A/N: This was going to be a 2-chapter story, but then ideas just kept coming to be about a 3rd to wrap it up.
He lay in bed, listening to the sound of the shower running in the next room.
So much had changed in the blink of an eye. In an instant, he had been transported from the moment of his death in the darkest times the wizarding world had ever known to a relatively peaceful future. Twelve years had passed in a single gasped breath.
The world had gone on without him, as he had always known it would. He had just never expected to catch up with it.
He had never even known that he had wanted to survive the war until the snake had bitten him, until deep within himself he had felt the instinctive urge to survive. He had waited for death for so many years, but it was only by coming so close to it that he had realized it was not what he wanted. In that moment, he had felt an irrepressible urge to live. Maybe it was just that part of himself that always wanted what he couldn't have, but nevertheless he wanted it more strongly than he had ever wanted anything.
In that wildly desperate moment, he had scrawled her name in his own blood because despite all the years he had spent criticizing her in his classroom, in that moment where his life depended on it, he knew that she was the only one with both the ability and the will. It could be no one else.
And he had been right. Against all odds, his crazy plan had worked, had worked because she had made it work, he reminded himself. He placed his hand on his chest, feeling the steady rhythm of his own heartbeat under his fingers, still filled with wonder at the fact he was alive while another version of himself had been rotting in the ground for twelve years. A strange feeling crept up in him. He guessed it might be hope. Both his masters were dead, had been dead for quite some time now in fact. He was free at last and he felt, for the first time in his life, that anything might be possible.
His attention turned once more to the sound of the shower. Who was this woman he had spent the night with? He had never thought of her in that way, not when she had been his student. Why had he been so eager to jump into bed with her now?
He told himself that he had done it out of gratitude, since she had been kind enough to devote her life to his survival, but he knew himself well enough to know that was a lie. He was a Slytherin, he never did anything that wasn't in his own best interest. The truth was that he wanted her.
He had caught only a glimpse of her, of the woman she had become. She was the woman who had lived through too much and who then had taken on even more. He would never have allowed anyone to know him as well as she had gotten to, but he hadn't been here to slam his journals shut and insist that she stop invading his privacy. It was a relief and somewhat of a surprise that someone had gotten close enough to see his very soul and had not been scared away. But although she had read every line of his soul, she still remained a mystery to him.
Not that he had any complaints about the activities that had kept them up half the night....he thought back fondly over the memories. She had insisted it was for her research, to test the effects of long-range time travel on stamina. He had provided her with conclusive evidence that stamina was unaffected. But she was a scientist at heart and was never satisfied by a single trial.
He ached just thinking about her, just thinking about the things he had promised to do to her after she finished her shower...
The sound of footsteps echoed up from the ground floor, shaking him from his thoughts. He instinctively reached for his wand.
Voldemort was dead, but he had not yet asked about what new dangers this time might hold.
"Hermione?" A voice called from downstairs. It was a voice that had changed, had grown deeper and more wearied in the intervening years, but a voice that was nonetheless recognizable.
He pulled on a pair of pants and stepped out into the hallway. She had given Harry Potter open floo access to his house…of course. He would have to put a quick end that as soon as the man left.
"Hermione?" came the call again, this time followed by quick footsteps on the stairs.
Severus tucked his wand into his pants and waited.
The man reached the top of the stairs, a look of shock washing over his face.
"Professor," he whispered, as if unsure whether or not the dark wizard he saw was real or merely a hallucination, pulled from his childhood memories.
"Mister Potter," Severus replied scathingly, satisfied to see the wizard flinch. Twelve years of his absence had obviously done nothing to erase the memories of the boy's experiences in his classroom.
The younger wizard's wand was out and pointed at him before he could react. So he actually became an auror then, a part of his mind remarked.
"What have you done with Hermione?"
He smirked…Oh, if he only knew the things I've done with her.
"Seve-rus," a voice called from behind the closed bedroom door. Her voice had a tone, that tone, that unmistakably feminine tone that seeped with sex. By the way Potter's jaw fell open at the sound, he suspected that even the wizard who had barely passed his potions classes knew what the tone meant.
The door flew open and she bounded out, clad only in one of his white dress shirts, unbuttoned.
"I thought I told you to stay in bed," she pouted as she stepped into the hallway, "I wasn't done with you yet. I wanted…" she stopped short as she spotted the hallway's third occupant.
"Harry," she whispered and blushed, biting her lip as her eyes dropped to the floor.
"What are you doing here?"
"I was worried about you."
She waved her hand and the buttons on the shirt discretely slipped themselves through their holes.
"You were supposed to marry Ron yesterday." He sounded unsurprised that she hadn't shown up.
"I told him he shouldn't try again."
His eyes flickered once more to Severus.
"So all your research was successful."
He lowered his wand, looking sheepish for the first time and running his hand nervously through his hair.
"I'm sorry, Professor. I thought for years about what I would say to you when you finally reappeared...I thought of a lot of things I would like to say, but none of them involved sticking my wand in your face and threatening you. I just wasn't sure how you would react when you found out that Hermione had been living in your house. I thought you might be angry. But I guess you reacted better than expected." He glanced disapprovingly once more to Hermione's bare legs and barely-covered bum.
"What will you do now?" He asked her.
"I don't know."
"You can stay with me if you need to. I'll make sure that Ron doesn't come over if you don't want to talk to him."
She seemed hesitant, sneaking a peek at the man out of the corner of her eye.
"You're welcome to stay here for as long as you wish," Severus told her, "days, weeks, months," his eyes said forever.
"If you wouldn't mind leaving, Potter, I believe I made some promises to Miss Granger which I intend to keep. These promises involve things you would probably prefer not to be around to witness."
"Yes, sir," he mumbled, making his way towards the staircase.
"And you," he turned to her, slipping his arms inside the shirt and wrapping them around her soft body. "I believe it's time to pick up where we left off."
"Yes, sir," she replied.
The morning faded to afternoon. He drifted off to sleep in the sticky aftermath of sex. She lay next to him and watched him sleep.
It shouldn't have surprised anyone. She was the ultimate bookworm, after all. She had fallen in love with the man through his words. It was his journals, somewhat more than a lab book, although she wouldn't dare say diary in his presence. They were chronicles of his experiments, providing insight into his brilliant mind with notes scribbled into the margins, complaining about his students, complaining about Dumbledore, random observations on the wizarding world.
She had seen it right away, the honesty he poured into these journals. Through years of keeping up his facades for everyone else, he needed somewhere he could bare his soul each night so that it didn't come slipping out at inopportune moments during the day. And she had read every single word.
And now it was his turn, she thought as she slipped quietly out of bed. He didn't stir as she moved the journals to the nightstand next to him so that he could read them when he woke. These were her journals, that she had kept through the years of her research.
After all, it was only fair.