"Lucius, I told you never to call me when I'm working!"
"This can't wait."
Snape glared at the image of Lucius Malfoy in the fireplace flames.
"What, precisely, is so pressing that you are contacting me in my
classroom during the day, you fool? Anyone could have been in here!"
"Severus, I do know your schedule. You're between classes right now.
shut up and just listen."
"And if I'd had a student in here serving detention?"
The image smiled. "Well, then I suppose you'd just have had to kill
Severus Snape was at least pleased that he was already furious,
because he didn't have to hide his fury at that statement as well. This
had to stop. He was going to have to tell Dumbledore that he could not
stand this for one
"What the hell do you want, Lucius?"
"Pettigrew will be there tonight. He will meet you in the usual
Snape rolled his eyes. "Tonight? What is it now, a plan to poison
water supply? Planting incriminating sex photos in Dumbledore's
fiendish plots to do away with The Boy Who Lived Despite Our Best
Efforts Which Are Obviously Rather Pathetic?"
"Are you quite finished?"
"I will be if you ever contact me outside of my own quarters again,
Lucius! Voldemort will lose his Hogwarts contact, and then he will be
pissed at both of us, or are you too thick to grasp that?"
"Severus, you are far too afraid--"
The door to the classroom clicked open behind Snape.
Snape didn't even look to see who it was. He grabbed the first
non-inflammable liquid off his desk that came to hand-- fortunately he
kept both a pitcher of water and a box of sand on his desk at all
times, students' experiment results being about as predictable as a
bagful of skrewts-- and threw the contents on the fire.
He had the brief satisfaction of watching Lucius's face melt like a
Muggle version of a Wicked Witch just before he spun to face the door.
It was the Granger girl, hand still on the doorknob, looking at him
very startled eyes.
Had she seen anything other than him dousing the fireplace?
"Um--" She was looking past him at the steaming logs.
He made a point of casting a casual glance at it as he folded his
arms. "I thought the chimney was catching. What is it, Miss Granger?"
"I-- I, um, just forgot my box of newt's claws, Professor..."
"Well, get it and go." He turned away, knowing that it would look
suspicious if he watched her too closely. Or perhaps not. All the
students were used to him glaring at them.
He heard her footsteps going to her desk, and then going to the
But they stopped there.
"Professor--?" she said, the questioning tone almost timid.
"Yes?" He hadn't meant to swoop so, in turning around, but he
wanted her gone.
She was hastily transferring her gaze from the fireplace back to
"I-- it can wait."
She fled. That was the only word for it.
Snape crossed to the door and closed it before returning to his desk
sinking into his chair. If she had seen anything...
It was Miss Granger, who was clever, and that was bad. But it was
Miss Granger, who was ready to think the best of everyone, and that was
Good enough, he hoped.
Hermione couldn't pay attention to what Ron was saying. She murmured
"Whatever..." and pushed at her Yorkshire pudding with a fork.
"Hermione, you trying to eat that or deflate it?" said Harry, across
She barely heard him. Who had Professor Snape been talking to that
had to quench the fire altogether when she walked in?
She told herself not to be so suspicious. It could have been a
sweetheart. (The image of Snape having a sweetheart was disturbing
enough.) It could have
been his mother. (The image of Snape having a mother was even
It didn't mean something...dark was going on.
She couldn't tell Harry or Ron. They'd be all over the idea: "Oh,
must be in cahoots with Voldemort! I always knew it, the slimy git!"
Though she couldn't actually hear either one of them using the word cahoots.
No, she couldn't expect either one of them to help her figure this
out with any kind of reasonable perspective.
Should she go to Professor McGonagall?
Go to McGonagall with what, precisely? She'd raise her
eyebrows and tell Hermione that putting out fires was hardly evidence
of mischief, indeed quite the contrary, and what exactly should she do
about it? All right, maybe not that patronizing, but she just didn't
have anything solid.
"...told him that Ravenclaw didn't have a chance with two Chasers
out, and he said something about looking up spells to make it rain, and
apparently Hermione's communicating with the mothership, hello,
"Give it a rest, Ron, she's still not listening. Probably trying to
her fork into a peacock."
She'd just have to wait and see if anything else suspicious turned
Or maybe...maybe she shouldn't just wait.
He hated dealing with Pettigrew even more than with Lucius. At least
Lucius gave him the opportunity for an exchange of insults. Pettigrew
was too much of a whiny little boot-licker to insult. No fun kicking a
man when he was already down.
He locked the door to his quarters and headed for the North
Pettigrew was already there, hiding in the meeting room as a rat.
Once Snape arrived, he shifted back to human form (not an improvement,
in Snape's opinion) and immediately began prattling on about the
alliance that was underway with the Serpentia and the role that
Voldemort wanted Snape to play in the negotiations. Snape listened
because he had to and tried to not to seethe too visibly at the
prospect of playing diplomat to a faction whose language he didn't even
speak. Brewing translation potions was an annoying prospect; magpie's
tongues were hard to come by.
When he allowed himself to admit it, he knew he was actually very
well suited for this type of deception. Perpetually Vexed was his
baseline; none of Voldemort's minions, or even Voldemort himself ever
tried to read him for
reactions of distaste when his loyalties were tested. He always acted
he found everything distasteful.
