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For There Is Nothing Lost, That May Be Found, If Sought

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Disclaimer:  All publicly recognisable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author.

 

--

 

There was something to be said for waking up in the arms of another person, snuggling together for warmth in the middle of the bed, skin to skin. 

 

As Severus roused from sleep, he smiled when he remembered that he was wrapped around the delightfully warm, soft and sweet-smelling Hermione Granger. His front was pressed to her behind, and his nose buried in the madness of her chestnut curls. This was bliss, he thought to himself as he wrapped an arm around her middle, dragging her flush with him, delighting in the feeling of his rapidly inflating prick sliding against the curve of her bottom. She mumbled in her sleep, said bottom wiggling against him, drawing a hiss from his sleep-roughened throat. 

 

Severus pushed her hair to the side and placed his lips against her smooth shoulder, trailing kisses up her throat and behind her ear. He loved to wake her up this way, sliding his hands up her waist to cup her delightfully firm breasts, grazing her nipples with the edge of his thumbnails. She moaned, and he could tell she was finally beginning to stir from her response to his attention. Rolling her onto her back, he immediately captured the nearest nipple in his mouth, sucking and grazing the rosy bud into a taut peak before releasing it and swiping his tongue firmly along the bottom of the fleshy globe. 

 

Hermione’s eyes fluttered open and she smiled down at him as he mouthed his way over to her other neglected breast, looking her in the eye as he paid some attention to it. She threw her head back and moaned as his fingers slid between her folds, seeking out the turgid bundle of nerves briefly before dipping two long digits within her sweet, tight little pussy to test her readiness. Finding her sufficiently wet for him, he slotted his hips between her thighs, teasing his cock at her entrance. Hermione arched her hips up into him, desperately trying to get him where she wanted him. 

 

‘Patience, witch,’ he growled against her flesh. 

 

Kissing back up to her jaw before capturing her lips with his and plunging his tongue into her mouth as he thrust into her with one stroke. She groaned into his mouth and he swallowed the sounds of her passion in his dominating kiss as he withdrew and slammed back into her, his pelvis grinding into hers. He broke the kiss, holding himself over her as he thrust into her. Hermione slid her hands along his shoulders and down to his hips so she could draw him deeper, wrapping her legs around him to change the angle and hit all the right places. 

 

‘Fuck,’ she breathed, her pupils dilated. 

 

Her expletive made him feel dizzy with desire. Severus pushed up, shuffling up so that he was sitting back on his heels, her legs still around him, so he could grip her thighs and see where his cock disappeared into her lush body. He slid a hand up her torso, caressing her bottom lip with one of his thumbs, surprised when she took it into her mouth and sucking on it, hollowing out her cheeks like she did when she sucked his cock. 

 

‘Fucking hell, woman,’ he hissed, extracting his thumb and letting it drift down between them to flick at her clit instead. ‘I love fucking you, Hermione.’ 

 

‘Gods, Severus,’ she cried, her orgasm gripping her suddenly, her walls clamping about his thrusting prick, her body flushing pink. 

 

Her orgasm pushed him over the edge, and he emptied his balls into her, his sticky seed coating her insides, and when he pulled out of her, some of the viscous fluid dripped from her. He loved how she looked in her post-orgasmic state, all flushed, damp with sweat, her breasts rising and falling as she tried to catch her breath. He cast a charm to rid her of his seed and the sweat that clung to their bodies, pressing his hand to her abdomen to cast the spell to ensure there were no surprise repercussions to their relations. 

 

Severus continued to gaze down at her, taking in the sight of her naked form. Two months he had been lucky enough to enjoy the delights of Hermione’s flesh. Two blissful months of shagging, tea and biscuits, books, intellectual debate, and companionship, and he wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. She smiled at his intense scrutiny and shuffled herself up into a sitting position, sliding her hand around his neck and drawing his mouth to hers for a languid kiss. 

 

‘Hello,’ she greeted with a grin. 

 

‘Good morning,’ he rumbled. 

 

‘Shall we get cleaned up?’ Hermione asked him, jerking her head in the direction of the bathroom. 

