Authors Note: *ducks flying fruit and random garbage* I'm SORRY!!! I've been busy and - and..and okay.I started other stories and got sidetracked and pretty much left One Chance in the ditch, but I've got this out, don't I?

And I'm sorry to those of you who were pre-disposed to hate Mary Russell. I hope I change your mind with this chapter.

"Oh very good, Sevvie, Darling." She purred. "I was afraid you may have forgotten me."

Severus smiled bemusedly, "Never, Mary. Never."

"So how have you been?" Mary asked, dropping the drama while dropping into a chair.

"Fine. Fine, and yourself?" Severus smiled at her, a true smile.

"Beating off lecherous men with a stick. Speaking of, have you found yourself a girl?"

"Actually, yes." He grinned, remembering how Hermione's eyes sparkled when she laughed, and how her Muggle oddities popped out at random moments. "Yes, I have."

"Oh good. Now, tell me all about her." She tapped him on the knee encouragingly.

"Well, what do you want to know?"

"Anything you want to tell me."

"Her name is Hermione. She's nineteen. I know," he said in response to Mary's gasp, "She's young, but if she'll have me, then I'm hers. Her hair is brown - no honey, and her eyes are like fresh cinnamon. She's got this infectious laugh that could make any man crumble. And her hands. God, her hands! They're small, and delicate, but in any moment, she could easily take you down with them. She's short, but not dumpy, and she has a temper like a banshee with a headcold. Furious, but oddly quiet. And she has a scar, right above her left eye, from her first year, when she had gone traipsing after the Sorcerers Stone with Potter and Weasley." He trailed off, his eyes oddly soft.

Mary sighed. "You've got it bad, Sev. Real bad."

"I know. I know." He shook his head and dropped it into his hands. "I can't get her out of my head. She like a disease, a disease I don't want to go away. And she will. I know she will."

"If she has half the love for you that you've got for her, then she won't."

"What about you? I haven't spoken to you for seventeen years. Where have you been?" Severus asked sharply, jerking his head up from his hands and staring at Mary, clearly expecting an answer.

"Are you ready for this?" Severus nodded. "Oh-kay. I've been in America."

"America?"

"The one and only. Chicago, to be exact. Chicago, Illinois."

"Well, its no wonder your beating lecherous men off with a stick! Chicago, Mary? I thought you knew your stuff."

"I do. But you know I had no choice. I had to leave. I only had one ticket, and it was to Chicago. So, Chicago was where I went."

"You could have stayed. Hidden at Snape Manor -."

"For seventeen years?"

"Good point. Does he know you're here?"

"No. As far as Cornelius knows, I'm dead."

"You should press charges."

"I can't. Its embarrassing."

"What? That the Minister of Sodding Magic abused and raped you? Of course its embarrassing. But we can get past that. This should be brought to light." Severus growled, his voice hoarse with pent up emotion.

"No." Mary said firmly. "It was a long time ago."

"But you still have the scar."

She smiled sadly, "Oh yes. I've still got it." She turned her cheek, exposing an oval shaped scar with the letters "MoM" imprinted in the middle.