Chapter 18

Voldemorts New Name

Hermione lay in bed and smiled up at the ceiling. She couldn't stop thinking about the feel of her professor's hand on her shoulder. His gesture had been reassuring and he had complimented her. 'I commend you for your maturity.' She couldn't stop thinking of him.

Pansy's voice sounded in her head and she quickly pushed all thoughts of her professor behind her occlumency wall.

'Hermione, we need to get all the girls together soon and talk about everything that has happened.'

Pansy had evidently been trying to communicate that thought to the other girls because Hermione heard the girls confused thoughts as they slowly tried to wake up.

'Yes we do need to meet. I can't tomorrow; I am working on the wolfsbane with Professor Snape. What about a slumber party this weekend?'

She heard sleepy agreements mixed in with a few complaints from the other girls.

'Yes, we can have a slumber party; now let us get some sleep already!' Susan complained.

'Goodnight Ladies!' Pansy thought, before she ended the connection.

Hermione knocked twice before opening the door and entering the lab. Just as before, Snape stood over a large cauldron, more than likely working on his antivenin potion again. He looked up as she entered and gestured towards the table next to him, already set up with a cauldron and the ingredients she had prepared two nights ago. She smiled as she set her bag down and moved to her work space.

'Good evening, sir.'

'Miss Granger.'

'I only have to prepare the monkshood and then I will be ready to begin the potion. I am eager to finally begin.' She confessed.

'Indeed. Prepare the monkshood and tell me before you begin the base. It is simple enough, but vital to the overall efficacy.'

Hermione nodded as she picked up her knife and began preparing the monkshood, using the technique he had taught her.

'Are you working on your antivenin again, sir?'

'Yes, it is nearly completed.' He answered in a low voice. 'If it proves successful, I will make extra supplies and keep them in my office, rather than the storeroom.'

Hermione looked at him with a frown. Why was he telling her where he would keep his supply of potion?

'Sir?'

'Miss Granger, please remember what I have told you. If I am not around, and you need antivenin. I will keep it in the defense office.'

He was looking her straight in the eye as he said this and she knew what he was saying was important.

'Is there a chance you will not be around?'

He didn't answer her. He smirked and looked back down at his cauldron, stirring once.

'Sir?'

'Miss Granger?' He said parroting her tone of voice. She couldn't believe it, was he mocking her?

She sighed, realizing she wouldn't get a straight answer out of him.

'If you are not around, sir, how will I enter the office? Won't I need a password?'

'You might.' He said, that same smirk still on his face. She couldn't resist smiling back at him. He was certainly acting different tonight. She thought back to when she had entered the room ten minutes ago. Ten whole minutes and he hadn't scowled once.

As if he had read her thoughts, his smirk turned into a scowl and he looked back down into his cauldron.

'If you are finished with that monkshood, you should begin the base now.' He said as he added another ingredient to his potion.

Severus glanced at Hermione frequently as she concentrated on the base for her potion. It would take her all evening to complete and she was absorbed in her task. He contemplated the picture she made as she silently counted her clockwise stirs. She had pulled her curls back in a messy knot on top of her head, exposing a slender neck and slightly sloping shoulders. Her face was in profile to him and he could see the slight upturn at the end of her nose, her lips were pursed in concentration. As he watched her, Severus was surprised to realize that he found her quite attractive; he enjoyed looking at her. The knowledge of that brought to the forefront of his mind, just how often his thoughts had turned to Hermione Granger in the past few weeks. He had spent entirely too much time thinking about her, even given the special 'project' he was helping her and Pansy Parkinson accomplish. He sighed, as he watched her now… he was fascinated with the witch.

He abruptly turned back to his potion to add the final two ingredients, his mind was racing. What was he to with his growing regard towards Miss Granger? If he was honest with himself, he knew it had been a long time coming. He had been attracted to her for some weeks now. It was wholly inappropriate; she was his student and a Gryffindor, regardless of what she seemed to be learning from her newest acquaintance. It shouldn't make a difference that he was noticing how attractive the young woman really was…should it?

He thought about the last time she had been in this room working on her wolfsbane potion. He had enjoyed their discussion and had been looking forward to seeing her again. He could talk with her in a way that he couldn't with most of his colleagues and he had been almost excited about he prospect of having someone whom he could call a friend.

'Professor...?' She interrupted his thoughts.

He looked up at her and raised a brow in inquiry.

'I am about to add the doxy wings and was wondering if you would like to take a look before I did so.' She said, gesturing towards her cauldron.

