Hermione woke up to the smell of soap and sandalwood. She opened her eyes to see Crookshanks bathing himself in the bedroom window. A grey sky was reflecting pinks and yellows. A strong arm was thrown over her pinning her to the bed.
She examined the hand near her eyes. Small black hairs grew across the back of it, getting thicker as it went up his arm.
Hermione tried to extract herself by sliding away and out of the bed. When she started to stir, Severus groaned in his sleep and pulled her closer, spooning her firmly. His morning erection was pressing firmly into her bottom.
‘Oh, this is not fair,’ Hermione thought crossly looking at the ceiling. ‘He wouldn’t want this if he was awake and it’s taking advantage of him.’
He shifted himself and one of his hands ended up firmly cupping one of her breasts. Hermione found herself shifting along with him and positioned his erection more comfortably against her. The side effect that it was positioned in a far more pleasurable spot for her was completely beside the point. Her breathing became ragged.
Severus’ eyes flew open. He was holding Hermione in a most inappropriate way, not to mention his nether regions seemed to take control in his sleep and had plans of their own. He looked at her. Her eyes were closed. Probably dreaming of Weasley or another boy her age. She would be a prize for whatever man she chose. He leaned over and placed a kiss on her shoulder.
He slowly loosened his grip and slid over to his side of the bed to regain his senses.
Hermione crossed her eyes in frustration. She tried to control her breathing and not jump on her husband. She turned to look at him. His eyes were closed and his breathing was deep as he lay on his back.
She sighed and rose for the day. Maybe a long relaxing bath with a pulsing showerhead would relax her. She grabbed her blue bathrobe and walked to the bathroom.
Severus cracked an eyelid as he heard the door click shut. He looked at the tip of his erection and saw dampness on the fabric. He swirled a fingertip in it absentmindedly and smelled it.
It was most certainly not his scent. He felt himself throb. He untied the waistband of his pajamas and dipped his hand underneath. He heard the water of the bath running in the walls and knew she wouldn’t be back immediately. He scraped as much of her scent onto his fingers and breathed in deeply. Not more than a few drops at the most, but a most intoxicating aphrodisiac.
Severus tasted his fingers, tentatively and ran his hand over his shaft, his hand gripping it firmer. He closed his eyes and entertained a fantasy that he had slowly pulled her nightgown to her waist, smacked her bottom firmly, and placed soft kisses over her shoulders as he ripped her panties off and slid his cock in slowly.
In his fantasy she bucked against him, insisting one of his hands slide over her sex to a rhythm she liked and the other to pull gently and twist one of her nipples.
As he exploded the Dream Hermione climaxed, screaming his name. He felt the soft droplets fall over his shirt. He took a moment to regain his breath and looked down at himself. He felt a thin crust cracking on his upper lip as fluids began to dry and crack.
He blushed furiously. This was depraved. He ripped his pajamas off and went to the cupboard to get his clothing so he could dress for the day.
As Hermione walked back in the bedroom she saw Severus washing his face in a basin on a small table near one of the walls. In the morning light she could see her room clearer. Dark grey brocade wallpaper ran over the walls, only interrupted by pewter fixtures and accents.
Severus looked up at Hermione. She gave him a dirty look briefly before walking to her armoire and pulling a dark brown cloak.
Severus couldn’t imagine what he had done wrong. Perhaps the time change was affecting her adversely.
“I think mother and father will be departing after breakfast,” Severus said, drying his face with a small towel.
“What will we do for the rest of the day?” Hermione asked, pinning the cloak closed with a pewter broach.
“I was thinking of seeking conversation with the Mystics,” Severus said. We will see if they will meet us here.
“Why aren’t we going to them?” Hermione asked, disappointed she wouldn’t be able to see the library.
“Hermione I think you should sit down,” Severus said seriously.
Hermione sat down in a large overstuffed chair.
“Is there something wrong?” she asked confused. “Are they dark wizards?”
“They’re as neutral as one can possibly get,” said Severus dryly. “Their uninvolvement in world affairs has raised eyebrows on more than one occasion.”
“All right,” said Hermione slowly.
“They are called ‘brotherhood’ for a reason, Hermione,” said Severus gently.
