A/N: Sorry for the delay everyone… as I mentioned on my profile page (for those of you who are into those kinds of things) I've been finishing out my academic year and as such, have been forced into writing things with words like 'therefore', 'pejorative' and 'As Foucault states…', not to mention writing things with a lot less sex than my usual. Although, come to think of it, perhaps my marks would be better if my professors were more entertained?
Secondly, I am currently without a beta. While I wouldn't go so far as to say I've been crying myself to sleep every night, I must admit to perhaps the odd manly sniffle. So, if anyone is interested… I don't have a dental plan but I will share my recess!
"No, no, no! A thousand times no, Miss Granger!" Snape's sharp tones drifted through the hallways of the house, echoing into odd corners and bouncing around the furniture. Upstairs, it caused Harry to groan and turn over in his bed, burrowing deeper into his pillow. In the entryway the Weasley twins were being chivvied inside by their unsympathetic mother while they slapped hands over each other's ears in their usual theatrical style. But even they were forced to wince for real at the sounds of shattering glass, quickly followed by a girlish shriek, and then the much closer wail of a certain portrait starting up.
"I sure hope that one didn't come from Snape." said Charlie Weasley, calmly hanging up his cloak. Working with dragons as a career had obviously lessened the impact of mere yelling on his emotional state. This was easier said for him than his brothers: Bill had automatically looked around guiltily at the sound of an enraged Snape before going to try and calm down Mrs. Black, while Ron's face had gone completely white (leaving his freckles in a strangely patterned counterpoint). He had paused coming down the stairs to greet his family, but had leapt into action once more when he realised what was going on.
"That's not Snape, Charlie!" Ron gasped. "The git's trying to kill Hermione!" The last part of his sentence was jerked out of him as Mrs. Weasley grabbed the back of his collar to prevent him from running to confront an obviously furious Professor Snape.
"Ronald!" Mrs. Weasley cut across the 'aww mum' that was bubbling up her youngest son's throat. "Go put our trunks in our room, and leave Professor Snape alone." Her tone brooked no argument, but even her eyes cast a worried glance down the hallway to where everything had gone ominously quiet.
That is, if you didn't count the ranting of Mrs. Black's portrait and Ron's grumbling as he lugged suitcases upstairs.
Born and raised in the far-from-temperate British Isles, Snape hadn't really understood the lure of the tropics until he was a teenager. Of course, after puberty the appeal of somewhere warm, wet and close became all-consuming. Now however – as a grown man – he could feel nothing but anger brewing within him for the chit of a girl cowering in front of him, half-crying yet still radiating that beguiling sensation of rainforests through her distress. Yes, exactly like a rainforest, his mind hissed at him. Somewhere dark and moist with a sense of mystery that made men want to thrust themselves into it, to forget normal and civilised life, to ravage away everything that is good and sweet.
With a start, he realised that he had been waxing poetic into thin air while he should have been setting about getting Miss Granger out of his way. It was inappropriate (although he couldn't quite pinpoint exactly what 'it' was), she was inappropriate (she wasn't dressed in particularly revealing clothes but the way she wore her shapeless Weasley jumper somehow felt worse than the most Muggle of lingerie), his desires were inappropriate (and what desires)… Her tears though certainly were appropriate, especially if he did what he wanted to do and reached out over the table between them, letting his patented glare drop from his face, smoothing his hands over her shaking shoulders and soothing away her tears with his lips… what's a broken jar of scarab beetles between—
--Between friends? Between lovers? Snape sneered at himself. Those questions didn't even bear thinking about, let alone responding to. A broken jar between Professor and student however, he could answer.
So it was with certain idle self-recriminations that he narrowed his eyes and pointed a silent, heavy hand at the door. "Leave, Miss Granger. Come back tomorrow when you have worked out of your system whatever Longbottom infected you with." It was certainly unlike her to be as haphazard in her ingredient preparation as she had been that morning. A shame too, far past the monetary cost of the stock she had ruined. He had just started to extend to her a grudging respect for her intellectual capabilities, and she had to ruin it with her unfocused clumsiness. And although he was disappointed in her, he was even more disappointed in himself for his instincts being off… unless of course she was ill in some way..? Of course he had made her cry so it was impossible to inspect her eyes for any tell-tale glazing from Behaviour Brew or Mannerly Mixture – and who would have access or reason to affect Miss Granger so, at Headquarters no less? Snape's suspicious mind began to ratchet through possibilities as he flicked his hand in a final gesture of dismissal, killing his rising insults and Miss Granger's stuttered apology in one.
