AN: JK Rowlings world that I have just expanded.
Triggers: Bullying. Slight Mob Mentality.
Thank you, Vino Amore, for giving this chapter the once over x
The Second Chance Enchantment
How to shock hogwarts
Groggily Hermione woke up. Groaning as she realised she had stayed awake far longer into the night than she meant to – no more disturbing dreams, thank goodness. Somewhere, not very far from her, was a young version of Severus Snape. Only she knew his true identity. Had found out many things about the man through the boy. Things she felt she was not meant to know. This would just make her life with Professor Snape even harder. There was no way he was going to overlook this. Even though, technically, it was his own fault he was here. Crawling out from beneath the covers she padded her way to the shared bathroom after she shed her pyjamas. Wrapping a towelling robe around her, Hermione wished she had not been so effusive with her Professor's younger self.
Next to her assigned shower; lay her shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Humming Back In Time, Time After Time, and other songs she could think of related to time as the hot water rushed down her body, Hermione could not quite believe how flirty teen Snape was. Using a loofah she scrubbed every inch of her flesh. Once she tilted her arm up, she noticed she needed to shave under her arms, so she grabbed a razor. Gently, Hermione smoothed the razor over the soap covered planes of her legs. Taming her pubic hairs. Making sure there was not a lick of hair where it should no longer be.
Running her head under water she began massaging the shampoo from root to tip allowing it to lather as she piled the curls around her head, whilst using a more luxurious jasmine scented shower crème to smooth over her body. A present from her mum. She rarely used it, except on days she felt the need to be extra confident and today she did. As the crème worked its way into her skin she allowed the delicate scent to take over her senses. After two minutes she rinsed off the strawberry and vanilla shampoo thoroughly. Using her fingers she combed the conditioner through from root to tip. Also leaving that in for two minutes. Picking up the shower head she ran it over her body – lily of the valley, jasmine, strawberry and vanilla weaved its aromatic spell into Hermione's senses. For the first time Hermione felt sexy. Then she rinsed off the conditioner.
Lavender and Parvati walked in after: "Thought you 'ated mornin," Parvati yawned, "always up 'fore us!"
"Yeah, well, I could not sleep."
"Don't blame you," Lavender winked, "I bet a certain someone occupied your thoughts?"
Blushing Hermione tutted: "Septimus is not interested in that sort of thing," she said. Well, of course he wouldn't be. This was Severus Snape. Severus Snape would throttle her rather than kiss her. Or, so she thought. "He's too intelligent."
"Even smarty pants needs stress relief."
"Lavender," Hermione sighed. "I cannot entertain a relationship right now."
Rolling their eyes, the two friends giggled as they watched Hermione squirm. "All right," Parvati sighed, "please for the love of Godric at least wear some make up today. I promise I won't over do it?"
"I suppose it cannot hurt, and it is not against the school rules."
"If it was Puggy Parkinson would have been expelled years ago," Brown sniggered. "All right," Lavender rolled her eyes at Hermione's disapproving cluck, "you're a junior McGonagall, you know that right?"
"Ha ha," Hermione bit back sarcastically. "All right then, but nothing too outlandish, bright – just," she waved a hand, "a black wing, mascara and lipstick."
"Plum or red?"
"I am not going to put a dull colour lipstick on you, Hermione," Parvati sighed, "you have great colouring for red lipstick. Try it, please. It's M.A.C."
"Are you sure I should wear red?"
"Go on then," Hermione grinned. "I plan on doing something a little frivolous in the Great Hall anyway."
Both girls squealed and jumped up and down as they took their friend in their manicured hands. Whilst Parvati worked on Hermione's face, Lavender did her hair in a fishtail braid. Grabbing a box of accessories she picked out forget me not pins and placed them in little spots in the braid. Then she threaded an emerald green ribbon through the weaves of the hair. Parvati was cautious with the foundation, applying a touch of bronzer and tint of blush. Working fast on her eyebrows with a tweezer shaping them in a soft arch. With the curses she had flung at her recently from her jaunt in the Department of Mysteries, Hermione took the pain with equanimity.
"Come on," the girls said when they had finished making her up. "There," Lavender pointed at the mirror.
"That's you, Hermione, now let the fun begin," Parvati smiled, "we'll meet you down in the Great Hall, oh," she handed Hermione the tube of lipstick. "Take it as a present," she winked.
Hermione hugged Parvati then Lavender and picked up her freshly washed and pressed uniform. Not believing quite how lovely she felt. With an extra spring to her step she walked down to the Common Room and smiled when she saw Septimus (Severus) standing awkwardly in new Gryffindor robes – he seemed more confident in the colours and they suited him well. Much better than as a Slytherin. He heard her light step and looked up. His eye wide in pleasant amazement at how she looked.
"My friends insisted I look like this," she blushed.
Gulping awkwardly Septimus walked as if hypnotised and stopped in front of her raising his hand towards her cheeks to caress them in wonder: "I shall have to thank your friends," he whispered.
