“It didn’t happen to me, Ginny,” said Harry.

They sat in the Three Broomsticks drinking Butterbeers on a weekend where Ginny could visit Hogsmede. Harry wore something that looked like a green silk ski mask and a pair of shaded goggles. Ginny said it made him look like a color-challenged bee. She could still see his mouth and he grinned at her.

“It’s a part of you, Harry,” said Ginny. “More than it’s a part of me, and I know how much a part of me it is.”

“I know,” said Harry. “But it didn’t happen to me. It was a long time ago and happened to someone else.”

“I can still taste that filthy rag,” said Ginny, shuddering.

“So can I,” said Harry, sipping his Butterbeer.

“How could you live like that?” Ginny asked.

“The Dursleys were never like that,” said Harry. “They certainly weren’t pleasant, but my Uncle never beat me. He may have threatened to and he shoved me, but he never hurt me. Dudley beat me when we were small, but he hasn’t really done anything but throw insults at me in years.”

“How could his father just leave him?” Ginny asked. “Just- gone.”

“He got what he deserved,” said Harry darkly. “I don’t care what anyone says. He got what he deserved.”

“I agree,” said Ginny firmly.

Tom Riddle senior had pleaded for his life, thinking he was talking to an annoyed male member of his former wife’s family. He never even knew the hand that killed him was his own son’s.

“Hello, Ginny,” came a familiar voice from behind them. It sounded a little worried.

“Hello, Hermione,” Harry said cheerfully.

“Harry?” Hermione asked quietly. When he nodded firmly she slipped into the booth with them. “What are you doing here?”

“Meeting Ginny for a drink,” said Harry. “Would you like a Butterbeer?”

Madame Rosmerta thunked a bottle down on the heavy wooden table as she passed.

“That’s service,” Ginny said, impressed.

Harry opened Hermiones bottle and handed it to her.

“Thanks,” said Hermione, taking a drink from the bottle.

“So, where’s that husband of yours?” Harry asked.

“Come out and enjoy himself?” Hermione said, shocked. “When there are dungeons to skulk about in? You must be thinking of someone else.”

Ginny giggled and Harry shook his head.

“You really do look like a bee, you know,” said Hermione.

“I know,” said Harry. “It’s for everyone’s good. If I took this off it would be pandemonium.”

“Good evening, Miss Weasley, Madame Snape,” Professor McGonagall’s face turned stern. “Mr. Potter,” she said much quieter.

“Hello, Professor,” the three teenagers echoed. Harry shifted uncomfortably.

To Hermione’s surprise McGonagall slid into the booth with them.

“Mr. Potter,” said McGonagall seriously. “I thought we were going to keep your appearance under wraps, as it were, until further notice.”

“He is wrapped, Professor,” piped up Ginny.

“I really have seen stranger in here,” said Hermione, cringing.

She knew Harry was tired of staying at home and the public had to get used to him sooner or later. On the other hand, this may not be the right time to unveil his new look.

“Gillywater, Professor?” Madame Rosmerta asked.

“Yes, please,” said McGonagall. “Small, dear.”

Rosmerta bustled off to retrieve McGonagall’s drink and those at the table leaned in.

“Ginny’s father says the Hornets plan on announcing you to their lineup a week before Halloween,” said McGonagall. “A small picture of you will be with the other team members.”

“So that’s what the meeting is about tomorrow,” said Harry. “They asked me what size robes I required.”

“This will get the public used to your appearance before the Halloween Festival,” said McGonagall.

Hermione nodded silently.

“You might want to run it in the same issue as another interview with Harry about his change,” said Hermione.

Harry looked at her. At least she assumed he looked at her, his head turned in her direction.

“It’s a good idea, Potter,” said McGonagall.

Harry sighed.

“I bet Luna would do it again,” said Ginny, reaching out a hand to him.

“That might not be too bad,” said Harry, slowly.

“You have to think about PR now, Harry,” said Hermione.

