Hello ladles and jelly spoons. Welcome, welcome to a new fanfic. :D I know, other fanfics need to be done, but I was having some writers block. D: Grawr... Also, the one-shot that was won in "Hedwig's Wish" is being worked on, it's just a bit of a difficult couple for me to write (I've never really thought of that couple before, actually, and it's quite interesting to me :) ), but it's coming along, slowly but surely. :3

It's not going to be a very long fic, about three chapters, I think...possibly an epilogue. :D

But yes, writing this is helping me with the writer's block, so I really hope you do enjoy. And please, R&R! Some feedback would be lovely as how this is going, and if you're enjoying it, and really, so I can become a better writer. :) Thanks so much!

Now, on with the fanfic. A late Halloween story with the lovely Snape and Hermione pairing (which I adore ^u^), set about ten years after Voldemort's defeat.

Not really any warnings, just a fun fic, but putting a bit higher just in case. :)

Oh, and I own nothing of the Harry Potter world, the JK does. I'm just playing with it for a bit. :D

Enjoy!


It was quite a frosty October the 31st, that crisp feel in the air that gave a jolt to your system as you breathed in feeling the slightest bit more intense. The leaves on the trees long since banished to the ground beneath, the barren branches stretching up toward the sky as if they were reaching for the moon to grasp in their spindly hands. The wind whispering quietly through the branches and forest floor, making the leaves crinkle and the branches creak in a symphony of Fall.

It was quite a clash with what was going on with it's neighbor of the magnificent castle known as Hogwarts. The grand steps were decorated with dozens upon dozens of jack o' lanterns (most carved by none other than the students as a Charms assignment), so many pumpkins on each step leading up to a boisterous celebration within The Great Hall where even more orange faces greeted you along with many people enjoying a Halloween party.

A Halloween party that was started up soon after the dreadful war had ended. A celebration of sorts, if you'd like to call it that, for a job well done, I suppose you could say. But mostly, it was for the school and to just have a bit of fun after such a dark time in the wizarding world. Quite a few witches and wizards that fought and helped during the war were always invited, along with the students, but of course only if you were fourth year and above, like most of the school balls imposed.

The party was in full swing, many of the attendees in masks as the theme this year was 'masquerade' along with semi formal wear, others just dressed quite nicely, some even in full blown costume. As many couples danced, chatted on the sides and stared in awe at the marvelous decorations around the large room; a woman with thick, curly chestnut brown hair that fell to about her shoulder blades entered through the tall archway of the room. A few heads turned as she started walking toward wherever her destination may be. Who could blame them as she wore an intricate orange mask that sat around her eyes nicely, a sleeveless, sweetheart neckline black gown that poofed slightly out at the hips and reached just mid-calf. This was not just a simple black gown as green swirls were embroidered all along the hemline, reaching all levels and as high as the green sash that sat at her hips tied in a nice bow at the side. It was all tied together with a deep green choker necklace, a simple galleon sized golden orange pendant hanging nicely from it.

She seemed to have just stepped out for a few minutes, as she entered with a half empty glass of champagne, now halfway into the hall, stepping up to the small open bar that the headmistress had set up for the drinking crowd. She waited patiently as a tall wizard with strawberry blonde hair stood before her, about to order a drink. As he stepped up after a blue haired witch walked away with a very pink drink; she smiled to herself, knowing for a fact that this wizard in front of her was most definitely underage.

Standing on a strategically placed decoration, he started to order a pint. But as soon as the words spilled from his mouth; he grabbed his cheek with a jump, as if something had hit him there, the barman grinning amusingly at him.

"Sorry mate, can't serve you." He pointed to a mirror set up on the small bar, the wizard looking quickly, the witch behind seeing in the mirror a bold orange "NO" written on his cheek. She knew that that wasn't going anywhere for the night and maybe even the next day.

"Really now, Mr. Dee. Did you honestly think that the staff wouldn't put some sort of charm up at the bar for minors?"

