DISCLAIMER: All characters are the property of the brilliant J.K. Rowling. As I’ve said elsewhere, I couldn't even get my husband to dress up in black robes and pretend to be Snape. That is probably why he's now my ex-husband. :) Also, this was my first fanfic and I do realize, while cringing, how horridly out of character Snape is. Sekritly!Romantic!Snape is now the bane of my writing, but I'm not deleting it.
Severus Snape sighed tiredly as he bent his head over the stack of exams. One hand ran through his long dark hair while the other splashed red ink liberally across the parchments. His head throbbed from coping with the idiocy of the Hufflepuff fourth years. He only wished he could have forced a few of them to drink the potions they so carelessly wrote about. Of course, Professor Sprout would have happily fed him to her rather extensive collection of flesh eating plants had any of her precious students actually been subjected to their imagined combination of Sleeping, Healing, and Shrinking potions and thus spent a healthy and peaceful week’s sleep in a matchbox.
The only good news was that, with the N.E.W.T.’s completed, in a few short days he would be rid of Potter and Weasley forever. Now that Voldemort had been defeated, and his followers killed, kissed, or scattered, Snape could think of no good reason to ever see the boys ever again. As for their compatriot, Miss Granger, Snape was sure that at some point in the future their paths would cross. Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall wouldn’t rest until their star student was back with them in a teaching capacity. Perhaps that wouldn’t be so horrible, he mused. When the girl could be separated from her idiotic companions, she showed spirit and intelligence, as well as a rapier wit. Though not a classic beauty, she had learned to emphasize her huge mocha eyes and full lips to good advantage. However, when she was with Potter and Weasley, she allowed herself to be overshadowed. Like the brightest star eclipsed by the wispy clouds of evening--
His reverie was interrupted by a knock on the door. “Come in!” he called severely. As he waved his hand in the direction of the door, it opened. He was interested to see Hermione Granger standing there, with a mug of something steaming in her hand. She stood there uncertainly for a moment, then approached his desk. “Well, well, our esteemed Miss Granger.” He sneered upwards at her. “Has your relentless campaign for house elves’ rights now extended to bringing me my morning coffee?” One eyebrow snaked up his forehead to match his query.
To his surprise, Hermione chuckled lightly before replying. “I really wouldn’t recommend drinking this, Professor. I believe that someone has tampered with my tea. That’s why I’m here. I was hoping that you might consent to grant a moment of your valuable time to help me determine whether this is a prank, or something more serious.” Despite the respectful words, Miss Granger’s tone was sarcastic and the position of her eyebrow matched his own.
Snape had to admit that he was intrigued. “What makes you believe your tea has been tampered with?”
“May I?” Hermione asked, gesturing to a nearby stool. When Snape nodded, she perched herself on it, and continued. “I only ever drink Earl Grey tea, and have done for years. I would know the scent anywhere. Before I took a drink this morning, I recognized at least three foreign odours, including unicorn horn, which obviously has absolutely no business being anywhere near my morning tea.” As she spoke, he reached out his hand across the desk for the mug. For a moment, she was captivated by the sight of his long fingers, stained with potion ingredients and ink. Imagining those fingers tracing their way down her body to her--She shook off the thought and placed the mug into his outstretched hand.
Snape waved the tea under his large nose several times, inhaling deeply. “Interesting.” He commented. He inhaled again. “Did you identify any other scents, Miss Granger?”
Aware that she was being tested, Hermione straightened a bit. “Yes sir. I believe I detected essence of hyssop and possibly moonwort. This leads me to believe it is a love potion, and therefore, probably a joke. However, I wanted to come to you to be sure.”
Despite himself, Snape was impressed with her sense of smell and knowledge of Potions. “You are correct, Miss Granger. I believe the tea contains the altoparlante di amore potion, which is designed to make you declare the name of the one you love. Any suspects in mind, or need I ask?”
“Harry and Ron, of course!” Hermione practically spat out the names. “Honestly! Now that they have girlfriends, they are convinced I can’t possibly be happy without a man to validate my every move. I’m sure they thought this was their last chance to find me someone before I left for Oxford. If they could get me to say a name, they could work on one of their little plots to match me up.”
