Disclaimer: All publicly recognisable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. In other words, I don’t own J.K.R.’s characters. Please don’t sue me; I’m not worth it anyway. Once I’m done, I’ll buy them dinner, several good bottles of wine and put them back where I found them.
A/N. This story is set some time after DH. Snape is not dead. It is another outing into my Tylwyth Teg setting for our favorite pair. Warning, there is rampant fluff ahead. It is running wild and free. Turn back now or be marked for life by the fluff bunny.
My thanks, as always, to simply the best beta mtnwmgirl.
Welcoming the slight breeze against her skin, Hermione swung idly back and forth in the hammock. It was strung between two tall trees that provided some very convenient, and much needed, shade. Languidly, she cast another cooling charm on herself as the heat caused the sweat to prickle out on her skin.
This heat was ridiculous! This was bloody Scotland after all. For all of July and August the normal weather, it would appear, had taken an exchange holiday with that weather more often found in sub-Saharan Africa. Right now, Hermione would not have been surprised if a herd of elephants shimmered past in the heat haze.
She sighed as her finger stuck to the page of her book as she turned it. It was hopeless; she just couldn’t concentrate. She closed her eyes and let her mind drift away. Lulled by the gentle eddies of warm air, she soon slid into a comfortable doze. She swung gently back and fore half listening to the gentle bumbling drone of the bees as they tumbled erratically from flower to flower. Somewhere, high above her, a skylark began to sing. She smiled and drifted closer to sleep.
Abruptly, she was shocked back to full consciousness by a bouncing mass of sticky dark haired daughter.
‘Wake up, Mummy! Look what we found,’ Isabel shouted loudly, with all the enthusiasm of an ebullient four-year-old who has all the many wonders of the world to explore, and all the time to do it in.
Hermione focussed on the disgruntled looking frog, which was being waved in front of her face, held lovingly in her daughter’s muddy hands.
‘That’s a lovely frog, dear,’ Hermione enthused weakly. She eyed the amphibian sympathetically. ‘But don’t you think he would be happier somewhere damp?’
‘That’s why I saved him. So he can come and live with us and be happy.’ Isabel paused for full dramatic effect. ‘He was being cooked…alive… by the sun,’ she intoned, loading each word heavily with copious and portentous meaning.
‘Oh well then, that is different,’ Hermione replied evenly, noting just how much like her father Isabel was starting to sound, and mentally tallying the number of rescued amphibians they were currently playing host to.
Her daughter’s Ranidae fixation was a recent one and, Hermione suspected, inspired by Isabel’s grandmother reading her too many stories about frogs and handsome princes. She really would have to speak to her mother about it.
‘Well,’ Hermione said, ‘I had better put him with the others for now.’ She waved her wand and a small pool, the envy of frogs everywhere, appeared.
Her daughter squealed in delight and placed her prize in the pool. Hermione watched Isabel and realised it was not just her hands that were muddy. It was, well, all of her. Isabel was, head to bare feet, entirely mud covered.
Hermione let her gaze slip to the black clad figure who had taken the opportunity of her preoccupation with the frog to sit beside her on the hammock. Damn him, he didn’t have a hair out of place. Not one bead of sweat marked his face. There wasn’t a crease in his habitual obsidian outfit. Secretly, she suspected her husband of using a very creative charm that made his clothes responsive to atmospheric conditions, so that whatever the weather he would be comfortable. Right now Severus was distracted by his appreciative study of her sarong-covered legs. She saw his hand twitch and start towards her hip.
‘Severus?’ she queried, indicating the mud blob that was their daughter with a wave of her hand.
‘She fell in the mud,’ he stated plainly, as if the evidence of her eyes should have been sufficient explanation and that, perhaps, the heat was affecting her powers of discrimination.
His hand was firmly on her hip now and starting to slide deliciously down her thigh.
‘Really? And where, Severus, did she find said mud? It hasn’t rained in two months. Not, I hope, by the lake?’
