This is dedicated to Kait's boyfriend Grant, who is to be introduced to all things fanPottery through this story. Poor soul.

Severus became aware that he was lying face down on a floor. It was a nice comfortable floor and he was tempted to stay there, but years of bitter experience as a spy had taught him that this was not a good position to be in. It did have the advantage that he didn't appear to be fending off the demented attacks of a perverted Mediwitch and his drawers were in situ, but it was cold, hard, uncomfortable and he was sure there were splinters in all sorts of interesting places.

There are, and its bloody uncomfortable I can tell you.

Severus felt immense satisfaction that Min was suffering, even though that meant he was suffering too.

You know what they say about cutting your nose off to spite your own face...?

Severus had to admit he had a point; several of them actually, judging by the feel of things. He winced, braced his hands on the floor, and began the slow process of levering himself up. He was getting too old to spend his time in such an uncomfortable position. Idly he wondered what the Dark Lord would have done when his followers became too old to kiss his hem. He had a vision of Lucius, tottering up to abase himself, and then getting stuck and having to be helped to his feet by younger minions.

He could do with a couple of minions himself right now. He managed to stand by stopping half way, swaying as he crouched on his knees, then making a sudden surge for the vertical before his muscles realized what he was up to.

He appeared to be locked in to Madam Rosmerta's cellar, doubtless waiting for the men from St Mungos.

Shrill, Scottish tones from above told him the truth; he was in a much worse position than that. Minerva, she'd only gone and bloody floo'd Minerva. For Merlin's sake, she must have her breasts ogled and commented upon by all sorts of people; why on earth had she reacted so drastically.

Dwelling at length on the perfidy of women he groped in his robes for his wand. Good, the daft cow hadn't taken it, relying on the strength of her hex to keep him subdued.

She probably didn't want to spend too long rummaging around in your robes either, said Min smugly.

'Oh will you shut up! What were you, the God of Being Sarcastic? It's all your bloody fault anyway. Now get me out of this.'

What do you expect me to do about it, said Min indignantly. It's not my fault that you have absolutely no sodding idea how to chat up women. It's not my bloody fault at all. And then Min did what Min always did when the going got tough: he sulked.

'This is no time to be sulking,' howled Severus, who was finding it difficult to stand, let alone think. 'What the hell am I going to do?'

Why don't you apparate, you moron?

It was a bloody good idea; why didn't he apparate? If he wasn't here when the door opened, at the very least he would have time to think of a story, maybe even get an alibi. Yes, that might work.

Oh, who would give you an alibi? It's not as if you've got any friends, is it? sneered Min.

Severus made a mental note to put Min's statue in the most remote corner possible of Hogwarts once he was back in residence, and then apparated away to London and the only person he could think of who might help him.


You've got camel-hair on the brain, said Min sourly, as Severus surveyed the grimy streets of London. And surely that smell was wee? Hadn't Muggles invented sewers yet?

Severus quickly cast a locating charm, fixed Hermione's position relative to his, and apparated again.

It was fortunate that Hermione lived alone. It was doubly fortunate that she wasn't carrying any crockery when a manic Severus Snape popped into existence in her living room. She was immensely relieved that she hadn't slipped into her most comfortable pair of jammies as soon as she crossed the threshold of her flat; she didn't think Severus would be impressed with over-large wincyette pyjamas covered in sheep, with matching baa lamb socks.

Her approach to night attire in the past had been very practical: bugger romance, give me warm feet. However, she supposed that if you had a warm someone in bed with you, there would always be somewhere to place your cold feet, and more frivolous night attire would be possible. She'd just never really had the chance to test that theory out.

She didn't know what Severus was doing in her lounge, but she had a damned good idea that, whatever was wrong, it was Min's fault. An opinion that lasted ten minutes into his explanation.

"You said what?"

Severus clutched at his head, what with his light hangover and the remains of the hex, he was in a delicate condition. Although, Hermione's shrill tones could have drilled through brick let alone his head.

She wasn't pleased.

