Disclaimer: JKR owns everything Harry Potter. This is just for fun and no profit.
And the Winner Is…
"Slytherin," the dark man beside Hermione repeated.
"Gryffindor," she insisted, brown eyes flashing in stubborn amusement.
"No child of mine would be put into Gryffindor," Severus said firmly, as though that settled the matter.
Hermione thought otherwise. "And no child of mine would be sent to Slytherin!" she hissed, struggling to keep her voice down as the Sorting Hat began to sing happily, oblivious to the two squabbling adults sitting at the faculty table.
"Remind me again why I married you?" Severus asked dryly.
"Because no one else would even consider having you," Hermione retorted with a grin.
"Ah. So you're saying that you are fortunate to have fallen in love with the bat of the dungeons?" he smirked. "I suppose there's strategy to that: having no competition to worry about."
"Oh, do shut up," Hermione grumbled, "before I hex you. I am the charms professor, remember. I can be very creative with my curses."
He smiled at her, fleetingly, but it was enough to melt her heart. After fourteen years of marriage, he knew when she was teasing. Every day when he awoke, Severus gave thanks to the deities for three things. The demise of Voldemort was one. His marriage to Hermione was another. And for the past eleven years, he'd been giving thanks for the boy who stood nervously with the other first years, waiting for his name to be called for sorting into a house.
Hermione returned his smile, then glanced to where their son stood, trying not to seem anxious. "Look at Oran," she nudged her husband. "Isn't he wonderful?"
Severus studied Oran. Tall, slender, and so pale he seemed almost translucent. He had dark, brooding eyes like his father, and a button nose and thick, curly dark hair like his mother. He would, in Severus' estimate, grow up to be a very fine looking boy. And curious! When the mood struck him, Oran would follow both his parents around, pursuing them like hounds chase a fox, asking one question after another until Severus could stand it no longer and would thrust a book into the boy's eager hands with a warning to be careful with it if he valued his life. The boy was very good at taking care of things, though: he kept his room so neat and clean the house elves never had to touch it. He could spend hours tidying whatever he could get his hands on. Not a bad trait, though somewhat annoying to whoever owned the items Oran took it upon himself to organize.
"He looks like every other first year to me," Severus replied. "Apprehensive and restless."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Goodness. Why did I ever decide to marry you?"
"My dazzling good looks and stellar personality?"
"You go right on believing that," she giggled.
"Shh! The Sorting Hat is nearly done," Severus said sotto voce. "I want to hear how wrong you are in smug silence."
"How wrong you are, you mean," she countered. The Gryffindor in her kicked into overdrive. "Care to make a little wager on it?"
He raised an eyebrow. "Go on."
"Simple, dear husband. Name a prize. Whoever wins gets what they want from the other."
"Interesting," he drawled. "Very well. If I win, I want you to reorganize the potions supply closets."
"That's it? That's not very creative," Hermione sniffed.
"You know how much I detest having to redo those shelves," he reminded her.
"True. All right, I accept."
"And what, pray tell, do you want if you win, light of my life?" Severus asked.
Hermione smiled and leaned close, whispering into his ear. When she pulled away, his eyes were wide and his face slightly flushed. "The whole nine yards?" he asked, voice quiet and incredulous.
"The whole nine yards."
"Sex on your desk and everything?"
"Wicked–student-in–need-of–discipline sex on the desk and everything," she replied naughtily.
"I have married a vixen," he said.
"And yet, I never hear you complaining. Well, do you agree?" Hermione challenged.
"Since I know you are going to lose, and I am therefore safe, then yes, I agree," Severus answered.
"Oran Snape," Minerva McGonagall called.
"Oh, look! There he goes!" Hermione sniffled, pulling a handkerchief from Severus' coat pocket and dabbing at her eyes.
Severus sighed, patting Hermione's hand as Oran made his way to the front of the room and the Sorting Hat was placed on his unkempt head.
"Ooohhh," the hat intoned. "Oh, my. Quite a smart one here, oh, yes. Bravery I see, as well."
"Ha," Hermione whispered.
"He said smart, obviously a Slytherin," Severus shot back.
The hat continued. "More than anything else, I see … oh, yes. There it is. Patience and loyalty. Well, then. There's only one place for you, dear boy…"
Hermione and Severus held their breath.
Hermione gasped. Severus blinked. Across from Hermione, Harry was doubled over in silent laughter. His and Ginny's twin girls had both been put in Gryffindor last year, and he'd teased Hermione about Oran keeping them company. Now Harry's face was beet red and tears ran down his face as he tried—and failed miserably—to control himself.
Severus looked upwards. "What have I done to deserve this fate?"
"Oh, stop it," Hermione admonished. "So he's a Hufflepuff. It's not the end of the world, Severus."
"It isn't?" he asked weakly.
"He's still our son. We don't love him any less, for goodness sake! Ron and Luna's daughter is a Hufflepuff, remember? It's not a fate worse than death."
"If you say so," Severus answered, still in a state of shock.
Hermione sighed. "Well, neither of us won the bet." She looked disappointed.
Severus nodded, his face slowly returning to normal. "Perhaps, under the circumstances, we could both benefit?"
She studied him. "How?"
He leaned close, hand brushing her knee discreetly under the table. "If you will reorganize the potions closets for me, I am willing to act out your detention fantasy," he breathed into her ear, giving her delightful shivers.
"I married a dirty old man," Hermione murmured.
"And yet, I never hear you complaining," he answered with a feral smile.
"You never will. I think that's an excellent idea."
"Good. Tonight?" he asked.
"Let's wait until the weekend," Hermione suggested. "I want lots of time to chastise you."
"And I have a few dozen ingredients to add to the shelves," Severus smirked.
Harry had finally stopped laughing. Hermione stuck her tongue out at him and set him off all over again.
"You realize we will never hear the end of this from Potter," Severus told her.
"Oh, yes, we will," Hermione vowed. "Or I'll hex him into next week."
Severus took her hand and squeezed. " Threatening to hex Potter. I knew there was a reason why I love you."
A/N: Oran. Irish: "of pale skin."