Who knows if this is ready to post or good enough to post, but it's written so here it is. Like all my work it's not intended to be an earth-shattering literary piece. Characters aren't mine, suing me would only give you a headache.

Ah, yes, and just in case anyone thinks: wow, her stuff's really gone downhill, I'll state for the record that a) I kinda liked this one, and b) there's other stuff in the works, this was just a random bit that spewed itself onto the screen.

--Aimes


"You've changed," he observed mildly, watching her.

"Doesn't everything?" she tossed back without looking up. "You're here for a reason. Say your bit then get out." She polished the gleaming metal carefully before sliding it silently into a leather sheath.

"Bitterness isn't a good look on you, Miss Granger." He handed her the brush she needed as he spoke.

"Pretty rich, coming from you," she pointed out as she reassembled the cleaned gun and set it on the table. "But it's not bitterness, it's time constraints. Some of us work for a living, you know, Professor."

He tightened the holster on her shoulder and she slid the gun in. "More's the pity."

"Did you have a reason to be here?" She faced him, eyes neutral.

Snape took in the sight of her with an appreciative half smile. A wet dream. Black boots, dark flared jeans sitting so low on her hips that she couldn't be wearing underwear, studded black leather belt with two knife sheaths. An inch of two of skin showed on her midriff and her navel piercing flashed at him. Her nails were painted cherry red to match her dyed hair, and her wrists were encased by leather cuffs decorated by slim throwing knives. Her short sleeved black shirt was low cut, and her back was crisscrossed by a shoulder holster designed for two guns. A wet dream indeed. She picked up her leather jacket and raised an eyebrow.

"Who do you want dead?"

"Ronald Weasley." He watched her carefully but she didn't even blink.

"Why?"

"Is that a question you typically ask your clients?" he challenged.

"I don't have a standard questionnaire. Why?" she replied, undeterred.

"He's become a liability to us. Too brash, too loud, too easily noticed. He besmirches the good name of the Order of the Phoenix. After all, now that Voldemort is gone," he shrugged, "image is everything." A sardonic smile lingered on his face.

"So kick him out." She pulled on the jacket. "Or kill him yourself."

"Can't kick him out of an Order his parents helped found and if he dies I'm the obvious suspect. Better for it not to have been me."

Hermione circled him, observing. Still thin, almost to the point of gauntness, all lean muscle and bone. Hair still longish, though a bit less straggly looking, perhaps because he no longer spent so much time around potions. The power still clung to him like cologne, the power that had so intimidated others even as a child that he had become an outcast. She caught his gaze and watched the predatory intelligence animate his eyes.

"I'm not cheap."

"We can pay."

"We? Dumbledore still has you doing his dirty work, then. Why?"

"Why what?" His eyes narrowed.

"Why do you do it? And don't feed me any shit about redemption. I'm not a fool."

He considered a moment before answering, and surprised himself with his own honesty. "Because it amuses me. The old fool thinks he's the greatest wizard of our time and that he embodies the side of the light."

She smiled. "Did he request me specifically?"

"He doesn't know you're alive." He watched her boost herself up onto the table and cross her legs contemplatively. "Although I suspect a good part of him wanting Weasley out of the way is fear. Fear that the foolish boy's guilt will motivate him to start saying things about Dumbledore's tactics during the war."

"And what if he's an accidental victim of the crossfire?" Snape leaned against a wall, facing her.

"I'd find another way to amuse myself."

"They all think I'm dead? An unfortunate casualty of the war?"

"Yes."

"Seven million pounds sterling."

"Five million," he countered. "And feel free to look them in the eyes when you kill them. The shock will be enjoyable, I'm sure."

"I thought I was killing Weasley 'for the cause,'" she teased. "Six and a half."

"Actually, you're killing him because I'm bloody bored of him…and because I'm paying you quite handsomely. I wonder if Dumbledore regrets abandoning you to Lucius' tender ministrations?" He smiled darkly. "Five and a half."

"Not nearly as much as he'd regret letting you darken his doorway if he knew you'd helped me get out. What an idiot. He should've known it would break Harry if he knew I was being tortured and murdered and nothing was being done. But then I wonder who told Harry?" she gave him an innocently inquiring look laced with amusement.

"A little bird, I'm sure. In any case at least Potter got rid of Voldemort. Rather idiotic of him to die in the process, however." He watched her. "Counter offer?"

"Too bad he didn't rid us of Dumbledore. Counter offer…six." She gave him long, interested look. "And you. I must admit, I've always wondered if you're as good in bed as I imagine you'd be."

"Six and I get to fuck you." He mock pondered it. "I think I'll take it."

She hopped off the table. "When do you want Weasley dead?"

"As soon as you can manage it," he replied, pushing off the wall and towering over her. "I'll wire the money into your account immediately."

"Done," she said, shrugging. She turned to go and he caught her arm.

"And when do we complete this transaction?"

"As soon as the job's done. I'd hate to have any distractions while we're 'completing the transaction,'" she noted wryly.

He watched her leave, enjoying the view of her ass.

"Try not to wear yourself out while I'm gone," she called back without turning. He smiled in bemusement. Saving her from Malfoy had been the best decision of his life. Talk about a good time.