“PR?” Ginny asked.

“Public relations,” said Hermione. “How you can manipulate the media to influence the public’s opinion of you.”

“Well, that’s horrible,” said Ginny.

“Horrible it may be,” McGonagall said. “But Madame Snape is right. You need to think about these things, Potter.”

Colin Creevy suddenly hopped in front of their table and snapped a picture.

“Oh, Colin,” Ginny groaned as she was blinded by a bright flash.

“It’ll make a great picture,” said Colin, adjusting the knobs on his camera.

“I swear one day-,” Hermione grumbled under her breath as she blinked blue spots.

“Mr. Creevy, I would ask you to please refrain from assaulting the patrons of this fine establishment with your camera,” said Professor McGonagall.

“I second that,” said Madame Rosmerta from behind him. She had Professor McGonagall’s Gillywater balanced on a tray with several bottles of Butterbeer and a large mug. “Take it outside or put it away.”

Colin sulked away as the drinks were served. Harry nodded and three more Butterbeers appeared in front of them.

“Thanks, Harry,” said Hermione as he opened her second drink.

“We should stop at Zonko’s,” said Ginny, after Professor McGonagall had excused herself to a table with Professors Flitwick and Sinistra. “Fred and George said they placed a big order and I want to see how they’re selling.”

“I don’t know,” said Hermione.

“Oh come on, Hermione,” Harry said. “You’re a councilor, not a teacher.”

“Still,” said Hermione. “Go enjoy yourselves. I’m hitting the candy shop and going back.”

After they finished their drinks they parted and Hermione watched as Harry pulled a hood over his head and he made his way through the crowd with Ginny. Whispers followed them and Hermione knew his disguise hadn’t fooled anyone. At least no one was running and screaming.


“For a child of dentists you certainly have a sweet tooth,” Severus remarked as he nodded at Hermione’s bag from Zonko’s.

“I don’t go out for supplies every week,” pointed out Hermione.

“You could come with me,” said Severus, running a finger down a column in his grading book. He made a mark near a name and shook his head.

“I might,” Hermione said. “What are you doing?”

“Marking the Muggle-bornes,” said Severus. “Good idea to keep a close eye on them the first few months. Prevents accidents.”

“I saw Harry,” Hermione said as she sat on the couch near Severus.

“Really?” Severus said, his eyebrows raised. “Is Hogsmede still standing?”

“It was the last I saw,” Hermione said. “He was wearing a face covering and goggles.”

“Clever,” said Severus dryly. “Did he come up with that idea all on his own?”

Before Hermione could answer, Professor Dumbledore’s face appeared in the fireplace.

“I’m going to need you, Hermione,” he said quickly.

“What happened?” Severus asked.

“Harry was overwhelmed and unmasked at Zonko’s,” said Dumbledore. “The results were disastrous.”

Hermione and Severus both groaned.

“I’ll need these,” Hermione said grabbing her bag of sweets.

“Undoubtedly,” said Severus as Hermione charged into the green flames.

He shook his head at her as she disappeared. She was going to burn herself out.


Hermione tiptoed into Severus’ quarters late, only to find it empty.

Most students had recovered well enough to talk to Harry, who was in Dumbledore’s office, apologizing profusely. A few had been truly shaken and had gone to Madame Pomfrey. One girl had been absolutely hysterical. Hermione had stayed with her a long time before Madame Pomfrey gave the girl a sedating potion.

Hermione went into her quarters, where she found Severus sleeping. He looked like he was snoring, but didn’t make a sound. She smiled fondly and crawled in beside him.


Severus rose at dawn and looked at Hermione. She usually wore a nightgown, but tonight she hadn’t bothered and was just wearing a shirt and her knickers. He estimated she had been asleep a few hours.

He crept out of bed and onto the ledge of her window. With any luck they would have fresh breakfast.


Hermione woke to the smell of fresh fish. She stretched and yawned.

“I hoped to have fresh breakfast for you,” said Severus. “You’re lucky you slept until noon.”

