Thank you all so much for your reviews and encouragement! This will DEFINITELY be the final installment of my story. Just keep in mind that this WAS supposed to be a ONESHOT, and be glad it's a Threeshot instead :P I hope you enjoy it!
Severus woke with his cheek against soft skin, sticky with sweat. The gentle rhythm of steady breathing slowly lifted and lowered his head where it rested between the girl's round breasts. Her legs were spread to either side of him and one hand rested against his upper arm. She is still here, he thought, squeezing his eyes shut lest this dream escape in the light of wakefulness. But as his mind became more and more aware, she did not disappear. Oh gods. He had taken a double dose of that potion last night. Severus smiled and snuggled deeper into Hermione's embrace. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he wondered if it would be possible to take so much of the potion that this vision never faded away.
His eyes snapped open with a jolt of self-awareness. Severus Snape knew what it was to be addicted to a potion. There were several variants of Dreamless Sleep and Pain Relieving potions that he could never take again for fear of relapse into that deep den of crushing helplessness. It would not do to develop an addiction to this one; especially not now.
And yet… lying here with Hermione beneath him in the semi-darkness of the dawn felt like a paradise he could hold onto forever; like a dream from which he would never wish to wake.
It is a lie. The sight of the girl's bear pajamas on the floor only served to reinforce that fact. The real Hermione Granger would be disgusted to know what he had dreamed about her. Self-loathing seeped into the pit of his stomach. He should rip himself away immediately and never look back. But she was so inviting. Maybe if he promised himself never to take the potion again… he could live out the last effects of his last dose and enjoy this for the moment.
Stirring slowly, Severus Snape nuzzled the soft mound of Hermione's breast, tasting the salt of her skin like the last bite of a summer peach. The girl arched into his touch, moaning as sleep fell away from her. What a vivid imagination I have. She seemed to realize all at once and her head jerked up to glance down at him, but Severus merely dragged a hand up to her breast and brought a nipple into his mouth. She gasped happily at that, allowing her head to fall back onto the pillow and reaching her fingers into his hair. He groaned at the sensation and pressed his erection into the mattress.
The whimper that escaped the girl at his lazy ministrations sent a shock of desire down his spine. It would be hard to leave this reprieve in the past, but he would be happy just to remember that once it had been his. Perhaps that was the hardest part about it all; for the first time in a long time, he was actually happy.
Hermione wrapped her legs about his torso and Severus growled. Pulling himself level with her, he met her mouth with a tender kiss. This is 'goodbye,' he realized, and passion blossomed within him to be poured into the caress. He cupped her face in his and tasted the softness of her mouth with his tongue. And all the while, she ran her fingers across his back, holding him close and seeming to savor the feeling of his skin.
When Severus pushed inside of her, she was so wet that he wanted nothing more than to hammer into her until he came. But this was a moment to cherish. This was the last he would have of Hermione Granger; not that he had ever really had her at all. But that was a thought for later. For now, there was only bliss.
The girl gasped and sighed beneath him as he slowly pressed against her. He would do anything to watch her come apart again. With that thought to drive him, Severus brought a hand between their bodies and teased her tender flesh as he rocked against her. Soon she was bucking beneath him, gasping and whimpering with desperation as he felt his own desire growing frantic with acute need. He wrapped an arm beneath her neck and buried his face in the thick curls of her famous bushy hair, inhaling the fragrance of the girl he wanted so desperately. "Mmmmm," he murmured against her ear, "Hermione."
The girl gasped at that, bucking beneath him before arching her back and crying out into the darkness of the room. Severus was so caught off guard by her raw passion that a swell of pleasure immediately brought him to the cusp. He thrust erratically against her a few more times as his orgasm mounted then broke, bursting in harsh waves of intensity and pleasure as the vision wrung the passion from his body. He collapsed on top of her, gasping into the darkness of his bedchamber. Even feeling her beneath him, loneliness began to seep into his bones and his heart clenched painfully, mournful that he would never have her again.
