"Dam it was a hell of a year" she thought to herself. She finally was able to get out of a toxic, go nowhere relationship. Her marriage to Ron was a joke, a mistake, something she realized that she did because it was expected by everyone around her.

All they did was fight. Fight about her job, his job, why she didn't want kids right away and most of all the endless parade of women who glued themselves to her husband's side whenever he was away for Quidditch playing keeper for the Chudley Cannons. She finally had enough when she opened the Daily Prophet one day and saw her husband in an embrace with a very scantily clad blonde. What happened after that was a whirlwind. Ron's mother flooed to their place in tears, she hugged Hermione and swore she would make sure her good for nothing son regretted everything he did. Hermione didn't have the heart to tell the woman that she had already made up her mind that morning and decided she was going to end the one year marriage. Ron was still acting like a teenager and Hermione was a woman.

It was done quickly. With the help and understanding from her best friend Harry and his wife Ginny. A divorce was finalized, not because Ron was so compliant but because his family made sure he didn't make his wife's life any more stressful. Hermione changed her name back to Granger and moved into a two bedroom flat in London. Her job at the ministry was the best thing in her life right next to her incredible friends.

Hermione was working for the Ministry as a liaison between the Minister of Magic and the Muggle Prime Minister. She was able to work between both worlds and enjoyed it immensely. While she was a witch she loved Muggle technology; computers, television, MP3 players, video games,

CD Players and much more. She loved watching her wizard friends play a game of Quidditch and equally enjoyed going to a Sunday football game in Manchester with her Muggle friends.

She was putting her life back together. At the ripe old age of 23 she had already accomplished a great deal. After the war she decided she wanted to go to a Muggle university, so she followed the proper channels and was able to attend Oxford. Witches and Wizards were able to attend those Muggle Universities due to cooperation between the Ministers in both worlds. Hermione excelled at University and graduated early. At 21 she was ready to face both worlds head on. A month after graduation she and Ron were married and the first few months were wonderful. Then she got the job as the liaison and things began to fall apart. Ron expected Hermione to finish University and become a housewife as well as a stay at home mom. Hermione wasn't ready to stay home.

Hermione thought about all this as she boarded the ship in Barcelona. She was taking a Mediterranean cruise as a to me from me gift for her 23rd birthday present. She wanted to be pampered for the next 12 nights.

She easily found her stateroom and met her cabin steward. For a cruise ship the room was lovely. It had a sitting area with a small sofa and chair, a nice bed and a balcony.

Ginny made all the arrangements for her telling her it was the least she could do since her good for nothing brother went and cheated on her best friend. The only thing Hermione was concerned about was dining alone, she knew that there would be arranged seating and she was a little nervous about meeting people, especially Muggles since she was on a Muggle cruise.

While she was unpacking her clothes she noticed a door next to the sofa. She wondered if it was another closet, when she tried the doorknob she found it was locked. Realization hit her that this was a cabin that had a connecting room. Shrugging because she had stayed in Muggle hotels with connecting rooms she reminded herself just to make sure she warded the door before going to bed. A quick glance at the clock and Hermione realized there would be a lifeboat drill in a few minutes. She found the safety device and quickly made her way to the deck.

A brief drill and she was on her way back to her cabin, the day was beautiful and the pool was beckoning. As she approached her cabin she saw a man with his back toward her enter his stateroom. There was something familiar about his graceful stride.

Once she was back in her room she quickly changed into a pretty blue bikini and matching cover-up. She grabbed her bag that was already filled with the necessary items and a new Muggle novel about Vampires in the southern United States. Finally she made her way to the pool deck and found the perfect spot. After ordering a Strawberry daiquiri she settled down after covering herself with sunscreen and started reading about the romance between a telepath and a vampire. She didn't notice the man who stood by the pool bar watching her with an intent look on his face.

He couldn't believe she was here, on this ship, and by the looks of it alone. He wondered if Ginny Potter knew Hermione would be on this ship. His thoughts went back to the conversation he had with her and Harry one evening after dinner at their home.

