Growing - Harry Potter fandom fic - Snape / Hermione mutual gain

Dimensions Magazine

Help Support Dimensions Magazine:

Fat Molly

hufflepuff hobbit
Aug 3, 2010
, female by default
Chapter 62: chrysalism: baking and blues


chrysalism - n. the amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm
Chapter Text

The contents of the pie were beginning to pique her nose's interest, and Hermione made her way to the kitchenette.

"What are you making?" Severus asked.

She turned her head back and met his eyes, which flicked up from where he'd been scoping out her arse.

"Something sweet," Hermione answered, keeping it light and coy. She proceeded to ignore Severus for several minutes as she bustled around the kitchen, gathering a ladle and some other utinsils she knew she'd need.

Severus, for his part, got up to stop the record that had run out of music and was spinning soundlessly. He casually selected another record. Soon they were listening to some blusey jazz that made Hermione's hips rock gently as she stood in the kitchen.

The rattle of the guitar and the insistent prodding of the piano made Hermione thoughtful and pensive. It echoed in her brain in such a way as to make her feel nostalgic.

Wanting to hint at seductiveness, without looking at Severus she undid a few buttons of her bodice, until her collar began to protest and shoulder of one of her sleeves began to charmingly slip down her arm.

Then, still not even casting a glance in his direction, she opened up the piping hot cauldron of stewed apples, removing the lid from the steamy pot, and took a pleasurable whiff of the scents. The delicious flavors had melded together, and she was dying to taste them. She closed her eyes and took a deep wafting sniff, waving her hand as if she were testing the smell of a potion.

When she opened her eyes, she saw that the kitchenette window was steamed up with the heat from the pot, creating a cozy, domestic feel to her activities. Outside was cold, and dark, and it was beginning to rain. It started and accelerated fiercely, as if Hera were taking a much-needed piss, and Hermione smiled at the image.

Removing the pot from the stove - which, I must remind you, wasn't something as simple as removing a pot from one of our Muggle gas-powered stoves; this was an ancient coal-based monstrosity from the 1800s with its own peculiarities and apprehensions - Hermione laid it on a trivet on the counter.

The smell was evocative enough that it lured Severus into the kitchen. As soon as her hands were free, she felt his arms sneak around her plump waist and grasp her tightly around the middle. His softness enveloped her from behind, and she took a dreamy gasp.

"Care to dance?" she felt Severus rumble in her ear, and Hermione nodded silently, feeling her cheeks rush with color.

She felt him gently pulse up and down, bouncing just a little bit at the knees in time to the music. At the start of each musical phrase, she felt him shift his weight slightly from one foot to the other, and he carried her with him as he pulsed back and forth. She felt like a reed in the wind, waving back and forth like that, but she also felt incredibly protected by his soft cushioning.

Then the music sped up a bit, to a bit of a more active tempo, and she felt him gyrate just the slightest bit against her expansive bottom. He continued to hold her tight, and they were touching cheek to cheek. His eyes were closed, and once in a while he would lay a firm, possessive kiss on her ear, making her feel hot and tingly all over.

He wasn't absurdly hard, she felt through his trousers, but there was certainly something happening there as he danced. Truth be told, Hermione was also quite aroused.

The rain was progressively worse outside. As they remained there, cozily content in the glowing light of the kitchen, a piercing lightning lit up the sky.

Severus opened his eyes, and held Hermione tighter to him.

"What weather," he said softly. "I used to hate these kinds of nights."

"You don't anymore?" Hermione asked, and she grinned as he kissed her cheek ravishingly.

"No," he answered, and she felt him draw back, but only so that his lips could slip down to grace her clavicle.

"And why not?" Hermione asked, taking a moment to grab a wooden spoon and stir the concoction in the pot.

"Leave that be a moment," Severus said with a good-natured snarl, and before Hermione could say or do anything, he was dragging her to the couch.

"Fine!" Hermione squealed, and when Severus pressed her flat on her back, onto the couch, she didn't protest. Indeed, she felt a sense of tranquility and happiness bubble up through her body. This made her feel completely at ease with the situation, and lent her some smiles for her eyes.

Severus, for his part, once Hermione had collapsed onto the sofa, ambled onto the sofa as well, cautiously positioning himself where he could look down upon her.

His knee pinched her, actually; a bit of her lovehandle got caught beneath him, and she yelped automatically. "Sorry," he whispered, then with a grin, he added, nipping at the base of her jaw with a bity kiss, "maybe if there weren't so much of you, my dear, you wouldn't get in the way as much."

"I take offense at that!" Hermione jokingly protested, "are you saying I need to go on a diet?"

"I was thinking you'd benefit from it," Severus responded, huffing a bit and sitting up. "I mean, look at what a blubbery angel you've turned into." He slapped her tum, and she felt her cervix contract with arousal as her belly jiggled back and forth.

"You're one to talk," Hermione responded, her fingers running down her bodice and beginning to undo the remainder of her buttons.

Severus looked down at himself and shrugged.

"So it would seem," he responded. "I forget sometimes what a fat arse I've come to be."

"Yeah," Hermione said, and she grinned with glee as Severus also began to remove his shirt. "Let's take a look and see how big you've gotten."

He nodded, his eyes alight with fascination and delight. "If you insist," he drawled, but he was enthusiastically removing his clothes at this point.

Soon they were both quite disabused of all their clothing, and Severus was again poring over Hermione's body. One of his knees was squished between her thigh and the back of the couch; the other was stuck firmly in the space between her thighs. One of his hands was jammed into the trench formed by the cushions of the couch, and one was flat, spread out just above Hermione's shoulder.

She stared up at him and appreciated the way he looked. His belly, stretchmarked and raw, hung off his body like a sack of potatoes, and she distinctly saw how it hung almost independent of the rest of him - just a huge soft ball of blubber attached to his body by the infinite fibers and cords of human flesh and muscle. His breasts were heavier and softer than she'd ever seen them before, and they jiggled vigorously as he breathed. His arms were thick and meaty, almost the size of thighs, and as he moved she could see where some muscle revealed itself even under his fatness. Still, he was incredibly fat, and a pleasure to drink in on every aesthetic front. Not the least of which was his face - it was soft and round, though with a hint of angularity she expected he'd never lose in the chin and temple. He was coming due for a shave, and Hermione wanted to reach out and touch his stubble.

But she was being held quite effectively a captive, and as she itched her hand up, Severus firmly and irrevocably held it down.

The blues music was still humming in the corner, resolutely cool.

He was also gazing down at her, and there was a subtle smirk that implied he was enjoying what he saw, too. Then, as another pang of lightning struck in the sky outside, he waved his hand and extinguished all the large lights in the room. This left only the candle Hermione had lit in the kitchenette, which emanated a glowing coziness that really set the mood.

Hermione felt Severus' fingers headed in a southerly direction, and she felt her body tense up with the eager anticipation.

Then, she felt him stop. His hand dropped down by her side, stuffing itself into the cushion trench again.

She opened her eyes, and saw that his face was incredibly close to her own. She felt his breath on her lips, and as she opened her mouth to speak, he kissed her hungrily instead.

There was something really dark and ravishing about being with Severus tonight. Hermione didn't really know what was going on in his poor head, but she was more than wiling to ride the train and see where it went.

They kissed and petted fondly for a few minutes, until Severus withdrew somewhat and stared into her eyes.

"You have the most lovely eyes," he said, after a few minutes of assessment. "You're... so beautiful."

"Thank you," Hermione said softly in response, and she propped herself up so that she could kiss him as well. "You are too."

They'd had this conversation before, as we've witnessed, and Severus still wasn't completely prepared for how to respond.

He didn't say anything at all, and instead pressed his lips into her mouth to resume kissing her passionately. In the meantime, the fire in the stove crackled, the thunder outside rumbled, and the apple stew on the counter wafted its delicious smell throughout the flat.

Call it Stormy Monday - B. B. King.
She's a Good 'Un by Byther Smith

Fat Molly

hufflepuff hobbit
Aug 3, 2010
, female by default
occhiolism - n. the awareness of the smallness of your perspective
Chapter Text


The world seemed to catapult itself into the holiday season as soon as Erika was safely back in the States. Erika left on the 28th of November, and Friday of that week was St. Andrew's day.

"I believe," McGonagall said tremulously as she stood in front of the assembled breakfast-eaters on Friday the 30th, "it is a mistake that Hogwarts has traditionally done its best to remove itself from the Muggle traditions and cultures that bear no *apparent* relevance to the wizarding population at large. It is essential to intercultural harmony that Muggle holidays be observed with the same respect and sanctity of traditional wizarding holidays. After all," she added, with a wry smile and a friendly glance in the direction of Hermione. For her part, Hermione was sitting at the staff table, urging Neville to finish his bacon, and she was caught off guard.

"As time goes on," Minerva went on, "we will have only increasing numbers of Muggleborn students. And as such, it is increasingly prudent to observe Muggle cultural traditions alongside the traditional wizarding holidays. In particular, observing Muggle traditions means that we will be taking into account local and regional holidays as well as national holidays. So, today, classes will be cut short, and end at noon. This evening, there will be a holiday feast and entertainment, including ceilidh dancing."

There was a hum of anticipation among the students, many of whom were unfamiliar with the concept of ceilidh dancing. Hermione, as it happened, was one of them. She had a vague image in her head of plaid-wearing people wearing skirts and kilts, dancing with soft black shoes that laced up past their ankles. Was that what they were in for? She wasn't entirely sure she was excited about it.

She glanced at McGonagall, and Hermione thought back to her knowledge of the older witch's history. Minerva was proudly wearing a tartan shawl as she addressed the students - same as she often did - and it occurred to Hermione that she didn't know if McGonagall had Muggle ancestry or not. Given the absence of scuttlebutt on the topic, Hermione was inclined to assume that the headmistress was descended from a long-standing family in wizarding society... but then again, perhaps McGonagall deliberately used this illusion to her own advantage.

As Hermione reflected on it, she realized that McGonagall was very distinctly a loner in the wizarding world. Hermione rarely saw the headmistress fraternizing with anyone socially, now that Dumbledore was dead. In Hermione's mind, McGonagall didn't seem intimidating given that McGonagall had made herself available to Hermione since Hermione's first entrance to the wizarding world. But no one else seemed to share this sense of solidarity with the headmistress, and most students (and teachers, come to think of it) were intimidated by the woman.

Hermione figured that Severus probably had a conclusive answer, given his long-standing special interest in people's' blood statuses (well, enough of an interest to become a Death Eater, at least). Still, it didn't stop her from asking in a whisper, to Neville, "Is McGongall a muggle-born?"

"I don't know," Neville said, and sighed. His cheeks were looking chubby and round, though the rest of him was barely an average-heavy build. "I really don't think she is. I mean, people'd know, if she were one, right? Ugh. But to change the topic - I don't think I can finish any more, 'Mione."

"All right," Hermione answered, a bit distracted by thinking about Minerva's history. "There will be plenty more to eat later today, it sounds like." She remembered Minerva mentioning some uncle and his wife, when they had the conversation where Hermione disclosed to McGonagall that Severus' size was appealing. But other than this, what did she know about McGonagall's family? Practically nothing. Minerva never talked about visiting with family - and Hermione had the distinct impression that McGonagall always remained at Hogwarts over the holidays.

Now, as she looked at the other woman, she was beginning to form some conclusions about the other woman's history. And as Hermione looked at the woman in her tartan shawl, standing proudly in front of the entire school, it made sense that the woman was a Muggleborn. In fact, the more Hermione thought about it, the surer she was. Minerva always wore the same plaid - the plaid of her clan, Hermione realized. Her original 'house' colors. Now this, combined with McGongall's recent move to integrate Muggle holidays in the school year at Hogwarts... well, it seemed like conclusive evidence that Minerva came from much more humble beginnings than Hermione had ever guessed.

There was clearly a story there, because Minerva had never breathed a word to Hermione (or anyone, as far as Hermione knew) about her blood status. Minerva let people assume she was a pureblood.

Hermione's heart broke at the very idea of this. She could never imagine letting anyone make that assumption about her - she was far too proud of where she came from.

But she also thought back to her own initial days at school. Hermione remembered the way that people had looked at her when she told them she wasn't born from magic blood. Hermione remembered going back to Hogwarts, a History, which she'd already read so many times. Hermione remembered that she hadn't adequately read between the lines of that text, and had missed the implicit meaning behind many of the anecdotes and tales. Hermione remembered the moment she'd figured out that being a Muggle-born not only was a historical disadvantage, but also a contemporaneous one. It was only once she was poring over a footnote about the murder of a Muggleborn in the early 1800s, and simultaneously thinking about the cold shoulders of her housemates, that she began to get the sickening realization that she wasn't wanted at Hogwarts because of her blood status.

Hermione had never felt this until she actually came to Hogwarts. Previously, all her knowledge of magic was limited to Hogwarts, a History, and McGonagall. And McGonagall had been downright thrilled to admit Hermione to Hogwarts. The warmth that came from Minerva on her first visit to Hermione's childhood household was subtle, given her prim appearance and no-nonsense approach to introducing the wizarding world, but Hermione had perceived and absorbed this warmth. And so it was such a shock to come to Hogwarts and realize that this same warmth and excitement didn't radiate from almost anyone else when she arrived at the school. (With the exception of teachers like Flitwick, who appreciated her genius at charms, and Sprout, who was warm and effusive with everyone.)

Feeling sad as she thought about this, she eased herself up from the table and patted Neville on the shoulder. “I’ll see you later,” she said, feeling deeply depressed.

Neville stood up from his chair awkwardly, and grasped her hand. “Later,” he murmured, squeezing her hand, and she slipped it out of his grasp as she walked away.


“McGonagall is a Muggleborn, right?” Hermione asked of Severus as they - privileged, as teachers, to opt out of the activity - sat and watched McGonagall teaching the entire student body how to ceilidh dance. Well, they were sort-of watching. They’d come and made an appearance for the historical introduction of St. Andrew’s Day, and slipped out to the gardens as soon as any physical activity seemed imminent.

Now, they sat together in the late autumn afternoon. The brown and gold leaves blew in the breeze, chasing each other like puppies enabled of flight. There weren’t any flowers in sight, but some of the bushes boasted heavy clusters of red berries.