"Um, do you have someone to share texts with or..." Septimus lifted up a brand new satchel.
"I woke up and found everything I needed," he shrugged. "How?"
"The Headmaster most likely told McGonagall," Hermione said, "she bought Harry a new broom," Hermione lowered her now curly eyelashes, "so I would not put it past her to buy you everything you'd need either."
"I have always respected McGonagall," Septimus decided to whisper in case someone could be listening. The cool breath that landed on her ear made her weak at the knees. "So, are we waiting for everyone or shall we go down to breakfast?"
"I suppose we can go to Breakfast," Hermione shrugged, "Ron's probably down there already, he can shovel food with amazing alacrity."
"Shall we?" he proffered his arm. Coyly, Hermione threaded her hand through the crook and stood next to him. They walked out of the Portrait and made their way. "So," he sighed, "what do you have today?"
"Potions with Slughorn," Snape groaned. "Yes – I miss you teaching us Potions I have to admit," Hermione sighed, "then Ancient Runes – then," she glanced at his profile, "D.A.D.A," she glanced at his hair. It was not greasy as it would be when he was older. What did happen to you? "I think that's it," she shrugged. "What's on your schedule?"
"Advanced Transfiguration," Snape sighed, "Care of Magical Creatures, is Hagrid really a Professor now?"
"Um, yeah... be careful," she warned. "He's lovely but he forgets that we're not... him."
"Tactfully put," he said admiring her highlighted profile. Whoever did the make-up knew what to do to bring out her natural beauty. "Herbology, a necessary evil," he sighed, "then study period."
"I think I have a Study Period at the same time," she said, "do you think that's deliberate?"
"Knowing the way Dumbledore works probably."
Rocking with laughter Hermione reached up and ruffled his hair: "It's a lovely colour your hair."
"It won't be in a couple of hours time," Septimus said honestly, "I can never get it to stay shiny and clean."
"Hey, you're talking to a girl with hair that could soon become an afro in sub-tropical temperatures."
"Not a problem," Snape said, "I like long hair on a girl. I think it makes them look prettier." Hmm, shall I hear more or shall I speak at this? Hermione wondered. This Severus she could easily love. "Besides at least yours stays smelling nice."
"A wager?" Hermione suggested, they reached a moving stair case and Septimus jumped down and then grabbed her by the hips and helped her hop down to avoid Hermione spraining her ankle. Balancing herself she realised her hands were curled around his shoulders as they looked into each other's eyes: "If I can still smell sandalwood and rained on fresh cut grass in your hair then you have to..."
"Kiss you?" Septimus said.
"Um, no – I was going to suggest losing a game of Wizard's Chess to Ron," Hermione's smirk broadened. "If I can't then..."
"You can kiss me?"
I'd kiss you right now but be patient, I have a plan! "That's hardly a punishment, is it?" she arched a freshly shaped eyebrow. Septimus winked. He actually winked at her. "I will try and break a school rule by the end of the day?"
Ignoring the little angel Hermione telling her this boy was corrupting her, Hermione searched his intent gaze: "Do you make it a habit to break school rules?"
"Only when it is vitally imperative to do so," she replied as they walked down another set of steps. Each time the steps connected Septimus helped her down. Making sure she was safe. It was such an old-fashioned gesture but it made Hermione feel like a million Galleons. "What school rule do you think I should break?"
Tilting his head Septimus smile broadened: "I think you should create trouble in my class," he grinned wickedly. "What does older me hate you to do the most?"
"Interrupt you when you're in mid-flow!"
"Do that then."
"Ugh," Hermione hung her head down, "fine – I led myself into that one, never try and be a Slytherin again."
"I would not want you to be a Slytherin, you're perfect as you are!"
Other's were piling into the halls and walking down the steps now so their conversation had to be kept on a more diplomatic level in case the wrong person should hear. As predicted Ron was already there eating away. The people that were already in the Great Hall eating all stopped and stared at Hermione hand-in-hand with Mr. Tall, Dark and Mysterious. Hermione turned to see Draco with his jaw hung wide open though it was not at the boy next to her but aimed at her. Good job girls, she grinned.
"Who is that?" Septimus inquired about the blond.
"Never mind," Hermione sighed, "let's eat," she took his hand and parked them next to Ron. "Hey, Ron."
"Hey," Ron nodded at them. "Blimey, you're wearing make up!"
"No, really, I thought my lips were bleeding."
Snape chuckled deeply: "What's so funny?" Ron scowled.
"Nothing, up for another game tonight?"
"You bet!" Ron's eyes lit up. "You shoulda seen 'im," Ron said to Hermione, "he was fantastic, he really was – beat my pieces black and blue."
Shuddering Hermione gazed at the plate: "What's wrong?" Septimus asked.
"Hermione hates Wizards Chess," Harry said sitting the other side of Snape.
In a high pitched voice Ron said: "It's totally barbaric!" he mimicked her 12 year old self.
