This is inspired by Shiv's Vanilla Fic Challenge- and I say inspired because it originally did fit into most of the … suggestions, then it took on a life of its own and veered off into other directions. There will be three chapters in total and they will follow shortly. So there you go, and Happy Christmas!
Also, if you're reading this at fanfiction dot net, then you are reading the EDITED version! The original contains highly graphic sex and is in the process of being posted at Ashwinder and aff.
Chapter One - Caught!
Halfway down the stairs between the third and fourth floors, Hermione slipped and hit a trick stair, laughing despite herself as she clambered back up to her feet. Her laughter echoed loudly and she froze, expecting a teacher to come barging around the corner, assigning detention. She exhaled a breath and kept going down, holding to the shadows by habit until she reached the marble staircase leading down to the entrance hall. Her bare feet were cold on the steps and she wished she had put on more clothes, despite the abnormally warm night.
She scanned the shadows quickly, especially watching for movement from the corridor to the dungeons. Satisfied that she was the only one around, Hermione started down the steps and went the other direction, towards the kitchens and away from danger. Upon her entrance to the kitchens, a veritable horde of house elves surrounded her and in moments had laid out a spread of food on a long table. She snatched a chunk of cheddar from an assortment of cheeses and was reaching for the bowl of fruit when the door banged open and a gust of cold air made her shiver.
Even the house elves disappeared.
"Fifty points from Gryffindor for sneaking about the castle after hours, Miss Granger," he purred and she could hear the pleasure in his voice, the sadism she knew so well.
She turned to face him slowly, half-chewed piece of cheese forgotten for the moment, until she quickly recovered and finished the bite with a smirk.
"Then one hundred from Slytherin for your sneaking about the castle and terrorising an innocent and defenceless guest."
He quirked an eyebrow. "Guest, Miss Granger?"
She nodded as she took another bite of the white cheese, adding at his apparent lack of comprehension, "The Weasley wedding, of course. Surely Albus said something regarding it being held here."
He shrugged. "Perhaps. I do tend to doze in his staff meetings."
"Yes, I remember," Hermione said, a falsely dreamy tone entering her voice that he did not entirely trust. "I remember how I always got stuck with the trips to Hogsmeade and chaperoning dances whilst you and Minerva skirted all responsibilities," she added, fixing him with a half-hearted glare.
"Longevity has its advantages," Severus drawled with a smirk.
"Now, I would see it differently, as years wasted in this hellhole." Severus scowled and she laughed and said, "I really don't know how you do it. I barely lasted my year and all of June I wanted to throttle Dumbledore every time I saw him."
"I have grown to thrive on that feeling," he sighed. "So which of the Weasley offspring is getting married?"
Severus snorted and said, "I can't imagine that the Knob-Who-Lived is pleased with that."
"No, he isn't. And I made him promise no histrionics at the wedding. You know how he is."
"But aren't all Gryffindors typical?"
Severus studied her for a moment, tried to remember Hermione Granger as a student. It had been almost eight years since the defeat of Voldemort and subsequent graduation from Hogwarts and four more since the year they had been colleagues when she taught Arithmancy. He realised that now he had known her longer as an adult than a child, and the thought pleased him, surprisingly.
"Potter, Albus, Minerva, the entirety of the Weasleys, yes. You, hardly." She started to argue, as she always did when he accused her of being less than Gryffindor, but he threw in quickly, "You have the bravery of your house, no one can deny. But you are as deceitful and conniving as any Slytherin."
Her lips twisted in a wry smile. "And you're quite brave for a cowardly Slytherin."
For the first time in an eternity, Severus smiled. Not smirked or sneered, but smiled. It didn't last but a moment before he carefully crafted it into a world-class sneer, but it still glowed in his eyes. It wouldn't do for Granger to know how glad he was for her presence, even if only for a few days.
Originally upon her arrival as a teacher, Severus had created a Former Know-it-all Students to Ignore category in his mind, placing her firmly within its boundaries, and he simply pretended she was not there at staff meetings, at meals in the Great Hall, in the halls between classes. Hermione, for her own part, didn't seek him out with questions, didn't complain to him directly about any Slytherins, and thankfully didn't attempt to draw him out over dinner.
