CHAPTER 6: Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again
November faded much as October had. The cold winds of winter fell upon Hogwarts, and the snow began to fall in thick blankets. Hermione suddenly found herself giving her last test of the term on the Friday before Christmas. The students seemed to be doing well, at least, no one had complained of any problems yet. Some of them even looked as if they were about to finish up.
While she waited, Hermione let her mind wander. Monday was the twenty-fourth, the day of Harry and Ginny’s wedding. Even though she didn’t relish the thought of seeing Ron again, Hermione had promised Harry that she would be there. She wouldn’t disappoint Harry for the world. Hopefully, she would be back in time for the staff dinner. She had a present she wanted to give to Severus.
Severus. Heat pooled between her thighs at the memory of him at the ball. Hermione knew she blushed every time she saw him. The students had noticed and snickered at them. There were a few Slytherins who were brave enough to try to start trouble over it. They claimed to have a new message from Professor Snape every time they came through the door of the Potions classroom. It was funny how Professor Snape’s angry, “Sit down, Mister Dashwood,” could turn into, “Tell Professor Granger to meet me behind the Quidditch shed at midnight.” Or, how Hermione’s exasperated, “For the last time, you don’t need the fire that hot,” became, “Send word to Professor Snape that I would like to marry him.”
The Slytherins were quite pleased with themselves when they caught their Head of House sneaking glances at the Potions mistress when she wasn’t looking. It seemed that Hermione wore a perpetual blush whenever she was in the presence of Severus Snape. It wasn’t just the students who noticed, either. Dumbledore had taken to throwing twinkling glances at her and smiling knowingly. Professor McGonagall had even offered to make sure that Hermione and Severus were assigned to Hogsmeade duty at the same time if she, Hermione, wanted. For Snape’s part, at least, he was looking very full of himself lately. He smirked whenever he saw her, but there was no malice in his face. It was the closest thing to a smile he could give her, at least for the time being.
Has she suffered enough, his blasted conscience quipped in Snape’s ear when he woke early on Christmas Eve. The early winter morning sun glinted through the frost covering his bedroom window as Snape made his way to the bathroom. He quickly showered and dressed.
“I thought she had suffered quite enough at the ball, what with that Weasley,” he spat the word, “around. Pawing all over her and drooling everywhere. Prat. But, then again, it wasn’t an appropriate setting at all for what I had in mind,” he said aloud, smirking.
The vision of Hermione that had been haunting his dreams came to him again as he sank onto his sofa with a cup of hot tea. Her appearance at the ball! Snape could feel his groin jump to attention at the remembrance of those soft, sweet-smelling chestnut curls tumbling down her back, her creamy white skin shining in the moonlight. He remembered every shiver, every sharp breath, every glance, every blush she gave him that night. He smiled inwardly at the way her warm honey-colored eyes glistened in the flickering lights.
His arms felt so empty as he thought of Hermione. He longed to take her in his arms, to feel her warm breath on his skin, to kiss her until she was speechless, and tell her that she was his and that he loved her. He’d spent a year after she had left him trying to forget how much he cared, but he loved her still. His love for her grew each time he saw her blush in his presence, each time he saw her tell his Slytherins who was boss in the dungeons, each time she would try to engage McGonagall in conversation. He longed to see her at meals each day, and wished that Dumbledore would meddle a bit and move Hermione’s seat a little closer to his.
Oh, to know how her soft skin felt against his as she traced the line of his jaw with the tips of her fingers, as she rested her head against his chest as they lay together in bed. He wanted desperately to feel her soft curls tickling his nose as he rested his chin against her head as he held her. He was quickly becoming obsessed with her. He watched her every moment he dared, gazing longingly at her lips when she smiled or when she spoke. He watched her tiny hands as she ate and wished to Merlin to feel those nails digging into his back and arms as she writhed beneath him.