There was sun, but it wasn’t enough. Severus had set a warming charm on them both, but Hermione hadn’t worn a cloak, and she still made herself cozy against Severus’ soft body. He had a cloak that was warm enough for two, and while he grumbled absent-mindedly as she wrapped herself in it with him, he stroked her hair once she was situated.

He was lazily watching the dancers, visible through the glass windows of the Great Hall, and not attending to the important conference-related parchments they’d brought out with them to review. His long hair was teased by the breeze, and his tongue touched his upper lip thoughtfully.

“I believe so,” Severus answered, his words slow. He let his gaze fall back to her, and there was a hint of curiosity. “Though, come to think of it, I don’t know entirely why I know that. I don’t think she’s ever said so out loud. Why do you ask?”

“I’ve just been thinking about it,” Hermione answered. She felt a grin slowly grow on her face as she heard the first few squeaks of the student music ensemble as it attempted to grind out the jaunty reels for the dancers. “Mostly just thinking about why she decided to do this.”

“I suppose if she were Muggleborn, it’d explain it somewhat,” Severus answered. “I’m surprised that the students are going along with it all so calmly.”

“Probably it’s just they’re mollified by having some time outside of class,” Hermione said, and she arched her neck and pressed her lips into Severus’ soft cheek. “Granted, I’m not displeased by some unexpected time off.”

“It’s not exactly time off for me,” Severus grumbled, and made a show of trying to read the parchments he had in his hands. “Ergh. Gallity has some nerve.” He showed Hermione the parchment he’d been reading.

Hermione looked at the parchment, which was a clean and fresh presentation summary from one of the presenters for their upcoming conference. “He didn’t make any of the revisions we suggested,” Hermione said with a tense feeling rising in her stomach. “Let’s just toss him, shall we?”

“I’d tend to agree,” Severus answered, “but it’s old fusspots like him that have the deepest pockets.”

“ERGH,” Hermione responded with exasperation, and she closed her eyes and snuggled closer into Severus’ cloak. “Remind me why we’re doing this again?”

“It’s my job, technically,” Severus answered with a rumbling, dry response. He turned his head and stared at Hermione through his dark, impenetrable eyes. His eyebrow quirked, and she saw the hint of a smirk emerge in his lips. “Though heaven knows I have other jobs I’d prefer to be working on right now.”

“What other jobs?” Hermione asked, and she knew immediately that their conversation was entering flirtation mode.

“Oh, I suppose there’s the certain matter of keeping my pet well fed,” Severus drawled, and Hermione felt his arm move around her ample waist. He pulled her closer to him, and she practically melted into his body. “Wouldn’t want her to go hungry.”

“What if she’s hungry now?” asked Hermione, wiggling with excitement at Severus’ implication.

“Then she should be fed,” Severus answered, and he patted her shoulder and shifted his weight. Hermione stood up to permit him the chance of standing. Once he’d managed to get his immense body up and vertical, he said, “Wait here.”

Then, with a kiss to her forehead, he turned on his heel and went straight back to the Great Hall. Hermione watched as she went, feeling at once joyous and incredibly lonely.

The music in the Great Hall was gaining momentum, though had occasional fits and starts as McGonagall stopped the dancers for introducing new techniques and correcting mistakes. She watched as Severus stalked down the garden path, then abruptly turned to enter the side door. He was so precise, so straightforward, so unflagging.

As she waited for Severus to return, it was difficult not to compare him in her mind to Neville, who was serving as McGonagall’s dance partner in demonstrating the moves of the ceilidh dances. Neville wasn’t adept, and he struggled to move in a way that exerted any confidence, but he was pliable, and he smiled good-naturedly when he fumbled over his own feet.

It was good to see him taking an interest in something other than his insufferable greenhouses or her, so Hermione felt some amount of relief as she watched the other young wizard enjoying himself.

She saw Severus through the window as well, and he was silently slinking towards the refreshments table, like a shadow. Ever so briefly, he glanced up, and they locked eyes. Hermione raised a hand to wave to him, and he simply nodded and began to gather up treats from the table.

And Hermione felt glad, to see him attending to her needs so carefully. But even so, she felt sad - sad for McGonagall, mostly. How much had the headmistress sacrificed to be part of the wizarding world?

On that note, Hermione felt a sobering question emerge in her breast - how much had she herself sacrificed to be part of the wizarding world?

Being a Muggleborn wasn’t just hard because of the social implications. The more she thought about it, the more Hermione realized that she’d sacrificed a lot - a lot - to have the life she had now.

She’d made big choices, like charming her parents’ memories rather than telling them what was going on, and trusting them to protect themselves appropriately. Also, her choice to pursue a career in the wizarding world rather than the Muggle world - and she’d chosen that twice. But in some ways, these big choices really weren’t the ones that mattered.

Hermione realized that she’d lost far more of her identity in the tiny choices she made on a daily basis. Choices like what to wear every day, like whether or not she’d express confusion over some obscure practice or word that everyone else assumed a knowledge of, like her use of casual magic for daily tasks versus doing it ‘the Muggle way.’

The more she thought about it, the more she realized that her life’s tiny choices were really the essential ones - choices that enabled her to remain part of the world and not remind folks around her that she was an outsider. And as she thought even deeper, she began to see that each choice was a compromise, and sometimes it was a loss.

Eventually, these choices stopped feeling like they were choices, and instead felt like routine - when you don’t own a comfortable pair of Muggle jeans, it becomes routine to wear proper witch’s robes, for example.

Some of these choices were superficial, like clothing choices, but some were much deeper. Hermione mentally compared herself with what she’d thought she would become, before she encountered magic. And she saw there was a huge difference between the Muggle university-educated woman of her childhood dreams, and the witch she saw in the mirror.

Her world was so much more complex than she’d ever thought it could be, she thought as she watched Severus come back outside, with a plate of food in each of his hands. And doubtless McGonagall had also lost a great deal, for the same reasons. In fact, McGonagall had probably lost more.

But Hermione took heart from watching McGonagall proudly show off her tartan. That was something beautifully unwavering about McGonagall - and possibly the only way that McGonagall could treasure and connect to her heritage.

Sadly, Hermione had no idea what she could do to connect or treasure her own heritage. Hermione herself wasn’t entirely sure what kind of heritage she had.

She decided that she needed to come up with something, like McGonagall’s tartan, to remind her of who she was, and where she’d come from.

She wondered if Severus had something like that, or if he was too busy trying to escape the haunts of his past to honor what little heritage he had.


Music: The Black Mask (Scandinavian Waltz) (find it on Youtube)

SCOTTISH WALTZ: O' Gin I Were A Baron's Heir/Nameless Lassie/Bonnie Isle Of Gletness (also on Youtube)

Fat Molly

hufflepuff hobbit
Aug 3, 2010
, female by default
Chapter 64: opia: trouble in the garden


opia - n. the ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable
Chapter Text


Severus smirked shyly as he seated himself back on the iron bench in the garden, a plate of food in either hand. "This should tide you over," he said as he settled his arse deeper into the seat. Hermione pressed closer to him, and as he raised a sliver of scotch egg to her lips, she accepted it hungrily. The warm fried confection was savory and delicious, and she found herself practically moaning as she swallowed it.

"Gods," she whispered, "more please."

"Aren't you a greedy one," Severus said with a hint of amusement, and he indulged her.

It seemed as if breakfast had been a long time ago, because Hermione was desperate to quell the hunger in her belly. She sat forward and arched her neck to get at the next morsel that Severus offered her, feeling like a goose but also too excited at the prospect of food to care.

"Good girl," Severus said with a grin as she slurped up another slice of scotch egg from his fingers, "You've got quite the healthy appetite. May I persuade you to sit back and relax, and simply let me feed you? You're wasting calories every time you try and snatch food out of my hands."

"Then feed me faster," Hermione replied with a saucy quirk of her eyebrows. "Or maybe you're not up for the challenge of meeting my needs."

"Oh?" he responded, and with a swift motion, he turned and pressed her against the back of the bench, wrapping her up in an intense kiss.

Clearly he'd been sampling the scotch eggs on his way back outside, because he tasted distinctly of sausage and egg himself. And Hermione felt as wet and gooey as an undercooked yolk - golden and oozing beneath Severus' commanding body. She was trapped between his soft, bulky frame, and the cold iron of the bench. And as the wind picked up her loose, bouncy hair, Severus only pressed his lips into her more hungrily. His cloak fluttered in the stiff breeze, and he threw the end over her shoulders haphazardly.

"And what unmet needs do you have, hm?" he asked as he broke away from her, sitting back against the bench, breathing deeply through his nose as he caught his breath. There was a sense of quiet happiness in his eyes as he gazed into her eyes, and Hermione's heart felt giddy.

"I'm still hungry," Hermione said coyly, feeling one of her eyelids involuntarily wink at Severus.

Winking? Hermione Granger, winking? She nearly laughed at herself. Love did strange things to people, she supposed.

Love. Yes, as Hermione watched Severus fuss over the next appetizer on the plate, she remembered that Severus Snape loved her. And while most people wouldn't see how that love emerged, seeping out of him despite his best efforts to conceal it, she saw where his seams were giving way to the emotion. There were subtle signs, she could see, in the way he interacted with her. She felt like he saw her like a treasured potion with which he'd become intimately familiar.

She saw it in the way he selected the next bite of food for her lips to sample - a slice of smoked salmon stuffed with cream cheese and topped with fennel and chives. She saw it in the way he held the nibble in his plump fingers, bringing it up to her waiting mouth with a sense of decorum and delicacy. She saw it in the way he watched her as she chewed and swallowed it, his eyes keen and bright as he assessed his next move.

Yes, there was something bright and experimental in how he attended to her needs, at once calculating and effortless. Nothing was too much for her to ask of him - he would have summoned the moon for her, if she'd wanted it, and he would have done so with the snap of a finger. This, she thought to herself, was what Severus Snape looked like when he was in love. And this made her nearly panic with ecstasy.

Being entrusted with another person's heart, like this, was such an enormous responsibility. Most of the time, she didn't think about it this way - most of the time, she just felt like they were just undergoing the journey of life together. Accompanying each other and making each others' journeys more pleasurable, and more worthwhile.

But sometimes, she was overcome with the sense of wonder and awe that came with loving another person - and seeing that they loved her back. Well, truth be told, she didn't get this feeling often. Particularly with Severus, who by default did his best to pretend nothing extraordinary was happening.

This moment, though, she did feel that sense of enormity, and that bewilderment at fate. How had she been so lucky as to get here, with such a person as Severus? She felt like her life had been muted and grey, but suddenly someone had decided to turn on all the color and sound, and now the vividness of her experience was nearly overwhelming.

Hermione took a deep breath, and she closed her eyes. Juxtaposed on top of her train of thought from mere minutes earlier, feeling like she did nearly made her head spin. Her present reality was so vastly different from the reality she'd imagined for herself, in her childhood days. She realized that this was probably a good thing - she knew her childhood self would have been shocked and confused, had she a vision of Hermione's current configuration.

She felt Severus move closer to her, and she opened her eyes again. Severus was gazing into her eyes, and there was a deep tenderness and vulnerability in the way he was looking at her.

His eyes were shining in the autumn light, and his hair whipped across his face as the wind shifted.

They didn't say anything to each other, instead reading each others' emotions purely on facial expression alone. The trees rattled with the wind, and there was the sound of the air rushing through the remaining leaves still stuck on the trees. The leaves on the ground rose and fell in gentle crescendos and decrescendos, like an army of cicadas on a hot summer evening.

Severus suddenly seemed a little bit sad, and one corner of his mouth was distinctly turned down, though his eyes were warm and loving towards her. Then, he seemed to try and reset whatever train of thought he'd been on, and his eyes widened a bit and his face shifted into a more neutral appearance. He proceeded to close his eyes and press a tender kiss on the corner of her mouth, and then reorganize around his assigned task.

"Try this," he said, picking up a miniature pork pie and offering it to her.

She accepted it gladly, happy for a distraction from the sense of vulnerability they'd shared. She felt a bit naked, as if tainted by original sin, and Severus also seemed a bit abashed, though they really didn't have a reason.

Or, perhaps, maybe they did. Hermione watched as Severus gathered up another scotch egg, this one whole, and broke it in two pieces. He seemed briefly unable to meet her eyes.

Hermione, for her part, gazed steadily at him, willing to accept whatever emotional burden he was packing onto his shoulders. After a moment or two of fidgeting with her food, breaking the egg into unnecessarily small jagged fragments, he offered her part of the egg, and he met her eyes, looking vaguely embarrassed.

"What is it?" she asked softly, and Severus just shook his head. Then, flushing red, he cast his face downwards, and squinted his eyes shut.

"Come on," she murmured, pressing her hand against his shoulder. "What is it?"

"Obtrusive thoughts," Severus answered, his voice low and grumbly, and not in a good way.

"What kind of thoughts?" Hermione asked, and Severus just shook his head. Then, with a deep breath, he raised his head and looked directly into her eyes.

"You can look if you want. I... can't say, It's not good," he said, his chest heaving tightly.

Hermione, ever so gently, pressed into his mind with legilimency, and the sole intent she had in her head was to ease whatever was making him feel so uncomfortable.

He didn't resist, but he seemed to regret it instantly. Severus made an effort to hide what was staining the forefront of his mind, but he wasn't fast enough. Hermione saw an imagined image of him, sitting and feeding scotch egg to an ever-so-slightly plump red-headed girl whose joyful green eyes were exactly like Harry's.

Hermione didn't need to see any more, and she bounced out of Severus' mind with a snap.

Severus looked pale and wan, and his face twisted into one of concern and pain.

"I'm sorry," Severus said, and he glanced down at the ancient weather-worn bricks that lined the path of the garden. He ground the heel of his boot into one of the bricks, as if squashing a bug, but instead he was grinding the surface of the chalky brick into dust.

"It's fine," Hermione said, feeling a little bit sad herself. "It's part of you."

"I wish it wasn't," he responded, his voice tense. He seemed unable to meet her eyes again - and he appeared nearly grief-stricken. "Damn it all to hell," he muttered fiercely, "I've got a particular talent for cocking everything up."

"I don't think so," Hermione said softly, "but even if that's true, it's all right."

It was all right, she felt, but that sense of sadness she had in her heart was growing heavier.

