Continuing Tales

One Day Like This

A Harry Potter Story
by Hannah_1888

Part 8 of 23

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Still Madam Pomfrey bustled around the Infirmary, humming slightly under her breath as she tidied away a selection of potions left out on her desk. Hermione sat patiently on a nearby chair. Maybe this would be the best time to tell her, she decided, and she probably should tell her.

'I thought you might like to know that I, ah, actually Apparated last week.'

The school matron stopped and turned wide eyes on Hermione.

'You did what?'

Hermione fidgeted. 'I Apparated to Hogsmeade.'

Madame Pomfrey spluttered for a moment. 'My dear girl, do you know what trouble you might have caused yourself? I assure you, Splinching oneself is not something to be taken lightly. Why, I have probably encountered some of my worst ever cases during Splinching incidents—some are fatal! And the psychological impact alone is bad enough. Can you imagine how distressing it is to discover your arm or your leg is suddenly gone?'

'I'm sorry...' Hermione wished she hadn't told her now. 'I know it's a serious matter, and I would not have attempted it unless I was truly confident.'

The mediwitch remained unconvinced, so Hermione ploughed on.

'Professor Snape said—'

Madame Pomfrey narrowed her eyes. 'What does Severus have to do with this?'

Hermione opened and closed her mouth several times. Why the hell had she mentioned him? 'Well, ah, he was there, you see...'

'He knew about this, and he still let you continue?'

Oh, bugger; she'd dropped him in it with Madame Pomfrey—again.

'Um, I think he knew that I would attempt it regardless of what he said, so he decided that the next best thing would to be on-hand... just in case,' Hermione placated in a reasoning tone.

'Yes, Hermione, just in case—splinching could have occurred; wait until I see him!' She shook her head in vehement condemnation.

Hermione groaned silently to herself.


The majority of students had gone home for the Easter break, but the castle was by no means as quiet as it usually would have been. Instead, it was filled with Ministry officials who were responsible for planning the dinner. The Great Hall was undergoing a severe makeover—being repeatedly charmed into all manner of set-ups as they decided on decorations and layouts. And the house-elves, much to Hermione's eternal disgust, were hard at work in the kitchens devising potential menus.

McGonagall was watching over the proceedings with a stern eye, but Hermione hadn't seen sight or sound of the Headmistress' deputy for several days. She supposed it was hardly surprising that he was avoiding getting involved. She would venture to suggest that he was uneasy about the presence of the Ministry. He hadn't been in the Potions classroom or his office during the many times she had gone down to the dungeons to do some work. For a while, she assumed he'd taken refuge in his quarters, and Hermione had no idea where they were.

As time wore on, though, and she thought about it further, she began to wonder if he was even still in the castle. If she discovered that he had wormed his way out of attending the dinner, she would have words for him! Even if she had to wait until after her apprenticeship was over for them to be unleashed.

On second thought, she might just unleash them anyway—she'd be certainly annoyed enough.


'Gin, I don't want anything too fancy, you know me, I—'

'Hermione, look at these! Ron won't believe his eyes when he sees you in this!'

Hermione looked at Ginny stupidly. 'One, I wouldn't be seen dead in something that garishly pink, and two, I have no interest in impressing Ron.' She picked up some green dress robes and immediately put them down—they were velvet. She shivered; she had a weird aversion to the feel of velvet.

Ginny smiled. 'Never hurts to let a bloke know what he's missing.'

'Yes, well, he might get the wrong impression.'

As she glanced distractedly around the shop, Hermione considered that part of her wouldn't mind showing Ron what he was missing. Her bitterness hadn't disappeared completely, it seemed.

'You could probably have the colour changed.'

'Hmm...?' Hermione saw that Ginny was still preoccupied with the pink robes. 'What about the fact that the robes are slashed to the thigh? As if I have the aplomb, or the legs for that matter, to pull that off!'

'What's wrong with your legs?'

Hermione shook one of her legs in demonstration. 'They're not long enough.'

'That's what high heels are for!' Ginny admonished.

'I don't do high heels, especially stilettos—Merlin! I'd look a right arse trying to walk about in them!'

