Response to a prompt at the first annual SSHG_SmutFest on lj. Heed the warnings!

Title: Too Close For Comfort
Author: krissy_cits
Summary: Hermione has tried every last tactic to avoid noticing Professor Snape's voice, all to no avail. So when she finds herself in close quarters with the man, she has to convince him to remain silent.
Prompt: Peeves manages to trick/shove/manipulate Severus and Hermione into a very "cozy" (read: tiny) broom closet, and neither (or only one of them) are initially happy to be in such a situation.
Warnings: Um, smut? Also...voice smut?
Notes: Happy smutfest, bonsaibetz! Many thanks to geminisister and melodylepetit for adding much-needed polish to this story.

"Focus, you addle-pated twit!" Hermione chastised herself as she rushed down the corridor and away from yet another embarrassing Potions class. This was the third one in a row where she'd failed to complete her potion on time. Irrationally, she thought that Professor Snape had been rattling her cage on purpose, even though she knew better. Aggravating man!, she fumed.

Huffing out a breath, Hermione turned a corner and headed towards the kitchen. Perhaps Dobby or Winky would let her peel potatoes for a while until she had calmed down. It was unlikely, but then again, sometimes the elves did seem to feel a bit sorry for her. Once, they'd even let her dry some plates out of pity.

And that was in part the reason for her bad temper today, too, it seemed. Since when had Hermione Granger become an object of pity? Not since her first year at Hogwarts, surely. But there was no denying the sympathetic looks she received from the school ghosts, or the ever-more-frequent "tell me your problems, dear" afternoon teas with Minerva. Even Professor Snape, drat his hide, had offered to let her return this evening and make a second attempt at her potion for full points. Damn—she really had sunk lower than she'd realised.

She'd come back here to finish her schooling after the war. Then, instead of graduating after a year, she'd decided to pursue additional O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s in the subjects she hadn't chosen the first time around. And then, perhaps sensing Hermione's reluctance to leave, Minerva had offered to take her on as a Transfiguration research associate. Hermione had agreed immediately, thinking that her beloved professor needed help balancing her scholarly article-writing with the demands of running the school as Headmistress. Further reflection, however, suggested that perhaps Professor McGonagall had been trying to help Hermione, rather than the other way around.

In any case, it was now four years on from Voldemort's defeat, and Hermione was still an odd mix of student and teacher at Hogwarts. She was dabbling in classes here and there where it interested her, taking on independent studies when there was something she wanted to focus on in more depth, and, as if that was not enough, helping fourth- and sixth-year students prepare for their exams.

And trying to avoid asking herself what it was that she was trying to avoid, out there in the real world.

Resolutely ignoring the sense that she ought to get on with it and graduate already, Hermione turned the final corner and sighed in relief when the kitchen door came into view. Her relief was short-lived, however.

"Miss Granger!"

Goosebumps broke out on Hermione's arms and she increased her pace, hoping to arrive at the kitchen before Professor Snape could reach her. Just as she was about to tickle the pear, however, a hand clamped down on her shoulder. Hermione sighed and steeled herself for another bout with her least-friendly professor.

"Miss Granger. Is it your custom to run away from those wishing to speak with you?" he asked. She was slightly gratified that he seemed a bit out of breath.

"Only when it's you," she muttered. Resigning herself to another humiliating conversation, she turned to face him. These days, she picked a point somewhere on his forehead to focus her attention. Otherwise, she would be doomed.

It had all started one day several months ago when she had been hiding from well-meaning students in the staff room. At first, when she'd returned to school, most of the students had already known her, so other than a few interested questions about defeating Voldemort, they had left her alone. Now several years on, the first- and second-years were especially interested in everything about her. It was exhausting, not to mention embarrassing, to politely defer their intense hero-worship on a daily basis. So she had taken to retreating to the staff lounge when need be.

On this particular day, she had dozed off on the window seat, enjoying the warmth of the sun at the end of a brilliant October day. She'd woken to the sounds of the most lovely, deep laughter she'd ever heard—it had stirred something in her belly that had been long dormant. Unfortunately, with wakefulness came awareness, and Hermione had realised that the owner of the marvellous chuckle was none other than Professor Snape. In fact, with the last rays of the sun slanting across the room and catching on the midnight strands of his hair, Hermione had been struck dumb with an odd jolt of desire. Then he'd caught her staring, frowned, and opened his mouth to berate her, most likely—and she'd fled the room.

