Severus Snape made his way through the, thankfully quiet, halls of Hogwarts. Albus had summoned him for a meeting of some sort, and Severus thought he might as well indulge him.

He thought of the nearly empty bottle of fire whiskey on his desk, "Severus, what has reduced you to this?" he said to himself, as he walked. His black robes billowing behind him, making him seem even more frightening than normal. He truly couldn't wait for the school year to start. He truly enjoyed making the first years tremble, It teaches them respect me, he thought.

He made his way to Albus' office doors sooner than he thought and was about to knock, "Come in," this puzzled Severus how did the old man always know when someone was there? He opened the door and slinked inside, "Ah, Severus, I am so glad you could make it. Please take a seat. Lemon drop?"

"Albus, you know I never touch those things," He slid into a leather chair in front of Albus' massive desk, "Why am I here?"

"Well seeing as you are the only one who hasn't met our newest faculty member," Albus started then realized Severus hadn't even seen them yet, "Actually Assistant Librarian,"

"A book worm eh?" He could picture a small mousy woman with no backbone, "Well where is this new Librarian,"

"She's over by the fire," Severus turned slightly and looked, he saw a figure in burgundy robes with gold trim, "Will you come here my dear," the figure turned and walked over to the desk and sat in the chair next to Severus, "I think you know Severus already,"

Severus looked more closely at the women. She did indeed seem familiar; her hair was a rich chestnut and fell in ringlets, warm brown eyes, well shaped face and body, "I know you?"

"Severus, I am surprised you don't recognize former students. I owled Miss Granger late last year asking if she wanted the position."

"Miss Granger?" He couldn't believe that this woman had been one of his most trying students.

"I hope you will all just call me Hermione," Four years hadn't changed Severus at all she thought, as she smiled warmly at her.

"Certainly," Albus said, and smiled warmly at her.

"If you'll excuse me gentlemen, I promised to help Madam Pomfrey with a few books she wanted," With that She slid effortlessly out of the chair and glided out of the office.

"She truly is a lovely girl, eh, Severus?" Dumbledore smiled and took another lemon drop, "She really had her eye on potions though, she didn't know you had made it through,"

"Not many people knew. Sorry to disappoint her" Severus replied bitterly, "She was a good student, would've been better if she didn't have Potter and Weasely,"

"But it was those two who found you," Albus replied.

How could I forget, thought Severus, being tortured by Voldemort, kept alive for the sole purpose of the Dark Lord's amusement. Being found by Potter and Weasely after Voldemort had been finally defeated, being carried by Hagrid back to Hogwarts.

"Excuse me, I must finish cataloging my stores," With that Severus left Dumbledore's office, but he didn't go to the dungeons he went to the library. "There won't be any quiet time in that place when school starts," he muttered to himself as he entered the library. He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw, Miss Granger and Hagrid sitting at a far table talking...

"I truly had no idea Severus had made it through," Hermione started, "Ron said he looked frightful,"

"Aye 'e were in bad shape 'e was," Hagrid replied, "Took 'im months to recover. Ah professor Snape, lovely to see yer here,"

"Can I help you Severus?" Hermione asked, "A book you're looking for perhaps? We just got 'Arcane Uses for Chimaera, Hydra and Basilisk' if you're interested in it of course,"

"I'll take a look at it," Of course he was interested in it, it was one of the few books he have, He watched as she left to get the book for him. "Reading Hagrid? Nothing on dragons I hope,"

"No Sir," Hagrid picked up the book he had been reading, "Werewolves," Hagrid chuckled silently as he watched Severus scowl one more, then left.

"Here it is Severus," Hermione returned and watched Snape give an incredibly small smile, she smiled warmly at him, He wasn't as vile looking as she remembered, rather handsome she thought, she realized she had been staring then said, "It has to be returned in a week so it can be properly cataloged," She smiled again then turned and left him standing, book in hand, alone.