That changed after the Hogwarts visit in November. It was originally Minerva and Hermione chaperoning, but that wench Minerva had lured him into wagering against Gryffindor in the first match of the season, before he realised the depth of awfulness the Slytherin team possessed.
Severus had been in a particularly foul mood that day, due in equal parts to Minerva one-upping him, Slytherin's loss, and being forced to spend his Saturday surrounded by dunderheads. He had snapped at Hermione when four third year Hufflepuffs had gone missing, accusing her of incompetence and gross neglect. Hermione, however, was quick to point out that he was the one who had last seen the very same Hufflepuffs before snarling at them and telling them to disappear before he assigned them detention for the remainder of their years at Hogwarts.
It was Hermione who found them, abandoned and terrified inside the Shrieking Shack, lured there by a group of older Slytherins who then sealed them in with a spell. Since none of the poor Hufflepuffs had suffered any physical harm, Severus and Hermione- who had quickly gained understanding of the administrative side of Hogwarts- agreed that Dumbledore's involvement in the matter wasn't strictly necessary and agreed to obliviate the Hufflepuffs, whilst Severus would sternly rebuke the Slytherins in question without going into specifics, thereby the incident never occurred. The Hufflepuffs returned to Hogwarts was pocketfuls of candy from Honeydukes and Weasley pranks, although they couldn't seem to remember much of the visit after running into Snape on their way out of the Three Broomsticks.
"You know, Albus did use Obliviate on a student once, in my fifth year," she had remarked offhandedly on the way back to the castle. "You remember, when Fudge and that stupid bint Umbridge tried to sack him. Harry was there."
"I believe it was Kingsley Shacklebolt, actually," he said slyly, foiling her attempt at self-justification, "who cast the spell, not Dumbledore himself."
"But he approved of it," Hermione answered, pointedly showing precedent for Albus's approval of obliviating students.
Severus admired her for a moment with a smirk, contemplated reminding her of the differences between the two situations and how that might affect Dumbledore's views on the obliviation of students.
Instead, he said, "Hermione Granger, I do wonder that you weren't sorted into Slytherin."
She immediately turned to him and glared, demanding that he retract his statement, but from that day, a friendship grew between them, even after her resignation at the end of the year. They saw each other only a few times a year since, largely at Ministry functions or the reunions Albus was always arranging. They always sought each other out at parties, having found early on a mutual dislike of Albus and his meddling and the growing fan club of Harry Potter.
"I'll have you know I'm as cowardly as the best Slytherins."
"Right," Hermione answered with a knowing smile, fists planted on her hips. "And that's why you spied on Voldemort, risking life and limb. Next you'll tell me it was to save your own skin and nothing more."
At her change in stance, her robes fell open, revealing her to be wearing only a white t-shirt and knickers. Severus's eyes widened slightly at the sight of what lay beneath her robes before leisurely traveling down her body, memorizing the swell of her breast under the flimsy cotton, the curve of her hip where the t-shirt stopped and the pale blue knickers took over, the plumpness of her bottom leading down to creamy legs that showed she received marginally more sun than he.
As his eyes began their return pass, Hermione realised what she was wearing- or rather not wearing- and pulled her robes tight, a pink tinge creeping across her cheeks.
In that precise moment, Hermione's name left the column labeled Intelligent and Tolerable to Prospective … Something; he would finish that categorization later, should there be a later- he realised the chances were greater of him returning to his dungeons with an angry handprint on his face. He was careful to keep his smirk on the side of lascivious rather than snide, and he cautiously took a step towards her.
"I believe that form of dress is highly inappropriate, Miss Granger," he said, holding her with his heavy-lidded gaze and silky words.
"School's not in and I didn't expect -" she stammered, cheeks growing feverish. "I didn't think -"
"You didn't think any of the venerable staff at Hogwarts would find you so…" he trailed off, knowing she was hanging onto his every word and he took pity, finishing, "so lovely."
He saw the flash of understanding cross her face and her mouth froze in a small oh! Severus paused, giving her opportunity to protest or flee, the option he more expected, but a look of curiosity had replaced the understanding and after a moment's hesitation she answered him with a shy smile.
