Chapter 9

Summer's dreams that night were plagued with images of Snape. His face hung over her like a shadow, never leaving.

She woke up the next morning dazed and confused. What was she supposed to do now? He was furious with her. And yet, Dumbledore seemed to think that Snape was merely acting childish. She smiled slightly at the thought. He did have a tendency to be childish at times, despite his hard exterior. Shaking her head at herself, Summer got dressed and ready for classes. She wasn't particularly looking forward to potions.

But when she got there, there was a notice that all of Snape's classes had been cancelled for the day. Furrowing her brow in concern, Summer slowly walked away from the whooping of her classmates. It wasn't like him to cancel classes, even if he was extremely perturbed. Something had to be wrong.

Almost as if on cue, Professor McGonagall came walking down the hall and stopped when she spotted Summer.

"Miss Sundale. I'm glad to have finally found you. It seems there is something Professor Dumbledore wishes to speak with you about," she quietly said to Summer. McGonagall's eyes flicked towards the closed potions door, and Summer immediately understood. She nodded and followed McGonagall quickly up the flights of stairs to Dumbledore's office. Once up the gargoyle stairway, McGonagall knocked and was immediately granted entry.

"I found her, Albus," she informed the headmaster.

"Ah! Good good," he replied with a smile. "Please, Summer, sit," he said, gesturing with a hand towards one of the chairs in front of his desk. Summer sat down and looked up at the old wizard expectantly. "It appears that our dear friend, Severus Snape, has managed to make himself ill." He looked towards Summer with a twinkle in his eye, a smile lighting up his face. "I do believe he is trying to break free of his cocoon."

McGonagall looked from Dumbledore to Summer, a look of bewilderment crossing her features. She crossed her arms over her chest in a huff, before demanding an explanation.

"Albus, what on earth are you going on about? How could Severus have 'made' himself ill? And what is this nonsense about cocoons?"

Dumbledore merely chuckled and popped a lemon drop into his mouth. He then looked over at McGonagall with the same smile he had given Summer.

"Love does wondrous things to people, don't you think?" he said offhandedly. Before she could retort, he continued. "Sort of like a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly, wouldn't you agree, Minerva?" She raised an eyebrow at him before sighing with understanding and nodding her head.

"While this is all so much fun, sir, I must ask why it is you requested my presence?" Summer said, speaking for the first time.

"Why, I thought that would have been obvious? Severus is much too proud to go see Madam Pomfrey about his condition, especially given how he came by it, and I thought it would be nice for him to get a visit from one he cares so much about. I would also request that you brew a potion or two to help him overcome this illness." He paused and looked out the window. "Although, I'm not quite sure it is a potion he needs… Hm. Indeed. I wouldn't suggest knocking. He will most definitely refuse you entry. Am I correct in assuming you know the wards to open his doors?" Dumbledore asked of Summer.

"Yes, sir," she replied. Her heart was pounding just thinking about the encounter that was going to happen. Simply burst in through his doors? Surely Dumbledore was mad. She was going to get cursed and hexed into oblivion, more so than if she had knocked and insisted on entering.

"Professor McGonagall, could you please escort Miss Sundale back to the dungeons and to Severus' chambers? I believe all will be played out nicely."

With that said, the two women nodded and left Dumbledore's office and headed back down to the dungeons. McGonagall was shaking her head and smiling the entire way down. As they reached the entrance to Snape's private chambers, McGonagall turned to look at Summer. She looked back, pushing some of her red hair out of the way.

"I never thought I would see the day when Severus Snape fell in love," McGonagall chuckled. "Well, dear, I wish you the best of luck. Try to remember that he has a large ego. He is a good man, somewhere in there." She patted Summer on the back and then left.

Bracing herself for the worst, her stomach turning in knots, Summer cautiously unwarded the door and walked in.

A fire was crackling in the fireplace, casting a warm glow through the dank study. Welcoming the warm, Summer quickly walked over to the door to Snape's bedroom. Without knocking, she opened the door. He was sleeping under the deep green comforter, his black hair tussled on the pillow. Leaning against the doorway, she smiled softly at his sleeping form.

Taking a deep breath, she walked to sit down next to him on the bed. His eyes fluttered open and he looked confused for a few moments. Summer smiled again, running the back of her fingers along his exposed cheek. Finally, he seemed to wake and assess what was happening. He sat up immediately, his cheeks flushing from the effort. Summer pulled her hand back and looked down at her lap.

