Trysts With Quidam
Many years later . . .
Severus scrutinized his aging reflection in his bedroom mirror as he deliberately took the time to button all of his frock coat's twenty buttons by hand. Grey strands of hair accented his mostly black mane near his sideburns, and the furrow in his brow was more pronounced than it had been the last time he had bothered to take note of his facial features. He finished with his buttons and tied his hair back with a silk ribbon. It was important for him to look presentable when Hermione appeared in his office later in the day. It had been five years since they had last spoken. He wasn't exactly avoiding her, but his life as a professor at a secluded school didn't provide much opportunity for him to encounter old friends.
With one last glance in the mirror, Severus brushed imaginary lint from his robes, assumed his proud posture, and stalked out of his stark rooms.
Hermione Granger, recent divorcee, dashed through the busy mid-day streets of Hogsmeade. She was running late for her meeting with Severus. Being a single mom took more effort than she could have ever imagined. Ever since Ron had become a father again in his late thirties, he was rarely available for Hugo and Rose.
Hermione had married Ron because everyone had expected it of her. She had always been close to his family, but, like she had told Severus years ago, they were better off as friends. In fact, she was still hoping to salvage their friendship out of their wreck of a marriage that had ended with him having a lovechild with the aging diva, Lavender Brown. Hermione's biggest problem with Ron and Lavender was that the happy couple had recently decided to leave their old lives behind and move to another country.
Hermione worked at the Ministry and was the head and the founder of the Department of Security Research, which had grown overnight into a very high profile and prestigious department after she invented a potion that gave Auroras an advantage over dark wizards by enabling them to fly without a broomstick. Since then, she had made hundreds of security breakthroughs via various potions and charms.
Her meeting with Minister Shacklebolt had lasted longer than scheduled, and she dreaded being late to Severus' classroom because she remembered all too well the way that he used to vehemently preach punctuality to his students. While passing through the castle gates, she stole a fleeting glance at her wristwatch before sprinting her way through the arch of the main entrance. Once inside, she slowed to a brisk walk in an attempt to look more controlled and mature. Something about the castle always made her feel like she was still a know-it-all adolescent.
Her thoughts immediately strayed to the reason for her visit. Severus wished to speak with her about Rose. Hermione knew that Rose had served detention with Severus before, but her offences had not been very serious. She knew that Severus would not have owled her unless he had found it absolutely necessary to do so, and she was extremely curious and slightly worried about the meeting with her daughter's professor.
Hermione paused outside of the classroom door and ran her fingers through her windswept hair before pushing the heavy wooden door open just enough to squeeze in. She saw Severus seated behind his desk and obviously waiting for her. His hands were perched on the desktop and they were clasped together. He was looking straight at her with an annoyed look on his face.
"Too important to keep you appointments with lowly professors, Mrs. Weasley?"
"Cut the crap, Severus. You don't have to act the stern professor just because we are in your classroom. I'm only five minutes late, and I apologize. I made it here as quickly as possible. May I take a seat?"
She met his eyes and held them in a steady gaze. She refused to let him intimidate her. She knew that his classroom persona was not real, and it annoyed her that he couldn't act like himself in her presence. He relaxed, nodded, and gestured for her to be seated in front of his desk.
She grinned and said, "It's wonderful to see you, Severus. How have you been?"
Severus felt joy at her honest question. She always showed genuine concern for his wellbeing, and he was grateful that she cared for him after so many years.
"I am well, Hermione, and you?"
"I'm fine, but Rose and Hugo are totally dependent on me now that Ron has moved his new family to Romania . . . which is why I'm a bit nervous about this meeting. I hope that Rose hasn't done anything too awful."
Hermione donned a fake smile and waited for Severus to explain.
"She isn't in trouble, but I am worried about her. She's spending time with Scorpius Malfoy."
After ascertaining that he was serious, Hermione burst into relieved laughter. "Much to her father's dismay, she's been friends with Scorpius since her second year. They play Quidditch together. Why is that such a bad thing?"
Severus squirmed a bit in his seat and explained, "I caught them together up in the Astronomy Tower."
He gave Hermione a meaningful look, and it only took an instant for her eyes to widen as she grasped his meaning. She covered her mouth and whispered, "But she's only fifteen." She sat stunned while thinking about her daughter's inevitable sexual awakening.
Severus took Hermione's silence as an invitation to continue speaking. "Rose and Scorpius are fourth cousins, Hermione. Most of the old pure-blood families would think nothing of such a distant connection, but I know that the Weasley's, and perhaps yourself, feel differently about the subject of blood. The fact that he is a Malfoy will not help matters. I'm fond of Rose, and I do not wish to see her feelings hurt by the Weasleys or the Malfoys."
Hermione was still stunned. "You can't possibly mean that they were having sex, Severus!"
"For Merlin's sake, Hermione! She's a teenager, and that's exactly what I mean. What else would they be doing up there after curfew?"
Hermione pouted and weakly answered, "Studying Astronomy?"
Severus gave her an incredulous glare before unexpectedly dissolving into a fit of laughter. The look on her face was just too priceless for him to ignore and her denial was ridiculous. He saw that his laughter was increasing her level of distress, so he regained his composure and tried to move forward.
