Hermione sighed, a sigh of extreme exasperation. She was feeling fed up and frustrated. She had been at Grimauld Place for two weeks and hadn't heard anything from Severus, even though she'd sent him quite a few messages.

After the last one, she'd got an unusually stiff letter back from Dumbledore telling her not to write irresponsibly and to let sleeping dogs lie. Which she took to mean that Severus was on a mission and was currently unavailable to her. That knowledge didn't make it any easier to be without him though.

The atmosphere in the house didn't help – Ron was in a permanent strop, Harry seemed in a world of his own and the adults were nearly always talking in whispers. The impending war was putting everyone on edge. It was mainly Ginny that she talked to, but it was hard as she could never mention Severus, as she knew her friend didn't really approve. Ginny seemed to be under the presumption that it was all over between them anyway and Hermione hadn't put her rightto makelife easier.

The only ones who lightened the rather repressed mood in the house were the twins, George and Fred and Remus Lupin. Remus could be a little introspective at times, but as a rule he was usually in a fairly good mood and spent a lot of time talking to Harry alone. This pleased Hermione, because at least he was talking to someone. Fred and George were as mischievious and playful as ever and had seemed to target her self in particular for the moment. She wasn't too worried as she felt they would soon get bored of teasing her and move on to someone else, but it was still annoying and even Molly having a go at them wouldn't put them off. Thankfully they weren't at the house all the time, as they had a business to run and no doubt numerous otherschemes on the go which needed their attention.

This particular day had been a quiet one and she had mostly been alone, whichhad given her the chance to wallow in her thoughts and tousle over the rights and wrongs of her relationship with Severus. Ginny had gone with her mother to visit some relative of theirs at St.Mungo's andRon had tagged along too, obviously taking advantage of any excuse to get away and Harry had spent most of his time, as usual with Lupin.

She still felt guilty that she had cheated on Ron, when he had loved her so much, but she knew that her feelings had never been as strong as his from the outset. She justified her self though, with the fact that she'd had no idea how strong her feelings were going to be for her potions master. She'd never in a million years even have dreamed it before that fateful night in the library. Yet, she thought there must have been something there, a little 'spark' maybe? Yes, all those times before when they were sparring and throwing sarcastic remarks at each other, a deep and unacknowledged passion must have been growing and in the end they had just given in to what they had so long denied - even to themselves.

She knew deep down that it was wrong, that their ages were too far apart, that the fact he'd been a deatheater, should, at the very least, put her off, but she couldn't stop the deep and unconditional love she had for the man. Being an intelligent and analytical girl, she had dissected her feelings like a master surgeon and had tried to work out what her attraction to him truly meant. She at least found out two things, one - that his incredible mind was irresistible to her own and two that his personality and maybe even his age suited hers too. She was most unlike her peers, she wasn't much into the same thing as them, preferring studying to partying and tending to like peace, quiet and calmness to hedonism. She could if the mood took her, have some fun and adventure, but just not all the time. She liked intelligent and challenging conversation, something she rarely got with anyone her own age, unless they were in Ravenclaw, but sometimes they weren't lively enough for her.

She also found his mystery and passionate nature intriguing and even his rather lank, dark hair and pale complexion - attractive in gothic hero kind of way. She knew he wasn't that good looking, but he had an air about him that made him very sexy, so it just didn't matter.

It was by now late evening and she was called to dinner. As usual, everyone was fairly quiet, the silence only occasionally broken by some unimportant news or observations. After helping with the clearing up she returned to her room, with Ginny following not long after.

She lay back on her bed to return to her previous contemplation and after staring at the ceiling for a good half and hour without coming to any further conclusions, she decided to have a bath.

"Yes, a nice hot bath will relax me, it's just what I need" she thought to her self.

She mentioned absently to Ginny where she was going, but her friend merely nodded her reply as she was completely engrossed in a book on her own bed. Grabbing a towel on the way out,Hermione made for the bathroom.

The bathroom had been recently fitted out new, as had the rest of the house, mostly down to Molly. Strong spells had, had to be used to keep the changes, as the house kept wanting to change back to it's original state again. This fairly large room near the back of the house had been decorated fairly simply with a white suite and tiles and a few decorative, homely touches. There was a fish patterned shower curtain, (with the fish actually swimming around on it) a mermaid painting on one wall, the odd nick-knack dotted around and some candles in shell shaped holders. Hermione lit some of the candles, ran the bath - filling it with sweet smelling bubbles, then undressed and slipped in gratefully.

After a few sighs of contentment, she closed her eyes and let her mind wander. It wasn't long before she began thinking of her and Severus together and smiling at the memory of their sexual encounters. She began to get turned on and felt no shame in sliding her hand down between her legs to satisfy her growing need. As the sensations increased and she really got into her stride, she began to fantasise with even greater daring. She imagined herself seated on top of her lover's face, allowing him to lick her into ecstasy – in front of a shocked class of students in her past year! Something she wouldn't dream of doing in real life, but it made her smile to imagine it.

So engrossed was she in her private fantasy, that she didn't notice the bathroom door soundlessly sliding open and someone enter the room. Theintruder walked over to stand by the side of the bath and after observing for a few seconds what the beautiful red head was doing, smirked in smug satisfaction.

"Tut-tut! You naughty, naughty girl!" The intruder suddenly announced, in mock disapproval

Hermione stopped what she was doing immediately, squealed and jumped in shock. Adrenaline shot through her like a bolt of lightening, as the realisation quickly dawned that she was no longer alone. She instinctively drew her legs up towards her body and wrapped her arms around them to cover her self up

In the dim light, she couldn't at first make out the speaker, but she'd know that voice anywhere.

She was angry at being crept up on and of being frightened cruelly, but the hardest part to bear was the humiliation of being caught playing with her self. She lashed out savagely

"You absolute shit! You nearly frightened me out of my wits! How the hell did you get in here anyway? I thought I'd put a good locking spell on the door! I can't believe you've done this to me!"

But her tirade was merely met with a fiendish grin.