Perhaps this showed on her face, because Severus looked at her, and he shook his head. "No, it's not all right," he said, taking a fortifying breath, staring at the evergreen bushes in front of them. "It's not fair for me to burden you with my problems like this. Problems that have been a part of me since before you were even born. Problems that few other women would tolerate, much less accept."

"Let's not make a drama out of this," Hermione answered, though she felt some relief. It was a tall order for her to calmly accept that he carried around a lost love like Lily in his brain, everywhere, like a cursed locket. Especially when Lily seemed to intrude upon their own private loving moments like this. She was glad that Severus saw how difficult it was for her, no matter how she pretended to absorb it with equanimity. "It's the way your brain functions. You don't have to judge yourself for it."

"I'm trying to reprogram my brain," he answered, "so yes, judging myself is part of that effort."

"Is it working so far?" Hermione asked, and Severus didn't answer. Instead, he stared at the bushes, and the hatred he had in his eyes was so strong that Hermione was surprised the bushes didn't catch fire.

Clearly self-flagellation wasn't working, but Severus was a stubborn soul. If there was an opportunity to punish himself, he seemed unable to pass it up, even when this punishment was not effective at changing his behaviors in the desired fashion. Indeed, Hermione surmised, the punishment itself was a reward - it was predictable, and in that predictability, it was pleasurable. It was pleasurable because it was a way of taking control of the situation, Hermione guessed. No matter how ineffective it was at making the situation better.

So, Hermione decided to be the external voice of forgiveness.

"It's all right," she assured him, and she wrapped her arm around his rounded middle. "I forgive you, on your own behalf."

His eyes widened with surprise, and he raised his head to gaze at her face. He seemed conflicted between anger, relief, and despair.

Ultimately, he didn't seem to come to a conclusion. Instead, he erased all the emotions off his face, and he grimaced with a kind of dispassionate, almost condescending look. But then he kissed her, and there was a renewed spirit of energy and fight in the way his lips embraced hers.

He was broken. He hated himself for it, and he wanted to fix himself completely, as if with magic. But Hermione knew he was deluding himself. He'd always be broken.

But she too was broken - not nearly so much as him, but broken nonetheless.

Their broken parts, fortunately, seemed to complement each others', and Hermione hoped that someday Severus wouldn't hate himself so much for his flaws.

Indeed, his flaws were what made him such an interesting person to love. And to be loved by.


music: Ingrid Michaelson, "The Chain."

I will 100% admit that the only reason we had a chapter about St. Andrew's day is because I looked up "uk holidays" on google and discovered it. It seems like it was really a fruitful discovery.

Also this chapter is sponsored unofficially by the show, Jane the Virgin. If you like drama and romance and mystery and intrigue and also drama, you should check out the show, Jane the Virgin. I *really* love it, but after a while there's the perennial problem of YOU HAVE 2 GUYS WHO WANT YOU SO WHY NOT HAVE THEM BOTH?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!! I think I literally yelled at the screen "THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION IS POLY" a bunch of times. also I watched all of season 1, which is on Netflix, and it's beautiful and amazing and I think it's pretty feminist. I've been impressed more times than I've been disappointed, which is more than I can say for The Mindy Project.

Fat Molly

hufflepuff hobbit
Aug 3, 2010
, female by default
Chapter 65: st. andrew's day fiascos

Chapter Text

Hermione and Severus soon retreated indoors, for the cold was beginning to get to be too much. The sun was sinking, and their spirits seemed to be following.

As they re-entered the Great Hall, Hermione found herself struggling with resentment, if she was honest with herself. Severus seemed a bit more aloof than he had been before. He'd stuffed her with a full two plates' worth of traditional scotch treats, but his heart seemed to have retreated even deeper into his inner darkness. It was basically inaccessible, no matter how Hermione had tried to wheedle it out again, and his face remained firmly, carefully neutral.

The Great Hall had emptied, aside from Neville and Minerva. Neville was laughing nervously, as was his wont, while McGonagall was thanking him for helping with the dance instruction.

"I'm glad to see that you've made some improvement since the Triwizard Tournament Yule Ball," McGonagall was saying.

"I've just grown a little more accustomed to my big feet," Neville said, and he chuckled into his glass of pumpkin juice.

Then, he noticed Hermione, and the effortless smile ran away from his face, only to be replaced by a more self-conscious one. "Hey, 'Mione," he said, an then corrected himself, seeing as he was in front of the headmistress, "Erm, Professor Granger."

"Good afternoon," Hermione said, drifting into the open space between Neville and McGonagall. "I'm so excited for tonight," she hummed, noticing that Severus was silently slinking away out of the Great Hall, but not before whisking an entire pork pie under his cloak on his way out. "Now, is it just me, or are there more parties than there were when I was a student?"

"You're not wrong," Minerva said, and she sighed. "I admit that, in my tenure as headmistress, I've made a special effort to try and... liven up the students' lives. Albus, bless his old doddering soul, let a great deal of these sorts of social things drop by the wayside, so to speak. Granted, he was fighting wars, but even when he wasn't, he had... other priorities that engaged his attention."

"Now that you're in charge," Neville said with a slightly jaunty air, "you're making up for lost time?"

"That is not my goal, precisely," McGonagall said, and she sighed, and summoned a chair from the head table for her to sit upon. "It's more that I see so many of our students don't have as much to celebrate as they once did, and these events are a welcome distraction. Families are broken. War has ravaged the lives of all of us, in one way or another. But we persevered, and we won, though by the skin of our teeth. Every day we live outside the shadow of tyranny is a day to celebrate. And that, my dears, is something we ought never let our students forget.

"And on that note," McGonagall said, "Celebration need not be a grand and overdone gesture. It can be small, casual, and effortless. If all we know of joyous events are ostentatious efforts like the Yule Ball or Triwizard Tournament, then it becomes harder to appreciate the simple kindnesses and beauties of our daily lives."

Hermione's mind went back to Severus and what he'd said a few months back - “I see the entire rest of my life as a special occasion. I almost didn’t have one.” At the time, she'd thought that this sentiment was one that was unique to Severus. Perhaps it wasn't such a lonely thought after all.

As Hermione looked at McGonagall, she saw how weary the older woman appeared. It was not dissimilar from the sense of survivor's guilt that Severus endured.

The headmistress' words seemed to hit close to Neville's heart too, Hermione realized as she glanced at her other boyfriend. (Was he her boyfriend? She was fairly sure that was right, but she realized she needed to specifically talk with him about it.) Neville appeared very solemn, and he was nodding up and down like a Muggle bobblehead.

"Are you busy during the break?" Hermione asked him, as McGonagall closed her eyes and seemed to retreat from the conversation.

"I don't believe so," Neville said, and Hermione grasped his hand and dragged him over to the refreshments table.

"How hungry are you?" she asked him as she sat him down in a chair and fussed over a plate for him.

"A bit," he admitted, "But not so much. I don't want to be sick."

"You won't be sick," Hermione said, "you've been prancing around doing reels for over an hour. You've got to do your best to keep your strength up."

"Fine," he said with a good-natured grumble, "but nothing too heavy, please."

She proceeded to gather up some edibles for him, mostly biscuits and crackers, and then she plunked down the lightly loaded plate into his hands. "Eat what you can," she urged him, taking up a plate for herself, "and don't stuff yourself too much."

She was counting on reverse psychology, as she went about the table fixing herself a substantially heavier plate of treats. After loading up on the appetizers, cleaning out a few of the dishes from the table, she sat down beside Neville and began to tear through the delicious-looking heavier foods on her own plate.

Neville ate a few crackers with cheese, but he was looking hungrily at Hermione's vegetarian haggis and whiskey-glazed pearl onions.

Hermione did her best to ignore him for several long minutes, until he got up the courage to ask, "Erm, 'Mione, can I try that?"

"Of course, my dear," she said indulgently, and she plopped down the tiniest morsel of salmon on his plate.

"Erm," Neville said, a little bit sadly, "what about some of that?" He gestured with his fork at the vegetarian haggis.

"Fine," Hermione said, rolling her eyes, "but not too much. It's a bit on the heavy side, and you don't want to get sick, you said."

"That's all right," Neville answered with a hint of amusement. He'd figured out what she was doing, and he was playing along now. He took a forkful of the fake meat, and he chewed slowly and swallowed. Clearly he was wanting a bit more, but out of a sense of reservation, he went on, "And how about a spot of that pork pie?"

"That's the last bit of pork pie in the castle," Hermione answered stubbornly, "So if you want some, you'd better make it count."

"I will, 'Mione," Neville answered. "I swear I will."

"Good," Hermione answered, and she turned her chair to face him, extending her plate towards him. "Prove it."

Neville seemed to gird his loins, and then he attacked that pie with conviction. It was a nice heavy slice - okay, perhaps it actually was three whole servings' worth in a single slice, a full third of an entire pie, but Hermione wasn't inclined to skimp on her own plate. Especially when she was putting on a show for Neville.

The crust of the pie was flaky and buttery, and every bite was soft and savory. She couldn't help but sneak a bite once in a while, just because it was so delicious, but for the most part it was Neville who accomplished the task of eating the whole damn thing.

Afterwards, he looked quite satiated - indeed, once he had another glass of pumpkin juice, his tum was bloating into a nice round convex shape. But Hermione wasn't done with him.

"Well, you proved it," Hermione said as she sat back, resting a hand on top of her own soft tum. "But you look like you have a bit of room still."

"I could do with a top-off," Neville answered, and hiccuped as if to punctuate his point.

She laughed softly, and she let him confiscate the delicious morsels she hadn't yet cleaned off her plate until he placed a hand over his mouth and shook his head, looking a bit overstuffed and queasy.

"Mmm," Hermione said, and she glanced around the empty Great Hall. McGonagall seemed to have left, and it was just the two of them there, sitting in the pregnant silence. "Here."

She moved her chair closer to him, and she began to rub his distended, overstuffed tum.

"Oh gods," Neville murmured, and he moaned. "Oh, 'Mione. That feels so good."

"I know," Hermione said, feeling a rush of pleasure as Neville expressed his appreciation. On her own part, she enjoyed the stiff feeling of Neville's taut belly under her fingers. But the thing that truly made it incomprehensibly sexy was the way he enjoyed the sensations, too. "I know exactly how you feel, Neville," she purred, feeling the way her fingers sunk into the very thin layer of rubbery fat that coated his body. "Stuffing yourself until you have no more room left, and getting massaged all around the tum - it's one of my favorite feelings, and one I'm pleased to share with you."

"Ohh," Neville answered, and it seemed like he wasn't really able to listen - his eyes were closed, and his mouth was open. He seemed utterly relaxed, and it was a very comfortable feeling to realize that it was her, and her alone, who had brought him to this place of pleasure.

Ah, and Hermione spied something else happening below Neville's widening tum, too - though it was obscured by his teaching robes, Hermione saw the hint of an erection distinctly pushing against his pants.

"Are you able to move?" Hermione asked, and she found her hand resting on Neville's thigh. His cock, hidden though it was under layers of fabric, twitched aggressively.

While this wasn't the first time she'd seen Neville aroused, this was the first time they'd been in a situation where Hermione could actually *do* anything about it. Most of the time, they shared breakfast, which meant they both had to rush to their classes instead of taking care of business.

There was a *lot* of pent-up horniness for Neville in Hermione's body, and now, as they sat in the otherwise silent Great Hall, the lust was too strong and too undeniable to ignore.

"In a minute," Neville choked, and he took some deep, gasping breaths. Then, with great effort, he stumbled to his feet. "Okay," he said, sounding a bit drunk on the amount of food he'd consumed, "what are we doing?"

"Come," Hermione said, and grasped his hand. "Let's find a broom closet."

She proceeded to whisk him out of the Great Hall, and he stumbled behind her with enthused confusion.


Soon enough, a broom closet was secured, and Hermione had locked them safely inside with a glowing orange lumens for light.

"Oh gods," Neville said, practically tearing her hair out as he clumsily, desperately, began to kiss her.

She felt her entire body shaking with adrenaline, fear, and nervousness, even as her lust kept on driving her onwards.

Neville and Hermione had never had sex, and now, she realized, she was ready to go that far with him.

She wasn't entirely sure what had moved her into this brainspace, but she wasn't questioning it now.

"Take off your shirt," Hermione said breathlessly between kisses, "and your trousers."

"Okay," Neville said, as compliant and agreeable as he'd been while dancing with the headmistress, and after some clumsiness in removing his belt and undoing his buttons, soon enough he was in nothing but his underpants, shivering against the cold darkness of the closet.

His belly was lined with stretch marks, demonstrating that he'd made progress on his goal of getting back some of his old weight. He hadn't even remotely come close to the soft, comfortable chubbiness he'd once boasted, but he was recognize-ably thicker than he had been at the beginning of term. Hermione was satisfied with this - for the moment.

"How much are you carrying around these days?" Hermione asked, getting onto her knees and pressing her face into his tum. It wasn't as easy to enjoy him as it was for her to sink into Severus' softness - Neville was almost half a foot shorter than Severus. But she made it work.

"I weigh in around a hundred and fifty," Neville responded, and he sighed. "Though of course, that's on an empty stomach."

"That's good," Hermione said, and pressed her fingers into Neville's too-tight stomach. "Not good enough, but it's far better than you were."

"Yeah," Neville said, and his hands grasped at Hermione's, and he held her hands still, flat against his tum. "I've put on about twenty pounds since we started."

Hermione assessed him critically. "You're kidding."

"No," Neville responded, looking a bit hurt at the suggestion. "I'm not."

"Oh wow," Hermione said, and took a breath as she did some mental calculations. "That's almost a pound a day, Neville."

Neville nodded, drinking in the fact. "Is that fast? I don't really know. I've always tended to gain weight easily, so it's not... that surprising. And I was barely eating at all at the beginning of November."

Hermione didn't have a response other than an immense grin. "Well, I'm glad that you're getting several square meals a day."

"So am I... I suppose," Neville said, and sighed.

"What's wrong?" Hermione asked, sitting down on the floor.

Neville kicked a dustpan out of the way and sat down next to her. "I... I just..."

He sighed again, and began to pick at the rim of his sock, worrying a loose string. "I just don't know if I want to get bigger, 'Mione. I know what you say, about liking more 'substantial' men, but... I'm not sure that I want to be substantial."

"That's... okay," Hermione answered. Ah, well, she knew this arrangement was too good to be true. She immediately began to worry if she'd pushed Neville too much to get to this point, and she began to review her discussions with him on the subject. "I'm sorry, did I push you too much?" she asked, and a lump of worry began to grow in her throat.

