AN: Do I have two other fics I SHOULD be working on? Yes. Yes I do. And I will. In the meantime, I have a couple of SS/HG fics that I'm refining. It is, after all, my beloved Dragoon811's birthday month. (If you'd like to hear me gush about her many admirable qualities, read the author's notes in about half my other fics, she's the reason a lot of them get written, because she's an enabler.)

This is rated M. Anyone under age who reads it will go blind. I'm not kidding.

(looks around for children). Ok, I was kidding, but seriously, this isn't for kids. Anything you recognize belongs to JKR, but she wouldn't want anything to do with this because it's full of unnecessary SMUT.

Happy Birthday!

In some ways, 'eighth year' was everything that Hermione Granger could have hoped. She was Prefect Mater (A title McGonagall had shamelessly made up specifically for her) which held all the perks of being head girl, with none of the official responsibility. She was taking apprenticeships in both Transfiguration and Charms and had been offered an apprenticeship with Slughorn and Vector next year if she should choose to take them. She was esteemed by the other students without being fawned over (there were too many war heroes returning for that). She had a circle of close friends that she adored and she'd even managed to patch things up with the Slytherins that returned.

She also had the finest Defense against the Dark Arts professor that Hogwarts had ever seen, and he was even civil to her…despite occasionally smirking and calling her a know-it-all under his breath.

Finding that Severus Snape had survived with the help of the Malfoy family had been the icing on the victory cake.

He'd returned to Hogwarts, said he'd rather go to Azkaban than be headmaster, and set about actually teaching Defense. "Until one of those dunderhead heroes sees fit to return, and then I shall take my potions class back…"

She'd thought his classes were brilliant before with the Dark Lord breathing down his neck. There was no comparison in the tight-rope walking man he'd been before the war and the man he was once the dust had settled. Severus Snape was actually a very good instructor when he was not being forced to act as a double agent. He was still a sarcastic bastard, but now it was on his own terms, and he even deigned to crack a smile every once in a great while. A small smile, but the effect on his face was stunning.

Hermione found herself spending more time with her professors than with the students. She loved the other students, truly she did, but she adored the technical, theoretical, and academic discussions that went on in the Professor's lounge after dinner. It was what she'd always imagined Hogwarts would be, with fiercely friendly debates lasting far longer than they should while they sipped butterbeer or wine and graded poorly thought-out papers by the better part of the student body. Hermione did her share of the grading as an apprentice, so she got her share of the wine (another of Minerva's rules).

Severus obviously enjoyed the meetings, seemingly felt drawn to them. Unfortunately, he also felt uncomfortable with his former colleges and their guilt from the previous year. The first night, he'd spoken a few words, trying to reassure them that he held no grudges. He's sardonically admitted "If I'd been suspected I would have been dead, and all of Albus' half-baked plans with me. I did whatever I had to avoid suspicion." Minerva had blinked back tears and blown her nose on a tartan handkerchief, and the others seemed to go out of their way to touch him- Hermione could hardly believe they had the temerity.

He'd stayed away for days. Secluded, alone, and unless her eye was out, longing for camaraderie.

So she did something the third week of term that took enormous courage. She thanked him.

"I will say this only once Professor. Thank you. For everything. I know we gave you more trouble than most, but I don't want you to think that I don't feel the proper gratitude." He started backing away, horrified. She held up a hand. "And because I'm really, truly grateful, I'll never mention it again unless you bring it up." The look in his eyes was beyond relived. After that he used Hermione as a shield. She smiled a little and made certain to act as a buffer when he was in the room. It was the least she could do after all.

Yes, her eighth year was quite satisfactory in many ways.

There were three situations that made it less than perfect.

The first, and most distressing was that her parents would never remember her. The memory charms she'd set were far too deep to change without risking madness. She had re-introduced herself to them, in the guise of a long-lost niece, so she did have contact with them in some small form, but their loss ripped a hole in her that she knew would never recover. Having 'Aunt Monica' was a wonderful thing. It was much better than losing them entirely. But it was nothing like having her mother back.

The second thing that ripped her insides just a bit was that she was attending her first year at Hogwarts without Harry and Ron. The boys had been so central to her world for so long, that she felt a bit like she was missing a leg, walking around the castle without them.

They had predictably taken the Ministry's offer of employment as Aurors. Harry was quite good at it. Ron…Ron might be a better keeper for the Chudley Cannons.

