Almost six months ago Severus had made the biggest mistake of his life. He could not stop thinking of what a complete idiot he was. As he stared into his fourth drink that night he had a sudden surge of complete self-hatred. “DAMNIT!” he yelled as he threw the glass into the fireplace, causing it to flare higher.
He slumped back into the couch and put his head in his hands. Every time he had something good in his life he screwed it up. The fate’s must get a really good laugh at his expense.
He had screwed up with Lily, and as if that had not been bad enough, he screwed up with the one woman who was his match in every way. He knew Hermione was the most forgiving person he had ever met, but could she forgive him for being a complete ass?
How is it that you never realize what you have until it is already gone? Granted, it’s not that he had not known he had something amazing with her, he had just had the stupid assumption that he had the right to choose for her that she deserved better than him. Gods, what had he been thinking???
She wanted to be with him. HIM of all people. Merlin only knows why, but he was the one she wanted, and he should have accepted that and gotten on his damn knees and thanked her. Instead he pushed her away in the worst possible way.
Gods, but he missed her. Why, oh why, could he not just go to her? The worst that could happen is that he returns home again without her and her forgiveness. It’s not like that would be any worse than what he was feeling now.
He looked down at his coffee table and seemed to finally open his eyes. He had five empty Ogden’s bottles and the one he had just been drinking from was over half gone. He sighed, completely disgusted with himself, and vanished all of it. He then summoned a sober up potion from his stores and downed it.
With his head clear he realized he had started to fall into his father’s footsteps by becoming an alcoholic. He shuddered at that thought. He swore he would never go there, and now with a clear head, he hated himself even more for letting it get as far as it had.
Hermione hated alcohol. He sighed again. Hermione. What can he do? He wanted her back. He was a selfish and proud man, and he had no problem admitting that, but Hermione at least deserved his apology and an explanation. The only question is, could he let go of his pride for once in his miserable life and go to her? He decided that for her, he could. Hell, he might need to call on some Gryffindor courage while he was at it. He cringed. If she forgave him, she would never let him live that down.
Nodding to himself, he knew what he had to do.
When Hermione had fled from Severus’ home she had spent that entire night crying. She just could not believe he didn’t love her. She had been so sure he felt the same for her as she did for him. The way he looked at her made her feel like the only woman in the world. And his kisses. His kisses made her feel cherished. How could he make her feel so special when he thought so little of her?
The next day she had spent with Harry at Grimmauld Place telling him everything. He had hugged her while she cried on his shoulder and when she had calmed down, he had asked the typical brotherly question: if she wanted him to go beat him up for her. Hermione had laughed and shook her head, knowing he was just trying to make her feel better.
It had taken a couple months, but she had finally managed to get back to a semblance of her normal life, which consisted of work and friends. Ginny and Harry had helped her make her home cozier. When she had gotten the place, she had used it sparingly, choosing instead, to spend most of her time at Severus’ home.
After many arguments Hermione had finally decided to give into Ginny’s incessant demands of having a housewarming party. She had to admit she was having a great time with all of her friends at her home and grudgingly told Ginny, who beamed with her ‘I told you so’ smile.
After they ate dinner they were all gathered in the sitting room having drinks. Neville had just finished telling a funny story about a recent incident with one of his Hufflepuff third years when there was a knock on the door. Everyone looked questioningly toward Hermione, but she just shrugged and told them she’d be right back.
He could hear several voices, and then he heard her laugh. God, how he had missed that sound. He did not want to interrupt her while she had company, but he knew that if he did not do this now, he may never gather the courage again. Now or never he thought. He raised his hand, took a deep breath, and knocked.
He could hear her tell her friends she would be right back, and a few seconds later the door opened. Her laughing smile immediately dropped when she saw him. “What are you doing here? It’s pouring out, are you crazy?”
He dropped his head and looked down. “I am crazy, but not for that reason.” When he looked back up she had a shocked look on her face. “And what is that supposed to mean, Severus?”
“Could we talk, Hermione? Please?”
She looked behind her for a second and when she turned back around she said, “fine. What is it?”
“I was so stupid, Hermione. I am no better than the dunderheads that I have taught. Can you ever forgive me?”
