Author's Note: I know it's been over a week since I posted anything new. Sorry! I've been busy working on several new stories. In fact, I was in the middle of a very nice Dramione story when Severus butted in and demanded that I write this. Pushy git.
We all know that I am not JK Rowling…that's why we call it 'fan fiction'.
Severus Snape was no longer accustomed to running from danger. He was a war hero, a former head of Hogwarts, and now the major shareholder of an international apothecary conglomerate. And yet, tonight, when he saw what he faced, he'd turned on his heel and beat a hasty retreat.
He could hear the noise of his pursuers as he moved noiselessly through the hotel. Thank goodness for his habit of constant vigilance. He ducked into an alcove and cast a quick disillusionment charm. He sighed in relief as the mob that had been pursuing him passed by.
"I saw that."
He turned, fearing the worst…
She raised an eyebrow at him and laughed.
"Did the man who dared to spy on Lord Voldemort actually just run from a gaggle of rabid fan girls?"
"The Dark Lord would be preferable."
Granger had the decency to laugh. Enough years had passed to joke about the war...at least among those who fought in it.
"Oh yeah, signing autographs is a fate worse than an unspeakable curse…Poor things, I think they all had copies of that cover story that hack at Witch Weekly put together."
Severus sighed loudly. "Autographs were hardly what those females had in mind. I have to carry a hip flask like Moody. I don't have to worry about Dark Wizards anymore; it's the damn love potions…"
The cheeky girl bit back a laugh.
He looked around and removed the spell.
"Congratulations on being invited as the keynote speaker."
Hermione blushed with pleasure.
Ah…simple thanks. No giggling, no false modesty…
This was a woman who had accomplished a major magical feat, and she was proud of it…and rightly so.
He offered her his arm. She hesitated for an instant but took it gratefully.
"I must warn you, walking in tandem with me might be a bit… "
He smirked. "Dangerous?" Did she have her own mob to run from?
She nodded without a hint of humor.
"I've been getting a lot more hate mail than usual since I published my work…and…well…."
Snape wrinkled his nose in disgust. "And Golden Trio Groupies?"
She gave him a half-grin. "Are they still called groupies if they're men…well mostly men?"
Severus shook his head. "I have no idea my dear. Surely your famous wit can discourage those who press their advantage…?"
She cast a periscope charm as they neared the corner, to check for hidden fans. "If that worked I imagine that a few well-placed words would discourage your fan base." She gave him a look that reminded him that she remembered his biting wit, even if some others were trying to forget. "Unfortunately, I have one…admirer in particular who has made a bit of a pest of himself lately…keeps sending me freshly butchered hearts…Harry's gone mad about the whole thing. I'm surprised that anyone can sneeze with all the added security at this conference." She sighed sadly as she peeked into the dining room. She was scheduled to speak in half an hour. "It's rather annoying."
Snape kept her hand on his arm when she would have disengaged. "Allow me to escort you to your table. It will not, of course, deter the most ardent of our 'fans' but it might make some of them less bold."
She nodded. "Less bold is a fair way to put it. Harry doesn't have this problem anymore…of course, he's married to Ginny, who can and does hex the living daylights out off anyone who looks at him twice."
"The former Miss Weasley is a formidable witch."
Hermione hung her head for a moment. He assumed that she was thinking about the unfortunate death of Ronald Weasley, almost ten years prior, at the battle of Hogwarts. The boy had shown unexpected talent (which was certainly never present in his school work) but killing curses did not differentiate. Severus himself had been nearly dead from snake venom at the time the boy had died.
Severus latched on to the first suitable subject that crossed his mind. "I saw that you were able to patent your Squib enhancement potion." He pulled her chair out and seated her before taking a seat next to her.
Hermione made a rude noise. "After three years of paperwork. The Ministry actively blocked something that was beneficial to hundreds of Squibs in Great Brittan, just because they didn't like my methods."
He liked the fire in her eyes when she talked about those fools.
"I imagine the pure blood families are more inclined to accept you now at any rate…?"
"Have you read my latest research?"
He shrugged. "No, since your latest research seemed to be aimed at foolish wand waving rather than potions…"
"Oh well, you'll love this. I perfected a few new spells for my latest work. One of them was a spell that accurately traces the magical lineage of a witch or wizard."
"Oh my." His smile was evil. "That's going to bring a few chickens home to roost. I assume that it threatened to expose any number of affairs?"
She nodded. "Not just that…I won't announce this until tonight, but my research clearly shows that most "muggle-borns" are anything but…most of them are half-bloods."
