Those Who Deserve Happiness, Will Get There Just Rewards In The End
“Have you tried Alohomora?”
“Do you think of me to be a dunderhead? I am no Ronald Weasley, I can assure you. I know how to use my wand with ease with the most basics of spells without sending anyone to the Hospital Wing in a matchbox – silly girl!”
“Fine then, sir! Try Bombarda instead!”
“And risk the blasted bits of stone and wood splinter off and imbed in our flesh? No, thank you. This storage closet is small in case it has escaped your attention, Miss Granger! Most of these ingredients are worth more than you or I combined.” He sneered – half-heartedly some might say.
“Infuriating man! I can see that with your billowing, black cloak sweeping about all over me and these ingredients! Merlin, stuck with YOU! Rotten luck, I say.”
“Insufferable Know-It-All! Twenty points from Gryffindor for your insolent cheek!”
“Well make it eighty points you great, big, greasy git! I have four cheeks you know!”
“Believe me, you bushy-headed chit, when I say I know!”
He snapped his mouth shut. Did he really say that? It would surprise most grown men – except of course the omniscient, twinkle-eyed Professor Dumbledore – that the so-called dreaded Potions Master had a soft spot for the Gryffindor Princess. Ever since Lord Voldemort’s defeat and therefore death at the Department of Mysteries in the Ministry of Magic in the Golden Trio’s fifth year, Severus has been trying to get the thought of liking Hermione out of his head. He had attended to her wound from Dolohov on her chest while she was unconscious, thus revealing far more skin than any man had ever seen on her. It gave him a pause to realize that the bossy chit, who had obnoxiously waved her hand around in his class, boasting her wide expanse of knowledge, is now a bossy young lady on the verge of womanhood. And it hit him like a lightning bolt – he liked her.
That night he had drunk himself into a stupor for thinking lewd (not really lewd at all in his defense, but when a man has so much self-loathing everything he does simply must be wrong) thoughts about the under-aged student. However, he discovered that due to the use of her time-turner in her third year and already being a year older than everyone else in her year that she was the legal age of the wizarding world – seventeen. Still he must stop. She couldn’t love the big, bad bat of the dungeons that had made life miserable for her and her idiotic friends since her first year. But he just couldn’t help himself. She was unbelievably kind, beautiful, and of course more intelligent than even some of his colleagues. So, from then on he kept an obsessively close eye on her welfare. Now it was her final year, less than week until the graduation ceremony. She had blossomed into something far more mature beyond her nineteen years of life, most likely due to the amount of time she spent in the wizarding world with its war over prejudice. Hermione was confident, compassionate, and most of all happy whereas he wasn't even content with his lot of life excepting his old megalomaniac master's death. Severus was just bitter because she would leave and he could never see her again.
Lucky for Severus, Hermione was in too much of a tiff to closely analyze his reply. To her it sounded like he said she had a fat arse. You never tell a girl she had a fat arse – especially Hermione Granger. “How dare you, Professor!”
Severus blanched. He could feel his palms start to sweat and he hastily backed up until his back was pressed against the locked door of the potions supply closet. They had been locked in here by accident. He had given Hermione a detention for no particular reason – he only wanted more time with her before she was gone forever – and her task had been organize the supply closet without her wand. However, she had called him in here to ask just how to organize his precious ingredients. As soon as he stormed through the door, it slammed shut, locked itself, and the wards were activated. No one knew they were in there as Hermione had been too embarrassed about her detention to tell anyone about it and Severus was not to be missed as he mostly sulked around his private quarters anyway.
“I do not have a fat arse!” She huffed in self-righteous anger. Hermione crossed her arms to resist the urge to self-consciously pat her rear as if that will fix it. Little did she know she was pushing up her breasts to Severus’s both horror and appreciation. He tried not to stare instead focusing on the rest of her. She had whiskey colored eyes and she looked her age – nineteen. Her once bushy hair had matured along with her body to become a corona of cascading curls of a caramel color. Now they crackled with her magic feeding off her high-strung emotions.
While he admired her, Hermione thought of how Professor Snape had become quite attractive once she hit puberty in her third year. A teenage crush had blossomed and she smothered it into the far, shadowy corner of her heart to fester off of her desires. In such close proximity it was blooming up in her throat, making it hard for her to breathe. Her anger at his presumed-insult nipped that in the bud quick to be fawned over later, preferably when she was not trapped in a closet with thus said crush.
Flustered he replied hotly, “I never said you did!” But I was thinking it.
