Hermione sat with her back straight and her face set in a slight scowl, not unlike a former professor who once stalked the same halls she did now. She kept her gaze scanning the group of loud students at each table. Minerva was giving a speech and it wasn't that she wasn't listening. Its just she was other wise occupied. She looked at the students as they giggled and talked to one another.
Stupid mistletoe idea. She turned her glare to Minerva's back. Enchanted mistletoe my ass. Why, Minerva? Why would you do that now? Why do you hate me? Why are you punishing my like this?! She was only half glad Minerva couldn't hear her shouting at her in her head.
"With Dumbledore passing away only fourteen short years ago. I have decided to bring back one of his favorite Christmas traditions. Mistletoe." Minerva smiled as the hall burst into cheers. "Not just any mistletoe but enchanted mistletoe. It is charmed to move so there is no avoiding it. You shall see how we charmed it soon. Now everyone. Eat." The hall was filled with chatter as the food appeared in front of them. Hermione had to admit that the elves had outdone themselves. She dished herself up a small plate and ate slowly. Minerva sat down beside her with a chuckle.
"Did you really have to go with enchanted mistletoe, Minerva?" Hermione's voice was slightly snappish, showing off her agitation at the tradition. Minerva laughed completely ignoring the witch's sour attitude.
"Of course! Albus would have it no other way!" She dished herself up and Hermione viciously stabbed a potato on her plate..
"You need to stop listening to that portrait." She muttered it out and Minerva raised an eyebrow but didn't comment.
"You need to lighten up! It's Christmas!" Minerva patted her shoulder affectionately. Hermione tensed at the contact.
"Don't remind me." The words were ground out between clenched teeth. This time of the year was always bad. It always opened up old wounds and seemed to make the bitterness so heavy she could practically taste it coating her tongue.
"You are such a Scrooge!" Minerva gave a delighted gasp as the first mistletoe plant wandered into the hall. Hermione had to smirk as it passed over two first year boys who seemed to be talking. The hall went silent as the mistletoe stopped moving. Minerva frowned.
"This isn't good." She muttered and she went to stand up. Hermione pulled her back into her chair.
"Where's your Christmas spirit, Minerva?" Hermione said with her eyebrow raised. "I'll take care of this." She turned back to the boys and stood up. She realize who they were, she winced inwards. Scorpius Malfoy and none other than her godson Albus Severus Potter. She walked around the table and towards them. They looked at her with confused expressions.
"Why can't we move?" Al asked the question quietly and Hermione gave them both a pained expression.
"It's enchanted mistletoe. You have to kiss." She winced openly at how quickly the boy's face drained of colour.
"Couldn't you take off the spell? I mean there has to be a counter-charm or something." Scorpius asked quietly. Hermione felt a wave of pity for the boy.
"I'm sorry Mr. Malfoy. I spent most of my school years trying to find a counter charm. None exists. A quick peck should be enough." She kept her tone soothing, it was bad enough the boys were in the situation without her snapping at them as well. "It's better to get it over with. Do it quickly and don't think about it." She may hate this time of year but she couldn't let her feelings get in the way. The two boys looked about ready to cry. Al's lip quivered ever so slightly and Hermione bit hers slightly.
"Please. Aunt Minny. Please. I don't want to with all these people." His green eyes so much like his father filled with tears.
"Oh come on, Albus! We all know you like boys!" James yelled it out, everyone laughed at that and Hermione's glare found the older boy, James ignored her pointed glare.
"I do not!" Albus' voice was a pained, embarrassed shout. His older brother made kissing noises and his classmates pounded him on the back amid laughter.
"Detention, James Potter, and twenty points off Gryffindor for taunting another student in a dire situation." Hermione's voice carried over the laughter and James paled. Everyone fell silent. "One more word out of any of you and I will give you a week's detention with Filch." The hall fell silent once more, no one willing to anger the Professor further and Hermione turned back to the boys.
"I'm with Potter. I don't want everyone to watch." Scorpius said his voice trembling. It was the only way she could tell he was upset. That and his eyes. His silver eyes were like her own, easier to read than an open book. Hermione had to admire his bravery. She pulled out her wand and twisted her wrist slightly.
"Servo ex os." She muttered the incantation below her breath and the boy's disappeared from view. A few seconds later she could hear their relieved sighs. "Finite Incantum." The two boys appeared with three or four meters between the two of them. Both wiping their mouths, Albus looked more than relieved and Scorpius looked at the ground, his face a bright red.
"I'll have to ask Dumbledore about that stupid charm." Hermione silently seethed to herself as she put her wand away. She looked around at the students. "There is absolutely nothing to see here! Eat." No one wanted to mess with the Potions Mistress when she was in this mood so they did as she said. She walked over so that she stood in between the two boys.
"You two come with me." The words were snapped out a tad harshly and she inwardly winced at how Albus and Scorpius jumped at the tone. They hung their heads but they shuffled over to her and she grasped their shoulders gently. She led them out of the hall and towards the dungeon.