He nodded and cast a silent stasis spell on his cauldron; he wasn't getting anything done at any rate this evening. He moved up behind her and peered into the cauldron over her shoulder.

It was the perfect color and consistency; he hadn't expected anything less from Miss Granger. He rested his hand lightly on her shoulder as he examined the potion and nodded.

'You may go ahead and add the doxy wings, this is adequate.' He said. He hesitated for a minute, leaving his hand on her shoulder. Before he could think better of it, he squeezed her shoulder once, causing her to stiffen slightly in surprise. She turned her head to look at him. Her face was inches away from his own and he realized he had been holding his breath.

Her eyes locked onto his.

'Sir?'

'Miss Granger…I …have enjoyed working with you these last few weeks.'

He let his hand drop and took a step away from her, intending to turn back to his potion, when she grabbed his hand.

'I have too, professor. Er, I've enjoyed working with you as well, I mean. I also want to thank you for helping me and Pansy. I think we would be quite lost without you.'

'Miss – Hermione, things are going to happen soon. Terrible things, everything is going to change.'

She nodded. 'I know, sir. Dumbledore has asked you to do something.' She said, remembering they time Pansy and her had walked in on him and saw him return in the floo.

'It's something you don't want to do. But it's a big deal, isn't it?'

She stepped a little closer to him and tilted her head back to look at him. 'I know you won't tell me what it is, but, if I can, I would like to help you.'

He lifted his hand and let it cup her cheek, before sliding it back into her hair. He fought with himself as he gazed into her brown eyes. She was so kind and compassionate. Why shouldn't he be allowed to have a few moments of happiness? Given what he had been commissioned to do, why couldn't he act on his desires, just this once? He thought, feeling reckless. It wasn't as if Dumbledore could fire him at this junction…

He realized though, that this was a losing battle. Regardless of what he felt about Dumbledore and about the task that had been set before him, he couldn't just let himself go. He took a step back. He would not act on his desires tonight.

Before he could say anything to the girl standing before him, she took the decision out of his hands. She went up on her toes and placed a light kiss on the corner of his mouth. She pulled back with red cheeks, looking up at him and gave him a shy smile. He was stunned. She had kissed him.

'I need to add the doxy wings.' She said, before turning back to her cauldron.

Snape didn't say anything, but turned back to his cauldron. He made a show of flipping some pages in his notebook and looking at his notes, but he wasn't really seeing anything.

He was still too surprised by her kiss.


"I kissed Professor Snape.'

Hermione announced out loud to her friends and then winced. She had meant to ease into that confession, not blurt it out like that. The room abruptly became silent, all discussion ceasing in one moment. She looked back into the stunned faces of the girls, all dressed in pajamas for their sleepover and repeated in a quieter voice.

'I kissed him, the other day, during our wolfsbane session.'

'You…kissed. Snape?' Pansy said with a whisper.

Hermione bit down on her bottom lip and chewed furiously while she nodded.

'But, why?' Ginny said, her voice incredulous.

'Oh.' Daphne said in a quiet voice. 'This is going to be good. Tell us the story Hermione.'

'Why would anyone want to kiss Snape?' Ginny muttered again. It didn't make any sense.

If Hermione wasn't so nervous, she probably would have laughed at the expression on everyone's face. Well, everyone except for Luna, who's expression seemed to communicate that she was either not at all surprised by this revelation or not even listening.

'Well, it just sort of happened.' Hermione started to say, only to be interrupted by Millicent.

'No, nothing like that 'just sort of just happens'. You kissed Professor Snape, the head of Slytherin… it wasn't an accident.' She said with her customary frankness.

'I know.' Hermione held up her hands, palms out. 'Let me tell my story.

My attraction for him, just sort of came on slowly. I mean, Pansy and I have been meeting with him frequently and I've been working on this potion with him and just spending a lot more time with him. Additionally, this year has taught me that with Slytherins, you can't judge a book by its cover. So, I don't know, I realized I liked him a little while ago… do you remember me looking really shocked and surprised in Defense class, Pansy? You asked me about it and I said I would tell you later.'

Pansy thought for a minute and then nodded.

'Well, that's when I realized that I had feelings for him. I know that nothing can come of it, obviously, but those feelings aren't going away. They just keep growing, I mean, we had the most amazing conversation about antivenins and Louis Pastuer the other day… it's rare that I can talk like that with another person… I mean, now I have you girls and that helps but to discuss that sort of thing with an intelligent man…I…it was… amazing.'

She paused, waiting for someone, perhaps Millicent to make a comment, but the girls remained silent.

