Chapter 14 - That Bigmouthed Girl

"Miss Granger? I don't recall inviting you here. Did your Youfinder give you a false alarm, or will you be using a different defense?"

"Merry Christmas to you, too, Professor Snape, it's such a pleasure, as always," Hermione said mockingly. "I accidentally Apparated nearby and decided to come and wish you a Merry Christmas, that's all." She tried to smile innocently, but failed miserably.

"Highly unlikely, I do not believe a word of your tale. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll close the door and pretend like you were never here."

Hermione slipped her small foot between the door and pushed herself into the room. He must think I'm the most impertinent person in the world, so I might as well act like it, she thought and remembered a little parcel in her pocket that was meant for Ron. "I came to bring you a Christmas present," she lied with a clear girlish voice and handed him a gift wrapped in red and gold paper. Professor Snape glowered at it as if it had been a dead snake's corpse that had been lying on a hot and sunny road for three weeks.

"I hate presents. The only thing I hate more than getting a present is opening one in front of the person who gave it to me," he snarled tartly with a disgusted look on his face that cunningly concealed the delighted, and surprised, feelings from inside his chest.

"You don't have to pretend that you like it," Hermione said, stretching her hand so that the present was touching his fingers.

"As if I would have," he hissed, but a small, fleeting smile slunk from one corner of his mouth.

"Just open it… please!" Hermione pleaded with a smile on her face.

Severus took the gift, an involuntary look on his face and ripped the gift paper from it. Hermione quickly cast an enlargenment spell to the present and soon there was very nice set of herbal spices and two bottles containing the best quality Olive oil and Vinegar. Severus was astounded, how did she know he liked to cook from time to time? Anyway, the nice, suitable gift wasn't any reason to spend more time with her than absolutely necessary.

"Well, thank you, I suppose. In case you didn't know, I happen to have quite extensive storages of my own spices. But while I'll continue celebrating that Merry Christmas you mentioned, alone, I wish the same to you and I assume you know your way out. Good night, Miss Granger."

"There was something else too...," Hermione said hesitantly.

I knew it! I could have sworn she was after something! Severus thought triumphantly.

"What ever it is, I'm sure I'm not interested. If you are not going to leave soon, I'm afraid I'll have to throw you out of my private chambers, do you understand me?" he muttered under his breath and Hermione noticed he was speaking with his vicious tone, normally used to intimidate his pupils.

"I'm not any silly schoolgirl you can frighten anymore," Hermione snapped back at him.

You are right about that one, you are hardly a schoolgirl anymore and to my despair I happened to notice it a while ago, Severus thought behind his silent, iceman mask.

"I'm not leaving until you tell me why you did what you did during that blackout at the Christmas party," Hermione said in a determined way.

"I kissed you," Professor Snape remarked blankly.

"Yes, you did. I had figured it out that far, but I want to know why," she continued insistently.

"I kissed you," he repeated, hoping to gain some more time to figure out something clever to say and slip out of this uncomfortable situation.

"Yes, but why? I need to know why would you do such a thing. You hate me. It's very unusual to be kissed by someone who despises you so completely, and as you happen to loathe me, though I never have understood why...." Hermione began to feel breathless as her sentences had begun to run onto one another.

"I kissed you… because…" And so stretched a long pause when Hermione could almost see his brain smoking with too much frantic thinking. Maybe he doesn't know the answer either, Hermione thought, starting to feel almost sympathy towards the seemingly unsure man in front of her. It didn't last long though, since he opened his mouth again, "…Because I just did. I don't need to explain my deeds to anybody, and least of all to you, Miss Granger."

"Wha – hahhat? Don't you dare try to wriggle out of this one so easily, you... Slytherin. If you don't remember, I happened to be the object of your deed, so I'm very much entitled to hear what it was for. Let it be your Christmas present to me." She tried to lighten up the atmosphere and attempted a wheedling smile.

"I don't give Christmas gifts."

"Indeed? Isn't that a surprise. NOW TELL ME BEFORE I LOSE MY TEMPER WITH YOU!" Hermione yelled and took a few steps towards the now very surprised Potions master. He could smell her scent more clearly and precisely now; tangerine, green tea and ginger – She's wearing my perfume and she's furious and so beautiful. Severus felt a sudden childlike joy wash over him. Without realising it himself, he was staring at her and a stupid trace of a smile flickered on his lips as he observed her every feature, now trembling with rage.

