Disclaimer: I do NOT own these characters or the world they live in. I make no money from this.

a/n - This was just an idea that refused to leave me alone until it was written. Therefore, I wrote it so that I could get on with other things. It's my first one shot, so go easy on me. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy.

My colossal thanks go to Michelle, beta extraordinaire. A lollipop and my thanks are for Shana, pre-reader and keeper of the chaps.

Shall I Forget

Shall I forget about you? For my own benefit, I pose the question as though I have a choice.

Although I rail against it with all that I have, I am a denizen of your memories--those imprinted upon my mind such that they refuse my every attempt to raze them. If I could shatter all but one, keep one for myself as a token that I may recall when I can no longer bear to be without you, I would expunge every other trace of you from my conscious.

Life shall never be a thing of certainties. Of this, I am agonizingly convinced. It teases us with the pretense of control, the faith that we hold some semblance of power over what is ours in this world, this incarnation of chaos.

I believed such, and have known myself a fool ever since. I presumed my cold apathy would dissuade you. I supposed that I possessed the strength to maintain that visage until you sought out more agreeable company.

Despite my feigned ignorance, you chose to torment me, though you knew nothing of your influence. You flaunted your righteousness, as though it justified your actions. You mocked my every endeavor to discourage your presence, your inscrutable seduction that both enraged and enthralled my waking thoughts.

Were you delighted when you succeeded? I begged for a reprieve, for anything to hinder your inexorable wiles before they landed me against you, the whole of my heart instructing me otherwise.

When I succumbed to your temptation, you readily surrendered to me, which granted me all the cause I needed. You accepted me, like no one before. You partook willingly, and I suffered eagerly, entranced by the clamorous contest of wills that your hips incited against mine.

Have I embellished in the weeks since? Perhaps I have applied virtues and perfections to the allure of your thighs and your sepia eyes that beckoned to mine with such infatuation. Perchance I strive to create a precision in all that made you mine for that ephemeral moment when the turbulent world vanished and you and I bathed in a glory that only two strangely flawed, mortal beings can muster.

Am I mistaken for revering such things? Have I truly bestowed upon you qualities that you have no right to boast? I refuse to accept that as truth.

Your mind, so rife with promise, surpasses that which I have come to expect in a friend, and rivals that which I have come to require of myself. I fear you underestimate the authority of your wit or the strikingly sexual nature of your intellect.

I dare say that your mind provoked my interest long before your body enraptured mine.

Alas, your body, all subtle strength and raw beauty sought its desires so ruthlessly. It asserted its ascendance with vigor while you sought to draw me evermore profoundly into the mayhem you had devised for me alone.

You had been following me for weeks, believing that I was none the wiser. However, I knew from your very first visit, secreted beneath that cloak. Although, I never once saw you, I sensed you.

Had I any way to know who you were, I would almost certainly have killed you. You recognize that, do you not?

Instead, I permitted your trespass that first night. I wondered if you would return. That is how greatly your initial intrusion prejudiced me. Yet, I anticipated hearing word of my whereabouts circulating between those with which you choose to ally yourself.

When no information surfaced, not even a supposition based upon misleading testimony, I knew you would return to me. I hoped you would. I yearned to know why you failed to divulge my location. You had me, cornered and seemingly unsuspecting, yet you withheld the knowledge. It was then that I vowed to discover what inexplicable thing had inspired you to neglect your sworn allegiance.

You had no way to know that my thoughts were of you when you entered my room the next evening. I should have detained you, killed you right then. However, only time would provide me the knowledge I demanded, so I allowed you to linger, and linger you did.

Hours you spent spying on my perfunctory evenings, for what purpose I failed to discern. I rarely go about in such a state of undress, even in my private chambers, should that supply some explanation for my performance. Were you intrigued? I should think so, since you persisted with your nightly trespass for--how many weeks was it?