“Not a good day?” Hermione asked.

“Just a late good day,” said Severus. “The fish were not cooperating.”

“Well, I see they finally surrendered,” Hermione said as she rose and went to her table. Salmon, rice, and asparagus waited for her. “Silly fish. Whatever were they thinking?”

Severus caught her forehead with his lips as she walked around the table and handed her a plate.

“Where did you get the grill?” Hermione asked, looking at the cooking device set on a piece of concrete to sink the heat.

“Transfigured it,” said Severus. “I figured you’d have my head if I bothered the elves to prepare us a special meal.”

“Haven’t seen Dobby in quite a while,” said Hermione. “He may have liked to join us.”

Severus made a face at the idea of dining with a house elf, but stayed silent.

“He’s still in Russia,” said Severus.

“Still?” Hermione asked as she began eating. “What’s he doing that’s taking so long?”

Severus looked at her like she had lost her mind.

“What?” Hermione asked.

“You really have no idea, do you?” Severus asked.

“No,” said Hermione frowning. “What am I missing?”

Severus delicately explained the mating habits of house elves.

“He’s hired himself out for stud services?” Hermione spluttered.

“That’s a crude way of putting it,” Severus said.

“Well, really,” said Hermione testily. “He’ll return when life is conceived?”

“The litter won’t come until summer,” Severus said. “The family isn’t in Russia. She’ll have months of light chores and relaxation. Elves are far tougher than you think.”

Litter?” Hermione exclaimed. Hermione thought for a moment and a smile crept across her face.

“I think I’m going to Diagon Alley this afternoon,” Hermione said.

“Don’t go overboard,” said Severus. “I think you need another bookshelf before you get any more books.”

“I’ll keep it in mind,” said Hermione.


Dobby was helping Zemlyaa prune the roses in the courtyard of the Snape Russian Estate when he saw a Hogwarts owl swoop overhead with a package. He quickly finished the bush he was working on and darted to the kitchens. His bare feet slapped along the brick path as the house loomed closer and he scuttled through the elf sized door.

Sloozhanka and Cherv stood on a dark wooden chair reading the label to a long thin package sitting on the heavy wooden table.

“It is for Dobby,” Sloozhanka said brightly to Dobby.

“Dobby saw a Hogwarts owl in the yard,” said Dobby excitedly. “Dobby was hoping his friends would be writing to him!”

Sloozhanka handed Dobby the package, which he tore into instantly. A dark mahogany box lay inside with an ‘O’ embellished into the wood. He opened it carefully.

The other elves saw tears start to slide down Dobby’s face.

“Dobby’s first wand,” Dobby said reverently, lifting it carefully out of the box. “Dobby never thought he’d see the day.”


On a day near Halloween, a dark blue square envelope dropped in front of Hermione during breakfast. It was addressed to Master and Madame Snape in gold calligraphy.

Severus watched the delivery owl flutter out of the Great Hall.

“I’m guessing it’s another celebration at Potters,” said Severus, sniffing and beginning to fill his plate.

Hermione opened the letter to find that was exactly what it was.

“It says you’re expected this time,” said Hermione, reading a pale purple letter enclosed with the invitation. To her surprise it was in Nevilles handwriting.

“That’s nice,” said Severus reaching for his goblet of juice.

“It would be nice if you went once,” said Hermione, a little annoyed. “You have free reign to be morose and sulky. Then no one would ask you again and you won’t slight anyone.”

“I’m not slighting Potter,” Severus said, taking a bite of bacon. “I’m not slighting anyone. I don’t think anyone really expects me to show up.”

“Then they were faking it awfully well,” said Hermione testily as she reached for a plate of eggs.

“We would love to have you, Severus,” said Dumbledore, making both of them jump as he leaned over, between them. “There are enough rooms at Harry’s that you can retreat if you aren’t feeling particularly social.”

Severus grumbled a reply into his eggs. Dumbledore smiled at Hermione and retrieved a pot of marmalade she wasn’t using.

