Title: It's my party, I can hide if I want to
Age-Range Category: Five
Pairings: Hermione Granger/Severus Snape and side Harry Potter/Ginny Weasley/Draco Malfoy
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): Horcrux possesion/mind warping.
Summary: Seventeen years after the war, Severus Snape returns to Hogwarts to teach DADA mid-term but is subjected to a birthday party beforehand.
Severus Snape looked at himself in the mirror. He was most certainly not looking forward to the evening's events at all. He was 53 years old for Merlin's sake; he didn't need a birthday party.
"Severus Snape, you better not be in there contemplating not showing up," cried Minerva from the next room.
"I should have never given you access to my wards, you old cat!" he replied.
Minerva walked into his bedroom, invitation be damned. "Look, Severus, there are people here who would like to wish you well now that you have returned to the public eye."
"You mean the unholy trio, don't you? It isn't my fault they took me seriously when I said to leave me alone," he replied.
Something in his face triggered Minerva's cat sense. "You wish they hadn't listened, but you have no way to broach the issue. Or at least you don't think you do. And don't worry, it isn't the unholy trio you are thinking of, unless you mean Harry, Draco, and Ginny."
"Whatever happened to the youngest male Weasley and Miss Granger?" he asked.
"There was a tragic accident, Ronald is dead, and Hermione is badly scarred."
"That seems odd, Minerva. It doesn't sound right," he said. "Didn't you hire her as the new Professor of Runes? Don't tell me you are planning for us to run off together before the term is over, like the last set?"
"I have no intention of saying anything more unless you finish contemplating which set of black robes you are wearing, put them on and come down to dinner," she stated, stuck her nose up in the air and flounced out of the room.
"Meddling old cat," Severus stated under his breath.
"I heard that!" came from the floo area of his drawing room.
Severus shook his head, picked up the second set of black robes from the left side of the bed and put them on over his trousers, shirt and black vest.
Then, huffing to himself about not enjoying it at all, for some reason tickling the back of his mind with some mostly forgotten lyrics about sauerkraut and toadstool sandwiches with arsenic sauce, and walked out his door, taking the long route to Minerva's office. He threatened a few of the paintings who kept calling encouragement to him as he walked by.
When he arrived, he found her office filled with the surviving staff, as well as former members of the Order of the Phoenix.
Severus managed to stay calm when Draco came up and after holding out his hand to shake, pulled him into a hug.
"Professor, it is so good to see you so well," Draco said.
"Oh, for Merlin's sake, Draco, call me Severus. Or Uncle Sev as you were wont to do," he replied.
"Professor, I have to agree with Draco, you do look well," Harry said, coming up to him, arm around Ginny, who nodded.
"None of you all are children, just call me Severus. And Miss Weasley? I'm glad to see you looking so well," he said.
"Mrs. Potter, actually. But much of it was thanks to you, sir. It took me a while, but I can look back and see how much you attempted to protect us," she said.
"So, Potter," Severus began, when he got interrupted.
"Fine. Harry, where are your other two thirds?"
Ginny took a deep breath, and Harry's eyes welled up. Severus was surprised when Draco patted him on the shoulder.
"I'll tell him, he was in the hospital when it all happened. Why don't you two go see if Hermione managed to make it," Draco said.
Draco led Severus over to a set of chairs near the fireplace. "Shortly after the Battle, when Father had taken you to the hospital to get your wound treated, Hermione and Weasley had gone to Australia to see if they could restore her parents' memories. No one knows exactly what happened, she's not talking, but all anyone knows is that there was an accident and Weasley died, and Hermione was disfigured. She spent a bit of time in Mungo's and then went to work for the Department of Mysteries before agreeing to take Runes for Minerva. She's the one who broke the curse on the DADA position for you, by the way."
Severus furrowed his brow in thought. The idea of an accident whilst trying to retrieve her parents from a neutral location didn't quite make sense. Breaking the curse on the DADA position, on the other hand, made perfect sense. He looked up when he heard gasps.
He was forced to occlude heavily when he caught sight of the witch at the door.
"Guess she was feeling rebellious today," Draco murmured.
Severus watched as Draco stood up and walked over to Hermione Granger and kissed her on the cheek. Her heavily scarred cheek.
The others all came up to Hermione and greeted her, but few would look at her directly. Only Minerva and Poppy kissed her on the scarred cheek as Draco did, the rest barely grazed the good cheek.
He stood and walked over to her. "Miss Granger, I had not heard of the accident, and so you have my condolences for the losses you have suffered."
