Disclaimer: Insert appropriate retort here.
I eyed the man in front of me. In his thirties, Icarus stood a full head taller than me with a lean build. A long, hooked nose perfectly accentuated his face, giving him the air of intelligence. Here, looking as fit as Beckham, was Severus Snape's baby brother.
Icarus smiled down at me, an action that caused me to actually breathe, 'Whoa . . .' Fortunately, I realised how idiotic I sounded and was able to reset my shoulders and throw my head back. In a forward voice, I stated, 'Pleased to meet you, Icarus. I'm Hermione Granger. I wish I could say I've heard so much about you but . . .'
'You haven't?' He seemed absolutely startled to hear this. 'Sev's usually quite the chatterbox.'
We were in the corridor, just after hours. I was busy patrolling the third floor when these two rounded the corner. Snape'd merely glared at me but my curiosity was piqued ('A Hermione curious is not to be derailed,' my father always joked) so I walked right over there and started asking Snape about the upcoming meeting we were to attend. Glaring all the while at me, and clearly onto my ploy, Snape had begrudgingly introduced Icarus.
If the fact that Snape had a sexy brother (or more?) hiding wasn't big enough a shock, Icarus' words were. 'Really?' I tried to sound casual but try as I might, I still sounded like the neighbourhood gossip who'd just heard a tasty tidbit. You know, it had that do tell . . . do tell . . . ring to it.
Snape—Severus—glared at his brother and rolled his eyes over to me. 'He was being sarcastic, Miss Granger.'
I looked at Icarus, in case Snape was lying to cover up his inner-talkativeness. Icarus laughed. 'I'm afraid I was. Sarcasm . . . it's our families largest shame. Thankfully, Severus got the blunt force of it.' He grinned at his brother, who gave a weak, barely tolerating smirk in response.
'I don't know . . .' I said, doing what I consciously recognised as flirting (not my strong point). 'I actually find sarcasm kind of attractive.'
Both men stared down at me as though I'd just informed them I was actually Harry Potter under Polyjuice. Then they looked at each other, questioningly.
What'd I say?
Still not knowing what I did wrong, I fervently tried to backpedal. 'Er, you know. Like Eddie Izard.' Nod like a deranged bobble-head. That's a girl.
'Well, I've got to . . . finish my rounds.' I made a show of looking at my watch. Then I realised what time it was. 'Oh! Apparently I don't. Well, it's off to bed then. Nice to meet you, Icarus. . . I'll see you tomorrow, Snape. Er, I guess I can't really call you that can I? Now that there are two of you. Well, there have been two of you for quite some time. But now that I know there are two of you.' Then I laugh like a mad loon.
Without a word, I quickly turn on my heel and head in the opposite direction, regardless if it isn't toward my quarters. Oh, Zeus, Merlin, whomever, I've made a total fool of myself in front of Snape's very fit brother.
As I stride down an empty corridor, I mentally try to figure out how to do some damage control.
Upon sleeping I realised that it wasn't as bad as it seemed and I was capable of walking into the Great Hall looking as though nothing had happened. Snape was at the table, but his brother was nowhere to be found. I didn't even know, I realised dejectedly, if Icarus was even in Europe still; he could have gone back to wherever he came.
So, naturally, I took a well-placed seat next to Sna-Severus. He didn't even pay any mind. Minerva, on the other side of me, was pleasantly surprised at my seating choice.
'Well, hello, Hermione. How are you doing this morning?'
I smiled in response. 'Good. Slept well. You?'
We made polite chatter until Filius bustled up and informed Minerva of some important matter. As soon as she was gone, I turned to Snape, just as he was standing up.
'Aren't you going to eat?' I asked. He didn't even look at me as he grabbed his cup of coffee.
'Papers to grade.' And he stalked off.
Poo. No matter, no matter. I'd just have to catch him when he couldn't run away from me.
Thankfully, that time came that night. I didn't have patrol duty but S-Severus did. The schedules were posted in the meeting room and his patrol started at ten and ended at midnight.
So, at half-past ten, I hunted him down. Near the Slytherin common room, I saw him arguing with Sir Cadogan.
He looked up and Sir Cadogan harrumphed off. Severus's eyes narrowed at the sight of me and his back stiffened. 'Miss Granger . . .' he ground out, as though trying very (very) hard not to hex me.
Hopefully it wasn't me calling him Severus.
