Time Changes Everything

AN: Okay, I've read an awful lot of Hr/SS fics where Snape is married of late, so I thought – what if it were Hermione who was married? Warning: All very fluffy – not like my other SS/Hr fic (Though I am planning another stand-alone fic with a completely canon Snape…) I have also decided to take up Kiristeen ke Alaya's challenge! (see details at the bottom)

I'm not so keen on the title of this, but it'll do for now…

Disclaimer: Not mine, all belong to the Goddess Rowling – I'm just gonna let them have a little fun while we wait for the next book…

Albus Dumbledore stepped into the staff room at Hogwarts and the room full of his faculty turn to him in anticipation. They had obviously been waiting some time for him to turn up, and several of them looked eager to get back to what they were doing.

"I called this meeting to introduce our new Astronomy Professor, but it appears she is running a little late," Dumbledore spoke softly, hoping to calm them down.

"Headmaster, I have other more pressing matters to attend to…" Severus Snape began, rising to his feet.

"Sit back down Severus. I am sure she will be here any moment, and I think you will find the appointment I have made quite …interesting."

Snape reluctantly sat back down, scowling. In all honesty, he really didn't have anything else to attend to. The new school year would begin tomorrow, and he had already organized his classes, restocked the potions cupboard and filled his inkbottles with copious amounts of ominous red ink. However, the idea of spending another minute listening to Minerva McGonagall chattering on to Rolanda Hooch about her holiday in Spain was a thought worse than death.

"I highly doubt that, Sir," Snape grumbled, restlessly tapping his long fingers against the wooden armrest of his chair.

"Justin, will you just watch her for a few minutes! For Merlin's sake, I'm already fifteen minutes late!" Hermione Granger insisted, hurriedly pulling on her long, blue robes. She shot her husband an exasperated look.

"Fine. But I told you, Hermione, if you haven't got time to do your job as well as look after your daughter, that is your problem!" Justin Finch-Fletchly snapped, throwing down the copy of the Daily Prophet he had been reading onto the small coffee table before him.

"Our daughter," Hermione corrected, checking her reflection in the mirror. She smoothed her hair down, only semi-satisfied with the result. She really had wanted to make a good impression on her fellow teachers, but looked like that idea had gone down the drain.

"Mummy?" a small girl asked uncertainly from where she sat on the floor before the fire, playing with a pile of wooden blocks.

"Mummy will be back in just a little while, Charlotte," Hermione said softly to her daughter, bending down to plant a kiss on top of her head. "You be a good girl for Daddy, now, won't you?"

"Yeah," the little girl sighed. Hermione could feel her heart breaking. She knew Justin wouldn't bother to take the time to play with Charlotte, and Hermione seriously considering staying. Then she remembered why she had accepted this job, why she had worked so hard to make it this far – for Charlotte.

"Good girl," Hermione said softly. She turned to Justin. "She could do with a snack – there's a banana on the counter…"

"Yeah, yeah."

Hermione sighed, then with a last look at Charlotte she walked out the door.

The staff room door burst open, and Hermione found herself faced with twenty or so staring faces, some of them obviously none too pleased with her late arrival.

"Ah, there you are," Dumbledore said, his face crinkling with a smile.

"So, so sorry I am late," Hermione said hurriedly, shutting the door behind her.

Snape's head snapped up – there was something a little too familiar about that voice, yet looking at the woman standing just inside the door, he found it difficult to place where he knew her from. Snape lifted his cup, taking a snip as he inspected her. She was indeed quite stunning – long brown hair that fell in curls almost to her waist, pale, smooth skin, and though she was a little on the short side, she did indeed have an exquisite figure.

"Professors, I would like to introduce our new Astronomy Professor, Ms Hermione Granger."

Snape choked on his drink. Surely, it couldn't be… but no, now taking a look at her, Dumbledore was right, this was indeed Miss Granger, but no longer the silly school girl who used to wave her hand incessantly in his Potions class – indeed, she had grown into a woman.

The rest of the staff had erupted into applause, though some of it reluctantly – obviously annoyed at having to wait so long for the new Professor.

Snape shook off his previous, rather unethical thoughts about Hermione, and anger reared its ugly head.

"Forgive me, Headmaster, but Miss Granger is hardly out of school, how exactly is she supposed to teach?" Snape sneered, his eyes narrowing at Hermione.

"It has been four years since Hermione left Hogwarts. She has completed all the necessary training requirements, Severus, and you and I both know what a brilliant mind she has. I believe we are quite lucky to be able to have her on our staff," Albus said, giving Hermione a smile.

