|The Safe House
Author: Aurette PM
A frustrated Hermione gets whisked away from Grimmauld Place in an emergency by her potions Professor. Hour after hour holed up in one room can take it's toll. Ignored DH and large chunks of HBP and anything else that got in the way. COMPLETERated: Fiction M - English - Humor/Romance - Hermione G. & Severus S. - Words: 8,317 - Reviews: 100 - Favs: 237 - Follows: 24 - Published: 03-25-09 - Status: Complete - id: 4947656
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN: Not mine/No money
Severus Snape tidied up his room at number 12 Grimmauld Place with an nervous flick of his wand. Books lying on top of the scarred and faded desktop fluttered shut and jumped to shelves; scrolls whirled over to stack themselves in the cubby above. The thin gray coverlet smoothed itself over dingy sheets evanescoed too many times. The door to the old, cracked armoire closed with a firm snap. Glancing at himself in the hazy mirror he flicked a bit of lint off his best robes and smoothed out an unwanted fold in his starched collar.
"It will have to do," he said to his reflection. The reflection scowled back but not fast enough to hide the quick look of pity in its eyes. With a grimace he whirled to the dilapidated dresser and grabbed the gilt embossed box off the top. He stepped onto the hallway in a flurry of robes and the door whooshed shut quietly behind him. Dust motes whirled around the empty room and then settled to the floor in peace.
As he walked down the hall towards the stairs he shrunk down the box and was carefully pocketing it when another door opened quickly and a gangly redheaded menace barreled into him. Clutching at the box that almost dropped to the floor, Snape snarled at Ronald Weasley as he secured the box in his robes.
"Oh, sorry Professor!" Weasley squeaked out.
"Yes, you are," Snape hissed as he made his way past and glided down the stairs.
Sagging with relief that all he got was an insult, Ron followed down the stairs at a slower pace. Passing the doorway to the library he stuck his head in and found Hermione in a chair with her face stuck in a book and Harry across the room on the couch with his face stuck to his sister Ginny.
"Oi!" he bellowed, "Find a room!"
Harry pulled away with a wet sucking noise and turned to his friend.
"Yeh, 'tho I think you just offed my appetite."
"Oh come on now, it's not like you didn't get to see Lavender this afternoon. Give me a break, I haven't seen Ginny in a week." Ginny giggled and unwrapped her arms from around Harry's neck and smoothed down the front of her blouse. "I'm not sure I can take anymore of this being cooped up here like criminals."
"Yeh, I know what you mean, mate. There's nothing to do but stare at the walls or read one of these awful books all day. I think Hermione is the only one that can stand it." He shuddered dramatically.
Hermione gave him a withering stare and closed the book she had in her lap and stretched. She stood up and replaced the book on the shelf to her left.
"Well that's our Hermione for you, but if she had any other interest besides books I'm sure she'd be just as miserable as you two." Ginny chirped. The two boys joined her chuckles and the three made it out of the library to head to dinner.
Hermione stared after them bobbing her head stupidly side to side, silently mimicking their annoying laughter. With a snort she stomped after them.
The kitchen was full of noise. Ron and Harry were begging news from Remus about the latest tidbit on the Chuddley Cannons and Tonks seemed to have cornered Professor Snape and was needling him about something that Ginny found hysterical. With her horrid mood Hermione decided to just make a plate for herself and return quietly to the library. As she grabbed some sandwiches and fruit the conversation in the corner started to filter in under the noise of quidditch.
"I bet I am right! So who is she, Severus? C'mon, you're all dressed up and smell good, I know you have a date! I am not letting you leave until you confess! Is it Sybil?" Tonks cackled at her own joke and Ginny cackled right along with her. With the two of them falling all over each other they didn't see Snape wiggled his head side to side silently mimicking them. Hermione choked and his eyes snapped to hers in anger. She smiled at him and with a significant look at the two laughing witches she rolled her eyes and gave him a sympathetic nod. His face stiffened but he dismissed her and turned back to Tonks.
"Honestly, Nymphadora," he imbued her hated name with as much ridicule as possible, "even if it was any of your concern I assure you I would still keep you in the dark. Now, as I said, I have an appointment and I am leaving the babysitting duties to you and the werewolf." Tonks started in on him again but Hermione didn't hear anymore as she slid out the door with a heavy sigh and made her way back to her books.
Remus was in the middle of describing the Cannon Keeper's unfortunate choice of broom position just before a really unfortunate midair collision when the kitchen fireplace flared green and a very angry Alastair Moody came through in a swirl of choking ash.
