Hi! I've decided to have another shot at Hermione/Severus as the plot bunnies suddenly came up and bit me!!! Don't worry, it didn't hurt. Tee hee. But two quick things. I won't be able to update really regularly because I now have three stories on the go and am dead set on not abandoning any, I hate unfinished fics. Also, in a week's time I'm going on holiday for two weeks so won't be able to update then either. But I hope you'll bear with me and I hope you like the story!! Happy Reading!

Disclaimer – I'm merely playing with JK's toys, I don't own anything!! =D

Chapter 1 – It's my Life

'See you later 'Mione.' Ron said, kissing his fiancée's cheek as he rushed out of the door.

'Yeah, see you.' Hermione started to reply, but the door had already clicked shut behind him.

She sighed and picked up the still full, but now cold mug of coffee she had made him and poured it away. As she walked into the bedroom of their apartment she picked up a pair of pyjamas he had left on the floor, an old quill he hadn't bothered to throw away and a chocolate frog box he had carelessly discarded.

It was just over one year after they had won the war and since then, a lot had happened. Harry and Ron had started training to be Aurors at the ministry, which was where Ron had dashed off to that morning, as he did every morning apart from Sundays. Also, Harry and Ginny were engaged, much to Molly Weasley's delight and so were she and Ron.

Engaged. Hermione looked at the ring on her left hand and sighed sadly. It was a gold band with a bright red ruby on top. Expensive, but ugly. Well that's what Hermione thought, she hated gold jewellery; silver suited her better.

But when Ron had given it to her, saying they were Gryffindor colours she hadn't the heart to hurt his feelings. Not when he'd just proposed.

After the war The Ministry had awarded large sums of money to each Harry, Ron, Hermione, Arthur Weasley and Severus Snape. They were apparently meant to be 'offers of gratitude from the Ministry and entire population of the Wizarding World.' But Hermione saw it more as. 'Wow, thanks for doing the hard work for us. Now here's some money and please don't mention anything about us being completely useless throughout the whole thing.'

And that was why she had donated over three quarters of it to various charities some while back. She had used some of the rest to find her parents in Australia, a search which had been successful and Hermione had been able to give them their memories back and an explanation. It had turned out that they quite liked Australia, and had set up a new dentistry clinic there.

Hermione sighed again as she sat down and picked up a book. And she couldn't help but think...

Is this all I'm going to do in life? Be wife to Ron Weasley, pop out baby after baby for him and tidy up after him?

A voice in her mind whispered to her. That's what everyone expects of you, yes.

But then there were two more voices, these clearer and stronger. Her Mother and Father's voices. Do what you expect of yourself Hermione, not what others expect of you.

And there and then Hermione made a choice. No matter what Ron said, she was getting a career. Who said she couldn't be a good wife and mother and still have a career? It was her life.

* * * *

'Minerva, is Severus not seeing fit to join us yet again?' Professor Flitwick asked.

Minerva McGonagall leant forward to glance down the table and sighed in an exasperated fashion. 'Oh I've had enough of this. I've given him time and he still continues to lock himself away! That's it; I'm going to make him talk to Albus.'

With that the headmistress got up and made her way down to the dungeons, knocking smartly on Severus Snape's office door.

'Go away Minerva.' A voice called out from within.

Nevertheless, Minerva opened the door and entered. Severus was sat behind his desk, reading. The only light came from a solitary candle perched on the corner of the desk.

'Oh honestly Severus! You'll damage your eyes in this light, lumos.' Her wand lit the room brightly and Severus snapped his head up.

'Must you?'

'Yes, I must certainly must! May I ask why you once again failed to show for dinner this evening? I know the students aren't here until September but you could come and eat with us once in a while.'

'I've told you. I eat alone.' Severus said coldly.

'Severus, you need to stop hiding yourself away like this, never speaking to anyone apart from to drop the odd sarcastic comment.'

'It's my life; I'll do what I want with it.' He told her dryly, flicking over the page of his book.

Minerva sighed, 'I don't believe you truly want to live like this.'

'Believe me, I do.'

'I've had enough of this. You're coming with me.'

Severus laughed sarcastically. 'I am? Where exactly?'

'Don't you dare talk down to me like that Severus! You're coming, to talk with Albus.'

'Allow me to assure you that I have no desire whatsoever to talk to the demented old fool.'

'I don't care! You are, that's that!'

Severus sighed and slammed his book shut. 'Fine.' He said grudgingly as he got up.

* * * *

'Ah, Severus my boy. There you are.' Albus Dumbledore said as Severus walked in and scowled at the portrait.

'Right, I'm going back to dinner. I'll see you both later.' The headmistress said, leaving the room.

