Chapter 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.
Sweet Surrender by witch