Why had she smiled at me, he thought, surely she didn't think I would be her friend, He thought as he quickly left, I've got to get rid of that fire whiskey, he continued to think as he walked, Didn't do me any good when I was eighteen, won't do me any good now.

He stood at the entrance to his chambers, a large oak door "Taimat" he muttered, and the Door swung open, His rooms were large, richly decorated with bookshelves lining the living room walls. he set a fire in the fireplace then took of his robes. He sat down in a large dark green armchair, and loosened the top two buttons of his shirt.

He thought of Hermione, Maybe she was trying to be nice to him, not out of sympathy but out of a mutual respect. He did respect her, not many would have the nerve to try poly juice potion in their second year. Did she respect him though? Or was it fear? He didn't dwell on it and opened the book that sat on his lap, he read until late and fell asleep. It was the first time in many nights he hadn't drunk himself into a stupor and fallen asleep at his desk....

Hermione snuggled deeper into the large armchair, she tried to prop the scroll and the book so she could read and write at the same time. There were very few copies of 'Arcane Potions' and Hogwarts had one of them. Her love for books or potions had not diminished in the four years since graduation, they had increased.

When Albus had originally owled her with the position she had originally hoped that it would be potions. Partly because everyone had though Severus was dead.

"No child," he had told her, "Severus is alive and kicking, The Potions position isn't quite empty yet," Her heart skipped a bit, Severus was alive? Voldemort hadn't killed him? Thank the Gods above!
She thought about the day he hadn't returned, a cold gray day during the spring of her final year, "Harry, there's nothing wrong I promise,"

"Are you sure 'moine?" he replied using her pet name, "Why have you been sitting out here all by yourself with that book? Under this nearly dead tree any ways?"

"You wouldn't understand," she replied and turned back to the book in her lap, "You just wouldn't understand," With that she stood up and stormed back to the Castle.

"Now everything is all right," she murmured to herself as she continued to write, "Harry would never have understood my fascination for Severus," she looked at her scroll then the clock, it was nearly seven a.m., I suppose I could go get breakfast now, she thought putting the book and scroll down on the table next to the chair. "No one is ever up this early on a week end." She said to no one in particular, she picked up her burgundy robe and put it one over the long sleeved dress she was wearing. "No one will disturb this while I;m gone," She gave one last look around the empty library and went down to the Great Hall to get something to eat...

Hermione walked with her head down looking at the familiar stones as she went. She smiled as she remembered some of her adventures with Harry and Ron, Would I have gotten into that much trouble on my own, she wondered, but her train of thought was soon interrupted when she walked right into Hagrid "Oh! Hagrid I'm sorry I didn't see you there,"

"'Tis okay lass, Jus' returning the book I borrowed yesterday,"
He smile and handed her the book, "Must be going, pumpkins to tend," He gave her a big wink and walked off,

She smiled and continue to walk. She thought of Severus, He seems rather lonely, she told her self, I wonder if he gets any Christmas presents?

It was an absurd thought but she had seen that glint in his eyes when he saw that book last night, if only it didn't cost forty galleons, she sighed and kept going. I wonder if he even respects me? I am probably just another ex-student to him.

She stopped suddenly when she reached the Great Hall, there was one other person there, Someone she didn't want to be alone with for ear of making her feelings known.

"Good Morning Miss Granger," Severus Snape looked up from the book he was reading and nearly gasped when he saw her, she was has changed, He thought to himself, Changed into a beautiful woman. Who could never love a greasy git like me. He added bitterly, to himself, he was cursed to be alone for all times and the proof of it was in the scar of his forearm.

"Good morning to you,Severus," She caught herself, she had wanted to add: you are the most amazing man I have ever met. He seems cheerful, she thought, She took a place close to him at the head table, She could see the book that he was reading, 'Arcane Potions' "An interesting book,"

He grumbled, he didn't like to be disturbed when he was thinking. And what would she know she probably hasn't even read the book, "If you can understand it,"

"English writing and Latin sub text, nothing too hard. She smiled, she was halfway through the book herself, "It's just a few the potion ingredients that are a little confusing to me,"

"You've read it?" he asked with out looking up, his heart was pounding, he wanted to tell her how beautiful she was but stopped himself, because it would be completely out of his character.

