Knowing Miss Granger
January: Knowing You
January 10th, mid morning.
Severus awoke to the warmth of a false sun streaming through his enchanted windows. He yawned, stretched his limbs, and turned to his side. His arm brushed something soft and warm. He paused, and he marveled at it.
For a little while, he just watched her as she lay under the sheets. He listened to the small, soft sounds of her breathing as her chest rose and fell. Her lips were slightly parted and her lashes fluttered for an instant. An errant curl fell over her cheek and she brushed it away as she dreamed. Even in her sleep she was enchanting to him. He did not want to disturb her. He felt as if he could watch her for hours, mesmerised, as she lay there, but too...he wanted to touch her, feel her, relish in her tangibility...
...just as he had in the lingering hours of the golden January dawn. It was more than sex, more than just a cheap, physical satisfaction like he'd found in the past. He closed his eyes and the images began to swim, the sensations ghosted through him...the feel of her body under his, the slow and steady movements of their first moments together, the building fervor, the furious, tumultuous pace coursing through them until something inside him loosed itself and for all the world he finally understood why it was called making love.
He slowly brought his hand up and ran it along the contours of the body beside him, retracing the dips and curves his fingers had learned only a few hours ago. He mapped out the swell of her thigh, the gentle arc of a hipbone, and traced a light circle around her navel. He trailed his fingers higher, taking survey of her topography, relishing the rise and fall he found...from hill to valley to hill again. He left the soft roundness of her breasts to run his hand along the archer's bow of her collarbone and up to her neck. He leaned in and kissed her gently, right below her earlobe, then, brought his lips to her cheek, her jaw, her nose, and finally, her lips, pressing his own into the deliciousness of her mouth. He felt her stir beneath his lips, waking to his kiss, returning it with growing intensity.
She rolled her body to face him, bringing up her hand to run along the muscles of his arm. She slid a leg between his and pulled herself closer, feeling the heat radiate off of his naked body. Her sleep laced mind swept through the memories of the early morning hours. She thought of his hand upon her chest as they consecrated themselves to each other, his kiss after that moment and how it overwhelmed her senses. Then, the feel of the sheets upon his bed, the look of his face above her own, memories of bodies finding rhythm, of searching hands and curious mouths, memories of a rising tension building in her flesh until it overcame her mind and ran through her like lightning.
"mmmm..." he said in a low morning mumble, before sinking back into the pillowed flesh of her lips.
"You know we've probably missed..." she paused to kiss his neck, "...breakfast in the hall..."
He swept her cheek with his fingers; "don't care..."
"...And our first classes..."
"The students won't..." he nibbled gently on her earlobe, "...miss us."
"Especially yours I'm sure..." she said, tracing a finger down his chest.
He chuckled at her jab as he tasted her bottom lip, "...so why bother with them?"
"Because, if we miss our next classes...and lunch too, Minerva will come looking..." she wrapped her arm around his torso, drawing herself closer to him, erasing the space between their bodies "...and I don't think she'd survive the shock..."
"...Of seeing you naked in my bed..." he said as he gripped her firmly, pressing his flesh into hers, his voice and body obvious with his desire. She had no chance to reply as he crushed his mouth into hers, leaving behind the gentle teasing of their conversation...
January 10th, noon…ish.
Hermione and Severus did make it to the hall for lunch…as it was ending. Minerva, inquired about their absences throughout the day and was, as Severus had previously stated, somewhat livid when she heard the reason. Not because of the bonding itself, but because it took from her the much savored planning for and fawning over of the bride and groom to be. She made it no secret she was dismayed by their sudden circumstance as she'd been making elaborate plans since Halloween for their eventual marriage. However, they managed to placate her by conceding to a formal, if small, ceremony and reception for friends and family…though to them, it could in no way equal the vows they made to each under a barren tree on a snow covered hill. The other members of the staff were congratulatory save for Trelawney, who predicted a great transgression would take place and Severus would find comfort in the arms of another woman. This was of course, after she'd scornfully downed her second bottle of Sherry, post 'marital' announcement.
