Hermione squinted in the hot sun. It was barely past the vernal equinox, and the temperature would be climbing towards the mid-seventies come afternoon. Looking back down at the trowel in her hand, Hermione decided to sneak back into the tent. In a stroke of luck, the object of her frustrations was in the bespelled kitchen. "Gwendolyn," Hermione whined. "What the hell are we doing here?"
Gwendolyn's mouth quirked up in a way she had picked up from her fiancé. It irked Hermione the same way it did when Draco wore it. "It was you and Severus that decided we needed to watch this site for signs of magical records. I just decided that it was worth the while, and Draco had to come along. If anyone should be complaining, it's him."
Hermione grabbed a mug of tea, sat down at the table and let out a huff. "I hate camping."
Draco chose just then to emerge from his room. "You call this camping? If anything, we're living in a portable house and pretending that we sleep on dirt." Draco placed a firm kiss on Gwendolyn's mouth before happily accepting the plate of eggs she offered him. "Besides, you and Severus are quite the gossip mill. Half of the undergrad students think that you seduced him for his money," Hermione snorted, "and the other half think he seduced you with the promise of books. They all give you a reputation for being as horny as toads."
Hermione choked on her tea. "Dear God," she whispered.
Gwendolyn took a look at her watch. "Well, either way, you need to go wake up your husband. He's supposed to be going over the artifact inventory with Kyle in fifteen minutes, and we all know how he is without his tea and toast."
It was only five minutes later that they heard a bloodcurling scream. For the fifth time, Hermione cursed this trip to the States while Gwendolyn picked up her Muggle first aid kit and went running.
The police left the camp in a daze. Sonya choked out a sob that sounded suspiciously like 'Kyle'. The poor man had been found with his skull crushed, obviously murdered. The dig leader looked at each of them and sighed. "We'll have to set up guards. No one goes anywhere without a buddy. Kyle was alone. The rest of us will learn from his mistake. They say the best way to honor the dead is to honor their work, so the dig will continue."
Hermione and Gwendolyn smiled discreetly at each other, both considering what would happen to the poor fool who tried to attack them . . . and was met with their wands. At the same time, both Severus and Draco traded protective glances.
Two weeks passed, and the rumors about Hermione and Severus increased exponentially, though the noises in the tent were caused by Gwendolyn and Draco as often as not. However, a couple with their age discrepancy was far more interesting than the young hooligans, and so the rumors continued. Hermione was passing out cups of tea when Gwendolyn shoved hers into Draco's hands and took off, squealing, "Momma!"
The dig leader gasped, her eyes immediately going to the anthropologist's in shock. Severus heard her shocked whisper of, "That's Mrs. Flores-Hawkins. I thought I recognized that young doctor . . ."
Severus raised an eyebrow. "I had no idea your fiancée was on the edge of fame here," he commented dryly to Draco.
Draco's lips quirked in the same mischievous smile he had passed to Gwendolyn. "She comes from as much Muggle money as I do Pureblood. Her parents are integral to two highly profitable companies." As he spoke calmly, they saw Gwendolyn show her mother the ring on her left hand and the two women jump up and down enthusiastically. "There's no doubt where she gets her excitability from."
Hermione frowned. "It is rather nice being here, and not recognized by every wizard we meet. I wonder if that is what Gwendolyn feels like in Britain." With that, she dragged Severus back down to their hole to do a bit more digging before dinner. Draco chose instead to wander over to his beloved and future mother-in-law.
Severus carefully brushed dust off of bones, Hermione following his efforts with a quick and nearly imperceptible preservation spell. They passed many minutes in silence before Hermione had the nerve to ask her question. "Severus, do you really think we'll find a potions manuscript here?"
Hermione was concentrating too hard to notice Severus smile at her. "Of course. The book indicated that it was here, and the spells that have been set off over the last month are very indicative of deteriorated wards." His dark eyes glanced up to catch hers. "After this, I'll take you to Bath, and we'll take a nice, dirt-free vacation."
Hermione's responding smile was weak. "How many books will you buy me?"
Severus laughed, a sound any of his past students would have wondered at, but was commonplace now. "It depends on how much time I plan to spend with you over the course of the vacation. It wouldn't do to have you reading when I wanted to take you out to dinner." The following kiss was witnessed by no less than three hopelessly romantic grad students, who used it to fuel every rumor concerning the couple.
That night was, unfortunately, the two couple's turn to take guard over the encampment. Draco and Gwendolyn told the more reserved couple outrageous stories, inciting many bouts of laughter before the Snapes tensed, eyes directed towards the woods. Gwendolyn's eyes went wide as she discreetly looked over, pretending to be cracking her back. There was a light.
"The idiots. We should hex them," Hermione said under her breath.
Gwendolyn frowned. "The only reason to use a flashlight that visible would be to draw us away from the camp going after it. Draco and I will go take a look. You and Severus can watch for a second vandal."
Hermione raised an eyebrow, questioning the assignments. Severus was the one to answer her. "Gwendolyn has the fastest reflexes and best Muggle defenses of the four of us, and Draco has one mean Stupefy. You and I, however, are very good at hiding in the shadows and hexing someone from behind. You can't tell me that everyone wouldn't see the moonlight glinting off of Draco's hair."
Hermione suppressed a snort of laughter as she and Severus hid themselves and the younger couple ran off into the forest. The flashlight moved quickly, away from the camp and toward the road. Severus felt all of Hermione's muscles tense as a well-built man came into sight, wearing as much black as Severus had before his wife had confiscated his wardrobe. The moment the couple saw a lighter in the man's hands, a Stunner and a levitating spell were immediately sent in his direction. Under her breath, Hermione whispered, "That's our tent."
In the distance, there was a muffled shout. Gwendolyn had sidestepped the oaf's attempt at punching her, and his fist had instead hit the tree behind her with a sickening crack. It took little effort on her part to smash the man, reeling in pain, into the same tree, knocking him unconscious. Draco helped drag him back to the camp, which was alive with activity, the other trespasser awake and bound with rope.
In the excitement of the next three days, no one noticed Mrs. Snape take an aged scroll into her tent rather than to the archive lean-to. Only the hopeless romantics noticed that the four wizards and witches packing. The goodbyes were short, the vacation in Bath superb.
A/N: Another tidbit to tide ya'll over. I was reading a rather thrilling romance with archaeologists. Unfortunately, my mind tends to turn to violence and likes to ramble at every opportunity. Hope it's alright. Gwendolyn Hawkins (soon to be Malfoy) is a reoccurring OC of mine.