Disclaimer:- I neither own nor earn anything from this story, Harry Potter and his world are the property of JK Rowling and associates, not me.
A/N:- This story started as a challenge I set myself. Those who are familiar with my writing will know that I rarely (if ever) cast Ron Weasley in a positive light, I don't like the character and a believe that Ron and Hermione are a mismatched couple who would never have worked. Anyway, I was determined to try and write a piece where Ron and Hermione ended up divorced so she could be with the delicious Potions master, but without it being Ron's fault. So here we are, you will probably find Severus is a little OOC (but he usually is when I write him). Big thanks to jmak119 for the beta job. I hope you all enjoy it…
...Of Mice And Men
In hindsight Hermione Granger-Weasley realised that her son Hugo had spent far too much time with his uncles Fred and George. Ever since he had started Hogwarts—and even before—he had pleaded to stay with his beloved uncles during his holidays. This was how the whole mess started; well, it was if you wanted to pinpoint the beginning of the event that saw her currently sitting here in the state she was in.
She could honestly admit that she and Ron had never been love's young dream, but they had been relatively happy, and it was comfortable. Well perhaps comfortable was the wrong word. No, when you boiled it down, they really were not very compatible, but they had made it work because that is what people had expected.
Harry would marry Ginny and Hermione would marry Ron. Yet, here she sat now without Ron, wondering how she was going to pick up the pieces. Hermione was glad this didn't affect her daughter Rose too much. She had her own life now, Rose and Scorpius had married at Christmas. A little snorting noise left Hermione's throat at this thought, she still couldn't believe her daughter was now a Malfoy, and even more incredulous that nobody had hexed anyone over it.
Mind you, poor Hugo was filled with remorse over the event that had led to her current predicament, but a sixteen year old's memory is short, and Hermione knew it would not be long and he would have forgotten any guilt and flown from the nest to make his own way, forgetting his part in the fiasco.
She sighed, the actual event that had started it all happened at Christmas, just after the wedding. The Weasley's hosted a Christmas Eve party at home with some of their friends. What actually went wrong came down to the old saying - the best laid plans of mice and men, because it was really a series of misadventures that had caused her world to fall apart.
Hugo had heard something he shouldn't, and wanting only the best for his parents, he had decided to help by enhancing their feelings for each other. He had carefully doped the two glasses of punch he handed his father with a love potion he had designed. The potion enhanced feelings of love that were already present, nothing more. It was his Christmas present to them, one glass for his father and one for his mother.
Ron had taken a gulp of his drink on the way to give Hermione hers. The only problem was that Hermione didn't get to drink hers. As Ron passed Luna Lovegood she started choking on a crumb, and Ron being the kind guy he is, offered her the untouched drink.
Luna and Neville had remained friends after a torrid, but short-lived relationship which adhered to another old saying: that which burns brightest dies quickly. Luna had never found anyone else after that, and they had all suspected that she had been too hurt by what had happened to try again. Anyway, as she recovered from her coughing fit and she looked at Ron the potion did its job, enhancing feelings that were obviously already there.
When Hermione thought about it, she had often seen Ron and Luna in a quiet corner at these types of parties sharing a joke or in deep conversation. Hermione knew Ron had a soft spot for the dreamy blonde, but she had never dreamed that he was harbouring a love for her. Especially not a love that would cause him desert his family and chose Luna over her when the opportunity arose, and the stab to her confidence over that fact had almost been crushing.
Consequently, Ron and Luna were a couple now, and it was plain to see how in love they were, but it was how well suited they were that really hurt, that was another thing Hermione grieved badly over. She had never been suited to Ron, even if they had made a successful life together.
The potion doped couple had disappeared from the Christmas party almost immediately, and in their haste to have sex, thanks to the effect of said potion, the contraceptive spell had been forgotten. It was June now and in September they were expecting their daughter.
Ron and Hermione's divorce hearing was next week and Hermione really wasn't certain what she was going to do about it, if in fact there was anything she could, or more to the point, wanted to do about it. If only Hugo hadn't overheard her candid talk with Harry, if her brilliant son had not had access to love potions, or a hand in developing them, and if he had actually thought through what could have gone wrong. Hell, if he wasn't so Gryffindor, her life would not be falling apart right now.
Mind you, if you wanted to start assigning blame, the original fault lay with her and Ron; they shouldn't have given in to the pressure and married to begin with. This was all so horrible in one way, but a profound relief in another.