“No women allowed,” said Hermione flatly. She began to wonder why she even came along.
“There is a reason for it, Hermione,” said Severus.
“Really, I’d love to hear it,” said Hermione hotly.
“Do you know about the Amazons?” Severus asked.
“The one breasted archers that wiped out some Greeks by making them think they were prostitutes sent to reward them and killed them in their sleep?” Hermione asked.
“What a flair you have for retelling history,” Severus said disdainfully.
“Anyway,” Hermione said sharply. She really was flustered. Severus tried not to laugh at her stubborn expression.
“Anyway, you have studied the Balance of Energies theory, haven’t you?” Severus asked.
“Of course,” Hermione snapped at him. “There are feminine and masculine energies in magic using. They can be volatile if applied wrong.”
“Exactly,” said Severus dryly. “At one point the Amazons and the Mystics were at war. Siberia was the result of a major battle. Millions of muggles were killed.”
“Good lord,” said Hermione, sagging slightly.
“After the Amazons were wiped out, to prevent from any stray daughters from enacting some silly pact of revenge, the library was warded,” Severus said quietly, knowing how disappointed she was. “And polyjuice won’t work, it was tried once. The result was – a mess.”
Hermione flinched. She didn’t know whether it was because she had been thinking of using polyjuice or because she had stolen the ingredients to make it back in her second year.
“I promise I will see what I can do,” said Severus.
“Thank you,” Hermione said dully, trying but failing to hide the disappointment in her voice.
Twice and it hadn’t even been breakfast yet.
Anastasia Snape downed the contents of the small blue bottle halfway through her breakfast and made a bitter face. Hermione looked at the bottle curiously.
A droplet on the lip of the bottle shimmered silvery green in the sunlight falling softly through the tree branches in the dining room.
“It’s a youth serum Severus came up with while he was still in school.” Anastasia beamed. “He was such a clever little boy.”
“Really, Mother,” Severus pinkened under Hermione’s gaze. He noticed her look, delighted and surprised at his embarrassment. He felt the pink deepen into a red.
“He came up with this at Hogwarts?” Hermione asked.
“It was his 7th year project,” said Jacob. “His mother begged him to try it.”
“I just wanted to see him make something useful,” Anastasia insisted. Hermione caught Jacob roll his eyes before his face disappeared behind the Russian language paper he was reading. Hermione couldn’t read the headline, but it looked like Viktor Krum’s wife, Tristan had given birth to twin girls. Tears were openly streaming down his smiling face as he held one of the tiny girls. Tristan looked weary, but smiled at the camera holding the other girl.
Anastasia noticed Hermione’s gaze.
“You are a fan of Bulgaria?” Anastasia asked.
“She’s a friend of Krum’s,” Snape said taking a sip of his tea.
“Viktor Krum is your friend?” Jacob’s interest was suddenly piqued.
“We met during the tri-wizard tournament,” said Hermione. “We went to the ball together.”
“You’re that girl?” Anastasia said amazed and glancing at Severus.
“Mother,” Severus said, not bothering to hide his disappointment. “You’ve been reading those rags again.”
“Well,” said Anastasia huffing. “One can’t help but hear international news.”
“That pathetic fib made international news,” Hermione said incredulously.
“So, before this gets silly what really happened?” Jacob said curiously. Hermione thanked any higher power that was listening that at least one person in this family had sense.
“I’m friends with Harry,” Hermione said. “I’m friends with Viktor, though he had a bit of a crush on me for awhile. Obviously he’s gotten over it.”
Jacob looked at the front of the paper.
“Obviously,” he said. “Well I, for one, am glad that’s been cleared up.”
Hermione heard a tone of finality and knew Anastasia would talk of it no longer. Her mother had a tone that was similar.
“So,” Hermione said, going back to Anastasia. “What does the potion do, exactly?”
“If you drink them religiously you can slow down the aging process,” Anastasia said. “If you’re elderly it can reverse the aging process altogether.”
“How does it do that?” Hermione asked.
“It makes the body think it’s still growing. It builds and replenishes new cells at an advanced rate,” Severus said. “Then it causes the old cells to slough off so you don’t get all lumpy with build up.”
