Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.

Warning: Explicit content in this chapter.

Italicized font is referring to the memory, of course.

Chapter Three

Hermione discovered him leaning over her, his hand pressed against her face, his black eyes burning icily down at her like he was lost in a memory. She was terrified.

"Professor," she replied. The title fumbled off her tongue, although she had meant it to sound threatening.

"You're shaking," he said. He seemed at as much of a loss of words as she.


"I thought you were dead. I saw your body." His hard, searching eyes demanded answers.

"You did," she whispered shakily. "It wasn't really me. If you had waited four hours before burning the bodies, you would have seen 'me' change back into a log."

"You Transfigured a log into an exact replica of yourself?" Hermione nodded. Severus moved away from her and rose to his feet, looking angry and regrettably impressed.

"What are you going to do with me?" she asked, sitting upright quickly. He was leaving the room and ignoring her. "Professor! Just answer me!"

"I may kill you before you kill me, Miss Granger," he snarled, pausing at the doorway to let his eyes swallow her image once more.

The door closed, and Hermione dropped her face into the bed. She dug her fingers into her hair; the texture and length seemed like a memory of a long time before, when she didn't have to disguise herself. Hermione moaned in hopelessness and tugged her hair hard, wishing the pain would wake her from a terrible dream.

His fingers entwined in her wet hair, pulling firmly as his other hand kept the wand trained on her abdomen. Hermione leaned into him, feeling her mind exploding in panic and confusion.

This was her plan. She would distract him; she would pull his attention elsewhere so she would have a chance to run. She knew what men wanted. She had heard what their minds were like. How could Professor Snape turn away a wet and willing schoolgirl?

He didn't. He had grabbed her up so fiercely that he frightened her. Hermione tried to respond eagerly, but his fingers pulled painfully in her hair and she whimpered aloud.

Would he make it painful? She hadn't given thought to that, but she suddenly expected it. Severus released his tight grip quickly and instead started to pull off her wet clothes. Hermione helped him, baring her wet breasts for his smoky eyes to fall on. She had crossed her arms over her chest, but Severus pulled them away.

"No," he had roughly said, his nimble fingers on her slick skin. "Let me see."

Then he looked furtively around and pulled her toward trees, where the grass had not been turned to mud and rain dripped down from green canopies.

She had shrieked when he rid of her remaining clothes with magic. Hermione was anxiously awaiting the moment when the Professor's vigilance failed, but it did not. His wand was firmly set upon her at all times. Once she was naked under that dripping tree, Severus moved at her.

He had her on the wet ground, his clothed body covering hers. Hermione pushed at his chest a little when his long fingers slipped between them and stroked her inflamed folds.

She whimpered, surprised and angry at the heated lust in her belly. Severus had taken this as invitation and magicked his clothes off his body. He positioned himself against her, and Hermione gritted her teeth.

"Don't point that wand at me while we do this," she begged, twisting the grass in her fingers.

"The wand stays, Miss Granger," he said, his eyes narrowing.

Hermione heaved for air, tasting bile in her throat. She had expected him to fail by now. What should she do? How badly did Hermione Granger want to live, now that all she loved had gone?

"I could kill you now," he had whispered gruffly, pressing the wand to her neck. She could feel his hot breath brushing against her cold lips. Did he think that offer to be merciful?

Hermione sobbed, looking up into the cold eyes of a traitor and wishing he would be distracted for even a moment. She could have died then, but she didn't choose to. She knew she had some reason to survive, and she would.

She pushed Severus' wet hair behind his ears and then lifted herself upward.

She kissed him.

Severus pulled away from the Pensieve and pushed his hair behind his ears.

That girl. That bloody girl. She had fucking kissed him. He had stored that memory and watched it so many times. Every time. That kiss. That kiss in the storm under the unnaturally green tree. He remembered the details so well, so vividly.

And now she was back, after he thought she had died. He had seen her body; he had watched it burn. And now the chit was back, in his house, in his bed.

"I should kill her," Severus croaked, lifting a bottle of whiskey to his lips.

But he knew he wouldn't. He couldn't then, after they'd fated themselves, and he wouldn't now. Yes, he had let her escape before. He let her have her moment of opportunity, because he knew that's what she was looking for. That's why she wanted to have sex with him to begin with; she wanted her chance at surviving. He had given it to her.

