Hermione started at the picture in front of her. “What the hell?”
“Indeed,” said Severus, frowning. He rose and walked to the bathroom. Hermione rose and followed him, grabbing a roll on the way and eating it quickly.
Severus stared at the mirror above Hermione’s sink, his hands gripping the edge of the stonework.
“Reveal yourself,” he demanded.
“Well that’s not very polite,” said Hermione furrowing her eyebrows at him.
Severus looked at her.
“It’s a mirror,” said Severus as if explaining something very simple to a small child.
“I know it’s a mirror,” said Hermione visibly annoyed. “But it’s been here far longer than either you or I and if someone tromped into my home and started demanding things I’d tell it where to go.”
“It is nice to see one of you has manners,” said a gentle faced elderly witch from the mirror. She was dressed in ancient robes of light blue. Gold runes seemed to be etched into the white fur that winded its way around the brim of her tall hat.
Severus jumped back so suddenly he tripped over Hermione’s towel warmer and fell backwards. He sat down hard and banged his head on the opposite wall.
“For crying out loud,” Hermione muttered under her breath. She ran to help Severus and to assess whether he had really harmed himself.
“If you do not take care he might injure himself,” the witch said concernedly. “He is a bit tickle-brained, is he?”
”I beg your pardon!” Snape looked annoyed. Hermione quickly assessed the only thing he had hurt was his pride.
“I’m terribly sorry, Madame,” Hermione said. “We just uncovered your existence and he’s a bit…” she searched for a word.
“Paranoid?” supplied the witch.
“That works,” said Hermione, helping Severus to his feet.
“I do suppose it would be
a shock,” said the witch kindly. “The last time I spoke to a soul was the year
of our lord 1742. Then
“I believe you have a bit to catch up on,” said Hermione hesitantly. She winced, not knowing what the mirrors reaction would be. “Its1997.”
“I see,” said the witch slowly, obviously shocked. “I cannot understand why I have been left so long. I put so much thought into the area; I thought it would be useful for generations.” She seemed disappointed.
“You’re Helga Hufflepuff?” said Hermione, breathless. Severus stiffened beside her.
“Why yes, dear,” said Helga, gently. “I am sorry I did not introduce myself forthwith.”
“How did you get in a
common mirror?” asked Severus stiffly. Hermione looked at his frowning face and
gave him a testy look. “Why would
“I commissioned a portrait
of myself before my death,” said Helga. “Then I hid the portrait within the
mirror. I don’t know why
“How could you put a portrait into a mirror?” asked Hermione with a confused look on her face.
“Because mirrors used to be made of mercury and glass,” said Severus in a normal tone of voice. “What a clever trick.”
“Thank you, sir” said Helga sincerely, bowing her head; not offended at all that someone hundreds of years her junior called her brilliant enchantment a ‘clever trick.’
“Mercury and glass?” Hermione said questioningly.
“When creating an object that turns into a teleportation portal, a combination of mercury and glass is used to produce a main component in the anointing potion,” Severus said as if quoting a textbook. “Since the portrait would be hidden, not actually teleported anywhere, all the mirror would have to do is become a point of stasis.”
“What?” said Hermione, for once a bit blustered. Severus smirked slightly. He would file that look away for reference later. He mentally admonished himself for having such a thought.
“I made a pocket of space, tossed the portrait in and closed it up,” said Helga. “He is just trying to impress you.”
“I am not,” said Severus a little too quickly.
“Yes, you are,” said Helga knowingly. “I have 5 sons. Do not tell me what you are thinking; I see it in your face before you do think it.”
Severus was suddenly glad he had taken refuge in the other rooms rather than waking up to this every morning.
Hermione giggled slightly.
“You reside here now, dear?” Helga asked Hermione.
“Yes ma’am,” said Hermione. She quickly explained the law passed by the ministry and why a student was residing in the quarters of a professor before Helga began to ask. Hermione had a feeling she was a woman that was something to be afraid of when roused.
Severus was suddenly reminded of Molly Weasley.
“I beg your pardon?” she squawked loudly. “Impertinent fool-born lout!” she thundered. “Leave it to a man to come up with such a beef-witted idea.”
