t time for the Death Eaters to take you captive! They barely had time to do what they did!” Snape knowingly smirked as if enjoying the stupidity that Hermione showed in public.
“That is because they had taken me captive even before the teaching year had started, Miss Granger.”
Hermione and Harry just blankly stared at him. It appeared that the Slytherin had finally lost his mind.
“Everything had been organized with deadly precision; even the Death Eaters had not known the truth. While I had been imprisoned by a bunch of psychos, only the Dark Lord and Mr. Malfoy knew their entire plan all along. Of course, the plan was revealed to everyone involved only after it had been accomplished and Mr. Malfoy had mercilessly murdered Dumbledore, the only man that, in the Dark Lord’s opinion, had the ability to destroy him fully.”
“What are you hissing about, for Merlin’s sake?!” cried Harry. “I saw with my own eyes how you killed Dumbledore with your own wand! Draco didn’t have enough guts to do it himself!”
Snape evilly smiled at that comment and Hermione had a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach as a very bad suspicion rose inside her.
“Who said that I was talking about Draco Malfoy, Mr. Potter? In the end, Lucius Malfoy appeared to be more ready to kill Professor Dumbledore than his son was.”
“WHAT?!” roared Harry, jumping out of the chair. “That’s impossible! I saw you; it was you who did it! How could he have killed Dumbledore himself?!”
This time it was Hermione who answered for Snape.
“Polyjuice Potion,” she muttered with round eyes dominating her face.
“Bravo, Miss Granger! I believe anyone but I would have awarded you a point for that!” exclaimed Snape humourlessly.
“You’re not in power to even think about your former position, Snape!” laughed Harry sadistically with an emphasis on the offensive familiarity. “You are no longer a part of this school so keep your vile mouth shut!” It seemed that Harry decided to point blank ignore the truth that he had heard just minutes ago. To him, Snape would forever be the anti-hero and enemy of the day, no matter what he had or hadn’t done.
“And here, it is you who are mistaken, Mr. Potter,” said the up till now silent Professor McGonagall.
“What do you mean by that?” asked the lost Harry.
“I mean, Mr. Potter, that as of tomorrow morning Professor Snape is going to take up his former position as the Head of Slytherin and the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher,” said McGonagall without blinking.
“WHAT?!” now cried out Hermione and Harry in unison.
“What you heard. But there is something else that I believe will ensure everyone’s opinion that Professor Snape is innocent concerning the murder of Professor Dumbledore,” said Professor McGonagall meaningfully with a twinkle in her eyes that seemed to inherit every Headmaster of Hogwarts.
This comment seemed to be news for Snape as well for his half mocking and half sardonic smile disappeared to be replaced by a dark suspicion as he gazed at the elderly woman sitting behind the large desk.
“And what would this be, Professor?” he asked.
Instead of answering, Professor McGonagall turned back towards the portrait of the former Headmaster who all this time observed the company with a smile.
The old man in the frame winked at Professor McGonagall and, after a light cough that did not promise anything good, answered for her instead;
“Professor Severus Snape is to be married to Hermione Granger.”
Ha-ha!!! The plot thickens.....
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Chapter 1296790936: Devastating PlansChapter 4: Devastating Plans
\"NO! There is no way I am going to marry this twit of a \'know-it-all\', scarecrow girl with this ginger bush upon her head that she calls hair! I WILL NOT MARRY HER!!!\"
This was what Snape had been shouting for the past fifteen minutes. The calm looking Professor McGonagall did not seem to be touched by his tirade while a worried looking Harry tried to get Hermione back to her senses from the floor where she had fallen in faint after the portrait\'s \'announcement\'.
Snape had suddenly shut up to take another intake of breath in order to at last reveal everything he thought about Hogwarts and it\'s new Headmistress, but McGonagall took this chance to open her mouth instead;
“That is enough, Severus. I think you have made all of your opinions on this matter quite clear.” Snape was still in the process of trying to make a hole in McGonagall’s face with his blazing eyes but at least he was silent now.
Professor McGonagall gave a tired sigh. She had an idea of how angry Severus Snape would get when he heard about the plan, but she had not predicted with what heat he would oppose the mere idea of marrying Hermione Granger. The Headmistress did not understand why Severus was thrown into such a frenzy! She may have understood if his wife-to-be had been an ugly and stupid being, but Hermione Granger was neither of these things. Professor McGonagall had to agree with the fact that, when Miss Granger first came to Hogwarts, she was the last girl on whom the male population of the school would have focused their attention. But these were the times that belonged to the past and time itself was revealed to be a friend of Hermione Granger.
Professor McGonagall looked down upon the girl who had not yet succeeded to awake.
Yes, thought McGonagall, the duckling has truly turned into a swan.
The first thing that caught the eyes was the brightness of the girl’s hair. It may have been pure ginger before, but now it possessed a reddish glint to it, especially now when Miss Granger lain in the pool of sunlight that came from the windows above. The hair itself gave a mesmerising contrast with the purity of her skin. The features of the face seemed sculptural, from the dark arched eyebrows to the full pink lips. She may well have been a sleeping beauty for what she was worth, but Professor McGonagall was too much aware of the sharp mind that existed in this pretty head. It was this mind that constantly got Miss Granger both into trouble and out of it.
“Do you hear me, I-will-not-do it!”
Professor Snape’s hundredth exclamation in the past quarter of an hour broke McGonagall’s admiration for the student. In turn she turned back to the fuming Professor.
“Let me explain to you at last, Severus, why I have come to this decision, or plan, that may perhaps look a bit illogical to you at present.”
“And bloody crazy!” interrupted Snape.
“Just for a minute imagine yourself in the Minister’s boots, Severus,” continued Professor McGonagall, ignoring Snape’s earlier comment. “At least one witness saw the Hogwarts’ Head of Slytherin killing Professor Dumbledore with the most fatal spell that exists in history. More than a dozen people, students and teachers alike, witnessed your further actions of fleeting the Hogwarts’ grounds and most probably apparating to the side of the Dark Lord who has brought about the birth of fear into the heart of every wizard and witch on earth. There was not one soul who may have believed that you were innocent, Severus. And then, out of the blue, the most searched for murderer after Sirius Black comes back to school.”
Professor McGonagall gave a little pause. Snape was just blankly staring back at her, refusing to show that he followed her path of thinking.
“Our Minister of Magic would not welcome you back with open arms, Severus. Well, only if he held a wand behind his back to finish you off. As an Auror himself, his principles would not allow him to be soft on you either. Torture would be unavoidable and your death far from a painless one. Even if he would believe me and my fellow colleagues on the subject of your innocence, the wizarding world would never take you back fully because you had once being a Death Eater.” Her shoulders slumped down a bit at the last phrase, looking nearly as old and exhausted as Dumbledore was before death took him.
“And what is your conclusion to this story, Professor?” finally asked the cautious Snape.
“In order to maintain at least some respect in the wizarding world...”
“As if I had any,’ Snape murmured darkly.
“...and not be kicked out of it by the end of this war, as every social wizard you have only one path to forgiveness. Marriage. Marriage to a not precisely pure-blood witch but one that, in turn, is respected among many wizards and witches. She has to be open-minded, clever and possess an ability to stay standing on both feet whenever disaster strikes.”
Snape gave Professor McGonagall an impressive grimace and, for the first time since she fell down unconscious, looked at the girl on the floor.
“And you propose I should marry that?” asked he unbelievingly.
At last the Headmistress could feel her temper rising. She had known Severus Snape since the day he first set foot in Hogwarts at the age of eleven, but the years did not change the arrogance and stubbornness that ruled this dark man. Nowadays, time was precious and Severus Snape’s salvation might well save more than one life in this war.
As Professor McGonagall rose slowly to her feet, the movement caught Snape’s eye so he turned back to face the Headmistress. The moment he looked into her stormy eyes behind the spectacles, Snape knew that somewhere in his earlier words he had crossed the line.
“Miss Granger is one of the most suitable brides for a man in your situation. She is not only respected throughout the school. This admiration has been born in the Ministry itself and, as the Headmistress, I possess valuable information that as soon as Miss Granger finishes Hogwarts, the Ministry would welcome such a gifted witch into their midst with warmth. You need as much support from the Ministry as possible, Severus, and you may call Miss Granger here the ticket to your redemption.” Professor McGonagall’s voice was even but there was a hardness there, which warned that she would not be argued with at present.
But Severus Snape was a man that rarely cared for warnings and hints so instead of shutting his mouth he threw a last try of somehow worming his way out of this marriage.
“But look at her! She is still a physically unformed, school girl! You cannot possibly expect me to marry a student, she is not even of age yet!!” he exclaimed, waving his hand towards the lying form without taking his nearly pleading eyes from the Headmistress.
Professor McGonagall raised her eyebrows at some of the absurd comments escaping Snape’s mouth.
“I assure you, Severus; Miss Granger is of age for marrying. She is now seventeen and in three weeks time she will be eighteen. In both cases, both by her Muggle heritage and the Wizarding laws, she is more than capable of marrying anyone at this time.” McGonagall plainly saw that the present age of Hermione Granger had visibly surprised him. The fact that he was locked up somewhere a whole year must have mixed up his sense of time.
“And it is not as if you should stay married to each other forever. Once the war is over, you will be free to divorce as you want. If Voldemort is defeated, not many would look into your past. Life will go on,” she added and witnessed how much more relaxed Snape became. He did not notice, or decided to ignore, her use of the word ’if’.
“And has anybody wondered what Hermione’s opinion is going to be about all of this?”
Both McGonagall and Snape jumped about a foot off the floor. During their heated conversation they forgot that they and the discussed girl were not the only ones present in the room. As a result, the sudden question coming from Harry, who had not yet spoken a word since Hermione fainted, had visibly shaken their uptight nerves.
As if on queue, a groaning filled the room as Hermione started to awake at last. Harry rapidly switched all of his attention to his friend instead. With Harry’s help, Hermione managed to lift herself up into a sitting position, but it took some time for her to open her eyes fully and look dazedly at Harry.
“Don’t tell me that I fainted, Harry. I never faint,” she said, weakly trying to put her thoughts together and understand what had brought her to such circumstances.
“I guess you didn’t find the prospect of marrying Snape such a good idea,” murmured Harry staring daggers at the tall man.
The words finally hit home. Now Hermione understood what had made her faint for the first time in her life. The conversation from earlier played itself in her head, and the last thing she remembered before the darkness took her was the announcement that she is to be married to none other than Professor Snape himself.
With an impressive quickness for one who just moments ago lay on the floor with barely any signs of breathing, Hermione jumped to her feet refusing Harry’s help. But before she could continue where Snape had left off, Professor McGonagall stopped the words with a gesture and said;
“Before you would curse me, Miss Granger, I would like to explain to you the situation we are in now, and the role that you are to play in this story. I require all of your patience to hear me out as Professor Snape has done himself some minutes ago.”
This time the explaining took much less time than it did with Snape due to the lack of interruption. When Professor McGonagall, however, mentioned the fact that Hermione is free to divorce once everything is over, Hermione frowned.
“I may be mistaken, Professor McGonagall, but from all the things I have read I know that the Wizarding marriage is unbreakable as it holds old traditions with a set of explicit rituals set in the process,” said Hermione.
“You are right as always, Miss Granger, but there exists one sole way that a couple could break their magical vows once they are a married couple.”
Hermione’s frown deepened. “And what may this way be, Professor?”
Professor McGonagall’s face was emotionless when she colorlessly answered;
“You may divorce Professor Snape unless you experience a sexual release in each other’s arms either during a wedding night or any other night after the marriage. It is the sex that seals the marriage document, which even the Minister of Magic would not be able to break once it is formally sealed.”
Hermione felt herself blush with a force that made both of her ears ring. She cast her eyes to the floor so she couldn’t see Professor Snape’s reaction, but she clearly heard a snort of laughter that most probably came from Harry. Her suspicion was correct when he spoke next with barely controlled laughter filling his voice;
“Well, I have to be truthful with you, Professor McGonagall, and I solemnly believe that Hermione would be able to divorce even after thirty years of marriage to him. There is no chance in the world that she would have sex with this slime ball,” said Harry with a sadistic smile reserved for Snape alone.
Snape’s pride must have been wounded by such an outrageous comment from a student as he took a menacing step towards Harry;
“That’s enough!” cried out Professor McGonagall and her shout stopped Snape from taking another step forward. But this did not prevent him from staring at Harry with such hatred in his black eyes that it made Hermione cringe.
“We have done enough talking for today. The marriage ceremony will take place next week on Friday at sunset as it is traditionally set. I will conduct the ceremony and six witnesses will be present. Once you are a married couple, Miss Hermione Granger will move into your chambers at Hogwarts, Severus, and live there until you two divorce. Even though the only people knowing about your incompliance with the marriage vows are going to be Mr. Potter, Miss Granger, yourself and I, it is for the best if the rest of the public, including the Ministry, should stay ignorant of this fact for as long as possible,” finished Professor McGonagall to the three mouths that dropped open in the middle of her tirade.
Hermione was the first to shut her mouth with a clicking sound and shakily ask;
“You planned it all. No matter what Professor Snape’s or my opinion were, you still would have married us off in the end, wouldn’t you?”
It seemed that Professor McGonagall looked at Hermione for a long time before she said;
“Remember, this marriage may yet save a sea of innocent lives as this is one of the few ways to keep Professor Snape free from being executed or locked up. The information that he knows is of great importance and which could probably balance the winning of this war to our favor.”
Silence followed her words. Harry’s earlier sadistic smile disappeared from his face as he looked at one of his best friends. By observing his expression, Hermione had a suspicion that Harry was busy feeling sorry for her and angry at the situation that she got herself into. The situation, of course, was symbolized by Snape who at present wore an expression of such disdain that it shown clearly he wasn’t any happier about what he had gotten himself into than Hermione.
“And before I ask the two of you to leave my office, I need a reassurance that you will not tell a soul about the upcoming marriage. I do not wish to create more problems in school than there are already,” said McGonagall looking at Harry and Hermione warningly.
Something resembling a smirk crossed Hermione’s face at McGonagall’s words.
“Believe me, Professor, the fact that this news should stay hidden is fully in my interests. I want to live a bit instead of becoming the laughing stock of all the students in the school before it is my due,” replied she.
“And Ron?” asked Harry, looking at the Headmistress.
A shadow of a smile crossed McGonagall’s lips as she looked at the two seventh years.
“I believe it is not going to do any harm if you reveal today’s discussions to Mr. Weasley, Mr. Potter. As I have the ultimate pleasure of knowing you three since your first year, I am well aware that whatever one of your trio finds out, the rest will be informed of in no time. So I see no point in hiding it from Mr. Weasley since he will find out everything sooner or later.”
Both Hermione and Harry shushed Ron’s outburst as several heads turned toward their direction. The Gryffindor Common Room was the only place where the three of them were able to sit together but it did not help that, at present, the room was half full. They had had their dinner about half an hour ago and both Hermione and Harry had tried to maintain their worried faces as blank as possible under Ron’s quizzing glances throughout the rest of the day since they came out of the Headmistress’s office.
Once dinner was over, Harry with Hermione understood that they could no longer hide the truth from their best friend and told him everything that had happened since he took away the two kids to the hospital wing (once they woke, they plainly refused to explain the reason why they collapsed, all the while throwing frightful looks towards Ron, which made his spirits rise considerably).
But the same spirits were mercilessly crushed when he heard that Hermione, in less than one week’s time, would become Mrs. Snape.
“Are you two out of your minds?! And you agreed with all of this?? Bloody hell, we are not in some sort of medieval times now, we live in a modern world!” Ron suspended his volume a bit, but he was still talking too loudly for either Hermione’s or Harry’s comfort.
“Don’t you think if I had a choice, I would have declined this absurd plan?” hissed Hermione back.
“But you do have a choice, Hermione! Let him find another bride for his needs and leave you alone! What do you have to do with all of this anyway?”
“You know, Ron, sometimes I wonder if it’s your brain that regularly starts to malfunction or perhaps if it’s your ears that become deaf to all sounds around you except for your own voice,” she whispered fiercely. “By refusing to go along with Professor McGonagall’s plan, I may destroy a numbers of lives, which I could save instead by marrying Professor Snape.”
As always when Ron got either angry or embarrassed his ears started to glow scarlet. It was plain now that he was very far from being embarrassed and it was another emotion that evoked his redness.
“And for those who did not hear,” continued Hermione sarcastically, “I repeat that I-can-divorce-him-whenever-I-want!”
“Why bother, Hermione? If you like this over-grown bat so much, you can just live with him until both of you are wrinkled and surrounded by countless number of grandchildren with slimy black hair!” exclaimed Ron, ignoring the warning signs that Harry urgently indicated behind Hermione’s back.
But it was too late for the signs.
Hermione had had enough. With a crash she overturned the table when she stood up from the couch and, no longer caring who could hear her, shouted at the still sitting Ron;
“How dare you insult me like that? Who are you to me?! A mother? A father? A boyfriend?! You have a habit of taking all of our arguments to a personal level. Well, let me tell you everything once and for all! All of these plans have nothing to do with what is between us, or it is more correct to say with what we don’t have between us. With this plan or without it, I would never have married such a selfish person like you are inside, Ron Weasley, even if you were the only male left on this fucking world!!!”
With that, she ran out of the common room that had suddenly turned dead silent. Without a second glance she flew towards her dormitory and only when she closed her door with a deafening bang, did all the reality of the situation reach her mind and body.
With a sudden exhaustion, Hermione pressed her heated cheek against the door. Nothing showed her that her life would change so abruptly in her seventh and last year at Hogwarts. There seemed to be no explanation for the unfairness of the whole situation, but she had nothing else to do but accept her fate and pray that Voldemort would perish as soon as possible.
In exactly six days she was to become Severus Snape’s wife.
Does anyone already sense a theme here?
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Chapter 1296790937: RedemptionChapter 5: Redemption
Much to Hermione\'s relief and horror the weekend passed quickly. The only person with whom she was able to talk was Harry as she hadn’t said a single word to Ron since their argument. Ron, on the other hand, totally ignored Hermione’s existence even when they appeared to be in the same room. It seemed that their friendship was on the brink of being permanently destroyed and Harry, who felt the constant tension between his two best friends, was constantly sulking in turn.
Hermione was aware that much of what she had said to Ron during her angry outburst was a lie, but she stubbornly decided not to beg for forgiveness. That evening Ron was the one who started the argument, and it was he in the first place who shouldn’t have said all those awful things to her. As a result, the two of them waited for the other to say sorry first and Harry wondered how many months they would be able to stay muted to each other this time before the weaker one finally surrendered. Harry was also aware that the whole of Gryffindor house was starting to make wagers on the one who would surrender first; behind Hermione’s and Ron’s back, of course.
Monday evening brought the news that shook the whole school.
The Great Hall’s conversations halted as one when the Headmistress stood up from her chair. Students were in the middle of their dinner and most of them wore quizzical expressions for the announcements were usually made before food was served. This time it was different.
“As you know, the former Head of Slytherin and ex-Professor Severus Snape returned to us later the other week while the Ministry was offering a reward to anyone who could give any information as to Mr. Snape’s whereabouts.”
Hushed whispers broke out among the students but stopped almost instantly when a few hundred pairs of eyes looked at Professor McGonagall expectantly.
“I am happy to announce to you, however, that due to certain circumstances the matter concerning Severus Snape had been discussed in the Ministry with a conclusion. As a result, Severus Snape is lifted of all charges set against him and is free to return to his normal life,” finished Professor McGonagall.
The shocked silence in the Great Hall was deafening. Hermione clearly saw that her fellow seventh year, Neville Longbottom, has lost his speech. Professor Snape was his least favorite teacher in the whole of Hogwarts and the fact that the teacher/murderer was now free did not give a comforting thought to Neville.
But the shocking news did not end there, after a few moments Professor McGonagall said to the silent Hall;
“And I am more than happy to announce that, as of tomorrow, Severus Snape will retake his position as the Head of Slytherin and Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, as a result becoming, yet again, Professor Snape that Hogwarts has known for the past decade.”
The next second Hermione heard a thump beside her. She did not need to turn to see that the place on the bench to her left, which was earlier occupied by Neville, was now vacant as his plump body had taken position on the stone floor in a dead faint.
Neville did not take the happy announcement very well.
And neither did the majority of the students in the Great Hall.
Harsh and angry whispers broke among the three tables while the fourth table stayed unnaturally silent. From her point of view, Hermione could clearly see that the place that Draco Malfoy once occupied was now empty. It seemed that Slytherin decided to leave this place as a symbol of honor to their former blond leader. The expressions of most of the occupants of the table were a mixture of anger and fright, but not one of them gave a word on this subject. It was plainly seen that not all of Slytherin’s members were happy to welcome their former Head of House.
Next morning could well have been the quietest breakfast in Hogwarts’ history. Every student in the Great Hall focused their attention mainly on the dark haired man sitting behind the teacher’s table rather than on conversations and the food lying in front of them. The moment Professor Snape sat behind the breakfast table with his usual swish of cloak, every eye in the Great Hall stuck to him. Even the rest of the teaching staff appeared to be uncomfortable in the company of a former believed murderer. Hermione noticed that the Divination teacher, Professor Trelawney, kept throwing nervous glances towards Snape every three seconds and fidgeted on her stool so energetically that she was ready to fall off any minute now.
The only people who did not cast Professor Snape any glances, except for Hermione, were Harry and Ron.
Their reasons, however, were based in different foundations. Harry, most probably, felt there was nothing new to observe in his DADA teacher that he did not already know while Ron, on the other hand, most probably held himself to keep from cursing the Professor, which he would probably do if he even once looked up into his smirking face.
“So, what is our first lesson?” asked Hermione, addressing Harry in order to somehow break the gloomy tension between their trio. Her question sounded especially loud in the silent Hall but not one head turned towards her. Hermione guessed that the students possessed a much more interesting subject to observe. Snape, much to his credit did not make one sign revealing that he knew he was under a close study from over four hundred students.
“Defense Against the Dark Arts,” Harry murmured back.
“Oh-,” was the only thing that Hermione found to say.
Ron, oblivious to their poor attempt at making conversation, picked up his bag full of books and, without a word, left the table. Hermione only heavily sighed as she looked at Ron’s retreating back. It was a war of wills now between them and she had to agree with herself that the pair of them were too stubborn to accept that both of them were wrong, as always.
“Well, come on. I think it’s time for us to get going to our classes as well. I bet Snape would rub his hands in joy if we enter the classroom even a mere second after he did,” said Harry and also stood up from the table, closely followed by Hermione.
After the two of them exited the Great Hall, Hermione heard a loud crash behind her.
Professor Trelawney\'s stool had finally collapsed.
The wooden door flew open letting Snape glide into the dimly lighted chamber. His entrance was as dramatic as always, finishing by facing the front of the class with a swish of his black cloak. All the seventh year students sat more still than statues, looking up at their Professor like mice onto a rattler.
“Page 694, children,” ordered Snape in his usual oily voice.
Hermione had a feeling that that particular unflattering comment was reserved especially for her. Ignoring it she hastily found the needed page and felt her eyes transform to the size of two galleons. She was far from the only one who got a shock from what she had seen as the class uttered exclamations.
“Dark Magic Among Forbidden Sexual Acts”
This was the caption at the top of the page.
“P-Professor S-Snape...are you-are you positively s-sure that you have ind-indicated the right page?!”
cried out Seamus Finnegan whose face at present could have rivaled with a beetroot.
Snape looked at Seamus with a dangerous glint in his eyes that did not promise anything good.
“Do you doubt my mental abilities, Mr. Finnegan?” he asked.
“Of- of course not, Professor!”
“Ten points from Gryffindor for questioning a Professor on his ability to teach his subject!” sneered Snape sadistically while poor Seamus just stayed seated with his mouth agape, wondering what just happened.
“Thank you for the unneeded interruption, Mr. Finnegan, but we are going to continue the lesson with or without you,” said Snape and when Seamus did not make a move to exit the chamber, he made a few steps closer to the students and with a deliberate slowness asked;
“Who could list me all the sexual acts that are considered as crimes in the Wizarding world?”
The class stayed absolutely silent and still. Hermione only had time to wonder what Snape would throw next from his sadistic arsenal when he suddenly turned towards her desk. The eyes that met hers were dripping with mockery and Hermione felt Harry stiffen beside her.
“What, you have no answers to my questions, Miss Know-It-All?” he asked and snickering followed his comment, most probably coming from the Slytherins. “I thought that perhaps you were the only one educated enough by your books in this entire class who might answer this delicate question. Or perhaps I am wrong and you are not that educated in the end?”
This time the Slytherins did not even bother to silence their laughter and Pansy Parkinson even had tears in her eyes she laughed so hard. Hermione on the other hand, felt herself getting redder by every passing second as Snape’s hints were registered by her brain. It appeared that Snape decided to place all of his long kept frustration on his “fiancйe” and was using the most repulsive and open way to do it. Like Parkinson, Hermione felt her eyes water but unlike the Slytherin girl, her tears were brought by sheer humiliation.
The sympathetic glances that were thrown at her from her fellow Gryffindors did not make Hermione feel any better for she knew too well that not a single one of them would stand against Professor Snape and risk getting a detention. But it appeared that Snape’s comments had thrown Harry off the hook and with a disturbing slowness he raised himself from the desk. He stood a mere foot away from Professor Snape, but Harry was oblivious to the fact that it was a Hogwarts teacher who stood in front of him while rage and anger covered his eyes.
“Do not ever-you hear me?- ever speak to Hermione in such a manner again or I will make sure that the Ministry changes its mind about your innocence. Mark me on that,” hissed Harry with a menace that Hermione had never heard from him before.
For a brief moment Hermione had the ultimate pleasure of observing a stunned expression cross Snape’s face. But the pleasure quickly wilted when she saw his eyes blaze with an intensity of hell itself. It probably took him all of his self-control to darkly hiss with a shaking voice;
“Detention, Potter. For the rest of the month, including a deduction of a hundred points from Gryffindor.”
Without another word Harry sat back onto his chair with a controlled blank face. Only Hermione saw the way his right hand itched to seize his wand and curse Snape once and for all for everyone’s good.
Hermione impulsively put her right hand on top of his and gently squeezed it, giving both a reassurance and a silent ‘thanks’. She lifted her hand only after Harry squeezed it back and Hermione felt sure that he would not do anything rash.
Hermione found Snape standing where he was before with a slight frown now creasing his forehead. When he, however, met her eyes the frown quickly vanished only to be replaced by his infamous smirk.
The most embarrassing lesson of Hermione’s life continued while a professional looking Professor Snape paced around the chamber regularly giving them some disturbing details to scribble on a piece of parchment. Some of the mentioned topics brought color even to some of the Slytherins’ cheeks while perplexed Gryffindors looked like they would drop off with a fifty degree fever any minute now.
Yes, thought Hermione gloomily, looking up at the tall man speaking in front of her, this marriage would yet be published in the new addition of \"Hogwarts: A History\".
Tomorrow I\'m going to be a married woman.
Hermione wasn\'t sure when she started referring to herself as a woman. Not many guys found her attractive before, but that began to change at the end of her sixth year at Hogwarts. Hermione was not entirely sure of what had happened but suddenly one day boys started holding doors for her, attempting to buy her a drink and occasionally throwing daring suggestions. Muggles and wizards alike.
It did not matter that her marriage was going to be only an official illusion. Hermione was brought up to believe that marriage vows could only be sealed with love, so even the mere ceremony was enough to give her butterflies in the stomach. She however, was not so naive to think that there was chemistry between Professor Snape and herself. This marriage was going to be just one of the minor sacrifices that had to be made during this cold war. Dear Merlin, thought Hermione and shivered, if that is one of the minor sacrifices, I do not want to know what sacrifices are going to be made when the war will truly begin.
She had been lying in her bed for the past half an hour now, vainly trying to summon all of her Gryffindor courage to ask one simple question to one of her roommates, Parvati.
Parvati, on her part, seemed to ignore all of Hermione’s earlier heavy sighs and it began to anger Hermione to be dismissed thus. With anger, however, came courage. Good.
“Do you have an evening dress I could borrow for tomorrow evening?” rushed Hermione on one breath.
That seemed to catch all of Parvati’s attention as she froze beside her bedside with a book still clutched in her hand.
Hermione knew that she was in trouble the moment Parvati turned her interested wide eyes upon her. Parvati’s reputation was mainly based upon her gossiping talent that she had achieved to tremendously improve during her years at Hogwarts. The rule was simple: if Parvati knew, everybody knew.
“Why do you need it?” she asked curiously.
“A date.” squeaked back Hermione. It wasn’t precisely a truth but not a lie either.
It seemed impossible for Parvati’s eyes to get even bigger, but they did. In addition, her mouth had taken the shape of a big ‘o’ as her brain most probably digested all the given information for storage.
“And who is-“
“I will tell you nothing more about this subject, Parvati!” firmly interrupted Hermione.
“Fine, fine! I just wondered who the lucky guy was! As far as I am aware, you haven’t had a boyfriend since Victor Krum. Or am I wrong?” asked Parvati with fake innocence.
Hermione snorted in return.
“You could have hardly called Victor my boyfriend, Parvati. And as for other boyfriends, it is no one’s concern how many I have had during my short lifetime!”
“Oh, fine! Suit yourself! As if you ever wanted to share something with me!” exclaimed Parvati. But before she turned towards her closet, Hermione detected something like hurt flash in her eyes. That made Hermione think. Did she really ever share something girlish with Parvati ever since they became roommates? The time that wasn\'t taken up by her studies was constantly filled with Harry / Voldemort problems. Why couldn’t she at least once, only once, behave like any other seventeen year old girl and discuss problems that concerned only clothes, make-up and boys?
