A/N: Short, but I figured better than nothing. Special thank you to RhodaBush on FFN for pushing me into this direction. I think you'll all enjoy the final product. Most of this chapter was written while I was at the beach, so also a special thank you to the random girl in a black bikini who gave me the idea for the ending of the story. Two chapters left. Please enjoy! :D

Severus sat at his window, again staring down at her, this time trying to do something less creepy. Well… slightly. He was enacting one of his few non-magical hobbies in an attempt to do something productive. He had transfigured a small table near his chair beneath the window and brought out his sketch book. Today, he was drawing her.

He knew that if they were found that he risked some serious backlash; after all, drawing someone in a bathing suit was almost just as creepy as staring at someone in a bathing suit, and by staring he meant masturbating. He had drawn her a few times before, but this was the first time he had endeavored to draw her entire body, as well as having her as a moving subject. He usually went back through his pensive and took a magical version of a muggle photograph so he had a reference point to draw from. Some might find the magic it took a waste of time and energy, but it was to draw her, which was a crime of passion in itself. Not to mention that despite what most people thought, he really was rather passionate about his artwork.

So. He sat on his chair by the desk, pencil in one hand and cock in the other. He was still watching her prance around half naked, he couldn't be expected to endure the pain of his cock trapped in his pants, even if he was trying to be a bit less perverted.

She was lying back on a raft, the sun reflecting from the water onto her skin in a cool, blended geometric pattern. He had been trying to get the angle of her left hip just right, but couldn't quite seem to manage it. He kept getting distracted by the small tattoo placed directly above her hipbone, a small music note, lying just above the tie on her bikini bottoms. He had no idea what its significance was, but he wanted to find out. Desperately. Preferably up-close and very, very personal.

It was just a rough sketch, but he was determined to get it right. Her beauty deserved his full effort.

He let go of his cock, biting back a sigh of disappointed loss, and pulled himself closer to the sketchbook. He narrowed his focus, pulling in his Death Eater abilities and blocked Hermione from his mind, focusing only on that one specific part of her body.

Within about ten minutes the sketch was drawn to perfection and Severus let his mind relax again. He looked at his work and then down at his muse and then back over at his still hard cock.

Fuck it all. He was going down there.

It was mid-afternoon, which usually meant that some of the adults would retire for awhile, the sun being just a bit too intense, as well as dinner needing to get started. That lowered his audience considerably. However, some of the children tended to get a bit overtly rambunctious this time of day, namely the Weasley twins. Severus knew that they would soon be bored over all of the quiet and relaxing from the adults and start something up that was loud and raucous. Hermione wouldn't be left floating on that raft for long.

Again, most of the attention wouldn't be on him. Shouldn't. He could do this. Couldn't he?

Severus cursed under his breath and began pacing around his room, still trying to talk himself out of it. The current vote stood at 6 to 1, his mind being the only "nay" vote. His entire body, on the other hand, gave a resounding "YAY" to the question of "Should we go down and get a better look at a soaking wet Miss Granger?". Each sense, plus his cock, had cheered at the notion. Severus now believed that his body was plotting against him, intending much more interaction with his interest instead of merely getting closer to her.

He stopped at the foot of his bed, hands in his hair, decision made. He was going to go down there, but decided that there was no shame in having to run back up to his room with his tail between his legs if it didn't go well. He didn't want to embarrass himself in front of her.

Tucking his still hard cock back into his shorts, he summoned a vial to one hand and his wand to the other. He downed the vial, trying not to think of the hit it was taking to his ego. He was a man that couldn't even control himself near the woman he cared for and needed an outside source to keep his cock from getting excited. It was a severe blow to his self control.

Severus looked down at his shorts, trying to decide what the appropriate material for a pair of swim trunks would be. He knew what they were supposed to look like, as well as the fact that they had to be waterproof, but beyond that he was lost. He closed his eyes, imagining the other men's trunks that he had seen, adding in his own touch of decoration and color, and transfigured the best he could.