“But you were thinking it!” she voiced his thoughts.
Severus retorted quickly without thinking for once, “I happen to like your arse, Miss Granger.” He swallowed and the faintest of pinks rose on his sallow cheeks. There was no way she could miss what that implied.
Just like that her anger evaporated. Wait, what? “Wait, what?” She blinked owlishly at him.
Severus chose to say nothing. On the inside however his thoughts were rapid fire. What?! What do you mean “what?”!? I like your fleshy arse. I also like your halo of honey-toned hair and your curves and your deliciously colored chocolate eyes and your Gryffindor courage and your almost Hufflepuff loyalty to those unworthy friends of yours and your incredible Ravenclaw brain and you Slytherin cunning and your fiery-tempered fierceness and your loving heart and the way you bite those bloody strawberry lips of yours all the time in Potions. I wish I could bite it for you. I wish about a lot of things that have to do with you. I wish you loved me like I do you. I also wish that SOMEONE WOULD OPEN THE BLOODY BUGGERING DOOR ALREADY! LET ME OUT SO I CAN DIE ALONE IN MY SELF-PITY!
On the outside, his feelings of fear had been hidden behind his double-agent mask. He quickly slouched against the door, folding his cloak in on him as he crossed his arms, better to hide his dying heart with. His eyes could not hide his anxiety at her reaction though. They had an odd glimmer in their black depths and it looking astonishingly close to hope, however miniscule it might be.
Hermione studied his countenance before going with her gut feeling of being a headstrong Gryffindor and plunging in. “Really, sir?” She uncrossed her arms.
Severus pressed his thin lips together in a tight line. Deny everything! He nodded his head up and down.
“Well thank you. I’m glad someone does. Did you know Ronald said just the other day I could stand to lose a few? Honestly! Just because all of my weight isn’t in my breasts doesn’t make me unattractive does it?”
Against his wishes, Severus murmured quietly, “How rude and incredibly foolish of Mr. Weasley to imply that you are not perfect just how you are. Not having the biggest breasts in the bloody castle doesn’t make you any less of a woman either, Miss Granger.”
"I know that. It is just a little frustrating that all anybody seems to care about is where I carry my weight." She complained, bordering dangerously on a whinge but that is not the picture of elegance and grace she wants to come off as towards the Potions Professor. Snits where she stamped her foot were sworn off and left in the Muggle World the moment she got her Hogwarts Acceptance Letter. Only her friends and Draco Malfoy could inspire those kinds of hissy fits anymore, and that was usually because of some sort of stupid juvenile strife caused by the stress of school. What can she say, Harry and Ron brought out the best in her.
In any situation where Severus was required to be polite by society's standards, he did what he did best. "It seems to me that you carry of your weight, as you say, in that nimbus storm cloud of poodle hair that swarms about your great head that holds your spongy brain, absorbing whatever tidbits and trivia you can gleam from those thick tomes you treasure in your dainty hands." What he did best was make a faux pas that, if one only tilted one's head to one side and squinted one's eyes, would see it to be rather complimentary than insulting as first perceived. His social gaffes were famous in Death Eater revels, Ministry galas, and school board meetings for being an interesting source of humor at anyone's expense - sometimes even his own - while also acheiving his goal of isolating himself from morons too moronic to see that he was trying to be friendly.
Luckily for him, drowning in his own self-made embarrassment and loneliness, Hermione Granger was definitely not a dunderhead. She examined his statement, for once not jumping into anger (or like Harry does in all situations regarding Severus, jumping to the wrong conclusion) and found his statement to be more than what it appears to be at face value. There is a compliment buried in there among rudely admitted truths. Severus is doing more than digging himself into a hole, it seems. "I know you think me to be a know-it-all, sir. However, I never expected you to like my hands."
Shocked that she knew how to play the game, he should have just stopped now while he was ahead. Unfortunately, he just couldn't help himself. "Your hands are perfect for chopping the testicles off a manticore, Miss Granger." Charming. "They are as skilled in that as they are at plucking dusty books of the shelves of the Restricted Section in the library. Don't try to excuse yourself. I know you have been in there many times over the past seven years you have spent here in the castle as a student." That was better until he reminded her of her status as a student. Bugger.
Ignoring his crass for the moment, she inspected his cryptic language with all the detail of a magnifying glass. With the precision of a surgeon, she found him to be giving her the highest sense of praise that could come from a Potions Master. "I do have piano hands, sir. That's what my mum says anyway. Though, I do play the piano. Just not here at Hogwarts. I lack an instrument, but I haven't forgotten my mother's tutelage."