Pettigrew stopped in mid-sentence. "D'you hear that?"
Snape listened, rather than saying "What?" as most idiots would.
Pettigrew said, "That should be MacNair. I'm not sure he knows which
"Yes. Didn't Malfoy tell you he was coming?"
Snape kept his fuming internal as he listened: yes, he thought he
a step outside.
"You should go get him, Severus. I don't want to risk being seen."
It was easier to do it than argue.
Snape opened the door and stepped into the hallway. No one was in
but, yes, he heard footsteps just around the corner.
Tentative footsteps. Something wasn't right here...
And then someone stepped around the corner.
Not MacNair. Definitely not MacNair.
It was the Granger girl.
Bloody fucking hell. She'd... followed him!
They were almost face to face. Her eyes widened.
In that moment, Snape was aware of three things: one, she was
her mouth to say something; two, there was another set of
audible from around the corner, and these were not tentative...
And three, the door to another room was not five paces away.
He got his hand over her mouth first. Miracle of miracles, she
tried to pull away but she didn't make a sound as he dragged her toward
Despite the need for haste, and the fact that he was struggling with
someone who very much didn't want to go with him through that door, he
got it opened and clicked shut behind him with a minimum of noise, one
hand on Hermione's mouth, the other on the back of her head. He was
even able to hear how the footsteps were getting louder.
What they'd stepped into wasn't another room exactly. It was not
bigger than a closet.
Which was lined with weapons: swords, daggers, axes, all stocked on
walls. Hell. If the girl decided to grab one of those...!
She squeaked under his hand. Not loud. It might not have been heard.
The footsteps came to a stop just outside the door. Or maybe it had
He looked at the girl in the dim light filtering through the cracks
in the door. Her eyes weren't on his, however. She was looking at the
wall to his right.
He glanced over. Oh, for fuck's sake. That particular wall was
with weapons, but a rather impressive assortment of torture implements:
manacles, tongs, spiky looking things whose purpose he uncomfortably
to admit he recognized.
He had the sinking feeling that if he asked himself if it could get
worse, it would.
He gave the girl a little shake; it got her eyes on him. He didn't
dare even whisper; not now, with someone just outside the door who
It was Pettigrew's voice. Both he and Hermione looked at the closed
"Wormtail. There you are." Snape felt the girl jerk as she heard the
"I haven't seen him. I just arrived--"
"No, I mean he was just here. I thought--"
He felt them looking about as their voices trailed off. They'd look
the door and put it together any moment.
He could fix this. He gave the girl the hardest look he could as he
his hand away from her mouth-- her eyes were huge-- and reached
"He couldn't have gone far..." A footstep.
Snape aimed the wand at the door and said, as softly as he could to
There was a sizzle.
Then: "There you are, Wormtail."
"Oh-- yes, I was looking for you. Severus should be here soon. Come
here; he knows this room, and we won't be seen."
Footsteps and a door shutting.
As quietly as possible, Snape whispered, "You idiot girl."
"If they had seen you, they would have killed you. And I
have had to let them do it, or break my cover. You idiot. What
you think you were doing?"
She sucked in her lower lip and he could see the tears starting. He
gave her another shake. "Voldemort won't check for Obfuscation like he
would a stronger memory charm. But now I have to go in and listen to
Pettigrew babble the whole plan again. I'm not happy
He let her go. "You wait a few seconds after I go in there before
this storeroom and get away from here. I'll make some noise to cover
I'd Obliviate you, you stupid girl, but I want you running back to your
like a terrified ferret, which, incidentally, has a greater sense of
than you." And I hate using memory charms on anyone not truly
despicable, he thought but didn't say, remembering something from
his own past that had pissed him off royally when he'd learned the
truth. I hate having principles.
"Your dormitory. And stay there. You understand?"
She nodded, gulped down her tears.
He put his hand on the doorknob, looked back at her. Dammit, memory
would have been so bloody convenient.
"I never want to hear a single question from you about this, in the
future. If you find yourself overwhelmed with the need to ask anyone,
then for god's sake, please make sure it is Dumbledore and no
He opened the door, shut it behind him, and walked to the room
the hall without looking behind him.
"Ah, there you are, Severus."
Hermione walked away from the stone gargoyle outside Professor
Dumbledore's office and tried to process everything she'd just heard
from the Headmaster.
Professor Snape was a double agent. Everything he'd implied
last night was completely true; Dumbledore had backed up his story,
clearly not happy that she'd stumbled upon the fact, but quick to
defend Snape. His work with the Death Eaters as their Hogwarts spy
meant that Dumbledore had first-hand knowledge of Voldemort's plans.
And he'd been a Death Eater, once; Dumbledore had told her of
the Dark Mark Snape bore on his left arm, symbol of his shadowed and
It was almost too much to believe.
She tried to picture Snape in a tuxedo and brandishing a Walther PPK
at a bloody silhouette of a eye and had to smother a laugh with her
palm. (The gargoyle gave her a strange look.)
Harry and Ron would never believe it. Not that it was an issue;
Dumbledore had sworn her to secrecy. Unnecessarily; she knew perfectly
well that she wasn't to tell anyone. And she wouldn't.
