What Love Is

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Story Notes:

A bit different and I’m rather nervous. It’s probably awful, but it was the idea that hit me when I saw the request.
For elwynceltic who requested D/Hr with Snape overhearing. I somehow doubt this is exactly what you had in mind, but I hope you like it anyway!

Orginally Posted: November 1, 2004

Severus Snape walked along the path towards the Quidditch Field, his black robes billowing behind him. It was a sunny day, the sky free of clouds, the sun shining overhead. There was an Inter-house Scrimmage occurring in precisely half an hour and, as the chosen referee, he wanted to arrive early. Graduation was in two weeks, this event being the last for the Seventh years prior to the graduation festivities, and he wanted it to be enjoyable. True, he’d deny the latter even if faced with Veritaserum, but he did believe the students deserved a bit of fun.

The Final Battle had been fought six weeks ago, Voldemort’s defeat ending the War, but the loss of life had been high during the last two years. He had been surprised when the students, led by Weasley and Malfoy of all people, had approached Minerva to seek permission for this Quidditch game. True, Weasley and Malfoy had formed a bit of a truce over the last year, but the idea of them willingly working together had been somewhat startling, to Minerva as well as himself. Permission was granted and his Godson had asked him to act as referee, a position he had not refused despite his reluctance to participate.

As he passed the courtyard, he heard voices speaking softly, a raven brow arching as he stopped his rapid pace and moved closer. The students were supposed to be in class, not chattering about in the courtyard. It appeared someone had skipped class to have a conversation, a decision that would earn loss of points for whatever House to which the culprits belonged.

Looking through the trees, his stern expression soften just slightly, though most would not realize there had been a change. Draco was sitting on a bench, a pretty brunette witch cradled against his chest, a bright red rose in the hand that was not softly brushing her hair. Severus could see unshed tears glistening in Godson’s eyes as he spoke of his day, describing the Potion they had covered during class, talking about lunch, even providing an amusing anecdote involving Weasley and an attempt at transfiguring a quill into a bird.

Hermione smiled as Draco spoke, her finger moving along the curves of the rose as she snuggled against the blond wizard. There were moments when Severus would swear he saw understanding in her eyes, but it quickly faded, replaced by the dazed expression that had been present since the Final Battle. St. Mungos had been unable to diagnose the cause of Hermione’s condition, knowing only that it was the result of several curses the young witch had experienced during Battle. She had been found by Draco sitting beside the body of Hannah Abbott following Voldemort‘s defeat, clinging to him even as she seemed unaware of what was happening around her.

Severus had been aware of his Godson’s feelings for Hermione Granger since the boy first acknowledged them privately near the end of his sixth year. He had watched silently, but proudly, as Draco had grown into a remarkable young man once out from under his Father’s expectations and beliefs, knowing that the insufferable Gryffindor was partially responsible for Draco‘s growing awareness of the situation with Voldemort.

He had never particularly cared for the bossy little know-it-all, but he respected her, which was far more important in his book than simply liking someone. To see her so broken was possibly the saddest consequence of the War, Severus wondering at times if death would not have been better than losing one’s mind, especially for someone as intelligent and vibrant as Hermione. There was hope that her condition would dissipate over time, that it was not permanent, and he had to believe it was possible, if only for Draco’s sake.

In the last six weeks, Draco had only left Hermione to attend classes and to sleep, though Severus wasn’t entirely positive that the young Slytherin didn’t sneak out to spend most his nights holding the woman he loved in some hope that she would be his Hermione upon waking. The school had been abuzz with gossip following Draco’s possessiveness over the brunette that all had considered one of his foremost enemies despite them both fighting Voldemort. Only Weasley and Potter and perhaps the youngest Weasley knew that Hermione and Draco’s relationship had slowly changed during the last few months. As far as Severus was aware, not that he listened to gossip, they had only just admitted their growing feelings prior to the Final Battle.

Had he not been jaded and somewhat heartless, such a story might have affected him. He was Severus Snape, though, and stories of loss and heartache that sounded better suited for cliché Muggle romance novels did little for him except possibly cause a cringe of disgust. At least, that was what he told himself every time he caught sight of Draco with Hermione, watching the blond wizard that only last year was spoiled beyond belief, an arrogant prat of a child, prejudiced from his Father’s ridiculous teachings, angry at the world, desperate for approval, gently holding a woman that stood for everything he had always claimed to hate with a look of determination and love in his pale gray eyes.

Severus knew he should go, leaving Draco and Hermione in privacy before the match started, but he was unable to look away from the beautiful display of love. True, there was loss, sadness, pain, and anguish, but there was also something that was just indescribable that seemed to confirm that things such as love truly did exist for some fortunate souls. He listened as Draco continued talking softly, having reached the topic of the upcoming Quidditch match, his fingers continuing to slowly brush Hermione’s hair as she laid against him.

Hermione turned her head slightly, her eyes studying Draco’s face with the closest thing to awareness and clarity that Severus had seen since before the Final Battle. It wasn’t until she softly brushed her lips against Draco’s before turning her attention back to the rose that Severus took his leave. He had seen the look of surprise and happiness flash in Draco’s eyes before he had hugged Hermione tight, a tear sliding down his cheek before he continued discussing the upcoming game. Walking away from the couple, Severus glared at the sun for making his eyes water.

The End.