When Hermione woke up, her hand was still dipped under the elastic waist band of her panties.

‘I must’ve been tired,’ she thought to herself as she removed her hand. When she tried to move pain lanced through her skull.

“Ow,” she complained and brought her hand up to her head. Even that hurt.

Crookshanks rose beside her and hopped to the floor between her bed and the curtain. When he poked his head through to ender her room a sliver of light poked through and lay across Hermione’s eyes.

“Oh, Gods!” Hermione groaned miserably.

“Good morning, Sunshine,” a deep sarcastic voice came from her room. She groaned incoherently in response and prayed to God he didn’t look in on her and find her in such a private moment.

Severus pulled back her curtain and shook his head as she pulled her pillow over her face.

“You can hardly drink this buried under there,” he said, motioning to the goblet he held in one hand.

“I could conjure a very long straw,” her muffled voice floated to him. He closed his eyes and stifled a chuckle.

“I doubt you’re in any condition to conjure anything,” said Severus in a stern tone.

Hermione ventured her bushy head out of her bedding. Snape stifled a laugh. He was suddenly glad he was blessed with straight black hair. She looked like someone had hit with her a truck and zapped her with a lightning spell.

“You certainly don’t look fit to do anything,” said Severus handing her the goblet.

“I feel like hell,” said Hermione sipping at the goblet. Her headache began to subside. “Maybe not so much anymore. Thanks.”

“I’d advise you to stay away from alcohol if that’s your reaction to it,” said Severus seriously.

“I think I’m inclined to agree with you,” said Hermione, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

“What are you going to do once we get to the Land of Vodka?” Severus asked, cocking an eyebrow at her.

“Refill my glass with water and fake it,” Hermione said, setting the goblet down on her bedside table. Severus chuckled.

“Well, you’re going to have to fake it soon,” Severus said. “We leave this afternoon.”

“So soon?” Hermione said, surprised.

“Well, we are going under the façade of a honeymoon,” Severus said. He looked slightly embarrassed. “I believe I’m supposed to appear eager.”

“Shouldn’t I appear eager as well?” Hermione asked. She tried to subtly arrange her bedclothes under the covers so she wouldn’t be exposed as she left her bed.

Severus watched her arrange her clothes under the covers. Her night gown must have been high above her waist by the motions she was making. He prayed his face wasn’t flushed.

“I’m not sure you should appear too eager,” Severus swallowed. “Some might find it suspicious.”

“Not after they talk to Lucius Malfoy,” Hermione snorted as she swung her feet over the side of her bed and felt cold stone under her feet.

“That’s true,” said Severus thoughtfully. “Still, best not over do it.”

He watched her walk across her bedroom in a sleeveless white cotton shift. The light filtered through it softly as she passed by the window briefly. He tried not to shake his head like a muggle cartoon to recover.

‘Gods, when did I get so old?’ Severus thought to himself.

“How long will we be gone?” Hermione asked, looking at herself in a muggle mirror and making a face.

“Most of the summer,” said Severus, trying not to wince.

“I see,” said Hermione, walking over to a bookshelf and examining the spines. Severus knew she was attempting to look as if she were examining the tomes in front of her. He also knew that she was disappointed to be leaving before she was able to spend any amount of time with her parents.

“I’m sorry, Hermione,” said Severus, rising awkwardly. “This is a lot of responsibility for someone your age.”

“I imagine you had been through much more at my age,” said Hermione hoarsely. She didn’t say it maliciously. It was just a statement to her.

“Some people would travel through several lifetimes to go through as much as I have,” said Severus dryly. “I would never hold it as an example of good decision making.”

Hermione chuckled, more out of nervousness than anything.

“I guess not,” she said turning to him wiping a few tears away, but smiling.

Severus grabbed hold of a deep hidden away part of him. Maybe it was the spring air. Maybe it was the look of her bushy hair in the morning. Maybe it was that horribly old fashioned nightgown. It was probably the tears rolling rebelliously down her cheeks, finally cracking the strong front she had been holding up.

Severus placed both of his hands on her shoulders.

“You are going to go far, Hermione,” Severus said. “You’ve a brilliant mind. Not to mention more courage and determination than this entire school. Never be afraid of how far you can go on your own.”

Then he hugged her awkwardly.

Hermione needed a hug and was surprised he was offering her one, but was appreciative. He smelled like sandalwood and soap. His black high buttoned vest was soft under her cheek.

Severus indulged himself by breathing in the scent of her hair. Some sort of muggle shampoo. No real scent other than something soft and light. He felt the soft skin of her shoulders under his hands. He watched as a wild curl winded its way straight up to finally settle on the end of his nose.

There was nothing wrong with a chaste hug, Severus reasoned with himself. He was the cause of her distress and was comforting her. She was no longer his student and technically his wife, a hug was within reason.

At least until his lower regions latched on to the idea that his wife was in his arms and it had been a long time since he had made love in the morning.

Severus leaped back as part of him sprang to life. He swept his cloak around himself.

“I apologize for the suddenness of this,” said Severus stiffly. “But it would be ideal if you were ready by three o’clock.”