"Shut up you two," she mumbled.
Another similarity to Lily, Severus sighed. Shortly after, the rest of the Sixth and Seventh Year Gryffindor's had arrived, and both years chatted away together. Gareth winked at Hermione making her blush spread further. Cormac scowled at Septimus and was already plotting a way to get her away from the interloping creep.
"I've written to Uncle Remus," Harry mentioned casually.
Hermione glanced through the corner of her eye to register Snape's reaction, aside from a slightly stinging grip on her thigh the boy gave nothing away: "Uncle Remus?" Snape asked.
"Yeah, he was friends with my dad," Harry said.
Was? Snape scowled. Surely the famous Marauders had not disbanded? "He taught D.A.D.A. For a year, that's how we met," Harry picked up some sausages and freshly made ketchup. "Anyway, he is the only link to my parents still alive."
Alive? Snape's stomach twisted in knots. "Harry," Hermione jumped in before he said something that would blow Septimus' cover. "What were you and Septimus talking about, Ginny said it was something..."
"Oh," Harry sighed, "we discussed the problems of not being able to be taught proper Defence Against The Dark Arts," he crunched into the sausage. "We are of one mind on the incompetency of Ministry handled Curriculum when it comes to this more than important subject."
I told you so, rose steadily in Hermione's chest bursting to be brought out. It was only now Harry looked up and saw his friend looking like she was going out on a date and not for a day in school: "You look lovely, Hermione," Harry said.
Snape inched closer to her. This little movement was noticed, again, by Harry. The new boy certainly seemed rather attached to his friend/sibling. "Don't worry," Hermione whispered in Septimus ear.
They managed to stop holding hands long enough to really tuck into breakfast and Hermione was grateful she had the tube with her as she carefully reapplied directly after eating and drinking. Septimus decided to be brave enough to sneak a look at the Teacher's Table: Slughorn, not changed a bit. Himself scowling at the sight of young him in Gryffindor robes and getting on with Hermione. Dumbledore twinkling with mischief. McGonagall, again hardly changed, maybe more greys than the black hair he remembered her having and the tartan green. Something which he found rather hypocritical of her to be wearing. Even if it was clan-ish. Flitwick, jolly old Flitwick. Hagrid was … well … Hagrid, then the others – some he did not recognise.
"Well," Hermione's voice broke through his thought processes. "I guess I had best get going," she swung around the bench but not before Septimus stood up and helped her up causing half the girls in the hall to swoon at the courtly gesture. Some of them narrowed their eyes with jealousy over Hermione being held up by the tall, new, mysterious Gryffindor with raven black hair. Oh, Hermione tried to hide her mirth, if only they all knew. "Thank you," Hermione shrugged prettily.
Then, to the shock of everybody, Hermione grabbed Septimus by the front of his robes. Firmly, Hermione crushed her lips to his. Whilst their lips danced the rumba their tongues began a slow tango. So lost in the feel of him against her, Hermione slipped her arms up and circled his neck. Entangling her fingers around his soft, lovely locks, eventually burying her hands in his hair. Stepping closer, the kiss deepened as he wrapped his hands around her petite waist. Warm, strong, confident and delightfully massaging her through her uniform. Both shuddering with pleasure as the young lovers became entwined in each others arms. Neither seemed to want to stop it. Many Fourth years and up were busily taking notes of the rather romantic kiss they were sharing, not only with each other; but the entire school.
McGonagall sneaked a look at Severus – he was clutching tightly onto a napkin – the pallor of his flesh turned deathly white.
"Who's the boyfriend, Granger?" a sneering voice called across the Hall. Reluctantly, they stopped kissing and turned to look at Puggy Parkinson.
"His name is Septimus Snape!" Hermione declared. Everybody noticed how flushed and beautiful she looked after the kiss. Something glowed within that radiated through her whiskey eyes.
A clatter of cutlery deafened everyone as the name echoed in about a thousand pairs of ears.
"Is that breaking a school rule?" Septimus whispered cheekily. Hermione was still in his arms. "Hermione?"
"No, just not advisable," she murmured back as she pressed her lips against his again allowing another brilliant explosive kiss to overtake her. "Hmm," she murmured. "Certainly can ensnare the senses," she shivered. Slowly, she extricated herself from Septimus firm and comforting hold. "Bye," she sighed.
Harry and Ron swapped worried looks. Ron glared at Septimus a little jealously. Not only his rival in Chess but now, it seemed, with other things as well. Harry hid a smile behind his hand: "Hogwarts to Septimus... Hogwarts to Septimus..." Gareth waved his hand in front of his new friend's face. "What's your secret I've been wanting to do that for months!" Shyly, Snape shrugged as he walked out of the hall with the strawberry blond Welsh Wizard. "What was it like, mate?"
Cormac glowered. They shared a dorm. It would be easy to prize out the dirt on Septimus – then he can swoop in like a Knight to protect his Lady's virtue. Oh, he grinned like a shark, Hermione will be his!