It would be her secret. She hugged herself a little.
Well... hers and Snape's.
Good god, how could she face him in Potions later that day?
Well, she'd face him quite normally, after all. That was what was
required of her. She'd show him that he had nothing to worry about.
That she could keep a secret very well. Just like him.
That she had courage, just like him.
God, did he have courage.
Watching him curse out Neville in class for using shredded slugs in
of shrivelfigs ("Weren't you listening, Longbottom? That is the
excuse for an Embalming Solution I have had the displeasure of viewing
all my years as a teacher. Five points from Gryffindor"), Hermione was
revelations she'd never dreamed of. Snape was in the midst of terrible
every day, just by being Dumbledore's spy, yet he carried on daily
the merest alteration of his demeanor.
No, she really couldn't see him in a tuxedo. Black robes suited him
She watched as he plucked a Sugar Quill out of Pansy Parkinson's
can think of a few things less wise than sucking on the end of a sweet
Potions class, in extreme proximity to noxious, not to mention
ingredients, Miss Parkinson, but not many"), paying attention to the
of his fingers, the efficient way he acted with the least amount of
She could still feel his hand over her mouth.
Firm yet not hurting her and brooking no argument.
He was starting to turn in her direction. Hastily she bent her head
to her cauldron, pretending to be absorbed in stirring. As soon as he'd
looked past, however, she sneaked another look.
She watched as he folded his arms, viewing Parvati's efforts ("So
deaf after all, Miss Patil. That even looks the proper shade of green,
Ooh. She'd never noticed what impressive shoulders he had.
She was supposed to be doing her Herbology homework, but her mind
wouldn't stay on the text. Instead of seeing the lines on the care of
Festering Ficus plants, she kept seeing Snape's eyes on hers in the dim
light of the storeroom.
She'd never been so near to him before.
What had he smelled like? She couldn't recall the scent of anything
like cologne, but the simple proximity meant she could notice the smell
of his clothing; she thought about it and was sure she could
reconstruct it, over the smell of the laundry freshener that the
house-elves used on everything at Hogwarts. Something masculine,
like...patchouli, or sandalwood.
Something shifted around in her head.
She closed the Herbology text, trying to form something out of the
that were trying to fit themselves together.
She went to the stack of books at her side and pulled out her
Divination notebook. Since she never wrote down anything Professor
Trelawney said, it was effectively blank.
Taking her quill, she wrote:
Her eyes opened wide as she rounded the corner. She had been
She crossed out him and wrote:
Better. She liked the way that sounded; it gave her a nice shivery
a while? that evening?
through the corridors, determined to find out just what he
She crossed out he.
dark intentions he
planned? was up to?
Mmm, yes! This was fun!
here in this supposedly protected haven. Yet
Oh, she was going to have to name herself. Well...
Heloise Gramarye could not let anyone threaten the safety of her
school and all its charges. Even at the cost of her own safety!
She'd always liked the name Heloise. And Gramarye meant witchcraft,
that was rather clever too!
But finding him there, staring straight at her, his own eyes wide
shock at seeing her appear so abruptly, realizing the girl
She crossed out girl.
daring girl had been following him all along,
She sucked the end of her quill for a minute before continuing:
She sighed. Yes, that was exactly right.
was a sight to make her heart pound more wildly than it ever had
The sound of footsteps!
Heloise threw a glance over her shoulder, her mane of chestnut
just brushing her cheek, but suddenly Stavros had
No, she wouldn't be calling him by his first name just yet, would
Sableheart had seized her arm, his grip almost cruel, dragging
forward. "You mad fool!" he hissed threateningly.
She opened her mouth to tell him that all was not as it seemed,
her reasons for being there were utterly innocent, something, anything
deceive him and make him let her go! But suddenly his hand was upon her
crushing back anything she might have said, nearly bruising her rose
lips as his other arm twined around her slender waist, pulling her
his firm chest, where she could feel that his heart was beating as
as her own.
She almost swooned with the feeling of his strong body against
Then, as she realized, with new terror, that the footsteps behind
were becoming louder, and LOUDER (but surely not as loud as the twinned
of their hearts!),
She did a little wriggle in her chair. Oh, that was nice!
Stavros looked in the direction of their approach, his face
with anger and desperation, and abruptly wrenched Heloise off her feet,
The door! What lay behind it, WHAT?
She knew with dreadful
deadly certainty that she was about to find out, even as she
her protest into Sableheart's palm, tight over her lips as he flung the
open and hauled her desperately struggling form along with him into the
Desperately she tried to prevent him from closing
Hang on, she'd just used desperately or some form of it
on the last page.
Oh, she'd clean it up later. Actually, it kind of sounded good.
the door behind them, but she was no match for his superior
clasped to his black-clad figure like something dear (oh, if only!) as
pulled the door shut. The click was whisper-quiet in reality, but was
boom of a death knell in her heart.
He pressed her against the wall with the pressure of his hand on
mouth, and then with the pressure of his body on hers, hard and lean
with the male smell of him filling her senses like the headiest
champagne. His ebony-black eyes bored into her own emerald ones.
