A/N: I wasn't sure I was ever going to touch this story again, but I finally got my creative juices flowing, and this is the "sequel/oneshot/27th chapter" I was hoping for. See the bottom of the story for the rest of the author's note. Oh, and I hope you enjoy.
Severus Snape looks over the list in front of him. As he goes down the list, his brows become more and more creased until he looks up at me with a full frown on his face. Seeing the frown on his face causes me to frown in return.
"What?" I say, a bit defensively. I've seen this look about a dozen times before.
"Did you have a seizure half way through writing this list?" he asks, flipping it around. I study my chicken-scratch for a quarter of a second before he turns it around. "I have no idea what the last two items on this list are."
"Give it here," I snap, snatching it from him. I study it for a second, not admitting that I cant even myself make out the last item, but say, "Salamander tails and…scales. A new set of scales." That's not really what it says, but it's really what I want it to say, and it's really what I want him to purchase.
"A new set of scales?" Snape repeats, giving me a look clearly questioning my sanity. "Let me just muster up the money for a new set of scales for you."
"Honestly," I reply, rolling my eyes. "I'm not asking for a new broom or a house, you idiot, I'm asking for some new scales. Mine are off by a fraction and you remember last night when that potion exploded in my face!" Snape smirks at the memory as I rub my middle finger over my eyebrow, which I had to grow back last night. Living with a Potions master does have its rewards, even if it is the simple fact that he could whip up a hair growth potion in a matter of minutes.
Snape shakes his head slightly and folds the list in two. He goes back to his paper work, completely, as always, side-stepping the entire conversation I had craftily planned. From the moment we got together it had been decided that trivial things such as anniversaries would not be celebrated. We were happy and did not need to be reminded once a year that we were happy. And for a while I was perfectly alright with that, until the greedy, shallow part of my mind suddenly started to whisper to me. As soon as it began to inform me that I would not be getting a yearly present, aside from my birthday and Christmas (and believe me, I had to fight to keep those two special days). Sure, I had the money for new scales, but if I could get Snape to buy them for me…
"So, a new set of scales should be the last thing on the list and that'll be all for today," I say, taking a sip of tea. I do not dare make eye contact with him, lest I actually see the look on his face and crack a smile. I scrunch my nose and keep my eyes fixed on the wall over Snape's left shoulder. Finally, I can take no more and lower my eyes. He is not giving me the satisfaction of entertaining my little game.
"Don't be a child, Granger," he replies in what could be considered a cold manner, but I know better, "buy them yourself."
At the word 'child' I feel my feathers get flustered and I abruptly stand, gathering my plate and cutlery. I go into the small kitchen and place them into the sink, hearing the loud 'clank' and greeting it with a cringe. I must sound like I am having a fit, when in reality it no longer has anything to do with the scales. I take a deep breath and begin scrubbing at the few dishes in the sink the Muggle way. I feel eyes on me, but refuse to turn.
"You know, you could just use your wand and have them done within seconds," Snape informs me. While I admit many things I do get under his skin to the point of annoyance, the one thing that tops the list is my sentimentality with the Muggle way of doing things. I do not use my wand for rudimentary things such as washing a dish and have tried to inform him of the satisfaction that comes from a little elbow grease. When I tried to explain it to him he honestly looked at me as though I were the craziest person on planet Earth.
"I know, we've had this conversation," I say evenly. "I don't mind doing them by…" I trail off as the dishes beneath my hand suddenly vanish, along with the suds and water, and appear on the terry cloth towel next to the sink, sparkling and dry. "Hand," I finish, turning to him with a cold glare. "I wanted to do them by hand."
"Now they're done," Snape says with an impartial shrug. "And we can now focus on whatever is bothering you."
"What's bothering me?" I ask with a barking laugh. I wipe my hands on my pants and brush past him into the small nook overlooking the garden. I gather his plates and tea cup and head back into the kitchen. "Nothing is bothering me," I say. "And Merlin's army help you if you magically do these dishes," I warn as I turn on the tap and feel for the warm water. As soon as it arrives I plunge my hands into the water and began scrubbing the dishes clean.
"Fine," Snape replies. "Simmer, pout, be moody." He turns and leaves the room. Leaves the room with me angrily scrubbing on plates and fighting all of my instincts to fling a tea pot at his head. I want to run after him and inform him why I'm really so angry, but can not even stand the thought of the look on his face. It will be the same look that covered his face the first months we were living together. Though he says otherwise, the look on his face was clearly screaming, "Why are you wasting your time with her?" He would turn to me, looking slightly panicked as though he realized spending "rest of his life" with someone twenty years younger than him, and me at such a young age, was really going to get tiring.
It was not a fairy tale ending that met us after I left Hogwarts. Quite the contrary. Snape actually refused to let me move in with him up until four months ago, and I highly suspect he was quite concerned with my moving into his bat den and making appropriate changes. The first being to open up a damn curtain and let some natural light into the deprived house. For the most part it has been a tense transition, with both of us fighting the urge to kill each other every day.