He spun around quickly, looking as if he were a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar, his eyes wide with bewilderment.

"P-Professor Granger! I-I didn't…It's not what it l-looks like, I-" the frazzled Hufflepuff twittered on, amusing the professor quite a bit.

"Mr. Dee, I was a teenager once too," She smiled at him, "But I usually knew better than to order something underage in a very public place," He paled a little at that, "Get on, before I change my mind about an afternoon detention." He muttered his thanks, skittering off, Hermione chuckling to herself after he left. She really wasn't going to give him a detention, but it was a bit fun to give a tiny scare if she saw an underage witch or wizard hanging about the bar.

"I see you still like teasing students?" Hermione heard the barman tease her, looking back to see his great big bushy bearded self leaning on the bar.

"I just can't help myself, Angie. Not on Halloween, anyway." She said with a warm smile, placing her glass on the bar.

"Refill?"

"Yes, please." He took the bottle out of the ice, pouring it gently into the half glass of bubbly liquid, giving her another smile.

"You know, in all these years," Angie started as the layer of bubbles started to settle at the top of the tall flute, "I don't ever recall you ordering a 'drink', just always cranberry juice or something as such," He said with a bit of a knowing smile, "Why the change, professor?"

"Oh, you know," Hermione said as she made a few twirls in the condensation on the bar, not looking Angie directly in the eye for a second, "Tenth year for the Hogwarts Halloween ball and all…Why not? … Also," She started after a slight pause, a blush creeping up beneath her mask, "Maybe I need a bit of courage with a certain someone tonight." She finally looked up at Angie with a wide smile, sweeping a creeping curl back behind her ear.

Angie just gave her a nod and an even wider smile than she just had, pushing the glass back toward her, "I see…Anything else, professor?"

"No, but maybe," She hesitated with that shy smile, that flush coming to her cheeks once more, "Wish me luck?" she said with a bit of a nervous chuckle, swiping that curl behind her ear again.

With a small salute and a wide smile, he said a very kind yet simple, "Luck." and with that, she smiled once again with a nod and walked away.


Couples twirled here and there, others just holding one another close in a sway, some of the younger crowd (namely the students) didn't quite know what to do in some steps, leading to foots being stepped on and quite a few 'I'm sorrys' floating about the dance floor.

Hermione sat at one of the round tables lining the walls, watching the couples dance about as she sipped on her drink, her orange mask blending in very well with the orange table cloth as it sat by a bat shaped chocolate that bared it's white chocolate fangs toward the mask, giving off little hisses every now and again.

There were quite a few bands queued up for the night, the seventh one (or was it the eighth?) that was playing at the moment were playing almost a waltz, the band before being a bit more rock-ish.

Amidst the dancing couples, Hermione spotted a well dressed Harry Potter having difficulty dancing with a very pregnant Ginny Potter. He spotted her as well, an enthusiastic grin spreading across his face as he waved toward the curly haired woman. She laughed at his goofy smile, waving back at him herself. He let go of his round wife all together, giving Hermione all sorts of off hand signals, from what she gathered, he meant to come join her in a few minutes after his and his wife's dance. She gave him the thumbs up to know that that was alright, him giving her a smiling nod, twirling away as best as he could with his wife.

"He looks more idiotic than ever with his arms flailing about." Hermione jumped at the deep, silken voice that sounded behind her. Without having to look, she knew it was none other than Professor Severus Snape.

Turning around slightly to prove her thoughts right; she was surprised by his appearance to say the least. She did not find him wearing his usual attire of his ever lasting black, billowing robes, but a black, single breasted frock coat that fit him quite well, reaching a bit higher than mid-thigh, black trousers matching nicely along with what looked like (from what Hermione could see) pointed button up leather boots. A stormy gray waistcoat went well with his usual high collared white dress shirt, the unexpected pop of a dark violet cravat going nicely with his overall outfit. But what really set the outfit was the dramatic mask that he wore. A black mask with the most striking nose she had ever seen, looking more beaklike than anything. It was marvelous, if nothing else.

