Co-written with Warded Portal

When Snape had realised that he wasn't dead, and that he wasn't going to die, he'd had two thoughts on his mind: to get absolutely ragingly, gloriously drunk, and then to get laid.

In the confusion that followed the battle at Hogwarts, he had managed to stagger into St Mungo's and get the necessary treatment for snakebite. He was the Headmaster of Hogwarts, and they assumed he had been injured defending the children.

He had been, close enough, but he knew that once the story came out of how he had nearly met his end, his welcome would quickly cool, there would be an Auror on the door, and the only kisses he would get would be from a Dementor.

He had stared at the ceiling and contemplated his future. There would be no effort spared to track him down, even if he left the country, and even ceasing to use magic would only protect him for a while. And, really, what was the point? He may not have any friends, the last year had seen to that, but he still shrank from a life lived on his own.

So, he had decided to take his chances with a court case, hope the Old Bastard had had something in mind to secure his freedom, but before that, just in case, he would see to the getting drunk and the getting laid. He'd been saving himself for some dream of Lily Evans all his life, it felt, and it was time to let that go.

Ordinarily, drinking and extremes of sexual performance did not go hand in hand. Ordinarily, was not a rule that applied to potions masters. This hadn't occurred to the sharp-eyed Madam with whom he'd bargained for a week's debauch for the princely sum of 100 galleons.

She'd had visions of him passing out after the first hour in a drunken stupor, and her expression had grown increasingly pinched as he had drunk his way through bottle after bottle of wine and still managed to tup. He'd worked his way through all of the girls, and had been contemplating taking on two at a time to liven up proceedings when his orgy had been brought to a clattering halt.

He'd been sprawled on the bed, sucking on a bottle of inferior red, whilst a whore was sucking on him, Lucius had walked in, trailing the Madam behind him. The whore had jumped, her teeth had closed around his cock, and Severus had squealed in agony. He hadn't intended to wade in the deeper waters of pain as pleasure, and that had bloody hurt.

"You bastard," he said to Lucius. "I could have been killed. Haven't you heard of knocking?" It would have been just his luck to survive the Dark Lord only to be finished off by an involuntary cock amputation.

"I'm sorry, sir, but he would insist." The madam plucked at Lucius' sleeve, trying to persuade him to leave the room.

He shook her off, with a poisonous glare. "Out!" he hissed. "Both of you, now!"

The women went, the tart not even stopping to gather up her clothes, what few of them there were.

"Merlin, it stinks in here." Lucius strode over to the curtains, flung them apart, and opened the window. Severus didn't think it improved the atmosphere, but Lucius didn't look like a man interested in debate.

"It's a brothel," he replied, and pulled the sheet over his much-abused cock. "I wasn't paying for the ambiance."

"What the hell are you thinking?"

"I should think that's fairly obvious," Severus said sourly. "The condemned man ate a hearty breakfast and all that."

Lucius sat down on the edge of the bed, and Severus pulled the sheet tighter to him. Lucius was a married man, but there were rumours... Mind you, there were rumours about him as well, and he knew they weren't true. Or hadn't been.

Lucius frowned at him. "Do you mean they didn't explain...?"

"What? I've got a full pardon?" Severus felt something odd move in his stomach, which he thought might be hope, though he hadn't felt that for a long time.

"Don't be an arse. I meant about being Headmaster?"

"I'm not Headmaster now." Severus blinked. "Er, am I?"

"Of course you are. Didn't you read the bloody contract?" Lucius glared at him, making him feel like an ickle firstie under the gaze of a prefect, yet again. "Never mind, we have to get you back to the school, and then I can explain it all to you. Where are your clothes?"

"Er, there." Severus waved a hand to the shabby chair in the corner. "How am I still Headmaster?"

"De bene gesserit," Lucius replied. "Ringing any bells?"

"Fuck." Severus sat bolt upright, releasing his death grip on the sheet, as a loud carillon rang in his head. "Fuck, and fuck again. Oh fucking fuck fuck fuck."

"I see the knut has dropped at last." Lucius summoned Severus' clothes with a negligent wave of his hand.

"Fuck," said Severus, as his trousers hit him squarely in the face. "Was that strictly necessary?"

"I've just saved you from a lifetime in Azkaban. I should bloody say it is." And then Lucius grinned like a fox that's seen a particularly juicy pheasant. "How the Ministry is going to scream about this."

It was difficult to dress and Floo at the same time, but Severus had managed it, though he kept up a constant stream of bad language while he did so. It was unfortunate that Minerva was in the Headmaster's office when he and Lucius came bursting out of the fire, and even more unfortunate that he hadn't managed to tuck away all of his person before he had arrived.

She let out a screech that would have made a banshee envious. "You! You're dead! What are you doing here?"

