Chapter 9 Family Reunion Continued

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  Hermione and Severus continued to walk about and mingle, both holding a champagne glass. They were drained quickly. Severus fought the urge to rub his temples and groan. Hermione was right when she said that her great aunt had not been the worst of it. He was hanging back a bit as Hermione laughed with a cousin when his spy senses snapped to attention. He narrowed his eyes and subtly scanned the room, looking for the disturbance. There was a man, maybe 50 or so years old, who was walking towards Hermione with his eyes locked on her. Severus saw a glint in them, one he had seen at many a deatheater revel. He quickly stepped behind Hermione and blocked her from the man's view, trapping her between himself and her cousin. She didn't notice.

  The man narrowed his eyes and stepped up, clapping Severus hard on the shoulder. It was a warning. "Hello, there. I haven't seen you before. What branch of the family are you from?" Severus turned around and looked down at the man. He was tall, but Severus was taller. He desperately missed his robes and their intimidating factor. "My name is Severus Snape, suitor to Miss Hermione Granger. And you are?" he asked, holding out his hand. "Winston Granger. I'm Hermione's third uncle on her father's side." Severus gritted his teeth and willed himself not to jerk away when the man grabbed his hand. Severus did not like the way the man kept trying to look over his shoulder at Hermione.

  "Well, mister Snape, you have a very unusual name. Classy and dangerous, I must say. You remind me of a combination of Batman and James Bond." he chuckled. Who in Merlin's name were those characters? "Where is our bell of the ball anyway? Hermione is the only one I actually look forward to at these dreadfully boring reunions." he grinned.

  Narrowing his eyes, he replied, "Talking with her cousin. She's asked me to allow no interruptions as she is discussing something very important." The man glared at Severus, as if sizing him up. "Well then," Winston said, grabbing his arm with a tight grip, "Why don't us men go have a smoke outside?"

   Severus glared right back at him and tugged his arm out of the man's grip. "I don't smoke. And I would appreciate it greatly if you left me to my own devices, as I have something to discuss with Hermione." The man stepped closer, now head to nose with the dark figure. "Now you listen here," he said, poking Severus hard in the chest, "I said I wanted to see Hermione and I will! After all, she's grown into a lovely young woman." There was a glint in his eye when he said those words that made Severus want to punch him. "I'm sure you can agree?" Severus grabbed the man's finger in a death grip and twisted it, throwing it off of him. The man winced and made a small noise when he did.

  For emphasis, Severus leaned down and looked the man in the eye. "If I catch you near Hermione ever again, I will give you an unimaginable amount of pain. You'd be surprised how much the human body can take before it breaks." Severus gave a nasty grin and the man gulped, scampering off.

  Hermione turned around, finished with her cousin. "Professor? Who was that?" She asked, confused. "Your dear uncle Winston." Severus spat. Hermione's eyes darkened. "I don't like the way he looks at me. Or talks to me. It's practically," she shuddered, "suggestive." Severus wrapped an arm around her. "Well don't worry, I've scared him off for now." They walked a bit when Severus casually said, "I've been meaning to ask, how many family members know of your, abilities?" He was clearly asking how much if her family knew she was a witch. "Only my parents." she replied.

  Severus nodded and the retreated to a corner. Glancing around to make sure no one was watching, she grabbed two blocks of cheese from a table and quickly transfigured them into chairs. They sat down before anyone could get to them first. Both sighing in relief, Hermione handed him a few vials from her hair, which he drank gratefully. They hadn't sat down for 3 hours.
"What time is it?" asked Severus.
Hermione looked around and spotted a clock on the wall. "2 Hours until dinner." He groaned and ran a hand through his hair. "What do we do until then?" he asked.

  "Potions. Or magical topics. No one will notice, and if they do they'll just think we're crazy or discussing some book I've read." Severus grinned and leaned forward as they engaged in a very magical and enthusiastic debate. One person noticed when they started to raise their voices and soon a crows started to form around them.

  "Inferi can be used for good! It depends on the maker!" "Maker?! One does not simply make an Inferi! It's a dead body that's been reanimated! You can't just make a dead body!" "Well that's not exactly what I meant! Take ashwinder eggs for example, you can make them into a paste or slush for a potion but you can't make them yourself!" People were now watching intently at the battle of wills between the two persons, who were now standing very close to one another and looked rather flushed as they nearly shouted at one another. Then the tall, dark man said something that made the woman burst out laughing and his face turned purple before he began laughing too. The couple looked up and wiped their eyes, noticing that half of the room was watching them. Embarrassed, they excused themselves and went to talk with her parents, who informed them that dinner was about to start. They followed them into the large dining room and sat down, unaware of Winston's eyes on Hermione the entire time.

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