Then they heard a voice from inside. “Hermione, who is it? What’s taking so long?” Just then, Potter came into view behind her. “Snape! What do you want? Back to break her heart some more?!?”
“What do you mean you don’t love me, Severus?!? Is that what I’m supposed to believe from the way you look at me and the way you kiss me? I don’t believe you! You love me! Just as I love you! You must! I know it!”
He rounded at her with as much anger as he could. “Of course I do not love you! How could I?!?! You are nothing short of irritating and you could never compare to Lily!”
He had known exactly which buttons to push to push her away. He knew she was self-conscious about her studying and questions being irritating. He also knew Lily had nothing on HER, but she was constantly feeling as though she could never compare to his first love.
He could not risk her choosing someone else over him one day. And she would. She was far too brilliant and beautiful to be with him for long. Best to end it now. She will get over it soon, and she will be happy it ended and find someone better than him.
She had stood there for a couple minutes gaping at him, shocked, with tears silently falling. It nearly made him take back his words and rush to her to tell her he did not mean any of it. But then she had turned and ran out of his house, quickly dissaparating when she got past his wards.
“I deserve that, Mr. Potter. Hell, I deserve so much more than that.” He then turned to look at Hermione. “But if Hermione will let me, I would like to explain myself.” He looked at her, waiting for a response. He knew her other friends had joined Potter behind her, waiting for her response. She nodded briefly and he jumped at the chance she was giving him, audience be damned.
“Hermione, six months ago when you told me you loved me, I was overjoyed, yet terrified. I had been in love only once before you. She chose someone else. Someone better. I was sure you would do the same. I should have known you better than that, though.” He sighed “I lied that night.” He took a step closer to her.
“You are not irritating. Not in the slightest. I love our talks. No one else can challenge my ideas like you can. No one else shares my love of books. No one else can answer my questions with her own amazingly insightful questions. But that is not all I lied about that night. You are beautiful, incredible, wonderful, compassionate, and no one could ever compare to you. Not even Lily. I loved her, yes. She was my first love, but you are so much more than that. You are my soul mate, my true love. I love you with all that I am, Hermione. I am so sorry that I was a coward. I thought you could do better than me. I did not want to get hurt again. I was wrong. I hurt myself by hurting you. And hurting you was the most painful thing I have ever gone through. It has taken me six months to swallow my pride and gather the courage to face you again.”
“If you give me another chance I will spend every single day showing you exactly how much you mean to me. I will never hurt you again and I will always be there for you. However, I will completely understand if you have moved on or do not want anything else to do with me. It is my own fault for taking so long. I just had to tell you. I will wait for you. Even if you never come back to me, I will always be waiting for you. I love you.”
He reached up and cupped her cheek. He looked into her eyes for a moment, trying to convey his love for her. He slowly lowered his hand and stepped back. He noticed that all her friends behind her had looks of shock and awe. He slowly turned around, and with one final look at her, started to walk away back into the rain.
Just as he was about to dissaparate, he heard her call to him. It was exactly what he had been hoping for. It made his heart skip a beat and his breath catch.
He turned around just in time for her to run into his arms. Even though the rain was hiding the tears, he could tell she was crying. He brought his hands up to hold her cheeks.
“You do not get to make a declaration like that and then just walk away! You stupid man! You are supposed to kiss me!”
He didn’t waste any time in capturing her lips with his. He sighed into the kiss, grateful that the fates had brought her to him and that she was giving him another chance.
She slowly pulled away and looked up at him. “How do you plan on proving to me that you won’t push me away again?”
“Simple.” He said. “I plan to make you my wife.”
She gaped at him, surprised. “If that is your idea of a proposal, Severus Tobias Snape, I suggest you rethink that!”
He laughed out loud and kissed her again. He then got down on one knee, and in the middle of Hermione’s yard, in the pouring rain, in the middle of the night, he asked “Hermione Jean Granger, will you marry this poor old sod who was an idiot to push you away?”He watched, completely mesmerized, as she smiled and nodded. As he slipped the ring on her finger all he could think was that he never wanted to be the reason for her to frown or cry ever again. He swore to himself he would do all he could to keep that smile on her face for the rest of their lives.