"You know that's not true, Love."
"I'm not ready for this. She's just a girl, and I can't lose her now."
"You're not going to lose her for many years. You are getting upset for the wrong reasons. Rose needs you, right now. You need to speak with her and your family about her relationship with the Malfoy boy before she gets hurt. Do you understand?"
Hermione caught her breath and answered him in a calm voice. "You're right. I'll speak with her after dinner. Thank you for caring for my children, Severus. You have always been an outstanding mentor and protector for them, and we all appreciate it."
"They are wonderful children. If I had a daughter, I would want her to be as kind and intelligent as Rose." He smiled and continued, "She and Scorpius have been inseparable all term, but I thought nothing of it until I overheard Draco berating his son for his choice of friends. After I saw them together, I felt obligated to contact you."
"Why didn't you ever marry and have children of your own, Severus? You promised me that you would."
He sighed, "No, Hermione. I said that I had hoped to find someone else, but I never did find someone comparable to you." He gifted her a sad smile.
Hermione's face flushed, her heart began to flutter. They were in the same room together for the first time since her divorce, and the love of her life had just confessed that he hadn't found anyone good enough to take her place in his heart. The situation was becoming too emotional for her to keep her thoughts to herself. She absolutely had to talk to him about their relationship.
She sounded more than a bit upset when she stood and said, "It looks like you made a mistake when you told me that we couldn't be together if none of your subsequent lovers have been good enough to keep."
He walked around his desk to confront her. "I made no mistake. You have been more successful on your own than you would have been here with me, and you wouldn't have your children if you had stayed."
"Don't get me wrong, Severus, I love my children. However, don't you realize that I could have had your children?"
They were both getting upset and it was starting to show on their faces and in their speech.
"I didn't wish to trap you here with me. You act as though you are the only one affected by my choice, but I've also had to live with it. I've not been with a woman since you walked out of my bedroom that night. It's not been easy to see you with your brilliant career, beautiful children, and dunce of a husband, but I'm proud of you. I know that it was for the best."
"You haven't slept with anyone in two decades?"
"Gods, witch! Is that the only piece of information that you were able to glean from all that I've just told you?"
She sounded hopeful when she calmly said, "I was your last lover?"
He saw the look in her eyes and knew that he still had her heart. He became hopeful and decided to be honest with her. He whispered, "You were my first and my last, Hermione."
Hermione's mouth opened and closed several times as she attempted to find her voice. Giving him a disbelieving look, she questioned him with an unsure voice.
"You couldn't have been a virgin." When she got no response from him, she continued, "How could I have been your first when you were . . ."
He finished her question for her by adding, "Old enough to be your father?"
"Yes . . . I mean, NO! Gods, Severus, Why didn't you tell me?"
His famous sarcasm made an appearance. "I don't know, Hermione. I couldn't possibly have been self-conscious about being a virgin well into my thirties, now could I? That sort of thing must happen to men all of the time."
She dismissed his biting remarks by saying, "If I was your only lover, then why didn't you contact me when you found out about my divorce. I know that you knew about it. I've thought about you every day since I was eighteen, and now I find out that we could have already reconciled."
He stepped closer to her and held her to his chest. She collapsed into his comforting embrace and wrapped her arms around his strong body. They spent several moments enjoying their long overdue intimate contact. Burying his face in her hair, he relished her familiar scent before planting a light kiss on her forehead.
"Forgive me, Hermione. I assumed that you had moved on and had no use for an old man like me. I didn't want to risk my sanity by hoping for something I thought impossible after all of these years. After all, you didn't approach me either . . . until today."
"I know. I also feared rejection. I pictured myself coming to you and finding another woman in your life, but now I'm actually bothered by the fact that you have been alone for so long. I mean . . . I'm glad that you are available now, but I feel guilty for moving on while you never did."
Pulling her into a tighter embrace, he said, "Don't think on it, my love. It's my fault. Just look at how long I held on to Lily Evans. I have a habit of not letting go, but it seems that, this time, my endurance has yielded positive results."
They were coming together for a kiss when Severus' next class interrupted them. They slowly drifted out of each other's arms with a promise that they would meet again after Hermione visited with Rose.
That night, Severus and Hermione had their first outing together in Hogsmeade. As they enjoyed dinner and drinks, their thoughts never wondered from one another. Each of them had enjoyed a fulfilling life in the absence of the other, but they both knew that they had never felt completely whole while they were apart. On their walk back to Hogwarts, they made a commitment to each other. They walked hand in hand while enjoying the cool night air and the promise of their future together.
Once they arrived at the castle, they didn't even make it to Severus' bedroom before shedding their clothes. While each began to savor the feel of the other's bare skin, they stumbled their way to a plush rug in front of the fire in Severus' sitting room.
They made love in the warm light of the fire before moving to the comfort of the bed. Severus worshipped his lover with his graceful hands and eager mouth late into the night while Hermione tasted and memorized every centimeter of his body.
They fell asleep just before the soft glow of dawn claimed the sky over Hogwarts. The couple slept peacefully in an intimate embrace. Hermione was tucked in front of Severus with her back resting against his chest, and her hand covered his as they rested on her abdomen. Both lovers were unaware of the new life growing underneath their joined hands.