Hermione sighed heavily, but was abruptly brought back to earth by a familiar voice. "Granger!" This made her jump, her ex-professor still called her by her maiden name when he was displeased with her. "Good Merlin's saggy…" his mouth pinched, but he contained his disapproval when he saw how lost and devastated she looked. Severus exhaled and his voice softened, "If you keep stirring like that you'll wear the bottom out of the cauldron, Hermione."
The startled witch glanced down at the spoilt potion she was supposed to be brewing, although she couldn't see much through the sheen of unshed tears currently threatening to bring her undone. "I'm sorry, Severus," she replied in a broken voice, swiping angrily at her eyes.
Severus sighed and rolled his eyes. He vanished the potion, took the stirring rod from her hands and quietly pulled her into a hug. Over the years they had become close friends. Even if he had found her insufferable to begin with, she had soon grown on him. First she had been his brash apprentice, and then his more mature assistant, and lately as his indispensable business partner. Together, they had moved him out of Spinner's End in her first year and later to yet larger premises in Hogsmeade six months ago.
"Shhh," he encouraged, stroking her hair. "Don't cry, Hermione. What's done is done, we'll get through it."
"We?" she asked in a small, cracked voice.
Severus pulled her away from him enough to see her face, and told her sternly, "Now you see here, witch. You pulled me kicking and screaming back to the land of the living after the war. I owe you, and I'll not let you down now."
His declaration of support and care saw the floodgates really open, and Hermione buried her head in his robes and sobbed. It suddenly dawned on her how much she loved the smell of his robes; all the fresh herbs and spices they used seemed to cling to them.
Severus held her close and let her cry. She had been miserable ever since it had happened, and he wondered if this outpouring meant that perhaps tonight she might talk to him about it all. Severus knew she wasn't grieving because she was losing Weasley. No, apart from the emotional issues and the turmoil, the reason she was miserable was that she thought that once she was no longer a Weasley they wouldn't want her. She had no other family now, the Weasleys were it.
The raven-haired wizard had thought long and hard about this over the past six months, and he was well aware he was being handed an opportunity he never thought he would get. Hermione was going to be a free woman in a little over a week, and it was time to prove to her that there were indeed other options.
Besides he knew that the kind-hearted Weasley family would never forsake her. What had happened had been neither Hermione nor her husband's fault. The blame squarely lay with the mischievous son.
The boy was a perfect mix of Weasley's Gryffindor haplessness and Hermione's intelligence and bravado, and he had a definite talent for Potions—just like Hermione—something to bear in mind for later when they were sure to expand again and would be requiring their own apprentice.
The fear of rejection and the fact that there was just so much unexpected change, well it was overwhelming her. She needed to see that he supported her, and that Potter would never leave her, regardless of what happened.
She seemed to be calming down, and Severus offered her a cold compress he had conjured to cool her face. "Come," he said, taking her hand. "I think we've done enough for today, I'll make us some dinner and we can talk."
"What would I do without you, Severus?" Hermione asked him, still wiping her eyes.
Pulling her to a stop, he kissed her forehead. "You'll never find that out, because I intend to hound you."
Hermione was gobsmacked, but managed to stutter, "P-promise?"
"Promise," he kissed her head again, warded the downstairs, took her up to his residence and sat her at the kitchen table with peas to shell.
Hermione couldn't help thinking how perfect life with Severus would be, if only that were an option. They got on to the point where they could anticipate each other's needs. She had never had that with Ron. With Ron it was always about him, if he wasn't telling you about his day, he was cutting you off as you tried to tell him about yours.
Then there was Quidditch, and that was something Hermione had never understood. How it could make a grown wizard drool was beyond her, but this seemed to especially apply to Ron, he simply loved it. "Severus, what do you think of Quidditch?" she asked out of the blue.
Severus snorted as he set the heat under the potatoes. "Macho muscle-heads with the combined IQ of a gnat, zooming around on racing brooms have never appealed to me, why?"
Hermione smiled despite her still sombre mood, and shrugged. "I don't know… we've never discussed it. I just thought I'd ask."
Severus placed a glass of red in front of her and sat in the chair opposite placing his own glass on the table. He watched her absently twirling the stem of the wine glass between her thumb and forefinger. He knew she was about to ask another question, her brow always gave her away, it furrowed in a certain way just before she spoke.
He chuckled internally, but gave her his full attention as she sounded apprehensive. "Yes Hermione, my dear," he added smoothly.
Her eyes shot up to his and he smiled. She became quite flustered. "N-never mind," she stuttered.