The petite witch looked up at him. Her hair was cut into what he believed was called a pixie cut, there was a large set of scars on the left side of her face, starting at the edge of her eye and running down into her neck. She was wearing a pair of tight leather trousers and a cropped off vest with Doc Martens. He knew she was in her early 30's but she looked both ten years younger and ten years older and harder. There were scars all along her left side. They puckered her shoulder and left arm, went down her side and most likely reached her hip, at least what was evident from the swath of skin showing between the cropped vest and the low-riding trousers indicated so.
"Thank you. I appreciate your straight-forward approach, sir. The fainting daisies I usually deal with tiptoe around the issue," she responded. "In the Department of Mysteries, the robes the Unspeakables wear kept most of the Ministry from having to look at me, but I got used to wearing what I liked, as the Unspeakables are fairly single-minded and never really cared what I looked like," she said.
"Now, Hermione, you know you won't be able to be quite that harsh with the students," Minerva admonished.
Hermione just stared at her.
"She'll do fine, Minerva," Harry interjected. "All the kids love her."
"You must admit, Harry, your children are special."
Harry just grinned and shrugged. "On that note, Gin and I must return to the special ones," he said. "Dray, are you planning to come with, or will you be by later?"
"I'll come now," Draco said, reading the room. "I can get the gossip from Hermione later, in any case."
Severus stared after them, confused.
"They are a triad, Severus," Minerva explained, understanding his confusion. "And a true one enough that all the children seem to have bits of all of them."
"That is rather frightening," Severus replied. "How many of them are here?"
"Two of the four," Hermione said, then chuckled harshly as she looked around. "I have managed to clear the room. My apologies, Professor Snape."
"If I understood Minerva correctly, we shall be on staff together. As will most of the people who snuck out of here. You may call me Severus, and this makes for a far more interesting party. Given my druthers I would have stayed in my room," he replied. "But seeing as I have a fondness for Doc Martens on a woman, I think I'll take my chances here."
"Well, Severus, since you didn't faint at the sight my scars, and you actually appreciate my boots, I will have to agree," Hermione said. "This is far more interesting."
"Let's sit by the fire with some good of my good Glenlivet, then, shall we?" said Minerva, not quite following the conversation, but glad it was going well, considering the two participants.
Severus took a glass and sipped tentatively, and watched, bemused as Hermione knocked back her first glass and held it out for another.
"Plannin' to tell the story, finally, are ye, girl?" Minerva asked.
Hermione nodded. "He didn't flinch at my scars, or my clothes. He deserves to know."
"Your friends say that no one knows the whole story," Severus said.
Hermione laughed. "Harry, Ginny and Draco know the story quite well, but they are true friends and cover for me. The truth is far too ugly for most people," she said. "My parents were never Obliviated. That was the story I told everyone. I even pretended to do so with their full consent so I would have that memory."
Severus nodded. "The week after you had them leave their home, it was leveled by the Carrows. They were furious that no one was home."
Hermione took a deep breath. "That is a wonderful thing to know. I'm glad I wasn't just being paranoid."
"It isn't paranoia if they really are out to get you," he replied, deadpan.
She almost fell out of her chair laughing.
Once she regained her composure, she started to talk again. "They went to our villa in Italy. My mother had inherited it from her Nana, and since the purebloods seemed to forget that even muggles could have some money and property out of the country, it was a good place for them. They had a small practice and just mostly had a sabbatical."
"It almost sounds idyllic," Minerva said.
"Well, other than being very worried about me, it was, apparently. They were very happy, and have decided to spend a few months a year there now. The only problem with the villa is that a couple fields over, the land had been mined during the Second World War. Most of the locals knew where the worst of it was, and just stayed away. My parents told us about it, and then started packing up. You remember the brains that attacked Ron during the fiasco at the MInistry our fifth year?"
"Intimately. They hit Rowle and he was almost as insane and fanatical as Bel—, oh." he replied. "But he didn't have the potion I prepared for Weasley. As long as he took his doses, he should have been fine."
"While we were on the run, Ron couldn't take his dose. Then I guess all the time with the Horcrux made him believe that he was better off without it. So by the time we had gone out there, he hadn't taken it for almost a year." she replied.
Severus shook his head. "Of all the careless, mutton-headed things to do… didn't you have space for it in your bag?"
"Of course I did, but somehow, when I had them out for him in the campground, they got broken," she said.
Minerva muttered under her breath.
