Thank you to my beta reader, Melusin. This story is as much a gift for her as it is for the recipient.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter 3

"But if Snape really is such a bad sort, why would Harry Potter protect him?" I ask Rita when we've finished discussing the chapter about revenge.

"Are you really such an innocent?" Rita asks and raises one of her perfectly pencilled eyebrows. "There is, of course, the issue of Harry's mother."

"Yes," I say. Everyone knows that Snape once loved Harry's mother, after all. Harry himself screamed it at Voldemort, trying to distract his powerful enemy. "So what? Most of us had teenage crushes." I tell her how fondly I remember my own infatuation with Ronald Weasley, a fellow war hero, during our sixth year at school together. And today, Ron is engaged to Gabrielle Delacour, and I am dating Oliver Wood. If Hermione Granger, also present during the final battle, hadn't constantly meddled, who knows where Ron and my romance would have led… But we both got over it, moved on and are happier now than we ever were.

"Ah––Hermione Granger. I'll tell you a secret…" Rita looks at me conspiratorially. "Hermione Granger could have been the subject of one of my books, too. There's a lot to write about, and I know a few people who would be more than keen to spill the beans on her machinations. But there are reasons…" She leaves the rest of the sentence open.

I smile. "Maybe her importance is overrated," I say. "Let's get back to Severus Snape. Didn't you imply earlier that he might have been in a relationship with Albus Dumbledore?"

"Some of the evidence I uncovered did point towards that possibility, yes. But another reliable source––and some portraits of former Hogwarts' headmasters can be considered quite reliable––claims that Snape's love for Lily Potter was what drove him all his life—what made him work for Dumbledore. Of course, an all-embracing, romantic love like that had to be unrequited. It certainly prevented Snape form entering into another relationship. If Dumbledore had hopes for a young lover, he had to look elsewhere…" Rita smirks; everyone knows her theory about Dumbledore and Harry Potter.

"So, in the end, if what Harry Potter says is true, we may have to thank Lily Potter for the downfall of Voldemort because without Snape's undying love for her, nothing of what he did would have happened, and Harry Potter would not have survived his first year at Hogwarts," she continues.

"How so?" I choke out, swallowing down my tears. Who would have thought that Snape's story could be so romantic?

"If what Harry Potter tells us is true, then Snape saved Harry's life on several occasions. He protected the son of the woman he loved. And the man himself is doomed to lead a loveless life in solitude. Maybe he does deserve a bit of a respite; what do you think?"

I wipe my eyes and focus on the last of the three chapters open to our Prophet readers. Talking about Severus Snape's love life brings us right into Chapter 4: Love or Lust?

… … …


Severus sat at Hermione's desk worrying. Maybe it had been a mistake to indirectly ask for help. The idea had come to him while he was out drinking with Hermione. He hadn't been drunk at that time, but certainly he'd been a bit less inhibited than normal.

And so he had let her see a glimpse of his life as it really was and trusted that she'd act accordingly after she understood the implications. She didn't disappoint. She never did. When Hermione Granger took on a mission, you could be certain that she'd follow through with it to the bitter end. She never gave up, even if it took years. The current public debate about house-elf rights was the best proof for that.

She really had sneaked herself into his life, he thought fondly. Sharing a pint or two (and sometimes four or five) with Hermione Granger had become his escape from the daily routine, from the sad state his life was in. There was no other escape; he had no hopes to ever be released from Ministry custody. Not under the current administration. Not as long as so many people remembered him from Hogwarts and found that the current state of affairs gave them ample opportunity to get back at the hated teacher, colleague or traitor. That's what comes from falling between two stools, he thought bitterly.

But Hermione had taken on his case with a vengeance, with a passion that was uniquely hers. He sighed. She was a force to be reckoned with; whoever was behind these attacks wouldn't stand a chance. But Severus couldn't stop worrying despite all his rationalisations. Hermione was a fighter, true. She had fought valiantly during the war; she was a heroine, for crying out loud. And still… she was human and humans make mistakes. He sincerely hoped that she had taken Potter or Weasley along—to cover her back. He couldn't stand the idea that she could be hurt while fighting for him. He should never have allowed it. He should go and protect her––and be cursed from here to next week. If he ran to the rescue like some valiant knight––a dark knight?––then he'd reveal their body swap. He'd reveal having asked for help, and he'd imply that Hermione wasn't strong enough to hold her own in a fight. She'd never forgive him for that. He ground his teeth, rubbed his eyes and picked up the next file from the ever-growing pile on her desk.

