A/N: Hermione and Snape are my absolute favorite hetero pairing in the whole of Harry-Potterdom and possibly the world. I wrote this a while back while I was procrastinating on something or other and it hasn't been beta-ed, so beware! My first story, so please be nice and enjoy! - Maggie

Hermione was pissed at Ron.

No, she was more than pissed. She was livid. She was irate. She was seriously considering feeding his manly bits (that's a laugh, more like newt bits) to the Giant Squid. She ended up deciding against it because it might do some harm to the squid and while she had never really liked the squid, Hermione felt that it just wouldn't be right to harm an innocent sea monster by feeding it the manly bits of a complete and utter tosser.

So, instead of becoming Chef to the Squid, Hermione had decided to take a nice relaxing walk around the grounds to clear her head. She walked down to the edge of the Forbidden Forest and sat down at the base of a tree, leaned against the trunk and became quickly irritated with the way the bark kept sticking her in her back. She decided to ignore the bark by thinking of ways to relax her mind. Sticks. She remembered that she'd overheard Parvati Patil telling Lavender Brown that when her sister was angry over being dumped by her prat boyfriend the sister had gone outside, found a stick, and started hitting everything in sight with it. She had beat that stick ragged and felt much calmer for it.

Hermione stood up. A little bit of violence never hurt anyone, except maybe the stick and who gave a damn about the stick? Nobody, that's who. She began to search the ground nearby for a good thrashing stick, but there were none to be found. This is ridiculous, Hermione thought, it's a bloody forest and there ought to be sticks near a forest, bloody or otherwise. She walked a little way past the tree line, not intending to go in very far but she still couldn't find anything bigger than a twig and smaller than a log. Really, how hard can it be to find a stick to beat? she thought, and after a little while she decided to give it up. She'd beat a pillow when she got back to the castle. She turned around and noticed a problem with the pillow plan: no castle. She was completely surrounded by trees and hadn't the faintest clue how to get out of the forest. Serves me right for listening to anything those two airheads Parvati and Lavender had to say, she thought angrily to herself.

Ah well, no reason to lose my head, she thought, and closed her eyes. "Eenie, meenie, miney, mo," she chanted, moving a finger on the beat each in turn to the left, the right, the front and the back. "Catch a tiger by the toe. If he hollers let him go. My mother told me to pick the very best one and that would be you." Her finger ended out the song pointing to the right of her and Hermione began to walk in that direction, trying not to concentrate on the following things: Ron is a tosser, Parvati and Lavender are bloody idiots, I will fail Ancient Runes, and lastly I am lost in the Forbidden Forest and will be eaten by psychotic, carnivorous, purple penguins, or whatever they have in this place. She started to sing under her breath the first song that came into her head: "Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock," she sang. "Jingle bells swing and – oh I bloody hate Americans – jingle bells ring."

She went on like this until she had nearly driven herself mad with Christmas songs when she though she heard another noise. She froze and listened closely. It was the sound of water. Not flowing water or splashing water but the strange metallic swish water makes when someone moves through it. Someone. A person! There was someone up ahead who could lead her out! Hermione was about to move forward when common sense stopped her. It could also be someone who would eat me alive or curse me into oblivion – or both – if they were so inclined. Maybe it wasn't the best idea to just go barging in. As slowly and as quietly as she could manage Hermione crept forward and quite suddenly found herself at another line of trees.

There was a small, clear, moonlit pond right in the middle of the forest that was surrounded on all sides by trees. There were a few rocks that might be sat on and a small line of sand around the edge of the pond that could probably serve as a nice mini-beach. It was rather a romantic spot, actually. But Hermione wasn't thinking about it being a nice little pond. She was somewhat distracted by the person in the pond.

Severus Snape did not see Hermione peeking out from behind the tree as he stood up in the shallow areas of the pond. He had been swimming as per his usual relaxation routine and now planned to finish his routine by taking a nice nap on the little beach. He was completely unaware that one of his oldest and most irritating students was, at this very moment, staring openly at his own naked body. Staring in utter amazement at the unexpectedly well-carved musculature and at the way the pale skin seemed to glow in the moonlight. Dumbstruck by the way the hair, now wet and clean, clung to the curve of his neck and the masculine angle of his jaw. Surprised and excited by the pure and deliciously sexy masculinity that Severus himself was unaware he was exuding. Nope, Severus Snape just walked out of the water, lay down on the beach with his hands clasped behind his head, closed his eyes, and prepared to snooze.