'Plenty of time yet to get some practice in—'

'Gin, I'm not wearing something like that—end of story.'

Ginny grinned. 'It was worth a try.'

'If you like it so much, why don't you wear it?'

'Harry would kill me.' She laughed. 'Besides, you're right—it's not really appropriate.'

'Oh! But you would let me go out in it!'

They both laughed and moved to inspect some more dress-robes.

'Knowing my luck, I'll probably turn up and find I've got the same robes on as someone else. Can you imagine if it was Trelawney or someone? I'd have to leave!' Hermione smiled sardonically.

'Well, you know it won't be McGonagall—unless, you were planning on tartan.'

'Gin! Professor McGonagall is just very proud of her heritage.'

Ginny sighed at length, rifling through a rail of robes. 'I wish Harry was Scottish—I think he'd look good in a kilt.'

'Even if he was Scottish, I'm sure you would be hard-pressed getting him into a kilt,' Hermione scoffed. 'Personally, I've never seen the attraction of a man in a skirt...'

'Ooh, these are nice, Hermione! I love the embroidery around the edges.'

Hermione looked with interest at the robes Ginny held. The colour was not garish this time, but a deep, wine red. The material shimmered slightly and—

'I know exactly what kind of make-up will go with this,' began Ginny excitedly, 'and do you remember that necklace you bought when we went shopping a few months ago? Well, that'll—'

'Hang on, hang on. I haven't tried them on yet.'

'What are you waiting for, then?'

Hermione was summarily shoved into the dressing room, and she stood still for a moment, clutching the robes with her eyes closed.

One week—one week and it would be over.


'So, Ron wrote to you then, did he?'

After shopping, Hermione and Ginny were sitting at a table outside the Three Broomsticks, sipping Butterbeers. The sun shone pleasantly, and Hermione was glad for the respite after being reluctantly dragged into the hairdressers to get her hair trimmed.

'Yes.' Hermione sighed. 'It was brief—said he was looking forward to seeing me.'

'Are you looking forward to it?'

'Yes, and no, I suppose.'

'Well,' said Ginny firmly, 'regardless of whether Ron is there or not, we are going to have some fun! Who knows, maybe you'll meet some handsome young Ministry professional—'

Hermione blanched. 'Meet someone?'

'No harm in keeping a lookout.'

Hermione shook her head; what was it about disgustingly in love people feeling the need to spread the joy? 'I'm not really bothered about meeting anyone.'

'You're not still into Ron, are you?' Ginny questioned carefully.

'No, I'm sure I'm over that; I'm just happy being on my own for a bit.' She knew that would not be acceptable to Ginny.

'You've just got used to being on your own, is what you mean. Granted, you've had a lot on your mind this last year, and you've been stuck in castle full of kids and oldies, but soon you'll be free to get back out there.'

'"Oldies"?' Hermione smirked. 'Not all of them are old, and Professor Snape keeps me company—'

Ginny jeered loudly in surprise. 'Now, this is interesting! Just what have you been getting up to in that Potions classroom, Hermione?'

'I didn't mean that kind of company!' Hermione looked around in embarrassment, in case anyone had overheard. 'I just meant in a friendly sort of way, Merlin...!'

Ginny laughed, thoroughly enjoying herself. 'You've gone bright red.'

'Yes, well, I have to face him when I go back, and I do not need those sorts of insinuations in my head!'

'I'm only teasing.' Ginny smirked, and Hermione couldn't help but laugh quietly.

'It's bad enough that I thought he leered at me the other day, and—'


'I know! How ridiculous is that?' Hermione shook her head in rueful amusement as she sipped her drink, remembering her Apparating incident.

'Well, you are not unattractive, Hermione.'

'Thanks, Gin, but I still think I imagined it.'

Ginny shrugged dismissively. 'He's a man, isn't he? They're all the same.'

'Yes, but he's like no one I've ever met before, really.'

'That's a bit profound.'

Hermione laughed. 'You know what I mean.'

'Perhaps, it's just difficult thinking about him as any ordinary man, simply because he was our teacher for so long.'