He held his breath for a moment. The ramifications of that were manifold. Of course, it meant what many had known all their lives…pureblooded wizards tended to…roam. Although it was an open secret that many had affairs with (and then obliviated) muggles, it was never discussed in a public forum. The pure blood dogma of not wedding Muggle-borns seemed much less prejudiced when one had to consider that a pure-blood might have many siblings about whom they knew little or nothing. Severus looked around the room.
"I think I'm pleased that Potter has assigned more security to you."
"It gets better…"
"What, do you have pictures of the Minister in his unmentionables that you are also planning to share?"
Her eyes narrowed.
"Oh no, I'm saving those for a special occasion." She laughed. He wondered if she really had gotten blackmail material on the new Minister of magic…considering that her Squib potion was finally available…
The lights dimmed. The room had filled while they had been lost in conversation.
Severus berated himself. He'd been so engrossed with what the younger witch he hadn't noticed the room filling with gests. No one had seen fit to disturb them. He wondered what they'd looked like during the intense discussion of her work.
Hermione leaned closer to him. "Well, you'll hear about it in a moment I suppose…wish me luck."
A paunchy wizard with a comb-over rambled on for several minutes while Hermione fidgeted with her napkin. He reached over and stilled her fingers. She smiled tentatively at him, and he felt the corner of his mouth tip up in response. A spotlight flared as they sat that way. She rose from her seat gracefully, and no one else was seated close enough to see her blush. He cringed internally when he considered what it must have looked like.
She reached the podium and did a non-verbal sonorous charm.
"Thank you Spell Master Wissler for that rousing introduction." Severus grinned and covered it by pretending to take a sip of the water on the table. His well-trained nose could not detect any potions or spells, so he allowed himself a small sip.
Hermione quickly launched into a presentation concerning her earlier work on the so-called magic gene…the single protein that determined whether a human was magical or muggle…
His jaw dropped as revelation after revelation was laid out in her precise prose…as she used her wand to project 3D images of the DNA sequences.
Several dozen reporters practically stampeded to the stage at the lights came back up.
"Spell Mistress Granger, if your research is viable…"
Hermione gave the reporter a hard look. "It is, and my experiments have been replicated by experts in the US and Russia respectively, a fact that was mentioned in your welcome packets."
The man continued like he didn't hear the derision in her voice. "Yes, well if your research is viable, will it lead to a cure for Muggles?"
Hermione rolled her eyes.
"Do you have any idea of the chaos that would ensue if magical ability were released on the non-magical population? Much less the lengths you would have to go to initiate a project like that?"
The reporter smiled fiendishly. "So you have considered the possibility…"
"I'm considering the possibility of hexing you for deliberately misunderstanding me…"
Severus rose from his seat and offered Hermione his arm once more.
"I think that we all know that Spell Mistress Granger would never allow her research to be used for anything less than pristine purposes. Now, ladies, gentlemen, I believe that the bar is finally open…and I find that my glass is regrettably empty." His silken words attracted the notice of every reporter, and Hermione felt a stab of raw envy. She just didn't have the presence to bully the reporters properly.
The reporter from Witch Weekly elbowed several of her colleges out of the way. "Spell Mistress Granger…care to tell my readers how you landed a date with Potion master Snape? And is he as good in bed as previous occupants have claimed?"
Severus saw several shades of red. Anyone who was less oblivious than the reporter in front of him would have backed away at the look on his face, but the witch was too focused on Hermione (who was doing an excellent impression of a mute in a full body bind curse.)
The remaining reporters (who clearly had much better self-preservation instincts than the unfortunate reporter from the notorious gossip rag) cleared away like Snape had vanished them.
Snape finally got the reporter's attention.
"What was your name young woman?"
She sniffed. "Philomena Douglas-Dean, Witch Weekly."
He noted the name and continued in the dangerous purring voice that he'd used during his death-eater days. "Unless you have been living under a rock, as a reporter you can hardly expect us to believe that you do not realize that Spell-Mistress Granger and myself have known one another for many years."
His voice was lovely, dark and deep…
Hermione laughed at herself when she realized she was quoting poetry in her head in regard to Severus Snape's verbal decapitation of a member of the fourth estate. But if a panther could speak, she would imagine it would speak with his voice…the rich rolling syllables were so erotic that the content of his speech was hardly worth listening to. He could read a grocery list and get the same reaction from a woman. There must be something wrong with her…his voice couldn't be that sexy. Could it?
The reporter was a quivering mass of specialty robes and broken pride when her former Professor offered Hermione his arm once more.
She took the proffered arm, not sure where they were going, and unwilling to question it.
Expect the next chapter in 24 hrs. I have about 14,000 words on this so far, I'm expecting it to run around 25,000 (don't quote me on that! We all know that length is subject to change.).