So, who knew this would be a happy ending sort of thing? It just sort of wrote itself that way. Graphic sexuality ahead, this is your second warning. I still don't own anything (though if anyone's wondering, diamonds are good).
ArtemisMoonClaw was my superquick reviewer last chapter. I'll assume that you mean interesting in a good 'you've broken out of your writing box' way.
Hand3, the other story ever grows and if I weren't such a nitpicker who goes back and tweaks things till the last second, I'd start posting it. I'm glad you reviewed although I sense you're not as fond of this side of my writing…your loyalty is appreciated as is your honesty. This fic ends up with a bit more twisted of a world than if Voldemort had won (at least the way I would have ended up writing it) because in this everyone is a victim of their own destructive choices and even I prefer to think of Ron, Harry, and Hermione as holding on to their loyalty to one another. Of course in the end, it was self-preservation that did Ron in, not loyalty…he was always loyal to her. That's why the guilt struck him so hard.
Snape's Witch: I have to say, you're right inasmuch as I doubt that JKR's Hermione will turn out anything like this! But as long as nothing's set in published stone, I can manipulate her future a bit…thank you for your insights, by the way, I really do appreciate them!
Innogen: well that damn plot has already built an entire substructure for the backstory of this fic, thanks to you! But nothing will be written till I can at least claim to be three-quarters done with the other two larger fics I'm working on. After that…well, who knows. If I manage to write it, you'll be the first to know.
Thank you to everyone who bore with me on a piece that is quite different from the lighthearted bits I usually write. I understand completely that if you're a fan of my usual stuff, you may not like this fic at all, and I take no offense.
I appreciate any and all reviews, although if you're going to be pissy, at least try to do it with proper grammar and spelling. Much easier to catch the angry nuances. Nice reviews need have no formatting…they make me insanely happy any which way.
June: here's your ending, my dear. I hope you like it!

--Aimes

erm, if anyone really likes it, I might be re-posting it with a bit more…detail (if you know what I mean) on another site. Contact me if you care.


She stalked into his office silently and straddled his chair. Her legs slid on either side of him to grip him and she leaned back to look at him, resting her elbows on the desk behind her.

"I was offered a contract on you today," she said in a sultry voice.

"Did you take it?" he asked as his hands rubbed circles on her thighs before settling on her hips.

"It was a tough decision," she pouted. "Eleven million pounds versus the best lover I've ever had."

"And what did you decide?" He pulled her shirt over her head and tossed it in the corner, leaning forward to suck on the base of her neck. She groaned deeply.

"I'm rich enough," she gasped. "And three years later, I'm still not bored with you." He had removed her bra and was sucking on her right breast. "I picked you," she moaned. "Thank the gods."

"And who offered you the contract?" Every puff of breath hardened her nipple a bit more.

"Doesn't matter," she replied leaning forward and capturing his face in her hands. "I killed him. If I'd let him live," she shrugged and bent to kiss his nose. "He might have gone to someone else."

He opened his eyes and looked up at her. The look in his eyes was unrecognizable and confusing. He kissed her on the lips, nipping on her bottom lip. Then he asked The Question: "Do you love me?" he hissed, sucking on her earlobe.

She stiffened, hands gripping his shoulders convulsively, and her eyes widened.

"Do you love me?" he whispered again, nibbling on her neck.

"You're mine," she murmured, evasively. "No one is allowed to kill you or hurt you but me. And I'll only do that if you betray me. So I killed him."

"I'm yours," he agreed. "But you didn't answer my question," he pushed, lifting her onto his desk. He moved back in his chair, unbuttoning and unzipping her jeans and tugging them off her hips, sliding them down her long, long legs. He buried his face between her thighs and inhaled. "Do you love me?"

He placed a gentle kiss on her before removing her panties and letting her slide back into her original position. Her wetness smeared on his trousers as she gripped his erection between her legs. "I don't know," she said raggedly, a spike of panic in her tone. "I don't know what love is. I don't know if I'm capable of loving."

He held her still and looked her in the eyes. "You want me." His fingers found her centre and began to stroke.

"Yes," she growled.

"You need me." His pace increased.

"Yes." Her fingers dug into his shoulders as her body began to tighten.

"You could spend forever with me." She came hard, crying out.

"Yes!"

He stood, pushing her onto her back on his desk and covering her with his body. He held her to him and brushed a kiss on her lips. "Do you love me?"

"Yes." Tears were streaming down her face and she closed her eyes tightly.

He leaned close to her ear and whispered, barely audible: "Marry me." He licked away her tears.

Her eyes shot open and she gasped. He freed his erection and began to push into her.

"I love you," he murmured. "Marry me." His kisses rained onto her face.

"I…" she faltered and let out a guttural moan as he thrust. She locked her legs around him and they sped up, moving rhythmically, familiarly. For a moment there was silence but for their moans and gasps. Hermione came first, her muscles rippling, gripping him.

"Severus," she screamed.

"Hermione," he growled in response, releasing within her.

They rested in one another's arms for a moment, boneless and sated, before Snape stood, straightened his clothes, and cast a cleansing spell on himself. Hermione sat up in confusion crossing her legs and looking down on him from her position on his desk. Snape pulled something out of a drawer and stood before her for a moment.

"Severus?" she asked curiously.

He dropped to one knee and took her hand, looking up at her.

"Hermione Jane Granger, will you marry me?" His face grew shuttered as the silence gaped, and he braced himself for rejection. He watched her brown eyes, wide and scared, and suddenly knew how to reassure her.

Hermione watched him open the box and slide the beautiful diamond solitaire onto her finger. He looked up at her and waited.

"I…you're serious," she whispered, almost to herself. She looked from the ring to his face disbelievingly before breaking into a radiant smile. "Yes. Yes, of course I'll marry you." She laughed and pulled him into her arms. He held her tightly and kissed the top of her head.

"Who asked you to kill me?" he teased, as he ran his fingers lightly down her spine. She shivered and snuggled against him.

"Colin Creevey," she replied. "Apparently you gave him detention one too many times, and seeing you as Headmaster pushed him over the edge."

He looked down at her, incredulous, and they began to laugh. When they had calmed he brushed her hair out of her face and kissed her softly, chastely on the lips.

"You're mine forever, Hermione."

"Yes," she agreed with a beautiful smile. "Of course," she said, eyes sparkling, "I was yours with or without the ring."

"Naturally," he responded, grinning for the first time in years. "It just happens to look really lovely on you."

"Exactly," she laughed, tugging on his neck and kissing him once more.

"I love you," she whispered.

"I love you too."