A Snape/Hermione fic.

Chapter Two.

Disclaimer: See Ch. 1

A/N: I'm enjoying this fic so much! I love this pairing!

Wow … my first chapter got 18 hits in the first 5 minutes after I posted. And wow! Thanks for all the reviews so far, guys! You rock! Definitely makes me wanna get this updated soon!

Anywhoo … not much to tell about this chapter. Just sit back and relax, and let my fingers do the typing!

As always, please read and review, I live for feedback!

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Having Severus Snape in her kitchen drinking juice with her 3-year old daughter was very strange.

Listening to her daughter talk non-stop wasn't new to her, and she could almost pretend the surly Potions Master wasn't there, but every so often he would reply to a question, ask one of his own, or just agree with her daughter in some way.

He asked only semi-personal questions, and directed them all at Samantha, as though he knew Hermione would either not answer, or ask him to leave.

He was clearly having too much fun at her expense.

While the unlikely pair chatted away, Hermione thought back to her behavior at Hagrid's hut. She hadn't wanted him to know she had a daughter, she'd figured that much out already, but she couldn't figure out why. It's wasn't like she was embarrassed by Samantha … on the contrary she was very proud to be her mother. But the idea of Snape knowing she had a 3-year old child … it made her act strange. It made her feel strange.

Hermione was pulled from her thoughts as Samantha stood up from the table and started dragging Snape out of his chair to show him her room.

"Samantha, manners," Hermione reminded, and the girl stopped pulling.

"Sorry, Severus," the girl said sheepishly, and then continued walking to her room.

Hermione stood from the table and joined them as her daughter showed him her favorite toys and he examined her room carefully.

"I see you like green," he noted smugly, and Hermione mentally smacked herself for never noticing its significance before.

"Trust me, she's not a Slytherin," Hermione insisted, speaking to him directly for the first time in almost an hour.

"Well … maybe she doesn't get it from you," he implied, and Hermione had to look away to not glare daggers at him, blinking away her twitching eye.

She knew that Snape had caught her reaction, and he was curious. The fact that he couldn't be bothered to mind his own business was quickly driving her up the wall.

Severus took in the rest of the room, including the pictures of Samantha with her mother when she was a baby, one for each year, it appeared, a large picture of Samantha with her "two favorite Uncles", a small tapestry that read: Samantha Ginevra Molly Granger is 3 years old today! and a large stuffed lion in the corner.

He smirked at her mother's obvious attempts to sway her towards Gryffindor. Not that I would have done any different with a serpent.

Samantha tried to stifle a yawn, but Hermione and Snape both caught it, and Hermione said it was time for bed.

Snape finally made to leave, but Samantha made him promise to say goodnight before he left, so he waited for her to get changed into her pajamas.

Hermione busied herself with cleaning up the kitchen, avoiding both an awkward silence and an interrogation from Snape.

Finally Samantha walked out of her room clad in her pink unicorn pajamas. Hermione took her to bathroom, and tried to imagine what was going through Snape's mind while listening to Samantha sing "It's a Small World After All" while brushing her teeth.

Finally she was ready for bed, and she hurried over to give Snape a goodnight hug.

He crouched down, patting her back awkwardly while she hugged him and then gave him a kiss on the nose.

Hermione bit her lip and fought the urge to laugh at the shocked look on his face, and put Samantha to bed.

"I like him, Mummy," Samantha told her as she tucked her in.

"Hmm," Hermione replied, not sure how to answer that.

"I hope he comes to see us again soon," she added, rolling over to go to sleep.

Hermione sighed, kissing her forehead before turning off the light and closing the door.

She moved to the dishes in the sink, turning on the water and adding soap. "Well, you made quite an impression on her," she said after a moment.

"Indeed," Snape replied, closer behind her than she'd expected, but she remained where she was. "You are aware that a simple cleaning charm will take care of those?"

Hermione shrugged. "I like doing things by hand."

"I see. And those pictures in her room … those were muggle pictures, yes? Unmoving?" he wondered.

"So?" Hermione asked, scrubbing the teacups harder.

"Just making conversation," he said idly.

"Why?" Hermione asked him. "Since when do we make conversation?"

Snape stepped up beside her, rolling up his sleeves. She suddenly realized that he'd been wearing muggle clothing under his robes, which he'd hung up when they had gotten back. She tried not to stare at his arms, and ignored the voice in her head telling her she'd never seen this much of his skin.

"Since we are now colleagues, I thought it prudent to at least make an attempt to socialize," Snape explained simply, grabbing a towel off the counter and drying the dishes she'd finished with.

She gave him a scrutinizing look, trying to read him. "I wasn't under the impression that you socialized with any of the other professors. In fact, if memory serves, you went out of your way to avoid situations such as these."

He inclined his eyebrow, tempted to ask her when she started paying so much attention to his actions, but he left it. For now.

"That was before Voldemort was defeated for good. At that time I couldn't afford to "bond" with my colleagues. Working relationships are as much of a weakness as personal relationships. I simply find myself suddenly … free to chat," he told her.