"I'm half way through it myself and taking notes on it since I cannot afford to get a copy for myself at this time," She smiled warmly at him, he returned with a scowl. Hermione sighed and decided to leave before she angered him with her little chatter.
She took her cup of tea and got up, "Good bye Severus,"

Good-bye? Severus thought, it sounded like something a dying man would say to his wife. And he should know; he heard it a hundred times when he was with the death eaters and a thousand times each night when he slept... even the dreamless sleep potion was beginning to have no affect on him. But last night was different he had fallen asleep reading, or more correctly thinking about Hermione. No nightmares, no torturous screams, just peaceful sleep.

He wanted to rush up to her and tell her not to leave, that she was what made him get up and face Voldemort everyday he was imprisoned. She was what made him go on everyday after that, Not his drinking.

"Good-bye," he whispered as she left the hall, He sighed and went back to his book... I've got no time for love, he told himself. No time to waste on petty emotions...

Hermione quickly walked to her chambers, Gods that Man, She thought, if he had a sickle for every time he scowled he'd never have to deal with students again. She was all but red from rage, he hadnÕt even tried to make a kind comment, she continued to the library, though Kind and Snape were two words not often found together... If ever.

She stormed into the library tea still in hand, Madam Pince caught sight of her, "WhatÕs wrong Dear," She asked as Hermione sat down by the fire where she had left her book and notes.

"Snape," She sputtered as she took a drink of the now cooled tea,

"What did Severus do?" She sat in the armchair across from her, "Or should I say what didn't he do,"

"I just tried to start a decent conversation and the next minute he's scowling at me like I am a first year who blew up their cauldron,"

"My my that is a bit of tizzy isnÕt it?" She reached over and patted her knee, "Hermione, HeÕs been through a lot this past few years, and well, I think heÕs absolutely sick of sympathy,"

"I wasnÕt trying to show him sympathy, he was reading Arcane Potions and I thought, that having a common thread..."

"Would mean you could have a conversation?" Hermione nodded, "My dear I have known that man for a long time, And itÕs hard for him to trust people seeing as what he has gone through,"

"That may be it, but maybe he just doesn't want anyone know that he still has a soul," Hermione said, It amused her to think that bitter Snape might still have a soul after all these years.

"What's so funny dear?" Hermione just smiled, "Nothing, I think I'll just finish my tea then finish cataloging those books I started yesterday,"

Severus walked slowly to the library, he walked as if every step pained him. Reoccurring pains from the Cruciatus occasionally plagued him... It was a wonder he hadn't gone insane from the pain. He entered the library and walked over to a large armchair by the fire, "Incendio," the fire roared and he sat down with his book, he caught sight of Madam pinch scowling at him, she waved her feather duster at him then walked off. what was that about he wondered. he tried to take notes on various passages, but couldn't think, he set the book down on the small table beside him and stared at the fire until he fell asleep...

Several hours later, Hermione walked back into the main area of the library holding and incredibly large stack of books. She tried to steady herself but nearly dropped them when she saw Severus sitting in the chair. She half expected him to make a snide remark, but she realized he was sleeping and there would be quiet for at least a few minutes.

She stopped for a second. You know, She thought, You actually are quite handsome. Tall, intelligent, he wasn't the greasy git Ron had mad him out to be, well by appearances any ways, Under other circumstances she would have loved to run her fingers through his smooth and thick looking hair... She watched his eyes moving under tight lids, he must be dreaming she thought. She would watch him when she was finished, if he didn't wake up.

Severus stood facing the white masks of dozens of Deatheaters, he shook slightly, and jumped when the Dark lord said his name, "Severus, you have failed me for the last time," Severus shook, "See how weak he is? Crucio!" Waves of fiery searing pains raced through his body, "You'll die soon enough, Severus,"

He groaned as if in pain, Hermione stopped what she was doing and looked at him? was he in pain? Was he having a Nightmare? She wanted to wake him but didn't know if she should.