Snape moaned at the vision and struggled to get a hold on himself. He was so hard now that it was painful. How he longed for his Hermione, to hold her close and show her how much he loved her. There were times when he loved her so much that it hurt, and all he wanted to do was to make love to her so slowly that she cried from the joy of it. Then again, there were times when he wanted her so desperately that he could drag her into his office and shag her senseless over his desk. He could only hope that she wanted the same.
Soon, he thought with an inward smile. Soon she’ll know that I have forgiven her, that I never stopped loving her. Soon she will be in my arms for good. Oh, he groaned loudly, how much I want her beside me. I don’t know how long I can wait to feel her curling into bed next to me, those curls tickling at my nose, the sweet smell of her perfume on my sheets and clothes.
Severus stared out of the window and smiled as he thought about her. The erection tenting his trousers was demanding his attention, and the continued thoughts of Hermione weren’t helping. He unfastened his trousers and freed himself from his boxers. He did not have his Hermione there to help him, not yet. So he thought of her smiling mouth and soft, sure hands as he grasped himself and pumped his fist across his length. He growled her name softly as he found his release.
Packages in hand, Hermione made her way up from the dungeons to speak to Professor McGonagall before she headed off to the Burrow for the wedding. She still didn’t want to leave Hogwarts on Christmas Eve, but she had made a promise to Harry. As distant as her best friend had once been, Hermione could not bring herself to disappoint him. She loved Ginny like a sister, and only hoped that one day she could invite the two of them to her own wedding.
“Minerva,” Hermione called, seeing the older witch heading up the staircase toward the second floor. She sat her packages by the door leading to the dungeons and crossed the entrance hall briskly. “The staff dinner is at eight o’clock, right?”
Professor McGonagall smiled softly and nodded. “Yes, dear. We’ll be holding it in the Transfiguration room, a few of the staff have decided to bring dates.” Seeing the terrified look on the younger witch’s face, she hastily added, “But I’m quite sure Severus is coming alone. Pity, he so longed to invite a girl to the dinner, but couldn’t screw up the courage to ask her.”
Hermione blushed from her hairline to her toes at this, and smiled sweetly at Professor McGonagall. “I have never known Severus Snape to be without courage, Minerva. Perhaps he just isn’t sure she would return his advances. If you see him before the dinner, please tell him that someone is looking forward to seeing him this evening. Now, if you will excuse me, I’m off to the Burrow for this blasted wedding. It had better be over by eight. I’ll leave in the middle of the damn thing if I have to.”
With that, Hermione smiled a final time at Professor McGonagall and sped off to collect her packages. She scrambled out the door and across the sloping Hogwarts lawns to the Apparition point beyond the gates. Clutching her packages close, Hermione took a graceful step and turned on the spot, thinking with all of her might about the garden of the Burrow. With a loud pop! she was gone.
Ginny looked absolutely radiant, and Harry was more handsome than Hermione could believe. The Burrow had already been full to brimming when Hermione Apparated into the garden, and the wedding hadn’t even started yet. She pushed her way through the jungle of former Hogwarts friends to deposit her gifts on the table, greeting people politely as she passed. She smiled as Remus Lupin grasped her swiftly and pulled her into a possessive hug. He kissed the top of her head sloppily, and mumbled something that sounded remotely like, “Always thought you were the prettiest witch, ‘Ermione. Give us a kiss.” Giggling, Hermione kissed a very inebriated Lupin on the cheek before wrenching herself from his grasp. She didn’t see how he was going to stand in as one of Harry’s best men. He looked as if he were going to fall over as it was.
“Oy, mum, ‘Mione’s here!” came a voice that was too satisfied for Hermione’s liking. She turned slowly to find Ron leaning against the mantle nearby, a drink in one hand, and a very busty raven-haired girl in the other. “‘Bout time, ‘Mione. We’ve been waiting on you to get started. Ginny wants a word before, though.”
