So! This has been in the works for a while and I am currently about halfway through writing it, so chapters may come approximately once a week or so for now until I run out of pre-written material.

This story came about with a silly idea and much discussion amongst my enablers, especially Mrs. Glitter. So blame them for all of this. ;) I hope you enjoy and please review if you enjoy.

edit: Thank you so much to Freya Ishtar for the fantastic and very lovely cover for this and other stories! :)

Beta: the most amazing Glitter (glittergrrrl05)

Hermione stares at the door across the hall from her position, sighing deeply and rubbing her eyebrow before pushing away from the bricks, all the while mumbling to herself. "Come on, Granger. You're a big girl. You can do this; it's only Snape…"

She squares her shoulders and takes a deep breath, then strides forward and knocks on the door, waiting for the deep voice on the other side to call out.


Squeezing her eyes closed for a moment, she opens the door and steps in cautiously. "Dr. Snape? Sorry to interrupt, sir, but I just wanted to speak with you for a moment."

Sitting behind the desk, the dark-haired professor picks up his head, brow rising slowly. "Miss. Granger. Come in, then. What is it you need?"

Hermione clears her throat and steps up to his desk, her eyes glancing down to focus on the spool of twine placed beside his name plaque. "Dr. Snape, you're probably aware that I'll be going to Oxford next year for pre-med, and that I have worked very hard to get into that college. However, it has been suggested that I obtain more lab experience before I leave Hogwarts. And, as you are the best of the science professors, I was really hoping you would sign off on my assisting you in the lab. I can come in before school or stay after, help set up or clean, stock the chemical cabinets, or… whatever you need me to do. I just really, really need these extra hours and I would really appreciate being able to work with you for the rest of the semester." Her eyes flicker down, making note of the fine hairline crack running through one of the wooden squares just at the tip of her shiny black Mary Janes.

When she looks back up a moment later, her eyes widen slightly at the smirk on Snape's face. He actually looks amused and she's deathly afraid for a moment that he is going to laugh her out of his office. That is, until he speaks.

"Miss. Granger. You are one of my best students, certainly of this year, and probably of the past … well, however many years. I do actually need help with the upkeep of the lab, so that would work out perfectly. I would be happy to sign off on that for you …"

She lets out a deep breath, her shoulders slumping as she pulls the paper from her bag and begins to hold it out to him.

"However." Snape pauses, his dark eyes flickering from her paling face to the paper and back. "I cannot give the final approval on this … project. I shall sign it, but you will have to take it upstairs. Dr. Riddle will have to give you his signature as well if you wish to take on this assistantship."

Hermione's eyes widen further before she nods quickly. "Yes, sir, I can do that! As soon as I leave here, actually; I'll go right up." She smiles quickly and steps up to his desk, passing him the paper.

Snape tilts his head, raven brow arching high before he reaches out and takes the paper with one slender, pale hand; and after reading it quickly, he scrawls his spiky signature over the professor's line. "Here you are, Miss. Granger." He passes the paperback, but when she attempts to take it from him, he holds onto it. "Do go upstairs, Miss. Granger. You must gain Dr. Riddle's ... approval." He lets go of the paper and sits back, black eyes gleaming as he watches her tuck the paper into her leather bag.

"Of course, sir. I'll go up to his office right now. And thank you so much, Dr. Snape! I promise you won't regret this." Hermione smiles brilliantly before spinning around with a flick of her skirt. She practically skips from his office.

Watching her go, his eyes lingering on her long, stocking clad legs, Severus taps his fingers against his lips for a moment before he picks up his cell. After a few taps on the screen, he sets it aside and goes back to grading the papers on his desk.

Once the door to Snape's office closes and she progresses far enough down the hall, Hermione lets out the deep breath she's been holding before giggling and dancing in place for a moment.

"He signed it! Yes!" She grins up at the ceiling, breathing deeply. "That's what you get, Harry. I knew he'd do it!" She runs a hand through her curly hair, pushing it back out of her face before striding over to the side door. She pushes it open and steps out into the cold January air. "Now to Dr. Riddle's office."

Hermione shivers as she wraps her arms around herself, moving quickly over the short walk between the science building and the main building of Hogwarts School, where the headmaster's and assistants' offices are all located. The ground floor of the building is comprised of the administrative offices and club rooms. The second-floor houses all of the assistant heads, each in charge of a particular subject grouping within the school. The entirety of the third floor belongs to the headmaster of the school, Dr. Dumbledore.

She waves at Luna as she passes the school newspaper's miniscule office/broom closet, chuckling when she notices Neville perched on a tiny stool in the corner, the two of them chatting away as he spritzes some plant hanging from the windowsill. Hermione grins at their returning waves before she pushes into the stairwell and runs up the flight of stairs, panting softly as she enters the second floor.

