Continuing Tales

Thirty-One Days

A Harry Potter Story
by keelhaulrose

Part 8 of 29

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Thirty-One Days

Hermione ate with her new friends, as promised, and they were having a discussion about an article Selena found in Witch Weekly when the copy of the Daily Prophet that Hermione's elbow was resting on suddenly jerked out from underneath, flying towards the Slytherin table. She smiled despite herself as she stood.

"I'll see you in the common room in a little bit, yeah?" she asked her friends, who nodded with identical smirks on their faces.

"Have fun," Jennae muttered.

She strode over to the Slytherin table, where Severus was sitting, facing away from her, having just struck up a conversation with an amused-looking Lucius.

"I wasn't done reading that," she said, putting her hands on her hips and sighing.

Severus looked up, trying to look surprised, but failing. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Don't they teach manners in Slytherin? First you steal my backpack, then the paper from under my elbow..."

"Borrowed," he corrected.

"Sure. Borrowed. Without permission. And at least you're admitting to it. Did he say the incantation?" she asked, turning to Lucius.

"He was completely silent, my dear," Lucius smiled warmly at her.

"There's that at least," she sighed. "Did you need something, Snape?"

"I thought you were going to help me practice my non-verbals. You never said you had to be aware that you were helping me."

She rolled her eyes. "Is this your way of telling me you want to work on your non-verbals?"

"Yes, please," he said, standing.

She rolled her eyes, but a smile spread across her face. "Promise me you'll teach him how to properly ask for something?" she asked Lucius.

"I will remind him to mind his manners around the fairer sex," Lucius smiled again. Father and son may be just as prejudiced as each other, but where Draco was mean-spirited and snarky, Lucius was charming, though to those who he didn't deem worth his time he would come across as more aloof, and in later years, downright condescending. Lucius could teach Draco a thing or two about subtlety, though the younger Malfoy was much more prone to wear his emotions on his sleeve. Even the smile Lucius was giving her had a hint of indifference hidden inside.

"Thank you," she nodded. "Let's go, Severus. Merlin forbid I don't indulge your impatience any longer."

"What were you talking about that was so damn important?" he asked as they started to walk out of the hall.

"We were discussing an article," she replied vaguely, shoving the magazine in her bag.

"Some sort of female-friendly dribble, no doubt."

"In case you failed to notice, I happen to be female."

He took the opportunity to steal a sideways glance at her chest. "I did so happen to notice. However, I would have thought you were above such gossip."

"I assure you, the article we were reading was decidedly not gossip. I really don't give a damn whoever the latest wizard rock band is shagging, thank you very much."

"Well, what were you reading?" he asked, pulling out the magazine and starting to flip the pages. She made a grab for it, but he pulled it away from her, and held it out of her reach.

"Give it back!" she growled, reaching for it again.

"Tell me what you were reading," he smirked.

She drew her wand, and flicked it at the magazine, which was torn from his grip. She stuffed it deep into the bottom of her bag and fastened the top. "I have no inclination, nor do I see a single reason, to tell you."

"That bad?" he asked, with his eyebrow raising.

"You won't find out," she shrugged. She had no desire to admit to him that the article was all about recognizing if 'that special wizard' was interested in you, and that Danielle had brought it up to prove that Severus was obviously wanting more than friendship. Hermione skillfully rebuked most of the checklist, and diverted the rest by dismissively repeating, "If I want an example of a wizard wanting my attention, I'll spend some time around Sirius Black."

They hid in an unused classroom, and Severus, who felt comfortable enough summoning things, started to try to banish them as well. Hermione kept an eye on the clock, and it wasn't too long before she announced it was time for him to get to Astronomy or he'd be late. They started towards the Astronomy Tower, and Hermione caught him looking at her again.

"What? Do I have something on my face?" she asked.

"Did you really want to go to Hogsmeade with me, or did you just say you did to get rid of Black?"

"I want to go, Severus," she said with an exasperated sigh. "I haven't been out for fun in a while, and I could use a break. So, yes, I'd like to go to Hogsmeade. And I like spending time with you. I thought the two activities might mesh well."