"We've been breached!" he cried. "Mundungus Fletcher has been found dead and we suspect he gave up his last secrets before they killed him. Who's here? We need to evacuate immediately!"
The room froze. Then all eyes turned to Snape.
"When did this happen? I assure you, I have not been informed of anything about it."
"His body was dumped in an alley behind the Broody Witch about three hours ago, from what we could tell, it was only discovered an hour ago."
"I am sure if it was an officially sanctioned action I would have been called by now, therefore it is safe to assume it is rogue Death Eaters looking to score honor with the Dark Lord. We must evacuate, I agree."
"Take one of the youngsters each and get to your safe houses. Contact by patronus in four hours," Moody ordered, as he reached for Ron. Tonks reached out and grabbed Ginny and Remus grabbed Harry who looked like he was going to struggle until he was given a gentle shake. Snape looked about and with a muttered oath he stormed out of the kitchen as the three pairs began to apparate away.
Hermione was startled out of her grumpy thoughts by the loud cracks from the other room. She jumped up and dropped her sandwich back on the plate just as Professor Snape barged into the room. He was terrifying to look at with his robes flowing, his hair flying and his wand clenched in his hand. She took an involuntary step back but that seemed to be it for her survival skills for the moment. His head swung around until he saw her and then he was upon her so fast she gasped.
"Miss Granger, we must leave immediately," he said in a stern clipped voice.
"Wha…?" was all she got out before she was swung around face first into an impossibly hard chest and his arms clamped down around her.
Her first thought was "ow" her next was "why does he smell so good?"
The sensation of being squeezed out of a toothpaste tube ended abruptly and Hermione's legs sagged out from under her. The strong arms around her kept her from falling as she was led over to an old battered couch.
"Sit, put your head between your knees if you must. I need to secure the area. Stay here and do not make a sound." His voice was all sharp orders and business and Hermione found it at odds with his gentle handling.
She nodded to him and sank down dropping her head forward and breathing through her mouth to try and stop the spinning. She heard his boots stomp away and with the opening and closing of a door they faded away. She took several gulps of the close, stuffy air and as her head stopped spinning she opened her eyes. Staring at the space between her feet as she gathered her scrambled wits she saw the dusty faded wood grain of a very old plank wood floor. Lifting her head she looked about the cottage. It was indeed very old and run down. A fireplace that looked ready to fall down took place of honor against one wall. Soot blackened the wall above it. The wall to the left held the front door and two small windows on either side Cheap cotton curtains hung limp and faded on wires stretched across filthy panes. Besides the long, lumpy, old couch she sat on there was a large chest that doubled as a coffee table, a wooden chair covered with chipped paint that used to be red but was now almost burnt orange from sitting in the same patch of sunlight for countless years and an old Formica table with rusty metal legs, one of which had a wad of paper under it presumably to stop it from wobbling. Hanging on the wall over an old sink against the right-hand wall was a cabinet and off in the corner was a partition with a narrow door. She got up and went over to the door and opened it, hoping for a bedroom but only found a small, cramped bathroom consisting of a commode, a sink, and a cheap plastic shower stall that was an obvious late edition to the house. Looking at it she thought it might have been added as recently as forty years ago. Positively modern. She walked back to the couch and sat and waited for an explanation, staring at the thick oak door that led to outside.
The thrum of magic in the air told of wards being set and spells fired off so she slid her wand out of her sleeve and held it for comfort. Not that she was any good in a fight anymore since apparently all she was good for was freezing up and squeaking. She went back over the chain of events that led up to her being perched on an ugly couch scared out of her wits but came up with nothing that made sense. She had been so lost in her own self pitying thoughts that she had missed whatever had happened that made everyone suddenly apparate away from Grimmauld Place.
Thirty minutes later Professor Snape reentered the cottage looking exhausted and not a little angry. She decided since his last words were to not make a sound she would stick to the plan. He stomped around the room muttering and shooting her dark looks which she interpreted as asking her to make a noise so he could yell at her and feel better. Being the smartest witch of her age, she clamped her lips between her teeth and bit down. He growled and paced until he seemed to run out of energy and then he came over and flopped down on the other end of the couch. He looked at her and winced, but drew a breath and seemed to come to the decision speaking was in order after all.
"I am not sure what you heard from the kitchen, Miss Granger, but to make sure we are both on the same page I will explain. It would seem that the Black residence is no longer a secret, Mundungus Fletcher has been killed and Alastair Moody warned us in time to evacuate the premises. The plan is to stay here for four hours and then make contact with the others and see where we go from there." With that said he scraped his hand down his face and his expression changed from irritation to chagrin. "However, in my urgency to secure your safety I jumped us to the wrong safe house."