"Crucio!" again the pains wracked his already beaten and battered body, "You will first watch all you know die..."
He dropped to the ground shaking, "Severus?" again the icy voice, "Severus?" this time it was softer, "Severus?" this time the voice was feminine...

He opened his eyes and jumped, Kneeling in front of him was Hermione, Her eyes full of concern, "Severus? are you all right you looked as if you were having a nightmare,"

"I always have nightmares." He retorted and scowled "What time is it?" He asked asked.

"Nearly Dinnertime," She responded as she stood up quickly and gracefully.

Severus quickly stood up, "Where's my book?" he asked looking around.

"Its's right here," She picked it up and held it out to him. He snatched it from her and glared. "No need to be rude Severus Snape!" The way she said his name stung him

"And you Miss Granger have no Right to show me shallow sympathy!" He glared at her, She was almost eye level with him now and that made glaring a little harder, she wasn't a student any longer.

"Why you ungrateful bastard!" She yelled despite being in the library, "You probably should have died..." she didn't finish her sentence she would have added: Because it would have been easier to break my heart that way. She raised her hand and slapped him as hard as she could across the cheek, then ran out of the library.

Severus raised his hand to his still burning cheek, "Bugger," he muttered.

"What was that?" He turned to see Professor Flitwick standing behind him, "You might want to put either an anti-swelling spell or a cooling charm on that. What did you do to that poor girl any ways?"

"I didn't do anything to her," he muttered.

"If you call not doing anything making her cry," Flitwick stood tapping his foot with impatience, "She's just concerned about you, she thought you had died that night, when you didn't return"

"Why would anyone, let alone a nosy Gryffindor, be concerned about me?"

"She was downright distraught," Flitwick replied, "She wouldn't tell anyone what was wrong with her she just moped until the end of school... She didn't even tell Harry or Ron"

Severus stood stunned for several minutes, Flitwick left him alone presumably to go down to the Great hall. He picked up his book and the noted that had fallen out. One was old and very creased, It was supposed to be a confession as well a suicide letter, he had never finished it. There were only two words written on it: I, Snape.


Hermione sat between Minerva McGonagall and Irma Pince at the high table. They were discussing books and transfiguring a writing desk into a raven, Minerva and Irma occasionally glance in Snape's direction then go back to either talking or eating.

Severus ignored their glares if not their conversation, "...How hard can it be for something, someone to change?" Hermione asked Minerva, She didn't even bother glancing at Snape.

"Well my dear, it takes time for things and people to change and not often fort the good of us all... It is getting late my dead, perhaps you should get some rest?"

"All right," She smiled at the two women and walked out of the hall,

She may be pretty but Gods was she annoying, Severus thought as he left soon after she did to retire to his own chambers


Severus lay sleeping in his bed, The first time in months he had slept there in fact. He was dreaming of Voldemort and a Veela with Hermione's face holding him. Protecting him from Voldemort and his curses... and for the first night in years, Severus felt no phantom pains as he slept, no distasteful scenes of death or Deatheaters showed themselves, no more torturous scream that woke him... He sighed and burrowed himself deeper under the dark green bed linens, In his dreams he was young again, and smiling, Hermione was there with him... And the nightmares had gone away.


Hermione lay asleep in her bed, her brown curls forming a halo around her head. Crookshanks lay next too her purring. Hermione's
Dream was one of a different sort, she was dreaming about the first time she sat in Potions... a smile grew on her sleeping face. She was content with her dream as was Severus with his.

Severus lay awake in his bed, it was early morning well before dawn. He had slept the whole night through, without waking up in a cold sweat and without feeling phantom pains... Though he discovered a 'minor problem' had arisen.