"I should think that's obvious, Minerva," Severus said, as smoothly as someone can who is still arranging his clothing. "I am Headmaster, after all, and there is much to be done."

"You... I... What..." she said.

"Don't you have something important to do?" Severus moved towards her and she gave way before him.

"Well, there are the repairs to see to," she replied, old habits making her answer him as if he had a right to know.

"Quite so." Another couple of steps saw her next to the door.

"Though I don't see what he's doing here." Minerva glared at Lucius who was smiling at the scene being played out before him.

"Oh, he's here about Draco's schooling."

"I hope he doesn't expect that Draco will be able to return here." Minerva pursed her lips, entirely distracted by the prospect of having the near-assassin of the previous but one Headmaster back at the school.

"Obviously not," Lucius put in, determined to soothe the flames of controversy. "Which is why Severus is going to advise me on alternative schooling methods."

"Humph," Minerva said, then turned on her heel to leave, slamming the door behind her.

"That went well," Lucius remarked, settling down in the wide chair behind the Headmaster's desk. "Bearing in mind you were gibbering."

"That was just shock." Severus stared pointedly at Lucius, who didn't move.

"Yours, or hers?"

"It'd take more than Minerva McGonagall to face me down," Severus replied. "Now explain about this damned contract."

"When the school was founded, the Ministry started poking its nose in – as the Ministry does – and this was resented somewhat. After a couple of years of forceful argument, a settlement was reached – the Headmaster cannot be removed from his post by the Ministry unless he has committed an offence serious enough to get him imprisoned in Azkaban. Until he does, the story goes, the very walls of Hogwarts are bound to protect him."

There was a murmur from the portraits on the walls, and venerable heads nodded in agreement.

"There is the small difficulty of the method of accession to your current position, but I don't think that's insuperable." Lucius finally rose from his seat, and patted him on the shoulder. "Trust me."

Minerva was a formidable woman, who recovered her senses barely five minutes after being bullied from the Headmaster's – from her – office, and ten minutes later she had sent a message to Kingsley telling him about the resurrection of Severus Snape.

Kingsley had a lot to do, so it was a week before two Aurors turned up to investigate.

They didn't even make it to the Headmaster's office; the staircases turned against them.

The next group of Aurors didn't even make it past the front gate, which closed against them and wouldn't let them pass, even as they protested that they had warrants.

The Ministry might be stupid, but it was persistent, and was not to be denied. The Headmaster might be protected, but he was not invulnerable – a request for a meeting, duly signed, sealed and delivered had to be honoured.

One was received, arrangements made, and a month after the fall of Voldemort, Percy Weasley and assistant entered the school as the duly appointed representative of the Ministry to discuss staffing issues.

They were shown to the Headmaster's office, and greeted by a sardonically smiling Snape who had found that having Hogwarts on his side had made life rather more fun than it had been for some time. He didn't want to stay in the blessed job, and there was nothing as much fun as some quiet blackmail.

"Weasley," he said. "And Miss Granger. How nice of you to call."

"Professor," Weasley replied.

"Headmaster," said Miss Granger. She looked a lot older than when he had last seen her, crossing the line from teenager to woman very effectively. With her hair up in a bun, she was clearly trying to look sensible and mature. What she looked like was a woman who needed to be let loose.

Weasley stared at her for a second. "I'm sure you know why we're here, Headmaster."

"I imagine you want to discuss the outstanding repairs to the school." Professor Snape drew a leather folder towards him, and opened it with a flourish. "This is what I have itemised so far."

Percy made no move to pick up the piece of paper. "It's more a matter of your appointment, Headmaster."

"It's my understanding that Headmaster is a position for life," he replied, and arched an eyebrow as if he were enquiring as to the whereabouts of some missing homework.

"If," Percy said, laying heaving stress on the syllable, "the appointment were valid in the first place. Your actions in bringing about the death of Albus Dumbledore – though understandable in the circumstances – are such that..."

"They happened before my appointment, and therefore are irrelevant." Snape's smile broadened. "In fact, you could argue that they had been endorsed by the Ministry simply by the appointment. Certainly, it doesn't allow you to overturn the appointment."

Percy, a veteran of Ministry meetings, didn't gape., but tried another tack. "Surely you don't want to spend your time at Hogwarts."

Snape shrugged. "Not especially, but I doubt I would like the alternatives on offer."

"I'm sure something could be arranged." Percy tried to look Important, merely achieving Constipated.

"When it is, let me know." Snape pushed the paper over to Weasley again, who took it as a sign to leave, tucking it into his briefcase.

Having tried persuasion, the Ministry tried scandal.

The report of his sojourn in the brothel was splashed across page three of the Daily Prophet – the lurid details were too saucy for the front page – including a breathless report from someone (under strict conditions of anonymity, with a picture of a dark silhouette instead of a person by the side) as to his stamina.