 

Severus nodded. Cleaning charms were all well and good, but it was no substitute for the feeling of water raining down and the smell of whatever soap she had on hand. He had taken it upon himself to brew something for the two of them to use. He liked the way she smelled, and so had added very little in the way of fragrance to the formula. Severus was quicker to finish showering, and left her to wash her hair and finish her morning shower ritual alone. He dried off, stuffing his feet into the warm, fluffy slippers she had bought him, and donning her short pink bathrobe. He didn’t care to dress immediately after a shower, and he enjoyed the amusement in her expression every time he deliberately chose to wear it. 

 

‘I’m heading down to make coffee and toast,’ he told her as he sauntered out of her bathroom and down the stairs. 

 

In the kitchen he was quick to find the things he would need for making their coffee. Feeling indulgent, he also gathered eggs and some butter to go with their toast. He was just pouring himself a cup of the coffee he brewed, setting aside one for Hermione with a warming charm to preserve the heat, when he heard the sound of the Floo network activating. He fingered the wand in the robe pocket as he sipped on his brew, and was only a little surprised to come face-to-face with a flustered Ronald Weasley as he rounded the corner into the kitchen. 

 

‘What the hell are you doing in here?’ Ron demanded, flushing red as he took in Severus’ fairly casual state in Hermione’s pink robe. 

 

Smirking, he leaned against the kitchen bench nearest to him, still holding his mug of coffee. ‘I was invited, Mr. Weasley,’ he drawled smugly. ‘Unlike you, might I add.’ 

‘Ohhh, coffee smells good this morning,’ Hermione announced as she came bounding into the room, a veritable ball of energy. Her smile faltered when she realised Ron was standing there, looking furious, as though he’d caught her cheating. ‘Ron? What on earth are you doing here?’ 

 

Ron’s expression went from one of anger to mild shock in a heartbeat. ‘Why is he wearing your robe?’ he sputtered. 

 

‘Because he doesn’t like to get dressed straight out of the shower, Ronald,’ Hermione said impatiently, crossing her arms and staring at him flatly. 

 

Severus watched the interaction with no small amount of amusement. It was rather gratifying for him to watch someone defend him, and even more so that it was Hermione - the witch was a virago when crossed. 

 

‘Well that’s just beside the point,’ Ron said, becoming increasingly flustered. 

 

‘Ron,’ Hermione bit out, her hair crackling with magic as she reached the limit of her patience with him that morning. ‘Why are you here?’ 

 

‘I came to see if you wanted to join me at the game this weekend,’ he answered, still looking put-out by the turn of events that morning.

 

Severus rolled his eyes and took a mouthful of coffee before answering for them. ‘I’m afraid, Mr Weasley, that Hermione and I have plans together this weekend,’ he told him with a bored look on his face, raising an eyebrow for good measure. 

 

He chanced a brief glance in her direction and saw that her arms were crossed and she was still frowning at her friend, but delight danced in her warm brown eyes. She sighed, putting her hands on her hips and walking over to Ron, grasping his arm and half-dragging him in the direction of the library so she could get rid of him. Severus followed behind them a few paces, stopping to stand and watch their interaction. Hermione grasped the jar of powder and held it out at her friend. 

 

‘Go home, Ron,’ she told him firmly. 

 

He stubbornly stood there and gazed at her for confirmation. ‘Why him?’ 

 

‘Galahad likes him,’ Hermione answered with a cheeky smile, glancing over at her mischievous cat who was occupying the window seat and was curled up asleep, the sunbeams dancing through the glass panes and curtains. 

 

Grumbling to himself, Ron took a large pinch of powder and threw it in the grate, and the green flames immediately came to life. Once he stepped through and was out of sight, Severus watched as she sighed and slumped with her head against the mantle, counting backwards from ten as she breathed out. He walked into the room to stand behind her, placing his large hands on her shoulders and rubbing them gently before turning her to face him. 

 

‘It’s time to block Mr. Weasley’s access to the floo,’ he said seriously. 

 

She nodded, withdrawing her wand from her sleeve. She turned and cast a quick spell, waving her wand in an intricate formation as the blocking spell came into effect. He smiled and nodded in approval when she was finished, and the two of them returned to the kitchen to finish their coffee and have breakfast. 

