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(Highlight to View) Prompt: In hindsight, taking that "know-your-partner" quiz was probably unwise.
Summary: Hermione and Severus take a "know your partner" quiz together, since they're such good friends and know each other, they think, pretty well. That couldn't get awkward at all, right?
"Can you believe this utter rag?" Hermione had stood and picked up the portion of the Daily Prophet that Professor Sprout and Madam Pomfrey had just been giggling and gossiping over. She glanced at Severus, reading another copy of the Prophet in a chair farther from the fire, avoiding the noise that had now vanished as the two older women left the room. She sat in one of the newly unoccupied chairs and read over the folded page.
"Quizzes, comics and horoscopes; the useless part of the newspaper. Severus, would you like to know your horoscope?" She smiled mischievously and looked up. Severus lowered his paper slightly, uncovering his eyes.
"Oh golly, would I." He said dryly, ruffling the paper, he went back to reading.
"Capricorn: You're not comfortable handling difficult situations today, but you can't put them off for tomorrow either. You may end up losing no matter what you do, but you are too dedicated to do nothing at all." She smiled, lowering the page. "You know what's wrong with stuff like this?"
"I bet you're going to tell me." Severus rumbled from behind his paper shield. She chuckled and leaned back in the chair.
"It's always ambiguous, this could apply to anyone or anything. Look at mine, Virgo: You're probably bored with your situation and longing to break routine. That could literally apply to anything or anyone. This is utter garbage. I wonder how much this person gets paid to shill these out." She unfolded the paper scanning over the rest.
"You don't have to read it you know," Severus lowered his paper again, peering over at Hermione. "Could even toss it in the fire if you wanted."
Ignoring him, she spoke, "The comic is quite clever, though slightly distasteful towards Kingsley. There's a quiz about if you "truly know your partner", like a paper quiz is going to tell you you're made to be together." She scoffed, but her eyes trailed over the words. "What is your partner's favorite smell? Aw yes, real deep." She laughed.
"Bread." Severus spoke quietly from behind his paper. Hermione glanced over, "What?"
He sighed, looking over, "I would think you tell people it's the smell of old books or ink even, but it's actually bread. Fresh baked is my guess." He smirked, looking smug.
She gaped at him, "Why would you assume that?" He was right of course.
"At dinner when bread is served, you never take any of it, but you pull the basket close to you. Sometimes you inhale deeply and do that contented sigh you do so often when you sit down with a new book or peppermint tea. But you never take any of the bread, so I have to assume there is something about the smell you like." She stared at him and he stared back, holding her gaze. The fire from behind her cast shadows on her face making it unreadable, but he knew he was right. She looked quite lovely tonight, her hair fell about her in waves, she had divested her teaching robes by the door and was in a simple green dress, the one that he had to actively avoid staring at her in. Finally, she spoke, tipping her head slightly, conceding.
"It reminds me of my mum. She used to bake fresh bread on the weekends, more in the summer when I was home, before...well before." She looked back to the paper and then back to him, putting her chin on her fist she gazed over, giving Severus an appraising look, the mischievous smile reappearing. "I'd have to say lavender is yours." Severus barked out a laugh but Hermione continued on, "whenever I help with potions you always smell the lavender before you use it, the scent has nothing to do with the potion but you inhale deeply if you think I'm not looking. You don't do that with any of the other ingredients." She could see a faint blush, and he tipped his head after a moment, as if in approval.
"I find it...calming."
"I knew it! Don't worry, I won't tell anyone. Don't want to ruin your dark brooding reputation." She turned back to the paper. "Think you can get another right if you "know" me so well?"
"I have known you since you were eleven, so almost, what, twenty years now? Two years counting you as a... friend, seems like a reasonable amount of time to know someone. I bet I can answer a few broad questions about you."
"Oh I don't know, I don't think Ron or Harry would know 'what is something I hate but would never admit to anyone'?" She looked up at him smiling, he gave a moment of thought before speaking.