Hermione slid down to the base of the tree she was hiding behind and tried to asses her situation: the teacher she had been fantasizing about for years was lying naked fifteen feet away. Assessment not helping. Very carefully, she leaned back against the trunk, closed her eyes, and took a couple of deep breaths. She opened her eyes and peeked around the curve of the tree trunk. Severus Snape chose that moment to be a restless snoozer. He was still lying on his back – stark naked – with his hands behind his head, only now he stretched, arching his back and flexing his muscles with the shameless, luxurious ease of a panther in his lair. The arch started at his neck and finished at his toes and Hermione couldn't help but follow it all the way down. Hermione quickly ducked back behind her tree and took several more deep breaths.

'Okay, Hermione, old girl,' she said to herself, 'either you go and ask Professor Snape for his help in getting out of the forest or you stay here for the rest of your life, which will probably be only a few hours more. Just go and get it over with.' Hermione considered her own proposition. There were, as she saw it, three things wrong with the Getting Help plan as it currently stood:

1. She would probably get one detention for being out of her dormitory at this time of night and a second detention for being in the forbidden forest.

2. She would be asking for help from Professor Snape who would never let her – or the rest of the school – forget it for as long as she lived.

3. Professor Snape happened to be asleep . . . and naked.

The other plan only had one con, but it was one worth serious consideration: being eaten alive. Hermione really didn't want to be eaten, alive or otherwise. It just didn't seem like a pleasant way to go.

She went over her cons list with herself. 'You probably can't work out of becoming the laughing stock of Slytherin House, and probably the rest of the school, or having to wake Snape up. Detention might be negotiable, if you come up with a decent story and take it straight to McGonagall. That still leaves us with the problem of him being naked (and being naked very nicely). NO! Bad line of thought, old girl, very bad. Is there any way to work around the being naked? Think . . . think . . . . Eureka!'

As quietly as she had come, Hermione snuck back through the trees away from the lagoon. When she had gone about twenty feet she turned around and began to walk back, making as much noise as she possibly could.

"Help! Can anyone hear me? I'm lost! HEEEEEEEELP!" Hermione stopped and jumped up and down on a particularly crunchy patch of fallen leaves before continuing on. "HEEELLOOOOO! Is anyone there? It's Hermione Granger! Please!" Just before she reached the line of trees on the edge of the lagoon, she heard a familiar voice cut through her stomping and screaming.

"Yes, yes! Keep your voice down, you stupid girl! Have you no sense at all?"

It was definitely Snape, all right, but some uncharacteristic alarm had crept into his usual cold hiss.

"Professor Snape! Is that you?"

"Yes! Now shut up and come where I can see you!"

Hermione broke through the line of trees and saw him and could say with absolute certainty that Severus Snape was not a happy man. He was standing a few meters from where he had previously been lying with his robes clutched around him and he was scanning the tree line. His eyes fastened on her and he stomped over. Hermione realized that she had never seen someone so thoroughly livid that they could seethe so passionately with every muscle of their body until this moment.

Snape made toward her with such fury that for a moment she thought he was going to hit her, and if it hadn't been that such a motion would have dislodged his robes she figured he probably would have. He finally stormed to a stop barely an inch from her. He was so close she could feel the cool from the lagoon swim rising off his skin. For a moment he didn't say anything, just leaned down and glared at her, their noses almost touching. In spite of herself Hermione noticed that the robe was wrapped under his armpits like a bath towel, leaving his shoulders and throat bare. The dips and rises of his musculature played with the light of the moon and cast shadows that moved with him like part of the skin and everywhere the little droplets of water glistened like gems. Hermione gulped.

"So tell me, Miss Granger, how you came to be here in this location at this time of night," Snape said in a quiet voice that dripped with barely contained fury. Hermione took a step back and Snape followed her, staying as close as he had been. Hermione took several more steps back until she felt the solidity of a tree behind her. She glanced to either side before looking back up at Snape. His black eyes were glistening fiercely, the muscles in his jaw were taut, accentuating the sculpted cheekbones and indented cheeks. Most of his face was hidden in shadow except for a long sliver of moonlight that ran down the side of his face like a scar and his hair, soaking and no longer greasy, framed his face with the same glistening blackness as his eyes. Something about the way it fell made him look younger and more roguish. Hermione felt the warmth of his body reverberating over hers and the combination of his hot flesh and the cool water still drying on his body covered Hermione in gooseflesh and strange thrills.