 

Although he was not thrilled at the prospect of anyone seeing him in Hermione’s robe, he was not unhappy with the turn of events that morning. 

 

--

 

The end of autumn and start of winter was a chilly time of year, and Severus had never been more grateful for the large fireplace he’d had fitted in his house, along with the muggle heating throughout that he’d decided to keep. While the fireplace would keep the downstairs part of the house warm, he wanted to be able to use the radiators upstairs. 

 

He bustled around his kitchen that evening, in his haste to prepare dinner for himself and Hermione, who was joining him there after she had finished work. He’d left his own office at the Ministry early for the day, anticipating needing a little extra time to make dinner. It wasn’t often they spent time in his house, not wanting to displace Galahad. The little grey kitten was still fond of popping over to his house  while they were both at work, and that day was no exception. While Severus was cooking, the furball was  asleep on a nearby chair. 

 

Severus heard the floo in his sitting room, and wandered back to the front of the house to greet his young paramour. She was wearing a dark green blouse and black trousers under her Ministry robes, which he took from her and hung in the closet near the front door. 

 

‘How was your day?’ he asked, leaning down for a swift kiss. 

 

Hermione clasped her arms around his neck and pulled him back down for a much longer kiss before relinquishing her hold on him. ‘Much better now,’ she said with a pretty flush and a smile. 

 

‘That good, hmm?’ 

 

‘I need  to find something more interesting to  do with my life,’ she said flatly. 

 

‘Come,’ he entreated, leading her in the direction of the kitchen. ‘Let me feed you and you can tell me all about your horrible day at work.’ 

 

As they ate and he listened to her talk about her struggles with Ministry bureaucracy, he found himself woolgathering. He wasn’t sure when he had stopped caring about the difference in their age, or that she was his most annoying student. They weren’t those two people any more. It was strange how quickly she had become a vital part of his day - he could count on one hand how many nights he’d spent alone in the past two months. Not that he minded, her presence was comforting and stimulating.

 

‘Where have you gone off to?’ Hermione asked, snapping him back to reality. 

 

He shook his head. ‘I apologise,’ he said, standing to clear their dishes. 

 

‘Let me,’ she insisted, taking the dishes, beginning to fill up the sink with hot water and detergent, intent on washing the muggle way. ‘You made dinner - the least I can do is clean it up.’ 

 

He indulged her, but pottered around fetching things for tea. He couldn’t just sit there and do nothing . They took tea in his sitting room, both of them reading. Afterwards they simply sat stretched out next to one another along the length of the couch.Hermione was tucked up comfortably against him, and hummed in contentment which made his chest constrict. There was the barest hint of anxiety overshadowed by how pleased he was they could just sit and enjoy being near to one another. 

 

He missed out on having so many things in his previous life as a spy and the meanest teacher at Hogwarts,  and being with Hermione made it feel like it might have all been worthwhile. 

 

Much later, after he’d stripped her bare and made love to her, and they’d showered away the evidence of their transgression, they slid into his bed and scooted into the middle to be close to one another for warmth. With her smaller frame spooned against him, he wondered briefly if this was what it felt like to fall in love with someone. He’d loved Lily Potter as a naive young child and teen. It was different this time though - Hermione could not be more different from Lily if she tried. Their innate magical instincts and their family history as Muggleborns was really all that they had in common.

 

Aside from a couple of casual flings, Severus hadn’t been involved with another woman for any significant time. His as yet undefined relationship with Hermoine was good though, and he didn’t want to disrupt the balance of it with any premature emotional confessions. 

 

He propped himself up on one elbow so that he could gaze at the beauty already fast asleep beside him. With her eyes closed, Hermione looked impossibly young. It had taken him a while to get used to, but she only really wore makeup for special occasions. 

 

Smiling, shaking his head and sighing, Severus lay back down and closed his eyes to fall asleep, pleased with himself. 

 

--

 

 ‘Can we leave yet?’ 

 

‘No.’

 

‘Please?’ 

 

‘No.’ 

 

‘But, Severus-’ 

 

‘Alright then.’ 

 

‘Really?’ 

 

‘No.’ 

