Chapter 67

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Draco put his head in his hand and moaned, "Ginevra."

"No!" She continued. "I want to know what the hell she is doing here! Is there no one in Philadelphia whose life she can ruin, or have they all figured out who she is?"

"Excuse me?" Snape asked, trying to recover from his shock.

Hermione began calculating the nearest route to the door. Maybe if she started running now Severus would forgive her for leaving. But then Hermione would be unable to defend herself while Ginny said whatever she wanted.

No, that wasn't going to happen again.

"Tell me Hermione," Ginny spat, "How many sober-up potions have you taken today? It must be great to land a Potions Master who can make it any time you want…"

"Enough!" Narcissa barked.

Everyone turned to her, stunned she would speak. "I didn't come here to watch you and Hermione have a catfight!"

"Though that could be amusing," Lucius mused with a smirk.

"Can we please just have a nice Thanksgiving for the children?" Draco asked as Narcissa glared at Lucius, who only smirked wider.

Severus stared at them, at a loss. While he knew Ginny and Hermione had had some sort of falling out, Ginny's behavior was disproportionately harsh. "Does anyone want to see my tooth right now?" Margarita asked, breaking the tense silence.

"Sure," Severus answered.

"See," she announced proudly as she began to wiggle it.

Hermione watched Snape interact with the child with a look of intense pain in her eyes. Snape glanced over at her and noticed her expression. He sighed and gestured for her to come closer. "See!" Margarita exclaimed when she saw Hermione. "It really wiggles! Mum says it should come out soon."

"It would probably come out now if you'd let me pull it," Draco replied.

"No! I wanted to show Uncle Severus first!" Margarita answered. "Do you see it Miss Hermione?"

Hermione could tell by the expression on Margarita's face that the child was trying to cheer her up. Hermione forced a smile in return. "I see it," she replied. "It's really interesting."

Margarita grinned as blood trickled from the tooth. "Hold still," Severus ordered.

"Huh?" Margarita asked.

With the flick of his wand, Severus removed Margarita's tooth from her mouth. "There," he replied as he placed the tooth on the table.

"Hey!" Margarita exclaimed as Draco laughed.

"Bring it to me," Ginny began from across the table.

"Okay Mum," Margarita answered.

Margarita left Snape's lap, took the tooth from the table, and handed it to her mother. "We'll put it under your pillow tonight," Ginny promised.

"Okay!" Margarita replied.

Hermione's eyes misted as she watched Ginny settle into a chair with Margarita on her lap. Before she could excuse herself, she heard Scorpius ask, "Are we going to make a potion now?"

"I'm afraid we won't have time right now. Dinner's almost ready."

"Can we make one after dinner?" he pleaded.

"Of course," Severus replied.

"Which potion are you planning to make?" Hermione asked as she tried to keep her emotions in check.

"A boil curing potion! I wanted to make Wolfsbane, but Uncle Severus says it's too hard," Scorpius answered.

"Oh! That was the first potion I made!" Hermione answered, becoming genuinely excited.

"It'll be my first potion too!" Scorpius answered. Then, his voice became more serious. "Mummy said Uncle Severus was a hard teacher."

"He was to me," Hermione asked. "But I'm sure he'll go easier on you."

"Will you?" Scorpius asked.

"Depends," Severus teased, "Are you a dunderhead?"

"No!" he laughed.

"Then this will be very pleasurable for you," Severus answered.

Scorpius laughed as Ginny scowled at Hermione. "Please Ginevra," Draco whispered as he sat next to her.

"Do you not see what's going on?" Ginny hissed.

"What's going on?" Margarita asked.

"Nothing you need to be concerned with," Ginny answered.

"Mummy, why aren't you being nice to Miss Hermione? She seems really nice," Margarita asked.

"Master! Dinner is ready!" Filbert yelled.

"Okay, just give us a moment," Snape replied as he set Scorpius on a chair next to him.

Hermione sat on the other side of Severus next to Lucius. Ginny sat at the far end of the table while Margarita sat across from Hermione. Narcissa was seated next to her husband while Draco took the remaining seat. After everyone was seated, Filbert, Amy, and Sparky brought out the place settings followed by heaping serving dishes of roast beef, mashed potatoes, yams, green beans, cranberry sauce, and various other traditional dishes. "We have pie, cupcakes, and apple fritters for dessert!" Filbert announced after all the dishes were set on the table.

"Fabulous." Lucius replied.

When the elves retreated back to the kitchen, the guests passed each other serving dishes and made an effort to keep their conversation light and cordial. Even so, Snape caught Ginny glaring daggers through Hermione when she thought no one was looking. Hermione made a determined effort to focus on her food and the conversation among Severus and the children, who pressed him for more details about his teaching days at Hogwarts. Hermione found the sound of his voice soothing, especially when he was talking about something he loved, like making potions.

After the main course was finished, the elves cleared the table and set out fresh plates. Then they set out four pies: pumpkin, lemon, apple, and key lime, along with Scorpius' cupcakes and Margarita's apple fritters. Though stomachs were becoming uncomfortably full, they made space for at least one piece of pie.

After dessert, Hermione whispered to Severus, "I'll be in the library."

He nodded. "Will you need anything?" he asked.

She shook her head. "I'll be fine."

As Hermione excused herself, Scorpius pleaded, "Can we please make the potion now?"

Severus smiled. "Certainly." Then he announced to the group, "We potion makers are retreating to the lab."

"Have fun!" Lucius replied.

"Be careful!" Draco replied. "Don't let your Uncle Severus blow us up!"

Scorpius laughed as Severus led him downstairs. Ginny yawned, "I need to take a nap."

"I'll lead you to a room," Draco replied. "I could use one myself."

Margarita looked at her Grandfather and said, "I'm not sleepy."

"Don't worry. We can go for a stroll outside," Lucius suggested.

"Okay!" she answered.

"Would you like to join us, Cissy?" Lucius asked.

"Why not? It's certainly a lovely day!" Narcissa answered.

The couple laughed as they each took one of Margarita's hands.

Hermione was held rapt by one of Severus' potions magazines, which described proposed changes to make Wolfsbane longer lasting. She was even more impressed that Severus himself had written the article.

Her mind drifted to Scorpius and Severus' potions lesson. She would have loved to have witnessed the gentle interaction between the two, but she was afraid of incurring Ginny's wrath. She swallowed hard and wondered where Ginny was.

"You need to leave!"

Hermione looked up to see a furious Ginny pointing a wand directly at her heart.


Don't worry, all will be revealed very soon...