A/N: Hello everyone! So this is my first story, so no flames please, suggestions are welcome though :) It may be a bit OOC, and I know it's a bit early to be writing about Sev's birthday, but I just came up with this not too long ago and wanted to write while my muse was still strong so whatever. Everything belongs to the great and wonderful Jo Rowling and I unfortunately own none of it, just playing with her wonderful creations.
It was still cold and blowing snow outside. Not surprising, really. It was midwinter in Scotland, after all. Hermione Granger began her long trek from Hagrid's little hut to the castle that was Hogwarts. Every once in a while she, Harry, and Ron would visit him- especially since the end of the war, when everyone seemed closer to each other. But today she had gone by herself, the boys coming up with some excuse about homework, which Hermione knew was rubbish; they couldn't write a paper if their lives depended on it. She figured they had wanted to talk quidditch- something she knew next to nothing about.
So there she was, by herself. Not that it was unwelcome; they chatted for quite awhile, talking of post-war life and how she had been- now that her parents were still somewhere in Australia as she had yet to still find them and restore their memories, however she had decided to finish her final year at Hogwarts before traveling around the world all over again. Hagrid had offered his not-so-delectable treats, which Hermione politely turned down, telling him she was saving her stomach for the feast that would be served in the Great Hall, which she was now headed to.
The snow was relentless, and the winds were especially high that night, taking her a longer time to make it back to the castle than usual. Hermione burst into the Hall, one of the last stragglers to make it in just as Headmistress McGonagall began a short speech before food appeared on all the tables. After years of it she was used to it, but it never ceased to amaze the first years, which caused Hermione to chuckle at. Quickly finding where Harry and Ron sat, along with Ginny, Neville, Luna, Dean, and many others, she situated herself between them, all the while smiling and greeting them.
"'Ey, Hermione", Ron smiled through a mouthful of food at the same time as shoveling more food onto his plate.
"Hello, Ron," greeted Hermione, delicately beginning to place food onto hers. Harry and Ginny smiled at her, but were too wrapped up in their own conversation to say anything else.
"Where've you been?"
"I told you Ron, I went down to Hagrid's," Hermione answered a bit too irritably, but she was tired of having to repeat herself because of Ron's inability to listen.
They had dated for a short period of time after the war was over, but quickly ended after finding there wasn't much chemistry. All Ron wanted to do was snog, and Hermione figured she hadn't been missing out on much from when Ron and Lavender dated, and that she really didn't have anything to be jealous of. They felt more like brother and sister anyway, and things were back to normal, albeit a bit awkwardly.
"Oh, yeah that's right," Ron answered with his mouth still filled with food. Hermione wondered if he ever stopped to breathe since she sat down.
Just then, a large black figure burst into the Great Hall, causing the many conversations to abruptly cease and turn towards the disruption. Of course, it was none other than Severus Snape, who frequently arrived to dinner late causing a huge disruption, much to the chagrin of the headmistress and, in turn, caused the scowl to deepen on the potion master's face.
Soon after Voldemort had been defeated, everyone had begun looking for survivors as well as bodies, and when Harry had requested to return to the boathouse to retrieve Snape's body, he received more than a few surprised looks, but no one dared to question the boy who had just vanquished the most powerful wizard of all time. People were even more surprised to find out he had lived, and after Harry's urging, was rushed to St. Mungo's. Hermione had inkling on why Harry had been so adamant when it came to Snape, but decided to ask him later. It didn't take him long to recover, and unexpectedly resumed teaching at Hogwarts, after McGonagall's unwavering persistence. Now that the Ministry and Daily Prophet weren't exactly corrupted and fraudulent anymore, people were more convinced of Snape's true allegiance, and many crowned him a hero, although Snape seemed to listen to none of it, as he was still the dreaded man Hermione knew from before the war. He seemed a bit more relaxed, as Hermione knew much was probably lifted from his shoulders, though he was definitely still not the synonym of kind.
Along with everyone else, Hermione watched as Snape took his seat inbetween Minerva and Flitwick, ignoring the glare the headmistress shot his way. Beside her, Ron groaned.
"Merlin, Snape was even worse than normal today! Can't he ever be in a slightly good mood?"
At this, Hermione laughed inwardly. That was Snape for you. Hasn't Ron learned anything from the past eight years of having him for a teacher?
"Course, think I know why, though", Ron grumbled. Hermione perked up.
"What do you mean, Ron?"
Ron almost looked confused at her question, then smug at actually knowing something she didn't.
"Well," he specified, "it's today."
"What about today?"
"This day", was all he provided.
Hermione began to get exasperated. "What about today, Ron?"
"You really don't know?" he still had that look on his face.
She sighed. "No Ron, so please just tell me."
His face fell, apparently giving up on his little game. He leaned in close, as if it was the most secretive thing in the world, which made Hermione admittedly more curious.
