A Snape/Hermione fic.

Chapter Three

Disclaimer: See Ch 1.

A/N: Wow, you guys rock! Thanks for all the reviews so far!

So … yeah, subtle's not really my thing, for those of you who have sent me private messages and guessed the "situation" … hopefully some things are still unclear though.

Before I forget, I just want to make a small note: I won't be having Hermione call Snape Sev. Maybe Severus down the line, but not Sev. I just can't see him as a "Sev". At least not in my stories.

Also, I know Snape is a little OOC so far, but don't worry, it's all part of his master plan. After all, he was trying to manipulate an answer out of Hermione or Samantha about who got her pregnant, that was just part of his method … or was it? Mua ha ha! (Sorry, I'm in a weird mood. Too much sugar … or maybe not enough!)

Anyway, that's all for now, I hope you continue to enjoy the story! My fingers are being overworked, but they love it! You guys make me want to keep updating faster and faster! (Seriously, enough with the sugar.)

Okay … enjoy!

As always, please read and review, I live for feedback!

"So, what's in the box?" Snape asked, destroying the mood.

Not that there was a mood to destroy …

Hermione rolled her eyes, turning her head back away from the older man. "It doesn't matter."

"I disagree," Snape added, standing up.

"I really don't care what you agree or disagree with, Professor. It's my business, and I said it doesn't matter. So, we can stand here arguing, we can get back to work, or you can say goodnight," Hermione stated, hands on her hips.

"Forgive me if I don't take you seriously in your pink short-shorts," Snape said, holding back a snort, but mentally preparing himself to get slapped.

"Well, at least I'm comfortable," Hermione replied, not taking the bait. "You've gotta be overheating like crazy."

Snape wondered how 'just like that', she had forgotten that he had been prying into her life.

Hmm … could it be that parenthood has actually matured her? Aside from the obvious ways, of course … oh, stop it, you dirty old man! You're not here to ogle, you're here to satisfy your own nagging curiosity.

They went back to work for another hour or so before they decided to call it a night. Hermione thanked him awkwardly for his help and being nice to Samantha, and didn't notice that he conveniently left his robes behind when he left, as she had grown used to seeing him in his muggle clothes.

She went into her bedroom, pulling out her bed coverings while musing over the evening spent with a man she used to despise. He had obviously only been there for one thing, but she had held her ground, and kept him from finding out about her past. But, she was sure he hadn't given up … he was just pacing himself.

This is what happens when grown men get bored. No … this is what happens when spies no longer have anything to spy on.

With her bed made, she slid the box out from underneath it, spilling its contents out in front of her. She sorted the items into separate piles; pictures, documents, unread letters, and clothing, letting her silent tears drop on each one. She hadn't opened this box in months, but all the memories came rushing back. Her mind wandered to the sleeping girl in the next room, and she wiped away her tears, putting everything back inside the box and returning it to its place under her bed.

She used to have a mantra: "One day at a time". But she hadn't needed that in a long time. Now all she needed to get to sleep was to think about one cute thing her daughter had done that day, and fell into a peaceful slumber.

It didn't occur to her to wonder why her last thoughts were of her daughter kissing Snape on the nose, and his priceless expression afterwards.

The next day Hermione took Samantha on a tour of the Hogwarts castle. They visited the Great Hall for breakfast and ate with the rest of the staff, and Samantha introduced herself happily to everyone. Professor Trelawney tried to read her palm, but Hermione snatched her away before she could make any false predictions of her death, and therefore traumatize her daughter. Hermione introduced Samantha to Dobby, and the laughing girl fell in love with the funnily-dressed creature.

Their next stop was the library, and Madam Pince was not impressed when Samantha started running down the aisles between bookshelves, so Hermione quickly ushered them out of there.

They found Remus Lupin in his classroom, and Samantha gave her Uncle a big hug, chatting his ear off about all the fun they were having and the new friends she made.

Hermione asked him how it felt to be back teaching, and Samantha asked when she could see her cousin Teddy again, she missed him. Lupin promised to bring Teddy and Tonks over for supper some time that week, and after a quick goodbye, they continued their exploration of the castle.