The only effect this had was to generate a lot of letters to the Prophet about his antics, and a fair few to Severus himself asking for his company for the evening, and some very open-eyed looks from the students when school started.

It also brought three Slytherin sixth formers to his office late at night – at the same time – to make an interesting offer. After they spent six weeks in detention, the news spread quickly that he wasn't interested.

Hermione looked at him over the top of her teacup. She'd decided that he couldn't intimidate her. She was a Ministry official doing her job. And her job, most days, was to be showered with abuse. She'd survived his Potions class. This couldn't be much different.

"I'm here to ask for your resignation."

Snape made no move towards his own teacup, but assessed her coolly, looking for weaknesses. "Are you indeed? I have to wonder at the Ministry's tactics - do they think my heart will be softened by a pretty woman?"

Hermione rolled her eyes. "There's no need for insults, Headmaster. I know I'm unwanted here." She took a sip from her tea and licked her lips. "Simply put, your previous alliance with the Ministry notwithstanding, you're damaged goods."

"I wouldn't dream of insulting a representative of such an august organ of government, and I certainly wouldn't insult a pretty woman." He tipped his head, eyes lingering on her mouth, and smiled. "And I think damaged is putting it a little strongly, don't you?"

"Please," she scoffed. "I think it's an accurate description. I think you're the lingering vestige of a dying body. You and your," she coughed conspicuously, "friends are no longer in vogue. It's time to go. Sir."

"Friends?" he said, and that one syllable carried a world of bitterness. "One, rather, who cared to find out what happened to me rather than leaving me to die on a cold, wooden floor. If I'm a lingering vestige at all, it's no thanks to you."

She sat forward in her chair, her cup clattering on its saucer. "Now, just a minute here. It isn't as if you didn't spontaneously ooze your memories onto the floor. How was I supposed to know a Legilimens could do that at will?"

"And it didn't occur to you to do something as simple as check my pulse, even send someone back to carry my corpse somewhere it could have a decent burial?" He rose to his feet, anger bringing him to life.

"Well, forgive me, sir, but it wasn't my decision to leave you there!" She caught herself shouting back and schooled her voice to a more level tone. "And even if it was my decision, what the hell am I supposed to say at headquarters? 'Oh look what the cat dragged in!' You made yourself persona non grata. If you want to retain any shred of dignity, and judging by the Prophet, I'd say that was more of a wisp than anything, I'd suggest you take your leave now before they drag you down the front steps and into the waiting arms of a Dementor!"

"All this talk of kissing is giving me ideas." His eyes narrowed, hard as flint. "I'll tell you my price for a resignation - and it's just gone up." He moved round the desk, his robes flaring behind him. "I would have settled for a pardon, perhaps a little money to set me up in a new business, but now..." He leaned in, forcing her to retreat, sinking back into the chair. "Now, I want you as part of the deal."

"I-- What!?"

"You sit there with your smug air, as if you were any different to me, as if you were right and I were wrong, as if any of it matters to your lords and masters other than how big an embarrassment you are."

She looked up at him in complete confusion.

"Do you think they actually care? About anything? Other than themselves?"

Her cheeks flushed and she sputtered, completely at a loss for words, and as he watched, consternation unfolded into white hot fury. "At least I'm doing something worthwhile."

"Are you really? I doubt they let you within an inch of anything worthwhile. You have turned into nothing more than a Ministry toady, and I had expected better from you."

"And so you think I'll just do anything to get your signature, because ... I don't understand."

"It's quite simple. I've spent all my life doing what others want. Now I'm doing what I want. You sit there all flushed and angry and full of spirit that even the Ministry hasn't succeeded in knocking out of you, and I want that. I want you. And at least I'm giving you the courtesy of honesty, which is more than they will."

She was so incensed, she was shaking. But she couldn't look away. Couldn't have looked away from him if her very life had depended on it.

He drew back a little, eyes fixed on hers, and added, "Miss Granger, I would very much like you to suck my cock."

She snorted in disgust. "If that's your official answer, I'll be sure to put that in my report. Now if you'll excuse me," she stood, sliding passed him, very careful not to make any physical contact, "I'll just show myself out."

"You do that, Miss Granger. I'll expect your answer next week."

"Don't hold your breath, Headmaster."

"And when you get done with those files, you can go down to Research and bring me up all the files on the Bathmorton case. There are six of them."

"Six files?" Hermione called into the back office.

"No," Percy stuck his head out to correct her. "Six boxes."

"Don't you have a research assistant for all of this?"

He didn't answer. He didn't really have to. She knew his thoughts on the matter. She checked the time and cursed softly. Robert was just going to have to wait until she was done with this grudge work.

Robert Haley, son of a well-known Pureblood family, heir to his father's law practise, was a bit of a wet blanket, she'd decided. They'd gone on three dates, and even dancing once, though if that was what he considered dancing, she wasn't in a rush to get him in bed. He was, however, attentive. It was his one positive quality.

