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Chapter 25 : xxv.
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The girl’s dorm was a whirlwind of activity that morning, since all of the girls except Hermione would be leaving to take the Hogwarts Express home for the holidays. Hermione sat cross-legged on her bed watching Amelia pack.
“Are you sure you don't want to come home with me? Mum and dad said you're more than welcome to. And I know Edgar would love to have you there,” asked Amelia, her voice mumbled since she was half under her bed looking for Merlin knows what.
It must have been the fifth time Amelia asked her that week, and each time Hermione told her that she truly appreciated the offer, but didn't want to leave her uncle without any family for the holiday. Amelia didn't buy that excuse for a second, and told her she knew it was because a certain Slytherin boy was staying behind as well. But still, she didn't like the thought of Hermione all alone in the dorm on Christmas morning, and thought she might have preferred being in more of a home setting.
“Amelia, honestly, I will hardly even be in here. I'm sure I will be out in the castle with Severus and visiting with Uncle Albus. Really, I won't be alone,” she reassured her. “But please tell your parents I said thank you for the offer. It's very kind of them.”
Pulling her head out from beneath her bed, Amelia gave Hermione a skeptical look. “Alright, Hermione. If you're sure.”
Hermione threw her head back and laughed. Amelia’s hair was filled with cobwebs and a smudge of dirt was on her nose. “I'm positive,” she tried to say through her laughter.
Amelia’s brow furrowed. She looked puzzled. “What's funny?”
“Just go and take a look at yourself,” Hermione giggled, pointing at Amelia’s head.
Looking in the full-length mirror in between their beds, Amelia pulled the cobwebs from her hair and looked at Hermione through the mirror. “Oh quiet yourself,” she said with a smirk, wiping the dirt from her nose.
“Oh Hermione?” Rita called over, immediately spoiling her good mood.
Without looking at Rita, and rolling her eyes for Amelia to see, she answered. “What, Rita?” Her voice sounded bored.
“I was only wondering how your boyfriend,” she made sure to make the word sound as disgusting as possible, “was feeling, after what happened between him and Black.”
Everything inside of Hermione screamed for her to take her wand out, and blast away the smug smile Rita had on her face. She still wanted to know how Rita even found out what happened, since she hadn't told anyone, Sirius was too embarrassed to admit he came off worse in a fight with Severus, and Amelia and Lupin had both sworn themselves to secrecy. Hermione decided she needed to keep a better eye out for stray beetles in the future.
“He's fine, Rita. Thank you for your concern,” said Hermione through her teeth.
The disgusting cow clapped her hands together. “Well that's wonderful. I would hate to think of him being ill for the holidays. Since, you know, your family won't be around.”
Alice and Dorcas giggled quietly while they continued to pack.
That was it, Hermione reached forward on her bed, and wrapped her hand around her wand. Amelia immediately threw a sock at Hermione when she did.
“Just ignore her,” she hissed under her breath.
Rita must had been more scared of Hermione than she let on. After all, she did share classes with her, and saw her dueling skills in Defense Against the Dark Arts. Her eyes glanced over Hermione’s hand, which held her wand, then she turned to her two friends.
“Ready for breakfast?” she asked them.
Thankfully the three girls left the dorm within minutes, leaving Hermione and Amelia alone. Hermione’s body still vibrated with anger.
“You have to stop showing her how much she gets to you,” said Amelia, once they were gone.
Hermione sighed. She knew Amelia was right, but with the history -- or future, that Hermione had with Rita Skeeter, it was far easier said than done.
With one final set of dress robes thrown into her trunk, Amelia locked it up, then flopped onto her bed.
“Breakfast?” she asked, partly out of breath.
When they arrived to the Great Hall, it was just as lively as it was the morning of a Quidditch Match. All the students who were going home excitedly discussed what they thought they were getting for Christmas, plans of which parties they'd be attending over the break -- apparently the party to be at was the Potter’s New Year’s Eve party -- and who they would be going with.
