Chapter 11:

The Confrontation

She watched the flash of shock cross his face, and she knew she had her man. "Deductive reasoning," Hermione said with a shrug, "all the clues were there, I just had to put all the pieces into a line and fit the puzzle together."

"And who do you think it is?" Snape said with his usual sneer, his arms crossed in front of him as he looked down at the girl standing in front of him. Hoping that she didn't really figure it out, that he would have more time to put up a wall to hold back the rejection he was sure he was about to face.

"I think you know," she snapped back, taking a couple of steps closer so she was standing face to chest with the man, "after all, your red pen marks on all my papers throughout school gave it all away."

He looked down at her, so close to him that all he had to do was bend his head down just slightly and their skin would connect. It tempted him, but he had to reign in temptation or his reputation might be demolished. "Perhaps we should discuss this in my quarters," he said taking a step back and uncrossing his arms so they hung at his side.

She nodded and followed him down to his dungeon lair, glad that she had the strength to confront him about all of this. She just wanted to get this all sorted out and continue on with life, with or without him in it. She had to admit that she preferred the former.

She sat in one of the large chairs, not paying much attention to anything other than the man in front of her. "I'm right, aren't I?" she asked looking up at him. His nod was the only confirmation he gave while he was studying her, trying to think of something to say.

"It started awhile ago," he started a few minutes later, turning away from her, "I was having dreams, dreams about us. It was only when you hugged me that I had the stupid idea of giving you those trinkets of my 'affection'. Then you started having romantic ideas, and I was lost."

"I think it was sweet," Hermione interrupted, making him turn to face her, "and I was hoping it was someone I cared about from the start, looks like I got what I wanted after all."

He stared at her blankly, unable to comprehend what she had said. It didn't sink in until she had sprung up and wrapped her arms around him. Reflexes kicked in and he pulled her in closer, resting his head on her head, content to just hold her for the moment.

She pulled away from him and gave him an awkward smile, "Remember that potion that we made together? The one to negate dreams? I was dreaming of you, that's why I needed it."

This conversation was awkward for both of them, neither one being very sociable, the effects of confessing their feelings had them both shifting awkwardly. It was Snape's turn to make a 'move' and he slowly brought his lips to hers, placing a chaste kiss on them before pulling back and giving her a questioning look.

She let out a nervous laugh and reached out to lace her fingers with his, doing her best to calm both of their racing pulses. "This is not what I expected when I took this job," Hermione said with a smile, "Professor Snape, the greasy bat of the dungeons, being the person that haunted my nights, gave me gifts, and was my emotional support when I was loosing myself to confusion. Now he's mine."

He gave her a half-smile at the last part, bringing her hand up to his lips and giving her palm a gentle kiss, "Yes. However, it's getting late and I have work I need to finish tonight, can I walk you to your rooms?"

She nodded and walked with him for the few minutes it took to get to her quarters. She looked up at him; hand on the doorknob, feeling like a lost school girl as she wondered if he would still want her tomorrow.

He smirked, reading what was going through her mind easily on her face. "Don't worry, Hermione, I'll see you at breakfast tomorrow," he whispered before bringing his lips down on hers, caressing them lightly before pulling away.

They lingered in the hallway for a few more minutes, trying to soak in everything that had happened in the past hour or so. Content to just stand there, holding each others hands. When Snape finally pulled away, Hermione watched him go before going into her room and lying down on her bed.

Sure, Severus was far from romantic, and their relationship was bound to have a lot of rough patches, but they had been through a lot together already. Friendship, companionship, and dare she think it love could be built on what they had been through. And as she lay there thinking about these things, she drifted off into the best sleep she had ever had, knowing that somewhere in the old castle someone was thinking of her too.

AN: Ok, I'm done with this story now… after all, if I tried going on with it I might blow a fuse. I'm growing out of the Hermione/Snape phase of my life (gasp!) and need to find some other paring to occupy my time.