Severus rose from his chair as the knock on his door echoed throughout his private chambers. The sound was unexpected albeit not entirely unwelcome. On the off chance that his assumption as to who was calling on him was wrong, Severus morphed his expression into an annoyed glare before opening the door.

"Miss Granger?" His quiet voice was like silk caressing her name, yet he knew it only served to dishearten and terrify any and all to whom it was directed. He hardened his glare and continued in the same quiet, sterile tone of voice, wondering how long it would take to get a reaction of fear or surprise from yet another student. He wouldn't lie, it did give him a bit of a thrill inside. "What are you doing here? And at this time of night, no less." His glare could have killed newborn babies.

"Forgive me, Professor, please. I wouldn't have come here if it weren't absolutely essential." Hermione blurted out the words in a rush, looking for all the castle like she might faint of fear at any moment. Her stern professor remained silent, his arms crossed tightly in front of him, one of his dark eyebrows raised in question. When she made no further effort to speak, Severus managed to bark out her name.

"Miss Granger!" He couldn't suppress the giddy laugh that shone through his eyes as she visibly jumped, clearly startled. "I'm waiting." The tiny Gryffindor audibly gulped before continuing.

"It's about the assignment due tomorrow. Sir, I —" Abruptly, he cut her off, her excuses falling on deaf ears.

"You waited until the night before to start it?" He couldn't resist halting what he knew was a well-rehearsed speech. "Tut, tut, Miss Granger, how unlike you." At the first sign of his smirk emerging onto his lips, Hermione managed to find her courage.

"Please, sir. My assignment is already completed." At her admission, his other eyebrow raised and Hermione knew in that instant she had better start to tread the rapidly growing hot water she'd found herself in. He was about to tear into her again when she hurried and managed to be the one to cut him off, this time. "Well, mostly. At least, I thought it was. I wouldn't be here if it was finished, obviously. I'd wait until tomorrow, but I —"

"Granger!" Another bark, another jump. "You're rambling. Get to the point quickly or so help me Gryffindor's hourglass won't see another ruby until your children are graduating." Hermione paled, but managed to stop shaking, knowing fully that he would follow through with his threats.

"Perhaps we could talk inside, sir?" He looked completely incredulous, shocked at her gall. Very few of his students would have dared to ask such a question, and an even further few of those students were Gryffindors. Hermione hurried to clarify, the stunned look on such an austere face quickly throwing her into terrified submission. She dropped her head down, her eyes suddenly finding his shoes rather fascinating. She was quick and quiet in her final explanation. "The dungeons are cold, sir, and you look like you could stand to sit down."

The Potions Master didn't reply, only staring at her for a few moments before stepping back with a small gesture of his hand to lead her in.

Seeing his feet take a few steps back, she saw his blank expression as he motioned her in. When she passed by him as she crossed the threshold into his chambers, Hermione couldn't help the small smile that graced her lips, and the light brush of his hand against hers was more than enough to relax her after their little show. It had long since become their way of saying hello, as well as a chance for them to continue their private reassurances that they could act normally around each other. It was, after all, a rather difficult task to treat someone as a child after you've had your cock buried inside of her. Multiple times. In multiples areas. Severus smirked again as the door clicked shut behind him.

They both knew that no one was around, that no one would even pass by, so remote within the depths of the castle were Severus' private chambers. Yet neither could ever manage to resist the little game they played whenever she came down to see him before curfew. After curfew it was sneaking and skulking in shadows, but before ten o'clock, they didn't see an issue with just using the front door. It's not as if anyone else would think that something unsavory was going on. It was an unbelievable fact, and even if someone did see something they really shouldn't, the students and staff were all human. Humans tended to see what they wanted to see, and ignore and replace that which didn't make logical sense until it did. They say that no one can keep a secret in the hallowed halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and over the years it had been proven true time and again. The very moment the word 'secret' was uttered anywhere in the castle, the entire school would know by breakfast the next morning. Being much more than aware of this fact, the couple should be downright terrified that their relationship would be known to the entire school. Yet, somehow, they weren't. The beauty of a secret is that it's supposed to be kept. And somehow, the fates had managed to see the beauty of theirs, and they had yet to even be suspected of so much as a too-long lingering glare.