"So, hot mama, what do you say to a night on the town?"

"Robert, it's Thursday. Unlike some I still have work tomorrow."

"Oh. Right. Well. Erm. Dinner then?"

"Yeah, dinner sounds lovely. And a pint."

"No, not a pint for you, my sweet. A proper bottle of something fizzy and sweet."

Hermione rolled her eyes. She hated sweet and fizzy, even if it was alcoholic. Nevertheless, she let him order and she sipped her drink in the bar while he tried desperately to negotiate with the maitre'd for a table.

Snape would never have even noticed the boy had Lucius not pointed him out. "Do I know the Haleys?" he asked, surveying the eager young man attending to Granger. "He seems entirely forgettable."

"If his father hadn't taken him on, well..." Lucius shrugged elegantly, conveniently ignoring his own propensity to purchase favours for his son. "Not the sharpest wand in the sheath by any means."

"She must be bored rigid."

"You don't think that acquaintance with Potter would have accustomed her to puerile chatter?" Lucius arched an eyebrow.

"That was enlivened by people trying to kill them. It does tend to break up the tedium," Severus said wryly.

Lucius smiled in acknowledgement of the hit, though there was a hint of sharpness about the eyes. "Perhaps you should go over and talk to the girl. Break up the tedium. I'm sure you have lots to discuss about Hogwarts, and that would surely be preferable to another minute's conversation with the Haley boy. I sat next to him at dinner once; he talked business all evening long, and preferred the rosé to burgundy."

Snape found the idea of ruining Hermione Granger's evening too enticing to pass up. Besides, he'd been taken with the way she flushed when he'd made his offer to resign.

Hermione wasn't one given to wool gathering, but when Snape appeared in the chair next to her, it was all she could do to stifle a squeak. "Fancy meeting you here, Headmaster."

"I see you have a gentleman friend in tow. Don't worry. I like the idea that you'd practise your skills before the final oral exam." He quirked an eyebrow at her, watching as she flushed all the way down her neck and across the top of her cleavage.

"Do you get off on being rude to people?" she snapped. "I've no intention of... you know..." She waved her hands. "With either of you."

"It's a recently discovered pleasure," he replied. "Now that I've the freedom to speak my mind, I do. You've no idea how refreshing it is at long last to be able to tell Ministry functionaries to sod off."

"That wasn't quite what you said to me."

"I was referring to the charming Percy."

Hermione said nothing to that. She had her own fervently held opinions on Percy Weasley, but she wasn't allowed to call her boss an incompetent control freak.

"Darling? Is your friend joining us for dinner? Because I only just got us a table for two?"

Hermione winced at the wet noodle that was her date's spine. "No, Robert. Professor Snape --"

"Haley. You were in my Advanced Potions, weren't you?" It wasn't a question.

Robert hemmed and hawed, like he'd just been called to account for three feet of parchment on the uses of Dragon's Blood, only discover he'd written it on Dragon's Hood instead. "Sir..."

"I thought so." He crooked a finger at the waiter. "I'd be only too happy to join you. If you'd convey my apologies to Mr. Malfoy, I've received a better offer for the evening."

Hermione watched the waiter traverse the bar to deliver his message with wide eyes. Lucius looked across the room at her, his glance coolly assessing her date, her hair, and her situation. He nodded at Severus with a look of amusement, then stood.

Robert's babble trying to explain that he was on a date with Hermione and didn't really want to share his table, perhaps another time was interrupted by Lucius. "I shall leave you to it, Severus. Don't keep him up too late, Miss Granger. He's barely convalescing, and should be in bed as soon as possible." Lucius' tone practically leered.

"Did you tell him...?" Hermione hissed, as soon as Lucius' back was turned, and Robert was safely engaged with making fresh arrangements.

"Not at all." Severus tilted his head on one side, eyes resting on her cleavage. "He just thinks I want under your robes tonight. It isn't a bad idea as ideas go."

"You're a right bastard, you know that?" She tugged her robes over the bare skin and glared at him. "Don't you have a brothel account to tend to your needs? Or is it Rita Skeeter you're banging, and she's making up the rest of that drivel to buoy your ego, hmm?"

Snape laughed, something short of a guffaw, but still full-blooded. "You mean the Ministry's feeble attempts to unseat me, so I can go straight to Azkaban? It was all true, though I..."

"I'm glad to see you're all getting on well," Robert said, interrupting. "That's nice but our table's ready."

He shot Hermione an imploring look, willing her to get rid of Snape, which she ignored. If he wasn't prepared to stand up for himself, Hermione wasn't going to step in. She'd had enough of that over the last eight years to last a lifetime.

It was Snape, though, who held out her chair so she could be seated. And it was Snape who vetoed Robert's first choice of wine, for another, marginally more expensive, but infinitely better bottle.