"Fucking hell." Severus slammed his bottle onto the table next to him and waved his wand. The Looking Glass rose upward again and the glass shimmered.

Hermione was unmoving in bed, curled into a fetal position and fingering the ends of her hair. Her eyes glazed. She was likely lost in the same memory he was.

"So, good friend, is that our little mystery solved?"

Lucius had let himself in and sat gracefully down in the chair across from him. Severus scowled at him without thinking of why; Lucius' features were simply created to be scowled at. He was just too damn beautiful.

Lucius suddenly leaned forward, his elbows on his spread knees, and his silver eyes intent on the Looking Glass.

"I thought she'd died," he breathed.

"As did I."

"What will you do with her?"

Severus shrugged, his eyes unmoving from the Looking Glass. His palm rubbed hard over the stubble on his face. Lucius sighed.

"Will you tell the Dark Lord?" he asked. They both watched Hermione rise from bed and pad over to the bathroom, looking around cautiously. While steaming water filled the ivory tub, she examined Severus' things. Hermione lifted a harmless-looking razor and studied it closely. It suddenly jumped toward her face, as if to shave it, and Hermione hurled it into the bedroom in frightened alarm.

Severus and Lucius chuckled together.

In the Looking Glass, Hermione pulled her work uniform off her body and tested the water with her fingertips. She was thinner than Severus remembered, and then he realized she probably hadn't been eating much. On the night she offered herself, he hadn't noticed the peach color of her soft nipples. A muscled line down the center of her back trailed into her round bottom. Severus remembered tracing that line with his fingertips.

Her lips were cold, and Severus wanted to warm them so he returned the kiss eagerly, dipping his tongue between her lips. He curled his arm under her shoulders, bracing her against the pain, and pushed into her warm core.

She pulled her mouth away, whimpering quietly, but he moaned. He knew it hurt her, so he stopped moving, but he also knew how fucking amazing she felt wrapped around him.

"You're shaking," he breathed and rocked his hips against her pink thighs.

"Yes," she whispered unsteadily. Her wet fingers slipped on his back, and she dug her fingernails into his skin. Severus hissed as he started a rhythm she seemed comfortable with. He didn't want to hurt her; pain was never his intention. However, she had offered herself to him as a request, and he was just a wizard. Just a man.

She lifted her head, trying again to kiss him. Severus rolled them into a sitting position, her on his lap, so she could get what she wanted. This was her need, after all.

She surprised him by wrapping her arms tightly around his neck and contracting her thighs on his hips. He had been amazed. She was having sex with him like no one had done before; if he had to compare it to something, he may call it… making love.

But, no. Death was to be the end result. Not love.

Severus gripped her hips and guided her inexperienced body. Thunder rolled deep in the sky above them and the lightning lit her expression. She was angry, confused, and terribly frightened. That's when Severus had fully realized her intention – she was just looking for an opportune moment.

He thrust upward into her hot quim with frustration. Hermione dropped her head into his shoulder, her arms still tight around him. Severus forced his erection fully into her until he could feel his balls pressed against her buttocks.

"You thought… you'd run… didn't you?" he snarled. Hermione said nothing and only writhed in his lap. She was having an orgasm. Severus clutched her body against him, suddenly forgetting all angry notions. Her muscles clenched on him, almost painfully, and she released the most desperate, sweetest cry in his ear.

Severus found Lucius staring at him carefully through blonde hair.

"Severus," he said quietly. Severus tore his gaze away from Hermione as she lowered herself into the water. "If you do not choose this life… the other will be much harder."

"I don't understand what she's done to me," Severus growled, looking away from Lucius. "I can't make this decision quickly."

"I think you've already chosen," Lucius smiled grimly. He stood, spared one more glance toward Hermione's bathing figure, and clapped Severus on the shoulder. "If you need connections, I've got them."

Severus clawed his fingers through his hair, now alone with his thoughts. In the mirror, Hermione massaged suds into her curls. The white cream spilled over her shoulders, down the line of her back, and around the curves of her breasts. She dropped herself under the water to rinse.

Hermione felt warm and wet all over, and Snape's cock still throbbed impatiently inside her. Her body continued to shake after her orgasm so she clung to the man that held her so tightly. Why had he held her so tightly? Why was she holding to him?

