AN - I own nothing! I'm just borrowing from J.K. Rowling!
Harry was seated at the edge of Hermione's bed as he looked at her silently, not speaking. He had arrived in the early morning, just before Severus left. It was the dark wizard himself who asked him to keep her company. He wanted to join the two, and go after the bastards that had caused such harm to Hermione, but she needed him by her side.
For hours, Hermione had barely spoken a sentence to start a full discussion. Most of the time, her eyes were centered on the flat screen in her room. He knew she wasn't at all interested in what was showing, as her mind was focused on Severus and the Michaels'. Harry did try to coax her into other things, such as going out, and doing something, but no. TV was the only thing he tried to do with little success. It was a good thing that she had an appetite to eat, but it wasn't as much as he had seen her eat the other day. Nonetheless, it was a full meal, and he was pleased he didn't' have to force her to eat.
"Harry?" Hermione asked as she shifted her body to lie on her side and face him.
"What it is Hermione?" Harry asked in return. "Do need anything? Food?"
Hermione shook her head. "You're not mad at me are you for keeping Severus a secret?" It was a subject she knew she needed to bring up, and she thought that now was the best time since he and she were alone together.
With one hand, Harry reached for one of Hermione's and squeezed it. "The other day, I saw you happy being around him. If it didn't seem that way, I would feel different. But if he makes you happy, then so am I."
"I love him," she finally admitted. Hermione hadn't told anyone her true feelings towards Severus. Opening up to best friends was always best of solutions.
"Does he know?" he asked.
Again, Hermione shook her head. "Our relationship didn't start off like a romantic novel Harry. Over time, I surprised myself when I knew that I was in love with him. Honestly, I don't know how he's going to react. Sometimes a part of me reminds me that he's Snape, and that frightens me, thinking that he might break my heart." She purposely left out the little bit of important information where he did break her heart last she was in New York.
"You should tell him," Harry suggested. "Life's too short Hermione, you should know that. With the war and everything we've experienced in the past… you'll never know. And you wouldn't want to take things for granted and regret them."
Hermione pondered on Harry's words. He had a point. Life was too short. There were many times in which she may have lost her life before, but got away with it by the skin of her teeth. There wasn't a single doubt in her heart that she loved Severus Snape.
"Speaking of," Harry said, watching the door open and Severus himself walk in.
"Are you talking about me Potter?" Severus sneered. "What nonsense have you been telling Hermione?"
"I guess that's my signal for me to go Hermione." He bent down and kissed her on the cheek as they said goodbye to each other. On the way out, he heard a grump come out of Severus, knowing that was his way to say thank you. He was still the same grumpy Snape that he knew during his Hogwarts days.
Severus, who had paper filled with food in his hands, walked towards the small dining table at one corner of the room, before making his way to Hermione. After kissing her on the lips, he stood up and started to take off parts of his tux, starting with his tie. "What a day!" he grumbled.
Hermione pushed off the bed to sit up. A frown of worry was on her face as she looked up at him. Even though she didn't know anything of the plans that Lucuis and Severus had for Adam and his mother, she worried. Did things not follow according to plan? What went wrong? "What is it Severus? Is there more problems? Please tell me!"
"Stop Love!" Severus said right away as he bent down to level with her, grabbing her arms just beneath her shoulders. He held her firmly, afraid that she was going to shake with emotion or collapse, when there really was no need to. "Everything's done. You don't have anything to worry about anymore. The Michaels' will no longer be a bother to you. And I promised that I wouldn't jeopardize myself. You're stuck with me witch."
A happy and relieved sob broke out from Hermione's lips as she wrapped her arms around Severus, burying her face in the crook of his neck. She cried her emotional tears, and felt a tremendous amount of weight disappear off her shoulders.
Severus's comforted Hermione as he whispered sweet nothings to her. He held her shaking form and kissed her brow every so often. When her crying had ebbed away, he pulled her to her feet, and led her to the table. "An early dinner, just the two of us, and your favorite dishes, minus the pizza since we had pizza the other day."
"With my fried Twinkies?" Hermione sniffled as she rubbed the back of her hand under her nose.
"I wouldn't dare forget those," Severus drawled as he allowed Hermione to sit down. He started to unpack the paper bags, pulling out a few numbers of Chinese take-out with some chopsticks. "Wouldn't want you having a hormonal tantrum on me."
Hermione let out a small smile as she reached for the box of fried wantons. She didn't forget what Harry had told her earlier. His words echoed through her ears, and made her heart beat uneasily. Her stomach started to turn, making her lose her appetite somewhat.
"Hermione?" Severus questioned when he saw her stop eating. He could see that he focus was elsewhere since she was distant. As he took his seat right next to her, he placed his hand on her cheek and made her look his way. "Something wrong?" When Hermione didn't answer, Severus made her stand and sit on his lap. "Talk to me."
Hermione placed her head on Severus's shoulder and buried her face in the crook of his neck. She hid her face, not being able to face him when she opened herself up to him. "I told you before that my money meant nothing to me, and you were all that mattered."
"Yes," Severus murmured against her cheek.
"I'm happy with you Severus, the happiest that I've ever been in my life." She gulped before she continued to speak. "I love you."
For a moment, because of shock, Severus felt his heart swell. He didn't move as he tried to make sense of what had just happened. Many times over and over again, he only dreamt that those three words would come out of her mouth. Reality kicked in, making him realize that he wasn't at all dreaming. He too wanted to say those three words to Hermione, but he had to tell her the entire truth about himself.
When Severus didn't say anything, Hermione continued to speak. "You don't have to say anything. I just wanted you to know." She pulled away and looked at him, noticing something in his eyes that she couldn't quite read.
"Hermione," Severus started uncomfortably, as he cupped her face in his hands, "I have to tell you something before I can move forward in our relationship. I have to be true to you before anyone and anything else."
There was a brokenness in the way Severus spoke, and it made Hermione more than nervous. Never had she heard Severus's tone be in such a way. "You're scaring me Sev…" she said as he bottom lip started to shake. What was he going to tell her? Was there a woman in his life that she knew nothing about? A lover that he hadn't heard from in awhile; only to return at some point? And this was the point. Was it going to ruin her happiness and life with him?
"It's nothing to be afraid of Hermione. I promised I would never hurt you." Severus took a deep breath and started to tell the truth when Albus had asked him to kill him, taking the wizard's oath.
His story continued on as Hermione listened intently, daring not to miss a word. She knew very well that Severus was a secretive man, and that his past was dark. She never asked him to explain himself, loving him for who he was, and not for what he was.
Severus had finally reached the end of his story. His voice spoke in soft tones. "It wasn't until you came into my life again… that there became a meaning in my life. Second chances are rare Hermione, and I don't want to make mistakes with you and only prove you right." He looked deep into her eyes as his thumbs wiped away her fallen tears. Slowly he placed his head on her brow and inhaled and exhaled before saying those three words. "I… love… you."
More tears continued to run down Hermione's cheeks as she choked out into a set of brand new sobs. Her arms tightened around Severus' neck as she pulled him close, until his lips were against hers. When she felt his tongue taste her lips, she closed her eyes, kissing him fully in return, with nothing holding her back.
Severus smiled into their kiss. One hand traveled behind her neck, as the other down to her growing belly that he loved so much. When he felt a strong kick beneath her shirt, he pulled away, and chuckled. "Seems like someone's hungry."
AN – And they finally say the three words… Review please.