"Not a sound," he hissed vehemently, "if you value either of our
Outside she heard the ominous footsteps of the Enemy.
Okay, now who was the enemy going to be?
Eh. She didn't care. She'd work on that later. She wanted to get to
They hesitated briefly before moving past purposefully.
Sableheart's eyes kept looking into hers with that dark fire of
emotion. Heloise could feel herself shaking as it all started to fall
place. Dear Lord...he was protecting her! Stavros Sableheart was not
enemy after all!
And her heart leapt with joy as the blessed knowledge came
down on her.
"HerMIone...I said, we're leaving now, are you IN there,
"Forget it, Ron, she's in her element. Trying to get Hermione to
leave the library is like trying to get Hagrid to leave a convention of
werepumas...Hermione, what are you writing?"
She emerged from her single-minded efforts just far enough to say,
Go away. I'll be here a while."
"Madame Pince'll kick her out when it closes. Come on, Ron. I'll let
beat me in chess in the common room."
Hermione didn't even look up as they left.
"It looks," Sableheart growled impatiently, "like we will be here
Heloise looked at him soulfully. "I'm so sorry, sir. I never
she whispered tearfully, unable to complete the sentence.
The man's eyes softened, taking in the sight of her crystal
sliding down those damask cheeks. His hand, which had been such a
of fierce terror bare moments ago, now rose to caress that cheek,
wiping away one glistening drop. "Well, dear girl, I suppose your
were good. It's not your fault."
"But it is!" Heloise gasped contritely. "I've put YOU in danger!
never meant-- oh, if only I had known!!!"
She ducked her face back toward her shoulder abruptly, trying to
the fresh burst of tears.
His fingers, still gentle, now took a hold of her chin and turned
face back to his. "Ssh, don't cry, my dear. You are...so very brave,
know. If only I had had one-tenth your courage when I was your age...
the things I could have done, could have withstood! So many mistakes I
not have made..."
She let her trembling fingers touch his arm. "But you are...not
very much older than I."
A wry twist of the mouth took possession of Sableheart's face.
are but a slip of a girl."
Her hand on his arm grasped more fiercely. "No... no, I am not! I
a woman, Professor Sableheart! Student I may be, but I am NOT a mere
Oh..." She pulled her face away again miserably. "Is that all I am to
she whispered hopelessly. "Just a silly, foolish girl? Is that all I
SHALL be to you?"
And his fingers touched her chin again tentatively, forcing her
blinded by her tears, to look at him again. "Ah, Heloise. If only I
tell you what is in my inmost heart."
Rapidly she blinked away her tears, suddenly finding her courage
in that one short revelation. "Then tell me. Oh, Professor-- Stavros,
I beg of you, tell me!"
Had she gone too far? She saw his _expression when she spoke his
name; had it been-- anger? Displeasure? No! It was...
Okay, Hermione thought. Who was going to kiss who first here?
"Heloise..." he murmured in a strangled voice. "I...no, you do
know what you ask...you cannot know...!"
Hm. At this rate it was going to have to be her. She'd have to give
Snape some motivation.
"But I do!" she whispered fervently. Daring everything, taking
greatest risk she had ever taken, summoning all the courage from her
she placed her hands behind his neck, clasping his hair
Could you clasp hair?
, his shoulders in her two hands, so that he could not possibly
her meaning. "Oh, Stavros, tell me, dear, dear Stavros!"
There. Plenty of motivation but not so slutty as to be the first one
Sableheart groaned. "Dearest Heloise...!" he sighed shakily, her
on his lips the sweetest sound she had ever heard, as he leaned forward
if under some alien power that he had no hope of resisting, an alien
named The Truest Love For Heloise Gramarye, and placed his lips on
softly at first, then with greater and greater power until the kiss was
thing of passion, a meeting of two true hearts, a moment in time that
of them could ever, ever deny had occurred...
The most wonderful moment of her young (young? No, not so young,
so young as Stavros would have it) life.
In fact, in his arms she was truly ageless.
Her knees buckled inescapably and Stavros caught her in his
arms, pulling her boldly to his black-robed chest and supporting her
Was he saying her name enough? She wanted to make sure that the
feeling of that came through.
"Heloise, my sweet...dearest Heloise!" he murmured softly,
gathering her to him and kissing her mouth again, her chin, her face,
her eyes, her forehead, her hair, her neck, as she cried out softly, a
sound that wanted to be his name but she no longer possessed the
ability to form words, as she
prayed that her lack of resistance would tell him everything she could
tell him with her voice--
"Miss Granger, are you paying attention?"
Hermione started guiltily. "I'm sorry, Professor McGonagall. Yes,
She shut the notebook and tried to focus on the Transfiguration
Ron looked at Harry and made a small, quick whooshing
his palm over his head. Harry bit his lips to diminish his grin.
Hermione saw it but didn't respond. She was thinking about the
of getting one's robes off in a small storeroom.
On her bed, Hermione clutched the notebook to her chest and stewed
deeper into her internal agony.
Was she really going to write that?
Did she have the nerve?
It was hard enough just to think it.
She squeezed her eyes shut and remembered the smell of Snape's skin.