Hermione couldn't believe her eyes. Either he had gone absolutely insane or he was just about to say something so mean that it would take years of Hermione's life to invent something even as slightly as cruel. She was standing in front of him, staring defiantly into his night-black eyes, and swallowed.

What did I say? What were we talking about? Her mouth went dry and she had to lick her lips. Like a reflection from a mirror, he moistened his lips too with his warm and soft tongue and leaned a little closer to her. She could feel her body go suddenly very weak and her breath started to quicken. Severus felt as if his heart was trying to hammer a hole into his chest in order to break free from its narrow prison. And if it did, where would it go? he thought, seeing surrealistically in his mind how his heart jerked itself out of his chest and took a wide leap into her arms. For a second he saw Hermione holding his bleeding heart in her hands, and, terrified by this sight, he forced himself to snatch himself out of the odd spell that had surrounded them for a moment.

"If that's all, you are dismissed. I'm in no mood for defending myself from silly misinterpretations of a harrowing person such as you. Good night, Miss Granger."

Hermione had to bite her lip so as not to explode. That's it, this is too much, I'm going to grab that heavy vase on the fireplace and smash it onto that ugly face of his, she thought fiercely, almost reaching for the Floo powder vase nearby. But instead she took a deep breath, shot a piercing glance in Professor Snape's direction and sat dramatically down in one of his armchairs.

"No. I'm in no mood for your silly games. I'll sit here and wait until you follow my example and sit down too. Then we'll have a little chat and I'll leave when I am satisfied," Hermione said with a firm and freezing tone that could easily compete with one of his intimidating tones any day. "Cut the crap and sit down."

Severus was so stunned that he did as ordered and noticed that this new and dominating Hermione made he feel… aroused. Again. Oh fuck.

"Why do I get the feeling I'm talking to a mentally retarded five-year-old? For the third time, answer my question. It's such a simple one too: Why did you kiss me?"

Severus felt his palms starting to sweat and for a fleeting moment he felt sorry for Neville Longbottom, if this was how he made him feel in his classes years ago. He wanted this to end as soon as possible, so he decided to play along.

"The question might be simple, but it doesn't mean the answer will be. I don't know why I did it. That's an honest and straight answer, so I hope your are content and will at last leave me be."

"That's better, yes, but I'm far from gratified. I had expected more of you, since you are supposed to be such a brave and daring man, a hero, double agent and a spy, an ex-Death Eater… and then - you kiss a damsel abruptly and under the total cover of darkness, and then refuse to explain your motives to her. Doesn't sound very heroic to me, does it?"

If Severus Snape could have been able to feel abashed, he would have, but instead he was starting to feel very annoyed at the direction the discussion was taking.

"What do you want? An apology? That can be arranged. A confession of love? Hopefully not, but just tell me what it is you are after and I'll do it, since I so desperately want to get rid of you for good."

"Fine," Hermione said tilting her chin to face Professor Snape. "I want you to look straight into my eyes and tell me you are sorry for kissing me and will never do it again."

There was an icy silence while Severus weighed his alternatives. Then he rose abruptly, took a tight grip at Hermione's shoulder and hissed viciously into her ear.

"Enough of this nonsense. You have crossed a line here and nobody, I mean NOBODY can come here and give me orders like that." He lifted her up from her chair and pushed her harshly towards the exit of his quarters.

"I have had enough of this impudence of yours, Miss Granger. Vanish from my sight. Now!"

Hermione was upset from the sudden outburst from the inconsistent man. The physical contact by him had really startled her. His eyes were nailed to hers and she could almost see the electric lightning bolts hurling from him. Their power game started to look more ugly than challenging to her, but Hermione wasn't ready to admit her loss - not just yet.

"There's no need to be rude, Professor. I'll go, since I realise your complete inability to talk about emotional issues. I'm sorry that I obviously pressed you over the limits you can handle, but you still owe me an explanation." And I'll get it out from you even if I have to use tongs.

Hermione lifted her face and was about to wish a good night to his infernal highness when Severus suddenly stopped pushing her.