Hmmm...Snape thought. Did he detect trouble in paradise with the Golden Trio? Perhaps this was his chance to see what she was really made of. “Normally, Miss Granger, administering potions to an unsuspecting student would call for a massive loss of House points and multiple detentions. However, since we are so close to graduation, and since you were not harmed, I will allow you to determine what you think is best.” He sat back in his chair and once again queried her with his eyebrow.
“Would you think less of me if I said I wanted to get them back?” Miss Granger asked with a predatory gleam in her eye. Had Harry and Ron been present, they would have immediately recognized her ‘dangerous’ look, and run for cover--preferably somewhere in another country.
“Now, now, Miss Granger. I’m sure you are aware that it would be difficult for me to think less of you.” Snape practically purred his response.
“How sweet, Professor. Same to you, I’m sure.” She shot back at him with a saccharine smile.
He was momentarily floored. It wasn’t often that a student stood up to him. Perversely, it rather pleased him. “Now that we are through the pleasantries, might I inquire what you might be planning? After all, if you are planning to break any major school rules, I’d like to inform the rest of the staff in advance, and perhaps sell admission.” Damn her, but he was enjoying the sparring. When he tried it with others Albus only twinkled at him and tried to send him into a sugar coma, and Minerva eventually descended into unintelligible Scottish profanity as her brogue thickened.
“Obviously, they know I’m not in love with either of them. I’m sure they are hoping that I will declare my undying adoration for some nice young man. Perhaps the best thing to do is make them believe that I love someone they would consider eminently unsuitable. If they were to catch me in a compromising position with someone they detest, it might just scar them enough to keep them from meddling in my affairs – no pun intended.”
“I must say, Miss Granger, that is very Slytherin of you.” Hermione inclined her head in acknowledgement of the, admittedly left-handed compliment. “However, I must ask two questions. How, and perhaps more importantly, who?”
Hermione allowed herself a small smile as she began to explain. “The ‘how’ is rather simple. You know, of course, about the Marauders’ Map?” Snape rolled his eyes. The Potter boy had finally deigned to share the map with the rest of the Order after it became glaringly apparent that it might help in the defence of Hogwarts. For some unknown reason, Albus had allowed him to retain possession of the Map after the final battle. He returned his attention to Hermione. “By now, they will have assumed that I drank my tea. I told them that I was going to take it outdoors with a book to enjoy the spring air. Soon, they will miss me, and check my location on the Map. When they find me--voila!”
“Impressively simple. I approve.” Snape found himself relaxing. The girl did have a mind for revenge. “However, you still haven’t clarified the question of who.”
“Ah, that.” A gleam came into Hermione’s eyes. “Frankly, with the unfortunate mass exodus from your house, Professor, there aren’t that many students that Harry and Ron would absolutely loathe to see me with. I’d have to look to the teachers and staff.” Snape inhaled sharply as she dropped lightly off the stool and took one small step towards him. “Even among that group, there are only two who could completely revolt Harry and Ron.” Another step. “To be perfectly honest, there is no revenge sweet enough to cause me to ever touch Filch.” And another step. “So, I’m sorry to inform you, Professor Snape, but that leaves only you.” She was standing directly in front of him now.
Severus struggled to maintain his composure. “Are you saying, Miss Granger, that you wish your friends to catch you in what appears to be a compromising situation with me?” His voice went rather higher on the last word than he would have liked.
“My name is Hermione.” Her small elegant hands came down and cupped his face, turning it up towards her. “And I think I would very much like them to catch me in what is actually a compromising situation with you..” She tilted her head down towards him, with the air of someone about to drink from an exquisite chalice. Then her lips were on his, and he was lost.
“May I call you Severus?”
“You can call me Voldemort as long as you Don’t! Stop!”
“That was in rather poor taste, Severus.”
“Fortunately, I can’t say the same for you, my dear!”
A gorgeous moan was her only response.
“Merlin, Hermione, where did you learn to do that? If I were a cat, I’d purr.”
“In books, of course. Do you remember when you signed that unlimited pass to the Restricted Section for me?”
“Erm--You might remember it better as a requisition to Madame Pomfrey for migraine potions.”
“You little chit!” He rolled over onto her, eyes glittering. “Now you’ll have to pay!”
After working their way across the classroom, through Snape’s office, and into his private quarters, with numerous rewarding stops along the way, Hermione and Severus lay panting and momentarily sated on his bed. His arm was under her head, and her leg lay across his hip. He couldn’t help it. He smirked. “So, is this sufficiently compromising for Potter and Weasley, my dear?”