"We aren't in trouble are we?" Scorpius's soft question caught her off-guard and she jerked to a halt. She gave the small blonde boy a frown. His silver eyes rested on her chocolate brown ones and she felt her heart squeeze uncomfortably. He looked so sad. She turned her frown into a small smile with a tiny amount of effort.
"No, Mr. Malfoy. You're not in trouble. I just wanted to talk to you two." She started walking again and both boys remained silent. She reached the door to her quarters and smiled at the glowering man in the picture. Severus had an odd habit of wandering around the paintings in front of his old chambers until she showed up. She would then say he could enter and he would wander around his old home then leave. "Hello Severus. Wanting to be let in?" The man frowned.
"You are late." He scowled at her and she rolled her eyes.
"Minerva put enchanted mistletoe around the castle. These two were its first unsuspecting victims." She explained, softly giving each boy a soothing squeeze on the shoulder. Severus made a face.
"I hate enchanted mistletoe." He sneered at the words.
"I do too." She motioned for him to move out of the painting. "Bezoar." At the password the painting swung inward. She let the boys enter first and looked at Snape's painting.
"Well, come in then." She gestured at the doorway before turning away. She entered the room and watched Al and Scorpius look around. "Sit down. Would you like tea? Or a dessert?" Al shook his head with a smile and climbed onto a red and gold chair. Scorpius on the other had chosen a green, black and silver one that had belonged to Severus. Hermione hadn't had the heart to take it out so it had stayed. The portrait of Severus hadn't said anything but she knew he was more than happy with her decision.
"No, Aunt Minny. Thank you though." His black hair fell into his eyes and he brushed at it impatiently. Hermione smiled at him and ruffled his hair affectionately. He looked just like Harry.
"And you Mr. Malfoy? Anything you might like?" She looked at the other boy. He was small for his age. He looked just like his father without the regal tilt to his chin. His face was rounded more as well. He gave a quick nod.
"Water, please. If it wouldn't be too much trouble. If it is then don't worry about it." He stammered it out and Hermione gave him a kind smile.
"Of course it isn't." She accio-ed a cup and filled it with water. "There you go." She held it out to him and he took it in shaky hands.
"Thank you, Professor Granger." He sipped at the ice cold water and looked at the worn carpet.
"I brought you both here to tell you that you can talk to me anytime you want. I will give you the password to my quarters, whenever I change it. I just wanted you to know that you can talk to someone. If anyone bothers you about this... incident. You can talk to me about it. I'll either be here or in my classroom." She gave both boys a small but warm smile. "I may not be your head of house but I am more than willing to listen. Now, I need to go talk to Dumbledore about this blasted charm. We don't need any more unsuspecting people caught in another predicament such as the last one." Scorpius looked around with his empty water glass in hand. Hermione reached out her hand and took the glass carefully.
"Thank you, Professor Granger." He said it quietly before standing up. Al shuffled towards the painting and Scorpius followed after a few seconds. Hermione walked behind them and watched them exit.
"Hey, Al. I just want to let you know that James still comes to talk to me as well. Just don't tell anyone." She leaned against the doorway and Al smiled at her brightly.
"Okay, Aun-Professor Granger!" He ran towards the moving stair case and Scorpius shuffled towards the Slytherin common room. Hermione slowly let the painting close and sat down in the silver and green chair.
"I was under the impression you needed to talk to Dumbledore. Or was I mistaken?" Severus's irritated tone made her smile. They didn't have much in common but their hatred for certain things did make them bond slightly.
"Yes, I will be off. You can stay if you like." She stood up and adjusted her robes before heading towards the Headmistress's office. Severus walked beside her in the portraits. She reached the gargoyle and sighed. "What is it this time?" She looked expectantly at the brooding former potions professor.
"Let us kiss under the mistletoe." He scowled at her before he disappeared. Hermione repeated the password with a grimace of disgust and ascended the stairs quickly. She opened the office door and made her way over to Dumbledore's portrait.
"Tell me how to make it so people of the same gender don't get caught under the mistletoe." She placed her hands on her hips and waited. The portrait of the old headmaster took several moments before it acknowledged her precense.
"Ahhh, Hermione. It is so good to see you. Severus is quite tight lipped about his visits to your chambers. Do tell me you are in good health." Even in portrait form his eyes still twinkled. Hermione sighed.
"I'm fine just please tell me the incantation that cancels the little factor from the blasted mistletoe!" She gritted her teeth in irratation and Dumbledore laughed.
"Weren't you always known for your patience, Hermione? But similis sex repello, with a slow right-turn and swish should do the trick." He chuckled and yawned. "Now, Hermione I am very tired. Perhaps we shall continue this conversation another day?" Hermione gave a small nod and left the office quickly before the old room pulled a trick on her. She pulled her wand out and gathered all the mistletoe together. It was the only control the Professors really had over the mistletoe. The mistletoe stopped in a line in front of her, there was a lot more than she expected and the thought made her mood sour a bit more. She waved her wand as Dumbledore had instructed.
"Similis sex repello." She smirked as the mistletoe plants turned a vibrant purple before returning to their original states. She waved her wand once more and they slowly dispersed. She made her way back to the dungeons where she had to do her rounds. After she was done she retired to her bed chambers and fell into a fitful sleep.