They reached the Gryffindor common room, the Portrait of the Fat Lady, and Hermione paused, unsure if she would be allowed inside, but then the Portrait swung open, and she heard the Fat Lady say that Hogwarts Professors had access to all the common rooms. Hermione smiled her thanks and showed Samantha inside, smiling when she saw it hadn't changed one bit. A fire was lit in the fireplace as they walked in, and for a while, Hermione sat on the couch with Samantha on her lap, telling her about all the fun times she had with her Uncles Ron and Harry, and all the trouble they'd gotten into.

They sat in silence for a while, and Hermione thought her daughter was drifting off to sleep when she suddenly asked her a question.

"Mummy, why don't I have a Daddy?"

Hermione's heart sped up, and she sighed heavily. It was times like these she wished her daughter wasn't as smart as she was. She was hoping for a few more years before she had to answer this question.

"Do you want a Daddy?" Hermione asked, stalling.

"Sometimes," Samantha answered. "Did I ever have a Daddy?"

Hermione forced herself to ignore her hammering heart. It was annoyingly persistent.

"You had a father once … I suppose, but a Daddy is someone who loves you very much, and never does anything to hurt you, and wants to be with you all the time."

Hermione paused, wanting to shift the conversation. "Your Uncle Ron wanted to be your Daddy."

"He did?" Samantha asked, surprised.

"Yeah, he did. He asked Mummy to marry him when you were still in my tummy," Hermione told her, and she thought she heard a growl from behind her, but there was no one there, so she shrugged and told herself to calm down.

"What did you say?" her daughter asked, sitting up on her knees to look at her mother better.

"I told him I didn't love him like that. He was always like my brother … that's why he's your Uncle." She looked over at Samantha, trying to read her confused expression. "Did you want Uncle Ron to be your Daddy?"

Samantha thought for a moment, then shook her head.

Hermione smiled. "Good … me neither."

Samantha bounced on the couch for a while, then looked back at her mother. "Did you love my Daddy?"

Hermione was quiet for a long time, but never took her eyes off her daughter. When Samantha opened her mouth to ask her if she was okay, Hermione said, "I love that he brought me to you."

"Okay," Samantha said, hopping off the couch. "Can you show me your old room, Mummy?"

Hermione nodded, leading her up the stairs.

Neither of them noticed the Portrait opening and closing again, seemingly of its own accord.

Snape wandered around the school aimlessly, mulling over what he'd heard. Well … overheard.

"The ass left sometime during her pregnancy, and she by no means cared a great deal about him … well, obviously she cared enough to shag him," Snape spoke aloud, trying to make some connection. He had looked into her files in McGonagall's office, but hadn't found anything of value.

"Talking to yourself, Severus?" Minerva asked, walking up behind him.

He felt suddenly warm under his collar. So I'm a little out of practice. Surely I can fool one witch. "Merely thinking out loud. Preparing for the new school year," he insisted. "Was there something you needed?"

"No, just wandering around, much like you. Incidentally, you wouldn't happen to have seen Hermione? Hagrid's expecting her."

Snape gave a light shrug. "I might have seen her heading towards the Gryffindor common room … perhaps she is there somewhere."

Minerva nodded, an eerily familiar twinkling in her eyes. "Thank you Severus, I might have been searching for hours."

"I'm sure you would have been fine, now if you'll excuse me, I have more thinking to do," Snape replied, wishing he had his robes to whip around ominously, then suddenly remembered the perfect excuse to re-enter Granger's rooms.

He waited until he was sure that she had taken her child to have tea with Hagrid, then made his way to her rooms.

He wondered for a moment if she would have put wards up, but when he turned the door handle, it gave way with no complaint.

Much too trusting of your colleagues, Miss Granger.

It didn't occur to him to think he was 'much to nosy', he just went about his business, searching through the pictures she'd unpacked for any traces of another man. There were many muggle photos framed about the room, and on the bookshelf he found a photo album, and sat by the coffee table, flipping through it. There were some pictures of her as a baby through to a toddler, and he was struck with the thought that Samantha was definitely her daughter. Aside from the freckles and the teeth, she was the spitting image of her mother at that age. He found more pictures of her and her friends growing up, some of her with her parents when she was very young. He flipped ahead to pictures of Hogwarts, somewhat relieved to finally see some wizard photos. He found what he thought he was looking for, a picture of Hermione with the Durmstrang fool … Viktor Krum, that was his name, but at the bottom of the picture was an inscription: Viktor and Hermione, Yule Ball, 4th Year.