"No!" Neville said, and there was a vehemence in his voice that made her feel somewhat better. Though at the same time, she worried that he might be lying to placate her feelings. "No, 'Mione. It's not like that. I just... well... I've always been the fat kid," he said, and he drew his legs up and held onto them, rocking back and forth slightly. "Being the fat kid isn't fun. It means people make fun of you. It means people underestimate you, sometimes even hold you back for a lark."

"I'm so sorry," Hermione said, feeling overwhelmed with the knowledge that she'd put Neville in a position where he was re-visiting these feelings. "I know it's hard."

"It was," Neville said, "and it's... also hard for me to say this now, too, because I realize you'll probably want to dump me now. But I want to tell you that it was... really, really nice, to be told to eat, for once. I've never had that in my life, ever. I've always been told to stop eating. So having the opposite, for once... it was exhilarating."

"Who said I want to dump you?" Hermione asked, a frown on her face. "From the sound of this, I assumed *you* wanted to dump *me.*"

"No!" Neville said, and he glanced up. There was something a little bit hopeful in his eyes that hadn't been there a moment ago. "I don't think I could dump you, Hermione. You're too... amazing."

"Well," Hermione said, "that's a bit of a problem. Neville, if you think someone is so shallow as to dump you because of decisions that *you* make about *your* body, then that person doesn't sound very amazing to me."

"I didn't mean it that way," Neville said, and closed his eyes against the situation. He seemed to be growing more anxious, and he buried his head between his knees. "I didn't mean it that way."

"Okay," Hermione said comfortingly, and she took a deep breath and leaned against the wall of the broom closet. So much for having sex for the first time. "So, what do you want to do, Neville?"

"I don't know," Neville said, and sighed. "I mean..."

He seemed to wilt under her scrutiny. "I don't know if you want to hear about it."

"I do," said Hermione, "if it's relevant to this conversation."

"It's sort-of relevant," Neville replied, and he moved closer to Hermione, though he kept a safe distance from her, not touching her at all. "Luna's coming back home soon. In the summer."

"That's a surprise," Hermione said, though she wasn't surprised at all. From what Neville had told her, Luna (while out of the country) seemed not to exactly understand that she and Neville had broken up. And, Hermione suspected, Neville hadn't exactly mentioned his unconventional arrangement with Hermione in his letters to Luna.

Now granted, Luna was the least conventional person that Hermione could think of - considering her unusual ideas about flora and fauna - but did that mean Luna would excuse Neville's pursuit of another woman while Luna were out of the country? Hermione wasn't sure.

"So what do you want to do about it?" Hermione asked, and she knew the answer was probably going to be: end things between them two.

"I don't know," Neville said, and sighed. "I mean, she's still out of the country. I'd like for... this, with you and me... to continue as long as we can."

"That's a surprise," Hermione said again, before she could stop herself. "I mean," she added, as Neville began to look at her in confusion, "I'm glad, I'm just surprised that you're considering that as an option."

"The thing is," Neville said staunchly, "we broke it off. Just because it hasn't gotten into her thick noggin doesn't mean it didn't happen. So I'm free to do whatever I like, basically. If she comes back, I guess we'll pick up where we left off, but if she doesn't, well, too bad."

"Okay," Hermione said, and nodded. "So if she comes back in the summer, and if she wants to get back together with you, then we'll stop this."

"Exactly," Neville said with a sigh of relief. "And besides, it won't wreck your world. You'll still have Snape."

"Don't say it like that," Hermione said, feeling a bit odd at the way he'd phrased the sentiment. "If we do end then, I will be sad. It's not like this isn't important or meaningful to me, Neville."

"Yeah, well," Neville said with a puppydog sadness, and his eyes focused on her intently. "I know I'm just a side piece for you."

"That's not how it is at all!" Hermione exclaimed.

"Well," Neville said, and Hermione saw that there was a bit of anger deep underneath Neville's persona. "What is it, then?"

"You're my friend, first and foremost," Hermione said, "and we're also dating. Aren't we?"

"Dating?" Neville asked, and frowned. "Is this dating? I mean, I genuinely don't know," he said, and there was a bit of scorn in his voice. He stood up, and began to put on his trousers. "It's not what I'd call dating."

"What is dating, then, for you?" Hermione asked. She had to bite her tongue to keep herself from saying things as hurtful as he was hurling at her. As it was, she felt a little bit of venom in her voice, but she repeated herself, with a bit more patience, "Tell me, what do you need for a dating relationship?"

Neville pulled his shirt over his head, and sat back down again. There was a numbness in his eyes, as he seemed to be thinking about his relationship with Luna. "I don't know," he mumbled, "just, something different from whatever this is."

Hermione began to realize what was happening here. "It seems like... I can't give you what you need in a dating relationship," Hermione said, and sighed. "So, do you want to continue doing whatever it is we're doing?"

"Yes," Neville said, "At least, until something else happens."

"What kind of something?" Hermione asked, purely for clarification. She could read the writing on the wall - Neville was just too monogamous at heart, and this was just going to end up badly for everyone concerned.

"Luna and me getting back together," Neville said softly, and added, "Or, I guess, someone else and me getting together."

"Okay," Hermione said, and sighed. "I am of two minds about this."

"Okay," Neville responded, and he looked somewhat defeated. "Tell me?"

"So the first thing is," Hermione said, "I'm happy to continue this on a conditional basis until you find someone who meets your needs better, and then fade away in the background as desired. That's no problem for me, Neville, and I want you to really understand that. But my intuition tells me that this won't be good enough."

She sighed. She realized she was about to detonate their current relationship, and she was immensely sad at the prospect. But it had to be done.

"My intuition tells me," she concluded, "that you're just using me as a stopgap to help your loneliness. I'm fine with this - but I also know that you want more from me than what I can give. And I'm worried that if we proceed further with this relationship, I'll just end up disappointing you."

Neville's head was hanging. Hermione read this as confirmation that what she was saying was true.

"So I need you to think hard about what you want, Neville," Hermione said, and she already knew what he wanted, and oh dear everything she was saying was a waste of breath, but she had to say it because she'd already started. "Are you going to be content with what I can give you, until you find something else that meets your needs better? Or is it going to be too painful for you? And will it make it harder to find someone who can meet those needs adequately?"

Neville was quiet for several minutes, and Hermione was beginning to wonder if he'd heard when she finally saw him take a deep, shuddering breath.

"I think you're right, 'Mione. Whenever I see you with Snape, I just... I just get so full of rage. You deserve so much better," he said, and he began to cover his face in his hands. "I know you don't think so, but I know so. Snape is the closest thing to evil that I know, other than Voldemort. I don't know how much you know about what happened at Godric's Hollow the night James and Lily Potter died, but Harry's told me enough. And Harry and I bet, if Snape'd had a chance to do over what happened at Godric's Hollow, he'd have killed me and my parents."

"Wait," Hermione said, and found her throat tightening. "You've talked to Harry recently?"

"Yeah," Neville said, and he stared Hermione straight in the eyes. "And he's way, way weirded out about your relationship with Snape."

"So that's why he hasn't answered my messages," Hermione said thoughtfully, and she bowed her face and pinched the bridge of her nose. It was something that Severus did, she realized as she was mid-gesture, but it felt like the right thing to do. "I assumed it was just about Ron."

"I mean, it started with Ron," Neville said, "but he was starting to come around on that - until he learned about what you were doing with Snape."

"And how did he know, exactly?" Hermione asked, feeling deeply betrayed. She tried to collect her thoughts, but her brain was spinning.

"I mean, I told him," Neville said. It was clear that he knew this was a ruinous thing - he was hanging his head in shame. "I'm... I'm sorry, 'Mione. I thought he must've known."

"Yeah," Hermione said, and stood up, shakily. "Well, I thought he loved Snape. So forgive me if I'm surprised."

"I mean, the fact that Snape didn't actually *die* changes things a bit," Neville said, adding, "He's such a slimy git, 'Mione. Why do you trust him, after everything he's done?"

Hermione didn't have an answer for him - at least not an answer that Neville would accept.

"This is the dark side of Gryffindor," she said aloud, though it was more to herself than Neville. A little louder, she said, "All right, Neville. You win. We're broken up."

"Really?" Neville said, standing to his feet. There was an unexpected joy in his voice.

"Erm, I think you misunderstand," Hermione said, turning and glaring at the man. "You and I. *We* are broken up."

"Oh," Neville said, and he deflated rapidly. "Okay."

"Sorry," Hermione said, not really meaning it, and she grabbed her wand, put out the lumens, and barged out the door, leaving Neville alone in the darkness.


hey folks! I know I just gave you a lot to chew on, but please, please review!!!!! don't forget please!!!!!!!

also kudos to the reader who told me via PM "Thank you for your writing; you've made something that is very important." I'm still floating from this. :)

Fat Molly

hufflepuff hobbit
Aug 3, 2010
, female by default
Chapter 66: rubatosis: pleasure in the library


rubatosis: n. the unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat
Chapter Text

Hermione was feeling several things.

A. Today was a crap, crap day. Holiday indeed - both of her boyfriends had demonstrated to her, in different ways, that her company was not the company they preferred. Of course, with Severus this was hardly a surprise, but as Hermione thought about it, she was deeply pained by the incident in the garden.

B. Severus had retreated into his inner shadows, and she'd left Neville in the literal shadows. Neither was particularly accessible at this point, and she didn't feel inclined to chase either one of them down for emotional comfort.

C. Both gentlemen had sexually teased her but then not delivered - and as a result, she was painfully horny. She'd been horny all day, and those pent-up emotions hadn't yet had an outlet despite having two boyfriends, up until the past few minutes.

She briefly considered how interesting it was, that not having that sexual release caused such a tangible effect on her emotions. She'd never heard anyone talk about that. Was she the only person who felt that way? Probably not. Women weren't expected to have sexual feelings, much less feel bad when those feelings weren't fulfilled in a timely manner.

She thought about going upstairs and crying in Severus' arms. But the way she'd left him earlier, she expected that the last thing he wanted was to comfort her about her failed attempt at romance with Neville.

There wasn't really anyone else in the castle who was a good option to talk to about this, unfortunately.

She ducked into an abandoned classroom and tried to floo-call Ron, but he wasn't home.

In the end, she decided she should just go to the library. No one would be there, other than Madam Pince. And as long as Hermione was quiet and didn't overtly scribble in the margins, Hermione expected it would be quiet and peaceful there.

So Hermione went straight to the library - her favorite place of refuge. Granted, it did pain her that the last time she'd come to the library was when she saw Neville falling asleep over his classroom prep. But the Hogwarts library was a big place, and there was no reason she had to be anywhere near the site of the incident.

As predicted, the place was quiet - pristine, actually. There was no one in sight, actually. The magical librarian included.

Oh, sweet mystery of life, she'd found it.

Except that for some reason, as she nestled herself in the potions section, she found herself completely unable to read. The silence - usually so sweet a balm to her ears - was nearly deafening. She found herself restless and fidgeting, changing positions in her chair a thousand times, sensitive to every crick in her back and neck.

At first she was mystified by this, but then she remembered that she was horny - and she knew as soon as she got some release, she'd feel loads better, and be able to focus.

She considered leaving the library to take care of the task, but she didn't precisely relish the idea of taking care of her issue in the closest bathroom, lest she be mistaken for Moaning Myrtle. Briefly, she flirted with the idea of doing it right there, behind the stacks she'd built around her. Then, as the silence continued to seduce her, she decided that her five minutes' worth of physical effort would definitely go unnoticed - she'd been tossing and turning thinking about getting herself off in the library without seeing a soul for nearly an hour.

So, without further ado, she sat down upon the floor, arranged a castle of books around her, and for good measure, she cast a chameleon spell on herself. Then, she began to pleasure herself with her fingers.

The pleasure she felt as she lay down there on the floor and finally began addressing her physical need, after so many hours of putting it off... well, it was wondrous. Her breath was short and her fingers were quick, and made swift work of stimulating her clit to a perfect frenzy. Now, all she needed was some mental stimulation and she'd be perfect.

She closed her eyes, and thought of Severus. Or at least, she tried to. But the feelings she had about him right now were somewhat complicated by her lingering feelings of resentment regarding the emotional labor she'd had to complete with him this morning.

She didn't dare think of Neville. She was too hurt and angry about that, right now.

Indeed, as she flipped through her mental rolladex, she kept coming up with blanks. Erika was a less complicated option, but Hermione couldn't picture the girl's face. Ron in his pudgier times, in a cute sweater... usually that worked for her, at least prior to this past August when she'd met Severus again. Harry? Ergh, Hermione hadn't been able to get turned on by Harry in years, unless she imagined him as a plump girl, and that was also far more complicated than it was worth.

Realizing that her stress levels were rising in a distinctly unsexy way, she took a moment to try and compose her mind, and not try and force a fantasy. Happily, one emerged as soon as she had dismissed all the unproductive ideas she'd generated.

She imagined she was walking through the library, and was flipping through the restricted section - as was her teacherly prerogative. But as she browsed, she pulled out a book with a crimson velvet cover, as soft as a rose petal... and she found herself falling through the stacks.

Once she found her bearings again, she realized she was in a beautiful room of the library that she'd never seen before. Like the rest of the Hogwarts library, there were books stacked to the ceiling. But unlike the rest of the library, the room was a strange shape, somewhat like a venn diagram with a very narrow midsection and two large, petal-like outer sections. The place was carpeted with thick, lush red carpeting that begged to be walked upon in bare feet. Instead of the usual antiquated chairs and tables, there were velvet chaise lounges and armchairs with soft pillowed ottomans. There was a coat rack with an array of beautiful silk housecoats, all different colors and styles, and lined on the floor below were little velvet slippers that looked both dainty and comfortable.

And as far as other decor went, it was sparse but elegant: marble grecian statues of naked women, in various poses varying from the sexual to the romantic.

There was nothing in the room that even vaguely hinted at maleness or the masculine gaze. And Hermione found herself laying upon one of the beckoning fainting couches, where she found a dildo exactly like the favorite one she had in her flat when she was working for the ministry.

Given that it was a fantasy, Hermione let herself completely give way to her pleasures there in that strange and unusual room. As her fingers moved, beautiful cello and violin music played, surrounding her with crescendos and decrescendos that perfectly harmonized with her own body's rhythm.

