How dare you take away house points from Matthew Shaw for leaving your class today. I happen to know the boy really was sick, because he has my class right before yours and he was sniffling and coughing all over the place. Would you really take away points from a sick child? You haven't changed at all, I see. You should be ashamed of yourself.
I'll have you know, Miss Granger, that my decisions to give or take house points do not fall under your authority, so it is really none of your damn business. I have been a professor at this school since before you even picked up a wand so I don't need your advice on how to run a classroom.
If you are so concerned about Shaw's convalescence, may I suggest lightening the work load in your subject. Give him a break from Defence essays. I'm sure that will speed his recovery.
I have a better idea - why don't you try giving less detentions? Maybe if students didn't have to stay up late standing over cauldrons and breathing in fumes, they wouldn't get sick so often.
"I am not being petty," Hermione said as she crumpled the letter in her fist. If he thought he could talk to her like that, he had a another thing coming. They had established a rapport over the years. Or at least she thought they had. Apparently, Snape still thought he was her superior and that he could speak to her like she was a little girl.
An annoying little voice in her head reminded her she was the one who started the correspondence, and not without some colorful wording of her own. But she waved that voice away because she was right, goddamn it! She remembered what it was like to be Snape's student. The truth was, she felt bad for Matthew Shaw. She saw her herself in the boy, a clever and studious little thing who didn't have many friends of his own gender and spent lunchtime with his nose in a book. Perhaps she was so angry because she had thought Snape had changed after all these years, if only a little.
Her first year on the job as the Defense professor had been rough, but this year was so much better so far, and her developing friendship with Snape had admittedly contributed to that. It was a slow developing one to be sure, but a sure friendship nonetheless.
Or had she been wrong this entire time?
Her chest constricted oddly at the thought. She attributed it to the fact that she never did enjoy being wrong.
His office was quiet, as usual. It always gave her goosebumps, though she didn't know why. Maybe it was the soft glow of lamplight and the scratch of the quill against parchment; Snape was always correcting papers or writing letters. She always found the quill such a comforting sound. It drew her deeper into the room, until she found him in his personal study, the one adjacent to his office through a heavy door. It was also his living quarters and bedroom.
The bed was unmade.
"What is it?" he said without even looking up from his work. Glasses perched on the tip of his nose. She had never known he wore glasses until she started working with him and encountered him in moments like these, the private moments of Snape's life, the ones the students never got to see.
Hermione stared at him a moment longer, taking in the lines of his face, his hair, his straight back… She was quiet so long that Snape looked up. He was striking in those silver wire-frames.
"Spit it out, Granger."
"I want to talk to you about your letters," she said, lifting her chin.
He rolled his eyes and looked back down at his work, scratching away. "I don't have time for this nonsense."
"It's not nonsense. It's important."
"I beg to differ."
"You can't just go around treating people like crap, you know."
"Oh?" He looked up again at that. "And why can't I?" With a graceful sweep, he set the quill down and rose from the wooden chair. "When people have always treated me like crap my whole life?"
Hermione swallowed. "Because you're better than that."
That must have caught him off guard because Snape looked at her for long moments. He even took off his glasses and placed them delicately on the desk. Hermione inhaled sharply when he walked up to her, so close his chest almost pressed against hers and she had to tilt her head to look him in the eye.
"You really think so, don't you, Granger?"
It hit her like a punch in the gut: she wanted him to kiss her. The realization almost knocked her over, and she felt lightheaded. If he leaned down just a little bit, their lips would be millimeters apart.
It was then she noticed she was staring at his mouth. And Snape clearly noticed as well, for his eyes went dark and intrigued. A smirk barely stretched his lips.
If he did it, if he crossed that line and kissed her, they could never take it back. Every time she Owled him to yell at him for being a complete dick, they would both know that, deep down, it was really for something else. Everytime she stormed into his office demanding to see him, they would both know she was coming for something else. This pretense of hating him would be shattered, blown into a thousand pieces. Things would never be the same.
At least not for her.
"I can read your mind, Granger."
Well fuck. She had completely forgotten he could do that. He saw that she imagined him kissing her. But the real question was, could he feel how dizzy he made her? Could he feel just how much she wanted it?
"Then how about I make you?"
You're an arsehole. I shouldn't want you.
He was still smirking. "But you do anyway?"
Hermione swallowed. Her heart raced as he leaned in further… and suddenly she clutched his robes in both fists as she kissed him hungrily, like she could physically keep him close if she held on hard enough.