"So, let's get this straight. You took this reprobate on a boys night out, during the course of which you leered at Rosmerta, culminating in telling her that she had nice tits, and then you have the cheek to come here for help!"

Severus nodded sullenly.

It was hard for Severus to keep track of the two conversations that were continuing in parallel; he wasn't feeling at his best. Min was providing a running commentary on Hermione's perorations, whilst Hermione was asking whether he would be quite so sanguine if he roles were reversed. He couldn't quite grasp why he would object to Hermione looking at Rosmerta's breasts, in fact, the more he thought about it ......

He was fortunate that Hermione took his glass-eyed look of speculation for contrition, and was in the process of forgiving him provided he never did it again – and how likely was that now that he knew Rosmerta was so handy with her wand – when Min piped up.

Oh, what does she think she's got to complain about for heaven's sake? It's not as if you shagged her or anything. His voice trailed away into a low murmur of complaints of how badly he'd been treated, the lack of respect he'd been afforded, and how, next time, he'd chose a better host.

It was the straw that broke the camel's back.

Severus's temper had never been complaisant to begin with; an evening of drinking, hexes and nagging had done nothing to help.

"You bastard," he shrieked, leaping to his feet and grasping at the front of his trousers. "You absolute, sodding bastard. You come into my life without so much as a by your leave, you mess up the first chance of a relationship for years, you letch after my colleagues, you letch after Rosmerta, and you do nothing but complain about you you've been treated." He drew his wand and pointed it at Min. "One more word out of you and it's a slicing hex, and you'll be spending the rest of your time in a glass bottle. I may as well, because if you keep on like this, I'm never getting a shag again."

There was a stunned silence from both parties.

Hermione let out a long breath. "Why don't you put your wand away, sit down, and I'll make you a nice cup of tea. Then you can tell me all about it."

He sat down abruptly, realizing how stupid he looked. Min, very sensibly, said nothing.

A cup of tea and a plate of biscuits were placed in front of him, and Severus began to unburden himself. He'd never had a sympathetic listener before. Albus had tended to the 'I'm sure it's not all that bad, now go away' school of comfort, whereas Hermione listened to him, and made noises of sympathy at appropriate intervals, and said 'oh dear' and 'poor you'.

When he ran out of things to complain about – and it took some time – she plucked the teacup out of his hand, placed it on the floor and pulled him into an embrace. He luxuriated in the warmth and comfort, his nose buried in her cleavage and her hands gently stroking his hair.

"Are you humouring me?" he asked, his voice a little muffled.

"I'm cosseting you," she said, dropping a kiss on the top of his head. "That's different."

"Mmmm?" he said, nuzzling into her. Hermione's breasts were much nicer than Rosmerta's anyway. They were warm, and rounded, and no one tried to hex him when he touched them. If they weren't superior breasts, and he rather thought they were, despite Min's opinion, they were definitely friendlier.

"It's what a relationship is about," she said. "Apart from the frequent hot sex, of course. You come home after a long day dealing with idiots, and your partner makes you a cup of tea, or offers you a nice glass of Firewhiskey as the case may be, and you get to whine about how horrible your day has been. Then you snuggle up on the sofa to be told how wonderful you are, and how the world doesn't appreciate you the way it should."

Severus's father had always been vehemently opposed to any kind of namby- pamby coddling. He'd been wrong about a great many things in his time, and Severus suspected that this was one of them. It was nice – he couldn't be bothered to grope for a better word – to snuggle up on the sofa, and, whilst his previous thoughts had been directed solely toward the frequent, hot sex, snuggling would now feature high on his list of Things-to-do.

Possibly higher than points deduction from Gryffindor, particularly if excessive points deduction meant no cosseting. He suspected it might. There would be a gradual process of assessing what ratio of cosseting to points deduction resulted in the greatest happiness, probably conducted over years. And, if it was made clear to Hermione that a cosseted Severus was a non-point deducting Severus, it would become her Gryffindor duty to make sure he was as cosseted as possible.