She'd told herself it was just a strange reaction, that she hadn't really been awake, that laughter was contagious, and so on. It had seemed to work—that is, until her next Potions class. Suddenly, Professor Snape's voice was imbued with all sorts of poetic layers: dark chocolate, honey, whisky, even the intoxicating flavour of Amortentia. Her dreams became feverish and full of sensual commands issued by a deep voice. It simply was not to be allowed.

So, rather than focus on his voice, Hermione had begun to stare directly at his face whenever he spoke, instead. Her intention was to force her mind to see the contempt and disdain there, to balance out the sheer lust she felt whenever she heard him but didn't see him.

That had backfired spectacularly. To her dismay, she had begun to notice things. Such as the fact that insults rolled off his tongue without his apparent conscious decision. His scathing set-downs had been delivered in a manner that seemed...well, rote. Worse, she'd noticed the darkened circles and deepening lines around his eyes. He had been comparatively healthy when he'd returned to the school two years ago after convalescing in St. Mungo's; this indication that he was not sleeping well bothered her on a level that she was not keen to explore. And, of course, the final straw—noticed only because she knew the same bleak expression was mirrored in her own face—the overwhelming sense of being utterly at sea in a place that was once as familiar as the back of your hand.

Professor Snape was bored, lost, and unsure of his rightful place in the world, just like herself.

This was when Hermione began to suspect she was in very deep trouble. Once her sympathies were engaged, there was little chance of turning back, and she was definitely starting to feel a keen sense of connection to Professor Snape. Not to mention, she still hadn't managed to stop melting inside whenever he spoke.

She tried a different tack: staring at his hands. That was no good; she'd only come to appreciate the fine lines of his fingers and the smooth grace with which he prepared ingredients and stirred potions. Her dreams were becoming harder to ignore and now included a compelling voice, sad eyes, and talented fingers. Next she looked only at his robes; she tried to contemplate the fabric composition and the exact velocity of his stride that created such a billow effect. However, he'd caught her staring one day, and from the rise of his eyebrows she suspected he thought she'd been staring at his arse. Humiliating. And perhaps slightly true.

Hermione ended up memorising every last detail of him in her efforts to tune out his effect on her mind and body. The slight tremor of his left leg when he had been standing too long; the proud line of his shoulders when he was teaching; the delicate oil-slick sheen to his hair that was only visible in certain light; the slope of his nose, the shape of his ear, the scar on his right index finger, the compressed line of his lips when he thought she was being impertinent. Honestly, it was more than she could bear.

When she had attempted to look only at her notes or stare off into space, he had chastised her in front of the class. Seeing as the resulting dampness in her knickers was far less preferable to simply looking in his general direction, Hermione had ended up with the middle of his forehead as her only available focus point. She had been generally successful with this for the past couple of weeks, although at night her mind had very different ideas. Why, right now, she was practically overcome with the urge to simply step up to him and press her lips—

"—even listening to me, Miss Granger, or woolgathering, as usual?" He shook her shoulder, gently, and she realised he'd been touching her this whole time. Staring dazedly down at his long fingers splayed over her shoulder, she wondered what would happen if she simply pulled his hand lower, to her breast.

He snatched his hand away and scowled. "If you can't be bothered to show an interest in my class, I suggest you find another to fill your time instead," he said, sounding defeated. It was that note of surrender that finally snapped her back to their usual prickly encounters.

"But I want to continue with N.E.W.T. potions until I earn an O!" she cried. "You can't kick me out, you know; the Headmistress would—"

"I'm not trying to kick you out, you nitwit!" he thundered. Several of the nearby portraits gasped, and Hermione realised that the Hufflepuffs coming and going to their common room were all standing still, mouths agape. Professor Snape noticed this, too, and grabbed her arm to pull her around the corner. The abandoned hallway was primarily used by the house elves to transport goods, so they were alone for now.

Professor Snape released her arm before rubbing two fingers against his temple. "Hermione. You are welcome to remain in my classroom for as long as you wish. I simply cannot have your attention wandering and your ill-mixed potions endangering the others. I'm happy to work with you outside the traditional classroom setting, if that would help. It seems you are..."