"Thank you, Sir," Hermione said, returning his smile. Dumbledore's words meant the world to her – it had been a long, hard struggle to get to this point, and even that simple compliment from Dumbledore made the work seem worth it.

"Well done, Hermione!" Hagrid boomed, a wide grin on his face.

Four years? Snape thought. Where had that time gone? It really did seem like just yesterday he had been taking house points from her for being an insufferable know-it-all. Snape had to wonder what she was doing teaching at Hogwarts – Albus was right, the girl did indeed have a brilliant mind and was more than capable of teaching, but Snape thought she could have done so much more…

Hermione moved around the room, being reacquainted with her old teachers, and meeting the few new arrivals, and Snape found himself mesmerized.

"She's really blossomed, hasn't she?" Minerva said from next to Snape.

"Indeed," Snape said coldly, tearing his gaze away. "We shall just have to see what sort of a teacher she makes."

Hermione had made her way to McGonagall, and smiled warmly at her old head of house.

"Professor McGonagall, it's so nice to see you again," Hermione bubbled, smiling softly at the elderly witch.

"Oh, please, Hermione, call me Minerva. And it's my pleasure, I assure you, to have you as a work mate."

"Thank you," Hermione replied politely, then hesitantly turned to Snape. Hermione was a little anxious about this reunion – wondering how precisely her old surly potions master would treat her now she was to work with him. He really didn't look as though he had changed much – same large nose, greasy black hair and black robes, but there was always the chance…

"Severus…" Hermione said hesitantly.

"You will refer to me as Professor Snape," Snape growled at her.

'And I guess we have an answer,' Hermione thought bitterly.

"Severus, come now…" Minerva chided, chuckling a little.

Snape did not say another word, and certainly gave no indication that he would retract his last statement. Hermione gave him a long look before speaking.

"Very well then, Professor Snape," she finally replied. Though she said the words casually, Snape could swear there was a double meaning in them – an accepting of a challenge Snape had not meant to extend. Snape was about to give Hermione a warning glare, but she simply walked away, heading towards Lupin, before he had the opportunity.

"I see that snake hasn't changed his scales," Hermione spoke softly to Lupin, rolling her eyes as she gave him a tight hug.

"Hey, that was a warm welcome coming from him. Know what he said to me when I returned?" Lupin teased, giving Hermione a reassuring grin. Hermione raised her eyebrows in inquiry. "I see the headmaster has been pulling strays from the gutter yet again."

Hermione snorted, but felt somewhat better.

"How's Charlie?" Lupin asked, referring to Hermione's daughter.

"She's wonderful. And she's grown so much since you last saw her – you must stop by sometime and see her."

"I will." Lupin paused, unsure whether to breach the next subject, but decided that he really did need to know that Hermione was all right. "And Justin?"

Hermione looked away for a moment, and then back. "He's fine."

Lupin took the hint and moved on to lighter banter.

Finally, after having spoken with everyone, Hermione decided she had better head back to her quarters – undoubtedly Justin would be getting worked up that he had to look after Charlotte for so long.

"Forgive me, Albus, but I must be going," Hermione spoke, a little reluctantly. It had been nice, for the most part, to catch up with her old professors – people who didn't know about her personal life, and hence couldn't judge her for it. Treasure this, Hermione thought, it won't last long.

"Of course, Hermione. You have a good evening, and I shall see you in the Great Hall tomorrow for the sorting?" Albus spoke questioningly, but Hermione knew this was not something she could say no to. Hopefully Charlotte's nanny would arrive in time.

"Definitely, Albus." Hermione, turned to the rest of the room. "Well," she spoke, glancing around, "it was a pleasure to meet you all. And I look forward to working with you." Her eyes lingered on Snape for a moment, and a flood of bravery washed over her. "Especially you, Severus," she spoke with a wicked grin.

Too shocked by her words to speak, Snape had to just watch as she gracefully turned and left the lounge.

The Challenge:

1. Snape's mother decides it's high time her son married.

2. Could be he's the only living heir, i.e. the only one to pass on the Snape name. Could be that she simply wants her son happy. Could be she really wants grandchildren.

3. You could have her looking at *only* purebloods, or not caring at this point -- having given up on that hope. She could even never have cared, his entrance into Voldemort's service being something that cut him off from his family.

4. The end result could be either het or slash. Snape's reasoning being 'going along' or resisting with every breath his mother's choices/demands.

5. Above all have fun! : )

6. Extra points for the following:

Snape ends up with either Hermione or Harry.

His mother *tries* to get him together with Minerva.

Really bonus points if you can believably have her try for Trelawney ::snickers