Hermione blinked a few times. So did Severus. It had been awhile since Helga had spoken to anyone.
Hermione made a mental note to convince Helga to teach her medieval slang later.
“Don’t tell me,” Helga blustered on. “He’s a descendent of that flap-mouthed Salazar. Never did have anything to rattle between his ears. I do suspect his offspring would fare no better.”
Hermione and Severus were both silent. Their faces went slack of expression.
“Something is horribly wrong,” said Helga. Her eyes darted from Severus to Hermione. “What has happened?”
Severus reached up and pulled the mirror off the wall. Helga looked startled and grabbed the inside of the frame to keep her balance as she was jostled around.
“I’m not going to eat my dinner in a bathroom,” he said. “And if I have to discuss unpleasant things I’m not going to be hungry.”
They left the bathroom together and settled down for their meal. Helga’s eyes widened as Hermione pulled the overstuffed chair over to her table. Severus propped the mirror up in it so they could talk to Helga comfortably.
“Has Hogwarts degraded to a state where they cannot even afford to cook its food?” Helga asked, appalled.
Hermione quickly explained sushi to her and assured her it was very good. Helga then spotted the photographs and Hermione had to remember what she knew about the history of photography. She was thankful Colin tended to be a bit long winded about things.
“Well,” said Helga, trying to take in some of the changes.
Severus decided the best
place to start was after
Dinner was finished, Dobby returned to clear their plates and Severus stopped him as he was leaving.
“Dobby, I would like it if you could put a hook in a prominent place in the receiving room for Mistress Hufflepuffs mirror,” said Severus.
“Yes sir,” said Dobby cheerfully. “Is there anything else you would be wanting sir?”
“Some dessert, perhaps,” said Severus.
“Only if it isn’t too much trouble,” said Hermione hastily, shooting Severus a warning look.
“Some dessert and one hook,” repeated Dobby. “I will return shortly sir and madams.”
“Thank you, Dobby,” said Severus. “Where were we?”
“Grindelwald,” said Hermione.
Severus continued talking through their dessert of trifle and by the time Dobby wheeled in Severus tea service he had begun talking about Tom Riddle and Voldemort. By the time he had finished Helga was shaking her head in sorrow.
“I never thought anyone would pay that lack-witted fool an ounce of thought past his death,” Helga said.
Severus stayed uncomfortably silent. Helga didn’t seem to notice.
“So that is where we are, is it?” Helga asked.
“Yes,” said Hermione. “Pretty much, you’re up to date.”
“I would thank you for taking the time to speak with me,” said Helga smiling, although strained. “I would much like to see my lodgings. I would expect you are ready to retire.”
Hermione thanked Helga for revealing herself to them and bid her and Severus a good night before Severus carried the mirror into his receiving room. The stone arch shrunk into the form of the purring cat once again.
A gaudy gold gilded frame lay attached to the wall near the cat with a hook nailed in the center. Red velvet curtains hung from either side so the mirror could be hidden if desired. The elf did seem to take things to the extreme.
Severus hung the mirror and Helga smiled at him.
“What are you smiling about?” Severus asked, uncomfortable.
“You both claim this is a marriage of convenience, but she has caught your eye,” Helga said knowingly.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said Severus, visibly caught off guard.
“You respect her mind,” Helga said simply. “What else could one want in a wife?”
“Who says I want a wife?” asked Severus scowling.
“I didn’t say you wanted one,” said Helga. “You need one.”
“I do not need one,” he sniffed imperiously. “I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself.”
“That’s what they all say,” said Helga, furrowing her eyebrows at him.
Severus threw his hands in the air and stormed into his rooms. He slammed the door behind him.
“Impertinent whelp,” Helga puffed. “He can’t deny it forever.”
Hermione lay on her back, staring at the underside of her canopy. The moon light streamed in her window and filled the room with pale blue light.
Hermione couldn’t help but think how romantic it was. This was quickly followed with the realization that the trifle went straight to her head. She giggled to herself in the dark.
As she fell asleep she wondered what it would be like if he kissed her again.
