Anti-lawyer spell: Only borrowing, not making any money with it, promise to return ( although condition should have improved no guarantee is given).

Please review in abundance, it's the only thing that keeps me going. ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss sssssssssssssssssssssssssss

She reached the door before him and pulled it open. Severus held it whilst she walked through and turning, closed it behind them. She had stopped walking, was simply standing there, her back to him, so close. He took the final step and wrapped his arms about her, pulling her body back against his, burying his face in the cloud of hair at her neck.

"Are you alright?" he questioned gently, turning her in his arms until she faced him. Her eyes were bright with unshed tears she was fighting to hold back.

"I am now." She breathed, linking her arms around his waist and leaning her head on his chest. She listened to the strong beat of his heart, taking comfort in its pounding, taking comfort in his warmth. He was rubbing her back in small circles with one hand, the other one rested low on her back, pulling her close to his body. His breathing became ragged as he fought to control his rising desire. Chuckling slightly at his predicament she stepped away from his embrace, catching at his hand to hold it trapped between hers as if she couldn't bring herself to break contact with him entirely.

"I think we ought to go." She said" I feel like we are being watched."

"Of course we are, this is Hogwart's, Come with me" he stated, striding off down the spiral stairs which lead back onto the main body of the school.

She only let his hand go when they reached the gargoyle sentry, the headmaster's request for discretion at the front of their minds. Severus looked hurriedly around, checking that they were alone. Seeing no-one he turned to Hermione and slowly bent his head towards hers, kissing her warmly but chastely. He could not allow his desire to rule his actions, would not compromise her safety.

"You have lessons I believe Miss Granger, I know that I have."

"Yes Sir," she muttered, smiling at the soft look that swept across his features before his more normal sneer settled on his lips.

"Then we had better go, don't you think" he said, making no move to leave. Her smile grew wider,

"Yes Sir" she replied

"Hermione." a warning note in his deep voice caught her attention, "Come to my office after dinner," he started, the sudden sound of footsteps causing him to change in mid sentence and step away from her "we can arrange your detention then. Do try to stop snivelling girl!" he finished harshly, and turning dramatically, robes billowing behind him he stalked away.

"Hermione! You alright?" a friendly voice called in her ear" What did he do to you, the greasy git? You've been crying haven't you? Merlin! What a complete bastard. What did he give you detention for?" Ron continued, oblivious to Hermione's inability to stop staring at Snape's retreat.

Hermione winced at Ron's assessment of Severus's parentage and character. "It was my fault Ron. I walked into him, trod on his foot and jammed my elbow in his chest. He wasn't best pleased, I wasn't paying attention." She replied, still staring at Snape's figure as it disappeared down the corridor.

Harry simply stood and watched his friend, unable to understand why she was lying.

The day passed far too slowly for Hermione, her thoughts were upon her meeting with Severus rather than her transfiguration lesson. The lesson was a blurry period of daydreaming, she remembered turning a mouse into chair, and she remembered getting an A+ for her homework. Everything else was simply thoughts about him, his hair, his voice, his hands, his scent. He filled her every thought. McGonagall offered to take her to Poppy, so convinced was she that Hermione was sickening.

Escaping after class she ran up to her room, acutely aware that she only had one hour before dinner to get ready. She wanted to have a bath, wash her hair, change her clothes, even if it still had to be uniform. She grinned at her reflection in the mirror, maybe he liked uniform. Don't go there, Hermione, she told herself. You are just going to talk, take this very slowly and get to know him. She was still grinning as she lowered herself into the foam filled bath; she seemed to be under his spell, and she hadn't been happier in years.
He wasn't at dinner, could not bring himself to eat, to be in the same room as her where everyone could see how much he was effected. He needed time, time to bring some order back into his own mind. If circumstances were different, if there were no Voldermort, if he was not a spy., so many ifs, they ruled him now. He wasn't at dinner because he could not face her beaming eyes and pretend that nothing was wrong.
Hermione was early, three minutes and most definitely counting. She looked nervously at her watch, measuring off the seconds, trying to hide in the shadows of the corridor without attracting any undue attention from the portraits hung in the dismal light. A small chime from her wrist indicated it was time, so with a happy nervousness she knocked on the door and entered at the sound of his voice.

Something was not right, the atmosphere in the room was thick, emotion charged, and even from her inexperienced viewpoint, Hermione was scared. She walked up to him, hoping that she was reading the look in his eyes wrongly, hoping that his immobility from behind the refuge of his ebony desk did not signify his distance from her. He read the anxiety on her face, noticed the slight tilt of her head as she silently begged him to clarify. He sighed, breaking away from her gaze and pushing his chair back from the desk.

"Hermione," he began, thinking of the words he had rehearsed in his mind. Her quiet gasp of shocked realisation broke his resolve, and with a quick stride he had gathered her shaking form to him, burying his face in her hair and soothing her with muttered endearments and caresses. As her sobs lost their strength he released her, stepping back slightly he flourished a white linen hankerchief from an inside pocket, looking ludicrously like a muggle magician. Hermione smiled slightly, and wiped her tear stained face whilst he scowled and tucked strands of her errant hair back behind her ears.

"Do you have any idea of how much danger this puts us in?" he questioned, his voice still strained, but low and still.

"I don't have a choice Severus. I can't do this without you. I wouldn't have the strength, the courage, the will to go through with this. You anchor me. You give me wings. I trust you with my life and my love. I need you to trust me now."

"I do trust you Hermione. You are one of a very select few, but I do trust you. I am more concerned with trusting myself. I couldn't bear it if I lost you Hermione, but if I lost you through my own inability to remain objective." his words trailed, his meaning hung in the air.

"I don't think either of us can be objective about this Severus, whether we continue to express those feelings or not."

"No, maybe not" he admitted, as he trailed one finger down the side of her cheek, removing the last trace of a tears path. " But I do think it would be better for us to show some restraint.."

"Are you suggesting that I am being too forward Professor" Hermione smiled lightly as she teased him. The dark man sighed but his lips twitched in amusement,

"Merlin forbid, Miss Granger, Merlin forbid."

His smooth voice curled around her bones turning them to water as he gathered her to him for a simple, comforting hug. Hermione clung to him, her arms wrapped around his waist and up to caress his back through the black cloth of his frock coat. She sensed rather than felt the moment when he tensed, drawing suddenly away from her and frantically drawing up his sleeve.

"Severus ?"

"It's time." He hissed through clenched teeth," He is calling you back." His eyes met hers, a silent questioning, a hope that she would change her mind.

"I'll get my cloak" she said, with much more conviction than she currently felt.

Again, many thanks for the lovely reviews which have been flooding in. I am exceptionally gratefully to all of you who have given me support and encouragement. I know the chapters are still too short, but I'm hoping that the frequent updating will placate you all.