This story takes place during OotP. Please note, it bears no relation to the timelines set out by the Harry Potter Lexicon. Instead, I have used real life timings of book publication and film release. I believe OotP and the release of PoA film can just about overlap. If not, I shall point politely at the 'AU' category, and ask that you indulge me.
I had this idea when I read somewhere that one of the first HG/SS stories was written before any of the films came out. The author herself admitted the thought squicked her. As I am sure many of us picture Mr. Rickman's Snape when reading or writing this ship, I wanted to write something that dealt with JKR's Snape rather than the film version.
Many, many thanks to Briony for her beta skills.
GOSSIP AND RUMOURS
Professor Severus Snape returned to the longed-for privacy of his quarters, ignited the wood in the grate and poured himself a double Firewhisky.
It had been a normal day.
Which meant it had been a very bad day.
Which meant he was in his usual foul humour.
He downed the whisky as he brooded, poured himself another and was just approaching his desk at the side of the fireplace when he stopped dead and glared at a pile of Muggle envelopes stacked neatly on the leather inlay.
Long, bony fingers stretched out and plucked them from the desk. Cold eyes scanned the envelopes as the fingers slowly flicked through them.
Four white envelopes, two blue and a nauseating pink one so heavily impregnated with perfume its odour assaulted his nostrils and threatened to overpower his senses.
Picking an envelope at random, dropping the others unceremoniously on the desk, he ripped it open, snatched out the letter within and quickly scanned it. His face soured with distaste.
He'd had enough. It was time to put a stop to this nonsense.
Sitting quickly and decisively, he snatched up a roll of parchment and a quill and began to write:
I enclose herewith some correspondence which, although addressed to myself, I believe to be for you.
You may recall a few years ago you requested an audience with me in order to discuss your forthcoming portrayal of me in a 'film'. Hopefully my silence conveyed the utter contempt in which I hold these plans to chronicle Potter's life.
From the first, I have voiced my protests to the Headmaster concerning this absurd venture. However, it appears I have spoken in vain and must accept, under duress, that I can do nothing to stop these films being made.
I first began to suspect all was not well when, after the release of the first film, I noticed half my first-year class mouthing along to my 'Welcome to Potions' speech. I have since succeeded in my demands to have wards imposed, preventing any knowledge of these films reaching the students of Hogwarts.
However, a short time after, these idiotic letters began arriving on my desk. I have, in all, received around three hundred similar communications, which I burned upon learning the content. These letters are, without exception, from female Muggles all expressing a wish to meet with me, dine with me and giving thinly veiled promises to 'yield to my darkest desires'.
Sir, whilst I have been fortunate enough to avoid viewing the films, judging from what I have read in these letters I can only surmise that either the female population of the Muggle world is experiencing a collective hormonal imbalance or that you are injecting my character with a sexual prowess, which I find absurd in the extreme.
I am assured by my colleagues that you are a master of your craft, one who is highly respected in his profession. In which case, I am sure you will take heed of my words and adjust your portrayal accordingly. Otherwise, I can assure you we shall have the meeting you desired - but on my terms, and when you least expect it.
I hope I have made myself clear.
In closing, I would further suggest that, should you have an opportunity to deal your Potter and Weasley a smack in the head, I urge you to do so - I am obliged to rely on subtler methods of chastisement.
Professor Severus Snape.
Snape parcelled up the Muggle letters with his own, satisfied he had made his wishes clear.
As for the other matter that had reached his ears - the rumour that romances were being written (and once again, by female Muggles) involving himself and a certain know-it-all Gryffindor - it was not worthy of his attention.
Hermione closed her Charms book with a snap, causing Harry and Ron to look up.
"You haven't finished already?" said Harry, in astonishment.
Hermione just smiled.
"Give us a look then," said Ron.
She sighed and passed them her notebook. "One day you're both going to learn to take your own notes."
As the two boys poured over her notes with relieved faces, Hermione took out a roll of parchment and quill from her bag and settled down to write.
Thanks for your last letter and the photo you sent of yourself, Daniel and Rupert at the premier of 'Prisoner'. You all looked so wonderful. I loved your dress and your hair - oh goodness, you're making the Muggle world think I'm extremely pretty, when I'm really very ordinary-looking.
I'm so pleased you've signed up for the next film. I hope they find someone really 'hunky' (Ginny's word) to play Viktor. And no, I'm not going to tell you what happened when I stayed with Viktor during the summer holidays, no matter how much you try convincing me it's for 'research purposes'! I promise to help with your characterisation in any other way I can though, as I appreciate how important research is. I'm so glad Professor McGonagall has excused me from Professor Snape's wards and allowed us to correspond.
Speaking of Professor Snape, I've heard rumours that I am being linked with him, romantically, by a certain section of Muggles. Is this true? Is there really a whole Web site filled with stories of me and P.S.? How could they write such things? I can't imagine anything worse. (Well, me and Draco Malfoy I suppose.) It's just so horrible. Please, please write and tell me it's not true, or I shall die of embarrassment.
Ron and Harry are getting inquisitive, so I'd better finish.
Looking forward to your next letter (I think!).
Hermione rolled up the parchment and sealed it.
"I'm just going to the Owlery - either of you want to come?"
"Nah - still doing this," said Ron, pointing to his homework.
So Hermione went alone.