"That you hate when Minerva invites you to the 'girl's nights' because you find gossip tedious and boring but you want to feel like you're a part of this staff now, so you always say yes." Severus smiled triumphantly. Hermione again gaped at him.
"I don't hate—"
"Oh yes you do, don't deny it. I won't tell if you don't ever tell anyone that I have a lavender candle in my kitchen, but you do hate it." He smirked. She laughed and turned to look into the fireplace.
"Okay, okay, yes I do hate it. Doesn't mean I'll stop going though."
"Naturally." He held the paper aloft again. It was quiet for a couple minutes, just the logs crackling in the fire and the rustle of newspaper as Severus turned a page.
"I can hear you thinking from here." He finally spoke.
Hermione turned and glared at him. "I was thinking of something you hate but wouldn't admit." She chewed on her lip for a few seconds, "I'd have to guess it's when Hagrid doesn't invite you when he goes into the Forbidden Forest—" Severus opened his mouth as if to protest but Hermione pushed on. "Oh, you love it, and you actually like Hagrid, plus the potions ingredients are to die for in there. I see how sullen you are when he comes back in without inviting you along." He shut his mouth, shrugged and went back to the paper.
"Okay, easy one, how about 'favorite color'?"
Without lowering the paper this time, Severus answered simply. "Surprisingly, little miss Gryffindor, I would have to say green. You wear quite a lot of reds and purples, but your rooms have a fair amount of green smattered about. Plus, that dress you're wearing currently is your favorite, I've seen you in it more than any others."
Hermione blushed, turning away, hoping he would never catch on that she wore this dress on days she knew she would see him. It did accentuate her curves.
"Pink for you." Severus almost crumpled the paper in protest, but Hermione was laughing. "I'm kidding, calm down. Of course, it's blue. You never really wear it but it's my best guess," She held up her hand, checking off evidence on her fingers, "the mug you always pick is the dark blue one, you rebounded that book last year and picked a beautiful deep blue leather, and the one sweater you always choose on cold nights is blue."
"I hadn't thought much about having a favorite color, but I would concede that I drift towards blue things more often than not."
"And black technically isn't a color or else I would say that." Hermione said matter of factly and glanced back at the paper. "Least favorite body part?" She blushed. "I'm going to guess your forearm," she spoke quietly but didn't look over for fear of insulting him, but Severus surprised her by chuckling softly.
"I would have thought you'd guess my nose!"
"I like your nose, it fits your face." She stared into the fire. "Very Grecian, like a sculpture. It's very...you." If she had looked back at Severus, she would have seen surprise grace his features briefly before schooling back into a scowl.
"Your deduction is correct. I would say the same for you as well." Hermione glanced down to her bare forearm, the lingering letters of MUDBLOOD shiny in the firelight. It had taken years to wear short sleeves again.
"I would actually say my hair. I've come to accept my scar, but my hair remains ever unruly and annoying." She blew at a strand currently fallen into her face.
"I like your hair; it always looks good to me. Soft…and uncontrollable, like you." She smiled turning back to him.
"Thank you, Severus, that's kind, I think." Holding the paper aloft, she read the next question, "What disappointment or rejection from your partner's past still stings?" Hermione looked up into the fire, "Hmmm that's a tough one."
"And quite personal. Though Potter saw to it that most of my past was splayed all over the papers…" Severus spoke quietly in a bitter tone.
Hermione batted her hand up, leaned on the arm of the chair and looked back at him, "I don't think any of that is yours; I think it happens to be that potions journal that wouldn't publish your article about your improved Skele-Gro. That was, what? Two years ago, and you still trash their names, even though another journal published it, a better one at that!" She smiled at him smugly.
"The editor of that journal is a former student, he denied me just for the grade I gave him! Pure prejudice if you ask me." Severus exclaimed, though Hermione had heard this complaint at least twenty times.
"I rest my case." Hermione rolled her eyes and turned back to the fire. Severus cleared his throat but didn't agree, she was right of course. For some reason he couldn't let that one go, though his past was easier to let slip away after the war was over. He took a moment to think back about what Hermione had once complained about, or felt disappointment in.