Mind you, there was the suggestion that this cosseting process was mutual, which meant that had to be factored in as well. Perhaps a rota? Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays would be his days for being cosseted; Tuesday and Thursday would be hers. Obviously, he needed more cosseting than Hermione because she didn't have to deal with Dumbledore on a daily basis. That would work, although Thursday was a particularly stressful day, so .......

He was so busy applying his Slytherin mind ensuring that he came out ahead on the cosseting, that he forgot all about the small problem of Minerva, Rosmerta and the embarrassment of being hexed.

He'd arrived at a tentative formula: Mondays and Wednesdays for Hermione, Tuesdays and Thursdays for him, and cutting straight to the hot sex on Fridays, and no more than 100 points deducted during a day (unless he felt like it), when Hermione reminded him of his other problem.

"So, what are you going to do about Rosmerta?"

"I was planning to deny everything," he mumbled, reluctant to move his nose from its present happy home.

"So you need an alibi then," said Hermione meditatively. "That gives me an idea."

Severus smiled; it looked like he was home and free.

Minerva had been brought up by Scottish Presbyterians, whose views on morality had been formed in the Victorian era. She was a prude, and a strong believer in the mortification of the flesh. Why else would she rise at 6am, and walk round the castle grounds before breakfast no matter the weather?

Severus and Hermione had therefore timed their arrival at the castle to coincide with her walk. Minerva saw them almost at once. It would have been hard to miss them, as they were embracing passionately in the entrance.

Minerva's first impression was of a dark shape, which seemed to be under some sort of attack by a pale squid. Closer inspection revealed the back of Snape's robes, and that the squid was in the fact grasping hands.

Well really! Not content with his behaviour last night with Rosmerta, he had clearly decided to round off the evening in Knockturn Alley, and had had the unmitigated gall to bring this ... creature... back here.

She coughed, pointedly, to attract his attention, to no avail.

A second cough was tried; still no response.

"Severus Snape," she thundered, "put that tart down at once. You have a lot of explaining to do, my boy. You'll be lucky if you keep your job, once Albus hears about this."

That registered, and there was muffled swearing and the discreet rearranging of dress. The couple parted, and Minerva was shocked to see that the tart in question was Miss Granger. She expected better behaviour from her, and had no hesitation in telling her that.

"And you should know, Miss Granger, that this... this...whited sepulchre has been playing you false."

Minerva was dismayed to find that Miss Granger was neither repentant – "Good heavens, it's not as if the children are around at the moment, what's the harm?" – nor convinced that Severus was cheating on her, the poor trusting fool.

"Severus," Minerva said awfully, "If you don't tell this poor girl what you were up to last night, I shall have no other choice but to tell her, and to bring it to the attention of the Headmaster."

Severus felt mildly gratified that she should have tried to smooth things over for him, but she couldn't be allowed to think that she had some kind of hold over him, or he'd never be able to deduct points again, not to mention all the extra-curricular activities he would suddenly find himself volunteered for.

"Minerva," he said icily, "I have no idea what you are referring to. I would be only too grateful if you could elucidate."

Minerva faltered in the face of such conviction, but then common sense asserted itself; of course he would deny everything, he was a Slytherin.

"Very well, then," she said, lips pursed, "follow me." With that, she headed into the depths of the castle to find the Headmaster's private quarters.

Hermione would ordinarily have felt guilty about deceiving Minerva, but being called a tart had rankled. Severus hadn't felt guilty about anything much in years; having been exposed to the excesses of the Deatheaters tended to harden the nerves. Provided he didn't actually inflict bodily harm on anyone, students and colleagues alike, he didn't see that he had much to feel guilty for. If Minerva chose to go off at half-cock and make accusations that she wouldn't be able to prove – never mind whether they were true or not – then she deserved all that she got.

Albus wasn't pleased at being dragged out of bed so early. He sat in his armchair, muffled in his dressing gown, his feet tucked into carpet slippers and wearing an old fashioned nightcap. There was, for once, no mad twinkle in his eyes, and he looked every one of his years.

If Minerva was looking for a sympathetic hearing, she wasn't going to get it.

"Let me get this clear," Albus said, barely stifling his yawn, "you allege that young Severus here made an assault on Rosmerta, and then disappeared into the night, only to reappear this morning with Hermione in tow and denying everything."

