For Love of a Snake

Chapter Two: Ruminations

Why can't I write my other stories this long --;

Anyway let's see, same disclaimer. (don't own it)

And I probably should have put a warning in the first chapter about the age difference.

Oops anyway same for this one.

I dedicate this chapter my sister Angel Lucifel (penname duh!) because she typed it up for me, but mostly because I know it will drive her crazy to have a HP fic dedicated to her. evil grin

Without further ado I give you

Ruminations

Snape leaned back against the door. Hermione Granger was top student and fairly popular. How could she love him? Snape, the greasy bat of the dungeon (he knew what they called him) how could this be possible?

He moaned and banged his head once against the door. Why hadn't he listened to her? He could have pretended nothing was wrong. Looking back it was almost painfully obvious. What could he ever do to make it right?

Obviously, as much as it would bruise his ego, he needed to apologize to her, but would that be sufficient? And how did he feel about her? She was certainly intelligent and mature beyond her years and a rather attractive young woman…but no, it was better not to even think about her like that. She was the student and he was the teacher, it was beyond all boundaries to even consider…

Snape dragged himself to his chair and buried his face in his arms. What had he done to deserve this? He'd certainly never given her any reason to…love him. No he'd always been harsh, intimidating, maybe even cruel. He'd rarely complimented her or even acknowledged her work; instead he called her a smart-aleck and accused her of cheating. He had been cruel, he realized now that he had let his first impression of her, an eleven year old know-it-all Gryffindor, dictate the way he had treated her the last six years. As a result he had looked down on her thinking she was just like her friends.

It wasn't until recently that he had come to admire her; her wisdom in and out of the classroom, her courage and her loyalty to her friends and teachers. Only recently had he realized that if she'd been Slytherin he would have praised her and called her the pride of his house. But even when he'd realized this he hadn't changed his treatment towards her. He hadn't even wanted to admit that he admired someone from another house. How had she found him desirable?

He was harsh, greasy, and old while she was kind, beautiful and—

And had he just called her beautiful. Not out loud but…he hadstill thought it. Well, why shouldn't he think it? There was nothing wrong with knowing someone was beautiful. But it was more than just an acknowledgement. When he thought of her he thought she was more beautiful than anything he'd ever seen. He thought she was more intelligent than most wizards twice his own age. He thought she was the most wonderful woman— but she was a girl. A girl that was more than twenty years his junior!

He drew his hand over his face roughly. Why was he thinking these thoughts? Why had he, in a matter of hours, gone from grudgingly acknowledging her intelligence to secretly admiring her beauty?

Suddenly the door opened and student started filing in. A few gave him strange look but most sat at their seat trying not to draw attention. Snape looked at the clock; the fourth year Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw class. The time had passed so quickly!

He mechanically got out some ingredients and announced a pop quiz on a potion they had learned a few weeks back. Then he called a prefect to supervise against cheating and retreated to his office. He wasn't ready to face a classroom of students, but as soon as he was alone again the same thoughts kept playing through his head. He splashed his face with cold water a few times but it didn't help much.

After a while the prefect came in to say class was finished with their tests. Snape went back into the classroom, quickly passed and failed the students, and then dismissed them.

As they were leaving Harry and Ron came in.

"Professor," Ron said, obviously upset. "What did you do to Hermione?"

"What?" Snape asked.

"We found her in the common room after transfiguration, crying." Harry said.

"She went up to her room when we wouldn't leave her alone," Ron interrupted, "but Ginny says she still hasn't stopped sobbing."

Snape could only stare at him.

"Well?" the boys demanded.

"I…I didn't think I'd upset her so much." He muttered vaguely, and then headed to the door. "I'll go…apologize."

Rona and Harry looked at each other blanklyas he left.

"What?" Ron asked, his face skewed in confusion.

"I think he said he's going to apologize…" Harry said, but neither of them could believe it.

Snape entered the Gryffindor common room and went straight up to the girl's dorm, much to the surprise of the students. (The stairs recognized him as a teacher and let him up). He knocked on the sixth years' door until on of the girls opened it, giving a small gasp when she saw who it was.

"I've come to talk to Miss Granger." He said coolly. "Everyone else out. Now."

The girls that were in the room scampered out except Ginny who was gently rubbing Hermione's back.

"You too miss Weasley." He said.

Ginny looked uncertain but slowly got up and left. Snape was left alone with Hermione.

Her face was buried in her pillow and her body shook slightly as she tried to control her sobs.

"What do-" She hiccupped. "What do you want?"

"Hermione," he said softly, oh how wonderful to say her name. "I am so sorry."

She lifted her head to look at him; her cheeks were streaked with tears. "What?"

"I've treated you horribly." He said. "I pried into your personal life and demanded and threatened you to tell me things I had no business asking about." She sat up."You're a wonderfully bright, mature young woman. I should have trusted you to handle it on your own."

"Thank you." Hermione managed to choke out. "I-I'll work hard-harder…" She started hiccupping again.

Without thinking about what he was doing,Snape sat next to her and wiped away her tears.

"Shh, you don't have to say anything…" He shushed her gently.

Hermione forced asmile and nodded, but still looked upset.

"I don't know if it helps at all," Snape sighed, "But I'm deeply flattered, amazed actually, that you would be attracted to me."

Hermione half laughed, half hiccupped. "You're amazing."

"What?"

"I said you're amazing. You're clever and dedicated to your work, and to your house, and to Dumbledore. You walk willingly in Voldemort's clutches for all of us. You are one of the bravest people I know! That's why I—"

Hermione stopped herself and looked down at her lap, but Snape took her chin and lifted it so she faced him. His eyes were misted over.

"How?" He asked. "You barely know me…how could you know so much about me? How can you read me so easily?"

"You're the one I admire most." She answered.

Snape smiled in disbelief. "You're the one who's amazing Hermione." He told her, and leaning in close, he kissed her.

As their lips met he felt Hermione's startled intake of breath. Then she wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her lips against his desperately. Snape let them stay like that for a few precious moments before breaking away.

"Hermione, I can't. I'm a teacher I—"

"I know, I know." Hermione said, hugging him. "I would never ask you to do anything about this." She whispered against his chest.

Snape kissed the top of her head. "Maybe," He said. "Maybe when you're finished with school, once this war is over…"

Hermione smiled and nodded. "Yes, once the war is over."

Snape smiled. "Until then."

He then started to leave, but stopped when he reached the door and turned back.

"Are you all right now?" He asked.

Hermione laughed. "I'm wonderful."

Snape smiled warmly before leaving,and Hermione kept staring at the door long after it had closed behind him.

Three months later Severus Snape did the most difficult and horrible act of his life when he killed Dumbledore to save Draco and keep confidence with the dark lord. There was no time to leave Hermione anything to know the truth.

A/N Thank you so much Imotou! And Thanks to everyone who read this, sorry it took so long to update…

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