Ghostly Shadow

This day was bound to come, but no one believed it would have come so quickly. All things die, but when someone dies young and needlessly, it is always remembered.

He watched the faces of those who mourned or came to give their condolences. He often looked to Hermione to watch her actions and reactions. She gave off the appearance of having everything together, despite having just lost her husband of over 20 years. The guests cried more than she did, hugging her and sobbing on her shoulders. Severus wondered who it would be that would finally shatter the shield she had erected around herself.

He felt eyes on him and glanced over to see Rose, Hermione's eldest child trying her best not to cry. At 14 years old, she was intelligent like her mother and terribly perceptive. She and Severus often had long talks. He had come to look at her as the daughter he'd never had.

Only a few people knew he was in attendance, and most of them were too caught up in their grief and their coddling of Hermione to notice him. He kept hidden for the most part. It was better that way. Being a ghost was difficult enough, but constantly having to reason with people why he was tied to the Weasley Family was rather tiring.

He couldn't even die properly to finally find some peace in his life. No, he had become a ghost, tied not to a place, but to a person.

Hermione glanced in his direction and he gave her a crooked grin. It made her smile shyly, and did something to him that she had been doing for the last few years. He pushed that away and concentrated on doing what he felt he was there to do. Comfort Hermione Weasley. He could not comfort her physically. They had learned long ago when he had attempted to hold her after a fight with Ron that Ghosts and the living should not physically interact. The experience had left her with frostbite and him feeling as if the sun had burned him.

Even as a Ghost, the universe taunted him. For in this horrible form he had fallen madly in love with another man's wife.

Hermione was able to keep herself together for the wake. But that night she cried a lot in the privacy of her bedroom. She had loved Ron, though she had admitted to Severus more than once, that she never had loved him as much as he deserved. They had a good marriage, but it was more of a friendship than love and lust. They had often fought as Ron hated that she worked as soon as the children were old enough to be watched by their "Gram'ma Molly" and he very much disliked that she had left her job as an Auror to take up Potions research.

Severus knew Ronald Weasley had hated his presence and the feeling was quite mutual. Severus was always around, talking to Hermione or the children, (especially Rose) except when he knew he would truly not be wanted around. He never had given in to watching anything inappropriate for him to watch. It was not Hermione and Ronald's fault that he lingered around their home.

"Don't you have students to terrorize or something?" Had been Ronald's favorite line to use. He never completely understood why Severus was around, whom he was tied to, and he never learned these answers before his death.

Severus and Hermione learned when she went away for a work trip that he was not tied to her family or home, but directly to her. Being away from her for long periods of time left Severus in pain, something quite unusual for a Ghost. The pain became more and more excruciating as time passed and it affected the link they shared. Also Severus and Hermione could call for each other by merely speaking the other's name aloud in their head. They often finished each other's sentences, much to Ron's annoyance.

Severus had hated the link at first, distancing himself as much as possible from Hermione, no matter the pain. He played tricks on her at first, until that became boring and childish. As the years went by he lived through Hermione. They used their link to conduct research together, something of great comfort and fulfillment to them both.

He watched Hermione cry herself to sleep, feeling helpless. When he was certain she was sleeping some 6 hours later, he left her room, pacing the hallway.

He felt warmth, and someone watching him, and spun to face Rose.

"Shouldn't you be in bed? Tomorrow will undoubtedly be a long day for you and your family." His tone was harsh, yet also affectionate.

"Why don't you say something to her?"

"Say what to who?"

"Don't play, Uncle Severus." The bizarre part of things was that Hermione had named Severus as Rose's godfather. It made no sense, yet it comforted Hermione and was made so. Rose always thought of Severus as family no matter that he wasn't truly alive. She had called him Uncle Severus since she could speak.

"I don't play. It's very late, Rose. Or early if you would prefer to get technical."

"And you don't sleep so it shouldn't bother you."

"There is no need to be flippant."

"I will be so if you continue to pretend you don't know what I'm talking about."

"Spill it, so you can go back to bed."

"Why don't you tell my mother how you truly feel about her?"

Severus froze in place. His robes even stopped billowing. He quickly recovered. "What exactly am I supposed to be telling her?"

Rose gave a huffy dramatic teenage sigh, something he normally did not see from her. "That you are in love with her of course."

"What gave you that ridiculous notion, you daft girl?"

Rose beamed. "I wasn't completely certain, but the name calling just confirmed it. You always start calling people names when they get too close to you or find out things you don't want them to find out. I am not blind, Uncle Severus, nor am I stupid. I see the way you look at my mum and know how you look after her."

"What were you drinking at the wake? Did someone spike the refreshments? Your Uncle George perhaps? Or have you been reading some of those ridiculous teenage romance novels at Hogwarts? Wait until I see the Baron."

