Diclaimer: I own nothing, I make no money.

Author's Note: I HIGHLY recommend listening to FC Kahuna 'Hayling' while reading this. Hit 'play' at the ** marks. The full effect is beyond measure and one I hope more than a handful of readers take it to heart. Seriously.

Snape woke to an orange sunrise sneaking through the curtains. The stress of years working as a spy left him with the inability to sleep more than a few hours at a time. Attempting to change the ingrained habit only aggravated the condition.

He left a glass of water and two aspirin on the nightstand next to Hermione. Traveling with potions supplies was not often worth the trouble. It was easier to accept common muggle remedies when possible.

Snape watched Hermione sleep. Her eyes moved quickly under the lids. He watched her brows furrowed and the edges of her mouth twitched. He could not help but wonder what images flashed in her mind. Snape liked the sound of her deep breaths.

It had been so long since he shared a bed, he forgot how comforting the sounds could be. He could not remember a pair of lungs soothing his nerves in such a manner or how a slight snore could make the sleeper endearing.

Before he realized it, Snape watched Hermione sleep for some time. He felt somewhat guilty witnessing her resting, but her rhythmic breaths calmed his guilt.

Without warning, Hermione pushed the sheets off her shoulders and rolled onto Snape's chest in one fluid motion. Snape looked down in surprise at the woman snuggled on his bare chest. He took the opportunity to let his arms settle naturally over her body.

He cleared her calm face of unruly ringlets with as much care as he would preparing potion ingredients. She answered his caress with a soft moan. Snape hesitated, his fingers frozen in her soft curls, afraid he caused her to wake. After he verified her lids failed to flutter for more than a few breathless moments, he realized her vocalization was the result of her dream.

Snape tried to settle into a more comfortable position when a throaty moan escaped her lips. The sound was so uniquely feminine and primal, it set off an involuntary reaction in his groin. His stomach lurched with a wonderful roll as her moan echoed in his mind.

He tried to catch his breath when she distracted him with another sleepy movement. Hermione snaked her knee to his thigh. He let his nose hover over her hair and took in her scent in a failed attempt to slow his heartbeat.

Snape mastered his senses enough to bring his attention to reality. Pain, loss, and resentment made up too much of his life. Watching Hermione sleep, he felt as if he stole a piece of another man's life. Sooner than he wanted, he would be pulled back into a darkness he knew all too well.

This in mind, Snape memorized her face. The full yet supple chocolate eyebrows. The slightly puffed lower eyelids giving her a heartbreaking youthfulness. The shallow angle with which her nose breached the plane of her face below her eyes and ended near perpendicular to her lips. The subtle curve of her cheek rounding out to a small but sturdy chin. The caramel curls framing her face. The bend from her shoulder the arm over his abdomen. Two wonderful breasts pushing against his ribs with every breath. Her flat stomach stretched along his hip. At last he lingered on the feeling of her leg carelessly propped against his thigh.

Snape was roused from his appraisal with another moan, this one louder and more insistent. He did not have to wonder the subject of her dream as Hermione ground her hips against his thigh. Her breathing was ragged. Her hot breath ran across his bare chest.

He tried to reign in his reaction as Hermione found her preferred friction and continued her movements. She became more active as her lips and brows quirked in frustration. Her fingers strayed from Snape's abdomen, to the trail of dark hair that disappeared under his boxer briefs, and her hips surged again. It was too much to bear. He had to stop the sleeping woman before she woke in an embarrassing position.

Snape coughed with enough force to rouse her just as her fingers brushed his waistband. He figured it best to feign sleep to keep her embarrassment to a minimum. There were not many ways to delicately disengage oneself from a bed partner after waking from a sex dream. With eyes closed, he heard Hermione slip out of bed. She sipped the water he left for her but ignored the aspirin before heading to the bathroom.

Not long after running some water, she returned to the bed. Hermione crawled close to Snape's body, deliberately avoiding the sheet barrier devised the night before. Soon Snape felt her warm skin against him.

He payed close attention to regulating his breathing in facsimile of a sleeping man. She curled against him, fitting her curves to his planes and dragging her fingers over his chest. Her hands left tingling trails along his skin while drawing invisible swirls and symbols on his exposed body with the lightest pressure of her nails.

Hermione grew bold. With lazy ease, she slid her inner thigh just below the hem of his boxer briefs. Snape had to put an end to the elegant torture.

"How long were you planning on taking liberties with my body?" he asked with his eyes still closed.

Hermione immediately stopped her fingers and stared at him in shock. She did not answer.

Snape arched an eyebrow, his lids still sealed. "I didn't tell you to stop."

He could hear the smile in her voice. "How long have you been awake?"

He opened his eyes to face her. "Longer than you would guess."

"My, you are full of surprises."

"And you aren't?" he countered.

Hermione blushed. "I was fully capable of driving myself home last night," she admitted.

Snape leaned in to brush his lips against hers. "Surprises and mischief. A wonderful combination."

Hermione met his lips and pulled him on top of her. "One can only hope." She fingered his hair away from his face, and brought his lips to hers, closing her eyes. He held himself on his elbows above her shoulders and settled over her body. She leaned toward Snape to deepen the kiss while he pulled away matching her movements. Hermione attempted again and missed his lips before recognizing his teasing response. She opened her eyes to the smiling man over her. Hermione answered with a crooked smirk. In a flash, she wrapped both legs over his knees, and grabbed the back of his head firmly in both hands. Her aggressive move won her a tender kiss.

**Author's Note: Play FC Kahuna 'Hayling' here while reading. Trust me.**

Snape gently traced her lips with his tongue. She immediately granted him entrance. Hermione flicked her own tongue over the tip of his tongue. The two mingled in the shared space of their mouths. He pulled away with slow ease as Hermione tugged at his bottom lip with her teeth. He gave her a dangerous look before she gently kissed the assaulted lip.