Hermione raised an eyebrow. "Minerva, was that Gaelic or cat?"
"Little of both, girl, little of both," the older witch replied.
"Well, I've gotten this far, so I will tell you the rest," Hermione said.
"You don't have to, child. With what Severus said and the story you told, I can figure out the rest," Minerva said.
"Tell us if you wish, Hermione. I'm sure we can come up with various scenarios that end up with your scarred, but only you know the truth," Severus said.
"Ron told me he had packed up a picnic, and he was so excited, I figured he was going to propose," Hermione said. She closed her eyes. "He asked me to close my eyes, so I did. We walked a bit, then he told me to open my eyes." She curled into a ball on the large armchair, facing the back of the chair instead of the others.
Severus looked at Minerva who looked as horrified as he felt.
Hermione started talking again, her voice almost muffled into the back of the chair. "We were in the mined field. He took my left arm, where Bellatrix had carved the word Mudblood into it then laughed and said that he hoped I hit a mine trying to get out because I deserved a muddy death. He pulled out a shrunken broom from his pocket and re-sized it and abandoned me there. I started screaming, hoping my parents would get me out, when Ron started firing Bombardas at the ground. One did hit a mine, and when it exploded, I got thrown into the air. I figured I would die, when suddenly, Ron dove off his broom and covered me with his body."
"At least he tried to make up for it at the end," Minerva said.
"Or he wanted to make sure you died together," Severus said. Then he ducked when Minerva threw her glass at him.
"Some days I believe one thing and some days I believe the other. But most people just think there was some Death Eater attack in Australia," Hermione said. "I do know that somehow, although he did claim another victim, Riddle didn't win. I'm still here, scars and all."
"And here I thought the snake bite was the best battle scar," Severus said. "You win."
Minerva's eyes almost popped out of her head. "Och, Severus, don—"
"Oh, I'm going to enjoy working with you. No fainting daisies here," Hermione said.
"I don't tiptoe through tulips, either," Severus said.
"You two take your very disturbing flirting out of here. You dishonor the whiskey," Minerva said, shooing them out the door.
Hermione picked herself off up the chair and held her hand out to Severus. "Walk me back to my quarters," she demanded.
"As you wish," he said. "I do believe my return to polite society will be far more interesting with you around."
She nodded then held her hand up to stop him.
"What are you doing, Hermione?"
"Shush," she said. "I'm trying to listen."
Severus frowned. "Bossy little witch,"
Just as he was about to abandon her to return to his quarters, she smiled, then pulled a ball of yarn out of her bag and quickly opening Minerva's door, she threw it in. They could both hear the cat animagus chasing the ball of yarn around the office. Then the door was thrown open.
"You two WILL regret that," Minerva said, pulling unraveled yarn from her head and shoulders.
The pair began laughing.
"Let's go before she remembers her wand," Hermione said.
Severus laughed. "You could have told me, you know. That WAS worth the wait."
"More fun my way," she said.
"Yes," Severus said. "But, Hermione, are you truly well? One of the healers I had in France was a mind healer and he helped me deal with something the muggles call PTSD. It is one of the reasons I was able to return. And with Draco teaching Potions, I didn't have to return to a job I hated."
"One of the Unspeakables referred me to his brother in law, who is a muggle psychiatrist. I truly have dealt with things as well as I can. Without that help, I would have never been able to create the wards that I have. You know I can ward a mined field now? It makes them inert, although we can't do too many at once. I go out with Bill once a year and do the oldest mined field left unwarded."
"I'm sure the Ministries of the various countries must love that."
"They don't know," she said. "I've learned quite well that forgiveness is easier to get than permission. That is practically the Department of Mysteries motto, you know."
"Little rebel, are you?"
"Too old to be a rebel now. I have just decided that life is far too short to waste on things I don't really care about." She smiled. "I'm not quite ready for the night to end yet. I know a great bar in Aberdeen that has an apparition point nearby. Go grab your black jeans and Docs and lets go," she said.
He turned to do what she asked, then said, "How did you know I had black jeans and Doc Marten boots?"
"You grew up in the 70's in Manchester. Unless you wanted your arse handed to you every time you went home, I'm sure you knew how to dress to fit in," she said.
"Smarty pants," he said, then turned around again to head to his quarters.
"No pants," he thought he heard as he walked away.
"Tease," he called over his shoulder.
"Only if you aren't meant to find out for yourself," she replied. "PIck up the pace, now. I'd like a pint."
And so he did.