To have had his hand move away from her mouth and down to the collar of
to the buttons on her blouse, opening them...
He could have done anything he wanted to her, there in that
She was filled with the overwhelming need to touch herself.
Instead, she opened the notebook and did something much, much
The quill kept slipping in her sweaty fingers.
"I cannot stop myself," Stavros breathed huskily. "Dear Lord,
me, but I cannot stop myself. Heloise-- forgive me...!"
She arched against him needily, thanking whatever gods there were
his sudden loss of the iron control that made him the man she had so
fallen for, for she wanted now to see that vulnerability that would
show him as all too human, as a man, and not merely as a hero.
She should stop him if he could not stop himself, she knew. Yet
did not possess the ability to do that either.
"I do, Stavros," she wept softly, but with joy, not with fear. "I
forgive you. I forgive you now, and for everything, ever. I'm-- not
"I-- I don't want to hurt you," he murmured miserably, his hands
gently around her chin, staring into her viridian eyes.
She turned her head to the side and kissed his strong fingers.
could never hurt me," she whispered huskily.
He crushed her to him again hungrily, kissing her like their very
depended on him showing her how much he loved her, and then pulled away
far enough to begin untying the silken ribbon at her throat. Her robes
to the floor as if they had a will of their own. She stood before him,
in the clothing that might have belonged to a student but that showed
she was no longer a mere girl, but a woman, with a woman's curves
within the vestments of her station.
It completely removed any last vestiges of his will to resist. He
her top unbuttoned within moments, and pressed his face to her bosom
She crossed out the last three words. Dammit. That wasn't strong
Yes, but it was so... embarrassing.
Was this a romance or not? she told herself severely.
between her bared breasts, breathing in the divine scent of her
murmuring, "Heloise...", daring to turn his face to kiss the side of
alabaster breast. She thought she would die in the ecstasy of it, her
twining into his hair, and he looked up as though she might be trying
pull him away, but seeing what he saw in her face, his own was
with such bliss that it hurt her heart to see it.
She fell back against the wall as his hands, on fire with new
slid to her tiny waist and found the fastening to her skirt. She gasped
the overwhelming reality of what he was doing, yet he silenced her with
kiss, ready to take what he could not resist, and she was glad of it,
that he was who he was, not someone who would have asked further
or begged her pardon for doing this, any more than he already had. For
she were asked again if she wanted this, she would not have been able
give her permission.
She so fiercely wanted this taken from her without it!!!
His night-dark hair under her fingers was further testament to
reality of him. This was truly her Stavros, not some dream.
And her not-dream Stavros had unfastened her skirt, yet prior to
her of it, he had reached under it and
Oof. How did she refer to those? She rejected four all-too jarring
slid her undergarments free, and, in drawing them down,
Yes, they were in a storeroom, but she wasn't going to be naked in
but shoes and socks, it wasn't romantic!
removed her footwear as well before letting her skirt fall,
Heloise turned her face away shyly. No man had ever looked upon
like this before; she could not resist modestly covering her bared
breasts with her hands. But Stavros gently but firmly took a hold of
her wrists and drew them deliberately down to her sides. "I want to
look at you," he sighed passionately. "You are so...so beautiful,
Passion made him hasty as he removed his own clothing. Still
shy, she kept her face averted bashfully as one by one, his garments
hers in a carelessly-strewn pile that was a testament to the depth of
She was overusing a word again. Later. Fix it later.
, and this time, when his slender, strong fingers turned her face
to his, she did not resist, could not resist, did not want to resist.
She knew what he was seeing as he looked up and down her naked
Hermione bit her lip, but made herself go on:
, the perfect round breasts, capped sweetly with perfect coral
the slenderness of her ribs and belly suddenly flaring out into the
roundness of her hips, the
secret, curled fleece that so protectively concealed the
her silken thighs... from the top of her head with its sorrel tresses
to the tips of her girlish toes, she knew she must be a sight to make
But Stavros was not just any man. HE was the only one who
Would HE find her...WANTING?
His answer came as he slid to his knees and kissed her belly.
beautiful girl..." he whispered devotedly. "MY beautiful girl..."
She gasped in the ecstasy of his words, blissfully murmuring
"Stavros..." as her beloved, ebony-haired and -eyed professor (ah!
was so much she had always, ALWAYS wanted to learn from him!) rose to
feet again, gathering her to him boldly, and she felt what it was like
have a man's skin upon hers, warm and alive and so very, very REAL, and
was better than all the dreams that had EVER been.
His chest against hers, the muscles there so strong and firm,
her want to bury her face against it as well, and when he lifted his
to her face once again, stroking her hair back purposefully so that the
beauty of her eyes could not be hidden from him, she glimpsed it:
on the inside of his arm: the mark of the Enemy. Cruel indelible stain
his youthful folly! Now it was his talisman, for without it, he could
have been trusted by those he would betray, and betray, and betray.
And send to their very doom.
The tears sprang into Heloise's eyes once more. Now she had his
in hers, bringing the terrible token of the burden he carried so nobly
her lips. "How-- how you have been hurt-- oh, my dearest--" She
the mark tenderly, as though she could heal it with the power of her
her glass-green eyes never leaving his.