He remembered parts of his dream: Voldemort, the Veela with Hermione's face, the sense of well-being... He got up quickly and headed for the bathroom, "An icy shower will solve this problem," he mutters as he stripped, he tried not to look in the mirror or the scars that crisscrossed his body. He stepped into the shower and turned on the tap. He gasped as the freezing water hit him, his 'problem' solved he turned the water to a warmer temperature, Gods, he though, how could an insufferable annoyance cause such a reaction?

A half an hour later he was dressed and ready to 'face' the world. He glanced at his desk; the bottle of fire whiskey was still there, he'd transfigure it into something later.

Hermione flitted like a hummingbird amongst the shelves of the library, She had pushed Severus out of her mind as she didn't quite know what to think of him at this point...

She hummed a muggle tune to herself as she looked at various titles and categories, familiarizing herself with them once again. She was so caught up in what she was doing that she failed to see the group standing behind her until one of them cleared their throat, "Oh!" She turned quickly, "Good morning Albus, Minerva, poppy, Irma. I didn't see you there,"

"It's quite all right my dear," Albus said smiling, "How are thing with Severus? I hear you're trying to befriend him?"

"He's insufferable," She replied, "Every time i try to talk to that man he accuses me of trying to show him sympathy,"

"The man is that way every year, even worse around his birthday." Poppy said.

"When is his birthday?" Hermione asked curiously, it never occurred to her that a man as rude and insufferable would have a birthday, though he obviously did, "How old is he?" she had no idea how old the man was...

"September 13th, Friday this year, He'll be forty five." old enough to be my father, Hermione thought, "He doesn't exactly like presents..." Minerva said.

I bet he would if it were the right one, she thought and smiled at the four standing before her, "Shall we go get breakfast?"

"Splendid idea," Poppy said, the others agreed with her an they walked down to the Great hall together.

Severus was already there. he looked up when he saw Hermione, she smiled at him. He looks well rested, she thought. It took him a few seconds, but he did eventually scowl at her, but she continued to smile at him. She decided that if she kept smiling and didn't let it bother her he'd stop scowling eventually..

He was quietly eating when Hermione took a seat next to him. She was close enough for him to smell her, she smelled of vanilla, roses and sandalwood, among other things, He felt intoxicated, worse than anything firs whiskey could do to him, He began to feel the stirrings of another erection, he thought an ice spell might work, but didn't want to draw any undue attention to himself.

Hermione was almost as intoxicated by what she picked up with her nose, he was the only one sitting by her and she could pick up hints of patchouli, Oak moss, and even a hint of sulfur and what smelled like cedar from him... She was so caught up in what she was smelling she almost missed Minerva talking to her, "Any plans for today?"

She nodded, "I am going to meet up with Ron, Harry and Ginny in Diagon alley later," she failed to mention that she planned on picking up a birthday present for Severus, mainly because he was right there and partly because they might object, "There are also a few things I want to pick up before the term starts." She smiled a knowing smile and finished her breakfast.

Severus watched her talking fro the corner of his eye, She has such a radiant smile, said a voice in his head, pity she's such an annoyance...

Hermione sat on the white steps of Gringotts. She had withdrawn nearly a hundred and fifty galleons, She had nearly six thousand of them in her vault. She earned most of them doing odd tutoring jobs over the summers at Hogwarts and from the four years after graduation.

She thought of the shocked look Severus would have when he got his gift... "Moine!" Her thoughts were disrupted by a young man with red hair standing in front of her.

"Ron!" She stood up and hugged him fairly tightly.

"Her-moine, Can't breathe," Ron gasped, she realized how hard she was hugging him and let go,

"Sorry," She smiled, "Where are Harry and Ginny?" She asked looking around him.

"Oh, you know. Behind me as usual. You know those two love birds, Joined at the hip," He rolled his eyes and Hermione laughed.

She looked at him and smiled, "Anyone in your life?" she asked, curious.

"Nah," He said shaking his head, "Ministry works keeps me traveling and busy, not good for a relationship." Ron was about to say something else but was interrupted before he could.

"Moine!" Ginny ran up to her and hugger her. Harry was walking up behind Ginny

"Moine," Harry gave her a light hug, He smiled at her, His hair was still unruly and his glasses were like the ones he had back in school.