“Do you, by any chance, have something from Gucci or Dior?” Hermione asked suddenly.
This time Parvati’s eyes reflected surprise and something else that Hermione couldn’t understand. But what Hermione was certain about was that even though Parvati was a pure-blood witch she took an unhealthy interest in Muggle clothing. Only the expensive brands, of course.
“Sure, I’ve got a Gucci dress. But I should warn you, the moment you rip it the next week or so you will spend in Madame Pomfrey’s loving care.”
Hermione’s eyes widened at that and looked at Parvati like a doctor usually did at his new mental patient.
“You hexed your own dress?”
“Why not?” asked Parvati calmly. “It’s not as if I am going to be the one hexed. Only a stranger who would tear my dress would get injured. A very handy spell I shall say. I may rip it a zillion times without anything happening to me while somebody else’s body inside it would get the full blast!” she finished triumphantly.
Hermione tried but failed to school her face into a stern disapproving mask. A huge grin split her face in two mirroring the one that wore Parvati. They achieved something that they hadn’t in the previous six years; to understand each other.
After much fussing and muttering, Parvati finally produced something from her closet. When she turned to display it to her roommate in all of its grandeur, Hermione’s eyebrows flew up as she observed the dress in front of her with an expression of distrust and doubt.
“Now at least I know why you have hexed it..,” muttered Hermione.
Parvati just knowingly smiled back, looking at her possession with a glint of pride.
“...but there’s no way I’m going to put it on,” finished Hermione.
“Nonsense! If I understand correctly (it is rarely that I don’t) tomorrow is going to be a very important day for you, no matter who your secret admirer is. As a result, like any other girl your age you should traditionally smitten your cavalier on the very first date. Believe me, with this dress you are going to be more than victorious and I could just bet that your guy will fall head over heels in love with you...if he’s not already!”
Hermione could tell that Parvati was earnest but she couldn’t help but smirk at her comment.
“Love? I don’t think there‘s such a word in his vocabulary,” commented Hermione.
“Oh, come on! I am aware that ninety-nine percent of all the male population on the planet consists of chauvinist pigs but even they are not immune to love!” exclaimed Parvati.
Hermione heavily sighed in return. She couldn’t see why Parvati didn’t understand what she was saying. At least one look at me should have explained my comment, thought Hermione.
“I’m not talking about the male population’s faults, Parvati. Of course, maybe even he has a capability deep inside himself to love, but I would definitely be the last target of his desire. Anyway, who would like to mingle with such an ugly girl like me?”
Hermione\'s tone did not hold any self-loathing; her words were presented as facts. With the same kind of voice she answered teacher’s questions, full of determination that there’s nothing that could contradict her knowledge.
Parvati stayed mute for some time as she silently looked at Hermione’s half sitting form from head to foot. Her close observation was finished by a disbelieving shaking of her head. The look that she gave Hermione clearly said that she thought her roommate’s place was in St. Mungo’s rather than at Hogwarts.
“When was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror, Granger? Six years ago?”
“N-no, why do you ask?” asked the puzzled Hermione.
In answer, Parvati just waved her hand in the air as if dismissing the question.
“Never mind! Well, would you like to try it now or would you rather wait until tomorrow?” she asked instead. The theme of clothes appeared to be an easier one for her to discuss rather than dealing with emotional issues.
Hermione vigorously shook her head without giving this idea even one minute of thought.
“No, no. I would rather leave this...operation for tomorrow, if you don’t mind.”
Parvati shrugged and calmly replied;
“Tomorrow it is...”
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Chapter 1296790940: The Historic WeddingChapter 6: The Historic Wedding
“Hermione, it’s time!”
Hermione ignored Harry’s desperate whisper that came from the other side of the door. She was aware that the wedding ceremony was due to start in less than ten minutes and that her future husband was most probably already waiting for her. But perhaps this was the reason why she couldn’t make herself open the door.
A sudden desperation to stay in the dorm room seized Hermione.
“H-Harry, go without me...I’ll come later,” Hermione hiccupped nervously so low that Harry most probably didn’t hear anything.
But Harry, it seemed, had his ear firmly pressed to the thick wooden door.
“The heck you will!” he shot back.
“Can’t y-you understand, Harry? I’m ner-nervous!” exclaimed Hermione a little louder but still lacking her usual surety.
Hermione heard a snort on the other side of the door.
“Nerves? It is fear, Hermione. If it had been nerves you would have had a nervous break down by this time,” he corrected.
“Fear?! I have nothing to be afraid of, Harry Potter!”
This time Hermione’s voice was much clearer than it was before. Fortunately, she couldn’t see what a satisfied grin appeared on Harry’s face behind the door. Only her two best friends possessed the knowledge that anger was the only thing capable of chasing away all of her other emotions; negative and positive alike.
“Then why are you still hiding behind the door?” asked Harry with a barely concealed smile in his voice.
It was the last comment that made Hermione bang the door open and angrily stare at Harry who wore a very pleased grin upon his face. That grin, however, slowly evaporated as a very wide eyed Harry stared at the young woman standing in front of him.
He visibly gulped before disbelievingly exclaiming;
“Hermione? H-how...I mean...Wow!”
She raised her eyebrow questionably at him.
“And who is having a nervous break down now?” she asked looking at the rapid change of emotions on her friend’s face.
Harry just couldn’t accept that it was his best friend of six years who stood in front of him now. During all these years, Hermione never wore anything but casual types of clothes. Only during the Yule Ball she had made an exception and dolled up for the evening. But that was over two years ago and her ball dress did not reveal anything that counted as vulgar in public.
Hermione’s dress tightly hugged her figure, especially in the chest and hip area. Two thin straps seemed to prevent it from revealing her chest while a very deep cut in front appeared to compensate for the ‘mistake’ and flashed a generous amount of cleavage for public gaze. The dress both appeared simple and complicated with its material freely flowing past her hips ending just above the knees. It all might have yet appeared harmless if not for the cut on Hermione’s side that revealed her pale skin right up to her hip.
The dress itself was the color of such a deep red that it looked almost black. This color however, only highlighted Hermione’s skin pureness that could have rivaled only with the best of pearls.
Harry never could have dreamed that Hermione possessed such curves that he saw displayed before him now. As far as he could remember, his best friend always distinguished herself with a rather flat body. It appeared that the summer holidays gave Hermione something else apart from extra time for her studies.
“Well?! Are we going or not?”
Hermione’s irritated voice broke Harry from his reverie. He had to actually shake his head so that he could remember why he stood in front of Hermione’s dorm room.
“Yes, yes...let’s go then,” muttered Harry, trying to look at anything else but the young woman in front of him.
But he had the ultimate chance to feel all those curves right beside him as Hermione and he finally started their descent towards Hogwarts’ entrance doors under his infamous Invisibility Cloak.
The sunset at Hogwarts’ grounds, for some reason, always looked more mesmerizing than on any other place on earth. An idealistic picture was formed by the enchanting colors of the lake as it reflected the setting red sun. The darkness of the east rapidly chased the light from the sky that grew dimmer with every passing minute.
Severus Snape watched the beautiful horizon of the west unblinkingly. Deep within he felt a pure tranquility taking over his body at witnessing one of the wonders of nature, but he was sure that none of his emotions would reflect on his face. The long years of practice in schooling his face to the one he wanted never failed him.
“She’s going to be late, that silly girl!”
Severus knew only too well about whom Professor McGonagall was talking, but he never missed a chance to tease his former teacher of so many years ago and innocently asked;
Professor McGonagall gave him an angry glare before restoring her face to its usual stern mask. In addition to them, six more people surrounded them, the people who would act as witnesses that evening. As it might have been expected, all six of them were adults and belonged to the teaching staff of Hogwarts. At present, all of them kept silent, looking like they were asked to attend a funeral instead of a wedding.
And Snape had a suspicion that it was not he who was being mourned.
“Miss Granger, of course,” said the Headmistress, answering both of his questions at the same time. “Or have you forgotten that you are supposed to get married in exactly four minutes, Severus?” demanded McGonagall not quite succeeding to mask her sarcasm.
Professor McGonagall rarely used his first name, but when the occasions came, Severus knew that the woman wasn’t in a joyful disposition towards his persona at the time.
As a result, he just gave a hint of a shrug and looked back towards the west where the sun was just mere minutes away from disappearing behind the lake for the night. Even though Severus wouldn’t have admitted it even to himself, now he felt something else in addition to the slowly departing calmness. He was nervous.
Well, it is not as if he gets married every week.
“We are sooo sorry, Professor McGonagall! We ran as fast as we could!”
Severus whirled towards where Potter’s voice was coming from, but his eyes did not find anything except for empty air.
Professor felt his lips stretch instinctively into a smirk as he said into the space;
“How biased of you, Potter, to come here wearing your famous cloak. It seems that nowadays you cannot go anywhere without it anymore, you have chickened out so much.”
Potter appeared first and Severus felt an unexplainable delight in seeing the young man’s angry red face. It seemed that one of the joys he got from life for the past six - or it was more correctly to say five years - was from seeing how far he could stretch Potter’s nerves.
“Dear Merlin! Why didn’t you dress up for this happy and unforgettable cerem-,” Severus suddenly stopped in mid-word when the rest of the Invisibility Cloak slid onto the grass revealing the person who stood beside Potter.
He felt his jaw drop open as he stared at the illusion before him that was supposed to be Granger. It seemed that the years of practice in schooling his emotions at that moment proved useless.
Severus let his eyes rove over Granger for mere seconds, but it was enough to give him a perfect picture of what stood in front of him. Unlike Potter, Granger’s cheeks were faintly flushed by the running and Severus could not but notice the way her chest rose with every panting breath she took. Thanks to the dress, Severus was free to observe Granger’s full breasts that looked as if, any minute now, they were ready to spill out of the dark cloth. The temperature was rapidly falling with the departure of the sun and the hugging dress couldn’t conceal the way Granger’s nipples hardened behind it.
All of this display was enough to make Severus close his mouth with a snap and a wince. It seemed as if all of his blood suddenly rushed between his legs and the sensation was far from a pleasant one. Only his cloak kept everyone from noticing a bulge that had appeared inside his trousers.
“Well, come on! We have exactly two minutes until the sunset so hurry up and stand right here in front of me, Miss Granger,” exclaimed Professor McGonagall who did not seem to have noticed either Hermione’s outfit or Professor Snape’s perplexed state.
Hermione obediently moved to stand where Professor McGonagall was pointing and was closely followed by Professor Snape who took his place on her left hand side. Even though Hermione had read a lot of books that mentioned a traditional wizarding wedding, she unfortunately never had a chance to visit a non-muggle wedding and for a few months now wanted to attend such a ceremony.
Well, they always warn you by saying, ‘Be careful what you wish for,’ she thought.
“Fellow witches and wizards, we have united here on the brink of sacred darkness to tie these two...,” Professor McGonagall started the ceremony addressing all of the few people present. Hermione tried to concentrate on the Headmistress’ words, but her concentration kept slipping by an urge to glance at the man standing beside her. For an unexplainable reason she wanted to see how Snape was taking this ceremony.
As cautiously as she could, Hermione shot a darting glance at the tall man standing beside her. But it was almost immediately followed by a second one for she thought her eyes had made a mistake.
They however, were proven unmistaken.
Snape kept staring at her as if he had never seen her before and Hermione could have bet a galleon that he did not hear anything that McGonagall was saying either. Hermione felt her body give an almost unnoticeable shiver at the look Snape was giving her now. For some reason, Hermione felt that this look was the most dangerous that Snape had ever given her but in what danger she was Hermione had no idea.
“Would you or would you not, SEVERUS SNAPE?!”
Professor McGonagall, it seemed, had tried to catch Snape’s attention for some time now and her patience was starting to wear thin for the night.
“I do what?” he asked calmly, finally tearing his black eyes away from Hermione.
McGonagall’s nostrils began to flare a bit, dimly reminding Hermione of a Hungarian Horntail.
“Would you or would you not accept Hermione Granger as your wife on the terms of the wizard world, Severus Snape?” repeated Professor McGonagall as calmly as her voice could allow.
Snape stayed silent for a few seconds but this silence caused the Headmistress’ right eye to visibly twitch in a rather nervous manner.
“Yes, I would,” he replied finally without looking in Hermione’s direction.
Professor McGonagall actually sighed in relief and turned her attention to Hermione next.
“And you, Hermione Granger, would you allow yourself to be accepted by Severus Snape as his wife on all wizarding terms?”
Hermione found the phrasing strange and, thanks to her previous curiousness towards Snape, she did not hear what these ‘wizarding terms’ were. But as a true Gryffindor she inwardly pulled herself together and locked her determined gaze with Professor McGonagall’s and said;
For a long time afterwards Hermione wondered if what she felt after these pronounced words was true or just a consequence of her nervousness. As the words left her mouth, the young witch felt the wind circle around her and the man standing beside her. But this wind seemed to possess a mind of its own for it began to push her towards Snape, silently urging them to stand as close as possible. Snape probably also got this effect for, as a result, Hermione found herself firmly pressed to his side and unable to move against the force that held her there.
Snape’s face appeared to be even paler than it usually was as he stayed rooted on the spot with all these soft curves pressed to his right side. The other part of his mind that wasn’t clouded by Granger’s body was furiously racing. He might not be an expert in weddings, but even he had heard of this wind. But this was wrong, it shouldn’t have appeared here! Not in the circumstances he was in with Granger.
It was absurd.
“Before the judge of twilight and sacred witnesses, seal the holy ceremony with a kiss,” McGonagall’s voice seemed to be coming from very far away to Hermione’s ears.
She tilted her head backwards and met the dark gaze of her Professor. The two were so close together that a part of her face was brushing his black cloak. Nevertheless, the panic that she saw projected in Snape’s eyes gave her a sense of satisfaction and knowledge that she was not the only panicking person there.
Snape must have noticed some of her thoughts pass through her eyes for the next second he dropped his shields yet again around himself. The usual cold mask stared back at Hermione and she found herself missing the slip of emotion that he had accidentally allowed her to witness. With that panic in his bottomless eyes he seemed more vulnerable more...alive.
“The kiss,” reminded McGonagall with desperation.
Hermione had a moment to witness Snape’s eyes turning into two slits before he, for the first time in his life, followed McGonagall’s order.
The lips that touched Hermione’s were surprisingly warm and seemed very inviting in the chilly air. She found that there was barely anything intimate in Snape’s embrace that at the moment presented more duty than sensuality. It was a true formal seal of the ceremony and when he hastily lifted his mouth from hers barely three seconds later; Hermione felt another inexplicable emotion slipping into her.
“With my righteous power I proclaim you husband and wife.”
Hermione found herself unable to look away from Snape and his blank gaze, even McGonagall’s last fateful words did not bear any effect whatsoever upon his posture. Without a word to either of the people surrounding him, Snape turned on his heel and headed towards the castle. Even then Hermione kept her eyes locked upon the lone dark cloaked figure until the nearby trees hid him from her view.
Her married life has begun.
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Chapter 1296790941: New ApartmentsChapter 7: New Apartments
The walk back to the castle, Hermione spent in a sort of daze.
Even though she knew that everything was real, she couldn’t keep wishing that it was all a dream and any minute now she would wake up in her bed and later laugh with Harry and Ron at the absurdity of her dream.
But the reality was harsh.
Ron and she haven’t spoken for nearly a week now and she was not Hermione Granger anymore. She was Hermione Snape...
Mrs. Severus Snape.
A violent shudder cascaded over Hermione at this thought.
“Are you cold?” asked Harry who had obviously misunderstood her body reaction.
She shook her head but decided to not commentate upon it. The last thing she needed was to complicate things further, which seemed impossible already. Fortunately, at this moment they entered the Gryffindor Common Room and the need to be silent saved Hermione. Both of them were under the Invisibility Cloak and even in Hogwarts the scene of the portrait of the Fat Lady opening and closing by itself without anybody entering must have been strange. When Harry and Hermione were departing towards the wedding they appeared to be lucky enough for the Common Room to be empty, but now they turned out to be less fortunate.
In one of the chairs beside the fireplace sat Neville Longbottom who absently turned his head towards the portrait when he heard it open. His expression, however, quickly changed when he did not see a soul enter the room. Hermione couldn’t suppress a smile when she saw pure panic flash on his face.
Even as a wizard, Neville was not one of the brightest people on earth. With a piglet squeak he flew out of his chair with a surprising speed for his weight and disappeared on the stairs towards the boys’ dorm rooms.
It was nice to know that some things stayed unchanged.
With a smile still on her face Hermione turned towards Harry. Her smile, however, slowly wilted when she saw with what pure sadness and pity Harry looked down at her. As a result the two of them just stood there in a rather uncomfortable silence, unable to find the right words for each other. After some time Harry soundly cleared his throat.
“Well...when are you going to move into your new...apartment?”
“Actually, Professor McGonagall instructed me to do it right now. I guess I just need to get some things from my room first.” Hermione answered and dropped her eyes, unable to meet her best friend’s gaze.
Another short silence followed.
“Well, I guess I have to get a move on already...See you later Harry,” murmured Hermione and turned towards the stairs.
Before she could have made another step, however, Harry grabbed her right hand in his, forcing her to turn back to him. At last she lifted her eyes and almost cried at the sheerness of care that she met in Harry’s green sincere eyes.
“Please be careful, Hermione. Don’t do anything to endanger yourself,” he whispered.
The smile that appeared now on Hermione’s face was far from a happy one.
“Endanger myself? At least I am going to live with a husband instead of a total stranger, Harry. That is a difference no matter how small,” she said and headed towards her now ex-dormitory.
But Harry’s warning kept ringing in her head.
Yes, she would try to make sure that none of her actions would provoke Snape to harm her.
For some reason she doubted that the fact that she was his wife would stop him.
“Are you p-positively sure that it is...here?”
Professor McGonagall gave Hermione raised eyebrows as she sternly looked down at a slightly shorter woman.
“Do you really think that the countless years I have spent in Hogwarts as a teacher served for nothing? In addition, I would be no Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry if I wouldn’t have known where to contact a certain teacher in case of emergency.”
Hermione realized that she must have wounded McGonagall’s pride or something by her comment. For caution in return she just decided to keep her mouth shut before the Headmistress found any other way to interpret a harmless comment as an insult.
“Well,” continued Professor McGonagall after seeing that Hermione would not speak, “if you have no further questions for me, I wish you good night and a pleasing weekend, Mrs. Snape.”
McGonagall’s voice did not hold any mockery or irony at this words.
Without waiting for Hermione’s reply, the Headmistress departed down the dark corridor. Her actions, however, weren’t swift enough for Hermione to miss a shadow of pity cross her ageing features. It seemed that for the past few days some people did nothing else but pity her.
As a result, Hermione was left alone standing in front of a dark wooden door that in theory lead to Snape’s personal apartments. At the moment, however, Hermione looked upon it like the bloody gate of hell.
And in some ways, perhaps it really was.
For the countless time this day, Hermione summed up all of her Gryffindor courage and raised her fist. She knocked three times and the sound travelled unnaturally loud among the darkened corridor. She was mentally prepared for Snape to burst the door open the next second, but nothing happened.
She waited a few minutes more before she gingerly put her hand on the door. She did not really expect it to budge and was taken by surprise when the door opened.
“Professor Snape?” she whispered.
When silence followed her words, Hermione opened the door the rest of the way and cautiously stepped inside. Even the soft thud of the door closing behind her was very loud to Hermione’s ears.
The next moment natural curiosity took over all of her other feelings as she began to look around herself. It was an underestimation to say that what met Hermione’s eyes left her utterly speechless.
The first thing that caught her attention was the grandeur of the room. On one side of its circular shape there was a big fireplace with one massive chair standing in front of it. The chamber was filled with numerous pieces of furniture, each one distinguishing itself by its antique aura that did not lessen its beauty. On her left side, Hermione saw an impressive sofa with a number of cushions casually lying on top of it. Both the sofa and the cushions were the colour of a raven’s wing, so black that it was hard to distinguish the actual cushions from the sofa.
In front of all that blackness stood a low table with barely anything on top of it except for a few parchments and a number of ink bottles. The table was probably the most dark brown colour it was possible, but in contrast with the sofa’s colouring it appeared to be rather light.
The fire from the fireplace was the only source of light in the chamber and it created a warm, cosy atmosphere that silently urged you to sit down in front of these creaking burning logs and forget all of your life’s problems.
Hermione had to actually shake her head to not be pulled into this reverie. She expected everything from damp dungeons to a stony hut in the midst of the Forbidden Forest from Snape, but this...
“So, my dear wife has finally come.”
The sarcastic voice with its velvety structure made Hermione swiftly turn towards it.
Snape stood halfway through the door she must not have noticed before. It was beside the fireplace, which took so much of Hermione’s previous attention that she failed to see a dark heavy curtain obscuring the doorway. The curtain most probably served the role of a door by itself.
Without another word Snape entered the room and Hermione’s side vision let her know that he held something in his right hand, something that was partly concealed by his usual black cloak. For a moment Hermione’s panicking mind screamed that it was his wand and he was about to finish her for good, but then Snape sat into the chair and she saw the object was revealed by the light from the fire.
It was a bottle.
A bottle that he unhurriedly pressed to his mouth and began drinking from.
Hermione’s growing suspicion was confirmed when a light smell of alcohol reached her nostrils, without a doubt coming from Professor Snape.
“Professor Snape, are you drinking firewhisky?” exclaimed Hermione momentarily forgetting all of her previous fears.
With a visible unwillingness Snape tore himself from the bottle and absently looked at Hermione. His eyes were surprisingly completely sober and even his sneer did not lose any of its venom as he looked at Hermione’s casual t-shirt and blue jeans.
“Ah, I see that Mrs. Snape decided to change into casual attire. I have to say that neither your red dress nor this choice really flatters you,” drooled Snape casually, masterfully avoiding Hermione’s earlier question.
Hermione squeezed her hand into a fist and the hard press of her nails to her palm helped her to master control over her anger. Snape might not have been drunk, but he did not behave fully like himself either. True, Professor Snape never missed a chance to practice his sadistic talent upon Hermione both in and out of class, but never in such a manner as this. Unless he had his own reasons behind his actions.
Hermione cast a suspicious glance towards the man sitting beside the fire and whom by law was supposed to be her husband.
He resumed his drinking. Hermione was suddenly mesmerised by the way his throat moved with every gulp he took. The light from the fire revealed his face with his closed eyes as he savoured the drink. The same light appeared to soften his features and Hermione found herself thinking that in looks Professor Snape was not bad at all.
I must be desperate, thought Hermione, for suddenly finding the infamous Snape handsome. If not for his forever greasy hair...
Snape must have felt eyes upon him for as soon as he finished with his drink he lifted his dark eyes at her in a mocking manner. The next second, however, he suddenly stiffened as his eyes stayed locked with hers.
Hermione had no idea what he had seen in her eyes but it must not have been a very good thing for the next moment the bottle with the rest of its contents flew into the fireplace and loudly exploded there.
The noise made Hermione jump about a foot above the ground. Round eyed and fearful she stared at Snape who was on his feet taking deep breaths to calm himself. What she had seen today was more emotion from Snape than she had seen in all the years she knew him put together. It might have been entertaining in some other circumstances but right now Hermione was too preoccupied with what this new Snape would do next.
An eternity must have passed until Snape finally schooled his face into his usual cold mask with its expressionless black eyes.
“I have noticed that the house elves had time to move all of your things here already and, fortunately, I did not have the ultimate torture of sorting out the things myself,” even Snape’s mouth appeared to be bearly moving he was so under control.
Hermione was relieved to see this. At least she knew that the traditional Snape would not do anything rash or something of his previous actions. Well, at least not for the time being.
“If you would follow me, Miss Granger, I will show you your new room,” continued Snape. “You will be able to see the rest of the quarters by yourself tomorrow without any assistance on my part.”
And with a swish of his cloak he exited the chamber without even making sure if Hermione was following him.
With a loud sigh she quickly followed his precession with dark thoughts filling her mind. Harry’s previous warning was still freshly printed in her mind. She completely agreed with him on the subject of not endangering herself in Snape’s company and was only more than willing to keep preventing any further arguments with that dark man.
The only problem was that she did not even start guessing yet in what kind of danger she already was.
With an unseeing gaze Severus stared into the dying fire.
As soon as he had shown Granger her sleeping quarters, he disappeared from the scene as swiftly as possible and found his refuge in his office. He did not know and neither cared what time it was, but judging by the fire it was quiet deep into the night already. The only thing that kept him company now was a glass of firewhisky clutched tightly in his hand, compensating the whole bottle which he had so thoughtlessly destroyed in a brink of strong emotion.
Angry for the fact that he desired Hermione Granger.
Even the blasted alcohol that Severus had hoped would help did not lessen either his emotional or physical arousal, leaving him completely sober.
From the moment he had seen her in her red dress, he couldn’t get her out of his mind. It seemed that the year or so that he had not seen her had transformed her into a fully grown woman that was made to be noticed and stared at. Though not classically beautiful, the young witch possessed an unusual wild prettiness that transformed into a breathtaking beauty each time a strong emotion overtook her. Even in her anger she seemed striking with her brown eyes blazing with life of their own...
Severus pressed the cool surface of the glass against his forehead. It appeared that his desire has driven him into such desperation as to even create an illusion of him witnessing Gr- Hermione’s eyes fill with an emotion very close to attraction as she looked down upon him back in the lounge area. For a moment then he just let that illusion ride him and, as a result, his body answered that silent call pulling him back into harsh reality as he saw Hermione’s eyes the next moment flash with something close to disappointment.
A smile appeared on his face now, the one that not one living soul has seen upon his face.
Only Severus had the ultimate pleasure to observe it daily in a mirror staring back at him. Since his return from the torture, that smile graced his features more frequently than before.
The smile expressed only one simple meaning;
He hated nearly everything there was about his own persona. And Hermione, it seemed, only proved what a lowly sort of creature he really was. What kind of woman, especially one like her, would want with such a ‘slime ball’ as everyone called him?
Even that bloody wind during the wedding did not help him by any means, but simply confused him further, no longer knowing what he was supposed to think about the whole situation. Was the wish for someone to care about him too much to ask? The answer appeared to be positive for this was what he had been wishing for all his life.
Even the one person who in some sort cared for his well being was killed and Severus himself was framed for his murder.
And then that kiss with Hermione...
The ceremonial kiss might have appeared formal but only Merlin knew what force Severus had to collect in order to sustain himself from deepening the kiss further. There on the grass in front of all those witnesses, he knew that one more moment with his lips pressed against hers would unmake him and he would no longer be able to prevent his tongue from entering her mouth finding out what she tasted like.
Anger at himself for being such an idiot to even hope for a mutual attraction came back with a blasting force. The next moment the glass in his hand shattered into countless pieces as the remains of the firewhisky flowed down his hand.
Severus simply stared mesmerised by the numerous cuts on his right hand and the way they were starting to fill up with blood. The alcohol made sure that it hurt a trillion times more than it was supposed to but not one muscle moved on Severus’ face at the pain he was experiencing.
The past year made sure that he would not consider even cutting up his veins as a painful experience.
And now Severus hoped that everything would stop at that without anything complicating his life further.
The last thing he needed was a broken heart.
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Chapter 1296790942: Going PublicChapter 8: Going Public
Surprisingly, the following weekend ended up eventless as Hermione fully established herself in her new home, finally dragging an unwilling Crookshanks into his new domain. The fact that theses two days did not bring anything drastic were most probably influenced by the fact that Hermione had seen Snape only once or twice during that period with him holding himself with cold and formal hostility. As far as it went, they might have been living in different countries for the amount of contact they had with each other.
Not that Hermione complained. Most of her time was fully taken by homework, especially by the amount that was due on Monday for DADA. It appeared that Snape took out all of his frustration on Hermione, dragging the rest of the classmates with her. It will not come as a surprise, therefore, if the students’ attitudes towards Hermione change drastically when they find out about her marriage to Snape.
Monday morning brought the news, and the effects were exactly what Hermione expected from everyone, to say the least.
All through breakfast, Hermione could barely force a piece of toast down her throat, she was so nervous. Harry, it seemed, also had difficulty eating as he gloomily observed Hermione’s visibly trembling hands. Even Ron, who still did not say one word to Hermione, cast her frequent side glances with a mixture of pity and anger.
“Don’t worry, Hermione. Everything is going to be just fine,” said Harry at last, somewhat awkwardly patting her shoulder.
Hermione gave him a crooked smile while her eyes kept nervously darting towards the staff table. A part of her mind took note that this morning Snape looked even paler than usual as he unmovingly stared down at his food. But most of Hermione’s concentration was focused upon the Headmistress and wondering if she will serve her duty and formally announce the wedding. Hermione genuinely hoped that McGonagall’s mind was not as young and clear as it once was with aging showing its effects.
But Hermione’s hopes were mercilessly crushed when Professor McGonagall pulled herself upon her feet and tapped her glass several times with a silver fork until she attracted the attention of the students. A respectful silence fell upon the Hall. Hermione had time to note that the Headmistress had purposefully waited until all four tables were full before she started speaking.
“As you know already, our irreplaceable former Potions Master finally returned to us at the beginning of the term and retook his teaching position this time as a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher leaving Professor Slughorn with his last years’ job in the Potions classroom. Many events happened over the past year that much complicated Professor Snape’s life in general, but today it is my pleasure to announce to you that in addition to being a Professor, I have decided to appoint him the new Deputy Headmaster of Hogwarts.”
Ron\'s pumpkin juice abruptly rushed out of his mouth straight onto Luna who sat in front of him.
This news, on the other hand, appeared to have come as a surprise to Snape as well. Unlike Ron, his goblet had not yet completed its journey to his mouth when the Headmistress’ words froze him.