In the silence that grew between them, Hermione felt heat creep up her neck. His observant nature had landed on her inability to concentrate in class, although she prayed that he never discovered the real reason. Better to let him think she had sustained spell damage in the battle. It wasn't that far off from the truth, after all.

She opened her mouth to tell him that she would do better, but just then, they were pelted with what felt like—acorns?

"Peeves, go away!" Hermione yelped as she covered her face with her hands.

"Not going away, I'm not!" Peeves cackled as he continued to rain food down upon them. Hermione and Professor Snape began to walk quickly back to the main corridor, but Hermione stumbled when a cabbage hit her right between the shoulder blades. Whirling around, she drew her wand.

"Enough! Stupefy!" Peeves' face froze momentarily as the spell hit him, knocking him into the wall, and Hermione felt a moment's relief. In the next, however, the poltergeist had reanimated and was looking for larger projectiles to throw her way.

"Potty's wee sidekick is feeling nasty today," Peeves screeched. "Ought to put her in a nasty broom closet, I should!"

Before Hermione could fire off another spell, she found herself unceremoniously shoved into a very dark room. Fighting her body's response to the dark, enclosed space, Hermione struggled up to bang on what she thought was the door. "Peeves! Let me out! You can't leave me alone in here, you blighter!"

"Well, since you asked so nicely, you did," came the reply, just before another body was added to the tight confines of the closet. His insane laughter faded away as Peeves floated down the hallway, singing a tune about ridding the school of nasties.

"Bloody fucking hell," Professor Snape murmured.

Hermione's sentiments exactly.

Severus rose carefully to his feet, disoriented by the darkness and not wanting to so much as brush Hermione Granger with even the smallest of touches. The witch was muttering a number of spells and enchantments, no doubt trying to find a way out of their predicament, but Severus turned and began to feel along the wall in hopes of a secret latch or lever.

"When I find you, Peeves, I'm going to kill you!" his fellow captive finally shrieked in a fit of rage.

"He's already dead," Severus pointed out. "Poltergeist."

"Arghh! I'm going to kill you, too, if you're going to be a sanctimonious prig while we're in here!"

He swore he heard a foot stamp, and he smiled into the darkness. "You're hardly my choice of a closet companion, either, you know," he said, trying to needle her. Hermione Granger in a snit never failed to intrigue him.

And, better, her anger would hopefully help her to overcome the panic attack that was threatening. He'd heard her tiny whimper when Peeves had landed her in the confined space, and he was worried that she might come unglued if her brain was not kept otherwise occupied.

Besides. He was being truthful—he didn't want to be locked in this tiny space with her. It was far too intimate, and he feared that every minute spent in confinement would put him one step closer to losing control and touching her like he'd been dreaming about for the past several months.

Yes, this amount of closeness was simply too much.

He straightened and turned back towards her, pressing himself into the wall to add some distance. "Although, was a poltergeist ever a living being to begin with? It's been more years than I care to admit since I've studied magical creatures."

He heard her huff out a breath in annoyance, but at least she was no longer casting spells willy-nilly. "They're not ghosts. They're 'spirits of chaos' or some such. Rumored to be indestructible." She practically growled the last word.

"They must be," he mused, "or else Filch would have found a way to be rid of him long before now."

"I imagine you're right," she said dejectedly.

"Try not to sound so pleased by the prospect," he retorted, wondering when Peeves would remember to come back and release them. It could be hours...or days.

He chose to ignore the muttered oath she directed at him and began casting some spells of his own. He didn't really expect any of them to work; if there had been a magical way out of this broom closet, Hermione would already have found it. Her brain was a bloody marvel.

He'd first started to look at her differently when he'd caught her working on a thesis in the library one night after curfew. Sheepish yet defiant, she'd explained that it was something of a research paper leading up to an experimental study that she was hoping to receive funding towards. She'd expected him to deduct points and send her back to her dorms, he knew. And he'd meant to, truly. So it had been confusing, to both of them, when he'd sat down instead, and asked to hear more. They'd spent the next hour in civil conversation as she'd waxed poetic about her theories of magic.

After that, he couldn't quite look at her the same way, though he'd tried. It was painfully apparent that she was no longer a child eager for approval. It was equally apparent that she was completely adrift when it came to what, exactly, she was supposed to do with her life now.