Hermione made a noise of agreement, but inwardly she unsure—she hadn't considered him as her teacher as such for a while, though in a way, technically, he still was. She just didn't think that there was anything remotely ordinary about the man. Not one bit.

'So, maybe he does fancy you,' commented Ginny airily.

The only noise to be heard was Hermione choking loudly on her Butterbeer.


As the date of the dinner drew closer, Hermione increasingly was being driven outside by the hustle and bustle going on within the castle. But the days were bright, and she didn't mind it too much. At present, she was strolling around the outer edges of the castle, enjoying a few moments of simply letting her mind wander.

Moving around the back of the castle, she could see the array of greenhouses stretched out before her. The panes of glass glistened in the sunlight, and she wandered over to Greenhouse number three to have a quick look if Professor Sprout was around.

There was no one there – silence reigned – so Hermione carried on her walk. She was passing by some of the smaller, lesser-used greenhouses when there was something that did catch her eye. Pausing, she changed direction and walked towards the greenhouse situated furthest away.

There was definitely movement from within, a dark, somewhat familiar outline...

The door was propped open, letting in some of the spring breeze. 'Ah, here you are,' said Hermione from the doorway.

Snape didn't look up from the small table at which he sat, flicking through a book. His robe hung over the back of his chair, and he was wearing one of the brown overcoats Professor Sprout always made them wear when in the greenhouses.

'So it would seem, Miss Granger. I congratulate your powers of observation.'

She smiled with resignation—always so dry, he was; it was best just to play along with him. 'They are rather exceptional, aren't they?' she replied lightly.

'Is that the only reason for your currently exercising them upon me—to show off?'

Hermione stepped inside the greenhouse, looking with infinite interest at the many plant pots. 'No,' she said distantly. 'I was just wandering around and discovered by accident where you've been hiding all week.'

Snape got up from his chair. 'I have not been hiding,' he argued irritably, 'I've been working. The holidays may be your time in which to wander around, but for me it is my time to work.'

'Sounds like hiding to me—you haven't been at dinner all week.' Hermione examined a potted Mandrake as she spoke.

'I've had dinner sent to my rooms,' he revealed, rather stiffly.

'No, you're definitely not hiding, then.' Hermione allowed herself a lop-sided grin. 'I didn't know you were interested in Herbology.'

'Miss Granger,' Snape complained, rushing forward, 'must you insinuate yourself so close to my Digitalis? It is imperative the flowers are not disturbed!'

Hermione stepped back, bristling inwardly—she knew what she was doing, after all. 'Just admiring the colour you've managed to achieve with them...'

However, her indignation was forgotten when she became distracted by the sight of his hands. His sleeves were folded back slightly, and his hands showed the signs of having recently been covered in muck. A part of her, rather ridiculously, marvelled at the fact that underneath his perpetually buttoned robes he did have arms, but something more pressing bothered her.

'You've been reading a book with your hands in that state?'

He flashed her an irritated glare. 'So?'

'You'll get it filthy,' commented Hermione, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

'I repeat—so? It's not as if I was reading the bloody scriptures of Merlin; it's nothing a charm won't fix.'

Hermione huffed quietly with disapproval. Snape ignored her, setting about moving a bag of compost to the bench in the middle of the greenhouse. She watched as he produced a pocket-knife from his coat and slit the bag open.

'Why are you are growing so much Fluxweed? Don't you get enough of that from the Apothecary? I should know—I've sorted through your deliveries enough times.'

Snape paused in his task, and there was a look of contemplation on his face. 'It's funny; I have felt there's been something missing this week, Miss Granger, and for a while I was hard pressed to discover what it was. Suddenly, though, it has returned—a sort of unexplained buzzing in my ear; but I see it's just you—asking questions.'

Hermione blinked. That was a bit harsh, wasn't it? 'Maybe you should see Madame Pomfrey—sounds like a bad case of Tinnitus to me,' she grumbled, somewhat offended.

He looked at her, but she got the impression that whatever he was going to say, he decided not to. He turned his attention back the bench in front of him.

'Those deliveries are organised by the Ministry,' he explained evenly, 'and one cannot always guarantee the best quality. It's fine for the children, but I prefer to use my own ingredients whenever possible.'

