A/N: Hello, dears! Thank you for giving this story a shot. I wrote a Dramione fic a while back, Stolen, but this is my first writing of HG/SS, and it's my first M. This will be rated M, so you've been properly warned. I love Snape, so I'm excited. It may also contain other pairings, not sure of who yet, so feel free to make requests. Unusually for me, it's a post battle, 8th year set story where Snape survived, obviously. I beg your indulgence as this is something I jotted down because I couldn't get it out of my head, it's not been thoroughly edited. There will likely be some errors. Sorry! I'm not good at continuing without readers, so if you'd like to see the next chapter, please leave a review. I welcome any and all thoughts/comments/questions & suggestions. I listen. I sincerely hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: I'd never dare claim Harry Potter as my own nor make any money from this story. The world rightfully belongs to JK, which just about anyone could tell you.

But Wear the Chain

"The hope, the fear, the jealous care, the exalted portion of the pain,

the power of love I cannot share, but wear the chain." -Byron

Chapter One: Want

She walked towards the dungeons with her heart in her throat, as they say, wondering if that was physically possible, given magic. It was a line she always wondered about—where magic stopped and muggle physics took over. After all, her chest felt empty and it certainly was hard to swallow. Her heart could definitely be there.

The feeling was typical of students heading down to professor Snape's dungeon as the shadows grew longer and darker. It was the student, in this case, that was not typical. Hermione Granger did not get detention.

She had been distraught over the possibility that it might revoke her Prefect status. Of course, Headmistress McGonagall had assured her that even prefects were allowed to make mistakes. Ron had wondered at her ability to even be bothered by such things, consumed as he was with trying to not fail out of auror training.

"I don't see how even you can pay attention to all that theory and book rubbish, not now that we've had a taste or real fighting." He had told her one afternoon at Harry's—Grimmauld Place. She tried to conceal the grimace she felt at the memory of 'real fighting', as he put it. If her friends had any idea how much the violence physically sickened her, they'd be embarrassed.

They boys both seemed exhilarated in the midst of it, like Remus and Sirius. At first, she thought it might be because she was a female that she could not set aside her anxiety to feel the rush—feminine instincts and all that. But Ginny and Tonks didn't feel sick at the sight of it, didn't seem to be screaming internally for it to end every second. And the more she saw violence, the more sensitive she grew to it, not less. She didn't even like to step on worms or smash spiders anymore.

"Auror training is so much more challenging. We could really use your help." Ron had whined at the table as the trio shared lunch.

Shaking her head clear, she had snapped at him, "I told you the attrition rate is ghastly, Ron. It's not considered a challenging program if everyone can complete it."

"Honestly, it's not as if you even needed to finish school, Hermione. They would have given you whatever job you wanted." He continued.

She was careful in her response. She knew Harry didn't want her to think he'd taken a position he had not earned. "I want to finish school, Ronald, and fighting in a war may qualify one for politics or auror career, but I'm not fond of either of those at the moment. I want my options open." Yes, mostly because she had no idea what she wanted to be.

"Whatever. You could have trained for whatever you wanted, apprenticed. You already know all that school stuff."

"Not at all! There is so much more to learn than you realize." She had given up convincing him and returned to face her punishment: detention with professor Snape.

It was not just humiliating that she had landed in detention as Hermione Granger, prefect. It was humiliating that she, an adult, a veteran of the final battle, and a nearly intellectual equal to the man, was being punished like a child.

She deserved his anger, though. She had corrected him. No, she had corrected him in front of his students. It had been entirely accidental; she'd spoken instinctively before she had realized what she'd done. He'd simply misspoke one ingredient for another. She immediately covered her mouth, tried apologizing profusely. He had been eerily calm, but merciless.

However far they'd come since the battle- healing in the infirmary, grieving, new found fame, understudy to him on his research project- was gone, she feared. His eyes on her were cold as they had ever been, but she was not nervous because like the other students she trembled under his glare, well, not in the way they did.

Hermione had always taken up for the potions master. She had always been inclined to trust him and was even defensive of Ron and Harry's accusations that he was 'greasy'. She knew enough to know he was a gifted, brilliant potions master who could make far more than he did as a teacher.

The way he had shielded them with his body, ready to be torn to pieces by a werewolf in third year made her feel safe. No one had ever done anything like that for her.

She noticed, as she matured, his deep and silky voice, his strong figure, and his piercing eyes. Her friends thought she always looked away from because she felt uneasy around him. Truthfully, she did not want him to ever read her thoughts. Many girls had crushes on male teachers, but no Gryffindor would ever admit a crush on the head of Slytherin house, except maybe Ginny who once said he was surprisingly buff. Luna had credited Snape his incredible voice once, making Hermione cock her head curiously. Ron quickly reacted with mature gagging sounds, but Hermione still felt a flutter of hope. Maybe she was not mad for seeing something in Snape.