 

Hermione’s sullen expression and pouting bottom lip nearly did him in, but he was holding his ground. It had been her idea to spend Christmas Eve attending the Order of the Phoenix holiday celebration, and he was not leaving early just because she wanted to sneak off for a quick shag. Oh he wanted her, of course. He’d been half-hard most of the night when he’d seen what she planned to wear to the party. She was clad in a very form-fitting burgundy dress with a high neck that exposed her entire back down past her waist. It hugged her curves in a delicious way, and she was wearing high-heeled pumps.  Her hair was pulled up in an elaborate twist that would have taken her far longer than he could have ever imagined. But the effect was magnificent and he could admire her lovely neck uninhibited. He was utterly enraptured by her. 

 

Severus had tried to weasel out of the party - tried to convince her they should just stay home so he could peel her out of the dress and see to her needs much sooner. But she had resisted the idea, and so he had spent the better part of the evening torturing her with words and light caressing touches so that she would be driven mad with lust in the same way she regularly did to him without even realising it. He knew she was coiled tight now, and by resisting her a little longer, when they finally came together it would be incendiary. 

 

‘Severus, you can’t spend the entire night teasing me only to deny me,’ she whispered hotly against his ear. 

 

He smirked and took a sip from the glass of firewhiskey he had been nursing. ‘Patience my sweet little vixen,’ he murmured, ghosting the fingers of free hand down her spine to where her skin and the back of her dress met. 

 

‘You are going to regret all of this teasing later,’ she warned before flouncing off in the direction of her friends. 

 

Severus watched as she talked to Ginevra Potter, casually leaning against the wall behind him. He was so enraptured by his wanton little siren, that he almost didn’t notice Harry Potter approaching him in his peripherals. Sighing heavily, he turned toward the young man walking over to him and acknowledged him with a nod. He looked a lot like his father, but this Potter had grown some and was the best friend of his witch - he was determined not to invoke any further ire from her that night. A frustrated witch he could deal with, an upset one not so much. 

 

‘Potter,’ he greeted. 

 

‘Hello, Severus,’ the younger man replied. ‘I hope one day you’ll be comfortable enough to call me Harry, you know.’ 

 

‘I wouldn’t hold my breath,’ Severus quipped, causing Harry to chuckle and shake his head. 

 

‘It seems like things are getting pretty serious between you and Hermione,’ he commented. 

 

‘Here to give me “the talk”, Potter?’ 

 

Harry shook his head. ‘I wouldn’t dream of it,’ he answered. ‘Hermione would have my bollocks, to begin with. And by the looks of things, you are as smitten with her as well.’ 

 

Severus raised an eyebrow at him but didn’t address his comment. ‘I think, Harry, it might be time for me to escort Hermione home,’ he said quietly. ‘She’s looking a little tired.’

 

Harry grinned wide at this comment and nodded. ‘She does. Thank you for coming to the party, Severus.’ 

 

A mutual respect passed between them in that moment, before Severus turned and walked across the room to his paramour, disposing of his empty glass. He slid his hand around her waist, teasingly grazing his fingers beneath the fabric. He delighted in the little sound of her breath hitching in her throat, and politely nodded at her friend. 

 

‘Time to leave, Hermione,’ he murmured, his deep, velvet timbre caressing her name. 

 

‘Alright,’ she said, turning to look up at him with a bright smile. ‘I’ll see you at New Years, Gin.’ 

 

Ginny nodded, a wicked smile on her lips. There was no fooling her, apparently. ‘I’ll see you then. Happy Christmas, both of you.’ 

 

‘Happy Christmas, Ginevra,’ Severus said before gently leading Hermione out of the room, guiding her towards the closet in the hall to retrieve their winter coats. 

 

Though she didn’t speak, he could tell she was close to her limit of being teased, so he helped her into her jacket and wrapped her scarf around her neck quickly, donning his own with some haste. Their walk to the park was at a brisk pace, and once they reached the Apparation point in the copse of trees, she slid her arms around his neck and pulled him down to meet her lips in a heated kiss, sliding her tongue against his lips and into his mouth. He growled and pulled her tight to him, returning her kiss with equal enthusiasm until they were both breathless and panting. 