He knew, because he was adrift in the same boat.

And, so, he'd given her new leads to explore. Some advanced projects that he knew were above the heads of her peers. He'd even tried to offer her a job as his assistant, but Minerva had already claimed the young woman's time in that regard. More and more, he noticed her, even when he was trying his damnedest not to.

Which meant he noticed her scent—sugar and almonds, like a beloved bakery. It was wafting his way now and making his mouth water.

He noticed the way she walked—each stride extending her legs as far as they would go, as if she was about to be late and wanted to make up the time. In the darkness, he imagined he could hear every swish of fabric covering her legs.

He noticed her body—the way it turned rigid and battle-ready whenever he disagreed with her, the way it relaxed completely when she was absorbed in a text, the way it swayed and rolled when she was moving about his classroom, oblivious to his attention.

He noticed how she often went out of her way to hide her compassionate acts for others, sometimes even lying to their faces. 'Why, of course, you should have these expensive potions ingredients, I'll never use them by the time they go bad!' This had been upon gifting a small fortune in ingredients to a Muggle-born fourth year from a meagre upbringing. 'Here, Professor, I came upon this in a small shop in Hogsmeade and thought you might like to test its authenticity.' This after she had gifted him with a vial of very expensive migraine relief potion. He had followed up on her story, unwilling to ingest anything that might have been tampered with, only to discover that she had purchased the bottle for him outright from a respected apothecary—and at great cost to her account at Gringott's. It remained a mystery to him how she always seemed to know what other people needed, but he had noticed her fulfilling those needs time and time again, often without recognition.

And then, one day, he noticed her looking at him. Not through him, or beyond him, or at Professor-him—but at him, Severus, the man. It was unnerving.

More so when a bolt of lust had shot straight down his spine.

But she was still, inexplicably, a student at Hogwarts, and she was not to be touched. Moreover, she was best friends with Potter and the Weasel, two people he was quite happy to see only once a year at prescribed Ministry functions. If he occasionally stood too close to her or said something provoking, it was only to try to convince himself that she wanted nothing to do with him. Any day now, he would see the revolt in her expression, and his bizarre obsession with her would be well and truly squashed.

So far, however, she had only looked at him with intrigue or sympathy, and occasionally, a flash of something that he couldn't identify.

She bumped into him, breaking him out of his reverie.

"Sorry!" she squeaked, stepping back. "I'm only trying—that is—have you found any sort of latch over there?"

"Why yes, I have," he intoned. "I simply desired to stay locked in here with you forever."

There was a long pause, and Severus regretted that he could not make out her features in the darkness. Was she angry? Insulted? He couldn't tell.

"Miss Granger. My apologies. I—are you alright?"

He heard the unmistakable sounds of crying. "N-no! I'm not! I c-can't stay in here forever. I'd rather be DEAD!"

Now she was sobbing hysterically. Severus felt a pang of remorse—he'd foolishly reminded her that they were trapped in a small space for an unknown amount of time. He may as well have waved a spider in front of an arachnophobe. "If it comes to that, I'll kill you myself," he offered, trying for a spot of humour. But she only started crying harder, and he felt like an arse. He raked a hand through his hair. "Hermione. That was in poor taste. Forgive me." A hiccup and more crying was his only response. Uncomfortable with being unable to see her, he reached out to pat her arm. She jerked away from him.

Right, then. No touching.

Another distraction was in order, it seemed. He decided to return to their interrupted conversation from the hallway. "If I may. It seems you are a bit directionless, at present. I happen to know a very competent psychologist, if you would be interested in her services."

That threw her for a loop, and the heart-wrenching cries quieted. "A Muggle psychologist? But—"

Severus was shaking his head even though she couldn't see him. "She's a witch. Or she was. She, er, sort of—retired—from magic." He frowned. "She sees mostly Muggles, but she's familiar with our world. You could confide in her fully. I believe it might help you. It certainly has for me."

She didn't say anything, but neither was she crying any longer. This was good.

"The magical community generally fails to view injuries to the mind as anything other than a nuisance," he continued. "Take Lockhart, for example. Though he was a complete buffoon, he probably could have been rehabilitated, with the right professional." He heard her snort. Encouraged, he went on. "Muggles are a little better than us in this field, at least. They've started to devote resources to healing the mind from all manner of ailments."

