Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Author's Note: This fic was written for FictionAlley's April, 2007 Crossover challenge. Prompt: Severus Snape ran a fansite for Batman. Beta read and Britpicked by the BeST team.

Bat of the Dungeon

Hermione awoke with a start. Someone was moving around in the darkened room. She was momentarily disoriented; the dormitory window should be behind her head, not to the left. Then, with a delicious physical thrill, she remembered where she was.

"What's wrong?" she asked sleepily, stretching her unclothed body out beneath the sheets. She could see Severus' shadowy figure bending over to pick something up.

"Go back to sleep," he said. "I have to go. Do not leave this room before I return." Hermione heard him opening the wardrobe, followed by the rustle of hastily pulled-on robes. The strained tone underneath the strict instructions also did not escape her.

"When will you be back?" she asked, now wide awake and with the shadow of fear snatching at the corner of her mind.

"I told you that you were not to pose any questions." His irritation was clear.

"We aren't in class now," Hermione retorted. "I think I have the right to know if you're going out to get yourself killed."

"You have the right to know nothing at all," he said harshly. "Do not think that because I have chosen to share my bed with you, that such intimacy extends to any other sphere of my life. You will follow my instructions to the letter, or this is over as of now." He paused, and then changed his tone to the one that sent frissons of excitement down her nerve channels and directly into her womb. "Is that what you want?"

Hermione didn't answer. She didn't need to answer. Of course she didn't want this to be the last time. They had only arrived at Spinner's End for the start of the Christmas holidays two days ago. Two whole weeks of tantalising possibilities stretched out before them. But not if he was killed on some Death Eater raid tonight.

"Just tell me whether you're going to be in danger." She tried to keep her voice steady, businesslike. He wouldn't tolerate clinginess.

"You know what I am. I think you can gauge the risks for yourself. Now stop being so maudlin and go back to sleep." And with a snap, he was gone.

Feeling more than a little miffed, Hermione threw back the covers. Maudlin, indeed! He could be so aggravating! She picked up her wand from the bedside table and Accio'ed a shirt from where her clothes were neatly piled on the chair. She was in no mood to sleep; in fact, expecting that he would be gone for a couple of hours at least, she had a sudden inspiration of how best to use that time. He'd told her when they first arrived that she could go anywhere in the house but his study; ever since, she'd been itching to know what was behind that door. This was the perfect opportunity to find out.

It was just down the hall, in the spare room of the old two up, two down. She already knew that there was a password, and she'd even heard him use it once, when he'd thought she was down in the kitchen. It had sounded something like 'strinchies', so she tried that, but the door didn't budge. 'Strange ees' and 'stirring cheese' also failed. She thought for a while. Cheese... There was a pile of those mozzarella sticks in the fridge. A light went on. "String cheese," Hermione enunciated clearly, and with a soft click, the study door swung open.

She was a little disappointed to find that the room looked so ordinary. A desk, some bookshelves and cabinets, a little table-top laboratory. A dingy beige shade covered the single window. No pentagrams on the floor or chains and manacles on the walls. Treading carefully, she entered and went straight for the bookshelves. Texts on potions, Dark creatures, spell development, poisons, Curses, Occlumency, more potions, healing... On the bottom shelf, there were two cardboard filing boxes. She slid the lid off of one of them. Inside were neat rows of brightly-colored magazines, all in sealed plastic bags. Afraid of leaving any trace of having been in the room, Hermione had to satisfy herself with gingerly lifting one out by the corner of the plastic. 'The Brave and the Bold Presents Batman and Green Lantern'. She quickly rifled through the rest of the contents and found more of the same. Batman? A cursory glance at the other box showed the same contents. Well... This was a bit odd.

She stood up again and was just reaching up to take a quick peek in the nearest cabinet when she stopped dead in her tracks. She couldn't believe it hadn't registered when she'd first come in. On the desk was a computer. An honest-to-God computer! Of course, the house was wired for electricity, and Severus did use some electrical appliances, finding it easier to push a button than master household spells. (Hermione surmised this was a result of growing up in what was for all intents and purposes a Muggle household; his mother had been forbidden from using magic in the house. And he had never been a fan of silly wand-waving.) But this ... this was something else altogether. A computer implied a much deeper involvement with Muggle technology. Somehow the image of Severus sitting in front of a computer screen, typing in ... what would he use a computer for? Keeping track of his experiments? Writing articles for publication? Email correspondence? That last one was ridiculous. Only Muggles used email, and Severus had no correspondence with Muggles. Or did he? Hermione was now very, very curious to know what was on that computer.

Keeping one ear open for any sign of Severus' return, she turned the computer on. She herself was well-versed in the use of computers from her summers at home; she'd designed a very professional-looking homepage for her parents' dental practice, and had absolutely fallen in love with the internet as a vast source of information on every subject under the sun.

It seemed to take ages to boot up, but finally, the desktop came up. Documents first... But instead of the expected lab logs or academic treatises, there were only databases, websites, and hundreds of images ... all related to Batman. Costumes, equipment, allies, enemies, alter egos ... everything one could ever hope to know about Batman, was right there on Severus' computer. And not only that, but there was one folder labelled 'Bat of the Dungeon' which seemed to contain the source documents for web pages. Web pages related to Batman.

Becoming ever more intrigued, she opened the web browser, cancelled the automatic dial-up, and went right into the Favorites folder. Batman again. And there was 'Bat of the Dungeon'. The cached page popped onto the screen. Hermione quickly compared what was there with the documents in Severus' folder. 'Well, I'll be...' Hermione thought to herself. 'Severus Snape is running a Batman website.'

An hour later, she shut down the computer, put everything in the room back the way she'd found it, and returned to bed. Not that she was going to be able to sleep now. But she thought she had a good idea of what to get Severus for Christmas...

Hermione struggled to zip up the skin-tight bodysuit. She was doubly glad she hadn't taken the leather one; that would have been stiffer as well as hot. This one was made of a stretchy material that, while it covered everything from her neck down, nevertheless left nothing to the imagination. She fervently hoped that Severus wouldn't laugh his head off. She pulled on the knee-high boots, donned the pointy-eared headpiece and mask, and finally worked her hands into the clawed gloves. Nervously, she admired the results in the bathroom mirror. She was startled at how much older she looked. Sultry. Naughty. Up until now, Severus had always taken the lead... With this costume on, though, she felt very much in charge. She picked up the cat-of-nine-tails and the bullwhip, took a deep, cleansing breath, and opened the door.

"Oh, Bruce..."