She saw how his eyes softened. "It does not matter." He pulled
arm away so that he could kiss her lips again softly. "I feel as though
one could ever hurt me again, Heloise, now that I have told you how I
And that I am... not unfavorable in your eyes as well."
Oh, but she had to tell him! Had to say the words...!
But he silenced her with a finger on her lips, as though he knew
she would say and could not bear to have her commit herself so, as
he were not worthy of such an honor.
His mouth sought the side of her slim white throat, and then her
drawing her even closer as he did so, and she could feel in his kisses,
his arms, how his arousal was heightening; and not only that, but now
could not ignore the almost terrifying yet thrilling feel of his
She shut the notebook and moaned into her pillow. She couldn't.
Was she going to stop now?
No, she damn well wasn't.
She opened the book again, snapped it shut again with another groan,
but then forced it open to the page she'd been on. She wrote and
crossed out member,
wrote and crossed out phallus, wrote and crossed out organ
before she finally wrote:
manhood pressing against her belly, roused to readiness by the
and proximity of her. The feeling made her gasp fearfully; she had to
away to look down and see it; it was impossibly HUGE, it would never,
fit inside the intended location...!
But she trusted him, did she not?
"Look at me," he murmured throatily, and though she WAS, she knew
meant his face, and she looked up hesitantly, trying to keep her lip
"You are mine, do you understand me?" he whispered fiercely
Hermione made a little mewl.
, his breath like kisses on her face. "Mine, and no other's."
She nodded rapidly, desperate to assuage the savagery she saw in
eyes. "Yours, I swear, only yours..."
The savagery ameliorated very slightly, but not to become soft,
no, only to become something wicked and needful, that suited his dark
so well. "I will show you."
He made her spread her legs, there against the wall
Her handwriting was getting worse.
, his hand touching her where only her own hand had touched
and she moaned as he opened her there as well, one finger stroking as
he knew everything about her, every fantasy and every response and
part of her flesh, as if all women were exactly the same and he'd known
of them that she was no different, no different in her skin or her
or her wants, and she found herself wondering how many other women he
had, for surely for him to be able to drag this response out of her so
it had to have been dozens, surely not hundreds, but who knew?
Wait a minute, what had been the subject of that sentence
But what did it matter if she was not the first? She would never
to be anything but the last.
He pressed his body close to hers.
"You must not cry out," he whispered fervently. "They are still
She nodded understandingly. "I will not."
But then she thought of something.
But then she thought of something. She took his hand in hers,
it to her lips, but not to kiss; she set it against her mouth firmly,
he understood her, pressing his palm over her mouth and then setting
lips against the back of his hand, his sable eyes
Crap, she couldn't use sable. But she didn't want to miss an
to mention his eye color, it was too important to be forgotten!
his Stygian eyes never leaving hers for a moment as he slowly
that male part of him against her and into her, and her cry was almost
as it was absorbed against his palm, and he waited until she was still
before carefully removing his hand and murmuring, "Sweet Heloise, are
all right? I'm sorry--"
She shook her head, blinking back tears. "No, Stavros. There's
to be sorry for. Don't stop, please," she begged fervently.
He pressed his mouth to her shoulder again as he shifted his body
of hers slightly, then thrust forward again quickly, and Heloise moaned
pleasure as her fingers found the locks of his smoke-dark hair again,
her mouth near to kiss them urgently, and he showed her that he was a
and a hero, yes, BOTH, all at once, the same way that she had fallen in
with both of those things at once, so long ago, in the way that he rode
to pleasure, both his and hers, until he exploded into her and she into
a firework of ecstasy bursting miraculously through her mind in a way
she had never imagined could be so blissful.
She was his and he was HERS!
Hermione, in a state of rapture, fell face first over the notebook
a sound like a woman giving birth.
She did not know how apt the metaphor was.
Nor did she know how vehemently any objective critics would have
that her firstborn deserved swift and painless drowning.
Oh, she could watch him forever.
She bit her lip as his brows drew down in that way that meant
truly had his ire. ("Potter! I said to splice the orchid stems,
slice them! Get your head off the Quidditch pitch and back into
classroom for once!")
God, he was so smouldering when he did that.
("Harry, she's staring off into space again.")
("I know. I'm starting to wonder if she's ill.")
She hid a smile. They couldn't even conceive that she might
looking at Snape.
Well, a few days ago, it would have shocked her too.
Oh god-- he was coming over to her...!
Damn. Had she been paying close enough attention to the lesson?
certainly been paying attention to that rich, sinuous voice,
for what he'd said...
He stopped at her desk, leaning over to peer at her cauldron,
irascible dark lean judicator of a man that he was, and she felt the
pulse pounding in her throat.
Then a slight exhalation, and "Acceptably done, Miss Granger." He
already moving on.
Her eyes shut just a little too long to be a blink. Oh, the way he'd
She wanted to put that into her story, somewhere.
Hermione pulled the notebook out of the pile of texts on the floor,
opened it to where she'd left off. Yes, she could work that in here,
Stavros sighed once, even that slight exhalation rich with emot-
Her quill scored a black streak of ink across her desk as the
was snatched out from under her hands.
