So this is just a short little SS/HG (don't like, don't read) fic I had swimming in my mind. Its my first ever fic-so yay!

The characters are a little Ooc but then again it's a fanfic so that was bound to happen.

Hope you enjoy and tell me what you think! (though please no flames)

The First Surprise

Severus Snape was a very constant man, rude and cranky at times-yes, but he was still fairly reliable. In fact, Minerva found that she could even mark his morning routine down to the second. He was always the first professor to arrive for breakfast at the Great Hall, where he would take his seat beside hers, take a deep breath and then pour himself a cup of coffee-one sugar, no milk. After that first crucial sip he would then muster the energy to acknowledge the other professors sitting around him. He would order two slices of dry toast and a small potato hash. Sometimes on his more daring days he would add bacon. After he finished his meal, traded a few sarcastic remarks with Minerva, and glared at the eating students, he would billow away to his dungeons where he would take points from Gryffindor and then favor his Slytherins.

Yes, for all his "mysterious airs", Severus was indeed a predictable man, which unbeknownst to him offered a level of comfort to the staff and several students. In the aftermath of Voldemort's terror their world was severely shaken and to many it seemed like nothing would ever be normal again. Then Severus would walk by just as acerbic and sarcastic as always and they would release a sigh of relief, as they realized some things would always be the same and the rest of the "normalcies" would eventually come with time. It was a peculiar bit of therapy, no doubt, but it worked. In truth, they had come to depend on his consistency.

That's why most of the staff were ill prepared to deal with the first surprise Severus brought with him one morning in May. Even Minerva, who prided herself on her composure, was a little flustered at what to do. At first she had assumed it was merely a trick of the light, a result of the stain glass windows in the Great Hall. Then she considered her dirty spectacles as the likely culprit, or perhaps it was her aging eyes that were beginning to fail her. She thought of several other possibilities that could explain away what she was seeing, but none of them quite fit. And she knew she was not the only one dumbfounded by the sight, because many of the other professors had stopped what they were doing. Their expressions ranging from confusion, concentration, mirth, and outright, open-mouthed shock as they stared at Severus, who sitting in his usual seat had the collar of his frock coat undone, allowing the base of his throat to be seen.

This in and of its self was not too unnerving-shocking to be certain, considering the man in question prided himself on constantly being impeccably and appropriately attired at all times (and no one had ever witnessed even one button partially undone). In fact, Minerva often wondered if the man slept in similarly constricting pajamas at night. However, the true shock lay in the small circle of discolored skin to the side of his neck that looked uncannily like a…a hickey.

But no, that can't be, Minerva thought to herself. It couldn't be a hickey that she was seeing. She was the headmistress and his friend-though he would never admit it. Surely she would have known if he were seeing someone or at least know if he were sneaking out of the castle in the dark for a midnight tryst (or sneaking someone in). And even if that were the case, she still knew for a fact that Severus abhorred public displays of affection and was never one for "flaunting" love marks. What on earth is going on with him? It was a thought most were sharing with the headmistress.

Unable to keep her mouth closed any longer, Minerva leaned over placing a hand on his arm. "Severus, I couldn't help but notice that something was on your neck…Is everything alright?"

There was only the slightest hesitance before Severus nodded his head, his face composed in the usual façade of bored indifference. "Of course, Minerva, everything is perfectly alright. I was gathering ingredients in the forest this morning and was bitten by a vicious little bug."

Minerva furrowed her brows in concern, glancing at the large mark. It was indeed very red. "It does look rather ghastly, perhaps you should see Poppy about getting it fixed up," she suggested.

"There is no need. I have already applied an ointment that has already brought the swelling down considerably. Its still easily irritated but it should be completely healed within the next few hours," he replied wiping his hands before abruptly standing up. "Now, if you will excuse me I have much to do today. Good day, Minerva." He quickly swept out of the hall missing the reaction of his fellow staff members. Their relief was palpable as they went back to their meals, glad that their small world had righted itself again.

Minerva was relieved as well that nothing seemed amiss with her friend, and scolded herself for jumping to such conclusions in the first place. That bug bite did seem rather bad, and that starchy wool he's so fond of would only irritate it further. Of course he would where his collar open. Really Minerva, Severus Snape gallivanting around, showing off a love bite-the silly things you think of.

"Why is everyone is such a good mood? Did I miss something?" A voice asked from behind Minerva causing the headmistress to call out in pleasure. "Hermione! Come sit by me, my dear girl."

Hermione smiled as she pulled out the chair on the other side of Minerva and sat down. She immediately started loading her plate with fruit.

"And to answer your question," Minerva continued, "you missed nothing really, just a few of us being silly hens is all."

"Oh I doubt that you could ever be considered silly Minerva," Hermione replied.

"Ha! I have been known to be silly a time or two, but we were all young once. In any case, tell me how your business with the mer people is going. Have you gotten their consent yet?" Minerva patted her arm fondly.

Hermione sighed, looking down at her plate. "I'm afraid not. I haven't even been able to obtain an audience with the royal court yet. While their politics are quite intriguing, it can still be frustrating at times. I fear I'll have to impinge on your hospitality a little bit longer, a month at most. Do you mind?"

"No! Of course not, dear. You know you are always welcome at Hogwarts. You can take as much time as you need. Working with the merfolk is never an easy task, and I know how important your work is."

"Thank you Minerva, I really do appreciate it." Hermione smiled turning back to her plate. "By the way I was passing Professor Snape in the hallway and you'll never guess what I saw." Her face lit with a mischievous grin.

Minerva laughed, patting her hand. "Actually Hermione, I believe I can."

A/N: Ok so that's the first part down! What do you think? Reviews are welcome!