"What are you doing here?" he growled at her. She didn't look up, but spoke down to her hands.

"Dumbledore wished for me to check in on you and help you feel better," she calmly explained.

"If I had desired any attention, I would have sent for Madam Pomfrey. You have no right to enter my chambers. I distinctly remember ordering you to get out last night. The invitation to enter was not reopened," he sneered. His eyes were livid, though from what emotion, Summer was unable to discern. A swirl of fear, love, anger, and hatred seemed to emanate from him. Summer just shook her head and stood up. She looked to the door.

"If you could tell me your symptoms, I will quickly brew the potion to ease them and return to my common room," she said matter-of-factly. She refused to get emotional. If he wanted to push her out, fine. She wasn't going to go through the struggle to get his love back. As much as she craved and needed it, she would not give him the satisfaction of breaking her. Too many times had she done that and been scarred. It wouldn't happen again.

Summer heard him lay back down in defeat. "Migraine, queasy stomach, and overall aching," was all he said. Without looking back, she nodded and made her way to his private lab to get started on the necessary potions.

- - -

For once in her life, potions did nothing to ease the storm in Summer's mind. Rather, the brewing process only brought her mind into better focus. Snape was in the next room, and all she could think about was how much she wanted to go up to him, kiss him, and tell him that everything was going to be okay. She wanted to tell him that she loved him and didn't think she could live without him. But until he lowered the walls he so carefully erected, she couldn't say a word to him, lest he be driven further away from her.

Stifling her tears and sniffles, Summer carefully poured the completed migraine potion into vials. It was the last one she needed to brew. She would be free of his presence for a time. Who knows when I'll see him outside of class, again, she thought to herself. Shaking her head, Summer grabbed the potions and walked into the study where Snape had relocated himself.

She stood in the doorway for a minute, just looking at his lank form. His nose was buried in a book, causing his black hair to fall in front of his face. The tip of his hawk-nose was just poking out, and Summer couldn't help but smile at the image. Perhaps he wasn't handsome in an orthodox way, but she still found him irresistible.

Coming out of her thoughts, Summer walked over to him and placed the neatly labeled vials onto the table in front of him.

"You should take these now, and again in four hours. I also brewed a dreamless sleep potion to help you rest and recover," she lightly said, carefully avoiding looking at him. He merely grunted in reply. "I'll be going now. If there is anything else you need, you can contact Professor McGonagall and she'll get a hold of me."

She sighed and gathered her things to leave. As her hand approached the door knob, however, Snape spoke.

"Coffee." Summer paused, furrowing her brow. She turned her head to look at him. He hadn't moved. She must have simply imagined hearing his voice. Why would he say something like that? She shook her head and went back to the door.

"How many times must I tell you, Miss Sundale, to listen when spoken to," he growled at her. "I require coffee, this moment."

Summer lightly smiled to herself before putting her books back down and heading to the mantle for the percolator.

As she was preparing the coffee, she responded to his statement. "How many times must I tell you, Professor, that I am not a house elf?" she asked. She looked up at Snape, her green eyes reflecting the smile on her face. His lips twinged in what would have been a smirk on anyone else's face.

- - -

He had simply given in. What else was there for him to do? He had been watching her from the study, seeing how slowly she had been moving. And when she pulled her beautiful red hair out of her face, he could see the pain in her swirling green eyes. And yet… she was so strong to not show it, to allow him to indulge in his childish and immature behavior. That, more than anything, made his heart melt and break the barriers he had so carefully built up. She was 10 years younger than he, but that made no difference to the amount of passion and love he felt for her.

Snape watched her make the coffee. It was this one small thing that had originally brought them together. That, and her inability to be hurt by his snide, sarcastic remarks. She understood him and the way he acted in situations. She accepted it, and even fought back in a playful manner. She indulged him. Summer was one of the strongest women he had ever met. Despite the hardships she had been through, she still managed to smile so freely and laugh as though her life was perfect. And he was the one she had decided to share her life with. There was no greater blessing Snape could have imagined.

Out of no where, Snape grabbed Summer's wrist from across the table. She looked up into his black eyes, startled. Smiling as best he could, Snape pulled her into his lap. Summer looked up at him, not knowing what to make of the situation. He ran his fingers through the silken hair. Wrapping his arms around her, Snape held her close and inhaled her scent. It was heavenly.

He leaned so his mouth was next to her ear, then murmured, "No. You are much too beautiful for a house elf. Although it would be a pleasant sight to see you so scantily clad."