She looked up at him and blinked. His cheeks suffused with color and he looked away.
"I have several secure locations in the case of emergencies. However, this is not one of the ones I have kept stocked." He waved his hand about the room. "There is no food here or any useful amenities." He looked over at her with the slightest trace of apology on his face.
"I'm sure it will be more than adequate, sir," she said quietly. "We will probably leave in four hours, after all, I can endure for that long. If I may ask, where did the others go?
"Each of us in the Order has a safe house that the others do not no the location of. Remus took Potter with him, I believe Moody has the honor of entertaining Ronald Weasley and Nymphadora has Genevra to worry about. There is a chance that I will be called away to the Dark Lord. If that happens, wait here until midnight and then walk 100 paces away from the house and apparate directly to Hogwarts. Even in summer, there will be someone there to respond if you bang on the gates."
At that last they both fell silent, contemplating what his not returning by midnight would mean.
"Well then," she said finally and forced her shoulders to relax.
With all the relevant facts accounted for, Hermione settled back against the couch and ruminated over the fact that she was stuck in the middle of nowhere with her Potions teacher for the next for hours with nothing to read. This thought brought up the last exchange she had with Harry, Ginny and Ron and she let her thoughts descend down to where they were before all the confusion.
Snape watched the girl's mood darken and turned his face away. She was taking it well enough, he thought, she's entitled to get mopish as long as she doesn't expect me to do anything about it. It could be worse, He could have been standing next to Potter when Moody showed up. He shuddered slightly.
The stuffy atmosphere of the cottage was getting to be too much, it was as if they had sucked up all the oxygen and were running out. Sweat trickled down Snape's back and he grimaced, thinking of the care with which he had bathed this afternoon. Wasted. He stood up and walked over to one of the windows and tried to yank it open. Of course it wouldn't budge. He banged on the frame a few times and shoved and it gave with a squeal that made the Granger girl startle. He murmured and apology and went over to a window on the opposite wall and again fought with it. This time the when the window went up it immediately slammed back down. Holding the window open Snape reached out and broke a branch off the bush next to the house and used it to prop the window open. He turned back to the table and caught Granger's confused look.
"We mustn't use magic if we can help it. I used a great deal of it securing the area and warding the house but magic signatures can be traced. I disguised the signature to the wards to look like the two of us came here and immediately apparated away. To continue to use magic would render my illusion useless."
"I see, sir."
He gave her a dismissive shrug and took off his dress robes and laid them over the back of the chair. Not that this was any cooler, what with his waistcoat and formal shirt he was beginning to swelter without the use of cooling charms. Taking him up on his cue she stood up and shrugged out of her robes, revealing an over-sized t-shirt and baggy jeans and sturdy brown shoes. She wadded up her robes and used them as a pillow to lean against in a futile attempt to make the couch more comfortable.
The four hours passed in bored silence the suffocating summer evening did nothing to help. The candles they had lit when the light faded seemed to add to the oppressiveness. Both of them were wrapped in their private lethargy on either side of the couch when a silver wolf burst into the room. It padded up to Snape and opened its muzzle letting Tonks voice flow out."
"Wotcher, Severus! There seems to be some confusion, the body that was found wasn't Mundingus after all but another bloke poly-juiced to look like him. We are still holding secure, the plan as of now is to stay put and wait. Possibly meeting up at the Burrow in the morning, Bill is there securing it as we speak. Another message will come in four hours. Acknowledge to Moody." With that, the wolf faded away.
The idea of another four hours made them both groan and they looked at each other with a small sense of camaraderie. Snape took up his wand and with a shouted spell sent a silver streak out the window.
Hermione shoved herself up off the couch and went over to the sink. Opening the cupboard she took out a glass pointing it at the tap she wordlessly asked if he wanted some water too. He nodded wearily and she reached up and grabbed another. She turned the tap and it started to heave and bang until it spit out what looked like brown gloop. With a moue of distaste she backed up letting the water run; it eventually started to run clear but her faith in it had dissolved and she shut off the tap and glared at it.
"I don't suppose, we could use magic now? I mean you just sent a patronus, yes?" He looked at her sympathetically and told her that it would not be wise. She set the glasses back in the cupboard and walked back towards the couch knocking into the chair on the way. She jumped when a box fell out of Snape's robes and landed on her foot, immediately enlarging itself back to it's original size.
"Watch out, you silly girl!" Snape shouted launching himself off the couch and snatching the box off the floor.
"Oh, I am so sorry!" she cried throwing out her hands as if that would stop whatever it was from being broken. "Is it alright?"