That much soon became apparent. The way he had followed Dumbledore's last order, though it tore him apart… the way he loved Lily, and even Harry as her son…was the most noble thing she had ever seen. He was brave too, ready to die for the cause. He was strong, to be able to be a spy all that time, withstand all that torture she knew now would break her.

He was dark and handsome and lonely, as lonely as she was at school with no friends, no peers, no one who understood her, who would forgive the real her if they knew.

She wanted him. It was simple as that, really. She knew he could never love her, could never let go of Lilly whether out of love, loyalty, or guilt. It didn't stop her need to be near him.

Maybe, she told herself, that was why she fixated on him since the battle. Ron always frightened her with his emotions; she knew he wanted something desperately she would never be able to give him, even if he didn't know it yet. Severus, that is Snape, would never want anything from her. He would never want her. Therefore, he was the safest person for her to want because she could never fail him.

She tried to clear her mind before she entered, taking a deep breath, as Harry had taught her.

When she knocked and entered, the potions master was not behind his desk as usual. His office was in the pristine condition it only had when it was not in use. He tended to make a mess of things when he worked, either over books and parchment or a cauldron as she'd seen working under him a little in her final year, but always left things perfectly tidy when he was finished. They had that in common, though she had never mentioned it to him. He of course had not noticed, she assumed. Even he had, he would not have commented. They did not speak when they worked together on his research unless they needed to speak.

He was looking out the window, his black robes open on a buttoned-up white collared shirt. His sleeves were rolled up, revealing the ripple of his muscle there, the veins, the black hair, and the dark mark. He had showered recently, she noticed because though his hair was dry he still smelled of shampoo. His black pants fit him very well.

She lowered her eyes instinctively as his head whipped in her direction. His dark, piercing eyes, like looking into a pair of wells, were on her. She could not look away though she tried to keep her head down. His expression changed to one of surprise.

"Sir?" She asked.

"Miss Granger?" He seemed confused as to why she was there. His confusion concerned her. It was not like him to forget.

Whatever his thoughts were, he seemed to find them and looked her very pointedly in the eyes. He looked…determined. She felt a chill. She wished he would stop boring into her eyes. She was no occlumense. He was going to see.

He folded his arms against his wide chest and deep voice resonated from it. She could feel the voice as well as hear it. In the air it was as soft as mist wrapping around her, very quiet, but it vibrated through the solid surfaces and it made her knees mimic the movement.

"You wanted me at 8 o'clock?" She asked, wondering if she had intruded, mistaking the time.

"I wanted you?" He arched an eyebrow. Was he mocking her? She quickly burned with anger.

"For detention." She said through her teeth.

He let his hands drop. Those hands. She had watched them work. It was alright for her to stare then, to observe his methods. They were like hands in a painting, like something Michelangelo would make. She forced her eyes up.

It was hard to catch his smirk; it was mostly in the eyes. She narrowed hers.

"No." He said.

"No, sir?"

"You're wrong."

"You don't want me for detention then, sir?" She was ready to leave if he was going to play mind games, tying knots in his stomach.

"I do not want you…"She was already turning. She had no right to be hurt by those words. "For detention." He finished in a whisper.

She swallowed, slowly turning away. She frowned as if working out a difficult arithmetic problem, trying to convince herself she'd misheard. "Sir?"

He took a step forward. Though he was tall, it was not threatening. "I want you." He said simply.

She knew then she had gone mad. She closed her eyes. It had finally happened. She almost wished she'd hear it still, hanging in the room lit only by the dwindling light from outside as night set in.

"I want you." Her eyes flew open. He was closer. She stared intently at his lips. She needed to make sure she was hearing correctly, that he was not asking her if she was alright as she had auditory hallucinations.

Slowly, he said it again and this time she allowed herself a small gasp. "I want you." She searched his face. Was he capable of such a cruel joke? "Of course," he began, glancing at the floor, "I understand if you cannot force yourself to see your potions…"

She was not listening. He sounded almost himself. No, Severus Snape would get no petty joy from torturing a schoolgirl with her emotions. Then again, Severus Snape would never be inappropriate with a student—betraying Albus Dumbledore's trust in his original appointment!

"Sir," Said Hermione sternly, attempting to shatter the moment and return to painfully lonely reality. It did not work. The air was still thick as he tilted his head in curiosity. She struggled to focus. "Isn't there something forbidden about teacher student relationships?"

