Thank you to slytherinlaurel for the quick beta read.
There was a definite clank. Not a figment of her imagination, a real clank. It was coming from the den she used as her workroom because it had an adjacent bathroom. Yesterday it had been the sound of someone chopping. The day before someone had made the stirring rod move a counterclockwise turn, and her potion had been moved off the fire before she’d reached the lab area when the timer went off. The day before that she had been certain that someone had been scowling over her shoulder as she copied down the directions from Harry’s copy of Advanced Potion-Making. In fact, she constantly felt a presence when she was alone in the house. All too frequently things moved, mostly in the kitchen when she was cooking and the potions work area as if someone was helping her. Especially ever since she’d started testing Severus Snape’s potions, someone was actively helping her brew them.
There was now a soft tapping coming from the den. Hermione rose off the sofa to investigate. She flicked on the lights, but nothing was there. However, the fire under the simmering potion had been lowered. “Who’s there?” she asked the empty room, feeling like a dolt.
Of course the only answer to her inquiry came from the corner of the room. “Merror.”
“Oh, Crooks, you know you shouldn’t be in here,” she admonished her cat. She swooped Crooks up into her arms and carried the cat back into the living room.
Twenty minutes later, when the timer in her workroom went off, Hermione checked her potion. It was time to add the lemon grass. However, the lemon grass dish was empty and the potion was slowly changing colors. Hermione checked Harry’s copy of Advanced Potion-Making, her finger following Severus Snape’s annotations. The color was right, the steam was making soft whirls as it was supposed to, but she hadn’t added the lemon grass. Hermione drew her wand as she turned around. “Who’s here? Show yourself!”
This was becoming a regular occurrence ever since she’d found Severus’ potions journals and Harry had lent her his book so that she could test each potion, writing down Severus Snape’s additions, corrections, and deviations from the original text. Hermione wanted to rewrite the Advanced Potion-Making in his name as well as publish the other potions he’d invented, but the Most Extraordinary Society of Potioneers wanted the potions proven. So she was brewing them so they could be validated at St. Mungo’s and by the Potions masters from the M.E.S.P. In her opinion, and Harry had agreed, it was high time that Severus got credit for all his work.
But enough already! Hermione cast every detection spell she could remember. This time there was a faint shimmer from the doorway to the bathroom. She ran into the room, casting an entrapment spell as she went. The room was empty when she got there. “Show yourself!”
“Stop shouting,” a soft voice said behind her.
Hermione whirled around and nearly fell backwards. Severus Snape stood in her den, glaring at her with his arms crossed.
“Astute as ever,” he sneered. “The wasp stingers need to be added. Should I do that for you or are you capable of adding them before the potion bubbles?”
“It’s been you!” she gasped.
He turned and floated to the worktable. “If you’re going to use my name for your publications, you should at least get the potions completed properly,” he said coolly as the small bowl holding the stingers lifted in his translucent hand and turned upside-down over the cauldron.
She watched in stunned disbelief as he stirred the required twenty times not once, but twice. She grabbed the Potions book and traced her finger along his handwriting. Do twice. She looked up, amazed. “Why?”
“These are my experiments, and while I cannot claim to have a good name, you are intending to publish these under my name, nonetheless. I cannot stop you from brewing them, apparently, or from submitting my alterations, but I will ensure that they are at least done properly,” he said, scowling at her. “Your inattention while brewing is abominable.”
“All this time it’s been you,” she said in awe. “I—but this is a Muggle house?”
“So,” he said dismissively.
“And you are living here—with me?”
“And that means you’ve… you’ve…”
“What, Miss Granger?”
“Seen me naked!” She gasped at him. “And what I—I’ve… No!” Her mouth fell open as she stared at him.
“Oh yes, a few times.” Severus’ mask of indifference turned into a wide smile. “And, may I say, Weasley doesn’t deserve you.”
Her face felt flaming hot, but her desire to know the answers to her questions overrode her embarrassment. “Well, then, if you’re going to live here and help me brew these, maybe you can explain a few of your annotations,” she said more calmly than she felt, reaching for one of his journals.
Severus crossed his arms and smirked at her. “By all means. I’m all yours.”
Prompt from Ladyinthecloak: Hermione buys a Muggle house and finds it is haunted. What does she do?