Author's Note: Written for carley9 for the 2013 SSHG Newbie Fest!
Prompt: The first time Severus meets Hermione's extended family. Preferably at a family holiday party. (With humor.)
"I really don't see why my presence is necessary," Severus muttered as Hermione smoothed the collar of his oxford shirt for the sixth time. "That is enough," he hissed, batting her hands away. "You cannot make me any more presentable than I already am, witch."
"Don't call me that," she snapped, ignoring the sneer in his tone. "Only my parents know about our world, remember?"
Disgruntled, he slid his wand further into his sleeve where he could easily retrieve it. At least he'd been allowed to wear an evening jacket rather than an atrociously lumpy jumper. "I still say this is ridiculous."
"Mum and Dad are guilting me into it, you know this." Hermione adjusted her scarf, then pulled a knit cap roughly over her curls. "They've only met you the once, after all, and my family hasn't seen me for years, not really."
"All of which does not mean that I must suffer through this evening," he pointed out, grasping the transfigured pea coat from the peg and swirling it around his shoulders. Already he missed his winter cloak. How such a short article of clothing could be expected to provide adequate protection from the elements was beyond him.
"You said you'd go." She handed him a scarf and shoved her own wand into a small reticule. "Apparate us?"
Severus gave her a dry look. "You've been to the location previously, not I."
Hermione flushed. "I don't think I can take two that far."
With a long-suffering sigh, he tilted her chin up with two fingers, catching her gaze. She pictured their destination and he found the thought without a problem, examining it for the appropriate amount of details. As he did, he caught a flicker of another memory and clamped down hard on the tendril of glee. Well, then. Tonight was going to be interesting.
"Got it?" She searched his eyes anxiously and Severus withdrew from her mind and offered his elbow. "Good. Okay, remember, they're Muggles, and haven't any idea -"
They appeared in the snowy alps with a resounding crack.
"-about the wizarding world, so be careful with what you say," Hermione finished lamely. Severus stalked away from her, heading for the small, brightly-lit lodge, and she waded after him through the snow. To his credit, he did wait for her on the steps, eyebrow raised.
"Go ahead and knock. The sooner we arrive, the sooner this will be done with."
"Thanks," Hermione muttered and rapped on the door, hoping it would be heard over the blasting radio and boisterous chatter. Indeed, footsteps hurried their way, and no sooner had the door been opened than had a short man pulled her into a tight hug, wine glass sloshing.
"Hermione! Dear cousin!" The man pulled back back kissed her cheeks. It was in relief that Severus noted he spoke very good English. "So good of you to join us! Come in, come in, and who is this?"
"My -" she faltered. Damn it. She'd never gone so far as to label their relationship. Would he react badly to being termed a boyfriend? 'Lover' was absolutely the wrong term to use in front of her family. Was he her suitor? No, that implied that marriage was on his mind, and he'd never even hinted as such. "-date. My date, Severus. We're seeing each other."
Behind her, over their heads, Severus smirked in amusement. Her date? Oh, this could prove amusing. "Indeed. May we come in? It is less than hospitable outside this evening."
"Oh, yes! Sorry, sorry." The man herded Hermione past him and reached for Severus, who intercepted the intended embrace for a handshake. "Marc, Hermione's cousin. Just toss your coat on the pile. I will tell Mononcle and Matante that you have arrived with your beau."
Marc headed down the hallway and Severus leaned down to Hermione's ear. "Date?"
She flushed to the tips of her ears. "What term would you prefer?"
"Ask me again later," he purred, deliberately brushing his lips over the lobe and making her shiver. There, that should keep her distracted for at least a short while as she pondered his meaning.
"Hermione! You made it! Oh, my baby girl! It's been too long, how have you been?" Jean Granger hurried down the hall. A Christmas bow, shiny and green, was perched among her frizzy hair. "Oh, and, Severus! You made it, too."
The woman looked entirely too pleased, and Hermione groaned. "Mum, please, don't even start. He's just here to make sure I don't hex any relatives for asking impertinent questions and thereby get myself in hot water with the Ministry."
Severus snorted. "More likely to be the other way around, Mrs. Granger."
"Of course." The daft woman actually reached up and patted his cheek before he could recoil. "Well, don't just stand there, loves. By now Marc's told everyone you've brought someone and they'll all be simply dying to meet him."
Hermione groaned. "Great... Just keep Brigitte away from him."
Jean hugged her daughter again. "Everyone's in the sitting room, dinner won't be for another hour. Come and say hello."
Shooting Hermione a glare – an hour until dinner, when she had rushed them from the flat? She returned his look with a helpless shrug. So dinner was late; that wasn't her fault. Still, she led the way, stopping briefly at a side table to grab them both a cup of something that smelled suspiciously like cheap fruit. He'd have to pour a liberal amount of whiskey from his flask into his glass if she intended him to drink it.