 

They Apparated to her house, straight into her bedroom, causing him to smirk. She was putty in his hands. Slowly, Severus began to peel away layers of her clothing and his own until they were just in their underwear. She had worn no bra that evening. Tantalisingly slowly, he dropped his head to lap at the underside of her left breast, giving the globe a little nip with his teeth. She made an impatient sound and he chuckled,  trailing his lips up her breastbone to latch at the juncture of her neck and shoulder. 

 

‘So fucking sweet, witch,’ he whispered against her, one hand fondling her breast while the other snaked its way down into the lacy scrap of her knickers, seeking out her clit. 

 

‘Gods, Severus,’ she moaned as he found it and danced his fingers over it gently. ‘Please.’ 

 

‘Please, what, minx?’ 

 

‘I need -’ she whimpered. ‘Please… more.’ 

 

Severus removed his hand from her then, stepping back with a wicked smile. She made a mew of displeasure but she waited patiently nonetheless as he led her to the bed and gently guided her to sit on the edge. Tucking his thumbs into the band of his own briefs, he pushed them down, careful to pull them past his straining cock, and kicking them off to the side. Hermione wasted no time in eagerly grasping him and sliding her hot little mouth over him, engulfing him from root to tip. His eyes rolled backwards into his head - she had a talented little mouth. Though he had not intended for her to suck him, he allowed her to continue for a short time, before pushing her back when he began to feel tightening in his belly. 

 

Guiding her to lay back on the bed, he kneeled between her thighs, tugging her underwear off and bringing them to his nose, inhaling the scent of her arousal on her lacy knickers. 

 

‘My, my. Aren’t we a little eager tonight,’ he said with a feral smile, casting the underwear aside. 

 

Severus slid his fingers through her heated flesh, gathering the dew of her arousal before sliding two fingers into her channel. He could feel her body trembling with need. Smirking, he dipped his head between her legs and lapped at her clit gently, drawing another moan from her lips. He loved making her writhe and moan and tremble. Pleased with how tightly wound she now was from all of his teasing, he sucked her clit into his mouth and used his tongue and lips to drive her over the edge, and as she came apart, her greedy walls clamped down hard on his fingers as he continued to pump them into her. 

 

As she came back to reality, he sat back on his heels to watch her, wiping his mouth on the back of his hands to clean the musky fluid from his chin. She was utterly desirable, her skin all flushed and rosy from the heat of the room and her recent orgasm. Once Hermione’s awareness returned, she sat back up and flashed a smile at him filled with promise. 

 

‘Get on the bed,’ she told him bossily. 

 

He complied, unwilling to find out what she might do if he delayed. Severus was on his back in seconds, and she crawled up the bed to him, pausing to kiss the end of his cock teasingly. He made a rough sound of disappointment, but made no move to disrupt her. Hermione straddled his hips, his cock nestled between her thighs, brushing against her mons. She grinned, grasping his cock and raising herself up as if to take him into her, but she paused. He bucked his hips, trying to urge her to sink down onto him, but she didn’t. 

 

Instead he watched with bated breath as she began sliding the head of his sensitised member through her wet folds, her hips bucking every time it grazed over her clit. He gasped at the sensation, his fingers winding into the bed clothes as he struggled not to grasp her hips and drive himself into her. Hermione continued to pleasure herself with the end of his member, and Severus couldn’t remember the last time he had been so aroused. He never had any of his appendages used like a sex toy before, but there was a first time for everything, and he was not going to stop her. 

 

He could hear her breathing become more erratic, and just as he thought she might come from rubbing herself against him, she slid forward and sunk down onto his length, gasping as he filled her. His eyes closed. Bliss. She was so snug and warm around him. Finally giving in, he grasped her hips and planted his feet on the bed so that he could drive up into her, thrusting frantically as she ground herself back down and into him, one of her hands grasping his thigh behind her to steady herself while the other tweaked one of her nipples. 

 

‘Come for me, witch,’ he demanded roughly. 

 

‘I’m so fucking close,’ she moaned. ‘Touch my clit.’ 