Rose frowned and crossed her arms over her chest. "I'm being serious."

"And so am I. Even if what you suggest is true, does it go unnoticed by you, that your father, your mother's husband just died and not only that but…I…am…a…ghost."

"I don't mean that you should tell her right this instant, but you should tell her soon before she decides to date some loser."

"How charming that you have such confidence in your mother's ability to choose a male companion. I repeat myself…I am a ghost."

"And I'm a teenager and the sky is blue and wizards and witches have wands. What's your point?"

"Rose, are you sleep walking? Are you in the land of the living? Ghosts and living people cannot have relationships. Do you know why? Ghosts and living people cannot touch. If they do touch for a lengthy period of time the living person can get frostbite and the Ghost burns. Ghosts and living people are not compatible. Do you think it would be fair to your mother to have a relationship with someone who can never hold her? With someone who isn't even alive? And what of me? I am to watch her wither and die while I live for eternity mourning the loss of her?"

Rose smirked and Severus had the urge to say "Oh bugger" He'd said entirely too much.

"Go to bed, young lady. This discussion is over."

Rose smiled. "For now it is. See you tomorrow."

The funeral came and went and things at the Weasley house took some time to adjust and return to a semi normal routine. Hermione was quieter after Ron's death. It was certainly to be expected.

Rose and Hugo returned to Hogwarts and for the first time ever, Hermione and Severus were left completely alone in the house.

Severus found he didn't know how to act around her. Rose's conversation with him had left him paranoid, and completely heartbroken. He loved Hermione and nothing could ever happen between them. Having a conversation with someone had brought that into very clear perspective.

She was in her lab in the basement when he heard her calling him. It was a distant call, so he knew she had not spoken his name aloud, but in her mind. He floated through the walls down toward the lab.

A green cloud of smoke permeated the air, and Severus knew if he could smell that it would stink of rotten eggs. Hermione hardly ever ruined a potion, yet today she had.

She banished the disaster and then looked to him from where she sat. She looked dejected. For some time she sat there until she finally broke the silence.

"Are you mad at me?" she asked quietly.

He blinked. "Mad at you? Whatever would I be mad at you for?"

"I don't know, it's just…ever since Ron died, you have been absent a lot more. We don't talk as much. You never visit me in the evening anymore to discuss books or potions. As soon as we are done with in the lab you take off."

"Visiting you alone in your bedroom would be highly inappropriate considering the circumstances."

Hermione frowned at him. "How would it be inappropriate… " She looked at Severus and saw his pale face was quite flushed. "Oh…OH!"

They were silent for a few moments until she gathered her jumbled thoughts. Though time moved differently for Severus, he felt as if centuries had passed in the few moments it took her to figure things out.

"Do you … is that possible for Ghosts?"

He looked away. He had hoped to avoid this conversation.

He was acting very strangely. Avoiding her, blushing. Taking a deep breath she asked, "How long, Severus?"

"Too long, for something that should not be and never will be." He seemed both angry and flustered and threw his hands into the air as he started drifting away.

"Severus, stop! Don't go. Can't we talk about this?"

He spun around. "What's to talk about? You're alive and I'm a ghost. Shall we talk about what can't be? Shall I stay and hold you? We know how that ends before it even truly begins."

The fact that she was alone and that Severus had feelings for her overwhelmed her. She started to cry as things truly sunk in.

Severus felt miserable. He had succeeded in doing what no one at the wake or funeral of her husband had done. He had made her cry. Perhaps it was better that way. There was no use for both of them to get utterly attached. He would never move on but at least she could try. He could stay in the background…and watch her date and marry another man.

His heart ached so badly he felt it might burst. He fled the room, leaving her to cry alone.

Although he was in the house all the time, he made sure to keep out of her site. She called for him often and although the distance pained him, he realized the terrible thing he had done. All these years they had become friends and to wean her from him would be nearly impossible. As it was he was somehow bound to her, though neither of them understood how or why. He realized in some strange way she was also bound to him. How could she ever hope for a normal life when he was chained to her side?

She became more miserable than when her husband died. She didn't eat much, and lost weight she could not afford to lose. Her appearance did not seem to matter as much.

Rose came home for Christmas break and Severus remained hidden.

Not ten minutes after his godchild's arrival he heard a voice snarling out his name. "Severus Tobias Snape!"

Now Rose was upset with him. His existence was complete.

"Severus Tobias Snape!"

"Good grief, Rosie, you could wake the dead." He floated non-chalantly at the top of the staircase, his arms crossed. He had forgotten how easy it was to still play the cold, unfeeling Professor.

She ignored the pet name the family called her, which she disliked. "If I could, I'd wake you, you miserable bastard."

"Watch your tone, young lady."

"I won't! You foolish man!"

