Disclaimer: The characters, settings, etc. of the Harry Potter series are not mine. I just play with them.

An Inappropriate Infatuation

He wasn't supposed to love her. For goodness' sake, he wasn't even supposed to look at her. She was supposed to be another faceless, nameless person who wandered in and out of his classroom every few days. He wasn't supposed to give her a second thought, really. He was only supposed to think about the potions she had produced; he was only supposed to consider how to mark her essays.

But more and more he found himself pondering her.

He thought about the way she tied back her hair during class.

He decided he spent too much time in the stuffy dungeons.

He thought about the way she rested her head in her palm while she read through books in the library, swinging her feet back in forth as she sat in the incredibly tall chairs Pince insisted on having at the tables.

He decided then that he spent far too much time in the company of literary characters and not enough time in the company of real people.

When he wondered if he should have smiled back when she passed him in the hallway and shyly grinned up at him before averting her eyes, he knew it was time for a holiday.

And so he took one to escape this inappropriate infatuation. Not a real holiday, of course, because it was war time and as a spy he kind of, sort of had to be around fairly often. But he did take a nice, pseudo holiday to his parents' country home.

Then, of course, all hell had broken loose, and Potter and his comrades had to be stowed away in a place where one would never, ever think to look for them.

The sight of her roaming his hallways in her modest nightgowns made him wonder what she would look like in his bed in the mornings just before he kissed her awake.

And Severus knew he was going mad.

XX

In the mornings she said, "Good morning, Professor Snape," and annunciated each syllable distinctly and clearly. She gave each syllable of the phrase meaning and weight as if each were important, including his name.

"Good morning, Miss Granger," he would reply, softly and smoothly. She would give him a little grin before waving her wand to pour herself some pumpkin juice and picking up her fork to start on the eggs his house elves had prepared.

At lunch time, she would smile at him and say, "Hello, Professor Snape."

He would say, "Hello, Miss Granger." And again she would smile at him, while the boys chewed on their sandwiches, glaring at him. They said nothing, but thought to themselves that they could not believe their rotten luck. Severus found that their thoughts were so loud that he could hear them without having tuned his ears to them.

When he entered the dining room at supper (for he rarely took tea), the boys would glower down at their dinner plates as they shoveled food into their mouths and she would smile up at him, almost with glowing with delight, and say, "Good evening, Professor Snape."

And he would reply, "Good evening, Miss Granger."

X

At night, in his dreams, their conversations varied in content.

Sometimes she would snuggle up against him and whisper that she'd love him forever.

Other times she'd purse her lips before shaking her head slowly and sighing.

And sometimes, even, she would arch her back so her body pressed against his in a way the darkness of his dreaming mind could only interpret as good while murmuring his name over and over and over again.

X

When Severus would awake, he'd dress and pad down to the dining room where she always sat, munching on her eggs and toast. "Good morning, Professor Snape," she would always say, grinning up at him.

And he would wonder whether he truly did prefer his dreams to this.

XX

"I honestly don't know, Severus," the old man said, his voice thick with the lemon drop he spoke around. "They could be with you for weeks or days or months. I simply cannot give you a precise date regarding their departure." The old man paused to look at his companion for a few moments before again speaking. "I do apologize for the inconvenience, Severus, but it is a war."

X

"They'll be with you indefinitely, Severus," McGonagall would say, narrowing her eyes at him and lifting a warning finger in his direction. "And do not, do not, take your frustration over the situation out on them. They're only children!"

X

She would sigh and turn her gaze from the window to him. "I do miss my parents, though, Professor. Not that I don't enjoy your company," she would blush, "because I do. It's just that I am so used to spending my Christmas holiday with them and we've been here for such a long time..."

She would sigh once more before directing her gaze to the snow-covered grounds that lay just beyond the glass.

X

"But isn't there anything you can tell me?" he demanded. "These children don't belong here, Albus. They want to go home. For goodness' sake. It's Christmas."

"Severus," Albus replied, managing to speak distinctly around the candy this time. "Speak no more of it. They will stay there. Are they complaining? Is that why you keep pestering about this?"

Snape made no answer, and the old man nodded.

X

He immediately recognized hesitant knock on his office door as it belonged to only one of his housemates. "Enter," he called, trying to make his voice as harsh as possible.

"Professor," she said as she opened the door and stepped just inside. She clasped her hands behind her back and stared down at the floor. "You didn't have to ask Professor Dumbledore about leaving." He could see her cheeks flushing lightly. "It was very kind of you."

He sneered, even though she would not see it. "I did not do it for your benefit, Miss Granger. I did it merely because I am desperate to be rid of your companionship."