That was the last, and seemingly the least worrisome thing that blighted her world.

She and Ron were officially together. She and Ron were finally lovers.

She and Ron had issues in the bedroom.

Admittedly, she'd been the first virgin he'd been with, and obviously he'd been her only lover. But still she'd read enough (from a variety of sources) to know that lack of an orgasm at any point three months in was a sign something wasn't clicking.

She didn't have any issue climaxing when she was alone. She got lost in the sensation as well as she ever had. But when Ron made his weekly visit to 'see her' she had to use lubricant to even make it bearable. It wasn't that they didn't do a bit of foreplay…a bit, nothing that involved his mouth on any part of her anatomy lower than her belly button. It wasn't that she didn't like him. She liked his lopsided grin, and his warmth that made her feel a little less ill-at-ease in her shifting world. Having Ron with her was a slice of normalcy.

And just like he normally did, Ron alternately charmed and irritated her. Which was fine when they were hanging out in the common room (something she only did when Ron and Harry dropped in to visit).

By Halloween, she knew the situation was intolerable. Ron was a caring boyfriend, in his offhand way. He was quite funny, and he respected her mind…but there was no physical spark between them, except when they fought.

She could tell that Harry was watching them with wary eyes (he visited each weekend as well, finding Ginny's Head Girl apartment quite to his liking). He'd always worried that their eventual (and seemingly inevitable) breakup would sour the relationship between the trio. Hermione's long association with Ron made her accept, if only internally, that it was quite likely.

Something had to be done.

Luckily, Hermione was witch and a very good one after all. She was quite capable of designing her own charms. If Ron couldn't find her erogenous zones with both hands and a map, she knew someone who could.

Hermione Granger.

She had faced many challenges, death eaters up to and including Bellatrix LeStrange and even Lord Voldemort himself (admittedly, facing him had been incidental to running from him during that whole Bagshot affair).

But still. She was Hermione Granger. Gryffindor Princess. Brains of the Golden Trio.

Taking control of her sexuality was nothing she couldn't handle…as long as Ron didn't find out.

He'd feel emasculated if he 'didn't take care of her.' He'd already proven that on more than one occasion when she'd tried to explain what she needed (with diagrams…it hadn't gone well). He'd pouted for the entire visit and then accused her of hurting his feelings. There was nothing quite like having to babysit his feelings when he was the only one in their relationship that was managing an orgasm.

She took a deep, calming breath. Ron wasn't an idiot. He would learn. Sometimes he just needed a little encouragement, like when Harry'd pretended to dose him with felix felicious.

So, she needed a plan; something subtle. She decided on a small stone, one that would fit in her fist without being noticed. Then she linked that stone to the nerves on her clitoris and breasts. When she stroked the stone, she stimulated the nerve endings. Simple. Elegant. Fun-fucking-tastic when she tried it out (for a good half hour…field testing was important in experimentation!). Mind blowing to have all three of her most sensitive spots stroked at once. As an afterthought she add a spell that would keep her from actually hurting herself…just in case the rock was ever dropped or flung (one never knew what would happen in the throes of passion after all, and she had high hopes that her next encounter with Ronald Weasley would be far more satisfying than those she'd previously had).

She sat on her bed, learning to breathe again, and looked at the stone wonderingly. The charm seemed to have an echo effect when stroked, amplifying the response.

It was grey, with thin pink lines, smooth and polished. It had probably been intended as a centerpiece in a necklace, but she'd picked it up on whim in the alps when her parents had taken her years ago.

It had been in her jewelry box along with several other childish mementoes during the horocrux hunt (which meant the rock had technically spent more time on the hunt than Ron had….not that she'd mention that to him).

When she'd needed something to use for the charm, the stone had felt right in her hand. She smiled at it as she decided that it wouldn't do to miss supper. Minerva and Poppy were arguing about potions verses Transfiguration in healing again, and it was fascinating. Also, Ron would be back to visit in two days. It wouldn't do to fall behind on her work just when it looked like she might actually enjoy having sex with him.

So with a happy heart and a distracted, satiated mind, she walked down to dinner.

And that was when everything went to hell.

HGSSHGSSHGSS

Thinking back, she'd never be quite certain why she'd decided to take the little rock with her to dinner. Perhaps her sex-fogged brain thought that keeping it close was akin to keeping it safe.

Which just goes to show that sex-fogged brains shouldn't be allowed to make decisions of any kind.