But it was for the best.
When the girl lifted her hands to his hair and began to rake her fingers gently against his scalp, Severus knew that it was time to pull away. It would be easy to fall into this vision forever, but that would not do. "No," he told her sternly. "This cannot continue." Severus was not sure why he felt the need to explain himself to her. Perhaps it was an offshoot of his desire to believe that she was real. Pathetic. "You are a tempting distraction, Hermione." His fingers whispered across the skin of her cheek in a gesture as soft and tender as the sound of her name on his lips. "I could easily forget myself with you, but the Order needs me. I cannot lose myself just now." Perhaps, if he survived the war, he would not begrudge himself a life of addiction to this sweet dream. He left the thought unsaid. "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live," he told the girl, instead. Albus had told him that in the early years after Lily's death, when he had pined for her most desperately. It would be just as easy to languish in this dream until the end of his days, but he could not allow himself to do it. "I will not call upon you again."
The girl opened her mouth as if to speak, but Severus cut her off with one finger across her lips. "Please, Hermione," he begged her, "I do not want to know what you have to say. You are only a dream. And I know what I must do." With that, he rose and slowly dressed, watching the play of emotions across the girl's sad face. When he finally turned away, it was 'goodbye' at last. He truly had no intention of ever revisiting this beautiful dream.
When the door closed behind him, Hermione collapsed back onto the bed with a weary sigh. What had she done? Everything had changed in the past two days. There was no going back. And yet, there was no going forward, either. She was stuck, as if in some terrible Purgatory, stranded between Heaven and Hell with no clear path to either side. How could she tell him now that everything he believed to be a lie was really true? She had deceived him in the worst way, but that had never been a conscious decision on her part. Maybe he would see that and understand. But at what cost? Severus Snape was a proud man, blanketed forever in a cloak of lies to protect his secrets. He would be humiliated that she had slipped past that shield and seen his most vulnerable side.
He would never forgive her.
But it was the truth. It had happened. No matter how angry he would be, no matter how much he would wish it weren't so, nothing could change the fact that it was true. He deserved to know, didn't he?
Hermione considered her options. If she never told him, he would never know. Life would continue on as it had before, as if nothing had ever transpired. He would not murder her for her deception, but neither would he ever confess the secrets she'd been shown. On the other hand, if she told him… he might hate her. He might kill her. He might shun her for the rest of her life. But at least he would know that the sentiment was reciprocated; that she wanted him, too. And if he died in the coming war, at least he would know that he wasn't alone. That he wasn't just a desperate man clinging to a beautiful dream. The scenes he revisited were not fantasies, but memories of true events. The girl that he remembered was more than a hallucination.
Oh gods. Hermione pressed the heels of her palms into her eyes, as if the gesture might push the problems from her mind. There was no decision, she realized. Her mind was already made up.
Severus stared down at the parchment scattered across his workbench. How was he to brew with his mind in such a state of turmoil? It was not the vision itself which tortured him now, but the truth it represented. After all these years and all of the lessons they had brought him, how had he allowed himself to make the same mistake again? Severus Snape was never meant to have love in his life. That was a fact he had always known. Sure, there had been times when he'd rebelled against that unhappy truth, but the punishment he had been served should have taught him the lesson by now.
When the kitchen outside of his little lab came alive with Weasleys, Severus reluctantly dragged himself away from his brooding. Perhaps a bit of tea and bacon would wake him up to the reality of his miserable life once more.
He ate in silence, hardly listening to the happy chatter all around him. In the aftermath of his decision to give up the dreams he'd had, it became more and more apparent that it was not the sex he craved. It was the companionship. Severus had forgotten what it felt like not to be alone, and now that crushing realization had fallen over him once more and he wasn't sure he could survive it all over again. Soon enough, he told himself, he'd grow accustomed to the silence of his life once more and it would be as if nothing had ever disturbed his lonely calm. It would all be nothing more than a simple dream.