"How's Hogwarts?" Ginny asked as they started to walk

"Hogwarts is fine. My job is perfect, considering I am still a bookworm. Hagrid has pumpkins that are nearly half the size of his hut," They all smiled until she continued, "Harry, Ron why didn't you tell me Severus had survived?"

"You mean Snape?" she nodded, "Since when have you been on a first name basis with him?" Harry asked.

"Since I started my job," Hermione looked at the two men, "Why didn't you tell me?"

"We didn't really think the git would make it past arriving at Hogwarts," Ron replied, "Why is the git driving you crazy?"

"Not exactly," she said smiling, Ginny caught her smile and gave her a questioning look.

They stopped in front of an obviously small and old shop, "Mind waiting a minute? There's something I want to pick up," She smiled again as the three nodded, and watched her walk inside.

"She seems happy." Ron said, Looking at Ginny and Harry

"She's always loved that library, and now she can read all of the books in the restricted section," Harry replied.

Ginny let the two men talk she was thinking. She thought Hermoine's reply to Ron's question was odd; not exactly? that wasn't a clear answer... She looked up when she saw Hermoine walking out holding a paper wrapped package.

"What do you have there, Moine?" Ginny asked, Hermoine just shook her head and smiled.

"It's a secret," She said as they walked down the street.

They had lunch and afterwards, Ron and harry went to the Quidditch Shop and Hermoine and Ginny went to look at robes and dresses.

"And they say that women take forever when we shop," Ginny said as they left the boys.

Hermoine laughed, "Put those two in a Quidditch Shop and leave them there all day if you like, they'll be there when you get back," Hermoine and Ginny went into a stop arms linked and laughing...

"Hello, I am Madam Birch-heart," An older witch said as they walked into a dress shop. "How may I be of service?"

"Hermoine, why don't you find a nice dress I have all the dresses I could want right now," Ginny said.

"You can never have to many dresses," Madam Birch-heart said as she walked around them, "I think for you a cream silk dress," she said as she walked around Ginny. She quickly summoned a cream colored dress with no sleeves and, "You can go and try it on if you like, it will fit you," Ginny nodded and the woman led her to a dressing room.

Hermoine saw a burgundy velvet dress laying in a box, she reached out and touched it, "It's beautiful, no?" Hermoine jumped and looked up.

"Yes it is very lovely," She said smiling, "It looks like it was being boxed for someone though,"

"Oh, on the contrary," Madam Birch-heart said, "I had a feeling that someone would notice it today," The witch smiled. "And it seems that you've noticed it."

It's lovely, Hermoine thought, but where would I wear such a lovely dress? "May I try it on?"

"But of course," Was the reply and she was led to another curtained dressing room.

Hermoine smoothed the dress down her sides, it clung to her curves but not to tight. She looked in the mirror, "Severus would be shocked..." she clapped her hand over her mouth, when she realized she had said that out loud.

"Moine?" Ginny was standing outside of the dressing room, "Can I have your opinion?" Hermoine pulled aside the curtain and Ginny gasped.

"What!? Is there something wrong?" Hermoine looked around herself, "Oh Ginny that dress is perfect..."

""Moine, You look absolutely lovely," Ginny said, as she touched her friends arm, "I love it,"

Madam Birch-heart was standing nearby, "So would you like to try on any other dresses?" They shook their heads, "Would you like to buy these ones?" They nodded then went and changed back into their original clothes. Madam Birch-heart wrapped their dresses and gladly took the ten galleons from each for their purchases.

Severus walked the twists and turns of Diagon ally, he was picking up a few much needed supplies. He stepped into Archimedes
Apothecary, and looked around the dimly lit shop, "A Mister Snape," A short man reminiscent of a goblin hopped down from a stool he was sitting on behind the counter, "What will you be needing today sir?"