I've never actually been to Dr. Riddle's office, only Professor McGonagall's. Hermione huffs softly as she pushes her hair back from her neck, shivering from the residual cold before approaching the door of the man in question. Noticing it closed, rather unlike Professor McGonagall's perpetually open door, she reaches out and knocks three times. She waits.

After a moment and some faint shuffling, she hears, "You may come in."

Hermione pushes open the door and steps in, plastering on her smile. "Dr. Riddle? I'm sorry to interrupt you, but I just had a... " She trails off as her brown eyes meet his bright blue-green ones. Taking a deep breath only makes her brain swirl more, the scent of sandalwood and something electrifying - like lightning - seeping into her cells and making her stomach clench.

A silence weighs down the room as she stares at him and Dr. Riddle stares back. His dark brows twitch upwards, just slightly, as he watches her. He straightens up and sits back into his chair slowly, his gaze never moving away from Hermione's. "A ... what, exactly, Miss Granger?"

A blush creeps over her cheeks as she licks her dry lips. "A question, actually. Ah, I've been accepted to Oxford next year, pre-medical, and they have requested that I gain more laboratory experience. I've already spoken with Dr. Snape and he's signed off on it; however he sent me to you for the final approval." Hermione sets her bag down on one of his guest chairs in order to withdraw the paper.

"So what, exactly, is your question, Miss. Granger? I've heard only a number of statements."

Her eyes flash back to his, widening as she takes in his smirk and the slight tilt of his head, before they narrow in irritation.

"Actually, Dr. Riddle, my question is: would you please sign this form, allowing me to work in the laboratory a few hours each week?" Hermione leans forward and lays the paper on top of his desk.

Tom Riddle smirks, his eyes flickering over her form before he tilts his head and allows his eyes to move again, slower, from her long legs (the skirt lying in perfect pleats) to the shirt tucked into the waist, round breasts heaving slightly with each breath, nipples peaked out against the cotton from the cold walk between the buildings, up to her flushed neck and cheeks, before resting again on her eyes. "Well. If Severus has already signed off on it, I cannot imagine why I would object. But let me read this thoroughly, just to be … safe."

Hermione's brows pinch together as she struggles not to glare at him; she folds her arms across her chest, unaware of exactly how enticing an image she's making for him as her breasts press together and strain against the buttons of her shirt. She nods and looks away from him, breathing in slow and deep as she takes in the delicious smell of his office.

As Dr. Riddle begins reading the papers from the university her eyes wander, examining his degrees and the multiple awards hanging in the office between the windows behind the desk. On one shelf is a collection of rocks and minerals, including a particularly beautiful cabochon egg of deep purple amethyst the size of her fist. She stares at that for a few moments longer before glancing back to Tom.

He really is good looking, isn't he? I can see why all the girls on campus want to take his classes. Hermione nibbles on her lower lip as her eyes trace along the wavy dark brown hair down to the smooth cheek, the hint of a five o'clock shadow beginning to roughen his skin. She blushes again, her eyes moving to his desk quickly before he can catch her.

Suddenly, Hermione blinks in surprise and leans forward as she notices a spool of twine sitting on his desk right beside his name plaque. That looks just like the twine on Dr. Snape's desk. How odd.

She jumps and looks up as Tom clears his throat and looks back at her. "Well, it looks as though Severus hasn't signed his soul away, after all. I cannot see any reason why you shouldn't be able to work as his assistant until graduation. You will need to come up with a reasonable, consistent schedule with him; other than that, I will only schedule regular meetings to ensure your internship requirements are being met and that he is satisfied with your help. I don't particularly care when you and Severus discuss those particulars; I will, however, require occasional meetings with the two of you to be sure that everything is going as it should."

He chuckles quietly as he signs on the required line and then stands, walking around the desk to hand the paper back to Hermione. "There you are: everything is in order."

Hermione looks up at him, eyes widening and pupils dilating as she notices just how much taller he is than her: the top of her head barely reaches his shoulder. "Th-thank you, Dr. Riddle." She swallows and reaches out to take the paper before leaning to tuck it back into her bag. When she straightens she looks back up to him and smiles. "I appreciate it and I won't let you or Dr. Snape down."

Tom narrows his eyes slightly, looking down at her for a long moment. "No, I don't suppose you will, Miss Granger. Please keep me updated; I shall see you sometime later this week." He smiles and watches her blush travel down her throat and into her shirt.

Her heart pounds as she nods shakily and grabs the handle of her bag. "Yes, sir. Thank you again!" She pulls her bag from the chair, and its worn leather handle creaks ominously as she backs towards the door, her eyes stuck on his. "Have a good afternoon, Dr. Riddle."

"And you as well, Miss. Granger. It's from Brazil, by the way."

Hermione stops and tilts her head, hair swinging behind her as she looks up at him blankly. "I'm sorry, sir?"

He smirks as he tilts his head towards his bookshelves. "The amethyst is from Brazil. I picked it up there while researching the chemical compositions of particular species of Amazonian plants. I noticed you admiring it." His smile widens as he watches her eyes flicker to the amethyst and back to him.

