An Unfinished Declaration
Chapter 3: Thunderstruck
"…Of the Chaldean method. As you can see, each spell we've covered can be broken down by both the verbal portion that is spoken and the corresponding numerology behind each letter. Now, if you'll open your text…"
The door to her classroom burst open and she jumped at the sound of it crashing into the stone of the castle wall. Severus stood there with his eyes blazing and a look of righteous indignation pasted onto his features.
"Class dismissed!" he said, his voice booming like clap of thunder.
Hermione straightened her stance, raised her head, and thrust back her shoulders, affronted that he'd barge into her room in such a manner and give her students leave.
"Professor Snape, I do not believe it is your place to command my classroom."
What on earth is his problem?
Severus glared at the students one last time before employing his most menacing tone.
Not a one dared disobey. As each of them made haste, filing past him, he brought his gaze back to Hermione's unbelieving stare and quickly reddening face. He narrowed his eyes and hers widened in response.
The last student scurried down the corridor, eager to retreat from the ensuing maelstrom as Snape calmly strode forward, reaching into his pocket as he did so.
"What is this about Severus? I do not take kindly to you dismissing my class without giving me any knowledge as to why!"
"I don't understand your issue Professor Granger. You seem to be quite fond of dismissing things."
" Professor? What are you talking about?" she said, crossing her arms, her face contorting into one of extreme confusion.
He slowly withdrew the journal from his pocket and held it in front of her face, waiting for realisation to hit her. She stared at the book and gasped.
"Yes, your precious notebook!" he said, flinging it to the ground. Everything he had intended to say fled his mind as he stared at her, a look of confused hurt spreading across her face. His nostrils flared as he breathed and his brows creased ever further, forming a deep groove of tension between them. "You…with your…you…bloody Jezebel!" And with that rather ineloquent stammer he turned, his robes employing their trademarked billow, and retreated from her room.
She picked up her journal and clutched it to her breasts, feeling stunned, affronted, hurt, and finally, extremely pissed off!
"Jezebel? Don't you dare run away from me Snape!" she said, yelling at him as she ran to the doorway of her classroom.
He'd already made it to the bottom of the corridor stairwell and shot an angry glare up at her before continuing on his way. She took off after him with as much speed as she could muster.
He looked over his shoulder when he heard the furious little clicking of heels on stone. He scowled and increased his gait. She continued to follow after him, muttering a highly inappropriate string of words for a teacher as she did so. Students that had the misfortune to be milling about in the hall at the same moment received the brunt of Snape's wrath as stalked by them, deducting points from their houses on the mere grounds that they were there to witness this moment. Not even Slytherin was immune to his tyranny. They turned sympathetic eyes to Professor Granger who only responded with a snarling admonition to get to class before worse befell them.
She chased him all the way to the outer courts of the castle and finally to the grounds themselves.
"Severus Tobias Snape, you turn around this instant and talk to me you…you…YOU!"
He stopped and slowly turned, resentment, rage, and tension exuding from every feature, his twisted mouth, his hunched shoulders, his tightly balled, white-knuckled fists.
At that moment, the heavens let loose and it started to rain.
"What in Merlin's name is your problem Severus?"
She stood with her hands on her hips, her breath panting due to both her irritation and the exertion of her chase.
"My problem? I don't believe I'm the one with the problem Miss Granger," he said icily.
"Don't you Miss Granger me, Professor! Now stop acting like such a child and tell me what this is all about as you obviously have some kind of issue."
He walked to her and grabbed the journal from her hand. She was unaware she was still clutching it. He quickly flipped to the last entry and thrust it under her nose, saying nothing.
"You…you read my notebook? I never would have thought you'd betray my trust like that…" her voice was unbelieving.
"…And a good thing I did. Lest we carry on this little charade."
"CHARADE? You unmitigated idiot! This is why you're upset? You had no right! You violated my thoughts, read this without my permission!"
She waved the journal in his face and he batted it away with a sneer.
"Why should I care if I did? As you quite obviously…" he grabbed the book, "how did you put it? Ah yes, 'don't think I can continue on like this anymore,' being as you're so 'unsatisfied' with our relationship," he said, affecting her girlish timbre upon quotation.
She was crying now, hurt mixing with anger, tears and rain streaking down her cheeks like a torrent.
"It serves you bloody right Severus Snape, what I'm about to show you. It serves you bloody right."
She took the book from him and withdrew a Muggle ink pen from her pocket. She turned away and began to scrawl as the rain continued to fall around them. He sulked behind her, waiting, seething. She spun and shoved the journal into his chest with such force that he let out a gasp. He caught the book from her and she looked steadily into his eyes.
"I'd misplaced my book, thank you so much for returning it. Oh, by the way, it was unfinished, what you read…I've rectified it now, this is what it would have said if you...if you hadn't…"
She ran from him, unable to keep from sobbing, shuddering against the rain, which for June seemed unseasonably cold. Wordlessly, he opened to the page that had caused such offense and began to read her addition.
I…I find myself, no longer satisfied with our relationship. My hands are shaking as I write this. I don't really want to talk to you about it, but I feel I must. I have to be honest with you. Merlin, my heart is beating like a drum. I don't know if I'll be able to do this…but I just don't think I can continue on like this anymore.
