Don't Stand So Close To Me

AN: This is my first attempt at a song-fic, so go easy on me, alright? I always thought this song fit Snape and Hermione well, since it is about a teacher and a student who are in a relationship. I tried to make it semi-canon for Half-Blood Prince, but obviously SS/HG is never going to be canon. Anyways, the song is by The Police, and is definitely not mine – neither is Harry Potter.

Of all the students in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Hermione Granger was the last girl anyone would expect to be in this situation.

A singularly gifted witch, mature beyond her years and innocent in mind and body, Hermione was dedicated to learning, her friends, and fighting for the light. At just thirteen years old she had gained special permission to use a time turner, at fifteen she had fought Death Eaters and emerged alive, and at all times she supported Harry Potter, the boy who was destined to defeat Lord Voldemort.

He, on the other hand, was the last man anyone would expect to be in this situation.

Severus Snape was bitter, irascible, and introverted. He had seen true evil, even participated in it, and had certainly not come out of the experience unscathed. At the tender age of seventeen he had been branded as a dark wizard and began bowing down to Voldemort – at twenty he had turned traitor and spy.

They were possibly the least compatible people in the entire wizarding world, and yet somehow, it happened anyways.

Young teacher: the subject of schoolgirl fantasy

She wants him so badly

Knows what she wants to be

Inside her there's longing

This girl's an open page

Book marking – she's so close now

This girl is half his age

The first time was an accident. A prank in defense against the dark arts, easily blamed on the nearest Gryffindor student, and detention was set and expected. Her job was to re-label all of the old vials of ingredients for protective amulets (the fifth years would be covering them soon) in the storage closet that were long faded. Some seemed to have sat there for decades, and Hermione had to use a contrast charm just to see what had been written.

He had just returned from a meeting; the Dark Lord wanted news on Draco Malfoy's progress in his mission. The world seemed particularly bleak when sixteen year olds were being sent off on clandestine suicide missions, and he wanted nothing more than to down a bottle of Dreamless Sleep and find comfort in the void of sleep.

The catalyst was a shattered bottle of dried jasmine blossoms. He welcomed the opportunity to vent his frustration on the unlucky student, but found it unsatisfying as she grit her teeth and glared back. The only student who could look at him as an equal and make him feel ashamed of his whole life.

It may have been the cloying smell of crushed jasmine petals, or perhaps the tilt of her chin as she took one step closer. It may even have been the way his hands trembled with weeks of despair and anger at both of his masters, or how angry she was at her stupid, blind friends who just wanted the homework answers. Neither one would know who acted first, but it probably didn't make much difference.

The kiss was not gentle. There were no fireworks, declarations, or epiphanies. Hermione held tightly onto the lapels of his jacket, and he clutched desperately at her waist as they moved against the wall. Later, she would remember the feeling of vertigo, as though the world had moved and he was all that kept her upright. To Severus Snape, it was the feeling of being held against another human being for the first time in decades – she was warm, welcoming, and it was as though her innocence eclipsed all that was bad in his life.

When he finally drew back her eyes were bright, and he felt the horror suddenly come crashing down. It took immense effort just to stutter, "Go back to your common room, Miss Granger." And then he ran.

It was no use, in the end. She was the first good thing in his life. And he was the only one who really cared.

Her friends are so jealous

You know how bad girls get

Sometimes it's not so easy

To be the teacher's pet

Temptation, frustration

So bad it makes him cry

Wet bus stop: she's waiting

His car is warm and dry

They were very careful out of sheer necessity. He would have been fired, she could have been expelled. Certainly her grades would be audited or discounted, and he could have been arrested if he wasn't killed by the Dark Lord for fraternization. Still, things weren't the same.

Snape had never been a helpful or kind professor, especially not towards Gryffindors. And of course that didn't change – to him Hermione Granger was the exception rather than the rule. Two decades of spying had honed his acting abilities, and he could keep feelings from showing on his face. The difficulty was that so much of this was new and unfamiliar. Pity, regret, and grief were easy to hide after years of practice, but Snape, committed fully to the war, had little experience with lust, kindness, or hope.

So while there was nothing too drastic, there were slight differences. The name "know it all" seemed to disappear from his vocabulary, and when she waved her hand in the air before he was even done asking a question he may have called on her more often. Her grades didn't change, but the use of vitriolic comments written in red ink on her homework lessened. It was enough that a friend who happened to already be suspicious of Severus Snape would notice.