A flash of a smile crossed his face. "I'll see you tomorrow?"

"Of course," she smiled at him, and lightly touched his forearm before hurrying off towards Ravenclaw tower. Jennae, Danielle, and Selena were at a table together, so Hermione slid into the extra seat, reaching into her bag for her Herbology homework.

"So," Danielle asked, not looking up from her work, but a mischievous smile playing across her lips. "Where were we in that checklist?"

"Somewhere around 'he tries to get your attention in public'," Selena helpfully answered.

"Funny, that sounds familiar."

"I think an example might be stealing your magazine so you're forced to interact with him in order to get it back."

Hermione rolled her eyes as she tossed the magazine on the table. "I got it back."

"And disappeared for a couple hours."

"We were working on non-verbals."

"Is that what they call it now? Well, I guess it must be difficult to talk when you're passionately snogging..."

She was cut off as Hermione hit her with a silencing charm.

"Does anyone have their copy of 1000 Magical Herbs and Fungi, or do I have to run upstairs and get mine?" she said nonchalantly.

"Hermione..." Jennae scolded, stifling a giggle.

"Fine," she sighed, lifting the charm a little more dramatically than needed. "But can we drop the subject of Severus and I?"

"You have to see where our curiosity comes from. Severus Snape is not very friendly, especially with non-Slytherins..."

"We've only ever seen him spend any real time with one," Danielle added.

"...And you show up and within a week you two are spending nearly all your free time together."

"Because we're friends," Hermione sighed. "Nothing more."

"And that's the strange part. He doesn't make friends easily, and yet you managed."

"Would you like to know how I did it? Here's the story. We got to talking during our detention. Found we had some common interests. Met a few times, kept talking, and it grew into a friendship. It's nothing more. Most of what we do together is work on school assignments. You've said it before, he doesn't like to be second-best in anything. I bested him in something. He's probably working with me so he can best me."

"So that's really it?" Selena asked, sounding slightly disappointed.

"Yes. We're not off snogging in darkened hallways. We're not meeting up for lovers trysts in the Astronomy tower. We're simply talking when we're not working on school work. If you don't believe me, you can come with next time. We've been working mostly on non-verbal spells."

"Voluntarily work with Snape? I'd rather not. You might be on his good side, but I have a feeling if we came along he might not be welcomed with open arms."

"Suit yourself."

The topic quickly switched to their Herbology assignment, and by the time they got up from the table they each had much more than the required fifteen inches completed. Hermione helped put away some of the books they had borrowed from the shelves that framed the common room, and together they climbed the stairs. Danielle and Selena left to take showers, leaving Hermione and Jennae to get changed.

"It's just novel to them, you know," Jennae said, pulling her nightdress down to cover her knees as she sat on Hermione's bed. "You and Severus. It's so weird to see him... I guess I'd call it happy. It's certainly not surly, which is what we're used to from him."

"He can still be surly," Hermione nodded. "And rude, condescending, and occasionally nearly insufferable, but he's just a reserved person. I'll admit, it's not the easiest friendship I've ever had, but it's certainly interesting."

"If it makes you happy, I'm certainly not trying to discourage you. I can't honestly say I know him very well, most of what I know is based on rumors and his general attitude."

"I know this is going to sound odd, but I think I'm seeing a side of him that explains, well, a lot."

"Well, better you than me."

Hermione chuckled.

"Well, if he does lose his temper at you, I'll be here to verbally bash him, as I would any man who was toying with you."

"Could you get rid of Sirius Black for me?"

Jennae laughed. "I've never had cause to ditch a boy. I'm not quite sure how."

"You've never had a boyfriend?"

"Never felt the need," she shrugged. "I'm more concerned about my school work."

"Would you go out with a boy if one asked?"

"I guess. Depending on the boy. I don't think I'd much like Sirius, either. He's too arrogant for my taste."

"Arrogance is a turn off? I guess trying to convince Lucius Malfoy to leave Narcissa for you is out, then?"