Hermione goggled at him for a second before seemingly coming to her senses and beating a hasty retreat. Unfortunately for Snape's guiltily aching libido, he missed the smile that crept onto her features as she ducked past him. But to be fair, Hermione missed the Potion Master's unconcealed shudder as he caught the faint scent of tropical temptation…
Lupin too had heard the bad-tempered Potion Master's tirade and had been making his way to rescue the bushy-haired maiden. Infuriating inexplicable hormones or no, she didn't deserve to put up with an antsy Severus. It wouldn't be his fault of course, but Remus Lupin wasn't going to stand aside and allow Snape to throw away a teaching career on a student. A student we scented first, his traitorous mind-voice supplied.
His hindbrain was enthusiastically agreeing with its usual subtlety, but at least it wasn't trying to lie. Rescue her indeed, the logical part of him scoffed, you just want to see her again. And then, far more slyly than any truth-telling voice should be capable of, it added: and then maybe do more than just see her..?
This internal wish was granted rather sooner than expected as Hermione came through the kitchen cupboard than was the not-so-secret entrance to the second basement that was the potions workroom, running into Remus and knocking them both down. It seemed that even his yammering internal beast was shocked into silence at this sudden armful of young womanhood. Indeed his whole brain appeared to have frozen in shock; his thoughts now shattered into nothing but free-floating chunks of ice. Woman… Armful… Good… An arctic fish slid past: I'd settle for a handful over an armful actually.
Of course the rest of his body wasn't following the pleasantly chilly metaphors of his brain. Hermione had aborted her first tentative movement to stand as she felt something hard prod against her thigh. Experimentally she moved her leg again, wringing a whimper from the man beneath her. Looking down she peeked at the face of her former professor, trying to gauge his reaction. A flare of embarrassment caught and spun her dizzily for a second – he wouldn't even meet her eye! She forced down her mortification to say something suitably apologetic, but as she swallowed she noticed the reason that Remus hadn't looked in the eye was that he was too busy staring fixedly at her throat.
For his part, his eyes were indeed riveted to the lovely Miss Granger's throat. So creamy and pale and thrumming so close to his teeth. The creature within him forced his tongue out to run over his teeth as the soft exhalation of breathing began to shift to a low vibration. Slowly, he lifted his lips to the base of her throat, rolling his tongue across the strumming pulse he could see fluttering so vulnerably there. The beast ululated joyously as his lips eased back, scraping tooth against skin tilted so enticingly in front of him, a soft half-nip that answered the question that had plagued him since this morning: 'how does she taste?' His jaw began to stretch as he sought to grab her throat in the trust-bite that dangerously whispered I could so hurt you right now…
He rolled his head to the side in frustration, snapping his teeth together with an audible click.
The movement seemed to break the trance, Hermione's leg brushing once more over his manhood with finality as the pushed herself into a standing position. The beast howled silently at the lost proximity, complaining bitterly and cajoling desperately in a jumble of desire.
"Are you okay?" Hermione's breath was fast and shallow, and she gripped the chair behind her so hard Remus wondered whether he had hurt her
It wasn't a hunting-bite! No, it had been something far, far worse and he was a shoddier man than Snape. Whatever the hell his greasy ex-adversary had tried to pull that had sent Hermione running from their work would be a thousand times more forgivable than what he had tried to instigate. At least he knew what was affecting him, and even then he still tried to take advantage of the situation. Horrified at his loss of control, Remus ignored the soft questioning lilt of Hermione's enquiry, and fled from the room.
Reviews are appreciated… and for those who already have – look, I gave you Remus action already! Telling me what you want can have the amazing effect of you actually getting it :P