He glared at her and she stepped back, "I am really sorry I did not mean to break your gift." Then, as if seeing the gilt box with new eyes she exclaimed, "Oh Gods, you did have a date!"
He squinted at her, confused at her tone, it almost sounded like she was insulted somehow. "Not that it is any of your business, Miss Granger, but I did not have a date, I had an appointment. And the gift is not broken, thank Merlin."
This seemed to please the chit and Snape was content to have the mood return to the stagnant but non-hostile atmosphere it had before. He looked at the box and then at the girl and gave his head a firm nod.
"Right, do us a favor, Granger and grab those glasses." He walked back over to the couch and sat heavily. Hermione hurried to obey, unsure of what this sudden mood swing meant. She sat on the couch next to him as he opened the box and pulled out a rather expensive looking bottle of liquor. He practiced hands he cracked off the waxed seal peeled off the lead and pulled out the cork. Filling one glass three fingers full he poured a dollop into the second. He capped the bottle and snatched up the larger glassful and clinked it against the one in her hand.
"Cheers." He belted back a healthy mouthful and rolled his mouth around and swallowed.
Hermione found herself staring at him while her thoughts raced in circles like a dog chasing its tail. First, there was the fact that her teacher just gave her booze. Second, he didn't bother to give her much. Third he really was being rather decent, considering what a prat he had been the first six years of her education. Fourth, was how nasty his hair looked plastered down with sweat the way it was. Fifth, was how he made drinking booze look positively decadent. She stared at him like she had never seen him before. She looked down at the glass of…whatever, in her hand.
"Is…is this wise, sir?" she asked.
He rolled his eyes over towards her and shrugged. "Indubitably not. However, I deem the risk minimal. The Dark Lord would have called already if he was going to. From the message we got I suspect Mundingus Fletcher pulled a runner and is halfway to Canada by now. He had rather large gambling debts, as I informed Albus repeatedly and has always been a security risk in my estimation." He gave a dismissive flick of his hand. "No I deem the greatest risk is that we will either expire from boredom or heatstroke barring those two events the next largest risk is that piddling amount I allowed you will make you puke on your shoes." He gave her a nod and took another sip. "Since we are stuck here for another four hours, Granger, I thought we could pass the time making...small talk." This was said with a grimace. "So tell me, how is your summer going so far?" The question was pleasant enough, the tone of voice was best reserved for uppity maitre d's asking someone of questionable appearance where they would like to sit.
Hermione tried to wrestle her whirling mind to a halt long enough to answer the question. She thought about how her summer had been going so far and the vehemence of her answer overwhelmed her.
"It's been hell!" she spat and downed her drink in one go.
Snape eyed her waiting for the inevitable choking and gasping but other than watery eyes and a red face she disappointed him.
"What is that stuff?" she said in a hoarsened voice
"You bought muggle booze?" she asked, surprised.
He scowled at her and replied., "The person it was intended for appreciates it. Now tell me, not that I really care, why has your summer been hell, it's only been two weeks so far surely it can't be that bad." He set his glass down on the chest and grabbed the bottle and refilled his glass. She shoved her glass at him and he gave her a splash more.
"I don't want to talk about it," she said in a firm voice. "Rather, tell me, where the hell are we?"
"Galacia? As in Spain?" He nodded. "You apparated us to Spain?!" She looked at him with a new sense of wonder. How powerful a wizard did one have to be to apparate two people across oceans?
"Obviously." Maybe this wasn't such a good idea, he thought. The heat seems to be getting to her.
Seeing the annoyed look on his face she decided to not pepper him with the many and varied questions she had already thought of and stuck with 'small talk'.
"So have you spent a lot of time in Galacia? Tell me about it."
He was mildly pleased that the silly girl seemed to pull her brain out of its nosedive so he started to wax on about his experiences traveling in Spain starting with his first trip abroad as a potions apprentice. From there they talked about her experiences in France and from there about the differing wizarding customs in other lands. After about an hour they found they were both content with the surprisingly pleasant company and slightly drunk. Well, Snape was slightly drunk Hermione was pretty much just drunk. He was surprised at how accommodating she was with her situation and all things considered she was rather more pleasant company than he would have thought possible. As for herself, she was past the point of feeling it was odd to be chatting about mundane things with her sour professor and was rather expansive in her feelings for what she considered her new found friend. Taking advantage of her more than relaxed mood he decided now was the time to get some answers to her strange mood.
"So I am rather curious, Miss Granger," he started.
" I beg your pardon?"