Once she had gone Dumbledore's tone grew serious. 'Severus, tell me truthfully. What have you done for the past year since you managed to save yourself from Nagini?'

'I spent six months in 's getting back to full health and the rest of the time I've been here. You already know all this.' Severus said venomously.

'No Severus. What have you done?'

'I've been down in the dungeons-'

'Yes! You've locked yourself away from everything and everyone, you need to get out there and get a life Severus! You're a free man and still young, why hide from the rest of the world whilst they wish you welcome you with open arms?' Severus detected hints of anger in the old man's voice.

He laughed bitterly. 'I hardly think so.'

'No Severus, you don't want to think so. But the truth is that the large majority of people out there are in awe of what you did! When Harry revealed everything, everyone's respect for you soared. You're a hero Severus and young and free to do what you wish with your life.'

'I, am not young Albus.'

'Yes you are you stupid boy, you're thirty-nine. Now stop hiding from the world and get out there. Remember the times back when you had manners and could even crack a joke or two.'

'Albus, what if I don't want to? That was a long time ago.'

Dumbledore's face softened. 'Severus. I remember you when you were seventeen. Intelligent, handsome and polite, that man is still there. And yes, you've had to hide for years, play both sides. But it's over now Severus and life goes on. Don't waste it living in the past.'

Severus sighed. 'And what do you propose I do? Who wants to make friends with a snarky potions master?'

'That's for you to work out. But I will say this Severus. If you do not change and you continue to hide, then you no longer have a home here. I will not sit here and watch you waste your life away if you choose to do so.'

'You're blackmailing me?'

'If you like, I suppose I am. For your own good.'

Severus took a deep breath and let it out. 'Fine, I'll try. But don't expect me to become Mr Popular.'

'I don't expect that Severus. I just want you to try getting some sort of life worth living.'

He sighed again. 'You always could persuade me into anything.'

Dumbledore chuckled. 'Yes, apart from eating lemon drops.'

Severus made a face. 'Horrible, sickly things.'

'Right my boy. Are you going to get down there and eat dinner with the others?'

'Fine.' He said grudgingly. 'But I am not going to start being best buddies with Harry Potter, or that Weasley boy. Or the bushy haired know-it-all for that matter.'

'Severus, I can understand that your past runs to deep for you to have any sort of friendship with Harry or Ron. But as for Miss Granger, she is a sensible, charming and clever woman; don't be prejudiced merely because of her house.'

Severus raised an eyebrow. 'She's a girl Albus, not a woman. I've agreed to be more sociable, don't push it.'

Albus smiled, but he had that twinkle in his eye. 'Fine Severus. Just remember what I said.'

He nodded once and swept out of the office, down The Great Hall.

'Good evening Filius.' He said cordially as he sat down.

'Good evening Severus! How's the brewing coming along?' He squeaked in reply from the pile of books he was sat on to reach the table.

'Well thank you. I hear you're getting an apprentice for next year?'

'Yes! A student from The Italian School of magic wishes to learn more about English Charm-lore.'

Severus nodded. 'Interesting, he must be thinking about going into philosophy.'

'Without a doubt!' Flitwick exclaimed excitedly.

And up in the office the portrait of Albus Dumbledore smiled to himself as he popped another lemon drop into his mouth.

* * * *

Hermione let herself back into the apartment and sank into the sofa, reading one of the pamphlets she had just got from 's. She had made up her mind that she wanted to go into Healing. A profession she had been keen on for a long time.

At that moment Ron returned from work, dumping his cloak over the couch and grabbing a biscuit from the tin. 'What you looking at 'Mione?' He asked with a mouthful of biscuit.

Hermione looked up at him and sighed angrily. 'Oh Ron! You're getting crumbs all over the carpet!' She said, pulling out her wand and levitating them into the bin. 'You also left your pyjamas on the floor this morning! Along with a quill and an empty chocolate box! It wouldn't kill you to have put them in the bin!' She cried, getting up.

'God, I thought I was coming home to my fiancée, not my mother! I was in a rush for work!'

'You're always in a rush for work! You should bloody get up earlier!'

'Well it's a bit hard when we were...you know...last night.'

But now Hermione lost it. 'I said I was tired last night! But you insisted! But that's just you all over isn't it Ron? It's all about what you want!' Tears began to run down her face.

'Hermione-'

'No! Just...just leave me alone Ron.' She sobbed, slipping out of the door.

'Hermione!' Ron yelled after her, but then his eyes fell on the pamphlets. 'What the hell?' He muttered to himself as he picked one up.

So...what do you think? Love it? Hate it? Think it's alright? Please, please review and tell me what you think!! I accept praise, constructive criticism as long as it helps to improve my writing I don't mind! So please review, I give cookies! Tee hee. =D