I'm just terrified you won't be ready for the things I want to tell you. I'm afraid I'll scare you away. You see Severus, it has come to my attention, that I love you...which, in itself is no new revelation. What is though, is just how deeply I've come to love you, much more so than I ever though possible. It's been eight months, but it might as well have been eight years, or eighty for that matter. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, sleep in your arms every night, wake every morning to your face, share each moment with you, good or bad…perhaps, even raise a family; our own children, can you imagine? Oh Severus, I so want to be your wife.
…And for the second time that day, he felt as if lightning had struck him. His nerves were alight, running with an electric fire. He gulped and read her words again….
Each realization was another bolt from the blue straight into his heart, and as if to illustrate the point, the sky suddenly lit with the jagged fingers of a white-hot streak followed by a peal of thunder that crackled in the air. The ink was running from the pages as the rain continued to fall. He closed the sopping journal and stood with the look of a man that had been slapped repeatedly.
He hated himself.
He was fifteen all over again as he placed a frantic knock on her door.
"Go away Severus!"
"I don't want to hear it!"
"I didn't mean it!"
"Go away, just go away!"
He sighed and felt his legs begin to shake at the increasingly familiar scenario.
"Hermione, I've already misspent one lifetime making up for my quick temper and regrettable words…please don't damn me to two."
He waited, but she didn't reply and he slumped to the ground. He didn't have the energy to deal with his foolish pride at the moment. Honestly, he felt as if he might vomit. He leaned against the door and rested his head against the wood, taking a deep gulp of air, trying to still his insides. The next thing he knew he was falling backwards as the door was opened and he lost his prop. He landed with a small thud right in front of the toe of her shoe. He looked up at her from the flat of his back. He could see the dried tear tracks on her cheeks. Her complexion was still ruddy, but her expression was less harsh and possibly slightly amused given his position.
"Are you planning on blocking my threshold all day or are you going to stand up and talk to me?"
He scrambled to his feet and she motioned for him to enter. His heart was thumping so loudly in his ears he could barely make out her words. She shut the door and stood against it with her arms crossed and her eyes downcast.
"Hermione…I…I was a fool."
"I'm so sorry."
"You should be. You violated my trust Severus. Do you know how much that hurts?"
"Hermione, if I could undo it, I would. I'm sorry, so sorry…I am ashamed of myself. You know that apologies don't come easy to me, but if I had to spend a thousand years at your feet begging for your forgiveness; I would do it. Though, I don't deserve to be forgiven by you."
"No, you don't…"
He hadn't expected that.
"Right then," he said quickly, amazed at the fact his heart could still find new and incredibly horrible ways to feel pain after all these years of it.
He grasped at a loose thread on the cuff of his coat and swallowed against a hard lump in his throat as he stepped to her door and made his way to leave. He paused though, when met with her, and cupped his hand to her cheek. He heard her diminutive gasp as his fingers grazed across her skin. He slipped his other hand into his pocket and withdrew her journal. She felt him slip into her own pocket and a tear freed itself from her eye.
He pulled his hand away and placed it on the knob of her door.
As he turned the knob, he felt the warmth of her touch.
"Severus…again, you've failed to let me finish what I had to say."
He did not dare move nor look at her.
"I was going to say, no, you don't deserve to be forgiven but, but I do forgive you Severus…because that's what love does. It forgives. You remember what I wrote, right? I want to share each moment, good or bad. Well, this was a bad one… but it shouldn't override all of the good ones. I should have opened the door to you sooner or been calmer but I was angry and hurt too…and you forgive me don't you?"
He slowly turned to her, clearly showing his astonishment.
"You have nothing to ask forgiveness for! I broke your trust, for which…I can't even begin to…Hermione, how…on earth…are you…this good?"
"I'm not, not really at all. I just love you very much you ridiculous fool."
She leaned up and placed a gentle kiss on his cheek. He dropped his hand from the doorknob and scooped her into his arms, burying his face in the bend of her shoulder and neck. He breathed in her scent and for a few moments, just held her, relived that he was allowed to do so. However, he was becoming quite overwhelmed by the need to kiss her, and so, he brought his lips to hers with the fervent thanks of guilty man who knows he's received his pardon.
At the break of the kiss, he brought a hand to her cheek.
"Hermione, the last line you wrote…did you mean it?"
"About being your wife? Yes, I meant it, I meant it with all my heart."
He reached into her pocket and withdrew the book and pen. He opened it to the splotchy, ink-dripped page where she poured her heart out and began to write. He took only a minute and then handed it back to her.
A small smile appeared at the corner of her mouth as she turned the pages. Below her last line he had scribbled out a short, runny message on the still damp page.
If you would lower yourself enough to have a ridiculous fool for a husband, I'd love to accept the position.
"Oh Severus!" she said, flinging the book down and wrapping her arms around his neck, "you've got the job! When can you start?"
…And for the umpteenth time that day, as she kissed him, he felt as if lightning had struck.
AN: Well, I hope you enjoyed this...it was just a fun little thing to write, nothing too terribly deep or interwoven. I would very much appreciate it if you left me a review! Thanks! ~RV