"Hermione, call me Hermione." She followed this up with a slap on his back. "After all, we're partners in purgatory here, i'ssonly fitting." Realizing she was slurring she stopped and put her hands on her lips and started pushing them back into the proper place. As if that would help.
Conceding her point he lifted his glass to her and quaffed the rest. She leaned over and refilled both glasses, equally, again.
"Hermione, then, I am curious as to why a bright young witch such as yourself is having such a hellish summer. Surely it is not all that bad. The times I have been in charge of babysitting you seem to be quite content with the Black Family Library."
"Oh, the books are lovely." At this her eyes seemed to glaze over a bit but then they snapped back into focus and she made a disgusted face. "Of, course, being Our Gal Hermione, that's all I could be interested in, don't you know."
"I'm afraid I don't follow."
"Well obviously, I am not normal. I thought I was, for a long time I did, but ever since the end of the school year I have found I am not." As if this made perfect sense she then spun her head around and gave him a piercing look. "Even you have betrayed me! What hope is there for me?"
Taken aback by this sudden and vehement allegation he gave her a sharp look, well tried to, he wasn't sure which one if her to look at. Perhaps he was farther along than he thought. He gave the mostly empty bottle a look of suspicion.
"What the devil are you talking about, you silly girl! I have done nothing to cause your ire, in fact, just tonight alone, I have endeavored to see to your safety at the expense of my own needs!" He was going to get up and storm across the room away from her, but really it seemed like too much effort so he settled for folding his arms across his chest. He had to stop and put the glass down to do it properly and when he was done he wasn't sure if the effect he achieved was haughty distain or more petulant berk. He decided to add a withering stare and hope for the best.
"Oh no you don't," she said reaching out for his forehead. "You do NOT get to give me the eyebrow! I am the injured party here!" She manually tried to shove his eyebrow back down where it belonged. She had as little success as she did with her own lips.
He swatted her hand away and snarled, "Explain yourself!"
She took a deep breath and then turned to him and explained.
"Would you like to kiss me?"
All he managed to reply to that before his brain seized up was a startled "gick".
"See?! There! That right there! And even you!" As if that had made all the sense in the world she flung herself backward onto the couch cushions.
He continued to make noises that refused to turn into words. There was a "p'zhut", and a few "Bu'wha'huhs" and many "wath'ells" interspersed with randomly placed "g'heh's." Finally his brain seemed to kick in and he was able to exert some control.
"Miss Granger!" He shouted. That felt right, shouting was good.
"H'mione, I thought we had that settled."
"Whoever you are! That was an entirely inappropriate question! As well as a completely illogical one! I am your Professor!"
She opened her eyes and glared at him while struggling to get back to an upright position.
"Inappropriate? You got me drunk!" she shrieked back and winced at the sound of her own voice. Shouting was definitely right out. "And besides," she said in a quieter voice, "you are the one that had a date after all, leaving me to shoulder my burdens alone!"
"I did NOT have a date!" he hissed through clenched teeth. "I had an appointment!"
"Oh sure, an appointment you get all dressed up for and smell nice for and bring expensive gifts to!"
"Yes! When it's an appointment to get laid, you idiot girl! And what burden was I supposed to help shoulder?" Snape couldn't seem to get himself under control. His mind and his mouth were running without any interference from his sense of duty or ethics but way back in the far ranks of brain cells he kept hearing someone scream 'inappropriate! inappropriate!'
"You were going to get laid?!" she squealed in an outraged voice. "But I thought at least YOU were a virgin too!"
Now he was offended.
"What the hell made you think I was still a virgin?!"
"Well…" here she got nervous. She didn't want to come out and say it was due to the fact that he was ugly and bitter and obviously frustrated. Somehow even her fuddled brain knew that would be an unfortunate confession. At that point she was saved by a thought. "Who the hell makes an appointment to get laid?"
Snape looked rather displeased that her brain had caught out that fact. His suddenly nervous looking expression drove the point home.
"Oh! You were going to a brothel? How…sad." She looked away and started to get teary. "Is this what I have to look forward to? Being smart and accomplished and having to pay someone to pretend I am attractive?" She flung herself back down on the cushions.
Snape was stuck between being utterly offended at her on one side, being sadly empathetic for her on the other, being humiliated that his secret was out on a third side and horrified at how far out of control this whole night had become on the forth side. He did a quick count of the sides and decided he was in a box. Well technically a box has six sides so he set his mind to pondering up two more sides when he was interrupted by a snuffling noise. Oh, right. Granger was crying. Damn.
"Stop that right now."
"You are better than this, Granger."
Still nothing from the lump but blubbery snorting noises. He had to make her see sense. He reached out and patted her on the hip.