Ron raised his chin toward the staircase leading up to the upper levels of the Burrow. Hermione nodded politely in thanks, and ran up the stairs two at a time. Ginny was standing on the third landing, tapping her satin slipper-ed foot in annoyance.
“Merlin’s beard, Hermione, I thought you’d never get here. I was thinking we’d have to go through with this without the maid of honor!” Ginny’s annoyed scowl quickly melted away to glee at the surprised look on her friend’s face. “Yes, I know it’s sudden, but I couldn’t stand having that nut-job Yelina doing it. C’mon, I’ve got a set of robes here for you. Hurry!”
Hermione followed Ginny into her bedroom and obediently began changing into the soft pink robes that were handed to her. “Yelina? Who in the hell are you talking about, Ginny?”
Grimacing as if she had just gotten hold of a very sour lemon drop, Ginny mumbled, “That tart Ron’s been chasing lately. I didn’t want her to come, but Harry said my git of a brother threatened to not come if she wasn’t invited. I couldn’t do that to Harry, but I’ll be damned to one of Filch’s detentions before I’ll let her be the official witness at my wedding.”
When the ceremony finally began, with Amos Diggory presiding as the official of the Ministry, Hermione found her eyes and mind wandering helplessly. She caught sight of every couple in the room and began to feel terribly lonely. Molly and Arthur were standing nearby, looking on proudly as Harry and Ginny took their vows. Remus and Tonks were cuddling together as he stood up as one of the best men, looking more than a bit wistful. Ron was practically wrapped around the raven-haired Yelina, who stood at his side as he served as the other best man. Fred and George were there with their girlfriends, who both looked suspiciously round about the middle. The sight made her even lonelier.
Hermione wished with everything that was in her that this wedding would be over soon. She wanted nothing more than to get out of the Burrow and away from these cuddling couples as quickly as possible. Every fiber of her being screamed at her to go back to Hogwarts. She wanted to be there… no, want simply isn’t strong enough. She needed to be there. She needed to be as close to Severus as he would allow her to be. Just to look up at him from across the room would have been enough for her now.
As the ceremony ended, and Harry took Ginny into his arms for a kiss, Hermione felt hot, jealous tears prickle her eyes. She slipped away, mumbling a congratulations and something about the need for some fresh air, and escaped out into the snowy white garden. All around her, the ground glistened in the fading twilight. It was after eight o’clock already, and she had promised Ginny she would stay to see them have their first dance before she went back to the castle for the staff dinner. Now, Hermione cursed herself for her sense of honor when it came to promises. She didn’t want to be at the Burrow, she wanted to be at Hogwarts gossiping with Minerva and listening to Albus tease her about dating once in a while. She longed to hear Severus’ amused, “Dating, indeed,” from across the room, and to look up and see his eyes shining at her. Anything to make her feel as if she were loved as much as the women who were paired off inside the Burrow at the moment. She only felt that when Severus was nearby.
I wish he were here now, she thought sadly. Perhaps he would have come, if I had asked. Maybe it would have shown him how much I enjoy his company. I haven’t really been close to him since the Halloween ball, but surely he’s noticed I can’t help but go red every time I see him. I miss him terribly. Being alone is unbelievably horrid. I don’t see how he has managed all these years.
Hot tears trickled down her cheeks, making them chill in the winter wind. Now I see why it hurt him so much to have me laugh at him. He had been alone for so long, and then he finally opened up his heart to feel something and gets it handed back in pieces. If I were him, I don’t think I could forgive myself. But I don’t think I could take it if he didn’t.
“Oh, Severus, I miss you,” she muttered into her palms as she wiped away the tears on her face. She had made up her mind. She was going to say goodbye to Ginny and Harry, and then go home. Home to Hogwarts. Home to the only man she had ever really loved, and who she hoped could love her in return.