Because Hermione did take the stone to dinner, carefully concealed in a silk handkerchief that was spelled to contain the charm that linked the stone to her more delicate bits. It was a fantastic idea…except it meant she didn't notice at all when the stone slipped out of her pocket.

She was writing her theory for defense later that evening (Professor Snape was teaching the eighth year students the basics of spell manipulation under fire. It was a skill that many of them had used haphazardly during battle and one he wanted them to learn to control before one of them turned a classmate into a bright orange mushroom by mistake.) She'd just made a point about Rainier's Law of Alchemic Averages when she felt something…

Her eyes widened as she stumbled toward her bed, tearing through the room, looking for…but as sensation ghosted over her body, hardening her nipples and ticking her clit in a way that made it hard to breathe, she knew it was too late.

She'd lost the stone.

Worse.

Someone else had found it.

HGSSHGSSHGSS

She'd gotten four hours of sleep the night before. Four. Whoever had found the stone was an insomniac or a sadist.

She stumbled into the great hall and poured a strong cup of tea. Ginny frowned at her. "Bad night?"

She poured salt into the first cup and grimaced as she tried to take a sip. "Ugggg." She vanished it, cup and all. She nabbed another cup from the table and growled, "Oh for Merlin's sake…yes. It was a bad night."

She'd check the records in the hospital wing and see who was requesting dreamless sleep…except if they'd taken dreamless sleep they wouldn't have been up all night, sending those small ghostly strokes across her body, keeping her just at the edge without ever giving her release.

She dropped the cup. Her entire body was shaky. She picked up. Thankfully it was intact. Even Hogwarts only had so many teacups.

Hermione finally managed to pour a decent cup of tea and she used a cooling charm so she could down it in a single gulp. Ginny's eyes widened as she repeated the action three times.

"Godrick's balls Hermione." The redhead tried to take the teapot away. "Just go have a lie in. You must be coming down with something."

Hermione sent a mild stinging hex at her friend. "Back away from the tea…slowly."

Ginny rolled her eyes. "I know you'd be less grumpy if you'd been up revising. Just take the day off. The professors will understand. Or at least go see Poppy."

Poppy had insisted that her favorite students call her by her first name after the battle. No one, not even Minerva, had naysayed her (Minerva had only invited Hermione, as her apprentice, to call her by her first name…even Harry still had to call her Professor if he wanted a word….Severus found this amusing for some reason.)

Hermione decided that looking over the dreamless sleep requests might be worth the trip. She nodded. "I'll be in Herbology if I can. Let Professor Sprout know?" Ginny waved her off good-naturedly. "Go, get better. Leave that grumpy witch in the hospital wing."

She rushed out of the great hall without looking at where she was going. She ran into a hard chest and a warm pair of arms that wrapped around her. Her sleepy mind couldn't seem to fathom what was happening until she blinked stupidly up at Severus Snape, who was looking at her with a certain amount of concern.

"Miss Granger?" It almost sounded wrong on his lips. During the evening discussions, he'd fallen into calling her Hermione as the others did. He'd even asked her to call him Severus. It had been genuine and charming. He was so hesitant with her now, as if being his true self caused him to treat her like glass.

She blinked up at him owlishly, thinking that he smelled nice, and that she could easily go to sleep just as she was if he'd simply hold her up. Ginny ran up. "I'm sorry sir. She was going to the hospital wing. She doesn't seem like herself this morning…"

Hermione realized that she should have been saying those things herself, but she was distracted by her thoughts and his tight grip on her body, and she was so sleepy. And still aroused. But mostly sleepy. She leaned her head on his chest, just for a moment…

And woke up as he scaled the castle's stairs two at a time.

"What? Severus, you shouldn't…I'm fine…" Her mumbled protest did nothing at all to slow him.

"Be still Hermione, it makes you easier to carry. Be quiet as well, unless you have some information that might be useful, like how you got into this sorry state. Do you remember a spell?" She hid her face in his robes so he wouldn't see her blush. She knew exactly how she'd gotten in this state.

Sex. It was more trouble than it was worth.

Her humiliation continued as Poppy did a battery of diagnostic spells and Severus refused to leave when she asked 'delicate questions' about Hermione's sex life.

"Poppy, it's nothing I haven't encountered as head of Slytherin house, and if there's a dark spell affecting her, you'll need me." His arms were crossed and the medi-witch looked heavenward. When Hermione didn't protest, she continued her questions.

