Hello, all! This is just a little snippet of Hermione and Severus' life, set seven years after the end of Learning to Live and it's sequel, For the Best. You certainly don't have to have read FTB for this to make sense, though, so never fear. Special thanks to NanneroftheWE, for whom this was written in gratitude of my 800th review of LTL. Her request was romance/humor, an embarrasing encounter between Severus and Hermione; something that could make Severus blush. It veered off track a little, but hope you like it, my dear. Who knows, maybe someday I'll hit another review landmark and do another of these ; )
"Really, Hermione, I fail to see the point in all this," Snape drawled. He eyed the child in front of him as if it might bite him. Wouldn't be the first time.
"Honestly, Severus, considering how much you lived in the muggle world as a child, I would think you would appreciate the importance of this!" Hermione finished tying her dress into place and turned to him, wearing the same impatient expression as the little girl.
"Being able to appreciate it is one thing. Participating is another."
"Even for your own daughter?"
"That creature," Severus pointed at the little girl in the outlandish costume, "is no offspring of mine," he declared. The girl narrowed her eyes at him, then lunged forward and bit him on the knee. Severus grimaced in pain and waved his hands at Hermione in outrage. "The little beast bit me!" He dislodged said beast from his leg and put her firmly back, muttering how he'd known that was going to happen.
"You had that one coming," Hermione said, trying not to giggle. Really, it would only reinforce bad behavior and they had been trying to get their daughter out of her 'biting phase' for a while. Wouldn't do to have her think that latching onto people was a good idea.
"You put her up to this," he gowled accusingly. Hermione only held her hands up defensevely. The idea had been wholly their daughters, and he knew it.
"Put it on!" The little girl stamped her foot and glared up at her father.
"You listen carefully witchling," he glared at her with an intensity that would have cowed Hermione a decade ago. "I've bested bigger and smarter beings than you." The girl was wholly unaffected by the chilling 'Snape Stare' as Hermione had named it. She looked sly for a moment, then pouted her lower lip out and looked up at her father with big, guileless eyes.
Severus looked from the girl, up to her mother, who only watched wordlessly. Then he looked back to his daughter, trying desperately to keep his stern expression firmly in place. If it was possible, those big brown eyes got even wider -so much like her mother's- and Severus knew he was lost. He let out a sigh of defeat and stood stiffly.
"Fine," he snarled. "I'll wear the bloody costume."
"What I don't see is why I can't just go as myself, like you are."
It was ten minutes later and everyone was standing by the door. There was only one finishing touch left to put on Severus' costume, and he was dragging his feet, feeling it was the final indignity. Already he was in Hogwarts school robes, his hair tufted out at odd angles instead of pulled back in its usual pony tail, and he was wearing the ridiculous spectacles Hermione had procured. Surely his humiliation was already complete?
"Because Lucetta wanted to go as her Uncle Ron, and if I'd gone as Harry, that would have left you to go dressed as me. Would you rather I was adjusting your wig and false breasts now instead of just drawing on a scar?"
"Honestly, woman, the idea of you in this atrocious attire is far more off-putting than me having to wear a wig. I shudder to think what you would look like dressed up as your idiotic friend." He really did shudder then, unable to suppress the mental image. "And I think a few of our more...entertaining activities would cease for at least a week while I purged the image from my mind."
"Well then stop your complaining," Hermione declared pragmatically. "At least you'll still get a happy ending at the end of the night." She winked at him.
"Happy ending? Like Cinderella or Snow White?" Lucetta asked, pushing her charmed red hair out of her eyes. She looked between her parents with an innocent grin.
"Not at all," Severus swooped the girl up into his arms, covering for he and his wife's code talk. "Like Hansel and Grettle getting eaten by the witch!" He pressed a dozen tickling kisses to her tummy and she shrieked with laughter. When she finally quieted, she looked at her father quite seriously.
"That's not how the story ends, daddy. They push her into the fire! Then they get away."
"Oh, is that so?" Severus quereied. He cocked one brow. "I like my ending better." She giggled and Severus allowed Hermione to put the finishing touches on his costume. Only for his girls would he endure this indignity.
In another ten minutes, the three of them were standing in the doorway of a modest sized flat in London. Lucetta rang the bell impatiently. After a few moments, a slender blonde man opened the door. He looked from the girl, to Hermione, to Snape.