I've spoken to some of my friends, curious as to how their relationships are going, and have been told that my relationship with Snape is weird. "Fucking mental," as Ginny said. Apparently one isn't supposed to get into throw down, punch out fights with their mates, only to drop the argument minutes after it begins. And as I think about it, I always envisioned myself in a very different setting, with a man who loved me unconditionally and wanted nothing more than to spend every waking moment with me.
Instead, I got a man twenty years my senior who has been set in his ways since he was twelve years old, and who was not just reluctant to change, but refused to change.
Despite all the reasons why we should part ways and perhaps try to live separate lives rather than kill each other in a fiery mess of spells and hexes, there are always more reasons to stay. One of them being that he challenges me. He doesn't let anything, except my mood swings, go without a challenge. He is my intellectual counterpart, who reads as much, if not more than I do. He'll leave a book on my bedside if he thinks I'll like it, or the newspaper turned to an article he thinks I might like. When I commented that Pride and Prejudice was my favorite book, he purchased a copy of it for me, for no other reason than he wanted me to have it. Also, we respect each other on more than a physical level.
But really, child? He knows how much that irritates me, him calling me a child. I'm not a child anymore, and haven't been for some time! I am coming onto my twentieth birthday and would love to be treated as such. Sure, an old woman in a café a few weeks back suspected us of being father and daughter, but that doesn't make me a child anymore than it makes him a lecherous old man.
I finish the plates and place them in the cupboards hanging on the cream colored walls. As I close the last one over, and turn to leave the room, I jump, faced with Snape in the doorway.
"Must you do that?" I snap, brushing past him. "If you are going to skulk around this house like a ghost, at least inform me of your presence."
"I think I know what this is about," Snape says, a touch of triumph in his voice.
"You know what what is about?" I reply testily. I make my way into the living room and begin to fluff at the pillows littering the couch.
"Your mood," Snape says. He leans against the single column separating the living room from the breakfast nook. "I think you're having a change of heart about our agreement."
"Our agreement?" I ask.
"Yes, and will you stop repeating everything back to me? I'm aware of the words coming out of my mouth without you parroting them back at me."
"Parroting them back at you?" I ask, a smile tugging at the edges of my mouth as I toss the last fluffed pillow onto the couch. He scowls at me. "Please refresh my memory about our agreement."
"Not to celebrate our anniversary," Snape says. "I think perhaps you're pouting because you want a gift."
I raise my eyebrows at him. "Huh" is all he is granted with as I walk around the couch and head up the stairs to my right. As I enter out small bedroom, and hear his footsteps coming up behind me, I am desperately wishing this house were a touch bigger.
Snape had purchased this small little cottage a few years ago and decided that if we were going to start a new life, he needed to be out of Spinner's End immediately. He still kept the property, but rarely went to visit it. I shudder to think of all the dust piling up along the window sills.
The house that we live together in has a small living room with a fireplace, stairs to our bedroom and bathroom on the right of the room, across from the front door. The small breakfast nook and kitchen make up the rest of the house. We don't entertain much, which is fine with the both of us, and the size doesn't really bother me until we start fighting, in which case it suddenly becomes much too small.
"Do you think it would be possible to have a conversation without you walking out of the room?" Snape asks, giving me an annoyed glance. "How about we save ourselves a tense day and you let me know what is bothering you."
I glance at his reflection in the mirror in front of me, my insides twisting in embarrassment. Somehow, he's made me feel like the buck-toothed girl in Fourth Year all over again with his question. Though, the buck-toothed girl from Fourth Year wouldn't have dreamed that the Potion Master of Hogwarts would one day shag her within an inch of her life. I brace myself for his reaction as I turn to face him.
"Please don't call me a child anymore," I say firmly.
He opens his mouth and then closes it again. I seem to have caught him off guard. "When did I call you a child?" he asks.
"At breakfast," I say. I twist my hands and then try and muster up my strength to remain firm in my request. Despite everything we've shared with each other, there are times when he'll look at me or say something to me, and for the slightest of seconds I'll think I am in the dungeons of Hogwarts and he's about to dock my house ten points. That is one of the reasons I don't call him Severus. I did a bit at the beginning, but we never took to it, and I prefer to call him Snape instead. He calls me Granger, or Hermione when he's being tender, because, after all, that is how we've been referring to each other for close to nine years now. This is simply how our relationship functions. Fucking mental, as Ginny said.
Snape gives me a weary look and says, "This is why you've been sulking for a half hour? Because you were acting like a child and I called you a child?"
"I wasn't acting like a child," I snap. He doesn't understand that I am self conscious about being called such. I realize how we look as a couple, and I know what people must think when they see us together. The last thing I want is for people to think I'm some skanky ex-student who managed to sway the dreadful Potions Master. I'm afraid that for a very long time, people will only assume that the only thing we share together is sex, or something. When really, like I said before, we are each other's intellectual equivalent. "Just…for me, will you stop using that term?"
"I'm sorry, darling, I didn't realize it offended you," he says and I am surprised at the sincerity and warmness in his tone.
"Well…thank you," I say, unable to keep the surprise out of my voice. I expected mocking and sarcasm, not understanding and sincerity on the first go.
He sighs, sounding like a parent appeasing a spoiled child and says, "Sure no problem. Any other words you'd like to eliminate from my vocabulary?"