"So I gather you two, erm, work together? Or something?"

Snape opened his mouth to answer but Hermione beat him to the punch. "We're in the midst of contract negotiations. Ministry business. You understand." She glared at Snape.

"You suck all the joy out of it, Miss Granger. Make it sound like it's nothing more than a business transaction."

"Well, you'd be the expert on that sort of transaction, now. I've never had the need for such -- negotiations. Robert, would you pass the salt? Thank you."

"You seem to have this one well trained. Are you a cunning linguist as well, Robert?"

"I'm sorry?"

"Are you any good with foreign languages, is what he asked," Hermione said sharply.

"Oh, no, not really. I've never seemed to have the knack." Robert replied.

Hermione wanted to slap him for being so humble, and for completely missing the point.

"And as I recall his potion's technique wasn't up to much either," Severus murmured. "Not really much hope for you there either, Miss Granger."

Hermione choked on her wine. She found she couldn't look away from Snape's long, dexterous fingers. "Professor, I think you'd know by now, it's not the size of the stirring rod, it's the motion of the potion. And if I did, Merlin forfend, concede to your contract demands, I imagined you'd find yourself completely and utterly unable to fulfil your side of the bargain. And then really, the Ministry would be forced to see you removed from the position. Failure to perform, I believe the clause is."

"I assure you that I always meet my obligations," he replied. "In full. One way or another." He turned his hands, flexing his long fingers, watching the way her eyes were following his movements.

She looked up and flushed, knowing she'd been caught. She didn't dare look away from him now. The heat between them should have melted the tapers.

Poor Robert could only look back and forth between them. "Well, Professor, that's - erm - good to know. One should never shirk from one's obligations, wot? Did Mister Malfoy say when he'd -"

"Severus, in all seriousness, you served the Order with bravery and distinction. Back down now before you truly do end up in Azkaban. I'll bring you a contract you can sign without shame. The Ministry - " She paused to correct herself. "iI/i don't want to see you humiliated."

"Your help would be appreciated," he said, slowly and thoughtfully. "And yet I feel I should insist on the performance of all the contract. I want it all." His voice deepened, sounding rougher than usual.

She glared. Robert sat still as a bird caught between a hawk and a serpent. "In your dreams," she answered, her own voice lower than usual.

"Who wants espresso? Oh waiter!"

Snape stood, his chair scraping ominously. "I think I hear my mother calling," he drawled. He gathered his robes as Hermione watched him, her eyes filled with a fire he hadn't seen since her days at Hogwarts. He was dimly aware of Robert babbling something in his ear as he bent and took her hand, laying a chaste but warm kiss across the back of her knuckles. "Until next time, Miss Granger?"

She watched him go with narrowed eyes, wondering quite what he was up to.

"I didn't know you and Professor Snape were close," Robert said.

"We're not," she replied, still watching his black shape recede.

"You seemed awfully pally for someone who isn't close, and I'm not sure that you should really be friends with someone like that. He's not suitable."

"Oh Robert," Hermione said, with perfect calm. "Fuck off."

Robert just gaped at her, repeating his impression of a fish about to be gaffed.

"I'll talk to who I like. You'd only be entitled to an opinion if you'd actually done anything in the war against Voldemort, other than hiding in your daddy's office. And even then, I'd still tell you to fuck off. Professor Snape is rude, obnoxious and a complete bastard, and he's still worth ten of you!"

Hermione dabbed at her lips with the napkin, threw it down on the table, and stood up. "Don't bother calling," she said. "I'm going to be very busy over the next twenty years, and will be unavailable."

She left him with the bill. He could afford it; more than that, he deserved it.

Gossip doesn't need Owls to propagate round the Wizarding World. By the time Hermione had reached her flat, the news that she'd quarrelled with Robert had been whispered to the sister of the waiter, who told it to her mother, who passed it on to her best friend, until it circled round and made its way to the ear of Lucius Malfoy.

Who spared no time in passing the news on to Severus by owl.


Apparently the Granger woman - you have noticed how nicely she's grown up - was defending your honour after you left last night.

I won't go so far as to say she's fond of you. She did call you obnoxious, after all. But you have an opportunity there. Don't squander it.


He didn't hold his breath, but he did spend a great deal of time thinking about Hermione Granger in the following week. It made the sheer mind-sucking boredom of his routine pass a little quicker. It replaced irritating Minerva as his favourite activity.

He had no expectation of her saying yes, but it was such a delight to see her flustered. If he didn't know better, he'd say she'd been rather aroused by his rudeness. Apparently, Miss Goodie Two Shoes fancied the bad boys. It gave him much food for thought.

She arrived at the appointed time the next week, contracts in hand, quills at the ready. She even had a little lectern, charmed to unfold and display the contracts for his review. And she utterly refused to acknowledge his presence until the whole set up was exactly to her liking. She wouldn't even look at him. It was disconcerting.

