EDIT A/N 12/29/06

PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU CONTINUE: To my faithful readers past and present, I must give you my most grateful thanks for all the comments you have left me including those left for this chapter. I had said a few months ago that this would be the last chapter for this story, but I have decided to continue. Most of you did comment on the way this just seemed to "end", without any real resolution, and I did that on purpose. This was a natural ending place to me, and one that was left way open for a sequel.

I DO intend to continue this story, but at a much later date. My attention is taken up with other stories and life happenings right now, and I don't know when I will actually be able to get to it, or if I will ever get to it.

Now, I must address a very large plot point that was originally disregarded in this chapter. Earlier in the story, I had said that Hermione had had sex with Charlie Weasley, and in this (my beta wrote the lemon nearer the end), it says it is her first time. I have changed a few bits around to make it all congruous with each other. In this lemon Hermione is NOT a virgin, but does have some pain associated with the coupling, as this is only her second time. For those of you who have experience, that generally is the case upon the second time, or at least if you have had a lack of "conquests" for a few years, like dear Hermione.

I do hope you continue to stick around for more toils of our favorite couple, as they continue on their path toward acceptance in their world. There will be no new story, but Book 2 of Transfiguration of the Heart will start with Ch. 30!

Chapter 29- Everyone Is A Dunderhead

"Severus," said Lucius, "how long have we been friends?"

"Since our school days," he replied, considering the untouched glass of Ogden's in his hand. He knew what the platinum-haired wizard was trying to do, and he was not gullible enough to fall for it.

Lucius sneered at the glass as well, seeing that his plan was not working.

"You will have to do much better than this, Lucius, if you're attempting to incapacitate me," Severus warned in a quiet tone, not meeting his eyes. "I'm actually quite surprised you haven't employed some of your fine Dark Magic yet."

"You know as well as I do that I am on magical probation for ten more years," drawled the rich wizard. "My wand will send a signal to the Ministry should I try anything… unsavory."

Severus nodded his head. "Then why are you doing this, Lucius? Surely the old Slytherin tactics haven't abandoned you completely."

"No, but I must say that my heart is not into this deal I have made with an… associate," he admitted. "I have not tried my hardest."

"So you are in league with Krum," Severus remarked, frowning. "Did he come crying to you for help?"

Lucius gave a haughty laugh and leaned back in his seat. "No, he seemed rather full of rage."

"You still feed off of that?" Severus questioned, shaking his head.

"Not as much as I used to," Lucius admitted. "Viktor did have some very good points to make for his case, though."

Severus grumbled.

"I fail to see what the fascination is with this Mudblood. Besides the fact that she would serve as a rather eye-catching caged pet," Lucius said. "You should just let the kid have her."

"The one time I'm happy with my life, and you try to ruin it," Severus growled.

"I know I am not being a very good friend in this argument, Severus. But you have to consider the facts from where I stand. What could the girl possibly see in you? You have no money, you're condemned forever to Hogwarts. Compared to Viktor, you look like a toad," Lucius explained.

Severus pursed his lips together. "Lucius, I'd rather not discuss this."

"Oh, but I have to draw attention to the fact that it was like this once before. Has she said at all that she cares for you as you care for her?" Lucius questioned.

"She doesn't need to," Severus snapped, knowing exactly where this was going.

Lucius raised a brow at him. "Signals can be mistaken Severus, like it was with that other Mudblood. And what happened in the end? She went to the more handsome, wealthier wizard."

Severus wanted to cast a particularly nasty Unforgivable on the man right then. And yet he could not keep those thoughts, now masquerading around like an ugly monster, at bay. He was not yet secure enough in himself to know in all certainty that his relationship with Hermione would never end. Lucius was a very convincing speaker, no less, and what he was saying was suddenly making a great deal of sense. So much sense, as a matter of fact, that he could feel the bile rising in his stomach and his blood beginning to boil. Though he did not know who he was more angry at—Lucius, Hermione or Krum.

"What could Hermione possibly be using me for?" he asked. "This is a different situation, Lucius."

"Perhaps you're only a pawn to make Viktor jealous? Perhaps he was not showing her enough sincerity in his actions before, and she is testing him?" Lucius offered this. And while Severus knew none of it was true, the planted seed of doubt began to grow rapidly inside his mind.

