A.N. -- This story is inspired from a set of scenes in the book “Kingdom of the Grail”, by Judith Tarr. When I read the scenes, they immediately brought Severus Snape to mind, and I realized that I had to write this little piece. I would recommend her writing, as she is wonderfully descriptive with things pertaining to magic. The title of the story, by the way, means “Beautiful Magic”.
Hermione watched Severus as he lay down on the sheets next to her, his arm over his eyes, and she reflected in some surprise that he was beautiful in his own particular way.
Hermione had never truly been beautiful, that she clearly remembered. Wild and curious looking, maybe, and striking in her strangeness at times, so that some called her ugly, and yet there were still some others who had found her pleasing to the eye.
And though some might call Severus Snape ugly, it only proved their ignorance of the man that was in front of them.
It was obvious that he’d grown into his lanky frame slowly, his limbs at one point being long and tending to tangle, much like his hair at times, and his nose belonged on a notably larger face.
And yet he was rather more than the sum of his parts. Something about him seemed to call up memories of the old gods.
She had a feeling that the old people, the Fae of the moors and mountain highlands had looked much like him, before they had shut themselves away from human eyes. His was not a human beauty; it had too many edges. His skin was too white, his eyes too dark and strange to belong to any mortal man.
But it was a beauty to stop the heart.
It was a beauty that she was able to easily recognize now that she knew its form.
The beauty was magical, and seemed to reflect the man within.
The man that she knew to be one of the most powerful men to have ever come to be in the magical world. Many people denied it, but just being by his side, soaking in his presence, she could no more deny his exquisite power than she could deny the sun from rising.
Hermione knew that he had learned things not just from books and teachers, but from the very foundations of nature itself.
He knew things that she could only dream about.
He knew how to raise walls of pure air with only a thought on his part, leaving others wondering as to whether or not he was truly a mortal man.
She had learned from him that true magic was quiet, a thing of the spirit and mind. That it had no need for extravagant or lavish displays, as others were wont to do with their own magic. She had heard and seen him speaking those soft words, without drums or trumpets, magical gestures or sleights of a normal wizard’s art.
He could raise the walls as the spirits had taught him, securing them with bars of light and binding them with the chains of the earth.
The sight alone was enough to stop her heart with the pure majesty of it.
And oh, dear forgotten gods, the strength of him, to do it with such ease, as if it were no more complicated than the simplest of levitation spells.
There had been no gap in the warding that he’d raised, not a single weakness to be found. She turned from staring at him to staring at the faint shimmers of the wards that circled around the bedroom and secured them in their safety.
His handiwork displayed…and she could do nothing but admire it.
Hermione absently ran her hand along his bared shoulder, still trying to understand what a man like Severus Snape saw in her.
She was nothing compared to him.
As she had said once to Harry, books and cleverness were all she had to offer. But somehow Severus saw something else…something beyond what others could see.
She was silently glad for it, as it gave her the wonderful experience of being the person to be inside his unbreakable, unshakeable emotional walls. He was an enigma wrapped in a mystery, and she wanted nothing more than to find the truth of him.
The last few hours with him had revealed more to her than her fifteen years of knowing him.
It had been by chance that they’d run into each other; both of them attending the Mythology lecture at Oxford, given by one Elaine Wright.
She’d quite literally ran into him as she’d rushed through the doors to get to her seat in time, and had been pleasantly surprised to discover that he was seated next to her.
It was an accident that she never wanted to forget. In fact, in the back of her mind she had the vaguest notion that it wasn’t an accident. That fate had somehow conspired to have the two of them meet at that particular time and place, seeing each other in a brand new light.
Hermione moved her hand up and brushed a lock of hair from his face, admiring his profile in the faint shimmer of the wards that guarded the room.
Yes…he truly was beautiful.