Truth was, she had realised that Severus Snape was a man- a brilliant, powerful, striking man- during her year of teaching at Hogwarts. It was only natural, she had told herself then to assuage her feelings of betrayal atfinding her former professor attractive. It was only human of her to notice him as he was the only wizard remotely near her age, or intelligence. But despite relations between them becoming friendly, she felt lacking in the art of seduction and didn't think he would respond as well to the Gryffindor approach of ambushing him in the corridor and snogging him senseless. Not that the idea hadn't crossed her mind.
Hermione dropped her hands back to her sides, letting her robes fall open and Severus took the invitation. He closed the distance between them and one hand grasped her elbow, the other tilted her head back as his lips pressed upon hers, softer than she could have ever expected.
She leaned into him, her hands moving to rest on the flat of his chest. Her lips parted, tongue tentatively tracing along his lips until his mouth opened and permitted entrance. The hand on her elbow slipped around and pulled her tight against him, the buttons of his suit pressing through the thin material of her shirt, but she didn't notice as she was busy twining her fingers through his hair.
She was the one who broke contact first, mouth open and breath heavy as she looked at him with slight surprise. Severus resisted the urge to smirk at her, instead kissed her again. His mouth trailed away from her lips, following the line of her jaw to her ear and she whimpered at the flick of his tongue on her earlobe.
His hand tilted her head further, allowing him greater access to the ivory flesh of her neck, his lips blazing their way down until he slowed and traced a pattern with the tip of his tongue at the edge of her collarbone. His teeth closed and Severus nipped her, relishing how she bucked in his arms and the moan she failed to suppress.
As he returned his ministrations to her lips, his free hand snaked beneath her robes, slid under the cotton of her shirt and his fingers trailed along the smooth skin of her back, raising gooseflesh, and Hermione pressed into him even further. The hand left her back, eased itself around to gently cup a breast, calloused thumb grazing a nipple.
She gasped into his mouth, one hand clenching tightly in silky black strands, the other pushing its way between them to grasp at the bulge pressing into her stomach, her hand stroking the length of his cock through layers of fabric.
Groaning, Severus lifted her up enough to set her back down on an empty expanse of table and her legs wrapped around him by some feral instinct, pulling both of them back on the table, their mouths intersecting on the way down. He cradled her head with one hand and the other returned to the curve of breast, while her hands clutched at his robes. His hips ground into hers and her fingernails raked against the bare skin of his neck, and he pulled back, hissed at the pleasure in the sharp pain. His tongue shoved its way into her mouth, pressing both of them further into the table.
In a heartbeat, Severus was off her, pulling her up to a standing position before retreating to a respectable distance. She opened her mouth to say something and then she heard it, the rustle of clothes outside the door. She had just finished rearranging her robes as Albus bustled in.
"Oh Severus, good, I was just looking for you. And Miss Granger, how are you enjoying your stay?"
"Very well, sir, thank you," she answered, resisted sneaking a glance at Severus. "I couldn't sleep and the professor here caught me raiding the kitchens."
"Just like old times," Severus drawled, one corner of his mouth turning up.
In the seconds of silence that followed, Albus looked from Severus to Hermione, his eyes settling on a small pink mark just above her collarbone. She willed her hand to remain at her side as she remembered the small pain that had sent shocks of desire coursing through her entire body.
And it suddenly dawned on Dumbledore as he stood there, just what he had interrupted, and his face lit up like a candelabra with understanding. He smiled brightly.
"Never mind, Severus. I think it would be best to talk in the morning as Minerva is waiting. That woman has grown so impatient since … the change …" avoided looking at either of them directly, before continuing, "but she wants it every night, regular as clockwork -"
"If you'll excuse me, sir, I really must be going to bed," Hermione loudly interrupted.
Severus wanted to kiss her for breaking in on what could have been a disastrous conversation regarding the sex life of old people. Dumbledore had attempted to corner him just last week to ask in his experience whether women preferred to ride top. Mercifully Poppy had cut in with an emergency request for a potion and Severus was saved from discovering the relevance of the question to Albus and Minerva.
"I have to meet Ginny in Diagon Alley quite early. Good night, Professor Dumbledore." She looked over at Severus and gave a smile. "Professor Snape."
"I hope we can conclude our discussions at some future time," he said, cocking an eyebrow.
"Perhaps after the wedding we can find some time." She added apologetically, "Ginny and Molly will keep me busy all day tomorrow, what with last minute preparations."
