Severus loved her laugh. He loved that he could pick out the sound in a crowded room and the way she would throw her head back and expose the soft skin of her neck. Not that he knew it was soft, but...he could imagine.
The youngest Mr. Weasley seemed to make her laugh the most, though.
Severus loved the bright spark in her eyes. It was a tell-tale sign that she was enjoying the verbal sparring match her opponent provided.
That was Draco’s job, it seemed.
Severus loved her little indignant pout whenever Mrs. Potter--with her fiery temper--or Miss Lovegood--with her non-sensical conversation--would run off any potential suitors. She would scowl at her friends, but a soft smile would soon take its place.
Loathe as he was to admit it, Severus even loved the way Mr. Potter rarely left her side in public — his wand clutched tightly in his hand, ready for attack.
Yes. Her friends each had their own position in Hermione’s life. Even Mr. Longbottom, Miss Parkinson, and the Ravenclaw Miss Patil had found a place in her life.
Where did that leave Severus?
He watched her work the room, speaking to various Ministry workers and offering smiles when appropriate. He knew her well enough to know she hated these kinds of events--surrounded by people who didn’t like her , only her status. Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley stood next to her all night, wands at the ready.
Again, Severus was grateful that she had such protective friends.
His gaze dropped, and he watched the firewhiskey swirl in his glass.
So, where did that leave Severus? It left him standing in a corner. At a Ministry Gala. At a table for one.
Severus “table-for-one” Snape. That’s what they should call him at this point.
“Are you alright? I heard Mrs. Weasley reprimanded your posture in front of Kinglsey.” He looked up to find a faux-concerned look on Hermione’s face. He hadn’t heard her arrive. Some spy he was.
“I’m--” He cut himself off. Perhaps...perhaps this was the moment. Potter and Weasley were just her friends, of course, but the other men in this room? Severus didn’t stand a chance--no matter how clear he thought he was. “Actually, I’m feeling rather stupid at the moment.”
Hermione placed a hand on his arm, her concern turning genuine. “Stupid? Severus, you could never be--”
“I am not a mysterious man, am I?”
She merely raised an eyebrow. Alright, so maybe she had a point there. Still...he really had thought there was something .
Severus swallowed thickly and looked away, choosing instead to stare out at the crowd. Lucius and Narcissa were speaking animatedly with Mr. Longbottom and Minerva. He never thought he would see the day.
“I think I’ve been very clear with my intentions, Hermione.”
“We’ve had dinner in my home. We attended Potter’s wedding together. I brought you moonflowers.”
“Severus…” Hermione murmured. “I loved the--”
“You are not unintelligent.” He looked back down at his drink. “You knew what I was doing.”
“Well, not officially, no.”
“Should I have invited Madam Hooch to referee, then?”
“But,” Hermione bit her lip. “You didn’t say anything official.”
Severus met her gaze then. “What was I supposed to say, Hermione? I was under the impression that we are to let our actions speak. That’s the romantic way, is it not?”
“You’re right...You’re right. I’m sorry.” She apologized, not breaking eye contact.
“You went along with it. Consequently, I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that you and I were on the same page. It appears that I was mistaken.”
“Mistaken? Severus, what--”
“Do you know another McLaggen?” he snarked before finishing his drink. “He graced the apothecary with his presence this week. He said--”
“If you believe a word that came out of his mouth, then you really are stupid. Merlin--”
Severus ignored her interruption. “And the insipid boy is going on and on about how bloody perfect you are together. Excuse me for wondering what the purpose of this--this...whatever it was. You are taken.”
“I’m not taken!” Hermione nearly shrieked, then growled in frustration. “We’re not having this conversation here.”
She grabbed his arm and Apparated them out of the building.
Hermione breathed a sigh of relief when they appeared in her apartment. If Severus was going to be unreasonable, it didn’t have to be in front of the entire British Ministry.
He wrenched his arm away and narrowed his eyes at her. “It’s not possible to Apparate in or out of the Ministry.”
“Special circumstances. There must be some advantage to being one-third of the--” Hermione waved the rest of her sentence away. That didn’t matter. They needed to get back to the task at hand. “I’m not with McLaggen. I’d rather date a flobberworm.”
“He certainly doesn’t know that!” Severus said, his voice reminiscent of the cold Professor of her youth.
“Oh, just calm down!”
“I do not want to calm down , Hermione. I have done everything correctly. I have done exactly what the book instructed.”
Her brow furrowed in confusion. “The book?”
“Potter--or Weasley--whoever,” was his only explanation before continuing, “I thought we were on track, and now you are looking at me like I’m barmy!”
“I am not looking at you like you’re barmy, Severus.”
“Are you aware of the last time I bought flowers for someone?”
“Never!” Severus exclaimed. “I’ve never bought flowers for anyone! That’s a rather simple statistic to remember.”
“I loved the flowers.” Hermione’s tone matched his. Moonflowers were her favorite. The fact that he had remembered at all was something special.
“And then I brought you home after the Potters’ wedding.”
“I was under the impression that there was a moment, of sorts.”
“There was!” Hermione assured him. “There was a moment!”
Silence fell. Their chests heaved as they tried to catch their breaths. The emotionally charged air seemed to crackle with electricity.
Or was it magic?
Standing in front of Hermione was her best friend. While she, Harry, and Ron had undoubtedly been through a lot together--and she wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world--Severus knew her mind. He understood the way she thought. He asked her about books she read and knew when to reheat her tea when she inevitably let it go cold.
Severus was correct. There had been a moment after the wedding, just as there had been a number of moments over the last several years. But...he was Severus . He was stern and grumpy and angry.
And she liked it.
Wait...she liked it?
Suddenly, Severus took a step towards her.
“What are you doing?” She stepped back to counter the move.
“Will you just stand still?”
And then he kissed her.
When he pulled away, his cheeks were flushed, and his eyes were wide. “I’m sor--”
She stepped closer to him.
“What are you doing?” He asked.
“Will you just stand still?”