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He found her packing her books and papers in the dungeons. "When do you leave?" asked Severus softly.
"Ten o'clock, on a Portkey from Inverness," replied Hermione. She fussed with the straps of her rucksack. "A day's layover in Crete, then on to Cairo."
"Be sure to visit Arcana Mouseío in Crete. You'll find a wealth of magical knowledge within its walls."
"I shall. You already told me."
He cast about for something to stave off the silence. "Remember, the university chancellor only offers one fellowship per year. In your interview, tell her about—"
"I know, Severus! Don't worry."
"Then it seems you're ready. I wish you all the best, Hermione." He smirked. "Someday, you might even know more than I do."
"I doubt that!” she laughed. “Thank you, Severus. It's been an honor." She shook his hand and then, to his surprise, brushed his cheek with a kiss. "If you're ever in Egypt…" she said with that lilt in her voice he loved.
"I plan to visit next Christmas," he blurted. The ache in his chest immediately eased. There was no point in living without taking occasional risks in matters of the heart.
She had taught him that.
Written for the GS100 "Knowledge challenge." Comments welcome!
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The Patronus skin was created especially for The Petulant Poetess by TarahFae.