It all sounded lovely, and like loads of fun, but when Hermione looked over to the empty seat in which Severus usually sat in at the Slytherin table, she felt herself smile thinking of how she wouldn't want to spend her holiday anywhere else, but with him.
Originally she planned on going straight to the Hospital Wing that morning, but since it would be the last time she'd see her friends until they returned, they guilted her into at least having breakfast with them. So, she made an extra effort to be a part of their conversations, and tried not to look at her watch too often.
“I wish you would reconsider, Hermione,” said Edgar, after talking about the New Year’s party.
Apparently some Wizarding Band, who was as popular as The Weird Sisters were in her time would be playing there. She didn't catch the name, due to her slipping off into her head again.
“I'm sorry, Edgar. I'd already said I would be staying here, and I don't want to go back on my word.” She felt badly watching him frown. “Perhaps next time.” she lied, very well knowing there wouldn't be a next time.
Immediately he brightened up. “Yeah, next year you'll have to come. Even if we have to drag you.”
Hermione laughed while feeling a pit in her stomach at the sight of Edgar and Amelia looking so excited.
When breakfast was finished, Hermione walked to the Entrance Hall with her friends. Even though she hadn’t been spending nearly the same amount of time with them recently, as she did in the beginning of term, she knew she would miss them. The empty common room would feel lonely without them there loudly laughing, playing games, or just studying.
Amelia turned to Hermione and gave her a tight hug.
“I'll make sure to owl you while we’re gone,” she promised with a squeeze.
“You're only going to be gone about two weeks,” she answered with a small laugh before pulling away.
Amelia shrugged. “Even still. I'm sure I'll need the break from them,” she pointed her thumb towards Edgar, Otto and Sturgis, “at some point.”
“Hey!” Otto yelled, putting on an exaggerated pout, before wrapping his arms around Hermione and lifting her off the ground.
“Don't have too much fun without us,” he said, putting her down and winking suggestively.
Hermione felt her face turn scarlet at the implications of his words. “Oh shut it, before I send you home covered in boils,” she teased.
She then said goodbye to the other boys, wished them a Happy Christmas and stood at the doorway for a few minutes, watching them all walk down the path towards Hogsmeade together. When they were finally out of sight, she turned to make her way towards the Hospital Wing, hoping Severus would finally be allowed out of Madam Pomfrey’s care.
When she opened the doors to the infirmary, Madam Pomfrey was busy fussing over Severus, who was standing next to his bed grimacing towards the ground.
“Honestly, I am feeling much better. Look,” he grumbled, then began twisting the top half of his body left and right. “No pain. Everything feels exactly as it did before.”
Hermione bit back a laugh watching the frustration grow on his face. She stood quietly in the doorway until Severus’ eyes met with hers. Quietly she giggled and shook her head, then started to walk towards him.
Madam Pomfrey looked over her shoulder, seeing Hermione approach and clicked her tongue.
“Ah, now I see why you're so eager to leave.” Disapproval saturated her voice. “Very well, Mister Snape. You appear to be recovered, although I would feel much better if you stayed until the afternoon.”
Severus groaned. “I'm fine,” he told her again, gathering his belongings. “I do not need to stay any longer.”
Five minutes later Hermione and Severus were out of the Hospital Wing, walking through the nearly empty school together.
“What would you like to do today?” Severus asked as he took her hand.
Hermione shrugged. “Doesn't matter. Perhaps we should take it easy today.” She looked up at his face, the better to read it. “Are you sure you're feeling better? Should you get more rest?”
Severus glared mutinously at her. “Not you, too,” he whined. “Hermione, I wasn't lying. I feel great.” He poked at his ribs to further prove his point.
She couldn't detect any sign of pain on his face while he jabbed at himself, so she believed him.
“Alright then. We can do whatever you'd like.”
“Oh?” he asked with a devilish smirk. “Whatever I’d like?”
