A/N: The only part of this story that belongs to me is the plot, everything else that you see belongs to the marvellous JKR, although I'm sure we could come to some agreement about time sharing Snape.

Harmless fluff, all written in one morning. It's quite clich├ęd, I apologise if there are a lot of familiar things about this plot and story. No plagiarism is intended!

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It was late.

The clock in the Great Hall had struck midnight a few minutes before Severus Snape heard the muffled sound of a piano being played somewhere in the castle. Knowing that no such musical instrument was to be found, his eyebrows drew together in a small frown. He felt his interest grow a little. Patrolling the corridors had been unusually uneventful that evening and; Hogwarts was nearing the end of the Summer term, and long sunshine-filled days seemed plenty enough time for the students to get up to whatever misdemeanours they wished to without venturing out of the dormitories after curfew. In the past week he had barely had the opportunity to give out a handful of detentions with the irascible Filch, and this late night musical exercise struck Snape as a most definite breach of school rules.

Abandoning his journey towards the dungeons and his rooms, Snape wheeled about in a graceful arc of black robed intent and made his way along one of the ground floor corridors towards the sound of the piano. He was more than a little perplexed when the music grew louder and then began to fade once he reached a certain point along the hallway. Backing up a little to where the delicate sounds seemed loudest he stared at the blank stone wall in front of his face.

Odd.

Walking further back down the corridor did nothing to reveal the source, and unless the castle walls had taken up a surprising new hobby, it seemed to him that there was a room concealed just beyond his reach. It occurred to Severus that a hidden room was probably nothing to do with a student breaking rules, as this was powerful magic indeed, but his curiosity had been well and truly piqued and he was determined to discover the source of the music. He had almost given up, and was doubling back one last time when the dark wood-panelled door materialised out of the wall.

Severus stared at it a little incredulously, and then shook his head. He would never make the mistake of thinking he knew everything about the castle that there was to know, but it surprised him that even after many years' acquaintance with the old building it could still produce such secrets. Placing a hand upon the brass door handle he found that it depressed easily, and the door opened silently inwards to a dark room.

Stepping inside, Severus was certain that the source of the music was there, and casting about him it was only a few seconds before his dark eyes alighted upon the baby grand piano on the far side of the room facing a bank of floor to ceiling arched windows through which bright moonlight provided the only source of light. He wondered briefly if he had expected the piano to be playing itself, for there was a small figure sitting at the keys, her back to him as she played.

Long curls trailed down her back, swaying a little as she moved slim hands across the keys, and she had not yet realised that she was not alone in the room. Severus closed the door behind him and leaned against it a moment to listen. The tune that she was playing was hauntingly beautiful and quite out of place on such a balmy summer evening. He did not recognise it beyond the fact that it was certainly not a classical piece. Approaching the piano and player on silent feet he fully expected her to be startled by his sudden appearance on one side of the instrument, but instead she merely looked up at him for a moment whilst her hands did not still upon the keys.

Snape stared down at the top of her curly head and wondered if anybody else knew that Hermione Granger was such an accomplished pianist.

She continued to play for several long minutes, and as the tune faded away into the stillness of the room her hands finally stilled and she lifted her cinnamon eyes to his.

"Hello, Professor Snape," she said quietly, inclining her head to his.

"Miss Granger," Snape nodded to her in the respectful fashion that was expected of him. She was Head Girl, after all.

There was a pause, whilst he wondered what to do with her. As Head Girl she was entitled to roam the school more or less at will, and it was true that she had similar patrolling duties to his. Detention seemed more or less out of the question, but he found himself reluctant to let her go unpunished for her strange behaviour.

"Explain yourself." He frowned at her and spoke in clipped tones. She blushed prettily and finally looked away from him down to where her hands were folded in her lap.

"I was playing the piano," she murmured.

"I can see that!" He snapped.

"I wasn't aware of breaking any school rules." Her apparent defiance should have angered him further, and he opened his mouth to admonish her further but no words would come. She had a point.

"Explain to me, then, how I was not aware until a few minutes ago that Hogwarts contained a room with a baby grand piano in it?" He spoke softly, watching as she relaxed a little.

"This is the Room of Requirement," she said, lifting her head to look up at him again. "It will provide you with whatever you need . . . as long as you need it badly enough." A small frown crossed her face fleetingly as she met his eyes, and Snape found himself looking past her to the piano. It was a beautiful instrument, of that there was no doubt. And as for the one who was playing it . . . he took a moment to look over Hermione Granger. At eighteen years old, the seventh year was quite the young woman. Her skin was peachy clear in the moonlight, her burnished curls sat prettily across her shoulders. Her brown eyes were soft and trusting on his face, and Severus found himself astonished. It had been a long time since anybody had looked at him with such quiet confidence.

Hermione tilted her head a little to one side, and smiled a small smile at him. Snape leant his elbows against the shiny surface of the piano lid and rested his chin in his hands, looking down at her warily.

Much had changed in the wizarding world that year. Not six weeks ago, the Dark Lord Voldemort had been finally and irrevocably despatched to his maker by one Harry Potter, and Snape had been there in that final, bloody battle. Not so close as to affect Potter's duel with Voldemort, but close enough. He remembered that Hermione Granger had been there too, struggling to reach her friend's side as the battle raged. She had stood shoulder to shoulder to him when it was all over, he remembered too the look of concern on her face when she had seen his injuries. She had insisted on staying with him until his safe return to Hogwarts and subsequent installation in the hospital wing, she had even held his hand.