Hermione couldn't remember ever hearing him use the word "chat". Yet another thing about him that struck her as strange.

"Alright then," Hermione said, passing him the last cup to dry off. "You can help me set up my living room."

"This will be done by hand, I presume?" Snape wondered.

Hermione nodded, taking the towel from him to dry her hands off. "We can get to know each other a little better while setting up my furniture."

Snape nodded, and then followed her into another section of her rooms where she had reformed her luggage, and it was now sitting in a pile on the floor.

"Well, let's get to it, then!" Hermione said with obvious fake enthusiasm, but Snape didn't take the bait, so they set to work separating the furniture.

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For the most part their conversation was civilized. She asked about Hogwarts, his classes, if he had any new "insufferable know-it-alls" in his Potions classes; he insisted there were none, that as usual none of is his students showed the least bit of competence. It was only a few minutes later that Hermione discovered the hidden compliment in his words. Hermione told him about Harry and Ginny's wedding, and their pregnancy, and he did a very good job of hiding his distaste for the subject, but she didn't get the desired reaction out of him.

Hermione was waiting for him to ask her what he really wanted to, so she could kick him out and be done with it, but he didn't. For the most part they steered clear of even mentioning Samantha's name.

Once he asked her what she did after graduation, and she fixed him with a hard look and said, "Had a baby. You?"

That pretty much ended that conversation.

In a way, she sort of admired his patience. He didn't seem to be a man who cared about being tactful, and yet as curious as he was, he didn't push her to tell him.

She told him as little about the last 4 years as she could, mostly vague details. Places they lived, jobs she did.

From what he could tell she had little to no contact with her parents, though they were still alive. She never married, or talked about Samantha's father at all. She didn't seem to resent the child for halting her career and potential, which he found surprising, considering the time and effort she had always put into her school work, as well as her dedication to the magical community during the war. The child had been brought up in both the magical and muggle worlds, but Granger seemed to lean more towards muggle methods. He had a feeling that if it hadn't been for the Weasleys, both girls' lives would have been very different after Hermione got pregnant.

He tried to narrow down who the father could have been. He had immediately assumed it was the Weasley boy's, but she had no red hair, and the freckles could be just reaction to the sun. He then suspected Harry Potter as being the next candidate, but she didn't have his eyes, and she didn't talk about the now-Potter girl with any jealousy or guilt, so he crossed him off his list as well. He knew she'd had a romance with the Durmstrang Quidditch player, Krum something, but the man was at least 3 years older than her, and she had seemed more sensible than that. Then again, she did get pregnant at 18 … perhaps Krum is the father, and he left her when he discovered the pregnancy, and that's why she refuses to speak of him … it's a possibility. I shall have to do some research into the man.

"Where is this book shelf going?" he wondered aloud, finally finished with the last screw. He was happy that being a Potions Master meant using his hands a lot, otherwise he would be terribly cramped.

"That one goes in my bedroom," she told him, standing up from the coffee table she was working on. "Here, help me finish this, then we'll put that in my room and take a break."

She stretched out her sore muscles as he leaned the bookshelf against the wall, then she moved to the other side of the table and attached the other two legs while he tightened the ones she'd already done, and then she picked out a spot in her room for the bookshelf while he tightened the rest.

She came back out of her bedroom as he was turning the coffee table over, and she had to remind herself to look away from his bent-over backside. For Merlin's sake, Hermione, he was your professor!

"Ready?" he asked her.

She nodded, not trusting herself to speak, and they each took an end and carried it into her bedroom, setting it down on the far wall, facing the side of her bed.

"Perfect," Hermione stated, wiping the sheen of sweat off her brow.

Snape grunted his approval, rolling his shoulders back and cracking his stiff joints.

Hermione was suddenly feeling overheated, so she thought she'd change into something lighter.

"There's some sodas in the fridge, or if you want some wine in the cupboard … I don't really keep anything stronger in the house, 'cause of Samantha," Hermione explained. "Make yourself at home, I'm just gonna change into something more comfortable."

Snape nodded, taking his cue to leave the room, and she closed the door, resisting the desire to fan herself off as she quickly undressed.

Snape wondered briefly if he should get Granger drunk … then maybe she'd just fess up about who she made the mistake of sleeping with and his interest in the matter would dissolve. Because that's all this was … curiosity. Boredom. Now that the war was over and he was no longer a double-agent, he found himself with an abundance of time on his hands, and not even sinking himself into his potions could pass all the time. Alcohol helped.

Then he remembered her sleeping daughter in the next room, and knew there was a reason she didn't keep strong alcohol in the house … she didn't want to get drunk. She didn't want to lose control around her daughter. That was something he could relate to. Not the daughter part, just wanting to remain in control.

So, he pulled two sodas out of the refrigerator and waited.

Are her rooms bigger than mine?

He sat down at the table, opening his drink and taking a refreshing sip, stretching out his legs.