Instantly Hermione’s entire body grew warm due to the tone of his voice, and what it left unspoken. “Within reason,” she clarified with a smirk of her own.
Severus brought them both to a stop, and pulled Hermione around to face him. He looked up and down the corridor, then wrapped his arms around her tightly. “I haven't been able to do this nearly enough recently,” he told her, his eyes dark with desire.
He tugged on her hair, forcing her head to tilt upwards, then crashed his lips onto hers. Hermione was shocked by the level of force he'd just shown, yet she wasn't complaining. She found herself sort of enjoying the way he'd just taken control, and she kissed him back hungrily.
Hermione lifted her arms and grabbed a fist full of his hair, a small moan hummed in the back of his throat. The effect he had on her was intense. Never before had she allowed herself to lose control the way she did with Severus, and she was quite sure it was the same for him in regards to her.
When they broke apart from one another, Hermione smiled up at him, her bottom lip between her teeth.
“I believe that fits the criteria of, ‘within reason,’” she joked, then stood on her toes to place a soft peck on his cheek.
The deep laugh of his, that she so loved hearing, sounded out between them. “Good,” he told her before kissing her forehead.
Before they ended up being spotted before a teacher, both of them began walking once more and decided to check on Hermione’s antivenin, since it had been days since they had.
According to both of their calculations, the potion should be turning a periwinkle blue by this point, before turning completely clear at the end of the process. Hermione’s heart pounded on the walk down hoping that it was the correct color. She hated the thought of beginning again from scratch.
Walking into the empty Potions classroom, she let go of his hand and waved her wand, lighting all the candles in the room. She nearly ran to the cabinet in which Slughorn allowed her to store the potion and held her breath as she opened the door. Severus looked on over her shoulder behind her.
The cauldron rested on the middle shelf with the contents inside glowing the very blue they were hoping for. She heard Severus release a breath as she smiled widely. Now all she needed was the Phoenix tears, then to wait for it to finish stewing, and hopefully it would be completed. The only thing she still had to work out was how to test it.
“It seems to be coming along nicely,” Severus whispered in her ear, trailing a long finger down her spine.
Hermione shivered. “Y-yes, it does.”
She felt his lips gently brush against her ear. “Not much for us to do then, is there?” he purred, again running his finger along her back.
Goosebumps formed on her arms as a chill ran through her. “I suppose not,” she breathed out.
“It's been awhile since we’ve taken a boat across the lake, hasn't it?” Severus asked before he moved her hair from her shoulder, then leaned down to lightly nibble her neck.
Her eyes fluttered shut as she leaned her head to the side, allowing him more access. At this point she'd lost the ability to speak and merely hummed in agreement.
He then trailed his hand down her side and reached around her to grab the cabinet door “I think we should go,” he suggested before shutting it, then returned his attention back to her neck.
With a shuddering breath and many inappropriate thoughts involving Severus, his teaching robes and the desk they shared together in that classroom invading her mind, Hermione nodded once more.
“As you wish,” he whispered at her throat, then turned her around to kiss properly, nearly lifting her from her feet.
They spent the rest of the afternoon on their island with a heating charm and one another to keep themselves warm. After not really seeing the other for days, they could not seem to get enough of each other. They had planned on doing some catching up to find out what they were each up to the days they'd spent apart, and Hermione initially intended on questioning him again about that past Saturday, but they hadn’t managed to get as much conversation in as they anticipated. And both of them seemed entirely content with that.
24th December 1976
It reminded her of her first two mornings in the year 1976 when she woke up alone on Christmas Eve morning. The amount of things that changed since then, however, were astounding. Never would she had believed that by the holidays she would wake with a smile on her face, thinking of the day ahead with the person she loved -- Severus Snape.
To think of how frightened she was to see him for the first time, or how she kept literally bumping into him the first few days, or how frustrating it was attempting to get to know him, it all seemed so silly now. Especially considering the fact that she had spent a majority of the previous day in his arms, thinking of how much he meant to her, and how happy she'd been to have found him.