Hermione let out the breath she had been holding. For a moment it had almost felt like he had enjoyed hugging her. Apparently a few seconds was all the human contact he could stand.

“I can be done sooner if needed,” Hermione said.

“How soon?” Severus asked.

Hermione looked at her wizarding clock on her wall. “Noon and we can catch lunch before we go.”

“Well,” said Severus a little startled. “Noon then.”

“Good,” said Hermione.

Severus turned quickly and left her quarters. The door shrunk behind him.

‘That probably made him feel really uncomfortable,’ Hermione thought to herself. ‘But he was the one that initiated it.’

Hermione breathed in the scent of sandalwood. He must have just put it on because the scent lingered on her nightgown. She raised the white cotton and breathed in. She felt her body react. She breathed in deeper. She felt the sudden urge to lie back down. Perhaps the effects of the alcohol hadn’t worn completely off.


‘That was wrong,’ Severus chided himself as he unbuttoned his trousers in his rooms. ‘Shouldn’t have let it go that far.’

He lay on his bed, not even bothering to take his shoes off, slid his hand over his under things, and took some pressure off the situation.

‘Oh, Hermione,” he whispered as he wrapped his hand around himself. Another hand snaked into his bedside table and brought out a small towel. He placed it over his chest and lay back to enjoy himself.

In his fantasy Hermione had lifted her nightgown over her head and discarded it. She had then pointed a wand at him and rendered him in a similar state. Then she had led him to the bed and let him pound her senseless.

Severus felt himself spill out and he gasped out loud. He felt his body twist in pleasure as he squeezed his eyes shut.

When he had finally finished he lay, shaking slightly on the bed.

He was glad the Russian estate was so big. They would both be busy, perhaps he’d be able to shake her out of his head then.

Severus opened the door from his personal chambers to see Hermione already waiting for him in the receiving room. Her trunk sat at her feet and Crookshanks lay sleeping in a cage stacked on top of it.

He dragged his trunk out of his room and went over to the fireplace.

“We need to take floo powder to get to the Portkey Station,” Severus said.

“Err… sure,” said Hermione getting to feet. She had never heard of a Portkey Station before, but she had never traveled internationally using wizarding means before.

“Don’t forget to keep a journal,” Helga said from the wall. “I want to hear all about it. And don’t forget to take pictures.”

“We won’t,” Hermione promised. “And Professor Dumbledore said he’s going to have you transferred to his office while we’re gone. You can catch up with the other Headmasters and not be so lonely.”

“Wonderful,” said Helga smiling. “I’ll have a word with Lyons.”

“Portkey Station,” Severus said throwing dust into the dancing flames. Green fire leapt up and Severus and Hermione dragged their trunks into them.


“Welcome dear,” a sing song voice called out as Hermione and Severus finally arrived at his family estate in St. Petersburg.

Hermione looked up to see a dark haired witch striding towards her and Severus.

“Hello, Mother,” said Severus wearily. He kissed her cheek as she embraced him. Hermione stared. His mother didn’t appear to be any older than he was. Even a bit younger, perhaps.

“You don’t need to sound so excited,” said Anastasia with a frown.

“Our trip was quite an adventure,” said Hermione finally noticing she was almost completely covered and dust and grime from their traveling. “They gave us the wrong portkey in Stockholm and we ended up somewhere in the Congo.”

“You poor dears,” Anastasia said. She waved her wand at them and Hermione felt the dust and grime pulling away from her person. It formed into a small ball in front of Anastasia, combining with a similar one from Severus and floated into a small wastebasket in a corner. “We were wondering why you were taking so long.”

Hermione looked at her surroundings. The room was enormous. The white marble fireplace was large enough to transport the entire Weasley family plus a few friends. Gold embellished accents glinted around the room. Gold ivy sectioned the walls and oil paintings were prominently displayed. The high vaulted ceiling had large punk roses blooming across it. Hermione noticed the floor slightly rippled as she walked across it, almost like she was walking across water.

“Thank you,” said Hermione, feeling less grimy. “I’m pleased to meet you, Madame Snape.” She bobbed slightly.

“Do call me either Mother or Anastasia,” she said smiling.

“I tried to control her,” a deep voice floated in from a set of large double doors. Jacob Snape reclined in the doorframe. “But she insisted on coming right away.”

“I’m sure you did your best, Father,” Severus sighed. He waved his wand at their trunks and they vanished. So did Crookshanks’ cage, although he remained. He meowed and stretched.

“Hello, kitty,” Anastasia said as he padded over to sniff her. To Hermiones surprise he flopped at Anastasias feet and began rolling on her dress hem purring happily.

“He’s usually not so rude,” Hermione said furrowing her eyebrows at him.

“It’s entirely my fault,” said Anastasia. “I was weeding the herb garden this afternoon and got into the catnip.”

“Hope you like him,” Severus chuckled. “He’s your friend now. His name is Crookshanks.”

“Hello Crookshanks,” said Anastasia scratching him behind his ears. Crookshanks meowed his adoration and twisted over on his back. “Oh, he’s adorable!”