"Hey, Granger, these don't look much like Potions notes, do
Draco Malfoy leered at her, the open notebook in his grip.
"GIVE me that!" she yelled, lunging for it--
--and Draco jumped back so that she missed completely, upsetting her
cauldron so that it splattered blue Essence of Denatured Bergamot onto
the floor, blocking
her efforts to get to him and prompting him to fall back even farther--
"Let's see: '...with her lips still sweetly pressed to his bare
Oh, this looks GOOD, Granger! '--she murmured softly, "I will
regret these circumstances, ever--"'"
OH, MY GOD-- ! "GIVE ME THAT, DRACO! STOP IT!" she shrieked, trying
to drown him out and drown out the little explosions of giggles that
were starting around the classroom, still fighting to get around the
mess on the floor to
him, but he was weaving between desks, now, still reading aloud as he
"'"--that have brought us together for this first time." "Ah," he
replied huskily, kissing her ruby lips, still swollen from his earlier
kisses of passion,
"but I could have wished that it were under other conditions than this
storeroom, with our enemies a hair's breadth away." His pitch-black
NOOOOOOO! "SHUT UP, DRACO!!!"
How Snape's voice cut through her shrieks and Draco's hideously loud
recitation she had no idea.
But then, that was the man's gift, wasn't it?
As well as his gift of perception. OH MY GOD HE'D HEARD THE BIT
At almost the same moment Draco went down in a flying tackle that
red hair and freckles, and he lost a hold of the notebook, and it came
into other hands that leapt for it, proving that he was as good with
objects as he was with the Snitch, and as Draco yelled in protest,
to protect himself from Ron's fists, and Harry clutched the notebook to
chest and stood there looking about him angrily, daring anyone to try
take it from him, Snape's voice cut through the pandemonium again: "ALL
She'd never known that silence...crashed down like that.
She stood there.
Was there anything on her desk that she could swallow and kill
with right now?
"This is Potions Class, not Salacious Novel Writing 101, I will
to remember in the future. Ten points from Gryffindor for your
She still couldn't breathe.
"And Mr. Malfoy, that will also be ten points from Slytherin. You
the designated Overseer of Misbehavior in my class; no one has that
distinction except for me."
Draco opened his mouth to say something-- protest, no doubt-- but
on Snape's face, blacker than usual even for him, shut him up.
Snape looked at Harry and Ron. Hermione waited--everyone waited,
for him to take further points from Gryffindor--
And Snape at last said, "The rest of you go back to your desks."
Both boys blinking, startled at this lack of venom, they hesitated
only a moment before picking themselves up-- Draco too-- and headed
back to their positions, Harry extending the notebook to Hermione--
"Mr. Potter. Miss Granger. I will take that, please."
Hermione felt, rather than saw, all the color go out of the world.
Snape did not change _expression. "I will be locking it in my desk
and you may have it back after cl-- no, at the end of the day, Miss
and I will have words."
Harry had made no move to give the notebook-- still open-- to him.
looked at Hermione.
She saw what was in his face: Say the word, and I'll swallow it
I let the slimy git get his hands on it.
And then there would be another thousand points taken from
Gryffindor, and a month-long detention, and it would all fall on Harry.
And Snape would still want to speak to her.
Despite the fact that she could feel she was starting to cry, she
squeakily, to say, "'Sokay...give it to h-him..." She turned
and could only hear the sounds of the two sets of footsteps as the
was surrendered, and the sliding of a desk drawer and a click.
There were no more giggles, not even from the Slytherins. She
collapsed into her chair, aware that she still had a blue mess that she
had to clean up before she could get out of here.
If she could have apparated into a wall she would have.
He anticipated she would be about fifteen minutes late, working up
courage, but not so terrified that the prospect of him keeping
notebook would be more attractive.
Right on cue, the timid knock sounded on the door.
He didn't look at her. He made a point of continuing what he was
doing, grading the stack of tests, until she had crossed the room--
which she did like she was going to her own execution-- and stood in
front of the desk.
At last he looked up. Red puffy eyes and face, in fact the tears
already starting again.
Why, why did he have to have principles about those fucking memory
"I told you I did not want to have any words on this subject with
ever, did I not?"
She nodded, her eyes developing that squint that said she was about
He set down his quill and unlocked the desk. Pulling out the
he handed it to her.
She held it like it carried plague. "Can I-- can I go now,
she almost whimpered.
"No. I want you to understand something." He leaned back in his
chair. "Do you understand the difference between a fantasy and a wish,
"I know that you know the difference. Everyone knows
the difference; they do not always understand how to distinguish the
two. Fortunately, I do. A fantasy is not a wish. It is a story one
tells oneself for entertainment. It is self-contained. It serves its
purpose by being a story. It is not a wish. It is not a desire to see
something become reality."
She stared. Fortunately she'd stopped crying, so he imagined
of what he was saying was getting through to her.
"I think no worse of anyone for having fantasies, Miss Granger. And
do know the difference."
He wanted to add Just don't write them in Potions Class, but
would have defused the situation, and he couldn't let it be
She was, what, fifteen? sixteen? and she was still going to have to see
every day for the next few years; he couldn't let her carry this one
a festering sore.