"You see, Granger, we are in a box. But the box has no top and no bottom. So we could just leap out of our boxes and go crashing to the floor. Or maybe even lift the box up over our head and throw it to the side." He suddenly had a flash of a thought to his days in kindergarten running around holding a badly painted red box around his hips like the other children and singing songs about being a fireman. "Or perhaps we could just pick our box up and carry it along with us. I'm sure our boxes are big enough that we won't have to shuffle our feet. And I'll be damned if I'm going to sing this time." His soliloquy was interrupted by a peal of musical laughter. That confused him and his thoughts scattered like dry leaves.
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"I have no idea really. It was important, though. Don't you doubt it."
She heaved herself back up into a sitting position and slumped companionably against his side. It would have been nice but the heat radiating from each other made it more of an endurance test.
"So what is the issue here, Granger?" he asked in defeat.
She patted him on the leg and gathered her thoughts a bit before answering.
"I don't like the idea of being an Old Maid at seventeen. I'll be eighteen in a couple of months and already I have been damned to a life of scholarship and pity. I am constantly surrounded by sexually active people and yet none of them could be bothered to even notice I'm a female. I don't want to be this generation's Madam Pince. I want to get laid too!" Waving her hands futilely she turned towards her teacher and asked in a pitiful voice, "Am I really that unattractive? Be honest!"
Sensing the importance of the moment, Severus Snape did his duty. He shifted away from the girl and turned towards her. Taking her hands in his he gently squeezed them before slowly scrutinizing her from head to toe. When he was done he returned his gaze to her caramel colored eyes and replied with the liberating truth she craved.
"Pretty much, yea." 'Gods! This honesty stuff was exhilarating!' he thought to himself. 'Wait, why is her lip doing that?'
"Are you crying again? You ask for the truth and then it makes you cry? It's supposed to give you insights; you are supposed to be wiser now." Throwing her hands away he folded his arms across his chest in disgust. "Idiot girl."
Her lip quiver started to go berserk until she lost control completely and wailed.
"But you just said I'm ugly!"
"No I didn't, I said your were unattractive!"
"Same thing!" she hiccupped.
"No it's not. Don't be a dunderhead and think! Who are you trying to attract? No one! Ergo, you are unattractive. That has nothing to do with being ugly!"
At this her crying abruptly ceased. There was logic here. Somewhere. She looked around the cottage trying to find it.
Snape drew himself up into full professor mode and launched himself off the couch as he began to formulate his lecture. The effect was ruined a bit when he stumbled into the table but it was hard to pace when the floor wobbled. He settled his hip against it and began to explain.
"When a man or a woman feels attractive they start to express their interest in a partner through little signs. Taking pains with their grooming, or their habits. These subtle signs are then transmitted out to those who might reciprocate and they will react accordingly. You are not transmitting. No signal at all, really. You wear sensible clothes that hide your figure and that rats nest you call hair positively screams 'I'm not interested'. Therefore, to anyone receptive in the vicinity the message you send is a resounding 'go get stuffed'. You follow?" She nodded. "But this is not a bad thing, obviously you were not ready or even interested. You were much happier for the moment burying yourself in your studies. Now apparently you've decided to wake up, as it were. You only need to start transmitting your own signal. There, you see?"
She raised her hand. He looked around to see if any other students had their hands raised but seeing none he sighed and called on her.
"So to get laid I need to start wearing tons of make-up and dress like a slut? I find that a bit repellant. Am I to remain a virgin until I do?"
"Good Gods no." he shuddered. "You must transmit your own signal. Dressing like a slut is only appropriate for a slut. I think if you were to tart yourself up like that it would be unnatural for you and thus the effect would be, well, tragic really."
She raised her hand again.
He looked around the room again and grimaced, 'Why is she the only one that ever has a question?'
"Yes, Granger, go ahead."
"Sir, what kind of signal should I transmit then?"
"How the hell should I know? That's personal. What kind of man do you want to attract? Think about that and you will find your answer." Deciding class was dismissed he moseyed back to the couch and flopped down again. Merlin, sitting felt good. He stared at his legs wondering what was wrong with them he never felt like this unless he was drunk.
Hermione chewed over what had been said so far. She grabbed up the bottle and refilled the glasses. Handing one to Snape, she clinked the glasses together and drank. Her eyes glazed over as she tried to decide what kind of man to attract. What did she want in a man? How the hell should she know? The only men she knew well were family, her father and her uncles, or her friends, Harry and Ron who might as well be family. She needed more information.
