Chapter 9

A/N: So… it looks like I'm back! It's crazy how long it takes you to get back into something you really love after you forget about it from being busy and what not. I'm sure I stopped writing because I knew the story wasn't finished but I didn't know where to go. But now, the long awaited next chapter has arrived! I hope you enjoy and that it keeps along with the fic.

Hermione knew very well that she couldn't wear the ring just yet. The other professors certainly didn't know about her relations with Snape (nor would they approve for that matter), her students would questions her profusely (but she was used to that already), and her friends (the few she had left after the war and her breakup with Ron) would be hysterical. She sat at the edge of her bed in her purple silk night gown holding her diamond ring, admiring it but also getting frustrated that she couldn't wear it yet and show it off to the world. Her deep gaze and concentration on the ring was broken by a knock at the door. She quickly hid the ring inside the drawer of her bedside table, shook her head to focus more, and walked over to the door. Oh please be Severus, oh please be Severus!

She opened the door to see Minerva McGonagall at the door. "May I come in Miss Granger?"

Hermione nodded and Minerva entered her room. She surveyed the room. "You've certainly made this room your own Miss—Hermione. I will never get used to us being colleagues." Hermione half smiled and let out a small chuckle. Why was she here? Why couldn't it have been Severus? And why is she here so late?

"Now Hermione, I understand it is a bit dark, but I was hoping you were still awake. There is a matter I would like to discuss with you if you don't mind.

"A few of the other professors and I are a bit… concerned? Yes, we will call it that. You and Severus seem to be… quite friendly. And we just want to make sure that everything is alright and you aren't being… forced into anything. We all know how well you two got along together when you were a student here."

Hermione froze. What was this old lady talking about? Forced into anything?! Did she think Severus was raping her or something and he was threatening her life if she didn't act normal? Did she think Severus charmed her? Hermione took in a deep breath and sighed.

"Minerva, I'm not sure what you are talking about but I can assure you I'm fine."

"Very well then. We were all discussing this at the dining table this morning and had quite the chuckle actually. Poppy suggested that the two of you may be dating and we all burst out in fits of laughter. How strange would it be you two dating?"

Hermione awkwardly giggled. She knew this would happen. "Yes, quite strange."

Minerva finished laughing, bid goodnight and left the room. Hermione closed the door and let out a huge sigh of relief. Who knew one small conversation could be so emotional draining and exhausting? She looked at her clock. It was 11 o'clock at night. Of course Severus would still be up. She grabbed a white knee-length robe, wrapped it around herself, slipped on a pair of light blue fuzzy slippers and left for the dungeons. For the entire ten minute walk from her room to his, thoughts ran wild through her head. What if I get fired for dating another professor? What if I get shunned? Why do I care so much? What does Snape think? Why does this have to be so complicated? When she reached his door she stopped herself. Was she prepared for this conversation? Should she have waited a bit to calm down after her conversation with Minerva? Hermione sighed. Only one way to find out. She knocked on the door, waited for a few seconds and heard the familiar creak of the door revealing Severus. She leapt into his arms, much to his surprise, as she began to weep.

"I understand we haven't seen each other since breakfast, but this is much unexpected Hermione. Shouldn't a day like this be celebrated?"

Through her weeping, Hermione managed to speak through her tears. "It seems like we missed a lesson Severus."

He lightly pulled her off his chest and gave her a confused look. "Teaching the world how to love us."

Severus rolled his eyes and scowled. "The world doesn't need to love us, like us, or even tolerate us. As long as we know we love each other, nothing else matters. What could have possibly riled you up this much?"

Hermione wiped her eyes and starting pacing around Severus' den. She explained her encounter with Minerva and all of her thoughts in relation to wearing the ring, what could happen, and all other uncertainties she had. All the while, Snape had his arms crossed. Once she was finished, she turned around to look at him. "Well?"

Snape chuckled. "Hermione… I gave you that ring for a reason. And I am supposing you accepted that ring for a reason?" Hermione nodded. "Then, we will figure this out together. But in the meantime, you need to go rest because this has caused too much anxiety. I may have enjoyed seeing you like this as a student, but now it vexes me. "

Hermione chuckled. She drew closer to Severus and embraced him again. She pulled apart from him slightly and he wiped off a few stray tears on her face. They kissed for a moment, smiled, and went their separate ways. He is right, Hermione thought as she closed the dungeon door behind her. As long as I love him and have him, we will be fine, especially when dealing with the nonsense associated with her ring unveiling. She knew there would be drama and wanted to prepare for it, but she had no idea how. When Ron proposed to her, she only had to deal with him and their drama, not the entire world.

" 'Mione, will you marry me?"

"Ron, don't you think we're a bit young? And how did you afford that ring so quickly after the war?"

"I didn't quite buy this ring… Harry lent me some money. And of course not! We're in love! Why shouldn't we get married?"

"Ron… I don't know. Can you give me time to think?"

Ron shyly nodded. "I suppose… take all the time you need. I'll be here waiting when you're ready. But just think of how everyone will react! They will be so happy for us! Think of all the planning and adventures we will have preparing!"

Hermione gave him a surprised look. "WE will have preparing? Half of the time you aren't even around Ron! Sure everyone will be happy about an engagement, but we have to be happy with it first and frankly I don't think we're ready."

"But 'Mione… I am ready. Let me prove it to you."

"No Ron, I still need time to think about it. I don't know that I'm ready after all we have been through. I'm going to go sleep downstairs tonight. Goodnight."