“Nosy old goat,” Severus mumbled as Dumbledore made his way back to his seat. He glanced at Hermione at stopped grumbling at the sight of her frown.

“Just think about it,” Hermione said, pushing her chair back.

He nodded once, but didn’t look very open-minded.


Ginny folded the letter from Harry and looked at the head table. She slipped it into her book bag as she watched Hermione and Severus talk. Dumbledore startled them and grinned as he walked to his seat.

Dumbledore knew, Dumbledore had to know. How else was she to get to the ceremony on Halloween?

Then again, she would probably be included in the ceremony anyway. Why would Harry confer with Dumbledore before asking to escort her?


“Madame Snape?” A dreamy voice called out behind Hermione in the corridor outside the Great Hall.

“Oh,” Hermione said, skidding to a stop on the stone floor. She had no idea she was walking so fast. Perhaps it was because she was getting used to matching Severus’ long stride. Perhaps it was because she always felt as if she was a little behind in her office work. “Hello, Luna.”

“Did you see the Quibbler this morning?” Luna asked.

“No,” Hermione said stiffly. Luna knew very well Hermione didn’t think much of the paper her father edited. “I can’t say I did.”

“Well,” said Luna in that same far-away voice. “You might want to look at it. It has an exclusive about the new Hornets lineup.”

“How many students get the Quibbler?” asked Hermione. If she was going to have to deal with chaos she wanted to have some idea of how quickly it was going to spread.

“Five,” said Luna, reaching into her robes and handing Hermione a copy. “Not counting this one.”

“Thank you,” said Hermione, sincerely.

“No problem,” said Luna, smiling slightly.


Severus walked to his quarters after his last class of the day. Not one detention today. He would have to clean the cauldrons himself and the Second Years were learning sticking potions. He was in a foul mood.

“You hush!” Helga Hufflepuff hissed at him as he stormed into his quarters.

“I beg your pardon,” Severus said, frowning at the elderly witch in a portrait.

“She has had a terrible day and going to have a worse night,” Helga whispered loudly.

“Undoubtedly,” Severus said, feeling slightly guilty for being so annoyed at something so trivial in his day. “That damned picture.”

“It had to be revealed,” said Helga. “The Potter boy could not hide indefinitely.”

Severus murmured the word that would close the entrance to Hermione’s rooms. He sat on the couch and conjured himself a sandwich.

“How could one miscast spell could cause so many, so much misery, for so many years?” Severus mused as he took a bite.

“How could one foolish idea cause so many, so much misery?” Helga remarked from the portrait. “Even one as bright as you fell.”

Severus raised his eyebrows and nodded as he ate his sandwich. Severus saw a flicker of green in the fireplace and it caught his attention.

“Severus?” Dumbledore’s head said from the fireplace.

“She’s sleeping,” Severus said, stiffly. “She needs her rest.”

“Of course she does,” Dumbledore said, stepping through the flames. “Madame Pomfrey is concerned, herself.”

Looking at Severus’ sandwich, Dumbledore waved his wand. Small trays of food appeared on the low table usually reserved for grading scrolls.

“She won’t be disturbed tonight,” Dumbledore continued, reaching out for a plate of pork buns. “Blaise seems to have it under control.”

Severus nodded as he reached for a bowl of chicken legs.


Hermione woke to a bright light in her eyes. She moaned and turned over to have the light blink out. She frowned and opened her eyes.

The leather pouch had come loose from her pendant and slipped off in her sleep. When she rolled over on it the light had been blocked. It stayed cool to the touch, although it seemed to burn brightly. Hermione really didn’t need to turn on the lights to find the missing pouch, the shard let off so much light.

“Blimey,” she muttered as she looked around her room. It wasn’t illuminated well, but she could easily see. As her gaze went back to the shard it dimmed slightly so it wouldn’t blind her. Her brain started working.