Severus stood up quickly and deposited the tumbler of amber liquid to the table on his right. "Thank you, Lucius. I believe I've had enough for the night."

He headed for the room they were staying in, debating whether he wanted to yell at Hermione, or tell her to pack her things so that they both could leave together. He had never been so insulted before!

How dare Lucius say that, anyway! Hermione would never…

But then again, he still did not know her that well. Taking a right instead of left where he should have, Severus headed straight for the library, where he had a feeling he would most likely find her, rather than in bed and waiting for him.


Hermione sighed to herself, pulling yet another leather-bound tome from the vast shelves of the Malfoys' library.

She needed sleep desperately, to prepare herself for the following day. But like the last time she had been at Malfoy Manor, sleep did not come easily. And when it did, it was riddled with nightmares. This time, however, her slumber was not so much interrupted by the thoughts of the past. But instead was littered with trepidations about what could happen in the next twenty-four hours, with both Severus and Viktor in such close proximity to each other. Not to mention the fact that Lucius obviously had something up his sleeve, even if he was trying to put on a good face. Hermione had learned a lot in her short life. And she knew when that man was lying through his teeth, even if he did put on quite a good show.

Something was going to happen, she just could not figure out what or when it would. Viktor had most likely asked for Lucius' help with the matter, and could have been the reason why Lucius and Severus had disappeared after dinner with a bottle of Ogden's. Perhaps they were trying to drink Severus into such a stupor that they could do any number of things to him… From modifying his memory, to other more horrible things. She would not put it beyond them, friendship or not.

"It is late, Herm-own-ninny," said the accented voice from the corner of the room. "You should be in bed."

Hermione shook her head and turned toward the dark shadow moving along the far end of the library, stepping into the low glow of the fire, and then over to her. "Nice display at dinner."

He grunted.

"Viktor, I really wish you would just drop it all." She sighed. "Your pride is hurt and nothing more."

"You believe that is so?" he asked, stepping closer to her and pushing her back against the shelves.

"I know it's so." She frowned. "Please step back Viktor. I would appreciate it."

He did not move, his warm breath wafting on her face, carrying with it the faintest scent of alcohol. "I like it here, thank you."

"Don't be such an arse, Viktor," she said lowly. "You know very well that you'll regret it in the harsh light of day."

"I do not think I vill," he said and insinuated his meaning by rubbing his rather startling arousal against her hip.

A wave of nausea flooded through her.

"I have finally decided vhy you left me for Snape," he said. "You needed someone much more forceful vith you. I vas being too courteous."

Hermione felt her face screw up into an expression of utter confusion and indignation. "What? I never left you! There was never anything to leave!"

"Vhat ve had vas nothing?"

The giant Bulgarian was quickly becoming frightening. And Hermione was wedged into such a spot that there was no way she was going to get her wand out of her robe to do any damage without him noticing and stopping her.

"Yes, nothing," she said, and placed a hand on his chest, pushing him back slightly, but only enough so she could breathe. "Please step away from me, Viktor. You're making a big mistake. This is definitely not the way to win me, if that is what you are trying to do."

"I think it is, though. You just play hard to get," he returned, pushing her more forcefully against the shelves.

Hermione thought for a moment that she should scream out for help. But knowing the manor, no one would ever hear her. Besides, she was Hermione Granger. She had faced Voldemort, and Death Eaters, and any like of frightening beasts. A measly, over-confident, slightly buzzed Bulgarian brute was easy work.

Or so she thought.


Severus stood rooted into place, watching the scene play out. He did not know what to do. Was this all part of the plan Lucius and Viktor had concocted? Or was Hermione really playing into the Bulgarian's arms? The Hermione he knew was quick to anger. And she would have had the man on the floor in a full body bind by now, if she was not enjoying what was going on. Had he really been that much a fool to believe that Hermione had cared for him and loved him?

And then the disgusting Bulgarian kissed her… kissed her deeply. And there was no attempt on her part to get away.

In that instant, he felt his heart shatter.

As quickly as his whole life had fallen apart, though, the drama in front of him changed just as drastically.