"Okay, my best guess would have to be the disappointment you felt when you learned that the book about muggles, Philosophy of the Mundane or whatever it was, was written by a muggle but a wizard took credit. You ranted about that for months, even wrote letters if I'm remembering correctly." Hermione's face twisted into a grimace; her cheeks darkened.
"Ugh that pompous man, Professor Mordicus Egg. A lousy excuse for a wizard." She scoffed as Severus shook his head smiling at her disgust, "Yeah, I guess I'm still holding onto that one…but for good reason!" She turned to the fire, the rejection that she actually thought about the most was the dance Severus had denied her at this past Yule ball, not that she'd admit that to him. They were both quiet for a few minutes, Hermione lost in her thoughts, Severus went back to reading. She sighed, leaned back in the chair and read the next question.
"Oh goodness, I think we hit the actual partner part of the quiz," she glanced over to Severus, but he was again behind his newspaper, "What do your partner's lips taste like?" She laughed to cover the awkwardness of the question and could feel a blush creeping up her neck and cheeks. "Perhaps finishing this would be unwise I think, don't want to make it weird." It was quiet for a few beats before she slapped the paper down onto the table in front of her and stood, stretching. "Well at least we know we're quite adept at friendship, though I can't say I needed a quiz to know that. I'm off to mark papers I think." She smoothed her dress down before picking up the books she had come in with, and then headed to the door. "Goodnight Severus."
"Strawberries." His voice was soft from behind the paper, as she reached for her robe by the door.
"Excuse me?" She paused, glancing back.
"You chew on your lower lip when you think; it makes your lips red. I imagine sometimes that they would taste like strawberries..." He petered out and cleared his throat, he hadn't lowered the paper, but she imagined his cheeks were tinted pink.
It was quiet, just the crackling of the fire, she stood frozen staring at the back of the paper, wondering if he went back to reading. She could hear her heartbeat in her ears as she forced herself to walk back over, stopping in front of him and pushing the paper down. He looked up at her with something in his eyes that looked like trepidation with a touch of fear.
"Honey." He quirked an eyebrow, she continued before she lost her nerve. "You put honey in your tea in the morning, I imagine—" she stopped, suddenly becoming self-conscious, but met his eyes again. She took a deep breath and forged on, "I imagine your lips would taste of tea and honey." They stared at each other for what seemed like minutes, there was a tension in the room but Hermione didn't want to ruin this moment by speaking again. Without breaking her gaze, he closed the paper, and reached up, loosely wrapping his hand around her wrist. He sat up in the chair, tugging on her arm slightly, she leaned forward, her free hand dropping to the arm of the chair, catching herself. She had a fleeting moment of disbelief that she was about to kiss Severus Snape in the staffroom when the door creaked open and chatter broke the silence. She blushed and pulled back as Minerva and Filius walked in, each carrying a stack of files, discussing what sounded like first years for next fall. Severus cleared his throat and picked his paper back up. Minerva glanced over.
"Oh Severus, Hermione. Good evening!" She glanced between them, a questioning look appearing on her face, as if sensing the tension in the room. "How are you both this evening?" Severus inclined his head in greeting but remained silent.
Hermione smiled and cleared her throat willing her hands to stop shaking, the dizzying anticipation of a kiss fading, "Oh fine, fine, Minerva. Filius. Hope you are both well. New first years?" She gestured to the stacks they carried before sneaking a glance at Severus who had held his paper back up, though she could see his face behind the page, eyes closed, cheeks pink and brows furrowed.
"Yes! Going to go through them and get letters going. Care to help?" Minerva still had a questioning and slightly worried look on her face, briefly glancing between her and Severus. Filius dropped his stack on the table nearby, humming quietly, apparently not sensing the tension in the room.
"Oh, I was just heading out, I have marking to do. I can help tomorrow if you don't finish tonight though!" She said quickly, a little too overenthusiastic, she headed to the door, willing her feet to keep moving. "Goodnight Filius, Minerva." She glanced back to Severus. "Goodnight Severus." She pushed through the door to the calls of goodnight from Minerva and Filius but didn't wait to hear if Severus answered her.