Professor McGonagall, however, did not stop shocking the school for the day yet. After seeing that no applause should be waited for after such an announcement she continued in her usual stern voice;
“And I also feel obliged in sharing another marvelous piece of news with you. On behalf of the entire teaching staff and myself I would like to congratulate Professor Severus Snape and Hermione Granger who were married last Friday following all of the traditional and customary laws of the Wizarding world.”
Gasps and wild exclamations broke among the Hall. All of the students’ gazes were now fixed either on Hermione or Snape. There were, however, some students that simply stared dumbfounded as the news slowly reached their minds, the majority of them were seated at the Slytherin table.
On the other hand, there was one individual who did not lose any time dwelling deeply upon the nature of this marriage. A loud thump and a crash of an upturned goblet confirmed Hermione’s fears. For the second time in less than a week, Neville Longbottom had fainted in the same place.
“I knew it! My Inner Eye told me that something like this would happen. Horrors! Doom is approaching!”
Professor McGonagall threw Professor Trelawney a far from friendly look as the Divination teacher raised her hands towards the ceiling.
“Do shut up, Professor. Your next class is not due to start for an hour yet!”
Only when Trelawney’s exclamations of further apocalypses somewhat subsided did McGonagall speak again. Her booming voice managed to cover the countless mutterings in the Hall, forcing silence yet again to fall among the students of Hogwarts.
“Before anyone will question the legality of such a union, I therefore state that I personally took upon myself the honoured role of the Chief Supervisor. Furthermore, if anyone has a mind to question this marriage further they will be complied to question my authority in this matter personally.”
The last comment considerably dimmed the whispers that were on the verge of breaking out again.
With a nervous twitch in her eye, Hermione managed to glance towards Snape. In her situation it was pleasant to know that he did not look any better than she did. With a face that now looked more ashen than white, he continued staring wide eyed at McGonagall. Even from where she sat Hermione could see fear and anger in his dark eyes.
She understood the concept of anger...but fear?
Before she could ponder upon this fact her thoughts were yet again interrupted by the Headmistress’ voice.
“As a conclusion, I would ask everyone present in this room including the staff to consider the fact that Miss Granger should from this moment on be addressed as Mrs. Snape even as she stays a rightful student of Hogwarts. There are, however, going to be some independent privileges drawn in Mrs. Snape’s case that will expect the students to show their respect towards her married persona. One of the examples being standing up whenever Mrs. Snape should happen to enter a room,” here she paused to let the idea set into the devastated students’ minds before she finished with the following comment;
“The list of these new rules towards Mrs. Snape’s persona will be hung in every Common Room and I expect you to study it with patience and attention before tomorrow morning. Good day to you all.”
The Headmistress repositioned herself upon her chair and continued the process of drinking her tea as if she had only commentated upon the weekly weather forecast.
Hermione found herself unseeingly staring at her plate. Only when her mouth closed with a snap did she realize that her jaw must have dropped somewhere in the middle of McGonagall’s “news”. Well, this was definitely news to Hermione. The Headmistress hadn’t said anything about the obligation for a change of name or even mentioned all of Hermione’s new “privileges” that she apparently was now forced to take. For a person who read rather a lot, Hermione did not possess much knowledge of how a married witch was expected to behave in the social wizarding world.
Great, she thought cynically, now I at least know what subject is missing from the schools’ program. At present it would have made better sense to indulge myself in Wedding Studies rather than Muggle Studies.
“Did you actually hear anything I said?”
Hermione finally realized that Harry must have been talking to her for some time now.
“Sorry, Harry, what was it?”
In response, her best friend just raised his eyes to the ceiling as if asking for patience.
“I am taking Neville to the Infirmary. It appeares that he did not take the news of you marrying his beloved teacher very well.”
“And he is not alone,” darkly muttered Ron, earning a glare from Hermione.
Her needed assistance to lift Neville’s rather plump body from the floor saved Hermione from saying something harsh to Ron in return. His childish behaviour was starting to really rub her patience and she was sure that one more comment like that would drive her into a frenzy. She really needed to talk seriously with Ron in the near future for that could not go on anymore.
But regarding Neville’s situation more gravely than Ron’s stubbornness, Hermione decided to put the inevitable conversation for later as she, not without strain even with Harry’s help, dragged the still unconscious Gryffindor out of the Hall towards Madame Pomfrey caring hands.
Hermione spent the rest of the day trying to avoid her fellow students as often as possible. Wherever she went she had the feeling that everybody’s eyes were stuck only on her while everyone’s mouth held either her or her “husband’s” name.
In class, nothing simplified her position as whispers continued behind people’s hands with regular darting of eyes towards her direction. In a silent agreement, Harry followed Hermione wherever she went, looking more like a bodyguard than a best friend at present. Hermione was pleasantly surprised when Ron, without a word to either of them, decided to continue sticking with them, taking an occupation similar to Harry’s.
“I feel like hanging myself right now,” Hermione muttered darkly taking note of yet another pair of second years who most probably were in the process of talking about her in hushed voices.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Hermione! Who will help me with my Transfiguration essay then?” Harry made a go for a light joke, but nevertheless glared warningly at the two second years as Hermione, Ron and he passed them in the corridor. Upon seeing who shot them this look, both girls shut up as one and quickly scattered in the opposite direction.
It was apparent that no one wanted to get onto the bad side of The-Boy-Who-Lived.
Especially on the brink of war.
Her negative stray of thoughts were suddenly interrupted by Harry’s abrupt stop. As she was closely following behind him, Hermione did not react quickly enough and ended up crashing into his back. She caught her balance before she almost fell and looked at whatever made Harry stop so suddenly.
What met her eyes did not cheer her in the slightest. The three of them were heading towards their Gryffindor Common Room after having dinner, but found that now it would not be as easy to enter it as they had thought.
The portrait of the Fat Lady was guarded by none other but Professor Snape. And a not so happy one at that.
“Miss Granger, I have been waiting for you long enough. Where do you think you are going?” hissed Snape. He did not acknowledge in any way either Harry\'s or Ron\'s process. His drilling gaze was fully focused upon Hermione.
Hermione furrowed her eyebrows in annoyance.
“To my Common Room, sir. Why do you ask?”
Snape\'s eyes glittered dangerously at her before momentary darting at her companions.
“Miss Granger, I see that it is my duty to remind you that now you are a married woman and thus have to behave like one. I do not think that strolling the castle\'s corridors in the evening in the company of two young men could be classified as proper wife behaviour.”
The young witch began to feel her temper rising. Unthinkably she took a few steps towards him and defiantly stared up at him less than a foot away. Even his obvious advantage in height did not seem to lessen her determination in the slightest.
“And why do you care, Severus?” she mockingly hissed back.
Hermione heard a snort from behind her. She couldn\'t blame Ron for his outburst for Professor Snape\'s face was truly something to laugh at when he heard her calling him by his first name. His black eyes looked like they were ready to pop out of his pale face while his mouth dropped open. Hermione doubted that he was used to such informality coming from anyone, not to mention a student.
“Come on Hermione, lets go to our Common Room,” muttered Harry, staring daggers at the still mute Snape. He then protectively put his arm around her shoulders and was about to say the password to the Fat Lady when Snape snapped out of his reverie.
The next moment Hermione found herself firmly pressed against something black and solid. She lifted her eyes and yet again met black, but this time there was something in his eyes that looked even darker than anger. His right hand firmly held her forearm and some rational part of her mind told her that he must have detached her from Harry. She never thought of Snape as the type to have quick reflexes, but his earlier action proved that he could be disbelievingly fast when he wanted to.
This thought involuntary quickened Hermione\'s pulse. Pressed so close to his cloaked figure she couldn\'t suppress an unhealthy thought from forming in her mind. What does he look like underneath all of these clothes?
Snape did not make any move to release her as he kept staring down into her eyes. By being so close to his face Hermione saw the anger subsiding with every passing second only to be replaced by something else. She did not know what she was seeing now in his obsidian eyes, but something told her that this burning gaze was even more dangerous that his anger.
Suddenly remembering that she was not supposed to stand so close to her Professor, Hermione hastily stepped away from him and tried to free her arm from his. But her tries proved to be in vain as his death grip only tightened around her delicate arm.
“Leave her alone!”
Hermione turned to see Ron standing near the wall helping Harry back to his feet. It appeared that during Snape\'s manhandling of her he managed to make Harry lose his footing as well. Ron\'s wand was out and he pointed it towards Snape.
Panic overtook Hermione. She was not sure if that was because she believed Ron could hurt Snape or that Snape could take away all of Gryffindor\'s points in addition to a year’s worth of detentions as soon as the dispute finished. Whatever her hidden reasons, she found herself stepping in front of Snape, obscuring him from Ron’s view.
“Please Ron, don’t. He’s right, I need to keep up the illusion of a mutual marriage under the circumstances,” she muttered without meeting his eyes.
As a result she did not see the raw pain that flashed across Ron’s face before he schooled it into a grimace. But this momentary betrayal of emotion was not quick enough for Harry and Snape to miss.
“Of course,” disgust was clearly heard in Ron’s voice, “I perfectly understand, Hermione. Then I feel that it is best for you two to go away to your apartments and continue doing whatever you do with your husband there.”
Without a warning he made three quick steps which brought him standing right in front of Hermione. As she met his eyes she realized that she had never seen him so out of control as he was now.
“But before you go, I want you to remember this one thing,” he whispered darkly and brought his mouth forcibly against hers. He did not linger there long, just enough to make her feel the sheer intensity of his emotion.
Hermione was in too much shock to say anything as she wide eyed stared up at him. Only when his hand surprisingly gently touched her cheek did she realize that she was silently crying. After Ron’s finger tips brushed off the crystal of a tear, he abruptly turned away from her and tensely gave the password to the Fat Lady. Without a word to either of them he quickly disappeared behind the closing portrait.
The soft thud of the portrait as it closed sounded uncharacteristically loud in the now dead silent corridor. Hermione suddenly realized that nobody was holding her hand now and she gingerly looked towards Snape. What met her gaze abruptly took all of her breath away. If she thought that what she had previously seen was anger, now she knew that she was mistaken. His entire body seemed to vibrate with the intensity of his emotion as his tightly clutched fists seemed to master the last bits of his thin control. He was still staring at the closed portrait, but when he turned his gaze towards her, the anger seemed only to increase.
He had to actually take a few calming breaths before he dared to open his mouth.
“You are supposed to behave in such a way that nobody will figure out the motives behind this marriage! We will talk about this matter later once you care to go back to your apartments, Mrs. Snape .”
His voice held so much venom that it shook. As he threw his last sarcastic comment at her, he swirled around and almost ran down the corridor. In mere seconds his billowing black cloak disappeared behind the corner.
Hermione stood like a statue for some time, still staring at the spot where her husband last stood, before she shook her head. She did not know what was happening to her and neither did she know what had gotten into Snape these last few days. True, he was a rather rare specie of an irritated man, but this was beyond him.
The young witch turned her head towards Harry who still stood leaning against the stone wall. Hermione doubted that it was because of any injury, she guessed that, like her, he was still unable to digest how fast Snape could move. And it did not sound good at all.
With a mumbled \'Good night\' Hermione disappeared down the same corridor that her husband took a mere moment ago, leaving a dumbfounded Harry alone. Whatever Hermione\'s reasons for this present state, Harry doubted that she got them right. In his opinion there were times that, for someone as bright as her, she was rather thick. And he could have bet his Firebolt that she did not see what was happening right in front of her nose.
But unlike Hermione, Harry had seen everything there was to see.
Severus Snape was jealous.
The whole room shook with the impact of the door as it slammed closed behind Severus.
His breathing was slightly ragged from the way he ran away from the portrait like a coward. He might have been a bloody pessimist, but Severus knew that if he had something to be admired for, it was courage, and his fearlessness to face anything, even the Dark Lord himself. But for the past few days it seemed that this little schoolgirl was unintentionally stripping him of everything he possessed.
No, Severus corrected himself, she might be still my pupil, but she is no longer a girl .
Even his blinding anger did not lessen his desire for her. The worst came when she called him by his first name. Severus knew that she said it specially to wound him, but it created rather a different effect than the one she probably wanted. As her anger filled voice tainted with a sense of honey said his name, it felt like all of his blood drained away from his veins straight towards his loins. He couldn’t help himself but imagine what it would be like having her underneath his body with this mesmerizing hair of hers spilled on his black pillows. Would she moan his name over and over again while he ravaged mercilessly into her inviting depths?
To his utter discomfort Severus felt himself hardening again. He had no doubt that if this continues any longer he will turn into an old pervert.
If I am not one already, he thought humourlessly.
He reached his bedroom at the same time he heard the main door open. Far from wanting to face his young wife with a rather visible hard-on, Severus quickly warded his room and took escape in the bathroom that linked with his own room.
Severus tiredly took seat at the edge of a bathtub and put his head into his shaking hands. He knew he was a possessive man when provoked, but he never experienced this feeling towards women. He was far from being a virgin, but he did not have a habit of having relationships either, often having only one night stands. But the former Miss Granger began to awaken within him feelings that he both craved for and denied.
When the Weasel boy pushed his disgusting mouth against his wife’s, Severus thought that he would perform Avada Kedavra on him right there but only after he finished with his wife. Primal possessiveness overtook him bitterly mixed with jealousy. What right did this boy have to kiss his wife? No matter how formal their marriage was she still was his rightful wife in his eyes!
A sudden realization hit Severus so fast that he lifted his head from his hands and began to think slowly, rationally.
Did he desire Hermione?
Did this desire push him to want her to be his wife in every sense of word?
Did he want to have a rightful heir to his name? Did he want his child to share Hermione’s wit and appearance?
Damn it, Yes, Yes!!
With a slowness like in a dream he moved to stand right in front of the sink. Bending slightly forwards, Severus somewhat critically assessed his appearance in the mirror in front of him. He never really cared for his looks, deciding that it was easier to fit with his popular image of an ‘over-grown bat’ and ‘greasy git’. He always regarded it as a thanks to James Potter and Sirius Black that he never lifted his hand to contradict their constant mocking.
But these times seemed to finally come to an end. The day has finally come when Severus wanted a woman to not only notice him but desire him in return. Desire him so much that she will not only willingly go to his bed but forget that in his arms she will never find a way back.
He saw his reflection press his lips together at him in return. He never wished this day to ever come but fate appeared to mock him yet again. With a swish of his wand he produced various bottles from thin air in addition to a few pairs of scissors of different sizes. It was time to clean himself up a bit.
Slightly brushing his long greasy hair away from his face Severus found himself wearing the first smile in over a year.
The poor Gryffindor wouldn’t know what hit her.
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Chapter 1296790943: Provoking the UnknownChapter 9: Provoking the Unknown
Hermione absently stared at the blank blackboard without really seeing it.
Since yesterday\'s most peculiar incident, she found herself in deep thought. Countless questions whirled in her head to which she had yet to find the answers. As a student who knew the answer to practically every question asked by a teacher in the classroom, Hermione was in the process of realizing how little she really did know of the things that were not found in books.
It was amazing how infrequently two people could see each other while living in the same apartment, yet this was what was happening to her at the moment.
Hermione did not even dare to knock on Professor Snape\'s bedroom door yesterday night in fear that she would most probably be brutally cursed. Instead, she went to sleep with a rather heavy heart and was not surprised that the first thing to flood her mind when she opened her eyes in the morning was the name \'Snape\' and the face that went with it.
Her frustration at the Professor only heightened when she did not spot him at breakfast. It was not as if she would have walked up to him in public, but the idea that he was dodging his own wife, no matter how artificial, made Hermione’s gut turn with anger.
Without any explainable reason the greasy man began to invade her mind; and the young witch was far from happy at this rather disturbing realization.
\"Daydreaming, are we?\"
The unexpected invasion into her thoughts made Hermione blink. With a sigh that showed all of her irritation she turned to her desk neighbour.
\"What do you want, Harry?\" she snapped.
Far from being offended at her shut-your-mouth-and-leave-me-alone tone, Harry gave her a mysterious grin and thoughtfully muttered;
\"The last time I saw you in a state like this was during our fourth year when you were dating Victor Krum and battling your first relationship issues. Meaning that you imagined seeing his face before your eyes even during Transfiguration lessons.\"
Much to Hermione’s dismay she felt her cheeks grow hot.
\"Nonsense! I never daydream and the last thing on my mind during lesson time is going to be a man!\"
\"Ah, but it’s not lesson time yet, is it? I guess Professor Snape has to be in some sort of a dream as well for him to be so late for his Potions Class,\" replied Harry.
\"How can Professor Snape be late to a class he doesn\'t teach anymore? He\'s the DADA professor now. It\'s Professor Slughorn who is late, Harry,\" Hermione shot back with a sneer.
\"Not today. After breakfast I heard him telling Professor McGonagall he had business in Hogsmeade this morning so Snape was taking this class. Maybe he is wandering the halls, dreaming of you,\" Harry whispered mischievously.
Hermione did not like the odd twinkle in Harry’s eyes but she never got the chance to answer him back.
She already opened her mouth when the dungeon door suddenly flew open. She reflexively glanced towards the entrance and froze.
Hermione had to actually blink a few times before she was assured that what stood there wasn’t some sort of illusion or a trick of light. No, it was indeed Professor Severus Snape who stood at the doors of the dungeon classroom, but at the same time it wasn’t.
The young witch could not help but squint her eyes as she looked over the Professor from head to toe.
His usual black attire graced his tall figure, but as she looked closely this first judgment proved incorrect. Instead of a white collar it was silver, and there were other additions to his clothing. The edges of Professor’s sleeves were also decorated with silver and with a second glance Hermione saw that the emblems were actually two snakes entwined around each sleeve.
As the Potions Master processed to the front of his class she couldn’t help but notice that even his walk was different. Instead of his usual dramatic entrance with a rapid swishing of his cloak, Snape now took each step unhurriedly allowing his long midnight cloak to float lightly behind him. As he neared her desk, Hermione realized that it was also the first time she had ever seen her Professor in leather boots that reached his knees. These bore the same silver embroidery as his sleeves. And it was impossible to miss the way the black trousers fittingly hugged his lean but surprisingly muscular thighs.
This was not, however, what made the whole class stare at their Professor with eyes that would have made any owl go green with envy.
It wasn’t that Snape had cut his hair, but he did do something to it. Instead of disarrayed locks lying flatly across his pale face, now a number of slightly shortened locks fell lightly into his eyes while the rest of his shoulder long hair was tied into a ponytail. As before his hair shone, but while in the past it was to highlight the greasiness of their state, now the candlelight revealed its smoothness with an almost visible satin structure to it.
The same light only highlighted the revealed high cheekbones and the deep hollows in his cheeks. Even his nose did not look abnormally long anymore, giving him the look of a proud aristocratic eagle with eyes that could swallow a soul.
Hermione’s breath caught when Professor Snape leveled with her desk but his pace did not change as he passed her. She got only a smell of his cologne as he passed her chair. He did not glance or give any kind of acknowledgement of her presence. As far as Hermione was concerned she might well not have existed in the eyes of the damned Professor.
By this time, the mentioned teacher already reached the blackboard and faced the dead silent class with a blank face. Hermione followed his cue and shot a glance towards her fellow students. Each and every one of them seemed to have frozen the moment Snape entered the classroom. While Seamus and Ron\'s jaws were in danger of hitting the desk, Parvati’s cheeks were suspiciously red and as Hermione watched, the sugarquill fell from her slack mouth onto the floor. The noise of its fall echoed unnaturally in the chamber.
Even Harry had a look of a man who wasn\'t sure if what stood before his eyes wasn\'t some work of Dark Arts.
With his eyes still fixed on the man that was supposed to be Snape, he bent towards Hermione.
\"What did you do to him?\" whispered he as lowly as possible.
Hermione couldn\'t believe her ears. Before she could have even formed a reply she was interrupted by a husky voice that sent shivers down her back.
\"Page three hundred and seven. All the instructions are laid out clearly and I will expect a perfect potion to be ready in no more than forty minutes and thirty three seconds.\"
No one so much as twitched.
\"Will you be flabberstruck for a long time or should I start deducting house points already? Move!\" snapped Snape, causing a chaotic rush among the students.
In about fifteen minutes everybody was positioned attentively at their desks with more than one frown among the students\' faces. Hermione satisfactorily noted that she and Harry appeared to be the only pair who had proceeded to actually start the brewing of the rather complex potion. She actually disapprovingly ‘tsked’ when she saw that only Parvati was cutting up the needed ingredients while her partner Lavender appeared to be lost on which cauldron seemed the cleanest.
Even from a distance Hermione could see that Parvati was cutting up the mandrake root incorrectly, ending up with pieces that reminded her of chess figures.
Suddenly Professor Snape seemed to materialize beside Parvati\'s desk. Parvati must have missed his approach as well for the knife fell out of her hand as she stared at him like a doe caught up in headlights.
\"I have to say that your skills in cutting will not win you a husband who looks for a homely wife, Miss Patil,\" drooled Snape with a smirk.
\"No, Professor, it won’t,\" reflexively agreed the shaken Parvati, unable to tear her eyes from the Potions Master.
In one smooth motion Snape moved behind Parvati’s back. They stood close enough for his cloak to lightly touch her clothes, but not close enough yet for their bodies to do likewise. Right in front of the completely immobile class and a wide eyed Hermione, Professor Snape snaked his arm around Parvati’s side and placed his long fingers around the hand that held the knife.
With a slight shifting of his body Snape urged Parvati to bend over the mandrake root causing himself to lean in with the contours of her body. Lightly but firmly he glided her hand over the damned vegetable without forgetting to list instructions loudly enough for the whole class to hear his husky voice;
\"You have to lock your wrist firmly - chop,\" his instructions followed the combined demonstration as he directed her hand, \"- that’s it - chop - and glide your knife from the centre while extending the width of it’s cutting - chop - and as you master this skill speed becomes the essential material of your succession - chop - chop - well done, Miss Patil.\"
With the last comment he stepped away from Parvati who continued staring wide eyed at Professor Snape’s hand where it was still placed upon hers. As if sensing her shock Snape let his hand gracefully slide away from hers, but making sure that it slid lightly across the length of her arm before he brought it to his side.
That particular gesture sent visible shivers across Parvati’s body. However, Hermione could have bet all of the books in the library that this wasn’t caused by fear or disgust.
Professor bloody Snape was flirting with a student and getting the right flaming signals.
The first thing that caught Severus’ attention as he turned away from the dumbfounded Miss Patil was a pair of flaming chocolate eyes that could have rivaled with the furnace of hell itself.
Hermione must have noticed his peculiar actions as he hoped she would.
He knew that he wouldn’t have been a true Slytherin if he did not plan everything beforehand. No matter what stubbornness rode Hermione Snape, she was first of all a born Gryffindor. And Gryffindor lionesses were rather remarkable in their possessiveness over anything that belonged to them, no matter in what form or situation.
And at present Severus represented such a possession. No matter how formal their marriage and how many negative feelings dwelled between the two of them, in her eyes it was still his duty to keep up the appearances as it was hers in his eyes. The very thing that he blamed her for the other evening he was doing himself.
With a mask of blissful blindness towards her meaningful gaze, Severus swept past her to the front of the class. Aware that all of the students’ eyes were fixed totally upon his persona Severus decided to present Hermione with yet another surprise.
\"Thirty points to Gryffindor for following my instructions with deadly precision, Miss Patil.\"
He watched triumphantly as another blush appeared upon Parvati Patil’s cheeks. This did not stop her, however from casting him a long and meaningful glance underneath her eyelashes. His satisfied smirk widened when he noted that he was not the only one to see it as Hermione shot a venomous glance first towards Miss Patil’s direction and then focused it wholly upon him instead.
He doubted that the young witch was aware herself of what her face expressed.
Yes, there was anger, a lot of it. But it was mixed up with something else, a portion so small that Severus would have missed it if he wasn’t searching for it so intently.
Excellent, he thought.
His plan was starting to work.
\"What are you sulking about anyway?\"
Hermione frowned at her red haired friend.
\"I am not sulking! I never sulk!\" exclaimed Hermione, looking intently into Ginny’s eyes, daring her to say something else.
But Ginny was a Weasley and rarely bid to warnings.
\"Is it because of Snape?\" asked she innocently.
Hermione muttered something under her nose that suspiciously sounded like a curse.
\"First of all it is Professor Snape and second of all I have no idea what you are talking about,\" she muttered defiantly. \"Go and annoy Ron instead, I bet he will enjoy taking his anger for me out on you.”
But nothing seemed to throw Ginny off balance when she was in an attack mode. Instead she slid closer to Hermione at the Gryffindor table and whispered into her ear;
\"I heard what happened between Professor Snape and Parvati this morning in Potions Class. If I were in your place I would have boxed his ears right there in the dungeons. When I have a husband he won\'t so much as look at another woman, not to mention touch one in any intimate manner!\" and threw a sidelong glance at the blissfully unaware Harry who was peacefully drinking his pumpkin juice.
Hermione threw her hands into the air in growing frustration. She greatly disliked lying to Ginny but McGonagall\'s instructions were clear: only Harry and Ron had the ultimate pleasure in knowing what was really behind this marriage.
\"Ginny, Professor Snape and I agreed to marry due to our mutual feelings for each other. Everything is kept very formal and I am perfectly happy with what is between us,\" Hermione cried out and deliberately took a deep breath before continuing, \"And as far as I am concerned, I do not mind if Professor sometimes takes the liberty of flirting with other women.\"
The younger witch\'s eyes could have put Hedwig’s to shame.
But before she could open her mouth, Hermione warningly put up her hand, stopping whatever wanted to come out from it.
\"It is my marriage and I do what I see fit with it, Ginny. Just drop the subject, please.\"
Her friend surprisingly did not seem offended and just dismissively shrugged.
Hermione couldn’t help herself but to sigh in relief when Ginny turned back towards her plate and vigorously tucked into it. Her relief, however, was short lived for after no more than a minute of silence Ginny must have gotten bored.
\"Anyway, did you already decide how many?\" she chirped without turning her head from her vanilla pudding.
\"How many what?\" demanded Hermione, frowning into her goblet.
\"Did you discuss with Snape how many babies you would like to have?\"
The pumpkin juice spluttered out of Hermione\'s mouth. Ginny graciously obliged to tap her back as violent coughs overtook her.
\"No, we haven\'t touched on that subject yet,\" rasped Hermione once she calmed down a bit. And I doubt we will, she added silently.
The annoying Weasley at first looked scandalized but then an understanding look crossed her features.
\"Ah, no worries. I agree with you that the best time to raise children is going to be after this war is finished. Just take it easy, Hermione, I bet Snape is proving his best in the bedroom by the look of him nowadays,\" and winked.
Fortunately the younger witch focused her attention back upon her food and missed the ultimate pleasure of seeing a red tinge slowly creep up onto Hermione\'s cheeks. During all her years in Hogwarts the words \'Snape\' and \'naked\' did not even fit into one sentence and now she was forced to link it to \'babies\' as well. The rational part of her brain kept reassuring her that she had nothing to be embarrassed about, for nothing like this would ever happen. But her reaction proved to be deaf to her mind, it seemed.
She was suddenly snapped out of her deep thoughts as a similar name reached her ear.
\"...and I couldn\'t help but notice the way his muscles played underneath his cloak. With all his past attire you couldn\'t even have guessed the leanness of his body. It\'s not that I am complaining about his new look, on the contrary! I guess I will be only too happy to get used to his dark sexiness.\"
Parvati talked rapidly on one breath without bothering to bring her voice down. Indeed Lavender and all of the other girls in the radius of ten meters hungrily caught every word. And the majority of them were enthusiastically nodding their heads at Parvati\'s last comment.
Hermione had had enough and with an unneeded forcefulness slammed her goblet back upon the table.
Parvati absently turned towards the source of the noise and had the grace to flush when she realized who had overheard her rather heated speech. Her eyes however determinably stared back into hers with a challenging look.
Hermione expectantly waited for her fellow Gryffindor to say something provocative in order to be given an excuse for a good screaming match. But as she watched, the challenging expression slowly faded from Parvati’s eyes leaving them instead warm and inviting. Parvati’s eyes were firmly fixed upon something behind Hermione, and she knew who was coming towards them even before he spoke.
\"Miss Patil, good evening to you,\" came his silky voice that provoked a shameless batting of lashes from Parvati in return.
\"And to you too, Professor,\" she returned sweetly. The words might have been formal, but her tone was anything but.
Hermione scowled. The last thing she needed was to witness another flirtatious exchange between her former roommate and her professor, and her husband at that.
\"Mrs. Snape,\" Snape acknowledged her with a graceful nod of the head, her new name rolling from his tongue, if possible, even more effortlessly and silky than it was with Parvati. His choice of words, however, was what made her former roommate’s eyes shoot daggers into Hermione’s direction.
\"I didn\'t know you eat so fast, Professor Snape,\" commented Hermione, rising from the Gryffindor table. She never liked being towered over and Snape’s impressive height and the low bench did not help her courage in the slightest. This meant, however, that she ended up standing mere inches from his lean dark figure with his long cloak lightly touching her own school robes.
Snape did not appear concerned about the invasion of personal space and did not make any attempt of moving away from her.
\"I just wanted to inform you that this evening you shall find me in our living room, for we do have some readjustments to make to the interior of our quarters since you came to live with me. And as any other man, I will feel more confident in having the help and taste of a woman who knows what is best, especially a strikingly intelligent one like yourself.\"
Hermione knew that this particular speech was made especially for those who still held any doubts for the nature of their marriage, but she could not help herself but stare agape at the stranger in front of her who claimed to be Severus Snape. Her instincts were telling her that his last sentence was spoken in a sincerity that came very rarely, if ever, from the feared Hogwarts DADA Professor. The sudden heat in his voice at the mention of the ‘taste of a woman’, however, informed Hermione of a hidden double meaning behind his pretty words, a meaning that she presently did not even dare to dwell upon.
