Chapter 6: We Learn A Little About Love and Happy Endings
Hermione and Mae were sitting comfortably on the bed. Mae had just finished telling Hermione about the fairy tale that could end her predicament.
"Okay love, here's what you gotta do, it's simple, really. You see, a man's kiss is his signature. Every man you kiss does it differently. No matter how many women a man kisses, he will always kiss the same. I am assuming the men they are rounding up are ones you've kissed more than once?"
"Yes, but that doesn't mean I'd pick them out of a line up."
"You're a bright girl, kiddo. And if I am not mistaken, you would catalogue kisses just like you catalogue potions ingredients. I am sure you've compared and contrasted?"
"Well, I don't know that I've catalogued them per se, but I have thought about them. Severus is the best, but that doesn't mean he is my true love," Hermione insisted.
"Why are you being so stubborn about this?"
"Because I don't want to make the wrong choice! Love is a commitment. Marriage is a commitment. I just want to be sure."
"I don't know how to make this any easier for you, love. I was not the best at relationships when I was your age and even younger. I married Frank, but fell out of love with him very quickly. I had strings of boyfriends. It wasn't until I was in my sixtie's that I fell in love with Paulie and felt committed. He was thirty years younger than me, and he took such good care of me. We had fun, we had fights, but we felt good together. You said that about Severus. Why not take the leap?"
"When you say you felt good together, do you mean that it felt right?"
"Yes. Okay kiddo, here they come. You tell me who they are just by the kiss."
Hermione looked doubtfully at her, but was suddenly surprised to feel lips on hers.
Outside of her dream world, seven men stood around a metal framed bed looking at a peacefully sleeping Hermione Granger. Each stood with his own thoughts about the woman that had been a part of their lives, welcomed or unwelcomed. Healer Bransweight had explained their part in her cure, and each was gobsmacked. Not that they had to kiss Hermione, but that they had to because a fairy tale was the answer to reviving her. Oh, and the thought that her current lover, the formidable Severus Snape, was standing close to her looking as they he'd rip them limb from limb. The first man stepped forward.
"Well? Mae asked.
"Hmmm, spicy aftershave, said Hermione. "Viktor."
"You know he looks like-"
"Yes, yes, I know, but that's not what attracted me to Severus!" Hermione's eyes were suddenly sad.
"Are you all right?" Mae asked. "Who was that?"
"It was Harry. Oh, Harry. We lost our virginity to each other," Hermione said, wistfully.
"Never told anyone?"
"No. It would kill Ron and Ginny. Better we take it to our graves. His kiss was never more than comfort at a time when I thought I was going crazy. He is happy with his Ginny, and I am happy for him."
Hermione's face reacted as the next man kissed her. Suddenly Hermione felt the urge to wipe her lips with both hands, and did so.
Mae chucked. "Who was that?"
"Ron. Oh God, he was always so slobbery. I don't know how he thought that was sexy."
"Rudy Valentino was the same," Mae laughed heartily. "I was forever mopping up after him. I think another one is coming." She watched as Hermione's face reacted. "Who was that?"
"It was Neville. He always just pecked. Never a full on passionate snog."
"That's because he only saw you as a friend. He wanted to go further, but couldn't bring himself to."
Hermione had the sensation of a large bottom lip pressing itself against hers. "Blaise. Oh, I loved that bottom lip."
"I would too…..I think one of his ancestors is up here. Perhaps I'll look him up when we're done." She noticed a perplexed look come over Hermione. "Is this it? Do you feel like you're waking up?"
Hermione shook her head and then had the sensation of someone talking against her lips. "Draco. He always was talking to himself. I never could figure out why."
"He was gay! He was attempting to tell himself that kissing a girl was supposed to be right. He liked you, he just didn't like you that way."
"Then why did he ask me out on dates?"
"He was under pressure from his parents to conform to the so called norm. He thought that if he could feel anything for a woman, he'd be able to make a semblance of a relationship or marriage. Bit stupid really. Being gay is not a disease." Mae was quiet a moment. "Hey, where's the girl you said you kissed?"
Hermione choked. "Well, I hope they didn't get her! It was just a drunk moment and too quick."
"So you're down to one last man. If this doesn't bring you out, I am afraid you'll never recover."
"Because what if I do love him, and he doesn't love me?"
"I told you he did."
"I know, but what if he's afraid to say it because he thinks I'll reject him?"
"Honey, love doesn't come with signs and bells to announce itself as true or right. Think about what you've told me. You said that everything you do together feels right, you don't want to do anything unless you do it with him. It's when two people find each other and completely fill each other's heart. There is no jealously, there is no rancor, there is only happiness and a sense of peace. Oh, there are fights, but fights that you want to resolve and work out together. Fights that lead to the best damn making up you'll ever experience. Love is wanting to please each other with no sense of entitlement or being repaid. Waking up in the morning and realizing that the bush on your head and the grease in his hair are only a small part of what's real about how you feel about each other. It's being able to brush your teeth while he sits on the crapper. THAT is true love. And that is what will break the spell."
"Are you sure?"
"Look, it took me a lot of men to find it, but I did. I think you've found it, too. Just go for it! I believe I need to go, Hermione. Just please, let it happen; let yourself love Severus." Mae got out of bed and then leaned over and hugged Hermione, kissing her on the cheek. "Remember, a man's kiss is his signature. Severus will always kiss you the same way, and your soul will sing because of it. Don't let that thought go. See you round!"
Hermione felt a breath of warm, sweet air on her lips just moments before the pressure. "I love you Hermione, please come back to me." And then Severus' lips, which fit so perfectly with her own, were upon. In that moment, Mae was gone.
Severus felt Hermione respond and was overjoyed. He felt her arms come up and around his neck. Her lips began moving beneath his, only in words, not in kiss.
"Oh, I do Severus, I do love you!" She kissed him passionately and did so until discreet coughs interrupted the pair. Hermione blushed and Severus sat up.
Draco, true to form, spoke up. "So, Godfa, I take it you are her true love's kiss?"
"Obviously." Severus sneered at his godson.
Hermione took stock of her surroundings. "Oh, how are you all?" There was an indistinct mumble of answers. Hermione didn't really care; she just wanted to head back home with Severus and rest.
Severus took command of the situation, also wanting to get home with his witch. "Shall we head home, Hermione?"
"Yes, Severus. I'd like that very much."
Ron stood not too far away from the bed and, being totally Ron, asked, "Hey Professor, didn't you want to see her kiss that girl?"
Several groans echoed around the room.
"Severus?" Hermione asked.
"Harry told me that you kissed a girl once." In a lower tone he added, "You know we talked about a three-"
Hermione quickly spoke up, "Well, hey, gotta go, guys. Lovely to see you all again. Come along Severus."
Draco burst out laughing having heard Severus' low comment. He reached over and smacked his godfather on the back of the head and left.
Harry, having caught on to Severus' facial expression and Hermione's reaction, also left the room, smacking Severus on the way out. He whispered to Ron. Ron burst out laughing and also smacked Severus and left. Neville, not quite sure what was going, reached up to smack Severus but though the better of it.
"Goodbye all," Neville said.
Severus rubbed his head and turned to Hermione. "Um…."
Hermione smacked him one final time. "I love you, you big dummy."
"I love you too, witch." Severus scooped Hermione up into his arms and headed for the door. "Now let's get home. We need to try that Glowing Juniper again."
Hermione laughed as they spun away.
I hope you enjoyed my little, fanciful story. I had a great time writing it. I've no idea if Mae West ever dates Rudy Valentino, but the other men she mentions are real and were part of her life.