The sound of her bedroom door opening caught his wandering attention, and he looked up in time to see her pull her hair up off her neck and tie it up in a simple bun.

His eyes wandered down her bare neck and met her nearly naked shoulders, and he had to work hard to keep his jaw from dropping as he took in the rest of her. She had discarded her sweater, jeans, socks, and boots, and changed into a not-nearly-long-enough tank top and can-that-even-be-called-clothing shorts.

His gaze dropped all the way down to her bare feet, which were ridiculously (he shuddered at the word) cute, and snapped out of his daze when he heard her talking.

" … hits the spot, right there," she said dramatically, gulping down her cold soda and bringing the can up to her forehead.

She definitely does not look like the mother of a 3-year old child … looks more like … no, don't even go there.

He forced his eyes to look away from the strap of her bra peeking out from under her tank top, and swallowed more bubbling liquid.

How is it possible she's not married … or at least living with someone. All these "Uncles" the girl spoke of, are obviously her male friends, the Weasleys and undoubtedly her muggle friends. Her peers must be blind …

"Snape?" she asked him, making him jolt.

"What?"

"I just suggested we move on to unpacking, I think our muscles could use the break … unless you're ready to call it a night?"

It sounded only slightly like a challenge.

"No, I've found my second wind," Snape assured her. "Just drifted off in my thoughts for a moment there."

Hermione nodded, finishing her drink. "I try not to do that. My mind tends to wander, and there are certain things that I wouldn't …"

She stopped, seeming to realize a little late who she was talking to.

"Anyway … uh, let's get back to work," she said, tossing her empty can in her recycling bin.

Snape started at the strange box for a few moments before shrugging and chugging back the rest of his drink, and repeating her actions with the can.

He came back into the living room just as she was stretching out, and he found himself captivated, watching as she leaned one way, and her muscles tightened beneath her soft skin, then repeated the same motion in reverse. He nearly lost it when she bent to stretch her back and legs, and he cleared his throat, announcing his presence in the room.

She stood back up immediately, embarrassed that he caught her in such an awkward position, but pushed past it and handed him a small knife.

"To open the boxes," she explained. "Unless you've got particularly long nails …?"

He rolled his eyes. "The knife will suffice."

Hermione nodded and set to work on her pile of boxes.

They had pushed the couch back against the wall, so they could sit while they worked.

Hermione sorted the board games under the coffee table while Snape organized the children's books on the smaller bookshelf set against the opposite wall.

Hermione looked up as he was taking the lid off of a new box and lurched forward. "No!"

He remained stock-still, bent over the box, staring at her. "Is there a problem?" He asked smoothly, though his eyes betrayed his calm voice.

"Sorry," she said, standing up and taking the box from his fingers. "This is just … it goes in my room."

She walked away without another word, the box secured in her arms.

Snape's mind raced, wondering what could possibly be inside the box. It hadn't felt too heavy, but it had been full. It was obviously personal, maybe embarrassing … or revealing. One thing he noticed about the young woman, who would now be his co-worker, was that she was very private about certain things.

Perhaps whatever's inside the box has something to do with the missing father-figure … or perhaps that's just my mind jumping to conclusions to fulfill my own curiosity. Either way … I definitely want to know what's in that box.

Hermione came back into the room, clearly flustered but ignoring his pointed glances.

"Everything alright?" he asked half-heartedly.

"Yeah, of course," she answered distractedly, and pulled out a box of photos. Most of them were "muggle" photos, but a few stood out, as they were the only ones moving. One was of Granger and her two friends, Potter and Weasley, another was of Granger with the entire Weasley family – she looked to be about 7 months pregnant – and the last was of the Order of the Phoenix, along with the students that remained to fight at the final Battle of Hogwarts … those that lived, anyway. The witches and wizards in the photo had various wounds and injuries, some could barely stand, but they all had looks of sheer victory on their faces.

"We lost so many that day," Hermione said, pulling him from his thoughts. "Percy Weasley, Colin Creevey, Horace Slughorn, Cho Chang, Seamus, Hannah … so many of them just slaughtered. And we're standing here, getting our picture taken, like we should be celebrating …"

He sat next to her on the couch, wondering if he should be patting her shoulder or rubbing her back or something.

"I think if we hadn't been celebrating, we would have been lost. We did win a tremendous victory that day, and we needed to remember that. The families that lost loved ones needed to know they didn't for nothing," Snape said in a tone she'd never heard before. Not even when he'd been recovering from his near-death experience and he'd been zonked on painkillers.

She turned her head sideways, surprised that he could be so sentimental.

"So … what's in the box?" he asked, shattering the moment.

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Okay, end of chapter two.

Again … thanks for all the reviews so far guys, I hope you still like the story!

For everyone who loves "Samantha" as much as I do, don't worry, she'll have more scenes in the next chapter, I just wanted to end with a Snape/Hermione moment in this chapter, and it would have seemed to rushed to have Samantha in it too.

Feedback is loved … any way, shape or form!

Until next time …!