Without waiting for a reply, Snape did something that shocked not only Hermione, but the whole Great Hall.
Putting his long fingers underneath her chin, he lifted it up a fraction and pressed his lips lightly but at the same time firmly over hers. The pressure was feather light, but Hermione found her lips reflexively open beneath him. The silent invitation slid Snape’s hot tongue into her mouth which did not waste any time and started exploring her. Their tongues momentarily caressed each other before Snape pressed another light kiss upon Hermione’s half opened mouth and drew back from her.
Hermione managed to suppress the groan of protest that fought to escape her at the man\'s retreat. She had to actually shake her head in order to put her thoughts into the right place.
Did I just kiss Professor Snape?
The realization of where she was and what silence was around her made Hermione blush so hard that she began to hear ringing on her ears. Every students’ and teacher’s eyes were firmly fixed upon Snape and herself with mutually stunned expressions. She noted that Harry looked so white that it brought him to an eerie resemblance with the Headless Nick’s ‘skin tone colour’ while Ron’s freckled face took an unhealthy tinge of green and looked as if he was about to be sick any moment now. If looks could kill, then Hermione would have fallen cold dead upon the floor, such menace radiated from Parvati.
Thankfully, Neville was still in the Infirmary. A ‘stressful over-active nervous breakdown’ Madame Pomfrey called it.
Snape, for his credit, appeared to be not one hint affected by the kiss and the rather numerous audience that witnessed it. On the contrary, he had the nerve to wear a purely satisfied expression with which every male on earth was gifted once in a while.
With another half bow towards her direction, Snape spoke again deliberately not lowering his voice with his next words;
\"I hope you will soon be joining me in our chambers, dear.\"
And yet again, not concerned with hearing her reply, Snape departed towards the exit with a swirl of his cloak.
Hermione’s previous embarrassment rapidly evaporated as she continued to watch his dark form gliding among the two tables.
Her eyes became two slits as she saw that she was not the only one intently looking at the Professor. In fact every female\'s eyes, right from year one and up to the oldest woman among the staff, appeared to be unable to tear their eyes from his dominative figure. And she just imagined what kind of expression the arrogant man must have been wearing now. Triumph. Surety. Arrogance.
And Determination that the inexperienced ‘know-it-all’ will be ready to eat from his palm as soon as she sees him next.
Hermione absently touched her still slightly damp lips from the kiss and felt a mysterious smile creep up her face.
If Snape thought her to be that naive then he did not know her as well as he thought.
The poor son-of-a-Slytherin wasn’t even aware of what he just got himself into.
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Chapter 1296790944: First StirringsChapter 10: First Stirrings
Finally alone in his privet quarters, Severus tiredly slumped his tall body onto the sofa and, for the first time since the morning, let himself relax.
Only yesterday evening there didn’t seem to be one point which he had overlooked in his cunning plan of dark seduction. In fact, it was a fairly simple plan; dress up, seduce, get Hermione laid. Severus was more than sure of his future success. No doubt that an inexperienced school girl would seize the opportunity and surrender to a man’s welcoming embrace.
As Severus did not seek love in the relationship between his wife and himself, no complications were foretold.
But only now, starring unblinkingly at the wall, Severus understood the one thing that he forgot to consider before starting his ultimate attack.
The reaction of the rest of the school.
Especially the female part of it.
Severus Snape never considered himself a handsome man and his lack in looks were constantly proved by other people’s comments and attitudes towards him throughout his life. Such nicknames as \'slime-ball’, ‘greasy git’ and ‘overgrown bat’ unfortunately did not highlight in any way an ounce of his charming nature. Already early in his school days, Severus found that the easiest way to ignore the insults was to become the very representation of them, making himself quickly adapt to the image he was forced to wear.
It seemed that every witch on school grounds was seeing Professor Severus Snape from a totally different side. And the various expressive looks shot towards his direction spoke volumes more than any words about what they thought of his new \'look\'. Severus, however, did not want to even think what other messages were periodically sent his way through long eyelashes.
No doubt the most challenging to be ignored would prove to be the shameless flirtations directed at him both in DADA and Potions classes today. Severus was so unused to being the centre of attention (especially that kind) that on one occasion he found himself unable to hide his blush when one of his DADA students challengingly crossed her legs and, as a result, flashed a generous view of her knickers to her Professors gaze.
For some reason, the slightly pink tinge upon Severus’ cheeks brought a satisfied smirk to the involved sixth year Ravenclaw girl. Right then he almost wished to have his greasy mated hair back.
Severus shot a look at the clock on the wall. Dinner should have already finished by now, meaning that his child wife would soon be joining him in his quarters.
As if on cue, Severus’ skin suddenly covered in goose bumps, informing him that his personal ward set upon the chamber entrance had been lifted. Except for himself, only one other person knew the combination.
Hermione Snape glided into the room without an acknowledgement to Severus\' presence. Severus\' eyes were firmly fixed upon her as she put a book she brought onto the single shelf in the room without even once glancing towards the sofa. With her back towards him, Hermione casually scanned the titles of the books before having her pick. Her face expressed immense boredom when she at last spared him a glance.
“Do you read anything else besides Potions? I have to say I am greatly disappointed that such a capable wizard as you will not indulge himself to a much more extensive range of reading, especially after being appointed to a Defense Against the Dark Arts position.”
Severus\' eyes instinctively narrowed at her tone.
“What I read and what I do is no concern of yours, Mrs. Snape,” he stated as calmly as possible. His plan would probably fly into the Dark Lords ass if he let his temper override reason. He much doubted that threats and shouts would win him access to his wife\'s body.
The witch carelessly shrugged.
“You are right, Professor. It’s just that I’m in an urgent search for a topic for my upcoming Defense class project,” she explained, looking idly into the book that she had picked up. The contents must have disgruntled her for she had placed it back on the shelf after a few flips of the pages.
“Granted, Mrs. Snape, the amount of precise information I expect from each student is substantial, but the task that I have set your class is not due until the end of term.”
Hermione gave him innocent eyes.
“But, Professor, I will be so far behind if I don\'t find the topic for my project today!” she exclaimed, but catching Snape\'s disbelieving look added;
“I have, of course, a preference, but I will need your permission to use the Restricted Section of the library for my research.” Now she looked smug.
Severus couldn\'t help but feel suspicion raising its head. It was quiet rare, if ever, a student asked him for personal permission to be allowed to use the Restricted Section. The fact that it was Hermione, part of the \'Golden Trio\', who asked him for that permission, was more than suspicious.
“And why should I do that? First I will need to know what it is that you want to research if it requires access to that particular part of the library,” Snape said sternly while arguing with himself whether such behaviour would distance his wife from him even more.
The young witch however looked at him like he was a moron.
“You are the Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor who gave his seventh year students a homework task. As a result, the students are expected to research one topic concerning the Dark Arts in addition to exploring it in precise detail. Correct me if I am wrong, of course, but I personally did not find any Dark Arts books lying around the common section of the library.”
Severus felt his nostrils flaring in annoyance. Marriage or not the former Hermione Granger will forever stay the annoying know-it-all persona. That fact was almost enough to curse his plan in all four directions.
Taking a deep breath that barely did anything to calm his anger, Severus addressed his wife.
“Then may I at least know the nature of your project, Mrs. Snape?”
Hermione flushed at such, yet unaccustomed, address of her name. This however did not weaken her determination in the slightest, but only caused her to raise her chin higher in a silent, but stubborn, defiance.
“No, you may not.”
“Fine!” exploded Severus and he shot off from the sofa.
Hermione must have expected him to launch himself at her in anger for she violently jumped to her right with round frightened eyes. Severus, however had no such intention and instead disappeared into his bedroom.
In a few seconds he reappeared in the circular living room and thrust a parchment into Hermione\'s direction with the following words;
“Here\'s your damn permission, Miss Granger. Granting it I expect you to give me no less than twenty feet of parchment concerning your ‘mysterious’ project that you so thoroughly hide from me,” he hissed, watching as Hermione somehow managed to awkwardly catch the thrown parchment.
He then watched her open the parchment and scan its contents, as if making sure that everything was correctly written. For some reason, her satisfied nod only threw more oil into the fire that was Severus’ anger.
“Are you quiet satisfied, Miss Granger? If that is all, I hope you will have a nice evening.” Severus’ voice soundly dripped with sarcasm. Only a deaf person would have missed the dismissal in his words if ever there was one.
Hermione’s sudden happy smile, therefore, stupefied Severus.
“Thank you, Professor,” she replied in an almost sing song voice, “then I will be expecting to see you this evening as well.” But instead of turning towards the exit door, she made her way to her bedroom.
“Where do you think you are going?” Snape\'s cold voice stopped Hermione in her tracks, but did not quiet manage to wipe off her oddly satisfied smile.
“What do you mean ‘where’? These chambers are my living quarters now as well as yours, Professor. As a result this is the only place where I can properly prepare myself for the dance.”
“Dance? What dance?” demanded Severus, blinking in confusion.
The look that Hermione reserved for him now said that St. Mungo\'s cried for him.
“The Memorial Ball dance in addition to a banquette, sir.”
“A ‘Memorial Ball’?” Severus began to feel like a bloody parrot.
“Do you listen to anything that goes around the school, Professor Snape?” asked Hermione cautiously.
Severus felt scandalized.
“Who do you think I am, Miss Granger, some teenage girl whose hobby is to gaily listen to school gossip?!”
The Gryffindor hastily shook her head in denial.
“Of course not! I just wondered why you have missed the news of the day. The Headmistress decided to organize the dance in honour of the memory of Professor Dumbledore and everything he has given to the Magic and Muggle World...” Severus noticed that Hermione lost her dazzling smile somewhere among her words and her eyes strangely glistened in the candle light.
Against everything that Severus was raised to stand against he felt himself soften. To his inner alarm the girl started raising in him feelings that he believed to be long dead. For now, however, he brushed aside all of his doubts and just surrendered to that inferior feeling.
“Of course, I understand that this occasion is the least we can do for one of the greatest wizards who has ever lived...” Severus suddenly found himself in front of Hermione and brought his hand to her face in time to catch one lone crystal tear as it fell from her dark honeyed eyes.
“But you have to remember,” he continued in a hushed voice as the witch lifted her endlessly saddened eyes to him, “that our duty is to praise his life and not his fall; his endless love for everyone around him and not the bitterness of death.”
A somewhat weak smile appeared upon Hermione’s face at his words.
She surprised him by in return lifting her slender hand towards his face. Her touch was feather like, only enough for her finger tips to brush the hollow of his cheek. Even this mere contact, however, was enough for Severus’ breath to catch in his throat.
“I always knew you were clever, Professor, but never wise. It makes me wonder what else there is underneath this shell that you have built around yourself,” whispered Hermione before rising onto her tiptoes, bringing her face awfully close to his own.
Severus stared unblinkingly into the eyes of the beautiful young woman standing so close in front of him. He felt hypnotized by the sincerity that shone through her eyes. He felt dirty standing so near to someone so pure. He was worthless enough to not even be allowed in her presence, but he was too transfixed to move away.
He caught a hushed whisper break from her lips only a second before it happened.
“Who are you, Severus Snape?”
And their lips met.
Almost as feather like as Hermione’s previous touch, her lips made contact with his. But while their first kiss was a thing of practicality, this kiss took Severus’ breath away by its sheer sensuality. He never guessed that so many emotions could be passed by a mere touch of lips, but this is what was happening to him now. And former Hermione Granger, now his wife, was responsible for this.
Even though the young witch’s mouth was half open she did not use her tongue to deepen the kiss. All of her concentration went to her lips as she moved them against Severus’ own half opened mouth. Her hot breath deliciously tempted him, but against his nature, he let her take control. Unhurriedly, she gave him kisses at the corners of his mouth where she let her hot tongue momentary touch him. And when Severus began to feel exasperated, only then did she run her tongue among the length of his lower lip thus tearing a moan from his throat.
No matter how gentle Hermione was feeling, Severus began to feel anything but gentle. The soft press of her lips and the enticing smell of her hair caused his manhood to begin stirring to life. With a moan that he couldn’t contain anymore, he brought his hands upon her curvy hips and pushed her flush against him.
At first, Severus thought that it was his lustful moan that must have revived Hermione for the next moment she let herself go fully onto her feet, thus breaking the contact. The slight pink tinge upon her cheeks, however, informed him that she was pressed enough to the front of his body to feel how tight his black breeches became in the groin area.
Her embarrassment forced her to step away from Severus and he had nothing left to do but let his hands fall from her hips.
The look she cast him, however, was full of wonderment before she turned away and without another word walked away from him in the direction of her chamber.
And thus she left the most feared Professor of Hogwarts standing flabberstruck in the middle of the living room wondering if his “cunning” plan just mercilessly backfired.
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Chapter 1296790945: MemoriesChapter 11: Memories
“Oi, Hermione! Over here!”
Hermione turned towards Harry’s voice and smiled when she detected him standing in the middle of the Great Hall. It was not surprising that she had missed him with so many people present today. It seemed that the entire wizarding world got wind of today’s Memorial.
As she unhurriedly made her way towards her best friend, she noted that his hand was firmly entwined with Ginny’s and both individuals practically shone in the presence of each other. Hermione was openly pleased that Harry decided to continue dating Ginny despite the threat and gloom that Voldemort’s name seemed to veil upon everything nowadays.
Their stubbornness in continuing to live normally was by itself a silent sign that there remained people who chose not to surrender to the Dark Lord’s power.
But even then, Hermione did not miss an echo of sadness hiding just beyond the surface of Harry’s eyes. Probably better than anyone, her best friend knew that the war was unstoppable. Today’s event only came as a reminder that, while fighting towards peace and freedom, more than one life will be fated to depart behind the veil of the unknown.
Ginny warmly smiled at Hermione when she finally came to stand in front of them.
“I was starting to worry that you found something else to entertain you in the dungeons,” Ginny said cheekily. Her meaning was not lost on the other two and it served to somewhat lighten the tense and gloomy atmosphere. The wink that she gave Hermione was pointedly ignored but Hermione was glad that Ginny succeeded to drive her unhappy thoughts away for some time.
“You look lovely, Hermione,” stated Harry giving her an appraising eye, somewhat losing the saddened spark for a moment.
His appreciation however, did not go unnoticed and earned him a forceful nudge in the ribs.
Hermione only dramatically rolled her eyes but could not suppress a smile at witnessing such an exchange between the pair. She doubted that they even realized that they behaved as a couple long married.
Leisurely looking around her, Hermione’s eyes fell upon the teachers table. Only now, she saw the changes made for the occasion. The usually plain wooden table was now draped with purple linen that brushed the floor. The table was unoccupied and only the grand chair that traditionally was reserved for a Headmaster or Headmistress of Hogwarts stood in the middle. The chair by itself appeared to be a tribute to the former Headmaster, a place reserved for his kindred spirit that might or might not attend today’s Memorial.
The young witch’s eyes were instantly caught by an immense shape behind the head table that appeared to be not far from reaching the ceiling. Hermione was instantly mystified by its nature, especially after seeing the purple drape that was thrown over it.
Looking around herself again Hermione realized that practically everything was purposefully coloured with various shades of purple.
Professor Dumbledore’s favourite colour.
Her eyes then traveled around the length of the room noting further changes done to its interior. The usual four long tables had disappeared and instead more than thirty round tables occupied the Hall. The settings were very familiar to the ones arranged for the Yule Ball three years ago and even a space was cleared in the middle, presumably reserved for the upcoming dancing event.
Professor McGonagall, who climbed up onto the platform set in front of the head table, suddenly caught the young witch’s attention. As she straightened up, all conversations quickly faded away, leaving the Hall silent except for an occasional rustling of cloaks.
“Dear witches and wizards, I am deeply touched that so many of you decided to grace today’s occasion with your presence,” began Professor McGonagall. Even without any magic, her voice as always easily carried to all corners of the vast room. However, today it lacked its sternness.
“I will not go into a detailed description of who Albus Dumbledore was,” continued the Headmistress, managing to look at everyone at the same time, “for there is probably not one among you who haven’t experienced Professor Dumbledore’s kindness yourself at some point in your life. If there is one thing Albus Dumbledore has to be remembered by, it is by his love. Love that he unselfishly gave to everyone around him, whether they deserved it or not.”
At the end of her last sentence, the Headmistress’ voice suspiciously broke but she kept her eyes firmly upon the faces of the people around her. Whether she did not notice or tried to ignore the moisture starting to build in her own eyes, Hermione did not know.
“From the day he was born and till the moment he died, Albus Dumbledore never ceased to surprise the people around him. Whether in sickness or in health, a person could always rely on his support, giving himself fully to the purpose that served everyone. Rarely concerned over his own health, he worked hard for the good of others around him,” here Professor McGonagall sounded on the verge of choking and was forced to take a deep breath before she could continue, “and it is his concern for the well being of others that fated his diminishment from this world.”
Even from the distance, Hermione saw how the first tear fell from Professor McGonagall’s eyes. The first drop of moisture was quickly followed by others but the Headmistress stubbornly ignored them as she managed to finish in a loud voice which she managed to control enough to only let it shake slightly;
“But having the honour to have known him for countless years, I am entitled to state with surety that wherever he is now, Albus would never have wanted those close to him to grieve at his departure. The memories we dwell on should be those full of light remembrances instead of the darkness of his loss.”
With silent tears creating countless streams down her age-wrinkled face she turned sideways and gazed at the draped form levitating behind the Head table.
“Therefore, it is my duty as the new Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” McGonagall continued, gravely bringing her hand to indicate the levitating form, “to present this to the school as a constant reminder of one of the greatest wizards that has ever lived.”
As if following her wandless command, the drape flowingly dropped to the stone floor revealing what lay beyond it.
Gasps and mutterings broke among all present in the Hall and Hermione stood gazing in awe at what lay before her eyes.
The first thing her mind saw was gold. However, unlike the colour of the cold metal, the golden colours in front of her shone with their purity.
As Hermione collected her wits, she finally saw what the tribute to Dumbledore’s memory truly was.
A phoenix. The mystic bird captured on the verge of taking flight.
In all her life, Hermione would never have thought that a thing of such beauty and grace could be created, magic or not. The finely detailed feathers of the bird shone with every shade of yellow possible, randomly spoiled by a tinge of reds. Its great wide wings stretched through the entire head table’s length while its bottomless eyes gazed longingly into the ceiling, towards the sky. The phoenix’ open beak was probably longer than Hermione was tall, but she would not have been surprised if the golden statue started its heavenly song.
Until now, Fawkes\' singing remained the most beautiful thing Hermione has ever heard.
In the talons of the great bird, it gripped a great silver sword. The young witch thought that it was a perfect imitation of Godric Gryffindor’s sword, until she read the letters inscribed upon the mirroring surface of the blade;
She did not realize she was crying until a clumsy hand brushed a single tear away from her cheek.
Hermione knew that movement all too well and against all hope lifted her eyes. She came face to face with the lopsided smile of Ronald Weasley.
“Shh...” he made a soothing noise catching another tear. “You know that I hate watching the school’s best girl crying. It makes me uneasy to see one of the strongest people I have ever met reduced to such a state.”
His gentle smile stayed but Hermione did not miss a look of uncertainty in his eyes. He seemed to expect her to push him away any moment and stilled his body for the inevitable.
It was more than Hermione could take. With a wail, she threw herself around Ron’s neck. He was so flabberstruck that for a few minutes he just kept petting her awkwardly on her back. Nevertheless, his body visibly lost its stiffness.
“I am so sorry, Hermione,” he murmured into her tangle of curls. “I never should have lashed out at you like that. I guess Percy was right telling everyone that his sorry excuse of a brother could be regarded as an exceptional person if you consider my ability to function daily without a brain.”
Hermione could not help herself but snort into Ron’s neck. Percy might have possessed numerous faults but he was rarely wrong when it concerned his youngest brother.
Ron took a strangled breath.
“I\'m so, so sorry...It\'s just...” Hermione stopped the red haired boy with her fingers on his lips.
“Don\'t bother explaining, Ron. You never possessed much talent in excuses and I doubt that has changed,” she said. Ron goofily grinned.
“Well, I wouldn\'t have been Ron Weasley then.”
They stood somewhat awkwardly staring at each other for some time before Ron soundly cleared his throat.
“Anyway...So...Where is Sn- I mean Professor Snape now?” he asked, suddenly finding the floor underneath his feet quiet fascinating.
“No idea. I guess he is around somewhere. As a Deputy he is expected to attend the Memorial, whether he wants to or not,” shrugged Hermione. She tried to act casual but it was a rather difficult task considering what had happened the last time she had seen ... her husband.
Silence settled again between them. Hermione’s brain rushed to find a way in breaking it but Ron was quicker.
“Look...” he began, fixing his eyes somewhere around Hermione’s ear, “I know that I have acted like a bloody bastard towards you lately. It’s just...you couldn’t have expected me to just accept the flaming Bat of the Dungeons as your husband! It took me some time to realize that no matter what bloody things pushed you to accept this plan, in the end you didn’t really have any choice in the matter. You...I mean, I...fine! With the brain like yours, you must have realized long ago that I have taken a fancy to you. Not as in a friend but as in a...female.”
By the end, Ron’s ears were as bright as the setting sun, badly clashing with his hair. During his speech, he did not draw breath once and now he was panting with the exertion.
In fear that Hermione would open her mouth, Ron took another deep breath and finished:
“That does not mean. however, that I am some lovesick fool who doesn’t know when his attention is unwanted. Perhaps I will never get over you fully, Hermione, but I want you to know that no matter what happens from now on, I will always stay your best friend.”
His eyes were still not meeting Hermione’s when she hugged him.
“Oh, Ron,” came her muffled voice from his robes, “I may never fall in love with you, but I will always love you like a brother.”
A rare smile of sadness appeared upon Ron’s face as he tightly hugged the young woman back.
“I know, ’Mione...I know.”
Neither of them knew how much time they would have stayed like that, two peaceful friends at last reunited in an embrace, when someone beside them pointedly cleared their throat.
Harry and Ginny stood in front of them, with their hands still entwined. Both of them wore broad smiles.
“Well, well...” drawled Ginny sweetly, “I have to say that it is nice to see my brother finally proving that he has something filling his skull.”
Ron\'s ears rapidly turned red again.
“And it is nice to see that my little sister is becoming more like Percy with every passing day.”
Before the situation could get out of hand, Harry pressed Ginny against him. The redhead had enough time only to utter a surprised squeak, before she was firmly silenced by his lips. Ginny\'s lame protests quickly became silent moans as she threw her slender hands around her boyfriend’s neck.
Ron, on the other hand, looked like he would be sick any moment.
“Just ignore them, Ron,” whispered Hermione.
“Ignore them?! That’s my bloody sister he is kissing in front of me!”
“She may be your sibling, Ronnie, but she is also a young woman who has a life of her own!” she fired back.
“But that does not mean she has to flaunt the details of her love life in front of the entire flaming Wizarding world! And don’t call me ‘Ronnie’!”
Ignoring Ron’s scandalized look, Hermione looked around herself. Nearly all of the people present were already seated behind the tables. The exceptions were a bunch of wizards and witches who were leisurely talking among each other. Nevertheless, random individuals from both groups did not make it a secret they were watching either the still passionately kissing pair or the arguing one.
“Come on, Ron,” hissed Hermione, dragging her friend towards the closest table from which Seamus Finnegan was enthusiastically waving to them.
On their way, Ron managed to snatch his flushed sister in addition to the glued Harry Potter.
As they positioned themselves among their classmates, Hermione prayed that nothing entertaining would come her way again this evening. Casting a glance towards the dance space however, she found herself wearing something that suspiciously felt like a smirk.
Perhaps the best entertainment was only about to come.
By some of stroke of fate, Professor Severus Snape managed to enter the Great Hall the same moment that the band began to play their first waltz.
Hermione Snape however, was not in a hurry. Like a hawk, she watched her husband join Professor McGonagall’s table. On his way towards it however, he did not forget to scowl at everything that his black eyes could land upon.
Almost against her will, Hermione’s own eyes swept across his body. He was still wearing his new attire, except now not one tinge of colour spoiled the darkness of his clothes. Even the snakes on both of his sleeves were now black, marking their visible presence solely by their leathery texture. His infamous cloak, however, was forever present and only drew eyes to his imposing figure.
Whether he noticed the slack jaws of the witches he passed, Hermione did not know, but his scowl did not waver one bit. Indeed, it seemed only to deepen and by the time he joined the Headmistress, her husband’s glare would have made Satan weep.
For some reason, his reaction only seemed to cheer her up.
The only thing left now was to start putting her plan into action.
In a nervous gesture, Hermione’s hand checked the state of her hair. She had spent the whole bloody evening in front of the blasted mirror, casting any known spells upon her untamable curls. In the end, she decided to leave her hair untied, allowing her hair into countless heavy ringlets that fell freely across her half-bare shoulders. The rest of her attire took as much time, finally choosing a dress that hugged her hips and bodice tightly, leaving the silky material to freely fall down her legs. Even she couldn\'t deny the mesmerizing movement of the dress as it swirled around her legs every time she moved.
Hermione sincerely hoped that her creamy dress robes would pass the test.
Judging by Seamus’ shining eyes, she had a feeling they already had.
On a second thought, Hermione looked at the youth on her left more closely. At eighteen, her fellow Gryffindor had managed to grow into a tall man. While he could not have been classified as gorgeous, Seamus turned into a rather roguishly handsome young man. With his neat chestnut hair and forever mysteriously shining eyes, Hermione knew him to be the breaker of a few girls’ hearts.
Perfect, thought Hermione.
“Seamus,” she sweetly enquired, “do you dance?”
Her friend looked surprise for a moment before a grin almost split his face in two.
“Of course, will you mind checking it for yourself, Hermione?”
“Not at all. I have to say, it will be my pleasure to do so.”
Hermione accepted Seamus’ gracious arm as they made their way to the dance floor. However, not before she noticed all six eyes of the dumbstruck faces of her friends rapidly blinking at her, Harry and Ron looking the most perplexed of all.
The witch grinned to herself. She could have bet that they never thought to live to see the day when the famous Know-It-All would ask a guy for a dance.
She wondered what would have become of them, if they knew that she began taking professional dance lessons since the Yule Ball over three years ago.
Well, thought Hermione somewhat evilly, they will find out about it soon enough.
“So, Professor Snape, how does it feel to be at last free from You-Know-Who?”
The rest of the people present listened carefully to the conversation, for the question the Minister of Magic had dared to voice aloud was the same one that was on everyone’s mind.
Severus directed his sneer at the wizard on the opposite side of the round table. Without any doubt, Cornelius Fudge was a wizard with as much sense as a cauldron, but his successor was in the process of proving that the stupidity was not spared on him either.
“I am not a free man until Voldemort has perished, spiritually as well as physically.”
All the occupants of the table winced as one at the name. Severus found himself scowling again. The mere idea that they regarded it as blasphemy was a disgrace. If a wizard got so frightened by the name alone, he did not want to know what would happen to them when they will at last come face to face with the Lord of their nightmares.
And those people were the ones who were supposed to lead the Wizarding world to war.
“What do you mean by ‘not a free man’?” forcefully demanded the Minister. “Are we supposed to understand that any moment now, if He-Who-Is-Not-Supposed-To-Be-Named would wish it, he could summon you to him?”
The older wizard did not try to disguise his dislike for Severus. When it recently became known that the once-thought murderer was actually a spy for the Order, it did not soften the Minister’s heart one bit. Severus did not know what drove the former Auror but he more than suspected that if he had his own way, at that moment Severus would have been spending his evening in Azkaban instead of the Great Hall.
Now Severus just suppressed the urge to roll his eyes.
“No, sir. I regard myself remarkably lucky to have been considered to be already a dead man by the Dark Lord while still his guest.” His voice dripped with sarcasm. “As a result, your ‘You-Know-Who’ had unwisely decided to spare himself the fate of sensing my coming death and removed the link between us.”
“What link?” asked some Ministry witch, almost against her will.
Severus turned to look her directly in the eye.
“The Dark Mark.”
The middle-aged woman turned so white that McGonagall hastily thrust a goblet of water into her hands.
That did not stop her however, from giving the DADA Professor a dirty look.
Severus, as always, ignored her.
“But that’s impossible! Have any of you ever heard of a way to get rid of the most tainted mark made by the Dark Arts? I personally once got a chance to examine the Dark Mark of one of the dead You-Know-Who followers whom I have-“drawled on the Minister gathering all of the attention upon his persona.
But Severus was not listening anymore. He had spent only a few minutes in that company and it was already giving him a skull-splitting headache. Plastering on an appropriate scowl, he proceeded watching the other occupants of the room instead. The flawless melody of the waltz floated around the Hall, provoking a few couples to step onto the dance floor. Robes bellowed around the dancing figures, especially one young woman’s in the company of Seamus Finnegan. Her heavy curls danced a mesmerizing dance of their own, following every movement she...
Suddenly all thought of a headache and Dark Marks flew out of Severus’ mind. Unblinkingly he watched his wife dancing with another man, allowing him to put his hand onto her slender waist, making her laugh.
“...so I think it is the best and wisest way we can finally bring down You-Kno---, Professor Snape, what are you doing?”
Severus, however, did not hear the Minister anymore. Slowly, as if in a trance, he stood up. Not bothering to draw out his chair beforehand, it fell with a loud thud as Severus straightened to his full height.
With his obsidian eyes not once leaving the dancing couple, the Professor did not know he was walking until he found himself passing the numerous tables. He was unaware of the glances thrown after him, neither the whispers following his bellowing cloak.