"It's his birthday."
Hermione looked incredulous. "What?"
"Yeah", Ron smiled sloppily. "What's so hard to believe?"
Hermione honestly didn't know what to think, or why she was even thinking something of it at all. That something as trivial as a birthday was putting the professor in such a foul mood, or for the fact that he even had something as human as a birthday, she didn't know. While it was true that he had always been rather nasty to her, the sympathetic part of her was rearing its head. She was willing to bet that no one had ever really showed any care in his birthday in his life whatsoever. Not even Lily. Now that Harry had shown Hermione his memories (much to Hermione's reluctance, as she felt it was an invasion of privacy, although she eventually gave in to her inquisitiveness) she had a sort of soft spot for the man. She didn't want to think of herself as pitying him, but she didn't know another word to describe it.
"Well, it's just", she began, "I don't know, wouldn't you be in a foul mood as well if no one cared of your birthday?"
Ron swiftly stopped eating, and pointedly glared at her. "What are you on about?"
She glared back. "Ron, just think for a second. He risked his life for you, me, Harry, all of us, and did he get anything in return? No, he didn't. He went through a living hell every day, and for what? He knew he was probably going to die, he had to kill one of his mentors and friends, and everyone, for the longest time, hated him."
He stared. "That's his fault."
"No Ronald, it's not." She glowered at him. "He was bullied by Harry's dad and Sirius, had a rotten child and home life, and his only friend, Harry's mum, left him, because of one slip of the tongue. You tell me how you would treat the world after all of this!" she huffed, scowling at him all the while. It really amazed her how thick Ron could be; if Harry could forgive him, why Ron couldn't was beyond her. Harry and a few others had begun to look up and listen at the mention of his name, and because of Hermione's rising voice. She didn't even want to look to see if it had been heard all the way to the Head Table; especially if a certain teacher had heard.
Ron looked furious and baffled at the same time; to Hermione, it was almost comical. "Fine, why don't you go on and give him a present or something then?"
"Maybe I will do just that, Ronald!" At this, she stood up and abruptly left the hall. She didn't make it to her rooms though. She stood just outside the hall, leaning against the wall, trying to cool off. She should've known Ron would react that way. This is why they broke up. However, another person decided to join her, banging the doors opened, and she jumped.
Whipping around to see who had decided to follow her, praying to the gods it wasn't Ron, as he was the last person she wanted to see right now, her face immediately paled. She stood corrected, as Snape stood a mere five feet from her. He didn't look happy.
"Miss Granger," he drawled, "What was that little show for?" His black eyes glared into her brown ones, daring her to speak. She was at a loss, and simply stared back, mouth opening and closing like a fish. What could she say?
He sneered. "I see." He began to move past her, and she had to move as to allow him to not run straight into her. She thought he was just going to walk away, and not take away points, or give detention, and stood incredulously, before, "Follow me."
She swallowed. This couldn't be good. He wouldn't be taking her to detention, could he? She didn't do anything that bad. Just make a scene. And if he wasn't, then apparently they were going somewhere that had to be private- somewhere where they couldn't just speak of it in the halls. Oh gods.
Soon, he led her to his private chambers which were situated in the dungeons, and held his door open for her, surprising her. She hoped it didn't show on her face, and walked through. It looked like his private office, and she marveled at all the books lining the walls. Snape took notice of this, and rolled his eyes. He went to take a seat, and gestured for her to do so as well.
"If you don't mind sir, I think I'd rather stand."
He sneered once again, and said, "I would hope I don't have to repeat myself from earlier, Miss Granger."
Her face flushed. "Erm, right. Well, uh, Ron was just making me angry, as usual, and um…," she stumbled. How on earth could she tell him this?
"I don't have all day, Granger," he snapped. "Get to it".
"…he told me something. About you, sir."
He looked bored. "And pray tell, what would that be?"
Hermione mumbled something, and Snape wondered if his day could get any worse. He sighed, and pushed the urge to massage his temple away, and tried again, "What was that, Miss Granger?"
"I said he told me it was your birthday, sir." She said quietly.
"Ah." He knew this. He had heard it from all the way at the High Table. Hell, the whole blasted hall had heard it, and the whole student body could probably figure out who the girl had been talking about, and knew his whole bloody life story- not that the Daily Prophet or Rita Skeeter or Harry blasted Potter hadn't already done that.
"So, what had possessed you to scream it to the high heavens, Miss Granger?"
The girl looked shaken, scared even, but he could tell she looked determined to do something.
"I don't know, sir."
"Surely, you do," he sneered, and sat back in his chair, waiting for her explanation.
She inhaled, and he knew she was preparing for a long speech. He mentally groaned.