There were certain times during the day when the Owlery was busy, but by eight-thirty in the evening most pupils had generally finished sending their post and the tower was quiet, apart from the soft hooting of owls.
Hermione thought it was deserted now as she entered, but a figure stepped out from the staircase on the other side of the room, making her squeak in surprise.
"Professor!" Her hand went to her throat and a fierce heat rose in her cheeks. Why did she have to come face to face with him now, with the knowledge of those romantic stories still fresh in her mind? A shiver of disgust went through her. "I didn't see you."
His eyes, ever sharp, noticed the way she'd jumped like a scorched Kneazle, embarrassment clear on her face. At once he knew the cause - she'd heard the rumours about the romances. Damn Minerva! For it must be she - lifting his own wards for her star student, indulging her just as she had with that damned Time Turner.
Turning his back on her, he began summoning an owl. "I did call a house-elf to fetch this to the Owlery," he said of the package in his hand. "I do hope the fact I have to undertake the task myself is not the result of your meddling."
"Setting house-elves free with your idiotic campaign."
Hermione's eyes narrowed - she'd heard rumours that Slytherins didn't treat their house-elves very well.
She watched his continued attempts to summon the owl.
"That bird won't come to you, Professor," she told him, authoritatively.
He looked at her.
"It's Hedwig, Harry's owl. She won't come to you, Sir."
"As insolent as its owner. I'm sure it is equally unreliable."
At his beckoning, a tawny owl flew down instead and Snape began attaching the package to its leg. Hedwig immediately flew to Hermione, swooping close to Snape, causing him to flinch.
Snape scowled at the owl and Hermione couldn't help feeling smug as she attached her letter to Hedwig's leg.
She was bending down, with her face close to the table, concentrating on not hurting the owl, when a strong perfume reached her nostrils.
Then sniffed again.
"Do you not possess a handkerchief, Miss Granger?" Snape snapped, as his fingers finished attaching his correspondence to the tawny owl.
"No - I mean, yes - I just... Suddenly I can smell..." She sniffed again and frowned. "Ecstasy!"
"I beg your pardon?" he said, witheringly.
"Ecstasy. It's a Muggle perfume, quite popular at the moment..." Her words died as she realised the perfume emanated from Snape's letter.
Slowly she stood upright, embarrassment heating her cheeks once again as she realised she'd just committed a potentially dangerous faux pas.
Professor Snape was sending a heavily perfumed letter?
She didn't dare meet his eye, although she could feel his cold stare upon her.
Snape set his owl on its way and stood watching as it disappeared into the distance.
"Not that it is any business of yours, Miss Granger," he said, with his back to her, "but those letters do not belong to me. I am merely redirecting them to their rightful owner." At her silence, he turned, his face dark. "I would be extremely irritated to learn of rumours that Professor Snape sends perfumed letters."
"It never crossed my mind..." she lied, hiding her face behind Hedwig's flapping wings before letting the bird go.
"Rumours are rarely accurate, Miss Granger - and whilst no doubt amusing to the gossips, they are seldom fair or fun for their victims.
"Wouldn't you agree?" he finished, pointedly.
Her face flooded with heat as she realised in that awful, awful moment that he was referring to the Muggle stories that linked them both, romantically.
Hermione was absolutely mortified. Not only to discover he was aware of the rumours, but that he could be sadistic enough to use them as ammunition.
On fire with embarrassment, feeling almost – violated – she muttered a quick "Yes, Sir" and fled.
Severus Snape returned to his quarters, unperturbed by the incident in the Owlery - confident there would be no gossip spread by Miss Granger concerning perfumed letters.
Retrieving a small, ornate key from a secret compartment in his desk, he entered his bedroom and went directly to a tall Chinese cabinet standing to the right of his bed.
As to those romances - well, Miss Granger was a pupil. He may have certain, shall we say, quirks, but sex with his students was most definitely not one of them. The very idea was repugnant. Why, it was as much as he could bear to be in the same room as them, let alone...
However, her knowledge of the rumours and her very obvious discomfort offered a delicious and amusing array of possibilities for keeping her in check during his classes.
Putting the key in the lock he opened the double doors to the lacquered cabinet. Nimble fingers swiftly worked the complicated maze of drawers, doors and secret latches that led to a tiny chamber in the heart of the cabinet.
He reached in and lifted a small glass orb from its stand, taking as much care as when he'd removed it from a shelf in the Hall of Prophecy a number of years before. Its faint glow had been growing brighter these past few years and the glass felt warm to the touch.
Slowly, he ran his thumb over the yellowing label, tracing the inscription:
A.F.III to E.S.
Severus Snape and
Hermione Jane Granger
Snape held up the orb and peered thoughtfully into its glowing depths, as he had done on a number of occasions since her arrival at the school.
Why hadn't he broken it open? Because he already knew the contents. The 'E.S.' on the label was his mother, Eileen Snape. The prophecy had been made by a Seer she'd visited whilst pregnant with him.
Contrary to what he'd told Granger about the accuracy of rumours, there was seldom smoke without fire, and female Muggles could be surprisingly perceptive on occasion.
And of course, in just a few years, Hermione Jane Granger would be a woman and no longer his student.
His mouth curled into a predatory smirk.
He could wait.
I acknowledge there are probably male HG/SS shippers out there, but I believe the majority of us are female.