The rational part of his mind kept repeating that he was doing this because the former Miss Granger was breaking the rules of their marriage, that the foolish girl was shattering the illusion of a happy couple.
However, there was something deeper; sincere that did not cease its whispering.
Hermione Snape...His wife...The woman he- what- respected? Liked...Loved? The same woman was dancing with another male, shamelessly flirting with the young man, her merry laughter ringing mockingly in his ears.
Whatever he felt towards her, she had no right to do what she was doing now.
Nevertheless, Severus Snape stubbornly refused to acknowledge the answer to his unvoiced question even while his heart already accepted it.
“...and imagine my surprise when I found two human-sized canaries, one was rather chubby while the other had its yellow feathers standing in all different directions, sleeping peacefully in Neville\'s and Harry\'s beds!”
Hermione’s step did not falter once during Seamus’ entertainment but her self-control was rapidly thinning. Fortunately, the waltz ended as Seamus finished his own colourful story.
As soon as the music died down, Hermione almost bent in two as her stomach muscles cramped under her laughter. The mere image of the infamous Neville Longbottom disguised as a canary was enough to bring a saint rolling in laughter.
When she at last straightened, Hermione found herself standing very close to Seamus. Tears of mirth stood in her brown eyes as she looked into his own laughing ones.
He made a playful bow towards her.
“I cannot express in words how happy it makes me to have made you laugh so much, Mrs. Snape,” proclaimed Seamus, gallantly kissing her hand. Hermione involuntary blushed.
“It is nice of you to still remember, Mr. Finnegan, that she is married.”
Seamus froze with Hermione’s hand still in his grasp.
Slowly, as if in a dream, she turned towards the sneering voice.
Professor Snape stood in front of them in all of his dark glory. Up close, Hermione was yet again reminded how tall the wizard was, and what an aura of strength seemed to flow from him in waves.
However, as her gaze locked with his, Hermione found herself mistaken. The unseeing tidal waves coming from him now did not show his magical ability. It was anger. An emotion so raw, that she felt the bare flesh of her shoulders cover in goose bumps as those waves cascaded over her.
Inwardly she wondered if she had truly gone too far.
Nevertheless, marriage or not, Hermione would not have been the person she was now without her unyielding spirit. Hell would freeze over twice, before she would allow Professor Severus Snape to intimidate her.
With new vigour that she didn’t even expect from herself, Hermione entwined her hand with Seamus’ and challengingly looked directly into Snape’s eyes.
“Oh, Professor Snape. I hadn’t noticed you here before. As you see, Seamus and I decided to have a little dance together. It is so rare to find company you truly enjoy, so I count myself pretty lucky that I have found such an agreeable partner all to myself,” said she lightly and lovingly patted her friend’s palm for emphasis.
Snape’s eyes seemed to grow darker with her every word. Seamus on the contrast was growing paler.
When the young wizard did not make one sound and stayed as stiff as a log underneath her touch, Hermione poked him in the ribs.
“Don’t you agree with me, Sammie?”
The caressing name seemed to have set the Professor off his emotional hook.
“Mr. Finnegan. Get. Your. Arse. Away. From. Me. Now.”
Without needing further encouragement, Seamus practically bolted away, leaving a fuming Hermione alone with Snape.
“Who do you think you are to speak in such a disgraceful manner to my friend?” hissed back Hermione, making a deliberate step towards her blasted husband.
“I am your Professor, as well as his. And I can speak in any bloody way I wish!”
The two of them were becoming so immersed in each other that they were oblivious to the glances that they were attracting.
“Do not dare to swear in my presence, Professor Snape! I may still be your student but I am also your wife!”
“Really?” Snape eyed her low neckline that showed more than a hint of cleavage. “I am starting to think that our wedding ceremony was but a dream, after watching you so shamelessly flaunting yourself in front of the first stag you could find.”
Forgetting that her ultimate goal was to provoke jealousy from the Bat of the Dungeons, Hermione felt her nerve snapping in outrage to his words.
“You have no right to insult me in that manner, Snape! I do not ‘flaunt’ myself in front of any males. What is more, if I want to dance with a guy who I find attractive, it is my business and no one else’s. Especially yours!”
With a speed of a striking snake, Snape’s hand reached out and winded itself around Hermione’s waist. The young witch instinctively started to wriggle out from his hands but found that she could barely move. Her waist was all but locked in iron clutches.
“So, you want to dance, do you?” hissed Snape harshly into her ear. “I will show you how to dance.”
And as if on queue, the enticing sound of tango filled the Great Hall.
Hermione’s head snapped up and she locked gazes with Snape. He found himself smiling inwardly at her expression. Whatever the young woman anticipated, it most probably was not this.
Slowly, deliberately, his left hand detached itself from her slender waist and snaked its way towards her naked shoulder blade. At the same time he brought his dark body almost flush against hers, rising one of his eyebrows in a mocking enquiry, daring her to fight him.
When, however, she did not make a move, Snape’s gaze darkened again and made the first step. Their dance had begun.
Hermione’s trained body instinctively made the steps as her mind absently listened to the passionate music. All of her concentration however, went wholly to the man holding her in his arms.
Everything was forgotten, the Memorial, school, even the sense of where she was. Her one and only focus point remained Professor Snape, the already former Greasy Git... her husband. His black eyes did not stray from her face once, even as he flawlessly guided Hermione along the floor.
From her knowledge, Hermione was more than aware that a tango could only be achieved if both partners possessed a great amount of passion within their hearts. The dance’s goal was to release that raw feeling into the open. She herself never had problems in that area. Perhaps that was why she was staring so wide-eyed at the man in front of her.
Severus Snape was counted many things, but passionate definitely was not one of them.
By the deadpan look that Snape was giving her, Hermione could only guess what he was thinking. Her gaze almost involuntary was drawn down, as she looked at his half parted lips. Whatever he was thinking, Severus Snape did not remain cold wherever his feelings lay.
As if reading her mind he suddenly pressed her body boldly against his, bringing them flush against each other. They were the perfect image of opposites, Snape with all of his darkness and Hermione with her snowy dress robes. Now that contradiction flowed into one, dark and light, wisdom and youth, ice and fire.
Dangerous, thrilling, forbidden, enticing.
Tango might have been passionate, but not that much.
A solo violin was coming to one of its numerous climaxes and the wizards’ reaction was immediate. Abruptly stopping in his tracks, Snape switched the positions of his hands. Instead of bringing his left hand to her shoulder, he snaked it firmly around her thigh.
He locked his unblinking gaze firmly with hers as he started to lift her leg. With an agonizing slowness, he hooked it around his own hip. The position brought her body unbelievably close to the places that Hermione did not even dare to think about. But there was no other place for rational thought as her centre encountered his hardness, apparent even through the tight material of his breeches. His hand felt far from gentle as he dug his fingers into the soft flesh of her thigh and Hermione found herself biting her lower lip for control. The last thing she needed was to moan aloud.
Snape however, was not a stupid man. Fixing his dark gaze now on her lips as his trademark smirk reappeared upon his face, he began to move again.
This time he stepped backwards in time with the violin, dragging Hermione by her leg. Switching into an automatic mode, her body’s muscles relaxed, leaving her dance partner to administrate that particular part of the dance. With her right leg firmly in Snape’s grasp, her other leg trailed behind her. Any other people would have looked ridiculous, but not when two skilled dancers came together.
Hermione did not know how much distance Snape managed to cover before he stopped. Without bringing her right leg from his grasp, he swung their bodies around. Somewhere at the back of her mind, she heard the music coming to its closing end. Following an instinct, her spine bowed under the guiding hand upon the small of her back, letting her body spill away from the one in front of her.
The violin went dead, but its departing melody still vibrated in the air.
Hermione did not know for how much time the two of them stayed like that, with her arched back as far as she could go and he standing straight with her lifted leg still in his firm grasp.
His hand slowly lifted her to an upright position, bringing their faces so close that their noses almost touched. There was no need for words as Hermione looked deep into the bottomless midnight eyes of the man in front of her.
The sudden applause and whistling made both Hermione and Snape jump nearly a foot above the ground.
Her eyes were going as wide as they could go when she looked around herself.
The two of them were so absorbed in the dance that neither of them noticed when they suddenly became the only pair dancing in the Great Hall. An enormous circle was created around them with most of the occupants of the Hall standing up and observing the show. Now every one of them was applauding, even as more than one slack-jawed witch and wizard stared at the couple.
Snape visibly stiffened under Hermione’s touch. Without another word or glance, he left her standing in the middle of the dance floor as he made his way towards the exit.
Her cheeks flamed by embarrassment and something else, Hermione made her own way rapidly to her friends.
The fact that Ron looked like he would faint any second did not cheer her up in the slightest.
Stupid, imbecilic, pedophile son of a pig!
Severus did not know what had gotten into him. First the absurd plan and now the bloody dance! Whatever was happening to him, he was seriously considering flooing to St. Mungo’s the first thing in the morning and demand a check-up.
He was about to cross the threshold of the Great Hall when someone appeared in front of him. Lifting his eyes off the floor in annoyance, he found the Headmistress blocking his path.
“What do you want, Minerva?” he growled.
Not looking intimidated in the least by Severus’ less than polite tone she innocently replied;
“Oh, nothing really.”
The bloody twinkle in her eyes began to unnerve Severus in earnest.
“Spill it out,” he hissed through tightly clenched teeth.
Professor McGonagall sighed dramatically.
“Well, I just wanted to tell you that no matter what Hermione’s intentions were, they have worked to the best.”
The wizard frowned in confusion.
“What are you blabbering about?” he demanded.
“Nothing really. The only thing I could say for sure is that after tonight’s performance, there is not one member of the wizarding world who will have any doubt about the nature of the relationship between yourself and your wife.”
Much to his horror Severus felt something akin to heat rise on his cheeks.
“I have no idea what are you talking about, Minerva. There is nothing but a business agreement between us. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go and indulge myself in something stronger than pumpkin juice,” he muttered darkly and bolted around the Headmistress before she would dare to interrogate him further.
“Severus, Severus,” muttered the Headmistress sadly to herself, watching the departing Professor. “If only you realized that you have created the most memorable service to Dumbledore that he could have ever wished for.”
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Chapter 1296790946: First SurrenderChapter 12: First Surrender
Random crackling of burning logs in the fireplace was the only noise that penetrated the thick silence of the room. Serving as the only source of light, the orange flames created mesmerising shadows along the walls. But the young woman was oblivious to the dancing darkness with her eyes staring unblinkingly into the midst of the fire.
Hermione sighed. She was more than aware that she should have been in bed long ago. More than two hours had passed since she had put on her nightie but instead of staying in her bed, decided to indulge herself in some reading in the living room. The apartment was silent, indicating that the other occupant of these quarters was thankfully asleep. The problem was that sleep did not pull her yet. In fact, it appeared as if the last good night’s sleep she had was the last night of the summer holidays.
And she knew exactly who to blame for her lack of sleep since.
The fact that she was taking residence in HIS quarters did not help one bit. Against her nature, Hermione was finally starting to realise her mistake. She should never have agreed to such an obscene plan that not only included her marrying at the age of seventeen but to none other than Severus Snape, the Great Bat of the dungeons, the nightmare of every first year student.
Nevertheless, it was too late to relent.
Hermione massaged her closed eyelids. Too late for regrets. The least she could do now for the good cause was to go along with the \"happy marriage\" plan and pretend that everything was fine. The problem was that keeping up the facade was starting to get onto her nerves already.
The young woman already prepared to lift herself from the chair when something orange and bushy suddenly jumped onto her lap.
The witch uttered a squeak a second before she recognised Crookshanks.
“Oh, it’s you,” she muttered relieved, passing her hand affectionately across the thick fur. She could not help herself but feel embarrassed by her stupid reaction. Hermione had no idea why her nerves were running high lately and she doubted she would have liked to know the answer.
Even while being petted, the cat/Kneazle hybrid managed to give her a sullen look. To say that he was not happy to be moved into another territory would have been a huge understatement. Since moving into the dungeons, Crookshanks managed to avoid his owner for almost three weeks and eating only Merlin knew what. Only three days ago he at last approached Hermione, though cautiously. It was somewhat ironic that the same day happened to be her birthday, but she knew her cat well enough to know that there were no “coincidences” where he was concerned.
“It seems you are one of the few who gave his congratulations to me, Crooks,” she whispered, scratching the feline behind his ear.
The cat now gave her a somewhat squinted, reproachful look.
“And don’t look at me like that! You know I don’t mean it in a harsh way. It is the genuine attention one seeks, a small acknowledgement.”
In truth, probably the whole school managed to congratulate Hermione SNAPE on her eighteenth birthday. When she received a personal letter from the Ministry during breakfast, congratulating her with a “blooming start of adult life to one of the most clever and beautiful witches of the British Islands”, she nearly suffocated with all the pumpkin juice that she accidentally inhaled through her nose while reading. Harry’s choking on his porridge was a clear indication that she was not the only one to think that the Minister was taking things too far.
However, despite herself, Hermione felt insulted. Not only by the mere fact that two thirds of all the received congratulations were insincere and made in terms of public niceties. No. The reality was simple; her own husband failed to notice her on her own birthday.
That is not true, Hermione corrected herself bitterly, Snape was an image of polite attentiveness in public. In private however, his attentiveness turned into cold detachment that showed more clearly than any words what he really felt towards her and their forced union.
Their last kiss managed to touch Hermione in a way that nothing else managed to achieve so far. The dance, on the other hand, revived a burning craving that she thought she would never feel towards anything except her books. As a result, she found herself almost constantly pondering the mystery called Severus Snape. While at Hogwarts he displayed a cold bastard who seemed to possess an unhealthy liking towards sadism, unguarded seconds in private showed him to be a wounded man who experienced too much in this world to allow anyone to enter his heart.
Hermione shook her head. That was becoming ridiculous. The last thing she needed was to become some sloppy school girl taking an unhealthy interest in the Deputy Headmaster of Hogwarts.
“Come on, Crooks, let’s get some sleep,” she said at last and stood up with the orange cat in her arms.
“Nightmares, Mrs. Snape?”
Hermione squealed and by instinct threw her hands to her face in surprise. Crookshanks landed less than gracefully on his feet with a prolonged and angry “meow”. Throwing her a dirty look, the cat shot out of the room like a missile, leaving her alone with the owner of the drawling voice.
Traitor, angrily thought Hermione towards the cat.
Nervously wringing her hands, she turned towards Snape and swallowed.
Snape stood in the doorway that led to his own bedroom. With his hands crossed in his usual stern manner, he lounged against the door jam wearing a black bathrobe. His unbound hair fell freely into his face, creating a curtain through which peeked only his nose and glinting black eyes.
“E-excuse me...did you say something?” asked Hermione, trying to focus her eyes upon Snape\'s face.
“I asked you if nightmares are keeping you awake.”
Hermione forced a casual laugh that sounded strained even to her own ears.
“Nightmares? Nonsense. I just can’t sleep,” she muttered, plastering a lame smile upon her face.
Snape shrugged his shoulders.
“Just asking. It would be awful if my wife suffered under my care,” said he.
The young witch felt an unexplainable warmth rush through her body at his words. Did he really care? Perhaps his arctic demeanour was just an illusion. She however kept her face carefully blank.
“Really?” she asked softly.
“Well, we do not want the public to have any suspicions about your possible discomfort, do we?” Snape’s voice was hard, smirking as he looked at her.
The words ruthlessly crushed any hope of reconciliation between them. Anger boiled instantly within Hermione. However, she didn’t dare let it out in fear of what she might do. The only possibility to let the situation remain peaceful was to disappear from the scene as soon as possible.
“If you will excuse me, I have to go and get some sleep,” she replied coldly.
She was about to make a step towards her bedroom when he crisply spoke out;
Hermione stiffened in place and coated her Professor with a gaze that could have frozen the Niagara Falls.
“I won’t excuse you.”
With her nerves already riding seemingly high, the witch could almost hear how her temper snapped.
“How dare you speak to me like that! You are nobody to me to have the right to order me around,” hissed she venomously.
“I remain your Professor, Miss Granger, do not forget that,” drawled out Snape with a dangerous glint in his eyes.
Unhumourus laughter escaped Hermione’s mouth that sounded more like a bark.
“Ha! And that is the problem, isn’t it? I am no longer a Granger but a student who shares quarters with her PROFESSOR. And why is that? Because I ended up being married to one, bloody hell!”
“Watch your mouth, MRS. SNAPE!”
“Or what? Are you going to break our marriage contract? Well, let me tell you this; I don’t give a damn for the fate of the wizard world anymore. As far as I’m concerned, everyone can go and fuck themselves if it means that I have to stay married to such a cold and sarcastic bastard as you one more DAY!” she shouted, having no more hold on her rage. She realised her mistake too late.
He moved so fast that to Hermione’s eyes he was a black blur that rushed towards her. The next second Hermione squealed out in pain as Snape’s hand reached out with a speed of a striking snake and buried itself in the tangle of her chestnut curls, yanking her ruthlessly against his body.
“Shut the fuck up!” he spat into her face.
Hermione’s heart did a flip as she stared into the black eyes mere inches away from her face. Fright flapped like a caged bird within her throat even as she started to regret her sudden outburst. Nevertheless, sheer pride did not let her utter one word of excuse.
“Let...me...go,” she said instead, through tightly clenched teeth. Pain was starting to become unbearable as he held her hair in a death grip. To keep from crying out, Hermione grabbed the nearest thing to hold on to. In this case, she ended up clutching the front of Snape’s bathrobe in her clenched fists.
“Why should I do you such a favour, Mrs. Snape?” he enquired in a voice that practically dripped sarcasm with every syllable. “You throw a raging fit for Merlin only knows why, swear in the presence of a teacher and in addition throw insults towards me.”
“So I have no reason to be angry, eh? It seems that in addition to being far from an ideal spouse, you must be both blind and deaf as well!”
Snape’s fist tightened a fraction more, making Hermione’s jaw tense further in pain.
“Women have a tendency to find nonexistent offences in the very air, and it seems you are not an exception,” said he calmly, contradicting the anger whirling in his eyes.
“Was it so difficult to just say the truth to my face instead of sending messages through your insults, SNAPE?”
The black haired wizard gave her his most impressive scowl.
“What are you blabbering about, girl?”
“For Merlin’s sake, stop acting like a moron! Just a minute ago you managed to rant about how you couldn’t care less about my well-being, while in public you are forced to play the disgusting role of a ‘caring husband’. Save me my nerves and don’t humiliate me with your indifference...I beg you.” The last she almost whimpered out.
Something passed across Snape’s eyes but it disappeared so quickly that she thought she must have imagined it. He did not answer but for some unexplainable reason shifted her body slightly to his left so she ended up with the fireplace behind her back.
Silence stretched between them and unable to see the scrutinizing loathing that most probably lingered within his stare, Hermione dropped her eyes. Brought up in a small but loving family, she always sought for at least an echo of that love to resurface in the people surrounding her. Naturally, as human nature goes, occasions brought people into her path with whom she did not wish to share any sympathy and last of all love. Nevertheless, Snape, no matter how many wrongs he had committed, was still a wizard who used to risk his life daily as a spy for the Order in the midst of the Death Eaters. She did not even want to ponder the thought of how much more he had suffered during the past year. But where things were heading, Hermione doubted if she would gain even a minute understanding between herself and the man who deserved so much more in his life.
With her thoughts whirling thickly in her head, it took Hermione some time to realise what exactly she was looking at.
Snape’s chest rose and fell steadily practically one inch from her nose. Her fisted hands were tightly clutching the cloth of his bathrobe and that did not go without consequences. Hermione’s earlier desperation must have caused her to grab more forcefully than she intended, causing the bathrobe to reveal his body to the very navel. The chest in front of her was completely hairless, thus revealing an unspoiled view of the pale skin. Flat nipples stood out clearly on the lean but muscled chest that rose slightly with every breath. A dark dust of hairs started only from the navel, trailing a path to whatever lay underneath, still concealed in the darkness of the robe.
Snapping her eyes up, she stared with an owlish appearance into Snape’s face. For the first time since her first year, she really felt the intimidating difference between their heights. The man in front of her was tall, and with her small height she barely reached his shoulders. Inevitably, a rapid blush was starting to fill her cheeks as she spluttered for words. Any words.
“Your robe...sorry...eh- I, I mean... time...have to go...late…”
She was already starting to begin detaching herself from Snape when he did something else that froze her in place. Instead of letting go of her hair, the hand in her curls relaxed and tenderly cradled the back of her head while making small movements against her scalp. The massaging effect instantly relaxed Hermione’s body that welcomed the offering caress compensating for the previous manhandling technique.
Her mind however, true to its reputation had no intention of relaxing. Instead of succumbing to comfort, Hermione’s inner consciousness was going a hundred miles per hour trying to figure out the reason for the sudden change. Her eyes, however, seemed to possess an opinion of their own, refusing to detach themselves from the wizard’s face.
She felt herself slowly drowning in the obsidian eyes. Instead of making them lighter, the dancing light of the fire only highlighted further their unbearable blackness, two deep tunnels that could swallow a soul. The firelight smoothed signs of struggle upon his face, making him look younger. Breath caught in Hermione\'s throat at the image in front of her.
The same eyes seemed to caress every pore of her face, dropping down to scan her body.
“A bit light for the dungeons, don\'t you think?” he rasped.
Following the direction of his gaze, Hermione felt all of her body flush in embarrassment. In the midst of the argument she forgot what she was wearing - or better to say what she WASN\'T wearing. The thin material of her nightgown barely reached her knees. Two sorry excuses for straps were the only protection for her shoulders, leaving them and her arms bare.
The next thing that dawned on her was that the fireplace was right behind her, meaning that the nightgown revealed much more than mere contours of her body.
Instead of falling into a panicking frenzy however, Hermione found her body filling up with a different sort of heat, one that had nothing to do with embarrassment. It started out at the pit of her stomach in a cascading wave that descended to her loins. As if responding to some call, her nipples hardened under the thin cloth so fast that it brought an involuntary gasp to Hermione\'s throat.
Snape\'s eyes not once left her body, drinking up her every reaction without shame. When he finally lifted them up, they were no longer expressionless. They were so full of heat that Hermione had to bite her lip to restrain another gasp.
“Enticing...” he whispered and without warning tightened his hand in her hair, bringing her mouth to his.
There was no gentleness like in their last kiss. While the other one trembled with sensuality, the way Snape\'s mouth devoured hers could only be described as hunger. The kiss was almost bruising, forcing Hermione to open her mouth to escape further inflection of pain. Seizing his chance, the wizard\'s tongue lashed into her mouth. He ruthlessly explored it, while his hard lips brushed against hers. His other hand then dropped to her waist and pulled her in tightly to his body. She instantly felt his hardness pressing against her stomach. The sensation made Hermione gather all of her remaining strength, just enough to detach her mouth from Snape\'s.
“You...we- I mean-“
“The legendary know-it-all cannot find words because of me? I am honoured,” interrupted Snape. His pun would have worked better if his voice hadn’t trembled with passion.
Just as she opened her mouth again, his hand shot out from her hair and suddenly grabbed hold of her left breast. Words died upon her tongue instantly, while her mind already forgot what she was about to say.
“You like that, don\'t you?”
His palm pressed firmly around her breast, lifting its heaviness with his fingers digging lightly into the soft skin. Hermione\'s breath was starting to come in short gasps, riding on the sensation that her hardened nipple gave her even through the material of the nightgown, pressing tightly into his hand. No one had ever touched her like that.
She gave a strangled moan.
“I will take that as a ‘yes’.”
The hand upon Hermione\'s waist snaked down against her back until it repositioned itself on her bottom. With an almost agonizing slowness, Snape moved it further down until it rested on the back of her right leg, right underneath her arse. Looking intently at her half opened mouth, he deliberately opened her legs. Without further warning, his leg moved into the now free space, bringing her core flush against the naked skin of his leg.
This time her moan was louder.
“I do, however, believe that you would like this even more.”
With his hand continuing to caress her breast and nipple, Hermione\'s mind lost all of its rational logic. The only thing she knew and felt were his hands, the long fingers that were the secret target of wonderment and thoughts of almost every girl from fifth year and upwards.
The heat between her legs began to be unbearable. Unconsciously, she started to move her hips, pressing herself further into his leg. The friction forced the witch to bite her swollen lip to keep herself from whimpering at the sensation. She felt her building wetness rub itself onto his leg, leaving a wet trail in its wake.
She was too far gone to pay any attention to the ripping sound that cut through the air at first. Only when her flushed skin connected with the coldness of the dungeons did she realise that her nightgown has been torn from her body.
The next second her misted mind told her that she was carefully laid onto the black sofa, with Severus Snape standing half naked right in front of her.
The moment Severus entered the living room he knew he was a lost man.
Years of habit made it impossible for him to fall into a restful sleep before two in the morning. Around twelve, as usual, he exited his bedroom heading for his private study when the soft glow from the fireplace in the lounge area caught his eye. The stupid girl most probably forgot to vanquish the fire after she went to bed. Paranoid or not, the last thing he needed was to have a fire in his quarters.
Therefore, he was unprepared for what appeared before his eyes when he went to investigate.
The young woman sitting in the lounge chair was breathtaking. The fire played upon her slightly golden skin, creating dancing shadows that seemed to caress her body. The way her hand moved across her cat’s fur made him wonder how it would feel for the same hand to caress HIS skin. Both sensual and innocent in appearance, it was almost unbearable for Severus to understand how this creature of light could stand his company. Of course, the very few words she had spoken to him these days proved how disdainful the sight of him most probably was to her.
But even through his anger, Severus’ breath caught in his throat when she stood up from her chair. The material of her nightgown was transparent with the firelight at her back. He watched as if hypnotised the way her plump breasts pulled against the material as her hands went up in surprise.
The rage at her words switched to lust in the blink of an eye. Passion rushed in hot, pulsating liquid through his veins. He had to have her, in whatever way possible. If that was the only chance he would have to be so near her, he will be damned thrice if he wasn’t going to take what belongs to him by the written law. The most important thing now was to let her forget all the rules, to let her succumb to the lust he was providing her.
Because after that, she will belong to him forever.
An alien feeling almost overtook him as he stared at the sprawled young woman on the sofa. Whether he felt guilt because she WAS still his student, or the way he was tricking her was not important. With irritation, he banished the eating guilt aside, allowing himself to feast with his eyes on the image in front of him.
She had, most probably, the most beautiful body he had ever come across in a woman. Right to her nature, she contradicted the stupidity of today\'s fashion. Instead of being flat and tall, she was all curves. Breasts that did not fully fit into his palm were highlighted by a slender waist that flawlessly transformed into wide hips. The dark curls between her thighs undeniably drew his gaze to them as well as the nipples that seemed to harden further underneath his blazing eyes.
The sight alone almost brought Severus to his peak. His loins clenched in response, tightening his balls into an almost painful pleasure.
Looking into her glazed brown eyes, he knew that she was too inexperienced and too far gone in wanting to deny what his body was able to give her. The self-loathing emotion tried to resurface its ugly head again but he ruthlessly suppressed it again. Locking his eyes with hers, he untied the opening of his bathrobe and shrugged out of it.
It was like a car crash. You do not want to see but are unable to tear your eyes from the scene unfolding right in front of you. That was how Hermione felt when she watched the bathrobe silently fall onto the floor, revealing Professor Severus Snape in all of his naked glory.
His school robes, it appeared, hid a lot.
He was like a pale statue. Tall and lean, his muscles rippled under his skin with his every movement. Years of work as a Death Eater and spy showed his physical strength, highlighted in his every flawless body movement.
Almost against her will, Hermione’s eyes dropped to one thing that at present ate her curiosity from inside out.
First thing that her mind noted was his size. Inexperienced as she was, she had no idea what counted as average but even she by instinct realised that the cock in front of her was far from small. Long and thick, it stood up proudly from the nest of black curls. With something akin to a horrified fascination, Hermione looked at a drop of liquid that seemed to have collected on the broad tip. She hardly imagined that the thing would be able to FIT in her at all.
“If you are going to continue watching me like that, everything is going to end right here,” came Snape’s husky voice.
The young woman began to frown in confusion at his words before it dawned on her. However, instead of blushing again, she felt a rush of feminine power that she never felt before. Diving head first into her endless curiosity, Hermione moved her slender hand upon her breast and pinched her erect nipple.
The next second, a male body appeared right above hers. In fear of crushing her, Snape held himself up on his forearms on either side of her head. But while their upper bodies did not touch, the wizard made sure that there was not one inch of space between their lower parts.
Driven restless by the sensation of his hot heaviness pressed firmly against her thigh, Hermione was semi-oblivious to the way Snape’s head bent towards hers. The awareness came only when she felt his lips brush against her ear.
“Touch me,” he said.
Throwing her shyness to the wind, Hermione’s hand gingerly touched his pale chest. With fascination reflecting what she felt inside of her, she trailed her fingers lightly over his skin, tracing random patterns on the muscles. Detecting a small moan of approval escape Snape’s lips, she felt herself getting boulder. Scooting down on the sofa, her mouth connected with his chest. Giving his skin at first small kisses, her tongue darted to his left nipple, licking the aureole.
The next moment she felt herself being grabbed at the back of her head, preventing her from any further actions. Suddenly afraid she had done something wrong; Hermione threw a somewhat panicked look at Snape’s face.
“Silly girl, you’ve done nothing wrong. On the contrary, your actions are proving to be too dangerous,” he ruefully admitted, his breath coming faster than normal.
