If you think I'm JKR, there's a real estate deal involving a bridge I'd like to talk about with you...
"Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable. Is it so hard for you to remember one day out of the year? You can call up countless litanies of potion ingredients, recite verbatim half the books in the library, and never forget to show up for some 'hapless Gryffindor's' scheduled detention, but you can't remember this one bloody event? Honestly Severus, sometimes you just infuriate me!"
"I've already apologised Hermione...profusely;" he said with a scowl.
"Yes, well, your apology didn't put your rump in the booth while I sat waiting at Avalon's for over an hour. I felt like one of those sad little women you see in a Hollywood production. You know, the ones where the waiter comes by every five minutes to offer the girl another glass of wine and plate full of pity? So thanks, thanks for that. It was just THE most perfect Valentine's Day." She stared at him, her arms crossed over her chest and she sucked the inside of her cheek causing her face to seem a little hollow, but that was nothing compared to her eyes which were currently telling him he what an unimaginable jackass he was.
"I told you, Hermione," he drew out her name, pronouncing each syllable to its fullest...which, intended or not, made it sound like an insult. "I'm SORRY. Is forgetting this stupid day such an unforgivable sin?"
"IT IS TONIGHT!" she said and stormed from the room.
He sighed and ran his hands through his hair, tugging at it in frustration. "Merlin, life was so much simpler when I was a lonely, miserable bachelor. Now, at least tonight, I'm still miserable and I've angry witch on my hands, just bloody lovely." He walked to the study of their quarters, threw a handful of powder into the fire and stepped into the green flames. He knew better than to rush after her while she was in such a mood, but he didn't want to just sit around and stew in the memory of their argument...
Hermione just wanted to get away from the man. "How could he? How could he? ...Just sitting there, waiting...like a fool..I need a drink." She walked to the outer gates of Hogwarts and apparated to the door of the The Three Broomsticks. She walked in and immediately regretted her choice of location. It might as well have been Madam Puddifoot's. The room was filled with couples, some holding hands across the tables, whispering sweet words, while other were abandoning any sense of propriety and snogging each other right in the open.
"Mother f..." she began, but was interrupted by a familiar voice.
"Ginny? What on earth are you doing here, where's Harry?" she said in surprise.
"Emergency business I'm afraid. Something's going on over in Devon. He, Ron, and Draco were all called in for some kind of ridiculous nonsense that apparently required a whole squad of Aurors."
"Oh my! It sounds serious!"
"I doubt it. There's been a rash of foolish pranks lately. Nothing they'd regularly be bothered to deal with, but with it being Valentine's apparently someone decided to be quite a nuisance tonight. A whole flock of Cupids armed with must lust arrows were released over the town. Apparently quite a number of husbands and wives found their significant others in someone else's arms...suffice to say the hexes started to fly, the aurors were called in...and here I am...alone."
"Wow...that's really devious in a lame kind of way."
"Tell me about it. Mom's got the kids tonight and I didn't feel like sitting at home...but enough about me. What are you doing here? I thought you and Severus had some kind of romantic dinner planned for tonight. I figured by now you'd be at home making his eyes roll back in his head."
"Oh come on Herms. We're both adults, both married to breathing, heterosexual men...that alone assures me that you ride him now and then."
"Ugh, Ginny, don't call me 'Herms,' you know I hate that. Fine, normally, yes, he's exactly what I'd be doing right now, but seeing as he didn't even show up for dinner tonight...he can take matters into his own hands for a while if you get my drift."
Ginny bit her bottom lip and sucked in a breath of air. She nodded her head slowly, and exhaled. "Ah. Well, I can see where that might put a damper on the evening festivities."
"Yeah. It's a problem. Look, can we get out of here? I don't think I can stand another moment of these insipid people and their disgusting public displays of affection." She curled her lip into a sneer and one of her eyebrows rose high upon her forehead.
"WOW. I never realised just how many of his mannerisms you'd adopted."
"Shut up and come on Potter," she said narrowing her eyes but smiling ever so slightly, allowing her vitriol to dilute for a moment.
The two women walked through the lantern lit streets of the small village, winding their way to the slightly seedier part of the town. Hermione pushed on the old wooden door of the Hog's Head and it creaked in response. The inside was dimly lit and a few miserable looking dregs sat huddled at various tables sipping at their liquid companions.
"Perfect," said Hermione as they slid into a booth.
Aberforth wandered over to the table and set two dirty glasses of firewhisky in front of them. Neither had ordered them, it just seemed prerequisite for choosing the pub. Hermione picked up her glass and gave it a hesitant sip. Ginny pushed her glass away and looked to Hermione.
"Not drinking tonight, Gin? I could use a little commiseration."
"Normally I would, but...I'm pregnant again Herms."
"Oh Ginny! Congratulations!" she said, delight gracing her features for the first time in the evening. She didn't even register the use of the offensive nickname.