"I doubt you could forget anything, Miss Granger. Otherwise you wouldn't be a know-it-all, now could you?" Was he actually having a conversation with her? And she wasn't crying? Normally he would be shin deep in tears from a student if they couldn't run away. No, not Hermione Granger. She was taking this in stride. It was nice to get to know her.
"Earlier, sir, you have made a comment about my hair," she attempted to smoothly transition her abrupt change of subject so that it didn't sound like she was just fishing for compliments for her ego's sake. "You likened my hair to a dog's afro?" This is going beyond fishing. It was far too serious to be only fishing. She wasn't using a hook and line, but sticks of dynamite. If she wasn't careful, she would hurt them both. But Hermione Granger had a hypothesis to prove, and she was in the middle of a trial run that deserved a proper experiment. At least that's what she logically tried to convince herself. As of now she was too excited and hopeful that this dilemma could actually be the start of...the beginning of something...something. There wasn't a word yet. Perhaps a friendship if she played her cards right in this game?
Oh, it was so much more than a game if hearts were in the balance though. This was a roll of the dice that determined happiness for them both. The question was only if they should be careful or if they should rush headlong and take a chance on chance.
"You have Gorgon hair, Miss Granger. There is no denying that. Just as we cannot deny your insufferable Gryffindor moral compass pointing you up and your Hufflepuff bleeding heart - both of which are responsible for your foolish and admirable stance on House Elves, Hippogryffs, Centaurs, and Werewolves. We cannot deny your Ravenclaw wit and your Slytherin ambition that pushes you to go above and beyond the requirements of every assignment so that your teachers are stuck grading your three feet overly long parchments late into the night. Just like I cannot deny that thankfully you don't have the petrifying abilities of Medusa, with the lone exception of your brilliance and your eyes, Miss Granger." Perhaps, it was fortunately that he continued to babble on like a blathering, rambling idiot at a ministry function.
“Hermione.” She admonished lightly. “If you can say those kind things you can call me by first name, sir.” She is always so happy when she gets things right. Now her heart is pounding and she knows this is definitely going somewhere even if they are stuck here.
To which Severus, shocked by how much he revealed when he is normally so laconic, said in return, “Severus then, Hermione.” It is official that is completely caught off guard by her and now himself.
She smiled beautifully at him. Severus slowly lowered his crossed arms. She had smiled at him. Just at him. No one else was here obviously. So that smile was all for him. Him. Just him and no one else – not Potter the Elder or Younger, not a Weasley, not anyone else but him. His heart soared and he basked in her warm smile before returning it with the tiniest twitch in the corner of his mouth. That made her smile grew because it wasn’t a smile, but it was close, more than she could ever hope so. It was certainly more than he had ever previously given when the smile wasn’t malicious.
At that moment the wards dropped and the door was yanked opened forcefully. Severus, leaning against said door, fell flat on his back at the feet of their rescuer. A pair of blue eyes behind half-moon glasses sparkled at him like a disco ball - the Headmaster. Severus scrambled to his feet with as much dignity as he could muster at the moment. Without a word, Professor Dumbledore took in the scene silently, popped a lemon drop in his mouth, winked at Severus, and then took his leave, humming what suspiciously sounded like “Snape and Hermione kissing in a tree…” – Manipulating, old codger. Hermione and Severus have grown use to the Headmaster’s odd ways by now and took it in stride.
Before Hermione could follow Dumbledore out, Severus blushed and blurted out, “Will you accompany me to the Order’s Summer Victory Celebration after graduation?” Damn. Well, at least I didn’t stutter like Longbottom. Merlin, help me if I stammer like a hormonal fourth year in front of HER.
To his immense relief, Hermione smiled again and chirped, “I’d love to, Severus. See you.”
Watching her leave, focused entirely on how her luscious locks brushed the swell of her buttocks, he thought to himself, I really do like her fleshy arse and I really do love her. Once she had gone, Severus smiled fully with all his teeth. The smile was in no way malicious. He had a feeling that things were finally going to go his way.
Down the hall, an amused and manipulative Headmaster knew of the outcome of the events he may or may not have had a hand in orchestrating. He figured he had caused enough unhappiness in Severus's life in servitude to him that the debt of normalcy had not fully been paid until this day. Now it was out of his hand's, and Severus's future and fate lied completely with him. May things and happiness finally go his way and be welcomed by him as well.