Hermione walked, a few paces behind her friends, who were busy leading children up to the tricked up houses. It was Halloween, and here she was, in Muggle London, trick-or-treating with her friends from the university. Shades seemed to close around her - ghosts of the Wizarding World, curling around her with mischief in mind. It was all a trick of the moonlight, of course.
Turning up another street, she saw a bent man in a black cloak, holding a turnip, with an ember inside it. He stood within a sidealley - black within black. She wouldn't have noticed him, without the light casting shadows on his face. "Poor Jack's a-cold..." he said, his voice a purr.
Hermione Granger's heart nearly stopped, as her feet flew up the stony path. She halted a bare pace away from him, "Severus..." she said, her voice nearly a whisper, the word as unfamiliar to her lips as it was to his ears. The warmth in his black eyes was all the response she got - but for a man of such voluble temper, it spoke volumes.
Hermione Granger's hands rose to her hips, as she asked crisply, "And just what did you do to Harry Potter?"
"Dead men tell no tales." Snape rasped out, his eyes sparkling with mirth. "Always Potter, always. Not a thought to anyone else."
"Old habits die hard." Hermione said with a smile, twisting a lock of her hair on her fingertip. "And you aren't quite dead, are you?"
"Not nearly." Severus Snape said, his voice a purr. "Shall we trip the light fantastic?" He asked, gently opening his arms to her.
Hermione Granger stepped close to him, whispering, "Of course." And with a crack, they were gone.
All Saints Day, Harry Potter thought, as he looked at all the candles, burnt down to nubbins. His five-year-old son, Saul, scampered down the stairs, his younger daughter, Lyra, toddling at his heels. Ginny looked up from making breakfast. Unable to contain himself a moment more, Saul burst out, "That was the best Halloween ever!" Harry squatted down, asking, "What happened?" He had been on duty half the night, and hadn't been able to take his children trick-or-treating. He missed it, but reminded himself that they were getting a good childhood - far better than his.
"There was a knock at the window!" Saul said, "And a man was outside, and we let him in - he looked so cold!" Harry's eyes tightened thoughtfully, turning into slits. His children were still here...
"He offered to pay for our kindness, for giving him a place to stay." Lyra continued. Typical, bloody typical.
"And how did he pay?" Harry asked kindly, coaxing the story from his young daughter.
"He told stories! We got three stories apiece, and then it was time for bed - and he told us one more for good luck."
Harry decided to lead his rambunctious kids along - judging from the looks he was getting from Gin, she was quite a bit more worried about this 'unexpected intrusion.'
"And were you good kids who listened attentively to everything he said?" Harry asked, thinking about exactly how intricately he had woven the wards around this place. Perhaps Gin was right to be concerned...
"Mostly, I guess," Saul said, looking down and rubbing his toe across the ground in an expression Harry knew intimately.
"No, Saul got the stranger all upset! He said that if Saul wasn't quieter, then the ghosts would all get scared and run away!"
"And were you quiet after that?"
"Of course! We didn't want to scare them!"
"You've been good, now sit down at the table and we'll get you something to eat." Harry said, catching Gin's eye, and mouthing 'one minute.'
After serving the kids food, Gin and Harry stepped into the living room as one person, shutting the door to the kitchen - careful not to slam it.
Gin asked worriedly, "Are the kids in any danger? Tracking spells? What do you think they wanted?"
Harry Potter had a strange gleam in his eye, as he looked at her, "Who do you think would find this appropriate behavior? Break into Harry Potter's house - through state-of-the-art wards, I might add, just to tell my children scary stories?"
"No one could possibly find this appropriate," Gin said with a throaty chuckle.
"Do I have to explain irony to you?" Harry said with a grin, appreciating that he -for once- knew more about culture than someone else. "He didn't mean any harm - cast as many spells as you like."
"Who, Harry, who!?" Gin said, her hands starting for her hips.
Harry's wide grin dissolved into laughter, rich and throaty. "Severus Snape - not quite at your service, but certainly back from the grave."
Gin turned pale, and asked, "A ghost? A ghost was telling our children stories?"
"No ghost. We never found a body, remember? And ghosts - even friend ly ones - can't move around."
Gin's eyes got big, and round, and Harry leaned close to her, whispering in her ear, "Don't. Tell. Ron." It was a hunch, but Harry trusted his instincts. "Let me do it, it'll be good for a laugh."
"You aren't going to tell him at all, are you?" Gin wheedled, and Harry's responding grin told her everything she needed to know.
Early in his morning, Harry Potter looked up off his desk, to see a most unexpected visitor lounging in the doorway. "Draco Malfoy" Harry said, his voice neutral. Let him try and read something in that.
"Did you receive any unexpected visitors last night? Any pranks or treats?" Draco Malfoy said, and Harry instantly knew that he wasn't making just simple conversation.
"No visitors for me, I'm afraid, although my children report a visitor for them."
"Through your wards? A brave visitor that." Draco Malfoy said, his mouth quirking.
"Indeed." Harry Potter said, turning his face back to his work.
It had been three days since Hermione Granger had disappeared, and Ron was frantic. He was in Harry's house, pacing about. "And you have no clue where she is?"
"None." Harry said promptly, before continuing, "Ron, you know I'd tell you if I knew where she was..." - although in his heart, Harry thought Mione had done the best thing.
"But what if she's in trouble!" Ron squawked, his brain turning over with anxiety.
Soothingly, Harry said, "She knows how to cast a silent, wandless Patronus, Ron. She's not in trouble, most likely."
"Then why can't we find her? Where is she?" Ron said, his frustration pouring over into anger.
"I don't know, "Harry responded, his fingers playing with a postcard.
"Why aren't you upset? Aren't you her friend? You don't look like this is bothering you at all!" Ron said, his face turning beet red with rising fury.
Harry's stance was nonchalant, nearly arrogant, "Because I know when she'll be back."
"What?! How? Why didn't she write me?" Ron said, growing increasingly less coherent.
Harry mutely passed his friend the postcard. Ron nearly exploded, saying, "That doesn't say a bloody thing!"
Harry shrugged and said, "Give her some time." as he took the postcard with the pomegranite on the front back from Ron's fingertips.
[a/n: Hope you enjoyed! if you did, write me a review!]