After the final battle Harry had made his way back to the Shrieking Shack hoping that he could change one more thing before it would be too late. When he was in the headmaster's office he saw Fawkes on his old perch. He remembered how the Phoenix saved him after the basilisks bite, Nagini was not a basilisk and could not be more poisonous, he wondered if there was enough life left in Snape for Fawkes tears to save him. He raced his way there and called Fawkes who quickly cried into Snapes wounds. In a few short moments Snape opened his eyes to see Harry staring at him and smiling. It took days for Snape to truly recover; he was brought to the hospital wing and treated like a hero, which he hated. Potter had shared those memories with the Order and he was fully pardoned by the ministry.

A friendship started between Harry and Severus. It was barely cordial at first but then as years went by they actually became friends. He spent many days with Harry and Ginny and sometimes ran into Hermione and Ron when she was on a break from school. He watched her grow from a pretty teenager into a beautiful woman. He was sorry she had to suffer a divorce at such a young age but he knew Ron was not right for her. She may only be 23 but she was much more mature than most her age. Both she and Harry were, that's what war does to people. Ron never really grew up and Severus wondered if he ever will. He wondered how that fool could even think about another woman when he had Hermione in his bed. He remembered saying that aloud in front of Ginny and then quickly apologized for it. Ginny just smiled that wicked grin of hers and walked away.

"Severus when was the last time you went on a vacation?" she asked one night while they were having dinner.

"I can't actually remember. I've spent so much time spying I really never had much time to go on a true holiday. Must have been about 12 years ago before Harry came to Hogwarts."

"I think you should take cruise, they are the best vacation, a nice Mediterranean cruise. What do you think Harry?"

Severus chuckled to himself when he remembered the look on Harry's face. The poor man almost choked and Severus now knew why, Ginny Potter set him up, the little minx. Sighing to himself he decided to join the newly named Hermione Granger.

Hermione was just getting into the love story between the waitress and the vamp when a shadow blocked out her sun. Looking up she saw two rather defined male legs, narrow waist and what looked like a solid chest. Looking further up she saw a nicely chiseled chin, rather large nose, piercing black eyes, and the silkiest looking jet black hair. Snape?

"Miss Granger, why are you on my ship." That very silky deep baritone voice that could make a woman shiver could only belong to one Severus Snape. It was amazing how handsome he looked when he wasn't spying for either side or trying to terrorize students.

"Your ship? When did you buy a fleet of cruise ships Snape?" She asked trying to make her voice sound calm even though her hormones were starting to kick in. It had been a while and well the man did look like sex on two legs right now.

Noticing the empty deck chair next to her Severus took his towel and book laid them on the table and removed his shirt. Still a little self conscious about his scars he looked up into chocolate brown eyes that were wide in shock. He had been wearing a light blue button down shirt and navy swim trunks. His body was perfect, not overly muscular but tight. He even had a slight six-pack.

"War wounds in case anyone asks" he said.

"Huh?" she looked confused.

"My scars Hermione war wounds. What were you looking at woman?" he asked her.

Blushing she said while looking away, "Just realizing what you were hiding under all those robes of yours."

Realizing that she just complimented his body he said in a rather husky voice, "Who would have thought you were hiding this behind all the baggy jeans and t-shirts." His eyes caressed her curves and Hermione felt the sudden need to jump in the pool. Which she did after claiming the sun was too warm.

The water wasn't nearly cool enough but it did calm her down a bit. A few moments later she came out of the pool and walked back to her chair, spotting Snape talking to a waiter. He looked back down to the book in his hands and she noticed it was her book. Looking up at her he tried to ignore how good she looked with water dripping down her body and commented on her choice of reading material.

"What are you doing reading this dribble?" he sneered in his very Snape like way.

Walking over to him she grabbed the book and said, "Sometimes a little dribble is good for the soul."

"Please Granger how could you read this knowing all the clichés and assumptions about vampires are wrong."

"Because it's for fun Snape. I'm reading it just for fun. "

"What is fun about it?"

"Sexy vampires, beautiful girls, shape shifters, it's just fun with a little bit of romance, why what are you reading 10001 Potions?" She asked with a smile.

