Severus' point of view:

Anna smiled as she looked around the restaurant.

"I really like it here. It's cozy," she said as she slid into the booth I led her to.

On a whim, I slid in beside her. "It is isn't it?"

Anna smiled at me, making my heart clench. "So, what's good here?"

"Italian. The owners are from Italy, so they have a lot of traditional foods."

"That sounds lovely, Severus." She put her hand on my knee as she picked up a menu.

Usually, I hated physical touch, but I loved the contact between Anna and I, and the reason why I choose a booth in the corner, if I was being honest with myself.

"I bet Karina's going to want you to take you here," Anna said as she scanned the menu. "They have a kids menu."

"Yes, I think she's like the spaghetti," I commented.

"Poppy's checking up on her next week," Anna said as she scanned the menu.

"Why?" I put down my menu to look at Anna.

"Just a checkup." Anna shrugged. "Plus she's due for some shots."

"I'll come."

"She usually cries when she gets her shots too." Anna sighed. "She'll want her Daddy then."

"Can't help it if she's a daddy's girl." I picked my menu up again, unsure of what I'd order.

"Why are we talking about our daughter on our first date?" Anna asked, laughing.

I chuckled. "What else would you like to talk about?"

"I'm not …"

"Hello, may I get you something to drink?" the waitress asked while looking between the two of us.

"The house wine," I replied.

"Bottle or glass?" she asked.


"Sure. I'll be right back with that."

"Bottle, Severus? Are you trying to get my tipsy?"

I snorted and put my menu down. "Would there be any benefit in that?"

She laughed and then sighed as she put her menu down. "I haven't been out with another adult since … since Karina was born. I'm really enjoying this."

"Me too." I took her hand and squeezed it before letting it go.

"What shall we do tomorrow?" I asked. "Minerva has Karina until the afternoon."

"Not sure. Any ideas?"

"In all honesty, I just need a day where I don't do anything," she explained. "I'm exhausted, you know?"

"I understand." I picked up her hand. "I'd usually needed a few days off this time of year just to do 'nothing'. I'd never really get it though."

"What was it like?" she whispered.

"What was what like?" I replied, having a feeling of what she'd ask.

"The war, for you."

"Very hard … between teaching and being a death eater, I didn't have a life. I was lucky to get three hours of sleep a night," I explained.

"Why'd you stay in for so long? Wasn't there a way out?"

"Do you want the truth?"

"I want to know everything about you," she said.

"I had someone in my life that I care for very much. I felt like I had to stay in to help protect what was important to her. Until recently, that's all I could hold on to." My heart beat so hard because I was afraid of what she'd think of my feelings for Lily.

"Is that your reason for fighting?" she asked. "For getting out of that life?"

"Yes. It was for a long time." I squeezed her hand. "Until now, I've had two women in my life that make me want to fight so much more."

I cupped her cheek, wanting to kiss her. I swallowed, unsure if I should, especially in a public place.

"Here is your wine," the waitress said, causing me to drop my hand as she set down the bottle and two wine glasses, oblivious to our awkward moment.

"Thank you," I said, glumly as Anna leaned into my side.

"No problem," the waitress said, pouring wine into both glasses. "Do you know what you'd like to order?"

"I'd like the lasagna," I said.

"Spaghetti for me," Anna added.

"I'll put your order in and bring you back some bread." The waitress gave us a quick smile before turning to go toward the kitchen.

"Thank you," Anna replied.

I sighed as I leaned back against the leather seat. Anna leaned her head against my shoulder, surprising me.

"I think we should come here once a week," Anna said, smiling up at me.

"That would be nice," I replied. "Next time we'll bring Karina with us."

"I'd really like that, Severus." She smiled up at me, making my heart clench.

For hours we talked and ate. We talked about our childhoods, school, the differences in our education, and planning out a trip for Karina to the zoo. Near midnight, the restaurant closed, kicking us out. It was freezing cold out, and I wrapped my arm around her again.

"If you're up to it, would you like to join me in my room for a cup of tea," I said when we entered the castle.

"I'd like that." She smiled as she intertwined my hand with hers. "It's not like I need to be anywhere."

I chuckled as I led her to my rooms, walking a little slower so she could keep up with me. After entering my rooms, I ordered tea while Karina build up the fire the Muggle way. I sat in the love seat near the couch, where she joined me as the fire sprung to life. We sat in silence, enjoying the fire. Our tea came, and I prepared our cups.

"Here you are, dear," I said holding out a cup for her.

"That's the first time you've used that," she said quietly.

"Used what?" I asked, confused. I took a sip of tea, enjoying the warmth.

"An endearment." She grinned at me over her cup, which she held with both hands. "I rather like it."

"Then I shall keep it up, dear." I smiled back at her, and on instinct I wrapped my arm around her shoulder. She sighed and moved closer to me.

She gazed at the fire as I watched her. The flames threw orange and red against her skin, and I never thought she looked more beautiful.

"Why are you staring at me?" she asked when she looked up at me.

"Because you are so beautiful," I replied without thinking, making me cringe. I hated being so vulnerable.

"Thank you, Severus," she whispered. "You make me feel so wanted."

"I want you," I said quietly.

I leaned forward and kissed her gently. Her lips were soft and full. She kissed me back, making me feel something I'd never felt before. Love.

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