Hey everyone! I'm so glad people are enjoying the story! As you all know, I'm not JKR, but I hope you enjoy anyways! (If anyone is interested in betaing this story, please let me know!)

Chapter 3

Hermione checked her appearance in the mirror once more. She had pulled her hair back into a loose bun with some tendrils hanging in her face. She had put on some muggle jeans and a light blue sweater her Mum had gotten her for Christmas one year. Slipping her feet into some boots, she let out a small sigh. She looked about ready. Dabbing some lip gloss on her lips, she deemed herself perfect.

Her insides fluttered as she made her way towards the Great Hall. She still couldn't believe Severus asked her out on a date! It all seemed so surreal.

He was waiting for her at the bottom of the stairs, a small smile tugging at his lips. When she reached him, he took her hand and placed a kiss upon the back of it. The gesture sent shivers down her spine.

"Hello," she mumbled, her cheeks turning red.

"Hello to you too Miss Granger," he replied, waggling his eyebrows.

She laughed. Seeing Severus at ease with her was something else! He had a smile on his face, instead of his usual scowl.

"How are you today?" He asked, linking their arms and leading her through the courtyard.

"Still afraid that I'll wake up any moment." She said quietly, stealing a glance at him. It was true, this all felt too good to be true.

Severus stopped walking. Hermione stopped as well, turning to face him. He gently cupped her face in her hands. "This is real Hermione."

She blushed, turning her gaze away.

Severus grabbed her chin, forcing her to look at him. The blush spread across her face, causing him to groan internally. She was beautiful. He quickly pressed his lips to hers. She closed her eyes in response.

He pulled away. Their lips had only met for a few brief seconds, but it was enough to leave them both breathless.

"Was that real enough for you?" He asked cheekily.

Hermione blushed. "For now. Although I suppose later you could convince me some more."

Severus grasped her hand. "It would be my pleasure."

Turning, Severus rolled his eyes when he saw a student staring at them wide-eyed. "Flint, you have five seconds to remove your person or else." He said with a growl, sending the fifth year boy a glare.

The boy quickly scuttled off, a look of fright upon his face.

Hermione laughed. "Severus, there's no need to be so mean." She tugged his hand so the two of them began to walk once more.

"I'm a mean person Hermione, especially to my students." He sent her a glance. "I trust you remember that."

Hermione flushed. "I never thought you were mean, mostly just…." She trailed off. "You were distant and cold, doing it to push people away. I could see it even then, at twelve and thirteen. You weren't a people person. It just made you different."

Severus scoffed. "I know what people say about me Hermione."

She squeezed his hand reassuringly. "They say you're a cold-hearted snarky bastard. And while that may be true sometimes, you are a good person Severus. You just don't want anyone to see it."

Severus remained quiet, absorbing her words. Hermione was right. He wasn't a people person. He went through his entire life being afraid to let people inside. After losing Lily, his only friend, he became devastated.

He had opened up completely to her, only to have himself hurt. She turned away from him, because of one mistake. But even after that, he still pined after her. His love for her didn't diminish, not even when she married Potter.

Her death had been devastating. He had been too afraid to let anyone in because he didn't want to experience that type of loss again. It was crippling and he didn't think his body would be able to handle it once more.

But Hermione was different, or so he hoped. She seemed to genuinely like him, which baffled him beyond belief. He couldn't figure out why a beautiful young witch would want to be with an old wizard like him, but he was grateful anyways.

After spending last night with Hermione, he had his eyes opened. He never thought he'd care for anyone the way he did for Lily. But Hermione was different. She was special. She made him feel special.

He knew she was responsible and never said anything she didn't mean. Hermione was the critical type, and he liked that about her. She was level-headed.

"Galleon for your thoughts?" Hermione asked.

Severus snapped out of his thoughts and realized him and Hermione had now reached the entrance to the Hogsmeade village. "That's a rather high price."

Hermione chuckled. "Your worth so much more than a galleon Severus."

His blushed. Casting a glance at her, he saw her face was pink from the wind. "What would you like to do first?"

Hermione bit her lip. "Well, I've been meaning to go to the bookstore. Do you mind?"

He chuckled. "Hermione, I'm the only one that could possibly rival your love for books. Of course I don't mind."

Beaming, she pulled him into the small bookshop. Stepping inside, Hermione released his hand, taking in a deep breath. She absolutely loved being in bookstores. They were warm and smelled heavenly. It was her own piece of heaven.

Hermione immediately disappeared down an aisle, leaving Severus in the doorway. He chuckled silently to himself. Strolling down the aisle, he glanced at some of the titles popping out to him. He noticed he owned most of them. Grabbing one at random, he began to flip through it.

Twenty minutes later, Hermione reappeared. Her arms were full of books. Severus let out a small laugh. "Are you buying the whole store?"

Hermione cast him a glare. "Ha Ha, you're so funny Severus."

He chuckled, grabbing a few of the books. He helped her carry them to the till. He watched in amazement as she spent over a hundred galleons. She seemed unaffected by the price. Severus knew she had received money from her efforts in the War from various sources, but he had no idea how much. Apparently, it was a lot.

Hermione paid for the books and stuck them in her bag.

Severus smirked. "Undetectable extension charm?"

She laughed. "Of course." She grabbed his hand. "Let's get a drink."

Severus was internally pleased when she grabbed his hand. She led him out the door into the cold. "Where too?"

He shrugged. "We can go to the Three Broomsticks or the Hog's Head. It's up to you."

Hermione bit her lip. "Let's go to the Hog's Head. It's been awhile since I've visited Aberforth."

Severus nodded in agreement, allowing the small witch to guide him to the down the street.