There it is.
I ball my hands into fists and say through clenched teeth, "No. Don't worry about it. But, just for the record, if I'm a child and we're currently shagging, then that means you're shagging a child. So, really, you're just making yourself look like a dirty pedophile! I'm going to go out back in the garden for a bit. Don't follow me." I wedge past him again, cursing his name in my head. His greatest fault is his inability to recognize I actually have balloon-like feelings and his pin prick remarks cause them to burst and deflate. Showing any sort of emotion is seen as weakness to him, and it is something I am actively trying to get him to reconsider.
Getting Snape to show actual, genuine emotions is pretty hard. Something has to be very funny, or very dear to his heart for him to crack even a smile. The first time I saw Snape coming close to showing any actual emotion is once, when he was reading the paper at the table about three months before I moved in. I had quietly gone down the stairs a bit before dawn, in search of water, and stumbled on him instead. He was reading the paper and actually let out a laugh. A true, genuine laugh like I never heard before. Usually, when he is happy he'll smirk, maybe smile if he's in a tender mood. For the most part he's completely passive with his emotions, which was a bit unsettling at first. Even with something like sex he is very quiet and precise in all of his movements. Which is fine, I don't mind the sound of my own voice and don't have to worry with baby talk or embarrassing dirty talk. Only once has he actually lost it towards the end of sex and actually cried something out and, knowing him as well as I think I do now, I could tell he was slightly embarrassed, whether it be from actually showing some sort of emotion, or by the sound he made. And I know this relationship must sound mental and a bit twisted, but if I could take my 'magic wand' and change something, I'm not sure I would. For the most part, we work together, even if my emotionally devoid partner always has a scowl on his face.
As I pass through the kitchen, I notice his scale sitting on the small work table by the back door, all of Snape's things out. He must be planning on working on a potion today. My hand is on the door handle when I pause, and look back at his scales. I bite my bottom lip, considering my idea, and then go to the armoire against the wall of the kitchen. I open it, revealing herbs and ingredients. On the top shelf are my set of scales, which are almost identical to Snape's. Well, aside from the fact that mine are a fraction off, while his are spot on. I take mine down, wiping a spec of root off and swap them with the gleaming and loved set of Snape's. I close the door over again and then head out into the backyard. Perhaps once Snape sees what a terror and hazard mine are, he'll reconsider not buying me a new set.
For the rest of the afternoon I work in the garden, taking pride in the sweat forming on my back and neck. Snape hates to see me in the garden because, again, he can not understand why I would do four hours worth of work, when three simple waves of my wand would get everything done. Snape just doesn't understand my need to stay connected to my Muggle roots.
As it is, I don't get to see my parents much anymore. To say they were less than pleased to hear I was dating Snape is an understatement. When I introduced him, my parents were immediately taken aback by the immediate elephant in the room: the age gap. However, as I introduced Snape to my father and said, "Daddy, this is Severus Snape," my mother, standing next to my father and sipping on a martini, suddenly began to cough, choking on her drink.
Once she was able to breathe again, she gave me a scandalized look and said, "Love, would you please help me in the kitchen," and yanked me by the arm into the next room. "Hermione, love," she hissed, "correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this your teacher from Hogwarts?"
"Yes," I replied, slinking away from the dumbfounded look on her face.
"The one that made you cry?" she pressed. "What the…Why…What's going on?"
"Mum, that was years ago. He's a changed man," I tried to explain. "We fell in love."
"This is ridiculous," Mum had hissed to herself, placing a palm on her forehead. "Girls fall in love with their college professors not their mean cooking teachers who used to make them cry when they were thirteen!"
I stifled a laugh, despite the situation. "He isn't a cooking teacher," I said. "He's a Potions teacher. A very powerful and respected one at that."
She took her hand away from her head and took several calming breaths before bursting into tears. I gave her a horrified look and tried to calm her, to no avail. Finally, after fifteen minutes, she came out of her panic attack and composed herself enough to take the pot roast out of the oven before it burned. We didn't speak for the rest of the night and dinner was a terribly tense affair, with my mother not making eye contact with Snape unless absolutely necessary. She wasn't trying to be rude, but I could tell all she wanted to do was go sit in a dark room with a stiff drink and wrap her head around the idea, and I completely understood. I was not the daughter who freaked out and demanded my parents immediately love my boyfriend. They didn't have to and it was understandable why they would have their reservations. On the outside we look ugly, but I know we're beautiful and once you get to know us together, it is clear that we are.
So, besides a demanding job and parents who are trying to understand why their only daughter is now dating her once hated teacher, we don't get to see each other as much. We write to each other once a week to keep in touch. I know that my parents will come around eventually and even if they don't completely accept Snape, that's okay, too. My parents are reasonable people and I believe that with time they will see that we fit together in a way no other person could have fit with me.
As the hot afternoon sun beats down on my back, I finally take a much needed break. I head into the house, which is under a cooling spell, and grab a glass of lemonade off the counter. I do not acknowledge Snape as he works on a potion he is trying to perfect.
It isn't until I am in the house and cooling off that I realize how exhausted I am. I feel a bit lightheaded from the four hours without water and sun beating down my neck. I finish the glass of lemonade and head back into the kitchen for another glass.