He was rinsing his plate in the old kitchen sink when the first 'morning, Hermione' met his ears. It made his chest heave with hollow desperation, but she could never know that. The real Hermione Granger was everything he'd dreamed she was, but meant for another man. She would laugh in his face if she knew that he felt anything more than disdain for her.
"Hermione, dear," he heard Molly say, "would you like me to bring you a plate?"
Severus's ears strained for her answer, if for no other reason than to hear her voice. "That's alright," the girl replied, sleepily, "I can manage." Glancing down at his hands, Severus realized that he had practically washed the dish he'd been rinsing. Past time he returned to his work, then. He set the plate in the sink and turned around just as Albus Dumbledore appeared in the doorway.
"Mmmm," the Headmaster hummed in approval at the scent of bacon and eggs in the air, "There's no better way to start the day than with a breakfast of your cooking, Molly."
"Oh Albus!" Molly swatted the air modestly, but her cheeks filled up with pink at the old man's words. "You flatter me," she told him. "Would you like me to fill a plate for you?"
"Not just yet," he waved her away, "I have business with my Potions Master. Severus?" The old wizard began towards the lab and gestured for his spy to follow. "I want to see what progress you have made." Severus nodded and began to follow without allowing himself even the tiniest glance at the girl who had been the subject of his visions. How he was going to explain his findings to the Headmaster, he did not know. Even the excitement he had felt at creating such a potion had been drained away by his withdrawal from her.
But then, as he neared the open door, suddenly she called to him. "Professor." It was a simple word, three syllables that meant nothing and everything at once. He could feel his body heating and his chest clenching horribly as he turned to look at her at last. But where he felt distressed she seemed emboldened and the others in the room looked on as she stood and stepped towards him in such a seemingly innocent way. Severus tried to throw off the impression that he had slept with this girl even as his eyes finally took in the bright fabric concealing those perfect legs. His breath caught. No. Could it be? The incriminating bear pajamas could not be explained away. A harsh knot twisted in his chest, sinking with the pain of an epiphany. It's not possible.
Severus wasn't sure how to feel. Anger and excitement warred with despair and exultation, but disbelief overrode them all. He found he could not speak as everything he knew about his world was turned on its head and he stared openly down at the girl who had wreaked havoc on his life in two short days. Hermione. The corner of her mouth tipped up in a tiny smile. "I am sorry to tell you," she said in a voice that only hinted at their secret, "but you may find that you've made less progress than you think."
A dozen thoughts flashed through his mind in the space of a moment. It had all been real. He had unwittingly seduced the object of his own desire and it was too late to dissolve that connection. She was here. The real Hermione Granger had not turned away in disgust at the thought of him. She had allowed him to… Oh Gods… But she must have known what he believed. And yet she had made love to him. Somehow, she had snuck past his façade of indifference and disdain and cuddled up in the open wound of his heart. There would be no removing her now. Funny, but that thought seemed to lift away his loneliness. Hermione was there.
At a later time, anger would take hold of him. Then joy. For now, Severus felt too much to feel anything at all. He stepped toward her, almost without thinking, and raised a hand to the skin of her cheek. She really was his, then. Perhaps he had known all along.
Albus's impatient voice broke the stillness of the air. "Severus?"
Blinking, Severus withdrew his hand and stepped back from the girl. But before he turned away, his eyes grew hard and he lowered his voice to a menacing growl. "I will deal with you later," he told her in a dangerous tone. He almost smiled at the panic that sparkled in her eyes. Silly girl. Didn't she know she had nothing to fear?
Severus Snape would never harm his Hermione.
AN: Thank you so much for all of your support! I am so glad that this story has been so well received! I really put myself on the line when I pull out the darker desires of my soul for the world to see, so I truly appreciate your words of support and encouragement; and just to see that you lot are as twisted as I am :P haha. So Please take a moment to tell me what you think, your favorite part, or even what could have been done better. I LOVE to hear it!
Thank you all SO much!