AN: A little OCD Severus for your reading pleasure. This works as a companion piece to one of my other one-shots, Better, but they can be read independently.
As always, all things Potter belong to JKR!
One, two, three, four…one, two, three, four….
Every single car that passed, he counted every single wheel. One, two, three, four.
It was distracting. It made him a bit car sick. It meant that Hermione had to drive on the rare occasions when they needed to rely on Muggle contraptions.
One, two, three, four.
As long as he took his potion twice a day, he could count in his head; otherwise he'd have to avoid automobiles entirely. Not even Hermione knew that he felt the irrational need to count those wheels…he simply neglected to mention the exact reason he felt car sick.
Still, he was better.
The car came to a stop. The woman in the seat next to him leaned across the consol for a sweet kiss.
"Are you ready to meet them?"
He'd rather face the dark lord without a wand.
He nodded and pretended that he was ready.
They would hate him of course. That was a given. The notion of their brilliant daughter dating a man like him: nerves shot, nearly twenty years older, steeped in dark magic, looks that had been plain at best even when he was young…the idea of the most brilliant witch of the age being with him was ludicrous. And yet here they were.
Ten weeks ago he'd made a cherry tart in anticipation of her weekly visit. How could ten weeks change a life?
The house was very upper-middle-class…the sort of place where the inhabitants would have looked down their noses at him when he was a dirty mill-town brat. He'd lived in a castle too long for that old image to hold any power over him…he hoped.
The paving stones were placed in a pattern down the walk, but thankfully they were large enough for his foot to walk comfortably without touching any cracks. Hermione held his hand as he carefully placed his feet. He focused on the warm feeling of her delicate hand in his.
A man opened the front door. "Hermione."
She grinned up and hugged him. "Dad! May I introduce, Severus Snape?"
She moved aside and Severus offered the other man his hand. It was hard to see much of the daughter in the tall, powerfully built man in his sixth decade. A closer look revealed some slight resemblances. Hermione had inherited her skin tone and the color of her eyes from him. His hair was close in color, but darker, even with occasional strands of silver in his slight sideburns and mustache.
"Severus, it's a pleasure to meet you. Robert Granger."
Severus took a deep breath. "The pleasure is mine."
Robert Granger put his hand on his daughter's back. "Don't sit out here on the stoop…come in, come in…your mother will flay me alive when she finds out that I greeted you first. She's in the kitchen."
The idea of a Granger female in a kitchen caused him a moment of distress. Hermione grinned at him, well-acquainted with his thought patterns. "My mother is a fabulous cook."
He tried to look as though he'd never doubted it. Hermione's escapades in the kitchen had led to more than one bout of intestinal difficulty for Severus…he'd joyfully commandeered the kitchen at her flat as well as his own.
"Robert? Are they here?" The woman coming out of the kitchen was more like the daughter. Her hair was mostly silver, but fiercely curling. She carried herself exactly like Hermione. Severus found himself warming to her based on nothing but her posture.
She looked up at him. She was even tinier than her petite daughter.
She held out a delicate hand. "You'll be Severus." Her heart-felt grin showed off a wealth of laugh lines etched across her face. "Jean Granger."
Severus found himself smiling back. "You look much like your daughter."
She turned to Hermione. "I thought you said that one of the things you liked about the man was that he never flattered."
Severus allowed the corners of his mouth to lift. "I never do."
From Hermione's delighted expression, he has somehow managed to say the right thing.
Hermione was in the kitchen with her mother. They'd said something about a tart and tea. Severus hoped that Mrs. Granger could cut the thing properly; otherwise it would drive him mad.
Robert Granger didn't seem the sort to offer a brandy until after dinner, Severus could admit to himself that he could use one.
Still, it had to be done. All of his research indicated that this was an essential step in the courting process.
The elder Granger cleared his throat. "I suppose this is the part of the meeting where I'm supposed to ask you what your intentions are toward my little girl."
Severus looked at the man. His thick mustache made him seem rather more formidable than he truly was…something to consider if he were ever lucky enough to be in a similar position…though he thoroughly detested the idea of facial hair…no, he would simply have to be intimidating in his own way…surely he could manage to sufficiently intimidate some puppy, if the situation ever occurred…he'd waited too long to answer. Hermione's father was eyeing him.
Severus did not fidget. His mind occasionally made forays into thought without his permission these days. "Excuse me…I was lost in thought."
No need to highlight the fact that he was losing his mind. He continued quickly. "My intentions depend entirely on Hermione's wishes. My goal is to keep her in my life however she'll have me for as long as she'll have me."
He heard a surprised intake of breath behind him and felt himself enveloped in soft arms, her head buried in his chest. His own eyes widened, but he quickly turned his attention to soothing the witch, who seemed to be (for whatever reason) surprised by his declaration.
He would not check the box again. It was in his pocket, he could feel the lump. He'd checked it fifteen times. He wouldn't check it again. It was in his pocket.
She hurried out of her bedroom with one shoe on. "Sorry Severus, so sorry! I had a case…"
They were currently three minutes late. It wasn't something that one normally apologized profusely for, but there were times that being late would distress him. Hermione knew that and accepted him, even the broken bits inside his mind.
He took two long strides to her and stilled her apologies with a semi-chaste kiss.
"The reservation will wait."
He guided her to her small couch and applied light pressure so that she sat. He knelt before her and slid the missing shoe onto her foot. He felt something unknot in his stomach as symmetry was restored.
Now he could appreciate her flowing cream colored dress, the smooth skin of the ankle still in his hand, the mixture of scents from her soap, shampoo, and perfume…
He looked up at her and his carefully laid plans fell to ash.
Her brown eyes widened. Then, once again, his arms were full of soft curves and corkscrew curls…his face was being kissed repeatedly as he lay in a disheveled heap on her floor, with the little witch firmly on top of him.
He couldn't figure out exactly what she was saying in between kisses, but he was fairly certain 'yes' was in there somewhere. The ring, the central piece in his elaborate plan for the evening, remained in his pocket.
Eventually her kisses reached his lips. He'd kissed her before of course (forty-two times). He knew the exact texture, shape, and the taste of her mouth…her brand of toothpaste, the way she preferred his teeth to graze her bottom lip once it was swollen, the quiet mewling sound she occasionally made when the kiss seemed to go on forever…
His thumb skimmed the curve of her neck as his fingers wound themselves into her curls.
They were going to miss the reservation.
He could deal with that. He was better.
Being better was lovely….but this…this, was better still.