Hermione crossed her arms over her breasts. "One partner, and I would say no more than once a week."

"Well, I'd say you might be pregnant, but you aren't thank Merlin." At least Poppy hadn't asked if she'd climaxed. She felt like sinking into the hospital bed as it was…

Severus kept his face politely blank, but there was a hint of an eye roll when she'd mentioned 'no more than once a week'. Surely once wasn't unusual? Ron always tried to get in a Quidditch match with Ginny and Harry when he came by as well, so it didn't leave much time for their romantic explorations…no doubt part of her issue with climaxing. It made it harder when you felt like you were on a timer.

In the end, Poppy reluctantly declared that it was simple exhaustion, and Hermione pretended to sheepishly agree to stop revising so late into the night.

She was tucked into a bed and told to rest that morning. She thought she might actually get to…

And then it started. Soft, delicate strokes. Hermione almost sobbed. It had stopped for a bit! Her over stimulated body wanted to writhe, but she was in a hospital bed with Poppy feet from her…

"Poppy, do you think I could have a sleeping potion?"

The medi-witch looked at her kindly. "Of course dear."

Hermione didn't make it to classes, but she did sleep with the help of the potion. When she woke, Poppy helpfully gave her a second dose for that night. Hermione left quickly.

The light strokes on her body hadn't stopped. She didn't want the older woman to notice that her nipples were standing at attention under her thin bra.

Hermione was practically sobbing by the time she got to her dorm. She tossed her clothing carelessly, ripping the waistband of the skirt in her haste.

Once her fingers were buried in her moist heat, she closed her eyes and thrust her hips forward. So good…Merlin and all the founders…it was so good…almost, almost…

She muffled her half-scream with the pillow in case anyone was near. She'd been too distracted to cast a silencing charm.

Her mind cleared a bit and she decided to take a shower and then go down to dinner. She'd just have to discipline herself to endure the touches until she could find the stone and take it back. She had to figure out who had it.

She paused. It could be anyone really. Anyone at all might be stroking her like this. It could be that creepy Rufus Williams in third year in Hufflepuff. Or Goyle in Slytherin. It could be someone she liked and admired like McGonagall or it could be one of her friends, like Neville Longbottom. It could be Mrs. Norris, of Filch himself. She flinched. Better not to think of it.

She had to find that stone, and she needed to do it before she went mad with lust.

HGSSHGSSHGSS

Dinner was a bust. She used the sleeping potion and managed a few hours before she began her search during the next day. The easiest way to accomplish it was simply to attend class. It put her in contact with the largest part of the population when you included going to and from class.

She found that there was a pattern to the stroking. The beginning of class normally found her with dampening knickers, but the touches tapered off during the actual lesson. At the end of class, firm, circular patterns ghosted over her inflamed body. She found this out as herbology was letting out. She was able to cover her reaction by claiming she's made that noise because she thought she felt something on her leg.

Whoever had the stone was distracted during the middle of every lesson, that much was clear.

She tried to accio it in each class to no avail. She tried in the Great Hall during lunch, while her body hummed with anticipation.

She nearly bit through her tongue when the caresses began during defense.

Not just because her knickers were soaked by that point.

Not just because she was nearly cross-eyed with lust.

No, it was because she saw the small grey stone as Severus Snape took it out of the pocket of his robes and absently stroked it with his long, pale thumb, right in front of her.

She watched as he dropped the stone back in his pocket. Realized how close it was to certain areas of her Professor's anatomy that he would KILL her for noticing.

And nearly moaned out loud as he stroked the stone in his pocket while he was lecturing.

And she'd thought her knickers were soaked before.

HGSSHGSSHGSS

Now that she knew the 'who' was driving her mad, the constant sensual thrumming in the stone was so much worse.

Those were his fingers that were lightly playing with her body. His hands that had ripped so many orgasms from her already.

She managed to sit through dinner because he was focused on eating and speaking with Minerva about Quidditch. She wouldn't be able to face them in the lounge. Not at all. She felt like everyone ought to be able to smell the scent of her arousal as they sat around her. They should feel the heat coming off her skin. Surely her pink cheeks and glassy eyes gave her away?

Focus. She had to stop thinking about sex and focus so she could get back to normal.

How was she going to get the stone back?

