A/N: loosely based on the George Michael song 'I Can't Make You Love Me', so a songfic I guess. Lyrics as below. I obviously neither own the song or JKR's marvellous characters. Please review, but don't flame. It's mean and I'm weak!

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Hermione looked around the room and sighed. She wondered not for the first time why she bothered. It was not as if he appreciated any of it anyway. The room was tidy and lit only by candles which, to her eyes anyway, lent it a romantic air. The French doors to her balcony were wide open, and the warm summer breeze made the voile curtains billow softly. She had just finished making the bed up with clean linen, and had caught herself folding down the duvet in anticipation of what was to come. Only then had she stopped and mentally scolded herself. It was anticipation that would lead her further into this mess. And it had to stop. Hermione only wished she knew how.

She looked at the clock on the bedside table. It was late, yet still not late enough so that he would not come to her. In the past he had appeared sometimes earlier, sometime later. Time seemed of little consequence to him, and in odd moments she often found herself wishing she could be more like him. He was aloof and cold and selfish and she knew that she should hate him for the effortless way he made her feel weak, the way he made her give in, every time. Several voices clamoured for attention in her head and she silenced them irritably. It had to stop. And there was only one way.

The doorbell sounded shrilly into the darkness of her thoughts, making her jump. She took her time composing herself, hating the vanity that made her fan her hair across her shoulders and make a tiny adjustment to the silk nightdress she wore, and then she crossed the room, moving into the hall and along to the front door.

Without looking to see who it was, Hermione pulled the door open and stared at the form of Severus Snape on her doorstep for a full five heartbeats. She could have feigned surprise, or closed the door in his face, but the time for doing either was long passed, and instead she just leaned to one side while he silently brushed past her on his way in.

The second she had closed the door his arms were around her, holding her in a surprisingly tender embrace. She looked up at him, unaware of the vulnerability in her eyes. He looked down at her, paused for perhaps a second, and then caught her mouth in a hard kiss that took her breath away. She felt her head spin as he pinned her deftly against the wall, wondering why after all this time he could still excite her so. He stirred passion in her simply by being in the same room, it seemed, and she could not resist him any more now than she had been able to the first time. It had to stop. But not while he continued to kiss her the way he did.

He only released his possessive grasp of her so that she could lead him into the bedroom. He lowered her gently down onto the bed, and she watched him remove the outer layers of his clothing with dark eyes. She lost a little more of herself with every bit of skin he revealed, until at last he chose to lay himself down next to her, pulling her close and kissing her once more. Hermione closed her eyes then and did not open them again until after he had made love to her. She lay down her heart for him, and he did not or would not see. His hands travelled her willing body, deft and clever, leaving her hot and trembling, making her call his name. Her eyes remained steadfastly closed, even when it was his turn to call *her* name. It was a defence mechanism, she knew. On the occasions she had chosen to look at him whilst he hovered attentively over her she had seen things in his eyes that she knew were lies. He could hold her as tenderly as he liked, but he would still not love her.

He lay next to her in the dark afterwards while she cried silent tears of frustration and anger, her body shaking. It was always now that the pain seemed too much to bear, but this night she was determined to put it to proper use. He would be gone before she awoke in the morning, leaving her nothing but memories, until the next time . . .

She was determined that there would not be a next time. She had fought long and hard for him to love her, but now it was time to give up the fight. He did not love her, and he would not leave his wife, no matter what he said. She knew that it had to stop, and she knew that she had to be the one who stopped it, whilst she still had the courage. She fell asleep close in his arms, but woke in the morning alone.

The day dragged, and with little to look forward to Hermione struggled to concentrate on anything. Night fell and she found herself lighting the candles. For myself, she insisted. It was almost midnight when the knock came at her door. She ignored it, instead curling up on the bed in her oldest pyjamas, fighting back the tears. The knock came again, and then again as she continued to defy it, until eventually she tiptoed to the door and found herself sitting behind it, mere inches from where her lover stood.

"Hermione . . ." he was calling her name brokenly. "Hermione . . . please."

She marvelled at how little she had heard him use her name, whilst at the same time feeling angry at her body's response to his presence. Her breathing had hitched, her face was flushed and yet she resisted. She heard him slide into a sitting position against the door. She heard him sob.

"I need you," he whispered. "Please . . ."

He did not need her, she knew. His words and promises were hollow and yet they twisted her heart so! It was only when he relinquished his control of her that she truly felt her love was worthy of him. She was a fool, she knew. She was in love with a man who was completely unable to reciprocate her love, and yet she still let him come to her, night after night.

"I will try . . ." his silken voice drifted through the door, and without thinking she was on her feet, dragging open the door. He caught her in a furious kiss, their passion all-consuming. The door slammed, they tumbled to the floor in a flurry of clothes . . .

He carried her to bed afterwards, settling her amongst the pillows with the care of a lover who knew quite what it was he could lose. He kissed her, moved inside her, and she looked into his eyes. This had to stop.

But not yet.

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Turn down the lights, turn down the bed

Turn down these voices inside my head

Lay down with me, tell me no lies

Just hold me close, don't patronize

Don't patronize me

'Cause I can't make you love me If you don't

You can't make your heart feel something it won't

Here in the dark in these final hours

I will lay down my heart, and I'll feel the power

But you won't, no you won't

And I can't make you love me

If you don't

I'll close my eyes and then I won't see

The love you do not feel, when you're holding me

Morning will come, and I'll do what's right

Just give me till then, to give up this fight

And I will give up this fight

And I can't make you love me if you don't

You can't make your heart feel something it won't

And here in the dark in these final hours

I will lay down my heart and I'll feel the power

But you won't, no, you won't

And I can't make you love me

If you don't

Ain't no use in you trying

It's no good for me baby without love

All my tears, all these years, everything I believed in