"Like being brought back to life when all around you is hopeless," Septimus replied walking on air. He had kissed the Gryffindor Witch. In front of the entire school. More to the point, he did not care what the consequences were. "I would love to go into further detail but I fear it may be rather uncomfortable."
"She's that good, eh?" Gareth winked slapping Septimus on the back.
Draco followed the two Gryffindor's with his eyes as he swivelled his attention back to look at the reaction of all those in her year. Rather irritatingly not one of them were kicking up a fuss. Not even the red head. Aside from a scowl. Weaslette seemed positively smug as she turned and assaulted her Mudblood boyfriend's mouth the same way.
"Why don't you ever kiss me like that, Draco?" Parkinson stood up. "Even the Mudblood gets more action than I do!"
Rolling his eyes Draco just ignored the bitch as she stormed off in a huff.
No one noticed that Professor Snape had slipped out.
It was not meant to be that passionate, she groaned, holding her head in her hands. Agitatedly she paced around the door to her first class of the day. Thanking her innate uber punctuality that she was the only one here. Once she felt she had berated herself enough she felt a presence behind her and gulped. Spinning on her heel Hermione turned to look at the older version of the boy she had just thoroughly kissed. Her stomach flipped – though not out of fear more out of... desire? Ugh! She sighed. I cannot cope with this right now.
Arching an eyebrow, with his arms folded in his trademark way. Snape waited for her explanation, in silence, without demanding it.
"Um," she said, "sorry?" The prominent question mark in her tone proved that Hermione was now feeling anything but. It was the best kiss she ever had. "Really sorry?" she wheedled but she still wished she could mean it.
"Sorry?" he hissed bending down. Making sure their eyes were on par. "Do you realise how inappropriate your behaviour was just now, Miss Granger?"
"Yes, Sir," Hermione said trying to be meek but failing miserably. Now she was in the best mood she could ever possibly be. "I did mean a kiss but... well..." she quailed under Professor Snape's accusatory glare. "I did not mean it to go to that extent," she jutted out her chin defiantly. "Perhaps we should discuss this somewhere more private, Sir."
The Professor arched an eyebrow again and sighed. "Fine," he said. "Follow me." Trotting behind him as Professor Snape turned around a corner infamous robes billowing behind him – Hermione managed to skip by his side. They walked a few steps around another corner. Each twist and turn landed them further into the darker recesses of the Dungeons. Hermione's heart thudded in her chest. Though she was still aware of the directions so she could make her way back on her own if she had too. Eventually, they stopped once there were no prying ears. "Better?" he asked. All Hermione could do was nod. "Now," he said placing a hand inches above the right side of her head. If I was 13 this would have terrified me, Hermione thought, now I feel another emotion. Dry throated Hermione tried to gulp down some saliva to coat the walls of her throat. "Explain yourself."
"The younger you just keeps being so nice to me," she said. Impressed by how steady her tone was. "Not one thing he has said about me has been nasty – evil – spiteful," she lowered her eyes and hugged into herself. Merlin she is so small, Professor Snape sighed, this looming over frightening her has got to stop at some point. "He's even managed to talk to Harry about how D.A.D.A is such a badly handled subject," she glared into his eyes. "On the way down to the Great Hall he would make sure I did not hurt myself," she looked deeply in her Professor's eyes. As usual they gave nothing away. "He was the one that deepened it."
"Of course I would an at- a lo- you flung yourself at me wantonly!"
"Do you think it is easy for me, Sir?" she hissed. Finally, Professor Snape sighed, you can truly stand on your own two feet. "On the one hand you bitterly oppose my attempts showing you what I know – on the other hand – he is blushing in my company and makes me feel like a million Gold Galleons."
The Second Chance Enchantment, the Professor sighed, I am literally watching what could have been unfold before my eyes. Taking a deep breath Professor Snape gazed into her whiskey eyes. He was starting to remember this moment. The reason he was odd around her. Why she disconcerted him so much. It was terrifying to think he could begin to have feelings for a student, even if he is technically one.
"Fine, does he know of Black's demise? Of Mr Potter's scar? Pettigrew?"
"It was getting close, Sir, when Harry mentioned Remus as being the only link left to his Parents."
"I suppose he would not count me."
"You do not give him any reason to," Hermione pointed out. This Miss Granger, the Professor respected. "Sir," she said matter-of-factly, "please do not begrudge the younger you some happiness. I gathered last night he – you – did not have an easy life."
"I do not need your pity, Miss Granger?"
"No, you may not," she said. "But you have it all the same," forging staunchly ahead, "along with empathy – sympathy – and respect."
"You have had a different life from mine."