"Many things Ivory," He looked at him, Ivory McKennen was the owner of one of the best apothecaries in all of both Diagon and Knockturn alley, it was also one of the most hidden. Severus handed the man a list and Ivory scurried back behind the counter.

"Let's see... A kilo Manticore quills... Two kilos of whole dried dragon gall... essence of aconite.... essence of wormwood....," the little man flitted up and down a moving ladder picking up various boxes, "Lacewings, quarter of a kilo.... unicorn tears... half a kilo of Boomslang skin... a kilo of mugwort.... essence of nightshade... " The list went on.

It took Ivory ten minutes to have all of the bundles arranged, labeled and priced. "That'll be ninty-eight galleons and seven sickles," Snape paid Ivory, took his packages and left the store...

Though Diagon alley was packed with witches and wizards, there seem to be an open space for him to walk. He topped for a minute at another shop and picked up crystal vials and bottles for storing potions. He heard a familiar laugh and turned around.
He could see Hermoine walking with Ginny Weasely; they were walking right towards him.

Hermoine say him first and smiled, "Hello Severus," Hermoine said, Ginny looked up when she said this.

"Oh, Hello Professor Snape," Ginny tried to be cheerful.

"Afternoon," he said, looking at the two women, "And where are Potter and the other Weasely?"

"We left them at the Quidditch shop," Hermoine replied, "Excuse us we have to be going," She smiled again and waited for him to scowl, he didn't... She was about to say something but Ginny was pulling her away.

Severus stood watching them go, He, himself, had realized that he didn't make any snide remarks or even scowl...

"Hermoine?" Ginny asked as they were walking away and well out of his hearing range, "What did you buy in that one store?" before they had reached the Quidditch shop they were surprised to see Ron and Harry waiting outside for them for them, "Well? Will you tell me?"

Hermoine looked at Ron and Harry and then whispered into Ginny's ear, "A birthday present for Severus,"

"You what?! Have you gone insane?!" Ginny said, "Oops, I mean why?"

"Because and that's all you need to know," She said glaring at her.

"You fancy him?" Hermoine just shrugged, "I won't tell anyone, I promise."

"I don't know, he's insufferable and yet he's rather handsome, not the scary man I saw when I went to school." Ginny had to admit he was quite handsome but he was old enough to be her father, Hermoine's too for that matter.

"Well either way, he is pretty attractive now that you mention it." They both giggled and were still doing so when they reached the Quidditch Shop.

What's so funny?" Ron asked, Eying his sister and friend laughing so hard, "C'mon tell me,"

"Nothing, we just ran into Severus," Hermoine said wiping a tear from her eye.

"And that's really a laugh?" Harry asked, shaking his head...

Hermoine returned to Hogwarts just before Dinner and slipped into her new dress, "I can't wait to see the look on Severus's face," It was by no means a formal dress but it wasn't simple either, she whirled around and was content with the fact that the dress didn't billow out she spun, It had enough room in the legs for her to walk comfortably.
She picked up a light open robe of burgundy with light golden trim, and smiled to herself then went down to the Great Hall. She could see the staff already sitting at the table the all looked up when she walked in. She was oozing radiance and confidence. She caught sight of Severus staring at her, neither scowling nor smiling, Just staring.

Severus watched Hermoine as she glided towards the table, he looked just like she did in his dream the night before, and for the third time that day felt the threatening presence of another erection.

Minerva was smiling, "Hermoine what a lovely dress, and in Gryffindor colors no less," She said approvingly, she saw Severus' look, "Wouldn't you agree Severus?"

He looked at her and scowled, "A dress is a dress," he replied.

Hermoine just smiled and sat in the only empty seat, which was next to Severus, "A dress is only a dress until someone's wearing it, Severus," She smiled at him, and this time he scowled but this time not as hard.

Dinner progressed with the usual chit-chat; including questions from Dumbledore about Harry, Ron and Ginny. Hermoine was all to happy to answer them.

When dinner finished Severus went to his quarters and sat at his desk staring at the bottle of fire whiskey. Face it Severus, he thought, you're falling in love and don't want to admit it, this wasn't exactly a thought just something that he knew.