His hands still laying on her shoulders, he said with a low and quiet voice, "Here's your explanation, and after you've heard it, leave me alone for the rest of my life, do I make myself clear, Miss Granger?" Severus took a deep breath and continued with his most velvety voice, "It was all because of those damned gingerbreads of Madam Sprout. She had apparently put a great amount of Damiana powder in them. It was nothing personal, just a very unpleasant mistake, and I am sorry, (you can't even begin to understand just how much), that it had to happen. I would very much have preferred it not happen. It was an unfortunate mistake that will indeed never be repeated."

His words had poured down to her ear like honey, and she felt her brain functions become quite sticky. Not from the content of his words, there was nothing sweet in it, but his voice… Severus was leaning so close to her that she could feel his hot breath on her neck. It caressed her sensitive skin and sent unexpected and startling jolts through her whole body.

As he inhaled deeply he couldn't help but notice the feminine scent lingering in his nose. Earlier, when she had arrived at his rooms, he had first recognised an aroma of wild fresh linden and some white lilies, and he had immediately known she was wearing an invention of his own, but now the scent had changed again. There was a sudden cloud of jasmine and ginger, and under the sweet fragrance of neroli, there was a growing feel of patchouli. It hit him like a Bludger.

Hermione felt as if that honey in her brain had flown through her body, down, down, till it had finally reached her hips. As his last words echoed through her head, she finally understood the meaning of them. 'A mistake that will never happen again.' It stung her heart in the most peculiar way when an abrupt, heavy and fierce weight was pressed on her lips. The back of Hermione's head hit the door behind her as Severus came against her like a bulldozer, kissing her with hungry and passionate lips. He wrapped her demandingly into his arms and caressed her ravished mouth with his yearning tongue. She felt as if a huge tidal wave of lust had washed over her and because of it she entangled her hands around his slender and strong body that was now heated with, for once, another feeling which was stronger than anger. Instinctively Hermione pressed her hips against his hardness, a sign of the ex-Potion master's overwhelming arousal for her. She heard a small gasp escape his throat and he moved his craving mouth to her ear and down to her delicate and delicious neck like a sexy vampire of sorts.

"You had those gingerbreads for a little snack before I came here?" Hermione asked mockingly, her voice full of laughter as she tried to kiss his lips once again.

Instead of responding, he pushed her away from him and mumbled with an unfathomed expression his eyes, "I must apologize, I don't know what hit me. It's time for you to go now, before I do something you'll come to regret."

"I'll come to regret? Unless you were planning to beat and kill me, I don't see how this could have led to anything I would come to regret. Stop treating me like a child. Just because you want to hesitate and don't know what you're doing, doesn't mean that I am as helpless," Hermione blurted out and sent an annoyed glance to Severus' surprised eyes. She grabbed him by the lapels of his black shirt and forced him to walk a few steps backwards until they stood next to his large and inviting bed. She pushed him so hard that he lost his balance and fell onto it. Hermione jumped nimbly like a cat on top of him and started unbuttoning his shirt with limber fingers. She kissed his ear, neck and the bare skin of the chest, which was obviously exposed under the garment. Severus could hardly prevent himself from moaning, but he forced himself to seize her hands in his own to stop her.

"Uhh… You don't have to do this…" Severus managed to utter.

"I don't? Well, isn't that a relief!" she said, smiling mischievously and kissed him teasingly on his lips.

"If you just go now, it'll be all right…" He tried to move out from under her.

"You are worse than Lockhart, you know!"

What! She has had sex with that twit? Severus' mind was screaming, but calmed down when she finished her sentence.

"You just never get tired of hearing your own voice." Hermione's hands gently probed Severus' amazingly soft skin, but that wasn't any surprise to her anymore. She felt an ever-growing desire to feel the touch of his warm skin on her own bare body.

"But, I just...," Severus tried again.

"Be quiet when I kiss you. You'll have plenty of time to babble when I go down on you," Hermione said, smiling sweetly and innocently like an obedient schoolgirl.

All these years I have accused her to be such an annoying bigmouthed, impudent and bossy girl, but I never really thought her to be anything else than the toady and prudent little overachiever. Have I ever been as pleased to admit how wrong and unfair my prejudices were, Severus thought, slightly alarmed, but as Hermione had already started what she had promised, he was gladly willing, for once, to let her have the last word. And when he considered the subject even more he found there really wasn't anything that had to be said at the moment.