"I'm sorry," Snape says, not looking up from his work. The sincerity in his voice engulfs me like a warm hug on a cold day. I turn slightly, to see that he has stopped working, waiting for my response.
"It's okay," I reply. I walk back towards the living room, this time passing close enough to Snape to place the briefest of kisses on his head. I settle onto the couch and feel as though I could nod off. I probably would have if it hadn't been for the sudden explosion that comes from the kitchen. The glass of lemonade in my hand falls to the ground with a thump, hitting the carpet and not shattering. My eyes fly open and I see smoke coming from the kitchen, but am too frightened to get up from the couch. A feeling of dread suddenly overwhelms me as I suddenly remember switching scales with Snape this morning. A soft, drawn out, "Fuuuuuuuck," comes out of my mouth.
I am about to call for Snape when I suddenly hear, "What the fuck?" being yelled and the sound of a chair slamming into the wall. "Bloody fucking, useless piece…" He trails off and becomes a bit unintelligible, though I can hear him cursing and swearing. "And I'm fine, by the way!" he calls sarcastically.
"I'm sorry!" I cry, jumping up and rushing to the door frame. The previously cream colored walls are scorched with black soot and the table, once on the right hand side of the wall, looks as though it slammed into the left hand side of the wall with enough force to send a crack in it. Most of Snape's ingredients are on the ceiling.
"That potion was perfect!" he yells. "I had all the ingredients perfected down to the last cunting herb!"
"I'm sorry," I say, a fearful laugh threatening to escape my throat, "did you just use 'cunt' as an adjective?" I ask.
"Yes!" he yells. He kicks the chair and places a hand on his hip, surveying the mess, trying to calculate the exact cause of the problem.
"Maybe your old eyes just aren't what they used to be," I say, teasingly. I smile at him, raising my eyebrows at him as he levels me with a furious glare. My smile immediately slides off of my face and I say, "Sorry. Not the time for jokes?"
"No. Not the time for jokes," he snaps. "That took me four hours to perfect!" He points at the remnants of his potion almost accusingly, as though it exploded on its own accord.
"Oh?" I ask. "Four whole hours?"
"You didn't…like, get up for maybe three hours and forty-five minutes and go do something else?" I ask, feeling fear start to engulf me. Sure, a little guilt, but mostly fear for my own life. My heart begins to beat wildly as he gives me an annoyed glance.
"No, four whole hours on this stupid…FUCKING POTION!" he yells, losing his perfected calm. Very rarely have I ever seen such a display of emotions from him.
"And you don't have any idea what happened?" I ask, knowing that is probably the last question I'll be able to ask before he gets angry at me.
"No!" he barks at me. "Are you reporting on this, or something? My name is Severus and I was in my kitchen at about three thirty when my potion suddenly exploded in my face for no apparent reason!" His voice rises at the end, and I flinch slightly.
"Want help cleaning up?" I ask timidly.
He sucks in a breath, and I am almost sure he is going to yell at me, but then says, tiredly, "Yes, please."
"Let me get my wand," I say.
As I am turning to leave, I hear him muttering to himself, "I just don't understand…GRANGER."
"Hmm?" I ask, turning around. I freeze when I see him holding up my scales, reading the inscription on the bottom. I suddenly remember that I had my name inscribed into them, in case there was ever scale thievery in my life.
"Is this…Did you…" He is looking at me, slightly dumbfounded. "Did you switch out my scales?"
"What?" I cry, and throw in a nervous laugh for good measure. "No!" I say, as he heads over to the armoire and throws it open. "No, don't go in…there."
He lets out a noise of disbelief and wheels around, his scales in his left hand, mine in his right hand.
"How did those get in there?" I ask, pointing at his scales. "Dear, you must be more careful about stuff like that. I mean…" I trail off, his face nearly apocalyptic now. He advances towards me and, losing my head completely, I cry, "Oh, Merlin, don't kill me!" just as there is a knock on the door.
Sensing he might want a second alone to collect himself, I hurry into the living room to answer the door, just as I hear, "Bloody fucking MENTAL!" from within the kitchen. I open the door to reveal a small woman with a young boy. I vaguely recognize them from the few times we've been getting mail from our mailboxes at the same time. Me at the top of the hill, her towards the bottom. The woman has her arm around the young boy, holding him tight, and a look of stark terror on her face.
"Oh, hello," I say politely.
"Is everything alright?" the woman asks me.
"Yes, of course!" I say cheerfully. Behind me, I hear a loud crack and a thud, and know one of our chairs has taken a sever beating. "Everything's fine. That's just my…er, my crazy father. He's off his meds!" I say, trying to lighten the situation. The woman must think I am getting beat in this house.
"BLOODY POTION TOOK ME ALL DAMN DAY AND…GREAT. THAT'S NOT GOING TO COME OUT OF MY CAULDRON!" Snape yells, obviously not caring about whoever was at the door.
I smile at the woman. "He thinks he's a wizard." I laugh for good measure. "Everything's under control."
