Hermione pulls it off

Chapter One

It was the Graduation Ball and Hermine was watching the clock hand get ever closer to midnight. Ten seconds - nine - eight - seven - six - five - four - three - two - one. Now she was no longer a student at Hogwarts and entirely free to do as she wanted, and she knew what she wanted.

She stood up to cross the hall to find her prey, nervously smoothing her dress over her hips. Snape wasn't difficult to find, largely because she had been watching him all night. He had sat at the teacher's table all evening, with the same faint sneer on his face, and danced with no one.

She was aware that the eyes of Gryffindor house had been on her all night, waiting for her to make her move. They had been disappointed.

As she covered the last few yards she was aware that Snape was watching her every move. Undaunted she stood before him and asked him to dance.

His eyes flickered to the clock and then back to her again. "Miss Granger, I expected to see you a little earlier in the evening. The time limit on the bet was midnight I believe?"

"Indeed, Professor," she returned composedly. "And that really is rather the point, don't you agree?"

He looked at her appraisingly for a moment. "I take your point. If you had approached me any earlier I would of course have declined your . offer. However, under the circumstances I think a dance would be acceptable. Perhaps, during the course of it, you can supply me with the finer details of this last weeks events."

It wasn't an enthusiastic response but at least he was sufficiently intrigued to dance with her. She had successfully negotiated the first hurdle, now for the rest. Five minutes to persuade him to give her a chance.

Her hand was clasped in his as they took up their position on the dancing floor. She valiantly resisted the temptation to move closer to him, and maintained a very proper distance but she couldn't restrain the shiver that went through her when his hand settled on her waist.

"Relax, Miss Granger, I don't bite."

"Not even if I ask you very nicely," she retorted.

Ah, another question answered for him. She had delayed her plan, but not abandoned it. A little encouragement might be in order, but not too much.

"Perhaps, but only if you ask very nicely." The tone was laden with meaning.

Another shiver. "You don't play fair, do you?"

"No, Miss Granger, I do not. I do hope you didn't expect me to do so."

He was rewarded with a glorious smile that made her look almost beautiful. "Not at all, Professor. I would be very disappointed if you did. Where would be the challenge in that?"

They danced together in a peculiarly contented silence for a while. Hermione began to believe that she might be able to pull this off after all.

"So," he said, "I believe that the deal was that you were going to tell me all about the events of last week."

"That's a very broad brief, Professor. Why don't you tell me what you know, and I'll fill in the details."

"Let me see, it would be last Friday night, that your fellow Gryffindors decided to celebrate the end of exams by sneaking in alcohol from Hogsmeade. A venerable tradition followed by all Houses, every year since Hogwarts began, I suspect."

"So the teacher's turn a blind eye to it?"

"Certainly not. It wouldn't be as much fun for the students if they thought it was sanctioned, would it? However, matters progressed as usual whenever a group of boys are gathered together and the situation descended into each of the boys boasting about their . romantic . conquests. Although I would be surprised if the term romance can be applied to a series of fumbling encounters on the Astronomy Tower or, for the more sporty student, the Quidditch Pitch. I do wonder how these things are organised. Do you think they have a rota, or is it first . come, first . served?"

They executed a showy turn before he continued, "I fail to see how this resulted in you announcing to the whole of Gryffindor House that you had a crush on me."

"Hardly the whole of Gryffindor House," she replied.

"Ron Weasley was there. It amounts to the same thing. He is a bigger gossip than Molly was, and believe me that is saying something."

She conceded the point with a rueful shrug. "Well, it moved on from the usual boasting to taking bets as to who they could get into bed. The terms were that they had to seduce the partner of their choice by the end of the term, which was stated to be midnight at the graduation ball."

"Doubtless it was at this point you pointed out to them how immature they were being."

"Yes. Of course they said that I was being a spoilsport and that just because I couldn't get a boyfriend there was no need for me to stop them having their fun. After all, who would want to go out with the Gryffindor know-it-all. It made me very cross."

"I can imagine. Teenaged boys have very odd ideas. Girls only have breasts and no brains. Therefore if someone has brains it seems to be only logical to them that they therefore can't have breasts. The faulty premise and logical fallacy that is built open usually only becomes apparent some four years into marriage, when they realise that the blond sweetheart they married has turned into a harridan.

"I, on the other hand, have always appreciated that there is more to life than a heaving bosom, however plump and rounded," he said, whilst obviously admiring the view of her cleavage afforded him by her dress.

She smiled, and then continued, "So I pointed out that the reason I had never gone out with anyone at Hogwarts is that I wasn't attracted to children, only to real men. Someone, I forget who, mentioned your name as a likely candidate. I think I was supposed to faint with horror, so I merely pointed out that you were certainly more attractive than any of them."

"To the sound of fairly universal dismay I would imagine," he smiled faintly.

"Once they realised that I was serious, yes." Ron in particular had been vehement in his denunciations of Snape as a Greasy Git. She had pointed out that it would be a simple matter to get Severus a bottle of shampoo, but that nothing on God's earth would ever make Ron less of prat.

He hadn't liked that at all, and had said that if she was so damned clever she should be able to get Snape into bed before the end of the term. Before she knew it, she had lost her temper and rather than doing the sensible thing and leaving in dignity she had agreed to take part in the bet.

"I am surprised that having taken the bet you then did nothing about it."

"That," she said, "is a very long story, and I think this dance is about to end."

Would he bite?