"I think you can pretty much cut the whole of Slytherin house off the list."

"Is there anyone who has caught your eye?"

"Well... there is one, but I don't know if he really would be interested."

"Come off it," she smiled, though a good part of it was because she realized it was the first time she ever really had anything that might qualify as 'girl talk' with her dorm-mates since she had come to Hogwarts, and it was fun seeing as it wasn't anything like how Lavender and Pavarti usually kept her up gossiping and trading tricks they were using with boys.

"Oh, alright, but don't say anything to Danielle or Selena."

"I promise."

"Bertram Aubrey."

"Bertram Aubrey," Hermione repeated slowly. She remembered the name from somewhere, but couldn't remember where, just that it had something to do with Harry.

"He's a seventh year in this house. He's kind of known for accidentally knocking Sirius Black off his broom during a Quidditch match. James and Sirius got back at him by swelling his head to twice its normal size."

"Oh," Hermione giggled, remembering where she had heard the name. Harry had grumbled about the record he had read of his father and godfather's misdeed. She had originally waved off his complaints, noting that very few students got out of Hogwarts without a detention, and in the end blowing up someone's head wasn't that big a deal. It hardly warranted even a visit to the hospital wing if the victim was in the vicinity of a teacher who knew the counter curse. "Ever talk to him?"

"Once or twice."


"It's all been about school work."

"Ah, well, that does seem like it might be a bad habit of Ravenclaws."

"It's nothing doing, Hermione. I don't feel the need to have a boyfriend right now."

"I understand the feeling."

"Have you ever had a boyfriend?"

"Depends on your definition of that term. I've been out with a couple boys. I spent most of a term with one, but there was a bit of a language barrier and I wouldn't say it was anything serious. But it was fun."

"Language barrier?" she asked, sounding interested.

"Erm... foreign Quidditch player."

"Really?" she smiled. "Which one?"

"I'd rather not say."

"Oh, please?"

"No," she hissed as she heard Danielle and Selena coming up the stairs. Jennae pouted for a second, but was smiling as their friends entered the room.

"Well, I might not be an expert on much, but I'm willing to listen," she said softly, and Hermione went to bed, forgetting about the future long enough to forgo the nightmares for a night.


"Very good, Miss Puckle," Slughorn said with a chuckle as he looked into her cauldron at her nearly completed memory potion. He turned and clapped a hand on Snape's shoulder. To Severus' credit he barely even winced as he added his last ingredient. "Tell me, m'boy, are you helping her do the work?"

Severus looked at her, and shook his head once. "She is quite skilled on her own," he said.

"That she is. You must enjoy having another talented potioneer working alongside you."

"The company is not unwelcome," he glanced at her with a half-smile.

"Ah," Slughorn said, looking between them with a twinkle in his eye. "I think now would be a good time to ask you all to get into pairs for your next assignment."

"Partners?" Hermione asked, nudging Severus' foot with hers.

"I guess," he replied with an exaggerated sigh.

"I will be handing out a list of six topics. Each of them will require significant research, collaboration, a thirty-inch written portion, and a practical portion to be completed during class time. Once you are done with your memory potion you may leave it with me and use the rest of your class time choosing your topic and getting to work."

There was a collective groan as sheets of parchment appeared on their stations between each pair. Hermione snatched it before Snape could and skimmed the topics. But it was sixth on the list that caught her eye:

Explain the properties, development, storage, and application of antivenins to magical creatures, as well as time frames and dosages in a general case. Produce an antivenin to Doxy venom during the practical.

If Dumbledore didn't plan her coming back for this, it was damn good luck this assignment just happened to be on the agenda for her time with Severus. She had to convince him to work on the antivenin. Unfortunately for her it was one of the more boring topics. Doxy antivenin was commercially available, and Severus would have no interest in it whatsoever. She needed a few minutes to think, so she folded the paper and put it into her bag.

"Shall we go to the library?" she asked Severus as they bottled their memory potions for grading and started cleaning their stations.