The gears audibly whirred in Albus's head and he turned to Severus and suggested, "Perhaps you could escort Miss Granger to her rooms and continue your conversation on the way."
Hermione stifled a laugh behind Albus's back whilst Severus managed a weary look and contemplated the Headmaster's ploy.
"I suppose I could accompany you partway. I'm not sure what I have to say will take that long."
Albus then turned to assess Hermione's response, and she acquiesced after a moment's hesitation in order to play along with the old wizard.
"That would be acceptable. As fascinating as I find the uses of bicorn horns in potions, I do have to be up early."
Severus strode past her with billowing robes and Hermione said, "Good night, Professor."
"Good night, Hermione, Severus," Albus replied with a hearty smile and vicious twinkle.
They left the kitchens and once the door closed behind them, Hermione burst into giggles and Severus examined her with amusement.
"Merlin, was he always that obvious?" she asked once her laughter was under control.
"He's gotten worse these last few years, but yes, he was still quite obvious," he replied, smiling. "But then so were you and your friends, obvious and single-minded."
"I still am single-minded. Weren't we discussing something much more important?" she asked huskily.
She grasped the back of his neck and pulled him down for a languorous kiss which was broken only when he pulled away to ask breathlessly,
"Where are you staying?"
"Fifth floor, but it's much too far. The dungeons are just here."
"Yes, well, my rooms aren't in any condition to receive visitors." At her curious look, he explained further. "I banned the house elves last November when Dobby melted my heavy gold cauldron." Hermione started to open her mouth but he held up a hand and said, "Don't ask."
"So this means you haven't cleaned them yourself?" she asked, a small frown appearing. Severus nodded. "For nine months?"
If there had been more light in the dark passage, Hermione would have been treated to a sight rarely witnessed: Severus Snape was blushing.
"I've been busy," he answered haughtily, stretching to his full height before her.
Suddenly she laughed and said, "Alright then, we'll go to my room."
She hesitated then grabbed his hand- missed the fleeting smile that crossed his lips- and started up the giant staircase.
"How did you know Albus was outside the kitchens?"
Severus raised an eyebrow and smirked. "Magic, of course, Miss Granger."
They had to wait on the third floor for the staircases to realign and Severus took that opportunity to press her up against the stone wall and ravage her mouth. Engrossed as they were in the kiss, neither noticed the arrival of the staircase nor the murmur of voices from the second floor until they themselves were noticed.
"What the- is that Snape?" the unmistakeable voice of Ronald Weasley boomed from the opposite landing a floor below.
"I think I'm going to have to gouge out my eyes with my wand," Harry Potter replied loudly.
"Oh for fuck's sake," Hermione bit out as she peered around Severus's shoulder. "This isn't going to be pleasant."
"Dealing with those two wankers never is," Severus retorted and fixed a scowl into place. He turned and glared at them over the railing. "If it isn't two of Hogwarts most brilliant graduates."
"Snogging in the corridors like some randy student, Snape?" Harry taunted, unfazed by the insult, a self-satisfied grin spreading as Severus's glare intensified. "Who is she, Snape? I hope to Merlin she's blind."
"Or drunk," Ron added. "Can't imagine even a blind girl going for that greasy old git."
"Could be a bloke," Harry mused, looking thoughtfully at Snape. "I bet ol' Snape's a shirtlifter."
Hermione, still hidden behind his back, felt the muscles of his back tense in preparation to hex them to next week, so she laid a soothing hand on his shoulder as she edged around him.
"Actually, I'm neither blind nor drunk, and I'm certainly not a bloke, and I don't quite see how any of those would be more desirable at the moment," she said, her voice taking a sharp edge.
You could hear a penny drop in the ensuing silence as Ron and Harry picked their jaws up from the floor.
"'Mione, is - is that really you?" asked Ron incredulously. "What did that bastard do to you? Lust potion? Imperious?"
"Of course not, don't be stupid," she snapped.
"But … you were kissing Snape!" Harry finally pulled himself together enough to join the conversation. "Snape!" he repeated, as if all parties involved were confused about the identity of the man she had been kissing moments ago.
"Yes, Harry. I was kissing Severus. And we were just on our way back to my room to do more than that. We'll probably have several shags before the night's up, since you seem so interested in what we're doing."