Every evening you languished, your undeclared devotion apparent with each added hour you spent beneath the cloak, concealing yourself in one corner or another. Most often, the smile I wore while perusing some irrelevant text pertained in no way to the words on the page but to your never-ceasing audience.

I attempted to escape you. I slept elsewhere, all the while contemplating your dissatisfaction at finding me absent from my chambers. I stayed away for three days, as long as I dared endanger myself without the protection of my home.

When I returned, I nearly expected to find you in my bed, waiting for me to take you, awaiting the consummation of all those weeks of unspoken foreplay.

Sadly, you were not there to welcome me. However, I cannot express the excitement I knew when, no sooner than the sun had set, I sensed your company yet again. For a moment, I thought I had imagined the elegant scent of lotus and cassia that always betrayed your presence, but the fragrance persisted in a way that commanded my concentration.

Thereafter, isolating your location became my highest priority. I maintained the pretext of ignorance, pretending that I had other business to attend to as I explored the entirety of the room in my hunt for you.

It was a lively game. You employed every piece of furniture in your attempts to evade me. Nevertheless, I caught you, just as you fled the safety of the settee.

You seemed stunned when I removed you from the cover of the cloak. It was but a formality, I assure you. It had afforded you only a perceived safety, nothing more.

I will not lie and say I had expected to discover that you had been my constant companion. In all honesty, your name had never entered my mind during the many nights devoid of sleep while I pondered the identity of my reticent shadow.

How long were those seconds as I restrained you against that icy, gray stone, your chest heaving against mine as you fought to breathe? How long was it before I satisfied my curiosity? In my mind, it stretched on for days, each second an hour and each hour a fortnight, as I gradually understood why you had not deceived me.

Your terrified eyes belied your objective, however fantastic it must have seemed when it initially claimed your fancy. You were not afraid that I had captured you--far from it--you feared wanting to be captured.

You had found me, haunted me, protected me for your own selfish reasons--and I wanted you for the very motives that had led you into my home, into my confidence, and at last, into my arms.

Neither of us initiated the subsequent events. The rapport existed without pretension. I had only to take you in my arms for you to secure your arms about my neck. I needed only to seize your thighs for you to snake your legs about my waist.

Tell me that was fantasy! Tell me that I imagined discovering the personification of my tormentor that fated night you returned to me! Must I recount what followed? I must if I plan to purge myself of it.

I understood what you craved, though I knew not how, and I yearned for the same--the breathtaking need that led you to stray from your honor, the overwhelming desire that prevented me from murdering you.

You clung to me as though I had rescued you from some horror while I carried you to my bed, laid you upon it.

You stared on, fixated, as I undressed you. Your eyes never once left mine while I exposed you, piece by piece, button by agreeable button, as slowly as I dared should you gather the sense to run.

Though your cloak had been undone with ease, your sweater provided a challenge. You raised your arms obediently as I dragged the cashmere up your sides until it too vanished, but there were no further layers for me to negotiate. Your breasts, so youthful and bare, nearly sent me astray from my task.

Though tempted to dally, I pressed onward. You slipped off your shoes while I unbuttoned your jeans, and then I coerced them from your readily elevated hips. After the unveiling of your legs, I reassigned my attentions to the last vestige of silk that still censored you.

Your eyes drifted shut when my fingers crept beneath the flimsy threads at the top of you hips. I rid you of those as well.

Although, once that scrap of silk reached your ankles, your modesty recovered its voice for but a second. You opened your eyes and closed your knees, as though your feigned humility might hide what I had already seen.

You lay before me, your bare body indisputable evidence that there is a god--and that god is a woman--because no man is able to sculpt such things without example and no god is able to create such form without having known that sort of loveliness firsthand.

Not about to hasten the forthcoming, I lay beside you, never violating your body with my hands as I presented, to you alone, the duty of discovery.

Your timid hands found their courage at last, and you beguiled me as you agonized over each button, curled your fingers through the hair on my chest.