Viktor was staggering backward, holding his groin from an obviously well-placed knee. And Hermione had her wand drawn in no time, a few tears trickling down her cheeks. "Don't you ever… dare… do that again!"

"Herm-own-ninny," Viktor pleaded.

"I respected you, Viktor. You were my friend!" she exclaimed, "And this is how you act?"

The Bulgarian was silent.

"And don't you forget for one bloody moment that I can think for myself! I never needed to be dominated like that. I'm not some worthless witch you have to think for!" Hermione continued. "Severus may be domineering and downright sadistic at times, but he at least treats me with the respect I deserve. Never once has he thrown himself at me when I have said I did not want it. Viktor…"

She paused for a breath, never lowering her wand.

"I told you I did not want anything, and I meant it," she said. "Now leave me alone."

"Herm-own-ninny…" The Bulgarian whined. He actually whined.

"Don't give me that!" She shook her head. "You know how to say my name properly, so do it. As a matter of fact, from now on, call me Professor."

"I still believe you are under Imperius," he said boldly.

Hermione let out an exasperated sound that could have resembled a call of a Horntail. But Severus did not much care for thinking of magical creatures right now, not with Hermione doing and saying these things.

"I'm not. Do any test you want! You won't find a thing. The only thing you will find is that I never want to speak to you again."

"But Hermione…" he said.

She sneered frightfully. "Don't!"


"I said don't!"

Silence passed in the room, the only sound was the crackling of a log in the fireplace.

"I love him, Viktor," she said, suddenly calm. "No one understands it, and I have to say that neither do I right now. But I love him. I know that much."

Viktor sighed heavily and looked down at the ground. "Have a nice life and lots of gangly children you vill never be able to support." He turned and stalked heavily toward the other entrance into the room.

Hermione lifted her wand with determination blazing in her eyes, casting a non-verbal spell that had no obvious outcome. She dropped her arm to her side and looked around. With a "pop" she was gone.


How dare he anyway? How dare he push himself on her?

Hermione paced the room hotly, the event replaying over and over in her mind, and only served to anger more, rather than calm her with a rational explanation. The fact of the matter was, there was no logical explanation to what had just happened. She had thought Viktor a harmless, close friend. But how wrong she had been. She had wanted to trust him, to think he was better than that. But all along, he had never been any better than another affronted man. The only difference was, he was a powerful man who was easily twice the size of her in muscle mass, who could insinuate himself all he wanted.

"Hermione." The deep, silky voice washed over her, and she turned quickly to look at the man standing near the door of the bedroom in the dark shadows. Even though she knew it was him, her reflexes were still running high, and her wand and arm shot up at the ready. He did not sneer at her though, like he might have in the past. Instead he glided over to her in a few short steps, his hand circling around her wrist and removing the vinewood wand from her grasp.

He tossed the wand to the bed, but did not remove his grasp from her hands. "Your fingers are like ice."

Hermione grunted, as he took the other hand and wrapped his long fingers around her clasped hands.

"You saw it, didn't you," she said matter-of-factly.

"Saw what?" he asked quietly, his dark gaze meeting her own.

Hermione sighed. "You saw what went on in the library. Normally you would have said something sarcastic about me thinking I could do something bad to you with my wand. You'd laugh in my face and call me a silly girl for having the notion that I could take you."

"You are a silly girl for thinking that the only way you could harm me is through the usage of a wand," he remarked, stepping closer. "As a matter of fact, you can hurt me in many other ways, all having nothing to do with magic and no wands at all."

"Severus," she said, sniffling slightly. "I didn't… you didn't… you heard and saw all of it, I hope? Not just the bad parts?"

He nodded his head slowly, the silvery moonlight filtering in through a window catching his shiny black hair as he dipped his head, so as not to look directly at her. "Is it true? I tried to ignore it a few weeks ago when Weasley showed up. I didn't want to face that conversation with you. I suppose now is the time."

Hermione shrugged. "It's not that big a deal, Severus. I mean, the notion of it is. But it's not like anything will change between us with it being said."

"No, it won't change. But it is very difficult for me to say, and even think about, Hermione," he said slowly. "I've come from a life of hate. And being thrust into this uncharted territory is a rather large step for Severus Snape to take."

She smiled slightly. "I love you, Severus. I do."