“That was a bug that took awhile to work out,” said Jacob, his shoulders shaking with laughter behind his paper.
“It wasn’t funny,” said Anastasia hotly. “If you were a gentleman you’d never speak of it again.”
“Then I’m jolly well glad I’m no gentleman,” said Jacob from behind his paper. Then he burped.
“I cannot eat with a pig,” said Anastasia throwing down her napkin. “I’m going to gather our things.” She rose and stormed off.
“Nosy thing, isn’t she?” said Jacob, lowering his paper when he was sure Anastasia was gone.
“Too late to do anything about it now,” Severus said shrugging. He turned to Hermione. “I’m sorry you have to be inflicted with this. She’ll get into your parentage at some point. Just remember: she really doesn’t intend to be mean or malicious, she just doesn’t know any better.”
“Alright,” said Hermione. “I’m sure she would never mean any harm.”
“Indeed,” said Jacob behind his paper, making Hermione wonder.
Severus and Hermione saw his Jacob and Anastasia off after lunch. Hermione watched curiously as Jacob loaded up the flying carpet.
“You ever seen one?” he asked, watching her expression.
“No,” Hermione said.
“You should get Severus to take you on an aerial tour with the estate carpet,” Jacob said. “He was never very much good on a broom, but he can manage a carpet alright.”
“I’ll remind him, later,” said Hermione, glancing back at the house and making out the shadows of Severus and Anastasia arguing in the kitchen window.
“Don’t let the Snape temperament put you off,” said Jacob tying down a large red trunk. “We’re a fairly vocal group.”
“I knew that,” said Hermione chuckling.
“Suppose you did,” said Jacob smiling at her. “You seem to be a strong girl, you’ll do fine. Don’t let him walk over you.”
“I don’t plan on it,” said Hermione, straightening herself a bit.
“No one ever plans on it,” said Jacob with an amused look on his face.
Suddenly there was a loud noise from the house.
“Jacob!” Anastasia shrieked out the now open kitchen window. It was more of a command than a request.
“See what I mean,” said Jacob finishing his knot and standing up straight. “Yes, my dear?” Jacob yelled back. Hermione noticed he made no move to get closer to the house.
“Tell Severus he must at least come visit us for a week in France during his break,” Anastasia demanded.
“I’m sure we can manage a week,” said Hermione under her breath before something reflecting the annoyed look on Jacob’s face came out of his mouth.
“They’re on their honeymoon,” said Jacob exasperatedly. “They want some time alone, darling.”
“They can untangle themselves for a week,” said Anastasia firmly. “We have bedchambers in France as well.”
“Mother!” Hermione heard Severus behind her in the kitchen, appalled. She waved a hand dismissively at him.
“I’m sure we can stop on our way back to Britain,” yelled Hermione.
Anastasia looked smug as she retreated back to the kitchen, closing the shutters as she pulled her head back in.
“Last stop on the way home,” said Jacob. “Good choice.”
Severus and Hermione waved his parents off and retreated back into the kitchens.
“Pieter should be here soon,” said Severus. He stoked a fire in the kitchen fireplace and set the table for tea.
“Can I help?” asked Hermione.
“The elves made small cakes last night,” said Severus absentmindedly. “They should be in the large crystal cube in the counter.”
Hermione tried not to cringe at the mention of the house elves. She knew they must be present, but she was hoping to discover their whereabouts and recruit them into S.P.E.W. later.
Hermione looked at the crystal cube on the counter. It was frosted and she could see something in it, although she couldn’t figure out how to open it. Severus looked over her shoulder when he couldn’t figure out what was taking her so long.
“One of the brightest students at Hogwarts can’t figure out how to open a preservation chamber?” Severus said silkily behind her.
Hermione was no longer a student at Hogwarts. He could no longer treat her like a fool. They shared the same name, although not the same life. They were partners in the Order. Plus, she was still annoyed at him after his display this morning. She decided to take Jacobs advice.
She brought her bent arm back sharply and felt it sink into Severus’ gut.
His chin smacked the top of her head firmly as he doubled over.
They both fell to the floor as they tried to balance themselves.