"Indeed." He answered as if that settled that. Hermione felt her body relax a bit. But then she saw it return, that smirk in his eyes. He was even closer then, but she did not remember him moving. "But I don't really give a damn."

"What?" She balked. This time she saw him take another stride forward. She jumped back a little, the desk behind her hitting the back of her legs just below her skirt. Nothing about this moment made any sense, and that was not something she knew how to handle. She shook her head, frustrated. "But," she sputtered. "But why not?"

"Because," He said softly his form suddenly a foot from her own. "I want you so badly."

She felt her knees go, but thankfully the desk caught her. She tried to formulate the proper response. She was not sure if that response was to yell at him, scream and run away, articulate an actual question, or tell him to have her right then if he liked. It was very, very difficult to think. Her head felt swirly and …buzzy. She vaguely wondered if Luna might be right about those stupid nargles when she felt his chest rumble inches from her. "I need you, Hermione."

His hand reached out for her, but did not dare touch her until she made some sign of consent. That's all it took. Almost as if watching herself, she hopped up. She didn't even have time to see his face before she felt his warm lips press against hers urgently.

She had kissed Krum, well, lots of times, and it gave her a thrill of butterflies, but it was rough, his stubble bristly. She had actually kissed Fred once when he had been drinking and his younger brother had been being a dimwit over Lavender Brown. Fred had told her his brother was stupid, wiped her tears, told her she was beautiful and kissed her. It was wetter, gentler, and he had, well, technique, skill even if he did taste like firewhiskey. They had both agreed never to tell anyone. Then, there was Ron. He wasn't so wet as Fred nor so rough as Krum, but he was sloppy. At first, it was passionate with years of suppressed desire, but as time went by it was… well, selfish.

Snape kissed like a man. A man who wanted something and knew what it was, but he wasn't selfish about it. He held her tightly against him and the table with one large hand on her waist, but took care not to hurt her. The other hand rubbed up and down her opposite forearm, brushed her neck, cupped her chin, clutched her hair. Hermione's eyes were closed, the room dark. She all but melted against him, not trusting herself to stand. All her senses were gone except touch.

He murmured, lips close to her ear. "I love you." And that's when her eyes flew open. Something within her tore, like a muscle. She felt the pain before she could recognize it.

What was happening was not really happening.

No, it wasn't a dream. It was worse. "Professor," She managed between his kisses along her jaw.

"Hmmm?" He asked, unbothered by her use of his title. Snape would have been.

"Have you had a drink tonight?" He looked her in the eyes, his own so unusually emotional. She forced her reactions in check.

"I am not drunk."

"But you had drink, didn't you, right before?"

"I have no intentions of going any further…"

"I'm right, though, aren't I?" She was thinking clearly, finding her feet stable enough to stand on again. "Please, sir." She put a hand on his chest.

"What's wrong?" He sounded upset.

"Nothing." She assured him. "Nothing. I want you too; I just ... need to do something. I'll be right back." She kissed his cheek, trying to keep him calm as she inched away from him. "Promise me you'll stay here, Severus." She tried to make his name come off her tongue smoothly.

He nodded, concern not leaving his face. She backed to the door. "And promise me something else," She added as she slipped through the door.


"Promise me you won't hate me."

He shook his head once, frowning, arms crossed again. "I will never hate you." She sighed, choosing to believe that.

As soon as she was in the cool hall of the dungeons her face came alive with heat. The blush was red, not pink, the strongest she had ever felt. She didn't want anyone to see it, but by the time they saw her, they'd think she as flushed from running. She sprinted as fast as she could through the castle to the Headmistress' office.

"I need to see Professor McGonagall." She gasped out as she saw professors Flitwick and Sprout standing outside her office.

"Well, I'm sorry that's not possible at the moment, Miss Granger." Sprout informed her.

Hermione felt her heart drop to her knees. The organ was getting a work out, but her knees had been through the wringer.

"But I need to see her!"

"She's taking care of important school business. Perhaps one of us could help you with—"

"No! Sorry, no thank you. It's –it's personal. And it's an emergency." The two teachers exchanged a look. Clearly, they weren't quite convinced, but Hermione Granger was not one to make a fuss over nothing. Whatever meeting the headmistress was in must have been important.

But Hermione needed through that door. Thinking fast, she blurted. "Please! I think professor Snape has been poisoned."

A/N: Well? Do you know what's she's on about? Hope you liked it. Again, thanks for reading, and please leave a quick review! Will post more soon if you're interested in a rather uncomfortable conversation...

Also, if any of you artists out there are interested in making a cover image for this fiction, I'd be very grateful.