Before she could come up with an answer, Snape’s lips captured her nipple. Air soundly rushed out of her lungs at the sucking sensation, bringing a blissful hiss from her mouth as his teeth teased the hardened tip. After giving the same courtesy to her other breast, his mouth began to travel south. Nipping on his way, Snape proceeded to lick every place he slightly bit. Hermione couldn’t help but dig her hands in the silk strands of his hair once he came to her sensitive stomach. Ignoring her writhing, his hot tongue dipped into her navel. Every movement sharply reflected in her crotch, as if invisible strings were attached together between them. By the time he left his ruthless torturing, Hermione transformed into a throbbing, needful thing. While her mind did not fully comprehend the intensity of her need, her body knew the thing it craved and who could provide her with it.
Snape, however, did not abandon his sadistic side even then.
The wizard’s motive hit Hermione a mere second before he buried his head between her legs, bringing the first audible cry out of her. Inhaling through his nose, as if trying to memorise her scent, his hands came to lie on her thighs. Nudging them further apart until he was satisfied with the space provided, his mouth came out and licked her wet slit.
“Please...” Hermione cried out, unable to stand the torture further.
Snape suddenly scooted back towards her face, looking intently into her hooded eyes.
“Tell me, what do you want?”
In her haze, Hermione missed the somewhat bitter expression that crossed his face at her words.
“No, you do not want me. You want THIS,” he said through tightly clenched teeth and with a forceful thrust sheathed himself fully in her.
Though her body craved for it and brought her to an unbearable anticipation, nothing prepared her for the pain that seemed to tear her insides in two. Hermione screamed and stiffened.
At her pain-filled cry, Severus froze. With horror he realised that it was the first time he let his emotions overtake his actions. Ruthlessly forgetting to pay any heed to the woman he was now inside of. If he had any doubts about her innocence, they crushed with the same sensation as the fragile barrier had under the pressure of his hardened flesh.
Even if she would not have been a virgin, Severus was far from a small man. Even during the forceful penetration he had to work himself in. Abandoning the language of words, Severus through himself into the language of sensations and feeling. Anything to make her know how sorry he was, something that he was not ready to say in words and most probably never will.
Making a feathery path with his lips from her earlobe, Severus proceeded to lick the tears from the witch\'s cheeks. Her eyes were tightly closed, her body carefully immobile under his. Even as the salty taste filled his mouth, it took all of his immense self control to stay unmoving himself. Too damn long had passed since he had a female flesh to pierce into. It did not help that Hermione\'s tight vaginal walls clutched him in a veined grip.
Somewhere in the middle of his ministrations he was relieved to feel her body beginning to relax.
Unconsciously, Severus gave a small prayer deep inside him that her next action would not be to push his body away.
In truth, he did not know if he had enough strength to stop even then.
To her relief, the pain began to subside little by little.
Only when she lifted her eyelids did she realise that she was crying. The pain was one that could not be ignored, bringing reflexive tears to her eyes.
While the pain subsided, Hermione began to feel something else entirely. A small movement brought her eyes fully open. The emptiness that she began to feel in her most intimate place for the last minutes was now filled to the brink. Unable to prevent her following action, she experimentally squeezed the walls of her vagina.
A hissing sound snapped her head up to Snape\'s face.
The dark haired man looked as if he was fighting some internal battle with himself; his jaw tightly set and his eyes closed. Feeling another tide of feminine power wash over her, Hermione writhed slightly underneath his tall frame. The obsidian eyes snapped open. The heat in them caused her to writhe again.
“Little minx,” he muttered. “You want to play with me?”
Without waiting for her response, he reached down to where their bodies were joined. Without loosing eye contact, his fingers stroked her clitoris back and forth making her gasp in delight. The arousal that she had inevitably lost during the rude penetration came cascading back into her. Her body unconsciously clenched further around him, silently demanding.
“You are playing with the devil himself, pet.”
Bracing himself with his arms, he pulled out almost completely out of her before plunging forcefully back into her. The movement made Hermione half hiss in shock.
“Wrap your legs around me,” came his command.
Some part of Hermione\'s consciousness watched half-mortified as she silently obeyed him. There was, however, another part of her that did not care for anything else anymore. A part gave the truth; what was past could not be returned and the only thing left for her to do was to gain as much as possible from what was given to her. Whatever that meant, Hermione let herself succumb to it and thought no more.
Snape grunted in approval as her ankles locked behind his back, forcing his cock to bury itself even further within her velvet heat. Unable to contain himself any longer, he began to move.
Hermione found her hands buried deep within his black hair again as she watched his body mating with hers. Something in the way of seeing his glistening thickness enter her folds in an agonizing slowness over and over was unbearably erotic. There was no more trace of the previous pain, only a sucking wanting for something yet out of her reach.
Continuing rocking inside of her, his black hair was spilling across her breasts and Hermione shivered at the caressing feeling. Her unsuppressed reaction did not go unnoticed by him and he bent to kiss her neck and breast, moving more of his hair across her skin. Without thinking, she tightened her hold in his hair and aligned his head with hers. He locked his gaze with hers as he thrust in and out of her, his eyes so dark that it was impossible to tell where the dilated pupils began and irises finished.
But she wanted and needed more. Twisting her hips, Hermione tried profusely to find the right spot. Her movement brought an array of colourful swear words from the wizard who immediately stilled.
“Still playing with me, I see. It seems I have to teach you a lesson,” he said hoarsely.
In a blink of an eye, in one powerful movement, Snape brought her into a sitting position with his cock still deeply embedded in her. Without warning, he bit into the side of her neck, hard enough to be just outside of drawing blood. Pain and pleasure merged and Hermione squealed at the shattering combination.
“Oh, yes...” breathed he against her neck.
Hermione\'s legs were still tightly wrapped around his hips as he brought himself into a half-sitting position on his knees. Grabbing her hips hard enough to surely leave bruises on them later, he locked his eyes with her again. Before Hermione could relearn how to breath, he began to pound into her mercilessly, all of his restraint flying to the high wind.
Their upright position caused his cock to run over a spot inside her body with his every movement. Jerking his hips as hard and as fast as he could, he began to draw small sounds from Hermione with his every thrust. In search of finding something to hold on to, she dragged her hands down his back, digging her nails sharply into his pale skin.
Her ministrations drew a hiss of pleasure from the former Death Eater. Hermione could almost hear the moment when all of his pretended patience snapped. Burying his head in her neck, her lover\'s thrusting became desperately violent. Every thrust of his cock would have probably sent Hermione flying off the couch if her body wasn\'t locked in his iron hands.
And then it happened. The moment the blissful pleasure caused her to scream her release; Hermione had a momentary image rush in detached flashes behind her eyelids;
Dark, circular room. Firelight casting dancing shadows upon two figures entwined upon the black sofa. A man and a woman locked in a lustful embrace, their moans and the noise of flesh hitting flesh the only sound now penetrating the silence of the chamber. Their bodies like two undiscovered jewels, sweat glistening upon their heated bodies. The woman\'s back bent in an arch as the orgasm tightened her inner muscles around the man\'s cock. How the man\'s lean body stiffened as a loud growl escaped his throat, floating on the wave of his own release.
She barely noted in her euphoria how she fell back onto the sofa, the wizard\'s body collapsing on top of hers. The weight of the male body however, was blissful. Something that she welcomed with open arms as she tightened her hands around him, holding onto the comfort and safety that his body provided.
“You are mine, now. Forever.”
The rational part of her mind was trying to shout her something, the echo of the spoken words triggering a memory of something important that sent panicking bells off in her brain. Hermione tried in vain to catch a memory that was nagging in her mind, but to no avail. Her weakened body took over her consciousness, pulling her into an exhausted sleep.
But even in the dreamless drifting, the feeling that she had forgotten something vital did not let her go.
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Chapter 1296790947: Slow RealisationsChapter 13: Slow Realisations
It hit her only in the morning.
Reaching for a piece of toast, Hermione listened absently to the pointless gibbering around her. Rather rational by nature, today the brightest witch of the century twitched every time someone called her name. She seemed to be astronomically high strung this morning, even though she knew that it was practically impossible for anyone to know the reason for her nervousness.
However, she could not let go of the feeling that anyone who looked at her could tell what activities and with whom she was entertaining herself last night. In addition, a blush did not leave her cheeks since the second she woke up alone in the morning. It seemed as if all of her common sense returned to her only with the light of day, leaving yesterday\'s events misted. The soreness between her legs, on the other hand, left no doubt that Hermione Jane Granger has had sex for the first time.
To make matters worse, Ron chose that particular morning to entertain Seamus and Dean on the topic that has caused the most school gossip ever recorded.
“...and believe me, Harry told me every minute of their meeting with McGonagall. Merlin, the things she said!”
“Oh, come on! Do tell us!” exclaimed Seamus. He and Dean were leaning so close to Ron that their chests were almost flat against the wooden table.
From the corner of her eye, Hermione caught Ron throwing her a questioning look.
“Dennis, pass me the marmalade, will you?” she asked, pointedly ignoring her best friend.
However, taking her lack of eye contact as an encouragement, Ron turned back towards the two Gryffindors with his enthusiasm almost coming off him in miniature tidal waves.
“Know anything specific about the marriages in the wizarding world?”
Seamus negatively shook his head while Dean frowned.
“That’s what kept buggering me for some time. As the marriages are unbreakable, how will Hermione survive as ‘Mrs. Snape’ for the rest of her life?” he asked.
Ron, it appeared, enjoyed having an outside classroom knowledge that some of his classmates did not possess, at least for once.
“It seems like your mother doesn’t plan on seeing you married for a while yet, since she hasn’t provided you with the vital information. Not all married folks, however, know that there exists a law which will permit them to divorce. Only in a certain circumstance will their vows be able to be broken.”
The redhead paused and took a couple of gulps of pumpkin juice. Silently observing the two Gryffindors above the rim of his goblet, Ron smiled satisfactorily at the impatience written upon their faces.
“Well?” exclaimed Seamus when the cliff-hanging silence stretched further.
Ron gave him another smile.
“The only way to divorce your spouse is to prevent any sort of sexual release with your partner from the moment you get married. Note, by ‘any’ I mean not even a blow job for the groom, without mentioning the actual intercourse. As a result, sex remains the final seal that irreversibly entwines two people for the rest of their--”
Ron was not the only one who jumped at the sudden noise. All the students in the radius of five metres had been startled while numerous others throughout the Great Hall searched for the source of the noise with mild interest.
In the end, nearly every pair of eyes landed on Hermione Granger-Snape, whose hand was still in the air as if holding something, even though the heavy jar of marmalade now lay transformed into trillions of glass pieces on the floor.
“Hermione, is everything alright?” asked an anxious looking Harry.
But it was as if his best friend did not hear him, continuing to stare unblinkingly in front of her.
“Are you feeling well?” this was from Ginny now.
“Bloody...I will...son of a...rot in hell...”
Harry and Ron exchanged worried glances at Hermione\'s barely whispered words.
Ginny slightly cleared her throat.
“Perhaps you would like to visit Madame Pomfrey, just in case?” she asked.
The comment seemed to set Hermione off as she abruptly stood up from the table, causing Ron to jump in his own seat again.
“No...no doctors...I am...fine...” uttered Hermione in a detached voice, contrasting with her earlier violent movement.
Blindly finding her bulging school bag, she addressed her friends without looking at any of them.
“Have to go...Defense class...soon,” and trailed off towards the doors without another word.
Whilst most of the Great Hall did not pay any further attention to what was happening, Harry, Ron and Ginny\'s eyes followed the back of their departing friend in confusion.
“What do you reckon has gotten into her?” whispered Ron.
Harry shrugged. Ginny, on the other hand, had a look of a person who was thinking really hard at the moment as she looked up to the Head Table. Slowly, her expression transformed from confused to one of comprehension. By the time she turned back towards the now empty doorway, she looked both startled and worried at the same time.
“Feeling like sharing anything, Sis?”
Ginny\'s expression turned annoyed as she fixed her gaze upon Ron.
Her brother\'s snort went unnoticed.
“Now, excuse me, but I have to make my way towards Herbology already,” she said, giving Harry a light peck on a cheek before standing up from the table.
“Ginny,” Harry’s voice was pleading, “If there’s something you know, do tell us. Perhaps we could somehow help Hermione, no matter what.”
The youngest Weasley shook her head in exasperation at the stupidity both Ron and her boyfriend were presently displaying. The sigh she gave, however, was more of tiredness than anything.
“You will find out soon enough without my interference. And even then I really doubt you will be able to do anything in the matter,” said Ginny giving both of them a pointed look before departing.
Ron stared perplexed at his sister who was taking the same route Hermione had just moments ago.
“Perhaps it is THAT time of month, eh?”
Harry took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose.
“I never dreamed I’d be saying this, but I hope that for all our sakes the answer is ‘yes’. However, my gut tells me that it is something more serious and complicated than biology,” he said.
Before his friend could open his mouth again, Harry picked up the two rucksacks from the floor and thrust one of them towards the redhead.
“Just drop it, Ron. You’ve already done enough damage by rattling off half-truths about the wedding to people who are not concerned in the matter. Headmistress will have your AND my head if she gets even a wisp of rumours from other students.”
“Anyway, come on. The last thing we need now is to be late for Snape’s class first lesson in the morning.”
As the two Gryffindors made their way towards the exit, neither one of them noticed a pair of ebony eyes following them right until they disappeared behind the heavy doors.
The only way...divorce...sexual release...final seal...irreversibly.
The words swirled around their orbit in Hermione’s numb brain with a speed of light. Even through the practicality of her nature, she couldn’t escape a sense of unreality. It wasn’t her who had sex with the most feared professor that Hogwarts had the pleasure of housing after Salazar Slytherin himself. It was someone else who had entered a loveless marriage for the conveniences of a war.
“-- so when the forever knowing Mrs. Snape comes back to earth, we will start the lesson.”
Lifting her eyes from the desk, Hermione met the gaze of the man standing in front of the class. Seeing the usual sneer play upon his thin lips, the blessed veil of unreality started to lift itself from her eyes. There was no point denying the truth.
She was stuck married to Severus Snape for the rest of her life.
“Pssst! ‘Mione, do you hear me?”
Another realisation has dawned upon her.
HE knew everything about the law.
HE brought her inexperienced body to the state of wanting so high that it could no longer be denied what it wanted.
It was HE who has slept with her...Sealing their marriage.
“Herm- what are you doing?”
Hermione did not realise she was moving until she found herself standing beside her desk. Without once tearing her eyes away from Snape’s, she began to slowly walk towards him.
The Professor did not betray one emotion as he looked at the approach of his young wife. The slight tightening around his eyes was the only indication that whatever he saw in Hermione\'s eyes did not promise any good. Every student in the seventh year DADA class was deadly silent as they observed the unusual actions of the most dedicated student in school. Even Harry and Ron, who tried to get her attention earlier, looked upon her with a great deal of alarm.
They knew better than most that a silent Hermione in her rage was a bad, VERY bad sign.
“What the hell is she doing?” exclaimed Ron into Harry\'s ear.
The young wizard did not bother to reply as he watched Hermione stop face to face with Professor Snape.
Every student watched transfixed as Hermione and Snape stared at each other unblinkingly, the very air cracking with tension.
Without warning and with the speed that could have put a Snitch to shame, Hermione\'s hand came up.
Snape\'s head snapped violently to the side by the sheer force of the blow. The movement caused his untied hair to spill across his face, shielding his expression.
Her physical approach to violence seemed to have finally set Hermione off as she began to express her feelings in words.
“You knew! You FUCKING knew and still you did it! I have never met a more selfish son of a bitch than you are, Snape!” she shouted with naked rage burning in her brown eyes.
The dark haired wizard stayed absolutely still and silent.
“What?! Have nothing to say, SNIVELLUS?”
No reaction whatsoever.
The lack of curses that she would have expected to hear from Snape seemed only to add more oil into the fire as Hermione made one more step closer to her husband. Even her height, with her head barely reaching his shoulders, did not come close to discouraging her in any way.
“I hate you,” she whispered so that only Snape would hear her. “I was stupid to think that perhaps one day we would produce something resembling a friendship between us. Now I understand where all these feelings came from. A perfect illusion. Know this; whoever you are, a loyal member of the Order or a spy for Voldemort, that does not concern me anymore.”
Without waiting for a reply, she turned and walked away from him. Only when her hand came to lie upon the door handle of the classroom, did she look back at him.
For a second, brown eyes met black ones from the curtain of raven hair.
“I will always hate you,” she spat and exited the room. The wooden door closed with a loud bang that shook all four walls.
Not one person dared to breathe as they stared at the immobile Professor Snape, in fear that any indication of their presence would set the man off his hook. From all the people in the room, only Ron Weasley and Harry Potter dared to open their mouths.
The sudden realisation has hit them both at the same time.
Their best friend has slept with Severus Snape.
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Chapter 1296790948: The Wind of ChangeChapter 14: The Wind of Change
Hermione skipped the rest of her classes that day, something that she would never have dreamed of doing in her worst nightmares. Unable to stand her friends and teachers whose faces would probably be transformed into masks of disappointment and disgust by her hyperactive imagination, she decided to flee like a coward instead.
Figuring out that no one would be present in the Gryffindor Common Room, she found her escape there. As far as she was concerned, she would not be forced to enter the dungeons again until the last breath escaped her body.
The seemingly endless hours spent in the unusually silent room gave Hermione an opportunity to brood upon her fatal situation. As far as she was informed, sexual intercourse between a married couple sealed the marriage until either of the concerned individuals passed away, therefore giving the Muggle phrase of \"until death do us part\" a fresh new meaning. Presently, Hermione was cursing herself for her earlier lack of thoughtfulness upon this delicate subject. The speech that Professor McGonagall produced when the topic of marriage was discussed, rushed back into her head with a vengeful force.
But no, instead of taking caution towards the situation at hand, she threw herself headfirst in the now absurd argument with Ron, drawing her concentration away from the most important matter.
Thinking about the recent argument with her friend, Hermione could not suppress a mirthless smile. It was quite ironic really, that the very subject which nearly caused a break-up of friendship and the absurdity of which has eventually brought her and Ron back together, had actually transformed into reality.
Passing a hand through her curls, Hermione\'s eyes happened to glance upon the Muggle watch on her other hand. With something akin to despair, she realised that in less than fifteen minutes lunch will be finished, meaning that in about twenty the Common Room will be swarming with Gryffindors.
Making rapid calculations, she decided that she had enough time to slink to the library and stay hidden until...she wasn\'t sure when.
“Stupid twit! Look what your stubbornness has gotten yourself into this time,” murmured Hermione as she briskly made her way to the portrait hole.
But from whom or what she was possibly hiding now, she did not know.
Or perhaps she was not yet ready to give the answer.
Severus\' brain did not register the meaning or content of what Potter or the Weasley brat voiced in the deadly silent classroom.
To say that the encounter between Hermione had shaken Severus Snape would have been a huge understatement.
Severus had continued to stare at the door of the classroom long after it soundly shut behind the so called storm, his wife. Standing there, silent in the middle of the classroom, with a clear print of a hand upon his pale cheek, Snape felt devastated. He had been beaten, even tortured, on countless occasions during his dragging life, but on no occasion did the pain stretch beyond the physical abuse. Until now.
Somehow, without even knowing it, Hermione had managed to do something no other man or woman had ever achieved. With a single slap and an accusation, she turned Severus\' whole being upside down. Making him feel a series of feelings whose mere existence his self long ago rejected;
Guilt...pity...compassion...and something else that his hardened heart could not even interpret.
“WORK! One sound and every one of you will have a detention with Filch until the day you GRADUATE,” he snapped, but even as he said that, his own voice sounded too far off to his ears.
Absently waving his wand in the primary direction of the blackboard, Severus heavily sat at his desk, not even bothering to look if the instructions were even related to the subject he now taught.
Resisting the temptation to touch the stinging cheek, Severus instead snatched the first parchment his eyes fell upon. Starting to furiously scribble upon some unfortunate second year’s essay, he tried in vain to suppress the same feeling of helplessness settling around him.
As usual, he had managed to obtain what he wanted.
But what price will he have to pay this time?
After a successful escape from the Gryffindor Tower, Hermione finally found herself in a place which she counted as her second bedroom in Hogwarts; the library.
Today, however, everything seemed different. When she set her foot onto the carpeted floor, instead of feeling the usual excitement lurch within her heart, the only thing she felt was emptiness. The time spent in solitude had managed to evaporate all of her anger, leaving a somewhat nervous feeling in its wake.
The famous Hermione Granger\'s mind had returned to work in full force.
Firstly, she had ultimately failed to control her rare anger.
Secondly, she had actually HIT a TEACHER. Without mentioning the countless things she must have said to him, the things that she did not clearly remember now.
And as a perfect conclusion, she managed to walk out of the classroom BEFORE the lesson finished and without a dismissal.
Hermione heavily slumped into the nearest chair and buried her head in her hands.
“You are busted, Hermione...totally bloody finished,” she muttered.
“I cannot disagree with you on that one.”
The witch\'s head whipped up. With sinking dread she realised how naive she must have been even to think that her solitude would continue until she gathered enough courage to resurface again. As she watched the two figures approaching her, she realised she should have thought beforehand that the first place her two best friends would come looking for her was the library.
“And me either,” said Ron, agreeing with Harry.
Hermione did not like the looks of stone determination reflecting on the faces of both boys one bit as the two of them looked down at her. With an air of indifference, she crossed her hands beneath her breasts.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
One of Ron\'s eyebrows sardonically shot up right into his hairline.
“Oh, really? And what was that scene you performed in the Defense Class this morning, eh? Perhaps you just wanted to take a stroll and figured out that hitting Snape across the face would be the quickest way to be dismissed from the class?”
The young woman began to scrutinize the redhead with her stare.
“I-do-not-want-to-talk-about-it. That is all, finito! None of your concern, anyway,” she bit out.
“Now you’re wrong, Hermione!” exclaimed Harry, putting both of his hands upon the desk. “What kind of friends would we be if we didn’t give a damn about your welfare? Either you are trying to insult us or you really don’t feel we truly care about you as best friends.”
Hermione frantically shook her head.
“No, no...don’t say things like that, Harry. You know yourself that’s just not true.”
“Then tell us, ‘Mione,” piped up Ron more gently now, “Please, do tell us. We are always here for you and nothing can drive us away from you.”
The sigh that she gave managed to shake her entire body.
“You will...never...understand, either of you. What has happened...it is unforgivable. The two of you will never forgive me for...what I’ve done,” she half whispered, stammering a bit.
“Like sleeping with Snape?”
Her eyes growing wide, Hermione’s face first turned beetroot red before it rapidly lost all of its colouring, leaving her as white as a corpse. Harry, who had thrown the accusation, was watching her with intense green eyes.
“What-how- I mean...impossible!” she exclaimed, fruitlessly searching for coherent words.
“Hermione, we’re not THAT thick. We can put two and two together,” spoke Ron in a soothing voice, one more suited for nervous horses. “First your unexplainable behaviour at breakfast and then the show you put on in Defense class, I mean...you would have never slapped a teacher for giving you a nine out of ten, would you?”
Ron’s light try for a joke failed as the still ashen Hermione anxiously looked up at her two friends. The look upon her face expressed her indecision concerning their upcoming actions; either she expected them to jump upon her and beat her to death or turn away and never speak a word to her again.
Seeing this, it was Harry’s turn to take a shaken intake of breath, readying himself to ask the question that both he and Ron were dreading the answer for. After discussing it quietly with his friend, both had reached the same disgusting conclusion, the only explanation why Hermione would be forced to act as she did today.
Just a single word was needed from her and Harry would be only too happy to take the rest of the matter into his own hands.
“Hermione, did Snape...rape you?”
This time the colour mounted so quickly into her face that it brought involuntary tears into Hermione\'s eyes. Harry, who interpreted her reaction in his own way, didn’t want to see his friend suffer any further.
“Don’t worry. The son of a bitch will be dealt with, I promise you that,” he said quickly, the muscles of his jaw tightening with the strain to sustain the rage boiling within him.
“The bastard!” bellowed Ron, his own face harmoniously matching the colour of his hair now, “He had no FUCKING right to treat you that way! The SCUM! Taking you by force while you must have squirmed with disgust and endless pain! The mere image of the act makes me want to throw –“
Ron froze with his mouth still open at Hermione\'s furious interruption. The young witch jumped to her feet, her fisted hands pressed tightly against her sides.
“He did not rape me, ok? Neither was there any ‘disgust’ or ‘endless pain’! UNDERSTOOD?” she cried.
Both boys mutely stared at her for some time, their brains slowly trying to process her words. A few minutes must have passed before Harry soundly cleared his throat.
“Eh...’Mione? In that case, could you please explain to us what really happened between you and...Professor Snape?”
Feeling as if his penetrating green eyes saw right into her soul, Hermione tightly hugged herself in a gesture of mute defense.
“I...he...I mean-WE- have...ehh...well, you know!” she loudly muttered, refusing to meet the accusing stares of her closest friends.
“I know what happened in that sense of the word. The only thing I do NOT know is whether the act was...mutual,” replied the dark-haired wizard, his voice carefully neutral.
Something like a sad smile appeared upon the witch’s face.
“Mutual? I guess you can call it that. If the burning feeling that he had sparked within me was in any way genuine, uninfluenced by any existing lust potion, then...yes.”
With her eyes still firmly downcast to the floor, Hermione failed to notice the look that passed between the two devastated young wizards. The words that were spoken next, however, turned her momentarily speechless as well.
“Then don’t you think you are behaving a drop selfish right now?”
Unable to believe her ears, Hermione at last looked up. The stern expressions on both Ron’s and Harry’s faces instantly excluded any lame prank or joke from their parts.
“You can’t be serious!” she bellowed with mounting frustration.
“Look,” began Ron, who was looking at Hermione with a half-disbelieving expression, “It takes both man and a woman to copulate. This can happen on two terms; either the female participant is raped or both parties mutually throw themselves into the act. As you have so strongly objected to the mere idea of rape, well...it leaves us only one solution, doesn’t it?”
“What Ron means, Hermione,” continued Harry, “is that if you haven’t been actually physically forced into sex, then in one way or another you have silently agreed to it. In that case, neither could be blamed as both of you willingly succumbed to one feeling.” Here he produced an impressive grimace. “As you are well aware, I am not really...fond of Snape, but even I can sympathise with him right now. In the end, you are to be blamed as strongly as him for what happened between the two of you.”
The witch felt Harry’s words wash through her and right into her rapidly beating heart. The female part of her brain comprehended the logic reasoning and the undeniable truth behind the words. Hermione’s present dominating part, however, found it simpler to blame everything upon Severus Snape. Husband or not, she has slept with a professor, and the student long planted within her could not let the issue pass away so simply.
Even as all of these thoughts filled Hermione to the brink, she felt helpless tears starting to well in her eyes.
“And now what? I will be forced to suffer all my life for a single night of sin?” she demanded in a strangled whisper.
She barely registered the movement of Ron’s hand through the mist covering her eyes. Only the gentle weight of his hand upon her shoulder indicated that he put it there.
“We have no right to judge in this frail subject. From now on, it is up to you and Snape to decide what will become of you and your lives,” said he sadly and with a last squeeze lifted his hand.
He was half-way to the exit when Harry spoke again.
“Don’t take it the wrong way, Hermione. I think that the best solution is for us to think about this separately from each other. Even though we’re not in your situation, both Ron and I will in some way or another be affected by your actions, and this will take some time to get used to.”
The young man stared at Hermione’s lost expression for a few agonizing moments before he leaned and placed a gentle kiss upon her forehead with a barely audible promise;
“Wherever this takes us, to doom or to the gardens of Eden, I will stand by your side. Until the day I die, you will have my protection. Even the cursed Veil will not prevent my spirit from protecting those I love.”
And then he was gone.
Against her unvoiced promises, Hermione continued to live in the dungeons. Silence became her sole companion within those chambers, giving an impression that she was the only resident.
Rare coincidences criss-crossed her and Snape’s paths these days, and when they DID manage to appear at the same time in the living room, both left by different exists without delay. Due to all the tension which stood solidly in the apartment, a cemetery would have appeared to be more cheerful than where Hermione lived now.
In classes, on the other hand, nothing had undergone drastic changes. Snape continued to act like a bastard toward the student body while Hermione followed every instruction with horrifying precision. The lack of interaction between the two of them, however, was one thing that stood out the most in each Defense class.
Either way, nothing indicated that less than a month ago the two of them had sex.
The only other people aware of that delicate fact were Harry, Ron and Ginny. Upon a silent agreement, neither of them spoke about this subject again. Leaving everything up to Hermione’s decision when best to bring it up again, the three individuals decided to concentrate upon their studies with more vigour than it was usual.
Nevertheless, not a day passed without either of them thinking about what this would mean to the couple involved and the entire wizarding world.
Harry Potter was right in the middle of one of his endless ponderings when a loud clearing of throat abruptly dragged his mind to the present.
Headmistress McGonagall was standing in the middle of the corridor, blocking Harry’s way towards the Gryffindor Tower. With a tiny tinge of embarrassment, he understood that if the elderly witch hadn’t attracted his attention, he would have walked right into her without noticing her presence.
“Excuse me, Professor McGonagall. I must have been lost in thought and didn’t notice you,” mumbled Harry apologetically.
“Indeed,” replied Professor, stretching her lips into a thin line. Whatever was the source of her apparent displeasure, Harry did not possess any wish to find out. He was just about to step around her when she spoke again.
“Come with me, Mr. Potter. There is an important matter about which I feel obliged to speak to you personally.”
With a sinking feeling that this had something to do with Voldemort, Harry followed the quickly retreating figure of the witch without a word. Indeed, a long time had passed since anything had been heard from the vile bastard and his Death Eaters. In Harry’s opinion, the situation was becoming rather suspicious with every passing day.
As soon as they entered the Headmistress’ office, she gestured him towards a chair in front of her desk and followed suite, positioning herself into the grand chair.
“Now, Mr. Potter,” she began, after a period of silence, “Do you have any idea why I have called you to my office so abruptly?”