She looked up quickly, her confusion apparent in her expression. "Oh," she said. "Of course, Professor. How silly of me." And with a small, half-hearted attempt at a smile, she turned back around and exited the room.

Severus told himself he frowned at the disturbance she'd been and not at her hasty retreat.

XX

He very nearly screamed when he awoke one evening to see a figure dressed in white and framed by a cloud of bushy hair leaning over his bed, peering at him.

"What do you want, Miss Granger?" he hissed, hoping his voice did not reveal how surprised he was by her appearance at his bedside.

"I can't sleep, sir," she whispered. "I keep thinking about the war and the danger and the death, and I can't fall asleep."

He pushed himself up so that he leaned back on his elbows. "Do you want a potion?"

She shook her head; her hair moved wildly about her.

"Then what do you want?" he grumbled.

She gulped. "May I sleep in here with you, sir? On the floor?"

His eyes widened in surprise. It wasn't so dark that she wouldn't be able to see. "That would be entirely inappropriate, Miss Granger."

"I wouldn't tell," she whispered softly and quickly.

He gulped as he decided to do something that was very selfish and very stupid. He scooted over in his bed, running a hand over the warm spot on the mattress he'd just vacated. "Get in," he commanded.

He tried to ignore the lovely grin that spread across her face as she climbed into the bed, slipped between the covers, and snuggled into the warmth his body had created.

XX

Turning seventeen had seen Harry Potter grow a great deal taller than Severus had realized. That was, of course, until the boy stood before him, looking him directly in the eye, and glowering.

"Hermione wasn't in her room last night, Professor," Potter said, his tone quite angry.

Severus refrained from replying that he knew this, for he had been quite surprised to awaken to a warm body and a bale of bushy haired burrowed against him for the third time in two weeks.

Instead, he narrowed his eyes and said, "Have you checked the library? She's quite fond of my books, you know."

Potter's eyes also narrowed, his glare mimicking Snape's. "For your sake, you better hope that it's only your books she's fond of."

XX

He woke up just after midnight to the sensation of someone moving about in his bed.

"Leave, Miss Granger," he said, not opening his eyes.

"No," she said simply as she snuggled up against him and forced him to wonder once again if his dreams could ever compare to this reality.

"Leave," he said again.

"I'm eighteen years old, you know," she said and he could feel her warm breath brush against his chest. "I have every right to sleep in a man's bed if I want to."

"Leave."

She wrapped an arm around his waist and pulled herself, if it were possible, even closer.

And then he felt something that he was fairly certain caused his heart to explode and his brain to expire: two soft, plush lips pressing over the spot on his chest beneath which his heart, had it not blown up, rested.

"Leave," he said once more; his tone was pained, and his voice was pleading.

The girl had the audacity to wrap her arm around him more tightly and giggle in response.

XX

"I suppose," Albus Dumbledore said, his eyes looking graver than Snape had ever seen them, "that given the stress of the situation at present, I might turn a blind eye to certain behaviors. But, once circumstances return to something more closely resembling normalcy, Severus…"

X

"You'll get me sacked," Snape said to her when she slipped into his study, uninvited, one afternoon after lunch.

"How?" Hermione asked as she seated herself in a chair that sat beside his own before the fire.

"Your little nightly visits," he said, "have not gone unnoticed."

"By whom?" she questioned.

"Potter," Snape replied. "The headmaster."

She looked unimpressed. "I know what I'm doing. It's perfectly proper to sleep with someone when sleeping is all that you're doing, you know."

He glared at her. "You say that as though you'd be doing something else if the situation were different."

She smiled and he forgot to breathe.

XX

The news came by floo. They were to leave his home the next morning, return to Hogwarts, and prepare for the worst.

X

"What if we die?" she whispered into the darkness as she squirmed fitfully beneath the blankets.

"Stop moving," he commanded gruffly.

"But what if we die?" she repeated.

"Then we'll be dead," he sighed.

She turned over onto her side and stared at him. "I don't want to die a virgin."

"Then I suggest you do everything in your power not to die tomorrow. Or, go find Weasley to ensure that if you do happen to lose your life, you won't be a candidate for martyrdom."

She huffed. "I don't want to lose it to Ron."

"Potter, then," he replied.

"No," she said.

He shrugged. "Then, Miss Granger, I do believe you will have to die a virgin."

"Professor," she said softly, shifting closer to him.

"No," he replied resolutely.

"You don't even know what I was going to say!" she exclaimed; he could hear humor in her tone.

"The answer is still no," he said firmly.

"What if it wasn't a question?" she asked.

"Hmph."

He could practically hear her smile. "How did we get here?"