"Tell me, Snape, what do you find attractive? What does a woman need to do for you to become sexually interested?" She glanced over and found him sprawled with his head thrown back and his eyes closed, his long legs seeming to stretch halfway across the room.
"Breathing helps and she needs to not be too expensive, I've only got the teacher's salary y'know."
Contemplating his answer she found a large hole in his argument.
"If all one has to do is transmit availability, why do you have to pay for sex?"
At this his eyes popped open and a look of disbelief crossed his face.
"Open you eyes, Granger. I could transmit all day in a crowd but just what kind of woman do you think an ugly old Death Eater attracts? Yes, that's right, other ugly old Death Eaters. And there aren't that many women in the bunch." He shuddered at a hidden memory and dropped his head back again.
At this moment Hermione was struck with a Brilliant Idea.
"Congratulations," he muttered.
"No! Think about it! I am breathing and I'm cheap! Free even!" She started to bounce up and down a bit with excitement. This was such a marvelous idea!
"What the hell are you going on about?"
"I think we should have sex!"
He opened one eye and pinned her with a beady stare.
"I think you've lost your mind."
"No I haven't! It's brilliant! I need help figuring out what to transmit, how do I do that when I am completely in the dark? You are a teacher, so you can teach me, yes? And because of me, you missed out on your date tonight. I can make up for it!"
"It wasn't a date!"
"Granger, I am not going to have sex with you."
Her face fell.
"But why ever not?"
"Well, for one, you are a student. It would be inappropriate." She fixed him with her own version of a beady stare. "Secondly, you are twenty years younger than myself. I have never fancied myself a pedophile."
"I am not a child!" she yelled balling her hands into fists and pounding them on the couch. He just looked at her and raised an eyebrow.
She sighed and flopped back against the couch.
"Couldn't you just think of it as educational?"
"Language, Miss Granger."
He gave a snort.
"Well, I guess it has been educational already. Thank you for your insights. I will endeavor to put them to use."
"You are welcome, Miss Granger."
"Whoever you are."
There was silence for a long while as they each wandered off in their own thoughts. Hers never seemed to wander that far. Now that the idea of having sex had popped into her head it didn't really want to leave. She stared at the man next to her. He was not particularly good looking, he had been right about that. But she found that her perceptions were now colored by the companionable events of the evening. He wasn't all that ugly either. And she thought it was rather sad that he was so alone that he had to pay for sex. She really thought a pity shag would be just the thing for both of them.
"If I was twenty years older or you were twenty years younger, would you have sex with me?"
His voice rumbled deeply from his chest.
"Are you still breathing twenty years from now?"
"I'm pretty sure I am."
"How much are you going to charge me?"
"I was still thinking along the lines of free."
"Well, then. That would be a yes."
"So you do find me attractive!"
"Twenty years from now, yes. Now, no, I find you a bit annoying."
"Only a bit? Then I am making progress."
He snorted again and lifted his hand and patted her on the head.
"Why don't you settle down and let your life happen, Granger. My experience with trying to force events to my will should be a cautionary tale for you."
They settled back against the cushions in silence again. He lost, in the maudlin thoughts of his youth and she, categorizing all the information she had in her head about male sexuality. Eventually she stumbled across a sound bite belonging to her mother. 'Men are such visual creatures, dear. For women, attraction starts in the mind.'
"Aha!" She yelled.
Snape jumped and looked at her, thinking she was about to do something dangerous. He was right.
Hermione sat up and quickly pulled her shirt up and over her head. Turning to him she threw her hands out to the sides and displayed a lacy shell pink bra covering perfectly formed breasts.
"Ta da!" she crowed triumphantly as his eyes bulged out of his head.
"What the hell are you doing?! Have you lost your mind?!" He reached out and grabbed the shirt still clutched in her hands and tried to spread it out across her chest. This pretty much only resulted in his rubbing his hands across her heaving bosom.
His hands recoiled and in a full blown panic he shook out the shirt and grabbed the hem. As she reached behind her to undo the clasp to her bra he quickly threw the shirt over her head pinning her arms. A wrestling match ensued wherein she tried to pull articles of clothing off and he struggled valiantly to try and put them back on again. After about five minutes of this she let out a musical peal of laughter that caught him completely off guard and he found himself grinning in response. She was laying on her back with her head half in half out of her shirt with her professor angled across her with one hand holding her arm up and the other clutching fabric and he was smiling brightly down at her. She stopped struggling and just looked into his incredibly dark eyes. He took advantage of the moment to shove her arm through the sleeve and grinned in triumph. Her face seemed to explode with pleasure and they stared at each other.
"You really don't want to have sex with me do you?" she stated with a humorous smile.