As the door shut she let out a breath and touched her flaming cheeks before shaking out her hand, while clenching the books to her chest. She stalked down the hall, praying that she wouldn't run into any students on her way back to her rooms. She had almost just kissed Severus, Severus had almost kissed her! She stopped and leaned against the wall around the corner, letting out a laugh into the empty corridor. Minerva, perfect timing as always, she thought shaking her head. She stood leaning there for a few seconds but was suddenly worried if Severus was going to come around the corner as well, escaping Minerva's questions. What was he thinking, was it just the moment? Was that just a moment where they had ruined their friendship, how awkward would tomorrow at breakfast be? She pushed off the wall and hurried to her rooms. It'll be okay, she told herself, just try to laugh it off, or maybe they'd never mention it again. As she gave the portrait in front of her room her password, she briefly thought maybe she should go find him now, clear the air. She shook her head, how could she ever, she would end up stammering, letting on about her crush most likely.
Putting the books down she stood in her sitting room, thinking it over before shaking her head again. Tea, she needed some tea. Something to calm her nerves. She put the kettle on and pulled a mug out, green of course, Severus had been right, she loved green. She stood at her kitchen island staring down at her wrist, where his fingers had just gently been sitting. She remembered his gaze, burning and intense as she slowly dipped her head to his. The journey to this friendship had been a treacherous one, when Hermione first came on as arithmancy professor Severus had hated her, dripping acid every time they talked. It took a lot of time and effort to even get to a friendly acquaintance level. Friendship even longer. Could this moment have just ruined all that?
The kettle whistled and she scurried over, clicking it off and pouring the water. She sighed before laughing into the quiet kitchen in disbelief but was startled when a knock sounded. As she walked to the door she had a passing thought that it could be Severus, but shook her head, most likely Minerva here to pester her about whatever was going on in the staff room before they had arrived. Except when she opened the door it was the man in question standing there.
Hermione just gaped, holding the door open, not knowing what to say, whether to stammer an apology for the whole thing or just confess her love for him. Severus stepped up into her room and stood in front of her without saying a word. She gazed up at him, an intense look in his eyes. Hermione's mind went blank and knew she should say something but had no idea what. She pulled her bottom lip between her teeth and Severus's gaze fell to follow the action. She stopped immediately but that seemed to have broken the spell because in the next second he was stepping into her space and pressing his lips to hers. They were soft and warm, she let go of the door and he kicked it closed before pushing forward, pressing her back to the wall. She gasped and he swiped his tongue against hers. Hermione let out a moan, grasping the front of his robes, pressing him into her. He tasted of tea and honey like she imagined. His hands left her waist and held her face, one wrapping around to the nape of her neck, tilting her head slightly as he deepened the kiss. After a few seconds they slowed and Severus pulled away slightly, his gaze lingering over her face. Cheeks flushed and lips rosy.
"I was going back to my rooms but then remembered my horoscope, didn't want to put this off until tomorrow." His voice was raspy and low. Hermione laughed at the unexpected comment, "well this is definitely breaking my normal routine, so I guess our horoscopes were both bang on." He smirked as his eyes roved over her face, before his features turned serious.
"I've wanted to do that for quite some time Hermione." His thumb swiped across her cheek and she leaned into it.
"I'm glad you did; don't think I would have had the nerve." She smiled. His cheeks were flushed, pupils dilated. She had done that to him. She pulled him back down for another kiss nipping at his lower lip before swiping her tongue across them, pulling a groan from him. He pulled her from the wall and walked her backwards towards her couch, they tumbled onto it together, clinging to each other. He pulled his lips from hers, pressing kisses down the side of her neck.
"I guess that partner quiz wasn't such an utter rag after all," Hermione huffed out, gripping Severus' hair while his lips moved to her collarbone, sending shivers through her. He chuckled against her skin before moving back to her lips to catch her in a fierce kiss, causing any other thoughts about it to drift from her mind.