A smile flickered across his face, and he returned from his reverie. It was strange; he had not remembered that seemingly insignificant fact until now.

"You held my hand," he said slowly.

Hermione did not ask to what he was referring to. She did not need to.

"I did." She nodded shyly.

"Why?" He felt compelled to ask. Hermione looked confused.

"I would have done the same for anybody," she said, in apparent surprise.

"Then you consider that even I am worth saving?" Severus meant to only think the words, but his mouth spoke them all the same. She frowned.

"Of course. Don't you?"

Snape did not know how to answer her question. Freed from the burden of responsibility his role as a spy had bequeathed him, he had expected to feel a weight lifted from his shoulders with the Dark Lord's demise. He had not, and instead continued to live his days with a peculiar kind of bitterness tainting them. He did not seek reward for his actions, but fulfilment had evaded him. Emptiness was a great yawning hole inside him, he felt hollow.

"Professor?" While he had slipped into his thoughts, Hermione had become concerned. He looked down to see her small hand curled around his forearm and her concerned expression. "Are you all right?"

"Quite all right." Her warm hand gave his arm a reassuring little squeeze and then she let go. Snape looked into her velvety eyes and managed a very small smile. "Thank you for your concern."

In response, she shifted sideways upon the piano seat she was resting upon.

"Sit?" She invited quietly. "Do you play, Professor Snape?"

Severus sat down hesitantly next to her. The seat was not really big enough for two, but as they were both slim it was comfortable enough. He was aware of his left thigh pressing against her right one, but as she did not seem phased he did not let it concern him. They jostled elbows almost playfully, and stared at each other.

"Only a little, Miss Granger. I am not nearly so accomplished as you."

Stretching his long legs and then tucking them beneath the piano, he saw her smile delightedly and felt his heart give a funny little lurch.

"Seven years." She was shaking her head. "It has taken you seven years to compliment me, Professor."

"Then you are worthy indeed." He smiled again, this time a little wider, and she did not miss it. Tucking a stray curl behind her ear, she stretched her fingers over the ivories.

"I wonder, do you know 'Heart and Soul'? It's a muggle song, but two people can play if one plays tune and one accompaniment . . ."

"I know it. Will you accompany me, Miss Granger?" Snape leaned forward and frowned in concentration as he positioned his hands above the keys. Hermione began the accompaniment and he played the tune with confident fingers, humming along in a tuneful baritone. The music she had chosen was disarmingly simple, but beautiful, and although they only played together for a few minutes, Severus felt his soul lift a little. Hermione overreached a little on the last few chords, and as the music faded in a haze of uncertainty Severus slowly became aware that her hand was resting gently upon his.

"I . . . oh . . .sorry." Flushing scarlet, she moved as if to lift her hand away, and Severus surprised both of them by catching it between both of his, and holding it firmly.

"Strange," He looked up and into the middle distance beyond the windows. He was speaking aloud again. "Strange how playing the piano and holding someone's hand can mean more than . . ." He trailed off uncertainly.

"Professor Snape? Severus?" Hermione leaned into him, and when he heard her speak his name it felt as though he was being called home. Taking a deep breath, he turned his dark eyes to hers.

"Hermione," he breathed, and then it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to lean down and kiss her gently on the lips. She did not recoil as he expected, and instead returned the kiss with gentle pressure of her own. When the kiss broke, they stared at each other with surprised eyes.

"I don't know how that happened . . ." he whispered, and she gave a small shrug.

"Room of Requirement . . . gives you anything you wish for," she muttered, and he could not help himself when he kissed her again.

They broke apart breathlessly and as Hermione leaned into him, Severus put his arms around her and held her gently against him.

"You should be in bed." In a brave attempt to restore the balance, he murmured into her hair. It tickled his nose, not unpleasantly.

"So should you." She replied.

"Tell me," he wondered. "Will this strange spell we appear to be under end once we leave this room?"

Her laugh was unexpected and melodius.

"I hope not." Her eyes as she lifted them to his were serious. "I've waited for you for such a long time," she sighed.

"Not as long as I've waited for my Order of Merlin," he countered with a smile.

"Ah yes. Severus Snape, Order of Merlin First Class," Hermione smiled. "You're a war hero now."

"Do not mock me, Miss Granger," he spoke with humour and poked her to prove his point.

"Sorry," her eyes were dancing with laughter, and if he was not very much mistaken . . . love. "Will you meet me here again, Severus?"

"I will meet you whenever . . . and wherever, you like." He kissed her, sensing the beginning of something very special. The emptiness within seemed to receed slightly as he looked upon her happy face. He had long appreciated her great mind, and now it appeared that he could appreciate her for something else, also. Could it be that he, Severus Snape, was about to embark upon a relationship?

Hermione sighed with pleasure, he looked down at her hopefully.

"I was hoping you would say that," she said.

END

*** A/N: If you would like to listen to 'Heart and Soul' do a google search using the phrase 'heart and soul I fell in love with you' and click onto the first webpage the search engine finds. Music and lyrics are provided. Happy listening!