Could she bear to ask? Would he know there was a spell on the stone? Of course he did, he was the Dark Arts professor. He'd probably already checked the charm work. Would he know the kind of spell that was on it? If he'd looked at it, he would realize that it connected the stone with certain nerve endings in someone, probably the one who charmed the stone. She wasn't positive he could tell exactly which nerves.

He was probably stroking the stone in an effort to find the owner. Perhaps simply to question them about the stone, perhaps just to return it, if he didn't suspect that the charm was anything more than an anti-theft precaution.

Or maybe he was just running his hands over it because it was a smooth stone he was carrying in his pocket. It was a tactile indulgence for such a controlled man, yes, but there was something very soothing about the small, cool stone…at least there had been until she'd linked it so intimately to her body.

She walked down to the dungeon after dinner, fully intending to knock on the door of his office and ask for the stone to be returned…

But then a group of fourth year Slytherin boys started walking behind her as she went toward the office. "Hey…can I Slytherin?"

They laughed as she turned, slightly annoyed at their relatively harmless humor. She wasn't in the mood to put them in their places. Another, bolder boy leaned on the wall, closer than she would have liked. "I hear there's a Chamber of Secrets here at Hogwarts that has space for a basilisk."

She was about to hex him for that comment, (it was just a bit over the line, even in jest) but a brilliant jet of blue hit him first. The boy squealed and rubbed the little red welt the spell had left.

She looked up to see Malfoy frowning at all of them.

"Get to the common room." He might have been reviled as a coward during the final battle, but he knew the right tone to make the boys jump.

He looked at Hermione curiously. "Unless you fancy a gang-bang I wouldn't encourage that lot. Especially when you are…out of uniform." She looked down and realized she wasn't wearing robes. She didn't in the evening most of the time until the winter set in. Malfoy's eyes ranged over her uniform, but he didn't say anything more. "Don't misunderstand me; they wouldn't force a witch, but they've found a few from our year who have…dealt with the war in their own way." He shrugged and offered his arm. "May I escort you out of Slytherin territory?"

She was surprised. She hadn't been near him she and Harry had testified at his trial. "Thank you, but I was on my way to Professor Snape's office. Those boys shouldn't make it uncomfortable for girls to roam the halls."

"Agreed. I will have a word with them. They simply misread the situation, but it won't happen again." Judging by the purring threat in his voice, she somehow didn't think it would. He offered his arm once more. "Professor Snape is out of the castle tonight, but he will be back in class tomorrow."

She let out a sigh and took his arm. It would have been rude not to. After all, he had saved her a trip down to the dungeon…and he'd kept her from having to hex those boys. "Thank you. I could find my way on my own, but I wouldn't mind the company."

He kept looking at her out of the corner of his eye as they walked to the main hall. Once or twice he seemed on the verge of saying something, but the walk ended too quickly for him to work up the nerve. For her part, Hermione was still feeling the effect of the stone. Wherever he was, Severus was stroking it.

She gave Draco an absent smile as they returned to the part of the castle where her room was located, between Gryffindor and the kitchens. Students gave them odd looks, but she didn't let that worry her. Malfoy escorted the pure blooded girls around the castle often. It was simply polite in his world, and she wasn't one to thumb her nose at good manners.

He left her at her door. She managed to get into her room, and into her nightgown.

Her body was so tired.

She was out of dreamless sleep, but after days of constant stimulation, the light touches didn't keep her awake that night. They lulled her to sleep.

Of course she woke up coming as her body sang with an orgasm at five-thirty in the morning…but that was another matter.

It was Saturday.

Ron was supposed to come to Hogwarts.

Ron was supposed to be in this room, putting his calloused hands on her skin and his cock in her body.

That was the point of the stone, right? She could find Severus, get it back, and still have time to finally manage a climax with a partner in the bed.

She should have felt a sweet sense of anticipation, a fulfillment of all the tension she'd felt all these months.

But all she felt was a sense of dread. She couldn't let her boyfriend touch her when it was Severus Snape's fingers that would bring her to competition.

And strangely she knew, finally, that Ron Weasley would never make her body sing the way Severus had…and Severus wasn't even trying.

She had a choice. She could pretend to have a headache. She could write Ron and say she was sick. Or she could Gryffindor-up and do what needed to be done.

She groaned as those light, teasing touches returned.

"Merlin…does the man never sleep?"

She didn't waste too much time complaining. She was too needy by this point to do more than bury two fingers inside herself and moan her pleasure as she came, and then came again.

No…letting Ron go was for the best. No matter how much it hurt to do it the right way, it was better than leaving it another day.

