Disclaimer: I am not the owner of the characters.


Chapter 19: Dining Out

Hermione fiddled nervously with the linen napkin in her lap. Now that she'd gotten to this point, she was at a loss as to what should happen next. Severus Snape was sitting across from her, in a nice restaurant, with candles. No doubt the sky would fall at any moment.

She observed her partner, absorbed as he was with his menu, something she should be doing at the moment. He looked well-groomed, and it appeared he wasn't wearing quite so many layers as usual. He looked particularly handsome in the candlelight.

He looked up from his menu at her and she quickly ducked behind her own, silently admonishing herself. Gryffindors weren't supposed to be shy!

She hurriedly picked something from the menu when she noticed their waiter arrive with their drinks. Murmuring her thanks and placing her order, she bravely looked to her date as the waiter left. He smirked as though he knew how she was feeling at the moment.

"I like it, you know," he said quietly, but it broke the tension in the air and caused Hermione to flinch slightly in surprise.

"What?" She inwardly cringed at how brainless she sounded.

"That you're forward," he said, and she was reminded of the week before, when she'd lost patience in him and demanded he take her on a date.

She couldn't believe he'd find such a brash Gryffindor trait to be admirable, and threw him a skeptical look. Severus caught her expression and smirked. He leaned forward, as if about to give away vital information, and Hermione unconsciously mirrored his actions.

"Slytherins are all about subterfuge and detail. It is refreshing to be around someone who is more willing to get to the point of the matter. I find it especially … appealing, coming from you."

Hermione stared at him.

"Really," She said in a monotone voice, as if still doubting him.

He smirked and raised an eyebrow at her temerity.

She smiled back, more assured.

"Really?" She inflected the same word with overtures and undertones that Severus would no doubt be able to pick up. If that wasn't enough, her bare foot rubbing up and down his calf under their cloth-covered table would bring the point home.

"Quite," he said, clearing his throat as if belatedly trying to cover the fact that his voice sounded an octave higher than usual. "Carry on."

Next Chapter: Boundaries