"Seems a logical first step," he nodded.

Fifteen minutes later they were hidden in a back corner of the library, blank parchment and random books strewn across the unused half of the table to assure themselves some privacy, despite the library being nearly devoid of students.

"The list?" he demanded, holding his hand out to her. Reluctantly she gave it to him, and waited a moment for him to skim the topics.

"I think we should do number six," she started, and as expected he frowned.

"Antivenins? They've all been discovered. I'd much rather work on number three, the legal ramifications of polyjuice potion, how to recognize when someone's using it..."

"Polyjuice?" she sighed. "You could probably make a batch of polyjuice potion in your second year, had you access to the instructions."

"It's really the only one on here I haven't worked with, besides the antivenins, and as I said, they've all been discovered."

"How do you know that?" she asked. "Muggles are finding new creatures all the time. Who's to say in twenty years we're not going to find some giant ruddy snake no one has an antivenin for yet?"

"On the off chance that happens..." he raised an eyebrow.

"Please, Severus," she cut him off, placing a hand on his. "I know about polyjuice potion. I know a user has to take a drink at least once an hour, so a long-term user will need to carry a flask of it around. I know about precautions to take if you think someone might not be who they say they are. Besides, the potion takes a bloody month. That's a lot of down time in Potions class, or a lot of time trusting it in Slughorn's room with idiotic first years."

He still looked conflicted, so she decided to use her last resort. 'Flirty' had never come easy to her, but she thought she could fake it well enough, and if most women she had talked to could be believed it was quite the effective tool to push a man over the edge. She rubbed his fingers a little, put on her most charming smile, and leaned towards him a little.

"I'm really interested in antivenins. I haven't studied them before, and I think it would be fun. Plus, I could write a polyjuice essay by myself. I'd much rather spend the time here, with you, working together," she finished, biting her lip and trying to look pleading without looking pathetic. Apparently it worked. Severus glanced at their hands, his eyes trailing slowly over her until they found hers again. He swallowed hard and nodded.

"Great!" she beamed. "Would you like me to find some books?"

"Sure," he said quickly.

She left him at the table for a few minutes as she tracked down a few books they needed. When she returned she noticed he had shoved the other books to the side of the table opposite him, so she would either have to move them or sit next to him. She smiled and took the seat next to him, laying the books she had found between them.

"I thought I could start on properties, and you might try to find information on development?"

"Okay," he nodded, barely glancing at her out of the corner of his eye.

She opened the nearest book and started flipping pages, without actually looking at them. Instead she was thinking, and staring at Severus. He wasn't conventionally handsome, there was no doubt about that. But now that her opinions of him weren't tainted with seven years of dislike she realized he did have a few good features. He had sharp facial features, but they weren't pointed, like Draco's, or severe like McGonagall's. While not athletic, he certainly wasn't as skinny as his elder counterpart. And there was a little more color to his face, as though he actually saw the sun on occasion. But mostly she was captivated with his eyes. She had never really thought about how expressive his eyes were before, how his emotions poured through them. One glance was all it took to tell her if he was angry or upset, as there was a fire behind them as though it was a warning. Anything suspicious would earn a narrow, unyielding glare. When he was happy there was a softness to them, and she could tell they had a touch of brown to the black. Severus, even in this time, was good at hiding his emotions from afar, but she was learning that if she wanted to know how he was truly feeling she just had to look at his eyes. As if he knew she was thinking about his eyes his head snapped up and their gazes met. She blushed and turned back to her book.

They worked for a few hours, checked out some books they found useful, and started down towards the Great Hall for lunch. As soon as they were out of the library she took Severus' arm. He looked down at her hand in surprise.

"In case Black shows up somewhere," she shrugged.

A sincere smile crossed his lips, and this time it held as he straightened up a little bit and they led her down the hallway. She realized as they walked that, while there was nothing between them, and acting upon it would be a horrid idea, she was beginning to fancy Severus.

Thirty-One Days

A Harry Potter Story
by keelhaulrose

Part 8 of 29

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