A slight frown creased Harry’s black eyebrows.
“Well, it is something concerning Voldemort, isn’t it?” he asked, ignoring the usual flinch that the professor gave at hearing the dreaded name.
“No, it isn’t. Though I have to say I believe that the time runs short until we will do more than speak about him.”
Without looking at him, McGonagall stood up and started pacing around the area behind the mahogany desk.
“No,” she repeated, “Something else of great importance has reached my ears recently.”
Suddenly, the former Head of Gryffindor stopped her pacing and faced Harry squarely. The young man resisted the urge to squirm in his seat at the unidentifiable set of emotions being directed right at him.
“I want you to tell me, TRUTHFULLY, what has taken place between Professor Snape and Hermione Snape within their state of wedlock.”
Momentarily shaken by her demand, Harry tried desperately save the situation;
“I’m not the one married, Professor, and Hermione is not the kind of person that considers-“
“Tell these fairy tales to someone else, Mr. Potter, but not to a person who has known you from top to bottom since you were eleven years old!” interrupted the Headmistress sternly.
“With all due respect, I am not a person entitled to reveal such personal issues, especially my best friend\'s.”
Harry\'s stubborn words, however, must have held a different meaning to McGonagall\'s ears for she slowly sat back behind her desk. Massaging the temples with her wrinkled fingers, she barely audibly muttered;
“So the marriage had been sealed.”
Getting more uncomfortable with every passing second, Harry weighed his chances of darting to the door without being noticed. As if sensing the path of his thoughts, the witch suddenly opened her eyes and pinned him to his chair with one of her infamous stares.
“Pray tell me, Mr. Potter, did you notice anything...UNUSUAL during Professor Snape\'s and Hermione\'s wedding ceremony that evening?” she enquired. The Headmistress herself had noticed the peculiar way Snape and Hermione stood pressed together during the ceremony, but saw no cause for it at the time and now was hoping against hope that she had indeed missed something.
The dark-haired wizard frowned.
“Unusual? I don\'t think so.”
“Think carefully, boy. Perhaps something insignificant caught your attention at that time. Anything at all that looked a bit peculiar to you, even for a second!” Headmistress was now leaning towards him, watching Harry\'s face as intent as a hawk.
“I told you already, Professor! There was nothing out of –,” Harry suddenly stopped his exasperated tirade as a memory suddenly resurfaced to the open.
“What, Mr. Potter?”
Harry shook his head in dismay.
“Maybe it’s not important, but I suddenly remembered a moment from the ceremony. The second after Hermione said ‘I would’, she was suddenly...pressed to Snape\'s side. And judging by both of their expressions, neither purposely caused it.” Here Harry paused, slowly replaying the memory. “In fact, as far as I saw, neither of them could have moved as much as a finger! It looked almost as if...” the wizard absently waved his hands in the air, searching for the right word, “...wind had pressed their bodies together.”
As he finished, a rather startled look settled upon Harry\'s face, as if he couldn\'t fully believe that he chose these words in his description.
Professor McGonagall, on the other hand, started to laugh uncontrollably.
In fact, the witch laughed so hard that in a few seconds tears of merriment started to gather at the corners of her eyes. Rarely witnessing even a crack of a smile from McGonagall, at present Harry was literally gawking at her.
“P-professor...are you OK?” he anxiously demanded, his green eyes wide.
Her laughing subsiding a notch, the elderly woman managed to wave her hand in a carelessly dismissive manner.
“Never been better, Mr. Potter. Oh, Great Scot! The wind!” That set her off again.
Seizing his chance, Harry appeared before the door in a mere second, his hand already clutching the door knob tightly. Nevertheless, he hesitated enough to permit him to turn slightly towards Professor McGonagall, who has restored to chuckling.
“May I ask a question, Professor?”
“You may,” replied she.
The young man hesitated again before opening his mouth.
“What does this thing with the wind mean?”
Thankfully, this time the witch merely produced the wildest smile ever to grace her face in all the years Harry Potter had known her.
“But of course, Mr. Potter. I will just request you to step away from the door so that you will not be as foolish as to crack your precious skull against it when you fall.”
“And why should I fall?” asked the now more than suspicious Harry, instead tightening his hand more firmly around the metal of the door knob.
“Because the appearance of The Wind during a wizarding ceremony can indicate only one thing.”
It seemed practically impossible for her smile to widen further, but it did.
“Using the Muggle term it is simple: Hermione Snape and Severus Snape are actually, in fact, soul mates.”
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Chapter 1296790949: Eternal PonderingsChapter 15: Eternal Ponderings
Severus Snape couldn\'t help but feel relief as the door closed after the last student of the day. Today had stretched uncharacteristically long and the stupidity of the teenage morons he taught did not help to ease that burden in the slightest.
The only thing he sought now was to find himself as soon as possible in front of his fireplace with a bottle of Ogden\'s Old Firewhiskey in his hand.
However, it seemed that he had long lost whatever control he had of his life, for the next second came a deafening banging upon the classroom door.
“Enter!” growled Snape.
Whoever he might have expected to appear on his doorstep, Rubeus Hagrid was definitely not one of them.
Nevertheless, the half-giant stood there at the entrance of his classroom, filling the doorway almost to the ceiling. From what little Snape could see of his expression through the beard, he judged it to be far from a friendly one.
“What do you want?” snarled Snape, starting to briskly collect the scattered parchments on his desk.
“What did yeh do to him?!”
The bellowed words stopped Snape in mid-action.
“By Merlin, what are you blabbering about?” he enquired with annoyance.
“I am talkin’ abou’ Harry, that’s what!”
Hearing Potter’s name brought an instinctive grimace to his face. However, the hatred towards the boy did not manage to diminish a growing feeling of anxiety that Voldemort had somehow gotten to him or harmed him in any way. He might not have liked Potter, but he would have been a fool to not realise that if the boy was killed, the Light was doomed. And in turn securing the outcome of Snape’s own fate.
“And what has put the notion in your head that I have done something to your precious member of the dream team?” he asked, crossing his arms across his chest.
At those words, Hagrid’s beetle-like eyes started to bore into him with so much contempt that Snape was momentarily shocked.
“Harry is lyin’ unconscious in the Infirm’ry and Poppy won’t tell me anythin’ abou’ what happened. But maybe yeh have summat to say abou’ that!”
“I am asking again; what makes you think that I so much as touched Potter with my fingertip?” repeated Snape angrily.
“If nothin’ stopped yeh from killin’ Dumbledore, whatever will stop yeh from doin’ the same ter Harry?”
Snape had to literally close his eyes for a few moments, in fear that in his anger he will blast the elephant man into trillions of pieces. His temper was very quickly wearing thin for the day.
When he at last opened his eyes, Hagrid was still standing in front of him.
“Listen to me carefully, Hagrid. VERY carefully,” started Snape in a suppressed voice. “I will tell you this only once; I did not kill Albus and neither did I betray the Order. Remember this as well; the last thing I want is to kill Potter. Satisfied now?”
Whether Hagrid did not detect or decided to ignore the sarcasm in his last comment, Snape did not know.
“No,” replied the half-giant forcefully, “I am not satisfied. I have no idea how yeh managed ter trick the Ministry inter believin’ yeh but I will never do that again until yeh tell me what really happened.”
“This is no business of the likes of you!” cried out Snape.
For a moment, it looked as if Hagrid would pounce upon the professor; his body tensed so much. Feeling his body stiffening in turn, Snape waited for the attack. As discretely as possible, his right hand fingered the wand hidden in the blackness of his sleeve. One wrong movement from the half-breed would be the last thing he did in this life.
The two of them stood immobile in front of each other for some time before Hagrid uttered something resembling a growling snort. But instead of lunging towards Snape, he turned as briskly as his bulk would allow and marched to the door.
Opening the door so forcibly that it collided with the stone wall, Hagrid momentarily paused. Turning back towards Snape, his face wore an expression that Snape had never seen on him before. It was a look of a man who was ready to do anything to keep what he cherished, including killing. At that moment, Snape realised for the first time how dangerous the man really was if he wanted to be.
The following words that were spoken into the silence of the classroom, therefore, froze all of Snape’s insides in return.
“If yeh will harm Hermione in any way before the two o’ yeh divorce, yeh may well start countin’ the last minutes o’ yer life.”
The tables shook as the wooden door banged shut at last.
Snape stared unseeingly in front of him for a long time. Whether or not the half-giant knew that the marriage was supposed to be a facade from the start, he had no doubt that sooner or later Hermione will be able to detach herself from the wedlock.
But, of course, he did not know yet that it was no longer possible.
Without paying much attention to what he was doing, Snape found himself half-sitting on top of one of the student’s desks with his head in his hands.
Nothing was starting to matter to him anymore. He knew that Hagrid was not the only one feeling the same distrust and disdain towards him. Even the redemption in the eyes of the Ministry of Magic did not dispel the name of Albus Dumbledore’s murderer from him. And perhaps it never would.
He was doomed to suffer the hatred of his wife as well.
During all the years as a spy, Snape prized himself for keeping his life in spite of the various situations and circumstances he encountered. Hagrid’s last comment, however, involuntary brought a realisation that no matter what would be the outcome of the upcoming war, nothing will change for him. One way or the other, he will be forever hunted by either the Light for the sins he did not commit or the Dark whose midst he abandoned to vainly search for redemption in the Light. How ironic.
And it was not in the midst of a battlefield that Snape began to feel the last threads of hope deserting him. It was here, in the place he not so long ago began to count as his true home and sanctuary. The first time in thirty seven years, Snape at last felt the first trickle of struggle leaving his body and mind, leaving only one clear realisation in its wake.
Perhaps death was indeed the final solution to this pointless existence.
Gryffindor Common Room turned silent the moment Colin Creevey departed to bed, leaving Ron and Hermione alone. Now the only sound penetrating the silence was a random crackling of logs in the fireplace as the two friends remained mute.
Ron sat in one of the armchairs while Hermione walked from one end of the fireplace to the other with a constant rhythm.
“’Mione? Could you please do me and the house elves a favour and sit down before you wear holes in the carpet?” he said suddenly.
Without looking in Ron’s direction, the young witch meekly sat down into the other armchair in front of the fire. After a minute of silence she at last spoke up:
“You don’t think it’s something serious, do you?”
The redhead passed a hand across his closed eyes with a tired sigh.
“I don’t know. With the war getting closer every day, none of us knows when Lord Thingy will probably strike. Harry might or might not have been attacked today.”
His words were followed by yet another short silence until Hermione in her nervousness opened her mouth again. Lately she was rather more fidgety than normal and any minor situation brought an array of rolling emotions into her. The news of Harry’s unexplained appearance in the Infirmary was enough to nearly bring her to tears.
“And do you think that --”
“I am not a bloody Seer, OK?!” interrupted Ron.
The angry retort at last caused her eyes to cloud with unshed tears. Fortunately, she was saved from her humiliation for the moment the first tear spilled down her cheek, the portrait hole opened to let in a frowning Ginny Weasley.
Discreetly wiping away the offending proof of her weakness of mind, Hermione focused all of her attention on the approaching girl instead. About half an hour ago, all three of them had decided that only one of them should go and discreetly check on Harry’s state to keep from attracting too much attention. The role went to Ginny, so Ron and Hermione had nothing else to do but wait for her return.
Now, Hermione was not sure whether the somewhat quizzical expression on Ginny’s freckled face was a good or a bad sign.
Instead of taking a seat, Ginny stayed standing in front of the two of them, intently looking from one face to another in silence.
“Well?” finally enquired Ron, his patience visibly wearing thin.
“I am just wondering if what I am about to tell you will be taken as some kind of joke,” replied his sister, now with a deadpan face.
“I personally don’t find anything funny about my best friend ending up in Infirmary. The only thing I need to know now is WHY he ended up there!” cried out Ron.
Hermione, too overwhelmed by emotions, just nodded in agreement.
“Fine. Harry is in Infirmary because he fell and now has a bump on his head!”
Ginny’s words were met with a confused looking Hermione and Ron’s blank stare.
“Is this some kind of joke?” he finally asked.
Ginny’s scream of annoyance pierced through the air like a sword.
“Fred is right, you ARE ‘dung brains’, Ronald Weasley!” she screamed.
“Don’t call me that!” The colouring of Ron’s face was mounting at a considerable pace.
As she watched the start of one of Ron and Ginny’s infamous arguments, Hermione found a renewed sense of irritation mounting in her. Vigorously happy that the unexplained depression fled, she thoughtlessly opened her mouth and spoke the first thing that came into her mind. As a result, her rather loud comment contained the biggest amount of sarcasm she had ever used in her life.
“Be quiet! It’s past curfew if you haven’t noticed and unlike SOME people, ones with at least some common sense, you should have figured out the meaning of the word WHISPER!”
Her reprimand had the desired effect as the siblings shut up as one.
The reason for their reaction, however, as she found out soon enough, was quiet different from what she thought it to be.
“Bloody hell...” muttered Ron.
“...She sounds just like Snape.” Ginny’s eyes looked as if they went wider than was physically possible.
Hermione, on the other hand, squinted her eyes in annoyance.
“What the hell are you talking about?”
Her response only provoked another suppressed gasp from the youngest Weasley.
“Merlin! She even managed to snap like him!” she exclaimed, sharing a bewildered look with Ron.
The day was growing short and Hermione’s patience as well. Presently she was more worried about Harry’s true condition than the peculiarity that Ron and Ginny were displaying right now. She did not feel like discussing the fragile topic yet and did not have any plans on doing so for some time in the near future.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m going to go check on Harry now. It will be better if the two of you stay here and finish whatever argument you started before my unfortunate interruption. Good night!”
With that she jumped up from the armchair and made her way from the Common Room. She did not need to look back for she knew that both of them knew better than to accompany her while she was in such mood. The way things were going, Hermione was not sure herself whether she wouldn’t bite her friends’ heads off.
While the entrance of the Hospital Wing was dark, Hermione was surprised to find that the main room, where the patience lay, was bathed in light. It seemed that the occurrence if unfortunate accidents had subsided considerably as of late, for all but one of the numerous cots were vacant.
Tiptoeing as silently as she could, Hermione came to stand beside the bed in which lain Harry. As far as she could see, he was either soundly asleep or unconscious. Noting that he did not wear his glasses, she found them lying on a table beside his bed. Something must have happened to them because one of the lenses had a crack in the middle while the other was completely spider-webbed with them. Reflexively, Hermione took out her wand and with a swish of her hand swiftly repaired them. The resurfacing memory of that long ago first ride to Hogwarts brought the first smile of the evening to her face.
Gingerly, as not to disturb him, Hermione sat on the edge of his bed. Not possessing any willingness to go to her bedroom in the dungeons, she was content to look at Harry for the time being.
Only now, in this moment of peace, did he look unworried. The last few months brought more troubles and responsibility to him than most probably that of all the students in school put together. Hermione felt a sadness in the knowledge that it had been so since he was barely a cuddling and most probably would continue until the end of his life.
The only question was: how soon will this end arrive?
“Mrs. Snape, what are you doing here?”
At the sound of Madame Pomfrey\'s voice, a startled Hermione narrowly kept from falling off the bed. Instead, she jumped awkwardly to her feet while the still clutched wand suddenly fell onto the floor and rattled unseen to the other side of the room. Annoyed at being taken by surprise, Hermione whirled to face the fuming school nurse.
If the plump woman was expecting an apology from Hermione, she was in for a surprise.
“I would greatly appreciate if you would address me as Miss Granger, Madame. It is a name that I was born with and under which I plan to die.”
The poor witch was visibly taken aback at such a reprimand but successfully retained a frown a few seconds later.
“Fair enough, Miss Granger. But this doesn’t explain why a student is not in her Common Room past curfew but lounging in Infirmary in the middle of the night!” scolded Pomfrey.
“For your information, I am not LOUNGING but visiting my best friend!” fired back Hermione.
The nurse managed to frown and look astounded at the same time.
“My, my! You are snappish today, Miss Granger, aren’t you?”
This was the second time that evening that Hermione found herself accused of “snapping” and she was not particularly happy about it. Crossing her hands at her chest in a movement that betrayed her irritation, Hermione stubbornly stared back into the other witch’s eyes.
“Tell me what is really wrong with Harry and I will leave the Infirmary,” she said.
“I have told this to Miss Weasley already; there is nothing drastically wrong with Mr. Potter. The only injury he has is a bump on his head. I decided to keep him here overnight for observation, so that I can ensure there is no damage to his skull. However, I very much doubt that this will be the case, Miss Granger.”
Hermione absently nodded in understanding but did not cease frowning.
“Do you know how Harry managed to hit his head?” she enquired, only now noticing an impressive bulge half-hid by his hair, high upon his forehead.
“The only thing I was told by the Headmistress is that Mr. Potter tripped and managed to collide with a wooden door,” replied madam Pomfrey casually.
The comment forced a second smile out of Hermione that evening.
“Yeah, that sounds like Harry...Anyway, thank you very much for your help, Madame Pomfrey and sorry for the disturbance. You just have to understand how worried we all are about Harry’s...welfare and health,” said Hermione, almost making a mistake by pronouncing “life” instead.
“No worries, my dear. Now get yourself going before anyone else sees you out past curfew!”
“Good night!” exclaimed Hermione and turned around to exit the room.
However, before she was able to reach the doorway, her foot stepped on something. The unfortunate position of her foot immediately unbalanced her body. A part of her mind recognised her wand that she was careless enough to drop a few minutes earlier but it was too late to save the situation.
With a startled exclamation Hermione felt herself tripping backwards. At the last second she desperately shut her eyes and waited for her head to connect with the stone floor.
The fall, however, never came.
Instead, Hermione felt herself abruptly stopping in mid action. Unable to comprehend within her shocked state what was happening, she cracked her eyes open and looked around herself.
She was literary suspended in air. Nevertheless, a slight movement told her that she was free to move around. Very gingerly, Hermione managed to put herself into a standing position. The air around her body felt like an invisible, adjustable pillow. Even so, the moment when both of her feet safely connected with the ground, the pillow sense departed as quickly as it appeared.
Hermione stayed immobile for a couple of minutes blinking in confusion before she turned to Madame Pomfrey. Judging by the expression on the nurse’s face, Hermione was not completely sure which witch was more shocked by what had just happened.
“You...I mean...thank you,” muttered Hermione.
“Thank you for what?”
“For performing the levitating spell upon me in time?” Instead of making a statement, the young witch put a questioning tint to her voice.
The older witch shook her head.
“You are mistaken. I did not perform any spell at all. I thought YOU had managed to display an exceptional example of a Wandless Spell!”
Now it was Hermione’s turn to shake her head with eyes wide.
“No, no. What just happened was not a Wandless Spell from me. I would have felt it otherwise.”
The two witches continued to look at each other in confusion before Madame Pomfrey’s expression slowly started to change. It was like watching the sun protruding from the clouds, but instead of making her round face look happier, it transformed it into a startled realisation.
“If it is not a Wandless Spell...then...unless...” Hermione watched with something akin to interest as the nurse’s right eye suddenly began to twitch with some suppressed emotion.
“Sit,” she commanded and without any further ceremony put Hermione into the nearest chair.
“What...” but before Hermione could finish her thought; Madam Pomfrey’s wand whipped up and pointed towards her. With muttered words that Hermione did not manage to detect, blue light shot from the wand and surrounded her body.
Whatever the older witch saw, Hermione did not notice anything in the blue haze in which she found herself cocooned. But it seemed that the nurse saw or understood more than Hermione did for in about five seconds the light slowly extinguished itself into thin air.
The young witch sat unmoving in her seat for a few more seconds, giving a chance for her eyes to start seeing properly again.
“What was that all about?” she muttered at last, random blue dots still dancing in front of her eyes.
As no response came, Hermione succeeded to focus her eyes upon Madame Pomfrey’s face. The older witch did not have any expression at all, as she watched her with carefully neutral eyes. Only the remnants of the slight twitching of her eyes betrayed her turmoil of emotions.
“Well? Tell me what’s wrong!” cried out Hermione.
The nurse at last took a deep breath and for a few moments stared at the floor. When she at last lifted her eyes, they were filled with something dangerously close to compassion and...pity? But Hermione got the answer to her question.
“You are pregnant.”
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Chapter 1296790950: Useless to DenyChapter 16: Useless to Deny
Black void surrounded Hermione from all sides even as some of her senses were slowly returning. The first sign that she was once again connecting to the real world was a distant murmuring of unidentified voices. A few moments later the young witch gradually began to become aware of the soft bed beneath her body and the light duvet which covered her. Subconsciously giving her numb mind a few more minutes to get its bearings, Hermione finally opened her eyes.
At first the light seemed so unnaturally bright that she was forced to squint. Forcing her somewhat stiff muscles to move next, Hermione lifted her torso from the bed and propped herself into a sitting position.
“Ah. I see that Mrs. Snape has finally awoken. Good morning.”
With her eyes still partially shut, Hermione\'s head followed the sound of the voice. As it appeared, Professor McGonagall stood right at the entrance of the room with Madame Pomfrey beside her. It must have been the two them talking that she heard a few moments ago.
“Where am I?” grunted Hermione. Even though she still couldn\'t fully open her eyes, she was most certain that she wasn\'t in the Gryffindor Tower or the dungeons.
“You are in the right wing of the Infirmary, where most severely injured people are usually kept,” replied the nurse this time.
Hermione was not completely sure but she thought she saw the Headmistress give the school matron a momentary glance of warning before she turned back to her.
“What Madame Pomfrey really means is that being in this ward ensures privacy and discretion above all. There is nothing to worry about, Mrs. Snape.”
“Oh, really? And how will you describe the situation the poor girl is in now?” suddenly enquired Pomfrey, giving the taller witch an irritated glance of her own.
“Poppy, calm down!” hissed the Headmistress.
But it was too late.
“Injured? Situation? What are you talking about?” exclaimed Hermione momentarily dumbfounded. The events of the previous evening seemed a bit hazy and she couldn\'t remember at all what had caused her to be in the Hospital Wing. Quickly scanning her body with both hands, she was assured that no physical damage was present.
Noting the quizzical expression upon Hermione\'s face, Professor McGonagall took a deep breath before silently letting it out.
“Do you remember anything at all from yesterday, in particular what happened right before you...passed out?”
Hermione frowned in deep concentration but had to negatively shake her head after a couple moments of silence.
“I told you that you must have given her too much Sleeping Drought, Poppy!” said the Headmistress in exasperation, obvious disapproval in her voice.
“And what would you have had me do, then? Leave her lying unconscious on the stone floor and patiently wait until she woke up, regained her senses and jumped from the Astronomy Tower instead?” cried out the nurse.
“Is this your true opinion on the subject? That death is the better solution?!”
Madame Pomfrey actually waved her plump hand at the Headmistress\' angry retort as if dismissing her words.
“Just listen to yourself for a minute, Minerva! For Merlin\'s sake, she is but a child herself! There is no more future for that girl! By Merlin, in another situation I would have counted this occurrence a blessing if not something more, but not in this case.”
“Desperate times call for desperate measures. At times, some of us are forced to give up our childhood before our time and Hermione, I fear, is one of those chosen ones,” said McGonagall quietly.
Madame Pomfrey, on the other hand, was anything but quiet in her opinions.
“To Hades with those times! We are talking about a girl who is barely eighteen years old here. You’re starting to sound more like Albus every day, and he possessed a rather ill-idealistic view of things like this!” she exclaimed, pointing her trembling finger in Hermione\'s direction.
At this, the Headmistress took a deliberate step towards the slightly younger witch with stern lines set deep around her mouth. When she at last spoke, Hermione nearly missed the forcibly whispered words.
“Then I should feel honoured to have been compared to one of the greatest wizards born to this world, instead of criticizing things that neither you nor I may never fully comprehend.”
At last, the nurse did not seem able to respond to the words of the Headmistress. As a result, the two women continued to scrutinise each other with their glares but this time doing so mutely.
“What is going on?” asked a more than anxious Hermione. The sleeping potion must have been still heavily clouding her rational thought for she subconsciously realised there was something terribly wrong with her, but she could not remember what.
The sound of her voice set the nurse\'s tongue running again as she now whirled to face her patient.
“In a few months you are not going to fit into any of your school skirts, that\'s what is going on!”
Hermione\'s frown only grew deeper with confusion just as her gut twisted with an unexplainable fear.
“What are you talking about?”
The nurse produced something like an annoyed snort.
“You are pregnant, honey! As in: another human being is presently growing inside of you and very soon you will be giving birth to either a boy or a girl.”
The words hit Hermione like miniature bludgers, leaving her desperately gasping for breath. Pregnant. With that one word, memory rushed back into her brain, flooding her completely. Only now she understood what had really caused her to faint the night before.
Fuck...fuck...fuck...chanted Hermione\'s voice inside her skull. Without looking at either of the adults, her eyes flicked to the sides in a frenzied movement. She had no reason not to believe them and that only made everything worse. Since she had only had sex once in her entire life, then she knew she was over a month pregnant. And the complexity of the situation did not end there.
She was not carrying just anyone’s child, she was carrying Severus Snape’s child.
With desperation unlike any she had known before, Hermione blabbered the first thing that came into her mind.
“Can I abort it?”
But the same moment those words came out of her mouth, Hermione felt appalled at herself. The feeling only heightened when she saw the Headmistress giving her a disappointing look.
“That is an impossible option, Mrs. Snape. Witches are able to proceed with an abortion only when the child is conceived out of wedlock. The marriage ceremony, therefore, secures that any child produced between the couple would be practically impossible to dispose of,” Professor McGonagall informed her.
Hearing this, Hermione buried her head in her hands. It was quiet ironic when you thought about it; one of the cleverest witches of the century managed to find herself married to her Professor and get pregnant in the process as well. And all accomplished by the tender age of eighteen, no less.
From now on, no one had the right to call her life boring.
“What is to become of me now?” Hermione addressed this question to herself rather than the other two women present in the room.
“I don’t see that there is anything else for you to do but stay and raise a family, Mrs. - Miss Granger,” replied Madame Pomfrey.
Hermione focused her eyes upon the Headmistress, desperation clearly showing in her dark toffee eyes as she clutched the blanket protectively against her chest.
Professor McGonagall, however, shook her head at the silent question.
“I am not in power to help you. Though it hurts me very much to tell you this, the fact remains that you have built your nest and now it is your duty to live in it. You have to understand me, Mrs. Snape, that you do not live in a Muggle World and neither do you live by their laws. A fully consummated marriage lasts a lifetime among us...and sometimes longer.”
The young Gryffindor was too far gone into her thoughts to notice the last comment or the intense look that the Headmistress was giving her.
“I am doomed to live with a man I hate and who hates me in return.”
Hearing those words, the women\'s reactions were quite different. While Madame Pomfrey looked down at Hermione with compassion and pity filling her eyes, Professor McGonagall\'s eyes, on the other hand, remained carefully blank though her lips thinned even more.
“You are still young and thus have no right to talk about things like that,” said Professor. Knowing the truth about the couple, McGonagall had realised that Snape’s actions showed he must have wanted to seal his marriage to Hermione, even though he was unaware they were soul mates himself. “Perhaps the future will teach you how to justify people\'s actions correctly.”
Hermione had a hard time believing in her words. As far as she was concerned, she had a bleak future stretching before her, if there actually was one.
“For the time being, however,” continued the elderly witch, “you are going to return to school and face the consequences. It is entirely your choice whom you chose to tell about your pregnancy and I myself will not speak about this matter without your consent. Nevertheless, I feel obliged to remind you that in barely two months your situation will be rather...visible to everyone in Hogwarts.”
Hermione nodded absently and stood up from the bed. It took her longer than usual to dress, for she still felt a bit dizzy. Some considerable time later, she found herself standing beside the bed, with her wand now safely tucked in her sleeve.
“Now, you will please make your way to the Great Hall where I am sure breakfast is already being served,” commanded McGonagall in a slightly softer voice but with a note that said it was not wise to argue with her.
“I will be seeing you later then, Professor,” murmured Hermione and she made her way towards the exit.
But before she stepped over the threshold, Madame Pomfrey halted her by putting her plump hand upon Hermione\'s shoulder.
“Considering your circumstances, I think it would be wise for you to come back to see me this evening. Here we can freely discuss the adjustments that you will need to make in your life as well as how to deal with pregnancy. Nothing serious, Miss Granger. Just a chit-chat with an old witch who has experienced pregnancy three times,” stated the matron, her lips accommodating the first smile since Hermione came to the Infirmary yesterday evening.
“Thank you. I will.”
Without once looking back at the two witches, Hermione tried to keep her head high as she departed the Hospital Wing. Only when she disappeared behind the corner of the deserted corridor did the tears start to pool in her eyes. Holding them back as strongly as she could, Hermione wondered what she had done to deserve everything that had fallen upon her.
A sinking feeling in her gut, however, told her that this was just the beginning.
When Hermione at last reached the Great Hall, most of the school body was already in the middle of their breakfast. She did not look around, but instead focused all of her attention on the Gryffindor table. For a moment she was taken by surprise to see Harry sitting placidly at the table, with Ginny trying to feed him a spoonful of porridge. Madame Pomfrey must have released him this morning, she thought.
Frustration mounting with every step, Hermione knew that if she didn’t tell someone about her problem soon, she would end up shouting it to the whole Hall. At least that would get rid of one problem and she wouldn’t need to worry about when the entire school knew what was happening to her.
Noticing her approach, Ron grinned and elbowed Harry’s side. The dark haired boy in turn swallowed the forced porridge and produced a somewhat nervous smile as he watched his other best friend coming to a halt beside him.
“Hermione! Long time no see,” he said, without meeting her eyes.
“Yeah. Well, how do you feel?” she asked briskly.
If Harry noticed something unusual in her manner of speaking, he did not show it.