"Really, Sir?" she asked in a query. "I had my own Marauder band experience at my Muggle school. Four girls who thought that making fun of the bushy haired freak was such fun," she rolled her eyes, "and my first two months here was not exactly a bed of roses with bullying from your precious blond Prince and not making a single friend. You know," she narrowed her eyes. "You can thank the Dark Lord next time you meet him – if it wasn't for him I would not have had Harry and Ron as friends now!" she was about to go into Potions but Professor Snape grabbed hold of her elbow and pinned her against the wall. "You're hurting me!" she squirmed but his fingers dug into her flesh.
"You cannot get too close to the Gryffindor Me, you know that?" the Professor hissed. "Do you understand?" he snarled.
"This is what I mean," Hermione said in a calm voice that belied the fear twisting in her gut. "The younger you does not worry about things like that – the younger you is wonderful," she met his gaze. "I do not know what happened between then and now but I like you."
"Don't!" he murmured coldly in warning. "You have no idea what I am capable of."
"Yes because opening doors for ladies, making sure I do not twist my ankle and defending my status in this world – are all evil things are they not, Sir?"
Professor Snape looked like he had just been stung by her as he released his grip on her arms. He had to leave before he did something wrong.
Once he was alone Professor Snape rushed into his chambers and sat down on the chair behind his desk and groaned. That Granger had suddenly become a young woman – yes, she may still quote verbatim from text books but her feelings were all her own. The fact that she had not allowed Potter and Weasley's opinions affect her own added a notch or two of credibility to her character. The fact still remains: She is a student, I am a Professor.
Not only that. I am a Double Agent (For the Order – it made him laugh at how gullible the Malfoy's were – why should he not be loyal to Albus?) That bloody oath, he growled. Unbreakable Vow! There was no way around it, he sighed, he would have to kill the man who gave him a chance of redemption. All because their precious boy was raised to be such a mummy's boy, he could not do a single thing himself. The slight, small, and physically weaker Hermione Granger managed to best him in both Muggle and Magical methods. There was time before his lesson to start.
Decision made, he strode to his hearth and Floo'd Dumbledore in. "Severus," he smiled, "did you see Miss Granger in the Halls?"
"I did and I took her to task on it – she was surprisingly reasonable about the issue."
"Why does that shock you, Severus?"
"The fact remains she will only get hurt when the young me has to go back. I do not think..."
Holding his hand up, Albus sighed. All humour gone from his eyes. "How are you so certain, Severus?"
"I darken everything that dares to care for me, Albus." Before Albus could speak at this depressing statement Severus gazed at the Headmaster: "I want to tell her the truth," Severus sighed. "She needs to know that I cannot harm her but she must know why she should step away."
"Do you really think she would?"
"What do you mean?"
"What have you really observed about Miss Granger, Severus?" Albus leant against the wall, "genuine remarks now?"
"Incredibly loyal," Snape sighed, "cannot bear to see others fail, that is why she continuously helps Mr Longbottom." Ruefully, the younger Wizard ruffled through his hair. "Displays a vicious streak – which is why Miss Edgecombe sports that rather telling word across her brow." I do not intend to cure the tattle tale either! "The cunning she showed in organising the Army in your name was rather admirable. In truth, with the wrong tutelage, Miss Granger could rival the Dark Lord eventually."
A sigh of heavy exasperation escaped Severus mouth as he glittered at the Headmaster: "I do not know what you mean."
"It does not take a genius, Severus, to see that the young creature has a great deal of respect for you," the Headmaster sighed, "she has constantly defended you to Mr's Potter and Weasley."
"I said something horrible to her two years back," the Professor groaned, "yet she still respects me?"
"Miss Granger has a big heart capable of all forms of love for all types of people, there is not an ounce of prejudice in her," Albus looked at him – his expression unreadable, "she told the younger you that a man crying was perfectly natural and comforted you in my office. Neither would let go of each other."
"She deserves better than I," Severus mumbled.
The pathos in Albus sigh was not lost on Severus: "What do I have to say to make you believe you are a brave man, Severus?"
Lowering his eyes Severus felt the need to cry but he did not wish to do so in front of the Headmaster. "I am a coward, Albus, I was a coward that day and I still am."
Tutting, Albus shook his head walked up to Severus and wrapped his arms around the young man's neck. Gently pulled him in a fatherly embrace: "I suggest you look at your memories since Miss Granger came to the school – you might be surprised at how she looks at you when you are teaching."
"I almost kissed her just now, in the halls, Headmaster," Severus admitted, "how good is that?" he sneered in self-loathing. "Enlighten me?"
Massaging his temples Albus groaned: "There proves my point, Severus," the man squeezed Severus bicep, "you do realise that she is of age."
"Duty of care, Headmaster – I cannot and will not betray her trust!"
There, the Headmaster beamed beatifically at the D.A.D.A Professor. "See, you said it yourself. You care for her honour – you would never hurt Miss Granger any more than you would other students," the old man turned to Floo back to his office: "I think Miss Granger – in a few years, would be perfect for you."
"Humph, she is likely to marry Potter or Weasley."
