Chapter 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.
Sweet Surrender by witch