Hermione woke the next morning and lay there in bed for a moment to get her bearings. After two years it was still odd to her to wake up in Grimmauld place. Hermione opened the curtains in her bedroom with her magic to let the light stream in and stood up and made her way to the kitchen. Breakfast consisted of weak tea, two slices of toast and a reading of the daily prophet. She could make herself something heartier to eat but she did not have the energy nor the want to. This simple breakfast is what she thought held her. Hermione no longer felt happy. The man she loved had not been a man at all and left her for the curvy and bubbly Lavender Brown. Her best friend had committed suicide and those she thought were friends did not have the time to sit and talk to her.
It was in the middle of this sad reverie that she heard the tap tap on the kitchen window. Hermione looked up and noticed a raven and realized it was Severus’. She opened the window and allowed the Raven to perch on the back of one of the chairs as she removed the letter from its talons and fed it the rest of her toast.
In the envelope was the address to his new place, the time he expects her to be there and another note stating that he expected that she would be moving some of her things there since it would be more conducive to work if she were close by. Hermione was okay with that. Even though she had redesigned the inside of the home it still bore bad memories and a change of scenery would probably do her good.
Hermione set out and made a list of everything she needed. Of course she would only bring the essentials, which consisted of her clothing, toiletries, books, and cauldrons. Anything else she figured would be at the house. She had two weeks to pack and did so systematically from there on.
Severus on the other hand moved all of his things from the dungeons to that of his new home. The mansion was set far in the woods. It was two stories tall and made of stone. Severus had put work in to this mansion. It was old on the outside but new on the inside. He had purchased it through a wizard realtor as a broken down shell and repaired it to his liking. The floors were of dark wood and the walls were white. The library had dark wood shelves and large comfortable chairs to relax in. The kitchen was large and modern so it was open. It was filled with modern muggle appliances that worked well with magic. The living room was large and open, a welcome change from the dark dank dungeons.
The potions lab was in the basement, but this basement was well sealed, vented, and heated. The labs walls and floor were all white. The workbenches were black and made of metal. On one long wall was every conceivable instrument Severus could ever need. On another wall were shelves filled with every conceivable book on potions and their ingredients from all over the world. Behind a wooden door was the ingredients closet. Though, it was not a closet but rather a room with normal room temperature shelves, an area for ingredients that needed to be kept cold and another room for ingredients that could not be in the light for too long. In essence Severus had created his dream lab.
On the second floor of the house were bedrooms and bathrooms. There were three large bedrooms, each with their own ensuite bathroom. The rooms were relatively large, open, and bright. Severus made a thing about having the home be open and bright. After decades of having lived in the dark and cold he did not want his home to be a repeat.
After the term was over both Severus and Hermione met at his home. Severus escorted her to her room and gave her a quick tour of the house. He saved the lab for last. When they finally made it down there Hermione had to stop for a moment. The house was not out of the ordinary for her since she was muggle born but this lab was. Hermione was in awe.
“Yes, yes it is.” Said Severus as he looked at her.
“It’s like a mixture of muggle chemistry and wizarding potions. It’s awesome. It so light and clean and,” she breathed in, “so well ventilated.” She was beside herself as she looked through every nook and cranny of the lab. It was then that Severus looked up at the clock on the wall and noticed the time. It was approaching six in the evening and Severus was getting hungry.
“Ms. Granger I will leave you to exploring the lab. I am going to prepare dinner for the both of us. I trust you will not destroy anything.”
“Yes sir.” She said with a smile. Severus hadn’t seen that smile for a very long time and he missed it. Severus made his way to the kitchen and grabbed the necessary items out of the fridge and pantry and set to making dinner. As he did so he remembered Hermione as a student. He had been so cold to her but it was for her own good. She was so young and so naïve and he needed to remove the rose colored glasses she saw through. She was bright. He will give her that. She was a genius. But she did not quite understand the world. It had been a total of three years since he last saw her smile. There was the year on the run where he never saw her. The year where finally Voldemort had been killed. Three months later Harry had killed himself, thus ending the Potter line. Later that same year Ron had left Hermione and there were never any smiles after that.
Severus had seen her heart crumble and blow away. She had become a shell of herself. As Severus continued to cook he realized that the novelty of his lab would probably wear off by tomorrow. He knew she would go back to her quiet “yes sir” and “no sir” self. Severus had noticed that the few times someone did try to hold a conversation with Hermione she had carefully thought out her answers and made them as simple as possible so as to make sure the conversation didn’t last more than a minute or two. She had become so withdrawn and withdrew in to her self.
Severus finished cooking the simple pasta carbonara and found Hermione in the ingredients room memorizing what was in store.
“Dinner is ready Ms. Granger.” He said softly so as not to startle her. Hermione nodded her head and headed out of the room and up to the kitchen. Severus realized he would have to be gentle with her. There was no telling what her mind was up to. They ate in silence and Hermione cleaned up.
“Goodnight sir.” She said without looking at Severus and left, leaving Severus downstairs in the library.