"I think the Second Chance Enchantment has changed that," Albus smiled, the eyes amongst the beard sparkled with admiration, "you were sent to a Gryffindor Muggleborn who has dazzling intelligence and a genuine heart."
"If I get summoned?"
"I am sure Voldemort would not sense any change to your timeline – he is far to preoccupied with Mr Potter at the moment," the mention of the Dark Lord's name caused the raven haired Wizard to wince. "I know how that makes you feel," he sighed, "so, what is it you wish to tell Miss Granger?"
"The cruelty I imposed on Lily."
"You have more than atoned for that – the younger you despised hearing Miss Granger refer to herself as that unsavoury term," Severus glowered at Albus over this, "maybe you could bond her as some sort of Secret Keeper – she has more discretion than you know."
As Albus stepped into the fireplace Severus sank onto the desk dropping his head down so his chin rested on his collarbone: "Good idea," he muttered, "now how do I get her to do it?"
"Be honest, Severus, offer her a cup of tea and make her feel welcome in your presence."
Two hours had passed and Septimus was by Hermione's side as soon as he possibly could be. They giggled as he bent his head down and she smelled it: "I can still smell sandalwood and freshly cut grass."
"You're just saying that because you don't want to break a school rule."
"Genuinely," she said threading a lock in her fingers and held it up to his nose – he took in a deep breath. "See," her dimpled smile calmed him down. Harry and Ron stood to the side watching them. "So, you owe me."
"Was the deal I kiss you?"
"We've done enough of that this morning," she giggled as the blush crept to her forehead. "I bet the plait looks a mess?" she twirled around.
"No, it still looks sweet."
She found his arms wrap her around her waist and his nose nuzzled in behind her ear: "I will only lose spectacularly for you," he whispered.
A sneer interrupted their hug: "Oh look it's the Mudblood with the next blind idiot!"
She felt his hands clutch tightly onto her robes before he glanced up to look into the ice blue eyes and blond hair. "Malfoy!" Snape hissed, the eyes that were lava a moment ago now became black ice. He let Hermione go. "I dare you to call her that again."
"I don't need to be dared – she is a Mudblood!" Draco smirked.
In the distance Ron, Harry, Seamus and Dean had drawn their wands – Ginny had joined the group when she saw what was happening. Harry glanced at the hatred in the red haired beauty's eyes. The past few weeks Harry had finally realised how wonderful Ginny Weasley was. Now, she had got over him, there would never be a chance with her.
Letting go of Hermione, Septimus stood around her and held her back in a gesture that caused Harry to shake his head. Some what too similar to how Professor Snape defended them against Remus in Werewolf form. "I am a Muggleborn, too," Septimus said lowering his eyes – he was already taller than Draco, "I am a year above you, flobberworm," Hermione stood gingerly beside him and squeezed his forearm.
"Septimus," she whispered, "it's not going to improve the situation by having an impromptu duel in the halls." Septimus turned, finding Hermione gazing at him with fear. "Please, he's not worth it."
"Not worth it?" Septimus snarled whipping around, "he's a Malfoy!"
"Septimus," Hermione said taking his hand, "there is nothing to be gained from causing a ruckus or do you wish me to inform your distant cousin?"
"That's it," Draco leered, "do what the little woman says why don't you!" Crabbe and Goyle were by his side and gurgled out what seemed to be a laugh. "Actually," the blond reached out and snatched Hermione by her robes. "As you're freely giving out kisses why don't you show me what you showed him, eh. Who knows," he tilted his head as he roughly cupped Hermione's jaw and forced her mouth open to bruise her with a kiss – tugging harshly at her hair. "Perhaps I might like the taste of dirt!"
Grinding his teeth together Septimus' ire was sufficiently raised as he picked up his wand, making sure his Hermione was out of the line of fire – he yelled: "Levicorpus!" Draco suddenly found himself high up in the air and Hermione watched in horror as she realised the fall would more than likely kill him.
"Septimus!" she exclaimed. "Stop it, stop it please?"
"He was being disrespectful," Septimus said, "spoiled brats like him only learn the worst way possible," and there the ghost of a sneer. The sneer that Hermione frequently put up with on the older Severus. "NO! Septimus – put him back safely!"
"I say leave him!" yelled Ernie MacMillan. "It's not like he'd come to your aid if it was you, Hermione."
"Yeah!" exclaimed Terry Boot, "let him splat, it's not like mummy and daddy can have more – the world will be rid of one less germ!"
Harry was strangely reminded of that memory. Of no one coming to Professor Snape's aid apart from his mum. The reason that Snape threw him out of his office telling Harry to never come there again. Not that Harry had a problem with that at the time. Now though, he sighed. Watching it happen in reverse, he could almost actually hate his father. It could have caused Professor Snape some serious damage if his father lost one moment of concentration.
"That's enough, Septimus," Harry said quietly. His green eyes glittering with seriousness. "Bring him back and put him on his feet."
"He got Dumbledore's Army into trouble!" whinged Hannah.