He gave her a look that she couldn't quite place, making a silent gesture to the seat next to hers to sit. She gave a smile and a nod for him to join her.

"Miss Granger." He softly said, placing his drink on the table before taking a seat.

"Severus." he raised an eyebrow at her continued use of his given name, she chuckling very softly at the look he gave her. She gave him another smile, taking a sip of her drink, him giving her a nod and doing the same. It went on for a small time where they both just watched the dance play out before them, neither looking at the other, taking a sip here and there of their drinks.

"How are you enjoying the festivities?" Hermione heard Severus speak very much in a business like tone, looking back to his still masked self, that same expressionless face glued in place.

"I'm…enjoying it considerably." She looked away for a second at that, placing that wild curl back behind her ear, looking back with a smile, "I love hearing the music. Love looking at the decorations,"

"You mean the ones you transfigured yourself?" He drawled lowly, taking yet another sip of his drink, keeping his eye on her over the rim of the glass.

"No," she said with a little glare, "The jack o' lanterns. I think Filius did a wonderful job teaching such a charm to the students," she thought for a second, her glare intensifying just a tad, "It's just not my transfiguration throughout this party, you know. The students helped me loads. I made it a class assignment." Severus just quirked an eyebrow at her, silent as ever. Looking down for a moment, breathing a large sigh out so as to not let Severus get the best of her.

"Though," she said softly after a moment of thought, looking back up at him, "What I really love seeing are the masks that people come up with the most…Like yours. Yours is magnificent," he seemed to take this as a compliment, giving her an appreciative nod, "But," and again, he raised an eyebrow. Now, it probably was the drinks that made her tongue slick with information, but she just couldn't help it, "It does make you look a bit like an old crow." she knew that this would surely make her end up on his 'people I positively loathe' list (though, she was probably on there already), but, it slipped. So she did all that she could think of to do: She laughed. A deep, throated laugh that she only had when she was positively tickled, and that she was with her statement.

She was surprised as his reaction. He smirked at her, saying a very soft, "I see." He placed his drink down on the table once again, placing his hands on either side of his mask and in a very slow motion, revealed his true self, large hooked nose and all, setting the beaked onyx mask beside Hermione's, folding his hands in his lap, that smirk still on his face.

The power of a drink to the very rare drinking Gryffindor was a mighty force, as she looked upon Severus once again and…Started to laugh again, resulting in an even bigger smirk from the potions professor.

"I'm sorry, Severus. It's not me, really." She said as she gestured toward her drink, setting the tall flute down, folding her hands in her own lap, a blush sneaking to her cheeks from both drink and embarrassment. Smirk gone from his face; his eyes studied her quite closely, Hermione not being able to take it, looked away, her blush intensifying slightly.

"Why aren't you dancing, Miss Granger?" She heard him ask, looking back to him right away to see why he would ask, feeling as though it may be in a cruel way. But when she looked, she saw no ill intent, but just a curiosity behind his gaze instead.

She smiled, saying in a matter of fact tone, "I came alone, and as only students have asked me most of the night, which I keep respectfully declining, I haven't had a partner to do so," With that, she picked up her drink and took a small sip, looking curiously herself at the man before her over the rim of her glass as he nodded in response, "Why aren't you dancing yourself, Severus?"

"Simply put, I'm not especially interested in dancing, save for the traditional dance I'll share with Minerva each year."

Feeling a tad bit crestfallen as she started to play with the stem of her glass; she stared in the bubbly golden liquid, hearing herself talk to the dark man beside her.

"I suppose you wouldn't fancy a dance with me then." she couldn't believe the thought slipped from her lips. At the small silence that had fallen between them; she looked over, surprised to find an equally surprised looking man staring back. Of course his look of surprise was gone in an instant replaced by his usual stare of indifference.

"Are you asking me for a dance, Granger?"

"Depends," She looked back into her drink, smiling the smallest of smiles, "What would your answer be if I was?"