Hermione had become far too important to him. He couldn't think straight; he had almost let his emotions rule his actions just then. He'd better get a grip on himself. He opened the file. Griphook the Goblin scowled at him from an application form.

That wand thing again? Severus was surprised. He didn't think that the Goblins were being that persistent this time. Failed attempts at being allowed to use wands had been made many times in the past, after all. But in the past, they didn't have Hermione to fight for them, he thought fondly. Merlin, that woman was dedicated. How he loved…


No, this couldn't be happening. He couldn't possibly have got rid of one obsession to sail right into the next. How he loved her? Did he? Yes, he did, he admitted with a long-suffering sigh. And he steeled himself for another round of unrequited love and heartache. At least this time around, he wouldn't betray his love and cause her death. He hoped.


Hermione sat at Severus' desk worrying. Almost all of the afternoon had passed already, and nothing untoward had happened. What if the attacker didn't show up? His threat from the other day had sounded so real. She'd just have to be patient, and if nothing happened today, she'd have to coax Harry into another afternoon of watching. Or perhaps, she could ask Ron to come along; she didn't think Harry'd agree to help her a second time if this afternoon didn't show results. As an Auror, though, he would be used to stakeouts and should have some patience, but she strongly suspected that he had fallen asleep by now while sitting on the floor under his Invisibility Cloak, leaning against the wall.

A quick glance at the cuckoo clock showed her that there was only one hour left. Well, she'd get a little fun out of being in a man's body and go to the loo. Perhaps that might provoke her attacker again. If not, she'd just sit through the rest of the time and plan how she was going to proceed from here.

When she came out of the cubicle—she couldn't bring herself to use a urinal—she washed her hands and stared at her reflection in the mirror. She had really grown fond of Severus' face; she couldn't see anything ugly there. His eyes, when they weren't narrowed or glaring, were downright beautiful.

Baring his teeth, she was continuing her inspection when she felt a wand at her back.

"Surprise!" The voice was rough from excitement. "Look who we have here. If it isn't the greasy git admiring his yellow, crooked teeth. What are you doing that for, eh, Snape? Trying to impress the ladies?"

Hermione watched in the mirror as the dark-robed, hooded wizard threw his head back and laughed out loud. His face was covered with a balaclava; she couldn't recognize him, nor the rough, grating voice. She used the moment of his inattention and dived for the door.

"Not so fast," the figure yelled, but she had already opened the door and darted through it, not caring if anyone saw her. She felt the hairs rise on her neck and goose pimples running down her spine, expecting a curse at any moment… but nothing came. Gasping, she reached the door to Severus' office, stormed in and slammed it shut. Letting out a long breath with a loud hiss, she fumbled for her wand and turned around to face the door. She had only reset Severus' basic wards. Intruders could get in if they wanted to. Unfortunately, nothing happened.

Shaking and swearing loudly, she sat down again, wondering if the commotion had woken Harry up. They had agreed not to talk to each other so not to give his presence away. Sighing in frustration, she'd just returned to sorting the Dark Curse archive alphabetically when the memo flap in the door opened, and a Ministry owl flew in. It dropped a small parcel on the desk, hooted mournfully and left the same way it had come.

Hermione prodded the parcel with her wand, casting every curse-revealing charm on it she could think of. Nothing. Apparently, the parcel was safe. "Looks like I can open the parcel safely," she said louder than necessary, hoping that Harry was watching and listening. The wrapping paper revealed a small box. The box contained a letter. She opened it, growing deadly pale while reading:


Aren't you lucky? I saw you sitting with your little girlfriend in the pub. Now, isn't that nice: the greasy git and the know-it-all? Say, does she lecture you while you do her, wagging her finger in front of your nose? No? Does she know how to use her tongue and fingers for other things than talking incessantly? Yes? My, my…

"Speaking of fingers, I've sent you one of hers. Another part of her will come tomorrow and the next day, and the next… I wonder what it will be? Another finger? Or an ear? Her tongue perhaps? You shall see, Snape."