"Bugger," He looked at the book next to the bottle, he picked it up. 'Arcane Uses for Chimaera, Hydra and Basilisk' he went to the one bookstore in Diagon alley that might have even a shabby copy of it but man had said he had sold it.

He got up and walked to the door of his chambers then looked at the bottle of whiskey, He knew what he'd transfigure it into but now wasn't the right time. He stepped out into the hall way an realized he had taken his robes off, not that it mattered to him. He was dressed in black, as always and that suited him just as well...

Hermoine walked through the library, she had walked with Irma up there and was now heading to her own chambers. She thought about her surprise for Severus and nearly ran into him in the Hall.

"Severus!" She stopped inches away from him, "I'm sorry, I didn't see you," Her voice was a little husky as she looked into his dark eyes. She may have been tall but she was no match for Severus's height he towered over her by at least four inches.

"Typical Gryffindor," He said, he looked into her eyes and was tempted to smile.

"Typical Slytherin," she retorted and couldn't help but smile, she then noticed the book in his hands, "Oh, are you returning this already?"

He nodded, "Might as well before the hall are over-run by ungrateful students,"

Hermoine didn't respond She was lost in his eyes, He reached up and cupped her chin in his hand. They're so strong, she thought, and not as rough as she imagined them to be. "Severus?" she whispered, "What..." Her sentence was lost as He kissed her, she felt her knees becoming like jelly as she reached up and clasped her hands behind his neck. He held onto her, the hand with the book was against the small of her back.

Severus reveled in the warmth of her body, the softness of her lips, the heady scent of vanilla and roses that came from her skin. He was beginning to swoon, until his thoughts interrupted him; Severus?! What are you doing?!

He suddenly broke away and looked at Hermoine, her pupils were slightly dilated and she was nearly breathless. "What am I doing?" he said aloud, "I have to leave," He brushed past her and headed to the library.

"What did I do?" she asked herself as she watched him walk quickly away. She put her fingers against her still tingling lips. He kissed her and she followed along with it, willingly.

She stood there, confused, for several minutes. The slowly walked to her chambers...

Hermoine sat on the edge of her bed, dressed in a night gown, her hair wrapped in a towel. She was petting Crookshanks, he was purring content, when she stopped abruptly he meowed. "I'm sorry Crookshanks, I've got a lot on my mind." HE purred again and rubbed his head against her knee. She smiled, despite the few tears that threatened to overflow. She went to the desk and began a letter to Ginny,

Dear Ginny,

I need you help, I am incredibly confused. Severus kissed me
tonight, and I let him too! What do you think? should I ignore
him or just let it go and see what happens? I know this sounds
kind of dumb... but your advice is always good, I want to
let it continue, but don't want my heart broken, and you know
my luck with men... Please don't tell Harry or Ron bout this.


She reread the letter and sealed it. She'd sent it in the morning. She moved, the now sleeping, Crookshanks away from the edge of the bed and crawled under the covers. She fell asleep quickly and dreamt of her friends and a phantom kiss.

Meanwhile Severus was in his chambers berating himself. He had kissed his insufferable annoyance. Why? he thought, He didn't know. He couldn't help but think of her soft lips and the warmth of her body. He could still smell the roses and vanilla from her. he sighed and looked at the bottle of fire whiskey once more. He picked up his wand and turned it into and everlasting rose. It was the same color as the dress She had worn tonight, he thought.

He looked at the rose and touched the petals, "Every rose has it's thorns, and one of hers is her Gryffindor nature," he said and for once he let himself smile, thankful that there was no one else to see it, lest they thought he finally had gone insane.

He picked up his copy of 'Arcane Potions' and searched through his notes, then sat down at his desk. He thought of the few good memories he had including the kiss from tonight despite the fact that he might have ruined any possibilities of a friendship. Not that she could possibly be friends with me now. He worked for several hours before going to bed. He fell asleep thinking about Hermoine and the scent of vanilla and roses....