"No," Harry sighed, "that was Marietta Edgecombe by not keeping her fat mouth shut. Put Malfoy back, Septimus," Hermione was grateful for Harry's intervention. With a sigh Septimus did so: "Thank you," Harry said.
Inwardly, Septimus wondered if this was another branch of the Potter family, if it were not for those green eyes he would have seriously doubted it. The hair was too much of a give away too. Hmm, how could James Potter's son be so different? "Sorry, Harry," Septimus smiled sheepishly, "I do not let anyone insult those I care about – it's silly," he smiled at Hermione, "but in such a short space of time I have come to care for her completely with my whole heart – or," he shrugged, "what's left of it."
Girls swooned again. Ginny walked up to Septimus and took his hand in hers: "She's the best and you did what we've all been thinking to do for quite some time. If anyone has any reason to hate the Malfoys," she sighed, "I do."
What did the Malfoys do to her? Septimus tilted his head to the side and turned his attention back to Hermione: "I'm sorry, Hermione, I wanted to make – I wanted you to feel -" without a verbal answer Hermione tiptoed up and softly kissed his cheek. "Yeah," he sighed. "That."
Not only were rumours rife with Septimus Snape and Hermione Granger's sudden and rather hot romance, the school was abuzz over the revelation that the reason he had the same name as the Professor was because they were related – but he called himself a Muggleborn.
Study Hall was a rippling sussuration of theories being hissed by various groups. Who was Septimus Snape? Why was he not seen before? Was it true that he and Hermione were already engaged? What does Professor Snape think of the idea of his least favourite pupil dating his blood connection? Every time they walked in a room together the humming stopped.
"You mentioned the Lions Den last night," Septimus sighed in Hermione's ear, "I think with all the hissing we've just entered the vipers nest."
"Yep," she said bouncing confidently to an empty table. "We may as well give the little dark things food."
Septimus sat opposite her – both starting a game of footsie beneath the table: "So, does my hair still look alright?"
"Yep," Hermione smirked, "you're going to lose that match, Septimus."
"I guess," Septimus shrugged, "I just hate failing."
Burying her head in her book Hermione muttered something unintelligible. They had finished learning for the day and had to start on their monumental essays. Normally both would find no difficulty in losing themselves in books but, now – they kept studying each other instead of the text in front of them. How, Hermione wondered, how had this developed so quickly? Gryffindor Snape knew her so well. All the Gryffindor Snape could care about this moment in time was gazing at the beautiful Witch in front of him. Hermione felt that familiar tension in her gut when Professor Snape was behind her. Stiffly, she turned around and saw him loom above her – though not with arms folded this time. Still glowering though as he saw her eyes widen to saucers.
"I request you to be in my Office at 7pm, Miss Granger." He sneered at the Gryffindor Snape and leered at Hermione. "Might I suggest you both read the books rather than each other?"
With that they watched him sweep out. "Prat!" Septimus muttered. Hermione giggled. "I do not understand why you like him!"
I wish I could understand it myself, Hermione sighed, nibbling on the end of her quill. "Come on, we best get on with it," she huffed.
The last ten minutes before Hermione had to go to Professor Snape's office was the most excruciating she had to endure. For this time it was not a detention, it was not a discussion on one of her essays which, she wondered if he was just using as an excuse to just talk to her. This was different. The look in his eyes. The throwaway insult. Hermione chewed on her nails.
"You had best go," Septimus said. "If he is anything like the rumours I heard then earlier would be better."
Nodding, Hermione gazed at the others. All offering her encouraging glances before she took a deep breath and took her bag with her in case this was one of those discussions on her essays. Maybe she could ask him why he made her go through her reasoning in words when she felt she had expressed herself clearly in text.
Before she left the portrait Septimus ran behind and kissed her on the cheek before transfiguring a small rock into a red rose and pinned it in her hair: "Thank you," she blushed. Gulping at the way his hand hovered over her hair and then ghosted down to her face. "Septimus," she sighed. "Better get..." Septimus never gave her the chance to finish her sentence as he clashed his lips to hers in a searing but non-invasive kiss leaving her head reeling.
Harry watched: "You should stop doing that, you know," he grinned at him, "people might think you're in love."
Septimus shrugged: "So, what if I am," he said, "I know I hardly know her but she is just..." he looked at the hole, "Harry, am I worthy for a girl like her?"
"You seem to do anything in your power to help her but," he sighed, "just don't get your hopes up, Hermione has many admirers – including a World Cup Quidditch Star."
"Did it last?"
"The fact that she is openly kissing you – nah," Harry said walking up to Septimus, "also, Hermione is not one to lead you on. Her heart is too pure for games."
"Thank you, Harry," shyly, Septimus smiled. "I messed up once with a very similar lady, I do not want to do so again."
"Then you must have truly loved the other girl," Harry said, "one tip about Hermione," Septimus widened his eyes in anticipation, "she is the warmest most forgiving woman you could ever wish to know – the amount of times we've messed her around but she is always there caring for us. I honestly think it would take a great deal to make her hate you."