"No, I wish to hear what you want to ask." Severus' eyes softened even more and he forced himself to wait patiently, keeping his hands flat on the table either side of his place setting so he wouldn't be tempted to reach for her hand. At least she was talking, and that was more than she had done since this began.
Hermione studied him a moment and steeled her nerve. "You've never settled down…" she took a sip of her wine, and finished what she wanted to know. "Why?"
It was his turn to shrug. He knew the reason very well, but he wasn't about to tell Hermione, so he hedged. "There were never the right circumstances," he replied quietly, and rose to plate their dinner. He heard a small, 'Oh' as he turned away, and wondered what she was thinking.
She had asked some seemingly out-of-left-field questions tonight but if he followed her train of thought—and he usually did—he wondered if she was mentally comparing him to Weasley, and while he wasn't happy to be compared to that arse, he knew that he would reflect favourably with the redhead. This was a very good sign; it may mean that she was starting to think of how to resolve her problems.
Once the divorce was final—with the support of Harry and Ginny Potter and the entire Weasley family really—Severus took Hermione away on a Potions lecture tour of greater Europe. They closed the business down in England and took six months to just tour at their leisure.
It was once they were away from the constant reminders of her failed marriage, and the joy of another marriage beginning that Hermione started to smile again. By the time they had moved on to Geneva for the International Potions Symposium, where they were both presenting papers, Severus found that the old Hermione was back.
It was currently October and the autumn winds were starting to bite, but they had decided to take a walking tour of Mont Blanc anyway; in particular the glacier on Mount Montanvert. It was somewhere Hermione had always wanted to visit, having read about it in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The author's magnificent imagery had taken hold of her imagination and they now found themselves taking the same route that the character Victor had travelled in the novel.
Finally they stood at the pinnacle with the glacier below them. Looking down over it made you feel very small in comparison. There was copious evidence of its slow, but relentless, bulldozer path as it advanced down from the summit of the hills to barricade the valley below.
The few shattered pines that were scattered around; and the solemn silence of this glorious presence-chamber of imperial Nature which was only broken only by the brawling waves, or the fall of some vast fragment. The thundering sound of the avalanche, or the cracking of the accumulated ice it reverberated along the mountains, which, by the silent working of immutable laws, was ever and anon rent and torn, as if it had been but a plaything in their hands.
It was on looking at this landscape that Hermione whispered, "These sublime and magnificent scenes afforded me the greatest consolation that I was capable of receiving. They elevated me from all littleness of feeling…" (1)
Severus moved closer, he could sense something changing. Taking a chance he carefully enclosed her in his arms from behind and was relieved when she snuggled back against him. "But your suffering was not self-induced, nor of the scale that Victor Frankenstein brought upon himself," he replied, just as quietly.
Hermione continued to gaze out over the vastness of the icy splendour before them. She laughed quietly, "No… but this certainly does remind you how small you are… and make you want to embrace life." She turned within the circle of his arms, and her small hands arrived flush on his chest. She gazed earnestly up at him and whispered, "I think I love you, Severus," and she couldn't pull her gaze away from his incredible dark eyes. "I think I always have, but it took all this year for me to admit it."
His heart was thumping against his ribs so hard, Severus thought it was about to break through and leap into the abyss below them. Slowly his hand arrived on her face, and he caressed her cheekbone softly with his thumb. "You make me very happy…" his eyes searched her face. "Could it be that the circumstances are about to be right?" He heard her soft gasp when she realised he was speaking of their dinner conversation from before her divorce.
Hermione shivered, feeling his calloused digits sweeping softly across her skin, and she whispered, "Oh how I hope so." Then Hermione turned her face slightly to kiss his palm as it rested on her cheek. "I have been so blind, here I was flogging a dead horse, so consumed with making it all work that I never managed to see the forest for the trees. If it hadn't been for Hugo's mistake, perhaps I never would have." A single tear slid down her cheek, and Severus gently wiped it away.
"Don't cry, darling, I knew it would eventually work out." His lips were now a hair's width away from her, and he whispered into the white mist of her breath, "I love you, Hermione," and he closed the last micro distance between.
Hermione had never experienced a kiss like this before, and she was lost in its sublime beauty. She felt Severus slide the hand from her cheek up into her hair to hold her head how he wanted it, and his other hand possessively pulled her flush with his body. Hermione couldn't help it, she moaned into the kiss, and this opened her mouth just enough for Severus to slip his tongue inside.