"Not on a Muggle ship" he whispered a little too close to her ear. He sat back and showed her his book, A Tale of Two Cities.

"Didn't know you were a fan of Muggle fiction." She teased.

"There are many things about me Hermione you don't know." He was about to say something else when the waiter returned with two drinks, beer for him and another Strawberry daiquiri for her.

"I ordered you another one of those fruity concoctions you are drinking."

"Trying to get me drunk Snape?"

"Not at all, wouldn't want you to forget the time we're spending together. I want you to remember every detail." He looked down at his book with a smirk and began reading.

"So you didn't tell me how you ended up on the same ship I'm on."

"Someone as know-it-all as you should have guessed it by now. Who made your travel arrangements?"

"Ginny suggested a trip would help me relax, she took care of….ohhhh. " At the look on his face she knew. "You needed a vacation too?"

"As I was told it was too long since I had a holiday and she knew just the thing I needed. Took care of all the arrangements." He laughed at the look on Hermione's face.

"Oh when I get that little….What is your cabin number? A sudden realization hit her.

"Why Miss Granger are you propositioning me?"

"Cabin number, mine has an adjoining stateroom and I think I saw you earlier."

Eyes wide now a smile growing on his lips, "1538" he said knowing what her reaction meant, "I assume your 1540?"

"That little sneak she set us up!"

"Remind me to thank her when we return." He slowly stood up and leaned over and before she knew what was happening kissed her on the lips in a soft but searing kiss. "I'm going to take a shower before dinner I would imagine we are sitting at the same table. See you then "He said this against her lips and kissed her briefly again before gathering his things and leaving.

Slightly embarrassed she looked around only to see many of the women on deck grinning at her with silent nods of approval.

Hermione made her way back to her stateroom not long after that and sat on her sofa for what had to be an hour trying to understand what had just happened. He kissed her, the snarky, sneering potions professor just kissed her. And it wasn't half bad. Ok if she had to admit it to herself it was pretty hot. He was hot. She glanced at the connecting door and wondered what he was doing right now. Then she glanced at the closet, what was she going to wear tonight. Good lord was she actually contemplating dressing for Snape. And what was Ginny thinking.

Sure Hermione had mentioned recently after seeing him at a recent function Harry hosted that he was much more handsome than she thought. He looked so much better when he wasn't scowling. The fact that a lot of stress was lifted off his shoulders since the war ended allowed him to be less guarded and he would actually smile. Did Ginny think just because she found him attractive she should set them up? On a cruise! Of course she did, she knew neither of them would use magic with so many Muggles around. She also knew she was safe until they returned because there was no way to floo call and Ginny did not like Muggle cell phones. Said they rang at the most inopportune times. She wouldn't call Harry because she wasn't sure he was aware of what Ginny did. She would wait until she returned to give Mrs. Potter a piece of her mind.

At the same time Severus Snape lay on his bed with his arms under the back of his head and thought this could turn out to be a pretty good holiday after all. He kept picturing that bikini, oh that bikini. The vision of her coming out of the pool dripping nearly set him off.

Ginny the little minx planned this. She noticed how Severus admired Hermione from afar. She told him he should ask her on a date. He raised one eyebrow at her. At that Ginny just said she knew all along her brother and Hermione were wrong for each other. Ron was simple; he liked simple things, a wife who would be home taking care of the family while he went out and made the living. He shouldn't have married a woman like Hermione who had dreams and a lot of ambition. They married because they were expected to and neither was happy. Ginny loved her brother but even if he was unhappy he shouldn't have flaunted his indiscretions for everyone to see, especially his wife.

"So Severus Snape I think you should take Hermione out on a date. Treat her like the beautiful woman she is."

"Ginny, Hermione is 23 I am 43 what could a beautiful woman like her want with an old man like me"

"Please Severus most girls by 6th year were in love with the old dungeon bat and his silky sneering voice. Believe me my friend you are much more attractive than these boys who call themselves men. The exception of course being my Harry." After that she winked and walked to find her Harry.