By the end of the day, word had spread through the castle to teacher and student alike. Severus found girls sighing in his classroom and staring dreamily at him for the first time in his life. Boys dared to raise their eyebrows in a quizzical, salacious fashion while smirks appeared across their faces...even Mister Lettingtin, following his last disastrous encounter, had the smug audacity to do so! Love might change a man. Love might make him feel more alive than he ever dared dream, grow more happiness, more joy, more...everything in his heart than he thought possible...but that didn't entitle a group of insufferable dunderheads to slack upon such notions! More detentions were assigned that day than in the collective history of Hogwarts.
Hermione too found herself blushing as her female students bombarded her with questions. The males kept their distance but looked on her as if she had surely lost her mind. Though she shushed them and brushed aside their inquires, each one made her heart more full, made it all feel so much more real. Try as she might, she couldn't help but smile. It radiated through her and she felt as if flight wasn't something one needed magic to experience...for her broom was in the closet and yet; she hadn't touched ground all day.
Eventually, well, rather quickly actually, the whole of the wizarding world became aware that two of its most lauded veterans had found love in each other's arms. The Daily Prophet ran a few stories heralding the affair...or at least its own version of it. Severus thought it a ridiculous thing that so many were interested, especially given the number of years passed since the war. He continued to grouse and gripe and Hermione just smiled and rolled her eyes affectionately as she watched him cut the article from the paper and tuck it away in his favourite book.
Their...mostly her closest friends had been amongst the first to know. Ginny, said she knew at Christmas. Molly wept and swept them both into arms...much to Severus' horror. He liked the woman well enough, but still! Lavender, Katie, Hannah, and the Patil sisters all fawned and swooned as Hermione related the entirety of the tale. The men were congratulatory...if a bit timid towards Severus. Even Lucius, Narcissa, Draco and Astoria had sent heartfelt praise for their union. Time it seemed, had changed more hearts than his.
Severus was a bit overwhelmed by it all. True, while he loved her and would endure any amount of public injustice for her; he was still an intensely private man. Though, he did rather relish telling Potter and Weasley about himself and Hermione. Inevitably, the gaping wound of a grudge between them had scabbed over after the war, but calling what they had a 'friendship,' would be pushing it. Granted, neither Severus nor the boys would call each other enemy by any stretch either. After all, Potter'd gone so far as to name a child after him in gratitude. Still, it was still a sweet bit of triumph he couldn't resist, and a man can only be so strong. Announcing to Ronald; "she's found herself a real bloke! Though I'm afraid he's not very decent…" was one of the most delicious pleasures he'd ever experienced. To say they were 'shocked' might be akin to saying they'd once had a spot of trouble from a fellow named Tom…it just didn't cover it. After a right bit of swearing, loads of threats -some good-natured, more not so, and lot of drinking, they'd come around and congratulated him on the matter. Hermione, though she chided Severus for the fiasco he'd hoped to stir, actually found it righteously funny. Of course she swore to herself never to tell him.
Life for the first time, became a comfortable thing.
And so, the years continued to pass and time walked on its steady course. New faces came into their world and old ones wandered out, as this mortal coil makes certain they will do. Children were born, a son and a daughter, and they watched them as they grew, feeling the fear and trepidation that all new parents feel. They also felt the pain of tender adolescent hearts, the pride of young adults set to strike out on their own, and the joys of two hearts made one as those children married others they'd not bear to be without…and brought children of their own into their homes. Through it all, their love did not diminish. It was tested, as all love is, as all true things are, but it withstood the flames through each and every trial…coming out more pure by every furnace it endured.
In their bed one night, old and withered with age, Severus put his arm around his wife and pressed his hand to her chest, feeling that steady, little thump of the heart he loved so much, beating in two places, though it was one. He thought back to the many years before, when a young, impertinent girl stood smiling in his classroom seeking to break him of his loneliness. He kissed the back of her head, burying his nose in that mass of curl, no longer the polished chestnut colour of her youth, but no less beautiful to him. It was rare, he thought, that a man was granted two lives within a single span, but he was grateful he could claim himself as one so fortunate. A world that spun with danger, death, and pain seemed as far from this moment as light was from darkness and yet it had once been his…
"How strange," he said, as he drifted off to sleep, "that a man's world could be so changed by knowing another soul…by knowing you, Miss Granger…"
AN: ...And yes, they lived happily ever after. I hope you've enjoyed the end of the story. A huge thank you to everyone who has favorited and subscribed and of course, for the incredible reviews-thank you, thank you, thank you! I hope, if you've been reading along, and have yet to leave one, that you would now and let me know what you think.