Then, she heard a noise (in her fantasy) and she paused, in shock, in order to see who was coming in on her. She tried to hide the evidence of what she was doing with a silk robe, but was too slow. Madam Pince, the librarian, had entered the room, and her eyes were pinned to Hermione like a hawk approaching its prey.

"Please, Madam Pince," whimpered Hermione, "please."

Madam Pince didn't say anything - instead she just walked around the chaise lounge upon which Hermione had thrown herself, and she stared with blank, unreadable eyes.

Madam Pince in fantasy didn't look the same as Madam Pince in reality, as it happened. Of course, she was the same in terms of her physical attributes - skinny as a rail, without comely bosoms or buttocks - but her older body was lithe and supple, and of course given that this was a fantasy, she had walked into the room completely naked, aside from her wand and her glasses.

And Hermione waited for Madam Pince in the fantasy to start shrieking - but the shrieking didn't come. Instead, Madam Pince got down on her knees and, a supercilious smirk on her face, she pointed her wand at Hermione's crotch and whispered a spell.

The resulting charm was heavenly, and Hermione felt as if her entire body was going to explode with the pleasure she experienced. It was like all the best seasons at once, mingled together in a heady potion like amortentia, but five thousand times more powerful.

In real life, it was then that Hermione finally got her release, and she found herself moaning despite herself. She opened her eyes and clasped her hand over her mouth to mute the sound of her heavy breathing.

It actually spooked her, to open her eyes and see the stacks of books towering above her as she lay upon the dusty floor. The orgasm she'd felt was sticky between her legs, and she needed a good 'nother two or so, but she listened with attentive ears and didn't move.

Something had changed in the dark section of the library she was in. The silence wasn't the same anymore. There was the faintest, faintest sense of someone else being there, listening.

Hermione lay stock still for several minutes, simply listening back, and then she decided she must be mistaken. There wasn't anyone else in this part of the library with her - and even if there were, she hadn't been discovered (from what she could tell).

So, she got up, and she moved, and she brushed off the dust from her dress and ignored the stickiness and the urgent need for more stimulation between her legs, and she tried to get back to reading. But she couldn't shake the feeling that there was someone else there with her, somewhere close at hand.

It was disconcerting, but she managed to ignore it until she forgot about it. Instead, she read for another two or three hours, until she completed what objectives she'd set for herself, and she got up to leave.

As she walked out of the potions section, she was walking past a dark corner, and as she stepped past it, she nearly yelped aloud.

"Madam Pince," she said, and her heart was hammering so fast she felt like she could nearly feel it, "You gave me a fright!"

The librarian was sitting very still. She had a journal and quill in front of her, and her eyes were latched onto Hermione with a silent, critical gaze.

"I..." Hermione began to say, but then she realized that anything she might say at this moment would be either damning or look foolish. She decided to ignore her instincts, and instead she stared back at the librarian.

Madam Pince, it must be noted, was dressed in a very beautiful dress. Hermione wasn't generally the sort of person who noticed other women's fashion sense, but in this particular instance, it was unforgettable. Madam Pince's dress robes were of a dark indigo, scattered with silver embroidered stars that seemed to shimmer even as she sat perfectly still, like the night sky. No wonder Hermione had scarcely noticed the woman.

Her dark hair, flocked with strands of grey, was pulled up in a bun, and her long angular neck reminded Hermione of a graceful swan. The way she peered from behind her glasses also contributed to the impression she gave of a bird.

And, Hermione realized, if Severus and Madam Pince were Muggles who had government issued driver's licenses, they could pass very well for each other, aside from their weights. Though somehow they looked nothing in common, even back when Severus was as lean as a greyhound. They both had long, dark hair, dark penetrating eyes, and a wistful slenderness.

But Severus had an unmistakable roughness around the edges that Madam Pince simply did not. She was the very essence of elegance down through her bones, and this elegance was carefully maintained through fragile treatment and isolation, while for Severus it was only skin-deep and he had cultivated it as a flexible and complex art.

In any case, Hermione stared at Madam Pince, and as the librarian squarely stared at Hermione, Hermione knew she wouldn't win the battle of silence. The librarian was far better practiced at the art of listening than Hermione would ever be.

Knowing she was outclassed, Hermione broke the silence.

"Have you been here long?" she asked, feeling a rush of redness hitting her cheeks. She hoped it was too dark for Madam Pince to see.

The librarian moved her lips carefully, as if practicing to make sure she knew the words to whatever she was going to say. Then, the librarian managed to get out some words, though they were very quiet.

"Next time," the librarian said, "ask, and I will help you find what you need."

Hermione frowned, trying to understand if she heard right. "What?" she ended up asking, feeling as bewildered as a Hobbit being told to go on a quest.

"Next time," Madam Pince said, just as quietly as the first time, in a sotto voce just barely above a whisper, "ask, and I will help you find what you need."

"Are you saying I'm banned from the library?" asked Hermione, and she felt her entire body begin to quiver with trepidation.

The librarian, not breaking eye contact for a moment, simply shook her head in the negative.

"Then what are you saying?" Hermione said, trying to calm herself but failing miserably. She put her hand on the table and leaned on it gently, lowering her ear closer to the librarian so as to hear her better.

Hermione was shocked when Madam Pince grabbed at her necklace and pulled her head down even closer, so that Hermione's ear was directly positioned at the librarian's mouth.

"You may be a scribbler," the librarian whispered hotly into Hermione's ear, "but, truth be told, I like scribblers. You always scream so prettily."

Then, as suddenly as she'd grappled Hermione, the librarian let go, and Hermione nearly fell face first onto the table.

"Wait," Hermione asked, feeling her face grow white with fear, "scribblers... scream?"

"And they also ask far too many questions," the librarian drawled, and she slammed her journal shut. Then, from underneath the expensive leatherbound volume, she retrieved two envelopes of expensive linen paper. With a practiced, elegant hand, she extended them to Hermione.

Hermione was going to ask what the envelopes contained, but then she realized that'd be another question, and she was a bit self-conscious about that particular habit at the moment.

All she could manage for the moment was to look at the envelopes. Both were labelled with a florid Edwardian print, and one was addressed to Severus. And one was addressed to Hermione.

Hermione couldn't help but stand there and open the envelope. She was somewhat dubious of its contents, but her curiosity overwhelmed her caution.

"So tactless," Hermione heard the librarian mutter, and the older woman rose with an air of pompous dignity and the scent of heavy rose perfume and strode off into the darkness of the library, her heeled boots clacking ever so gently on the hardwood floors.

This didn't bother Hermione in the slightest - as soon as Madam Pince was out of eyesight, she felt her pulse regain its normal rate, thank goodness - and she examined the paper that had been inside the envelope.

"Madam Irma Pince requests the pleasure of your company on December the twenty-second for an unconventional celebration of the winter solstice. Please meet on the seventh floor at the hour of seven in formal attire, and wear no more than (and no less than!) seven items of clothing - jewelry included. Invitation-holders only, no guests. This is a private event, and please do not talk about the existence of this event with others who do not hold an invitation. Bring that with which you were born, and expect to leave with little else, aside from beautiful memories. If you do not wish to attend, please return this invitation; if I do not receive your response, I will assume you will be in attendance. Refreshments will be provided. Kind regards, Irma Pince."

Hermione's pulse quickened again as she re-read the invitation.

This was certainly the strangest denouement possible - and she still didn't know for sure if the librarian had heard her masturbating.

But that certainly seemed like a less puzzling question than: how would she respond to this?


Music: Pieces (3) For Cello & Piano, Op 64 by Popper, David

Fat Molly

hufflepuff hobbit
Aug 3, 2010
, female by default
Chapter 67: about that invitation...


(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Severus opened the door of his flat without a word, but he looked apologetic and conciliatory. Hermione fell into his arms and gave him a long embrace.

"Where have you been?" he asked, as she leaned on him in relief, "or should I not ask?"

"Don't ask," Hermione said, and kissed him sweetly. "And I'm not going to the dance tonight."

"That's all right," he said, kissing her back, "I'm not much in the mood myself."


She wept in Severus' arms that night, though she didn't tell him why. He listened silently, stroking her hair and kissing her tenderly. And he didn't ask any questions, but he did treat her with more than his usual kindness.

It seemed she didn't need to tell him about what happened with Neville. She was glad. She didn't want to talk about it, mostly because she felt that she'd been stupid, and that this was inevitable, and she should have known better than to try with her former classmate.


The next morning, Hermione woke up to the smell of sweetness in the air, and the scent of flavored coffee.

"Happy December," Hermione said, rolling over to look at Severus. He was already dressed, not a hair out of place, and he lay next to her, reading from a potions journal.

"Good morning," he responded, the faintest hint of a smile on his face, and he laid down the journal he'd been reading and took off his glasses. "Would you like a spot of breakfast?"

"Yes, please," Hermione enthused, and soon enough she had a steaming mug of milky, sweet coffee tucked between her hands. She sipped it slowly, savoring the flavor of hazelnut and relishing the beauty of the sun streaming through the glass window. "That's wonderful."

"Thanks," Severus said, and poured himself a cup as well. He took it black, with several lumps of sugar, and he seemed to also enjoy it in a very visceral way. "I thought you might like something a bit more robust than tea, this morning."

"Yes," Hermione responded, and leaned forward to press a kiss on his cheek. "Thank you."

"You're certainly welcome," Severus said in a charming voice, and as Hermione took another sip of the wonderful brew, he added, "It's a blend I concocted on my own, whilst playing Muggle in the States."

"I should have known," Hermione responded kindly, and she appreciated the warm beverage just slightly more. There was something wonderful about this morning, so wonderful she knew this must be a precursor to something else.

"So I would like to apologize," he said, as she gazed absently out the window at the blue Saturday sky. "Yesterday-"

"-No," Hermione said, and raised one of her cozy-warm fingers to meet Severus' lips. "No apologies. You are what you are, and you never need to apologize for that."

He kissed her finger deliberately, lovingly, and gratefully. "I understand," he rumbled, sounding as if he were not entirely convinced, but accepting at face value for the present moment. "Still, I know that you felt shitty, yesterday, and I wish I could have prevented that better."

"Again," Hermione said, laying down her coffee on the table and scooting her butt, still covered in the cozy duvet, so that she was closer to Severus. She drew her arms around him. "I know you felt shitty, yesterday, too, and I wish I could have prevented that better. But you are what you are, and I am what I am, and I won't apologize for that. I was sad and somewhat resentful, if I must tell you the truth, but I don't feel that way now."

Severus responded to Hermione's embrace warmly, and he tilted his head and gave her a crooked, sad smile. "I don't deserve you."

"Does anyone deserve anything?" Hermione responded cheerfully, and she patted him playfully on the tummy as she leaned over and grabbed her coffee. "Well, perhaps I deserve this coffee. It's so deliciously fragrant, and unlike most flavored coffee, the taste isn't an anticlimax."

"It tastes like it smells," agreed Severus, "and that was indeed the point of designing it. I decided to concoct it after Erika made the observation that many flavored coffees are... disappointing."

"Well," Hermione said, and smiled broadly, "I love it. And I love you. And while I have a lot of work to complete, I do fully intend to spend as much time with you as I possibly can today."

"I concur," Severus responded. He nodded and sipped his coffee. "In theory, it snowed last night."

"First snow of the season?" Hermione asked, and as she finished absorbing the first half of her cup, she looked around for the aforementioned breakfast.

"So it would seem," responded Severus easily. He got himself up and seized a teatray from the sidetable, and presented it to Hermione, laying it carefully across her lap. "There's jam, toast, sausage, egg, and bacon. And there are vanilla scones in the oven," he added, sounding just slightly desperate for her approval.

"That sounds wonderful," Hermione said, and lifted the charms that kept the food hot. The smells of warm breakfast emanated from the food, and Hermione looked at Severus. "Is this enough for both of us?"

"Trust me," Severus said, "I've eaten more than my fair share this morning, while cooking." Still, even as he said this, he stole a fork from the side of her plate and deprived her of one sausage. It was one out of five large, plump sausages, so there was plenty to share.

"It seems like you would benefit from my scraps, however," Hermione said with a grin, laying a kiss on his soft cheek and squeezing his buttery fat lovehandle with the greatest of affection. "Wouldn't want you to waste into nothing."

"Little danger of that," Severus answered good-humoredly, and he joyfully bit into the hot sausage.

They sat in relative quiet as Hermione worked her way through the meal, serving Severus tidbits off her plate as suited her whim. Soon, she was replete and overfull, and she leaned back on the headboard as Severus poured her another mug of coffee.

"That was sweet of you, to make breakfast," Hermione said dreamily as Severus moved the tray back to the side table. He kissed the top of her head.

"That was sweet of you, to forgive me," he answered, and Hermione didn't have any response for that. She just cuddled closer to him, and enjoyed him as he breathed in and out with heavy breaths, struggling to digest the massive amounts he'd tucked away.

Time seemed to simultaneously lengthen and disappear, as they lounged there in the bed. Hermione was sensitive to every second that the clock counted, and she felt enormously satisfied with how she was spending those seconds, pressed up against the soft flesh of her beautiful lover.

But at the same time, she was acutely aware of the loss of those seconds. Those were not seconds she would ever see again. And while she was spending them in the best way she could, she also felt a kind of pathos and melancholy over their loss. She was, in some small way, grieving for the time that passed.

But soon enough, Severus seemed to grow bored of laying in bed, half-dozing as the morning sunlight began to inch across the floorboards, and he wiggled his way out from underneath Hermione. Then he settled his feet on the floor, stood, and stretched with a yawn.

"There's an envelope for you," Hermione added, realizing she hadn't given Severus Pince's invitation yet. "I think it's on the floor."

"Underneath your dress?' he said, rolling his eyes a bit, and he sighed with exasperation and effort as he bent down to get it. "Where'd it come from?"

"Madam Pince, strangely," Hermione said, and she added, "It's a bit confusing."

Severus stood up again, folding Hermione's dress over his arm and frowning at the envelope. "Confusing," he repeated, and then he opened the envelope curiously.

Two seconds later, he threw the letter on the bed. "What on earth?" he asked, "Is this real?"

"I think so," Hermione said, and she confessed to him her sins of the previous night - and what had followed.

