The Reckoning

BY : Moonbeam37
Category: Harry Potter > Het - Male/Female > Snape/Hermione
Dragon prints: 7030
Disclaimer: All characters and settings are the creation of JK Rowling. I own nothing of Harry Potter and make no money from this story.

Hermione was balanced atop a step stool with a feather duster in her hand. She was barefoot and stretching up on her toes in order to reach all of the nooks and crannies. This position elongated the line of her leg, which seemed to go on forever in her denim shorts.

“Severus has this shelf ever seen a duster before? It’s absolutely disgusting back here. An occasional charm would at least help.” Her tone was firm, yet sweet. Accusatory, but also gentle.

He chuckled as he turned the pages of The Daily Profit. “If I dusted I wouldn’t get to have this view while I read,” he said. Hermione peered over her shoulder at him, a sneer evident on her face. “Why don’t you come down here. The dust bunnies and mites will still be there tomorrow.”

She gave one final sweep of her duster before gingerly stepping down from the ladder. “Yes but remember the term begins in a week and I can’t in good faith let you go back to Hogwarts and leave this poor house in such a state.”

Severus laughed again. “This house is lucky I haven’t burned it to the ground yet.” He folded the paper and placed it on the side table and stood up to walk over to Hermione. He brushed her hair back with his left hand, twisting a curl around his finger. He pulled slightly and let the curl bounce back into place. He leaned forward to kiss her, but was interrupted when a large tawny owl flew into the sitting room through an open window.

The bird landed on the coffee table and Severus grumbled as he went to retrieve the letter. “Damn things always have the worst timing...they can find anyone, anywhere but are always inter...” He took the rolled parchment from the bird’s outstretched leg and read the name.

“It’s for you.” He turned it over. “Hogwarts’ seal.”

Panic bloomed on Hermione’s face. She took the letter from him and inspected it before tearing it open. She read the letter silently; her eyes darting back and forth over the page.

Severus watched her intently as he waited for her to speak. “Well,” he probed.

“It’s from Professor McGonagall. She regrets that this comes at such late notice but she wants us to come to Hogwarts. For the semester. She said she’d like to ‘round out any gaps in our education’ and thinks ‘it’ll be good for the younger students to have us in attendance.’ It sounds like she sent this to everyone who was a part of Dumbledore’s Army and the final battle.”

At that moment three more owls flew into the sitting room. Severus rolled his eyes before sitting back down in his chair and unfolding the paper to resume reading.

Hermione opened each letter and found them nearly all identical. Luna, Ron, Neville, and Harry all asked if she had received a letter from McGonagall. Harry’s letter also said that he thought it a good idea to return to Hogwarts and that they all should go back. It closed by asking if they could all meet to discuss the next evening.

Hermione got a muffin from the kitchen and broke it into pieces to offer the birds. She went to Severus’ desk and took out several sheets of parchment and a quill. “Well I guess this changes my plans,” Hermione said as she began scribbling replies.

Severus watched her over the top of his paper. “You’re coming back to Hogwarts?”

“I mean, University will be there whenever. It sounds like Harry and everyone else thinks this is a good idea.” She paused her writing and looked up at him; their eyes locked. “Do you think this is a good idea?”

“Ordinarily, sure. It makes a lot of sense for you to come back. There is certainly much more we can do in potions, and I’m sure your other classes as well, and it would be good for morale and community,” he explained.

“Ok good.” She started writing again.

“But this isn’t ordinary.”

She looked back up at him. “What do you mean?”

He sighed and closed the paper. “Me and you. This summer. Everything that has...” he searched for the right word, “changed.”

Hermione put the quill down and leaned back in the chair; realization dawning on her face. In the past few months her life had undergone tremendous changes. Not only did they defeated Voldemort, but the wizarding world was finally beginning to heal from his onslaught. During the final battle, Harry had found Professor Snape bleeding and near death on the floor of The Shrieking Shack. After collecting his memories as instructed, Harry acted quickly enough that he was able to levitate him back to the castle and he was transported to St. Mungo’s shortly after. Due in part to the venom extracted from Mr. Weasley’s snake bite, healers were able to mend the professor. The recovery took several weeks, and Professor Snape was left with a coincidentally serpentine scar pattern mapped on his shoulder.