“Nothing to worry about. It’s just my head is still-”
“Wonderful! Now, if you will excuse me, could I borrow Ginny here for a minute or two?”
Without waiting for a reply, Hermione grabbed the young witch’s arm and pulled her up from the table. Ginny blinked in confusion at her but Hermione did not give her time to recover.
“I’ll see you sometime in class today, then. Bye!” And with that exclamation Hermione rotated on the spot, dragging Ginny in her wake towards the doors.
For the umpteenth time this term, the two boys were again abandoned and now held expressions of permanent bewilderment upon their faces.
Harry spoke for both of them.
“I have a VERY bad feeling about this.”
Passing the classrooms in a flying pace, Hermione was already half unsure about her decision to reveal her secret to Ginny. However, the redheaded witch was the closest girl friend from all of her acquaintance in Hogwarts (the mere idea of sharing THIS piece of news with Parvati made her shudder). Stilling her will, Hermione finally found the broom cupboard she wanted and nudged the other witch inside before entering it herself.
Just as the door clicked shut, the previously silent Ginny finally exploded.
“What in the name of Merlin are you doing?!” she hissed.
The inside of the cupboard was pitch black but before Hermione could do anything about it she heard Ginny’s whispered, “Lumos”. The light from the wand filled the sparse space where they stood, as well as revealed the anger in Ginny’s eyes.
“Harry was finally starting to give in and was ready to spill what really happened to him yesterday, but you chose to come barging in right then!”
“Ginny, listen, I am sorry about -”
“And you should be! Do you know how long it will take me to coax everything out of him now? Considering Harry’s stubbornness, I should be transferred into Slytherin as soon as I manage to manipulate him into opening this mouth again about it!” exclaimed a rather frustrated Ginny.
“Ginny, I completely understand you, but you have to -”
“Just ONCE why can’t I be the person he wants to tell everything?”
But the young Weasley did not seem to hear her at all.
“And what should I think now? The second I try to relieve Harry from some of the burdens he carries on his shoulders, you, without any explanation whatsoever, forcefully drag me away from my breakfast, pull me around corridors, then throw me into some broom cupboard for Hades only knows wh-”
“I AM PREGNANT!”
The silence that followed these words was deafening. A few moments later, Ginny\'s gaping mouth closed with a snap. Hermione was panting anxiously as she looked at the stricken expression of the other witch.
With an ear-piercing squeak, Ginny suddenly threw her arms around Hermione\'s neck.
“Oh, Hermione! Congratulations! I am so happy for you!”
Hermione could do nothing but stand immobile in the suffocating hug in complete shock. Ginny was still making some happy noises when she finally gathered enough wits to detach herself from the embrace.
“Are you crazy?” enquired Hermione, looking closely into her friend\'s face.
“No. What\'s wrong?” she asked, finally noting the lack of happiness upon Hermione\'s face.
The curly haired witch forcefully pointed towards her stomach.
“THAT is what is wrong. I am pregnant, Ginny. Understand? I am fucking pregnant and I have no idea what you are so excited about!”
The look that the redhead gave her clearly indicated that she thought her mad.
“Why?! You have been blessed with a child, Hermione. That is not something you could consider as an every-day happening.”
“Blessed?” repeated Hermione disbelievingly. “It looks more like a curse to me! It is Professor Snape\'s child I have conceived, in case you’ve forgotten.”
An odd, irritated look began creeping into Ginny\'s eyes the longer she listened to Hermione\'s words.
“Don\'t you think it’s time to call him by his given name already? He may well be your professor but he is your husband as well. And the soon-to-be father of your child.”
Hermione felt totally shattered. Searching for compassion in the eyes of her friends, she yet again found judgment. Unable to comprehend why everybody seemed to have teamed up against her, she looked at the floor. Nevertheless, Ginny detected the flash of confusion in the brown eyes and with a sigh gingerly wrapped her arms around the older witch\'s shoulders.
“Maybe I’m not the right person to explain this to you, but I want you to know that right now you should consider yourself a very lucky witch. In the last few years there has been a decrease in the number of magical children being born because more and more witches are having problems conceiving children. My family, in fact, is considered very unusual because so many children are born among us. The fact that you have been able to get pregnant on the first time, Hermione, could almost be called a miracle. Just remember this; children are really precious in the wizarding world and should be thought of likewise.”
With a light squeeze, Ginny let her hands fall from Hermione. Her eyes instantly met with tear-filled brown ones in front of her.
“I know,” murmured Hermione. “I just feel so stupid not knowing what will become of me and...my baby.”
Ginny could not suppress a smile as she watched warmth flooding back into the witch\'s eyes in front of her as she unconsciously placed her palm upon her still flat stomach.
“You are right. I will have to behave more responsibly from now on, instead of fretting around like a child. And...I am sorry about -”
“It\'s ok, really. I should be apologizing for the famous Weasley temper that I showed so well earlier,” interrupted Ginny with a small smile. “I guess in his own way, Harry is a child himself who needs to be constantly looked after and sometimes it just takes a lot out of me.”
“Well, come on,” continued Ginny, “we should be getting ourselves to the Great Hall before half of the food on the Gryffindor table disappears as one of us now has to eat for two people!”
It took a few moments for the implication to register in Hermione\'s brain and when it did Ginny had to duck the playful slap aimed at her shoulder.
“Oh, Merlin! Give it a few weeks and I will finally start feeling like a model in your presence!” exclaimed Ginny and with a squeak she dashed out of the cupboard, closely followed by Hermione.
Later on, as the two of them devoured their food at the Gryffindor table, Hermione felt the happiest she had been for the past month. With her practical brain finally succumbing to the inevitable reality, she actually found herself getting more excited by the minute at the prospect of motherhood. Even though she still felt too young to be a mother, she could not resist the maternal instinct rising within her.
Subconsciously laying her hand onto her stomach, Hermione gave a silent promise to herself and her yet unborn child;
No matter what happens in the future, she will protect her child till the end. Neither her husband nor the Dark Lord himself will be able to take away from her the someone who she has already started to love.
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Chapter 1296790951: It\'s All About TimeNOTE: For all those people who have read this story on AFF, I guess you are as excited as I am about finally achieving to post the update in this site. Until AFF will fix all of their problems, check out all the updates here!
ENJOY!!! And Review!!!!
Chapter 17: It\'s All About Time
After what seemed only a couple of days, Hermione found herself devouring her breakfast with barely three days left before Halloween.
From her point of view she had spent those days doing only three things; eating, sleeping and learning, in that order. As she found out a few days ago, according to Madame Pomfrey, she should consider herself to be quite fortunate not to suffer morning sickness at all. However, it seemed that whoever was growing inside of her now decided to multiply his efforts in other areas. As a result, the young witch found herself permanently exhausted, hiding yawns behind her hand for the most part of the day.
She was in the process of doing just that when Ginny jumped into the seat next to hers.
“Good morning, Sunshine!” she exclaimed.
“It depends for whom. While you manage to rest with barely four hours of sleep and look like a blooming dandelion, SOME of us get eight hours of sleep and end up feeling like they’ve been planting blasted Mandrakes all night,” murmured Hermione, stifling yet another yawn.
Ginny shot her a sympathetic glance.
“You are exhausted, aren\'t you?”
Brown eyes with dark circles beneath them scrutinised the redhead witch.
“What do you think?”
Catching the hint, Ginny quickly busied herself with her own food. As it was Saturday, only a handful of students were seated at their tables for most of the school body had finished eating some while ago, including Harry and Ron.
As if catching the trail of her thoughts, Ginny addressed Hermione without looking up from her bacon:
“As I haven\'t seen any greenness in either Ron\'s or Harry\'s face, am I right to presume that you haven\'t told the boys about your situation yet?”
Silently thankful for her friend\'s careful choice of words, Hermione still looked nervously around. This was something that she did not wish to reveal right now.
“No, I haven\'t.”
This time Ginny did look up with clear annoyance in her light brown eyes.
“And why not?”
“I can\'t just come up to them with ‘Hey, guys, how was your day? Ah, and by the way, I got knocked up!’”
The younger witch seemed on the verge of rolling her eyes at Hermione\'s reasoning.
“Herm, it’s not my business how you tell them but you have to understand that sooner or later they will find out about it. And I do not think they will take it nicely when they realise that the person they have regarded a best friend for over six years did not tell them about her pregnancy.”
This was not the first time the two of them had this conversation and Ginny always ended up with a logical statement that Hermione did not know how to argue with. This time, however, she felt her defenses crumbling down under the reasoning look of the girl beside her.
“Fine,” she snapped. “What do you suggest?”
Ginny was unable to suppress a slight smile but nevertheless managed to shrug her shoulders.
“Your decision. However, I suggest that you tell them no later than this evening.”
This time Ginny did not even try to mask her smile.
“This way it gives them a full day to recover in Infirmary before school on Monday.”
Feeling that a retort was not needed, Hermione glanced moodily into her porridge, feeling like bloody Trelawney with her blasted crystal ball. Needless to say, her breakfast did not reveal to her how to approach the subject, not to mention the consequences that confession will bring.
Hermione and Ginny ambushed the boys in the Gryffindor Room. The two wizards were just coming back from a late Quidditch practice and were rather a sight with their clothes caked in mud and similar brown smudges across their faces.
“Honey, could you come over, please?” Ginny cried heartily, waving her arm over to Harry.
He and Ron shared a long look between the two of them before finally coming over rather hesitantly. As they approached, it was Hermione’s turn to stand up from the sofa where she had been nervously biting her fingernails since dinner. During the whole day she couldn’t concentrate enough to write even one foot of parchment for homework, instead thinking of what was to happen in the evening. And when her brain wasn’t playing horrible scenes, she was taking occasional naps. Damn that flaming tiredness.
“What’s up?” asked Ron casually. His look, however, was suspicious.
“Do you think the two of you could come up to my dormitory? I want to get an opinion from both of you and Hermione on something that I thought to give Mother for her birthday.”
At that, another look passed between Harry and Ron. Hermione was starting to get annoyed by it but instead forced herself to give a somewhat stony smile. The most important thing now was to lead them away from the public eye, preferably in a calm state. There was time for everything else later.
“Marvelous idea, Ginny,” she said and headed towards the girls dorm rooms without waiting for the others.
Once everybody was assembled and the door closed behind Ginny, Hermione took a place as far as possible from her best friends who positioned themselves upon Ginny’s bed. The redheaded witch grimaced at the sight of mud soaking her blankets. Fortunately, she remained silent.
A somewhat awkward silence settled thickly in the room as Harry and Ron regarded Hermione and Ginny with guarded expressions.
About three minutes later, Harry cleared his throat.
“Well...what do the two of you want?” he said but almost immediately grimaced at the fierce look in Ginny\'s eyes. “I mean, what do you wish to tell us?”
The redhead pointed towards Hermione.
“I believe that your best friend has some very happy news to share with the two of you!” she exclaimed.
At this, both boys\' faces suddenly broke into grins.
“You don’t need to live with Snape anymore?” demanded Ron.
“Is he going to be whisked off to Azkaban at last?” This from Harry.
“Or perhaps you are finally getting divorced! Congratulations!”
With every spoken word, Hermione\'s annoyance returned full force. Instead of shrinking into her seat with every wronged exclamation, she straightened herself out in her chair until Ginny\'s eyes worriedly followed her every move. Whether the youngest Weasley had doubts about her safety or the guys\', Hermione did not know.
“Let’s see,” loudly murmured Hermione. “Wrong, I live in the same apartment as him. No, he is rather comfortable at the moment where he is now. No, we’re not divorcing. And, thanks!”
Hermione observed with a look that was something akin to sadism as Harry and Ron tried to process what has just taken place.
“Eh, Ok. So Snape\'s judgment day has not come yet,” at last summarised Ron.
“So what are the congratulations for?” enquired the frowning Harry.
This time, Hermione\'s smile was pure sarcasm as she fondly patted her sweater covered stomach.
“For Professor Snape\'s baby, of course!”
Sunday dinner found the Great Hall bustling with excitement as the students mooned over the Halloween Ball that was to be happening the following day. The enchanted ceiling almost seemed to be reflecting the laughter of the numerous voices. The only voices that did not ring out like the rest were of two girls- young women sitting in the middle of Gryffindor Table.
An uncomfortable silence stood between Hermione and Ginny as the two of them picked at their food with forks not looking at each other. Most of dinner had passed in complete muteness but when it finally came to the desert, Ginny looked up.
“I know why I’m so upset, what are you pouting about? Isn\'t this what you wanted?” she asked.
“Firstly, I am not pouting. Secondly, this is not what I wanted. My only goal was to give them a taste of the same shock I had when I was first told about it,” Hermione replied calmly.
Ginny set her goblet down with a bang.
“Well, mission accomplished! Your success has sent my brother into unconsciousness and my boyfriend into Infirmary with a splitting headache!”
“But this is what you wanted me to do, Ginny! Reveal the truth to them without you caring about how I do it!”
“There are limits!” hissed the redheaded witch.
“The only thing it shows is that both Harry and Ron have to work hard to control their nerves. With everything going on nowadays with Voldemort, it’s surprising that they don\'t have a heart attack every time they see the colour black!” exclaimed Hermione.
Thankfully, all the chattering around them was too loud for either the forbidden name or for the topic of their conversation to seep through. Nevertheless, her comment produced a very disapproving glance from Ginny.
“This is not something you should joke about.”
“I know. I am sorry. It is just - everything seemed to just fall on me in one big mass and I have no idea how to solve this tangled mess,” muttered Hermione.
Ginny gave a tired sigh.
“Did you tell him yet?”
Hermione did not need to be told who they were talking about.
“No, not yet. Somehow I have a feeling that this conversation with him is going to be much more problematic than it was with Harry and Ron.”
The youngest Weasley snorted.
“Of course, \'Mione. Do you expect Professor Snape to fall in a dead faint like Ron? I rather think that he will express his opinion on this subject in more words - or sounds - than my darling brother,” she said.
“That\'s so horrible of you, Ginevra Weasley! You should be encouraging me instead of patronising me!” she cried and pinched Ginny’s arm in mock horror.
The tension that had been present between the two witches for the past two days disappeared in a matter of seconds as they laughed at something they and no one else in the Great Hall understood.
The rest of the meal passed almost eventless with the only exception being an argument that quickly developed as the subject of the Halloween Ball came up between them.
“And why not, may I ask?” exclaimed a scandalised looking Ginny.
“Because I don’t feel that well and I just don’t want to go in general,” replied Hermione in the vain hope that her friend would drop the subject without further interrogation.
No such luck.
“Bullshit! I saw your dress at the beginning of term when I came over to say hello to you the first day back. So don’t even think of ferreting around it!”
“I am neither Draco Malfoy nor a ferret to do such a thing,” muttered the older witch.
That earned another attempted swat aimed at Ginny’s shoulder but the redhead managed to lead the silliness back into the subject that concerned her.
“Stop being such a prude and come, Hermione. See it this way; this is practically your last chance to fit into a dress for the next couple of months!”
Hermione gave her a dirty look that Ginny promptly ignored and continued to preach with the same vigour:
“Have fun, Hermione, for the sake of your friends, at least.”
Much later in the evening when Hermione was getting ready to leave the Gryffindor Common Room, Ginny stopped her with a hand upon her shoulder.
“Hermione, promise me that you will tell him about the child. He has the right to know before everything ends up going public,” she whispered.
The older witch\'s lips visibly thinned at yet another reminder to do the thing she dreaded most, but nevertheless, slowly nodded her head in agreement.
“When?” sternly persisted Ginny.
“Tomorrow, at the Halloween Ball.”
The redhead witch took a last long look into the eyes of her friend before at last letting go of her arm.
“You better. You don’t have all eternity, \'Mione. The time is getting short.”
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Chapter 1296791020: Fate is There to MockPhew! Can\'t believe I am finally posting an update. There was a slight problem with the e-mail when my beta was sending me the corrected version, and it arrived only today.
Thank you all who took time to review. I am really happy about your enthusiasm towards this story and I sincerely hope to hear from you again after you read this chapter *hint*
Kris, you are the best!!!
Chapter 18- Fate is There to Mock
Severus\' sneer deepened with every minute that brought the evening closer. He was tortured enough at Albus\' Memorial but it seemed as if Minerva had arranged it so that he would be in danger of over-socialising barely half way through the term. In addition, it was almost universally known that Severus Snape was not a fan of society.
As a result, by the end of the day he found himself wearing a scowl while he regarded himself in the reflection of his mirror. During the day, the Headmistress dropped countless hints about her expectations for his attendance, going as far as subtly informing him that nowadays there were more than a handful of capable people in her acquaintance that suited the Defence Against the Dark Arts position. She was turning out to be the same cunning manipulator as the former Headmaster.
What is more, she formally informed all the members of staff that it was practically compulsory for them to dress up for the Halloween Ball in order to \"liven up the spirit\". However, hell would freeze twice over before Severus will dress in a white sheet with two holes for eyes.
Though his clothes possessed his usual tinge of style, it was very far from his former teaching robes and the garments he wore nowadays. This costume was the only thing he could come up with that was far from his usual attire and yet something that would not make him the laughing stock of the evening. Overall, the only thing that stayed the same were the tight breeches that hugged his thighs just as the Dragon Hyde boots covered his calves.
“Oh, dear! I wouldn\'t mind having your image before me for the whole night!”
Severus\' scowl detached from his reflection only to concentrate upon the mirror in general. The last thing he needed at present was to get suspicious hints from furniture.
“Shut it,” he bit out.
“Don\'t get so wound up! It’s not MY fault that you look more like sex on legs than a Hogwarts Professor,” sweetly returned the mirror.
He opened his mouth just to argue but instead let out a string of colourful swear words. The realisation that he was on the verge of throwing himself into a heated debate with his mirror did not lessen his annoyance and ill-humour.
Without another word, Severus exited his quarters with a swish of his cloak. The tap of his boots still echoed dully in the darkened chamber after the door closed behind him.
“Ah. The idiot is going to be all fawned over this evening and he doesn\'t even realise it,” was the only comment that broke the silent interior of the now empty room.
The Great Hall was already bathing in excitement and laughter when Severus arrived. Second doubts began to creep into his system as he observed the collective cheer and enjoyment of the countless students before him. He would have given anything at the moment to appear in his living room, comfortably situated before a blazing fire with a good book in his hand, instead of skulking in shadows among floating pumpkins in hopes that he would be able to avoid confronting HER.
Hermione Jane Granger-Snape. The young woman who caused his guilt to eat him alive every waking and sleeping hour of his present life.
All his hopes of not bumping into her today were crashed just as he heard a voice behind him.
“Are you going to move or have you decided to join the ranks of the suits of armour? You are blocking the way, Professor.”
With his usual irritation resurfacing above the feeling of guilt, Severus sharply turned towards her voice, fully poised to give her a piece of his mind, and froze.
That made the two of them, as Hermione mutely stared back at him with a slack jaw.
The wizard, however, was too entranced at what was displayed before him to notice the perplexed state of the witch. He couldn\'t prevent his eyes from tracing her body from top to bottom, pausing at certain places in the middle.
The Gryffindor was wearing a Victorian dress, made from the palest pink satin. The corset made sure that her waist appeared to be even slimmer, at the same time forcing her breasts upward. Severus watched mesmerised as the pale globes moved with her every breath, resurfacing the memory of how heavy they felt in his palm. The sight before him and the heated memory brought an instant pressure to his loins, just as he felt a sudden desire to lift her bulky skirt and ravish her right there against the wall.
A loud clearing of throat broke him sharply from his fantasy.
“Professor Snape,” the Weasley girl murmured apologetically just as she gave her friend a look that Severus couldn\'t catch.
Without taking his eyes off his wife, he shifted enough to let the redhead witch pass freely into the Great Hall. But not before she inspected him from head to foot with something akin to open interest.
Silence once again descended upon the two of them as neither could find anything to say. Hermione broke the silence first.
“The Phantom of the Opera?” she mused.
Hermione did not know where she found the sheer force to say something while looking at who stood before her. At first when she and Ginny approached the doors, she had no doubt who stood in their way with his cloaked back turned to them. The spiteful comment escaped her by instinct, knowing that she had a twisted upper-hand in the situation. She was unprepared, however, for what met her eyes when the wizard whirled to face her.
Bottomless black eyes looked down at her from a white mask that hid half of the man\'s face. His raven-winged hair was loosely tied at the nape of his neck with a black ribbon. Hermione\'s eyes trailed down to find him wearing a white lace shirt that displayed the pale flesh almost halfway down his chest. A long dark cloak hung from his broad shoulders and a fencing sword was snuggled close to his hip.
There was barely any doubt about whom he represented this evening. She found it deeply ironic that Snape chose the character who, just like him, chose to hide himself behind a white mask for most of his life.
She was incapable of stopping the turmoil of emotions from flooding her when she saw naked lust flush in Snape\'s eyes as he became entranced by her bodice. Excitement at her own body\'s response, fear for what he had in mind, anger at his power over her, smugness at her capability to affect him in such a way, all these emotions blended into one.
“The Phantom of the Opera?” she mused.
This was the only thing she found herself capable of saying as blandly as possible. She did not wish Snape to find out what one look from him was capable of rending to her treacherous body.
In answer to her question, his gloved hand lightly touched the mask.
“Yes. The mask fits me perfectly, don\'t you think?” he enquired mockingly.
“I wonder why...”
The Phantom threw her an impressive sneer of his own before offering her his arm in a graciously played movement.
“I shall be immensely honoured if the Lady would accept my offer of escorting her to the Ball.” Snape\'s sarcasm did not go unnoticed by Hermione.
“And if I refuse?’
She saw the way his whole body stiffened but his eyes remained their usual impassive selves.
“I can assure you, Mrs. Snape, that I am no more eager and enthusiastic in having you as a companion for the evening either but there exists some rules of social etiquette that we are obliged to follow as a married couple. So just stuff all of your hatred deep underneath the surface and act as everyone expects a young bride to be,” he said coldly.
Forcefully swallowing the anger that right now wouldn\'t help the situation, Hermione mutely accepted her husband\'s arm. In all, she needed to save all of her energy for the little \"surprise\" that Snape did not even guess awaited him.
The conversations began to halt the moment Severus and Hermione entered the Great Hall. By the time they made half a dozen steps, all the talking was rendered to silence and occasional whispering as everybody watched the couple with awe.
A quick side glance told Severus that the young witch beside him was anything but shy and embarrassed. With a posture that would have put a queen to shame, Hermione moved with determined grace even as her slightly lifted head displayed her will power.
An unaccustomed feeling of pride stirred in his chest as his vanity informed him that this proud and unyielding woman was his wife. That feeling was quickly squashed, however, by the inevitable acknowledgement of what forced her to behave thus towards her fellow students. The idea of marriage might have appeared perfect in theory but reality was much harsher than that.
Pushing aside the less than positive thoughts about both of their situations, Severus led his companion to the seemingly waiting Headmistress McGonagall.
“Ah, Mrs. Snape! As lovely as always, you almost seem to shine from within!” exclaimed the elderly witch, her eyes flicking restlessly between the couple.
“Thank you, Professor,” was Hermione\'s tense reply. She obviously wasn\'t happy about something, if her clenched jaw indicated anything.
“It is nice to see you with much more colour today than usual. Did you see Madame Pomfrey yesterday?”
“Yes.” One clipped, angry word.
Severus began to feel uncomfortably left out of the conversation, having a sense as if the two witches were talking about something beyond his comprehension. Nevertheless, worry crept up into him at the Headmistress\' words.
“Madame Pomfrey?” he repeated. “Was Mrs. Snape unwell?”
The older witch carelessly shrugged her shoulders just as her eyes looked Hermione up and down.
“Well, it depends on your definition of ‘unwell’.”
The phrase for some reason seemed to throw Hermione off her hook. With a desperation that momentarily shunned Severus into shock, the witch grabbed hold of his arm and pulled him towards the dance floor, at the same time addressing McGonagall.
“If you would excuse us, Professor, my...husband and I need to...eh...perform our duty –“ a sudden blush crept up onto her cheeks at her choice of words, “- I mean...our SOCIAL etiquette duty and have one civilised dance.”
Severus was too dumbfounded to register Headmistress\'s merry laughter as the two of them found themselves in the middle of the group of dancing couples.
Mutely, Hermione\'s slender hands clapped on his shoulders as she stiffly started to dance on the spot. With an exasperated sigh, Severus placed his own hands upon her waist and mentally willed her to relax. He did not wish to provide any more entertainment for the curious onlookers. One glare from him, however, was enough to make any student suddenly get interested in the stone floor.
He waited a few moments to make sure that the witch in his arms did not plan to start a conversation before he opened his own mouth.
“What are you and McGonagall playing at?”
A pair of innocent eyes unflinchingly met his unblinking obsidian gaze.
“I have no idea what you are talking about, sir.”
Clenching his jaw in irritation, Severus flexed his long fingers around his wife\'s slender waist more firmly and bent low enough so that only she would hear his next words.
“I am not blind and neither am I deaf. I have spent too much time as a spy not to be able to recognise when vital information is hidden from me,” he warned.
“Vital?” repeated Hermione, “I don’t think Ron would agree with that characterisation.”
Severus felt his eyes narrowing at the mention of her friend\'s name, as well as at the blush that now decorated the witch\'s cheeks. Suspicion quickly reared its ugly head.
“What the hell does the idiotic sidekick Weasley have to do with all of this?” he asked.
“Don’t insult him like that!” countered Hermione angrily.
Whatever distraction she was looking for, Severus had no intention of straying from the conversation at hand.
“What happened between you and him?”
“Nothing of great importance,” vaguely replied Hermione, without looking at him.
The next second the young witch gasped in surprise as she found herself pressed chest to chest with the man in front of her, rending her immobile. The strength of the hands around her waist intensified until the point when she thought that metal chains would have appeared softer in comparison to her husband\'s muscles.
The black eyes that she met, however, were capable of burning the path to her very soul.
“Did you kiss him? Fucked him already?” he hissed through his teeth.
It took all of Hermione\'s pride and will power not to quiver under the amount of anger that was directed at her. With them pressed tightly against each other, she could not but notice the way his tall body seemed to vibrate with tension and some other restrained emotion. Fortunately, the insulting accusations thrown at her proved that her rising anger was stronger than whatever fear she expressed towards her teacher of six years.
“Don\'t you dare to speak like that to me!” she hissed back. “I am not a slut to whore around with my friends!”
However, it seemed as if Severus did not hear her words or translated her words into a different meaning. Hermione\'s eyes widened in panic as she felt herself being forcefully jerked against him, his hard body an unyielding force in front of her. There did not seem to be an inch of free space between them and she had no other choice but crane her neck as far backwards as possible in order to look at him in the face.
Whilst Hermione was experiencing a devastating mix of panic and excitement at the feel of his body, Severus was fighting a loosing battle with his jealousy. A feeling of possessiveness so strong gripped his whole being that he had to close his eyes at the way it reflected in his very heart. When he at last opened his eyes, however, they were as hard and unforgiving as always.
“If you ever have a mere THOUGHT about betraying me,” he growled into her face inches away, “you will curse the day your mother lay her eyes upon your father after I am through with you.”
He leaned closer down towards her, so that his following words were spoken right into her mouth, his lips slightly brushing hers.
“And if you ever allow another man between your thighs, you as good as forsake your fate as well as that of your partner\'s.”
With the following promise, Severus lifted his head enough to see Hermione\'s whole face. He expected to see fear or even disgust at his sincere words but the blankness in her brown orbs surprised him. As he watched, a single crystal tear ran from the corner of her right eye to trace a thin moisture path down her cheek. All this time she looked deep into his face without blinking. When she spoke next, it was in a whisper void of any emotion.
“I am pregnant with your child, you fool.”
Realisation came to Severus slowly. When it did, he was only dimly aware of his slack hands sliding from her waist, only for them to hang limply against his body. Open-mouthed, he stared at the seemingly fragile young woman standing in front of him, a girl of eighteen years, not only his student but also his wife, the woman who now carried his child in her womb.
Fear so strong seized him that he was unable to hold it back from showing itself in his eyes.
Hermione\'s face at once froze into a cold mask. With her back visibly stiffening, she regarded him with a hint of something akin to disappointment and crashed hope at the corners of her eyes. Severus mutely watched as she regally inclined her head at him.
“There is no need to speak, sir. Whatever there is to hear from you is clearly expressed in your eyes. I will take myself and your curse swiftly away from your presence,” said she coldly and without once turning back to him, walked out of the Hall.
The rest of the evening passed in a mist. Severus had no recollection to whom he spoke, or of what he did. The only thing he acknowledged was whatever alcoholic drinks he could find and the temporary illusion of peace that they could provide.
Even before the wards were lifted from his chambers, he knew that she wasn\'t there. An unnatural coldness graced the room as he stepped towards the empty fireplace, black and devoid of any heat.
Tearing the white mask from his face, Severus absent-mindedly stared at the ashes. An empty bottle of Firewhiskey was still clutched in his grasp but the wound proved to be too deep to be drowned with liquid. Nothing was capable of helping him forget what had passed so long ago anymore. The realisation was undeniable.
The bottle fell down from his limp fingers, the crash of glass echoing the emotion of his soul.
Severus\' back slowly slid down the wall as silent tears started to flow uncontrollably down his contracted face. Instinctively drawing his body into a fetal position, he was no longer in control of the shuddering sobs that shook his body. The chambers stayed noiseless. Severus\' grief was beyond any pain that could express the emotion in the sound of crying. He thought he forgot how to cry a long time ago, but fate mocked his mistake.
“No...no...not again...I will not survive through this...”
The sobbing Severus Snape was left half lying against the wall, alone with only his old memories to keep him company.
Note: I feel so bloody evil!!!
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