She moaned again as those slight touches convinced her to stay awake rather than to try for more sleep. And if she called a name as she jerked her hips in the air wantonly, there was no one to hear her.

Which was a bit sad really.

HGSSHGSSHGSS

"Hermione…"

She put a kind hand on his wrist, stilling his words. "I love you. I always will, but you have to know by now that it's not the kind of love anyone builds a relationship on."

He opened his mouth in total confusion. Apparently he'd thought the entire relationship was going swimmingly. Dunderhead. How could he have no clue that she'd been in the middle of an existential crisis?

She pitched her voice lower, unconsciously mimicking Severus' in hopes of preventing an outburst. "Isn't it better this way? Nobody has cheated, we're still friends. If we try to stick with it, eventually one of us will do something to hurt the other one."

He pushed away from her, obviously angry. "One of us will hurt the other? Really Hermione? It's all over Hogwarts. Your dirty little secret." His words dripped venom and she leaned away from him.

She felt the blood rush from her cheeks. "What do you mean?"

Ron's large hand wrapped around her arm and he jerked her toward an alcove. "Dean told me. He told me everything. It's all over the Slytherin common room. It's all over Hogwarts!" He was getting loud and they were beginning to draw attention. She didn't need this with her body thrumming.

She kept her face from burning. Merlin knew she'd had plenty of practice controlling her reactions in the past few days. She even made her tone sharp. There was no way that anyone knew about that stone.

"Ron, what in the name of Godric are you talking about?"

His eyes blazed and his hand tightened again. "You are sleeping with Draco Malfoy, aren't you?"

Three things happened all at once as she screamed those words across the hall.

Hermione laughed.

Draco, who had just walked into the hall, fainted.

And Severus Snape, who was billowing through the halls, pulled out his wand and physically removed Ron's hand from her arm. It was already bruising, but that wasn't terribly important at the moment.

"Come with me." Those syllables were low, but they were clearly heard by every student in the hall. Theodore Nott managed to wake Draco, who looked more than a little bamboozled by waking on the stone hallway. Hermione gave him a small nod as she passed, hoping to convey that she would fix this mess and clear his name. He was probably fearing that his pure-blooded ancestors would actually spin in their pricy mausoleums (no tacky earthen graves for Malfoys after all, when they died they were laid to rest so that even their bones didn't mix with the common dirt).

Severus motioned them into an empty classroom, locked the door, and turned. "What in the name of all the founders possessed the two of you to indulge in that spectacle in front of the student body?" His voice was quiet, but the threat was present.

Merlin help her, her knickers got slightly wet as he spoke.

Ron, however seemed equal parts defiant and intimidated. "Ask her. She's the one who's been sleeping with every snake that would have her."

Her eyes flashed. "You really are a dunderhead, aren't you?"

He flinched, but he didn't back down. If she'd spared a glance at Severus, she would have seen his eyes twinkling with dark anticipation.

"I am not breaking up with you because I am sleeping with someone else. I am breaking up with you because we don't work. You know it, deep down. That's why we don't spend much time alone and when we do, we fight. I want this to end amicably." She locked eyes with him, daring him to imply anything else. All his anger seemed to deflate, leaving him limp and useless.

She moved forward cautiously, putting one hand on his shoulder and catching his eye. "I never slept with anyone else. I am breaking up with you because we don't suit." She willed him to see the truth of that in her eyes.

Severus cleared his throat. "As much as it pains me to aid this exercise in juvenile indulgence, I must comment, in strict confidence, that Mr. Malfoy would not be interested in Miss Granger in that way."

Ron rolled his eyes. "Because she's a Muggleborn."

Severus smirked. "No. Because she is a she you dolt."

Hermione felt her own eyes widen. "Really?" That rather put another spin on his constant harassment of Harry during their first six years of school, but made his courtesy to her the night before even more baffling.

Although now that she thought of it, his action was probably what sent the rumors flying. She'd have to remember to hex Dean with something creative.

Severus looked as though he knew what she was thinking. "Though that fact should not be repeated outside this room. I believe he and young Mr. Nott are about to go public with their relationship. I know he intended to discuss it with you since he will undoubtedly face resistance from some of his house mates. I suggested that you might be a good ally, having lived through a certain amount of unreasoning hatred yourself."

She smiled tentatively at him, glowing at his rare complement (even if it was only implied).