At first Harry Potter wrote it off as a fluke. But to him, Snape was incapable of any small kindness, and certainly not ones that lasted for weeks and weeks. So he mentioned it to his other friend, who while not overly suspicious of Snape, did pay an inordinate amount of attention to Hermione Granger.

It started with brief comments –

"Snape seems to have taken a liking to you, Hermione,"

"I thought Snape might actually give you points for once, Hermione,"

"I can't believe he didn't mark you down for turning in extra homework, Hermione!"

More telling than Snape's actions was the blank, flushed face Hermione would get after her friend's comments. And finally, after reminding her friends yet another time that Snape was to be addressed as professor, and really you two, remember that Dumbledore trusts him –

"Great Merlin, Hermione, you act like you're in love with the stupid git. He hates us, or did you forget that?"

Maybe her glare wasn't outraged enough, or maybe the slight blush on her cheeks was noticed for once by her normally oblivious friends. Either way, the suspicious looks grew in frequency, and meals at the Gryffindor table became strained.

It was raining the night she finally gave in – she had been walking back from Care of Magical Creatures when Ron had made another comment about her "stupid crush" on the greasy Slytherin bat of the dungeons. She'd cried for an hour, letting the rain drench her for some time before she finally calmed down. If she'd lost her friends, she reasoned, then that left one person who she could go to.

Severus was quiet as he let her into his office – silent as he conjured a towel and wrapped her in it, and really at that point no words needed to be said. When she kissed him he had misgivings, but when her small hands reached for the buttons on her shirt he thought all rational thought had flown out the window. He knew it would change everything for good, but somehow and for some reason this woman wanted him.

For once in his life, he gave in.

Loose talk in the classroom

To hurt they try and try

Strong words in the staffroom

The accusations fly

It's no use – he sees her

He starts to shake and cough

Just like the old man in that book by Nabokov

There was never any proof. But when two of the most popular boys in Gryffindor get angry enough to make one snide comment in public, someone else will hear and pass it on. Hermione was followed by whispers in the hallways, and even the occasional hex from some Gryffindor or Hufflepuff who seemed to feel she'd betrayed every student ever insulted by Snape. Harry had the unerring ability to hold a grudge for as long as he felt necessary, and Ron followed Harry. Ron, perhaps, was worse because he had once fancied her and felt insulted by her preference.

The more they talked, the quieter she grew. And the quieter she grew, the more worried Snape became. He tried to act normally – he went back to calling her names or ignoring her in class, but the damage was done.

It was a Friday afternoon when he stepped into the staffroom when he was finally confronted by Minerva McGonagall and the other heads of the houses. At first they were restrained, wanting to believe that they were rumors just as there had always been rumors. Then they were indignant, even furious at Snape's refusal to answer. It was McGonagall who finally called him out on it – "Sleeping with a student, even one as brilliant as Miss Granger, is low, even for you, Severus. She's a child and you've done nothing but take advantage of that."

The worst part was that he was fairly certain that McGonagall was right.

So in the end there was really nothing they could do but try to feign ignorance, despite how they kept falling together. Against all logic and reason they couldn't keep from finding each other when each needed it most – really, it was the only form of comfort either one could get. And without proof, no one could stop it.

As long as Severus Snape lived, he wouldn't be able to give her up. And as he held his wand tightly in his hand and pointed it at a visibly weakened Albus Dumbledore who was clutching the walls of the astronomy tower, he thought that it was ironic. Months of sneaking, acting, and defending each other to the rest of the world and he couldn't even tell the one person who trusted him of his plans.

So when Albus Dumbledore flew over the side of the castle and Severus Snape ran almost blindly through the forest, he only for the briefest moment let himself feel the grief of losing her. And when Hermione heard Harry's story of Dumbledore's murder, she felt as though the entire world had ended. Her obvious distress may have even helped endear her to Harry, who seemed to think she had been bewitched.

Hermione sank slowly onto a nearby bed in the hospital wing and cried. There was no logical reason to disbelieve Harry's story.

So Severus Snape bowed to the Dark Lord and accepted his honors, as were due to the man who had finally killed the only one Voldemort ever feared. At the same time Hermione, dressed in black mourning robes, bit her lip while she packed her trunk with books on Horcruxes and made a mental list of camping supplies they would need next year.

Both silently locked away the past few months, determined to forget the betrayals and accusations. Neither ever would.

Don't stand so close to me

Please don't stand so close to me