“Best of luck to you, my dear,” said Professor Flitwick to Hermione as he shook her hand heartily.
Graduation day had crept up on them. Hermione smiled at her tiny professor before giving him a hug. When they broke apart Flitwick burst into tears.
“There, there,” said Professor Hooch, turning to pat him on the back.
“They grow up so fast,” Flitwick said to no one in particular as he wiped his face with a large blue handkerchief. A Ravenclaw girl gave him a hug and he bawled harder.
“Wouldn’t quite be the same if Flitwick didn’t get the vapors at least once during the ceremony,” Snape remarked to Hermione as she took her place beside him at the end of the row of teachers.
“He does this every year?” said Hermione, giggling.
“Yup,” said Severus, opening his program. “There’s just the closing speech and the end-of-year feast left.”
“What’s the rush?” Hermione asked.
tonight,” Severus said simply. “You, Ron, Harry and Neville will be inducted
into the Order of the
“What!” Hermione squeaked. “So soon? It’s that easy?”
“We decided we’d better act soon or you might be up to real mischief,” Severus said, trying not to snicker.
“Thank you for your faith,” said Hermione dryly.
A thunderclap sounded over
“Well,” said Dumbledore smiling. “Who’s up for biscuits?”
“I’m in,” said George Weasley.
“Good idea,” said Fred.
“I’ll go put a kettle on,” said Arthur Weasley, patting his wife Molly on the shoulder.
“Congratulations,” said Remus Lupin, looking at the trio through heavy-lidded eyes.
“Thanks,” said Hermione. Ron and Harry were already going over some diagram with Fred and George.
“I hear you’ve already been given an assignment,” said Remus smiling slightly.
“You’re going to
“To see the Mystic Brotherhood,” Hermione said, a little awed.
“I’m sure you’ll do fine,” Remus said, taking a teacup with a few biscuits perched on the saucer from Arthur. “I’m sure you’ll find the trip very informative.”
“Rasputin was a member,” Ron said, relaxing a little. “They’re supposed to have one of the largest libraries in existence.”
“I know,” said Hermione. “I wonder if I’ll even get a look at it.”
“Wish you well, Hermione,” said Harry, looking happy and sad all at once.
“Thanks,” said Hermione, feeling a ball tighten in her chest.
They were graduated, assigned and would be split up soon. She felt like she was loosing a part of herself when she looked at Ron and Harry. She would not cry. That would set them all off and that wouldn’t make a very good impression.
“I’m very proud of you, Neville,” said Mrs. Longbottom, beaming.
Neville smiled shyly at the room, surprised he was even asked to join the Order.
“So what is the Mystic Brotherhood?” Harry asked.
“Private school,” said Fred. “Really elite. They only take a few students at a time.”
“Dedicated to the retention and acquisition of information,” said Neville. “Bunch of leftover monks.”
“But very powerful,” said Dumbledore, sitting down across from them and dipping his biscuit in his tea. He turned towards Severus who was sitting silently to his right. “Will you be staying at your estate, Severus?”
“I was planning to, yes,” said Severus. Ron started shooting daggers with his eyes at Severus. “There are 23 rooms in the estate, Ron. I assure you the young lady will have more privacy than entirely needed.”
Ron turned red.
“Really, Ron,” Molly said to her son, annoyed. “This ridiculous sham of a marriage is the perfect excuse to take a trip to see the Mystics.” Hermione wondered who she was more annoyed with.
“It really is the chance of a lifetime,” Hermione said, trying to diffuse the situation.
“So that’s the way it’s going to be then?” Ron said stiffly.
“It’s the way it has to be,” said Hermione softly.
“If you’ll excuse me, I’ve lost my appetite,” said Ron, pushing himself away from the table and standing up.
“Come on, Ron,” said Harry, pleadingly.
“I know it’s the way things have to be,” said Ron sadly. “I didn’t say I had to like it.” Ron walked into the next room. They heard him use floo powder to go home.
“Where’d Ron go?” asked Arthur, sitting down next to Neville.
“Didn’t take Hermione’s assignment well,” said Remus.