"I would say you're a positive div for wanting a dance with an 'old crow' as you so delicately put it. But," she heard a scrape of a chair, a couple steps coming toward her. Looking up, she saw the unreadable face of her once professor looking down at her, offering her a hand, "I can think of worse things that have been offered to me." setting her nearly emptied glass down upon the table; she gingerly put her hand in his, feeling herself being pulled lightly to her feet. He gave her a slight bow, she gave him the slightest of curtsies.

He lead her towards the middle of the dance, stopping in front of her, moving his hand almost cautiously, he placed it delicately on her waist, hers on his shoulder. The other hand he took in his, leading them in a very slow dance. Severus looked down upon her with his neutral face, she just smiling up at him as he lead the way in their dance.

Dancing in content silence, Hermione couldn't help but hear whispers floating about them, some things along the lines of "the bat of the dungeons" and "head of Gryffindor house", "hypnotizing her", "slipping her a potion" and such. Hermione couldn't help but chuckle.

"You realize that they're talking about us, right?" He gave her a simple nod, her chuckling a tad bit more, "Well, as long as you know."

They continued their dance, Severus being quite the nice dancer, Hermione noting that he didn't seem to want to look at her though. She also couldn't help but notice that this was the first time she saw him in something other than his teaching robes, even at the yearly Halloween party and other events. With a clearing of her throat, he looked down at her once again with a cocked eyebrow as if saying, "Yes?"

"Why are you wearing such an elaborate outfit?" She asked sort of bluntly, causing her to become red at her statement. He just smirked at her question, continuing to lead her on in their footing.

"I could ask you the very same question as to why you're wearing that dress, as I don't believe I've ever seen you in such fanciful dress before," now it was her turn to cock an eyebrow at him. With a sigh, he went on, "It's Halloween, you're supposed to dress differently, are you not?" Hermione nodded at this, "It's the tenth year for this…thing, and to put it so bluntly as you just did with your question, I say this: why not?"

"I see." She nodded, not especially satisfied with his answer as it felt like it wasn't exactly the truth, yet not exactly disappointed as she couldn't say that it wasn't.

"Since we're on the subject of uncharacteristic behaviors," he began, "Why are you not hanging about Potter? Or Weasley for that matter?" She looked down at his chest, away from his piercing eyes, biting her lower lip to think of her answer.

"Ron's not even here," she said so softly, she was sure Severus hadn't even heard her, "He went to the Ministries Halloween gala instead this year, said he just wanted to do something different…so he says," she looked back up at him, feeling that her bottom lip was probably quite a bit swollen now, feeling it throb the slightest bit. With a small smile, she continued, "And Harry, well…he wanted to meet up before the party started so me, him and Ginny could spend the evening together, but, I thought it might do them some good just to have an evening to themselves," at this information, he cocked a quizzical eyebrow at her, she just smiling a bit more, "You've seen how round Ginny is, right?"

"How could I miss it. I honestly don't see how she's frolicking about like some schoolgirl." Hermione laughed, not seeing how hardly being able to hold onto your husband in a dance is 'frolicking'.

"Their baby is due, well, really at any time now. With Mrs. Weasley taking care of James-," at this name, he just gave a disproving shake of his head, she noticed, "-tonight, I thought that maybe they should have at least one night alone, without any children. It may be just a dance or two as Ginny seems to have been having great trouble staying up on her feet tonight, but, I'm sure it's nice to have a bit of… romance, I suppose you can say…"

"Hmm." He mused, giving her a bit of a look, seeming to know she wanted to say more.

"And perhaps," She continued, knowing that he wouldn't stop that all knowing stare if she didn't, "There was something I wanted to try and accomplish on my own tonight and maybe I felt I'd be more confident without having my own cheering section, and that's all I'm going to say so stop with that look already." she harrumphed and looked away as she finished her final thought, that pesky burn of a blush rising to her cheeks once again. Maybe she thought that he would stop their dance at her not divulging all of her secrets of the night, or just push her away and stalk off entirely for it, so she was quite a bit surprised that all she heard was a low rumble of words from the usually stark professor.

