A/N: Hurricanes, army graduations and life have gotten in the way of my writing lately. I thought a short chapter in the meantime would be better than nothing at all!
By the time Hermione made it to the Leaky Cauldron the next day, she was completely knackered. She was pleased to find Severus sitting at a corner table with Draco and Lucius. They all rose to greet her as she neared the table.
“Ah, Hermione, my dear,” Lucius said, kissing her hand.
“Hello, Lucius.” She smiled warmly at him before turning to the younger Malfoy. “Hi, Draco.”
“Gra--Hermione,” he amended.
“We were just keeping your husband company whilst he waited. He was telling us all about your adventure tomorrow.”
“Don’t let me interrupt,” she said. “I just need to sit for a bit. My feet are killing me.”
“Alas, we must be on our way. So lovely to see you.”
“Give Narcissa my best.”
“I will, thank you. You and Severus must come for dinner upon your return.”
“That sounds lovely.” They finished their goodbyes and the two Malfoys disappeared into Diagon Alley. She turned to her husband. “Have you eaten yet?”
“No. Perhaps we should have them bring something to the room though. You look exhausted.”
After settling in for a picnic in bed, Hermione regaled Severus with an account of her day. “Harry, Ginny and Ron appreciated the Hangover Potion you sent along.” After getting them squared away, they met the rest of the family for lunch at the Burrow. The Weasleys had no less than thirty questions regarding Hermione and Severus’s relationship and marriage. Most of their concerns were assuaged when she revealed their soulmate status. Molly looked at her thoughtfully for a moment and Hermione was certain she knew about her pregnancy. There was a theory that the soulmate magic would overcome any contraceptives. Clearly, there was some weight to it since she and Severus had both begun taking a Contraceptive Potion a few weeks before they were married.
“So I told them. Enough secrets.” Severus nodded at her assessment and she continued with her story. After the ensuing pandemonium calmed again, she and Ginny Floo’d to Diagon Alley and then set out for Muggle London. They spent several hours walking and shopping. “Don’t worry. I didn’t forget you. I bought you plenty of Muggle clothes for our trip.” She laughed openly at his groan and glare.
The next morning, the Snapes got up, dressed and had breakfast in their room. Hermione transfigured their luggage into more Muggle-looking messenger bags. She added charms so they appeared perfectly mundane and not like they were carrying a trunk’s worth of clothes and supplies each. When Severus asked why she didn’t just shrink them and make them completely undetectable, she explained that people don’t often fly to other countries and not take anything at all with them.
“Have you ever flown before?” she asked. “In an aeroplane,” she amended, having seen her husband fly on many occasions and by several different methods.
“Once, as a boy. When my mother became ill, my father sent me to stay with an aunt for a few weeks until term started.” He spoke absently while straightening his Muggle clothes in the mirror and trying to tie his hair back. Hermione was pleased that they had reached a point where he could candidly discuss his difficult upbringing with her. “My father wouldn't have paid for it, but she was wealthy and couldn't be bothered with the train. I flew from Bristol to Birmingham.”
“This might be quite a bit different. Airports have gotten to be hectic places. It would be helpful if you let me take the lead and just do what I do,” she said, crossing to him. “I’m not well versed in international Floo travel though, so I’m glad to have you in charge there.” She pulled his hair back in a low ponytail. “Don’t worry, no one would recognize you in a million years like this.” She stood back to appreciate his new look.
Since his spy days were over, he hardly looked like the same man. His skin had some color to it now that he was spending more time outside of the dungeons. She had been surprised to learn that the state of his hair and teeth were of his own doing. An unpleasing appearance had made it easier to keep people at a distance, both friend and foe. After his recovery, he had reversed the glamour charms, straightening and whitening his teeth and making his hair softer and more manageable. He wore his usual dragonhide boots; he would never compromise on those. She had mostly stuck with black and gray shirts because she wanted him to be as comfortable as possible on their trip. He was currently wearing a plain black oxford, untucked, and dark wash jeans. His pocket watch was the same silver wrist watch as he’d worn on their honeymoon.
“Why are you staring at me?” he asked suspiciously.
“I was thinking that it's no wonder that witch was hitting on you.” She slid her arms around him. “You are completely sexy.” He rolled his eyes at her, but blushed slightly. “That said,” she continued, stepping away from him, “you should take that off.”
“What’s wrong with this? Isn’t this what Muggles are wearing these days?” He looked in the mirror again, his brow furrowed. He turned around to find his wife pulling her jumper over her head. “Hermione,” his voice was stern, but he was already reaching for her. “This has to stop. We are going to be late.”
“Pregnancy hormones,” she said, before claiming his mouth. “Not my fault.”
They were not late. Thirty minutes later, they left their room and stepped into the pub in the Leaky Cauldron. They received many stares and shocked expressions as the Professor was eventually recognized. Hermione was surprised to find Harry and Ginny at a table.
“What are you guys doing here?” she asked, as they stood.
“I wanted to take Harry to that massive Muggle shop we went to. I was hoping we’d catch you so could tell him where it is,” Ginny answered distractedly.
“Oh, you did, did you?” Hermione laughed. Ginny was very blatantly looking Severus up and down with an appreciative smile. Harry was obviously embarrassed.
“Well, I did want to check out the Professor here,” she said, tearing her eyes away from the man in question, who was looking increasingly outraged and scandalized. Hermione laughed again when Harry’s elbow made gentle contact with Ginny’s side. “I really do want to see that shop again though. It was amazing and full of gadgets.”
“Harry, I took her to Ikea.”
“Ahhh. That makes sense. Thanks.” Harry flushed again. “I guess we’ll just be going.” He tried to pull Ginny away from her appraisal of their former teacher/new colleague.
“Miss Weasley, if you are quite finished, we must be on our way,” Severus said bruskly, ushering his wife towards the door into Muggle London.
“Bye, Severus!” Ginny called after them. “Owl me, Mione!”
Severus continued to walk quickly out and down the street. He paused on the corner and hailed a taxi.
“Severus, I don’t think she’s following us.”
“I take no chances,” he said, holding open the door for her. “Constant vigilance.” He slid in beside her, slammed the door. “Heathrow,” he said to the driver. Hermione briefly wondered how much of her help Severus would need navigating around the non-Wizarding World. Being half-blood, she knew he was far more familiar with some things than other wizards. Being a spy, he was graceful in all situations. She was grateful that it seemed much simpler than she’d thought. She was immediately distracted by wondering if she could use a charm to increase the size of the aeroplane lav to comfortably fit them both.
Damn pregnancy hormones.