Hermione dropped the letter as if it had burnt her hands and turned the box over. A human finger fell out, neatly separated from the hand just above the first knuckle, barely coagulated blood dripping from it in big, lumpy drops.

With a gagging sound, she levitated the finger and looked closely. It did indeed look like one of hers. How?

Severus! They must have got hold of him while being in her body, and now they'd used him to… to what? To instigate sheer terror? She wasn't given instructions or a choice of any kind. There was a threat but no blackmail in that letter. She jumped up and ran to the door, waving the protective spell away while she pulled it open. She'd have to get to her office and see if Severus was harmed…

"Expelliarmus! Levicorpus! Got you!" a voice yelled, and the same dark-robed and hooded figure who had threatened her in the bathroom stormed into the office.

Hermione, however, cast a powerfull shield spell against the intruder, and his spells bounced off, causing the shield to emit a loud booming sound.

The attacker, in turn, retaliated by casting a barrage of hexes and curses her way, and she couldn't ward all of them off. A Leg-Locker curse knocked her to the ground, and while she was trying to break the fall, another "Expelliarmus!" almost made her wand slip from her fingers. Dammit, where was Harry?

"Off to check on your little girlfriend, weren't you, Snape? All upset and excited. Why else would you be so careless, hm? It's almost too easy, and there's me thinking you were such a strong wizard. Where's the fun in this? Cru…"

"Expelliarmus!" Finally Harry had decided to join the fight, but the attacker held fast to his wand and warded off Harry's spell nonchalantly.

"Potter? Well, too bad you got involved. We can't have that, Sectumsempra!" And while Harry jumped to the side, the phantom attacked Hermione again with another Cruciatus Curse which she barely escaped by diving behind the overturned chair at her desk.

"Enough," Harry gasped out and raised his wand, but the other wizard hid behind the filing cabinet. He cast spell after spell at Hermione, who was too busy protecting herself to have time to attack. She carefully moved to the other side of her desk to get a better aim at the attacker. Suddenly, the dark-robed wizard turned towards Harry and hissed, "Avada…"

"Stupefy!" Hermione had cast the spell with all her might, finally having a clear aim, while Harry had Disapparated from the spot he'd been in and Apparated a moment later right beside the attacker. But further action wasn't required; the attacker fell to the floor like a rag doll, his wand slipping out of his unfeeling fingers and clattering to the floor. A few green sparks shot out of its tip and sizzled off harmlessly.

"Dammit, Harry. Why did you wait so long? Are you all right?" Hermione screamed.

"I'm fine, but I wanted to see how far this creep would go…"

"He almost killed you!"

"I'm an Auror. Give me some credit," Harry hissed and approached the figure on the floor, prodding him with the tip of his boot. When nothing happened, he pulled the balaclava off.

"Michael Corner?" Hermione gasped.

"Bloody hell," Harry swore. "One of the best Hit Wizards we have. What's got into him?"

Hermione stared at the young man who had been in their year at Hogwarts. He'd been a Ravenclaw.

"He wanted revenge. Isn't he the one who was so horribly tortured by the Carrows? He must have held Severus responsible…"

"Could be," Harry said angrily. "But be that as it may, he either belongs in Azkaban or St. Mungo's," he ground out through clenched teeth. "Our combined memories and statements should be enough, even for Percy…"

"Oh, my God! I need to go and see if Severus is still in my office. That finger there… I hope that wasn't his."

"You go. I'll get Corner here into a cell," Harry said. "But be careful. We don't know if there are any others on his side. And Hermione?"

"What?" Impatience made her voice tremble. She wanted to get to Severus.

"Sorry for not taking you, or Snape, seriously."

"As long as you do it now, it's all right," she shouted while running down the corridor. With Severus' long legs, it didn't take long before she reached the stairs.


Severus distracted himself from worrying by reading Hermione's Goblins' rights proposal. This wasn't bad, he thought. Not bad at all.

The Goblins wanted to be allowed to use wands and finally be on the same level as wizarding people. In exchange, they would agree to a formal alliance with wizardkind, a kind of a magical community. They would accept that Goblin-made items that had been sold through the ages would be lost to the Goblins and remain in the possession of the wizarding families who had initially bought them. Everything purchased after the war would come with an irrefutable contract. It was a simple matter of money; the Goblins were only too willing to give an item up forever when the price was right.