Ron had been the only lover she had ever had; she had been a virgin on their wedding night. The kiss she was now experiencing completely overwhelmed her, and she was feeling more aroused just by this than she had ever been whilst in her marriage bed. Her response to him was instinctive, something it had never been with Ron, and before she knew what she was doing she was grinding her hips against him, utterly desperate for the first time in her life. Their kiss was consuming them, hungry and urgent because there was so much unrealised pent-up tension between them.
Severus could feel himself becoming harder than he had ever been, and slowly walking Hermione up against a boulder by the path, he pinned her to it. He needed more contact with her, and the rock was the closest object.
When she felt her back come up against the cold hard surface, and his hands slide down to the backs of her thighs, her legs instinctively came up and wrapped themselves around his waist. Hermione was startled slightly when her back sank into the boulder a little, but she heard Severus' voice near her ear say, "Shhh my love, it's a Cushioning Charm."
This turned her on more than anything, as Ron had never taken her comfort into consideration. Early on in their marriage it had been his custom to have sex with her under the stands when they won a Quidditch game, and she always came away with black bruises she had to heal herself after he left her to go and celebrate with his team.
All thoughts of her ex-husband were banished from her mind when Severus' fingers lowered the metal zipper on her jeans and then insinuated his deliciously cold digits into her knickers to explore her intimate flesh. Hermione knew she wasn't going to last very long, in fact he only had to pass his forefinger over her sensitive bundle of nerves three times, and clinging to him she shuddered into such a violent release, her voice started to rise and echo around the mountains.
Severus chuckled and whispered, "Was that nice?" When she only answered him with a noise that sounded like part groan and part sob, he laughed sinfully, "I'm apparating us to my room before you cause an avalanche."
"Mmmm," she moaned, bringing her head up to kiss him, completely oblivious to what he had said. Hermione heard him chuckle into their kiss as he started to apparate them, and she just clung tighter. They had a soft landing when they immediately fell backwards onto the four-poster bed, their mouths still attached and Hermione's legs still around Severus' hips, but Severus put his hands down as he landed to hold himself above her without crushing her.
Now in the warmth of the room though, they were both up off the bed struggling to remove their outer clothing that had guarded them against the cold outside as quickly as they could. They soon found themselves down to their underwear as Severus climbed back over Hermione, and his mouth worked its way down to kiss along the top of the lace cups of her bra. Licking down over the rough lace, he pulled a pebbled nipple into his mouth through the material and she squealed her delight. His hands then made short work of the clasp on her bra and he starting lavishing her breasts with attention.
This, coupled with the movement of his fingers under the elastic of her knickers and then thrusting inside her, had her keening quickly once more. "Oh Severus," she moaned. "I need you… please…" The last impediments to their skin touching skin slithered off at his command and he lined himself up.
Their first union was everything Hermione had once thought sex would be, and she cried at the beauty of it. Severus was large but he fitted her better than Ron had, and she revelled in the feelings he brought out in her. There was also a very small part of her that punched the air and yelled, abandon me will you, I've found someone better than you ever were. Hermione refused to feel guilt over these thoughts because, after all, that is what had happened.
For his part, Severus was in heaven, he had loved this witch for a long time, probably since she had arrived on his doorstep after the war, demanding he take her on to study said he was the best Potions master in not only England but Europe, and she wanted to learn from the best. He thrust into her heat once more and sighed, feeling her muscles parting and clasping around him once more and then as she screamed her release, gripping him so tightly that he lost his fight to draw this out any further.
It was Christmas again when Hermione and Severus returned home to meet the newest Weasley, and they married in a quiet ceremony with just their family present on New Year's Eve after they had discovered a little secret a week before.
Hermione thought her life was now truly complete. She pulled Hugo into a tight hug and whispered, "Thank you, son, your Christmas present last year was wonderful. I think you succeeded in enhancing our love lives beyond your wildest dreams." She glanced at a beaming Ron holding his daughter on his hip with Luna nestled under his other arm.
Hermione felt Severus' arms come around her from behind and cover her belly protectively, before he whispered, "Shall we tell them our news?"
Rose had seen Severus cover Hermione's stomach and then heard what he'd said, and being her father's daughter, she blurted without thinking, "Mum, are you pregnant?"
The grins on Hermione and Severus' faces told her the answer, and they were swamped by their families with congratulations and copious questions about when, where and how.
That night as she lay spooned against her husband, listening to his deep peaceful breathing, Hermione Snape considered before sleep took her as well that perhaps mice and men may have known a little about planning after all.
Notes:- (1) this paragraph quotes directly and indirectly from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.