Severus rose and walked into his receiving room sleepily. Hermione seemed to be having an animated conversation with the fireplace.

“Professor, sir!” a squeaky voice piped up. “Thank you, Professor, sir! Dobby had always dreamed of his own wand, but never thought he would ever see it happen.”

“Your welcome.” Severus gave Hermione confused look. She was trying to look innocent. “I’m-- sure you’ll make good use of it.”

“Dobby has, sir!” said the excited elf. “He has been reading the books in the blue library and doing experiments of his own.”

“What!” Severus barked. That was his father’s library of experimental potions and charms. Some very volatile ideas were in there.

“Dobby contacted Master Jacob, sir, when he finished his experiment on Flying Potions,” the elf said proudly, ignoring Severus’ outburst.

“Father finished his experiment?” Severus said in shock. He slumped to the couch. His father had been obsessed with that since Severus was a child.

“Dobby finished it for him, sir,” Dobby said proudly.

Hermione flicked a look at Severus. His stern look had turned dumbfounded.

“What was he doing wrong?” Severus asked.

“Your father is sloppy with potions,” Dobby said frowning.

“He’s meticulous!” Severus exclaimed.

“The python scales have to be splintered, not powdered,” said Dobby, scowling. “The oil from the scale has to be dissolved in the first stage and the scale itself in the second. If it’s powdered it dissolves too quickly and it’s ruined.”

“How long did it take you to discover this?” Severus asked.

“Well,” said Dobby. “It was one of the first ingredients. So it was the first day.”

“That’s wonderful, Dobby!” Hermione exclaimed. She looked at Severus, who was still speechless.

“Well, Miss,” Dobby said. “Dobby has many chores to do today. The days are shorter.”

“I hope you’re not working too hard,” Hermione said, worriedly. “It is supposed to be your vacation.”

Dobby assured her he was fine, said his good-byes and with a pop he was gone.

“Incredible,” Severus said, leaning back and stretching. “That’s been driving father berserk for years. Good investment, dearest.”

“See what someone can do with a little encouragement,” Hermione said, turning a little red and snuggling up to him.

Severus sighed and put an arm around her as he relaxed. He waved his wand and flames crackled in the fireplace.

“What time did you get up?” Severus asked.

“About five,” said Hermione. “I slept a lot.”

“You certainly did,” said Severus. “You’ve been overtaxing yourself. Dumbledore agrees.”

Hermione frowned.

“I prescribe a trip to Diagon Alley,” said Severus. “You need a bit of recreation.”

Hermione smiled up at him and he said something that really surprised her.

“You should bring Ginny Weasley.”

“What?” Hermione asked, confused.

“While I am getting supplies you might want to-,” he seemed to be searching for a word. “Explore the women’s district.”

“Women’s district?” Hermione asked, confused.

“Clothing shops and beauty things,” Severus said. “Things no normal person should desire.”

Hermione poked him and he smirked at her.

“I’ll talk to Ginny after breakfast,” Hermione said.


Severus answered a shy knock on his heavy door. Ginny Weasley stood in his doorway, smiling a bit stiffly.

“Come in,” Severus said, stepping to the side.

“Hello, dear,” Helga called out, much to Severus annoyance.

“Thanks,” said Ginny, her voice wavering a bit. Obviously she still wasn’t sure about this.

“Hermione is in her room,” Severus said. The Weasley girl practically shook in his presence. He uttered the word to open Hermiones quarters and watched as the girl practically fled.

“This is gorgeous,” Ginny said, her mouth wide.

“You’ve seen pictures,” said Hermione as she pulled a black buckled shoe matching the one beside her out from under her bed.

“But still,” said Ginny, walking into Hermione’s quarters. Severus closed the portal and left them alone. “Mum wants me to find out if you really are alright.”

“Of course I’m alright,” Hermione said rolling her eyes. “How many times do I have to tell people I’m alright?”

“You know mum,” Ginny said sheepishly.