Well we're here on this ship and he had dinner to get ready for. Severus took a glance at the connecting door wondering what Hermione was doing and went to take a shower.

Hermione wasn't sure which dress she should wear. The black dress was for tomorrow, the Captains dinner. The Purple was for the second formal night. Tonight wasn't formal but she wanted to look good for him. She finally chose a blue sleeveless wrap dress of silk. It looked great on her, hugging all the right places. The color looked good but there was something missing. She wanted him to be pleased. She couldn't believe she was thinking about pleasing him but what could she do. They were here in this ship for 12 days and she may as well have fun. She went to her suitcase in the closet and in a hidden compartment took out her wand and said a simple transfiguration spell to change her dress, lingerie and accessories emerald green.

A glance at the clock and there was a knock at the connecting door. Her face heating up she went over and opened it to see a very flustered Snape. He took one look at her and his look changed from one of annoyance to one of appraisal.

"What do you need?" Hermione asked.

"You" he said and she almost swooned. "I need you to help me with this infernal tie. He was scowling at the tie wrapped around his neck. "Do you know how to tie one of these?"

Laughing she pulled him into her room and began to tie a very neat knot in his simple black and grey tie. She was so close she could smell sandalwood and spice. It suited him. Her fingers lingered on his chest after she finished and then she pulled them away because she could feel the heat coming from his body. He grabbed her hand and pulled her close to him and whispered in her ear, "You do that very well." Then he gave her ear a nip and pulled away.

"I use to help my father with his ties when my mother wasn't around. He could never figure out how to tie it properly. He usually wore polo shirts to work under his lab coat."

She looked up into those coal black eyes and saw he was amused. "You look amazing. Come, we'll be late for dinner and I for one am starving. I hope the food is as good as they say it is." He grabbed her hand and walked her out the door.

As they suspected they were seated at the same table but they were alone, not seated at a group table like most people. These private dining tables had to be reserved and they knew just who reserved it. Before they could think about ordering wine their waiter came over with a bottle of cabernet and a note. He uncorked the wine and allowed Snape the first sniff and taste. When Severus approved he poured the wine for both of them. Hermione opened the note and laughed. It was from Harry.

Hermione and Severus,

Don't hate us so much. Just want to see you happy. Enjoy the wine I hear its one of the best. Hope your having a nice time. See you when you return, should I prepare to be hexed or hugged?

Enjoy, Harry

Dinner was wonderful; the food was as good as everyone said. They talked about things they were doing in their personal lives, she told him about her work with the Prime Minister and how much she enjoyed working in both worlds. They didn't worry about being overheard because they were set apart from the other diners and he said a wand less silencing spell so they wouldn't be overheard. He would only release it if approached by the waiter.

He told her about his work for the ministry working on potions that could block the more unforgivable curses, and research into some Muggle diseases that could be treated with a potion from the magical world.

When they were done with dinner they took a stroll on one of the decks. It was a beautiful clear night. The ship cut a path through the sea towards their first destination. Severus held Hermione's hand as they walked side by side. They stopped and he leaned against the railing pulling her into an embrace. He kissed her gently tasting the wine still on her lips. She leaned into his embrace and they stood there for what seemed like an eternity before he spoke.

"I like your choice of color this evening. I meant to tell you sooner."

"I'm glad you like the color," She looked up into his eyes and knew she could easily fall in love with this man. He was strong, confident, sexy and a little bit dangerous.

Severus wanted nothing more than to take her back to his stateroom and make love to her all night, but he needed to know what she wanted. She was recently divorced from her childhood sweetheart and he had to make sure she was sure about moving on.

They had walked to one of the small lounges on the ship and ordered drinks. He had a scotch and she had a cosmopolitan. They laughed about Muggle drinks and how creative they were.

"Hermione, tell me what went wrong with you and Ron. Not what was in the Prophet but what happened to your marriage?" They were sitting in the back listening to a jazz musician. Another silencing charm was put in place so they could talk freely.