"They still view mental illness as a failure, though," she whispered.

"Do you?" he challenged. "I believe it shows your strength. Hermione, my time with the Dark Lord taught me all sorts of things I wish I could forget. But I will never take my brain for granted again. You can't continue to sulk around Hogwarts while you try to fix whatever is bothering you by yourself."

"I don't sulk!" she exclaimed.

He smiled. Her fears were banished, at least for now. "If you say so," he replied in his most condescending tone. He could continue to needle her all day until they were released from the closet, if it would keep her mind off their situation. "Personally, I think you're an expert sulk. Your eyes narrow, your fists clench, your bottom lip juts out—"

"Stop!" She was breathing heavily. "Just—for the love of Merlin, DO. NOT. TALK."

Offended, Severus crossed his arms over his chest and glared in her direction, for what little it was worth.

I'm going to die in here, Hermione thought as she glared in Professor Snape's direction. I'm going to die of extreme, unfulfilled lust, and they're all going to say Poor Hermione! and no one is going to realise that he—that he—talked me to death!

Gods, this was bad. Very, very bad. First, he had calmed her down from not one panic attack, but two. Then, as if she wasn't already completely besotted, he'd told her that he was seeing a therapist and that she should, too. And in his bizarre Snape way, he'd managed to compliment her while seeming to chastise her. It was maddening.

The thought of him pouring his heart out to a therapist made her own heart do an odd little misstep. She had the insane urge to cuddle him to her chest and offer to listen to all his woes. But then, he'd kept nattering on, and she couldn't help it—her brain had short-circuited into "AROUSED" mode and it had been all she could manage not to launch herself at him.

It was the darkness getting to her. That's all. She just couldn't stand small spaces ever since her time at Malfoy Manor, and her brain was using other tactics to force her attention away from their situation. Yes, that seemed logical.

Except her brain was also helpfully supplying her with any number of activities that would really take her mind off the enclosed space, every last one of them involving Professor Snape's hands on her body. Okay, fine, his tongue as well!

Hermione pressed her hands to her cheeks, feeling the heat there and resolutely trying not to think about the heat pooling low in her belly. If he continued to talk to her, here, where he was nothing more than a disembodied voice, she was going to explode.

Think of all the paperwork, the ever-practical side of her mind supplied. She couldn't help it—she laughed at the thought of Minerva having to explain to the Board of Governors why a student had simply exploded inside a broom closet one day. Somehow, she doubted that "unbearable lust" would be a satisfactory answer. She laughed until she could barely breathe, and sank to the floor holding her stomach.

Although she couldn't see him, she could practically hear Professor Snape's brows raising. But he held his tongue—Gods, don't think about his tongue!—and she felt terrible for yelling at him.

It wasn't his fault that he didn't know what his voice did to her.

"I'm sorry," she offered. There, was that better. She sounded completely natural.

"I am as well," he replied, sounding relieved. There was a rustling sound and then he was sliding down to sit on the floor with her.

What was he doing?! The closet was even smaller than she'd realised. She tried to keep her legs out of his way, she truly did, but there was nowhere to go. "Sorry," she mumbled again. "I can stand—"

"No need." He paused for so long, she thought maybe he was going to remain silent. "You can touch me without exploding, you know."

She almost laughed again at his mention of exploding—he had no idea!—but the plaintive note in his voice stopped her. She wondered, not for the first time, if anyone had ever touched this man with love or gentleness. So she carefully arranged her legs between his, bending her knees and propping them up against his own bent legs. The intimacy of the position was not lost on her, but she held perfectly still, waiting to see how he would react. Apart from a shuddering breath, there was no response, so she relaxed a fraction and leant her back against the wall. Maybe if she was the one doing the talking, it would be okay.

"Thank you. For earlier." The darkness made it easier to be honest. "I have been—adrift, as you say. I don't..." How to explain? How would anyone understand that after years spent keeping Harry safe from evil, nothing else really measured up? "I haven't found anything that seems to suit me quite as well as fighting Voldemort," she admitted.

A rueful chuckle met her words. "You've hit the pixie on the wing," he replied drily.