 

He complied, his thumb circling her turgid bundle with practised ease. ‘That’s right, minx. Come apart,’ he crooned. ‘I love it when you come around my cock - when your walls tremble and milk me. Fuck -’

 

Severus felt his cock pulse within her as she came, finding their completion together. He had managed to talk both of them over the edge, and he jerked up into her as her movements slowed. She collapsed forward onto his chest, her body trembling from the exertion. Chuckling, he dragged her up his body so that she could melt against him. Two murmured spells took care of their cleansing and contraception needs, and he held her to him as their breathing evened out, pressing a kiss to her forehead. 

 

‘That was - I have no words,’ she said with a giggle. 

 

‘I am inclined to agree, you little tease,’ he replied with a smile of satisfaction. 

 

‘You started it,’ she quipped. 

 

‘I have no regrets.’ 

 

‘Severus?’ 

 

‘Yes, my dear.’ 

 

‘We should move in together,’ she told him, shifting herself so she could look down at his face. 

 

Severus stilled, surprised by her suggestion. It wasn’t as though he hadn’t considered it - he had. They already spent nearly every night together, and Galahad split his time between both of their homes, coming and going as he pleased. He had been a solitary person his entire life, and he had never lived with a woman before, but he found himself wanting to - wanting her - in his life, for as long as he could have her. He wondered which of their homes would be more suitable for them to combine their lives into, but realised he was keeping her waiting. Those details could be decided on later.

 

‘Alright,’ he agreed. 

 

Hermione’s beaming smile was all he needed to know it was the right answer. She leaned forward and kissed him thoroughly, humming in pleasure. Though neither one had ever declared it, this was as close to an admission of love without words as one could get. His chest constricted with emotion, but the declaration died on his lips. One day soon, he might be able to tell her that he loved her. 

 

But until then, he could at least show her, he thought to himself, as he reached up to capture her lips with his once more. 

 

--

 

The end of the day was drawing near, and Severus found himself in a foul mood, a headache creating tension in his neck. 

 

Severus closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, willing it away. Realising it was not going to leave just from sheer force of will, he summoned a headache potion from the medicine cabinet in his bathroom. A vile slapped into his hand, which he uncorked and swallowed without further preamble. Reopening his eyes, he stood up from the kitchen table where he had retreated to work from that afternoon while the construction work was being finished up at the front of his house that day. 

 

After he and Hermione had settled on moving into his house, he hired magical contractors to expand the front of his house to make room for the two of them to combine their library of books. He also had them build a window bench for Hermione, fashioned after the part of her home that she and Galahad both loved so much. It was much easier to do than he had expected, but the work had been ongoing for two weeks at that point, and he was eager for his home to no longer have people trudging through it. 

 

In the meantime, they had been packing up everything in Hermione’s house that she intended to bring with her, and slowly things began to migrate across, until her house was empty. Rather than selling, she contacted an agent and intended to turn it into an investment property and rent it out. The new tenants were going to be moving in before the end of the month. 

 

Severus thought he would be terrified by the prospect of losing his independence after so many years as a loner, but he wasn’t. Hermione was patient with his moods and temper, fiery when they debated, passionate both in the bedroom and in life, and she was the soothing balm to his negative thoughts, keeping his nightmares at bay. 

 

‘We’re all done in here now, Master Snape,’ a voice said beside him, disrupting his musings. 

 

Severus looked at the head contractor and nodded. ‘I appreciate your haste in completing this,’ he said politely. ‘I assume a final wire transfer from Gringotts will be acceptable for your final payment?’ 

 

The shorter man nodded. The small building crew tidied up and left, and Severus wandered into the empty, enlarged library and sitting room, gazing around. The walls were now all bookshelves, and once the curtains were installed, their books shelved and the furniture returned, it would be the most remarkable room in the house. 

 

‘Severus? Did I just see the contractors leave?’ Hermione asked as she wandered into the room. ‘Oh! It looks perfect! Just how I imagined it.’ 

 

‘They did a fine job.’ 

 

‘More than fine!’ she exclaimed, throwing her arms around his neck in her excitement. 