Snape cradled her face and he kissed the outside curves of her eyelids. His fingertips traced the outline to her hip as his lips trailed her jawline. His lips followed the tiny hollow just off center of her throat, pulling a delighted gasp from her airway. She could feel his lips curl into a smile at her reaction while he continued adoring her neck.

She tilted her head, allowing him more room while Snape worshiped her collarbone. He moved his supporting arm under hers as he wiggled his body lower. Hermione arched her back to his mouth and fondled the back of his head while his lips left a wet trail between her covered breasts. Snape's torso settled naturally between her legs while he licked the outline of her navel. Hermione let out the lightest of giggles at the attention.

"Ticklish, are we?"

Hermione bit her lip in automatic response, refusing to allow a weakness to slip so easily. Snape secured the elastic of her black knickers between his teeth. Her mouth formed a soundless O. He pulled the lace materials down two centimeters before releasing it with a wet slap against her skin. She gasped at the action. Severus did not miss the slight disappointment in her flutter as she calmed down from her momentary excitement.

He moved back to her mouth and continued introducing her to his talented tongue. With one hand, he unhooked her bra and pulled the material from her body. He took his time letting his fingers track the slight line down the center of her stomach and the subtle flair of her hips. Severus enjoyed her pink cheeks as her admired her naked torso. He kissed the outside corner of her left eye while his palm found the bottom curve of her breast. He brushed his calloused knuckles over her nipple, the sensation sending jolts of pleasure to her core, before soothing it with his wet mouth. His slow work earned a quiet sigh while he turned his attention to the other breast.

In a contented moan, Severus slipped his palm under her knickers. His fingers found her hot center with ease already moist from his attention. After three agonizingly slow strokes, Hermione pushed the material past her hips and toed the black lace off the bed. She was rewarded with a trademark smirk.

Returning the favor, Hermione felt for the bulge in his boxer briefs. Her deft fingers wrapped over his length. The heat from his hard flesh met her fingertips as she stroked him with expert ease. She pulled at the waistband while he kicked off the last restraining cloth.

Hermione looked up at the man over her. His hooded, brown near-black eyes under knit brows highlighted the constant crease at the center that pulled at her heart. She tugged his head to her lips to kiss the tense muscles beneath his smooth skin. The power of this singular, kind gesture was too much for Severus to pull away. In turn, he brushed the plane of his forehead to hers. His proud, imperfect nose slid with hers.

He paused at her wet entrance.

"May I?" was all he could whisper.

Hermione's chest froze as she caught her breath. It was beyond her that he would ask. She blinked to keep her eyes from watering. No words she grasped at would equal the care behind his asking. Hermione answered the only way she found fitting. With the grace of a dancer's legs, she brought her heels to the back of his thighs and pushed him to complete the coupling.

Severus' face turned from delighted surprise to exquisite joy to terrified recognition in the span of a heartbeat. He hit her chaste wall and stared down at the woman before him. His mouth moved in mute disbelief trying to find the best way to phrase his next question. "Never?"

"Never," she answered; her proud whisper ended at his lips. She kissed him slowly and coaxed his hips with the subtle shift of her pelvis. Severus edged forward, studying her face to gauge her reaction. At the slightest wince, he stopped and waited for her to adjust to his intrusion. He placed the softest of kisses on her face and neck as he hovered over her body. It was uncomfortably tight, but then he felt her hymen give way. He stopped again in fear of hurting her, but she only gave him an annoyed frown. When he resumed pushing, he felt only liquid heat.

At the hilt, Severus cradled Hermione's head in his hands. His black hair draped her face as she looked up into his. His eyes were so dark, she could not make out the line separating his pupils from his irises. "Thank you," he whispered. She met him with questioning brows. "For this gift," he explained. "Thank you."

He held still over her. Hermione kissed his mouth, guiding his hips again. Soon the two found a fitting rhythm. Severus' ragged breath rounded in the shell of her ear. As she began to enjoy her own pleasure, she rocked with him with more encouragement.

Severus lunged deeper. Hermione let out a moan as the waves of their hips crashed together and bottomed out. He immediately recognized it as the same sound she issued in the depths of her slumber not an hour before. "Sevmmph..." was all she could manage between thrusts.

His face went pale. He paused "Are you...am I hurting you?" His body tensed, waiting for her answer.

Her eyes fluttered open at question. She avoided meeting his eyes as her cheeks flushed. "Faster," she whispered to his Adam's apple. Severus granted her wish.

He ignored the mundane intrusions around him. The creaking wood bed frame. The tiniest buzzing alarm clock in another room. Footsteps from the outside hall. The stupid failure to place a silencing charm over the room. The straining muscle in his thigh.

Severus concentrated on the look of absolute pleasure he brought to the woman under him. The curve of her sealed eyelids. Her quirked brows in time with his thrusts and swivel of his hips. The perfect O her mouth made. How her lips quivered in an attempt to remember how to bring oxygen into her lungs.

Her groans built to a crest. Without warning Hermione grabbed his shoulders, her nails threatening to break the skin. "Sevvvv," her shoulders tensed as they left the mattress, "ruuussss." Her back snapped then relaxed as if a tendon had separated from the muscle. Three quick heartbeats later he followed her bliss and crashed over her.

The two curled together between the sheets, never completely separating their union. Once his heart resumed its regular pace, Severus fell asleep with Hermione. For the first time in too many years to count, Severus slept for a complete stretch until the sun dipped below the horizon. If he spent his remaining years thanking Hermione for her gift, it would never be enough.

Much thanks to StarDutchess for beta. Without her, this chapter would be painful to read.