"It sounds surprisingly wonderful with my name in context," he murmured. "No one has ever really said they loved me. Not even my own mother."

Hermione reached up and brushed away a few strands of hair from his face and behind an ear.

He smiled softly. "I had never thought the insufferable know-it-all would be here, and in this position with me."

"Face it, Severus, you know you like the fact that I am an insufferable know-it-all," she teased. "It has given you many years of pleasure torturing me and my Gryffindor mates."

"It has," he replied and leaned in, resting his lips over hers in long, sweet kiss. Releasing her mouth, he pulled her close to him in a bone-crushing embrace, his lips resting beside her ear. There he whispered quietly, barely audibly, but it was there. "I love you more than you could possibly comprehend, Hermione."

She giggled and pulled away from him, grabbing his hand and looking toward the bed. "Now, if you'll let me, I believe the insufferable know-it-all has some knowledge that her professor doesn't."

He quirked a brow up at her. "Five points from Gryffindor, Miss Granger, for suggesting that I am a dunderhead."

Hermione laughed lightly. "Everyone's a dunderhead at some point in their life, Professor."

Hermione tugged Severus toward the enormous bed. She stopped when they were standing by the side of the bed. She lifted her hand to cup the side of his face, drawing him in for a slow, gentle kiss. She broke contact when she felt his lithe hands moving up her arms to slide her dress's straps off her shoulders. "Severus…"

"Hmmm…?" His gaze was hooded, desire-dilated eyes glittering at her from beneath his lashes.

"I need you to promise me something."

His voice was a low, silky drawl. "And what would that be?"

Hermione took a deep breath and plunged forward, Gryffindor courage bearing her through. "Promise me you won't be embarrassed by whatever happens tonight. Being as we're both entering pretty uncharted waters here, things…"

"Things…?" he prompted, eyebrow arched comically, considering the situation.

"Things might not go exactly as we've envisioned?" she offered. "I've been told that 'first times' are never like the romance novels make them out to be. Things might be awkward, even with all the research I'm sure both of us have already done."

"I was under the impression that you had already done this with a Weasley?"

"I did, but that was three years ago. And it was horribly embarrassing for me. Even though we are talking about you, I do believe you could find it embarrassing as well," she replied. "Just because I have done it, does not mean that I necessarily care to remember that night, or got much from it."

The brunette already looked a bit flustered and sheepish with her little speech.

Severus appeared to consider this a moment. "Agreed." He withdrew his wand and quickly cast a Silencing Charm around the perimeter of the room, before setting the length of wood on the nightstand. At Hermione's arched brow, he explained. "We don't wish the Malfoys to know just what we're engaged in, now do we?"

Hermione threw back her head and let out a full-throated laugh, wondering why she had not thought of that first. She had planned out just about everything else in her mind. Her laugh turned into a gasp, as she felt Severus' lips on her exposed neck, trailing kisses from her jaw down to her shoulder. His hands had settled on her waist and she leaned into his touch, her fingers sliding up the planes of his chest to fumble at the buttons at his throat. She started snickering as she encountered difficulties after the third button.

Severus withdrew enough from her to grant her unrestricted access to the confounding buttons. A small smile, redolent with amusement, played about his lips. "Is this what you were referring to?"

The slight witch giggled. "Yes." A trace of annoyance beginning to rise in her, she teased him. "You could help me out here."

He chuckled lightly, but acquiesced, working his way up from the bottom of the coat, as she made her way down, meeting somewhere in the middle.

Hermione slid her hands up over his shoulders, pushing the outer garment down his arms. She had it bunched halfway down his arms before she realized her error.

Severus' arms were trapped by his sides, caught at the wrists by his still-buttoned cuffs. He growled lightly as she snickered again, turning to grant her access to the offending buttons. He twisted the other way, once she made short work of the first cuff, presenting her with the opposite one. Freed of the impediment, the garment made its way to the floor. In unspoken agreement, he pulled the shirt beneath from his trousers. It was dealt with in the same manner, the Potions master offering her his wrists, so he would not become entangled in his clothing again.

Shirt gone, he pulled Hermione flush against his bared chest. The silk of her dress rubbed enticingly against his skin, his nipples hardening into sensitized peaks. He dipped his head to claim her mouth, devouring it with a breadth of emotion that made no secret of how aroused he was. As if the hardened length pressing against her abdomen wasn't indicator enough.