Even as I write this, I feel them there still, as hesitant as they were inquisitive, deftly learning each texture, expertly arresting my mind.

I permitted you to dawdle when you found me erect, when your hand brushed against me unintentionally when you finished with my shirt buttons.

Why you looked to me for approval, I will never know. Yet you did, and of course, I consented.

Your intrepid hands undertook their venture dutifully. I would never have assumed that you would find such fascination with the male composition, though it was undeniably moving to witness.

You baited me with each pass of your hand. You knew what pleasures your measured touches produced. You were well aware that you were transporting me summarily into madness, and yet you persevered, forced me to wait, and deservedly so.

Although I delighted in every caress of your hand, I confess that I could hesitate no longer. Perhaps, under other circumstances, I would have allowed you the joy of toying with me throughout the night, but the novelty of your company, and the body that I ached to possess, stole what remained of my fortitude.

Do you remember my next delight? I am certain that you do. Will you recall it when you lie with another, when they have neglected you?

Though you protested the interruption, you permitted me to steer you onto your back, onto the bed, your breasts swelling with your labored breaths, your anticipation evident, though I noticed your concern.

I have no doubt that you expected me to ravage you, although ravage I never would. There are plenty of evils in this world to concern oneself with without forcefully taking a woman. I daresay that it is the only evil left a mystery to me, and so it shall remain.

Nevertheless, you seemed afraid of my sudden participation, but my lips surely dispelled your worries whilst conjuring new uncertainties in your inquisitive head.

I assume you are unused to having your knees paid such attention, but they are your knees, and demand such.

After sojourning at your belly and ribs, I paid particular mind to each breast, engaged them with my mouth, fondled them with such patience that you encouraged me with your fingers twisted through my hair. However, your breasts could only delay me so long when my lips knew where they wished to wander next.

I set my feet to the floor, took you by the ankles and again, I glimpsed you fearful. If I had been capable of speech, I would have comforted you, but I was confident that what was to follow would be comfort enough.

When I had sited you properly at the very edge of the bed, I knelt to the floor and placed one of your legs on each of my shoulders.

Be assured, should we meet again, I intend to revisit such a pose.

Without seeking the same naïve permission you had, I surrendered to you at last. Alas, I cannot write the memory without shuddering at the thought.

Your readiness was apparent, and I willingly plunged deeper. My fingers excited that which other, more notable, areas of my body greatly anticipated plunging as well. My tongue found its home, and you bucked, and you fought, and you clawed at the bedclothes.

Even then, I wondered if you questioned why I was kissing these lips instead of those so occupied with their moaning. Were you surprised that our first, true kiss was of such a nature?

I would have finished you then but for the invitation proffered by your parted legs, and the crude stimulus of my trousers against my erection, which threatened to disappoint us both if I did not free it.

You clutched at my hair when I ceased, substantiating my belief that you required more when…

You assaulted me, for lack of a better expression, albeit a welcome assault. You lunged from the bed, knocked me to the floor--without complaint, might I add. Though your aggression enthralled me, I lay stunned that you would exhibit such ferocity as you climbed atop me.

Trembling hands, quivering with expectancy, unfastened my trousers with conviction, leaving me again astounded by your appetite. Though I assisted with their removal, I may well have left you alone, your hands more insistent than mine as I joined you in nakedness.

I thanked heaven for the conspiracy that had brought you to me as you situated yourself astride my thighs. I folded my legs beneath you as you descended, though my legs swiftly became the least of my worries.

You took me completely, devoured me ever so leisurely, finally resting your burden on my thighs as you entwined your legs about my waist.

It is a wonder I can remember such detail when my eyes were focused somewhere near the back of my head with the explicit pleasure of your deliverance--and that I sincerely believe it to be--encompassing me in every connotation that that word entails.

There exists no overture to emulate that encounter, no symphony capable of echoing its composition. I could attempt to describe the utter bliss you instilled me with, but the words verge upon the absurd when all I can bring to mind are hellfire and exultation.