"Yes, Headmaster," Minerva said smugly, waiting for the sword of Damocles hanging over Severus's head to drop.

"What, precisely, does this have to do with me?" asked Dumbledore acerbically. "Has Rosmerta made an official complaint?"

"Well, no," Minerva faltered.

"Largely, I gather because Minerva has persuaded her not to," said Severus, smoothly taking control of the conversation. "Which is something I am very grateful for, as I wouldn't wish my reputation to be damaged by a student prank."

"Prank?" said Minerva, blankly.

"Prank," Severus replied. "I can assure you Headmaster that I was engaged with Miss Granger here last night, and I returned to Hogwarts only early this morning to be greeted with this news."

"Polyjuice," added Hermione. "If it wasn't Severus behaving so badly last night, it must have been a student using polyjuice." Hermione's conscience was clear; neither she nor Severus had actually told a lie.

"Indeed. Which is why Minerva was perfectly correct in bringing this matter to your attention, Headmaster, even though it is a disgracefully early hour," added Severus.

Albus grunted as he levered himself out of the chair. "Yes, I can see your point, Severus. Something will have to be done to make sure that it doesn't happen again." The hard stare that he directed at Severus showed that he wasn't entirely convinced by Severus's story, but that he wasn't sufficiently interested to push the point. "I suggest you check over your stores, Severus, and see if there's anything missing, whilst Minerva can talk to Rosmerta and see if there's anything she can remember that can point to the culprit."

They dutifully filed out of his room. Once outside, Minerva turned to Severus, and said, "I don't know what to say. I'm sorry that I ever doubted you, Severus, and you, Miss Granger, what must you think of me?"

"That's alright, Minerva. It's an easy mistake to make. Polyjuice can fool anyone." Severus was being magnanimous, which Hermione thought was so out of character that he may as well sign a confession. She deftly separated Severus from Minerva, whilst gracefully accepting her apologies, and then pulled him down a convenient corridor.

"Good grief," she said. "Are you trying to make her suspicious?"

"Nonsense," he said. "Minerva will simply be grateful for my unexpected benevolence, after all I think I might be expected to be quite mellow after an evening spent in the company of an attractive woman. I shall of course make up for my unusual forbearance by rubbing her nose in it for the rest of this week, and I think the Slytherin team should have priority for Quidditch practice for the term."

"You are a very bad man," said Hermione, trying not to laugh. "If Slytherin win the Quidditch Cup this year, I shall be very cross with you, you sneak."

"I promise to make it up to you," he said, in his most seductive voice.

"Do you indeed? I'll look forward to that but first I think you owe me breakfast."

"That sounds like a very good idea. We'll see what the house elves can rustle up in my quarters." He wrapped an arm possessively round her waist, and they headed off to his rooms.

The Hogwarts House Elves were good at their job. When called upon to deliver a breakfast for two at short notice, they produced a marvel. There was a cooked breakfast, tucked away in magical chafing dishes to keep warm; there were croissants, pain au chocolate, Danish pastries, strawberries, exotic fruit and even champagne.

It seemed the Elves suspected Romance and were doing all they could to help it on its way.

Severus was feeling very happy. He was full of a decent breakfast, an indifferent champagne, Min was quiet, Minerva was worsted, his reputation was saved, and he was admiring the way Hermione was nibbling her strawberries.

Hermione had elected to take the floor, whilst Severus had opted for decorously perching on the sofa. From his vantage point, Hermione's breasts emerged from her blouse like – not trembling gazelles – a range of very nice hills.

The subject of Min had been very carefully shelved, and the last hour had been filled with nothing more controversial than recommendations to try the scrambled eggs, and requests for the champagne bottle.

Severus picked up the bottle to pour himself more, only to be rewarded with a thin trickle. He peered suspiciously into the bottle, and then said mournfully, "It's empty."

"Oh dear," said Hermione. She raised her almost-full glass to him in a toast, wobbled a little, and spilled some down the front of her blouse, before downing the rest in a gulp.