Severus Snape was about two seconds away from killing himself as he stood against the wall in the Transfiguration classroom. Albus and Minerva were twirling around the makeshift dance floor to the horrible music emanating from the wireless. Flitwick was swinging about in Professor Sinistra’s arms and giggling maddeningly. Snape had never felt lonelier in his life. Nor had he wanted to see Hermione Granger so desperately. He had expected to see her at the staff dinner, as Albus had insisted that everyone attend, and welcomed the opportunity to spend some time with her. He had been unable to spare even a few moments to do more than smirk gently at her during meals. Tonight, he had an excuse to latch onto her and demand her complete attentions.
Unfortunately, it was nine-thirty and Hermione had yet to make an appearance. Grumbling to himself about being so daft as to get his hopes up, Snape stalked across the room to have a few choice words with Albus and Minerva. “I beg of you, please let me leave this damned excuse for a party. I am sure neither of you would miss me standing against the wall and scowling.”
Dumbledore grinned joyfully and his eyes twinkled. “Really, you would like to leave, Severus? I was under the impression, at least from what Minerva here has mentioned, that someone was looking forward to seeing you tonight. But, if you really wish to leave, I suppose I can’t stop you.”
Damn Albus and those bloody twinkling eyes, Snape thought as he latched onto the older man’s words. Of course you can stop me, you barmy bat. You do it all the time. All you ever do is… Wait a minute, what did he say? “Excuse me, Headmaster? I thought I heard you say someone was looking for me tonight.”
“Yes, that’s what I said, my boy. According to Minerva here, Hermione told her to keep the other witches away from you,” he said, his eyes twinkling madly. “Apparently, she had to attend Mister Potter’s wedding this afternoon. I was under the impression she would be returning in time for the dinner.”
Potter, Snape thought acidly. Yes, of course, Potter and a Weasley again. Am I never to have the woman to myself? I suppose Weasley has waylaid her again, professing his undying love and his ignorance at betraying her. Heart of gold that she has, Hermione’s probably taken him back. He growled audibly. Damn them both to the Dark Lord’s grave and back!
“Of course. If you will permit me, Headmaster, I believe I am going to retire for the night. Do not expect me at breakfast tomorrow.” With that, Snape turned on his heel and stalked out of the Transfiguration classroom. He didn’t stop when he reached the stairs leading to his office. Instead, he made his way out of the castle to the Apparation point just outside the gates. With a distinct pop! he Apparated to The Three Broomsticks.
Hermione had been sitting at the bar of The Three Broomsticks for nearly half an hour. She had finally had enough of seeing the sickeningly happy couples at the wedding, and, by the time she was able to beg away, she thought the staff dinner would be over. So, she decided to make a stop at Rosmerta’s and get as drunk as she dared. She had missed seeing Severus at the dinner, and was too depressed to go searching the castle for him. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.
She heard the door of the pub open behind her, but didn’t spare the newcomer a glance. She continued sipping at the mulled wine Rosmerta had been supplying her with, and thought about how much she longed to tell Severus about the terrible day she had experienced. She longed to look into those glittering black eyes and to hear that voice thrumming in her ears.
As soon as Severus stepped through the door of The Three Broomsticks, he saw her sitting there at the bar. His heart drummed against his ribs as he crossed the room deftly to stand behind her. It seemed as if she was oblivious to his presence, at least until he leaned down to whisper softly in her ear.
“Drowning our sorrows in alcohol, Professor Granger?” He dropped gracefully onto the stool next to her. “It seems we have something else in common.”
A/N: I’m so very sorry it took so long to get this chapter up. University has been horrid and I’ve barely had a moment to think, let alone get back to Severus and Hermione. I have a long weekend, so I’m aiming to get Chapter 7 up sometime then. Please don’t come after me with pitchforks and torches! *innocently batting my eyes* You know I love you all! By the way, you can check out the lyrics that inspired this chapter by going to http://www.metrolyrics.com/lyrics/1157334420/Phantom_Of_The_Opera/Wishing_You_Were_Somehow_Here_Again
You Are Not Alone by ladysnarky