"How queer," was all Severus said to that. "Very curious indeed."

"So," Hermione said, "presuming this isn't some sort of humiliating joke, would you like to go with me?"

"I... suppose," Severus said, and frowned. "Parties are certainly not my forte."

"Nor mine," Hermione answered, "but I think the circumstances warrant at least some investigation."

"I tend to agree," he answered, and he shook his head. "This doesn't seem to bear the hallmarks of a joke. I can't remember the last time that Irma Pince did anything other than screeching. From what little I know of her, her particular brand of malice seems to be more good-intentioned, if eccentric, than cruel."

"All right," Hermione said, and smiled at Severus fondly. "Then let's go to this solstice event, and worst case scenario is, we'll bow out early."

"Perfectly reasonable," Severus replied, and his eyes glimmered at her with a sense of shared adventure. "We'll need to take me back to Knockturn Alley, though, i'm afraid - I don't have any formal robes that suit my current figure."

"I'm happy to accompany you," Hermione responded, and she got up out of bed, wrapped her arms around his wonderfully squashy waist, and kissed him between the shoulder blades.


heyyyyyyyy so there's this sketch from SNL that cracks me up called "YO! Where Jackie Chan At?" and I'd like to respectfully pose the question: "YO! Where my reviewers at?"

because don't forget: if this fic is your jam, I won't know unless you throw reviews at me!

thanks <3

Fat Molly

hufflepuff hobbit
Aug 3, 2010
, female by default
Chapter 68: worthiness

Chapter Text

(trigger warning: suicidal ideation)

That afternoon, Severus was working in his lab - he tried his best to minimize his workload during the weekend, so to spend as much time with possible with Hermione, but today he had to put in a few unavoidable hours. Also, Hermione suspected that he had overexerted his social muscles during Erika's visit, and needed some time to recuperate.

On her part, Hermione was strenuously grading papers when there came a knock on the door of her flat. Expecting McGonagall - who else was likely to drop by uninvited at teatime? - Hermione opened the door and was surprised to see Neville standing there, shaking his head.

"Hi," she said, too startled to respond in any other way.

"Hermione," Neville articulated quietly, almost mumbling, as if he'd been practicing very carefully for hours and the meaning and sense had all been lost from his words. "I'm sorry. I was a fool, and I'm sorry, and would you please forgive me?"

Perhaps it was just that she wanted a break from grading, or perhaps it was the tears in Neville's eyes, but Hermione shook her head and opened the door wide. She wordlessly waved him through, and he wordlessly came inside. His gait was slow and repentant.

"I'm sorry," Neville said as she closed the door. "I'm so sorry."

"I hear you," Hermione said, and she sat down on the couch, in her nest of papers. Neville continued to stand, abashed, not able to meet her eyes. "But it sounded like you were being pretty honest with me."

"I was just lashing out," Neville said, "I didn't mean it, honest."

"I mean," Hermione said, frowning, "This isn't the first time you've said something really uncharitable about Severus. I won't stand and listen to that shit."

"Please forgive me," Neville said, continuing to stare at his shoes. "It won't happen again."

"I don't know," Hermione said, and she sighed, leaning back on the couch and feeling a great weight settle onto her shoulders. She wondered if Neville would even be here if she hadn't stormed off like she had. She figured that if she hadn't stood up for Severus, Neville probably wouldn't be repentant now. It was pretty clear to her that Neville wasn't sorry for believing what he did about Snape - he was, however, sorry that she cared so much to stand apart from him because of his views.

And Hermione was sick to death of people she loved hating each other. She'd been sick of it when Harry and Ron fought viciously during their school years, and she continued to be sick of it that Harry was alienating himself from both her and Ron. She was sick of her mother hating her, even though she knew it was an illness that caused her paranoia and hatred. She was sick of trying to be the peacemaker, and she had no desire to put up with this shit from Neville.

Yes, she reminded herself, Neville had already been warned about the consequences of his actions. And yet he'd still had the audacity to try and turn her against Severus. And while she completely knew that Severus had been criminally abusive and unjust, Severus had also been criminally abused and unjustly treated. And despite this, Severus still faced the light, even though the light had burned him so many times.

Darkness would have been easier to slip into, and Severus had persevered, loving goodness and justice unrequitedly. And Hermione believed firmly that Severus deserved someone believing in him and fighting for him, for once.

So, screw Neville. His apologies were not only unnecessary at this point (he'd shown his true colors twice), but insulting. She wouldn't be beguiled by his tears again. Neville had a hard life, true, but his petty grudges had no role in determining her life's course - and he needed to learn that he couldn't sway her.

"No," she said, finally, after these heartsearching deliberations, "This isn't fair, Neville. Not to me, and not to you. I need to be honest with you myself and say: this is the second time you've come to me repentantly, and for the same issue. I can't continue to make exceptions on your behalf, and I refuse to compromise my integrity in order to accommodate your missteps."

"I understand," Neville said. He still hadn't been able to meet her eyes. "Fine."

Then, turning on his heel, he walked slowly out of the flat, pathos aching in every step.


This interaction more than set Hermione's teeth on edge. She seethed over it the rest of the afternoon. In one way, this was good, because it powered her through her grading. She was conscious of it and she tried her best not to let it influence her grading. Though truth be told, while her overall grading curve was fairly consistent with what she usually gave, her comments were on the shorter, snippier side. Whatever. Her students would live.

She was still simmering when Severus returned to her flat. With a perfunctory knock, he came into the living room with a slightly jovial step, and he grabbed Hermione by the hands and yanked her up from the couch (albeit with effort, because Hermione had very little intention of getting up).

"Granger, you're getting heavy," he said with the smirkiest smirk that ever did smirk. "Might need to lay off the sweets."

"Screw you, Snape," Hermione huffed, plunking back down on the couch and picking up the lap throw that'd fallen to the ground as Severus swept her off her seat.

"Whatever happened to 'hello dear, how was your day at the lab, won't you please have sex with me, I've been horny all day?'" responded Severus with uncompromising smarm, and Hermione swatted playfully at him with the sheath of papers in her hand.

"I haven't been horny all day, first off," Hermione responded with a roll of the eyes. "And don't tell me that's what I sound like, to you?"

"Only in my vanity, darling," he answered, and he removed his outer robe, tossed it effortlessly on the coat rack, and cleared a space for himself next to Hermione on the couch. "Now, what's the matter?"

"Nothing," Hermione said, even though this was clearly a lie.

Severus just stared at her, his face set in a neutral way. The only tic that belied his impatience was his raised eyebrow, and he scrutinized her with disbelief etched in his plump face.

Nearly squirming at this gaze - which wasn't that dissimilar from his look of sexual appreciation, though this particular squirming wasn't that particular kind at all - Hermione took a deep breath and accidentally knocked over a stack of papers with her foot. Then, frustrated, she swiped her hand at the nearest stack, and it collapsed onto the floor, spreading across the ancient wood like carefully-placed dominoes.

"Nothing?" Severus asked, and he extended a hand to her. "You don't get ruffled over trifles."

"Fine," Hermione responded, and took another deep breath. Then, she accepted Severus' welcoming arm, and she draped herself with it, pressing her head against Severus' soft chest and enjoying the luscious way his jiggling flesh moved to accommodate her. "Neville came by this afternoon to apologize for being a prick yesterday."

"I see," Severus said, and there was a long-suffering edge to his voice. "What did he do to necessitate that?"

Hermione closed her eyes, wrapped her arm around his waist, and tightened her grasp on Severus. "I don't think I want to say," she said, knowing that Severus would have an interesting, possibly unpredictable reaction if he knew the source of the problem with certainty.

"Why not?" asked Severus, and his voice was like a hammer poised to strike, mellifluous though it was.

"Because I don't want to occlude the issue with context that might be distracting," Hermione said, though she mostly just wanted to avoid Severus having biased feelings about the situation. "Suffice it to say, he said some hurtful things that I'm disinclined to forgive him for."

"I'm sorry to hear that," Severus said, though the way he said that particular phrase sounded a bit trite and meaningless coming out of his mouth at this particular moment. Maybe it was her imagination. "So he did apologize?"

"Yeah," Hermione answered.

"But it wasn't good enough?"

"No," Hermione said, feeling Severus' muscles tense in the arm that was holding her. "It was pretty clear to me that he was just sorry for being caught, you know, and not sorry that he did it. And I have no patience for that sort of thing."

"Indeed," Severus said, and she felt his breathing pace faster. He thought for several minutes, and then said, "May I make a suggestion?"

Ugh. Hermione could feel that he was going to admonish her. She half thought about reconsidering whether or not to describe the actual incident in detail, but before she could, Severus went on, "Forgive him."

"What?" Hermione asked, and felt her face tense with unpleasant feelings. "Why should I? It's the second time this particular thing has happened."

"Men are fools," Severus said, and then hastily corrected himself as he seemed to reconsider the gendered statement. "Ahem. People are fools. Some people worse than others. Neville seems to be one particular type of fool who, try as he might, bumbles himself into situations that require apologies. And possibly he bumbles into these situations more than once. He's extraordinarily competent at some areas of his life - professionally, for instance, I hear he's quite the herbmeister - but in other areas, his weaknesses overshadow his strengths. And so I encourage you to forgive him. At least just once more. If he proves himself a fool again, feel free to disregard my suggestion. But sometimes people need to hear these sorts of things more than once, in order for the lesson to really sink in."

"I don't think I want to do that," Hermione said staunchly. "He's shown his colors twice. Why should I put myself through the inconvenience of giving him another pass when he's proven that he can't be trusted on this matter?"

"I don't know," Severus said, and there was an acidity to his voice that stung Hermione. "What made you attracted to him in the first place?" Severus, for his part, was steadfastly gazing at the moving picture above the mantelpiece of a sunny field - avoiding Hermione's eyes.

It reminded Hermione of Neville's avoidance, honestly. And that recollection made Hermione profoundly uncomfortable.

"He's sweet," Hermione said, shrugging. "Intelligent, brave, kind, loyal, all those things."

"So is the loss of that kind of person - is that worth whatever it is you were fighting about?" Severus asked.

Ugh. The guilt-trippingness of his voice was sickening, and Hermione saw that the man was projecting very fiercely onto Neville.

"Look," Hermione said, turning her head and staring directly at Severus, "this isn't like you and Lily, okay? It's not like I've given up on him as a friend. I've just given up on dating him."

"Hm," Severus said, and even though he wasn't looking at Hermione in response, "It must be nice to have your pick of lovers like that."

"You'd better stop, Severus," Hermione warned, and she unwrapped herself from Severus' arm very pointedly. "This is different from you and Lily. It really is."

"Fine," Severus spat, and he turned his head and stared blankly at Hermione. His eyes were dispassionate and cold, and it was frustrating for her to see this. "It's different. I get it."

"No," Hermione said, heaving her heavy body into a standing position and putting her hands on her comely hips, "I don't think you do." Then, deciding she'd sat on the information long enough, she said with a bitter edge to her voice, "We were fighting about you, for the record. Neville still's got his knickers in a twist that I'm dating you. I told him to shove off if he can't accept that you're important to me."

This stunned Severus into silence for several long moments. His mouth fell open, his eyes were wide, and he literally was aghast.

He didn't seem to come up with any words, and Hermione laid a gentle kiss on his forehead.

"So you see that this isn't about you and Lily at all," Hermione said. She put a finger under his chin, and guided his jaw upwards until his eyes were directly looking into hers. Then she felt his hands grasping at her hand, and she let him hold onto her. "This is about me, and you."

Severus' eyes seemed to grow a trifle more glassy, but he blinked and suddenly the wetness was gone. Severus still looked sad, but Hermione read in his face some other kind of feeling - possibly of resolve.

Then, he said softly, "That makes it even more important for you to forgive him, if you can, Hermione."

"What?" Hermione asked, and snorted despite herself. "Didn't you just hear me say that I'm not interested in giving him another pass?"

"I won't hold it against you if you don't forgive him," Severus said, with a voice as calm, tranquil, and soothing as an ocean's waves. "But I just wish you would. If you think that I somehow deserve the kindness you bestow on me, that poor young man deserves it thrice-fold."

"Isn't that my judgment to make?" argued Hermione.

"Of course," Severus said, and shook his head sadly. "Do as you must. But please consider the fact that, if as you report, the fight you had was about defending my honor - know that whatever he says about me, whatever he thinks about me, is wholly justified. And that if you're fighting with him on my account, you're fighting a battle that's long been lost."

"Shut up," Hermione said, and she bent down and pressed her lips into his. Her kiss was hungry, angry, and energetic, while Severus' response was tired and weary.

"Don't tell me to shut up," Severus said with a growl as Hermione pulled away. "This is a matter with which you have no right to argue."

"Perhaps not," Hermione said fiercely, "but it grieves me deeply to see you without any fight left in your veins."

"I'm old, Hermione," said Severus, and there was a deep despairing sadness in his voice, tinged with desperate anger. "Some days I feel as if I've lived a hundred years. And today, as we speak of this matter, I feel as if I've overstayed my welcome on this earth - and I feel it more than ever. How is it that you think I'm more deserving of your attentions than that genuinely *good* young man? A young man I spent so many years hating and trampling upon so viciously - to the point where I was his boggart?"

"You heard about that?" Hermione asked, thinking back to the days they'd spent in Lupin's class.

"Of course I heard about that," hissed Severus. "And I don't blame him one bit. I..."

Then she suddenly saw him double over, and Severus' face was between his legs. She placed a concerned hand on his back, and she felt that he was hyperventilating.

"Are you okay?" asked Hermione, feeling suddenly very small and helpless. Her mind immediately worried that Severus was having a heart attack. "Sev? What can I do to help you?"

"Water," he croaked, not able to look at her, "water," he repeated more softly.

Hermione accio'ed a glass and cast an aguamenti faster than she ever could remember doing before.

"Thank you," he whispered as she offered the glass to him. He sat up and carefully sipped from the glass. Hermione saw that both his hands were shaking, and he had to hold the glass with both hands. "Thank you," he whispered again, and Hermione took the glass from him as he looked down to place it on a side table.

Then, he bent down again, taking deep stabilizing breaths and trying not to cough. Hermione put a hand on his shoulder, and rubbed his back kindly. Severus shuddered, but seemed to calm down with the touch.

"I... I don't feel well," he said, numbly. "Bedroom? Help me?"

