Well, my lovelies, it's been a blast! This was the last bit that I had hanging around my notebook that could be developed beyond a drabble. I hope that you enjoyed reading these vignettes as much as I enjoyed writing them! For plenty of excellent fan-fiction that continues this and various other themes, please see my Favorite's List (which is quite extensive-I suggest organizing by Category for the sake of expediency).
I very much appreciate the ten to forty seconds that it takes for you to hit the review button! Thank you so much!
Molly watched with narrowed eyes as Harry and Ron sat at the table, huddled over their plate of chips, whispering conspiratorially. There was an occasional snicker or muffled guffaw, but it seemed that the tone of their conversation was generally serious. It was often punctuated by seriously unsubtle glances at Hermione, which made anyone paying attention to them realize their subject. The rest of the table was gathered at the far end, and was primarily preoccupied with the most recent Quidditch match between the Wimbourne Wasps and the Holyhead Harpies.
Molly looked suspiciously over at Severus, who had just let out a low, pained grunt. His face had a closed expression on it.
"Severus, are you alright?" At first she wasn't sure that he'd heard her over the noise of the dinner conversation. He barely glanced at her, and his face remained shuttered.
Molly saw him direct a fierce glance at Hermione, who was sitting next time him, looking down at her plate with a red face. Fred distracted her from the tableau when he started using the ketchup and mustard to illustrate a Quidditch play to Tonks—Molly wasn't usually too strict about Quidditch talk at the table, but charmed ketchup and mustard flying around the table was just asking for stains in the laundry.
As soon as Molly had gotten up to take charge of the brewing condimental disaster, Severus hissed a sharply at Hermione to cease, at once!
Her face finally began to loose some of its glow, and she smirked at him.
Molly turned around in time to see Ron and Harry start giggling (yes, giggling!) at each other, and attempting to keep their eyes on their plate, on each other, on the pots and pans—anywhere but at Hermione. A minimal, well-practiced twitch of her wand amplified their whispers into her ears.
"I told you she had a crush on him!" Harry whispered triumphantly! Molly glanced at the Severus and Hermione at the same moment that the troublesome pair beside her did. All three of them saw her look coyly up at the man through her long eyelashes.
Ron pretended to retch, silently.
"Pay up, Ron, five sickles for yours truly!" Harry was gleeful.
"Urgh, Harry, if there were ever a bet that I wished I'd win more than this one, I don't remember what it is!" Ron was digging through his pockets, and handed over two coins. "I'll get the rest to you after dinner, alright?"
Molly cancelled the spell with another subtle flick of her wand, and began to chivy the crowd away from the table. It was only after the kitchen was empty and the sink full of dishes that she let herself start thinking about what she'd seen. She might want to have words with Hermione—Severus Snape! What was she thinking? The man was worlds older than her, far more cynical and jaded, too experienced for such a sweet young thing! She continued worrying as she began to put the dinner things away in the pantry.
She jerked in surprise as she heard the kitchen door open, but stayed silent—mothering her brood had given her some excellent espionage skills of her own. She was glad for them when she heard Severus say so (uncharacteristically) cheerfully:
"Pay up, Hermione!"
She heard the girl huff, and dig through her pockets.
"Alright, so everyone's as thick as you say they are! This is getting ridiculous! How on earth could we go around being any more obvious?"
Severus' voice was silky as he pocketed the coins. "Oh, I'd say that some are beginning to catch on."
"Must we draw them diagrams? Leave a map up to the bedroom we've been sharing for the last two weeks? Harry can catch a snitch, but he can't spot me giving you a hand-job under the table?" Molly stifled a gasp at this. "Come on, let's go upstairs—do tell me you're going to do something fun with those galleons."
"Quite." Molly heard the smirk.
The kitchen door was opened, and Molly heard Hermione and Severus walking past the pantry. Hermione's steps continued out into the hallway, but Severus' paused. He opened the door, and grinned at her. Grinned. At her! He tossed her a galleon, which she instinctively caught.
"Buy yourself a firewhiskey, Molly. On me." His eyes gleamed with good humor, and he left her standing there, stupefied, behind the opened pantry door, as he followed Hermione upstairs.