"You really ought to be more careful with that," Severus said, lowering himself down to the ground beside her. "Waste not, want not." He bent his head and began delicately lapping at droplets glistening on her breasts.

She gurgled with laughter; sliding her hands down his back and then up again in restless movement. He nuzzled up her neck, and then kissed her. Her hands burrowed into his hair and held him tight against her. Her lips were urgent against his, and then her tongue was moving into his mouth, as she rolled on top of him.

She was being rather frisky, he thought as a hand went down between his legs, for a woman who wasn't into threesomes. He gave a muffled grunt of appreciation as she cupped him, and caressed him until he was hard.

Oh god, he wanted to, but there was Min to think about, and it wouldn't feel right.

Then her hand was scrabbling at his buttons and slipping inside to touch him directly, and he hissed in pleasure. He was aware that the voice going 'oh yes, yes, yes' in the back of his mind wasn't entirely him, and that Min was taking a strong interest in proceedings, but he really couldn't be bothered worrying about it.

Hermione put her mouth close to his ear and began murmuring something in his ear. He couldn't make out what she was saying, but his hindbrain was pricking up and paying attention. Whatever it was, Min was agreeing to it, anything, as long as she didn't stop.

Her smile was triumphant, feral even; and then they were engaged in the serious business of removing clothes and the concern about her agreement with Min faded into the background as they pressed their naked-at-last bodies together.

He rolled them over, fitted himself to her, and then pushed; she threw her head back gave a sharp intake of breath, followed by a long, shuddering sigh. He dropped his head into the hollow of her neck, and then began to move. Hermione was breathing heavily, his own breathing was laboured, and he was hanging on to the precipice for grim life. He had to...he couldn't...and then Hermione gave one last gasp, shook beneath him and he could let go.

Somewhere amidst the whirling pleasure, he was aware of a faint voice going oh shit! but he was too busy feeling smug and catching his breath to take any notice.

Rather than release his tight grip on Hermione, he turned them a little so that they were resting side by side. She made a contented noise, half purr, half mumble, into his chest; they rested there, quite satisfied, for a long while. Severus was half-expecting some smart comment from Min, but was determined not to allow him to disrupt his contentment.

The silence continued until he couldn't bear it any longer. 'Well?' He prodded Min sharply.

Still silence.

"He's gone you know," came a sleepy voice from his chest. "We had a deal. He's back in his old home. I'll have to take him to the Museum tomorrow to make sure he gets looked after."

Severus smirked; they may have had a deal but judging from Min's last words, it wasn't one he'd necessarily had any intention of keeping. "I think we should keep him," he said softly. "He did bring us together after all."

"Severus Snape, what brought us together was you ogling my chest at the reunion; it was nothing to do with Min at all."

"Still, I'd like to keep him, as a memento."

"I would never have suspected you of having a sentimental streak."

"Just don't tell anyone," he said. Hermione wasn't happy when he moved, and said so. "I just thought bed would be more comfortable," he said plaintively.

"True," she sighed, taking his hand to get to her feet. "And warmer."

As they headed into his room, hands together, he cast a glance at Min perched on the mantelpiece. He didn't have a sentimental streak at all, but he was definitely looking forward to showing Min that Severus Snape had an active and varied sex life, unlike certain gods who were trapped in statues.

A little shelf over the bed perhaps, to make sure he had the best view?

He'd just have to make do with the sound effects for the next couple of hours.

The End

There is a short sequel planned, and there is a little Epilogue to this written as a drabble by Hawklaw to show what the future would be like for the happy couple.


"But you have to help me persuade him!" Hermione was perilously close to whining. "I don't want more children, and contraceptives make me ill. It's a simple spell. Poppy can cast it in a minute."

Min snorted. "You think I'm going to tell Severus that he should let that woman do anything near his genitals? I'm a fertility god! I want my followers to be fertile!"

Hermione's eyes narrowed dangerously. "Caligula! Nero! You know that statue that Mum and Dad don't let you play with?"

"All right! I'll talk to him!" Hermione just smiled and left her offering of wine.