'I was just on my way back from the kitchen. You have patrol tonight?' My voice was light and airy as I approached him. Tall and intimidating, he glared in response.
Ok . . .
'I can't sleep. Do you mind if I walk with you?' I smiled innocently.
Standing this close, I realised how very tall he was. Up until this point, Snape and I hadn't spoken two Knuts worth to each other, as a sort of conflict-avoidance on both our parts. So our time spent together was limited to meals and meetings and the occasional pass-by in the corridor.
But now . . . well, he wasn't anywhere near Hagrid's size. In fact, he only topped out a few inches over the six foot mark. But I guess it was how he held himself that made him so imposing.
I composed myself.
Finally, his teeth grinding, he replied, 'I hardly will be able to stop you.' Then he began walking down the perpendicular hall, taking large strides, clearly hoping I wouldn't be able to keep up. He was almost right.
Reading books all day does not a fit person make.
'So . . .' I breathed. 'You had a brother . . . I never knew.'
'Did any of the rest of the staff . . . know?' Damn, he could walk fast!
'Why not?' It was a simple question. A question that caused him to stop walking and turn to me.
He opened his mouth as though about to speak—probably to chastise me for sticking my nose where it doesn't belong—but then closed it and briskly resumed walking.
Ok, game still on.
'So, how old is he? Your brother? You said he was younger than you but I couldn't tell by how much.'
He grumbled, 'Eight.'
'He's eight years younger than me.'
Oh. 'So how old are you?'
During this entire thing, Snape was keeping up his brisk pace and staring straight ahead, his replies shot out like a whip.
And he wasn't going to budge on the age thing. That was all right; I could just ask Minerva later.
Next question. 'What is he doing in town?'
'Trying to find a new whore. His other one died from wear.' He executed it perfectly, without a hesitation or waver of voice.
It caused me to stop in my tracks. Not that I believed him, no. But because it was a joke. I wasn't sure if Sn—Severus did joke. And well, too.
My stopping had caused him to get quite far ahead of me. I had to run to catch up to him.
'That was funny, Severus.'
I was beginning to feel as though I were once again a talkative nine-year-old and he an adult who wasn't really listening.
'Do you mind if I called you Severus?'
'You'll do it anyway.' He was sounding increasingly irritated.
'So, is Icarus married or dating anyone?' Smooth.
Severus stopped once again and, again, turned to face me. Only this time he was completely irate. 'No, Miss Granger.'
I couldn't keep the doofy smile off my face. 'He's not?'
Groaning. 'N—that's not what I was saying. You are pumping me for information so you can go after him.'
Wide eyes, eyelashes batting, lips pouted—don't look him in the eyes! Innocence. 'I don't know what you me—'
'Don't even try to deny it' He snapped, cutting me off. 'You are not a good actress. You like my brother—I saw how you made eyes at him last night. It was disgusting! And since I have the misfortune to be your link, you've been up my arse, practically stalking me all day. I am not going to help you in any way.'
I couldn't even lie anymore. 'Ok, fine. You are right.'
He drawled, 'I am? A shock.'
Then I tried an entire different approach, one Harry would have called suicidal.
I tried to reason with him. 'But I'm not asking you to help me, per se. I just want information.'
'It's still helping.' He crossed his arms and cast his entire army of hatred on me.
'Just a simple yes or no. Is he dating anyone?'
'I won't help, Miss Granger.'
'Begging isn't very becoming of you.'
'Why won't you help me?'
'No. No, he isn't dating anyone. Now go away.' He started walking again, a proverbial black cloud over his head.
I raced after him. 'Did he happen to mention me?'
Flipping around so that I nearly ran into him, he grabbed my shoulders. 'I thought you were going to leave me alone after I answered your one question.'
'I never said that.' I just realised I'd pulled a Slytherin. Oops. Bwahaha.
I could have sworn he was going to hex me at that moment. Instead, he demanded, 'Why my brother? Why not someone else's? Someone who isn't related to me. Think, Miss Granger, would you really want me as a brother-in-law?'
The image of Harry visiting at Hogwarts with Ginny and me saying 'Have you met Severus, my brother?' was almost too hilarious to not share. I pressed down the urge to do so, however.
Oh, and answered his question.
'I'm not interested in anyone else at the moment.'
'What's so special about my brother, though?' His words were softer, and completely confused.
It was almost . . . cute.