"I called the other lady something nasty – I tried to apologise but..."
Harry wrapped an arm around Septimus shoulder and hugged the new boy. Somehow he wanted this one to be a friend, felt it was important he trust him. Septimus smiled through his fear: "Come on, I got some chocolate frogs."
Beaming, Septimus followed Harry back up the stairs into the warmth of the Common Room and he sat down eating sweets and playing all sorts of games with his new friends. The girl Lavender Brown kept winking at Parvati as if she knew something he did not. Every time he peered through his eyelashes at them they both melted in a pool of giggles. Distractions were good but he kept checking the clock wondering when his dearest Hermione was going to come back. Hating the way the clock thudded out each tick in his ears he got up with a fierce determined look in his black eyes: "I'm going to find out if she is okay."
"Get into trouble with the Bat of the Dungeons?" Ron asked.
"What if she's hurt or that blond prat hurt her?"
"Malfoy knows better to hurt Hermione," Harry laughed. "She slapped him in the face hard enough to cause him to bleed and her knuckles were not bruised in the process."
This brought an eerily familiar leer to Septimus face. Harry wondered if he needed to clean his glasses. Surely not? Shaking his head of that idea he sighed. "Who is coming with me?" he was not to be deterred.
"You don't need to," Neville's quietly shy voice said as his hand tugged at Septimus sleeve, "honest, you don't!"
"Why?" he snarled.
"Because Hermione would not let herself get hurt – she's scary enough not to cause problems, even Filch does not dare to cross her!"
Interesting – Filch was the scourge in his day too. The cat was different. That one was called Catherine De Burgh – or Lady, for short. "Fine," he sighed, "I just feel so hopeless, she's in the clutches of a Slytherin."
"A teacher," Dean said. "I don't think Snape would do anything to jeopardise his dream job."
I would not put it past me, Septimus sighed. How come he found it so easy to slip into this role? Surely this should be hard as heck to pretend to be someone else. Or was he? Was the other one pretending to be someone else? He was so confused. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. It was said there were 13 chimes on a dead man's clock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Come on, Hermione – Septimus worry was gnawing so it twisted his gut – he hated not knowing. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. That was the twelfth.
"Septimus," Ginny said softly taking his hand in hers, "Hermione has been longer than this unscathed."
He just hoped the older part of him was not as much like his father as he first supposed. "Are you in love, Ginny?" he asked her. Liking how the blush made her suddenly coy. Instead of looking at Dean as he thought she would her eyes travelled towards Harry: "Ah, and he has not noticed you?"
"I doubt he ever will," she sighed, "so I am dating boys that actually ask me!"
"How about I feel it out for you?"
"Would you do that?" Ginny's eyes widened. "Dean's lovely but I just..."
"Don't have that magnetic pull towards him?"
Shaking her head Ginny smiled shyly: "Do you with Hermione?"
"Hermione has been like a sister to me," she sighed, "I wished for Ron to open his eyes by now and see what we all do but no," Septimus smirked, "you have good eyesight though!"
"Thank you, Ginny."
The red haired girl had assuaged his worries somewhat. The magnetic pull was what he was relying on for bringing her to him tonight in one piece. Instead of playing more games, Septimus settled into a routine with a book, quick quotes quill, and some scrolls to hone his note taking skills as he carefully read and jotted things down. Now that was his sort of panacea for panic.
"He's a male Hermione," muttered Ron. "I don't like it, Harry, the story doesn't seem right."
"It doesn't," Harry agreed, "but do you think Hermione would be able to lie this long?"
"No," Ron said, "so please can we find out what is really going on?"
"Not this time, Ron," Harry said, "Hermione would hate you if you tried to discredit him because of something petty. You really do not want to be on the wrong side of her, do you?"
With a sigh Ron glowered at Septimus as he did at Viktor and any other male who showed a passing appreciative glance in Hermione's direction, Ginny had overheard their conversation and spotted the thunderously murderous look in his eyes: "Ron, if you go near those two I will personally hex you into the next millennium!" she warned her brother.
"That's a threat I would not want to test," Seamus laughed, Septimus heard the exchange and smiled gratefully at Ginny. "Hermione and Ginny are forces to be reckoned with after all."
"That they are!" Dean's goofy smile conveyed how proud he was to have Ginny as a girlfriend. "I think they're both wonderful but Ginny," he grabbed around her waist and pulled her into his lap and nibbled on her
ear, "is the best of them all!"
Blushing Ginny snuggled into Dean's lap. It was only Septimus who noticed sly, covert glances directed an oblivious Harry's way.
Still the clock ticked on...
AN: Oooo so she is having tea with Snape, I wonder what sort of sympathy will be offered - or is Septimus right in his gut - is she going to be in trouble? What do you think? Trouble, for Hermione, or is she just eating scones and sipping Assam?