Disclaimer : Not mine, none of it. All JKRs.

A/N : This my answer to WIKTT's Noir challenge.



It was another one of those late afternoons. The last day of school. The students had been gone an hour ago and I was trying to forget the frustration and disappointments of the day, immersing myself in the welcoming warmth of a bottle of firewhiskey.

Year after year and it seemed they were getting even more incompetent. The complete disinterest, the lack of passion... there was just one student I could think of that made my teaching worth it. A single brilliant mind in the midst of all this stupidity.

But she was long gone and my thoughts refused to acknowledge I missed her. And I did miss her. I brushed the thoughts away and swallowed another big gulp of the amber liquid.

The air was thick and humid at the beginning of that summer, even for the dungeons, and the charmed windows insisted on shining streaks of orange sunlight from the dying afternoon. I kept watching the little particles of dust floating around the weak light.

If only I could lay in my bed and sleep for as long as my body yearned for, but unfortunately for me, the school year had finished, but not my work. The life of a spy... there was no room for holidays in a spy's life. I could be summoned any day or night, anytime... the life of a spy... no life.

It wasn't long before I drifted into sleep, letting the bottle fall to my feet while my head rested on the desk in front of me. I don't know how long it had been... probably not too long, since the night hadn't claimed the sky completely and I could still see a faint light from the window.

The knock on the door was what woke me up. I must confess it annoyed me a little, I wasn't in the mood for company, but I told whoever it was to come in.

The door knob turned slowly and as soft as a breeze, she glided in. She looked hesitant for a second and smiled shyly at me, even though I could see the smile didn't quite reach her eyes. They had a haunted quality to them, a nervousness.

As she walked toward my desk, her high heels on the stone floor, echoed throughout the room. She was dressed in a satin red dress, its skirt flowing a little below her knees. The cleavage cleverly covered with a silver brooch, while her hair was pulled up with two combs, making the brown curls cascade over her slim shoulders.

She stopped just before my desk fumbling through her small black purse and while bringing a cigarette to her lips, she kept on moving her hand in her search. I immediately conjured a lighter and got up. She bent over my hand, and soon the smoke scent filled the room.

She inhaled the smoke into her lungs, closing her eyes in an expression of relief. When her brown eyes opened again, they settled on me. We were entranced for a moment, drinking each other carefully, in an attempt to capture something different, that our time apart had added. I finally broke the silence.

"Since when do you smoke, Miss Granger?"

"Since I am no longer your student, so don't waste your time lecturing me, Severus."

The sound of my first name on her lips was heavenly, it brought feelings I couldn't possibly explain. I decided then to ignore her remark and asked her to sit down. She sat crossing her long legs, while her delicate hand held the cigarette elegantly.

"What brings you here after so many years, Miss Granger?"

"It's Mrs. Billings now, but please, do call me Hermione." She said before inhaling her cigarette, blowing the smoke slowly through her parted lips.

"Yes... Hermione... what brings you back to Hogwarts?"

"Can't an old student come around to visit old friends?"

"I hardly think we were ever friends, Hermione... I would think you'd have better places to go, being married to a rich man."

At this, I could see I had hit a nerve. Her eyes lowered to her knees and I noticed a slight shaking on her hands.

After a long pause, she spoke again, "I need your help, Severus... there are things happening... I can't explain."

"How is it exactly you think I might be able to help you?"

"My husband, he's been acting differently lately... I..." as if reading in my thoughts, she added, " I know how it sounds, but it's not what you think."

"Even so, I don't see how I fit in all this."

"You are the only person I could think of, you are a spy and this involves circumstances that might be connected to your line of work."

"I'm not sure I follow you, Hermione."

"I have a feeling my husband may be collaborating with the dark side, I think he's involved in the last attack in muggle London."

"Do you have proof of that?"

"No like I said, I have been noticing his behavior and there are some clues, I just had to put 2 and 2 together."

"Well, you're going to have to be more specific, why don't you start from the beginning?"

She sighed, and putting out her cigarette, she leaned back in her chair and started her story.