"Are you happy, Rose? You wanted this. You wanted her to know and now she knows. She discovered it all on her own! Some good it did either of us!"

"You allowed her to figure it out and then you took off on her! Merlin's beard, it's been over 6 months since Dad died. You coward, you've been hiding from her most of that time, hurting her! And most likely you've been hurting yourself, too!"

Half a year had passed already? Had it been that long since he and Hermione had begun this dance?

"Don't call me that, Rose Matilda Weasley. Don't you dare!"

"And why shouldn't I when you are acting like one! Did you even stop to find out how she feels about you?"

"It's best that I don't know! It's best that she let go of whatever she thinks she might feel so she can move on, find herself a companion and…" His voice broke and he fell silent.

"And what, Uncle Severus? Be miserable with a man she doesn't love?"

He clenched his teeth and looked away.

When she spoke again, Rose's voice was quiet. "I don't understand everything with your situation as a ghost, but my mum is bound to you as much as you are to her. I know that being away from each other hurts you both. While you might not be able to have a traditional relationship…you could have something. Go to her…please."

Without a word he did as she asked and went in search of Hermione.

She was sitting on her bed, gazing lost out the window. Once again he had harmed a woman he loved.


She sat and looked at him. "Oh, now you will speak to me? After all this time…Why, Severus?"

"I didn't want to hurt you. I thought by distancing myself I was only hurting me."

"You are a part of my life and you always will be. Don't you realize that?"

He floated down and sat on the bed beside her. His form so close she could feel the cold coming from him.

"A forced part of your life…Never wanted..."

She started at him for a moment, unmoving. Then she reached for him. He held still, despite knowing he would burn and she would be cold. Her hand passed through his form as he expected and she let it remain despite the bitter cold she felt. He closed his eyes, her hand reached to touch his face.

"I have always wanted you around…Despite how crazy it all sounds…I love you, too, Severus."

The world went strangely cold to him and suddenly he could feel the weight of his clothing, could feel the draft that came in through her bedroom window and more importantly, he could feel her hand on his face.

He opened his eyes. They were both too shocked to move. His form was solid; he could hear and feel his body breathing.

He reached for her hand, entwining his fingers in hers.


"Merlin, Hermione. I don't know. This is impossible."

"Is this like Cinderella. Do we have until midnight?" Hermione asked him. 'Or are we dreaming? I don't want this to be a dream, Severus. "

"Nor do I. But I have never heard of this happening. Once you become a Ghost you remain a Ghost."

"You look just like you did before you died. It's as if you haven't aged at all." She traced the angles of his jaw, brushed back his long dark hair.

Without warning she threw herself at him and he pulled her close. He could feel the heat of her body, but it no longer burned him. The sound of her heart thundering in her chest was music to his ears.

And then she was unbuttoning his shirt, tears streaming down her face as she started the task with trembling fingers. He drew back, his eyes asking the question his lips could not seem to form.

"Who knows how long this will last. We don't even know why it's happened. If we only have a few moments or just tonight, I want to be with you. I want the memory of you in me and around me." She flushed bright red as the realization of her words struck her.

Severus tenderly touched her face. Delicately as if he was afraid she might break. His robes were pushed back and the top few buttons of his black shirt were undone.

"Are you certain…so soon after?"

"It's not like you're a stranger, Severus. And it's not as if I haven't felt something for you all these years."

He watched her for a moment, seeing the genuine affection for him in her eyes.

He did not argue, but sealed the agreement with a kiss. A hard, clumsy kiss that she did not seem to mind but returned desperately.

They started removing each other's clothes as they kissed; though only breaking their kiss to breathe made the task somewhat difficult.

"Not here…" he managed to get out and she seemed to understand. Not in this bed…

She was half undressed, her bra covering one breast and not the other, pants falling down. She pulled them up only so she wouldn't trip as she dragged him with her, refusing to break their contact. She opened the door, glanced down the hall for any sign of Rose and then they bolted, like two teenagers out after curfew.

She pulled him into the guest bedroom where he pressed her against the door only seconds after it had closed behind them. She muttered a silencing charm for the room and he kissed her hard, savoring the taste of her and the feel of her that he had desired for so long. Dream or reality, tonight he would know every part of her. No matter if this was temporary or permanent, he was determined to make her his in every way.

She wrapped her arms around his neck as they continued to kiss. The door rattled on its hinges as they fumbled and bucked against it. Blindly they stumbled toward the bed, the back of his knees hitting the mattress. He fell backwards with her landing on top of him.

She could feel how badly he wanted her, his arousal was quite evident pressing into her hip. She positioned herself more comfortably and thrust up against him.

He shuddered, a long moan filling the air and ending in her mouth as she kissed him.