"Harry, come here, you have to see this!" He tried desperately to keep a straight face. Harry came to his side, slinging an arm casually around him, then looking to see who the latest trick-or-treaters were. He took one glance at the trio, then his face split into a grin. Draco lasted exactly seven more seconds before he broke out into gales of laughter.
"You saved them for last on purpose," Severus accused as they stood outside the last house of the night.
"I did no such thing. Lucetta asked me to do it. You know their parties are always the best. Besides, all her friends will be here. She wanted to spend the rest of the evening here."
Severus looked from his wife, to the house, then back to his wife. "I could hex you in your sleep, you know," he muttered. Hermione managed to look affronted, despite the humor on her face.
"I'd like to see you try," she challenged. Before they could continue their banter, Lucetta knocked on the door. Loudly. Incessantly.
"Bloody hell, keep your shorts on-" the outburst was cut off when Lucetta launched herself forward as soon as the door was opened.
"Uncle Won!" she screamed in his ear, delighted. Ron winced and drew away slightly, ruffling the girl's hair affectionately.
"Cripes, Etta, try not to rupture my ear drum, will you?"
"Sorry," she smiled bashfully. Ron took the time to look at her costume then, and grinned when he realized who she was dressed as.
"You've got such good taste, you know that? Have I told you that you're my favorite niece?"
A hand came out quick as a shot and smacked him upside the head. "Don't say that in earshot of your other nieces, Ronald Weasley," his mother scolded.
"Ow!" Ron rubbed the back of his head with his free hand, then offered Lucetta forward as evidence. "Come on, mum, I had to say it. Just look at her." Molly looked over Lucetta and then smiled.
"Well I can't fault her taste," she said proudly.
"That's what I said!" Ron agreed.
"Well at least stop being rude then, young man. Invite them in." She fussed Ron back and opened the door wider. "Hermione, dear, come in. You too Seve-" His name died on her lips as she saw him clearly. "Merlin's balls!"
"Mum! That's disgust-" Ron was suddenly rendered incapable of finishing his exclamation. He stared. Molly stared. Lucetta grinned. Hermione fought valiantly not to giggle.
"Yes, very well, get your laughter out of the way first thing," Severus drawled.
"Oh Severus," Molly said between giggles, "it's just that you look so..." She couldn't help herself and turned away, shoulders shaking with laughter. Severus turned his eyes to Ron.
"And you, Mister Weasley? Have you anything to say about my attire?" The words were spoken so blackly that Ron had a sudden flash back of his school days. He swallowed hard and shook his head no. "Good," Snape growled.
Lucetta, completely oblivious to the plight of the adults, wiggled in Ron's arms, chanting that she wanted candy. Ron took the reprieve gratefully and carried the little girl inside. Hermione gave Severus a suggestive squeeze to his backside, winked at him and then followed Ron. Severus tried to collect what tattered remains of his dignity he could and stepped inside.
"You know," Molly said softly, putting a hand on his arm to stop him, "I worried when I first heard about you and Hermione." When his face tightened, she went on. "Not for her. I knew she could handle you. I worried what it would do to you to be forced to have someone in your life finally. How it would change you." She smiled softly up at him and patted the arm she'd been holding. "She's good for you. You're good for her too. And if it would have ever occurred to me to worry if you'd be good for that little girl, this would have laid any doubts to rest. You're a good man, Severus Tobias Snape. Don't you ever forget it."
Molly patted his arm once more then let it go, kissed his cheek and followed the others into the living room. Severus only stared after her, wanting to be offended the thought to worry had even crossed her mind, wanting to sneer at her kind words, wanting to dismiss her kindness. Instead, he found himself oddly touched. And to his horror, he realized he was...blushing. He shook his head and forced his reaction under control. Why he should be so affected by the approval of a woman who's approval he'd never sought, he didn't know. Why he suddenly itched to have his wife and daughter in his arms, feel surrounded by their unconditional love, he hadn't the slightest idea. But he did.
"You coming in, love?" Hermione poked her head around the corner and saw him ruminating in the entry. Severus took three long strides and was at her side, pulling her close, cradling her cheek in his big hand and pulling her in for a searing kiss.
"Finally," he said when he broke the kiss, throat a little tight. "I really am."