“Severus is a good man,” said Hermione firmly, sitting on the bed and beginning to put her shoes on. “He’s logical, generous, and kind when he’s not being stubborn.”

Ginny quirked a corner of her mouth as if she couldn’t imagine, but was humoring Hermione.

“Do you know where we’re going today?” Hermione asked Ginny, changing the subject.

“Sure,” Ginny said. “Mum goes there all the time.”

“Have you ever been there?” Hermione asked.

“Well, she usually does all our clothes shopping for us,” Ginny said. “Takes all our measurements at home. Says it saves the time of rounding all of us up and making us behave.”

Hermione nodded, trying not to crack a smile. She could imagine the twins as toddlers and it wasn’t pretty.

“Well, then we’ll have an adventure,” Hermione said as she stood up, ready to go.


Severus had given her free reign of the Snape accounts. When she had protested he had told her to consider it a late wedding present. When she protested further he became a little uncomfortable and suggested she pick up something generous for her parents as well. When she asked how much she should spend she paled at the sum.

“Why?” Hermione had asked suspiciously.

“My mother went to see your mother,” Severus finally relented. “Needless to say, your father is a bit upset at me.”

Ginny had choked on her sundae and Hermione looked a little afraid.

“What did he do?” Hermione asked, appalled at what her father might have done or said.

“Well, after mother hit him with a full body bind, not a lot,” Severus chuckled in spite of himself. “Your mother, apparently, is more sensible.”

Hermione found herself laughing.

“I bet my mum is terribly jealous,” she said. “She’s wanted to do that for years.”

“Your parents will be joining us in France for Christmas,” said Severus. “Apparently our mothers have a lot in common.”

“Wonderful,” Hermione breathed. Once her mother was accustomed to the idea, her father was bound to come around.

“You better find a good present,” Ginny remarked.

Hermione nodded and picked at the last of her sundae.

To her surprise, Severus had indulged in a small cup of vanilla ice cream as well and asked she get him Circus Bears if she happened to pass by the sweet shop. Hermione had smiled at the wizarding version of gummi bears the first time she had seen them. The bears did somersaults and little dances with each other for a short time after their package was opened.

Ginny had raised an eyebrow, but didn’t comment.

He bowed slightly as he left them and they agreed to meet later at the Leaky Cauldron.

“He certainly is different alone,” said Ginny. “I’ll have to write to mum.”

“Please do,” Hermione said exasperatedly. “She worries far too much.”

Hermione and Ginny made their way through Diagon Alley to the women’s quarter. They were stopped frequently on the way by witches and wizards wanting to shake Ginnys hand and to tell her father they wished him luck. Ginny shyly thanked them and jotted their names in a small notebook after they had gotten out of site.

“Can’t remember everyone,” Ginny shrugged when Hermione asked.

They finally reached a set of pink western-style swinging doors between two stores: Prichard’s Potions and Samuel Spooner’s Spices.

“Funny place for it,” said Ginny.

“Well,” Hermione said. “I imagine it started quite small. A place for women among all the hustle and bustle of Victorian Britain.”

Ginny opened the doors to let them view a long, wide walkway lined with stores on either side. Witches milled about examining the displays or checking off lists. The buildings were tall and the stores narrow. All of them were painted pink. White trim decorated them and each store had a different colored awning.

“It looks like Madame Puddifoot’s exploded in here,” Ginny muttered.

Hermione tried to control her giggling and they walked in. “Horribly tacky!”

The first shop: Catherine’s Consignments, had a slightly worn set of green robes displayed in their window with a pair of boots, almost the same shade green as the robes displayed. Hermione could see two middle-aged witches through the slightly dirty window, each holding firmly onto what looked like a set of midnight blue robes. They were locked in what looked like an escalating disagreement. The young witch behind the counter looked nervous.

“I think we can skip that one,” said Hermione.

“Oooh!” Ginny said as she turned around.

“Perfumes?” Hermione asked, turning to read the awning. “What’s so special about perfumes? Ron got me perfume once and it was horrible.”