"Thanks! ...But keep it on the down-low if you don't mind. I haven't told Harry yet; I've only just found out. I'm hoping for another girl...you know, to equalise the balance of power in the house again," she said with a chuckle.
Hermione smiled at her friend. "Oh that'd be lovely Ginny," she said as she took a larger sip from her glass and sighed wistfully.
Ginny reached across and took Hermione by the hand. "It will happen for you too. You haven't been trying long. Trust me, it rarely happens right away...even if you're a Weasely," she said with a grin.
"I know Gin...I know...and tonight; I'm just so mad at him. The last thing I want is another Snape to bother me."
"You don't mean that."
"How do you know what I mean?" she said, withdrawing her hand, clutching it over the other one on her glass.
"I know, Mistress Hermione Snape, because you love him...for some unknowable reason."
"Ginny!" She said, her eyes suddenly angry again.
"Oh shut up Ginny. Stop trying to prove your point using something as ridiculous as logic!" She finished her glass and reached for Ginny's. "Honestly, most of the time he's wonderful."
"Yes, really," she said tersely as she started in on the new glass.
"Just last week he went with me to the Travistine Ortheton book signing. He hates him you know, said the book would be utter trash but he knew I wanted to go. Four hours we waited in that line...four hours...and you know what, he was right, utter codswallop, the whole thing. It was like Lockheart all over again."
"Well that was certainly nice of him."
"Yes, it was. Not only that, you remember about a month ago when you and I went shopping and I saw that necklace, the one with the piece of amber set in that lovely gold design? I told him about it...just in passing. I didn't even make a big deal over it...just told him. Not two days later I sat down to read a bit before bed and my bookmark was gone...in its place, yes, that's right, the necklace. I was...I couldn't believe it."
"I'd have never thought it of Snape," said Ginny, tossing a sidelong glance at Hermione.
"Of course you wouldn't! He's not so public about it like those fools at The Butterbeers...er, Broomsticks, but he cares, he cares plenty!" She'd finished off the second glass of whisky and Aberforth had already placed a third before her.
"Apparently. Well, regale me with a bit more about this suddenly romantic Severus."
"I could you know, and there's nothing sudden about it! Oh, I just remembered this one time...it wasn't long after we'd been married, I'd decided to cook dinner...the muggle way. I wanted to show off for him...show him I could get along fine without all that 'foolish wand waving'." She circled her hand around in the air lazily. "Well, I mucked it up, mucked it up royally. You couldn't even recognise what it was. It just looked like a pile of char on a plate. He ate every bite, just to keep me from crying...every. bite."
"Yes my! He's wonderful Ginny, wonderful! This week hasn't been particularly easy for him either. Get this...the project he's been working on, you know, the big one concerning the Anti-Cruciatus Potion...the one he wanted to develop after seeing the Longbottoms? His request for renewed funding was denied. I couldn't believe it. He was crushed...just crushed. He couldn't bring himself to tell Neville...he hadn't intended to tell him anything about the potion in the first place, not till after he was approved again, but...he let it slip."
"Oh Hermione...I'm so sorry..."
"He's been so stressed. First there was that and then Thursday he got a letter from the Governor's board full of course revisions. He's going to have to completely rewrite his lesson plans. It's no wonder he forgot about tonight!" She had the glass of whisky halfway to her lips but she suddenly paused and brought it back to the table. Her face reddened and she looked down.
"Ginny, sometimes I just hate you. I was perfectly happy being angry at the man and now I feel like such an idiot. It's all your fault."
"I know, and you're welcome," she said, flashing a knowing smile at her friend.
"I need to go."
"I assumed as much. I should be getting home myself. I'm hoping Harry will be back soon."
"Yes, good luck with that...maybe he'll have brought a few of those arrows back with him."
Ginny grinned and gave a hearty laugh. "Perhaps, but we don't really need any help in that department," she said placing a hand over he stomach.
"No, I suppose not." Hermione embraced the other woman in a warm hug. "Thank you Ginny...thank you so much...now if I can just manage to get back without splinching myself or wandering off into the woods, thanks to the whisky. Well, enough talk now," she said, tossing a few Galleons on the table. "I've got something I really need to take care of back at home..."
"I would certainly hope so. Have fun storming the castle!"
"Haha! I fully intend to!"
They parted ways for the night and Hermione soon found herself back at the gates of the school. She hurried through the grounds, the corridors, and found herself back in the quiet of their rooms. As she walked into the study she saw a vase filled with roses and a heart-shaped box of chocolates sitting on the table. A little note was peeking out from under the box. She picked it up, unfolded it and read...
Again, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to leave you stranded. I'm hoping I can find myself back in some semblance of your good graces through these trite and cliched means. I love you Hermione...even if I ruin a meal on occasion. -Severus
That last part stung her as she recalled the conversation she'd had with Ginny earlier in the night. She wondered how it was she could forget so many events in the course of one failed evening. She set the letter back on the table, took a quick breath of the roses' fragrance and headed down the hallway to the bedroom.