Although Hermione missed Amelia’s company, she did have to admit to herself that a part of her enjoyed having the dorm to herself. She didn't have to have any walls up, or pretend to be someone else. She was able to let her guard down and truly, for the first time in months, relax. Plus, not needing to wait to use the shower was an added bonus as well.
When she got out of the shower, she decided to take the Glamour Charm off of her hair, letting the bushy brown ringlets fall down on her shoulders. It surprised her how unfamiliar she looked to herself, after months of seeing a girl with poker straight black hair reflecting back at her. The sight of her hair, in all of its untamed glory sent a pain of homesickness through her. She tried not to think of Harry, or Ron, or Ginny, or any of the others much as of late, but while looking at herself, truly herself, a flood of memories washed over her. A single tear fell from her eye.
With a wave of her wand she changed her hair back to black, and turned from the mirror.
Hermione missed her life, she missed her friends, and she knew she had to go home at some point, but now that she'd grown so attached to Severus, there was a small part of her -- one that grew a bit stronger each day -- that wanted to stay with him.
Of course she couldn't. She knew that staying indefinitely in a time in which she did not belong could be disastrous, but that didn't stop her from fantasizing about a life with him. Keeping him from Voldemort and the Death Eaters, traveling the world together, perhaps even getting a place of their own, and maybe some day even a wedding. He could be happy, she could make him happy. They could be happy together.
Could be, but would not be.
Eventually she would have to leave him, and it would break his heart. She hated the thought of it, and a part of her wondered if her disappearance would be what eventually led him straight to Voldemort. She certainly hoped not.
She got dressed slowly, and tried to push all of those thoughts from her mind for now. It wouldn't do for her to be sullen during Christmas. Not when those who remained at the school would be filled with holiday cheer -- and most likely mead and Firewhiskey, she amended in her head.
After she was finished getting ready for the day, she saw no point in remaining in Ravenclaw’s common room. All of her friends and minor acquaintances had gone home for the holidays. Only a few younger students, and one seventh year she hadn't known remained behind. The rumble in her stomach only confirmed her decision to leave and head to The Great Hall for breakfast.
When she arrived, Severus was one of four students who were sat at the Slytherin table. When they locked eyes, he beckoned her over with his finger. Hermione tentatively walked over, not exactly fancying the idea of sitting with the Slytherins, but since the other students there were all much younger, she didn't see the harm.
“Good morning,” she said brightly, taking the seat across from him.
“Morning,” he replied, then poured a cup of coffee for her. “Two sugars?” he asked.
Hermione’s eyebrows raised. “You've noticed how I take my coffee?”
Severus shrugged. “Let's not pretend that I'm the only one who watches people from across the hall,” he said, plopping two cubes into her mug.
Reaching across the table to take it from him, she laughed. “I haven't the faintest idea of what you're speaking of,” she tried to lie with a sly smile.
Severus snorted before raising his drink to his lips. “Of course you don't,” he replied into his cup, then took a drink.
After breakfast, Hermione and Severus went to, what they've started calling ‘their classroom,’ since being from different houses, they couldn't just sit in a common room together and enjoy the day. With the pillows they frequently used to practice with, and a jar filled with Hermione’s signature blue flames, they made the space cozy enough. She lied down with her head resting on Severus’ chest, while he stroked her hair as she read to him. He listened to her for hours, only interrupting here and there to comment on the story she read. It was the most comfortable she’d been in quite some time, and if she could have, she would have stayed in that moment for ever. Neither one of them imagined there would have been a better place to spend the day.
A/N - Hey all! So I know that this is kind of a filler chapter, but after the angst and heaviness of the last two chapters, I figured we could all use a little break, and some fluffy Snamione action. :) Thank you all again, old and new readers, for all of the love! But as always, I hope that you all enjoyed the chapter! And who is excited to see what Severus got Hermione for Christmas, and how he'll react to his gift from her? Love you all, and again, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
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