Hermione had begun to cry, knowing she was supposed to hate this man. But something deep and unruly was longing for him.

"Don't," Severus had said. His fingers trailed down the center of her back. His voice was thick and muffled. He flexed his hips, and Hermione felt his length slide within her very slightly. Hemione was glad to be lowered to the ground again and glad to feel Severus' chest on hers. He lifted her knees into his hands and strived to relieve himself as Hermione stared upward.

She had never forgotten the small details: The lightning-lit green canopy dripped cool water onto her skin, and Severus' smoky eyes looking down with a fascination she'd seen only over a cauldron.

He'd sunk into her a final time, firmly, and moving his hands upward to memorize her face with his touch. Hermione realized then that Severus had cast away his wand moments before, and then he kissed her like he meant it.

She had her opportunity to run. Right then. Severus was finishing, distracted and blissful, and Hermione had her chance. But instead she slipped her fingers through his hair and let him spill into her. After all the pain and uncertainty, something so wrong felt undeniably right.

She sat in bed, naked under the sheets, and wondered when she'd be fed again. Hermione had tested the window, but Severus had it magically protected this time and there would be no chance at escaping. Hermione doubted Severus knew what to do with her. In fact, he'd probably spent the last six hours struggling over the very question.

Because if it were the old Severus Snape, Hermione knew she'd be dead or delivered to Voldemort without much deliberation. This, however, was the very same Severus Snape that memorized her very body and touch on the last night of the seven-day war. This Severus had not just fucked her, he had joined with her. He had, whether or not he'd realized, loved her.

Severus took each step with firm, striking judgment on the worn floor that led up the stairs and toward his bedroom. His fingers curled into bloodless, callous fists. The blackness of his eyes glazed with a sheen of lunacy. He opened the door to the petrified Miss Granger.

She was watching him with the widest, most terrified gaze he'd ever seen on one of his own students. He wasn't quite sure if it was rain or tears hanging on her eyelashes. Probably both.

Severus was reluctant to release her but had pulled out anyway, reaching for his wand. She hadn't yet moved, but her eyes were darting between him and the darkness beyond them. Severus hardly gave his choice a thought. It was obvious to him, at that moment. Although he had killed and death-sentenced many people, he would not do it to her. He would not have Hermione Granger's blood on his hands.

He had stared at her from beneath his wet hair one last time, gazing on the prodigy and marvel that was Miss Granger.

And then Severus turned slowly away to gather his clothing, purposefully not using magic. As soon as he turned, Severus caught a stinging, heavy blow to his temple. Blackness was below him and he was falling into it, his eyes lazily closing.

Miss Granger was pulling back her foot, her eyes frantic and wounded. She seemed torn to check on him after kicking him but eventually pulled herself away. Severus saw the dark night swallow her running form, her arms wrapped around her collected clothing, and he fell into unconsciousness.

He reached her bedside, staring down at her shaking form with faraway eyes.

"Are you going to hurt me?" she asked him.

"No," he said quietly. Severus could feel his hands shaking slightly. He'd never expected to do this. He'd never expected to confront her again.

"Are you going to turn me in?"


Hermione met his gaze levelly. She was so conflicted; he could see it blatantly.

"You'll send me away?"

"No," he shook his head. Severus couldn't form the words on his tongue. It was madness to even make this choice. He was giving up unstopped riches and safety for a life of hiding and rebuilding. Hermione, however, seemed to understand his decision. She wet her lips, but her eyes brightened very slightly.

"Are we running away together?" she asked, clutching the bedspread in her fingers.

Severus wanted to snarl at her romantic choice of words, but she had the right notion.

"If you'll agree," he said. "Otherwise, you may return to your own choice of life. You must know, however, that I will watch you. Closely."

She stared at the wall for a long time, blushing and paling in succession with her thoughts.

"I will never forgive you," she said flatly, fixing him with an amber stare.

"I know." Severus didn't regret letting Potter die, but he suddenly detested her deplorable feelings. Hermione shook her head.

"I don't know."

Severus wished she would say yes.

"I'd be abominable for it," she sniffed.

Say yes.

"And then… something's happened between us, hasn't it?" she continued, flexing her hands. "Severus… do you love me?"

Fucking hell, girl, say –

"Say yes!" he urged, sounding more desperate than he had intended. Hermione's breath hitched and stopped sharply in her throat. Her piercing, knowing gaze engulfed him – she knew his feelings better then himself. She made him feel naked.