“Well it’s nice to see Albus has chosen competent agents,” boomed a thick Russian-accented voice behind them.
“Hello, Pieter,” said Severus pulling himself up from the floor and offering Hermione a hand, although he was still rubbing his sore stomach. She looked up, rubbing the top of her head. Severus was smiling at her. A lock of black hair dangled in his face and she noticed little lines framing his black eyes as the corners of his mouth curled up.
She felt light-headed. It must be from the bump on her head.
Pieter reached out to her other hand and the men pulled her to her feet.
Pieter was a dark haired, tall wizard with a long black beard he kept tucked in his gold belt. His deep burgundy robes seemed to be made out of thick wool. Hermione could see the tips of black curly-toed boots poking out from under his hem. His white teeth glinted ferally at her from the depths of his facial hair. One of his bright blue eyes winked at her.
“Thank you,” said Hermione. She watched as Pieter slid the top of the seamless box to the side and grabbed a small cake.
“Where are Uncle Jacob and Auntie Stacy?” Pieter asked. Hermione began to wonder if she should just assume every black-haired sarcastic wizard was related to Severus.
“Just missed them,” said Severus. “If you wanted to see them you should have been here last night. It would look suspicious if you just showed up in the afternoon as they were leaving.”
“I’d say I was taking an afternoon off and taking you fishing,” Pieter said in thickly accented English, pouring himself a cup of tea. “They would believe that.”
“Quite true,” said Severus thoughtfully. “What are you doing Saturday?”
“Fishing with you,” said Pieter, not looking at him, but smiling at Hermione. “Do you fish, young lady?”
“Depends on where it’s from,” said Hermione thinking of the perch outside her window.
“You do not like the ledge at Hogwarts?” boomed Pieter laughing heartily. “It does have the tendency to put one off the first time, but there are fine fish in the lake.”
“The place we go here is much more conventional,” said Severus, putting a cake in front of Hermione. “There’s a lake on the grounds. Father keeps it stocked.”
“Then I would very much enjoy it,” said Hermione politely.
“What a partner,” Pieter said smiling at Hermione. “She is smart and she likes to fish. Could such a vision be more perfect?” He reached out and put a gentle kiss on the back of her hand, his blue eyes never leaving hers.
Hermione’s cheeks felt warm. No one had ever talked to her like that. No one had ever looked at her like that.
Severus suddenly found his mind full of homicidal thoughts involving his cousin.
“So how is Anna?” said Severus. To his annoyance his voice seemed a bit high and he thought it cracked slightly.
“Wonderful,” said Pieter smiling widely. “We are expecting a child again!”
“Good God man, get a hobby!” exclaimed Severus, reaching out to shake Pieter’s hand. “What is it now, three?”
“This is the fourth,” said Pieter proudly. “I hope this one is a boy. Then we will have two of each.”
“Congratulations,” said Hermione. “When will the baby be here?”
“Actually, any day now,” Pieter admitted. “Anna says it has moved in the right way and we will see them soon.”
“Should you be away from home?” asked Hermione.
“No,” said Pieter. “I have a coin enchanted to vibrate when it is time. I can apperate to her in the blink of an eye.”
“Should be used to it by now,” said Severus smirking into his cup of tea.
“When are you going to find a woman good enough for you, Severus?” asked Pieter. “Your house should be full of little shrieking voices. You would be amazed how relaxing it is.”
“I have an entire school full of children,” said Severus, glancing at Hermione. “That’s relaxing enough.”
“You never know,” Pieter said his eyes twinkling. “After your mission is over you may decide not to bother with a divorce.”
Hermione and Severus felt their cheeks burn. Severus reached out to refill his teacup. Hermione took a bite of her cake. They avoided each others gaze like their lives depended on it.
Pieter inwardly shook his head. That Shacklebolt fellow was right. These two had it bad. This was pathetic. Something had to be done.
“You will dine with us tonight!” said Pieter. “I will bring the documents Albus wants you to look over. Anna would love to see you.”
“That would be wonderful,” said Hermione before Severus could say no. “We’ll look forward to it.”
Severus shook his head slightly into his teacup as he took a sip. Pieter was planning something. It made him nervous.