He resumed touching her breasts and broke their kiss, his mouth eagerly seeking to taste her. The position was difficult so he flipped her onto her back beside him, moving over her to take the swollen flesh into his mouth.

She writhed beneath him, her heart pounding in her ears, her arousal so charged she felt she'd explode at any moment. But not yet… it was too soon. Far too soon.

"Now…Severus…I need you…now."

He finished licking a circle around her nipple and then drew back forcing himself to stall things.

"Are you certain, Hermione?" He watched her eyes focus in the dark on his face.

She reached up and cupped his cheek and then ran one finger down the length of his nose. "More certain than anything."

They finished undressing quickly, and after what seemed like lifetimes he was towering nude over her equally nude form. He was quivering, anxious, sexually aroused and completely frightened.

She could tell something was wrong. She had known him long enough to know when something wasn't right.

She reached up and pushed back some of his long sweaty hair.

"What is it?" she asked quietly. It was the first time she had realized their link felt different, distant as if it was fading.

"I've never…What if I do not-"

"Sshhh. We will find the way... together."

Even though technically he was much older than her, his body was only 41 years old. Nearly the same in age to her. He had no awkward teenage body, nor was he too old to perform his erection at full attention being an indicator. But he had never had a physical relationship with anyone. What if he hurt her? What if-

"Stop thinking so much, Severus. Just do what feels natural."

Someone or something had given him a chance to be with a woman he loved not obsessively or recklessly. But a woman he simply loved.

"Show me the way…"he whispered.

For the first time that night she took him in her hands. The evil woman stroked the length of him before positioning him at her entrance.

He lowered himself slowly, taking his time in enjoying everything he was feeling. He gasped at the warmth, the wet and the pulsing. He pushed his way in further and further until he could go no more. Then he pulled back, not completely, and pushed in again.

Again and again he did this, until the slow pace became agonizing to them both. Soon he was not pushing, but plunging, the slick sound of their bodies far in the distance of his ears. Foremost was the sound of her pleasure and knowing he was responsible.

It was over far too soon. That feeling deep inside, the one that told him release was near and then it came and he was emptying his very soul into her body. As he collapsed on top of her, he realized she too had found release as she was pulsing breathlessly around him.

He pulled her close to him, half out of disbelief that this had happened and half to hide the tears streaming from his eyes.

He stayed within her, and they held each other tightly.

Sometime later, when their breathing had quieted, and the need had settled somewhat, he felt himself hardening again. He pulled out slowly and she looked up at him in question.

"Slowly this time, my love. Slowly," he told her.

And so they went, exploring every inch, learning what created a certain reaction and doing it over and over to bring the other to the edge, but not over.

After making love twice more over the next few hours, they fell exhausted into each other's arms and into sleep.

The next morning Hermione felt incredibly sore and she knew it could not have been a dream. Eyes closed, she smiled at the memories of what she and Severus had done. Then she panicked when she realized she could not feel the warmth of him next to her. She bolted upright in bed, only to find him standing nude by the window.

He turned and smiled, though she could see he was disturbed. He was still alive, but she knew he was wondering the hows and whys of his situation.

Last night they had been too caught up in exploring to care about what to do after.

She walked to him, but did not touch him.

He drew her into his arms, resting his chin on her head with a sigh. "I desired this more than anything, and now that I have it I do not understand why it was given to me."

She brushed back some of the hair hiding his face. She knew he desired to love and be loved.

"You're a good man, Severus. It is about time that you were set on the road to your happiness. We'll take the time to discover what we can about all of this, but first I'd like to explore you a bit more."

He seemed to like that idea, at least the erection nestled against her did.

He kissed her and led her toward the bed.

No answer as to why Severus had become a Ghost after Nagini bit him and why he'd been bound to Hermione and then returned to the living was ever found. It was believed by many that somehow he and Hermione were bound due to their compatibility. Both avid readers, researchers and loners. The romantics believed the bond had effects on Severus' being when Hermione admitted she returned his love.

No matter the reason for events Severus and Hermione enjoyed each and every day together.

Rose was overjoyed that her mom and Severus were courting, then engaged and finally married. While she loved and missed her father, Rose knew that it was Severus her mom was meant to spend the rest of her life with.

And that is exactly what happened.

I wrote this story a few years ago. The idea mostly came from a dream that I had and wanted to get down on paper so it would not be lost. It doesn't really follow HP ghosts or canon, but that does not matter to me. My mind just wanted an excuse to get Hermione and Severus together.

I wanted to post this as something to tide my readers over with until I'm able to get more writing done. I've just moved into my first home and have been quite busy. There hasn't been much time for writing.

This is a one shot. What happens to Hermione and Severus and why he became a Ghost bound to Hermione and then freed and returned to the land of the living to be with her is for my readers' wild imaginations to decide.

Thanks for reading!