Ron scrunched up his nose. "Hermione, I'll owl you later…once I've had time."

He was thinking. That was good. Once he started he normally came to the correct conclusion. She gave him a sad smile. "I know it seemed sudden…but it was better to get it over quickly. Like a band aid."

"Like a what?"

She rolled her eyes. "Don't worry about it. I heard Dean and Harry say there were going to start a pick up game against Slytherin."

Ron brightened. "Really?"

She smiled back at him. Ron would never change. "Have fun."

He nodded and left.

Severus frowned at the bruise discoloring her upper arm. "Your brutish ex-boyfriend left you a parting gift."

She felt better than she had for some time. "I'll heal it later."

Severus stepped forward and his robes swished around her legs. His fingers slid up her arm. "Allow me. I've never cared to see the marks of violence on a woman."

His magic tingled along her skin, and she sucked in breath through her teeth, closing her eyes…not in pain…oh no. His magic on her evoked a different response.

His brows knit together as he looked down at her.

His hand slipped into his robes and he began to stroke the stone absently, apparently contemplating her reaction.

His eyes widened, ever so slightly, as he noticed her expression change…she had controlled it as soon as she could, but there had been an instant when her face had revealed much more than she intended.

His calloused thumb ran over the stone once more and she noticed he swallowed. His adam's apple, not overly apparent normally, bobbed up and down, fascinating her.

He held out the little stone; the object that engineered such heaven and hell at his hand.

"I found this in the Great Hall Miss Granger…I wonder if perhaps, it is yours?" His voice was even lower than it normally was, it rumbled along her skin, touching things that she would have sworn that mere sound could not reach.

Her fingers curled around the stone.

"Thank you." She was reluctant to take it, her hand remaining inside his larger one. "I bought it on holiday with my parents…before."

She finally took the stone from his hand, almost wincing at removing it.

He cleared his throat. "The charms on it…"

Her eyes met his'. "I was…experimenting."

The side of his face lifted in half a smile. "I suspected that the owner of this stone might be. Perhaps you would feel comfortable enough to discuss the charm?"

She looked down, gathering her courage. "Of course."

And they might have sat and had a comfortable chat about experimental charms…except her eyes flicked to his lips, and he noticed.

"Salazar help me…" His voice was rough for the first time in her memory, and she couldn't even guess what he was pleading for.

His lips crashed into her lips, demanding a response.

He didn't have to wait long for one.

She practically climbed his body, wrapping her legs around his thin frame so she could get better access to his mouth.

Her body begged him wordlessly, and his hands roamed over her smooth skin, only feeding the fire building inside her.

"Merlin Severus! Don't stop!" Her voice caught as she demanded what her body was screaming for.

He thrust his tongue into her mouth, plundering her in the way she wished he'd do with other parts of his body.

He buried his face in her chest, sending buttons flying as he sought her breast. "I didn't intend…" His voice was unsure, but she moaned as his lips touched bare flesh for the first time.

"Please!"

He turned away from her for a split-second, wand in hand, and her heart stopped, fearing he would leave.

He shot the strongest silencing spell she'd ever seen at the door and looked back at her with that unfamiliar, almost vulnerable smile on his face.

"I am not a good man. I never pretended to be one. If you offer me a treasure, I will not deny myself simply for the sake of denial."

With that he began a sensual assault on her body; using all of those teasing, maddening touches and letting her hands roam his body as she liked. He was in no rush as he nipped and suckled her flesh, licking long lines and circling places that made her moan for no good reason at all…who knew that spot behind her ear was so sensitive?

She found out his thin legs were almost ticklish under her caress, and his knees buckled slightly when she licked the back of one of them. His ankles were elegantly formed and he had nice feet, which she'd never considered an attractive part of anyone.

His fingers brought her once and his tongue a second time. She was dripping and panting his name when he finally, finally entered her.

It was like coming home.

Sheathed inside her, he felt like a piece of herself that had gone missing. She'd never understood why some women would comment that their partner 'completed' them…Severus filled her in a way that was almost too emotionally satisfying to be sexual.

Almost.

He took in a shuddering breath. "May I move? I am not hurting you, am I?"

She ran her fingers through his silky hair and leaned up to kiss his cheek despite the slight sheen of sweat on it.

"It's perfect. You are perfect…please…"

He began to thrust lightly and she angled her hips so he could go deeper. When he seemed to be certain that he wasn't hurting her, he allowed his body to thrust harder, longer, and started pulling loud moaning cries from her throat.