There was something so foreign and inaccessible in his voice, Hermione stood up swiftly and grasped his arm. He eased himself up from the couch and, following her lead, he accompanied her to the bedroom, where he collapsed on the bed, his face towards the ceiling.

"Are you okay?" Hermione asked, her hand resting on his soft, luxurious breast. (And her mind kicked itself for even letting that kind of thought enter her mind uninvited when Severus was in such a poor state.)

"No," Severus answered, and his voice was small and pained. It even cracked a little bit. "I..."

He seemed to struggle with his next words, but he swallowed and added, his voice rough and scratchy with pain, "Why am I even here? I wish I were dead."

"No, you don't," Hermione said - but she realized even as she said it that she was begging.

"I should have died in that filthy shack," Severus said, and he turned over and dove face first into the nearest pillow. Before Hermione could answer, he was outright sobbing there. "The only reason I didn't," he said, barely intelligible through the muffling of the pillow, "was because I didn't want to die there, in the fucking Shrieking Shack.

"In those last moments, I almost didn't save myself, Hermione," he said, his entire body shaking with rage and pain. "I almost didn't use the potion I'd kept on my body like a talisman for so many months. I was grateful that it was all going to be over. I was so, so, so tired. And I was done trying to prove that I wasn't the man I used to be. Trying to right my wrongs. I was so done.

"But then as I was laying there, I remembered that I'd almost died there once before, at the hands of those fucking Maurauders. And that sense of not wanting them to have that satisfaction - I didn't want them to feel like karma had finished the job they'd set out to do - that was the only reason I gave myself the potion, Hermione."

He was crying vehemently, but had turned himself slightly so that she could hear his words. Hermione, for her part, just tried to comfort him. She held his hand, and she stroked her hand through his greasy hair, massaging his scalp.

"It's okay," she whispered, trying to be soothing. "Everything's all right."

"I only kept myself alive out of hate," Severus went on, "I wanted to die somewhere else - anywhere else. Just not there."

He seemed to be crying himself out, though - his sobs were becoming less jagged, and more like the cries of a trapped animal who had begun to lose all hope of rescue.

Abruptly, he turned over, and he stared at Hermione. His face was red with his tears, and there was a sense of profound despair in his eyes. But he stared at her unwaveringly.

"Many days, I still want to be dead," he said in a low voice, "below everything else, that feeling is still there. Even when I manage to be happy for a moment, for even most of a day - I can't get rid of the sense that I don't belong here anymore. That me being here means I must have offended some very aggressive god who wants to see me suffer every day with the burden of my sin. How can I live with myself knowing everything I'm responsible for?"

"What can I say to this?" Hermione asked aloud. In her mind, she felt a sadness nearly as profound as Severus' as she thought: am I not enough to make him happy?

Of course, she dismissed the thought outright as soon as she admitted it to herself. This was the nature of his illness.

"I don't know," Severus responded, and his sobbing crescendoed a bit again. "I'm sorry. You don't deserve this mess of a man," he nearly wailed, burying his face in a pillow again. "I'm not worth the air I breathe."

"I'm so sorry you're in so much pain," Hermione answered, and she rubbed her hands up and down his spine gently. "How can I help you?"

"There's nothing," Severus said, sounding somewhat hysterical. "I'm worthless, and you shouldn't bother with me. I'm wasting your time, your youth, your kindness, your beauty, your life."

"I think I'll be the judge of whether or not I'm wasting my resources, thank you very much," Hermione said with a no-nonsense air, and Severus didn't argue. He just cried harder.

But he couldn't cry forever, and soon he seemed to dry out a bit. He remained face-down in the pillow, but seemed as though his sobbing was reducing.

"Hey, Sev?" Hermione asked gently, as Severus hiccuped into his pillow, "do you mind if I ask you a question?"

He didn't say yes, but he also didn't say no. He just hiccuped again. It was plaintive, and reminded her of a little child.

"Don't be offended," Hermione said softly, "but I just want to check - when's the last time you ate something?"

He didn't answer, and she wasn't entirely sure if he heard her, but then he slowly sat up and wiped his eyes with his sleeve. This was unsuccessful at clearing his face of tears, so he stared at her with bleary eyes.

"This morning," he said softly.

"Let's get something in you, then," Hermione said, taking on a compassionate but practical tone similar to that employed by Madam Pomfrey in the hospital wing. "Even just a biscuit."

"Fine," Severus responded, his voice tart and raw, but as Hermione accio'ed a biscuit from the kitchen, he accepted it mutely and chewed it.

Neither of them said anything for several minutes as he ate the biscuit. Finally, he finished it - it took quite a bit of effort for him to get down - but he seemed calmer afterwards.

"Feeling better?" Hermione asked, and Severus nodded, looking a lot younger than his forty-odd years. There was a sense of lostness in his eyes that made Hermione's heart break over and over again.

"I love you," Hermione said, and at the sight of tears welling up in Severus' eyes again, she said, "and I think you need to hear that. Don't argue with it. Just let it happen. You're worth my time and energy, and I want to see you be happy. So if I'm making you suffer, you need to tell me. But otherwise, I forbid you to tell me that you're not good enough for me. I'm here. When you say that you feel like I'm wasting my time with you... that's disrespectful to me, because it implies that I don't know what I want. I do know what I want, and I want you. And you have no right to tell me otherwise. Understood?"

With a heavy nod, Severus consented. He avoided meeting her eyes.

"This does not change the fact that... it would ease my mind greatly, if you forgave Mr. Longbottom," Severus said lowly, not making eye contact. "The lives of compatriots as close as he is to you... well, I would be loathe to see you sacrifice such a friendship on my behalf."

"Fine," Hermione said, shaking her head. "I'll give him a final chance. But I think it should be clear to him that I will not tolerate him maligning you."

"That is your prerogative," Severus said, "but remember how even I think he is justified to malign me all he wishes."

"I don't understand why you say that," Hermione said, softly. "But I'll take your recommendation with salt."

"Thank you," he whispered, and as Hermione lay down on the bed, he grasped her with such a cherished gesture of affection that Hermione felt guilty for ever having thought that it'd be a good idea to chastise Neville.

Fat Molly

hufflepuff hobbit
Aug 3, 2010
, female by default
Chapter 69: frank longbottom

Chapter Text

Hermione didn't get a chance to talk to Neville until Monday morning. Hermione entered the hall and saw Neville belaboredly eating what appeared to be an obscenely large stack of waffles. And he seemed to be making a valiant go at them, though was halfway through and already quite slow.

"Hey," Hermione said, sliding up to him. Neville looked up at her mournfully, but didn't say anything. "May I sit with you?"

"Whatever," Neville said, and focused on obtaining another bite of his food.

Hermione realized that this was probably as good as she was going to get, for the moment, and she sat down in the next chair. She served herself some juice, and a few waffles of her own. This being her second breakfast of the morning, she was conservative in how many she put on her plate, but she was generous with the syrup and clotted cream.

Then, once she'd dressed them to her satisfaction with fresh gooseberries and bilberries, she took a few bites and thoughtfully contemplated the man in front of her. He was looking distinctly podgier than she'd seen him last, though she couldn't completely be sure. He seemed determined not to look at her, and instead focused all his attention to eating the stout stack that remained on his plate.

Hermione remained quiet for several minutes, contemplating how to approach him. Finally, she said, "I accept your apology. I'm sorry it took so long for me to get back to you."

Neville laid down his fork and turned his head to meet her steady gaze. Then, not saying anything, he shook his head.

"This isn't the way it was supposed to happen," he said softly.

"What do you mean?" Hermione asked. Something wasn't quite right.

Neville just waved his hand, and picked up his fork again. There was a sense of fatalistic determination around him, as if he was giving up and just letting the flow of life take him forward without resistance.

"Luna's coming home," Neville said, and his eyes were full of hurt and pain. "I asked her to marry me."

"Congratulations," Hermione said, though something about the announcement was supposed to sting her, she felt. Honestly, what she felt was mostly relief.

"She didn't say yes," Neville responded, and he stabbed savagely at a rogue gooseberry from his plate. "But she also didn't say no."

"That's good, right?" Hermione asked, and Neville just shook his head.

His eyes were bright with passion, hidden deep beneath the surface. "All you have to say is that you'll be mine, and only mine," Neville said softly, "and I'll never talk to her again."

Hermione began to see that this was more power play, and less friendly than she'd hoped. "And since that isn't happening," Hermione said, keeping her tone light, "I think you're doing the right thing. Though maybe for the wrong reasons."

Neville shook his head. There was a sense of disbelief in his eyes, but he didn't have anything else to say on the subject.

"I do want to offer an explanation, for what it's worth," Neville said, and he frowned with some perplexity.

"You don't have to," Hermione answered, feeling more tense as she read that Neville was about to make some kind of major confession. "Really, it's all right."

"I want to, though," Neville said, "I... I wasn't trying to be mean, 'Mione. I was embarrassed, you see, and I was worried of what you'd think of me."

"Why embarrassed?" Hermione asked. She poured some more syrup on her waffles as an excuse for something to do.

"When we were in the broom closet," Neville said, and his voice was tightening. "It was getting... a bit heavy, so to speak. And I was worried that we were going to be... doing things."

"Doing things?" Hermione asked, frowning. "You mean, having sex?"

"Yeah," Neville said, and shoved a huge chunk of waffle in his mouth for emphasis.

"You were *worried* that we were going to have sex?" asked Hermione, who was somewhat dumbfounded at the idea.

"Yeah," Neville said, after swallowing carefully.

"What ever were you worried about?" Hermione asked, trying to avoid the judgment that was inevitably crawling into her voice.

"That it wouldn't... wouldn't be right to do it, for the first time, together, in a broom closet under rushed circumstances," Neville said.

Hermione thought about this for a few minutes. True, she had been thinking at the time that they would probably get their sexual co-experiences started that afternoon in the closet. But the thing was, when would have been a better time? As she thought about it, she could understand his objection, but it was a strange one for Neville to have, she thought.

"I'm a bit surprised," Hermione said, her voice gentle. "I mean, if I'm hearing you right, you were scared because it wasn't romantic enough? Isn't that usually something that, erm, should be more of a concern to me than to you? It's women who are obsessed with things being romantic, right?"

"I don't know," Neville said, and his voice was soft. "Maybe I'm not actually that good at being a man, because it is actually important to me."

Hermione shook her head. "This is ridiculous," she muttered to herself, and her thoughts echoed, *how on earth did I get stuck with these two poor saps?*

"Fine," Hermione said, shaking her head. "I won't pretend to understand, but I can accept it. What matter is it anyway, if you're marrying Luna?"

"Again," Neville said stubbornly, "she didn't give me an answer one way or the other, and I'll drop it immediately if you say the word."

"That's not fair to her," Hermione said sternly. "If I were her, I wouldn't want a man who would say that to another woman."

"And she'll understand," Neville said softly. "She is very understanding."

"Daft, is more like it," Hermione responded, but Neville didn't argue. "So I understand now. You said the things you said because you were trying to stave off us actually having sex. Why not just tell me what you wanted?"

"Because I didn't want you to laugh at me," Neville said, "you're so sexually experienced, you've got this knowledgeable way about you. You and Snape both. And me... I haven't even done it before."

"Wait," Hermione said, and she put her fork down. "You're telling me you're a virgin?"

"Well," Neville said, clearly uncomfortable. "For the most part, yeah. There was one night Ginny and I spent in the Room of Requirement during my last year..."

He blushed furiously red, and another gear in Hermione's mind clicked into place.

*Oh. The invitation from Madam Pince - where we're supposed to meet is the seventh floor - so the winter solstice party's probably in the Room of Requirement.*

Putting aside that realization for the moment, Hermione leaned in closer. "What'd you do?" she asked, genuinely curious.

"I... erm... did things to her, with my mouth," Neville said, and he pressed a finger to his lips, and he bit his finger's cuticle urgently.

"That sounds like you're not a virgin, then," Hermione responded with a little smirk of victory. "That's participating in a sexual experience."

"Yeah," Neville said sadly, "but we were interrupted, so it wasn't reciprocated."

"Ugh," Hermione said, and she sighed. "But you were with Luna for years, right?" she asked, "you two never did it together? She always struck me as..."

Hermione thought better than to say 'a floozy' at that moment, but she was struggling to think of a better word.

"...someone who was more inclined, than not, to experiment."

"I know," Neville said, and he sighed. "I admit that I was surprised - any time I tried to propose it, she had some sort of excuse. And then we just sort-of got stuck in a pattern, and once we did so, I did my own fair share of avoiding it."

"That must be rough," Hermione said, and she sighed. "And you still are going to marry her?"

"Why not?" Neville asked, and he also sighed. "I love her. Scatterbrained bird that she is, I adore her."

"But you also have feelings for me?" Hermione said thoughtfully, and smiled as he seemed troubled by the dichotomy.

"Yeah," Neville said. Valiantly, he finished off the final bites of waffle, and then with a grumbling effort, he leaned forward and grabbed himself another serving of waffles about half the size of his previous stack. It still was quite a hefty serving; a mere half would have satisfied McGonagall. Hermione's eyes were wide as she watched Neville lather the waffle with soft pads of golden butter, and take a dripping bite of the confection.

"I wouldn't want to be in your shoes right now," Hermione said, finding it hard to focus on the conversation given Neville's extraordinary gluttony. She was surprised at his constitution - usually he wasn't nearly such a trooper. But here he was, stuffing himself with the conviction of a thestral charging. "You've got some decisions to make."

"I guess so," Neville said, and took another labored bite of his waffle.

Hermione watched, feeling like a mouse observing a fat cat eating an oversized block of cheese. She normally didn't feel so troubled by the sight of a man eating - but right now she saw that there was something else going on in Neville's mind. He wasn't eating for the sheer pleasure of it. It felt like he was putting on a show.

"You don't have to keep eating, you know," Hermione said, offering her hand to Neville.

He turned his head to stare at her, and there was something strange and bitter in his eyes.

"How fat do I have to get to make myself irresistible to you?" he asked, and there was a franticness in his voice that she hadn't picked up on before. "Do I need another five stone? Ten?"

Hermione rolled her eyes and put her hand protectively over Neville's hand. "You could be the fattest person in all the world - and I wouldn't touch you with that attitude," she said straightforwardly. "I don't want someone who thinks I'm that much of a monster. After all," she went on, "I'm not the one who's got a problem, here. I told you that I consented to being your temporary stopgap with no promise of anything else. What I don't consent to is monogamy with you."

