Summary: When Hermione got held back in Potions one day she had no idea it would lead to an illicit and dangerous romance, with serious consequences

Summary: When Hermione got held back in Potions one day she had no idea it would lead to an illicit and dangerous romance, with serious consequences.

Disclaimer: Hermione Granger and Severus Snape do not belong to me. Nor do any of the others.

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Chapter Three: Open My Eyes

Open my eyes, let me see you
And blow this blinding darkness away
Open my eyes, let me find you
Give me a sign
- The Rasmus

Hermione was halfway to the dungeons Friday evening when she remembered that she didn't have another detention until Monday, and found only mildly surprising the fact that she was disappointed by the thought. Hoping Harry's Occlumency lesson would be a little better this time, she made her way back to Gryffindor Tower lost in thought.

"Hermione, where've you been?"

"What?" She looked up and saw Ron waving her over.

"I forgot I didn't have detention," she explained, dropping her back and sitting down on the arm of Ron's chair.

"Well it's not wonder, seeing how many that slimy git gave you. How many did he give you, anyway?"

"The last one's Monday week."

"Bloody hell. Can you let me curse him next lesson?"

"No, Ron."

"Why not?" he moaned.

Because Professor Snape is a human being and deserves respect as much as you do, Hermione thought, but instead replying out loud, "Because you'll just land yourself in detention as well and have him take more points off of Gryffindor."

"Hmph. I hate the thought of you all alone with that greasy-haired bat every evening … gives me the creeps."

"I can cope, Ron. I don't need you to get into trouble on my account. Besides, I did ask for it by being rude."

"Yeah, well, he deserves it. Slimy git."

"Honestly Ron, you are about as original as Malfoy in your insults sometimes," Hermione sighed. "Just forget it, I'm fine. I'll see you tomorrow, I think I'll go to bed."

--

Sunday

Dear diary,

I ran into Professor Snape again today. Not literally, although it nearly was. Usually he spends the weekends skulking away in his rooms somewhere, but he was at dinner last night and breakfast this morning. I'm sure he didn't use to join in meals unless it was a mandatory requirement – I've never tried to properly observe him before now but I'm positive about this. Did I mention something to him about being more sociable? I can't really remember.

Anyway, we both finished breakfast around the same time and nearly ran into each other outside the Great Hall. He seemed different, almost jittery. I rather stupidly asked him if anything was wrong and he just brushed me off. I suppose there were several other students around at the time, and they all looked at me as if I was barking for caring. Oh well.

Monday's social visit – Hermione no longer thought of them as detentions – started in silence. Snape appeared deep in thought and she didn't want to interrupt. It wasn't until she had to break the quiet to ask him for an ingredient that she started conversation.

"Knut for your thoughts, Professor?"

He jumped slightly, as if he'd almost forgotten she was there. "Oh. Yes. Thank you. Sorry."

"It's okay," Hermione assured him, checking the potion. "Everyone gets lost in dreamland now and again. So what had you so occupied that you nearly added daisy roots instead of adder venom?"

Snape raised an eyebrow. "The last time I checked Miss Granger, it was not the business of a student to poke their noses into teachers' private lives and thought processes … unless, of course, their name happens to be Harry Potter," he added sarcastically.

Hermione gave a dramatic sigh. "And here I thought Potions required intelligence."

"What are you saying?" Snape looked at her strangely, confused.

"Well, up until now I was convinced your apparent dislike of Harry was just a requirement of being an undercover Death Eater," she said casually, not looking at Snape. "Seems it's more than a façade after all. Shame. You really should consider getting to know him better, Professor."

Snape firmly took the ladle from her hands. "Between you and me, I would rather face a basilisk."

"I think the whole school knows that Professor; it's hardly between you and me."

"No, actually, the school is under the impression that I would rather eat basilisk venom, take Peeves to the Yule Ball, and be tied up under an Oculus Directus Jinx in front of twenty-four hours of what Muggles call "reality television". Between those options and getting to know your – friend – better, I would tolerate being in his presence. To a certain extent."

"Well," Hermione said cheerfully, "that's a start, I suppose."

For a moment Snape stared at her with his eyebrows raised, then he extinguished the fire beneath the cauldron, removed the ladle and took a deep breath. "All right. What?"

"What?" Hermione answered, startled.

"I have had plenty of experience with mind games Miss Granger, and I do not mean the magical kind either. So tell me. What is with the interrogation?"

"Oh. Nothing."

"Really," Snape said dryly.

"Fine," Hermione snapped. "You are the most mind-boggling man I have ever met and I have made it a challenge to figure out how you think. Satisfied?"

"I could have said the same about you." The tone in his voice implied Snape found the conversation hilarious.

"Me? What's so confusing about me?"

"One minute you're Miss Goody Two-Shoes wouldn't-break-a-rule, the next minute you're shouting at a teacher and playing mind games to work out the psychology of one person – a trait which is more attributed to my House than yours, if I may say so."

"No you may not."

"That was a compliment."

"Oh." Hermione was thrown. "Well, it was a very well-hidden one."

Snape actually chuckled. He had a really nice smile, Hermione thought before she could help herself.

"Well," he said finally, "you say you've challenged yourself to figure out how my mind works? That should take you a nice long time."

Hermione mock-frowned at him. "I'm up for it."

His mouth twitched in what threatened to be another smile. "Determination. Another Slytherin trait." He fully smirked at the look of horror on Hermione's face. "Dear me, did the Hat make a mistake?"

"Is that a compliment or an insult?" Hermione asked innocently.

"That depends on your point of view."

Hermione considered. "Well, determination is a valued trait in most circumstances. Likewise, ambition and deviousness are not necessarily bad traits, it just depends on how they are used … So, I suppose, I can accept your compliments."

Snape fully laughed this time. When it happened, his usually blank black eyes suddenly sparked with life. Hermione had never seen anything like it, and she had certainly never heard him laugh like that before. The next moment she found herself laughing along with him.

"Oh dear," Snape said finally, once they'd both calmed down, "it's a good thing that potion was finished or it would be ruined now. I think we had better call that a night."

Hermione returned to her dormitory deep in thought. Now Snape had made her think about it, she supposed the House of Slytherin wasn't as evil as it seemed. It had its reputation because of Dark wizards like Voldemort, and bullying gits like Malfoy, because they were the ones that stood out amongst the crowd. To be a power-crazy megalomaniac, ambition, determination and deviousness were required, which was probably the reason why those people ended up in the Slytherin House.

I really feel sorry for the good people in there, she thought as she climbed the Tower. It must be really hard working against that prejudice. I expect a lot of people end up going down that road because the other Houses push them down it.

She yawned, breaking her trail of thought, and a picture of Snape's face lit up with laughter emerged in her mind's eye. She smiled to herself.

Wow. You only have to see that expression to know that Snape's not a bad guy. He seems really nice underneath everything. He must really be lonely keeping up that cover.

As she undressed, Hermione found herself entertaining the thought of suggesting they make the potions sessions a regular occurrence. She found Snape's company both pleasant and entertaining, and was pretty sure he was enjoying them as well.

And, she grinned to herself, now I've seen he's actually got a sense of humour as well. This project is coming along better than I hoped. We should be best buddies within about a fortnight ... That should get an interesting reaction from the boys. Ron would probably say I could do better and it would be the Victor situation all over again ...

Hold on a minute. What? Victor? Ron? Jealous? Why would Ron be ...

Oh my goodness – Am I getting a crush on Snape??

TBC …

Chapter Four is on its way! And I have a beta now, who will soon be going over previous chapters. Thanks Merrin!