Summer pulled back slightly, staring at him. One of here eyebrows was raised, although a blush was quite evident. He smirked at her before leaning forward to kiss her. He tried to convey all the emotions he was feeling; the love, the freedom she gave him, the lust, the gratitude…

It was a sweet, lingering kiss. Her arms had wrapped around his neck, and he felt that they should always be there. She was his. He would make sure no one else touched her, while she was with him. The only other person he had ever loved had been taken from him… it was never going to happen again. Not with Summer, who reminded him of Lily in quite a few ways. He would die before he lost her.

Summer broke away from the kiss, and smiled softly down at him. My beautiful angel, he thought to himself. Snape smiled back at her, running a finger down her cheek.

"I love you, Severus Snape," Summer softly said to him as she leaned into his touch. Snape's smile broadened ever-so-slightly.

"I love you, Summer Sundale," he replied even softer. It was the first time he had said it to her. Because he finally admitted it to himself. He was ready to admit it to the world, now. He had fallen in love with Summer Sundale, the broken-now-whole, American, Hufflepuff.

He chuckled to himself. Summer looked at him incredulously.

"And what is so funny?" she asked. Nuzzling her neck, he replied to her.

"Who would have ever thought an evil Slytherin would fall in love with the perfect Hufflepuff?" She giggled, the vibrations across his lips an evil temptation. He gave in and suckled the skin on her throat, eliciting a soft sigh. Summer ran her fingers through his hair. She had no idea what she did to him, through the simplest touch as that. Softly moaning into her, he nipped her soft flesh. She tilted her head back a little to give him a better vantage point.

"Vixen, aren't we?" he murmured. She giggled again, but softer this time.

"Always," was her gentle reply.

"Mmm. Delicious. I could get used to that."

"Oh, really?" she asked. He raised his head to look at her. Running a finger across her lips, he stared into her eyes. Her eyes fluttered closed for a moment.

"Indeed." He kissed her again, with a little more passion. Suddenly, Summer stood up and walked away. Bereft of her presence, Snape growled slightly. He heard her laugh and saw her skipping into his bedroom. With a glint in his eye, Snape chased her into the room.

- - -

Albus and Minerva were drinking tea in the teachers' lounge, chatting about recent events, as well as the impending graduation ceremony which was to take place in less than a week. The other teachers had long since retired to their private quarters; many of them, specifically Severus, preferred to do grading within the comfort of their own chambers.

"It all turned out well, didn't it?" Minerva quietly asked. She was staring into the fire, a smile playing on her lips.

Albus chuckled, the twinkle in his eyes growing brighter. "As we knew it would. It was only time before someone wheedled their way through Severus' maze," he replied.

Minvera turned to look at the old man. "Did you know it would be her?" she asked.

"Not at first. But there were so many similarities between them, that I found it inevitable that they would find each other. After everything that has happened to each of them, this is their reward for seeing it through." Minerva started laughing, the echoes clearly heard through the room.

"Who knew that there was love left in the man, and that a young woman would bring it out."

"Who knew, indeed. But I have heard rumors from some of the students that Summer plans to stay at Hogwarts." He paused. "If I remember correctly, there was something she wished to speak with me about." He smiled down at his tea. "Perhaps they wish to be wed."

Minerva snorted. "When that day comes, I'll be sure to wear that atrocious gown you gave me last year for my birthday."

- - -

It was a warm, sunny day in late August. The lake at Hogwarts Castle was shining brightly and the giant squid was present. An array of students and teachers alike littered the lawn, talking amongst themselves. A horn sounded and everyone quickly took their seats in white fold-up chairs.

A lovely woman wearing white dress robes walked down the center aisle. Followed close behind her came a motherly-figure, wearing a bright pink ball gown, adorned with shimmering neon-green flowers. Albus watched in amusement as the two women walked past him. He chuckled slightly, and Minerva cast him an evil glare.

I'll get you for this, Albus Dumbledore, she thought to herself before smiling again and continuing to follow Summer.

- - -

Author's Note: I am officially FINISHED! I am so proud of myself, even though it took FOREVER. I had major writer's block, and then my life got into a major upheaval. If you really want to know all the crap that happened, send me a message and I'll explain.

I love my Snapey-poo And he fell in love and finally allowed himself to indulge in it. Forever, hopefully! )

Critiques and reviews are most welcome, and I am grateful for everyone who has been here with me the entire time. And if you just found the story, I hope you enjoyed it! You didn't have to suffer through my lapses in writing ) Thank you all again!