Lithe hands rose to her shoulders again, this time allowed to push the thin straps there aside. Running on instinct, and what he had gleaned from various How-To manuals, including an explicit variant on the For Dummies series, he bent his head to trail kisses across the skin exposed by the descending fabric.

He encountered his first real impediment when he attempted to unhook her bra while still attending her neck and chest. He pushed her hands away when, giggling, she lifted them to take care of it herself. He took her by the shoulders and spun her about, glaring at the evil clasp as if his gaze would undo it. His quarry visible, he made short work of it, littering kisses across her bare shoulders as the bra's straps joined the descent of the dress straps.

Hermione let the undergarment drop to the floor before she was again spun about, her breasts fully bared to his view. She first sighed, then jumped, aiming a light smack at the back of Severus' neck, as he sucked on one pert nipple and nipped a bit too hard. "Ow! Not so hard."

A muffled, "Sorry," was his answer. He followed the apology by laving the flat of his tongue across the offended bud, before moving across to pay gentler attention to its match.

Her own impatience rising, Hermione pushed him back with a light shove to the shoulders, his mouth disengaging from its task with a wet pop. A growl of annoyance rumbled out of his chest as his gaze remained fixed on her flushed and heaving breasts, wanting nothing more at that moment than to return to ravishing them. She successfully diverted his attention by putting her hands over his and, with a shimmy of her hips, helped him push her dress off. The silk fell in a puddle at her feet. She stepped away from it, back toward him, leaving her shoes behind as well.

She caught him holding his breath at the sight of her wearing nothing but an abbreviated pair of satin knickers. She withheld a giggle as he started at the touch of her hands at the waist of his trousers, the enraptured wizard finally remembering to blink and breathe.

His control was clearly reaching the end of its tether, as she felt him trembling noticeably under her touch. Cautiously and carefully, she unfastened his trousers, carefully avoiding the source of his distress. The woolen fabric fell off his hips, pooling around his ankles. Deep, forest-green silk boxers were revealed to her gaze. She could not help herself, and reached out to stroke the hardened member that tented his shorts.

It was more than Severus could take, and he stepped forward, forgetting all about the trousers encircling his ankles. He promptly tripped himself, sending his body pitching forward, catching Hermione in the process and bearing her down onto the bed in an awkward tangle of limbs.

Their entangled bodies bounced on the mattress before they came to rest. Severus lay sprawled across Hermione, his ankles still trapped in that blasted garment. They caught their breath and looked at each other. Wry smiles morphed into outright laughter, the Potions master rolling onto his back so he was beside his witch. They were half-on, half-off the bed, giving voice to the utter absurdity of the situation.

Finally mastering his amusement (under any other circumstances he would have been utterly mortified) Severus sat up, bending over to remove his boots and free his ankles of the irritating garment. He turned back to find Hermione had turned down the coverlet, and lay half under the sheets, her arms open to him in a silent invitation. He didn't need any further urging, and crawled up the bed to join her.

Hermione stopped him before he could slide between the sheets, hooking her thumbs under the waistband of his shorts.

"Wait." He caught and removed her hands, sliding back to stand beside the bed. "I would hate to make the same mistake twice." That said, he removed that last article of clothing, keeping his eyes locked on hers as the green silk descended to the floor. He could not hold back a smirk at the gasp she released, taking in the sum of his endowments. He positively slithered back into the bed, pulling Hermione against him, only to discover she had already doffed her knickers.

Damn. I missed that.

They kissed feverishly, hands roaming over bared flesh, exploring each others body to a soundtrack of low gasps and moans. When their actions became more daring, more insistent, Hermione again took the initiative.

She pried his hands from her breasts, guiding them up over his head, and silently telling him to leave them there with a hard look. Like she was observing some new, strange animal, Hermione's gaze was fixed as she drew just the tips of her fingers along a vein on the underside of his swollen length.

He hissed, his hips thrusting up reflexively.

Emboldened, she experimentally wrapped her fingers around it, stroking gently, not wanting to hurt him. She nearly jumped as she felt one of his hands come down to rest against her back, caressing her skin. She looked up to meet his hooded gaze. Encouraged, she increased her pressure a bit, stroking him firmly.