Severus thought that this was an excellent proposal; almost all the advantages were on the side of wizardkind. Even an idiot like Percy Weasley would see that, surely?

Granting Goblins the right to carry wands would make them dangerous, but not more so than any other powerful magical creatures, and a good contract and alliance with them would be invaluable if ever another Dark Wizard wanted to take over the peaceful part of the wizarding world. Besides, someone who had control over all the money in their society had better be part of that society and acknowledged as such. Otherwise, the blackmail factor was simply too great. The mischievous Goblin contracts of old would end with the signing of the agreement, and future sale or lease contracts would clearly indicate the terms of possession of an item without any doubts or second-guessing.

If the Ministry disagreed, the Goblins would get hold of wands eventually, anyway, but then they would be angry, and there would be bloodshed and a new Goblin war, eventually. Nothing good could come out of it. Goblins had shown on more than one occasion that they could use wands to great effect, and Hodrod the Horny-Handed had gathered quite a following.

Severus sighed. Hermione had good ideas. She had come far; there was nothing left that resembled the half-baked, spontaneous activism she had shown in her school years. What remained was her passion for the cause, the desire to help those who were at a disadvantage, who needed someone to speak for them. Like him.

This brought him back to worrying. Another deep sigh. There were twenty minutes left. He couldn't sit still any longer and started pacing up and down, being torn between the wish to run downstairs and check on Hermione's well-being and the wish to not get on her bad side.

A knock on the door roused him from his wool-gathering.

"Yes," he barked.

"Hermione!" A young wizard entered the office. "You look charming. How good it is to see you again. Why didn't you answer my owls?"

"Uh," Severus said.

"We could have spent a lovely weekend at Uncle Tiberius' cottage together, you know. But we shall remedy that. I've made reservations at San Lorenzo's in Diagon Alley. We'll have dinner tonight. Go and make yourself pretty, and we'll leave."

"In your dreams," Severus spat. "Who do you think you are, ordering me around like that?" Severus had a good idea who it could be. Hermione had warned him not to agree to anything Cormac McLaggen suggested. That wasn't difficult, he thought. The twit was insufferably overconfident.

"Don't play hard-to-get with me, Hermione. Haven't I courted you long enough, now? Come kiss me and have done with it." McLaggen arrogantly stalked towards Severus, grabbed him by the arms and bent down to kiss him.

Severus had had enough. He tried to shove the oaf off him, but the jerk was too strong. Dammit, he hadn't accounted for the difference in stature. Hermione wasn't exactly short, and she always appeared so strong. From what he remembered, she wasn't shy about using her strength, either.

"Geroff me," Severus hissed and kicked McLaggen's shin. He didn't quite want to seriously hurt the other wizard, not knowing on how friendly or unfriendly terms Hermione wanted to remain with the twerp. If it were up to him, though, McLaggen would find himself bundled up in the next rubbish bin, but he thought it better to try and get out of this without alienating Hermione's acquaintances.

"Ouch!" McLaggen exclaimed, his face twisted into an ugly, angry grimace. "Are you mad?" His face came very close to Severus', his nose almost touching him. McLaggen's hands were still clamped around Severus' upper arms, roughly shaking his whole female frame. Severus now seriously tried to get away from the madman. If he only could get to his wand…

"Don't struggle. I won't leave here without my kiss, Hermione. I've had it. You don't know what's good for you. You need a strong man who'll take care of you. Kiss me, and everything will be fine."

Severus spat into McLaggen's face and got slapped hard in return. He felt his left eye swelling.

"You bitch," McLaggen snarled. "You'll regret that. I won't be led around by the nose by anyone, not even the famous Hermione Granger."

He looked Severus up and down. "Want to play it rough, little girl? You can have that." He pushed Severus backwards, who stumbled and fell. Before he could draw his wand, however, Damn these short arms and tight sleeves of Hermione's robes! McLaggen had disarmed him, bound him with magical ropes and closed in on him once again.

For the first time in a long time, Severus was afraid. He had never realised how threatening a man could be when seen from a woman's point of view. This was different from a child's point of view and just as frightening. How could his careful avoidance of hurting the brute lead to him being overpowered so easily?