"You'd be monogamous with Snape, though," Neville said, and there was a snarl in his voice. It lacked some harshness, but it was still there.

"Maybe I would," Hermione said coolly, "and maybe I wouldn't. It's really none of your concern. The point is, at this time, I consent to be polyamorous with him, and I'm willing to consider dating you within that context. And for whatever reason, he's rooting for us. So the ball's in your court - take me for who I am, or leave me."

"What do you mean, he's rooting for us?" asked Neville, and there was a sense of surprise in his voice.

"He told me to accept your apology, first of all," Hermione said with a shrug. "Insisted that I give you another chance, actually."


The surprise in Neville's face was sufficient to make Hermione completely confused. "Yeah," she said, watching as Neville seemed to process the information. "He thinks you're great, Neville, and he wants us to make it work together, if we can."

"Snape?" Neville asked, and he shook his head in disbelief. "Snape thinks I'm... great?"

"Well, he said you're 'extraordinarily competent' at herbology, among other things," Hermione said, "but the sum of what he said is that, yeah, he thinks you're great. And he really wants me to make amends with you, if possible."

She thought it might add to Neville's amazement to add that Severus had literally had a breakdown about the matter, but she figured that would be violating Severus' trust far too much.

"I can't believe it," Neville said, and he took another bite of his waffle. There was a bit of mindlessness about how he ate, but it was better than seeing him try and punish himself through stuffing his stomach. "I can't."

There seemed to be some newfound hope in Neville's voice.

"So," Hermione said, taking another bite of her own waffle. "What do you want to do?"

"I want to try again," Neville said, almost before Hermione could finish her sentence. He laid down his fork. "Please."

"But what about Luna?" Hermione asked pointedly, raising an eyebrow at him.

"She doesn't need to know," Neville said, "after all, she hasn't said yes or no to my proposal, yet."

"I don't know how ethical that is," Hermione said, but Neville was standing up at this point.

"I'll tell her when she comes back," Neville said, "she'll be home in a few days. And it probably won't change anything anyway. But I want to know, Hermione, if we would... work in that way. I can't go forward with Luna if there's any possibility that we might be able to create something together."

"I can't be monogamous with you," Hermione said, and Neville nodded steadily.

"I know," he said, careful but deliberate, "but I think you're right. We can make it work."

"All this," Hermione said, "based on the fact that I told you Snape is in favor of us being together?"

"Yeah," Neville said, and he smiled faintly. "I guess I underestimated him. I guess if you like him, there's got to be something to like, eh?"

"Well reasoned," Hermione said. She finished off the last bite of her waffle.

"So meet me," Neville said, a shy smile emerging on his face. "Tonight?"

"Oh," Hermione said, her eyes widening. "Erm. Yes. Where?"

Neville's eyes were bright and encouraging. "My rooms?"

Hermione simply nodded. "Sure," she said, feeling a bit woozy with the conversation. It really had escalated quickly.

"Okay," Neville said, and he pushed his chair back and stood. He was shaking just the slightest bit, imperceptibly. "See you after dinner?"

"Sure," Hermione answered.

And then she found herself alone, feeling a warm cuddly feeling in the bottom of her stomach. She rubbed her belly absently, finished her waffle, and headed off to teach her classes. She wasn't sure if she wanted to skip or cry.


*is there a Briticism for the word waffle? if so I'm very sorry because in my brief research all I could find was 'grid biscuit' and that seemed not quite right.

Fat Molly

hufflepuff hobbit
Aug 3, 2010
, female by default
Chapter 70: flower tree spell

Chapter Text

Hermione rushed upstairs after classes ended for the day, and she found Severus calmly on the computer as she came into her flat.

"Hey," she said, throwing off her messenger bag with exhaustion and approaching him. He looked so nice and squishy where he lounged on the couch, his ankles crossed and his laptop perched on his pillowlike belly. He let his laptop droop as Hermione leaned down and kissed him tenderly on the lips. "How are you?"

"I've been better," he answered grumpily, and with an aggrieved sigh he slammed the computer shut and slipped it between the couch cushions. Then he accepted Hermione into his arms, and he pressed his face between her soft breasts. "I like this dress on you, though."

She felt a little thrill of excitement at the observation. The dress was one chosen for comfort, not beauty in particular - but to its advantages, the cotton jersey was very form-clinging, and it outlined the fullness of her stomach. She felt fairly bloated after a magnificent performance of gluttony at lunch, but she took comfort from the way her stomach rumbled as Severus pressed kisses upon it, up and down the pot-belly shelf that was distinctly emerging from her waist and hips.

"What did you weigh this morning?" he asked, and the heat of his breath against her tum made her nerves tingle with excitement.

"I was 224 this morning," Hermione said, with some pride in her voice. "That's four pounds from just the weekend."

"Astounding," Severus remarked, and he wrapped his arms firmly around Hermione's plumpening middle. "Those potions, combined with your insatiable hunger, are going to leave you as round as a dumpling soon enough."

"A dumpling you'd like to eat, I'm sure," Hermione whimpered, feeling her loins stiffen and her vagina begin to ache.

"True enough," Severus responded with good humor. He wickedly began to nibble on her soft belly, and Hermione nearly sank to her knees with a moan.

"Are we going to have dinner or what?" Hermione asked as Severus' hands began to wander further down to the hem of her skirt.

"I am," Severus said seductively, and Hermione felt his fingers tug at the lower hem of her dress and gently wander up her luscious thighs.

"Oh gods," Hermione murmured as she felt him wind his way into her panties. Severus had a smirk on his face that made her want to scream with pleasure, slap him in his smug mug, or both. His fingers began to squeeze and tease her labias, running up and down the channel of growing lubrication between her legs, and she felt her resolve weaken in the face of such immovable lust.

"Fine," she said, "Bedroom."

And Severus hastily withdrew his hand, wiped it on his trousers, and stood with great effort.

"At once," he agreed, and they accompanied each other there with haste.


Hermione loved the feeling of Severus ripping off her clothes and ravaging her. Laying back on the softness of the bed, she wriggled her butt as he tore off her panties and relished the sense of cool linen against her luxurious buttocks. She had so much softness to lounge upon, it was glorious.

Severus wasted no time, and soon he had crawled onto the bed, his head between her legs, and he parted them ever so gently to give him entrance. Then, artistically, he licked at her cunt, swiping up and down the channels formed between her labia majora and minora, with teasing little licks at her clit as the mood struck him.

Hermione relaxed into the gentle motions, unwinding like a rose at sunrise and breathing deeply as Severus grazed upon her.

Then, she had a bit of a surprise for him. Admittedly, she'd been looking up sex charms and spells in preparation for her night with Neville - granted, she had no idea how that was going to go, given she was getting such profoundly good lovemaking from Severus at this moment - and a few had struck her fancy.

One of which was perfect for this situation, she reasoned.

She grabbed her wand, which was just within reach, and she waved it at the headboard, murmuring the spell softly. The headboard suddenly began to grow, its grains knitting more closely together and lengthening taller and taller. Then it started to grow branches, spindly long fingers that were as artistic as strokes from a caligrapher's pen.

At this, Severus looked up to watch with interest as she completed the spell.

The tree began to grow leaves, and it grew as lush and full of green as a tree in summer. And then, tiny white blossoms began to emerge, and the spell completed, leaving a bower of beautiful flowers of all different sizes, colors, and shapes.

"That's gorgeous," Severus murmured, and he turned over from where he lay face down on the bed to stare up at the beautiful flowers. "What are they for?"

"Pick one," Hermione said with a gentle smile, "and you'll see."

Hesitantly, he reached up and waved his hand through the leaves of the tree. While the tree responded to his touch, waving gently as he reached between the branches, and even though it rattled, he couldn't grasp any parts of it other than the flowers. He picked one - a fluttery-edged rose - and, raising it to his nose, he spun it in his fingers experimentally, letting the edge of the flower graze his upper lip.

"Ah," he said, growing slightly pink, but he tried to pass it off as nonchalance, "I think I see."

He proceeded to twist himself around back to a prime cunnilingus position, but he gave himself a little bit of room to maneuver. He gently brought the flower between Hermione's legs, and he parted her labias as though parting the pages of a book. Then, with one hand holding her spread like that, he spun the flower's edge against her clit.

The sensation was like a dozen people licking her, simultaneously, and Hermione nearly bowled over in ecstasy, except she had nowhere to really bowl over to, since she was flat in bed. She found her pelvis rocking, and she moaned with a thorough orgasm.

"These are no mere flowers," Severus said as he pulled the flower away from her clit and showed her. The rose seemed to have lost a bit of its lustre, now that it'd been used to pleasure Hermione. In fact, it was fading from Severus' hand into vapor even as he examined it. "These are structurally unlike any other flowers I've ever seen."

"I know," Hermione said, and she relaxed with the heady experience of drinking in post-orgasm endorphins. "This is a spell from the Restricted Section."

"Oh," Severus said, and he grinned with a feral glee. "I admit there's many things there that I've wanted to read, and never had the time to explore."

"Well," Hermione said, "I think, for science, it's important that we do so. In a methodical and rigorous way, of course."

"Of course," Severus said, and he was outright smiling. Hiding his face behind his hair, he kissed Hermione on her plump inner thighs, making her cellulite jiggle in the most complimentary of ways beneath his chin.

"Let's try another one," Hermione said, and pointed at one of the starlike lilies above her. It was white and snowy at the tips of its petals, but dark and crimson red deeper inside.

Not responding, Severus rolled out from between her legs and reached up to get the flower. It was oblong-shaped, and it seemed to have a fleshy weightiness to it that seemed to suggest only one thing.

"Put it on," commanded Hermione, and silently he began to remove his clothes. With a grunt he removed his belt, squeezed out of his trousers, and removed his pants, whereupon he took his cock in his hand and began to massage it. It was attentive, but not rock-hard yet; he coaxed it into a much more keen state, and then slid the flower upon his cock.

"Ohhh," he shuddered, and he closed his eyes in sheer enjoyment of the flower sex toy. "I could get used to this."

"Do you think it's meant to go inside me, too, or just you?" Hermione asked, scrutinizing the toy from afar.

Without responding, Severus heaved himself back on the bed, and clambered over Hermione's soft fat body.

"Let's try," he said with a hiss, and planted a fierce, wet kiss under her jaw.

Hermione felt him powerfully maneuver himself between her legs, gently get himself into the proper alignment, and then he began to slowly slide into her.

The flower made Severus' cock thicker. Also there were ridges on the flower, horizontal rings around the petals that made the experience of him going in and out even more explosive than usual. Hermione shook with orgasm almost as soon as Severus got himself inside her.

Their bellies pressed into each other, and Severus had to readjust his fat rolls and position to ensure that he could get a proper landing.

"Getting a bit big, my dear," he said, planting a kiss between her soft breasts as he sweated over her. "Look at this fat gut you've got."

"Look who's talking," Hermione responded, her face growing red and hot with pleasure. "It doesn't help that I have to watch you stuff your fat face all day."

"I can't help my appetite," drawled Severus, between his effortful thrusts, "but I think you seem to find the results of it... remarkably pleasing."

"Ooh, gods, yes," Hermione moaned, her chin tipping up and her brain reeling in the pleasurable neurochemicals. "Yeah, well, I think your appetite rubs off on me."

"That's certainly true," Severus said, and there was a tenseness growing in his voice, suggesting he was getting close to his own climax.

"You're going to be so hungry for dinner," Hermione said coyly, feeling her breasts joyously bounce as Severus picked up speed. "What are you going to eat?"

"You tell me," Severus panted, and she felt beads of sweat fall from his face onto her chest.

"Well," Hermione said with thoughtfulness, "A bit of ham would do you well, and an enormous bowl of pasta with creamy white sauce. Long green beans sauteed with garlic and onion, and treacle pudding for dessert."

"That sounds fairly conservative," Severus gasped, and he slowed down just a little bit. "I would probably still be hungry after."

"Then let's add another course," Hermione whispered, her arms extending to grab on something on either side of her - one hand reached a pillow, and she grasped it hard and twisted it. The other reached the edge of the bed, and she held onto that tightly too. "Chocolate souffle, as light and fluffy as early season snow. Treacle tart, sweet and robust in flavor, melting in your mouth. Jaffa cakes, collapsing on your tongue like velvet jewels of fruit."

"Oh gods," he murmured, "Gods."

He slowed down some more, and he took some longer breaths. "I can't hold on much longer," he confessed, as he came to a full stop. "I'm very close. One more go and I'll be spent."

"That's fine," Hermione said, and she ran a hand through Severus' hair. "Don't worry. Just enjoy me."

He smiled with a crookedness that made Hermione feel so immensely delighted to see. It was a sight that she'd never seen on Severus' face when he was her teacher, and her heart sang just a little bit every time she saw it on him as her lover.

"I always enjoy you," he said simply, and he kissed her on the lips for a drawn out, aching kiss.

Once he broke away, he continued to thrust his hips, making both their bellies jiggle with a satisfactory motion as he got back up to speed.

"Yes," he whispered, his eyes closing as his warm stomach bounced against hers, and Hermione moaned as she felt his cock slide in and out with such gusto.

"Vanilla ice cream," drawled Hermione, "with flecks of crystallized honey that dance in the cold sweetness like fairy dust. Soft gingerbread biscuits, shaped into hearts, coated in chocolate. Strawberry cake, a jelly roll with soft pink flesh and a red nougat of strawberry jam."

"Oh gods," Severus whispered hoarsely, "coming."

She felt him collapse on top of her, and his breath was jagged. She pressed her fingers into his soft side and buttocks, massaging his vast expanse of skin with her fingers.

"Thank you," he murmured, kissing her once more, and then he rolled off her. "You."

"Thank you, too," Hermione responded, and she cuddled up against him, draping her arm around his soft squishy middle. She watched with fondness as the flower that had been snugly on his cock disappeared into a wispy vapor, as if it'd never been there. "Now, are you hungry?"

He rolled his eyes, but there was another of those crooked smiles on his face. "What do you think?" he asked rhetorically, and he relaxed even deeper into the pillows. "Just wait twelve seconds, my dear, for me to summon my strength again."

"Of course," Hermione answered, and kissed him on the cheek.