"No, Hermione, I do not." His eyes were still rather warm.
"But you did like what you saw, you can't deny that!" she said merrily.
He gave a deep laugh that made her tingle in wonderful places.
"I will not deny that you have impossibly lovely breasts, Hermione. But they are better off saved for someone more worthy, yes?"
"They are mine, I think I should be able to give them to whom I like."
He laughed and sat back up taking her hand and tugging her up after him.
"Hermione, you are not the casual sex type. A young woman such as yourself should save her charms for someone for whom the union is special. For love." She gave a disgusted snort and was about to say something when he put his finger on her lips stopping not just her words but her breath. His face became suddenly very serious. "Promise me you will not throw away important parts of your life based on loneliness and alcohol." She looked at him and nodded and he smiled and let out a breath he did not know he was holding.
"Since you ask this promise from me may I ask a boon from you?" she asked softly. He nodded.
"Can I have a kiss?"
He started to back away, his face reflecting the many emotions going through his mind, disappointment, anger and incredulity, but there, just there, she saw longing. She reached out and gently laid a hand along his cheek.
"Just one kiss. That is all I ask, nothing more."
He eyed her suspiciously but did nothing to stop the caress of her hand as it slid into his hair just above his neck. He neither moved forward nor backward as she rose up on one knee and turned to face him more fully. He seemed to be trapped unable to do anything to halt the slow progress of her face towards his. A kiss. Just a kiss, as if there ever was such a thing. But he wanted it. He had never kissed a woman before. That was never part of his business transactions. It would be a first for both of them but he would die before he admitted that to her. His gaze flicked to her lips and the quietest of breaths escaped him.
And then their lips met.
Tentative and tender at first, it was a gentle pressing of lips that was surprisingly enjoyable for both of them. Tilting her head she breathed deeply through her nose and her mind filled with his luscious scent. She made the slightest whimper and he groaned in response as his arms curled around her back and he deepened the kiss. Lost in the sounds she made he parted his lips and gently sucked her lower lip into his mouth. She crushed herself against him and opened her mouth to get more of him. His tongue plunged past her lips to seek out and tease her own which joined his of its own accord. Desperate now, the kiss took on a life of its own as lips left to search for new terrain on chins and cheeks and earlobes but always to come back to their partners. The other lips that seemed to need them most. Need. The kiss became an outpouring of need. It became a need for more. Hands started to roam but didn't get far before a cold piercing thought jabbed into his brain. Wrong. This is wrong. He slid his hands up her back and around to cup her face and gently kissed her one more time and was done. Being done felt right.
He pulled back and looked at her half sprawled in his lap, her eyes unfocused and her lips red and swollen and had the sudden thought that he had never seen anything so beautiful in his life. But then again, he had never made a woman look that way so it was an understandable thought and his conscience told him he still had not made a woman feel that way, just a slip of a girl and he felt bad.
She stirred and licked her lips, closing her eyes to better preserve the memory of her first kiss as she slid off his lap and settled on the cushion next to him.
"Thank you," she whispered in a husky voice. He just nodded at her and smiled gently.
They settled themselves on the couch. He, with his hands folded on his stomach and his legs stretched out across the floor again; She, with her legs tucked under her and her head on his shoulder.
It was only a little while later that a silver vulture silently flew in the window and Moody's voice filled the room.
"All clear. Mundungus was apprehended in Nova Scotia. Veritaserum established he was running from creditors and made no mention of anything pertinent to any other parties. He's been obliviated. Twelve clear. Return."
"Well then, Miss Granger."
"Hermione," she said automatically.
"No, I think it is best if we go back to Miss Granger now."
"I understand," she said quietly, then brightening up she added. "You weren't very good at saying it anyway."
He gave a snort and pushed her up off the couch and followed her to a stand. She walked over and took up their robes as he pulled his wand out and flicked it at the windows shutting them up tight again. Taking his robe from her he paused to put it on before reaching down and picking up the bottle of scotch. It sloshed, still a third full. He looked at her and back at the bottle and walked over and placed it atop the mantle of the old crumbling fireplace.
Turning he held open his arms and she eyed him suspiciously.
"Is this wise, sir? Isn't it dangerous to apparate when one's been drinking?"
"I have hidden depths, Miss Granger, I assure you."
She smirked and walked over and put her arms around his impossibly hard body.
"Yes, Yes you do," she said. 'And I intend to plumb them all' she continued in her mind.
He gave her back a gentle squeeze and the spun to the right and with a loud crack they disappeared. The dust on the floor swirled in reaction to the vacuum of air but after a brief dance it settled to the floor in peace.