"Help!" he screamed. "Someone help me."

But McLaggen cast a Silencing Charm on the door and laughed. "If you want to get to know me the hard way, little girl, who am I to refuse?" He laughed again and closed in.

Severus frantically struggled backwards, still screaming for help until another blow to his face silenced him. His lip was split. Shit.

"You're sexy when you're angry, Hermione," McLaggen sneered, grabbed Severus' breasts and squeezed them painfully before kissing him on the lips, retreating quickly enough to avoid being bitten.

Severus struggled madly and considered throwing up on McLaggen's custom-made shoes. That kiss had made him feel very sick.

"Don't worry," McLaggen continued. "You won't remember a thing."

"Don't be so sure of that. Petrificus Totalus!"

Wide-eyed in surprise, McLaggen slowly fell to his side, stiff as a log.

Relieved beyond words, Severus saw just how frightening he himself looked when he hovered over someone in anger. His face––well, technically still Hermione's face––was twisted, his eyes glittered dangerously, and his crooked teeth, when bared, weren't a pretty sight.

"Are you all right?" Hermione asked, releasing Severus from his restraints.

"As well as can be expected under the circumstances," Severus said, relief making his voice tremble.

"What do you want me to do with him? Kill him?" Hermione circled the Petrified wizard.

"We would be doing witches all over the world a favour," Severus mused. "But I'll leave it up to you."

"Killing is a bit frowned upon, as I recall. Maybe a permanent impotence hex is the better option. We'll decide later," Hermione suggested, some traitorous bumps on her skin indicating the immediate reversal into her original form. She waved her wand over McLaggen and banished him into the stationary cupboard in the corner.

"There, he can remain there until we decide what to do with him." she said, and then gasped because the transformation was in full swing now. Severus felt it coming on, too, and for several minutes, they both felt too sick to talk.

When they were back in their own bodies, Hermione knelt before him and examined his black eye and split lip. She carefully stroked and probed the injured area, which sent a shiver down Severus' spine that had nothing to do with the pain.

"You'll be good as new in a minute," Hermione muttered and waved her wand. A series of healing charms later, and the split lip was gone and his eye didn't feel swollen any longer.

"There," Hermione said. "All is as it should be." She softly touched his face again, and he gasped. She stilled the movement of her fingers for a moment and stared into his eyes before she slowly finished the caress. A slight smile lit up her face.

"I was so worried about you, Severus. Show me your hands."

He did, wondering what she was up to.

She took both of his hands in hers and looked at them from all sides. She let out a relieved breath before she let his hands go. "Good, everything is in its place."

"Did you have reason to doubt that?" he asked, wondering what had happened to her this afternoon.

"I did indeed," she said. "But I don't want to talk about it. Not here and now. Let's get out of here, shall we?"

Severus nodded, and she took his hand and Apparated both of them to her flat.


"Michael Corner? I can't even recall what he looks like," Severus admitted after they had told each other what had transpired in their respective offices.

"He is an unregistered Animagus. That's how he could evade the Homenum revelio and terrorize you," Hermione explained. Harry had sent her a Patronus with the information as soon as he had finished questioning Corner. He had also released McLaggen from the cupboard and taken him into custody.

"But that's over now. Corner's been arrested, and Harry and my testimonies will be enough to cause a stir. Percy won't like it, but he has no choice in the matter any longer. It's going before the Wizengamot."

Severus sighed. "I have to thank you."

Hermione smiled. "It was clever of you to ask for help that way. Anything else would have failed, most likely."

Severus felt elated. He had known it; she was a clever witch. "You saw right through me, Miss Granger, didn't you?"

"Don't you Miss Granger me, after all we've been through. I'm very glad I could help you. You should get your full wizarding rights back now, too, very soon."

Severus closed his eyes and breathed deeply. To be free at last…

"I suppose you'll want to leave the Ministry, then," Hermione said softly. "I'll miss seeing you every day."

"Will you?" He opened his eyes again and was surprised to see her face very close to his. Her beautiful, soft, brown eyes were glittering. Were those tears? For him? He caught his breath and held her gaze.