“He didn’t get it from here,” said Ginny. “I’ve seen their advertisement in Witch Weekly.”

A light pink awning sparkled over the entrance of the small store. A small silver bell tinkled over the door as they walked through. Their feet echoed on a light wood floor as they entered the shop

“Hello, ladies,” a rich voice welcomed them. An older, plump witch in light orange robes sat behind a counter.

Glass shelves full of glass vials lined the store and large windows let light stream in to let the little bottles sparkle in the sunlight. The store smelled sweet, but not sickly.

“Hello,” said Ginny.

Hermione and Ginny began looking at the shelves. Hermione saw normal scents like vanilla, cinnamon, and rose. She also saw cryptic labels like: Ambition, Relaxation, Lust, and Scram.

“We custom mix for your natural scent,” said the witch behind the counter. “So if you like roses and they normally make you smell a bit off, it corrects it.”

“Nice,” said Ginny taking the stopper out of a bottle labeled Inspiration. She opened her notebook and jotted down a note.

“There are no prices,” said Hermione.

“I have a list up here,” said the witch.

Ginny winced. Hermione looked over her shoulder.

“Well, it’s only sensible that enchanted scents would be substantially more,” Hermione said.

They left with a small vial of inspiration for Ginny, who was having trouble writing an essay for Binns and a bottle of sandalwood bubble bath for Hermione.

“Severus said this day was for us to get out,” Hermione said. “The war is over and school started. We didn’t have any time to relax and we never thanked you for helping to arrange such a lovely wedding on such short notice.”

Ginny couldn’t help but notice all Hermione had to do was show them the small crest on her wedding ring and sign an invoice.

It was going to be an interesting day.


Hermione, Ginny and Severus walked through the fireplace in the Snape receiving room, their arms piled with packages.

“Think you got enough?” Ginny asked, setting down a load on the low table near the couch.

“My personal stores needed work,” Severus said, defensively as he set down two large bags.

“I’m sure the sale at the apothecary had nothing to do with it,” Hermione said, dropping her load near Ginnys. A few packages tumbled to the floor and bounced on the thick carpet.

“Did you get anything?” Helga asked Hermione, frowning at all the little brown packages.

Ginny turned around and a large red backpack adorned her back.

“What is that?” Helga peered at the pack.

As Severus began sorting the little packages Hermione and Ginny began unpacking the backpack in front of Helga.

“What trickery is this?” Helga exclaimed as the bag kept producing packages long after it should have been emptied.

“Portable space,” explained Hermione. “Its featherweight as well.”

“Wonderful,” said Helga. “The things time has come up with. Can you put small children in it?”

“I don’t think so.” Ginny thanked heaven for that. She could imagine her mother misplacing the twins.

Hermione showed her the things she had purchased from the perfumery, along with the new clothing and things from the stationary store.

Ginny took the robes Hermione had bought for her with thanks and left to get ready for dinner. When she was gone Hermione tossed a white and red striped packet at Severus. He pocketed them with a wry smile.

“Did you finally have a relaxing day?” Severus asked.

“Yes,” said Hermione, going to him and embracing him. “Thank you.”

“You’ve certainly deserved it,” Helga said. With a stern look from Severus she scuttled from her frame, making a face at him.

“You’ve been working too hard,” Severus said. “These children will have to learn how to adapt.”

Hermione frowned and opened her mouth to protest but Severus held up a hand.

“You’re coddling them,” Severus said. “Every time they have a nightmare or get a bit jittery they’re rewarded with a nice talk and some sweets.”

“Some of them are truly upset,” said Hermione.

“Some of them aren’t,” said Severus. “I heard Hodgekins and Gilby debating over whether to summon you tonight or Friday, after the Quidditch match.”

Hermiones eyes narrowed.

“They did, did they?” Hermione said silkily. “Well, we’ll see about that.”

Severus smirked as he hugged her. Those boys wouldn’t know what hit them.