Hermione knew about his scar, among other things, because after hearing news that Professor Snape was alive and recovering she began visiting the Professor. The first time she went with Harry and Ron, but she started making her own visits shortly after. When the two were alone she noticed that their conversations felt easy. He didn’t attempt to snarl or snare at her. Instead, she felt as if he harbored some newfound respect for her.

Her visits became more and more regular and she incidentally became a regular part of his care. Professor Snape enjoyed her company and let her apply Dittany to the wounds and bandage  him. Sometimes she would bring takeaway or fresh baked treats when she came. Soon he looked forward to her visits more than anything else in his day, and she visited frequently.

When Professor Snape was deemed healthy enough to return home, it was under the condition that he’d promise the healers that he’d admit Hermione to continue his care. Initially he was adamantly against the idea and vocalized that he’d rather stay in the hospital without avail. When she arrived at Spinner’s End she understood his trepidation. The place was simply a mess, and Hermione spent the better part of the next two weeks helping him get the house into order.

Hermione couldn’t pinpoint exactly when their relationship developed into something more. The evolution had been natural. Her friends knew that she was spending time caring for their Professor, and that she enjoyed his company, but that was all. At first they were surprised; not by her willingness to help but by her tolerance for him. However, they soon rationalized that now that the war was over everyone deserved a clean slate; especially Professor Snape. Harry didn’t tell his friends what he had seen in the professor’s memories, but it was obviously enough to change Harry’s perception of Snape.

Hermione attached her letters to the owls in the sitting room and sent them away. She walked over to Severus and caused the paper to fold by pressing the seam. “It’ll be fine” she said, with a small smile.

He folded the paper fully. “Hermione, I feel uneasy about this. We can’t carry on as we have been back at Hogwarts.”

“I understand, but everyone already knows that we spend time together. We don’t need to make this into a big deal,” she said.

“No. You’re friends know we spend time together. That’s hardly everyone. I have a reputation to uphold and, my Gods Hermione you’ll be my student again.” Professor Snape dragged his hand over his face in a gesture of frustration and stress. Hermione reached out and took his hand in hers to steady him. She slowly let her fingers lace with his in an effort to relax him and the tension on his face receded slightly.

“I’m of age” she whispered once he had relaxed.

He sighed. “Yes, I am quite aware.”

Hermione could see that he was collecting his thoughts and when he was ready he looked up at her. “Having you at school isn’t going to be good for me, but it seems the fates have made their determination.”

Her big, chestnut eyes waited patiently for him to make some sort of declaration. He ran the fingers of his free hand through her hair and smoothed the curls at the back.

“It will be ok. We will figure it out,” he offered.

Hermione smiled as she pulled away and stood before him. He let his hand caress her back as she stood; making its way over her hip and resting on the bare skin of her outer thigh. He looked up at her and rubbed her skin lovingly. She leaned forward to kiss him and he gently returned the sentiment.

“I don’t want anyone to know,” he stated.

She smirked at him. “Know what? I haven’t the slightest idea what you are getting at, Professor,” she said with mock sarcasm.

“Mind your cheek,” Snape said with a smirk of his own pulling at the corners of his mouth. He gave her a swift swat on the arse as she walked away and took out her wand to clean the crumbs left behind by the owl brigade. Hermione moved casually and comfortably about his home, and Snape watched her.

“I was wondering how often I’d see you once term started,” he finally offered in a quiet voice.

She replaced some books on the shelf and walked over to him. “Is that right? Coincidently I’d been wondering the same thing myself.”

“I’ve gotten used to having you around” he said.

“And now you can’t seem to get rid of me,” she joked. “Are you going to start sneering at me again once we’re back at school?”

Snape shrugged. “I haven’t decided yet. Should I?”

Hermione laughed and the sound brought a smile to his face. He stood up and wrapped his arms around her, holding her for a long time before placing a chaste kiss on her forehead.

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