"Oh, well, okay then," she says awkwardly. "Um…right. My son, Joshua, say hi, Joshua, is selling raffle tickets for his end of the school year raffle. I was wondering if you would like to purchase a ticket? It only costs about five quid, and you write your name on the back and have the opportunity to win a mountain bike."
"Um, actually, right now isn't a—"
"Wizards are real," the boy, Joshua, suddenly pipes up. He had been transfixed on the spot under the crook of my elbow, which was a clear view of the kitchen. He could probably see Severus skulking about, pacing and muttering angrily to himself.
"Are they?" I ask, smiling down at the boy.
"Joshua, shh," his mother hisses. "Sorry about that. Anyways—"
"I know they're real," the little boy snaps at his mum.
"How do you know?" I ask, playing along, a playful smile on my lips.
"My brother got a letter from a school called Hog—" he was cut off by his mother suddenly placing a hand over the boy's mouth. Her face was a bright red color and she fumbles with her next few words.
"Uh…Um…" She laughs nervously. "So, would you like a ticket?"
I smile down at the boy and then nod. "Sure. Let me get my purse." I close the door over, run up the stairs and grab my purse. Just as I am about to run from the room, I paused and grab a pen out of a drawer in my desk. I scribble something on a piece of paper and then hurry back down the stairs to the living room. I open the front door and say, "Five quid, you said?"
"Yes." The mother looks relieved to see me again, and from the indistinct mutterings I could hear from Snape upstairs, I could only imagine what she could hear downstairs.
"Okay." I pull on ten quid and say, "I'll take two tickets."
The mother fumbles with the tickets and my tenner, but finally gets everything sorted out and I am thanked profusely for my donation. Just before they leave, I say, "Hey, Joshua, would you do me a huge favor?"
"Yeah?" he asks.
I bend down to get at his level and hold up the piece of paper in my hand. "Would you give this to your brother for me? He might find this useful in his new school."
The little boy accepts the piece of paper and unfolds it. He reads a few lines and then says, "Who's Professor Snape?"
I smile broadly. "A very dear friend," I say. "What's your brother's name?"
"Michael Porter," Joshua answers.
"Ok, well you tell Michael Porter to keep that in mind," I say. I bend upright, ignoring the mother's look of half horrification, half curiousness. She tugs at Joshua and they hurry down the road. I smile again, because she has the same look my mother had right after I got accepted into Hogwarts. It was, quite simply, a look that said, "My child is going to turn me into a toad, isn't she/he?"
As I close the front door over, feeling incredibly happy with myself, I am greeted by the sight of an incensed Potions master standing in the doorway leading to our kitchen. Perhaps I should have invited the mother and son in, told them my name, my parent's contact information and why I may end up missing or dead by the end of the night.
I hold up the raffle tickets and say, "We have a chance to win a mountain bike!"
Snape stares at me for a moment before saying, "I am so angry, Granger, I can't even properly form the words to express it. I am, for one of the first times in my life, completely…speechless."
"Obviously not," I say, "as you just said tons of words just then."
"One more joke," he says warningly. "One more joke and I'm going to lose it."
"Snape, I'm sorry!" I say. "I really am! But…now don't you see why I need a new set of scales?"
"Is this what that was?" he growls. "You were just trying to prove a point?"
"Well, at first," I admit. "I didn't know your terribly important potion was going to explode in your face, seriously, that wasn't my intention." I wring my hands. "Is there anything I can do to help you?"
"Yes. I'm going out. Please stay the hell away from my work area, alright?" he barks. He grabs his cloak off the hanger near the door and throws it on over his shoulder.
"Where are you going?" I ask.
"Out," he snaps.
"Oh, come on, Snape!" I snap. "You're not going to be mad at me forever, are you?" I raise an eyebrow at him. "It was an accident and I apologized. If you remember, I wasn't that mad when you killed my fish!"
Snape's nostrils flare, which is his version of bunching his hands into fists and looking as though visibly trying to get annoyed emotions under control. "First of all," he snarls, "this" He gestures at the kitchen, "was not an accident. Second of all, yes you apologized. Fine, I acknowledge your acceptance. Third of all, that fish was, in your own words, eight months old when you brought him into our house. You were the one who left the fishbowl by the window. Either way, he would have been within two days. And…No! Do not compare what you did to your fish!"
I internally sigh. I almost had him derailed into angry mutterings. When I want to redirect Snape's attention to something, anything, else, I usually bring up the rare instance when he screwed something up and try to link the two together. And his memory is foggy, as I recall. He placed the fishbowl in the window sill, though I'll let him have this one.
"Fine," I say. "You're right. Again, I'm sorry. I guess we're even. You called me a child and I caused your terribly important potion to explode. Even stevens." I turn on my heel and hurry towards the stairs. I am halfway up them when Snape's voice greets me.
"I already apologized for that and IT ISN'T THE SAME THING!" Snape yells. "I'm going out."
"Where are you going?" I ask.
"For a drink," he snaps.
"Drink here," I suggest.
"Trust me, Granger, you want me to go get some air," Snape replies.
"Fine," I say, somewhat despairingly. "Wait. Do you…I mean, do you want to…take your anger out on me in the bedroom?" I say, trying to lean forward a bit and create some cleavage.
Snape's face is completely impassive as he says, "Thanks, but no thanks."