While he waited, he banished the portraits to their alternate paintings, a right he was afforded as Headmaster. Some things demanded a bit of privacy.

"Go on. Read it. And don't even mention having Malfoy look it over. You're a smart boy. You can work it out for yourself." She took a seat beside the lectern, waiting for him to finish.

The papers were long, and detailed. He had his pardon, and an offer of money that was far more generous than he was expecting.

"Is this your doing?" he asked. "Shove in a few galleons and see if the old man will bite."

"I thought a more generous offer might help persuade you to be reasonable."

"Generous?" He flicked a finger at the pages dismissively.

"It's the best I could do under the circumstances. Percy was being a pig, and I can't see that changing short of a personality transplant."

"I'm not entirely au fait with all things Muggle, but I did think that if you wanted a transplant there had to be a personality there in the first place. Percy sold his soul to the Ministry when he joined them, and resigned himself to a life of dull, grey boredom."

Hermione sighed.

"I'm surprised to see you going the same way, taking up with that Haley boy."

"I'm not," she said. "Robert and I are no longer seeing each other."

"You can thank me for that later," he said, a vicious smirk on his lips.

She surprised him by laughing. "I suppose I should."

He turned over another couple of pages, reading the text carefully to make sure there were no traps. Hermione was watching him, and her gaze had almost a physical weight.

"I don't see any reference to the other terms I wanted fulfilled." He looked into her eyes, trying to gauge her reaction. "You do remember what I asked for, don't you?"

She answered so quickly, he knew she'd been waiting for the question. "Section four, paragraph nineteen. 'And such miscellaneous matters necessary to fulfil the intent of this contract as shall be agreed orally between the representative parties.' I think that about covers it, don't you?"

He stared at it, and wondered for a moment if he were back on the floor of the Shack, because in his experience, pretty girls didn't suck his cock. Pretty girls told him to bugger off and leave them alone, even if he did get his nerve up to talk to them.

"Yes," he said, and thanked Slytherin that his voice didn't crack. "I'd say so. Erm, if you're sure?"

She cocked her head at him, looking a bit put out. She looked around his office as if checking for another person, and then she fixed him with a hard stare. "What happened to the wizard who demanded the full execution of this contract? You know, the bastard who insulted my choice in men and then made my date wibble like an ickle firstie, hmm?"

Snape raised an eyebrow at her, and opened his mouth to speak.

She cut him off. "Because that's the man whose cock I'd like to suck. If it's all the same to you. Now, are you happy with the terms of the contract?"

She had the satisfaction of seeing his face blank for a moment, unsure of quite what was happening. The moment passed quickly and his smirk returned as he realised she was serious. His natural instinct to take advantage of any opportunity came to the fore. His cock formed a distinct hard line in his trousers, and was voting firmly in favour of taking anything and everything that was going.

He nodded, once, fixing her with an intent stare, the first person who had really looked at her in years and seen more than a polite, biddable bookworm.

"Turn around and drop trou. I'm a witch, not a fucking magician."

"Right." He put his hands to his teaching robes, as if to take them off, then stopped. He could play the role of bastard. It was hardly a role for him, he thought. "No, I think we'll leave these on, mmm?" He moved his hands to his fly, unbuttoning it with due care.

She beckoned him closer to where she sat, resting her hands on his wool covered thighs, her eyes growing wide as he undid each clasp, watching his prick stand up rampant and strong for her. She looked up into his face and licked her lips. The same heat she'd felt in the restaurant seared the air between them. Leaning forward, she breathed a puff of warm, wet air against his skin. His cock jerked at the stimulus, and again when she brushed her cheek against the shaft.

He could barely draw the breath to speak. "You're fucking gorgeous when you're angry, Miss Granger. You should do it more often, stop holding back because of what you think others might say or think." His expression softened, his eyes still glittering fiercely. "Let your hair down. I want to see your hair, feel it against my fingers."

Her cheeks flushed in the same way he remembered from the restaurant. "That's not in the contract. But if you like." She raised her hands to her head and released the charm that held her braid in check.

"Let me help." She nodded. He put a hand on her head, coaxing the hair out of the braid, and spreading it across his fingers. "It's soft," he murmured. "Lovely."

"You're still a bastard," she whispered, and then he felt her hand grasp the base of him with delightfully wicked intent.

"I am," he said, and the words turned into a long, low moan.

She brushed her cheek over the head, and then the wet warmth of her lips. A light pass at first and then he felt her grip encircle him and felt her downward tug, slow and relentless. She bent to her task, sucking the head past her lips and pressing him against the hard roof of her mouth. A distant part of her tried not to think about finally impressing the stoic Professor of her past. The very thought made her mouth water and something hot pulse between her legs.

"Fuck, that's..."