 

He caught her up in a tight hug, dropping a kiss to the top of her head. Feeling something brush against his leg, Severus looked down to see Galahad had joined them and was rubbing himself against his trousers, no doubt leaving grey fur all over him as he did so. Rolling his eyes, he released Hermione and leaned down to gather the fury creature into his arms. He was terribly fond of him despite all of the extra fur he had to get rid of. After all, without the mischievous little bugger, he never would have been reintroduced to his witch, and they wouldn’t be living together now. 

 

‘We should try to get the books on the shelves over the weekend,’ he murmured, holding Galahad up over his shoulder like he was a baby. 

 

Hermione smiled fondly at the sight, reaching up to scratch her little fury child under the chin. ‘Sounds like a good plan. And then we’ll be able to actually relax and enjoy.’ 

 

‘Do you worry that we rushed this?’ he asked, suddenly struck by the question. 

 

Hermione shook her head firmly. ‘I don’t like to prescribe to arbitrary timelines that other’s foist on people, you know that,’ she answered. ‘If this is improper, then I am content to be labelled whatever names they can serve up - I just hope they try to be a little bit creative. If Rita Skeeter calls me a 

“Plain but ambitious girl” one more time, I’m going to follow through on my threat to trap her in a jar for the rest of her life.’ 

 

‘Jar?’ he asked, confused. 

 

Hermione’s grin was evil. ‘Rita Skeeter is an unregistered animagus, and her form is a beetle.’ 

 

Severus could not have been more in love with her than he was in that moment. ‘You, my dear, are a force to be reckoned with.’ 

 

‘Severus?’ 

 

‘Hmm?’ 

 

‘Do you feel like we rushed?’ 

 

‘No,’ he answered honestly. ‘I think the timing was right.’ 

 

‘Severus?’ 

 

‘Yes, dear?’ 

 

‘I love you.’ 

 

He felt a surge of emotions wash over him and his heart lurch in his chest, hammering against his rib cage, hard. Galahad seemed to sense something, and jumped down out of his arms, making his way over to inspect the new window bench. Severus turned his gaze to the slight woman before him, wrapping his arms around her, crushing her in a vice grip and capturing her lips with his own. She kissed him back with growing passion, heedless of Galahad prancing around the room and the fact they didn’t have curtains up yet. Shedding items of clothing, he picked her up, her legs going around his waist and his cock sinking into her as he pressed her up against the wall. 

 

Afterwards, as they caught their breath and summoned back their clothes, he stopped her as she went to tug her jeans back on, kissing her forehead lingeringly. 

 

‘I love you, Hermione.’ 

 

Her smile was so bright it could have powered a small village for a month. She buttoned her pants and kissed his cheek before they finished re-dressing. 

 

‘That was fun, but I think my back might be bruised,’ she said, rubbing it a little with a wince. 

 

He groaned as he straightened out as well, his body cracking in several places. ‘Indeed, that was probably more than my ancient back and knees can handle,’ he agreed with a chuckle. 

 

‘Can we get takeout for dinner and eat it on the floor in here while there is still no furniture?’ she asked, a note of pleading in her tone. 

 

He nodded in agreement. Her excitement about this prospect made the idea of having to fold his tired body onto the floor to eat worthwhile. 

 

--

 

The snowfall from that winter had lasted a great deal longer than anyone would have expected, but with the end of January, the weather became more clear, so the snow had begun to melt and the roads became a little more slippery for a time. 

 

Severus had never been so glad that Hermione never tried to make him learn how to drive the little car she had bought to run errands in, or drive to see her parents. She loved it though, so he indulged her and had cast multiple layers of protection on the vehicle - he would not be losing his witch to a motor vehicle accident if he could help it. He’d decided to work from home that day and had set up in the kitchen with his books - they were awaiting the shipment of a custom desk Hermione had ordered for the library, but in the meantime he was making do. 

 

The sound of the Floo roused Severus from his work, and he wondered who it was that could possibly be visiting the house that afternoon, as Hermione wasn’t due home for another hour. Standing up from his makeshift work area, he wandered out to the front room, and poked his head into the sitting room to investigate. A frown lined his face when he saw the familiar red hair and freckles of Ronald Weasley, as he dusted soot from his robes. Severus thinned his lips in displeasure, removing his wand from his sleeve and casting a charm to clear up the mess wordlessly. 