"Fine. Go get your air," I snap.
I go into our bedroom and shut the door over. I hear the muffled sounds of the fireplace ignite as Snape disappears to wherever it is he is going. I sigh heavily, feeling terribly tired. Now that I think about it, what did I think was the best that was going to happen? Well, besides Snape's eyebrows getting singed off. That would have been hysterical and fitting. No matter what happened he was going to be angry with me.
Of course, this would be the day I decide to enact my scales revenge, and this would be the day that Snape would decide to begin work on a four hour potion. Of course. Of course. Of fucking course.
I flop onto the bed, listening to the silence of the house. For the most part, the house is usually silent, if we aren't speaking to one another. Occasionally, Snape will put a record on an old player I found for him which he enjoys terribly. It was one of those things, besides me, that I have seen him express some emotion about.
I suck in a weary breath and release it again. Snape will get over this, eventually. Sure, he'll pout about it for tonight and maybe most of tomorrow, but by this time tomorrow night the incident of the kitchen will be something of the past. Perhaps we'll laugh about it, though that would have to involve Snape actually laughing, which is pretty slim. That isn't to say he doesn't laugh. He does. Sometimes. Occasionally. Every now and again. Okay, fine, he's a grumpy bugger. Happy?
I sit up. I should probably clean up the mess in the kitchen. And that is what I do, though this time I use magic to ensure that it is done within minutes. It would serve me right to clean everything by hand, which I am terribly surprised Snape hasn't suggested by now. I bet he comes home prepared to say so and finds the kitchen completely cleaned, which will just piss him off more. For good measure I dirty a dish and leave it in the sink, you know, just in case.
As I pass by the living room to go back into the bedroom, I pass one of the bookshelves. I grab at the loved and worn copy of Pride and Prejudice and head back up to my room. I toss the book onto my bed and then head into the bathroom for a quick shower. I wash the dirt from my hands and knees and the odd places I've touched such as my neck and face. Once I am done I feel clean and fresh and forget about the incident with Snape for a full ten minutes.
Trying to push it from my mind, I head back into the bedroom, carrying my dirty clothes in one hand, and holding my towel with the other. I toss my dirty clothes into a laundry basket, another annoyance of mine that bothers Snape, and pick up my hairbrush. I run it through the tangles, which immediately spring back into curls. Even wet, my hair is thick and heavy against my shoulders. I run my fingers through it, running my finger nails soothingly on my scalp. Once that is done, I go about putting on a change of clothes. Now only four o'clock in the afternoon, I briefly wonder if Snape will be home for dinner, as he is the one who prepares most of the meals and wonder if I should think about dinner for myself. I am more tired than hungry and decide to take a nap, hoping that when I wake Snape will be home.
I open up my closet door, where my dresser resides against the far left hand of the small space. On the right hand side hangs dresses and robes. On the shelf above my dresser and clothes are shoes and boxes of sentimental memorabilia. I open the top drawer of my dresser and pull out a pair of knickers. I yank them on, then a t-shirt and a pair of shorts. I toss the towel over my shoulder into the basket and close the top drawer of my dresser. Getting out of my dirty clothes and the shower has done wonders for my mood. I pull at a flip flop and then fumble around the top shelf for its mate. Even on my tippy-toes I can not quite see the top shelf. I fumble for a minute before locating it and dragging it out.
In doing so, I accidentally pull one of the boxes off the shelf. I scowl at the mess it makes, and bend down, sifting everything into a pile to shove back into the box. I pause, glancing down at a folded piece of parchment. I sit down, the box of scattered goods in between my legs, and unfold the parchment. As soon as I begin to read the words, a huge smile spreads over my face and I hear a laugh come spilling out my throat, from deep within me. I laugh so hard that a sharp pain forms in my side and I cling to it, laughing helplessly, unable to stop.
I wipe a tear away from my face and say, "How to Infuriate a Potions Master…Cause his potion to explode in your kitchen." I smile and run my fingers over my familiar scrawl, precise and neat when I wanted it to be, messy and illegible when I was in a hurry. The list was a mix, some suggestions written with obvious care and, surprisingly, the ones that I was the most attracted to, hurriedly scribbled down, lest I forget them.
How I forgot about this list. As crazy as it sounds, this list very rarely crosses my mind, and has never come up in conversation with Snape. I can't remember if I ever actually told him why I suddenly started acting like a completely different person Seventh Year, but he hasn't really pressed me for a reason. I know he can stand me in longer quantities now that I've matured and mellowed out a bit. He once admitted that he honestly had no idea I had a personality aside from regurgitating tidbits of information from textbooks and, had it not been for Seventh Year, he would have never even entertained the idea of being with me. Also, after I prodded and nettled for close to a week, never letting the subject drop, he could take no more and admitted that in all his years of teaching he had never had feelings for a student, until I started acting the way I did.
Snape admitted that the first time I acted "out of character" he was so taken aback that he was surprised it hadn't shown in his face. He honestly didn't know how to proceed and went to Dumbledore to inform him he suspected a student had either been Polyjuiced or possessed. It wasn't until he began getting wise to my little plan that he was able to start seeing me as something other than a walking text book. He said that my Seventh Year was his favorite year of teaching in all the years he had been teaching. Or maybe that was the blowjob under the desk talking, I don't know.