Hermione rolled onto her elbows and looked down at him. “Oh, give it a rest, you great prat.” She said affectionately, her tone taking the sting out of her words.
“Why Hermione! I don’t know what you mean!” Severus protested, although he was beginning to wonder if he had perhaps underestimated her intelligence to his detriment. Her eyes were beginning to have that dangerous look again as she pushed herself up to sit cross-legged beside him.
“Severus Snape! What have I done in the past seven years that has made you think I am completely blind and stupid?” Knowing there was absolutely no right answer to that question, Severus wisely kept his mouth shut. “First of all, there is no unicorn horn in the Altoparlante di amore potion! And you failed to mention that my tea also contained traces of powdered pearl, which would have been obvious to anyone who knows about potions. As far as I know there is only one potion with those ingredients. What I almost drank was the Amore Casto potion. Secondly, in addition to containing very rare ingredients, the Amore Casto must be brewed in a golden cauldron, which neither Harry nor Ron possess. Finally, it is complex enough to make Wolfsbane look like a Sleeping Draught. It would have to be carefully brewed in a fumigation closet lest the maker be overcome by the fumes. If Harry and Ron had brewed this and even one thing had gone wrong, as it of course would without me there to hold their hands, they would be shagging to this day!” Severus briefly cringed at the mental image she had conjured up. “So, Severus my love, my only question for you is why you would go to all this time and effort to make a potion that would cause me to chastely love you for one hour?”
During her tirade, Severus had rolled over and swung his legs to sit on the edge of the bed. As she finished, his shoulders slumped slightly. “You have to understand, Hermione, that I would never have taken advantage of you. I respect and … and love you too much for that.” He heard a sharp intake of breath at that, but soldiered on. “I just wanted to look into your eyes once and not see revulsion or fear. I wanted one moment of knowing what it was like to shine in your eyes.” He bent his head resignedly. This, then, was how his dream would end.
Her arms snaked around him, and she brought one hand to his face, turning it to look at her. “Severus, look at me.” Her voice was gentle now. “Before today, when was the last time you really looked into my eyes?”
“I can’t remember.” He said sadly. “I didn’t dare. I was afraid of what I might see.”
“I can tell you this. It hasn’t been revulsion or fear or hatred for a long time. I love you, Severus Snape.” He almost cried with relief. She kissed him gently, then continued. “I suspected it was you the moment I figured out the potion. You confirmed it for me when you took the mug.” Severus looked at her in confusion. She took one of his hands and began kissing his fingers as she spoke. “At the middle stage, the Amore Casto should be bright blue. As you add the powdered pearl, you must stir vigorously – which can cause the potion to splash a bit.” Here, she used her index finger to point out the bright blue stains on his hand. Snape had the good grace to look ashamed.
“Can you ever forgive me, Hermione?”
“As you said, you never intended to take advantage of me. I think I could forgive you under certain conditions.”
“Which are?” The sneering Potions Master was making a reappearance.
“First, you agree to try to make a relationship work between us. I’ll visit you here when I can, and you can come to Oxford.”
“Done. What else?”
“Next, you try to be civil to my friends.” She raised a hand to silence his protest. “I’m not saying you have to be matey with them – just try to say good morning without hexing them into the next village?”
“Fine.” He said sullenly. “Anything else, your highness?”
“One last thing.” Her smile was sweet and wicked at the same time. “You have to come back over here right this instant!”
He began to reach for her, then stopped himself. “Hermione, darling. If I might ask -- How do you know so much about obscure love potions anyway?” His eyebrow shot up again.
Now it was Hermione’s turn to look abashed. “I briefly thought about using one on you.”
“Then why didn’t you?” He asked smugly. “Did you figure out that I would detect any potion you attempted to slip by me?”
“Actually,” Hermione replied calmly, “I decided that I had something much more powerful at my disposal—Testosterone ” To his look of query, she continued “It’s what makes a man a man. I thought that all I would have to do is come down here, appeal to your other brain—“ Here, she cast a meaningful glance down at his crotch “And that, as they say, would be that.”
“Do you really think I can be won over that simply?” He smiled at her as his fingers traced over her breasts.
“Yes.” She sighed as she pushed him down onto the bed and moved over him. “Yes, I really do.”