If he had noticed her looking at the amethyst, what else did he notice?!

"I'll bet that was a fascinating trip! I'd love to visit the Amazon in the future. Maybe I'll get the chance during university." She bites down on her lip as she steps back, bumping lightly into the bookcase beside the door. "I . . . I'd better get going. Have a good day, sir!" She spins, skirt swirling around her thighs as she slips out the door.

Tom slides his thumb along his lower lip, his gaze lingering on her retreating figure before he chuckles and turns back to his desk. He pulls his mobile from his pocket and sits down, tapping a message into it. 'You were right. That was interesting.' Setting it aside, he opens the folder sitting on his desk and goes back to work.

After practically running through the hall and into the stairwell, Hermione leans against the bricks, gasping. Squeezing her eyes closed, she tilts her head back and grips her bag, hugging it to her chest.

What the hell was that about? The way he looked at me. Hah, the way I looked at him! She laughs softly to herself, shaking her head before straightening and going down the remaining stairs to the main hall of the first floor. As she passes by the closed door to the newspaper room, she smiles at Luna's decorations of print out unicorns and griffins taped to the wood. Hermione pauses to untie her sweater from her bag and pull it on before striding out into the cold and making her way back to the dormitories.

The four dorms are laid out across from the main hall in a diamond shape. Hermione, as part of Gryffindor Hall, has the shortest walk as it lays directly across the lawn from the headmaster's building. Hufflepuff is on the left, adjacent to the dining hall, while Ravenclaw is to the right, attached to the library. Slytherin is behind Gryffindor, separated from the others by the small lake in the middle of the commons, which is currently rimmed in ice and freezing cold.

Thanking God she doesn't have to walk all the way around to Slytherin she hustles into Gryffindor, pushing through the door into the warmed air with a grateful sigh before making her way into the common room just to the left of the entrance. Predictably, her best friends are all lounging on a couple of the couches, books still in their book bags.

Harry Potter and Ron Weasley are the first friends she made at Hogwarts their very first year in, and they have been practically inseparable since. And they are sitting on either end of their favorite couch, chatting about the upcoming football match against Durmstrang Institute.

"Have you two even moved since you got out of class?" Hermione quirks a brow, propping her fists on her hips as she surveys the two boys.

They grin up at her. Harry manages a semi-guilty look while Ron is completely unrepentant. "Course we did, 'Mione! We walked in, we put our bags down, we sat down. We're breathing, aren't we?" Ron grins and shrugs, arm hanging over the back of the couch. Hermione wrinkles her nose at the nickname; despite her constant protests over the years, he still uses it.

Harry just rolls his eyes at their ginger companion and smiles at Hermione. "How did your meeting with Snape go?"

"Doctor Snape, Harry. And it went well; he gave me the approval right away, actually. I guess I'll ask him tomorrow when he'd like me in the lab." She glances over at the extra large clock hanging on the wall nearby.

Harry follows her gaze, his brows furrowing. "Really? Then why'd it take you so long? It's been almost an hour since class let out."

She sighs and drops her bag as she sinks down into the extra stuffed chair beside the couch, wiggling her feet. "Well. I couldn't just have Dr. Snape's permission. I also had to go speak with Dr. Riddle."

The dark-haired boy sits up straight, his mouth hanging open for a moment. "Riddle? Why did you have to go see him?"

Hermione sighs again and looks pointedly at Harry. "Doctor Riddle, Harry. And he is the head of the science department; it only makes sense to get his approval on the things that go on in the department, you know?"

Ron snorts and rolls his eyes as Harry huffs, crossing his arms. "He's a wanker, Harry; we know. Dumbledore always says so; we know. Don't get your knickers in a twist, mate."

Harry scowls at Ron then looks at Hermione. "It doesn't take away from the fact that it is true, you know. He is a wanker."

Hermione smiles placatingly and nods. "Yes, Harry. We know. All right, I have some homework to do before dinner, so I'm heading up to my room. I'll see you boys in an hour and we can go eat together. Make an attempt to do some of your work beforehand, maybe?"

Ron grins, raking his fingers through his slightly spiked hair. "Oh, sure, Mione. We'll get something done before dinner. And then we'll have the rest of the night too, you know, to get everything else done."

Harry mutters a little to himself, obviously still sidetracked at the mention of Dr. Riddle before he nods. "We'll come get you if you don't come down."

She grabs her bag, frowning at the handle for a moment. "I think I may need a new bag, but I just love this one too much!" She shakes her head and smiles, standing up and reaching over to ruffle Harry's hair with a laugh at his protests. "Sounds lovely, boys. Thank you!" She turns and strides over to the stairs, heading up to her room.

There really is quite a bit of homework to be done, but her mind keeps drifting to a certain pair of blue-green eyes and almost-black waves as she climbs the stairs.