"I see." she looked back up, meeting the face of a calmed Severus Snape, not one that looked disinterested, nor one that looked ready to make you succumb to fits of tears with the harsh word of his tongue. This Severus just looked…content. The young transfiguration professor smiled at this, and maybe it was her imagination, but right as she smiled, his grip on her waist seemed to relax. Feeling his grip become more confident, his lead in this dance becoming even more lovely, Hermione leaning in the tiniest bit closer, her hand sneaking up his shoulder just a little more.

"You're quite the accomplished dancer, it seems." Hermione complimented, Snape giving her a little nod, the hint of a smug grin on his lips.

"This is nothing, Miss Granger," He started, becoming a bit more bold with his leading at hearing Hermione's praise, it seemed, "I've had to learn numerous dance techniques for the many social events of high wizarding society. I suppose it comes in handy from time to time." Hermione now smirked the tiniest bit at this, prompting Severus's grin to grow the littlest bit wider.

"May I twirl you?" the abrupt question thrilled Hermione unexpectedly, prompting her to react in the same way.

"A twirl? !"

This made Severus smirk terribly much, but turn into something as surprisingly as Hermione's reaction was: his smirk turned into a deep chuckle, revealing the smallest of smiles to his dancing partner, making her take a quick breath in at the sight.

"You are a very easily amused witch, aren't you?" Just as quickly as she had seen that smile; his smirk was back in it's rightful place, still being able to see the smile in his eyes though, making her sure that she hadn't imagined the whole thing.

"Only when I've had more than one drink, unfortunately," she smiled, "But by all means, twirl away." with a nod and a little push, he sent her into a flawless twirl, hands holding gently, her dress swirling about her very lightly, hearing herself titter softly to herself.

Without warning, she felt him pull her back, hitting his chest with the lightest of thumps, his arm considerably more around her, this making her smile shyly up at the unusually at ease professor.

"Marvelous twirling skills." she laughed softly as she took her hand off his chest to swipe another errant curl behind her ear, seeing another ghost of a smile grace his lips.

Soon, the song ended, everyone around them clapping, the tall dark wizard letting Hermione go quite suddenly, his calm, almost pleasant demeanor melting in an instant to his standard impartial attitude.

"Severus?" she didn't know what else to say, it felt almost like their dance never happened, a dance that was particularly enjoyable. A dance that seemed even entertaining to the snarky man before her. What went wrong?

"Thank you for the dance, Miss Granger. It was…bearable." his snark laden tone sounded out of sorts with how he just was, confusing Hermione even more.

"Thank you, thank you!" Hermione heard the band call out as she followed Severus back toward the table they shared, the wizard parting a few steps ahead, Hermione losing sight of him almost immediately in the scurrying of the crowd, "We hope you enjoyed our set. Please wait patiently a few moments while the next band sets up. Happy Halloween and enjoy the rest of the party!" a thunderous applause sounded as the trio of musicians made their way off the stage to a door at the bottom of the steps, leading off to where the bands prepared and for where they settled down for a while afterwards. Hermione knew this as she was the one appointed to set the room up.

Making her way back to her table; there was no Severus when she returned. Shoulders slumping at finding this out, she took her seat with a sigh, taking up her glass, drinking the rest of the bubbly in one swallow.

Setting the glass down, her eyes noticed something she hadn't before: his mask was still accompanying hers, right where they left them, her eyebrows lifting slightly at this discovery.

"I see…" she softly said to herself, the corner of her mouth twitching into a half smile.

He'd have to be back to retrieve his mask then…right?


First chapter done! :D Could the certain someone Hermione's after be...Snape? ! D: . . . Well, I'm guessing that's a pretty good guess. ;) I hope you enjoyed and hope Snape and Hermione are believable so far. So yes, please leave a review! It'd be ever so lovely and help me in my SSxHG stories (as there will be more in the future ;) ❤)