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A/N: Thanks to Nic, Tiff, Scrib and Jackie for all the help today with this chapter. This one's for you gals. Go SAYS~~


“I can't believe it!” Severus Snape gestured with his fork as he talked to Remus at dinner. “She one-upped me the very first day!” He emphasized his point by digging into his mashed potatoes and swirling them into the gravy before eating them. The sight of his eleven year old daughter with her hand raised firmly imprinted in his mind.

Remus glanced at his pink haired wife and both broke into laughter behind their well placed napkins.

“That is not helping my mood any.” Severus remarked, his plate emptying quickly in his anger.

“Cissa is Hermione's daughter after all.” Minerva reminded him as she looked over to the Slytherin table at the witch in question.

“How could you!” Hermione exclaimed as she took the only seat left at the staff's dining table, once again by Severus. “I mean, Severus, really! One point off of a Slytherin after all those Gryffindor points last night? And one night's detention and they got a week!” Hermione filled her empty plate, indignant over what she saw as Severus's blatant house favoritism once again rearing its ugly head.

“So Madam, you are angry that I didn't take more points and give a longer to detention to your daughter?” Severus arched his eyebrow and sneered as her hand froze over a roll glistening with butter.

They couldn't hold it back any longer, as one Minerva, Remus and Tonks broke into a fit of laughter; drawing the eyes of the four houses' tables to the staff.

Minerva quickly charmed the table so what was being said there could not be heard or seen by the students but the staff could see and hear the going ons in the Great Hall. This had gone on long enough between the two of them, action must be taken.

“You both are acting like the dunderheads you profess your students to be.” Minerva looked severely at them both. “Instead of prowling around each other like cats on a hunt, try talking to each other.” Her hand reached up to push her glasses down, “While some of us are amused by this evening,” Her finger then pointed to the Slytherin House table, “There is a few who haven't been.” And all the eyes followed Minerva's prompt to see an upset Cissa with Jamie holding her hand.

Minerva held her hand up as Severus and Hermione tried to speak. “Silence! I am not done yet.” She breathed deeply. “That young girl has no clue that the fight really is about House Points and not about her. Or is it? I am giving you both until Saturday night to reveal the truth to her.” Minerva picked up her spoon and dipped it into her chocolate covered ice cream, saving the cherry on top for last.

“Severus,” Hermione said hesitantly, “Would you fancy a walk in the moonlight?” She watched as the Potions master smiled, an unfathomable glint to his eyes.

“Why Madam, my pleasure.” Severus set his napkin by his plate, stood up and held his hand out.


~*~



Cissa and Jamie watched as her mother walked out of the Great Hall on the arm of the Potions professor. She had been startled by the argument then the laughter at the Heads' table, wondering why her mother and her teacher were fighting. The table suddenly disappearing magically had upset her.

“See?” Said Jamie. “It'll be okay.” He had noticed the teachers glancing Cissa's way and had rushed over to check on her.

“All I did was ask a simple question!” Cissa replied as the Slytherins glared at her friend. There still seemed to be a bit of House rivalry about Hogwarts.

“You ready to meet Davy in the library?” Jamie asked as he felt the cold stares of the green and silver tied table occupants. He wasn't giving up their literally lifelong friendship simply because of matter of House. They had been born a week apart, with him being the oldest and had often suffered the double birthday parties their mothers planned with glee.

“Sure. I have to finish that 2 foot report on the uses of mandrakes Professor Snape assigned me to have ready before detention Monday anyhow.” Cissa smiled glumly. “Plus the report he assigned us for Friday.” They both walked out of the Great Hall to the library, uncaring of the stares their friendship made.

Davy was Neville and Luna's son, and he was Ravenclaw. The three had grown up together as their parents maintained their friendships beyond school and the War. The three had even interned this summer for a month as the Chudley Cannons mascots.

Draco had bought the team shortly after Narcissa was born because he'd been bored. His War injuries preventing his return to the Aurors and he wasn't allowed his second love of Quidditch either. So he lived vicariously through his team. His best find had been the keeper from the Wimborne Wasps, Ginger Wallace. He had wooed away her to complete his winning team, and Ginger had ended up wooing him.



~*~



Hermione and Severus walked silently through the school and out the big doors as they headed for the trail that led to the Lake. She kept her hand lightly threaded through his arm as he laid his hand on hers, holding it.

“Beautiful night,” Severus commented, making the first move as they looked into the cloudless star filled sky; the half moon shining down upon on them.

“Yes it is,” Hermione answered, turning to look at him as they met the waters' edge. She watched nervously as he undid each button, one by one on his robes. Severus took off the billowy black robe and snapped it with a flourish before laying it like a carpet on the ground.

“My lady,” He gestured with his hand towards it as he bowed gracefully. “May I help you take a seat?” Severus took her hand at her nod and helped as she settled down upon the cloak. Sitting down himself, he sighed as he leaned back on his elbows to watch the stars as they twinkled.

“My internship offer is sincere, Hermione. While your medi-witch skills are excellent, your potion skills are worth a lot to the Wizardry world.” Severus started, unsure and nervous himself.

“I know Sev, and thank you. But I don't think the Potions committee will accept your views and approval of my work considering our very obvious past. One night was all it took, but I would never take it back.” Hermione said softly, watching the pained look on Severus's profile.

Severus rolled over from his stargazing to look at her, happy to see her looking at him. “I'll work on them,” He winked as he scooted closer. He sighed with pleasure as her hand reached out to touch his face.

“I'll accept your offer as given then.” She smiled down as he rolled back over and laid his head in her lap, encouraged by her soft touch.

“You should be hating me, screaming at me, hitting me!” Severus whispered up at her. “I left you to give birth to our child and raise her for twelve years on your own. I have missed so much, and I can never get it back.” His eyes closed in sadness and reopened them when he felt a wet drop hit his nose.

“Severus, I've never hated you! I was just angry it took you so long to come back. I can only understand half of what you've been through. Someday I hope you'll show me.” Hermione's thoughts drifted back to the words Tonks had told her, and the memories of his scars filled her mind with sorrow.

“Eh, my dear. You really don't want to know. Suffice to say, I was a horrible wizard whether I served Voldemort or Dumbledore.” Upon Voldemort's death, his followers had screamed with pain as the Dark Mark had faded into nothingness on their arms. Severus had been finally freed from his past.

“You my love, are my knight in tarnished armor.” Hermione giggled at his expression and let out a small scream as he rolled over, pushed her into a prone position and held her possessively. His eyes held hers as his face lowered.

“Tarnished? I think a little buffing is due.” Severus groaned as her lips met his halfway, their touch light as they brushed together. His hand explored up her torso to lightly caress her cheek. “Hermione...” He sighed out as their kiss deepened and their tongues met. It was as if the twelve years apart had never been.

Hermione's hands caressed through his hair as they traveled down to touch his back, pulling him closer. She felt him rock above her, his need evident against her small frame. Slowly they broke apart, their breathing labored as they drew in the night air. His face collapsed into the crook of her neck, his breath warm against her skin.

“Still tarnished?” Severus growled out sexily as his hands explored her restlessly. His voice made her shiver with longing as she placed her finger on his lips.

“More buffing needed, love. But later.” Hermione let her finger trail from his lips and down till she she laid her hand on his chest, the beat of his heart matched hers.

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