The reading nook was quiet in the little coffee-bookshop Snape picked out for them to talk. He didn't dare let his thoughts wander to the girl behind him, staring at him like the monster he was, the old, perverted leech, preying on a girl half his age, so full of life and intelligence, an ex-student nonetheless.
He ordered a very strong cup of coffee for himself and a light tea for Miss Granger along with confectionery sweets. When he turned back, her dark chocolate eyes met his, never straying, very bold. Biting his cheek, he walked back to her and set the tea in front of her. "I want to apologize, Miss Granger," he murmured. She snorted into her tea and he found it sounded very wrong coming out of her plump mouth. Maybe it was her newfound sex appeal.
"I…I never thank you properly," he said in a wavering voice that made him cringe. "I want to take you to dinner." Her eyes narrowed into distrusting slits as she went still, like a statue. Her knuckles were white as she set down her cup very slowly and spoke. Her lips glimmered with shiny lipstick and he found it hard to focus on her words when all he wanted to do was lunge across the table and kiss her…ravage her…make her feel beautiful.
"You really think courting me is going to make everything disappear? Especially the fact that you took the guise of a mutt to sneak into my house, my sanctuary?" she growled, her voice deadly soft. All Snape's fantasies shattered viciously as her words hit him like a slap in the face. He jerked back in his chair, unable to speak. Her brown eyes were livid with anger and he thought he'd never seen anything so lovely, so full of life.
"No," he replied in an even quieter voice, letting his eyes stray down her plump figure. She was so beautiful and he wanted nothing more than to make her see, let his hands wander those lovely curves of hers. He met her gaze, his resolve cementing. "I don't think courting you will fix anything. I did not intend to intrude on your privacy—"
"Like hell you didn't!" she snapped and sparks jumped around her hair.
"Sit down," he hissed in his Teaching Voice and she shut up and her butt slapped into the seat hard enough to cause it squawk across the floor. Glowering at him, she bit her lip.
"—As I was saying, I never intended to invade your privacy. I was greatly injured and, being in Animagus form while injured, I couldn't revert back to human. Even after my back healed, I couldn't turn." He stroked the rim of his cup tenderly, watching the steam peel away in wisps. "I had no way of contacting Albus or Lupin or anyone. I was miles away from home," he continued, "with the one person who would surely hex me within an inch of my life if I turned back suddenly. Surely, you thought I was a coward."
The sparks that had been rolling off her curls slowly dribbled into nothing and she just sat there, cheek in her upturned hand, looking a bit calmer. He really didn't need an explosion of emotion-based magic destroying his favorite cafe. Hermione was quiet for the longest time and he was beginning to feel antsy, anxious. A nervous ball of dread churned in his stomach as he sipped his piping coffee and tried not to shake her and make her see that he wasn't playing any games.
"I want to work with you," she said abruptly.
He blinked. Once. Twice. "What?" he asked.
Hermione's determined eyes met Severus's confused ones. "I want to work on potions with you. Help you with your apothecary," she simpered, leaning back in her chair as she crossed her legs, watching him closely, taking a sip from her cup.
He then noticed the crumbs on her lips and that her hand was reaching for the plate in front of her, her black fingernails tap-tap-tapping. Searching. Just like her eyes, which never left his, never tried to move, just kept staring. He felt sweaty and uncomfortable.
"Why?" he croaked. Cleared his throat. While he was drinking his coffee, she gave him an answer.
"It'll be a new experience. Fresh. Exciting," she replied, waving a hand through the air to flag down the barista. "Can I have one of everything?" Hermione asked sweetly.
The barista, a girl with a scar on her nose and a lip ring, didn't even bat an eye. "The mint chocolate chip cookies are very good," she told the two, her voice very deep for a girl her age.
"He'll take some," Hermione chuckled, waving her hand at him almost flippantly. Anger buzzed through him, followed by surprise, and then, grudgingly, respect. The girl he knew during school had left; this one had a backbone. "Oh," she said, slamming forward to steady her chair and his eyes were glued to the way her breasts bounced for a short second. "About the whole 'courting me' thing," she purred and Snape nearly melted, "you're going to have to prove that you aren't a right git, a bastard, or a pervert who pretends to be dogs to get some action."
With that, Hermione bit into her cookie, turned her head away from him and watched the night outside; he had the creeping suspicion that the conversation was over. He reached out and took a cookie; it was warm in his hand and he noticed the mint-blue chips in the brown sweet. Sighing to himself, he bit into his cookie and found, just as the barista had said, they were quite delicious. After she'd eaten her fill, Hermione buttoned up Snape's coat and waited by the door while he paid. He loved a woman who could eat but she devoured sweets like a glutton; it was almost amusing-until he saw the bill. He was by no means poor but the price was ridiculous! Holding the door for her, Snape let his muscles relax as she brushed past him, her curls tickling his jaw.
"I will see you Monday," she said matter-of-factually before she shook his hand.
Snape watched her Apparate away and then Apparated to Hogwarts. On the walk to his quarters, his mind bounced from one place to another, images of Hermione as she walked into Hogwarts for six years fluttering and flashing behind his lids.
The sheets were cool against his nude body as he thought of her and closed his eyes.
This new, adult Hermione Granger with a backbone of steel certainly was full of surprises.