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Chapter 1 – Watch where you're going

When Hermione went to bed, she unconsciously looked at the picture of the Golden Trio that stood on her nightstand. She watched the three tiny replicas of them waving, and thought of how everything was starting to change between them. A few days ago Ron had finally gathered the courage to ask her out, and she couldn't help but feel a sting of sadness when she recalled that moment.

"'Mione, could I…" Ron fumbled as he tried to get her attention, "could I speak to you for a second?"

"Sure Ron, what's up?" Hermione smiled innocently as Ron lead her away from the rest of their friends. She knew all too well what this was going to be about.

"I was wondering if.. you know, the next trip to Hogsmeade you'd like to go with me," he said as he turned scarlet, "but j-just the two of us?"

She hated having had to tell him off. Things had been a little rough between them a few days after that, but eventually all that was left was a bit of uneasiness when the two of them were alone. Apparently, Ron hadn't gotten over it yet, since Hermione still caught him looking at her intently during classes or meals. But she was sure he would get over it. She didn't like how they were drifting apart.

However, the conversation had made Hermione realize that after the Yule Ball, she hadn't even cared to look at other men in a romantic way. And those thoughts hadn't left her for the past days. She shifted uneasily in her bed when she thought about how almost everyone she knew in the school had at least dated more than once. Had she been too much of a bookworm for the last few years? She had always been certain, after the drama with Ron and Viktor, that avoiding girly crushes would only help her and her education. And well it had helped right? She was the best student in her year and the Head Girl. What's more, her NEWTs scores had broken records, receiving Outstanding marks in everything.

But it was also true that she sometimes envied the way that Harry and Ginny (or any other couple) looked at each other, wondering how it would feel to have someone look at her in such a way. A while later, sleep found Hermione musing about her chances of finding somebody that would suit her. Merlin knew she wasn't like any other girl.

She woke up at 6 o'clock and headed decidedly to the bathroom, resolute to take more care in her appearance. After she washed her teeth, she looked at herself for a while in the mirror and started to tame her hair. The years had changed it a bit for the better, but it was still a complete wreck in the mornings. However, when she was finished, she realized it wasn't enough. Today, Hermione Granger wanted to feel attractive, and having that bushy mess on top of her head didn't help at all. As she remembered how good the looks she receive in the Yule Ball felt, she went back to her room. In the bottom of her trunk Hermione found a Thelma's Taming Time Hair Balm that Fleur had given her last Christmas. Although she found it as disrespectful as hell at the time, she now thanked her for her lack of manners.

It really was magic. After she applied it, her hair fell in soft curls, and had a certain shine to it. She was really pleased. She eyed the make-up kit that belonged to Lavender and wondered if she should apply some. 'Maybe just a little eyeliner', she thought while she looked at the mirror. Afterwards, she was more than pleased with herself and left for the Common Room hoping to receive different looks from her classmates.

-/-

"Mione y-you look different today," Ron stammered when Hermione sat on the Gryffindor table next to Harry, who also seemed kind of surprised. "Yeah…" he said, as if he couldn't place what had changed. She smiled as she looked at the plate of bacon. She felt her plan was working.

"Thank you, guys" she said absentmindedly, as she helped herself with some toast.

-/-

Later in the day, she found herself being the first student in the Potions classroom. Snape acknowledged her with a simple nod, and she did the same. There was something about him that she could quite put her finger on, an air of mystery that surrounded him. Hermione was interrupted from her reverie by the sound of students sitting in their stools.

"I expect a vial with the completed potion by the end of the period", Snape snarled in his usual condescending manner. Hermione started immediately, not wanting to get in the wrong side of Snape when he was in one of his moods.

Half an hour later, Hermione was smirking at her potion, which had finally achieved the dark purple colour it was supposed to. Tired, she very ungraciously plopped down on her stool, only to find her back pressed against someone's body. Blushing furiously, Hermione stood up and turned around to face… Snape. She was thankful that everybody was too immersed in their potions to notice anything.

"I-I'm sorry, Sir. I didn't notice y-you were standing there" she said, in almost a whisper. She looked at Snape and couldn't help locking eyes with him. She felt a shiver in her spine.

"It's alright, Miss Granger. I failed to let you know I was here", he said in a silky voice Hermione had never noted on him. As he returned to his desk, Hermione sighed and tried to focus on her potion. However, she still felt her back tingling from touching Snape's body. Oh, was she in trouble.

-/-

As she strode from her Arithmancy lesson towards Muggle Studies, which was on the other side of the castle, Hermione started to wonder about what had happened in the Potion's classroom. Did she feel attracted to him? Before today, she hadn't thought of him as anything but a tormented wizard. Although, unlike Harry and Ron, she had never badmouthed him and understood where his true loyalties were. Still, going from that to finding him attractive was a big step. Of course, she knew she'd never be attracted to someone because of their good looks or great bodies. Hermione would always put intellect on the top of the list. After all, she hadn't rejected Ron for no reason. Anyway, it wasn't like she was drooling after Snape. Not at all. She had just felt some arousal when their bodies touched. Surely because of her thoughts about couple last night. Yes, that was probably it. But just as Hermione was starting to feel convinced with her reasoning, she collided into a wall. Or at least she thought so.

She opened her eyes and met Snape's black ones. She instantly felt his hands on her hips, probably steadying her. 'But they do feel incredible'. Then she noticed she had placed her arms on his shoulders, and felt so embarrassed she couldn't avoid her cheeks turning a deep crimson red. She stared at her feet before daring to talk. Hermione felt a burning sensation where his hands met her hips.

"P-Professor, I'm sorry, I-I wasn't watching were I was going" she said, and looked at up at him when he failed to respond, leaning an inch closer. And, dammit, when she saw his eyes locked with hers, she couldn't suppress that tingle climbing up her spine. This was turning into arousal too quickly. Their bodies were completely touching each other's and Hermione couldn't help but wonder how good his lips would taste, never breaking eye contact. She turned an even deeper shade of red. He noticed her blush and smirked good-heartedly at her, before they broke apart.

He didn't say anything while levitating her books towards her. And neither did she. She just took hold of them and looked up at him one more time before resuming her path. However, when she was already a few steps away, she felt him gently grab her arm from behind and lean softly into her. She felt the tingle escape to her lower regions. Oh, she was ever so lost.

"Miss Granger… please do watch where your going next time" he whispered, his voice as velvety as ever, "I wouldn't want to be forced into deducting House Points for inappropriate thoughts ".

A/N: Ok, so let's be honest, if you don't review I will be convinced that this story is better suited for the trash can than this site. BTW, if anybody would like to beta me, I'd be bouncing of my chair with happiness. Thanks for reading. And although I have a somewhat formed idea of what should happen next, suggestions are more than welcome.

longway