When my eyes returned to yours, I saw your victory, your triumph. Had you fantasized about that moment? Had it claimed your every thought such as you have mine since?

After all your subterfuge, your prowling, my lips could wait for yours no longer. You returned the kiss fervently, feverishly. You dismissed soft, sensual kisses for you demanded the frenzy that such intimacy yields.

You had your body pressed so completely against mine that I could not revisit the breasts I had but teased earlier. You had crushed them between us so forcefully, perhaps painfully, that I dared not attempt to find one.

Instead, I embraced you, pulled you ever closer in an attempt to draw you into me as you had drawn me in. Then, as though abiding by desires I had yet to utter, you compelled your hips forward, gradually, insufferably, rasping the hair I had first kissed against me, as though you sought to spend eternity corrupting yourself.

In that instant, I knew you within and without, above and below, as my own personal heaven and hell. I allowed you your slowness, until nature no longer afforded me the luxury.

I motivated you, forced you to quicken your rhythm with my hands cinched firmly to your hips. Your lips clung faithfully to mine. My mind came undone when your fingertips set off across my flesh, scraping at my neck and my back until fiery lines emerged upon my skin.

Immersed in the maelstrom of collaborative, abandoned thrusting, you went rigid, and breathless.

I prayed for your culmination, for the visceral vibrations rising within to brim over and engulf you. Just then, as though an undulant thunder had overrun your very core, your climax emerged--marvelously overt, all merited sweat and the brunt of your rewarded desires.

Your legs tensed, your body strained against mine, and I hastened to match yours with my own. Again, I forced your hips to mine, roughly this time, soliciting the pleasure that was rightfully mine. When that rush of bliss promised to claim me, as you had already, I fell back to the floor and transported you with me.

I came with your weight bearing upon me, your lips still owning mine, your hair splayed about my face. I know not how I enjoyed similar things when you were not the one who begged them from me.

Again, I seem unable to measure how long we lay thus. Lean minutes stretched to languid hours while we resorted to the slow, sensual kisses that we had neglected earlier, in our urgency.

Too soon, you left me, but I watched you dress from where I lay, from the carpet that I planned to have blessed the following morning.

Sadly, you did not bid me farewell. You said nothing as you sidled out the door to retrieve your cloak and abandon me for the want, and the cold, and the silence that awaited me in your absence.

However, you glanced back, if for only a second, but that second sustains me. Surely, your shame would not allow you to linger, but I believe that your guilt will serve me well.

Yet now, without you, the ghost who haunted me, the invisible perfume that stalked me, the loneliness I had once cherished defines me. I have waited, hoping you would once more return, but I have been so far disappointed.

Therefore, I ask again, shall I forget about you?

I am sorry to say that I am unable, as you would know from the message you received just yesterday. It was much simpler than this, much more succinct. It was but three words for you to translate, and I assume you have since become familiar with the language.

I have disclosed my location with those three words and, as I understand you so well, I am convinced that even as you watch your associates probing through my personal effects, you know exactly where I am.

Now, with this letter nearly complete, I wonder. Will you betray me?

Her eyes had yet to read the last lines of script on the very last sheet of parchment when a voice startled her beyond reason.

"Hermione, have you found anything in there?" Harry asked from the doorway.

"No!" she replied. "Nothing," she added as she hastily folded the few pages and tucked them into her pocket.

"What was that?" Harry asked, having veritably snuck up behind her.

"Nothing," she repeated when she turned to face him, her heart jumping instinctively into her throat at the spoken lie. "Just an essay he must have been reading. He won't need it now, right?"

"I guess not," Harry replied, eyeing her cautiously. "Are you all right?"

"Fine," she blurted out, railing against the urge to divulge all that she knew. "Have the others finished?"

"I think so," Harry answered, glancing back toward the sitting room. "Tonks! Have you guys found anything?"