"Who's this?" An old woman, shorter even than Hermione, called out, in her heavily accented voice as she pushed her way through the crowd of relatives. To his dismay, Severus realised that he was by far the tallest person present, towering over a disturbing amount of people. People looked up at him with cheerful smiles.
Distinctly uncomfortable, he resisted the urge to sneer. If he could survive Death Eater meetings and the occasions he met with the parents of problematic students, he could bloody well manage a room of Muggles. "Severus Snape, madam."
She peered at him, her eyes sharp. "You're with my granddaughter?"
Hermione's grandmother circled him and he clenched his jaw at her scrutiny. Without warning, the woman grabbed his arse, and only Hermione's speedy hand on his arm stopped him from freeing his wand. Apparently the pinch wasn't enough and she slapped his rear; Severus flushed angrily, but the woman merely seemed satisfied.
"Nice and pert. Don't skimp on the babies." Next to him, Hermione choked.
The family apparently considered this a commonplace, already chatting with each other in a mixture of English and French. Jean gave them both an apologetic glance before pulling Hermione away. "Don't mind Nana Granger, she did the same to me when Anthony brought me home the first time. Just honked away... Come say hello to your father, Hermione."
Watching as Hermione followed her mother helplessly, Severus used the moment to pour a generous dollop of whiskey into the very-unpalatable 'punch'. Keenly aware of 'Nana Granger's' location, Severus found it safer to stand with his back to the bookshelf.
If he hadn't known that Hermione hadn't seen her extended family in nearly seven years, he would likely have been offended at how quickly he was abandoned. A conversation with her father became an exchange of tales between her and who appeared to be aunts. Then uncles. Then that Marc fellow, who smiled too easily for Severus's piece of mind.
Hermione was nodding at something Brigitte had said when she very distinctly heard Uncle Andre ask Severus: "So. What do you do for a living?"
Conversation quieted, her nosy relations eagerly listening in.
"I teach," was Severus's curt reply. Andre waited a long moment, until it became clear that the dark wizard wasn't about to elaborate any further.
"So... How did you meet Hermione?"
"She was my student." Severus's voice was dry, and all conversation stopped immediately.
Horrified, Hermione stared at Severus as the silence quickly became awkward. Oh, God, Severus... He merely looked back at her, one eyebrow quirked questioningly.
"I haven't been his student for over three years," Hermione blurted, her cheeks hot. "We started seeing each other almost a year and a half ago."
"No one said anything," a girl said mildly, waving a hand airily. "Honestly, Hermione, it is nothing. Only, it is a pity you did not bring him over sooner. He has a most lovely voice. If he lectured, it is no wonder you found yourself fond of him."
Hermione's gaze went flat. "Thank you, Brigitte, for your input." Her voice was tight. "Severus is indeed an excellent educator."
"I'm sure," Brigitte purred. Already the other relatives had gone back to their conversations. "As you may have guessed, I'm Brigitte, Hermione's cousin. Charmed to make your acquaintance."
"Indeed." Severus ignored the extended hand. "Excuse me, I seem to need a refill of my beverage."
Dodging Hermione's possessive look, Severus escaped to the kitchen. Three more of Hermione's relations – by the looks of it an aunt and two uncles – were preparing dinner and he winced at their sloppy technique.
Several minutes passed before Hermione came in search of her erstwhile wizard, only to find Aunt Paula, Uncle Geoffe, and Uncle Timon sulking in the kitchen while Severus commandeered the counter. "Oh, hullo."
"Rude," Aunt Paula muttered. "Said we were incompetent."
"Sorry," Hermione whispered. "He's excellent in the kitchen and is a bit of a control freak."
"I heard that, Hermione."
She sighed. "Of course you did. How can I help?"
Dinner fared no better: Severus did not make small talk, or regale them with tales of her as a student, no matter how they tried. He did not, at least, insult her younger cousins, though he did dodge their sticky fingers as they reached for seconds. He wisely also did not engage Brigitte in further conversation, despite the girl's atrocious attempts at flirting with him.
"Tell me about yourself," someone – he forgot the name – suddenly asked him. "You know, where you grew up, that sort of thing."
"I apologise," Severus replied stiffly. "I wasn't aware that my personal life was up for discussion."
"Oh." Clearly, they didn't know how to react to him. Hermione elbowed him discreetly, and he ignored her. Only a few more interminable hours left to suffer, after all.
"That was awful," Hermione moaned, kicking off her shoes and wriggling out of her coat. "I've never had such a bad night with them! Nosy bastards... Rarely see them, so why they suddenly want to know everything the moment I'm around is beyond me..."
"I thought the evening was marginally successful." Severus flicked his wand, restoring his cloak to its proper form. Hermione growled, and he pulled her into an embrace. "Calm yourself. The evening is over, Hermione."
"Never again," she sighed, hugging him far too tightly. "I knew this was a bad idea. No more family holidays. Ever."
Over the top of her head, Severus smirked widely.