“Ah,” said Arthur. “Well, he’ll be busy enough soon. It’ll distract him a bit.”
“We’ll keep him busy,” said George, rubbing his hands together over the large parchment spread out in front of him.
“Just keep an eye on him,” said Molly. “It’s not easy for him.”
“Will do,” said Fred, reaching out for a quill and tugging on Harrys shoulder to get his attention back to the diagram.
“How did it go?” Helga asked excitedly as Hermione and Severus walked back into their chambers through the fireplace.
“She’s now a member of the Order,” said Severus seriously. Hermione thought he’d be at least a little bit excited for her.
“Well you don’t need to sound so excited,” Helga said annoyed. “You might burst with enthusiasm.”
“It’s a very dangerous assignment,” Severus said, walking over to the tea service and pouring him a cup. Hermione thanked the inventor of Ever Perking Pots.
“It’s a research assignment,” said Hermione.
“It’s too close to the Dark Lord for my taste,” said Severus bitterly. He walked into his rooms and came back out with a flask. He poured a healthy dollop of whisky into his tea, repeated the procedure with another cup and handed it to Hermione.
Thank you,” Hermione said as she accepted the cup. As she drank she felt the burn of the alcohol down her throat. She really wished she had eaten more than a few biscuits during the day. She had even picked at her food during the feast, she had been so nervous about the induction ceremony for the Order.
“I believe I may be able to get you a few tomes from the library to examine, even if I can’t get you full access,” said Severus taking a sip from his cup.
“That would be incredible,” said Hermione downing her cup. With the day over, she suddenly felt her hunger creep up on her. She felt too lazy to go all the way to the kitchens for food. She reached for the teapot again and refilled her cup. “Thank you.”
“I think you’ll like the Russian Estate,” said Severus thoughtfully. “It has a small library of its own. Although the books are fairly common for the area, you may find them interesting.”
Hermione sipped at her tea and tasted whisky. Apparently the cups were enchanted to remember how you liked your tea and dressed it accordingly. She sipped slower. She was graduated and in the Order. It was cause for some celebration.
“I’m sure I’ll find something to catch my interest,” she assured him.
“I’m sure you shall,” said Severus.
Hermione slid one leg out of her bed and placed it flat on the floor. The room stopped spinning slightly. After four cups of tea, Severus had to help her to bed. He had assured her he would have a potion ready to help her with her inevitable headache in the morning. Then he had the nerve to smirk at her.
She stared at the underside of her canopy, annoyed. It was his idea to drink the damn whisky in the first place. He had probably done it to make her look foolish in the first place.
He had helped her to her chamber and got her sleeping things for her. Hermione didn’t doubt he’d help her change if asked, but she blushed at the mere thought of disrobing in front of him. He had smirked at her! The nerve!
The worst part was that he looked so attractive when he did it Hermione couldn’t get it out of her mind.
“It’s just the whisky,” Hermione muttered to herself. Crookshanks meowed questioningly and butted his head against Hermiones left hand. She scratched him absentmindedly. He purred and curled up against her to sleep.
Hermione found herself slipping in and out of sleep. Severus’ face swam in front of her in and out of dream. She slid a hand down under the waistband of her under things. She moaned quietly.
‘I would never be doing this without the alcohol,’ thought Hermione to herself. ‘Best get it over with as quickly as possible.’ She breathed in near a lock of her hair that picked up the scent of him and felt her body react to the sweet smell of sandalwood.
Hermione imagined Severus placing the gentle kiss he had given her on their wedding day on more private parts of her person. She wondered what his nose would cause her body to do.
Hermione twisted her form under the sheets. She allowed herself to get near to climax, but didn’t allow herself to fall over the edge. She teased herself higher and higher as her thoughts about Severus grew more carnal.
She plunged two fingers into herself and cried out a climax. She instantly clamped her hand to her mouth before she remembered she didn’t share a bedroom with 2 other girls. She giggled in the dark and finished enjoying her afterglow.
“Nothing to be ashamed of,” Hermione giggled to herself as she turned over and cuddled under her covers. “He’s my husband, after all.”
She laughed aloud at the absurdity of it all.