"Did-- did you..."
What was she going to ask him? Did he hate her when he realized he
was the subject? Feel nothing of the adrenaline of the situation two
ago? Good god, how could he possibly answer those?
Oh. Well. Not that he hadn't been curious, but...
"Miss Granger. Understand several things. First, I am not trying to
embarrass you, I am trying to embarrass you as little as possible here.
No, I did not read it. I saw the page Mr. Malfoy was reading when Mr.
Potter passed the book to me, and that was all."
The breath she'd been holding in came out of her in a sob, and he
her hands clench a little tighter on the notebook.
"Secondly, and this will hurt, but it is necessary: from the little
did hear and see, I am not such a masochist that I wanted to
anything so dreadfully bad. Good god, girl, what in
name were you using as a reference for romantic fiction? That... was
"Oh..." It was a very small noise.
"I have never heard such drivel. Is someone paying you by
"I--" God, he hoped she wasn't going to start blubbering again. But
better to be cruel now and let her try to improve herself, or give up
the whole thing
entirely. "It was-- the first time I'd ever tried... to write--"
"And all you've ever read on the subject are those door-holding
wedges of paper, I will NOT call them novels, that feature some
top-heavy wench in
a negligee and a long-haired and long-thewed pirate pawing her on the
She looked like she didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Well, that
better than earlier.
"I thought so. I am giving you an assignment. This is neither
detention nor homework, but it is a command from your professor
nevertheless. You are not to come NEAR any attempt at writing either
romantic or adventurous fiction until you have read something of merit
in the genres. Take this down. Yes, use that notebook to write; at
least SOMETHING decent will be written within its pages. Get Lady
Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence, Ulysses
by James Joyce, and pay particular attention to the last chapter in
one, and as far as adventure goes, start with The Count Of Monte
by Alexandre Dumas."
She was scribbling. "I-- oh, yes, I, I will, Professor Snape, I- thank
"Don't thank me just yet, girl, Ulysses is eight hundred
of stream-of-consciousness. Not everyone thinks that one's a privilege
"Are-- are these in the library, Professor?"
He snorted. "Of course not. The beauty of my plan is, it will take
you all the longer to get them in your hands, and thereby the greater
the chance that piece of... all right, that first attempt of yours will
die, as it should, untouched."
She looked up at him, biting her lips.
Oh, god. He knew that look. He'd fallen too far on the nice
Was she going to try to kiss his cheek?
Deliberately he twisted his features. "And Miss Granger, do try to
come up with some more cleverly disguised names for your roman a clef
characters. You are extremely lucky that Mr. Malfoy didn't read
further down the
page than he did."
He sneered openly at her. "Stavros Sableheart indeed."
That did it.
She squeaked, and fled, just the same way she'd done two days ago.
He couldn't sleep.
It kept surfacing like a needle on the skin of a waterglass; every
he tried to bat it away, telling himself Forget it and go to sleep,
day's been long enough, there it was.
At last he rose, lit a candle, and took a piece of parchment to the
in his quarters.
Taking up a quill, Snape stared at the blank parchment for a minute
beginning to write:
He recalled his surprise when the headmaster had spoken her name.
There. That was how you disguised a name, for god's sake.
Yes, she will be taking over your old position, now that you have
it for the Defense Against The Dark Arts post. You remember her, don't
She's one of our former students-- frightfully clever girl! Well, not
a girl anymore; still quite young, of course, but quite capable to take
as Professor of Potions. She should arrive tomorrow, just before the
Oh, yes, he remembered her. He was not likely to forget the day
learned that she had a schoolgirl crush on him, and the drama with
it had been unveiled. Poor Sarah. He hoped he had handled it well-- it
appeared that he had, as she had seemed neither more nor less
by him, for the remainder of her years at school, than any of his other
That had been, what-- five, seven years ago?
Too much past perfect tense here.
And here she was, unpacking her trunks in her new quarters.
He knocked on the open door, not wanting to startle her.
"Miss-- Professor Findley?"
No, she was not prettier than he'd imagined. She'd been pretty
then. But now she was both pretty and older.
Matured. Interesting. Very, very pretty indeed.
Especially when she smiled, as she was doing right now. At him.
"Professor Ballard! Oh, how good to see you!"
He forced his smile to stay natural. Very few people ever said it
good to see him.
"Dorian, please. I insist. You are faculty now."
Her smile did not diminish. "Then you must call me Sarah,
Professor-- I mean, Dorian. I was so pleased to hear you were still
here. And teaching a very prestigious position indeed."
"No less prestige than being named faculty at your age, Sarah."
"Well, I have been devoted to my studies."
"That is very like I remember you. I was just going for tea in
staff room, would you care to join me?"
No, she'd surely say, I've had tea already. No, I wouldn't
possibly want to take tea with you, you sinister lech. No, my boyfriend
is taking me
for tea in a few minutes and he's much better looking than you.
"Why, yes, I'd like that very much. We can catch up on things.
you been soothing many other heartbroken schoolgirls recently?"
"Oh--" He felt his smile take on a frozen sort of quality. "So,
that, do you?"
"Why, Professor, I've never forgotten it."
She was still smiling. Surely she was teasing him...?