Disclaimer: never did and never will own it. J.K. Rowling does.
Spoilers: Order of the Phoenix
~ An Accurate Prediction ~
A scream rent the silent night air, startling the young lady in the Head Girl’s room awake. Eyes rapidly scanning the room, she searched for the source of the banshee howl. Seeing nothing moving within the room, she gently nudged her companion. Screams in the night were not unusual at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry—what with the large population of ghosts and other fantastical beings, but something about this one made her tremble with fear. The one sharing her bed was still sound asleep. He made a sound very much like a sigh and shifted position, but other than that showed no signs of stirring.
“Wake up!” Hermione Granger said, poking more firmly.
His eyes finally opened, and he opened his mouth as if to speak, only to let out a soft snore. She giggled and leaned on him, caressing his hooked nose, then letting her hand slid down on his shoulder and his arm, where her fingers outlined the Dark Mark. She pressed a soft kiss behind his ear lobe. She pushed down the sheets, looking at him, only clothed in his black silk boxers. She blushed at the sight and sighed.
“Sometimes, I almost forgot you’re not real,” she whispered.
She leaned down again and kissed his lips, making a mental note to do some research to make him smell the way he should. She missed his scent, though she was very proud of her spell.
“Duty calls, love,” she said. “I have to go.”
She grabbed her wand and waved it above him. The man in her bed turned back into a stuffed black panther. She put on a dressing gown and slippers and left her room.
“Miss Granger,” growled a deliciously silky voice in her ear. “May I know what you are doing out of your bed at this hour of the night?”
She hid her dreamy smile and turned to face him.
“Professor Snape. Which hour is it exactly?”
“Past two in the morning. Now, if you please, the answer to my question?”
“I heard a shriek. I think there are only two possibilities as the producer of it. Unless someone transformed Pansy Parkinson into a banshee,” she added wistfully. “So… either Professor Trelawney – I still remember her scream from two years ago – or the shrieking book in the Restricted Section.”
“It’s dangerous to admit you know about this book, Miss Granger. And I must congratulate you on your cunning attempt to have a glimpse at the Restricted Section. Very Slytherin tactic.”
“Why, Professor, thank you. I never thought I would hear such a compliment coming from you.”
“But unfortunately, I’m afraid you’re right as for your first assumption. I also remember Sybill’s scream because of Dolores Umbridge. It has haunted my nightmares since then,” he added with a good-natured smirk. “I wonder which vision she had this time.”
“Maybe we should ask her. It must be very disturbing.”
Severus cocked an eyebrow and led the way to the North Tower.
“She probably Saw that Miss Brown and Miss Patil were going to leave her class. It would be a shock to her. Or maybe that Longbottom would turn into a real Seer.”
“Oh, Neville doesn’t believe in Divination. No fear about that. He’s almost as bad as I am in that field.”
“What, worse than in Potions? I find it hard to believe.”
Hermione laughed softly.
“Minerva, I swear! I Saw them!”
Hermione and Severus could hear Sybill’s misty voice raised in righteous indignation. They looked at each other and stifled a grin.
“There!” said Sybill, pointing at them. “Didn’t I tell you so? I Saw the dark man in the room of the Head Girl.”
Minerva McGonagall turned her head toward the two newcomers.
“Severus, Miss Granger, may I know what you are doing here?”
“We were afraid someone had set a banshee loose in Hogwarts,” Severus replied with a snort. “Honestly, Minerva, what do you think? We heard Sybill scream. We wondered what happened.”
“‘We’, huh?” said Minerva, suspicious.
Sybill smiled triumphantly.
“So what happened? You dreamed Umbridge was back?” Severus inquired.
“No,” she replied with dignity. “I had a vision… a dark man in the Head Girl’s room… bed, more precisely. The dark man proved to be you. And you arrived together here.”
Severus had a brief laugh.
“No wonder you screamed like this. The vision of me with a woman is truly scary,” he commented sarcastically. “Unfortunately, dear Sybill, you were wrong. I was seen prowling the corridors for the last two hours by at least eighteen portraits, including the one at Miss Granger’s door, who can testify that I never approached the room until fifteen minutes ago.”
Sybill opened the mouth to protest. Hermione scowled with a feigned look of hurt pride.