"Well?" Snape hissed again.

"I – I got lost," Hermione replied.

"Yes, that's been established," sneered Snape. "The question on the floor is: how did you come to be lost?"

"I –" Hermione tried to think of an answer that wouldn't end with her in detention for the rest of the year. "My cat, Crookshanks, he ran away and I got really worried because Parvati Patil told me that she and Lavender Brown were sitting out by the lake doing homework one evening and heard wolves in the forest and I thought that if there were wolves they might eat Crookshanks because he's never lived outside before and doesn't know what wolves are and wouldn't know to run away and I really, really love Crookshanks so I had to go and find him and I wandered all over the grounds – I knew I shouldn't have but I was so worried – and I came in here because I thought that Crookshanks might be curious about the forest because the grounds aren't very interesting once you've seen the main attractions, like the Quidditch pitch and the lake and the Whomping Willow, and he might want to come in here so I came in here and started looking and then Hedwig – that's Harry Potter's owl – found me and gave me a letter from Harry that said that Crookshanks had just wandered back into the Gryffindor Common Room and that Ginny Wealsey had taken him up to our dormitory and locked him safely in and I should come back and so I started heading back and realized that I was lost and so I got really scared and I started yelling and –"

"Be quiet!" Snape snapped.

"But you asked–"

"I asked for what should have been a simple, concise answer. 'I was looking for my cat and lost my way' would have been quite sufficient."

"Sorry, sir."

Snape straightened up. She was lying though her teeth, of course, and very poorly at that, but the truth could come later. What he really needed to do right now was to get his clothes on properly. Standing naked save for an inefficient robe next to Hermione Granger in her nightgown was not helping matters. It especially did not help that he had been thinking of her while he had been in the lagoon. He thought of her often, and had lately taken to fully (and physically) enjoying his thoughts of her in the privacy of his secret lagoon. He mentally shook himself and turned away from her.

"Do me the courtesy of not opening your mouth again until we are back at the castle and while you're not saying anything light your wand and help me find my shoes."

"You'll lead me back?"

"What did you expect, you stupid girl? As your teacher I am responsible for your safety and unfortunately leaving you here to be eaten, as tempting as that may be, would be unsafe and therefore in violation of my contract."

"Thank you, sir."

"And by the way, that's considered opening your mouth. I'm telling you this only because you seem to not quite comprehend. Now, light your wand." Snape was doing his best to be immersed in searching for his shoes with his own lit wand.

He was trying to ignore the fact that it was not only undignified to be looking for one's shoes in the presence of a student and requiring the assistance of that student, but the fact that he was doing so naked save for a makeshift dress in which one had to be careful when bending down to look on the ground for shoes took the whole situation to another level entirely. After a moment he realized that she still had not lit her wand. He turned around to face her and did his best to ignore the fact that the nightgown she had on was not made of the proper material. It was something thin and flimsy and the moonlight shone right through it, leaving Snape in no doubt as to the perfect curves of her figure. He swallowed.

"Miss Granger, this is the third time I've had to ask you to light your wand and I will be very angry if there has to be a fourth." He turned around again and resumed searching.

"There's a slight problem there," she said hesitantly.

Snape sighed and did his best to appear extremely exasperated. He really was exasperated, and yet something about the whole situation was too ridiculous to feel properly exasperated.

"And this problem is . . . ?"

"I don't have my wand, Professor," said Hermione, with unmistakable fear and embarrassment in her voice. Snape didn't give a damn about her fear or embarrassment.

He wheeled around and in two long strides he was right in front of her again, her breasts nearly brushing the fist that held his robes up. "You what?" he hissed.

"I d-don't have my wand. I was so distracted that I left my dormitory without it." (And that was sort of true, reflected Hermione. She had left her wand and she had been very distracted, but it was anger at Ron, not worry about Crookshanks.)

Snape took a few deep breaths and accidentally inhaled her scent. Bloody hell, she smelled good, faintly like leather and candle smoke mixed with the natural, floral scent of a woman. He tried to concentrate.