Ignoring the heat on my face, I explained, 'Well, he seems intelligent and he's nice. Funny, too. Oh, and he's very attractive. Nice hair and lips. Oh, and his body—'
'Stop, stop!' His eyes were closed, as though trying to squeeze out the image. 'He's thirty-two and unmarried with only one serious relationship under his belt. The two are now friends, before you ask; he prefers short, intelligent women and if you stop bugging me—and for the love of Merlin, don't talk about him in my presence—I'll do more than give you all the information you need to know; I'll try to sell you to him.'
'Tell him your finer points and perhaps . . .' the way he hesitated informed me he knew he'd regret his next words. 'Perhaps I'll even try to arrange for the two of you to run into each other more often.'
I gawped. I couldn't help it. I mean, I'd never once hoped Snape'd be this helpful and all I had to do was talk about his brother. 'Oh, you are the greatest wizard to live! A heart of gold, you have!'
Wearily, he told my (or rather, my ear), 'Just go to bed, Miss Granger.' He released his grip, large, heavy-handed grip, from my shoulders.
I started to comply, simply too happy to protest being talked to as though I were five, but something nagged at me. I turned to find him watching me leave. 'Wait . . . what are you going to say about me?'
'I'll tell him the truth: you are a nosy, bossy know-it-all who has the constant need to prove herself right.'
Normally I'd deny these claims but right now that blissful feeling was clouding my argumentative skills. 'Goodnight, Severus.'
True to Severus's word, Icarus appeared at breakfast the next morning. Unfortunately, I was running quite late at this time and barely brushed my hair, which was now starting to frizz from my morning shower. And it was too dense to use a drying spell.
So, looking like an angry chipmunk, I sat down a few seats from Severus and nearly choked on my porridge when I looked over at him.
Icarus was talking animatedly to his brother, who was listening with disinterest. Then both men simultaneously looked at me and smiled. Well, Icarus smiled. Snape just kind of gave me a knowing look. I stared at my plate the rest of breakfast.
I had a total of two classes that day and just after my second one adjourned, there was a knock on the classroom door.
'Come in.' I figured it'd be a student and simply returned my attention to grading the students' Muggles' Greatest Achievements essays.
'I can come back at a better time . . .' A rich, deep voice hesitated. I looked up to find Icarus standing there in a white button-down shirt and black trousers, his jet-black hair hanging in his eyes. Dark eyes that directly matched his brother's.
Close your mouth, you fool! 'Er, no, no, it's all right. What can I do for you?' I tried to sound casual and calm.
'Actually . . .' he smiled. 'I seem to be hearing your name wherever I go.' I blushed. Oh, Severus, what did you do? 'So I wanted to ask if you'd like to have supper with my brother and I tonight. He'll be cooking.'
Severus, you are a very beautiful person. I made a mental note to slap Harry next time I saw him, for all his negative comments toward the man. 'I'd . . . I'd like that.'
Another enigmatic smile. His teeth, I noted, were pearly white. 'Fantastic. I'll come get you around seven then?'
'Perfect. See you.' I smiled at his arse the entire stretch of my classroom as he walked away. Then, as soon as the door shut, I ran to my quarters, shrieking the password at the statue of Gilmer the Glandular. Grabbing a handful of floo powder, I all but fell into the fireplace.
'Number fifteen Augustine Lane!' I spun until I thought I was going to be sick. Before that could happen, I was in Ginny's flat.
'Hermione!' she started, and tried to get off the sofa. But an enormous stomach impeded her efforts. With a grunt, she gave up. 'You frightened me!'
'I'm sorry, Ginny,' I told her. 'I'm not usually the sort to gossip like this but I really couldn't help it.'
'Gossip?' While Ginny didn't spread rumours or gossip, and scarcely believed them, she loved hearing them. 'Sit, sit! Do tell!' She seemed especially excited now, probably because if I were to divulge it, it had to be big.
I took a deep breath. 'Snape has a brother.'
Her eyes did a magical thing just then; they grew to three times their size. 'No. Way.'
'He does. And his brother is fit.'
They grew even larger. In a quiet breath, she said, 'You are joking, right?'
I shook my head. 'No. He's funny and nice too.'
'Are you sure they are related?'
'Who's related?' Harry entered the room, casting a caring glance in Ginny's direction. 'And Hermione, nice to see you.' He came to a stop behind the couch and put his hands on the back, on either side of his wife's head.
Ginny tilted her head back to look up at him. 'Snape has a brother who's fit and nice and funny.'