Hermione couldn't look away. She'd never seen Severus so approachable, vulnerable even. If he hadn't been brutally attacked this afternoon, she'd have boldly kissed him right then, but she thought that he'd had to ward off enough unwanted attention for one day, completely forgetting that she'd been through quite a fight as well.

"I would so like to kiss you now," she whispered.

"I won't object," he rasped.

And so she kissed him. Finally. She hadn't known that she'd wanted to do this so desperately until now but looking into his dark eyes had suddenly shown her what her heart had known for a while already: she was falling for Severus Snape, and she was falling hard.

The kiss grew more passionate. While her tongue explored his mouth and circled and twisted around his, she was wondering how someone with such an acerbic tongue could taste and smell so sweet. Her hands moved to the buttons on his robes, trying to snap them open, disregarding the sting of the stubborn things that wouldn't budge. "Get that off," she gasped between kisses.

"Are you sure?" His voice sounded extremely sexy. It wasn't smooth and silky as usual but sounded rough and raw, full of passion and desire.

"Uh-huh." She didn't really feel very eloquent at the moment. "I want you, all of you, now."

"Very well," he murmured and helped her in getting the buttons out of their holes.

With a bit of struggling, they both managed to shrug out of their robes and then stood before each other only clad in their underwear.

Hermione stared. She knew his body well, and he hers, but this perspective was very different from actually being in the other's body. Admiringly, she let her eyes wander over his wiry frame, the well-toned muscles and the long limbs. His pants were tented. He was enjoying this, too. Perfect.

Closing in, she attached herself to his mouth again, rubbing herself against him. He sighed. "Contraception?" he gasped out between kisses.

"Potion. No need to cast the charm," she murmured into his mouth. His hands were all over her now, and such lovely, deft hands they were.

"Look at me," he whispered. "I want to see you."

She opened her eyes and stared. He held her gaze and stroked her cheek, then followed his hands with his lips, always lifting his head and staring at her in-between kisses. She soon lost all grasp on reality and gave in to the sensations his hands and lips were causing. He seemed to know exactly where to touch her. When his hands moved to her back, slightly grazing her shoulder blades and then unclasping her bra, she couldn't stand it any longer. She ripped the bra off and thrust her breasts into his hands.

He moaned, kneading them softly––he remembered how painful McLaggen's rough treatment of them had felt––and bent his head to kiss her again. She pressed herself against him, revelling in his warmth. His hands wandered down her lower back until he reached her panties. He slowly pushed them down, briefly kneaded her buttocks and then closed in on her clit with one hand, all the while staring into her eyes, breathing fast, mouth slightly open.

Merlin, he looked so sexy. She moaned loudly when he hit her most sensitive spot. "Severus! I want you now. Please…"

Stepping out of his own pants, he softly pushed her to the floor––they hadn't made it to the bedroom––and after a brief glimpse at his very eager member, she spread her legs wide. "Now. Hard," she gasped.

Fumbling a bit, he knelt down and slowly entered her. The feeling was heavenly.

"Move," she commanded.

"Bossy, aren't you?" he grunted. "Look at me, Hermione."

She stared up into his eyes and saw them slowly glazing over as he moved in and out of her. She raised her hips and met each of his thrusts, not caring about the slight burning sensation of the carpet on her back.

"Faster," she whispered. He complied.

It didn't take long before she started to keen. "Keep going. Keep going," she ordered.

He was gasping loudly now, but followed her orders. "Look at me," he commanded again between clenched teeth.

"Good, good," she choked out, wishing that he'd touch exactly that spot a bit more firmly to push her over the edge. Crying out in surprise, she realised that he'd done exactly that a heartbeat later.

"Merlin, yes! Oh, Severus. Oh, love!" she praised, letting herself drown in the sensations, clenching his cock with her cunt and urging him to pump faster.

He was still thrusting steadily, his eyes now closed, his breathing strained.

"Come with me," she gasped, still riding the aftershocks of a wonderful orgasm. "What are you waiting for?"

"All right?" he asked, a bit insecurely and started to move very fast and a bit erratically. He was still trying to maintain eye contact but was carried away when his own orgasm hit.

Severus was silent while he came. His breathing became very fast and his face flushed––a lovely sight, Hermione found––but he neither cried out nor uttered anything else. Shy, she thought, and yet he was so skilled at making love. He did all the right things at the right time, almost as if he could read her mind.


