The day was a sunny and bright for early fall. Far too bright for her old eyes, she thought. The road to Hogsmead was full of students dashing back and forth between the wizarding village and the castle - some had pockets laden with candy and some with jokes and fireworks. The old woman sat near under a tree and watched the commotion, the laughter and the general mayhem that is a "Hogsmeade Saturday." With a narrowed gaze, she watched a few familiar faces scamper past, barely giving the elderly witch a glance as she sat patiently in the late afternoon breeze.

Then, she saw them. The happy trio that was chattering about the tender roast beef that they expected to eat for dinner and who would be the new Gryffindor keeper this season. The old eyes narrowed as they saw the burn mark in Weasley's jeans - a blast hole from a firework, she thought. Well, I have the right day.

The trio began to pass her position under the tree, completely oblivious of the wizard in dark robes following closely behind them or of the old woman brandishing her battered, ancient wand.

"Adeo circulus!" the old witch whispered, before vanishing silently.

Hermione was gone. Ron and Harry turned to look behind them at Professor Snape, before the three quickly began to run to the castle and the Headmaster's office.

The circle was complete.

The old woman reappeared at the door of a neat and tiny cottage just outside of Hogsmeade. She opened the door and slipped inside quietly, so as not to awake her sleeping companion. She tottered into the kitchen and poured two glasses of milk and prepared a plate of cookies on a tray. Moving back to the living room, she set the tray down on the coffee table and moved to open the blinds. Her companion snorted slightly as he awoke.

"Hermione?" he said, quickly coming fully awake. "Is that you, Angel?"

"Yes, I'm back. How was your nap?"

Severus pulled his wife into his lap and smiled broadly at her. She rumpled his fine, silver grey hair and kissed his rosy, sleepy cheek.

"Good. I needed it. I feel like I'm 80 years old again," he teased. "Want to skip the afternoon cookies and go upstairs for some real dessert?"

The old man trailed his fingers through his wife's fading brown hair lovingly as she laughed and swatted at him. Reaching for the glasses of milk and a pair of cookies, she settled back against the sofa arm and leaned into his neck.

"So what was this mysterious errand you had to go on today?" he asked. "What could possibly be so important that it would make you miss our afternoon nap together?"

"That's my secret, Severus. Let an old woman have at least one. We've been married for most of our lives and we share everything, so let me have this one," she said, munching on her cookie.

"Hermione -" he began, attempting to use the "evil potions master tone" with her, to no avail. That voice hadn't worked on her in almost 90 years.

"Let's just say that I completed my errand in plenty of time," she said mysteriously, raising her hand to stop his next interruption. "It was something that I had to do, Severus. Trust me on this."

"I do trust you, love. I do."

Severus looked at his wife. Time had changed both of them. He was celebrating his 130th birthday this year and she was pushing 110 years. Not terribly ancient by wizarding standards, but they were both still aware that they had more days behind them than were left to them. And they had the loads of grandchildren and great-grandchildren to prove it, too. With her graying brown hair, wrinkles and little rounded tummy, she was still breathtakingly beautiful to him. He suddenly grinned.

"Hermione, do you remember that crimson and gold gown and dress robes you used to wear?" he said with a gleam in his eye. She nodded. "Do you think you could still fit into it?"

She waved her wand and her black robes turned to faded crimson and gold silk.

"Now, love, shall we go upstairs and take those off?" said Severus.

"Aren't we getting just a tad too old for this?" his wife of nearly a century asked, grinning.

"I'll never be too old to love you, Hermione. And besides, we're retired and the kids are on their own, we have all the time in the world," he said, murmuring a levitating charm so he could easily carry her weight up the stairs.

Hermione wrapped her arms around her husband's neck and nuzzled him gently.

"Yes we do, Severus, we have all the time in the world."



The End.