'So, he was looking over my shoulder, checking my potion and he squeezed my shoulder and told me he enjoyed working with me.' Jarilyn gasped at that, but remained silent. 'So I told him I did too and I think I had grabbed his hand when I said it… I'm not sure, it's all in a blur, it happened so fast. But, he cupped my face…his hand felt so good and he smelled so nice… like sandalwood with that hint of chocolate.' She sighed as she remembered standing with him in the lab. 'When he dropped his hand and took a step back, I don't know what came over me, but I just kissed him.'

'What did he do when you kissed him?' Padma asked in a soft voice.

'Well, after I kissed him, I was so embarrassed… I just turned back to my potions and pretended like everything was normal. He did the same… He didn't even acknowledge the kiss, just went back to work…What do you suppose that means?' She said, her voice taking on a panicky edge. 'What must he think of me? How could I just go and kiss my professor like that. I am such an idiot!'

Pansy was the first person to react; she laughed.

'Hermione, this is priceless. You, the Gryffindor know-it-all has a crush on the head of slytherin!'

'I can't believe you kissed him!' Ginny said. 'I can't believe you're still alive to tell us about it!'

'What am I going to do?' Hermione practically wailed.

'You don't have to do anything.' Daphne said, her voice thoughtful. 'I think he is attracted to you.'

There was a short pause before most of the girls in the room started laughing, obviously thinking that Daphne was joking.

'Yeah, sure, Daphne… maybe Hermione should just ask him to go to Hogsmead with her on our next Hogsmead weekend. They could go to Madame Puddifoots.' Tracey said, mockingly.

Hermione smiled at the image of Severus Snape being rained upon with pink confetti while drinking tea at Madame Puddifoots.

'Very funny, Tracey,' Daphne said. 'But, just think about it for a minute,' She continued. 'He didn't do anything about it, he didn't yell, he didn't give her detention or take points…I think he was probably surprised, but pleased that she kissed him.'

A few girls tried to lend their opinions to the matter, resulting in a din of voices, all incomprehensible.

'Hey!' Hermione said, trying to be heard above the others. They quieted down and looked at her.

'It doesn't matter, you guys.' She shrugged. 'I don't know if he liked it or not, we do seem to be getting to be… friends, at least, what with him helping us and finding a place for Pansy. But, we are in a war, its not like a romance could flourish now, especially given his role in all of this. Plus, I'm his student.'

Millicent shrugged, 'Being his student doesn't matter. It's happened before.'

Hermione's mouth dropped open. 'It's happened before? You mean, Snape and a student?'

'No, not Snape,' Tracey piped in, 'But there are stories about Slytherin students… rumors about different students who have had affairs with teachers in the past. Not any of the current professors…I mean, they are all pretty old (except for Snape)…Mostly it's been somewhat of a 'don't ask, don't tell' kind of a thing, as long as the student is of age.'

'You are of age, Hermione.' Millicent said with a leer.

'Don't ask, don't tell?!' Ginny piped in, 'That's amazing, how come we haven't heard about this?'

Pansy shrugged, 'You're in Gryffindor. I doubt any Gryffindor students have ever been involved with a professor…well, not until Hermione!' She said with a laugh.

'Well,' said Hermione, 'still feeling surprise at what the Slytherin girls had told her, 'There are still too many things to consider; the war, the fact that he is a death eater spy…This is professor Snape we are talking about!'

'Bloody Hell. Stupid bastard dork- ass- whore lord Voldemort!' Pansy let out in a voice full of hostility, pounding her fist on the ground. She stood and walked to the other side of the room, breathing hard.

The girls were quiet for a moment, looking at Pansy with sad eyes. They all knew she was thinking of Draco and not the Professor or Hermione. She had really loved Draco and it was clear that he was working for Voldemort now. He was truly lost to her, given her current allegiances.

After a few moments of awkward silence, it was up to Hermione to bring Pansy out of her dark mood.

'Dork-ass-whore?' She said with raised eyebrows. 'I can honestly say I have never heard that expression before. I do think it a fairly good description… except for the whore part… would we call Voldemort a whore?' She said in a tone of voice that implied that this was an issue that deserved a great deal of study and research.

Pansy visibly relaxed as she smiled and then chuckled at Hermione's comment. Soon the other girls joined in and it was decided that from then on they would refer to Voldemort as dork-ass-whore.

AN: Dorkass Hore was a girl who was accused of being a witch in the Salem Witch Trials. My sister came across the name while doing some research and the insult was born. I couldn't help but apply it to Voldemort.

Please note that, as always, these chapters have not been beta'd and the beta'd story is available on The Petulant Poetess.