Nothing. We didn't do anything during Potions. It was like he forgot he had a class, but that wasn't the case. He sat at his desk, reading.
We leave when it's time, but I can't go along, not knowing.
I walk up to his desk after everyone's left.
He looks up slowly.
"I broke off the engagement," he says slowly, not meeting my eyes.
I glance around the room. I'm tempted to pull up a chair, and skip History of Magic to talk to him. I'm tempted to hug him. I'm tempted to jump for joy.
He'd been engaged to Bellatrix for almost a year.
"I'm so sorry," I say instead.
He looks up tentatively. "It was for the best," he replies. He doesn't offer an explanation.
"I wish you felt the same way I do," I say, when I can't stand the silence. "I'm in love with you," I choke out.
He shakes his head, as though he didn't hear me. "I was never in love with her," he admits.
"You weren't?" I ask, perplexed.
"Maybe I was, for a time," he says, more to himself. Think about it, though, Hermione," he says, forcing a smile. "Can you imagine us together? Bellatrix? With me?" He shakes his head. "The war changed us," he says. "All of us."
She stays quiet for a moment, not sure how to respond. "Severus, why won't you look at me?" she asks.
"I can't, Hermione…I heard your confession."
"I'm sorry," she says again.
They are left in silence, Hermione wishing she could take back her words.
"I can't believe you feel the same way."
She looks up slightly. "What?"
"Hermione, this year's changed us. It's changed everything. Who ever thought the Gryffindor Know-It-All Hermione Granger would befriend Severus Snape, the greasy Potions Master, much less fall in love with him?"
"Why did you break off your engagement?" she asks abruptly.
He heaves a sigh. "We rushed into everything after the war, Hermione. You know that. And then they let me back here to teach. I'll never know why… but of course you're half the reason I'm still here to begin with. You saved my life that night in the Shrieking Shack. God, how long ago was it?"
"Almost three years," she replies. "But, of course, your bravery is much greater than anyone else's that I know. Coming back to teach right after the war… and I wasn't able to face the Wizarding World for two years before coming back here….I'll never understand how you did it."
He smiles. "It's my home. You still find comfort in the Muggle World. I could never go back to that. I had to face it."
"I'm glad you did."
"Me too… Hermione, there's a bit more to it. I broke off the engagement because of you. I couldn't stand the thought of marrying a woman I didn't love, much less one I barely tolerated."
"She tortured me. Bellatrix did."
He shakes his head. "I didn't know."
She smiles. "But it's over now, right? It's all over?"
"I can't tell you how long I've waited for this day, Sev. Too long. But now you're mine."
"And I couldn't be happier," he replies, capturing her lips in his.
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