"It fell apart before we were married. Ron didn't want me to go to University. He felt I should have been happy with my education from Hogwarts; he didn't understand my thirst for knowledge and need to do more with my life. I am Muggleborn and my parents always wanted me to go to Oxford. I wanted to experience University life and was excited about studying history and politics. I wanted to work at the ministry for the longest and thought about working with Muggle Affairs. I knew an education from one of the most prestigious schools in England would help. Ron was upset but said he would wait for me. I thought he did. There were so many opportunities for me to go out and spend time with friends but I didn't because I thought it would be disrespectful to Ron. We didn't see each other as much as he liked but he was trying out for the Chudely Cannons and made the team. I was happy for him and thought if he had a focus he would be more receptive to my school work. What it did was enable Ron to meet other woman and well he had a few indiscretions." She stopped to take a sip of her drink.

"You mean he cheated on you before you were married and you married him anyway?"

"Harry told me I was crazy, he and Ginny were the only ones that knew. I never told Molly or Arthur and the twins, well the twins would have killed him. I confronted him about it and he promised it would never happen again especially if I spent more time with him. That was when I commuted to school from an apartment we shared. I would apparate every day, it was difficult but I did it. When I graduated we married quickly because that was what everyone expected. It was ok for a while then things changed; I got the job working with Kingsley and started working with both Minister offices. I loved it, it was a job made for me. The Muggle Prime Minister is a good man, very understanding and he has a wonderful family. There were many times Ron and I would be invited to events but Ron refused to go, I guess he didn't know how to act with Muggles. Harry went with me a few times so I didn't have go alone. It wasn't the same; I wanted my husband with me. Anyway, the photo of him with that woman in the prophet was the last straw, it was reason enough for me to leave Ron, it didn't matter what anyone thought of me. I couldn't live like that anymore. I wanted a real marriage, a partnership. Ron was never a partner.

The whole time she was talking he was rubbing her back and playing with her hair. It felt so normal, so right. He was sweet and understanding and he was Snape. She laughed and he gave her a questioning glance. "Something funny Granger?"

"I'm here on a cruise to some of the most beautiful places on the Mediterranean with a man who called me an insufferable know-it –all too many times to count and he has his hands in my hair and making me feel the most incredible things in my …stomach. "

"Your stomach? Hmmm and yes you were an insufferable know-it-all always interrupting, helping Longbottom, and getting into trouble with the other two. You three almost got killed by a three headed dog, set my robes on fire, you were petrified, nearly attacked by a werewolf, created a clandestine group of students and called it the DA and countless other things I don't care to recall. When you three were away that seventh year and I was Headmaster playing two parts I worried everyday about the trouble you would get into and prayed Potter would be able to keep you safe. Ron was good for one thing and that was getting that sword with Harry. I prayed Harry would be able to defeat Voldermort and release me from that horror I was living. I didn't care what happened to me but I hoped Harry would be able to get the job done. I worried about you. Don't think I didn't notice how you blossomed from the perky little know-it-all into a very beautiful witch over night."

"Well Professor, I helped Neville because I didn't relish being the one who would be on the receiving end of a potion that would explode since you kept me paired with him most of the time. " When she saw the look on his face she realized something. "You did it on purpose, you paired me with him because you wanted me to help him, you knew Neville wasn't great at potions and you knew I couldn't help myself!"

"I liked not having an explosion in my class everyday Hermione, Longbottom was a menace with a cauldron. And yes I was protecting my students. I took my job very seriously."

"As for getting into trouble we were trying to fight an evil that none of yes really understood. We were so young Severus" she said this while playing with his tie.

"You set my robes on fire Hermione" he said this while leaning into kiss her on the neck. "Now you're setting something else on fire. "

She let out a nervous laugh, "your stomach?"

He closed in on her lips and said in that oh so seductive voice, "lower" and kissed her. Not the gentle kiss from earlier in the day but an honest to god I want you in my bed right now kiss. When he pulled away he looked at her face, She was flushed, her eyes were glazed over and her lips swollen.

