30 DAYS, A MARRIAGE
(A guy named Severus, a girl called Hermione)
by Lady Memory
Disclaimer:This is a non-profit tribute to the works of J.K. Rowling, who created and, together with her publishers and licensees, owns the characters and settings elaborated herein.
WARNING: I add these lines to the story because I keep receiving messages from disappointed readers; therefore, I think that it's highly advisable to open this prologue with a special announcement.
Please be advised that this is NOT a classic love story. The interaction between Snape and Hermione is difficult, frustrating and annoying; in short, it's an unhealty relationship, at least at the beginning, and if you keep reading, you'll discover why.
The story is based on people and experiences I have personally witnessed. The Snape I portray is a man scarred inside and far too ready to react. My Hermione is insecure and much more afraid to make a mistake than the one described in canon. In short, my characters look and sound less like their book-selves and more like real people, with all the problems real people may have.
Now you have been advised. If you want, enter at your own risk.
Thank you and sorry for this long presentation.
A quick explanation (it's useful, be patient): the title "30 Days, a Marriage" comes from a wonderful movie with Sean Connery, whose title was "Five Days, One Summer", meaning that in that short length of time a whole summer was condensed.
The idea was to put together in the same house an angry Severus and a horrified Hermione, because of a danger impending on her. Would this forced cohabitation transform itself in real love in 30 days' time?
This story was originally thought as an exercise to learn the names in English of the objects and the verbs useful for everyday survival. (I always say that, for an Italian - yes, I am Italian - it's easier to discuss Shakespeare than to order a dish in a restaurant, let alone ask for something in a hardware store). However, after a while, I got more and more involved in my narration, and… well, the exercise became a tale packed with angst, feelings and suspense.
Currently, the story is completed and, as it is in form of a diary, it will be posted with very short intervals between every chapter. I'd also like to warn those interested in reading that, though I have tried to keep my characters in canon as much as possible, my novel is totally AU, having being conceived as an interlude and not an alternative.
Finally, this story has two endings. You can choose the one that you prefer.
Thanks and dedication:
This story has received the support of many kind people in the four years I have been writing it. Yes, you have read it well. It took me 4 years to complete it, and two other years to have it revised…
So, I want to thank all my helpers below:
Konekko, the first one who read my early chapters and who enthusiastically encouraged me to go on.
DementedLeaf and Xoxphoenix, who kindly previewed and revised the first half of the story with the fresh look of youth.
Duj and Tearsofphoenix, who came immediately after and commented again every chapter, following me till the end of this adventure and giving me precious suggestions.
AmyLouise, who helped me with the corrections of the last chapters; without her, this story would have never been completed.
Finally, a very special thank you to Angelicka, who patiently, stubbornly and thoroughly revised the piece, offering her native knowledge of the English matters.
The mistakes you will still find are all mine.
To Laura, my beautiful daughter
... ... ... ... ... Prologue ... ... ... ... ...
With great discretion, the old man Apparated in a dark corner of the lane. As imagined, the place was still crowded with people, even at that late hour of the night. And such heat! It was unbearable, especially for a wizard who came from Scotland, wasn't very familiar with Muggle clothing and, therefore, hadn't exactly chosen the most appropriate ones for the season.
He should have remembered. Italy, the land of sun. Perhaps his host could suggest a good place for a real pizza? He was beginning to hate the poor imitations the house-elves were preparing at Hogwarts. Although, dressed as he was, the pleasure could soon become a torture. Well, in this case, perhaps his host could order a takeaway pizza?
He sighed. His mission. He was there for a mission. But the joy and the excitement that filled the air were a bit intoxicating. He promised himself that he would return soon, when times had got better.
Smiling benevolently at the perplexed passers-by, he pressed the button of the entry phone and waited. A thrilled feminine voice answered immediately with a heavy Italian accent.
"Professor Dumbledore? Are you here? Please, do come in!"
With a swift wave of his wand, he changed his clothes into his usual majestic attire before entering the little house. A dark haired middle-aged woman, short and slightly overweight, had opened the door, eyes sparkling with pleasure and affection.
He bowed and tried to kiss her hand, but she graciously refused, "Ah, Professor, you'll make me blush!"
He smiled kindly, and she led him through a confusion of rooms to her terrace, exclaiming joyfully, "La pizza si raffredda! Pizza gets cold! I have ordered a special Quattro Stagioni* for you! You simply must try it. It comes directly from RossoPomodoro*!"
At this announcement, his mouth watered in anticipation. Ah, the warm Italian hospitality!
The moon was beginning to lower in the sky, and dawn was slowly taking those fresh, vivid colours so typical of the Italian summer. They had talked a lot, and the woman's expression had changed, passing from curiosity to pain, then to surprise and finally to worry.
Stomach full of delicious food, the old wizard considered the thoughtful lady with his piercing eyes, while he continued swinging on a comfortable rocking chair.
Then, directing his gaze at the fading stars, he intertwined his fingers and quietly asked, "So, my dear, I have told you everything. Now, what do you think? Would you accept? Would you try to help us?"
"Well," she stammered, and blushed again. "I am obviously honoured by your request… I can't deny I like him very much. He and the girl. But really… I am a bit afraid… Are you sure it's really my help that you need?"
Dumbledore stopped his rocking—and the irritating squeaks the old chair was emitting with every movement.
"Of course!" he exclaimed forcefully, bending towards her and placing a wrinkled hand on her knee. "How can you doubt? I would not have accepted such a trip if I weren't sure that your help was simply indispensable!"
She raised two very incredulous eyes to look at him. He smiled reassuringly, but she didn't return his smile. Instead, her gaze suddenly hardened.
"If I am to help you, I want to be granted at least the conclusion. I demand to have your word about it."
He smiled again and added with a devilish look, "No problem, dear Madam. I had already thought of a worthy reward. You'll be granted three different options."
She widened her eyes for a moment, then she asked suspiciously, "But will they be up to me to decide?"
"Obviously!" he replied with a wink.
She lowered her voice to a whisper. "Will I be allowed to use… Magic?"
He chuckled merrily. "I was sure you would appreciate my offer. Now, now, let's celebrate our pact! We will discuss the details later."
She was definitely hooked, and they both knew it. He raised his glass in a gallant toast. "To you, and to your quill."
She happily replied, "To Hogwarts and to the wizarding world!"
A deal was signed.
Quattro Stagioni*: literally "Four Seasons", a special pizza usually featuring tomato and mozzarella cheese, and decorated in quarters with sliced boiled eggs, little artichokes, black olives, ham and mushrooms.
RossoPomodoro*: a famous group of restaurants that cook original Neapolitan pizza, using only ingredients coming from Campania, the region where Napoli (Naples) is situated.