Chapter 19

She opened the door slowly, hoping to avoid all forms of confrontation. She had merely come back to retrieve her things and return to Severus who was still waiting in bed, probably asleep again. She was hoping to be able to pretend that she had not spent the night out, but all hope was lost as she stepped into the living room and was confronted with the concerned face of Molly Weasley.

"Where have you been?" she demanded kindly.

"I was out getting groceries," Hermione stated confidently, hoping that Molly bought her lie, but it would seem the odds were against her.

"Nice try, Hermione."

"Fine, I was at Severus', and I am picking up my things and heading there again after that. Is that all right with you?" Hermione asked, pouring on the anger a bit too much.

"Yes, that is perfectly all right. I was just worried about you, is all," Molly grumbled, a little put out that Hermione had snapped at her.

"I'm sorry, Molly. I didn't mean to snap, but I am old enough to take care of myself. I don't need someone watching over me every second of every day, though I do thank you for worrying about me." She pulled the older woman to her for a hug, then hurried upstairs to grab her belongings.

As she passed Molly on the way out, she paused. "Thank you, Molly. For everything. Thank you," she whispered kindly, giving the woman a soft smile.

"You're welcome, deary."

"Now go have fun with that man of yours, and don't forget the contraceptive charm! I can show you how to use it if you don't know how," Molly called after the running figure of Hermione Granger who had a blush that would rival any Weasley's covering her face. She stopped running and Apparated away.

Molly watched from the house, safely shutting the door when she was out of sight.

"That was cruel, Mum. Funny, but cruel," Ron said from behind her, moving to her side and pulling his mother to him for a big hug.

"Well, better safe than sorry," she mumbled as she turned and went back to cleaning her already spotless home.

To say that Severus Snape had changed completely would be ridiculous, and no one would believe it, as they shouldn't. Severus would always be sarcastic and rude; it was a part of his personality. But to think that being with Hermione hadn't softened him was ridiculous as well.

When they looked back at their relationship, they would argue about many things, but the one thing that they could remember and agree upon was the turning point in their relationship, the point in which they had fallen for each other. It wasn't anything complex, or wildly romantic. There were no roses, no doves and no screaming declarations of love. The moment came when she went back to his place that morning the day after Christmas.

Hermione was carrying her suitcase by her side as she turned the knob in her hand. He had told her that he would change the wards to allow for her to enter, something she did not take lightly. She walked into his house quietly, not sure if he had fallen back asleep or not. She tiptoed through the house, heading for the stairs to put her suitcase away. When she passed the kitchen she saw him sitting at the kitchen table, his back was towards her.

She walked up behind him to tap him on the shoulder and quickly found herself flipped over and lying on the table, a wand pointing at her chin. His face leaned over her, and his eyes were as black as the darkest heart. Her suitcase slipped from her hand as she realized that she should have announced herself when she saw him; he obviously had not heard her come in.

"Sorry, Severus. I didn't mean to give you a fright." His wand moved an inch and his face dropped closer, their noses only a breath apart. He removed his wand and gave her a light kiss on the lips.

"Just be careful next time," he warned, brushing his nose against her cheek to move a strand of hair from her face. She heard a whisper that sounded like "I missed you." But she couldn't be sure she wasn't hearing things.

"Since you are in this position, we might as well make use of it," he said, quirking an eyebrow as he removed his wand again and vanished their clothes.

The kitchen table was never the same again, and neither were they.