A reluctant smile grew. "I suppose I should have imagined your predicament sooner," she acknowledged. "No Voldemort and no Dumbledore—how do you decide what to wear in the mornings?" she joked. It was a risk, but they seemed to have reached an accord. She was rewarded by a full bark of laughter this time.

"I ask Minerva," he said in a droll tone, and they both laughed for a long while.

Eventually, the laughter faded, and Hermione shifted uncomfortably against the wall. "Peeves could at least have locked us in a pillow closet," she complained.

"Mm. Is there such a place? I might have to make it my new escape spot. Someone stole my previous one."

Hermione frowned. "Where was that?"

Another long pause met her question. Then, "The window seat in the staff lounge."

"Oh!" Hermione clapped a hand over her mouth. No wonder he'd frowned at her that day in the staffroom—she'd usurped his spot. "I'm so—"

"If you apologise to me again, Miss Granger, I'm going to have to contact the Daily Prophet. This behaviour is beyond odd." His teasing tone removed any bite from the words, but his continued use of Miss Granger was only going to make her situation worse.

"Well, if you must know, I was going to say that I was so glad to have found such a lovely spot for a nap. I'm not sorry in the least."

"Minx," he murmured, and Hermione felt her nipples perk to attention. Just when she'd thought she had her emotions under control...

She moved to sit up and pull her legs away from his, but Professor Snape stopped her with a hand on each knee. "I'm sorry," he said. "I shouldn't have called you—"

"Please stop apologising," she answered. "I'll have to call the Prophet." His fingers tightened on her legs for a brief moment and then released her. Hermione only barely held back her whimper of protest.

They were silent for a while, and eventually Hermione couldn't bear it anymore. "We might as well dispense with any formalities," she pointed out. "We're going to be in here for a while. Call me whatever you want, and I'll call you Severus. And I promise to know that you're sorry for any insult to my person if you promise to do the same."

Professor Snape shifted, and Hermione had the distinct impression that he had focused on her with great intensity. "The last thing I want to do," he said finally, "is insult your...person."

Hermione closed her eyes as she felt herself sway towards his voice. She was warm all over and her skin felt too tight. He had to stop talking...she had to get him to be quiet. Or else she was going to have to convince him to do insulting things all over her person. "That's—that's, uh, that's good," she said inanely, feeling like she was going to burst into flames when one of his hands stroked lightly over her knee. Really great going, Hermione!

"Very good," he answered, and Hermione didn't have to imagine his emphasis on the words. Nor was she imagining the feel of both his hands smoothing over her bare calves down to her ankles. "Hermione—" he began.

"Please stop talking," she begged him. "I can't take it..." Her eyes nearly rolled back in her head as his hands grasped her ankles, lifted her feet over his thighs, and tugged until her bottom had scooted her flush up against him.

"As you wish," he said before his lips descended onto hers. Hermione groaned at the contact, her senses firing on all cylinders as she thrust her hands into his hair. His lips pressed insistently against hers, and then he nipped her bottom lip.

That was the end of her rational thought. Parting her lips, she let her tongue sweep into his mouth to tangle with his, and she nudged her hips against him in encouragement. Kissing her with abandon, Severus' hands released her ankles and swept upwards to her derriere, lifting her up and drawing her in closer to him. She could feel his erection against her quim, and it inflamed her. Cradling her against his thighs, his hands came up to angle her head for better access, and then he was kissing her neck, her ear, her jaw, before returning to her lips with untamed passion. Hermione moaned again and lowered her hands to start undoing his robes. His scent—a slightly acrid smell that she associated with cleaning chemicals—curled around her and turned her legs to pudding.

"This is madness," she gasped when he bit lightly at her collarbone. "I'm still your student—"

"Didn't I tell you?" he panted. "You received an O in N.E.W.T.-level Potions. Just this morning."

Hermione almost smiled, but then his hands found her breasts, and she was nearly robbed of breath. "I'd rather receive an O right now," she hissed into his ear, yanking on his shirt to pull it out from his waistband.

Professor Snape laughed—until she raked her nails down his bared chest. "You are a minx," he accused, shifting to lay her on the floor. She felt his hands at her midriff and then there was a loud ripping sound as he dispensed with her school shirt. Cool air touched her chest and stomach, but then his hands were back at her breasts and she was on fire once more. Especially once he began to trace the line of her bra with his tongue.