"Hermione I'm not a young dashing prince ready to carry you off into the sunset, I'm 20 years older than you and lived a very, shall we say complicated life. I spent a good many years working hard to create a reputation as a snarky sarcastic professor and I won't even get into what I did as a Death Eater. But I will tell you that the last few years I have lived my life as a man bent on redemption. I did many horrible things working as a spy and I still have nightmares. I never had time for a relationship, taking only what I could get from one night stands. I have reached a point in my life where I want more. I want you; have wanted you ever since I saw you last spring at Harry's benefit. Do you think you could find a place in your heart for an old man like me?"

"Old? Severus your 43! Brad Pitt is 40 and there are many 20 year old women who would do anything to have him. Do you have any idea how you look right now. This afternoon when you took your shirt off the woman on deck couldn't take their eyes off of you. You have that mysterious sexy bad boy look. And yes I could definitely find a place in my heart for you. "She looked up at him and smiled, so I have one question for you Severus, my place or yours?"

"Hermione Granger did you just proposition me? And who is Brad Pitt?"

Hermione laughed , she couldn't help herself, he was so cute. She stood up. Took his hand and led him out of the lounge. They walked hand in hand until they got to her stateroom door.

"Hermione are you sure? What about birth con..."

"Got it covered Severus"

She unlocked the door and opened it dragging him in by his tie. He closed it with his foot and she put her arms around his neck and pulled him down into a kiss. "Very sure." She backed away and slipped off her shoes, then she slowly undid the tie to her dress, opening it and sliding it off her body, To say Severus liked what was underneath is an understatement. She had on an emerald green lace bra and panties. She started to undo her bra when he stopped her.

"No my dear that's my job"

"Well Severus I think you are a little overdressed for the occasion. Let's loosen that tie a little shall we." She undid his tie and began unbuttoning his shirt, removing the shirt and jacket at the same time. Severus kicked off his shoes and watched as Hermione lay back on the bed. He quickly followed her and soon he was leaning over her putting most of his weight on his forearms. He kissed her like he couldn't get enough. Drinking in her scent, her taste. He made a path from her lips, to her neck to the valley between her breasts, down her stomach to the band of her panties. He kissed her thighs, lingering to take in her scent again. Finally he made his way back up to her lips as he removed her bra. He stood there for a moment admiring her very full breasts before he tasted. His hands were everywhere, eventually settling on her panties again, and slowly removing them.

Hermione didn't lay there idle. She caressed his chest, ran her hands through his hair and made her way to the button on his pants opening and unzipping them. She pushed them down taking his boxers with them. With her feet she was able to get them off. Now they lie there skin to skin.

Severus made his way down her body again this time taking her to heights she never reached with anyone before. When she came down from her orgasm he made his way back to her mouth and kissed her allowing her to taste herself on his lips. He then raised himself on his hands again and positioned himself so he could fill her. He wasn't small so he knew he had to let her adjust to his size and girth.

"Oh my" was all she could say and he chuckled. They moved together in rhythm, each taking what the other was giving; it was like a dance, a slow sensual rumba. When they came together they held onto each other until they were both completely sated.

They made love two more times that night, once faster and more urgent and the last another dance. They fell asleep in each other's arms not wanting to let go.

Hermione woke feeling sore in all the right places. She stretched before opening her eyes to find a very tousled and sexy Severus kissing her neck.

"Good morning" he said with that oh so sexy voice. "As much as I would love stay in bed with you all morning, we are docked in Provence and it's a beautiful day. Want to explore with me?"

Hermione took a quick glance out the window and sighed. It was beautiful. They were in Toulon, France. The harbor was filled with ships. She looked at the man leaning over her and was about to say something when she heard a rumbling. "Before we do anything I think we need to get you fed" she laughed.

Showering together was not an option. He was too big and the shower stalls were too small. They dressed in their respective rooms leaving the connecting doors open. Finally Severus grabbed his guide book, her hand and they went in search of breakfast. They decided not to go on a tour but just see where their feet would take them. They took a cable car to Mont Faron and took pictures from a Muggle camera that Hermione insisted she could have developed into wizarding photographs. They then went to see the two memorials commemorating the allied capture of Toulon during World War II.

Hermione told Severus her grandfather was a mere 17 and was part of the Normandy invasion.

"Well war heroes run in your family then" he said putting his arms around her.