He stilled and pulled almost all the way out. "Do I need to stop?"

She cupped his bum and pushed him back inside herself. "Don't you dare." The purring threat in her words made him laugh delightedly.

"As my lady wills it." And with a sweet kiss he fucked her into the floor of the classroom.

He didn't ask before he shuddered inside her. He simply trusted that she'd taken the precautions that she should since she was sexually active. Or perhaps he didn't care, too lost in the perfection of the moment…

The cool floor felt good to her overheated skin as she let the endorphins wash over her. His head was pillowed on her breast and he was still inside her body, still half erect.

She focused on breathing for several long moments and she stroked his head absently.

Black eyes met brown. "I never imagined it would be you."

She gave a nervous little laugh. "Me that was foolish enough to make the stone and then lose it?"

"You that took my virginity." He kissed the tiny 'oh' her mouth made. She blinked rapidly.

"You were…"

She propped himself up on one pale elbow, unconcerned with the scars stretching across his body.

He nodded. "It was the one thing that made spying tolerable. I never had to rape anyone as long as the Dark Lord knew that I had not indulged. So I never did. Strange that the man that so many Death Eaters nicknamed the monk just took the Gryffindor Princess in the floor of a classroom. I would have imagined something less crass." He gave her that almost-shy smile that made him look a dozen years younger. "But I wouldn't have changed a single movement. It was a symphony."

He began to kiss his way along her neck, moving his rapidly hardening cock a bit so he could get a better angle.

"Why me?"

His eyes went wide. "Why the most beautiful, passionate woman of my acquaintance? Because she was so ready." He kissed her neck again, biting lightly. "So needy." He palmed her breast. "Because she was practically begging for it with her eyes." His soft lips found hers'. He was as hard as he'd been before. "Because she is brilliant, and the stone could only be the work of a brilliant witch." He was sliding in and out, and he felt like living stone. She moaned his name.

"I took advantage of the situation because that beautiful, brilliant, powerful witch was as lonely and unfulfilled as I was…and while I had endured it, I was furious when I noted that she was settling for something so lackluster as that relationship with Ronald Weasley…a man who had neither the wit nor patience to bring this witch that I wanted the pleasure she deserved. And I found a little stone and felt familiar magic humming off it. It made me hard when I touched it sometimes, like the magic was tied to the one rubbing the stone and the one feeling the effects. At first, I couldn't even leave my rooms for fear everyone would see the erection that I couldn't control." He thrust into her so hard it made a sucking noise when he tried to pull back.

"Merlin, it's like dipping my dick in lava and not feeling pain." He did it twice more. "Do you have any idea what you've done to me?"

She let out a strangled cry of pleasure. "I knew it was you touching me. Last night. I screamed your name while I was writhing on my bed."

He rolled over and pulled her on top of him. "Ride me?"

His hands slid up to cup hear breasts. She tossed her head back as she began to move. They lost track of time, but when they were done, there were stars in front of Hermione's eyes and she was fairly certain the air was too think with the smell of sex to breath properly.

He conjured a blanket and wrapped them both in it, still not removing the white stain from her thighs. His seed was drying. She sighed and reached for her wand. He stilled her hand and spread her legs so he could see the evidence of his passion (or perhaps his possession) inside her very body.

"I hate to see it go." But he cleaned it off her body.

She sighed. "It's not very comfortable once it begins to dry." She kissed him and ran a cleaning spell over them both. The lovely scent of musk in the room lessened. She ran her fingers through his dark chest hair.

"What now?"

His hands roamed over her body. "Take your NEWTS. Stay on for you apprenticeships. Every one of the professors would love to have you as their apprentice…well except for myself. I want you for something entirely different."

She giggled. "And what would you like to have me for?"

"Mine. We will keep it quiet until enough time has passed…I doubt anyone wants to listen to Weasley moan about the two of us, and I'd be tempted to give my Slytherins information to torment him with if I have to hear it. Then, in a few weeks, we will be seen to date. You may tell Minerva immediately. In a few months you can officially move into my rooms."

She blushed. "You don't waste time."

"I wasted enough time. Now I won't risk losing what is mine by dilly-dallying."

"Yours?"

"By right of conquest."

She grinned. An idiotic, mad grin. "I thought I was the one who conquered you?"

He slid his finger inside her once more. "Oh never doubt it. I am yours entirely."