Shifting, he turned onto his side so that he could look down at her. "I've forgotten."

Her smile grew as she reached out a hand and used her index finger to trace the curve of his bottom lip. "And I'll still stay, to have you still forget, forgetting any other home but this."

He narrowed his eyes. "I'm not so easily persuaded, Miss Granger, that quoting the bard will change my mind like it would some lovesick school girl."

"I thought it was at least worth a try," she whispered.

Severus said nothing and chose instead to focus silently on her finger as it moved back and forth across his lip.

"Professor," she began gently, pausing to clear her throat. "I'll…I'll accept that you won't make love to me. It would be highly improper. But, I don't think I could bear to die without having kissed you at least once."

He said nothing but gulped audibly, and she shifted closer to him. Her finger left his mouth as her hands wrapped around the back of his neck, pulling his head slightly downwards and urging him to do her bidding.

He felt himself hesitantly complying as her tongue slipped outwards to sweep over her bottom lip and whet his interest. He moved his hand to cup her cheek, running his thumb over the soft skin where her tongue had just been. "Well?" he said softly. "Nothing about palms and saints?"

She smiled faintly and shook her head, causing frizzy curls to scratch against his forearm. He felt his lips curve slightly in response as the pressure from her hands increased, and he ducked his head, brushing his lips against hers. Her hands gripped the back of his head and neck steadily, keeping him close as she used her lips to part his and slipped her tongue inside his mouth, sighing as she tasted him.

He leaned closer, almost covering her body completely with his own as he dragged his mouth away from hers, kissing her jaw before moving downwards to her neck. "By thine," he began breathlessly as he licked the hollow at the base of her neck, feeling her grasp his hair tightly and sigh in response, "my sins are purged."

XX

In the end, he didn't die. She didn't either. Nor did either of the boys who had slept in his guest rooms and used his towels.

The castle was practically ruined, though. The school was closed almost immediately, and the year ended early. Seventh years were invited to take their NEWTs as soon as they would like, for those who wanted to wait, weekly study sessions were conducted in the library by the schools' professors. The library, it turned out, was one of the few places in the castle which hadn't been damaged by the battle.

One of the few others was the dungeons.

Severus moved back into the castle the day following the battle. He knew he would be needed for assistance with the reconstruction efforts that were to commence shortly. Furthermore, he was expected to conduct a Potions session every other Tuesday in the library.

So, Severus ended his pseudo holiday and put out of his mind all that had occurred during it.

X

He wasn't exactly surprised when she appeared in his office three weeks after the war had ended donning muggle clothes and a smile.

"It's a lovely day," she said as she seated herself in a chair before his desk.

"It's snowing," he replied.

"I know." She smiled. "And it's quite lovely."

"It's cold," he responded.

"I don't mind it," she said. "I've just gotten the results for my NEWTs."

"Have you?" he said, looking down at his desk. "How nice."

"Yes," she replied as she leaned forward slightly. "And you know what that means, don't you?"

He looked up at her and frowned. "I can only imagine."

"I'm no longer your student," she said.

"True," he responded, watching her carefully.

"I love you," she said.

He narrowed his eyes. "Impossible."

"I expected that response," she said as she smiled at him. He watched as she leaned forward, reaching over his desk to cover his hand with her smaller one. "I love you," she repeated.

"So you say," he frowned.

"And I will continue to do so until you believe me," she said, her tone bossy. "I love you, Severus Snape, and it is something you will just have to learn to live with."

He sighed. "Even if I were to believe you and, perhaps, reciprocate, that I would have feelings for a student would be terribly inappropriate."

She shook her head, her hair moving back and forth along with it. "I am not your student any longer. I am just a woman who is in love with a man and who wishes that he would love her back. There is nothing inappropriate about that," she declared.

He stared at her silently for a few moments, wondering, for what seemed like the millionth time, if his dreams could ever compare to this. When he realized that they probably couldn't, when he supposed that it didn't get much better than this young woman sitting in his office and declaring, unapologetically, that she loved him, Severus decided to speak honestly.

He sighed in an effort to gather his courage and cleared his throat once. "I love you, too, Miss Granger," he whispered, watching her smile grow as she grasped his hand tightly.

And at once he was quite certain that he did not prefer his dreams to the reality of her loving smile, warm declarations, and small hand upon his.


Note: Thanks for reading! The Shakespeare quotes come from Romeo and Juliet and were adjusted slightly for a better fit. And, p.s., I hate the formatting restrictions on this site. I apologize for using Xs to break it up, but I hate line breaks and they won't let me use dashes. Thus, the Xs. Anyway, thanks for reading this odd little one shot.