She smiled around him, moving her hand and mouth in counterpoint. Slowly, she thought. Make it last. Make it so good he'll forget his objections. He tasted like the sea, salt and spice, and musk that penetrated her nose. She'd still be able to smell him on her hands later. She knew that from experience. She pulled back to examine her handiwork, looking up at him as she played him over her lips.

His fingers tightened in her hair, but not enough to hurt. He was careful about that, wanting to experience this to the full, intent on enjoying this as long as he could.

She took him back in, humming now, going just a hair slower than his body wanted. Gods, he was so hard and thick. It was impossible not to imagine doing other things with his cock, and she moaned at the wicked thoughts running through her mind.

The sound was a revelation to Snape. She was enjoying this. The thought made him throb. He touched her cheek, bidding her look up at him and he thought he might come then and there from the look in her eyes. He cursed softly as she tormented him, wondering just what it was she was doing here, other than trying to suck his brains out through his cock.

He held her gaze and whispered the spell. "Legilimens." He half expected her to recoil in disgust at his presumption but, would wonders never cease, she didn't. In fact, he felt no barriers at all, slipping into her thoughts like a hot knife through butter.

The images she shared with him made him ache with arousal. His dark head between her thighs, lapping at her cunt until she came so hard she lost consciousness. Her bent over the Headmaster's desk, her skirts rucked up round her waist, her fingers gripping the edge of the desk, while he fucked her from behind. The two of them entwined in a passionate embrace, sharing a kiss that looked more intimate than any fuck.

He groaned again, entranced by the thought of doing all that and more, and she swallowed around him, making him gasp and grip the edge of the desk to keep his footing. She liked hearing him moan. He could see that clearly in her thoughts. She liked the control, and she was determined to make him wait so she could have that power, even if just for a moment longer.

"Hermione," he sighed.

Her other hand dipped between his thighs to cradle his balls, fondling them gently, her voice vibrating through him, ringing him like a bell. And then she was gripping him fiercely and sucking hard, trying to drive him to completion before she lost control and offered something she might regret.

He closed his eyes, shutting out her thoughts, and concentrating on the feel of her mouth and tongue, giving in to the building tension. He took deep breaths, panting as if he'd been running. Something small and bright broke within him, releasing its grip with an explosion. Pleasure so strong it almost hurt ripped through him.

She held on, trying not to restrict his instinctive need to thrust, easing him up and over the peak, and down the far side. She would never have confessed to enjoying the hot surge in the back of her throat, or the little whimpering sounds he made as he descended. His hands stroked and fretted in her hair as he shuddered above her.

When it seemed like there was nothing left, she wiped her mouth and tucked him back in his trousers. "I'll be having that contract now. If you don't mind." Her voice came out far more sultry than she ever intended.

His eyes fixed on her. He hadn't expected this, and he was damned sure she wasn't doing it for the good of the Ministry. He was lucky that his cock was still attached to him, let alone resting happily and sated in his underpants. And the images from her thoughts still ran hot in his forebrain. He had an idea and for a wild moment, he didn't want to analyse it too closely.

He stroked her hair again, and bent to take her hand. "The contract refers to all that is orally agreed." His lips twisted in another smirk as he drew her to her feet. "And I said I wanted you. Cock-sucking was the start, not the whole. I want you in all the ways I can think of - and I can think of quite a few. Not to mention how rude it would be not to reciprocate." Still gripping her fingers, he used his arm to sweep the scrolls and books off the end of his desk.

Her eyes went wide and her irises darkened, but she held tight to his hand. "The last time I checked it was illegal to traffic in souls, so just what did you think I was agreeing to?"

He turned and took her by the waist, meeting her intent gaze with his own mad grin. He lifted her and set her gently on the broad oak surface. "The Ministry has what it wants out of this deal, and I have what I want out of this deal, but surely you deserve something - a little side negotiation, perhaps. Some collateral benefits?" he said, dropping to his knees before her.

"Severus." Her voice twisted in a strange way that sent a jolt straight to his hindbrain. She was pleading, he realised. Pleading for him.

He moved his fingers under the hem of her robes, round her calves, the knee, and they came to rest on her thigh. He could feel the silk of her stockings. He used his other hand to flip her robes up, so they rested in her lap, baring her legs to mid-thigh. He was surprised to see she wore garters and thigh highs. "You'll have to move forward a little," he said. "Slide to me."

She did as instructed, shaking as he put her where he wanted. "I want to go on record as saying this is probably a monumentally bad idea."

"Compared to all the other risks we've taken?" He shrugged. "Perhaps we've developed a taste for danger. Don't you get bored at the Ministry?" He didn't wait for an answer, but moved his hands further under her skirts to hook into her knickers. A sharp tug, a lift of her hips, and they were down round her ankles. "Merlin, yes...", he hissed. She kicked them off, allowing him to part her legs further. He leaned forward, and drew in the scent of her arousal.