A faint look of surprise crossed Severus's face at the mention of several shags, but it quickly morphed into one of smugness as Harry and Ron looked first at Hermione and Severus and then at one another in something akin to horror.
"Bloody hell! What'd you have to say a thing like that for?" Ron cried as Harry turned a nasty shade of green.
The staircase beside Hermione began to creak and she stepped aboard, pulling Severus along by the hand, just before the bottom swung away to connect to another landing.
"I hope you have a pleasant evening. I'm sure we will," she called cheerily as they turned down the corridor, leaving the two boys standing with mouths agape.
Hermione was angry, fuming, even though she said nothing as they went on to her guest room, Severus could see it shimmering just beneath the surface. Once they reached their destination, she stormed in and flung her robes on the wingback beside the dark fireplace.
"Of all the nerve! They have no right to criticise me considering the tarts they've -"
Severus took her by surprise as he moved behind her, a hand pulling her hair to one side, revealing her neck, and he feathered kisses there.
"Mmmm. You're distracting me," she mumbled, leaning back into his embrace.
His right hand glided around, slipping under her t-shirt to gently tweak her nipple and she arched back.
"That was my intention," he growled into her neck.
The hand holding her hair joined its mate and took her other breast while his tongue traced circles along the nape of her neck. Her hands flew to his head as he ground his cloth-bound erection against the small of her back, and she twisted around to kiss him passionately.
His hands roamed her body, exploring her back, stomach, hips, arse. Hermione began working at the buttons of his suit-jacket, but after the sixth button, she pulled back to see that she wasn't even a quarter of the way done. She frowned and reached for her robes, rifling through them until she found her wand. She murmured a few words and the buttons began popping out of their holes in order until they finished, leaving the jacket hanging open. She surveyed her work with a smug smile.
"Impatient little chit," Severus smirked.
"I am a Gryffindor," she said in justification, but the words disappeared into the heat of his mouth as he pulled her back to him.
Hermione continued with the buttons of his shirt. Once finished, she pushed shirt and coat together over his shoulders and they dropped to the floor, leaving his chest, pale as moonlight, bare. Her fingers worked their way over his bony shoulders, through the soft thatch of black hair that tapered down to a fine trail past his navel, over the flat planes of his stomach.
Her inquisitive mouth wanted its turn, placing open-mouth kisses along his Adam's apple, down his breastbone. Her hands drifted around to his arse, pulling him against her whilst her tongue sought out his nipple. A shiver of pleasure coursed through him with every deft flick of her tongue, his hands losing themselves in her mass of curls. After tending to the other nipple, she pulled back and he hooked the hem of her shirt with his thumbs and pulled it over her head, flinging it across the room.
"Turnabout's fair play," Severus murmured as answer to her squeak of surprise as he maneuvered her onto the bed and removed her knickers in one swift move.
One of her hands trailed down his spine and back up while the other flopped to the side. He pulled back to observe her face for a moment before kissing her on the tip of her nose and rolling over, pulling her along with him into the crook of his arm.
Hermione never would have expected Severus Snape to be a cuddler after sex, and yet here she was with his arm surrounding her and hers draped over his chest. She smiled.
"Nothing," she mumbled, smile spreading like molasses.
Severus grunted, content to ignore her mirth.
"So Miss Weasley and Mr Longbottom are to be married. Quite the surprising pair."
"Neville's always had a bit of a crush on Ginny, since she went to Yule Ball with him during the Triwizard Tournament." She stopped and considered for a moment. "But he's a good man. He treats her better than Harry did, that's for sure."
"I always expected Potter to win her back somehow, or at least make some foolish attempt."
Hermione shrugged, a move that was negated by the weight of his arm around her shoulders. "I don't think Ginny ever encouraged him to try. Not after everything that happened between them."
"Do I want to know?"
"Probably not," she sighed. "Just your standard Muggle romance novel 8 lies, betrayal, friends forced to choose sides."
"Gryffindors," he snorted.
She made to punch him lightly in the ribs but he was faster, snatched her wrist before it could connect and pulled it to his lips, caressing the soft flesh on the inside of her wrist.
"I believe you promised Mr Potter several shags and I would hate to disappoint him."