They decided to have lunch in one of the sidewalk cafes and just enjoy the day. Finally they made their way back to the ship and relaxed before getting ready for dinner.

Since it was a formal night they were both dressed in their finest. Hermione wore her black very sexy dress and Severus wore a Muggle black suit and black tie. They posed for the customary picture and Hermione asked a waiter to take their picture with her camera. Later that night after dancing and a little gambling, they went back and decided it was time to christen his bed. Their lovemaking was intense and erotic. They were so in tuned with each other's bodies and knew what pleased the other. Hermione thought she finally knew what heaven was.

The next few days took them to Pisa, Italy where they saw the great leaning tower, and of course took that corny photograph everyone takes in front of it. One day after they were in Rome and decided with the limited time they had there (one day) that they would have to see one place and that would St Peters Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.

They stood there, this powerful witch and wizard and marveled at the famed ceiling. It amazed them that one man, one mortal non magical man could create such a beautiful and powerful visage. Hermione could not get over the look of awe Severus had as he took in the most famous ceiling in the world.

A short trip to Trevi fountain followed where Hermione of course had to toss three coins in the fountain over her left shoulder by her right hand. When seeing the look of confusion on his face she told him about the legends of tossing the coin in the fountain to ensure returning to Rome. The current legend tells you to toss the coins in with your right hand over your left shoulder. He still looked confused but shrugged his shoulders and said if you wanted to return just do it.

The next day brought them to Naples. They took a trip to Pompeii and a boat trip to Capri. They had lunch in Naples of course and Hermione insisted on having pizza since that was where it was invented.

The next day found them cruising to Venice, they spent a lazy few hours in bed in the morning and then a few more hours enjoying the sun and the pool. She took a good look at Severus and noticed how much better he looked with the slight tan he had. It was amazing what a few hours in the sun could do.

Venice was spectacular and the gondola ride was one she would never forget , as was Croatia and Corfu. The last two days were spent cruising back to Barcelona and eventually back to England. Hermione had the best holiday she had ever had and she wasn't ready for it to end. She wasn't ready for any of it to end. She knew she was falling in love but she was afraid to say it. She wasn't sure he wanted the same thing, a partner, a lover, and a friend, someone to share her life with. He had lived such a solitary life she wasn't sure if he could be that for her.

Severus was wondering when he should tell her he loved her. Was she ready for this step. He had no intention of letting this relationship end. He wanted her in his life.

The last night they were in the middle of a very intense session of lovemaking when a slight movement on her part sent him over the edge and before he could help himself he yelled, "I love you."

Her reaction was not what he expected. She was laughing, laughing! And then she was crying and before he could ask her she said, "Oh Severus I love you too" as waves of ecstasy and passion took over.

Later on they lay there talking about where they both wanted the relationship to go. They talked about their hopes and dreams. They made love again and looked forward to what the future had in store for them.

A few days later Hermione was invited to Harry and Ginny's for dinner. They wanted to know all about her trip. She said nothing about meeting Severus on board and neither did he. They wanted Ginny to squirm. Severus was invited as well.

They tried, they really tried to look angry but neither of them could pull it off, probably because they were so happy. Ginny didn't squirm much and didn't have to ask any questions when she saw the kiss Severus and Hermione shared when they thought no one was looking.

Harry looked at Hermione and said in a very innocent tone "So I guess I'm getting a hug not a hex."

"Definitely a hug Harry, definitely a hug."

A year later and Hermione was reading the latest Southern Vampire novel while Severus was playing around on the laptop he bought. He was amazed by the Muggle technology she introduced him to. He couldn't get enough of the internet and the research that could get done in such a short time. Hermione jumped when he said, "You're out of your mind woman."

"Severus what are you talking about?" she looked up and saw a picture of a very handsome 41 year old Brad Pitt.

"You compared me to him. Of course 20 year olds would throw themselves at him, look at him. I don't come anywhere close to that."

Placing her book aside she took the laptop away and straddled his lap. "No dear husband you are much better than him. Your mine" and she proceeded to show her husband how attractive she found him.