"Fuck." She gasped at the feel of his breath. And then in a rush, "I want to touch your hair." She reached a hand out but hesitated, waiting for his approval.

"If you want to," he said, surprised. He dipped his head down, his nose between her thighs, kissing first the left, then the right. She smelled like spiced honey and musk and it was going straight to his head.

"I do." She drew a finger along his temple, brushing his hair back from his eyes, letting it fall over her fingers. She made another pass, this time letting her fingertips follow his skull, gently but unmistakeably guiding him. She leaned back, lifting a knee to rest on his shoulder, baring herself to his gaze.

He stroked down the back of her thigh and she sighed, shivering at his touch. His breath ruffled her curls, and then his mouth was wet and hot against her pubis, his tongue tracing spirals across her skin.

She mewled when he reached her clit, a surprised sound followed by a louder, more incoherent cry when he began to suckle the swollen nub of flesh. She raised her other leg, encircling his shoulders and drawing him closer with her heels, her hips undulating beneath his mouth. Her hands kneaded at his hair.

She tasted like ambrosia, hot and slick against his mouth and he moaned, unabashed. The sound vibrated through her and she arched and tensed beneath him, straining towards that moment of perfection. His tongue flickered and moved, driving her up and up. He gripped her hips to hold her still, wanting to see her come completely undone under his mouth.

Her hand grabbed his wrist. "Fingers," she hissed. "Fuck me."

"Is it just my fingers you want, Hermione?" He pulled back, looking down on her delightfully dishevelled form.

She whimpered, shuddering as the cool air hit her heated flesh. He stood beside her, stroking his fingertips and his palm over her cunt, teasing her. "Don't you want more?" Her lips parted as he did just as she asked, sliding first one, then two fingers into her. "I know you do," he continued, his fingers moving backwards and forwards. "I saw your thoughts." She moaned, reaching up to catch his face in her hands and pulling him down into a searing kiss.

He kept up the motion of his fingers, increasing speed, sucking at her lips as she tensed around his hand. She let out one last shuddering exhalation and came hard as he pressed deep, her eyes closed, head back, mouth open, and hair flaring round her like some debauched woodland nymph. He held her tight, stroking her through the pinnacle, kissing her throat, wishing he'd kept his mouth shut for once.

It took a few moments for her head to clear, and the moment he took his hand away, she was pulling away from him, tugging her robes down, trying to cover her embarrassment as well as her modesty. "There," she huffed, "Are you satisfied now?"

"The question is, are you?" he asked, making no move to let her go. There was a heat and a hunger in his gaze that she recognised. He really wanted to know the answer to that question. She looked uncertain, then nodded.

He stepped back and offered her his hand. She looked at it, then allowed him to help her down from the desk.

"So, you'll sign, then?" she asked. "Now you've got what you wanted."

"Not yet."

She breathed in, a look of anger on her face. "You b..."

"I shall send it to my lawyers." Lucius' lawyers, actually. "And they will read it over to make sure that there are no traps for the unwary. I may trust your honesty, Hermione, but not the Ministry's."

She huffed, but didn't continue speaking.

"Provided there is nothing untoward, I shall sign." He drew his robes more closely around himself, wanting to cross his arms over his chest. "I wonder if you might like to collect it in person, say next week?"

Her eyes closed, with the same expression she wore in class before answering a difficult question. "And if I don't?"

He almost smiled at her bristling indignation, but that would be unwise. She didn't take well to being backed into a corner, and next time might not end so well. "Then I will send it to the Ministry by Owl."

"Oh." She smoothed down her unwrinkled robes, and looked round for her things, gathering them together by hand rather than summoning with her wand. It would always mark her as Muggleborn, that habit. Lily had been the same. "Right," she said.

"Good day, Miss Granger." He put out his hand.

"Erm, yes." She took it, falling back into formal patterns of behaviour automatically, as if he'd never had his fingers in her cunt, and shook it firmly.

She stepped to the door, and turned back to him. Her cheeks were rosy and flushed, her lips full, though he hadn't but briefly kissed them. She had the glow of a woman who'd been recently shagged, though they hadn't done that either. "And if I do come to collect the contracts next weekend?"

A whole host of possibilities sprang to mind, some of them her fantasies, and some of them definitely his, and all of them infinitely superior to anything else his life had offered to date.

She didn't move away when he bent his head to give her a kiss full of promise, and her hands came up to rest against his chest, on the cusp of pushing him away or twisting into his robes. "That, my dear, is entirely up to you," he said, knowing he had to allow her to make the next move. He might still have a habit of grasping for what he wanted recklessly, but he hoped it was tempered with a little more understanding.

She nodded, then slipped away without saying anything more, leaving Severus to sit at his desk to contemplate the possibilities it might afford on her next visit.