"Oh! I don't know if this—ahhhhh—is a great idea—ohmygod—given that you're still a profess—unpff!"

His mouth was on hers once again, his tongue delving deeply and teasing her with a rhythm that she wanted to feel with other appendages, in other places. But his hand had slipped into her skirt and those delightful fingers were tracing around the edges of her panties with wicked intent. So her objections were lost as she moaned into his mouth, again.

He stopped kissing her long enough to remark, "Lace panties, Miss Granger? And already wet. My favourite." She could just imagine the expression on his face, part faux-chastisement and part—alright, all—arrogantly pleased male. So she couldn't help but try to take him down a peg.

"I like to wear them when I go to Neville's Herbology class," she taunted. But she found herself hauled upright and pressed, face-first, into the wall of the closet.

A firm smack landed on her backside. "Liar," Severus said as he swatted her again. "The only class you had today was mine." Then his hand had delved into her panties, his fingers parting her folds and his talented fingertips brushing—but not rubbing—her clitoris. His other hand snaked up to squeeze her breast, and Hermione couldn't find the words to respond. Severus was nibbling the side of her neck while his fingers tweaked her pleasure points, until she was certain she was going to melt into a puddle at his feet.

"Fine," she gasped. "I always wear them to your class. And I always c-come away wet."

He paused in his ministrations, silent but for the sounds of his heavy breathing. Then he withdrew his hands to spin her around. "You've no idea how happy that makes me," he admitted, and then he was lifting her and pinning her to the wall with his body. Somehow he managed to free his erection, and in the next moment, he had pulled her panties to the side and was poised with the tip of his cock at the entrance to her vagina.

"Last chance to come to your senses," he practically growled.

"I have already come to my senses," Hermione replied immediately, "and I want you, Severus, now."

She felt him shake his head. "Always so bossy," he mused, and then he lined himself up and plunged into her.

Hermione's head rolled back against the wall, and it was all she could do not to scream while he pumped into her with delightful vigour. He lifted one of her knees up higher, tightening her around him, and his mouth landed on her breasts once more. His clever fingers found her clit and then she was screaming, so loudly that she clamped a hand over her mouth to contain the sound. But Severus reached up and pulled her hand away.

"I want to hear you," he said between thrusts.

This snapped Hermione out of her lust-fuelled daze. "I want to hear you, too," she nearly purred, shoving his shoulders and letting her legs drop. She continued pressing him backwards, until his back was against the wall and he was sliding down towards the floor. She made quick work of her panties and dangling bra. Straddling him, she held herself poised just above his erection and whispered in his ear, "I want to hear you tell me all the things you want to do to me."

Then she sank down and enveloped him, grinning sappily when he moaned. "Come on, Severus," she chided, nudging her hips against his. "In detail, if you please."

"Minx," he growled, gripping her hips and driving her firmly down onto his straining cock. "Very well. I've wanted to take you—" thrust "in every available room—" thrust "in this entire—" thrust "bloody—" thrust "fucking—" thrust "castle!"

To which Hermione had no intelligible response.

An hour later found them both sated, sweaty, and lying in a tangled heap on the floor of the closet.

"You really meant it, about my voice," Severus mused from his position somewhere near her left thigh.

"Nurmpphf," she answered. He grinned like the most foolish of schoolboys, but he didn't care. She couldn't see him, anyway, so she needn't know that he was practically gloating.

He had brought Hermione Granger to a screaming orgasm—not once, but several times.

Gloating was definitely in order.

"You needn't sound so pleased about it," she finally managed. Her lazy tone indicated her pleasure with the situation, however.

"Oh, but I am pleased," he said.

There was a long silence, and then: "Me, too. I suppose I'll have to thank Peeves now, though."

Severus shuddered. "Let's not go that far," he suggested.

Hermione laughed, then shifted around until her lips found his. "Think we have time for another go?" she asked between kisses.

"Actually, no. I'm quite busy just now, I'm afraid," he answered. He felt her start to pull away so he rushed on. "I have several months of overdue verbal stimulations to deliver, and if I don't start talking now, I'll never have a hope of catching up—"

Ever the bossy witch, Hermione silenced him.