Severus heard the warning tone. ‘No.’ His hand was playing with the back of her knee now. Isabel bounced back over to them.
‘I wanted to puddle paddle, but the nasty sun has dried up all the good places. So Daddy made puddles for me.’
Hermione swore she saw him flinch. ‘Really Isabel?’ she inquired, finding the whole idea utterly enchanting. ‘Daddy made puddles for you?’
‘Yes, they weren’t sqoodgy enough at first, so he made them better, and then they were perfect.’
Hermione looked her husband full in the face. He shifted and looked, she thought, a little uncomfortable at having been caught out at having done something so uncharacteristically pleasant as the sin of making his daughter happy.
‘That’s where we found Harry,’ Isabel added.
‘Harry?’ Hermione questioned. Isabel gestured to the frog. Severus shifted minutely again, and his hand stopped its ministrations. ‘And was his name Daddy’s idea too?’
Isabel nodded and went back to helping Harry catch flies because, apparently, he looked too thin.
‘Harry?’ Hermione questioned again, addressing her silent husband.
‘I merely noted a certain resemblance between the manner in which the frog was gaping and the expression that occasionally crosses the esteemed Mr Potter’s face when he is posed a difficult question. I was remiss enough to vocalise my thoughts. Your daughter found it a captivating idea.’
Hermione hid her smile at his unique use of the possessive pronoun. She glanced at the frog, which obligingly gaped, even she had to admit there was a certain resemblance.
‘You must concede,’ he whispered in a mellifluous, silky tone close to her very kissable ear, ‘I was correct.’ He laid a gentle seductive kiss just below her earlobe.
‘This time,’ she admitted, ‘but no more in front of her.’ He kissed his assent along her neck, and she shivered at his lips’ touch. She always did. Curse the man for knowing her weak points. She held his hand in hers and whispered, ‘I think it looks more like Umbridge anyway.’
‘Mummy?’ Hermione looked at her daughter.
‘Do you think Harry will like this fly?’
Hermione lent further out over the edge of the hammock to better inspect the minute fly her daughter was pointing to. ‘I’m sure he will, sweetheart,’ she said, wondering at the surreal twist the conversation was taking.
As she moved back she glanced down and instantly knew she was suffering the after effects of sunstroke. Her very formal husband’s slender feet were bare. His trousers were rolled up to his knees, and his feet and legs were caked in mud.
‘We both puddle paddled. It was fun,’ Isabel supplied helpfully.
Oh by the little curls in Ptolomy’s beard she wanted to laugh at the image. However, she managed to suppress her mirth as she looked at him. He raised one eyebrow in challenge.
‘It is a little known fact that the potential properties of that particular variety of sediment, with regard to Potions, have never been fully researched. I was conducting a primary investigation,’ he claimed with sang-froid.
She, wisely, said nothing, just kissed the tip of his long nose and then his lips.
‘You know, love, there is room on this hammock for two people to lie down.’
A little while later she was comfortably nestled against his suspiciously cool, frock coat covered chest. His arms were wrapped around her waist. They both watched their daughter fatten Harry up.
‘Severus,’ she said, ‘this brings the number of frogs we have to twelve. We are going to have to do something. Perhaps Hagrid can re-home them.’
He nibbled her ear and whispered, ‘Oh, let’s not be too hasty. After all, I’m sure I can find a use for twelve frogs.’
Hermione was shocked. ‘Severus, you can’t. Isabel would be devastated.’
‘Hmm, upon reflection I agree, re- homing it is providing...’ He whispered something in her ear. She blushed, then smiled, then nodded. ‘All except Harry,’ he added, ‘I have grown unaccountably fond of that frog.’
She snorted and said, ‘Not fond in a Potions way, I hope?’
‘Would I?’ he replied. She snorted again and snuggled further against Severus. After a little while, his hands re-started their loving, and quite delicious, exploration of her sarong.