The usual disclaimers apply.
May 5th, 2006:
"Hermione, there is an official-looking owl for you," he called for her from the kitchen where he was nursing his third cup of coffee of the day.
"Open it, will you?" she cried back from upstairs, "It's probably from Potions Monthly."
He grumbled. Had he known that getting married would entail being his successful wife's secretary, he probably – no, who was he kidding? It had been the second best day of his life when he had gone down on one knee and she had said yes with tears in her eyes. The best day of his life, he mused, looking at the brightly shining, relatively knew wedding band on his finger, had been barely a month ago. When they married each other. Twice on one day. First, officially at the Ministry of Magic – a binding – only the two of them, then, in the small church of Walton-on-the-Hill, with everyone present. Everyone worth being there. Minerva and Aberforth, Hermione's parents, some other of her relatives, Potter, his wife, their children Jamie and the almost newborn Katharine Lily. Katie for short. Luna Lovegood, Molly and Arthur Weasley, even Neville Longbottom had been there.
But truth be told – it had been their day. And he had just seen her in that beautiful white dress. Like a vision, his personal wonderful dream.
He smiled in remembrance. Smiling still did not come easily most of the times – he still loved to scowl but when he thought of her, he still felt a warm glow in his stomach.
"Enough of that," he muttered and with his features back to the scowl, he untied the parchment from the owl's leg, unrolled it and ready quickly.
"It is from Potions Monthly," he cried up to her. "And why are you taking so long? This is only a christening."
"I'll be Katie's godmother, Severus," she complained, coming down the stairs. "I don't know why you're so calm."
"Just because Potter convinced his wife of yet another insanity and named me godfather doesn't mean that I have to be all giddy," he grumbled back – but he knew he couldn't fool her – he was – pleased. Little Jamie liked to play with him, though Merlin and God only knew why. Jamie, with his five years, always insisted on sitting on his lap, having him cut his food and always talked to him. He didn't know why – and most of the time, he was annoyed – or – pretended to be. But Jamie – at least – didn't quite look so Potterish but rather resembled his mother. Katie, on the other hand, had something of Lily – and it didn't hurt. Not at all.
"It's no insanity, and you know it. You have a way with them. I think it's only the bigger children that cause you problems," she laughed. "And you've gotten better. Minerva said that you didn't take any points last Friday."
"Last Friday was the first day of classes," he argued.
"And that kept you from taking points in the past?" she grinned and slipped on his lap, taking the parchment from his hands as she snuggled closer. He held on tightly to her – it still hadn't gotten old – holding her whenever he could.
"Well, yes," he replied with a smirk. "Only obnoxious Gryffindors were exempt." He kissed her neck languidly – loved the smell of her, the taste, the feel of her skin.
"Severus stop," she laughed, and pushed the hand away that had sneakily made its way up to her breast. "Next month? They want to include the bloody article next month? They can forget about it. It will not be ready within the next ten days."
He arched an eyebrow and turned her sideways on his lap. "The worst thing about this is, that you will do it anyway. And I'll have to sleep in a cold bed."
She laughed and kissed his nose. "No, I don't think so. Are you ready to go then?"
He groaned. "And another one of those occasions where I have to endure hours of Minerva talking and cooing with her husband, and Potter beaming proudly because his wife and his children are so brilliant, Molly Weasley, bothering me – but no, this time, it will not be the 'when will you make an honest woman out of Hermione' speech, but the 'is Hermione pregnant yet' speech. Arthur Weasley slapping me on the back, because I did so great with you."
"My parents will be there as well," she grinned.
"Oh," he grimaced. "That as well. Your father wanting to talk to me about whatnot and your mother still looking at me as if I had stolen all the money from her purse. If Longbottom's there, I'll go straight home again."
"You will not," she slapped his chest good-naturedly. "You will stay because of your god-daughter. We have more responsibility now."
He groaned and stood up, pushing her off his lap. "Let's get this over with then."
Hermione smiled gently and grasped his hand – leading (or rather dragging) him to the floo.
She smiled at him gently – highly amused at the rant about the people he had to see. He wasn't that annoyed. She could say with all honesty that he enjoyed those gatherings, meeting those people – even when he usually ended up with Jamie on his lap, sitting somewhere next to Abe – and discussing the happenings. Really, if Severus had been a woman, one could almost say he gossiped with Abe – and Jamie cuddling with him. He and the boy had a special bond, she knew.
Every time they were invited by the Potters – or invited the Potters – Jamie would say a quick hello to her (if that) and for the rest of the time, seemed attached to Severus. There was something about him that probably only Jamie understood – but she enjoyed seeing it. Only – he had trouble holding little Katie. Granted, she was only two months old (or two and a half, as Dotty and Harry insisted), and she knew that he was afraid to break something, but he had to today.
He would be a good godfather. He would be a good father as well.
She kissed him on the mouth quickly – as soon as they arrived, once more, at the backroom of the Hog's Head. It was still the Hog's Head – even though, it was cleaner, and there was a blend between respectable – and not so respectable people, and especially muggle-borns – since this was the only place at Hogsmeade that sold muggle drinks.
"Oh, Severus?" she took hold of his sleeve and waited until he looked at her.
"Have you changed your mind and we can go back home?"
She shook her head and grinned. "No. But I suggest you hold Katie as much as possible."
"What? Why? I'm already stuck with Jamie all the time."
She smiled mysteriously and wrapped her arms around his waist. "Just to get the practise."
He looked at her – as dumbstruck as she had imagined – as startled and made a weird sound. "A... do you mean to say that...?"
"Exactly that, Severus," she smiled and put her chin on his chest. "Practise holding the wee one. You'll need it, daddy."
That's it, folks.
Thank you so much for the support – french_lo, tatjana88 and all those who have reviewed, PMed or emailed me and helped with this story. I cannot put into words how much it meant to me to see that so many people enjoyed my story, have put it on alert, have put it on their favourites list and have reviewed. I am still very amazed what kind of reaction Acquittal got – a story that I started just because I needed to deal with a few issues myself and it has a sort of been a drug to sit down every day and write.
Again – thank you so much! I love you all!
Make sure to check out my new story. It will be an HG/SS titled (probably) 'From the Corner.'