Disclaimer: Nothing you recognize belongs to me but rather to the goddess, JKR

Disclaimer: Nothing you recognize belongs to me but rather to the goddess, JKR. Here is a little flight of fancy to help pass the time before I post the next chapter of "The Error of My Ways". It was actually inspired by a drawing I saw on the Internet (details on the website follow the story). I do hope you like it. Constructive reviews are encouraged. Flamers will be fed to Fluffy. If you like, you may contact me at stregabrava@yahoo.ca

Moonlit Ride

It took me a long time to master this but it was well worth it. Funny how some things just come naturally to me and others require so much effort. Well, being teased about it certainly gave me a fair degree of incentive to perfect this and I am pleased with the results. I am amply rewarded by the feeling of the wind rushing through my hair. If only it could take the stain away from my soul.

Up here, I am free. Free of the past. Free of the horrors that I willingly face in order to make some sort of restitution for a decision in my past I would give anything to change. Up here, in the safety of the midnight sky, I am at peace. But perhaps I am at peace because I am no longer alone.

Just the thought of her gives me the strength to continue the fight. She has had to endure much and it was her strength of character, her independence and her intelligence that first forced me to recognize the fact that I grudgingly admired her…my equal in many ways. She was almost lost to me…I cannot dwell on that…it is too painful. My greatest fear is that someday I might have to live this life without her to share it with me. Our fight has already claimed many.

The clouds drift across the face of the moon. I hear the hooting of owls from the forest below. The sound of crickets drones through my ears.

I cannot say with certainty when it was that I first felt it…when I first felt the hopeless pangs of a hopeless love. I was angry at first…angry with her…angry that she could do this to me without even trying. Love was weakness. To admit that I needed someone…wanted someone…it upset me deeply. I tried to convince myself that this was a passing emotion. Temporary. Easily dealt with. How wrong I was.

Despair and guilt quickly followed anger. Despair because I never believed anyone would be brave enough to go beyond my decidedly cold exterior. Who would realistically give someone like myself a second glance? Guilt because I…because I am not worthy of the love I hoped would someday be returned.

And then it happened. Her lips touched mine. Soft. Warm. Inviting. Intoxicating. I was momentarily overwhelmed by feelings so intense I thought my heart would stop beating. I pulled away, even as my body was screaming in protest, thinking that this was somehow not real. When she looked at me, I knew. It was real. It was for me. I could never have imagined that look in her eyes…not even in my dreams. That look which told me she loved me. She loved me. Despite everything I had been. She loved me.

I am still amazed. She has become such an integral part of my life that it would be easier to cut off my left arm and toss it aside than it would be to live without her smile. In the darkness, she has become my light and my salvation. I wonder if she even knows how she saves me…saves me from myself.

A slight movement breaks my train of thought. Flying has always made her a little nervous. I hold her close, one arm wrapped protectively around her waist as we sail through the night, like two souls taking flight.

"Where are we going tonight?" she asks as she holds my cloak tightly around her. Her forehead is nestled just under my chin and she is gazing at the rippling waters of a small river below, shimmering in the moonlight like diamonds fallen down from the heavens.

"Does it matter?" I ask.

Her hand rests on mine and I hear her sigh softly.

"No. It is enough just to be with you."

I smile to myself and carefully make my way to the roof of the old abandoned monastery…my secret place. I help her off the broom first and quickly follow. I sit down at the base of the chimney and invite her to join me. She sits down in my arms and I hold her close. We do not say anything…words are unnecessary. We simply look at the sky and hold each other.

"Don't ever leave me," she whispers.

The words startle me. It is not often when she shows her vulnerability. She always tries to be strong. Just one of the many things I admire about her. I touch her cheek gently…tears…tears for me?

"I have lost too much…I don't want to lose you too," her voice is just barely audible.

I tilt her head so that she is facing me. The expression of love in her face is almost palpable…like a warm blanket, which takes away all my fears.

"I could never leave you. You are..you mean so much…"

I cannot stand it any longer. Leaning down, I kiss her lips…lovingly…trying to convey the depth of what I feel for her. It is something more than words can possibly express.

When I look at her again, her eyes are shining; the fears and the doubts have been banished for the time being. She settles into the crook of my arm and places one hand on my chest, lazily playing with the silver medallion I always wear…fingers absently tracing the outline of a serpent as she gazes thoughtfully at the moon. I hold her close to me…I am almost scared to let her go.

"Severus?"

How I love to hear her say my name.

"Yes, Hermione?"

"Could we stay to watch the sunrise together?"

I place my hand over hers in wordless affirmation and hold her just a little bit closer, reveling in her warmth. I suppose she is like a flame. A flame which melted the ice in my heart and helped me to live again. To love again. To love her. Just as she loves me.

FINIS

A/N: If you want to see some lovely fan-art, go to www.jareth.com/snape.html and follow the links. You will be amazed. My personal favourite is "A Moment's Peace" and it is this particular sketch that inspired the story (it could be seen as a sequel to "Saving You, Saving Me"). Please do not use any of her artwork without permission.