"Hermione, stop!" His other hand wrapped around hers, stilling her movements.

"Severus, please. You are too keyed up. This will take the edge off. You won't feel so… rushed. Trust me."

"And you would know this how?"

Hermione blushed deeply. "I do talk to Tonks on occasion."

"You WHAT?" He choked audibly, eyes wide, face flushed with mortification.

"No, no, NO!" She rushed to reassure him. "You have nothing to worry. It's just something we ended up discussing last week over tea. She knows I'm still pretty unexperienced, not you. Actually, she seemed to be under the impression you're some kind of 'sex-god' to have ensnared me the way you have."

His expression was now somewhat smug, his ego effectively appeased. "And…?"

"And she told me she wished she had known the 'first round' would be so short, so she could have prepared accordingly. She said 'round two' was much more to her liking, as he lasted a lot longer."

His gaze had narrowed. "Are you suggesting madam…?"

"I'm suggesting nothing, Severus. It's a simple, physiological fact. Trust me."

He sighed. "I do."

Hermione snickered. She could not help it, not with that sarcastic brow arched just so. Her overactive mind just went down the wrong path with those two words. Swiftly mastering herself, she went back to kissing him, languidly stroking his still insistent arousal.

This time he did not protest, instead wrapping his long-fingered hand over hers again, silently directing her movements, showing her just how he liked to be touched. He disengaged her mouth, his head falling back to the pillow, eyes closed, gasping and moaning. He urged speed to her ministrations, hips bucking as he rushed to the edge, howling her name as he came in great, shuddering jets.

She watched, totally enraptured, as Severus' face contorted and his jaw clench, his whole body tensing. Valiantly, she did not flinch as he howled and came, his length convulsing strongly under her touch. It was a heady, powerful feeling, knowing she had been the cause of such ecstasy. And all she had done so far was to give him a hand job. She was very glad she'd paid attention to Tonks' more-than-detailed reminiscing.

While Severus recovered, Hermione surreptitiously retrieved her wand and cleaned them up, quite proud of herself as she slid back into his embrace. All their previous urgency gone, they kissed languidly, hands gently and thoroughly mapping every inch of exposed skin. The continued attention and contact kept them both sensitized.

After several aborted attempts by Severus to return the favor she had bestowed on him, Hermione followed his own example, taking his hand in hers. She directed his movements by both touch and words, smiling at the mixed look of wonderment and concentration creasing his brow. Following her instructions, he quickly had her writhing beneath his touch, moaning and trembling in her ecstasy.

She utterly lost it when he shifted down the bed, experimentally replacing his thumb with his tongue. Three strokes and she was gone, her passage convulsing around the two fingers he had pressed inside her, warmth flooding out of her to be eagerly lapped up by that persistent mouth. The look on his face was undeniably smug as he returned to her side, meticulously licking his hand clean, clearly savoring the taste. She couldn't resist her own curiosity and drug his face down to hers, tasting herself on his lips.

Hermione's responses had engendered a reaction of Severus' own, his interest returning perforce. She felt his again-hardened length pressing against her hip and decided it was time. Still kissing him, she urged his body above hers, spreading her thighs to accommodate his hips.

It took him a moment to situate himself, finally bracing his weight, balanced somewhat awkwardly on his elbows and knees. He frowned slightly as she grasped his buttocks, pressing his lower body against hers. "Are you sure?" he asked, trying to keep the fear he felt out of his voice.

She smiled up at him. "Yes. You don't have to hold yourself like that. I can handle most of your weight. I just need to be able to breathe, so try not to crush my chest." Gods, he looked positively terrified. "I love you." That seemed to reassure him.

"And I, you."

He shifted his stance, sliding down just a bit. They both moaned as he rubbed himself against her wet mound, desire enflamed between them. He suddenly realized he had a slight problem. While he was finally balanced, he did not exactly have a free hand to guide himself. The point became moot, as Hermione arched against him, lodging the head of his arousal at her entrance. They both shuddered at the contact, Severus just barely holding back the urge to thrust into her.

"Do it quickly."


"Enter me hard and fast. I'm not accustomed… I think it might still hurt. So just do it," Hermione ordered him.