'Oh; you let me use the stuff from the Apothecary,' she muttered, feeling a little disgruntled.

Snape merely shrugged and picked up his trowel, placing compost within several small pots laid out before him. She watched him for a moment and realised that he looked different, though she couldn't quite put her finger on it what it was. She wondered if it was because he was in the light. So often, she only ever saw him in the artificial, dim glow of the dungeons. Everything was so bright in the greenhouse. He looked younger, almost, without the usual play of dark shadows following him that characterised the depths of the castle.

He should get outside more often, she decided.

She approached the bench. 'May I help with anything?'

'Well,' he said ponderingly, picking up a seed and placing it in a pot, 'there's a pile of Mooncalf dung outside that needs shovelling...'

Hermione knew she should never have opened her mouth. 'Oh, what do you know? I said I'd have tea with Professor McGonagall this afternoon.'

Though still focused on his task, the corner of his mouth lifted, and Hermione knew that she'd amused him.

'What if I said Minerva has informed me that she is gone to Diagon Alley this afternoon?'

'Ah! You won't catch me out this time!' Hermione smiled triumphantly. 'I really am having tea with her.'

'Fair enough; I'll just have to get one of the house-elves to do it.'

Hermione took an involuntary step forward in outrage. 'You're joking, right?'

He removed his hands from within the pot and wiped off the excess dirt. 'Am I?'

He looked at her, calmly raising an eyebrow in challenge. Hermione narrowed her eyes. How he lived to bait her, but it was always so difficult to judge when he was being serious or not. Suddenly, he was smirking. 'I can see you storming out there right now to begin shovelling it yourself.'

He actually chuckled quietly.

'I'm glad you find me so entertaining.' Hermione frowned, distinctly unimpressed.

Still smirking, he carried on with his task.

With a little ill humour, Hermione decided to bid him goodbye. She moved to leave the greenhouse, the frown remaining fixed upon her face, and her conversation with Ginny resurfaced to the forefront of her mind. She snorted silently. Merlin, he didn't fancy her—she was just his source of amusement!

'Miss Granger, before you leave, I have a bone to pick with you.'

She paused and closed her eyes in resignation. Taking a deep breath, Hermione turned round to face him, the epitome of nonchalance itself. 'What bone would that be, Professor Snape?'

'Namely, never let me rely upon your deplorable discretionary skills again. Thanks to you, I had both Poppy and Minerva furnishing me with their particular views on my being an accessory to your heinous crime.'

So they had caught up with him, then. 'Sorry; I didn't think they'd be so annoyed.'

'Have you ever met those two women?' he asked sardonically. 'I can assure you, my ears were ringing with lectures about responsibility and—'

'Ah!' Hermione interrupted. 'Maybe that's what's causing the buzzing in your ears...'

She looked at him with raised eyebrows.

There was an indecisive expression on Snape's face, and then he rolled his eyes reluctantly. 'Maybe it is,' he acknowledged with a little sigh of surrender.

Hermione left the greenhouse with a spring of satisfaction marking her step.


As the weekend drew nearer, so Hermione came to simultaneously dread and anticipate the Ministry dinner. The Great Hall looked wonderful, bedecked in all kinds of finery, but what was it all for? So that everyone could sit around and pat themselves on the back for a job well done? Hermione rather thought so.

Still, it would be a chance to catch up with some of her friends... and Ron, of course. How she hoped that she would surprise herself and have an enjoyable time. However, the Yule Ball, all those years ago, seemed to have set an unfortunate precedent in terms of having a good time at such events.

The last one she'd attended had been the Order of Merlin service, shortly after the fall of Voldemort. Notwithstanding the empty pomp and ceremony of the whole thing, which had been distasteful to her, Ron had got spectacularly drunk, and she'd had to take him home early. With no Sobering potion on hand, that had been one hell of a long night.

As she studied her dress robes, hanging from the door of her wardrobe, she decided it seemed prudent to expect the worst this time around as well.

One Day Like This

A Harry Potter Story
by Hannah_1888

Part 8 of 23

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