'Are you sure they're related?'
'That's what I said.'
Ooh, now that Harry was here . . . 'Once more, Severus offered to try to set us up.'
'What??' Both eyes were HUGE now, though Harry sounded instantly suspicious.
Ginny, however, looked confused. 'He did not!'
Quite chuffed, I explained, '. . . And he offered to try to "sell" me and get us to bump into each other more often.'
Harry cued in. 'I don't know Hermione . . . how do you know he didn't just say that to get you off his back?'
'I'm quite sure that's the reason.' Harry looked smug. 'But he was true to his word. Icarus came and asked me to dinner for tonight.'
Harry no longer looked smug. I did.
Ginny looked quite alarmed and pleased at the same time. 'You . . . have a date . . . with Snape's brother . . . and he's ok with this? Snape is, I mean?'
I shrugged. 'Probably not; he seemed really annoyed when I was asking him about Icarus, but I guess he's just going to let what will be, be.'
Muttering to herself, she repeated, 'Snape's brother . . . Snape's brother, Snape's brother?' It was as though the two words were causing her déjà vu.
Harry took the reigns. 'Well . . . as suspicious as this is, I guess I'd say have a good time? Is he taking you out to dinner?'
'No, Severus is going to cook for us.'
'He is?!' Harry shouted. Ginny was still muttering. 'Are you serious?'
'Yes. Icarus said.'
Harry hurried to my side. 'Hermione, you've got to be careful. I don't trust this at all. What if Snape puts something in your food?'
'Oh, Harry, he won't.' At his disbelieving expression, I added, 'I'll see to it, all right? I've got to get back; I have a class starting in a few minutes. Bye Harry. Bye Ginny.' The former bid me goodbye. The latter was still mumbling to herself, 'Snape's brother?'
Shaking my head, I flooed back. I wouldn't recommend flooing and shaking your head at the same time. Causes dizziness.
The rest of the day could hardly be spent thinking of anything other than my approaching dinner. As soon as the hand hit six, I rushed to get ready.
. . . And slapped myself shortly thereafter. I should have accepted the fact that for the rest of my life, it'll be plain clothing for me. However, I should have bought a few outfits and dresses to wear on dates. I had nothing. Except . . . the dress my grandmum had made for me.
Quite the seamstress, she gave it to me two birthdays ago, before she passed away. She said every girl would need that little black dress (she was a bit old fashioned) and since I didn't have one, made it for me. It was my only hope.
I tried it on.
It was clingy but not slaggish or revealing. It fit me perfectly and somehow made me look . . . sexy.
'Grandmum, times like these make me wonder if you didn't have magic powers,' I mused as I was unable to keep my eyes off my reflection.
Ah but the hair.
And the dress! I couldn't wear the dress! Snape'd be there! He'd make fun of me and I'd be over-dressed. Grandmum's little black dress would wait.
In panic, I flooed to Madame Malkin's. The raven-haired elder witch looked up from her counter, where she was counting money. 'Good evening. You've come just before closing time.' Her tone was both cheery and weary.
'Madame, I need your help.' And so I explained my predicament. One thing I realised was that people can work miracles, if you only ask them.
She grabbed snatches of fabric and arranged them about my person, pins sticking out of her mouth as though she were the human pincushion. In under thirty minutes, she'd assembled something and sewed it together. It was so quick I didn't get a chance to even look at it. But it was my last and final hope. I had the bag in hand and asked how much I owed.
'Oh, nothing dear.'
What? 'No, I must pay you for doing this last-minute like that,' I insisted.
She shook her head and smiled. 'I was happy to do it. But if you won't relent, just tell Icarus and Severus I said hello.'
Still in too much of a panic to wonder at her request, I thanked her and flooed to Hogwarts.
The outfit was perfect. It was dressy but not over-dressed. The hem was split in an inverted 'v' sexily, but still non-revealing.
I loved that woman.
Still left the hair though. Sleekeazy's would have to do. I grabbed my old bottle (from my fourth year) and applied it.
The product was old and expired—my stupidity!—and instead of smoothing out the frizz, made my hair hard as diamonds. Feverishly, I evanescoed the product out of my hair. Thankfully, it worked—
Just as there was a knock on the door.
With naught for anything else, I tied a bunch around my hair, pulling tightly. So my hair smoothed into the bunch and behind was a frizzy brown halo. It'd have to do.
