Disclaimer: The usual disclaimer applies here...as always. Not mine...just here for your entertainment.

Author Notes: As always, many, many thanks to my fantastic beta Aemos. You're a true kindred spirit. J And thank you to all who have reviewed so far. I appreciate all of your comments and kind words.

Chapter 4

She changed into a short denim skirt, sandals, and a dark green halter-top, then performed a few well-placed cosmetic charms. She stood back from the full-length mirror in the bathroom and sighed.

"You need a haircut, Herm," she said aloud, tugging on a long lock of her wavy brown hair.

~Maybe tomorrow I'll make a trip to the spa for some pampering.~

She turned away from the mirror, picked up her purse from the bed, then made her way out the front door. The sun had set completely by now, and the moon shone brightly down on the water, setting it to glowing as if from beneath.

She trudged slowly down the winding path, reaching into her purse every few moments for her wand. It may have been beautiful, but it was dark and she was alone in an unfamiliar place.

~Better safe than sorry.~

She heard the club before she could see it. Loud, bass-thumping music drifted to her on the wind, along with the sound of large numbers of voices. She turned a bend in the path and saw it. Two stories tall, with an expansive balcony on the second floor, it was festooned with softly glowing lights of every color in the rainbow. People were sprawled on chairs and loungers on the balcony and in the front of the club, laughing with new friends, talking quietly, or in the case of one boisterous couple, engaging in activities that never should have left the bedroom.

~Oh. My. God. Is that her boob he's got in his mouth? Holy shit it is! And she's got her hand down his pants! Jesus...I've walked into a Swinger's Club.~

She didn't realize she was gawking until someone spoke behind her. She whirled around.

"They really should find a room, shouldn't they?"

"Professor Snape! You really must stop sneaking up on me," she said, impatiently brushing her hair out of her eyes. She looked back at the couple and grinned. "Does that happen often here?"

"Yes," he answered, grimacing. "I would like to tell you that you get used to it."

"You'd like to?"

"I find that I can't tell you that because it would be a blatant lie," he said, looking down his nose at her. "You never get used to it."

"Well, maybe there's some truth in what they say."


"You know," she said, waving her hands around, "them!"

"Right," he drawled, arching an eyebrow. "And just what do they say?"

"That the English are a bit, well, uptight."

"We're not uptight, Miss Granger," he said, frowning. "We are polite. And isn't that a rather broad generalization?"

"Yes, I suppose it is," she said, looking back at the couple and grimacing. "I'm not sure I can stand out here with that going on much longer."

"Would you care to join me for a drink inside?"

"I thought you didn't want to nursemaid any students during your vacation," she mocked, raising a cynical eyebrow at him.

"I don't," he said, placing a hand at the small of her back and guiding her toward the door. "If you get too intoxicated I'll just leave you at the table."


"Well, it's such a relief to know that I'll be cared for," she said sarcastically, rolling her eyes up at him. "I'll be sure to do the same for you."

"I would expect no less, Miss Granger," he said, smiling. "Although I suspect you would never stand up to me in a drinking contest, if that's what you're looking for." He smirked at her. "Care to take me up on that?"

~What?! That's it, I'm starting a book. 'Freaky Shit Snape Did on Vacation to Completely Freak Me Out.' A drinking contest? No...didn't happen...he did NOT ask me for a drinking contest...~

"Maybe next time," Hermione said, sitting down in the chair he pulled out for her at a table near the dance floor. "I just have this feeling that you can really hold your liquor. Besides, you'd probably make me bet with my blood or lifetime slavery or something."

He snorted quietly.

"Perhaps," he said, eyes twinkling. "I'm sure I could figure out a use for your blood...I don't think I could handle having you around at all times as my slave."

"How sweet," Hermione drawled, rolling her eyes. "Trust me when I say that the feeling is entirely mutual."

"I'm sure," he said, chuckling. He started slightly when a waiter appeared at their table. "Something to drink, Miss Granger?"

"Margarita," she answered. "Frozen, lime, with salt."

"Very particular, aren't we?"

"I know what I want," she said, raising an eyebrow at him. "There's nothing wrong with that."


He ordered a pitcher for them to share.

~So, Snape likes girlie drinks... That's definitely going in the book. Funny, I always pictured him as a whiskey sort of man.~

"I suppose you're wondering why I didn't order a bottle of firewhiskey or something else of the like."


"Well, erm, yes actually."

"Despite appearances, I find the taste of that sludge absolutely appalling," he said. "I can make potions that have the exact same effects and taste thrice as good as that monstrosity they dare let people consume." He paused and leaned back in his chair. "Tequila is more to my taste."

~Well then, give me two rounds of Jose Cuervo.~

"I see," Hermione mused, grinning. "So you are a bit of a prejudiced drinker, then?"

"Absolutely," he answered.

"Me too."

They sat in silence, watching the couples writhing, for you couldn't really call it dancing, writhing together out on the dance floor until their drinks arrived.