She stared at the back of his head. He had collapsed on top of her but held his weight on his elbows, trying not to crush her. Considerate, she thought, not quite knowing if she should be amused or angry. The git had used Legilimency on her.

When he finally raised his head and looked at her again, she smirked. "You don't leave much to chance, do you?"

"What do you mean?

"What would you have done if I had learned Occlumency?"

"Uhm… I… I just wanted to know if I was doing things right." He looked sheepish. Hermione couldn't believe it. Severus Snape looked sheepish. She blinked.

"What's wrong with just asking?"

He sighed, rolling off her to the side. He propped his head up on his elbow and gently caressed her stomach. "Don't you think that too much talking would have ruined the mood?"

"A bit of asking wouldn't have ruined the mood, I don't think. Surely you're aware of how sexy your voice is? And you can ask with your eyes closed. For Legilimency, you need them open, and it's an intrusion. It may not be well received, under the circumstances."

"Yes, but…"


Severus swallowed hard. Telling her the truth would make him vulnerable. He would be giving her ammunition to ridicule him.

Hermione's slender, nimble fingers were caressing his lips and moving up and down his jaw line while she stared at him expectantly. Her touch unnerved him. He couldn't think clearly when she was touching him.

"But––" he whispered in resignation. "But with my constant asking, it would really have killed the mood. And I would have had to ask constantly…"

He didn't dare to look into her eyes and spoke to her breasts instead. "…I would have had to ask constantly because I've never done it before."

Hermione's hand stilled. He steeled himself for her laughter.

It didn't come. Instead, her hand firmly grabbed his chin and raised his head until he had to look into her face. He narrowed his eyes and scowled.

"I didn't expect this, Severus." Hermione looked stricken. "If you'd told me, I would have made more of an effort and not jumped you so unceremoniously."

"What?" Severus let out a choked laugh, relief at her words making him feel light-headed. "You didn't jump me…"

"I didn't spend much time with foreplay, either, or with exploring what you like, or showing you what I like."

She paused and studied his face. He felt oddly young again, like a schoolboy up for evaluation.

"You know, there's only one way to remedy my oversight," she continued.

"And that is?"

"We'll have to do it again." She grinned. "If you like."

"If I like? And what about you?"

"What about me? I enjoyed every minute, and I have no doubts that whatever else you'll chose to do to me, or with me, will be equally enjoyable. You may be new to this, but there is dedication and talent." She smirked again.

"You impudent little––," he grumbled. "Bossy and insolent. You'll have to teach me…"

"There's enough I haven't tried yet. We can learn together." Her smirk had transformed into a soft smile. She sat up and kissed him again.

Severus leaned into the kiss, savouring the feel, taste and smell of her, hardly able to believe his good fortune. Hermione was kissing him. Hermione had made love with him and wanted to do it again. With him, the ugly, greasy, unpleasant git.

"How can you stand it? I don't get it…" he murmured and took her hand, massaging her palm and softly stroking her fingers. Such a fragile hand. Fragile but strong, just like the rest of her. And yet, when he had been in her body, her strength hadn't been sufficient to keep McLaggen away.

"What do you mean?" She looked puzzled.

"When I was in your body, and McLaggen was beating me, I was afraid, really afraid," he admitted. "At first, I didn't want to hurt him because he is your acquaintance, but then it was too late. He was just so much stronger and willing to use that strength. And I felt helpless, powerless, and whatever I did and said made him even angrier."

Hermione nodded. "That's what many women suffer from men, even from the ones they love."

"I know," he said. "How can you live with us?"

"Because, luckily, you're not all like that. There are some acceptable specimens out there, and I think you might just be one of them." She winked. "And you're exciting, too. Things you find scary and repulsive from a hated man can excite you from a beloved one."

She didn't look at him but stroked his biceps slightly, biting her lip. He waited, wondering if she'd say more. When nothing came, he thought he'd have to inquire further.

"A beloved man?"

"Yes. I see no point in hiding it. I know that you still love Lily, but over time, perhaps…" Hermione sighed.

"You needn't be worried about that," Severus said softly and stroked her cheek.