She stepped quietly into the room and heard the deep, even tones of his breathing. She stripped off her cloak, her robes, and her underthings and slid between the sheets. She ran her fingers lightly over his arm and snuggled into up against his back.
"Severus..." she said, slightly louder than a whisper.
"hmm..." He'd responded, but he wasn't awake, wasn't aware.
"Severus..." she said again, placing a kiss on his shoulder moving her hand lower on his body.
"Hermione..." he said breathlessly as he awoke, as his body tensed to her touch.
"I'm sorry," she said as she kissed his shoulder again, running her lips in trails over his back.
He turned to her and brought a slow hand to her hair, slinking his fingers through her vine like curls. "Flowers and chocolates? Really?"
She chuckled softly. "No...but those were certainly appreciated." She kissed him lightly, letting her lips linger, the gentle sound of their breathing filling the dark. "I simply realised how stupid it was to be mad at you."
"What about Avalon's?"
"Sod Avalon's" she said taking his mouth with passion this time, pressing her body to the naked flesh of his own.
The rest of the night found them writhing together under entangled, rustling sheets until eyes did indeed roll back, over, and over, and over again.
~5 weeks later~
Severus sat on the leather couch in the study going through a pile of letters that had come by owl earlier in the day. There was a letter from Lucius, an offer to write a piece for the prestigious Potioneer's Compendium, and thick envelope from the Ministry of Magic's sub department of exploratory grants. He flipped through the pages quickly scanning each one.
"Hermione!" he said loudly and with a frantic air as he stood to his feet.
She ran into the room, wand in hand, and wrapped in a fuzzy, gold dressing gown.
"They've renewed me! Hermione, it was a clerical error! The funding I needed for the potion, they've approved it, along with an additional stipend! Not only that, but the Compendium has asked for a piece!" he said as he grabbed her up into his arms and spun her around, lifting her feet off the ground.
"Oh Severus, set me down! Set me down!" He obliged her and she embraced him. "It's wonderful news Severus, I'm so happy!" She relaxed her hug and looked up at him. "Severus, sit down...I have something I need to tell you." She led him to the couch and sat in his lap when he took his seat.
"This isn't bad news is it, love? You know...I'm not exactly the type that gets the laurel wreath every day. I'd like to relish in this a bit if I might."
She laughed, "hardly bad, no."
"Ah good, then what's on you mind?" he said, stroking her hips with his hands.
"Severus, on top of all this good news, what would you say if I told you I'm pregnant too?"
They'd been trying recently, true, but frankly, his mind just couldn't accept that so much grace could have befallen him in one sweet day. He simply assumed she was joking...starting a coy game with him...something she often did.
"Pregnant? By whom?" he said with a wicked smirk and impassive tone.
She grinned at him. "Probably Ron...maybe Harry, quite possibly Draco. Could be anyone really."
"Ah, hopefully Draco. Otherwise, it's a full Gryffindor and that never turns out well. Really though, I don't care as long as it's not me. I've got enough problems keeping all the mothers of my own illegitimates quiet."
She looked down from him and bit her smiling lip. She loved it when they flirted like this. She brought her eyes back to his and brought her arms around his neck to rest on his shoulders. She leaned in and kissed him. His hands traced up and down her back, caressing her delicately.
She kept her close proximity to his face, resting her forehead on his. "Severus," she said in a breathless voice. "Do you remember Valentine's night?"
He kissed her again and tightened his grip. "How could I forget it?"
"Severus...I am pregnant."
He looked into her eyes and saw nothing but gentle truth staring back at him.
"Hermione..." he pulled her close and laid his head to her chest. She rested her chin against his head and stroked his hair.
"You are happy aren't you? I know we've been trying, but, you know it will change everything."
He sat up and looked at her with a quizzical expression. "Happy? Hermione...happy can't begin to cover what I'm feeling. Before you, I was a broken and desolate man. I had nothing but empty hands to call my own...and now..." he brought his hands from around her and placed them on her stomach. "Now, they are full."
She stroked his face and placed a small kiss on his lips. When she pulled away, he followed her movement and kissed her again with passion. He wrapped his arms tightly around her as his mouth caressed hers. He dipped his head and kissed her neck, making his way to the delicate spot where it met her shoulder. He nuzzled his nose against her soft skin.
"We should celebrate, floo everyone, meet for dinner...even Potter's allowed to come."
"You must be happy if you're willing to play host!" she said as she stroked his shoulders.
He kissed the crook of her neck again and ran his hands down the length of her back.
She shuddered at the fluttering movements of his fingers. "Actually...Severus...considering that skipping dinner is what led to this in the first place, I'd hate to break with tradition;" she said as she pushed him down to the couch, noxed the lights, and kissed him furiously...
AN: Just a bit of Valentine's silliness. :) My other story Knowing Miss Granger is full of Wizard Angst right now so I wanted to write something light. I hope I've succeeded. Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed it, drop me a review and let me know. Thanks and Happy Valentine's Day...or Single Awareness Day...depending on your point of view. ;)