I answered the door trying not to seem breathless. 'Oh, hello, I'm ready.'
He smiled and looked me from head to toe. 'You look lovely.' Then he looked suddenly stern. 'Come on, Severus doesn't like us being late.'
Ah. I knew that feeling.
We walked in silence for a bit—I purposefully led him the long way—until he broke it.
'Severus tells me he used to be your professor.' It was light and conversational, but there was still that undertone of an inquiry.
I nodded at the question-which-didn't-seem-like-a-question. 'He did. Potions and then in sixth year, Defense against Dark Arts.'
'Yeah. How'd that go?'
I couldn't help but laugh at his innocent question. 'Do you want the diplomatic answer or the truth?'
'Truth.' More grinning. I wondered idly if Severus would look like that if he smiled once and a while.
'Well, Severus is a . . . he's quite . . . he was strict, and at times, unfair. But he knew what he was talking about and really challenged us while believing we weren't capable. Even now he's rude and a bit of a bully. That's why you came as quite a shock. For some reason, I figured him an enigma. Even though I new he had a mum, I just figured he didn't have any family at all. And he's quite protective over you.'
His eyebrow shot up, just as his brother's would. 'Oh? What makes you say that?'
I chose my words carefully. 'He . . . wasn't happy with our meeting. Acted as though I was Jack the Ripper and you a common whore.' I cringed, realising how that sounded. He, however, found it hilarious.
My turn. 'I'm sorry, I have to ask. What was he like as a child?'
He chuckled knowingly and I realised he was as unreadable as the subject of our conversation. 'Well . . . he was quiet. Our father wasn't nice and I'm afraid he took the blunt of it. In fact, our father treated me just fine. So Snape didn't speak and was more introspective, though I suspect he'd be like that regardless of his upbringing. He was suspicious of everyone, too. Paranoid, almost. But smart and I was always so jealous of him, you know? He is so smart, it's unreal. You know . . .' we descended a roving staircase. 'When I saw you a few nights ago, I was even more jealous.'
'Why?' I could hear my mum chastising me for my bluntness.
'Well, I saw you come up to him, all smiles and I thought to myself, "Wow, Severus even gets the girl. It's not fair."'
I gawped. He thought I was flirting with Severus! 'No, no . . . good thing he set you straight.'
He said nothing. We'd reached an ominous black door that I recognised as the entry to Severus's office. But when we walked in, the set-up was entirely different. Actually, it wasn't an office any more. It was, in fact, a dining room, with a doorway through which I could see a kitchen. Snape strode out and seeing my expression, explained, 'There was a definite reason I kept this office even when Slughorn had my post. This room is transfigurable. Much like the Room of Requirement. Except it has set rooms: an office, a bedroom with adjoining bath and sitting room, and this.' Without another word, he turned around and went out the room from which he came.
'Quite the conversationalist, isn't he?' I asked Icarus. He chuckled. Then something that Harry'd said leapt to my conscious. 'Could you excuse me for a moment? I have to ask Severus something.' He nodded and I went through the door.
The kitchen was surprisingly large, shrimping the dining room. Mixing something on a hot stove, stood Snape, dressed in you-guessed-it black. He said, without turning around, 'It will be ready soon.'
'Severus . . .' I paused and tried to figure out how best to say what I wanted to say.
He turned and gave me a long look.
'Erm, I just wanted . . .' I moved to stand next to him, and he resumed his attention on the food he was stirring. To his profile, I continued, 'I just . . . You aren't planning on using any sort of potions in the food, are you?'
Amused, he looked at me. 'Like what?'
Er . . . good question. 'Like, love potions, or something.'
'That . . . would be illegal.'
'Yes, because you always follow the rules, without question.' I had sneered it, sarcastically. And I feared he'd get angry and I was so grateful to him.
But, to my shock, he inclined his head toward the pasta—I could see now—in a way that seemed to mean, you have a point. 'I suppose you are right. But, I won't be using anything in either one of your dishes, love potion or not. I even decided against sage, satisfied?'
I nodded, embarrassed, and returned to my actual date.
A/N: This was supposed to be a one-shot but it grew . . . : D
Icarus is forty in this fic. Icarus would be 32 then.
Madame Malkin is important.
Icarus is Severus's only sibling.
And, for a living, Icarus is the crafter of such brooms as the Firebolt. Thus his name.
Chapter two (the last chapter) may or may not be DH-compliant.