"Would either of you care for some dinner or an appetizer this evening?" The waiter asked as he filled both of their glasses.

"Go ahead," Snape murmured, taking a drink of his margarita.

"I will have the blackened salmon and rice pilaf with the steamed vegetables, please," Hermione told the waiter.

"And for you, sir?"

"Double bacon cheeseburger with everything and fries."


"Very good," the waiter said, beaming at them both. "Your food will be out shortly."

~So, he likes very American food and doesn't care one bit about his health. How the fuck does he stay in such great shape? Lucky bastard... I seem to be using that term for him a lot...maybe I'll just start addressing him as 'bastard' from now on. He must be used to it by now...~

"What is it, Miss Granger?" he asked, obviously irritated.

"You are just full of surprises, sir," she replied, shaking her head. "I mean, you didn't even call the chips, chips! You called them fries!"

"Miss Granger, if I had ordered chips at this resort, they would have given me crisps and that is not what I wanted," he said. He motioned to her glass. "Drink up."

"Are you trying to get me intoxicated, professor?" Hermione asked, raising a flirtatious eyebrow at him. "After all, I don't want you to have to leave me at the table."

The corners of his mouth curved up just slightyly.

"Never," he answered, tilting his glass back for a drink.

~What are you doing, Herm?! You're flirting with him! You raised your fucking 'flirting eyebrow' at the man for God sakes!~

She took a deep breath and glanced over at the dance floor again, then finished the rest of the margarita in her glass, wincing a little as the last bit slid down her throat.

"Too strong for you?"

~Uh, yeah! What gave you that idea, genius? Was it the expression of burning pain on my face or the steam coming out of my nostrils?~

"Not at all," she lied, pouring herself another glass. "They are exactly the way I like them."

He merely raised a skeptical eyebrow at her, clearly telling her, 'You're a fucking liar but if it makes you feel better then go ahead and tell me that.'


"So how long have you been at the resort, Professor?"

"One week," he answered, leaning back in the chair and linking his hands behind his head, a strangely open position to see him in compared to the guarded way he usually sat. "I can assure you that this type of place would normally not be my ideal summer destination." He paused, smiling wryly. "But Albus thought it a good idea for me to, quote, 'climb out of the pasty white shell I refer to as my body and life for awhile,' unquote."

"How nice," Hermione said, thinking that Dumbledore had a pretty good grasp on the man. "It was actually he who told me about the resort. He comes into the restaurant so often now."

"Ah, yes, how does the restaurant business suit you, Miss Granger? I confess that nearly everyone was quite shocked when you chose that as your profession and not teaching."

"Teaching never even crossed my mind to tell you the truth," she said. "I've always loved to cook. My mother and father taught me to cook when I was very young and we had a tradition of cooking together once a week." She leaned back in her chair, a faraway look in her eyes. "That was the hardest part about being at Hogwarts. The bloody House Elves wouldn't even let me touch a pan in the kitchen."

"Yes, you wouldn't believe the number of complaints the House Elves filed about you."

"Yes I would," she confirmed, grinning wryly. "I'm afraid they didn't like me much."

"Have you finally given up on that ridiculous House Elf Liberation Front, or whatever it was called?"

She glared at him a moment.

"Yes, I have," she answered, "and it was called S.P.E.W., thank you very much. It's not my fault the stupid dolts are brainwashed into thinking they have it good. Bloody mindless drones," she muttered darkly, downing her margarita in one gulp. "Ahh, brain freeze!" She grabbed her forehead, wincing in pain until it passed. "Dammit, I hate those."

Severus was fighting hard not to burst out laughing.

"Are you okay, Miss Granger?" he asked, pouring her another glass. His hand shook with the effort it took not to break down in real, true, table-pounding laughter right then and there.

"Fine," she answered, glaring at him over her glass. "Professor, would you please do me a favor?"

"That depends," he answered, smirking.

"Would you please stop calling me Miss Granger?"

"What should I call you then? Madam? Ma'am?" He grinned mischievously. "Bookworm? Know-it-all?"

"Hardy-har-har, you're a real riot," she growled, smiling. "Let's try this on for size...Hermione. Think you can handle that?"

"Very well," he said, sighing dramatically. "I suppose you should call me Severus then."

"Actually," she began, giggling, "I was thinking about calling you 'bastard.' What do you think?"

He stroked his chin, feigning thought.

"It works," he said. "But I imagine it would cause quite a sensation for you to call my name in a crowded room. We wouldn't want you getting cursed because of a little misunderstanding."

She chuckled appreciatively.

"Too true," she said, grinning. "Severus it is, then."

He raised his glass in a salute.

"I think this calls for a toast. To the know-it-all and the bastard," he said, grinning.

Hermione clinked her glass with his, smiling warmly over her glass at him.

"To the know-it-all and the bastard!"


Sorry about the hideously long delay in posting. Forgive me...please?