I made my way down the list, a goofy smile on my face until I reached the end. I folded the paper again and held it to my chest, right near my heart. This silly little project of mine, this means of revenge against such an irritating man, completely change my life. It completely knocked my life off the axis in which it was spinning, and caused it to spin a different way, in a different direction.
I turn the upturned box over, holding my hand out to catch the various things that spilled out from its contents. There are a few snapshots, a little clear baggy with some purple pills and a dried up plant leaf. I place them back into the box and then still completely, spotting something still snug within the box. I take it out, and unfold it. If finding the list caused me to laugh, then finding this hat caused my body to have a mini seizure. For minutes I was unable to do anything except lay on the floor as my chest helplessly heaved up and down with laughter. I suck in a deep breath and try to exhale, but instead a million giggles expel from my throat. I snort and wipe the tears of laughter leaking out of my eyes.
"Oh, Merlin," I say when I finally catch my breath. I vaguely remember finding this amongst Snape's things in his office at Hogwarts right before I left for good. Despite only about two years ago, these tokens seem to belong to a distant person. It is nice to see these again and remember my Seventh Year.
I place everything except the hat into the box and place it back on my shelf. With my flip flops linked through my fingers, I head over to my bed. I toss my flip flops on the floor, push Pride and Prejudice over and settle into the soft and comfy bed. I place the hat next me and run my fingers over the soft pink fabric and along the purple letters. "Potions or bust," I whisper to myself and then become engulfed in giggles.
I finally settle down again, and place the hat to my chest. My eyelids feel heavy and I let them close once, open them, close them, open them and close them for a last time. I slip into a tense dream in which Snape is sitting at the kitchen table, a fish bowl next to him and a talking fish in the bowl. As I get to the bottom of the dream-stairs, the fish turns to me and says, "Actually, Hermione, it was you who placed me next to the windowsill." And I reply, "Oh, yeah. Right. Sorry about that."
I awaken with a jolt. I stretch out on the bed and glance around the room. The late afternoon sunlight has completely disappeared and the room is now almost completely dark. I glance out the window and see a lavender sky that fades into a deep blue further out. The little clock on the bedside table reads 8:16.
I yawn and sit up, stretching out my arms. I've been asleep for close to four hours and feel slightly worn down from my epic nap. My motions freeze when I hear the faint sounds of movement from below. I throw my legs over the bed, my feet searching for my flip flops. They slide on and I stand up. I flick the bedside lamp on and, with the hat in my hands, walk over to my mirror. I smooth down my crazy hair and then place the worn hat on. It settles onto my hat in an awkward manner, immediately slipping down past my eyes so I have to keep pulling it back up.
I smirk at my reflection and head down the stairs. Snape's back is to me as I walk towards him. I creep up behind him. He is drinking what looks like a cup of tea, a spoon to the right of the cup. I stand to his left and tap him on the shoulder. He turns to face me and I walk in front of him so he can see me better.
"I'm sowry," I say softly. I then bring my hands up to my face as though mimicking cat paws and run one over my nose as though cleaning myself. This little pet thing is something I would never, ever do in public. If I thought about it, I would never have even done it in front of Snape, except one time I did without thinking. As soon as I had done it, a huge smile had spread over Snape's face and he looked incredibly amused.
So, I do it now a few times and Snape stares at me, his face completely impassive. He narrows his eyes a bit, and then I see the corner of his mouth twitch and I know I've got him.
"I'm sowry," I repeat again and then, on cue, the hat suddenly explodes in old confetti, if a bit weakly. The confetti floats to the kitchen floor, my shoulders, Snape's shoulders and kitchen table. Snape's mouth twitches again even more forcefully.
Finally, he breaks. His face breaks into a broad smile that causes my heart to skip a beat. He is so beautiful when he smiles. Snape looks about fifteen years younger with a smile that causes his features to look less extreme and harsh. His eyes glint with amusement and then he laughs. He laughs for a bit and I smile down at him, before placing my hands on his shoulders.
"Forgive me?" I ask.
"Forgiven," he returns. His arm reaches down to the floor and suddenly comes back up. Hanging off the pointer finger of his right hand is a small blue bag. "For you," he says.
"What is it?"
Snape rolls his eyes. "Wait the fifteen seconds and open it and be surprised."
I sniff and take the bag from him. I open it up to find a wrapped box. I pull at the paper until it is off. There is a plain brown box underneath the paper and I claw at the tape on the sides until it is off and the box will open. Inside a red velvet cloth is a new set of scales.
"New scales!" I cry. "This is such a surprise! How did you know I wanted these?"
Snape smirks at my joke. "I was working on my potion and BAM it suddenly came to me."
I stare at him, a bit shocked. "Did you just make a joke?" I ask.
"No," Snape says. "I just would rather not see my love die from a stray potion. Here. This is also for you."
He hands me another wrapped gift. "I didn't get you…"
"Hush," he says. "Just open it."
