AN: This story was written for the Quidditch League Fanfiction Competition. My prompt as Seeker was to write a story of an awkward/uncomfortable moment between Severus and Hermione.
Professor Hermione Snape trudged down the hall to the waiting gargoyle in front of the Headmaster's office. It had been a long and boring Charms conference, filled with information she already knew, so she had taken the opportunity to leave a day early.
"Cannabis Sativa." Shaking her head at her husband's choice of passwords, Hermione mounted the stairs up to their quarters. She wanted nothing more than a hot bath and some sleep. Finally coming to the door, Hermione reached for the handle and froze.
Floating through the old wood was the distinct sound of her husband giggling.
Hermione dropped her bag quietly and drew her wand from her sleeve. Laying her hand on the door, she silently charmed it open, holding her wand out before her in a relaxed but ready hand, her loose wrist the result of years of practice.
His giggling was louder, coming from their private chamber. Even more alarmed, Hermione readied a shield charm on her lips.
Hermione stepped through the second doorway and drew up short, her brows furrowed in puzzlement. Severus was sitting on their bed with little piles of lace, multi-colored cloth strips, and feathers all around him. Before him on the floor was Crookshanks, rabidly shredding a toy.
Severus giggled again.
"What in Merlin's name are you doing with my cat?!"
The dark wizard whirled his head, shock radiating from his features. "What the hell are you doing here?"
Hermione folded her arms and raised an eyebrow in unconscious imitation of her husband. "I live here."
Severus sneered and made to banish the materials surrounding him, but his wife was quicker. She flashed a stasis charm on the lace, cloth strips, and feathers, effectively freezing them in place. "You will explain what these are and what you are doing to Crookshanks." Hermione leaned forward. "As well as why you were giggling."
Her husband reared back, affronted. "I was not giggling."
"I could hear you through the outer door!" Hermione gestured with her wand. "What if someone had heard you?"
"No one would have heard me," Severus said, standing up and straightening his white shirt. "I had wards in place."
"Well, I heard you. Pity you didn't realize that wards couldn't keep out the Headmaster's wife." Scoffing, Hermione bent down and began pulling the lace out of Crookshanks' reach, but the orange tabby was having none of it. He hissed at Hermione and smacked her hand, pulling his toy away from her.
"Crookshanks!" she exclaimed, drawing back her scratched fingers. "What's gotten into you?" She raised a tearful face to her husband. "What did you do to my cat?"
Thoroughly embarrassed at being caught out, Severus reverted to type and lashed out. "I was simply spending time with my wife's familiar while she was out gallivanting with her Charms friends," he sneered, deftly pulling the toy away from Hermione's cat. He stood and glared down at his wife. "Why are you home a day early?"
Hermione wasn't sorted into Gryffindor for nothing. She drew herself up straight and glared at her husband with equal ire. "I was bored, so I decided I'd rather be at home with my loving husband. I didn't realize I would interrupt his sewing time," she snapped, gesturing to the lace and feathers. "I didn't know Slytherins were privy to Home Economics classes."
Severus narrowed his eyes. "It's disturbing how well sarcasm suits you, Hermione. One would almost think you were sorted into the wrong house." He raised his hand and gently brushed her cheek. "You do have some Slytherin in you now and then."
His tactic worked; Hermione blushed furiously. She laughed and kissed her husband, hugging him tightly. "Oh, you incorrigible thing." Severus's reprieve was short-lived. "That still doesn't explain the lace and feathers."
Severus pulled Hermione with him and sat on the bed. "Well…"
"Severus, I truly don't mean to pry, but what on Earth were you doing with this stuff and my Crooksie?"
Her husband sighed. "If you must know, I was testing out some magically-enhanced catnip that Sprout was growing for Minerva." He glanced down at the half-kneazle who had fallen asleep. "Your familiar is worse than an opium addict, Hermione. I figured if anyone would appreciate some high quality herb, it would be him."
Hermione nodded. If Crookshanks were human, she would have had to stage an intervention; his appetite for catnip was insatiable. "That still doesn't account for the frilly materials on the bed."
Sighing in defeat, Severus handed her the toy he had taken from her cat. It was chewed and covered in spit, but Hermione could clearly see that the toy was a catnip-stuffed effigy of Albus Dumbledore.
"You made a doll?" she asked incredulously, looking the toy over. "It's incredibly…well, weird."
"Thank you for that erudite assumption," Severus drawled, taking the toy back. "I happened to find it therapeutic."
"That was why you were giggling." She looked down fondly at her sleeping cat. "Crooks was tearing Albus Dumbledore to shreds." An evil grin spread across Hermione's face, and Severus fell in love with her all over again. "Therapeutic indeed."
The cat in question snorted and woke up, lazily snuffling around for his toy. He looked up at his witch and yowled, knowing full well that she would give him whatever he wanted just to keep him quiet.
"Oh, here, you junkie," she laughed, snatching the toy from her husband and throwing it down for Crookshanks. "I don't know if I'm your owner or your dealer."
Another thought occurred to her. "Severus, how many of these toys have you gone through?" Hermione glanced down at her salivating feline. "Is it possible to suffer from catnip poisoning?"
Severus wrapped his arms around his wife. "Not with this plant. It's magically enhanced to keep the beasts high as a kite."
"You didn't answer my first question."
Her husband smirked. "The mongrel ended up eating the Potter one. I expect it to return in about a day or so."
Hermione lightly slapped his chest and laughed.