“No need to display your jealousy to the whole castle, Professor Trelawney. A hint in my direction would have been enough for me to understand.”
Sybill turned red with indignation and Minerva successfully transformed her laugh into a coughing fit. Severus snorted.
“I trust the misunderstanding is cleared, Minerva?” he inquired politely.
Still unable to speak, tears of laughter welling in her eyes, the Head of Gryffindor nodded. Severus and Hermione left the two women behind them and made their way back to the Head Girl’s quarters.
As they arrived near her door, Severus pushed Hermione against the wall and leaned toward her, his hand pressed on the cold stone above her shoulder.
“Now, Miss Granger, about the Restricted Section…”
“I could give you a pass… if you want to look for spells about scents.”
Hermione’s eyes widened and she swallowed visibly.
“You… you know?”
“Why?” he replied simply.
She closed her eyes for a brief moment.
“The nightmares… I couldn’t sleep anymore, I could only hear the screams, see the deaths…”
He nodded understandingly. Her parents had died by the Death Eaters’ hands in her sixth year and only months ago, Voldemort had finally been defeated after a deadly battle. The toll paid by the Order of the Phoenix – and Hogwarts’ students – had been very high.
“But I always felt safe with you,” she continued bravely. “You were always there to protect us and I thought that–”
“That you could use one of the most potent Transfiguration spells to transform something into me.”
“Yes,” she admitted, blushing furiously.
“Did it work?”
“Did you sleep better?”
She nodded shyly, still marvelling at the fact he wasn’t angry. Severus looked around.
“May we continue this discussion somewhere more discreet? The corridors are not the ideal place.”
She worried her lower lip between her teeth and took her decision. Taking his hand in hers, she murmured the password of her room and dragged him inside. He had a light smile, closed the door behind him and warded it before leaning toward her, his mouth only inches from her ear.
“Now, Miss Granger,” he murmured. “I’ll have you know that I don’t wear black silk boxers. They are dark green. Slytherin colours, you understand.”
“Oh Gods,” she winced. “This can’t get worse, can it?”
He crossed his arms on his chest and smirked.
“How… how do you know?”
“Because you forgot a tiny detail about this spell, Miss Granger, and it rather surprises me. If you choose to transform something into a human being – without a Polyjuice potion, naturally – then the person concerned feels whatever happens to his or her double.”
Hermione winced again.
“Alright, it can get worse,” she muttered. “You mean that… you felt… heard… everything I did?”
“Oh yes, Miss Granger. It means that while I was prowling the corridors, I had the most wonderful impression of having two arms wrapped around me, of being kissed and of being called sweet names.”
Hermione hid her face in her hands.
“Let me die,” she begged.
“I can’t tell you, Miss Granger, how glad I am that you forgot about this detail.”
Slowly, she lowered her hands and looked at him in disbelief. He smiled ruefully.
“Feeling you near me – even if it was only an illusion – chased away my nightmares also. Believe me, I never slept better than since you began using the spell.”
“So you… you’re not angry with me?”
He stepped forward and lightly touched her cheek.
“Not at all. In fact… in fact, I would very much for Sybill’s prediction to be true.”
Gathering her courage, Hermione stepped forward in turn.
“Hold me,” she murmured.
When his arms closed on her, she breathed deeply. This was perfect. The feel of him holding her, his scent – spices, moss and sandalwood – the rising and falling of his chest under her cheek…
“Good?” he asked softly.
“It’s so much better,” she replied with a strangled sob, wrapping her arms around him.
He lifted her in his arms and put her down on the bed.
“Do you mind?”
A wave of his hand and they were in their nightclothes. In the dim light of her room, she saw his wry smile.
“I’m not that sure I’m ready to be only in my boxers.”
She laughed softly.
“Dark green silk boxers,” she said teasingly.
“Don’t tempt your luck.”
She didn’t answer and snuggled closer to him, knowing she wouldn’t have any nightmare that night. Severus caressed her hair and chuckled.
“I can’t believe it. Sybill will have made three accurate predictions. Next thing you know, Longbottom will make a correct potion on his own.”
“He could, if you didn’t frighten him so much,” she murmured, already half asleep. “Good night, Severus.”
“Good night, Hermione.”
Sleep overtook the two in the bed.