His fear had returned in force. He had no desire to hurt the woman he loved. Not like this. Not ever. His arousal was beginning to falter in the face of his insecurity.

"Severus!" She smacked his shoulder, breaking him from his reverie, and pulled his face down to bestow a scorching kiss.

He did not even think about it, he could not. Inflamed, already having braced himself, he slammed home in her depths, feeling acutely the stretching and how difficult it must have been for her to accommodate him. She cried out into their joined mouths, her thighs clenching against his hips, preventing him from moving. He released her mouth and let his face drop to the curve of her neck, panting hoarsely.

The feeling was indescribable, being buried within her hot, wet, clutching body. Nothing had prepared him for the sensation of being embraced so intimately. He could not have moved right then if he had wanted to. He could feel every twitch, every spasm of her passage around him. Now he knew just what he had been missing all these long years. He realized with a start that he could easily become addicted to this and that he never wanted to experience this with anyone else.

A shudder ran through her as she mastered the sharp pain. It gradually died off into a burning sensation, as her passage adjusted to his length and girth. Slowly coming back to her senses, she realized she could feel every inch of him seated within her, every ridge, every vein. She felt… full.

"Tis a shame this is not your first time," he said as he slowly moved away and lifted himself up a bit more. "There's a good deal I could have done with your blood."

"Know that I would have let you collect it had it been with you, but let's not think of that. Where were we?" she asked rhetorically, pulling him back down to her.

He growled, shifting around until he had himself positioned again. "I believe we were here." He watched her face this time as he slid slowly into her welcoming warmth, reveling at the way her eyes fluttered, and her passage clutched at his length. He pressed forward until he was seated all the way to his bollocks, the head of his arousal pressing insistently against her cervix. He was waiting for a signal from her.

"Damn it, Severus! MOVE!"

"As you wish." He pulled out slowly, groaning at the exquisite sensations. He tried valiantly to keep his pace slow, focusing on bringing her to completion first. He could not hold back long, her moans and clutching thighs and hands his undoing. Grunting, his pace increased, thrusting into her again and again, racing her to the precipice.

It was incredible, indescribable. Feeling him inside her completed her, in a way she had never known was missing. He stretched and filled her, touching places inside she never knew existed. His thatch of pubic hair rubbed against her sensitive clit in such a way that drove her wild. She was not going to last, not with this sensory overload.

He felt his orgasm racing down his spine, his thrusts now erratic, as she screamed beneath him, her passage gripping him almost painfully. He howled in chorus to her cries, spilling himself deep inside her, before collapsing against her, utterly spent.

Had either one actually been paying attention, they might have been chagrined to register the sounds made by their coupling. Luckily, they were too caught up in the sensations wrapping around them to either notice or care.

He grunted as he felt a poke to his ribs, having no desire to move at the moment. He lifted his head just enough to look at her when he was nudged, not so subtly, again.

"Off," she ground out.

He furrowed his brow at her, not comprehending.

"Can't… breathe," she gasped.

Understanding coursed through his orgasm-addled brain. He twisted to the side, and onto his back, his softening length leaving her with a wet sound. "Sweet Merlin…" he murmured.

"Second that."

He turned his head to meet her satiated gaze. Insecurity suddenly flared in his chest, constricting his breathing. "Did you…? Was I…?" Her finger pressed against his lips, silencing him.

"Don't." She shook her head slightly. "Don't do this. Don't go there. If you're looking for an in-depth analysis, it's not happening. Not tonight anyway. All I can say is wow. Just… wow. And, I love you." She rolled onto her side, cupping his face with her hand as she kissed him, slowly and sweetly, wanting to reassure him that all was well.

He returned the caress, relieved that he apparently hadn't mucked things up marvelously. He pulled her close, his arm wrapping around her shoulders. Hermione molded herself to his side, her head on his chest, hand pressed flat against his abdomen. He reached down to pull the covers up over them, before his free hand found its way there, their fingers interlacing loosely. He buried his nose in her hair, inhaling deeply of her familiar scent, now mingled with the unmistakable muskiness that accompanied that act of making love.

Both emotionally and physically exhausted, they drifted off into the welcome embrace of sleep, wrapped securely in each other's arms.