I do as he says and reveal a small little box for jewelry. Really, it's intended for women who travel. However, I have been complaining that by midday I no longer like wearing my jewelry. It starts with my rings, then my bracelet, and then my necklace and earrings until they are all bunched together in my pocket. Though I have no come right out and asked for something like this, the fact that Snape remembered me complaining makes me smile with unbelievable joy.
"Thank you," I say happily. I kiss him and then nuzzle against his neck for a moment. "Oh!" I say suddenly, "I do have something for you! Hold on. I'll be right back."
I hurry from the room and up to my room with the small little box on the shelf. I take it down and open it. The list is sitting on the top, where it has been sitting for over a year. I take it out and then place the box back in its place. I push the hat out of my eyes as I run down the stairs and back over to Snape.
"Here. For you." I hand him the list.
He accepts it from me and begins to read it. As he goes lower in the list, I see the corners of his mouth twitching in amusement. When he reaches the bottom of it he gives me a sweetly tender look and then kisses me again.
"Yeah?" I say, smiling and nodding. "You likey?"
He nods. "Yes. I likey."
"Let's go upstairs," I suggest.
He accepts my offer, he places his arm around my shoulder and we head out into the living room. Just as we are about to reach the stairs, I suddenly remember Joshua from earlier.
"Oh, just a heads up, sometime during the first week of school a boy named Michael Porter is going to be coming to see you," I inform Snape as we climb the stairs.
"Why?" Snape asks, looking unenthused with the idea.
"I told his younger brother to tell him you'd make sure he was doing alright his first few weeks," I say.
"Why?" Snape sounds annoyed.
"He lives down the road and he's a Muggle! He'll be away from home and is just learning about this new world. A kind and comforting teacher is going to help him loads!" I say, nudging his arm. "And I thought you're just the man for the job!"
"Why?" Snape asks, flopping onto the bed, looking exhausted by the idea.
"Because you're the only person I know who is teaching at Hogwarts right now," I say.
"Ugh. I hate children," Snape says.
"Which I believe is the number one attribute all teachers should have," I say sarcastically. I settle into the bed next to him and give him a small smile. "Just be nice. For me? Be nice for me?"
Snape also settles onto the bed and turns to look at me. "You're lucky you're cute."
"Hah. As if. You're lucky I want your old arse anywhere near me," I return playfully.
"Oh, please, you love me," Snape replies, also playfully. I smile lovingly at him, living for these incredibly private moments between us. I relish in the fact that I am perhaps the only person in the entire world who has seen Snape act in such a way.
He reaches out and slides his index finger down my nose and over my lips. He is staring intently at me before he says, "Happy anniversary, Hermione."
"Happy anniversary," I reply.
A/N: As stated above, I wasn't sure if I was ever going to touch this story. Ever. I didn't want to ruin something that people seem to generally love. I have to admit, I am honestly flabbergasted by the response this story has received. I didn't want to fuck it up royally and, as you've probably read the story to get down here, or have skipped down here ahead of time, I hope I haven't fucked it up. I know one of the main things people will most likely say about this story is that Hermione seems different, or perhaps maybe there isn't as much humor, and I realize that. It was done intentionally.
For this story, I really wanted to explore how I thought Hermione and Snape would realistically live together. Because, to me, having a crush on someone is 100x times different than actually dating them, which is in turn 100x times more different than living with someone. If J.K. were to have taken this story the "fucked up" route and actually paired these two up, I think it might have been similar to this. Again, some of you probably think differently, and that's fine. I wanted to show a more mature Hermione and a realistic transition. I do not believe that if (and that's a big frigging IF) Snape and Hermione got together that it would be fairy-tale love. It couldn't be. There would be so many obstacles they would have to face to even consider living happily ever after.
Also, if anyone is wondering why Harry and Ron do not appear in this story, that is because I am such a Ron/Hermione shipper, that I didn't even want to mention Ron being married to someone else. I know, why on Earth did you write this story? Because a funny idea came to me four years ago and then last week another idea came to me and wouldn't leave me alone until it was published.
For those of you who have gotten to the end of this rant, I hope you enjoyed what is now, for sure, the last chapter of Ways to Infuriate a Potions Master. I have updated Moving Out with a final chapter as well (I think I was going through a sentimental period last week), so there is also that to entertain yourselves with. If you're incredibly bored, you could always check out my blog at bighairbigmouth (dot) blogspot (com).
And, if you've gotten to the end of this incredibly long/boring author's note/rant, then I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you everyone who has read, reviewed and bashed me. I have enjoyed writing for this site so much. :) Also, I just want to say to everyone who reviewed this story or any of my other stories, thank you so much. I read every single review and appreciate every single kind and not-so-kind word thrown my way. I was actually reading through the reviews a few months ago when I was going through a tough time and they totally sucked me right out of my gloom and doom. Wow, this author's note has gotten tres annoying, but I just really wanted to add how appreciative I am of everyone who reviewed. Thanks for being loyal readers! And for all those who woke up family members or spit out drinks on their computers or got kicked out of classes, I apologize.
Sorry this turned into such a lame author's note, but I feel as if this is probably the last thing I write on fanfiction while I concentrate on my original work and I really just wanted to thank everyone. Again, bringing on the lame. Alright, all goodnight! :)