Chapter 18 : Snape's Birthday
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“Ronald, I’m going to kill you!”
Ron ran out of the kitchen of Grimuald Place laughing, stuffing a Yorkshire pudding into his mouth.
“I wouldn’t go in there if I were you.” He mutters to Harry as they pass in the hall.
In the kitchen, Hermione had dishes spread across the counters. The ancient stove was filled with boiling pots, mashed potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, and roast beef in the oven. Hermione was swearing under her breath as she tried to make gravy.
“What are you doing?” Harry asked as he entered the kitchen.
“What does it look like? I’m making dinner.”
“You don’t cook.”
Hermione glared and went back to mixing the gravy, which looked like motor oil.
“You need some help? I used to make Christmas dinner for my Aunt and Uncle.” Harry happily takes over the gravy. “What’s the occasion.”
“There’s no occasion. I just thought it would be nice.”
The order of the phoenix sat down at the long wooden table. Hermione laid down the sliced roast in front of Severus Snape and gave him a wide smile. The corners of his mouth peaked up ever so slightly. The dinner went splendidly, everyone finished off the last of the food, Ron and Fred even eating the more burnt parts of the roast. Everyone cleared off afterwards, except Hermione who went to the sink and did a charm to start cleaning dishes, and Snape, who slowly finished the last of his plate. Hermione listened to hear the last person walk up the stairs, before turning from the sink.
“Happy Birthday.” She smiled and sat next to her dad.
“You’re too good to me, you didn’t have to do all this.”
“You hate cake and you refused to tell me what you wanted for a present. I had to do something.”
Severus hugged Hermione to him. “I’m far too old to be celebrating my birthday, sweetheart, but thank you.”
“When I’m your age, I’ll still expect presents.” Hermione laughs.
“And you’ll have them too.”
“Did you enjoy yourself at least?” Hermione leans on his shoulder.
“It was a wonderful change. Thank you.”
“It wasn’t as good as the pot roast Draco made.”
“It was a lovely dinner. Speaking of Draco.” Severus reached into his cloak pocket and pulled out an envelope. “I snagged this off an owl at dawn today.”
He laid the envelope on the table and Hermione picked it up. It was a small thing, easy to hide, with discreet green lettering, saying only “Hermione Granger”.
“I assumed it was from him.” Snape said. “I must say, the quantity of letters you receive from strange boys is a little unnerving.”
Snape pulled her into a hug. “Thank you for tonight.”
Hermione pulled back and smiled. “Any time.”
The door creaked as Harry entered. “Oh,” He stopped awkwardly, seeing Hermione stand so close to the professor. “I thought I’d help you finish the dishes.”
“Thanks, Harry, but they’re done.” Hermione smiled and rushed out of the room.
Harry and Snape locked eyes for a moment, before Harry turned and went back up the stairs. Hermione had already shut herself in her and Ginny’s room, so Harry went to his and Ron’s and sat on the bed.
“Something wrong, Mate?” Ron looked up from the paper he was reading.
Harry scratched his chin and debated bringing it up. “Have you noticed Hermione acting weird lately?”
“Well, she was in the kitchen with Snape, and she was being nice to him.”
“He’s probably her next project.”
“First it’s freeing the house elves, then land for centaurs, rights for giants, now friends for Snape. Seems a proper order to me.” Ron went back to the daily prophet.
“Maybe you’re right.”
Hermione checked that Ginny was still playing exploding snap in Fred and George’s room, then went to her shared room and locked the door. She ripped open the letter with excitement. It was not addressed and there was no signature at the bottom, but it was all written in emerald ink, and she just knew it was him. It was short, but more than she had ever expected from him.
“The rest of my summer has turned out to be a bore. Sometimes being an only child seems like the stupidest thing a parent could do. I guess you’d agree, if you weren’t at your lover’s. Have you told him about your fiancé yet? The book is pretty good. But are the elves supposed to be like house elves? Cause that makes no sense. Tell your dad I said Happy Birthday if you’re sending him a letter, or using that contraption you call a cellular. I’d do it myself, but I’m not quite sure where he’s ended up. I’m not sure where you ended up either, but my owl’s pretty good at solving mysteries. Your dad’s too sneaky for even the best owls, though. See you in September. P.S. Use a common owl if you write me back. Or don’t reply, I don’t care.”
“What are you doing in there?” Ginny called from the other side of the door.
Hermione shoved the letter back into its envelope and shoved it into her jumper pocket. She jumped up and unlocked the door.
“Sorry, I -uh- I got a letter from Viktor, and I didn’t want any of the boys seeing me with it.”
“Oh, you have to tell me about it!”
“Right, but first I’ve got to head to the bathroom.”
Hermione ran off down the hall, tucking the envelope further into her pocket. She turned into the bathroom, where Harry was brushing his teeth.
“I was hoping to see you,” Harry said, splattering tooth paste a bit.
“What was with you and professor Snape earlier? In the kitchen.”
“That? I was just –um- saying Happy Birthday. Cause it’s his birthday.”
Harry spat into the sink. “You know when his birthday is?”
“I know when all of the professors’ birthdays are.”
“Of course you do. But still, Hermione...”
“Everyone deserves a bit of happiness on their birthdays, Harry. Besides, he is part of the order.”
“That doesn’t mean we have to be nice to him.”
“You don’t really think he’s that bad do you? I mean, Dumbledor trusts him.”
“You can’t be serious.”
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