"No. But you were trying to tell me the difference between scary and exciting things…"

Hermione knew that they'd have to tackle the 'Lily-issue' again between them, but his assurance was good enough for her for now. "You know, if you don't believe me, we could just take another dose of Polyjuice…"

"Oh." Severus blinked. "You mean you want to make love to yourself?"

"No, to you, but what better way to show each other exactly what we like? It would be a first for me, too, you know." A frown had crept onto her forehead, and her eyes had lost their self-assured gleam. "Unless the idea is so repulsive to you…"

"Of course not," he protested. "I enjoyed being in your body. I could have played with your breasts all day long if I hadn't had to work."

That got her laughing. Much better, Severus thought and admiringly stared at her posterior while she walked to the kitchen to get two more phials of the potion.

"You made this batch because you saw me being so miserable, didn't you?" he accused her.

"Yes," she said. "You looked more and more defeated each time I saw you. And I had thought you'd want me to…"

"I did. And at the same time, didn't. That's why I mostly left it up to you. And, as usual, you did not disappoint."

"Cheers," she said and raised her phial after she had thrown one of his hairs in. He did likewise, and a few moments later, they were staring at each other's transformed faces.

"And now?" he asked.

"Why not start with kisses?"

Severus felt slightly claustrophobic when he saw his own tall frame lumber over his, Hermione's, smaller body. The way she stared down at him was anything but threatening, though, and when his ugly mug came closer, he stopped wondering about his huge nose and enjoyed the sensations his, no, her hands elicited on his body wherever they roamed and touched. And his lips did feel soft and sensual despite being so thin… and most surprisingly, he tasted good, and then he gave up thinking all together.

Hermione found that making love as a man was less fun than making love as a woman. The sensations were fast and immediate, and she had to mentally cool herself down repeatedly to not come and be done with it before she was ready..

It was a consolation, however, that she knew exactly where and how to touch Severus to make him squirm and gasp for more.

"Dammit, this is good," he breathed out. "I wish this could go on forever."

"Sorry, I won't last long enough for that," Hermione panted. His hands and lips knew exactly what to do to his––now her––cock, as well, and she felt herself close to the brink more than once.

"I want to fuck you now," she choked out when she couldn't stand it any longer.

"Bossy, no matter what shape you're in," he gasped, voice shaking from barely suppressed laughter, and then he only muttered incoherently when she entered him. This was so different from the quick and lonely experiments of his youth. He enjoyed the stretching sensation and wound his legs around Hermione's narrow hips. She laughed and steadied his thighs, thrusting slowly at first but soon finding a fast and forceful rhythm.

He watched in fascination how she screwed up her face in concentration. One of her hands had moved to his clit and had started stroking it.

"Can't last much longer," she groaned.

"No need to," he whispered before he let himself fall, his eyes wide open.

"Oh, yes!" she cried in triumph when she felt his orgasm rise and the muscles of his vagina clench her cock. "Merlin!" she bellowed––and then Severus neither heard nor saw anything for a long time because his lower body seemed to combust, and he felt her last few erratic thrusts result in a forceful expulsion of sperm inside him.

His knees trembled when she let go of his thighs and collapsed on top of him. She, he, was surprisingly heavy, and he was glad that he had remembered to put his weight on his elbows earlier.

"There's a lot more to explore in that venue, as well," she finally said when she was able to talk again.

"Ever the researcher," he mumbled, snuggling up to her taller frame. That felt very good.

"You know, you feel good whatever shape you're in. I don't care if you're a man, a woman or a cat," he mumbled, feeling very smug when he felt her body vibrate from her surprised laughter. He could make her laugh. Maybe this, whatever this was, could really go somewhere.

Hermione raised her head and looked into his eyes, pushing his bushy hair from his face. Severus hadn't known that his own eyes could emit so much warmth. Warmth and more. Something that looked treacherously like love.

"We'll be fine," she whispered, and then her face dissolved into bumps.

"You may be right," he murmured and bent over in pain while transforming back into his own self.

"I'm always right. I'm an insufferable know-it-all," Hermione, now again with breasts and bushy hair, said importantly.

Severus looked fondly at his cock, which stirred again at the sight of her lovely breasts and laughed.

The end.


A/N: Hodrod the Horny-Handed is an activist for the Brotherhood of Goblins. (Daily Prophet Newsletter)