 

‘Oh, thanks for that, Professor,’ Ron said with a grin. 

 

‘Mr. Weasley,’ he said curtly. ‘Might I inquire as to why you are darkening my doorstep this evening?’ 

 

‘Is Mione here? I have a few questions for her,’ the redhead replied. ‘I have this date tomorrow you see, and I just wanted to ask her about some of the things that she used to find annoying.’ 

 

‘Showing up unannounced springs to mind,’ Severus drawled. 

 

He noted with pleasure the moment the younger man understood what he was implying, as his ears turned a rather amusing shade of red. 

 

‘I don’t get what Hermione sees in you,’ Ron said defensively. ‘You can be a right bastard.’ 

 

‘I can be more than a bastard, Mr. Weasley,’ he began, standing up straight so that he towered over him just that little bit more. ‘But as you are a friend of Hermione, I have been patient and not seen fit to eviscerate you in the way you so richly deserve. This is both mine and Hermione’s home. As you clearly did not latch on to the message she tried to impart on you when she blocked you from visiting a couple of months ago, I will make it clear to you now. Do not come to this house uninvited again unless you’d like to be short a couple of bollocks. Call or owl ahead, and wait to be invited. I will not hesitate to block you from our home should you choose to willfully disregard this request. Am I making myself understood?’ 

 

Ron’s face was entirely red at this point, but Severus could not care less. He was tired of having to tiptoe around the buffoon and his atrocious manners. 

 

‘Am I understood?’ he repeated, when the younger man failed to reply. 

 

‘Yes, sir ,’ he spat, upset. 

 

‘Very well,’ Severus said, crossing his arms. ‘I will let Hermione know you called in, and she will contact you when she is available.’ 

 

He looked pointedly back at the fireplace, and Ron, knowing the battle was lost, grabbed some floo powder from the jar on the mantle, and tossed it into the grate, disappearing back through the green flames. Severus sighed heavily, pinching the bridge of his nose to ward off  the headache he could feel beginning. As he made to leave the room, he was surprised to see the flames in the fireplace turn green once more, and was pleased to see Hermione step through wearing her work robes over a pretty tan knit dress. Her smile when she saw he was standing there was blinding, and she immediately walked over to kiss him. 

 

‘Hello, love,’ she said when their lips parted. ‘How was working from home today?’ 

 

Severus busied himself with helping her shrug out of her work robe, hanging it up in the closet near the front door before replying. ‘Work was fine, but your buffoon of a friend, Ronald, turned up unannounced.’ 

 

Hermione flinched at that. ‘Oh, I’m so sorry you had to deal with him on your own,’ she apologised. 

 

‘Not at all,’ he said, waving off the apology. ‘I think your not being here left me free to give him a piece of my mind. I doubt he will be using the Floo to call in here again.’

‘I feel sorry for him,’ she said with a laugh. 

 

‘I told him you’d call him when you were ready,’ he said dryly. ‘He had questions about a date he is going on tomorrow evening.’ 

 

‘I’ll call him tomorrow morning then,’ she replied as they walked over to give Galahad a pat where he was curled up on the window bench. ‘He can wait, seeing as he rudely interrupted your afternoon.’ 

 

Severus smiled. This magnificent woman was not above serving up large helpings of her own brand of justice when it was called for. The two of them wandered into the kitchen to make tea, and took it in the library in front of the fireplace, talking about their respective work days. Hermione imparted an anecdote about her work wherein one of her colleagues ended up trapped under a fallen stack of books in the archives and ended up in St. Mungo’s with a broken arm and ribs. 

 

Galahad jumped down from the window bench and padded over to join them, leaping up onto Severus’ lap and curling up, purring loudly. Severus didn’t mind so much. It amused him to no end that despite the fact that he belonged to Hermione first, Galahad played favourites with him more. 

 

As he sat there in their sitting room, Severus allowed himself to enjoy the warmth of the fire, his tea, and the little kneazle curled up in his lap while he listened to the woman he loved speak. He smiled in contentment, truly happy. 

 

--

 

Fin.