"I loved you then," she said, pulling her eyes thankfully away. Her small fingers reached out to entwine in his. "On that night, under the tree, I started loving you. I didn't want to and… neither did you." She smiled grimly. She turned his palm toward her and stroked it with her fingertips. Severus found himself entranced with her and didn't stop her. "To love you, after what you've done to Harry… to my entire life, is absurd."

"You are cruel," Severus whispered. Some blistering pain had filled the inside of his chest.

"I said absurd," she said lowly. He tried to step back, but Hermione held tightly to his hand. Severus snarled and almost stuck her before abhorring himself for the thought. She flinched away anyway. "Severus, I did not say impossible. Please!"

She tugged him, hard and bodily, onto the bed with her. Severus narrowly missed giving her a bruised cheek with his elbow and instead found her crushed beneath him in anguished tears.

"Don't cry—"

"Please," she sobbed. "I still love you. Fuck all, I do." Her shaking hands were all over him, pulling at his clothes and touching his face.

Severus, in spite of the pain leaving his chest, smiled briefly and slipped the sheets out from between them. Hermione gasped as his clothed body pushed against her naked skin once more.

"How can I do this?" she said weakly, dropping her head back. Severus hesitated and then kissed her chin.

"We find another home, and we start over," he murmured on her neck.

"Start fresh?" she whispered. "Brand new? You were never a Death Eater, and I never befriended Harry Potter?"

"No. I will always have scars, and you will always miss him," Severus said. "We will be proud of our lives, and we only begin again with each other."

He dipped his head to lick her neck, tasting her and letting her think.

"I like that," she said slowly. "I can do that."

He looked up and found Hermione smiling at him softly.

"Yes, Severus," she said. "I'll go with you."

They smiled, Hermione almost laughing with joy, as he kissed her ardently. Severus pressed himself tightly into her curves, between her thighs, remembering the bliss that he thought he'd never relive.

"Severus," Lucius had urged. "Where the bloody hell are your clothes?"

Severus awoke and swung his wand at the blonde wizard, his eyes dark and furious. Lucius remained still, letting Severus come to his senses.

"The girl…" Severus muttered, snatching his robes from Lucius' hands.

"Granger?" Lucius asked curiously. "She did this to you? Surely not…"

"She did," Severus snapped, standing and walking quickly away from the trees. His head hurt – as if something were trying to dig its way out of his temple.

The smell of death was hot and sweaty in the air. A large fire, directly outside the front doors of Hogwarts, was burning with heightening enthusiasm. Severus could hear the muffled thumps and showers of sparks as bodies were thrown into the heat.

The Dark Lord stood on the steps, Levitating Harry Potter's stiff body over the flames, cooking him like a marshmallow. Severus and Lucius curled their lips in unison.

"They found the Granger girl," Lucius had said suddenly, watching Severus for a reaction. Everything around him seemed to slow down. Noises became lower and more animalistic. The smell of black, papery flesh was overwhelming.

"Who killed her?"

"No one knows. She was found dead… There."

Lucius pointed. A Death Eater Levitated Hermione's body off the unburned pile and prepared to throw it into the fire. She was limp, lifeless, and even her freckles were colorless.

Severus nearly retched – not twenty minutes ago they had been tangled in ecstasy, and she was coming in his lap.

"No!" he snarled inhumanly. Severus braced his muscles to jump forward, but he was immediately frozen in place, with Lucius gripping the back of his robes to keep him standing.

"I'm sorry, my friend," Lucius said lowly. "She is gone. The Dark Lord would kill you for impotence. I won't let that happen over one who's already died… I'm sorry."

Hermione's body was thrown into the fire and the flames leapt with delight. Severus would have howled in anger if he'd been able to move, but Lucius' Stunning spell held well.

He quickly remembered the feeling of her warmth, her touch, her eyes upon him. He quickly remembered the cry she released in his lap, in the thunderstorm, under the vivid green… He was afraid he'd forget the only things he knew about her.

Lucius slowly released his spell. Severus closed his eyes and, ignoring the evidence of her burning body before him, wished to feel Hermione Granger just once more.

I really enjoyed writing this short story, and I hope you all enjoyed it.

Please review - I'd very much appreciate it. :)