Snape sighed, flipping ahead further, but found only one more picture of him at the Weasley-Delacour wedding, and the picture wasn't romantic, in fact it held Potter and the rest of the Weasley children as well.

He flipped through to the end of the book, but it only held more muggle pictures of the Weasleys, Hermione and Samantha, so he closed the book and placed it back on the bookshelf with a grunt of annoyance.

He was pacing around for a while when he remembered the box.

He moved into Hermione's room, eyes flicking everywhere in search of the box. He turned to her closet, but it held only hanging clothes. Next he checked the trunk at the foot of her bed, but it held only blankets. He was momentarily stumped, and then nearly smacked himself as he checked under the bed.

Aha! Gotcha!

He pulled the box out, setting it down on the bed. His fingers gripped the sides of the lid, pulling up to slide it off, but then he stopped.

Are you actually ready to find out? Do you really want to know?

He paused, his fingers pulsing.

He put the lid back in place, pulling his hands back and crossing his arms over his chest.

Come on, now. It's not that difficult. You wanted to know … it's been driving you insane, and it's not even been 24 hours! You're a Slytherin! This is what you do, dammit!

He reached for the box again, but found himself drawing back once more.

Oh, this is just ridiculous! Just open the damn thing!

He was reaching for the box once more when he heard the click of the front door opening, and voices in the kitchen.

Shit! Oh, well done, Severus!

He silently slid the box back under the bed, and cast a disillusionment charm on himself, pressing back against the wall by the bookshelf he and Hermione had brought in last night.

Hermione checked her watch once more, fanning her shirt away from herself. She had spilt tea all down her front when she realized how late it was, and was waiting for Ginny to arrive so she could change. Samantha had a play-date with Harry and Ginny soon, and they would be "ringing" her fireplace any minute now.

She gathered Samantha's lunch together and put it in her backpack along with her toys and coloring pages, and was finished just in time.

"Auntie Ginny's here!" Samantha cried happily as the witch stepped out of the fireplace.

"How's my favorite niece?" Ginny asked, giving the girl a hug.

"She's good," Samantha replied. "Do you like our new house?"

"Yes, it's lovely," Ginny said, taking in her surroundings.

"Can I get you something to drink before you leave?" Hermione asked her friend.

Ginny shook her head. "Sorry, gotta grab and go. Bring her back same time tomorrow?"

"Yeah," Hermione said. She looked down at her daughter, fixing her coat around her shoulders. "Have fun with Auntie Ginny and Uncle Harry. Be on your best behavior."

"I will Mummy. Maybe I can have juice with Severus again when I get back?"

Ginny's head whipped around to Hermione at this, as she had previously been fishing Floo Powder out of her pouch.

"Severus? As in Snape? What's this?" Ginny asked her.

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Long story."

"Hmm … sounds like an interesting story," her friend prodded, and Hermione sighed.

"Another time, Gin."

Her friend nodded, but fixed her with a suspicious gaze, and Hermione said one last goodbye to her daughter before the two left through the fireplace.

Hermione stood staring at the fireplace for a few moments before she went into her bedroom to change her shirt. Out of habit, she closed the door behind her, slipping her shirt off and tossing it in her laundry hamper.

She thought she heard something behind her, but she turned around and saw nothing, so she slipped on a new shirt and pulled a book off her bookshelf, settling down on her bed to read.

End chapter three.

Okay, I know this one is shorter than the other two, but I was getting distracted by Stargate: Atlantis, so I wanted to get it done and updated, and I liked the ending, so … tada!

I hope you're still liking this fic … I was trying to make Snape nosy without people ending up hating him … don't know if I really succeeded there so I'll try to make up for it in later chapters. Hmm … maybe I'll have a Snape/Ron fight. Hmmm …

Okie dokie, there's chapter three,

Feedback is appreciated, constructive criticism is always welcome.

Until next time …!