“He’s found his slave,” Severus smirked. “Father, we’re starving. I’d like to visit the kitchens.”

“The dining room has been readied,” Anastasia said, beaming.

“Mother there was no reason to go to all that trouble,” Severus said embarrassedly. Hermione wondered how fancy the dining room really was. It didn’t take her long to find out.

A 20 foot 17th century dining table stretched the length of the room. Thankfully, four chairs were set up at the same end of the table. A turkey lay steaming perfectly, kept warm by a preservation spell. Stuffed mushrooms decorated the plate around it and each plate had a bowl of spinach and beet salad. Fresh bread lay cooling on wooden trenchers nearby.

“This is incredible!” Hermione said stunned. Once again the room where she ate she could also view the night sky. In addition, the walls seemed to be made of live trees growing very close together. Their branches seemed to stretch out above them, shading the table from the strength of the full moonlight, streaming it through the leaves. “Thank you for your hospitality.”

“At least one of you remembered your manners,” said Anastasia, looking annoyed at her son. “Thank you, dear. We’re just happy to see our Severus finally settling down.”

Severus pulled a chair out for Hermione and sat next to her.

“Bless the food, Severus,” Anastasia smiled at him.

Hermione folded her hands politely as Severus bowed his head and chanted a prayer in Latin. She suddenly had a vision of him doing the same thing as a young child. She smiled slightly at him through the brown curls draped over her face.

Severus helped Hermione fill her plate while Jacob carved a piece of turkey for her. Hermione noticed as she waited for her dinner that the green carpet really was thick grass, growing up from the floor.

Hermione picked up a fork and examined it. The glasses were crystal and she assumed the plates were as well, but she was amazed at her clear glass forks and knife. The craftsman must have been very patient and determined.

“This is wonderful,” said Hermione sampling some of the turkey.

“We’re glad you like it,” said Jacob. “Will you be staying all season?”

“I was planning on it,” said Severus.

“I still think you should come visit us in France for awhile,” said Anastasia.

Severus wished his mother would drop it about France. He wasn’t expecting them, but should have guessed his mother would have showed up eventually. He watched as his father uncorked a bottle of champagne. Jacob filled all four glasses.

Hermione stared at her glass, turning slightly green. Severus had to fight back the urge to laugh.

“Might make you feel better,” he whispered to her. He watched as she experimentally took a sip, and then nodded slightly at him. Small bowls of strawberries appeared near their dishes. “Don’t over do it.”

“Have you ever been to France?” Anastasia asked Hermione.

“Yes,” said Hermione. “I think it’s why Severus chose Russia. I had never been here before.”

“There are so many things to see here,” said Anastasia. “No doubt you’ll be busy all season.”

“No doubt,” Hermione said smiling politely at her mother-in-law.


Hermione looked at Severus across the great expanse of bed, her arms crossed. A blue bathrobe was tightly belted around her waist and some of her white nightgown poked out from behind it.

“I didn’t know they were going to stay the night,” Severus said quietly. “I’m sorry.”

“Well you couldn’t think they’d be making off for the Portkey Station to be off to France after what we just went through,” Hermione said crossly. “I just don’t see why you have to sleep on the floor. There’s plenty of room up here.”

‘That’s what I’m afraid of,’ Severus thought to himself rolling his eyes to the ceiling and taking a deep breath.

“What if I snore?” he asked her.

“I can still here you if you’re on the floor,” Hermione said, annoyed.

“Not if you put a silencing charm around the bed,” Severus said.

“I can see the reasoning in that, except I’ve seen you sleep a number of times and I’ve never heard you snore,” Hermione said.

“Fine,” Severus said looking at her. “But if I snore you are to kick me directly to the floor.”

“I’ll have no problem doing that,” Hermione said satisfied.

“I’m going to take a proper bath,” Severus said, thinking about relieving his needs before they ever arise. “There’s really nothing like a real soak.”

“Fine,” Hermione said. “I’ll be in bed by the time you get out.”

Severus felt his body respond to her words.

‘She wasn’t talking to you,’ he snarled annoyed in his head at his nether regions.

“Well then, goodnight. I’ll see you in the morning,” he tried to smile, but it looked pained.


Severus walked back into his bedroom, his hair still damp from his bath. He had relieved himself twice before he left the bath. He was no longer a young man and felt slightly sore and very tired from the experience.

There was a single candle burning by the bed and he saw Crookshanks, light red curled up form standing out on the dark coverlet. On the side he intended to sleep on. At this point he had gotten used to the idea of sleeping on a comfortable mattress.

“Shoo, kitty,” Severus whispered as he took his robe off. He had discovered muggle cotton undershirts on a mission to London for Dumbledore and wore one along with black flannel pajama pants. Crookshanks got up and placed himself firmly in the center of the bed.

Then he fixed Severus with a stare that made Severus’ cheeks turn pink.

“I’m not that bad, you know,” Severus whispered, looking at the mass of hair poking out of the covers on the side opposite to him.

Crookshanks purred and closed his eyes. Severus shook his head and got in the bed. Perhaps the feline knew what was for the best.