"Miss Granger, I can – theoretically – understand you forgetting school rules on account of your feline but I fail to see how any witch, especially one with your reputation for intelligence, leaving her wand behind as she goes out into the darkness."

"I was really, REALLY worried."

"That must be some bloody cat," Snape muttered, deciding to give up berating her for now. What he really needed to do was to get away from her, but he found his feet to be heavy. He looked down into her soft brown eyes. She was so beautiful, Snape thought, and she still didn't realize it.

Despite his ill treatment of her, Snape had been attracted to the girl for many years. First it was to her intelligence and then, at the Yule Ball, he realized her beauty and now, at the age of 18 and in her last year at Hogwarts, she had fully grown into a woman who radiated beauty even without being dressed for a ball. As he looked down at her he felt his anger subsiding. He gazed and gazed and she, rather hesitantly at first, gazed back up at him. His coldness and resilience to emotion began to melt away.

"Why were you really here, Miss Granger? I won't punish you, just tell me the truth."

"Ron. I found out he was cheating on me with some Ravenclaw girl and I wanted to hit something but Ron was too fast for me to hit. I came outside to calm down and wandered in here. I've heard that aggression can be taken out on sticks, and that they don't run away."

Snape was momentarily stunned. She had told him the truth; he had seen it in her eyes. She had told him something personal. This was getting strange. Why had she confided in him? Then he noticed that one arm had slipped around her and he was holding her to him.

"How could he cheat on you," Snape found himself saying. "You're a goddess." Where the hell had that come from?

"I wouldn't sleep with him," said Hermione softly, "so he got it somewhere else."

Snape was grasping something tightly in anger. It was Hermione. He had both arms wrapped around her now and his robe had slipped off his chest and – fortunately – gotten caught on their bodies and not fallen lower. They were still looking into each other's eyes and Snape could feel the tension growing.

"That bastard," he hissed quietly against Hermione's lips. "You deserve better."

"I wouldn't sleep with him because I wanted someone else."

"Who?"

"You."

And to Snape's profound surprise, she kissed him.

She had no idea what made her do it. As he stood close to her she could feel something growing between them, quickly and without warning. That something had loosened her tongue and given her boldness.

He kissed her back. She parted her lips and his tongue slipped between them and teased the inside of her mouth.

"Miss Granger," he whispered between kisses, "you'd better think real long and hard about wanting me, because if we keep doing this your choice is going to be made for you."

It was as though a switch had been flipped inside her head. Maybe it was the moonlight, or the lagoon, but the schoolgirl was all of a sudden completely gone. In its place was a woman who wanted the man who was holding her, and wanted him very badly. She decided to act.

Hermione straightened up and watched as Snape's robe, no longer secured by their conjoined bodies, slid to the ground. Hermione looked his naked body up and down. Sweet Merlin, he was perfect. She looked down and saw that his manhood had begun to stir. She smiled, reached down, grabbed the hem of her nightgown and pulled it over her head so she was just as naked as he was and then turned and walked toward the lagoon.

Snape followed her with his eyes, but his feet remained rooted to the spot. This must be a dream, he though. Sev, you fool, you've fallen asleep on the bank of the lagoon and you're dreaming all of this. He watched Hermione wade into the water and watched the water slowly rise over her curves. When the water was at her waist she dived in. Snape watched the curve of her bottom crest the waves before going under. There's no way this is a dream, Snape thought, I couldn't imagine a sight like that, but there's no way it's really happening, either. Whatever this is, I'd better be grateful it came along.

He walked to the water's edge and waited for her to resurface. She popped up about ten feet farther from where she had dove in and was tread water, looking at him.

"It's beautiful here," she said, "how'd you come by it?"

"Hiding from your best friend's father when he and I were at school here," Snape replied, and for some reason he was able to say it without bitterness. "It's a good place to relax."

She dove back under and popped up a few feet from the bank. Rising to her feet, she began to walk towards him, the water running in rivulets all down her body. She walked until their bodies were flush up against each other.

"I've been dreaming about situations like this for years," she said, "and now that I've finally found a real life dream world, I don't want to let it get away."

"You fantasize about me?"

"Yes."

Snape grabbed her and kissed her fiercely, slowly lowing her onto the wet, sandy bank. "Same here," he said with a smile.

"Our little secret," she said, "just for this one night."

And what a wonderful night it was.