"It's just that Ron is the type of person who just knows how to get on my exact nerve that drives me crazy and he doesn't know when to stop and he doesn't just walk on it he dances on it and he was talking about you and how mean you can be but he doesn't understand you and I was trying to tell him what you did and all you did for us and how grateful he should be he wouldn't listen and basically said you deserve everything you got and it just made me angry sir so I had to defend you and I didn't know it was your birthday and I felt bad and-," he held up his hand.
"That is enough, Miss Granger." She stopped to take in air, and he raised an eyebrow. Did the girl ever stop talking?
"I do not need to hear of every single detail Miss Granger", he drawled. "I don't care to know of your and Weasley's conversation," he began. "However, I do care to know, why you care."
Hermione was taken aback. "Sir?" she asked.
"I have been nothing but nasty to you since day one, Miss Granger. Consider it mere curiosity as to why the Gryffindor princess would care of what anything anyone says of her terrible potions professor."
She smiled. "You're not terrible, professor," she said quietly.
He smirked. "Answer the question please, Miss Granger."
She sighed. "I don't know, it's just…after knowing of everything you did, and for what, it…it's understandable. Relatable, admirable even. And I…I don't want to hear anyone say anything bad about you. You don't deserve it," she finished softly. "You deserve something good in your life."
That was surprising, however he was unmoved by it. He had been hearing all his labels of being a "hero" only now that they understood. He didn't want false gratitude when they hated him mere months ago, no matter how understandable it might be.
"You don't know me, Miss Granger," he said calmly.
"No," she smiled tentatively. "But I don't have to to know that any human being shouldn't have been treated that way."
He frowned. "Miss Granger, I do not want you getting caught up in my personal life. It does not concern you, nor affect you, so you may as well leave it."
"But sir," she looked confused, "Do you honestly think I would just sit there and let him talk of you like that? It's not right!"
He held up his hand once again. "Once more, it does not concern you, Miss Granger. I have been dealing with people speaking of me unkindly my whole life. Another dunderhead boy makes no difference."
"Yes, sir," she sighed.
He waited, sensing the girl had more to say, knowing her. She looked up almost shyly.
"Ron said something else as well."
He blinked, "Can't wait to hear it". His bored tone suggested otherwise.
She laughed softly, nervously, and he made no other movement, but waited.
"Um…," she began, "He…he told me…" this time he did not rush her but patiently waited. If this girl cared enough to defend him, he could wait and listen.
"He told me I should give you a present," she said almost inaudibly. This time he didn't bother to mask his surprise. She hadn't really gotten him something had she? No, she said she hadn't known until Weasley told her, which was right before she up and left the hall, right before he made her follow him.
So why should she bring that up? He lifted an eyebrow once more. "And?"
"And…I told him I would."
He actually laughed. Not long but a short, robust laugh that Hermione found she quite liked.
"No need, Miss Granger. I do not partake in the frivolity of gifts."
No, she didn't have anything to physically give him. She didn't even know it was his birthday not even an hour ago, which she admittedly felt bad about.
"But sir, I feel awful. Please just allow me to give you something? I promise it won't be anything ridiculous; in fact I have people tell me all the time they love the gifts I get them," she smiled funny, and he briefly wondered whether they were just lying to her to appease her.
"No, Miss Granger. I would not care for anything you gave me; I wouldn't want you to spend any money on me." He stood up to where she was standing, attempting to show her to the door, but she stayed rooted to the spot.
Not even a foot away now, he stared into her face. "Miss Granger."
She stared back, seemingly transfixed by his features, searching his eyes, looking at his nose, his worry lines, and finally his mouth. Snape noticed this, and immediately panicked. She wasn't about to was she? No, no one would ever want to kiss him; no one has ever kissed him; no one would want to- much less a young, beautiful girl with her whole life ahead of her. However she was getting closer now, but he couldn't move- or rather, unconsciously didn't want to. He watched as her face came closer, closer, closer still, until he finally felt her soft, plump lips against his. He didn't know what to do; it was such an alien feeling for him. So he stood there, awkwardly, while he felt her smile and move her lips against his, trying to encourage him to move his own. He tentatively parted his lips and, without meaning to, took her bottom lip between his and began to suckle on it. He honestly didn't know what he was doing; all he knew was that he was immensely enjoying it.
All too soon, she parted for air, and he took in her flushed face, plump, red lips and frizzy hair. She smiled lazily and looked up into his own glazed eyes, his half smile, and mussed up hair. Had she done that?
Neither knew what to say as both were rather inexperienced, not to mention what just transpired was highly against the rules.
So she slowly leaned in and whispered into his ear.
"Happy Birthday, Professor." She leaned back and looked at him, and he returned her gaze, until she swiftly turned around and headed straight for the door, and walked out without looking back.
No, Hermione Granger was not bad at giving gifts at all.
So there it is, my first story D: Reviews would be greatly appreciated; love it, hate it, late it, I need to know! I'll probably be writing oneshots on and off until I get a multichapter story going here, but until then please let me know how I'm doing!