Looking in the mirror, he was fairly satisfied with the results. Still black, but with a wide white line running down the outer sides of his hips and legs, a second, much smaller green line adding a pop of detail. They were made out of some strange fabric he was unfamiliar with, not exactly scratchy like wool, but still slidey in a weird kind of way. He rubbed his hands over them. The sound was odd, and it felt odd against his skin. They would work. He hoped.

Next, he set about covering up the scars that littered his body, as well as his Dark Mark. He didn't want the little dunderheads staring at it. The scars were easy enough, he had done it many a time before with a simple glamour charm. It had taken him years to find a way to cover the Mark, however, the Dark Lord insistent upon its constant exposure. It involved an intricate layering of glamour and makeup charms, with a few notice-me-not charms interspersed throughout to be on the safe side. He left his own personal tattoos exposed, hoping that they would distract from his presence down there. Finally, he used a sun protection spell. He absolutely abhorred being sunburnt and tended to avoid going out in the sun when he could— hence the pale skin. Besides, he had a reputation to uphold back at Hogwarts— someone could not possibly be as pale as he was and not be a vampire. He'd like to keep his skin pearly white, thankyouverymuch.

Setting his jaw, Severus headed out the door of his bedroom, determined. He could do this.


By the time that he got down there, he found that his suspicions had indeed been correct. Some of the elder Order members were toweling off and Hermione was no longer on the raft. From what he could gather, George had swum below her and flipped her off of it completely. Severus felt almost sad for her. She had looked so peaceful. George Weasley rose two more spots on his "Don't piss me off" list.

He quietly stepped down off the last stair, but found that the entire yard had taken notice of him. Damn. So much for a quiet entry.

"Severus, m'boy!" Albus was calling to him from behind the bar. "It's so wonderful for you to finally join us." The old man was beaming. "Come. Come get a drink and relax." Albus started actively beaconing to him and Severus knew he had to play nice if he wanted to stay around Hermione for the remaining afternoon.

His attempt to walk casually over to the other side of the yard did not go particularly well, and he found himself actually wanting whatever strange alcoholic concoction Albus had in a muggle blender. It was bright red, and evolution was telling Severus that it could be poisonous and rather dangerous to consume.

Albus got out a clear plastic cup and filled it with the frozen liquid.

"Here, Severus. Drink up and enjoy." Tentatively, Severus took a sip from the brightly colored straw and found himself pleasantly surprised. It may not have been a manly looking drink, or even an intimidating one, but damn Merlin if it didn't taste wonderful.

Noticing his face of shocked surprise, Albus answered the unspoken question. "It's a new recipe I discovered from the muggles this morning, Severus. It is called a Rum Runner." He pronounced Rum Runner in the way that old people sometimes do with words their are unfamiliar with, slowly and with each syllable unnecessarily enunciated.

Severus saved himself from laughing at his employer by taking another long sip before answering. "Thank you, Albus, it really is rather good."

The Headmaster leaned in closer to his employee over the bar, getting close enough to be able to speak at a whisper. "Truly, Severus, thank you. It means a lot to me that you're making this effort to be social. I know how difficult it is for you." Severus wasn't sure what to say, so he said nothing at all. He didn't want to answer in his usual brute tone, but he also didn't want to get emotional at Albus's true concern for his well being. Silence seemed to be the best response. Accepting this, Albus topped of Severus's cup, clapped him on the shoulder, and told him to enjoy himself.

He would. Merlin, how he hoped he would.

The sun was much brighter than he thought it would be, and Severus was quick to discover the many wonderful uses of sunglass. He transfigured a pair of dark glasses from a leaf by his foot and was pleased by his newfound ability to keep his eyes affixed wheresoever he desired, namely the body of of one Miss Hermione Jean Granger. Additional benefits include no one being able to tell where his eyes were, Albus having a much more difficult time if he wanted to skim the front of Severus's thoughts, and the rest of the Order being put off at the fact that he could be intimidatingly staring at any one of them.

He found a lounge chair near the bar that was partially shaded by one of Grimmauld's rare trees, as well as providing a perfect few of the pool. He glanced down toward his crotch, making sure that it would stay in check. He was pleased when he didn't feel so much as a twitch. He settled back into the chair, sipping his drink, and thinking that perhaps this wasn't as bad as he had thought it would be.