"Nothing worth writing home to mum about!" she called back. "You guys?"

"Nope!" Harry answered before turning back to Hermione. "I guess we shouldn't waste all day here," he told her and then stared toward the door. "We'll have to wait until the Aurors arrive though. Mad-Eye wants this place under surveillance until he's convinced Snape's gone for good."

Harry disappeared into the adjoining room. Hermione immediately slipped a hand into her pocket to reaffirm that the letter was still there.

Alone at last, she returned to her disbelief as to why Snape would have left such a letter laying around where just anyone could have found it. Then again, she knew that he wanted it found. He knew who would find it.

Unable to delay forever, Hermione checked that she had the letter secreted securely in her pocket before she strode from Snape's bedroom and into the sitting room where the others awaited.

She attempted to avoid the group, all three gathered around the central table, where they had amassed a pile of various objects they had each found during their search of the house. She headed for the door, for the discretion and silence the hallway would provide.

"Hey, Hermione!" Ron suddenly shouted from across the room. "Didn't you search this place last month?"

"I did," Hermione answered abruptly, hesitating at the door and on her next words. "He wasn't here then."

Tonks only laughed. "We must have the worst timing because the bloke across the way says Snape's been coming and going from this place for months."

"You know, he might come back," suggested Ron. "He left half his things behind."

"He took half his things as well," Harry countered. "He knew we were onto him…"

Tonks, Ron and Harry commenced with their conjecture about Snape's motives and whereabouts while Hermione stole away into the hall.

She traveled down the corridor, making several impulsive turns before she felt isolated enough to remove the letter from her pocket.

She unfolded the parchment in order to finish reading the last few lines.

Now, with this letter nearly complete, I wonder. Will you betray me? Will you come back to me? Shall I forget about you? Or shall I be damned to pine for your modest curves and sumptuous crests where my lips long to rest once more?

The only certainty I have--and that certainty is both baseless and cruel--is that I know you so well without knowing you at all.

With that in mind, I ask you one, final question. It is the first question I want answered, so if you feel apt to choose only one, I beg that you choose this, a query you have surely pondered yourself for quite some time.

Where, my dear, do your loyalties lie? Should they lie with me, I may never let them go.


Hermione shut her eyes to the words. The reply to that question had always been so clear, and remained so, though the verdict had most definitely changed.

There were those wants that she could inhibit, that she could ignore at will, but this want had taken hold of her so thoroughly that only one thing could appease it. She could not control it, nor deny it. She could merely follow it where it led until it ended.

After a glance down the hallway to ensure that her departure went unseen, she retrieved from her pocket the slip of paper upon which he had written the coordinates that she already knew by heart, and Disapparated.

When she reappeared, she instinctively scanned the room, shadowed by the carmine light of the setting sun. Surrounding her were familiar paintings and furnishings, identical to those he had left behind.

At last, her eyes fell upon the figure of the man occupying only the left half of a scarlet settee.

He stood, the vision of his menacing form paralyzing her again, as though his very presence held complete dominion over her will.

He traversed the space separating them until he overshadowed her, her chest brushing his when she remembered to breathe. Though no wall secured her there this time, she was equally unable to budge.

"If you continue with me, you may never go back," he drawled, his voice poised eloquence while venom laced the very words as they tumbled from his lips.

She could not explain. She could say no more. She had lied for him, cheated for him. Her misdeeds had bound her to this man with a tether that she felt powerless to bend or to break. She had ignored every ounce of reason she had ever come to know, every faith she had ever cherished.

"I know," she replied, her voice a mere whisper beneath the burden of her folly. "I can't go back. Not now."

He smirked. A cruel, hollow laugh resonated from his chest and throughout hers. The sound only aggravated the shivering that had automatically claimed her body in his presence.

His laugh quickly subsided when he leaned toward her, his lips so near to her that they grazed her ear as he whispered the two emphatic words.

"Not ever."