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Chapter 19: The End of Summer
“My summer has turned out much the same as yours.” Hermione wrote in scarlet. “Perhaps if he were really my lover, he might listen to a single word I said. Talking to the floorboards is more appealing. The only thing worse is reading my fiancé’s letters, he wrote me again and it was worse than the first. I’d like to believe it’s because English is his second language, but I’m not so sure. Speaking of reading, elves are tall, pointy eared hippies who do magic and are usually gorgeous. Legolas, my god! Why can’t he be my fiancé? Dad says he’s doing fine and says thanks for the Birthday wishes. All the best till September.”
Hermione tucked her quill into her pocket and folded up the parchment. Her dad was making his way across the field and she didn’t want him to see it. She was sitting on a bench in a park near the house, needing a bit of fresh air and exercise after so many weeks stuffed in a house with so many people. The only think more nerve wracking than Harry’s doom and gloom and constantly wondering about her and Snape were the twins’ hijinks now that they were legally allowed to do magic. Hermione watched and wondered if Snape had always walked so slowly. He always seemed to swoop in like a great black bird when they were misbehaving, but when she was waiting for him he looked slow. He looked like he was getting old. He looked so out of place in his muggle clothes, corduroys, loafers, and a polo shirt. Hermione couldn’t help but giggle as he approached.
“Dad, we need to get you a new wardrobe?”
He sat down on the bench next to her. “Corduroys are comfortable. I’ve been thinking of getting a black pair to wear to classes.”
Hermione put her hand to her mouth, laughing out loud.
“You said you wanted to talk to me. Is everything alright?”
“Oh, it’s just something Harry said to me.” Hermione said, sitting up straight.
Snape turned to her seriously. His eyes grazed over her like they always did when he was worried, looking for physical marks.
“Nothing’s wrong dad, it’s just...after your birthday, Harry was talking to me, and he didn’t understand why I cared if it was your birthday. I just thought, well, maybe it would be nice if they knew you were my dad.”
Snape turned his face away from her.
“I know I was the one who originally wanted to keep it quiet and I’m sorry for that, but I’m ready for people to know now. I want people to know you’re my Dad.” Hermione smiled.
Her face fell. “What do you-“
“You’re not to tell anyone, do you understand? There’s too many damned people who know already.”
“You don’t want people to know...to know about me?” Hermione looked away. Her eyes were beginning to water.
“You’re a smart girl, Hermione. Now that He’s back, who do you think He’ll go after first? Harry, Dumbledor, The Order, anyone who’s posing a threat. That’s me.”
“But we’ll be fine. We’re safe at Hogwarts, and Grimuald Place.” Hermione wiped at her tears.
“He’s sadistic, he goes after people’s weaknesses, their families. And he always gets them in the end. It’s safer for both of us if it looks like I haven’t got anything he could use for leverage.”
Hermione sniffled and wiped at her eyes, “But, Dad...”
He held her chin and wiped her tears away from her chin. “If they ever took you from me...” His jaw clenched and he looked into Hermione’s eyes. Severus’ darker brown eyes filled with tears, but none of them ever fell. “I can’t do that again.”
Hermione’s eyes dropped and she wiped her nose. “Do you think you’re in that much danger?”
“No. No more than anyone else. I’m just worrying, but you let me do that. You should be having fun before vacation ends.” He faked a smile and the tears were gone as quickly as they had come. “What do you say I treat you to an ice cream before we head back?”
The two stand up and make their way out of the park. “Do you like ice cream?” Hermione asks.
“I’ve been known to have a bowl of pistachio every once in a while.”
“That’s gross.” Hermione laughs and wipes away the last of her tears.
“Diagon Alley has a flobble nut flavour which is close, but it just isn’t the same as the muggle stuff.
Severus holds the door open and lets Hermione enter Grimuald place first. Harry watches from the top of the stairs as she walks up to him.
“Were you out somewhere with Snape?”
“No, I was at the park for a bit. We just got back to the house at the same time.”
“Where was he?”
“How should I know?” Hermione huffed.
They went into Harry and Ron’s room, where Ron was lounging on the bed.
“He’s up to something, I’m telling you!” Harry said.
“Who’s up to something?” Ron sat up.
“Snape. He just left the house mysteriously and no one knows where he went.”
“Probably reporting on us to the death eaters, I expect.” Ron said.
“Stop it, both of you!” Hermione said, folding her arms over her chest. “How long have you thought that Snape was up to something?”
“We always think he’s up to something.” Ron shrugged.
“And how many times have you been wrong about him, hm?” Hermione stared at both boys, “That’s right, all of them!”
“Fine, where do you think he was sneaking off to today then?” Harry asked.
“The grocery store, the news stand, the doctor’s office, the bank, he could have a million completely innocent errands to run.”
“In a muggle town?” Ron scoffed.
“He grew up in the muggle world!” Hermione said.
“How do you know that?” Harry said, pointing his finger in her face.
“He reads the New York Times, he uses the telephone, he wears corduroys for merlin’s sake. Honestly, sometimes I think I’m the only one around here with eyeballs!” Hermione crossed to the door. “Now if you don’t mind, I need to go mail a letter.”
“Who are you writing to?” Ron asked.
“Viktor Krum!” Hermione left and slammed the door shut behind her.
“What’s her problem?” Ron asked.